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Sly5thAve – Liberation [Tru Thoughts Recordings]

Sylvestor Uzoma Onyejiaka, aka Sly5thAve expands on his love of orchestral compositions with “Liberation”. Onyejiaka’s third solo album begins as a suite of orchestral soulful compositions filled with heavenly strings and high hat cymbals. The disc takes on the feel of a film score that captures the essence of sly’s personal journey. “Water Suite” breaks into four parts. The opener “Thirst” is filled with funky brass arrangements. Peter Knudsen compliments the horns with sparkling guitar rhythms. Act two showcases a smaller ensemble but packs a punch nevertheless. “No, No, No, PT 2” is a funky remake of the Destiny’s Child hit that features soulful horn soloing from Jonathan Mones. “Monoxide” has funky hip-hop inspired basslines courtesy of MonoNeon and MacKenzie on vocals. Onyejiaka demonstrates his skills as a composer as well as an arranger. This cinematic release is a portrait of his vision that will certainly resonate with you.


Minus & MRDolly – Giant Stops [Jazzego]

“Giants Steps”, the new release from Hugo Oliveira aka Minus & MRDolly is an ode to the iconic Coltane classic. Oliveira doesn’t pay tribute in the form of bebop, instead he blurs the lines of jazz, hip hop and electronics. “Chronography” kicks things off with bubbling chords and a funky bass groove. “A Queda” is an ambient trance of warm chords and simmering cymbals, topped off by the soothing vocals from Luca Angel. “Entretanto” follows the same pattern, this time aided by the seductive vocals of Meta. Oliveira’s evolution as musician is on display here. The compositions are warm and robust and makes for a satisfying listen.


Emile Londonien – Legacy [Naïve Records]

Emile Londonien is a trio from Strabourg, France who have emmersed themselves in London club culture. “Legacy” captures the essence of their sound by merging jazz rhythms with soul and broken beat grooves. The disc begins with the title track, a lo-fi instrumental with a simmering horn section courtesy of trumpeter Antoine Berjeaut and saxophonist Leon Phal. They shift gears on “Make it Easy”, a percolating tune ignited by house grooves and sublime vocals from Lara Issa. Although “House Party” is under two minutes it’s a live performance filled with infectious energy, providing a taste of what they’re capable of on stage. “londonien” demonstrates that this trio can jam in all manner of styles. An impressive release certainly worth checking out.


JSOUL x B.Jamelle – Mellowdisiac [BSM Records]

“Mellowdisiac” is the latest release from Baltimore based producer/beat maker JSoul and vocalist B.Jamelle. The nine track EP is laced with mellow jazz infused soul compositions. B.Jamelle’s vocals are soothing to the ear as evidenced on “To Flower”, a slow burning ballad. “Really Love” features poetic verses from Jamil Honesty. The aptly titled “Blissfully Undone” is one of the stronger tracks here. JSoul’s production is full of creativity and the warmth of B.Jamelle’s vocals make for a perfect combination. JSoul already solidified himself as an architect at making soulful hip-hop. With B.Jamelle on board he’s adept at creating mellow grooves as well.


Daniel Villarreal – Panama 77 [International Anthem]

“Panama 77” is the debut of Panamanian born and Chicago based drummer Daniel Villarreal. The twelve track disc is layered with psychedelic Latin rhythms aligned with jazz fusion and folkloric sensibilities. Villarreal has been a fixture in the Chicago music scene, recently as a member of the group Dos Santos. The disc kicks off with “Bella Vista” where Villarreal demonstrates a keen sense of polyrhythms. Villarreal’s spirited percussion creates an enchanting groove for Elliot Bergman’s howling baritone. “In/On features labelmate guitarist Jeff Parker. Villarreal’s hypnotic percussion simmers over a samba beat alongside organist Dave Vettraino. With Parker’s glorious electric guitar rhythms layered on top you have an irresistible groove worthy of repeated listens. “Parque En Seis” opens with Villareal on congas and cow bells, paving the way for Bardo Martinez’s bass guitar grooves and synths. Chicago based International Anthem is known for their roster of genre bending jazz artists. Villarreal’s debut is left of center brilliance that stacks up well with their catalog.


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