SCRATCHTHEBLOCK PRESENTS: EARLY SUNDAY MORNING
In December we compiled a jazz selection called On The Sunny Side Of The Street , selecting for the occasion memorable pieces by Jeff Bradshaw,Jose James,Michael Olatuja,Tahirah Memory,Jaspects among others. Today we continue our exciting journey, exploring jazz sonorites and its musical contaminations.
Jazz represents one of the most powerful,personal and free artistic expression. Sometimes it may sounds academic and sometimes it may sounds too much contaminated but the experimental approach of some jazz players created real milestones,for instance Bitches Brew by Miles Davis. In the modern era we assisted to interesting mixture between jazz and other sonorities,we can cite alternative groups like Brandford Marsalis’s Buckshot LeFonque,Jazz Liberatorz,Snarky Puppy,Robert Glasper Experiment. Roy Anthony Hargrove is another superlative name,which encompassed neo-soul and hip-hop sounds in order to create jazz music with a “free spirit”,able to step over musical conventions. With his ensemble , known as The RH Factor, Mr.Hargrove recorded two masterpieces: Hard Groove and Distractions.We keep an eye on the brilliant Hard Groove. As Roy explained “‘I just wanted to open a door that would allow the musicians involved in jazz and the musicians involved in the R&B / hip-hop to form some music that would have no limit”…and damn…. the project breaks the boundaries of genres thanks the perfect amalgamation of artists from different musical repertoires: D’Angelo,Common,Q-Tip,Erykah Badu,Stephanie McKay and other performers assisted by trained and bright musicians such as Pino Palladino,James Poyser,Cornell Dupree,Meshell Ndegeocello. Taste the sublime performance of r&b/neo-soul crooner Anthony Hamilton on da joint called Kwah/Home. The North Carolina veteran singer dropped recently his seventh album entitled What I’m Feelin’
TERRACE MARTIN FEAT. KAMASI WASHINGTON AND ROSE GOLD – THINK OF YOU
If we should mention a name of an artist equipped with an heterogeneous and creative musical approach,equipped with multi-tasking skills as musician (saxophone,keyboard,drum,talk box) ,arranger,composer,mixer,producer…..damn…then we would mention the name of los angeleno Terrace Martin. He represents a key figure and a reference point of the current L.A black music scene but the son of drummer Curly Martin , is cementing his reputation as a prominent international artist thanks his incredible works and collaborations. Until now,Mr.Martin produced joints for a plethora of big names such as hip-hop exponents Snoop Dogg,Talib Kweli,DJ Quik,Frank Nitt,Murs,Problem,TY$,Stalley,Big K.R.I.T as well as r&b/neo-soul/jazz artists like Cassie,Robert Glasper Experiment,Lalah Hathaway among others.In the recent years Terrace Martin name appeared on the most acclaimed hip-hop albums: Rodeo by Travis Scott,My Crazy Life by YG and one of the most knowledgeable,groundbreaking and impressive opus of the last decade To Pimp A Buttefly by Kendrick Lamar which earned him the grammy! Well , recently Terrace dropped a special treat! We’re talking about his last effort entitled Velvet Portraits via Philly label Ropeadope (they gave us such incredible albums like ?uestlove’s The Philadelphia Experiment,Three Piece Puzzle by Jneiro Jarel,In Between by Jazzanova,Ready To Roll by Farnel Newton,Church by Mark de-Clive Lowe). For the occasion Terrace collaborated with a fleet of gifted artists like Robert Glasper,Latonya Givens aka Tone Trezure,virtuoso bassist Thundercat,Tiffany Gouchè (make sure you to check out her recent album Pillow Talk ),the goddess Lalah Hathaway and others. As Martin says Velvet Portrait is
“a portrait of my life, a portrait of what I grew up off of, and my view of L.A. It’s my view of soul.”
The project is an explosion of funk,jazz,r&b sonorities,wisely crafted to push the ears of the listeners beyond the conventional boundaries of the genres. Scracththeblock.com select for y’all the amazing song called Think Of You. It’s an extra-fresh tune adorned with the warm vocals of Baltimore native singer Rose Gold (we met her in February with her song called Running alongside James Fauntleroy) and prominent jazz saxophonist, composer Kamasi Washington (his name appeared on badass projects like Chameleon by Harvey Mason,You’re Dead by Flying Lotus,Magnetica by Quantic,The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam by Thundercat and T.P.A.B by K-Dot)
Portland jazz scene gave us interesting names: Esperanza Spalding,Farnell Newton,Jarrod Lawson and Tahirah Memory . The talented artist, kicked off her career sharing the stage with singer,producer,musician Jarrod Lawson,as backing vocalist and last year she released her debut album entitled Pride . The project unveils a singer ready to share with the audience her intimate world in a way that sounds so true,genuine and elegant. Jarrod Lawson played an important role not only as musician and vocalist, in fact he co-produced the opus and gave his contribution in terms of writing,arrangement and composition.Oakland native drummer Tyrone Hendrix (he worked with Liv Warfield,Slimkid 3) and drummer Christopher Brown (he performed/recorded with Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, Liv Warfield, Branford Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Ray Charles,David Sanborn and many others) gave their extraordinary contribution to make Pride a standout album. Scratchtheblock.com recommends the sumptuous nut called Time.
Singer/songwriter Laura Kabasomi Kakoma, better known by the stage name Somi is not exactly a performer with a jazz pedigree but her last acclaimed opus entitled The Lagos Music Salon (distributed by OKeh Records , the Sony’s jazz imprint ) got clearly a jazz influence and the proof is the amazing line-up of jazz musicians that collaborated on the project: gifted drummer Otis Brown III (he appeared on our jazz selection Rhapsody In Blue ) ,bassist/composer Michael Olatuja and jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire. Far be it from us to pigeonhole Somi and her sumptuous project, we want rather sing the praises of an artist with a musical intelligence and sensibility able to illustrate musically the life and culture of Africa,the complexities of being a woman and the struggles of the everyday life.It’s a deep an intense voyage marked with african rhythms and flecked with jazz excellent vibrations. Brown Round Things is a passionate story about prejudice towards prostitute and their life choices (make sure you to peep the official video) , narrated by the sultry voice of Somi,assisted by superb jazz trumpeter and bandleader Ambrose Akinmusire , who touches with his poignant notes the deepest reaches of our soul.
Grammy award winning , multitalented artist Robert Glasper , will release in May his tribute to jazz icon Miles Davis with an original album entitled Everything’s Beautiful enlisting big names such as Erykah Badu, Ledisi,KING,U.K soul singer-songwriter Laura Mvula,Georgia Anne Muldrow,future soul group Hiatus Kaiyote,Stevie Wonder,DJ Spinna,Chris Rob, hip-hop producer 9th WonderJ.Dilla’s brother Illa J and Foreign Exchange member Phonte Coleman. Until now, the eclectic pianist/producer dropped two singles Violets by Phonte,produced by 9th Wonder and Ghetto Walking performed by Bilal. It’s a revisitation of The Ghetto Walk a piece included on Davis three-disc box set entitled The Complete In A Silent Way.
A long beard and a multitasking talent as trumpeter,DJ,songwriter,singer,producer. Ladies & gentleman we give you the brilliant Miles Bonny.He collaborated with a lot of artists such as Dela,Anthony Valadez,Raashan Ahmad,Suff Daddy,Osunlade,Quiet Dawn and his music spans a spectrum of genres from soul to jazz and hip-hop. We serve you up something tasteful from what we consider his best project: Lumberjack Soul dropped five years ago via german label Melting Pot Music. The track is called Learning To Fly, a balanced mix of jazz and supa-soulful and groovy sonorities produced by Damien Beebe aka DJ Day (he worked with Emanon, Exile + Aloe Blacc and made dope treatment remixes).
Chris “Daddy” Dave is one of the most influential contemporary jazz drummer. Dave’s various skills make him a highly in demand artist,so no woder if he collaborated with a lot of renowned artists and musicians from different genres: Lupe Fiasco,Ed Sheeran,Adele,Eric Roberson,Maxwell,J.Holiday,Mint Condition,Meshell Ndegeocello and many others. As producer he worked with virtuoso bassist Thundercat and with the phenomenal Anderson.Paak on his masterpiece Malibu (read behind the project). Chris Dave is involved on several projects as member of brilliant groups such as Robert Glasper Experiment (alongside Robert Glasper,Casey Benjamin and Derrick Hodge), The Vanguard (with bassist Pino Palladino, guitarists Jesse Johnson and Isaiah Sharkey, vocalist Kendra Foster and keyboardist Cleo “Pookie” Sample) and his band The Drumhedz. The Drumhedz is a quartet composed by Chris Dave on drums,Marcus Strickland (who recently teamed up with superb artist Meshell Ndegeocello to record his solo album Nihil Novi ) on saxophone,James Francies on hammond organ and keyboards and Byron Lacy on bass. Three years ago The Drumhedz dropped Mixtape from which we selected Slim & Juicy featuring the timeless talent of songstress Sy Smith.
Contemporary jazz pianist, music composer, author and producer,Bob Baldwin will make you float on cloud nine with his superb rendition of a timeless classic by Roy Ayers , Everybody Loves The Sunshine. The dainty re-dux is enhanced with the laid back vocals of veteran soul singer Will Downing and it’s included on the extraordinary album Standing Tall released in 2002. The project hosts interesting names like drummer Lil John Roberts and saxophonist Kim Waters.
JuJu is a recording project by Aberdeen native musicians/producers Rod Stewart and Ben Sinkie. Last year the eclectic duo released the EP called Timewave Zero in which they had fun combining different styles, in fact the project revolves around jazz,funk and soul. The track called Shy turned out to be a well-appointed and refined jazzy song performed by Glasgow singer/songwriter Eleana Young who definitely knocked we out with her air-tight performance.
Brooklyn self-taught pianist,producer,arranger,composer Ahmed Sirour is a kind of artist with a special gift: his music speaks to the soul! We are great fans of Mr.Sirour and we spotlighted his talent including his works on The Remix Session Vol.8 and on the jazz selection Songs In A Mellow Mood . Today we resumed Ahmed Sirour project called Collaborations vol.1 released in 2014,which included some interesting collaborations alongside artists like Teri Tobin,Stacy Epps and Jae Franklin. In particular we recommend to listen closely his own revisitation of the 1959 composition by musician Ramón “Mongo” Santamaría Rodríguez,called Afro Blue. The piece is a jazz standard, performed five years later by John Coltrane and revisited in modern key by Robert Glasper Experiment in 2012. Ahmed recruits the amazing voice of Cleveland P.Jones , a South Carolina native with rare musical chops and proclivity for soul and jazz music.