Playlist – 26 October 2013

Check the Mixcloud on this page for an interesting selection of music this week, including vocalists well known (and not so well known) to the jazz community.The show kicked off with the lead in track from N’Dambi’s 2CD second release from 2001 – a much under-rated album then and still so now. Despite the ongoing low profile, N’Dambi is among the most stimulating and adventurous voices neosoul/neojazz voices around. Tunin Up and Cosignin may be a bit daunting for some ears, filling a full two hours with its shambling, languorous burn, but it is worth exploring. Cool and off-the-cuff, barefoot and Bohemian but in no way casual, the album is in some ways a soul mate of two contemporary releases – Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun and D’Angelo’s Voodoo. All have great bands with assured singers, each able to stretch out the instrumentation and vocalising in a jazz context. What N’Dambi adds is a heritage spirituality in which she absorbs a wide range of influences – most notably Nina Simone, to whom Ode 2 Nina is, of course, dedicated.

  1. N’Dambi –  Ode 2 Nina  from Tunin Up & Cosignin
  2. Rachelle Ferrell – Autumn Leaves from First Instrument
  3. Gregory Porter –  Hey Laura from Liquid Spirit 
  4. Kenny Garrett – Haynes Here from Seeds from the Underground
  5. Jack de Johnette – Indigo Dreamscapes from Sound Travels
  6. Donald Byrd – Slow Drag  from Slow Drag
  7. Goran Kajfes –  Sarasvati  from X.
  8. Don Cherry and Krzystof Penderecki with the New Eternal Rhythm Orchestra –  Humus: the Life Exploring Force from Spiritual Jazz 4

If you enjoyed last week’s Snarky Puppy video check out our first selection this week. More Snarky Puppy from the same live sessions, but this time with N’Dambi – and she definitely sounds like a jazz singer here. For more of the same, but this time with the amazing Lalah Hathaway (daughter of Donny) explore more on YouTube from the same Family Dinner recording sessions with other guest vocalists.

This encouraged me to look for video (any video) of Donny Hathaway singing live. But – try as I might – I came up with nothing. If anyone know any different, please let us know.In the meantime, watch this as a taster – and then go out and listen to one of the greatest singers ever to walk the planet.

3 thoughts on “Playlist – 26 October 2013”

  1. Would concur with your remarks regarding Donny Hathaway. My favourite is his live album ( first of two ) on Atco. Stunning performances in which the audience plays a significant part. Exciting would be an understatement ! Heard Janelle Monae the other day – she’s definitely one to watch – N’Dambi as well. Slow-burn intensity …

  2. Hi Pete – entirely endorse your comments about the Live album. I remember that you introduced this to me many years ago – and it remains a favourite. This is what John Bush has to say in the Allmusic online review:
    Donny Hathaway’s 1972 Live album is one of the most glorious of his career, an uncomplicated, energetic set with a heavy focus on audience response as well as the potent jazz chops of his group. The results of shows recorded at the Troubadour in Hollywood and the Bitter End in New York, the record begins with Hathaway’s version of the instant soul classic “What’s Going On,” Marvin Gaye’s original not even a year old when Hathaway recorded this version. His own classic “The Ghetto” follows in short order, but stretches out past ten minutes with revelatory solos from Hathaway on electric piano. “Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)” is another epic (14-minute) jam, with plenty of room for solos and some of the most sizzling bass work ever heard on record by Willie Weeks. Any new Donny Hathaway record worth its salt also has to include a radical cover, and Live obliges nicely with his deft, loping version of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy.” The audience is as much a participant as the band here, immediately taking over with staccato handclaps to introduce “The Ghetto” and basically taking over the chorus on “You’ve Got a Friend.” They also contribute some of the most frenzied screaming heard in response to any Chicago soul singer of the time (excepting only Jackie Wilson and Gene Chandler, of course). Hardly the obligatory live workout of most early-’70s concert LPs, Live solidified Hathaway’s importance at the forefront of soul music.
    It’s impossible to disagree with any of this. I’d only add that when I hear Hathaway sing the opening lines of Someday We’ll All Be Free it’s difficult not to cry – especially when you know that the song is not about black pride or civil rights, but rather the personal pain that Hathaway was going through at the time…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *