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Isaiah Collier | “The Almighty”

Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few Explore the Relationship Between the Divine Source and the Everyday Person in

The Almighty

The Album Features Five Original Compositions Including “Duality Suite” That Sonically Reflect the Principles of the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine and the Large Ensemble Work, The Almighty

Available April 26 via Division 81 Records

Collier will follow up The Almighty with The World is On Fire in July and I AM: Listening in November

Isaiah Collier takes listeners on a new journey as The Almighty brings the commutation between forces to a higher level with laser-focused compositions. In 2021, Collier released Cosmic Transitions, a five-part suite that expressed lessons received in the form of five distinct personal relationships he experienced during Retrograde. The Almighty explores the relationship between Divine Source and the everyday person. Where Cosmic Transitions presented the questions of how one navigates lessons learned from others, The Almighty drives home the concept that there is a force of higher vibrational energy in nature that must we must become in tune with to better ourselves and society as a whole. 

Collier showcases these principles through terms that evolve from love into understanding. These principles, once taken full in, are arranged to deliver that message that the creator shines through us all and is seen with all things. The album opens up with “Love,” a song whose melodic phrasing is reminiscent of Abbey Lincoln as Chicago siren Dee Alexander channels her energy to deliver the message of love to the human family. With lyrics written by Collier, the message remains strong within the music to search deeper to share more sincerely with those whom we interact with. 

“Love” starts off The Almighty differently from 2021’s Cosmic Transitions and 2022’s Beyond by I AM (Collier and Michael Shekwoaga Ode). Where those albums feature introductions which slowly build up during the opening track, The Almighty finds Collier hopping right into a mellow melody that introduces the message of his lyrics, first by horn and then with Alexander delivering the message in word. The song sways leading up to a masterful exchange between the musicians, with Michael Shekwoage Ode rumbling peacefully under the intricate styling of Julian Davis Reid on piano. The song swells at the end with a power back and forth exchange between Collier and Alexander to deliver the message of love through the crescendo of sound.

Softly as “Love” ends with a fiery exchange, “Compassion” opens up gently with the sounds of nature as the listener is taken on a peaceful flight throughout the airy and focused exchange between Collier and his long time mentor, the enigmatic Ari Brown on saxophone. “Compassion” finds the band gently stirring the musical journey through the clouds with cascading sounds coming from both Collier and Brown as their tones on tenor saxophone share a musical discussion about the mastery of harnessing the frequency to express from a place of humility and thus Compassion as they submit to creating unity in the exchange which brings the sound of light into the auditory space. 

“‘Compassion’ was a song that was born from a humbling conversation with one of my dear mentors Bobby Watson,” Collier reveals. “We can be in our world sometimes and move at paces that are made for us, and in that we can become impatient with everyone else’s. There may have been an unseen obstacle in their path momentarily, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. This world can bear a lot on any of us. Just a gentle reminder that you are moving through and have space to do it at your time. I may not know what you are going through but let this song serve as a hug from a special place in our hearts.”

The Almighty has many moments of passionate exchanges. Perhaps the most important message is delivered on “Perspective (Peace and Love).” The song has a simple, yet powerful chant, calling out for what is necessary as people who seek to find perspective in the challenging moments that life presents. “Perspective” showcases Collier singing a simple chant to open up, leading into a polyrhythmic drum circle that supports the universal message while embracing the connection of West African roots with the cultural expression that some would refer to as Spiritual Jazz.  

“When we are in a certain situation we are quick to take our own sides without really offering grace and understanding, or perspective,” Collier says. “Sometimes a situation is dark, but life is like a painting—we are all in the same gallery, but on different sides of the room. Once I come to the side you are standing on and look at the same thing, only and only then can we see something different when we shift our perspective. The perspective or my point of view on this is Peace and Love. This song is also an homage to the greatly influential Pharoah Sanders.”  

The underlying message of the album is truly centered in personal evolution and resilience that is able to be achieved by preserving through the forces of resistance we face as we seek to evolve and better ourselves and the world through our efforts. The Almighty takes a dynamic change of pace as the “Duality Suite” begins with a hummed count in by Collier to let the band know it is time to take off. This suite deals with the understanding of Duality in the form of Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine. The suite also represents the duality within everything elementally—water and fire; earth and the air. These are concepts of duality and mean nothing without the other. In the context of the record this is what The Almighty is made of.  

From the beginning of this suite you hear Collier and Ode shredding harmonic and melodic ideas that are supported by the swinging of Jeremiah Hunt on double bass duties as well as Reid keeping the fire focused with his tight playing of notes between the vortex of sound that seems ready to take off like a rocket into space. The four movements of the suite showcase the principles shared between Fire and Air, Water and Earth, emphasizing that these qualities belong to us as people and they are truly embedded in us all.

As the album closes, its title track serves as an introduction into yet another musical concept of Collier’s as he showcases his skill for arrangement with a larger ensemble he calls The Celestials. The song opens like wind as the chimes and percussion slowly evolve into an omnipresent sound that takes the ride into the eye of the cosmos as The Celestial exchanges begins with horn lines open up with the support of strings intently singing underneath the sounds of brass and the swirling, percussive piano sounds of Justin Dillard as he channels the energy of the church and blues all at once. Collier leads into the song with a powerful and meticulous tenor saxophone soul that is focused on driving the ensemble to an massive crescendo that lands creating ripples of sound waves as each player drives the music more forcefully towards a spiraling exchange that swings between violins, brass, and with notable alto sax solo by Chicago mainstay Fred Jackson.

The suspense of the title track builds up til the very end with the powerful exchange of solos between the musicians take place as they seemingly head towards some unknown place that has no end and is only the beginning of yet another example of a pull from some Divine Source to go further.

The album’s focus is Collier’s wish to bring the audience on a ride to the theater of life as heard through music. “The Almighty speaks to introspection and a relationship with a said “Creator,” whether that may be God, Jesus, Buddha, Vishnu, Yahweh, etc. Yet, what does it mean to us as individuals outside of respective Dogma? All of these teachings speak about principles of the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine. This is a unified concept of consciousness and also one can’t exist without the other. These are primordial laws, if you will, and thus the concept of the creator who is shown to possess both of these virtues simultaneously. Therefore, as creations of this being and made in its image we too, possess these qualities within ourselves. To be able to see that light or the ‘God’ within my fellow people. That is the goal of this album.”

Photo by Michael Gaertner

Isaiah Collier · The Almighty

Division 81 Records · Release Date: April 26, 2024

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