What’s up Sunday Jammers! This is your editor Will Soer speaking. Our weekly Sunday Jams feature has been running since long before I joined the team in early 2018, I took over as editor about a year ago, and just over half a year ago I suggested Nana take up its reigns, having recently welcomed her into the team behind my collaborative Deep Cuts feature. The team all agreed that we really enjoyed her writing, and thankfully Nana said that the challenge of just writing about a tune, any tune, once a week, sounded like something she would really enjoy, in fact she described it as shooting fish in a barrell. I said that any word length is fine, as long as you send it one per week, but the fully developed passion and consistent energy behind Nana’s taste meant that each and every article has come in fully satisfying form, like the caffeinated mid-section of a leisurely lunchtime chat between firm friends. Beautiful writing, bountiful rarities, valuable honesty, we love to see it.
As a retrospective, Nana and I each picked three of our favourite Nana’s Sunday Jams from the last year, and I trimmed them each down to a quickly digestible kernel of character. Enjoy!
All week I have been thinking about dancing, especially Sunday dancing. There is something cleaner about it, a refresh rather than a rouse to get grimy. Whether it’s an early morning rave, evening beats in a bar, swift steps in your kitchen or any other room with friends or by your self, it’s a must. Dancing, in general, should be added to the list of Sunday essential tools to help steady you for the week ahead. It improves mental health by boosting your overall happiness, helps memory, can increase stamina, can improve cognitive domains such as spatial awareness and needs nothing else besides willingness and bangers, plenty of bangers.
Every good stepper and DJ knows you need a lead-in track, here is my suggestion. Choco & Bun (Live) manages to maintain balance without leaning too far into one of its constituent sounds more than the others, its got a bouncy, soft - but full of edge - summer vibe conjures citrus fizz for me. The EP Spiritual Sleaze Live was recorded and played live by Tel Aviv Producer Yuvi Havkin aka Rejoicer, with Jazz Drummer Amir Bresler and his brother Nomok, made as a Thank You to fans who bought tickets for the recent tour which was cancelled because of the dirty bug.
This week I have been on a rewind. In fact, I’ve been on a rerererererewind – inspired by a chat I had with Loose Lips Editor and Patron Will Soer, musing over music that grips you for years (specifically discussing 2017’s Boofiness by the cosmically sublime 1010 Benja SL). In that spirit, here is a rewind back to 2019. Seems like an almost entirely different timeline where the rules of engagement allowed us to be closer but less connected.
This artist, Dua Saleh, has a deep cosmic vibe that I am constantly drawn to, waters running into oceanic caverns. They are signed to Against Giants, feel their catalogue and the sparks pulsing off it. Saleh’s background story is stupid engaging, interesting, thought provoking on its own, and then you hear their music, their being woven deep into its fabric.
So, my track is Sugar Mama; an electric current passed through me when I heard it, eyes closed, every limb in twitch. A complex and compelling story told through vivid imagery, contradictory notations and a percussion that smokes. What I cannot get over is how contained it is, despite being practically bursting with drama; it’s a searing, sexy, slick and sticky tune and it demands you pay attention.
Lately I have been deep diving into a load of breezy and delicious pop music, pure heaven to take the edge off the cacophony of sound that keeps coming with every new announcement. Along the way I developed an unconscious pattern - at least I think it was - of listening to songs that featured a named character, usually a woman, who inspired, seduced or straight up slayed. They got me thinking about who would be the most fun to hang out with on a sunshine filled Sunday, a partner in ambling through quiet fields...
The winner is……………. Eugene McDaniels with Susan Jane, a Folk-Soul number that sings, sings, sings. McDaniels tells the story of a feisty, ferociously foxy and fierce of mind hero who marches to the beat of her own drum so much so that she inspires art. McDaniels’ rousing vocals tell of the 60s’ hippy spirit that gave birth to a cultural and social movement still felt today in music, fashion, art and ideas. I love that a person ‘dancing in the rain, eating sugar cane, feeling no pain’ could evoke so much about a moment in time. When I think of tunes’ characters, Susan Jane stands out as rounded, human and alive. I would happily wile out with her at a party, engage with her ideas and be infected by her laughter.
At the of this week’s offering helm is ex-Foreign Beggars frontman Pavan Mukhi, whose label Dented Records provided a creative outlet and home for many UK Hip Hop big hitters over the years. Fast forward a chunk of time and the creative ambitions have remained the same; create a pathway for the good stuff. His new music label platform 4NCY (Foreign Currency) came about organically in all aspects, the artists, the creatives, the operational staff share ideals and objectives. Some of the artists have long been on Pavan’s radar, others have reached out, joining a fiercely passionate outfit committed to artistry and growth.
The artist is Killswsh (duo Adeus and Bangzy), the track gives its title to their debut album Girl and it bangs. Stirring, sexy, affecting, mood inducing electropop that will move right through you. There's an R&B influence, a love of pop melody and tinges of rock, all wrapped up by expert production skills with a sense of a new wave to come. I love the icy, laid back captivating soulful vocal and against the sparse, sensual melody. Future R&B so beautifully redefined and captured. Love love loves.
Today’s track is Song for Che from the live album Crisis, by founding Father of Free Jazz and abstract maestro, Ornette Coleman. I owe this one to my Mother and what seemed like millions of music festivals that she took my siblings and I too as children. At one point it felt like we spent every weekend of our summer at Finsbury Park, Alexandra Palace, Highbury Fields and on – in part we did because she had a food stall but the other parts because of her love of music, especially live music. During one of these jaunts we saw Ornette Coleman play. It was confusing and frenetic, but the audience around me were rapt. It would take a while before I understood why.
Coleman moved Jazz away from the bebop post ragtime influences, deconstructing form like the art world’s abstract painters. Moving away from chordal and harmony-based playing to something grounded in improvisation, often jarring and frenetic. I get the rapture now. This track is full of introspective depth and soul, trumpet and saxophone soar over hearty bass and an inflection of a Mexican/Spanish guitar rhythm. So, so beautiful. Find a place to sit still when listening and if you have decent speakers - or headphones - turn it up loud and lie down so you can hear it play above you - or whatever way you like.
The Jazz singer is an almost hallowed space that has been filled with the voices of so many, it’s hard not to think of them as earthly deities. All these voices have elevated music, created pockets in the minds of anyone who listens; fuelling imaginations, striking chords you didn’t know you had. Today’s track comes from a vocalist whose star never rose to full heights of the trinity but matches all in talent and musical audacity; Dakota Staton (collaborating on this track with British Jazz Pianist George Shearing).
The track gives its title to the 1958 album in the night. This track has turned me inside out and I have had it on repeat all week. Not sure what is my favourite time to listen, all give the song a different flavour and shift in perspective. There’s something even more haunting about listening to it at the height of day, like it’s heralding something epic, at the handover from afternoon to evening. It only takes a few seconds to be pulled into heart of the narrative and transported into a noir style setting, two minutes and two seconds of dark, rich heaven. If you have the luxury of mood lighting and someone’s hand to take, then reach out, take a turn around the floor and let the music do the leading.