What Does It Mean To Be American? - Robert Stillman (Album Review)

Robert Stillman is an American experimental jazz practitioner currently based in the United Kingdom. This transplant of continents has led the artist to some self-reflection on the philosophy of nationality on What Does It Mean To Be American? Sprawling opener Cherry Ocean is a brooding piano-based piece, Stillman's velvety vocals resting atop the sporadic woodwinds and electronic textures sprinkled across the eight minute track. 

The progressive style of the opener is replaced with the delightful musicality of It's All Is and the psychedelia-jazz-funk number Self-Image. The accessibility of the opening half is challenged with Acceptance Blues, a honky-tonk piano rumination played sinisterly under a blanket of atmospherics. This avant-garde turn carries into the title track and Deep Time in USA, two glorious free jazz efforts. Stillman's music is one of cautious anxiety. Yes you should probably be worried and yes, things are complicated, but those complications should also be appreciated for their subtle and curious beauty.