Cochemea Gastelum is coming home to connect with his roots. After nearly 15 years of touring the world with Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, the saxophonist offers a deeply personal album of jazz and indigenous-influenced rhythms. All My Relations, out February 22 on Daptone Records, is 10 tracks of mesmerizing and spiritually ascendant instrumentation. The first single “All My Relations” is available now.
“All My Relations is a way for me to explore my roots through music. Some of it is a memory that is imagined from a time and place I’ve never been (‘Sonora’) or a musical impression of ritual (‘Mitote’),” Cochemea says. “I felt compelled to add the way I feel when I go to ceremony, when I feel connected with my ancestors, to the musical narrative.”
A California native with Yaqui and Mescalero Apache Indian ancestry, Cochemea grew up surrounded by music but without knowing much about his heritage. Both his parents were musicians, and they gave their son a heavy name meaning “they were all killed asleep.” Cochemea has spent much of his diverse musical career – as a soloist, musical director, composer and ensemble player – exploring and iterating on roots music, and All My Relations is a capstone meditation on his own ancestry.
Originally conceived during Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings’ final year of touring, Cochemea and Daptone’s Gabe Roth cast a varied but familial set of New York musicians to bring All My Relations to life. A large portion of the album was created through improvisation and collective writing, where its 10 musicians created a melodic, percussive conversation. “It was a beautiful experience – people would start playing and we’d work up these arrangements on the spot, then record it.”