Lucky Daye returns to his funk laced RnB roots a year and some change after his album Painted debuted to the world. Lucky Daye comes from humble beginnings, having auditioned for American Idol (his audition clip is still up on Youtube to this day) only to be voted off before the big live shows. From there, he would take his talents behind the scenes, penning songs for singers such as Trey Songz, Ella Mai and Mary J. Blige.
Now on his solo journey, he returns with his second release Table for Two. Daye enlists the help of an all-female feature list to bring his vision to light. The EP takes us on a journey, with skits between tracks where Lucky Daye grapples with rejection and heartbreak. Daye carries on the chopped and screwed rap style vocals from his first album into Table for Two, further solidifying his cinematic approach to making music. These skits offer the most vulnerable side of Daye’s artistic expression; this project is bathed in the regret of a man who let a good one get away.
With an impressive and seamless set of features from Ari Lennox, Yebba, Queen Naija, our own Mahalia and Tiana Major9 and Joyce Wrice, at a glance it does look like overkill but each songstress adds something important and beautiful to Daye’s melancholic but hopeful perspective on love.
New music is always a bit more exciting when you unexpectedly fall on to something which you weren’t really looking for, but, from rummaging around bandcamp I stumbled on an exciting duo culminating out of Chicago. The pair bring with them a wealth of experience and influences into their music, from hip hop, jazz, house, soul, Afrobeats and electronic. Forming the duo are Chris Kramer and Midas Wells, who have been making music together for over ten years, working with the likes of Black Thought, ADaD, Denmark Vessey, Tall Black Guy. Besides that, they’ve also enlisted a range of respected jazz and soul artists from their home turf, such as Makaya McCraven, Kafele, and Greg Spero. What’s more interesting, is producing music isn’t entirely their whole lives’ as Kramer works in the Robotics Field as well as finding time to travel the world, extracting those wanderings into his music. Whereas, Wells’ curiosity for people and how they interact drove him to studying a master’s degree in anthropology.
*This video is for promotional use only*
The duo recently released an impeccably contagious, feel-good 7-track album titled ‘Constellate’. The album drifts on topics which challenge the disparity and growing tension facing many Americans today, and matches that with positivity and perspective. Accompanied with a range of lyricist and vocalist to who help bring their arrangements and instruments to life, with their pensive, thought-provoking lyrics. Tensei create a wonderful soundscape in the opening track; Liquid Tongues, leaving an enchanting moody vibe for Bilal vocals to envelope. Stand out track ‘Amazing’ has some beautifully fresh sounding instruments which are enriched and harmonize Sam Trump’s vocal. Tensei show their range in the closing track; Telemetry, which stretches and layers wonderfully vibrant loops, to Kiara Lainer accompanied vocal hook line.
Have a listen for yourself and support the artist via:
A group which has someone managed to miss my radar are KOKOKO! Channeling the alternative, vibrant energy of Kinshasa in to their music, KOKOKO! are group who hope to wash away African music’s label being ‘World Music’, by making music which is truly reflective of Congo. The artistic vision and producer comes in the form of well-respected music producer; Debruit, who is known to blend synthetic sounds to instruments inspired from Africa and the Middle East. Building on the foundations of the KOKOKO! project are four lively musicians who add their authenticity through their ‘Punk’ style vocals, and psychedelic repetitive patterns crafted on self-designed string instruments and other percussive energetic inventions.
*This video is for promotional use only*
Just before the new year KOKOKO! brought their sound to UK independent record label; Transgressive, with their vivid 5-track EP titled; ‘Liboso’, which means ‘forward’. The journey into the diaspora and diversity of Kinshasa begins with the beautiful rhythmic patterns of the opening track; ‘Blvd Lumumba’, which is befittingly named after a road which leads into Kinshasa. Winding down from the exhilarating track; Azo Toke, is ‘Affaire A Mbongo’ meaning Money Problems, which has these incredible make-shift metallic sounding instruments which is indicative of Congolese culture, to make instruments out of anything. Bringing the EP to a close is the pulsating, radiating track; ‘Longola Ye Kupe‘, where the pounding drums, and bassline matches the energy and power of the lead vocalist; Makara Bianko.
There’s something beautifully enchanting and wistful around Maisha’s music. Channeling the spirit and rhythm of African highlife, Afrobeat, and combining that with the experimental nature of jazz to produce something which is deeply thought-provoking and pensive. Six members make up the spiritual jazz group, with the drummer Jake Long leading the team, along with some familiar members such as Nubuya Garcia on the saxophone, as well as Amané Suganami on the piano who you may recognise from solo projects of their own. In addition, joining them is Shirley Tettah on the guitar, Tim Dylan on the double bass, Tim Doyle and Yahael Carama-Onono on the percussion. Releasing their debut EP in 2016 with jazz: refreshed live recorded at the Royal Albert Hall, in three tracks spanning over 30 minutes the band made a perfect introduction to their sound. Their closing track titled; ‘A Night Trance’ captured my attention as the slow enduring build for each element to blend and fade among st one another created a wonderfully ethereal journey.
Those meditative patient builds are recaptured throughout their second EP release titled; ‘There Is A Place’. The free-flowing, unpredictability of the opening track ‘Osiris’ is jazz at its finest. Pure soul and feeling carries over nicely to the following track ‘Azure’. Side B elevates the mood and tempo, with the track ‘Eaglehurst Place’ finding influence from afrobeat rhythms. The underlying high and low pitched Congo drums build momentously in the following ‘Kaa’ creating an explosion of energy as the instruments begin to take over. Seemingly blending into one track is there transition to the closing track ‘’, which has Amane Suganami on the piano at the center of the whole composition, with his dynamic change of pace of keys allows for a contemplative closing track.
Have a listen to the full EP below and support the musicians:
Kaidi Tatham (also known as Agent K) is a member of theBugz in the Atticcollective, keys player for The Herbaliser Band on stage and involved in many projects, most notably his collaborations with 4hero’s Dennis McFarlane: 2000Black, DKD (with Daz-I-Kue), Silhouette Brown and Da One Away (with Ian Grant aka IG Culture).
Having already begun the year with his full-length album release through First Word Records (click here to read our review), Kaidi has gone back to his 2000Black family to release a stunningly crafted 4 track EP. Kaidi perfectly blends challenging instrument experimentation with enough soulful rhythm to work on the dancefloor. The third track titled; ‘Is Crimbo really here’ is an exciting showcase of that, with a steady build of elements marrying amazingly well throughout the track. Resonating shakers, soft kicks, and harmonious piano chords provide the backdrop for Kaidi’s piano skills to take shape and lead midway through the track. Another stand out track, which almost feels like two, is titled; ‘But you bring it up’. Blessing the track with her gorgeous vocals is Nadine Charles, who’s voice keeps up with the change of pace, in a manner which radiates and lifts the song to flow with the vibrating, frequent percussion and piano melodies.
Have a listen to below, and support the artist via bandcamp:
South London based keyboardist; Joe Armon-Jones solo debut album has been a long time coming for the artist. A key player in London’s exciting jazz music scene, having already released two EPs as part of the Ezra collective which were released earlier this year and towards end of last year. Plus, the added features on several tracks and a co-produced album with Maxwell Orwin, it was only matter of time for this solo album
Joe Armon teased us prior to the release with the outstandingly exciting track ‘Starting Today’, which kicks off steadily with the persistent quick tempo bassline rift and kick seemingly taking inspiration from dance music’s’ repetition, which easily grabs your attention. Joe slightly reverbed radiating keyboard blissfully glides over the backing bassline and kick, along with Ashebar empowering lyrics also blessing the track throughout. Joe Armon debut album is a continuation of the elevating jazz he has been a part of in London. However, there’s also a great blend of dub and hip hip influence in the album, with tracks such ‘Mollison Dub’ and ‘Ragify’, which overall highlight Joe Armons’s other interests outside the core focus of jazz. This is a defining opening album from Joe who aiming to carve his sound with jazz at it’s core along with influences from dub, reggae and hip hop.