Recorded in his basement with friends over the course of the past several years, Change Has Got To Come! sounds like a record that could have come out three decades or more ago. Jefrey Leighton Brown, who is also a member of the Evolutionary Jass Band and Jackie-O-Motherfucker, has created a warm, glowing album of avant jazz that glimmers with unique instrumentation and is both parts homage and re-imagining with a modern sensibility.
Brown himself labels the music as "the sort of soul jazz recorded in jingle studios after hours..." and his own words describe Change Has Got To Come! just about as well as anyone. "Devotion" kicks things off with vibes, multi-tracked saxophone, and a nimble rhythm section that keeps things moving throughout. Curls of sitar drift through the track and give it an even more exotic flair. "Ain't No Such Thing As What If..." follows, and moves further into a laid-back head space as the drums and bass edge into the background just enough to keep pace while extended saxophone solos play out over the top as some vibes fill in the spaces behind it.
"October" changes things up even more drastically, bringing guitars into the mix alongside more multiple saxophones while female vocals drop it directly into a smokey back-alley club somewhere. In addition to having outstanding individual tracks, the album is also obviously constructed as a cohesive whole, with a smooth series of undulations that slows down and spaces out a bit during the middle before lighting things up again at the end of the release.
At almost eleven minutes, "Floatin' On A Cloud Of What?" not only has the best title on the release, but also sports the best rhythm section and free-wheeling composition, with a loose opening that finds some mellow sax crooning high over a solid backbone. As the track progresses, the sax (and again some subtle backings of vibes) move through slight, but effective sections where everyone gets a chance to show off, including a rollicking rhythmic ending section with cracking drums. Given the hopeful title, it should come as no shock that the album-titled closer is also one of the best on the album, with soulful vocals playing out over a deep rumbler of a track that features multiple wailing saxophones, some riffing guitars, and a couple builds that put a huge exclamation point on the album. Highly enjoyable and a bit under-the-radar, Change Has Got To Come! is at it's essence a release lovingly created by a bunch of friends on their own time, and it's easy to hear that while listening to it.