An Album or Two in My Head (0065)

Saoul Twateau album cover





To my American friends — consider how most of you were recently asked, multiple times, to choose between a woman’s womb and the price of bacon in Walmart, while others remain willing to convince themselves that a bulky football legend wearing a post-domestic-violence court suit and possible brain damage can be trusted with constitutional amendments and treaties. And pay no attention to that crooked salamander that seems to be everywhere you roll.

Say hello to election season, America! Or welcome to “Twateau”, Saoul’s timely single release and title track of his album. The smart lyrics and funk-bouncing chorus makes the song an album standout.

(Laughing) And “Instaglam” — with a big assist from resolute lyricist LoRayne Marlene — is one of the title track’s spectacular and poetic antidotes.The whole set is sexy, funny, nocturnal, metaphorical, and top-to-bottom grooving.

I’ve listened to a few Saoul albums over the years, and I think the latest set is his best expression of sounding more Future Soul than Future Soul, and reimagining Bootsy Collins better than Mr. Collins can in 2022.

Through my own misgivings, I haven’t published a proper album review of Twateau upon its first release — thus the format you see right now — but my verdict is simple: put this party in your ear now, and even a few years from now.

The album dropped this summer but I keep asking myself about that review … 

Ahmad Jamal Live in Paris (1971 Lost ORTF Recordings) album cover





Ahmad Jamal not only fits on my short list of most articulate jazz pianists, but he also strikes me as one of the most visionary musicians of his genre who drew a blueprint for other musical styles to follow.

Hell, how do you NOT hear the funk from his 1960s recordings? Jamal’s journeys in styles happen just as naturally as my body rides grooves when it senses one of his songs playing.

And I’m not the only one who feels this living legend’s cross-genre influence — the hip hop canon is filled with Jamal samples. 

Live in Paris 1971 is a reissue of a live performance Jamal’s trio recorded at Grand Auditorium Studio 104, Maison de la Radio. The album references all the properties that I love about Jamal: lengthy piano vamps that he constantly improvises; rich gospel swings; precise striking; and the unique way his music sounds like a Black music anthology that’s mixed with European classical music.

Yup, I swayed to this set; sometimes hard.

Jimetta Rose & the Voices of Creation How Good It Is  album cover





I’m breaking the rule of my post title to mention this album, which has been in my head since the middle of this past summer. How Good It Is sounds like a celebration of joy, love, and self. The songs are spiritual without declaring a religion, while other songs have deep, head-shaking soul and smelly funk — the good kinds, of course. “Call it out” — derived from Funkadelic’s “Cosmic Funk” blueprint — is just one highlight of an album filled with winners.

Give me a few weeks to catch up with my listening queue …

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