I will openly & wholeheartedly admit this fact from the start: I have a genuine affinity for live instrumentation & any of you who’ve read &/or shared my blogs in the past know that my past postings have reflected such. However, please don’t allow my affinity for that style of music to also serve as an objective “weakness” of sorts – when it comes to being forthright about my opinion of listening to today’s offerings of contemporary jazz/soul/fusion.
To be truthful? it’s the opposite (*Inserts bottom line here”)…
“Artists?? If you’re gonna come from that ‘musical cookbook’? Then you better come WIDDIT’!!”
Enters Atlanta’s own musical chefs – Jalon Smith (keys), Ron Harris Jr. (lead guitar), Jermaine Hall (bass guitar) & Charles Chaffer (percussion) – whose consistent years of having independently played for numerous indie & commercial artists have finally landed just long enough for them to gather their collective musical thoughts & energy together to form “SouthWesTerminal”. Their self-entitled signature offering will officially be served tomorrow (July 15th – see image link below for the band’s website) & the samplin’s are “SOUTHERN-good”!!
“SouthWesTerminal” stays true to its’ prefix at the very door – offering you a sincere, warm “welcoming” into their grooves with the opening track, “Highway 138”. This song organically provides the general overlay of the entire EP – a comforting contemporary jazz vibe, very complimentary to the likes of Spyrogyra, Fourplay & Norman Brown among others.
What truly stood out for me upon having the opportunity to engage in this listening experience is how these younger jazz/soul artists absolutely refused to allow the constrictions of radio-formatted time tracks to compromise their art. “Spring 3rd” & “Time Traveler” both will allow you to waft back into an era in music, where off-beat & tempo variations were all part of the FULL experience & emotions found within a song & should by no means be compromised with any time constrictions.
In spite of the quartet’s retro vibe, you’re also reminded that these gentlemen are contemporaries indeed. “Age Of Innocence” is a gripping composition – preceded by an interlude that features the jarring occurrences of race & human injustices that have been even further tethering the very moral fabric of this United flag that we’ve all been interwoven.
Undoubtedly, this album’s “coup de gras” is the absolutely seamless “musical marriage” between the band & one of the artists they’ve performed alongside – the nu-soul musical emerald himself, Musiq Soulchild. This track alone simply pops off the page with a raw & flawless bounce that will definitely tune in even the more commercially-inclined listeners’ ears.
I love how the live instrumentation really pushes Musiq’s sound into various ranges, tones & vocal infliction – even within the video itself, what’s conveyed is an all-fun-but-seriously funky garage jam “just between boys” vibe & the organic energy of the session captures the moment at its’ best.
Summer’s well into form, my people. You might just wanna add THIS release to your repertoire because this is definitely one of those “I remember in the summer of 2016…” types of albums to dig into!
Grab it HERE