As part of the International Anthem family (which includes Makaya McCraven, Damon Locks, and Jeff Parker), the inventive Angel Bat Dawid is situated in a milieu of exploratory jazz with a strong sense of cultural activism and community building. The Chicago label proceeds in the spirit of the city’s venerable Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, liberating art to liberate people.
That spirit certainly informs this seven-inch, her musical concurrence to critic and journalist Emma Warren’s 2019 book Make Some Space – a chronicle of Total Refreshment Centre, the repurposed chocolate factory that was key to cultivating the London’s massively consequential post-millennial jazz scene. Its reflections on the importance of bringing bodies together, as well as minds, are poignantly pertinent in the present moment.
The A-side, “Transition East”, is a solo piece recorded at Warren’s Chicago lair, layering earnest clarinet lines over a muted machine beat. The B-side track here, a group jam, was captured at a gathering space in Brazil, during an artist exchange with Chicago. The dramatic flourish that announces “No Space Fo Us” gives way to an escalating alarm, driven by a simple, insistent cycle of three piano notes. The urgency builds, only to burst apart into joyful, relieved chaos – a little bit of liberation.