Added to the playlist this week, a beautifully jazzy hip hop track by Eric Lau, a producer and DJ from London. Lau has worked with such artists as Gilles Peterson, Georgia Ann Muldrew, Fatima, Homeboy Sandman, Robert Glasper, and Erykah Badu.
Seasoned British soul singer Omar Lye-fook has been making music for over 30 years and comes from a highly accomplished musical family, notably his younger brother, Scratch Professor. "Ordinary Day" is a groovy soul track with heavy Brazilian percussion, and a ridiculously funky bass line from the great Stuart Zender, best known as Jamiroquai 's bassist.
I can't think of a better track title for the Music to Forget Your Troubles playlist than "I Really Don't Care." This track from Bilal is off of his 2015 album, "In Another Life." I'm also a huge fan of the producer of this album, the prolific Adrian Younge, who also played a majority of the instruments on the album. The sounds are a throwback to 60's and 70's funk and soul, with the unique falsetto, classically trained R'n'B vocals of Bilal.
Bobby Hutcherson was a great jazz vibraphonist, one of the many great artists we lost last year. "Montara" is from Hutcherson's album of the same name, released in 1975 on the jazz label Blue Note. Montara is also a city in Northern California, where he lived with his wife until his passing last year.
In the mood for a beat instrumental next on this playlist, I decided to add this laid back track by young Chicago-based producer Harris Cole. I came across Harris Cole's music on a playlist of beats on Spotify. This track is off of his late 2016 release, "Pause."
This track is pure happiness and celebration of life. Legendary Afro-Beat drummer Tony Allen was Fela Kuti's drummer for many years, and eventually put out several albums under his own name. Allen's love of jazz and upbringing in Nigeria led him to fuse jazz and Yoruban rhythms to build the foundation of Afro-Beat. Returning to his early influences, he released a jazz album in tribute to the late, great Art Blakey in September of this year.
Brian Blade is one of my all-time favorite drummers, and overall musicians, and musicians and music fans all over the world agree. I've had the opportunity to see Brian Blade perform on several occasions, and it is a performance not to be missed.
I absolutely love drum-focused instrumental music, improvisation, and seeing a drummer as a bandleader. This week's track, "Slightest Right," is from Chicago drummer Makaya McCraven, and it checks off all three of those boxes. ...
This track by acclaimed producer Stephen Ellison, better known as Flying Lotus, with genius Kendrick Lamar, is a single from the 2014 album "You're Dead!" The title comes from the desire of Ellison and collaborator Thundercat, an amazing bassist and producer in his own right, to create music that comes so hard that it just kills you when you hear it.
Here's a track from another talented saxophonist, Braxton Cook, which will put you in the mood to just chill and vibe and say "ooooo." A friend of mine introduced me to Braxton's music a few months ago and I haven't found a track of his that I didn't like. He is definitely a young musician on the rise. I highly recommend checking out some of his live performances on youtube, or in person if you can.
Kamasi Washington is a Los Angeles native who has brought jazz to a whole new generation of listeners. He is a phenomenally talented saxophone player who has toured with big name acts, and is now touring under his own compositions with his own band, the West Coast Get Down, a collective of young jazz giants. I actually went to high school with Kamasi, and even back then I would hear him play and think, "whoa, this guy is amazing!"
Azymuth, from the 70’s funk fusion era in Brazil, brings such a strong groove and harmony that it’s hard to believe it’s only a trio. The song starts with a simple - but unbelievably groovy - organ line, and it gradually and mysteriously builds until the end.
The quick drum fill brings us right into one of this funky Chicago brass ensemble’s own brand of “now music.”
Virgina/DMV producer Ohbliv has made a name for himself, placing mesmerizing r’n’b grooves on a loop with his own laid back beats.
Just as the title suggests, the music turns up the listener’s energy level while delivering a slow laid back dance groove. BJ’s rich falsetto vocals are reminiscent of the Reverend Al Green.
Talented singer and producer Iman Omari declares, “if it’s not on your level, then why don’t you just let it be,” before the sweet trumpet line introduces the head-nod inducing beat.
This classic jam by the legendary Brothers starts off with a smooth piano intro, then slowly builds up with the electric guitar. By the time the drums bring the groove together, the refrain, -“summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine of my mind” - has us hooked, and feeling that breeze.
Blending world music, soul and hip hop, the young Brooklyn group perfectly encapsulates a world where sometimes it’s hard to rely on anything but the moon – “it’s constant, unlike these human beings…”
The intro to the song is reminiscent of the beginning of the day, pulling back the curtain and revealing the sunshine. When the full beat drops, we are cruising through our day.
The song starts with just percussion, slowly bringing in the backbeat of the drums and MNDR’s vocals, letting us know she will never steer us wrong. The track is relaxing and reflective, yet intricate and danceable, making a great transition into the rest of the Music To Forget Your Troubles playlist.