Brian Hudson : AHAYA Review
By Darnell Jackson
Brian Hudson is a drummer, recording artist, and session player that has built a reputation as a reliable, creative, and versatile drummer, who for the past 20 years, has worked with a wide variety of artists from around the world covering various genres ranging from Jazz to Fusion to Rock to Pop to Singer/Songwriter to Blues to Country to Contemporary Christian. Hudson’s debut album, Next Level, was released in 2017. The music blended jazz/fusion, funk, and Latin with a contemporary jazz overtone. Hudson was joined by some of the most talented musicians in the southeast. Next Level received glowing reviews (including 5 Finger Review, read HERE) from a broad mix of jazz and music publications and blogs. Next Level peaked at #3 on the Roots Music Report Jazz Chart, #7 on the NACC Top 30 Jazz Chart, spent 9 weeks on Jazz Week’s Top 100 Chart, was on Jazz Week’s Biggest Gainer Chart, and the track, “Seventy-Eight,” was featured on the music sampler for Issue 63 of Drumhead Magazine. Hudson is now releasing his follow-up release, a three-song EP entitled AHAYA. The EP features bassist Adam Nitti, keyboardist/pianist Randy Hoexter, saxophonist Sam Skelton and guitarist Anthony Papamichael.
“Luna Sea” has a catchy melody to match its clever title. The ensemble is an island funk fusion groove. Hoexter’s keyboards and programming adds fullness as Hudson and Nitti lay down a contagious groove. Skelton is a tremendous performer as his saxophone playing is nimble, impassioned, and melodic. In addition, Skelton and Nitti perform an impressive tutti section. Hudson’s drumming is active but never overpowering, as he keeps the groove solid and moving.
“Spirit Run” opens with a fusion groove from Hudson and Nitti as Hoexter’s comping adds colors. The melody is performed by Skelton and Papamichael. The saxophone and guitar blend well together. Hoexter performs a fine solo, mixing single lines and intelligent chordal figures. The interlude is a tutti that is rhythmic and builds to another superb Skelton solo.
AHAYA may be short in song numbers, but it is not slight in musical substance. The songs are well-written and performed by an ensemble the connects and creates a groove. Each player brings a unique part to the sum that makes this project a thrilling experience.
Label: Brian Hudson and Randy Hoexter
Release Date: September 17, 2021