“Kenya Love” a sister song to “Jungle Paw” (another extended jam on the 2010 Ty Showers album “Just One Last…”), this tune inhabits some of the same territory, but finds new ways to explore it. Over hand drums and what you might call hand strings (the sound is not far from a cigar-box guitar), a high, light synth melody reminiscent of a wood flute opens with the feel of simple, handmade music. Ty Showers is a craftsman, despite the 21st-century equipment and delivery system bringing it brand-new to our ears.
After a brief piano section that alternates between two blocky chords, with a melody that flits between them like a bird from one elephant’s back to another, the tune settles into straight-ahead, mid-tempo jazz, with the momentum carried almost entirely by ripping keyboard runs, often in doubled voices. Progressive Jazz fans should listen for a moment toward the end of the first third, which might remind them of the first time they put on a Weather Report record, back in the hazy days of the early 1970s. That tempestuousness rounds back to the chunky piano.
The music rewards close attention. Check out the time signature shifts (there are sections of 3/4 and 7/4, as well as a middle section that offers one of Ty’s casual marches. I only use the word “march” because it’s in 4/4—the vibe is as always, cool, collected, with a little swagger. The brass sound that dominates the last three or four minutes is underscored by a growling synth bass that winds itself through much of the tune. It’s like what old-schoolers used to pull out of a Moog.
From the pun in the title (well, Kenya?) to the playfulness of the arrangement, “Kenya Love” is Ty Shower having a fine time. Listeners will, too.