Charles McPherson – Jazz Dance Suites

 

Title: Jazz Dance Suites
Artist: Charles McPherson
Label: Chazz Mack Music
Formats: CD, Digital  
Release date: September 25, 2020

 

Distinguished alto saxophonist, composer and bandleader Charles McPherson, known for his bebop and bluesy style and improvisational ingenuity, adds to his plethora of notable works with Jazz Dance Suites. Inspired and dedicated to his daughter Camille, a soloist in the San Diego Ballet, McPherson’s album of ballet music is a fusion of refreshing harmonies and unique lyrical melodies that wonderfully combine with inventive rhythm and syncopation, creating a bouncy and vibrant project that is a beautiful compliment to dance.

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Valvin “V” Roane – Image a Nation

 

Title: Image a Nation
Artist: Valvin “V” Roane
Label: BBE Music
Format: Digital  
Release date: October 2, 2020

 

Philadelphia R&B/soul singer, songwriter and producer Valvin “V” Roane is making his return with Image a Nation, his first full-length project with Barely Breaking Even (BBE Music) in 15 years. In collaboration with production partners Jontae Slade, Andre Capers and Yameen Allworld, V creates an album that colorfully illustrates the changes in the world around us through both the lyrical and melodic structures within the project.

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Billy Ocean – One World

 

Title: One World
Artist: Billy Ocean
Label: Sony  
Formats: CD, Digital   
Release date: September 4, 2020 

 

GRAMMY Award-winning singer Billy Ocean has released his first new original album in ten years. On One World, he reunites with producer Barry Eastmond, who was responsible for some of his biggest hits, including “When the Going Gets Tough” and “Love Zone.” This release follows a spectacular few years for Ocean. In 2018, the Trinidadian-British R&B singer-songwriter was awarded the Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement in recognition of his international success and the enduring popularity of his music. More recently, he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2020 New Year Honors list for his contributions to music. Additionally, his iconic music videos have all been restored from original tapes and released in HD. All of the excitement surrounding his long due recognition can be felt in One World.

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Brandy – b7

 

Title: b7
Artist: Brandy
Label: eOne
Formats: CD, Digital   
Release date: July 31, 2020 

 

After nearly eight years since her last album, GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter Brandy has released her long awaited seventh studio album, b7. Despite the lengthy period of time between projects, Brandy has consistently been active in the R&B scene, creating tracks like “I Wanna Be Down” and “Ascension,” as well as being featured in a plethora of other artist’s songs and breaking the internet with her recent Brandy vs Monica Verzuz Battle. This exposure has gone a long way toward helping Brandy hone her truly unique sound and style, as well as a high level of production expertise. Her colorful, yet restrained, 15-track project, which she executively produced with assistance from DJ Camper and the late LaShawn Daniels, is truly the culmination of her musical and life experiences to date.

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Adeline – Intérimes

 

Title: Intérimes
Artist: Adeline
Label: Self-released
Formats: Digital  
Release date: July 10, 2020

 

Soulful and sultry vocalist, bassist and producer Adeline has released her highly anticipated sophomore project, Intérimes, a collection of seven songs that incorporates the sounds and styles of R&B, soul and funk. The title of the French-Caribbean artist’s release is a mash-up of the French words “intérim” (the time in between) and “rime” (French for rhyme), noting that each track captures a specific mood as a day turns into night. The project is completely self-produced, allowing Adeline to create music that perfectly complements her style. “Producing my own music is when I feel most complete artistically. Everyone’s process is the best process as long as it’s true to them. Producing is just the way that I love to make music. And the biggest part of it is that it’s fun!”

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Teyana Taylor – The Album

 

Title: The Album
Artist: Teyana Taylor
Label: G.O.O.D. / Def Jam
Formats: Digital  
Release date: June 19, 2020

 

Dancer/choreographer, actress, model, and R&B superstar Teyana Taylor has released her long awaited and highly anticipated third studio album, The Album. With a host of producers, including Taylor herself, this album truly showcases her personality, sexuality and vulnerabilities that lie under her persona. The Album features collaborations from a plethora of artists, such as Rick Ross, Erykah Badu, Quavo, Kehlani, Missy Elliott, Future, Big Sean, Ms. Lauryn Hill, King Combs, Davido, and Taylor’s husband and daughter, Iman Shumpert and Junie.

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Chris Jasper – For the Love of You

 

Title: For the Love of You  
Artist: Chris Jasper 
Label: Gold City 
Formats: CD, MP3 
Release date: June 1, 2020 

 

Keyboardist, songwriter, and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner Chris Jasper has had a very extensive and successful career, recording 12 albums as a member of the Isley Brothers, in addition to 16 self-produced solo albums. Jasper has now taken a step back to reflect on some of the greatest compositions he wrote for the Isley Brothers from 1973-1983 in his most recent solo album, For the Love of You. This project is comprised of some of the group’s biggest hits, such as “I Once Had Your Love,” “Go For What You Know,” and the title track “For the Love of You,” a smooth and romantic rendition of the original mid-tempo track. The album also contains covers of R&B and pop classics including Sam Cooke’s “Nothing Can Change This Love,” Marvin Gaye’s “God Is Love,” Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately,” Billy Preston’s “You Are So Beautiful,” and Diane Warren’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”  

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Kehlani – It Was Good Until It Wasn’t

 

Title: It Was Good Until It Wasn’t 
Artist: Kehlani  
Label: Atlantic  
Formats: Digital   
Release date: May 8, 2020 

 

Two-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated R&B singer Kehlani has released her long-awaited sophomore album, It Was Good Until It Wasn’t. The former America’s Got Talent star’s debut album, SweetSexySavage, was inspired by TLC’s CrazySexyCool, providing fun, rhythmic, and exuberant sounds Kehlani’s best known for putting out. Kehlani’s new album is much more pared down, expressing slow and sensual narratives, as much indebted to SZA as it is SWV. For this project, Kehlani collaborated with a multitude of guest artists, from the likes of Tory Lanez, Jhené Aiko, Lucky Daye, James Blake, and Masego, all of which do an exceptional job helping to convey her R&B eclecticism—as well as contributions from producers Boi-1da, Andrew “Pop” Wansel, G. Ry, and many more. 

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Moses Sumney – Grae

 

Title: Grae 
Artist: Moses Sumney 
Label: Jagjaguwar  
Formats: CD, LP, Digital   
Release date: May 15, 2020  

 

Singer-songwriter and producer Moses Sumney has dropped his second studio album, Grae, a generous double album released in two parts covering 20 tracks. Back in 2017, Sumney’s previous groundbreaking, genre-less album Aromanticism was well-received, but saw the musician widely labelled as an R&B artist – much to his dismay. He recently said in an interview: “People always look to define you to understand you, but my identity is this kind of patchwork. It’s not something that can be – or that I want to be – defined.” And now with his second project, Sumney places a great emphasis on this message and his artistic vision.  

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Thundercat – It Is What It Is

 

Title: It Is What It Is   
Artist: Thundercat  
Label: Brainfeeder  
Formats: CD, LP, Digital  
Release Date: April 3, 2020  

 

Electric bassist and singer/songwriter Thundercat, aka Stephen Lee Bruner, has released his fourth studio album, It Is What It Is. Executively produced by Bruner and Flying Lotus, the project features collaborations from artists such as Childish Gambino, Lil B, Kamasi Washington, Ty Dolla $ign, BADBADNOTGOOD, Louis Cole, and comedian/rapper Zack Fox. The new album is the follow-up to Thundercat’s ambitious Drunk (2017), which cemented his genre-defying reputation and provided an evolutional framework for It Is What It Is, which continues the versatile artist’s experimentation with sound and compositional technique. 

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José James – No Beginning No End 2

 

Title: No Beginning No End 2  
Artist: José James  
Label: Rainbow Blonde  
Formats: CD, LP, Digital 
Release date: March 6, 2020  

 

José James’ No Beginning No End 2, a sequel to his 2013 Blue Note debut album, resurrects the eclecticism audiences first fell in love with. Back then, the singer-songwriter was transitioning from Verve Records to Blue Note, and the new release finds James shifting to his own Rainbow Blonde label. ”There’s this beautiful cycle that’s happening again,” James explains. “This essence of it is what I wanted to get back — the idea of courage, freedom, real quality music that’s made without boundaries but still had a cohesive quality. That’s what I did on the first (No Beginning No End), and this one feels the same way.” With No Beginning No End 2, James pays homage to a multitude of musicians who inspired him.   

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Kandace Springs – The Women Who Raised Me

 

Title: The Women Who Raised Me
Artist: Kandace Springs
Label: Blue Note Records
Formats: CD, LP, Digital
Release date: March 27, 2020

 

Singer and pianist Kandace Springs, an up and coming jazz and soul inspired artist, was praised by her late mentor, Prince, who claimed she has a “voice that can melt snow.” That’s just what we need as winter recedes, and Springs doesn’t disappoint on her sophomore release, The Women Who Raised Me.  Produced by Grammy Award winning producer Larry Klein, the album is a rich and complex tapestry that travels back and forth across a century of music, using modern production to bend a conglomerate of songs and musical ideas into a new genre while also honoring dozens of the greatest female vocalists of all time.

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Ben Williams – I AM A MAN

 

Title: I AM A MAN
Artist: Ben Williams
Label: Rainbow Blonde
Formats: CD, LP, Digital
Release date: February 7, 2020

 

Acclaimed Grammy-winning bassist, composer and bandleader Ben Williams’ newest album, I AM A MAN, is a sociopolitically charged project that strives to “show the world the complexity of our humanity as Black American men.” With help from producer and sound designer Brian Bender, the album boasts a humid and hazy sound that recalls neo-soul albums released by The Roots, Erykah Badu, Bilal, and D’Angelo. Williams sings lead on the majority of songs, in addition to playing the electric and acoustic bass. Joining him is an amazing lineup comprised of keyboardist Kris Bowers, guitarist David Rosenthal, tenor saxophonist and bass clarinetist Marcus Strickland, percussionist Bendji Allonce, trumpeter Kenyon Harrold, flutist Anne Drummond, and drummers Jamire Williams and Justin Brown.

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Devon Gilfillian – Black Hole Rainbow

 

Title: Black Hole Rainbow
Artist: Devon Gilfillian
Label: Capitol
Formats: CD, LP, Digital
Release date: January 10, 2020

 

A Philly-born musician who was weaned on his father’s vintage soul records, Devon Gilfillian is now a Nashville-based singer-songwriter and bandleader who is currently making waves on the touring circuit. Recently signed to Capitol Records, Gilfillian kicks off the New Year with the release of his debut album, Black Hole Rainbow. With inspirations from the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., and Wu-Tang Clan, Devon has created his own distillation of the soul sound, forming a collection of incredibly powerful and stirring tracks. Produced by Grammy award winner Shawn Everett, the album dissects the multiple levels of love and its effects on all parties involved. “The theme of the record is pulling yourself out of a dark place and learning how to love yourself, and getting back up and learning from your mistakes,” Gilfillian says. “It’s about falling in love, falling out of love, and then learning how to love yourself; picking yourself up and really figuring out what matters in your life, and to never stop hustling.” The tracks were recorded with a wide variety of gear, including vintage equipment and analog boards, resulting in an album with a daring collision of eras, styles, and genres. Continue reading

New Holiday Albums: The Best of 2019

That special time of year has come around again, filling everyone with holiday cheer. But nothing has the ability to spread Christmas spirit quite like music does. Following are brief reviews of what we believe to be the best holiday albums so far this year, featuring releases from Keb’ Mo’, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, The McCrary Sisters, Elijah Blake, Jonathan Butler, and Mariah Carey. We hope these selections provide the perfect soundtrack for everyone’s holiday season. Continue reading

Calvin Richardson – Gold Dust

 

Title: Gold Dust
Artist: Calvin Richardson
Label: Shanachie
Formats: CD, LP, Digital
Release date: October 25, 2019

 

Soul music singer/songwriter Calvin Richardson is back with his smooth R&B vibes on his new release, Gold Dust. A well-known talent in the music industry, he has written songs for artists like Charlie Wilson and Angie Stone, and has even co-written with Babyface. Calvin’s songwriting leans heavily on the romantic side, showcasing his heartfelt emotions and belief in the fact that “love changes everything” in his music. This disposition, combined with Calvin’s soulful, textured voice, creates melodies that define soul music in every way, which is especially prevalent on this project, his eighth studio album. Continue reading