Acute Inflections is a jazz duo that takes a bold approach to arrangements. All you hear on their new album, Electric Psychology, is Elasea Douglas’ voice and Sadiki Pierre’s bass. That might sound austere, but it’s anything but–Pierre’s bass is a complex rhythm section on its own with lots of percussive slapping and plucking. Douglas’ voice is also quite versatile and can handle everything from jazz standards to current pop hits (Childish Gambino‘s “Redbone” is a major highlight here). There’s a point along the way where you stop focusing on a singer and a bassist and you start hearing a full, lush and sweeping sound.
Electric Psychology is the third album from Acute Inflections. When I first glanced at the dark, sultry cover I instantly thought of fusion jazz, but the electricity in the title refers to the chemistry that Pierre and Douglas have and how they got to this point in their careers. If you check out the Acute Inflections website, you immediately notice that these two are in demand for weddings. I’m sure talent like this doesn’t come cheap, but I can also see why they’d be one of those perfect choices for such an occasion. Looking for memories that will last forever? Look no further.
I’m not sure if Electric Psychology is the breakthrough that leads this team to the next level of success, or if they genuinely love performing at weddings and other events and will always offer those services out of love. (Pink Martini has certainly thrived on that business model.) I’m only going to mention that Douglas has one of those jazz singer voices that I love, all soft and affectionate and clear and bright. Pierre is remarkable because he supplies everything else with just a pluck of his fingers and a slap of his palm. (I’ve never heard a knuckle rap on wood sound more like a knuckle rapping on wood.) Whether it’s “Satisfaction” from The Stones or Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” or yet another take on “New York, New York,” Pierre fleshes out all the necessary musical connections so that you’ll never find yourself needing more.
When you record just a voice and a single instrument, you’d better make it sound good. Acute Inflections understands this, and Electric Psychology sounds utterly remarkable. (I might just bring this to the upcoming Capital Audiofest because I think everyone will dig it.) This is an incredibly intimate sound, one you walk through and admire from different angles. Highly recommended.