Browsing Tag

easy listening

Joanne Louise’ standout score, The Avenue, is a refreshing sojourn through jazz fusion

With her standout score, The Avenue, the rhythmically intuitive composer Joanne Louise captured a distinctive space within the jazz sphere, presenting an easy-listening single that smoulders with classical sensibility and innovative flourishes.

This piece is a testament to the breadth of the Pittsburgh-born artist’s musical education and the depth of her creativity; Louise’s training at The Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia evidently informs the sophisticated orchestration of the track. Her ability to weave hip-hop nuances into the fabric of world music, without overshadowing the jazz foundation, speaks to a refined compositional skill.

The Avenue” itself is an engaging paradox. It is rooted in tradition yet feels entirely contemporary, thanks to Louise’s daring genre amalgamative style. The result is a simmering blend that respects its jazz heritage while introducing an eclectic mix of sounds that serenade the ear and envelop the soul in a lush auditory reprieve.

Stream The Avenue on YouTube now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sojourn into Scott Murphy’s profound musical ethos with his seminally lush release,  Follow the Right Light

Scott Murphy’s standout release, Follow the Right Light, featuring Janek Gwizdala, Daniel Chu, and Padget Fresh Nanton, taken from his expansively styled album, a dream of form, is a sublime exploration of the intersections between easy listening jazz and art-rock.

As Murphy’s sax lines lace the instrumental soundscape with smoky strident cultivation with a similar sense of Pete Wareham’s fiery finesse, the trip-hop-esque percussion modernises the jazz-infused production, ensuring that Follow the Right Light resounds far away from your typical and inaccessible jazz fare.

Scott Murphy, an internationally acclaimed name in the jazz scene, proved exactly how he earned his prestigious stripes with Follow the Right Light; the 10-minute sojourn into sensuous serenity is as essential as listens come for those who carry a penchant for jazz, and those who look for catharsis in lush sound palettes.

Follow the Right Light was officially released on April 20; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Slip back to the mid-century with Sam Johnson Trio’s jazz number, Waltz for Taylor

Sam Johnson Trio’s latest single, ‘Waltz for Taylor’, is a temporal gateway to the golden era of mid-century jazz, an introduction to the trio’s commitment to authenticity and an exhibition of their skill in crafting a sound that resonates with the essence of jazz legends like the Vince Guaraldi Trio and the Oscar Peterson Trio.

The easy-listening instrumental score crafted by Sam Johnson (piano), Georgia Johnson (double bass), and James Wood (drums) shuns the lure of bravado and opts for an ambience rich in opulence and decadence, yet remarkably free of pretension. It’s a rare feat in today’s jazz scene.

The heart of this piece lies in its melodious piano keys, led by Sam Johnson. His intuitive play is the cornerstone of the trio’s sound, weaving a soundscape that is both warm and beguiling. The expressive flair of the music is subtle yet profound, inviting listeners into a world of escapism. The cathartic nature of this waltz is undeniable, offering a respite from the chaos of modern life.

This single is a must-listen for jazz aficionados and casual listeners alike, offering a slice of history served with a side of modern flair.

Waltz for Taylor was officially released on March 15th; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

J reshaped the landscape of protest music with his jazzy guitar score, Shame on You

Busting the myth that protest songs need to antagonise in the same vein as Rage Against the Machine or Black Flag, the Brighton-based artist, J, exhibited how mellow sonic political activism can be with his latest release, Shame on You.

Paired with an aptly endearing official music video, the ‘oppressed version’ of the single, sans the snippets of dystopian diatribes from Trump and Bush, allows you to embrace the absurdity of our tumultuous political waters while rising above them as the lighter-than-air guitar lines seemingly defy gravity.

J’s guitar work is nothing short of phenomenal – his strings sing with a life of their own in the genre-fluid fusion of jazz, pop, and classical guitar, but notably, the secret ingredient is his unflinching sense of humour and his lack of artistic ego. It’s a rarity for an artist to be so talented and not locked into the singular vision of rock stardom; J always endeavours to create sonic experiences that resonate with his soul; in doing so, he opens up cathartic worlds with his virtuosic tongue-in-jazz-groove flare.

Shame on You will be available to stream from January 26th; stream the official music video on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Enchanting Chanteuse Annabel Hailey Reached New Celestial Heights in Her Single, Perfect for this World

Annabel Hailey

After introducing us to The City That Never Sleeps, the enchanting Nordic pop chanteuse Annabel Hailey enticed us into a new session of jazzy easy listening mesmerism with her latest single, Perfect for this World.

“You have to be broken for the light to get through” may be one of the most affecting lyrical epiphanies I’ve ever had the pleasure of soaking in. The conceptual luminosity of the classic pop score and Annabel Hailey’s ethereally pure vocal timbre which echoes vulnerability and power in the same breath makes it all the more enlightening.

In her own words:

“The song talks about how we carry a burden that no one knows about. We put on a brave face and carry on like we’re okay. We often think that being brave is about not showing we are hurting, although being vulnerable is the most courageous thing to do. We are all broken in some ways; it’s a part of this journey. Perfection is not the goal and doesn’t exist; we are perfect for this world as we are, humans in progress. We define who we are with our thoughts and actions; let your light shine bright.

I end with a quote Anais Nin made famous ‘We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are’; making assumptions and judgments on others is misguided and unnecessary.”

The Finland-born singer-songwriter, who spends her time between Amsterdam, the Netherlands and NYC, hit the one million streams mark with her EP, Phases, which debuted in February 2020. We’re unequivocally sure she can do the same again in her next EP, which is due for release in 2024.

Perfect for this World will officially be released on the 20th of October; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Maverick lived up to their moniker with their folksy easy listening debut single, I love coffee culture

The debut single, I love coffee culture, from Maverick is a tongue-in-cheek, bean-in-cup twee triumph. The twinkling piano keys atop the simple yet as delicious as a caramel macchiato easy guitar chords orchestrate the same kind of laidback atmosphere you would want to sink into in your favourite den of caffeine as the vocals prove it is the small things in life, especially if those small things are made by the hands of a barista who can take the mundanity of the corporate world away.

It is somewhat ironic that Maverick is a virtual band composing songs for tangible experiences, but given the sticky-sweet feel-good factor of the folksy easy listening release, we can easily forgive the band spearheaded by the song crafter and vocalist, John Crystal and feel stoked for the singles we have been promised will follow. We already need our next fix.

I love coffee culture was officially released on October 4; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Charlotte Lansman grooved through the last rays of summer while celebrating new love in her jazz-soul single, Stupid Love

Charlotte Lansman delivered the definitive London jazz sound while lyrically moving away from soul cliches in her latest single, Stupid Love. The London-based, Bristol-born singer never fails to hit the sultry with a little bit of grit mark in her singles that bring elements day to day-to-day reality into luxe installations of sonic beguile; Stupid Love is far from the exception.

By evading hallmarked cliches, she was free to focus on the way we wear rose-tinted glasses to cope with the false truths and how wearing your boyfriend’s shirt to the station in the morning cloaks you in impassioned ardour and enables you to fall in love with the world of around you. It’s almost a paradox how her song crafting is completely antithetical to your average love song but reaches the pinnacle of romanticism regardless.

With Joe Rodwell in charge of the production, which sees new romance explored through laid-back grooves, retro synths, rhythmically arrestive Latin jazz beats and guitar riffs that will make the last rays of summer feel even sweeter, Stupid Love became an uplifting triumph.

Stupid Love was officially released on August 24; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


Embark on an ochre aural adventure with Ross Cantrell’s single, Peach Skies, ft Sam Thompson

After graduating from Bath Spa University with a First-Class Honours Degree in Music and releasing a superlative string of successful singles, the saxophonist and composer, Ross Cantrell has invited his fans to embark on an ochre aural adventure by unveiling his debut album, Golden Hour.

While each of the seven singles serves up a melodic remedy that will indulge your senses in catharsis, the standout jazz-fusion single, Peach Skies, featuring Sam Thompson is the perfect introduction to Cantrell’s arresting ability to bring presence of mind to his listeners.

From an intro of reverberant drenched in 80s nostalgia synths, the downtempo amalgam of smooth jazz and electronic pop gets to work embedding under your skin, implanting ease with each mellifluous progression that exhibits Ross Cantrell’s natural talents when it comes to subduing you into a sonic world of sheer sonic serenity.

The halcyon days may be over in our society, but endless swathes of tranquillity await anyone willing to hit play.

Stream Peach Skies and the LP in full by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Andelo made an irresistible jazz-pop plea in ‘Take it Easy on Me’

Easy listening has never been easier than slipping into the superlative slice of jazz, Take it Easy on Me, from the artist and producer, Andelo. It is a far jazz pop cry from Andelo’s internationally accoladed and celebrated former releases, which pay homage to 80s pop and rock anthems, but there’s no doubt that jazz-pop is also one of his wheelhouses. His signature theatrical flair is more nuanced in the jazzy ensemble, but it resounds all the same, especially when the swooning sax lines proliferate the single with seduction.

The flourishing piano keys, bluesy guitar licks and steady percussive fills tightly enmesh to deliver a sensuously mellifluous platform for the featuring female vocalist’s vulnerable harmonies that project the fear of getting burned in a new relationship when you can still feel the sting of old flames dying out. We’ve all been there; few can allude to the sensation as soulfully.

Take it Easy on Me is available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Roc Flowers elevated the airwaves with his ground-breaking LP, Ovision

Roc Flowers became the Mike Patton of his generation with the launch of his genre-melding gospel album, Ovision, featuring various artists, including Fabrizio Bosso, Max Ionata, Stefano De Donato, Francesco Cherubini, Leonardo Volo, and Toti Panzanelli.

The opening single, God is Blue, starts with a quiescent neo-classic deliverance of jazzy pop tones, before hushed harmonic vocal lines and rap bars recontextualise the soundscape in scintillating fashion.

Not only would you be hard-pressed to find another artist delivering such a cathartic fusionist sound, but Roc Flowers also ensures that you’re left so sated that you’ll want for nothing while immersing yourself in this exploratory album which covers plenty of the tonal spectrum while indulging you in Gospel-Esque soul.

It’s easy listening as you’ve never known it before. The reference to Peaches in track 3 in the lyric “I can move the pussy like Peaches but I’d rather get our souls into deepness” was completely unexpected, but my god, it was appreciated. It truly is an LP that keeps on giving.

Ovision is now available to stream on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast