- Just Us Records
Thirty years in the making, Kraig Kilby’s Satori is an exercise in perspective. The classically-trained trombonist and pianist put down his professional roots in the Soul, Jazz, and Funk scenes of 1970s California, contributing to records by Bennie Maupin and Dynasty as well as touring and recording consistently with The Whispers and Etta James. While off the road in the SF Bay Area, he found himself adjacent to some of the most forward-thinking and far-out Jazz musicians of the time.
He asked two of them, bassist Paul Jackson and drummer Michael Clark, to help him realize a set of his own compositions. The duo, already legendary for their roles in Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters band, went into the studio with Kilby to record the foundational tracks in the spring of 1977. Throughout the next four years, he would return on his own to apply layer after layer of additional instrumentation, up to the absolute limits of what was possible with the available equipment. This exacting process gave the sessions an unusual and compelling signature that bears something in common with the contemporaneous work of the Mizell Brothers, Norman Connors’ Aquarian Dream, and Detroit’s Tribe Records, but with a depth and lyricism unique to Kilby’s sense of harmony that lies amorphously between the worlds of 70’s Jazz, Funk, and Experimental Rock. Kraig's busy touring schedule throughout the following decades would leave the album fermenting until 2007, when it was paired with two more recent improvisational recordings and self-released on CD.
Satori's mercurial twists and turns lead us through a dense sequence of melodic and rhythmic figures as calculated as they are tripped, always at the edge but navigated with a precise sense of balance. Rife with hooks that will startle even the most seasoned breakbeat sleuth and sheets of emotive texture that sound right at home with today’s wave of Cosmic Jazz torchbearers, it spins like a collector's fever dream, surely one of the most prescient Jazz albums to have fallen through the cracks. Upstart Detroit label Just Us is pleased to offer this crucial missing link on vinyl for the first time.