Isaiah Collier and Michael Shekwoaga Ode
Credit: Tiffany Smith

Saxophonist Isaiah Collier and his celebrated quartet, the Chosen Few, are among our city’s mightiest conduits of spiritual jazz. So when Collier and Chosen Few percussionist Michael Shekwoaga Ode shared a wildfire studio improvisation while recording last year’s Cosmic Transitions, they knew immediately they wanted to keep that heat blazing. Thus their duo project, I AM, was born, and with it their debut record, this month’s Beyond (Division 81). Collier and Ode’s reunion is so dense and driving it can rival the full-band sound on Cosmic Transitions with only half as many musicians. Just as on that record, however, you don’t even hear Collier’s saxophone until a few minutes into the proceedings. Beyond begins with a sparse sonic meditation led by poet Jimmy Chan, aurally cleansing the palate for the full blasts to come. It’s as though Beyond needs to take a great, lung-expanding breath before speaking, singing, and screaming this elemental music. It blazes with sheer, unbridled supernova brilliance—if there were such a thing as eclipse headphones, I would highly recommend them. For their release celebration at Sleeping Village, I AM play through Beyond, preceded by homegrown talents Kiéla Adira, Dia.L, and Fess Grandiose. LA-based radio host and DJ Seano performs between sets; Division 81 label honcho Sonny Daze, who produced Beyond and Cosmic Transitions, emcees.

I AM, Kiéla Adira, Dia.L, Fess Grandiose. SeanO DJs and Sonny Daze hosts. Sun 6/19, 8 PM, Sleeping Village, $20, $15 in advance, 21+