March 1, 2017

Will Schube is the New York Mets’ sixth starter.

Most sports teams operate under a ‘next man up’ mentality. Someone gets hurt or departs via free agency or trade, it’s on to the next one. It would be useful for the city of Los Angeles to adopt the same practice for their jazz musicians. As Kamasi goes global and Thundercat changes the landscape of bass playing, we need local talent to fill the void. Cue up-and-comer Jonah Levine, wielding the rare dual threat of piano and trombone. Levine, like his now band-leading peers, honed his chops playing with legends. He’s backed Leonard Cohen and The Game—legends in very different ways, I suppose—and reinforced the next wave of LA cool aside NxWorries and MNDSGN. Attention Deficit, Jonah’s debut release as bandleader, is ascendent World Galaxy’s fourth release—and their fourth excellent one (pre-order the album here). Out March 17th, we have the pleasure of premiering “False Alarm,” Attention Deficit’s first single.

In Levine’s words:

“”False Alarm” was the first song I wrote and arranged specifically for the collective. I had booked our first gig at the Fowler Museum at UCLA back in 2013 and did not have enough music to perform so I forced myself to write something new. It was the first song we recorded in the studio and after hearing the rough mixes I decided I wanted to add my friend Allakoi Peete (Mic Holden) on percussion and Laura Velasco on vocals. The two of them brought it to another level. The night I was composing the song my friend accidentally hit the alarm button in the elevator of our apartment and the entire building was making painfully loud noises until the firemen came to turn it off. This is where the title comes from.”

The first song on the album, the first song Levine wrote for his crew, the first sign of another breakout LA jazz musician. “False Alarm” is full of rich melody and intricate soloing, led by a horn groove equal parts intellectual composition and infectious resolve. The song uses its six minutes to explore every facet of Levine’s assemblage, and he, along with band members Emile Martinez (trumpet, flugelhorn), Josh Johnson (alto saxophone), Owen Clapp (upright & electric bass), Jonathan Pinson (drums) and Kiefer Shackelford (piano), make quick work of the track’s structure. The song manages to move leisurely yet with ferocity and bite—a staggeringly impressive piece of writing from a newcomer. Although, as we’ve learned time and again, you don’t get this good without first earning your chops. Levine’s done so, and Attention Deficit is a testament to his talent. Appreciate it before he leaves for his first world tour, while he’s still the next man up.