In the age of COVID, life feels strange, uncertain and lonely. But there is also space to evolve. This time of isolation urges us to find new ways to connect and create. It’s an opportunity to call old friends, try new recipes, read books that challenge your worldview, practice self-care, help your neighbors, and, of course, explore new music.
Let us assist you with the latter.
Prolific R&B/hip-hop producer Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed-Muhammed, DJ/producer of A Tribe Called Quest, are excellent company during these quiet evenings. Their new release, “Jazz Is Dead 001,” revitalizes and reinvents jazz from the 60s and 70s. From classic jazz legends such as Roy Ayers to the jazz-funk trio Azymuth, they show us that jazz isn’t dead and vinyl is resilient.
“Jazz Is Dead 001,” recorded at the Linear Labs studio in Los Angeles, one of the last analog recording studios in the United States, features mellow synths, impressive alto sax riffs, captivating snares, and skillful keyboard improvisations. The album closes with a track by Muhammed and Younge’s own throwback soul project “Midnight Hour.” Setting the stage for the nascent Linear Lab record label, Muhammed and Younge hope to release seven full-length albums by the end of the year, each one featuring one of the musicians on “Jazz Is Dead 001.”
In the words of Nas: “Hip-hop is like one of the children of jazz music.” Younge and Muhammed connect the dots and remind us of this truth with “Jazz Is Dead 001.”
The inimitable indie singer Angelica Garcia also cuts through the quiet noise of isolation. And high profile folks were paying attention months before quarantine life. The exuberant singer-songwriter made it onto former President Barack Obama’s year-end music list. Garcia’s sophomore album, “Cha Cha Palace,” captures her multifaceted cultural identity. Lyrically and musically, Garcia incorporates into the album her Mexican and Salvadoran roots.
The Los Angeles native grew up in a multigenerational home listening to Mexican ranchera music. She lived among Latinx immigrants in her L.A. neighborhood and felt at home there. When Garcia moved to Virginia at the age of 17, she left behind a familiar community and struggled to fit in. Her evolution during that time is part of the message she sends to the Latinx youth who come to her shows today: “The things that felt like they were holding me back from being ‘a normal American kid’ are actually my power,” Garcia said in a statement.
“Cha Cha Palace” took Garcia two years to complete. It speaks to the struggles of embracing one’s cultural identity in America with upbeat rhythms and empowering lyrics.
On the singles front, we’re spinning new music from Run The Jewels, Protomartyr, BJ The Chicago Kid, Flume and Gorillaz.
Listen below for more. 👇