Archive for October 2nd, 2017

Semantics of Mr. Porter – Denzil Porter

Semantics of Mr. Porter

Title: Semantics of Mr. Porter

Artist: Denzil Porter

Label: That’s Hip Hop

Format: CD, MP3

Release date: September 22, 2017

 

 

A lyricist is the ultimate giver in rap, handing out his words in the form of sweets to be collected and savored one at a time for the treats they are. Semantics of Mr. Porter proves that poetics are still in play well after the golden era thanks to the stylings of Denzil Porter. Porter, a native of North Bronx, offers his personal take on his method, which he describes as occurring “when I get a feeling, or in a mood, or something that happened at that moment… a song is something that stamps that moment for me, and also stamps the moment for the listener who relates.”

Semantics of Mr. Porter definitely owns up to its thought-provoking name. The first track, “Et Tu Brute,” is a direct reference to Caesar’s last words, “And you, Bruce?” In listening to the song, one can’t help but make the connection between the two worlds—ancient and modern—in which the way of life might have altered but the way life is hasn’t changed much at all. Porter wraps his meaning into a plethora of rhymes purposely structured around the determination one feels while chasing a dream tied to the frustration one faces in obtaining that reality. “Time Soon Come” operates semantically in much the same way, but opens the bag up further by providing a stringed instrumental background that sugars the message. As the album moves forward, Porter’s drops offer more diversity of sound in tracks such as “Right Now,” which utilizes a funk bass line as its foundation under the layered poetics of Chris Rivers, and “”What It Takes,” in which a less heavy ear-catching piano riff compliments Oswin Benjamin’s “Do you know what it takes?” call-and-response lines.

But the most riveting instances on the album happen in the form of narrative vignettes Porter mixes into his bowl of conscious thoughts. These six cut-ins provide a first-person story of a robbery, from the planning stage to the end result, and demonstrate Porter’s commitment to describing real-life choices that mark a person in ways one can’t fully comprehend until it’s too late. From his tongue-twisting rhymes and his mind-twisting thoughts, Denzil Porter is definitely a force to be reckoned with.  He may not be your typical rapper, but in his own style Porter aims to inspire his listeners; to uplift them and others around them.

When you open the door to Semantics of Mr. Porter, you might get more than you bargained for, but your bag of conscious candy will provide you with unexpected surprises long after the last echoes of Porter’s voice fades into the darkness.

Reviewed by Amy Aiyegbusi

View review October 2nd, 2017

Ghostpoet – Dark Days + Canapés

Ghostpoet

Title: Dark Days + Canapés

Artist: Ghostpoet

Label: Play It Again Sam

Formats: CD, Vinyl, MP3

Release date: August 18, 2017

 

 

Ghostpoet (aka Obaro Ejimiwe) is a British vocalist and musician known for his beat-driven arrangements and meaningful lyrics, and his newest album lives up to this reputation. Dark Days + Canapés features a more alt-rock, guitar-driven sound that accompanies the artist’s most noteworthy songwriting to date.

Ghostpoet is not one to shy away from exploring tough subjects. The opening track, “Immigrant Boogie,” is a first-person account of the struggles of immigration, an all-too pertinent subject in 2017. Ghostpoet himself said that while this song is “partly intended to ask those who have questioned the arrival of refugees in recent times what they would do in the same situation,” it also aims to show that no human is truly in control of their future. The dystopian-themed video is the perfect companion to the thought-provoking content of this track:

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In addition to his head-on confrontation of important social and cultural issues, the serendipitous approach Ghostpoet took to arranging the music on this album is also noteworthy. For “Freakshow,” the laughter of a gospel choir brought in to sing on a different track was used to add to the manic nature of the song. On another track, “Blind as a Bat…,” string players were encouraged to improvise so the resulting song would be less structured, much like the protagonist’s mind.

The thought put into each track on Dark Days + Canapés shines through, and this gripping album is definitely worthy of a listen, especially in the current social and political climate.

Reviewed by Chloe McCormick

View review October 2nd, 2017

Chris Thomas King – Hotel Voodoo

Chris Thomas King
Title: Hotel Voodoo

Artist: Chris Thomas King

Label: 21st Century Blues/dist. Virtual Label

Formats: CD, Vinyl, MP3

Release date: September 14, 2017

 

 

Guitarist Chris Thomas King’s career has taken a long and winding road from Louisiana to Europe and back again. In 1979, when he was just 17, King was hailed by folklorists as “the last major folk blues discovery of the 20th Century.” He later ditched this style along with the whole notion of authenticity in the blues, embracing instead “hip hop modernity and digital aesthetics.” The backlash from (primarily white) blues audiences compelled him to move to Europe in 1993. Ironically, when he returned several years later, King was once again cast as an “authentic” Delta blues guitarist—this time on the silver screen―as “Tommy Johnson” in the Coen Brothers’ film O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), as Blind Willie Johnson in Martin Scorsese’s The Blues (2003), and as Lowell Fulson in the Ray Charles biopic Ray (2004).

These days King assumes total artistic control over his projects which are released on his 21st Century Blues label.  Hotel Voodoo, his first new studio album in five years, features his touring band members Jeff Mills (drums) and Danny Infante (bass guitar), along with a few additional New Orleans musicians. The bulk of the album, however, is a showcase for the multitalented King, who performs all vocals along with the majority of instruments including electric and acoustic guitars, accordion, harmonica, mandolin, banjo, bass, and piano.

With the popularity of vinyl on the rise, King conceived this album as two suites, covering side A and B of a LP, rather than the strictly linear CD sequence. Side A is the “Baron Samedi Suite,” referencing the Loa spirit (aka lord of the crossroads) in Voodoo religion, while Side B is the “Jelly Roll Suite,” linking New Orleans’ jazz and blues traditions. The styles of the nine original songs and one cover are as varied as the titles of the suites suggest.

As his alter ego Baron Samedi (wearing black top hat and tuxedo), King is the consummate blues-rocker. Opening with “American Man (In the Key of Free),” he sings about the American dream in this upbeat, retro-styled song with overdubbed background vocals adding just a touch of contemporary club vibe. Digging deeper into the Samedi theme on “Voodoo Child (On Hell’s Highway),” he whips out his Fender Stratocaster and adds enough reverb and electrifying solos to appease the spirits.  “Friday Night Bleu” and “Have You Seen My Princess?” are straight ahead blues tracks, showcasing King’s prowess as an electric blues guitarist and his ability to single handedly cover all instruments and drum programming.

As side “A” side comes to a close with “Rock and Roll Conjurer,” King’s transformation into the dark lord of the underworld is complete. This sinister track is one of the highlights of the album (think Prince’s “Darling Nikki” but with a voodoo theme and dash of harmonica). Referencing the mythical “house of the rising sun,” CTK then sings, “Baby you don’t delay / the voodoo party it won’t wait / Yeah, you know me, Chris Thomas King / I rule the streets of New Orleans / Yeah, you’ll spend the night with me / I’ll conjure your rock and roll fantasy.”

Flipping over to the piano suite “B” side, CTK conjures an entirely different atmosphere, recreating the feel of an acoustic set in a traditional NOLA jazz club. The first two tracks pay homage to the clarinet, an “essential solo instrument in New Orleans blues” 100 years ago. Owen Callahan is the featured clarinetist on the opening track, “Les Bleus Was Born in Louisiana,” while Gregory Agid takes over on “White Folks Call It Jazz,” with Nathan Lambertson on upright bass (yes, there is a not-so-subliminal message here about the true roots of the blues). The heartfelt “Tabby’s on the Bayou” is about nights at Tabby’s Blues Box, his dad’s “ramshackle juke joint, before it was razed by the city of Baton Rouge in 1999.” CTK swaps his guitar for an upright piano, with shuffling second-line rhythms adding to the ambiance.

After enjoying all of these original songs, the acoustic cover of Adele’s “Someone Like You” is somewhat incongruous (CTK previously recorded “Rolling in the Deep” in a more compelling blues rock arrangement).  Likewise, the closing track “Rainbow Lullaby” is a nice folksy tune with harmonica, mandolin, and banjo, but doesn’t reinforce the “Jelly Roll Suite” concept.

Hotel Voodoo allows Chris Thomas King to display his formidable talents and wide-ranging musical interests. The album’s overarching theme is King’s love of Louisiana, and the blues and jazz conjured from the juke joints of the bayous and streets of New Orleans.

Reviewed by Brenda Nelson-Strauss

View review October 2nd, 2017

Walter Trout – We’re All In This Together

Walter Trout
Title: We’re All In This Together

Artist: Walter Trout

Label: Mascot Label Group

Formats: CD, Vinyl, MP3

Release date: September 1, 2017

 

 

Walter Trout’s We’re All In This Together marks the newest addition in what has already been a prolific career as a recording artist. One could view this recording as a celebration of sorts since Trout underwent a liver transplant in 2014. While this isn’t his first release since the transplant, it certainly has a much more upbeat feel overall when compared to his 2015 release, Battle Scars, which dealt with his battle with liver disease.

Helping Trout celebrate on this recording are a number of notable guest artists. With each track featuring a collaboration with a different artist, this album stands out for its stylistic variety. The various formidable guitarists should interest any guitar aficionado, although not every guest artist is a guitarist. Charlie Musselwhite’s harmonica on “The Other Side of the Pillow” stands out as one of the best performances on the album. However, make no mistake about it: this is a guitar album!

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Trout’s history playing with major names in the blues world such as John Lee Hooker, Canned Heat, and John Mayall—just to name a few—must have contributed to his ability to lure so many great guest artists to this project. His ability to blend well with each of the guests and play complementary to their style was undoubtedly a factor. With 14 different guests, there is likely an artist to suit almost any taste. Trout is joined by his former bandleader John Mayall on “Blues for Jimmy T.” Other standouts include performances by Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Sonny Landreth, Robben Ford, Eric Gales, Joe Louis Walker, and Joe Bonamassa.

Bonamassa might be the most recognizable name in today’s guitar world, and his performance on the title track is a knockout. Nevertheless, it is the playing of Eric Gales, who recently released his Middle of the Road on the same label, that reminds the listener why Joe Bonamassa himself has described Gales as “one of the best, if not the best guitarists in the world.” “Somebody Goin’ Down,” which features Gales and begins with an intro reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix, ultimately manifests itself as a medium-tempo rock track that becomes a vehicle for some brilliant improvising by both Trout and Gales, who end up trading guitar licks during the outro solo.

Another standout track is “Crash and Burn,” an upbeat blues with a Chicago feel featuring Joe Louis Walker on vocals and guitar. Like many tracks, this one also features guitar playing suitable for in-depth study, but Walker’s vocals are also worth mentioning. His voice would not be out of place on a Stax recording from its heyday, and at times it is akin to Albert King, who recorded at Stax in the late 1960s.

We’re All In This Together is a welcome addition to any blues fan’s collection. It is an even more welcome addition to the collection of someone who loves guitar playing. Walter Trout is at the top of his game on this record, and his selection of guests perhaps inspired him to new heights. Whether the catalyst for this performance was newfound inspiration from great players or a new lease on life, the final product is a solid recording that will hopefully introduce Walter Trout to a new generation of listeners.

Reviewed by Joel Roberts

View review October 2nd, 2017

Prophets of Rage – Prophets of Rage

Prophets of Rage
Title: Prophets of Rage

Artist: Prophets of Rage

Label: Fantasy

Formats: CD, Vinyl, MP3

Release date: September 15, 2017

 

 

Rap-rock supergroup Prophets of Rage—featuring Chuck D (vocals) and DJ Lord (turntables) of Public Enemy, Tom Morello (guitar), Tim “Timmy C” Commerford (bass) and Brad Wilk (beats) of Rage Against The Machine, and B-Real (vocals) of Cypress Hill—coalesced in 2016 around the title of the famous Public Enemy song that opens with the line, “I got a right to be hostile, man, my people are being persecuted!” During their initial “Make America Rage Again Tour,” the group staged protest performances leading up to the U.S. Presidential election. Post-election, they’ve ramped up their tours as they take their “message to the mosh pit,” countering neo-fascist rhetoric that seems to escalate on a daily basis with their own brand of anti-establishment “rage politik” music.

The 12 tracks on the group’s full-length self-titled album represent a true collaboration, written and recorded during an intensive two week studio session. All are equally powerful, exuding caustic, socially conscious lyrics on topics ranging from economic inequality and homelessness (“Living on the 110”) to the legalization of marijuana (“Legalize Me”) to the perils of government drone surveillance (“Take Me Higher”). Other songs are intended to incite protest against ongoing political, religious, and racial injustices. As Morello proclaimed, this is “the soundtrack for the resistance in 2017.”

The most recently released single, “Hail to the Chief,” is a strong indictment of President Donald Trump, but focuses more specifically on Vice President Mike Pence as the greater evil, whose Indiana politics are linked with those of Jeff Session’s Alabama. In the video Pence is cast as Trump’s puppet master as well as his heir apparent, while Chuck D spits, “All hail to the chief who came in the name of a thief to cease peace.”

Another compelling track is “Unf*ck the World” (the video is directed by Michael Moore). In a recent interview with Uproxx, Chuck D spoke about the song’s message: “Tom [Morello] coined a statement, ‘The world won’t fix itself.’ Things don’t fix itself, you gotta make it happen. If you want to see this change, you got to get up and orchestrate that happening. . .”  This message is communicated clearly in the song’s chorus:  “No hatred / F*ck racists / Blank faces / Time’s changin’/ One nation / Unification / The vibration / Unf*ck the World!”

Melding two genres—rap and heavy metal—that collide in a swirling vortex of rebellion and resistance, Prophets of Rage bring their protest music to the masses. At a time when even peaceful protests face unrelenting attacks from the Oval Office’s Twitter feed, Prophets of Rage may yet convince everyone to “Give a damn, evil can’t stand yeah, when the people take a stand” (—Unf*ck the World).

Reviewed by Brenda Nelson-Strauss

View review October 2nd, 2017

Soul Understated – Songs in the Key of Grease

Songs in the Key of Grease
Title: Songs in the Key of Grease

Artist: Soul Understated

Label: Shanachie

Formats: CD, MP3

Release date: June 30, 2017

 

 

I want to make it clear, I like EPs. I adore listening to the genesis of what may become a success.  Soul Understated, a group from New York, may well blossom into something and I hope I can say, “Told you so.”  Based on the strength of their new EP, I do believe they have a bright future. Ok, now that I’ve caught your attention, who are Soul Understated?

Mavis “Swan” Poole and Jeremy “Beans” Clemons form the core of the group. Poole has performed background vocals with Prince and Lauryn Hill, among others, while Clemons, a drummer, has played with Gregory Porter, Burning Spear, and Jen Holiday. Other guests include Marc Cary (Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln’s bands) on piano and keyboards and Mighty Moe Hagans of the Chuck Brown band on percussion.

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Is the title of their EP, Songs in the Key of Grease, a homage to Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life? Maybe. After all, Wonder was in full glory when he released that classic album. Songs in the Key of Grease, however, is a contemporary blend of soul and neo soul with jazzy grooves and funk.

Mavis Poole’s vocals sound similar to Erykah Badu, but on the track “1 Monkey,” Poole’s vocals go where Badu’s have never been. That’s not a knock on Badu, but high praise to Poole. Go Girl! “Junkie” tells the compelling story of someone who has a very difficult time getting their life back on track. The line, “We don’t want your kind here,” displays society’s contempt for a person on the path of self-destruction. On “So What,” Clemons’ drumming and the hand claps is straight up jazzy, ‘90s era soul. This is perhaps the best of the six tracks on the EP.

One negative about EPs is that they are just too short. This is certainly the case with Songs in the Key of Grease.  I hope we hear more from Soul Understated, and I’m certain once you hear their album, you will agree.

Reviewed by Eddie Bowman

View review October 2nd, 2017

Afrobeats Hot Hits: New Urban Dance Grooves From Africa

Afrobeats
Title: Afrobeats Hot Hits: New Urban Dance Grooves From Africa

Artist: Various

Label: Shanachie

Formats: CD, MP3

Release date: August 25, 2017

 

The latest fruit of a century of musical dialogue and exchange between Africa, The Caribbean and America is making its presence known. Afrobeats Hot Hits introduces this new genre,  described as a high-octane mash-up of Jamaican dancehall, Soca, Hip-Hop and African rhythms. Artists as diverse as Rihanna, Drake, Alicia Keys, Jidenna, Chris Brown, Sean Paul and Torey Lanez are embracing the style, poising it on the verge of an international breakthrough. Drake’s “One Dance,” probably the  #1 summer anthem of 2016 features an Afrobeats groove with Afrobeats star Wizkid on the track. Alicia Keys’ “In Common” had an Afrobeats re-mix (her Swizz Beatz is reportedly a fan of the style). Wizkid’s new single “African Bad Gyal” features Chris Brown. Go to a trendy Caribbean party in New York and Miami and chances are Afrobeats will be in the mix.

This compilation, however, features the genre’s major artists like Davido and Wande Coal, and rising Nigerian stars including Rayce, Seyi Shay, 9ice, and Tekno. These artists are not yet household names, but like the genre, they stand right on the precipice. Highlights include such major hits as Kiss Daniel’s “Woju,” Timaya’s “Bum Bum”(with Jamaican star Sean Paul), Davido’s seminal “Skelewu,” Wande Coal’s “Rotate” and Skales’ “Your Body Hot.” Tiwa Savage who has sung background for Mary Blige and written for other American R&B artists, is represented by the propulsive “Ileke” while rising Nigerian songstress Kayefi shines on a re-mix by UK DJ Major Notes of her “Oreske.”

Europe is also entering the ground floor of this exciting, multi-cultural sound as well, as UK based producers and DJs have already embraced the style, which many see as the successor to such cutting edge dance styles as dubstep and grime and UK-based Ghanian artist FUSE ODG scored a major UK chart hit with an Afrobeats track.  Not to be outdone, American neo-soul artist Anthony David, a fan of the Afrobeats style, recorded a straight Afrobeats track “I Don’t Mind,” with American-based Nigerian artist Mic on the re-mix, included on Afrobeats Hot Mix. This track may be the first straight Afrobeats track recorded by American artist.

Summer is officially over, but the blazin’ hot grooves will never fade as long as you make Afrobeats Hot Hits: New Urban Dance Grooves From Africa your personal soundtrack for fun in the eternal sun.

 Reviewed by Eddie Bowman and Amy Aiyegbusi

View review October 2nd, 2017

Michael Jackson – SCREAM

Michael Jackson SCREAM

Title: SCREAM

Artist: Michael Jackson

Label: Epic/Legacy Records

Formats: CD, LP, MP3

Release date: September 29, 2017

 

 

Michael Jackson fans rejoice— SCREAM, a collection of the pop icon’s 13 most electrifying tracks, is being released by Epic/Legacy Records in collaboration with The Estate of Michael Jackson. The album includes classic hits like “Thriller” and “Dirty Diana” as well as the bonus track, “Blood on the Dance Floor X Dangerous.” Created by acclaimed remixer The White Panda, the bonus track is a high-energy mashup of five of The King of Pop’s songs: “Blood on the Dance Floor,” “Dangerous,” “This Place Hotel,” “Leave Me Alone,” and “Is It Scary.”

In addition to CD format, SCREAM will be available as a glow-in-the-dark two-disc vinyl edition with collectible poster in honor of MJ’s affection for the Halloween season. If just listening to this album isn’t enough, there are also Official Michael Jackson SCREAM Album Celebrations being held this fall in six major cities around the world (Paris, London, Sydney, Berlin, Los Angeles, and Tokyo). The celebrations will include screenings of MJ’s seven short films, including the rarely-seen Michael Jackson’s Ghosts, and an after party. For those that can’t make it to one of the album celebrations, SCREAM offers a collection of Michael’s hits that are sure to get you ready for the Halloween season.

Reviewed by Chloe McCormick

View review October 2nd, 2017

Black Kids – Rookie

Rookie
Title: Rookie

Artist: Black Kids

Label: Black Kids Records via CD Baby

Formats: CD, MP3

Release date: September 15, 2017

 

 

The Jacksonville, Florida-based indie band Black Kids is back after an almost decade-long hiatus with their second studio album and it does not disappoint. Rookie combines an upbeat tempo, ‘80s-style atmospherics, and earnest lyrics to create songs that are undeniably catchy. The title track showcases this combination through its infectious mix of playful rhythms and reflective lyrics that make you want to sing along. This isn’t the only track that’s worthy of dancing to—each track delivers a unique sound that’s just as lively as the last.

The album starts off strong with the opening track, “Iffy,” that will have you spelling I-F-F-Y all day long. Don’t be fooled by the upbeat sound though—like most of the songs on Rookie, the lyrics of “Iffy” deal with serious topics (unrequited love, in this case) which are masked by a catchy beat and a mesmerizing chorus sung by siblings Reggie and Ali Youngblood.

The next track, “In A Song,” is the album’s first video single and is just as colorful and frenetic as the lyrics:

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Whether you’re a longtime fan who’s been awaiting this album or someone who’s just hearing about Black Kids for the first time, Rookie deserves a listen.

Reviewed by Chloe McCormick

View review October 2nd, 2017

September 2017 Releases of Note

Following are additional albums released during September 2017—some will be reviewed in future issues of Black Grooves.

Blues, Folk, Country
Anthony Paule/Wee Willie Walker: After a While  (Blue Dot)
Arthur Adams: Look What the Blues Has Done for Me (Cleopatra)
Benny Turner: My Brothers Blues (Nola Blue)
Big Jay McNeely: Honkin’ & Jivin’ at the Palomino Live (Cleopatra)
Lucky Peterson: Singin this Song 4 U (Jazz Village)
Lucky Peterson: Tribute to Jimmy Smith (Jazz Village)
Paula Boggs Band: Elixir—Soulgrass Sessions (Boggs Media LLC)
Sweet Pea Atkinson: Get What You Deserve (Blue Note)

Classical, Broadway, Soundtracks
Kathleen Battle: Best of Kathleen Battle (Deutsche Grammophon)
Various: Greenleaf Soundtrack: Volume 2 (RCA Inspiration)
Various: Marshall OST  (Warner Bros.)

Funk, Rock, Pop, Electronic
Antibalas: Where the Gods Are in Peace (Daptone)
Kennedy Administration: S/T (Leopard Label)
Laraaji: Bring on the Sun + Sun Gong (All Saints)
Lloyd Price: This Is Rock and Roll (Conqueroo)
M.A.G.S.:  S/T (Admirable Traits)
Numa Edema: The Hourglass (Wildflower)
Sheila E.: Iconic Message 4 America (Stiletto Flats Music)
Tricky: ununiform (False Idols)

Gospel, Gospel Rap, CCM
Canton Jones: Greatness  (Cajo)
Chad Brawley: The WeWorship Project! (digital) (CKBMusik)
Charles Butler & Trinity: The Blood Experience (eOne Music)
Clark Sisters:  You Brought the Sunshine: Sound of Gospel 1976-81 (Westbound)
Danny Walker & Fantastic Violinaires: Fresh Wind (Danwes Music)
DW Page: God Made (Confident Mind Media/PyoorMuzik)
G.I.: Winning (Shanachie)
Jamie Grace: 91 (digital) (Good Eye )
Lecrae: All Things Work Together (Reach/Columbia)
McCrary Sisters: Live (Soundly Music)
Marvin Sapp: Close (RCA Inspiration)
Ricky Dillard & New G: Ten (eOne)
Ruth La’Ontra: I Got You (Tyscot)
Ted Winn: Stand in Awe (Shanachie)
Todd Galberth:  Decrease (digital) (Redemption Worship)
Various: Jesus Rocked the Jukebox: Small Group Black Gospel (1951-1965) (Craft)
Various: God Cares for U—Bless the Little Children (Tyscot)

Jazz
Bennie Green: Complete Albums Collection 1958-64
Blue Note All Stars: Our Point of View (Blue Note)
Danny Grissett: Remembrance (Savant)
Ella Fitzgerald & London SO: Someone To Watch Over Me (Verve)
Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet: Diablo en Brooklyn (Saponegro)
Gary Peacock Trio: Tangents (ECM)
John Beasley: MONK’estra, Vol. 2 (Mack Avenue)
Kamasi Washington: Harmony of Difference (Young Turks)
Keyon Harrold: The Mugician (Legacy/Mass Appeal)
Kirk Andres Wilson: My Love (Illustra Dist.)
Lizz Wright: Grace (Concord)
Lyambiko: Love Letters
Marcus Pope: This Is How I Feel (digital)
Mark Whitfield: Live & Uncut (Chesky )
Mike Stern: Trip (Head’s Up)
Nicole Mitchell/Haki Madhubuti: Liberation Narratives (Third World)
Rosco Mitchell: Discussions Orchestra (Wide Hive)
Tim Bowman: Into the Blue  (I.M. Records)
Urban Renewal Project: 21st Century Ghost (Resonance/Fastrac)
Wadada Leo Smith: Aspiration (Libra)
Wooten/Chambers/Franceschini: Trypnotyx (Vix)

R&B, Soul
Bobby Byrd: Help For My Brother—Pre-Funk Singles 1963-68 (Ace)
Calvin Richardson: All Or Nothing (Shanachie)
Chanté Moore: Rise of the Phoenix (CM7)
Chuck Jackson: Big New York Soul—Wand Records 1961-66 (Ace)
Cold Specks: Fool’s Paradise (Arts & Crafts)
Coriology: Feelings (digital)
Dee Dee Bridgewater: Memphis …Yes, I’m Ready (Sony)
Detroit Emeralds: I Think Of You—Westbound Singles 1969-75  (Ace)
Eamon: Golden Rail Motel (Huey Ave. Music)
Fabriccio: Jungle (Indigo Music )
Isaac Hayes: Spirit of Memphis (1962-1976) (Craft/Stax)
Johnny Rawls: Waiting For the Train (Catfood)
Kashif: Help Yourself To My Love—Arista Anthology (SoulMusic)
Kennedy Administration: S/T (Leopard)
Ledisi: Let Love Rule (Verve)
Lil’ Bob & the Lollipops: Sweet Soul Swinger & Jin Singles (Jin)
Mista Roe: RnB King of Shreveport (Illustra Dist.)
Moses Sumney: Aromanticism  (Jagjaguwar)
Musiq Soulchild: Feel the Real (eOne)
Rayana Jay: Morning After (Empire)
Son Little: Blue Magic (Anti/Epitaph)
Space Captain: Sycamore (Tru Thoughts)
Sugaray Rayford: World That We Live In (Blind Faith)
Tamar Braxton: Bluebird of Happiness (LoganLand)
Tangina Stone: Elevate (digital) (IMG)
Tatum Jackson: Soul of a Man (Stage Left Ent.)
Tina Campbell: It’s  Still Personal (Gee Tree Creative)
Toulouse: Extended Plea EP (Terrible)
Undisputed Truth: Nothing But the Truth (2-CD) (Ace)
Various: Soulsville U.S.A.: Celebration of Stax (3-CD) (Concord/Rhino)
Will Downing: Soul Survivor (Shanachie)

Rap, Hip Hop
$hreddAintShxt: Kill ’em Wit da Delivery (digital) (TopOff Ent.)
A Boogie Wit da Hoodie: The Bigger Artist (digital) (Highbridge)
Audio Push: Last Lights Left (Good Vibe Tribe)
Chief Keef: The W (RBC)
Cool Kids: Special Ed. Grandmaster Deluxe (Propelr Music)
D.J. Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince: He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper (Expanded)(Real Gone)
Dälek: Endangered Philosophies (Ipecac)
Danny Watts:  Black Boy Meets World (digital) (Bandcamp)
Derek Minor:  Your Soul Must Fly EP (Empire)
Dillon & Diamond D: Black Tie Affair (Full Plate)
DJ Kay Slay: Big Brother (Streetsweepers Ent)
Earthgang: Rags EP (Spillage Village)
G Herbo: Humble Beast (Machine Ent. Group)
Gorilla Zoe: Gorilla Warfare (Real Talk Ent.)
Gucci Mane: Mr. Davis (Atlantic)
Gunplay:  Harem (Real Talk Ent.)
Hustle Gang: We Want Smoke (Hustle Gang)
Intel: That Was Then, This Is Now (Goon MuSick)
Jermin Costor: F*ck Y’all: The Movie Album (Billionz Ent.)
Kevin Gates: By Any Means 2 (Atlantic)
KR: Intermission (digital) (Empire)
Lando Chill: Boy Who Spoke To The Wind (Mello Music)
Leikeli: Wash and Set (digital) (RCA)
Mayday: Search Party (Strange Music)
Mike Floss: Tennessee Daydreams (Iconic Group)
Mr. Brady: Speechless (Urbnet)
Nolan the Ninja: Yen (Fat Beats)
Noni Blanco: Pretty Militant (Black Marketing)
Open Mike Eagle: Brick Body Kids Still Daydream (Mello Music)
PMD (Parish Smith): Busine$$ Mentality ( RBC)
Project Pat: M.O.D.
Rapsody: Laila’s Wisdom (Jamla/Roc Nation)
Sammie: Coming of Age (Empire)
TiDUS: Soon You’ll Understand (Vinyl Digital)
Troy Ave.:  Album of the Summer (BSB)

Reggae, Dancehall
Mad Professor & Jah9: In The Midst of the Storm (VP)
Various: Doing Our Thing: More Soul From Jamdown 1970-82 (Cree)
Various: Studio One Supreme: Maximum 70s & 80s Early Dancehall (Soul Jazz)

World, Latin
Amadou & Mariam: La Confusion (Because Music)
Antibalas: Where the Gods Are in Peace (Daptone)
David Virelles: Gnosis (ECM)
Juan Hoerni: Love on High (Cha Cha Project)
Msafiri Zawose: Uhamiaji (Soundways)
Pierre Kwenders: Makanda at the End of Space, Beginning of Time (Bonsound)
Rayce: African Juice (Shanachie)
Sandra Nkaké: Tangerine Moon Wishes (Jazz Village)
Trio Da Kali & Kronos Quartet: Ladilikan (World Circuit)

View review October 2nd, 2017

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