365 Day Music Journey Week 6
Another week, another great bunch of releases! Many of the releases gravitate towards jazz or hip hop, great music to analyze and focus with for me. The groove keeps me working and keeps me focused, but it definitely gives me some new ideas on how to improve my music writing. Hope you dig it!
Ethos by Logan Richardson
In anticipation of his next release, I chose to listen to this album to bring my attention back Logan Richardson’s music and creative drive. The first track I ever heard from this man was “Turning Maze,” an AB style head both being in a different odd meter with a distinct groove. It invokes that cool sound of jazz that got me hooked as an 8th grader: attitude, complex design into something so natural, and a ton of flexibility in interpreting the music. The lack of harmony displayed in the chart allows for a horn player to explore possibilities and a rhythm player to impose other harmonies. There are plenty of moments like “Turning Maze” on this more recent release from Richardson. The release showcases Logan Richardson’s distinct approach to jazz, fusing true musicianship with a vision to make a statement with each tune, carefully crafting each part to delight listeners and create a dialogue.
For What It’s Worth by Vanilla
Sometimes I like to get music completely through random choice. I’ll find a track in my Soundcloud feed and browse other tracks by that artist. I’m also one of those people that will entertain Spotify’s curated, weekly playlist to discover new artists. This release was found simply through searching “jazz” on Bandcamp’s website. It’s a release that oozes a soulful, groovy vibe that is infectious. It kept me focused while getting lost in its funk and hip hop rhythmic pulse. If you need some solid vibing music or just want some fun grooves to interact with as a listener or artist, you should check this out!
I by Plini/Sithu Aye
Being a fan of both guitarists, I don’t know how I missed this release! It came out a couple years ago, and it’s a 4 track EP showcasing the talents of both guitarists. Each player has a strong songwriting for instrumental, metal guitar, but they do a great job crafting lead lines and shredding in solos. The album also features two of my favorite metal/jazz fusion guitarists Jakub Zytecki (Disperse, solo projects) and David Maxim Micic (Bilo, Destiny Potato). If you haven’t checked this gem out and are a fan of instrumental guitar, you will dig the players involved.
Tones by Tajima Hal
Like Vanilla, this jazz/hip hop beat maker from Japan makes some very relaxing, groovy music that is akin to Flying Lotus. It’s a great example of people capturing a moment rather than trying to expound too far on an idea, with each track being under 3 minutes. This digital release was also produced onto cassette tapes by Urban Wave Records, as it is the perfect mixtape format for an album like this one. Tajima Hal is a rising beat producer, “playing in parties/live events in and around Tokyo with Nippon beatmakers like Lidly, Bugseed, Pigeondust, ill.sugi, Youtaro” and more (taken from the album’s Bandcamp page). Now there’s a whole scene for you to check out! Always glad to get a perspective on music from around the globe.
Return to the Fire by Tim Garland
This is a recent release from a jazz legend, and it’s cool to see seasoned players getting on hip platforms like Bandcamp to put out releases! This release is one of many in Garland’s prolific collection of releases, drawing from a variety of styles. I was happy to see that he had joined Chick Corea and The Vigil for their performance at St. Cecelia in 2014, as his collaboration with the pianist is well known and spanning a least a decade. If you want to start from the latest and work backward, you will have a great selection of releases to see Garland’s talent and hear firsthand the reason he is a jazz legend.
Ready to Roll by Farnell Newton
This trumpeter on the west coast is just the kind of active musician I want to be. He plays in a horn section supporting Jill Scott and Bootsy Collins, two household of their respective genres. He then takes the time to carve out great collaborative efforts like this release. He acts as producer and player, creating funky, soulful songs with the likes of Donyea Goodman, Tony Ozier, Will Birckhead, and a host of other session musicians to really make this release super solid. If you need some great music to kick off your day or to groove with, look no further. Also, you can find Newton running the “Jam of the Week” page on Facebook, a growing collective of musicians from around the globe all performing a video adhering to a simple guideline each week (submit by Sunday, can be a tune or style as the theme). It's a tool to showcase different players, learn a lot of valuable repertoire for performing jazz musicians, and a way for people to offer expertise on areas to work on.
Lone Wolf by Marcus D
A great hip hop/jazz release that just grooves, bringing back 70’s funk vibes and keeping the flow moving. Featuring a myriad of different hip hop artists, it’s a great way to sample a variety of different musicians while taking in the strength behind the sound that Marcus D is so well known for in Seattle. If you want to explore a region of hip hop that isn’t trap beats blowing out the speakers in your Suburban with 22 inch rims, give this a listen and pump the vibes into your neighborhood.