I Think I'm Good

I Think I'm Good

A highly qualified jazz drummer who has worked with the late Geri Allen and others, Brooklyn-via-Seattle artist Kassa Overall also describes himself as a “backpack jazz producer”—an MC, singer, songwriter, and filler of many roles, beyond any one category. His 2019 debut, Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz, was a vivid representation of what this could mean in practice. The follow-up, I Think I’m Good, on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label, continues in a similarly collaborative spirit, with glitchy beats and fat basslines framing rap verses, vocal hooks, synth textures, and contributions from an array of top-tier singers and instrumentalists.
Sparkling sonic details—Brandee Younger’s harp, Jay Gandhi’s bansuri flute, Morgan Guerin’s bass clarinet—emerge from the very start. Guitarist Rafiq Bhatia, trumpeter Theo Croker, and vocalist and kindred spirit J. Hoard, among others, bring in other elements to make the music simmer. And in the acoustic piano cameos from jazz heavyweights Aaron Parks, Craig Taborn, and Sullivan Fortner, we get a satisfying sense of how Overall works, putting piano through effects, or sampling and chopping it, injecting ghostly tones and patterns into the mix. Two tracks seem endearingly personal: “Landline” is a fragmented drum-and-saxophone duet between Overall and his brother Carlos, setting up Overall’s reflective spoken-word account of struggle and growth, while “Was She Happy” reminisces about Geri Allen in the wake of her untimely death, framed by Vijay Iyer’s calmly pulsating Fender Rhodes.


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