Category Black American Music
Roy Ayers, Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Adrian Younge – Jazz Is Dead 2 (Jazz Is Dead)
Vibraphone player Roy Ayers teams up with two iconic hip-hop producers for an interesting collaboration containing elements of jazz, R&B, and hip-hop. The tracks flow together smoothly featuring excellent vocals in most songs and hypnotic rhythms. The album is somewhat mellow, sounds excellent at night, and ironically helps prove that jazz is indeed not dead. […]
CLIFF BEACH – W.A.J.A. K.F.S (EP) [CALIFORNIA SOUL MUSIC]
A more electronic sound than usual from Cliff Beach on this EP. Old-school hip hop beats compliment Beach’s soulful, easy breezy vocals. Lots of different moods to choose from, take your pic and play! FCC: 2, 4 (email firstname.lastname@example.org for clean versions) TRY: Any and all! Make sure to get clean versions before you spin […]
Jamael Dean – Galaxy in Leimert [Stones Throw Records
Uber hip single from the current piano prodigy of Horace Tapscott’s UMGAA school and seems to be a leader of the new branch of PAPA. Funky, deep and soulful with some glorious vocals by Sharada Shashidar (a favorite of mine) RIYL: Alice Coltrane, Pan Afrikan People’s Arkestra, Tarika Blue FCC: Clean
IZY – FRANTIC (SINGLE) [HOPESTREET RECORDINGS]
Funkiest track I’ve heard in a while. Izy brings bright harmonies, a bassline that won’t quit, and a bouncy groove. Play, play, play! FCC: Clean RIYL: D’Angelo, Bilal, Raphael Saadiq
RONNIE MCNEIR – UNDERSTANDING (SINGLE) [BLUE RIVER RECORDS]
A groovy soul track with cameos from dancehall and calypso sounds, all overlaid with smooth-as-butter vocals. Play, play, play! FCC: Clean RIYL: Prince Phillip Mitchell, Lamont Dozier, The Natural Four
DAVID WALTERS – FREEDOM (FT. VINCENT SEGAL, BALLAKÉ SISSOKO, & ROGER RASPAIL) (SINGLE) [SIX DEGREES]
A melancholy chant with gorgeous guitar instrumentation and somber vocals. Play! FCC: Clean RIYL: B.Alone, Flavia Coelho, Voilaa
Alan Braufman – The Fire Still Burns [Valley of Search]
After the alto saxophonist recorded his debut record in 1975, he went into a period of sideman work and eventually reemerged with this 2020 effort including original pianist Cooper-Moore. Out of the world, fiery barn burners are juxtaposed with sweet melodies. Well rounded and a beautiful work!
New Life Trio – Visions of the Third Eye [Early Future]
Reissue of a monumental trio date, recorded in 1978 in Putney, VT. The synergy and soundscapes that these 3 musicians make is absolutely staggering. Recommend the tune “Sculpture” or the beautiful “Empty Streets”. One of my favorite records ever!
Dezron Douglas & Brandee Younger – Force Majeure[Int’l Anthem]
Killer bass-harp duo that was recorded over a series of livestreams throughout the COVID-19 Lockdown. The empathy both players have is awe inspiring.
Patricia Brennan – Maquishti [Valley of Search]
Gorgeous solo vibraphone with effects brought forth by Nabil Ayers and Alan Braufman’s new label Valley of Search. Indeed there is a searching element here and what that is so dreamy. Not a dull moment.
Micah Graves – Med Nama: Not for the Ordinary [Self-Released]
Philadelphia-based musician and Temple University senior released this album at the beginning of the year. Intense, highly melodic and beautifully lyrical tunes that have a “pop sensibility”. I believe that everyone can find something they enjoy from this record. Recommended.
R.A.P Ferreira – Bob’s Son [Ruby Yacht]
Incredible poetry-emphasized rap music that has such a unique flow to it. Lots of loops created from interviews of poets as well as Ferreira’s own, warbly piano. Highly recommended.
BILL MOSS JR. – BRAND NEW DAY (SINGLE) [SALATHIEL RECORDS]
A pleading ballad from Bill Moss Jr., whose soaring vocals overlay a jazzy composition. Worth a listen. FCC: Clean RIYL: Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago, Marvin Winans, Jason Nelson
SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS – JUST DROPPED IN (TO SEE WHAT CONDITION MY RENDITION WAS IN) [DAPTONE]
A DJ Ravioli all-time favorite! The newest album from Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings features a treasure trove of previously unheard material from the beloved Sharon Jones and her Dap-Kings. Listeners will be enthralled with a perfectly eclectic mix of covers that range from Woody Guthrie to Janet Jackson, all of them with the band’s […]
SONNY GREEN – FOUND! ONE SOUL SINGER [LITTLE VILLAGE FOUNDATION]
Sonny Green covers some classic soul songs while also bringing in some original tunes on his latest album. Horns abound to keep the groove going, and Green’s slow vibrato voice soars above it all. Play! FCC: Clean TRY: 1, 5, 10 RIYL: Nora Jean Wallace, Johnny Iguana, Peter Parcek
BETTE SMITH – THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE BETTE [RUF RECORDS]
Bette is back with a force on her latest album! A master of ballads and upbeat tracks alike, Smith wows with her unique, rock-and-soul vocal stylings. Backed by a fantastic band, Bette truly tears it up. Listen all the way through and play, play, play! FCC: Clean TRY: 1, 4, 7 RIYL: Kat Riggins, Chuck […]
EMMA DONOVAN & THE PUTBACKS – DON’T GIVE UP ON ME (SINGLE) [HOPESTREET]
Powerful vocals from Emma Donovan backed by a stellar band including (my favorite) some strong tambourine. The lyrics are pleading yet full of force. Play for sure! FCC: Clean RIYL: Margarethe Klose, Claudia Lee, Lili Chookasian
Derrick Hodge – Color of Noize [Blue Note]
Bassy, electronic, groovy music. Straddles the line between an astral funk record and a jazz record. Highly recommended for fans of modern jazz rap.
Ron Miles – Rainbow Signs [Blue Note]
Gorgeous music that is contemplative and whimsical. Bill Frisell’s guitar is wonderful.
Joel Ross – Who Are You? [Blue Note]
Joel Ross’ highly anticipated sophomore effort, Who Are You?, was released on Blue Note Records October 23rd. The mature, narrative songwriting style that combines structure and free stretching is something of masterful proportions. Listen to how Brandee Younger blends her harp so well with Immanuel Wilkins alto.
Giveton Gelin – True Design [Self Released]
The Nassau-born trumpet player present incredible maturity and compositional prowess on his debut recording. Possessing a tone informed by Freddie Hubbard and Booker Little, he fires off gorgeous melodic statements along with alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins. Phenomenal record. PLAY.
Christopher Parker & Kelley Hurt – No Tears Suite [Oxford American]
Beautiful on the nose music about the Black experience in America. Contributions from Brian Blade are strong.
Gregory Porter – All Rise [Blue Note]
Singer Gregory Porter releases another soulful and striking record of originals. His low, controlled voice and nuanced phrasing is truly something to behold.
Jamael Dean – Oblivion [Stones Throw]
Deep, spacey music put out on cassette from the ever expansive Stones Throw records. Lush ensemble work is really something else.
Joel Ross – Gato’s Gift [Blue Note]
Another single to come from Joel Ross’ forthcoming sophomore release, this written by Gabrielle Garo. It is a beautiful introspective piece that highlights cyclic chord motion and the pretty harp strums of Brandee Younger. Who Are You?, comes out in late October.