When I went off to college from my native San Antonio, whose college radio station at Trinity University then fairly recently changed format to a wide range of jazz music, it seemed only natural to me that I would find another jazz station in the American Black Mecca that is Atlanta, and find it I did in Clark Atlanta University's WCLK. The station, which has a relationship with National Public Radio as well as Public Radio International, had a station sound that played jazz reaching as far back as the 50s as all decent jazz stations should, but its modern choices had an urban bent to them. When new songs went into rotation, one could happen upon the latest from Incognito or up-and-comers like saxophonist Darryl Reeves and vocalist Chantae Cann. It's a station that knew its audience-- jazz lovers whose tastes ranged widely to include R&B, soul, and light touches of smooth jazz. It was the perfect station for Atlanta and made my time there all the more comforting. Yet the quality of its sound just couldn't garner the membership numbers necessary to keep this listener-supported radio station afloat. Starting this week, WCLK Atlanta, the humble little station run out of the basement of the Atlanta University Center's Woodruff Library, has switched its format from a more wide-ranging jazz sound to more commercial smooth jazz. This disheartens me, and I'm not alone.
Keyboardist Jesse Fischer and his band Soul Cycle's latest album, Retro Future, has been out since last year and it still gets some pretty solid play. The group recently played Brooklyn's ShapeShifter Lab this past July to much fanfare. Watch video of the group playing "Digital Savanna", one of the highlights of their latest album, after the jump and make sure you check out Retro Future (out now on iTunes and embedded below from Fischer's Bandcamp page) if you haven't had the chance to already.
With all the praise folks like me give to Richmond, VA band Butcher Brown, one of the folks behind that superchill sound is multi-instrumentalist Devonne Harrison. In the band, Harrison plays keys, but he's certainly got skills beyond that. His latest solo mixtape, ColorJazzMixtape, has him playing the keys, bass, and drums for the whole album with a serious Madlib's Yesterday's New Quintet vibe. Imagine the earthy, funky, fuzzy sound you already love of Butcher Brown but stripped down a little more and possibly being even earthier and fuzzier. Cop it from Harrison's Bandcamp page for whatever price you so choose to support this dude. In the meantime, check it out after the jump.
As the fanfare for bassist Matt Ulery's new album, Wake An Echo, picks up steam, his group, Loom, just put out a new video of them performing "My Favorite Stranger". Check it out after the jump and make sure to cop Matt Ulery's Loom's Wake An Echo on iTunes or at their Bandcamp at Greenleaf Music.