Pure fantasticness from the great Kamasi Washington – a set that's much more compact than his sprawling Epic, but which has an equally wonderful vibe overall! The album features material that Washington performed at the Whitney Biennial – to accompany paintings by his sister – but the whole thing stands alone beautifully, with that free-flowing, always spiritual vibe that's made Washington one of the strongest young jazz talents to emerge in recent years! The music resonates strongly with the work of some of his key LA contemporaries – like Ronald Bruner Jr, Miles Mosley, Cameron Graves, and Thundercat – all of whom perform in the large ensemble – helping Kamasi's tenor soar to the skies on waves of collaborative joy. Washington composed, arranged, and even produced the record himself – and in some ways, the tightness of the performance makes the whole thing even more satisfying than Epic – as we hope you feel too, on titles that include "Desire", "Humility", "Truth", "Integrity", "Knowledge", and "Perspective". ~ Dusty Groove.
BENJAMIN CLEMENTINE – I TELL A FLY
One of the most unique artists we've heard in years – and one who will no doubt be setting the world on fire for years to come! Benjamin Clementine's a singer, but also a poet – inspired by jazz and classical music, yet working here in neither – and instead, finding a path that's completely his own – borne out with incredible creative energy right from the very first note, and continuing through amazing territory with each new song on the set! There's some deft work on piano and electric harpsichord on the record – but there's lots more waves of dark textures and other tones – all to showcase Clementine's vocals, which are unlike any other singer we can think of. Benjamin's hardly just another voice with downtempo rhythms or modern production – as his lyrics are far richer, and his sound here already speaks volumes of his experiences on both the Paris and London scenes – although we're betting he's going to take the whole world by storm soon. Like nothing else you've ever heard – and we mean that in the best way possible – with songs that include "One Awkward Fish", "Farewell Sonata", "Better Sorry Than Asafe", "God Save The Jungle", "Phantom Of Aleppoville", "Paris Cor Blimey", "Jupiter", and "Ode From Joyce". ~ Dusty Groove
KELELA – TAKE ME APART
The stunning debut of Kelela – a singer who's been bubbling under for so long, she bursts out strongly right from the very first note! Kelela's ready to take on both the indie underground and the mainstream with this set – as the album's got a depth to rival some of the most compelling Neo Soul work from female singers in the past decade or so, but also has a tight crackle that could get her winning a lot more ears – especially given the strong reception for powerful female soul that's emerged in the past few years! The album's got a very layered sense of instrumentation – mostly produced by Jam City – and these sonic textures work really well with Kelela's voice, which slides into the mix perfectly – but never in a way that the lady buries the message in her music at all. Instead, the whole thing represents a real triumph of the contemporary – showing that there's still plenty of new territory to discover, if you know where to look. Titles include "Frontline", "Take Me Apart", "Jupiter", "Better", "LMK", "Onanon", "Turn To Dust", and "Truth Or Dare". ~ Dusty Groove