Sélébeyoné, released two months ago under Pi recordings, does two things really well: it is a better hip-hop album than most of the jazz-centric rap releases and it's an excellent foray into jazz fusion. Steve Lehman, with principle duties as composer and alto sax, along with vocalists HPrizm and Gaston Bandimic, fuse American, French and Senegalese sounds that, like the band itself, is greater than the sum of it's parts.
Most modern producers/songwriters seek to highlight the triumphs of American culture; Jaimeo Brown Transcendence's Work Songs invokes the way music was influenced under the most dire of circumstances. The follow up to the 2013's Transcendence debut, drummer Jaimeo Brown and guitarist Chris Sholar weave jazz and hip-hop so tightly the boundary between the two might as well not exist. And unlike most sample-heavy albums the record doesn't indulge in a narcotic form of nostalgia as much as it bombards history upon the listener.
A couple weeks ago Taylor McFerrin, offspring of the legendary Bobby McFerrin, released his first LP, Early Riser, to much acclaim. The album has been in the works for several years and builds upon tracks already released incrementally. McFerrin, who produced the album as well as played all the instrumentation except for a few notable guests, builds on the sound propagated by Flying Lotus on his Brainfeeder label, through which Early Riser was released.
Atlanta’s Jazz Festival, held on the Memorial Day weekend, is quite like the culture of jazz music itself: a huge melange that only mixes in this specific context. The festival is equal parts city-wide picnic, stoner recreation nights, food-truck free-for-all, and of course, celebration of the many different styles of jazz. It’s hard to pick just one aspect of the weekend to focus on with all the different goings on, which is appropriate given much of the talk around jazz includes much of the same difficulty.