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Time Will Tell
  • Artist: Andy Milne & Unison
  • Label: Sunnyside
  • UPC: 016728171526
  • Item #: 2631902X
  • Genre: Jazz
  • Release Date: 4/26/2024
List Price: $16.98
Price: $15.28
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Time Will Tell on CD

Pianist and composer, Andy Milne is thrilled to present Time Will Tell, a new album recorded with his trio Unison dropping April 26, 2024, on Sunnyside Records. Milne's latest collaboration with bassist John Hébert and drummer Clarence Penn is a sparkling exploration of identity and destiny, showcasing Milne's ever-evolving craft. It follows the trio's The ReMission (2020), winner of Jazz Album of the Year: Group at the 2021 Juno Awards.

As with it's predecessor, Time Will Tell is Milne's artistic response to life-changing circumstances. Whereas The ReMission was inspired by his cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery, Time Will Tell chronicles his lifelong efforts to uncover his birth family history. Adopted as an infant, his efforts to connect with his birth family proved fruitless - until 2018, when the gift of an Ancestry. Com DNA test from his wife, singer La Tanya Hall, changed everything.

A DNA match led him to his first cousin, Marc, with whom he discovered he shared a mutual friend. Ironically, just as world events collided with the COVID-19 lockdowns, the profound mysteries of his biological family began to rapidly reveal themselves.

"In 2022, my voyage eventually received an unimaginable upgrade when I finally met my birth mother, " he recounts. "This recording reflects part of my expedition navigating the mixed emotions associated with this identity paradox. How we move through life, and the lives we will touch, is unknown to us, despite our best efforts to chart a path. "

While he says the new album shouldn't be taken as a pound-for-pound musical account of these experiences, the journey inspired and informed his process.

"I realized my compositions were a subconscious reflection of my experience, " says Milne, who is also an assistant professor of music at the University of Michigan. "I met my birth mother days before I composed a lot of this music, and quickly recognized that this would be a significant throughline in those pieces. I essentially allowed it to flow and envelop my process. "

The notion of "family" extends to Milne's artistic approach, in terms of his commitment to honoring relationships, building community and blending musical languages. This is heart-wrenchingly expressed in the track "Lost and Found. " It reveals his personal mission - both in title and his plaintive performance - and introduces a new texture to Unison's soundscape in the koto of virtuoso Yoko Reikano Kimura. She can be heard on three other tracks on Time Will Tell.

Milne's interest in Asian culture dates back to his student days, when he also became curious about Zen Buddhism. A decade ago, he fell in love with the string universe of the Japanese koto and created the multidisciplinary project Strings & Serpents, which featured a piano duo, a koto duo, and an animated film. This led to him inviting Kimura to join Unison for a gig.

"That set the wheels in motion, " he recalls. "I like the koto for it's soulfulness and because it can express opposite and complementary sonic qualities to the piano. It's quite flexible - it can be delicate but it can also be really ferocious. The similarities and differences between these two iconic string instruments really appeal to me. "

Also bringing considerable chops to four tracks is tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, with whom Milne recorded the 2022 album Fragile. Their interplay on opening track "Purity of Heart" lends a sense of urgency to the proceedings, and after their previous collaboration the ease of their give-and-take is apparent.

"Ingrid and I have known each other for years, and in 2012, we had a transformative experience training together at the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute at UCLA, " Milne explains. "Then, during the pandemic, she reached out and invited me to make a duo recording. It was challenging, inspired, and a lot of fun, and we realized we had forged a very good musical connection. "