So… I’ll kick things off by highlighting a few of my favorite albums from 2022:
1) Blue Lab Beats – “Motherland Journey”
2) Crackazat – “Evergreen”
3) Robert Glasper – Black Radio III
Phazed Groove – “A Taste Of”
Glimlip – Twelve Chapters
BLU LAB BEATS – “Motherland Journey”
Listen on BANDCAMP: https://bluelabbeats.bandcamp.com/album/motherland-journey
Stream here: https://bluelabbeats.lnk.to/MotherlandJourney
This is easily my favorite album of the year. Great composition & songwriting, dope production, and collabs with some fiercely talented vocalists and musicians such as Tiana Major9, Ghetto Boy, and Fela Kuti, and masterful musicianship make this project a masterpiece. Styles range from Soul/R&B to Jazz to Afrobeat and more. I also love that they included a few well done instrumentals.
It’s hard to choose stand out tracks because the album is so good overall but I’ll go with “Labels”, “Blow You Away (Delilah)” and “Dat It”. If you ask me tomorrow, I might change a couple of those.
From the liner notes on Bandcamp: Motherland Journey is the result of tireless days in the studio - a celebration of pushing boundaries, taking risks and overcoming adversity. What started as over 70 demos has since been meticulously whittled down to the 17-track iteration that remains. It's our largest project to date, and the fact it is delivered via the legendary Blue Note imprint reiterates its importance.
Crackazat – “Evergreen”
Listen on BANDCAMP: https://crackazat.bandcamp.com/album/evergreen
Listen on YOUTUBE: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_m0sFiENHrokW8hRCjA3O4GFbKSNVVw-nA
Already being established as a top-notch house music producer & remixer, Crackazat stretched his creative wings even further with a full album showcasing “a propulsive sound combining influences of jazz, house, garage, funk, hip hop, Latin, neo-soul (and far beyond)”. He also demonstrates a new level of songwriting and makes his vocal debut – all while not losing any of the groove. As a bass player myself, I particularly appreciated his work on the bass guitar throughout the album driving the grooves home with tasty basslines.
Robert Glasper – Black Radio III
Listen on BANDCAMP: https://robertglasper.bandcamp.com/album/black-radio-iii
note: the Supreme Edition is also available on Bandcamp
Listen on SPOTIFY (Supreme Edition): https://open.spotify.com/album/0koSNz785od22spE0DlKO7?si=2nx5iovFTJmNyIyXvjn_YQ
Listen on YOUTUBE (Supreme Edition): https://youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_l2vMGCfeechct5xdrSe-gXyGBjPXrrQQM
It’s been 9 years since Black Radio 2 showed us what R&B radio should sound like. Robert Glasper definitely did not disappoint. Black Radio III is a masterclass on modern soul music. With Glasper’s supreme keyboard skills and an absolutely world-class list of vocal collaborators, combined with songwriting that makes it clear that they took their time crafting great songs, this is timeless soul music as good as anything that has come before it.
Originally released in February, Glasper re-issued the album in October as a “Supreme Edition” with 9 new tracks in addition to the 13 on the original album.
Glimlip, Søren Søstrom, Soul Food Horns – Twelve Chapters
Listen on BANDCAMP: https://glimlip.bandcamp.com/album/twelve-chapters
Stream here: https://album.link/i/1614694991
Delicious, laid back, funky jazz grooves. Nuff said.
Phazed Groove – “A Taste Of”
Purchase on TRAXSOURCE: https://www.traxsource.com/title/1792449/a-taste-of
Listen on YOUTUBE: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_lAf4nKc5yeh9P1eC0mS7xnsKJS0-vWwH8
A beautiful collection of house and nu-jazz tracks.