Plex (CD)
Moving freely between composition and improvisation, the Munich quintet's spacious, organic sound pitches lyrical melodies from guitar and trumpet over double-drummer polyrhythmic grooves and dub-like basslines. Read more

Source - We Move is a remix of saxophonist Nubya Garcia's 2020 album Source, featuring House, Hip-hop, broken beat, R&B and world fusion artists. The result is an eclectic reimagining of an already fascinating album, with artists like DJ Harrison, Kiadi Tatham, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Dengue Dengue Dengue lending their talents. The soulful "La cumbia me esta llamando" gets a funky lift from Tatham, and "Boundless Beings" goes from gently spacey to swinging and groovy in the hands of Muldrow. Dengue Dengue Dengue pick up the pace of the dub-tinged "Source" with some well-placed keys and synth effects.

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Talk Memory (CD)

The genre-hopping Canadian jazz ensemble BadBadNotGood has yet another hit on their hands with the grooved out Talk Memory. The sweeping, cinematic opener “Signal from the Noise” immediately announces that listeners are in for something different; from here on out, you’re in for a playful, psychedelic, unexpected journey filled with sonic twists and turns. The mood shifts seamlessly, genres are deconstructed and reshaped, and emotions are in for a ride—oftentimes, all in the course of one song. The presence of collaborators Arthur Verocai, Laraaji, Terrace Martin, Brandee Younger, and Karriem Riggins brings an added excitement to the proceedings, as does the expert mix by engineer Russell Elevado (Roy Hargrove, D’Angelo, Blackalicious).

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Black Acid Soul (LP)

Sure, it’s only January, but Lady Blackbird’s debut, Black Acid Soul, seems like a strong contender for album of the year. The LA-based singer’s voice conveys emotion with every note; there’s no paint-by-numbers, pop-radio-ready polish here. No, Lady Blackbird’s influences harken back to stronger stuff. Her voice might call to mind classic jazz singers like Nina Simone or Billie Holiday, while her backing musicians include Deon Johnson (Miles Davis’ pianist). Black Acid Soul is atmospheric, intoxicating, and timeless. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore—until, apparently, they do.

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Black Radio III (CD)

Robert Glasper delivers another career-high album with Black Radio III. The talented pianist conjures up multi-faceted moods, with a sense of yearning and hope emerging from his assured, elegant keys. Glasper's brought some heavy hitters to the proceedings, too, with Killer Mike, Big K.R.I.T., and BJ the Chicago Kid appearing on the brilliant "Black Superhero." H.E.R. and Meshell Ndegeocello appear on the addictive, achingly beautiful "Better Than I Imagined." Elsewhere on the album, Q-Tip, Common, Ty Dolla Sign, Esperanza Spalding, Jennifer Hudson, Yebba, and Ant Clemons make excellent contributions. Black Radio III is straight up fantastic and will probably land on many year end "best of" lists.

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