The Paxton/Spangler Septet express a deep cultural understanding of the socio-political realities that were at play in South Africa. They have taken seminal works by one of South Africa’s most revered jazz icons and entered a human story replete with pain, suffering, joy and hope. -Butchie Seroto, Music in Africa (South Africa)
This feeling of freedom is captured perfectly in The Paxton/Spangler Septet’s interpretations. Not to keep this feeling of joy would be a crime to South African jazz, but the Detroit group nail it. -Robbie McGrail, Jazz Revelations (UK)
PAXTON/SPANGLER SEPTET/Anthem for a New Nation: From Detroit to South Africa to you. Dollar Brand was an influential cat but I don’t recall seeing a lot of tribute records to him. In fact, it often seemed like his records escaped rather than were released. The vet crew really delivers the goods here. The thing that makes this tribute stand out is me not remembering Brand being so funky. That’ll open new ears! Certainly, required listening for anyone that thinks they’ll never get out of the house again. -Chris Spector, Midwest Record (USA)
Paxton, Spangler, and their fellow musicians pay tribute to the unique melodic, emotional, as well as spiritual, humanistic, and political world of Ibrahim’s music in a manner that is respectful but not overly imitative. The solo powers of all the members of the septet and their guests give it all another dimension, but perhaps most admirable is the instinctive understanding that they seem to have of the distinct township rhythmic drive that animates this music. The recoding is magnificent, but I cannot wait to hear them play this in public. - Piotr Michalowski, SEMJA Journal (USA)
Optimistic undulated paeans to not only South Africa but the African continent as a whole are given a faithful soundtrack of elephant trunk trumpeted and spiraled horns, flighty flute, soulful dotted and dappled organ and shuffled drums by the ensemble in a show of respect, but also to share a love and passion for the music of an often in-turmoil land. Fans of Ibrahim won’t be disappointed, put it that way. -Monolith Cocktail
Eastlawn ELD #036
The Paxton/Spangler Septet debut CD is a loving tribute to the great South African pianist and composer Abdullah Ibrahim on the Eastlawn label. Besides the leaders Tbone Paxton and RJ Spangler, the band includes Phillip J. Hale, Daniel Bennett, Rafael Statin, Jeff Cuny, Sean Perlmutter, Damon Warmack, Kasan Belgrave and on one track, guest artist James O’Donnell.