Jarrod Lawson at Band on the Wall – 9/10/14

Jarrod Lawson at Band on the Wall – 9/10/14

Jarrod Lawson Piano

Gilles Peterson’s shows on 6 music have always been a great way to discover old soul, jazz, funk and disco gems, and at the same time stay current on new hip hop, house and electronica. I’ve been listening to a fair bit of jazz lately, keen to learn more about the genre I probably (and maybe criminally) check for the least, and keen to discover modern acts as much as dig deep through the classics. The last modern act to blow my head off was probably Portico Quartet, who I saw play an amazing gig at the Manchester School of Music.

GP had a lot of good things to say about Jarrod Lawson on last Saturday’s show, and I could see why after just a few bars of ‘Gotta Keep’ – which has become my favourite track on Lawson’s self-titled debut LP. I’d been playing the album all week – his amazing voice and fantastic keys weaving together to create really hope-filled music,   and then heard that Jarrod Lawson and his band were playing in Manchester at Band on the Wall as part of a short UK leg of the tour.

Jarrod Lawson band

I don’t often stay with an album all the way through from start to finish, but this LP, amazingly Lawson’s first – grabs you from the beginning. The opening track ‘Music and it’s Magical Ways’ features Lawson’s voice introducing his band, The Good People, welcoming you along as he sets out to ‘change the world one song time’. This is a big statement, but the beautiful harmonies, conscious lyrics and brilliant musicianship weave together to make a kind of hammock for your mind, for your soul. Many have put Lawson’s music alongside the work of two artists he claims as key influences – Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway, and I agree, he certainly brings the same kind of healing and emotional intelligence. Many of the tracks, especially ‘He’s There’ and my personal favourite ‘Gotta Keep’, are prettyup-front in worshipping God, but not in a preachy, heavy way, such is the humility and encouragement in the lyrics and the abundant life in the music. Even people of no faith are talking about the vitality that resonates through this music, it’s that good.

BotW logoLawsonJarred before the gig‘s keys, backing band and vocalists were amazing enough, but having Farnell Newton blow the horn at the BotW gig was a massive bonus. That man can PLAY – no wonder he’s the go-to trumpet player for Jill Scott and Bootsy Collins. He’s a really friendly bloke as well – one of the bonuses at hearing an act play at a venue with such an open ethos (they were really kind in letting me take photos with a ‘proper’ camera without any kind of press pass – for the first 3 songs anyway!) is that you get to interact – Jarrod, Farnell and the rest of the band were really happy to talk with people before and after the show, and even went on to my friend Tolu’s jam session around the corner in Stevenson Square. I left just before all The Good People joined in the jam – gutted to have missed it but the video is pretty special! Sidenote – check Tolu’s outfit Pieces of a Man – they’re local, and top, so if you check for Manchester neo-soul, jazz and funk music, keep tabs on where they are next by giving them a follow

It was a bit of a shame that my favourite track of the album wasn’t on the set list, but they made up for it when, after a little coaxing from a man in the crowd, Lawson duetted with one of his backing singers for a cover of Hathaway’s ‘I love you more than you ever know’, which brought even more feeling to the night, and was pretty special for me, as Hathaway’s classic Live album has got me through a few soul-dip moments recently! A great night showcasing a great album. Listen out for more of this man and his Good People!

First promo mix for Local @ Cord Manchester

First promo mix for Local @ Cord Manchester

tumblr_lziciutafB1qackswo1_r2_1280

 

Here’s the first Local mix. Recorded on-the-fly at Local HQ, fellow resident Diesler brings the first 30mins, reflecting the jazz/funk/beats side of things, and I take over for the second 30 with a house-ier sound. We’ll be getting together each month to give you a taste of what we spin down at our sessions at Cord (1st Thursday of every month! Plug plug!)

We’ll be joining the dots between jazz, soul, hip-hop, funk, house and beyond – paying homage to dusty classics as well as the future sounds they inspired.

We hope you enjoy, and look forward to seeing you all down at our next one!

 

 

The Purpose-Built Best of 2011

The New Year is nearly here, and what better way to kickstart this blog for 2012 than to look back on a cracking year of music. Here are 10 bits I loved during 2011 – in no particular order. Too many to choose from! 2011 best of turntable mix soon-come too. Happy New Year!


A steel-drum killer from Jamie XX – check his rework album with Gil Scott Heron too.
 


Massive track from our friends at Wolf Music – such a good year for those boys. Could easily have gone for tracks by KRL or Greymatter. ‘Alllll IIIII Dooooooooo!!!!’
 


Mr Terje proves once again than he’s not just an edit king. Big synth key change. Hands up.
 


Nuff drums from Julio Bashmore. Was tight between this and ‘Father Father’, but that military rolling beat had me playing this A LOT all year
 


Every DJ Kicks artist has to produce a track to go with their mix, and MCDE didn’t disappoint. Best intro to a track all year.
 


Huuuuuge track from Chris Duckenfield. Gospel beatdown smiles-all-round business. Love.
 


Dropping the tempo – tough to choose one off the great “Within and Without’album.
 


Another awesome slow one – Bon Iver follow up with a brilliant self-titled album. Lovely video too.
 


Last of the lot… balearic goodness from White Elephant, a collaboration between Jim Baron, Benjamin Smith of Smith & Mudd fame and Chris Todd (Crazy P). Check the Mark E remix too.
 

Wait, here’s some more Wolf howlings as a bonus – it’s a music cliche but 2012 is set to be an olympic year for KRL

 

Honourable mentions…

Caribou/Daphni
James Blake
Christophe
Dead Rose Music Company
Martyn
Move D
J-Rocc
Floating Points
Suzanne Kraft
Nocturnal Edits
Boof
Begin
Eddie Murs…