I have come to the realisation that writing more than one post a month doesn’t seem doable for me at the moment, especially with the crap ton of stuff I have on my plate in 2019. But what I said in my introductory post still holds true – I listen to so much different music and barely anything sticks because of it. So I’ll have to compromise with just a monthly recap for now (although I’ve played with the idea of writing really short posts when I feel particularily passionate about something in the moment, like a song I just heard). I’m not sure on how I’m going to name this recap. Frustratingly I just can’t seem to find a good punny name. The only ones I could come up with were hideous combinations of ‘joja’ and ‘essence’: “Jojessence”, “Jojazzense” and (god help us all) “Jojassence”. I’ll stick with how it is for now 👀.
There were mainly two releases I’ve waited for all year, but as always also some I didn’t see coming or forgot about.
Jacob Collier – Djesse (Vol. 1)
Last year London jazz musician Jacob Collier announced four new albums to be released through out the year, each of them following a different concept. At this point calling him a jazz musician seems wrong because although he is mostly admired by Jazz fans, he is capable of doing many different styles while still bringing something new into it. While his music is obviously influenced by lots of Jazz, Funk and RnB artists, he’s often stated how big of an impact classical music has had on him. This is the record that shows it. Volume 1 is supposed to be a big beatiful orchestral piece which I think it achieved to be just that. Of course, having Jules Buckley with the Metropole Orkest at your disposal helps alot. Although the lanky bastards all agree that Collier is very talented, some are arguing that his music is too cheesy and clean and missing an edge. So I guess it remains that music is subjective in every case.
Vulfpeck – Hill Climber
By now most disciples of the funk should know who Vulfpeck is. This album is pretty much exactly what I expected. A 50/50 split of vocal and instrumental songs and of course premium funk. After my first listen through the album I had to shower for the second time that day. I’m still hoping for a flute track in 2019 though.
Big Joanie – Sistahs
I think this might be the first Indie/Alternative record I’m writing about. Big Joanie consists of three young women from London and could be described as an alternative afropunk band. Not something I usually listen to, but I enjoyed it for a change. Notably the song ‘Tell A Lie’. I would like them to venture a little more into afro rythms though.
Rachel Mazer – Open Heart
This is neither an album nor came it out in december, BUT it came out on November 29th and I have to mention this because I’m excited about this and don’t want to forget about it. In August 2018 singer and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Mazer launched a successfull kickstarter for her debut album. Judging from the first 2 tracks it’s going to be pretteey pretteeyy spicy. The face of bass Joe Dart, aswell as fellow Vulfpeck members Woody Goss and Theo Katzman are amongst a long list of artists on this new album (see the kickstarter page). it’s definitely got the funk.
Bilderbuch – mea culpa
Oops, another Indie record! Ironically, aside from a few jazz artists I don’t really listen to a whole lot of music coming from germany. This band though. It’s good pop music! I have seen them live twice. The first time discovering them while standing in the back and the second time in the front row dancing like my life depended on it. In my opinion this is their best album yet.
Other Fresh Finds
ANNE PACEO – Fables of Shwedagon
This wouldn’t be a proper motnhly recap by me without a good spiritual jazz record. For this project french drummer Anne Paceo was inspired by tales of Myanmar (formerly Burma). Accompanied by the Hsaing Waing orchestra Paceo creates a beautiful spiritual sound trying to capture the different themes of Myanmar mythology.
Kevin Haynes – Ori Ire
This is a super cool record, by percussionist and saxophonist Kevin Haynes with his Groupo Elegua. They were also featured on a track from Moses Boyd’s 2018 release Displaced Diaspora It’s filled with some lanky tracks combining afrobeat and soul jazz in such a calming way like I have never heard before.
Haruomi Hosono – Archives vol.1 (Beyond good and evil)
I’m always happy when something like this happens to me: Finding an artist I have never heard before that has made tons and tons of music in lots of different bands and projects. This album contains tracks from various stages in Hosono’s career. It’s abstract and experimental while also being accessible. I’ll definitely try and find the time to dive deeper into his stuff.