As we get used to writing that new 4-digit number (a number which dictates a flash mob of folk eating healthily and jogging for 3 weeks before returning to their usual fatty-selves) Moonshake is going to be foreboding the musical year ahead every week this month starting with …JAZZ.
Why? Jazz has been making its way closer to the edges of mainstream music throughout 2015, the genre is seeing a resurrection which is forward-thinking, rather than Gatsby-styled nostaligia. Take one of the biggest albums of 2015 – Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. The 1 hour 20 minute running time saw Lamar slalom his sharp rap-melodies through fiery sax and flute flourishes, most predominantly on the interlude ‘For Free?’.
So why does this mean 2016 is going to get all plush red velvet and smokey back rooms?
Kendrick’s influence on 2015 was HUGE and is bound to start seeping through after a year nestled into the finest musical psyches, including Kanye West who returned to the drawing board after hearing To Pimp A Butterfly. Of course, Kendrick is the leader and clearly has a a genuine love for a variety of music, but some of the real masters of TPAB were musicians Kamasi Washington and Thundercat, who have received significant praise and a boost in popularity in recent months on their own terms.
Listen to this jazzy medley of TPAB live:
Kamasi Washington released The Epic last year, a three-hour jazz adventure which is one hell of a listen. Washington embarked on his first world-tour last year, up until that point his music only had him circling the West Coast a few times – now demand is ringing from elsewhere. Check out the album opening ‘Changing of the Guard’ here.
The year in music is really kicks off with Bowie’s comeback Blackstar, which is set to be an intense jazz-nugget, a muscle which he flexed on newbie ‘Sue (or in a Season of Crime)’. This sees Bowie going full circle (with the rest of pop-culture just behind him too) back to his Brixton bedroom where he used to toot along to the likes of Charlie Mingus on his saxophone.
The 1975 are also returning with their minds set on some sort of world-pop-domination. The new LP where every aspect is of considerable length from the title (I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It) to the 73:55 minute running time. The band have been previewing new songs on the road, one of which is closed by a sweeping sax-solo – now we’re talking about jazz rattling pop’s cage!
This awakening could rejuvenate the jazz scene and the mainstream, it seems to be everywhere, even whilst listening to the radio as this is written Field Music’s jazz and sax-tinged ‘The Noisy Days Are Over’ crept over the speakers. You heard it here first man! Jazz! Taylor Swift: A Jazz Odyssey?
Check out the latest Moonshake podcast here, and come back next week for Moonshake Episode VIII, album reviews and 2016 Prophesied part 2.