Kicking in with some proper old style TR808 drum sounds before a set of mildly discordant piano and brass chords, ‘Cosmos’ by Dion Kerr is nine minutes of jazzy instrumental, a series of repeating motifs, moving through arrangements and phrases, alternating saxophone and experimental guitar courtesy of collaborator Jeff Parker.
Here using an original composition from his days at the Manhattan School Of Music, Kerr deconstructs and recasts the piece into an improvisational modern big band arrangement, marrying old school drum machine beats, cassette tape saturation, and experimental modern jazz.
‘Cosmos’ is from Kerr’s new album ‘Ivy’, available to preorder from his Bandcamp page.
‘How About You’ starts simply enough, a few measures of descending piano riff and Muonoke’s vocal before the full-on ‘brushes and hi-hats’ rhythm section kick, and we’re treated to the rich pleasure of Muoneke’s outstanding vocal.
This is full, old-school combo swing-time jazz a la Gershwin, Basie, or Woody Herman, or the best of West End show-tunes, the piano riffing alongside upright bass and a perfectly phrased trumpet interlude, Muoneke’s voice deep, rounded, and resonant throughout. The timbre and tone of his mellow baritone a perfect counterpoint to the band beneath; Muoneke describes himself as ‘the young man with the old soul’, and on ‘How About You’ he’s not wrong, the song instantly transporting us back to a 1940’s pre-Bebop era of smoky jazz clubs, expressive, strong, and vibrant, Muoneke’s lyrics a canny mix of old school (‘Lady Ella’s voice’) and new (‘Some roti curry goat, rice, and peas’), self-aware but never jarring or incongruous.
A masterclass of swing, Muoneke’s debut album is available to pre-save via his Facebook page.
Starting off with a subtle piano-and-drum part before the pulled back distorted vocals and mellow saxophone kick in, Yoni Mayraz’s ‘I used to think about God’ is a chilled-out, jazzy deep-cuts style wander through anger and acceptance, a cry to revisit a simpler, more peaceful time when the beauty of home and comfort had yet to be superseded by the fear and confusion of the last few months.
Noam Darvish’s vocal is pulled masterfully back in the mix, the track carried instead by Matan Vardi’s freeform jazzy sax, a three-minute paean to love and acceptance, the lead single from Mayraz’s new ‘Rough Cuts’ EP.
‘Immersive’ isn’t usually the first adjective which comes to mind to describe a standout track from Jazz ensemble but discernibly, the Leeds-lauded Jazz outfit Dangerbirds are anything but archetypal.
After forming in 2018, Dangerbirds took their time crafting their transcendently warm album “Shapes”. Part Ambient Jaz and Part Progressive Melodic Instrumental Rock, the album is a deluge of complexity weaved into trustable rhythms. The standout track is undoubtedly Red Tea, it may not use typical time signatures, yet, you’ll want to surrender your pulses to the alchemy weaved by virtuoso-level composer and guitarist Sam Horan regardless.
Never let it be said that Jazz can’t be accessible and fit for contemporary airwaves.
You can check out Red Tea along with the rest of Dangerbirds debut album Shapes via Spotify.
Tracks such as the debut single from San Francisco-based artist Kwonrad remind you just how powerful dreamy melodious music can be.
“Vanilla & Honey” feels like an act of pure indulgence when you hit play. The immersive gravity starts with delicately light and warmly textured notes which trickle under Hunter Conrad’s soul-soothing vocals. The accordance carved on the guitar is equally as hypnotic. Finishing off the soundscape is the rhythmically intoxicating prowess of Alec Kwo (keyboards, synths, bass, engineering).
Any fans of improvisation offering artists such as Hiatus Kaiyote, Stevie Wonder, and Vulfpeck will definitely want to hit play and drink in the delectable infusion of Soul, Jazz, Indie, Rock and Folk.
You can check out Kwonrad’s single Vanilla & Honey for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.
Fernando Peters may not be a household name, but the artists who he has composed for and played as a session artist with are.
The Brazilian artist has kicked off their solo career with the intriguingly explorative album “Living Low”. The tracks it contains may not fall neatly into any genre category, but they safely fall into the realm of cathartic ingenuity.
The best introduction to their indulgently transcendent style is “Island Inside”. With smooth licks of Jazz within the ambient soundscape along with undefinable artfully intimate textures, it’s no great stretch to say that you’ve never heard anything like this before.
The vocals which resonate as ethereal whispers slide in at the mid-point in the progressive soundscape which may be unpredictable at every evolution, but you’re safe in the deftly experienced hands of Fernando Peters.
You can check out Island Inside along with the rest of the album by heading over to Spotify.
Brian Perrone’s latest darkly moody Indie track “Sorry” is one of the sincerest apologies I’ve ever heard. Any Dark Folk/Murder Folk are sure to be as enamoured and evocatively bruised by Sorry as we were.
From the first verse, you’ll be hooked in the lovelorn narrative tale of regret and longing. The progressive single holds plenty of space for the artist’s seamlessly unexpected evolutions in tone and style which consistently uses complex time signatures. From delicate Neo-classical keying to Jazz-style improvisation, Sorry has a smorgasbord of inventive ingenuity to throw your way. Yet, in its essence, it remains a transfixing resolving soundscape with plenty of soul on offer.
Sorry is due for official release on August 28th, you’ll be able to check it out via Spotify.
Hailing from New Jersey, Mooch describes himself as “An Old Soul making real music for real people”, and with ‘Rainy Daze’ he’s probably not far away with that description. From the ‘For You From Me’ mini-album, this is a love song in chilled-out old school Hip Hop format a la early De La Soul, beautifully mellow and down-tempo.
There’s a lovely little jazzy guitar phrase repeated over and around atop swingy drums and handclaps and Mooch’s laconic spoken delivery. In a world that currently seems to be tearing itself into ever greater paroxysms of anger and division, this is a softer, gentler ode to love and to better days ahead; “I wanna hang out wit’ you while it’s downpouring/You give me chills like the crowd roarin’/I know it might sound boring/but one day we’ll be soarin’/and never worry about ever being late in the morning”. Frankly, who couldn’t use a little more of that right now?
Funk Bassist Pablo Ojeda released their 6-track EP Gotta Move on July 17th. While each of the instrumental tracks is sure to be a hit with any fans of Jazz Funk, the perfect introduction to their almost impossibly smooth style is “Greasy”.
Greasy may seem like a strange choice for a bass-led Jazz Funk mix, but once you’re half-way through, you’ll notice that your consciousness has already been consumed by the mesmeric unpredictable progressions which in true Jazz style, throw time signatures out of the window.
There may be plenty of nostalgia to be found in Greasy, but there’s no disputing that it’s a modernistic soundscape which oozes contemporary Funk appeal. Get it in your ears.
You can check out Pablo Ojeda’s single Greasy for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud.
Donnell Isaac went right back to the roots of Soul with his modern, stylish Jazz-infused revival track “I Didn’t Know”. The sense of nostalgia is strong, but the contemporary production of the captivatingly groove-filled soul soother makes Donnell Isaac’s sound anything but archaic.
Only after hearing Donnell Isaac’s single did it occur to me how two dimensional so many RnB tracks are. There’s a smorgasbord of emotion in I Didn’t Know, and none of them will fail to resonate. The unfiltered passion, the lovelorn torment, the shimmering optimism, all hit equally as hard, but the warm easy tones will comfort the blow.
You can check out Donnell Isaac’s latest single I Didn’t Know for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud now.