Self-described as “post-jazz hip hop,” MODAL (name inspired by modal jazz) is grounded by a trio of piano, bass & drums, whose natural chemistry in kicking out driving, upbeat grooves nicely complements Pojo the Idealist’s soulful, positive & conscious vocals and the occasional trumpet solo from Samuel Howden. The live energy of their shows comes across well in these recordings, showcasing the musicians’ natural interplay & jammy nature.
BBNG made waves with their jazz covers of hip hop instrumentals from Nas to Earl Sweatshirt to Kanye & more on their first 2 albums, and with this, their 3rd full-length release, they integrate their influences into all original compositions. The trio of drummer, bassist, & electric keys makes for a powerful core of highly skilled musicians that have been, and continue to work together exceedingly well. Each piece on this LP is produced pristinely & performed tightly, cemented by the group’s ability to just f’n GROOVE man.
By playing all of the instruments on his productions, while also relying heavily on sampling and chopping up his live takes, Taylor McFerrin has found a sound that seamlessly bridges myriad musical worlds and draws the listener into a constantly shifting audio soundscape. Early Riser is an amalgamation of live elements, synths, jazz chord progressions, ethereal vocals and electronic edits combined to truly sublime effect. Each tune steadily progresses into new territory as McFerrin weaves a vast multitude of sounds and melodies in and out, making for an exquisitely detailed & nuanced journey for the listener. The collaborative tracks are definitely the highlights, especially with the nerdgasm-inducing combination of Robert Glasper, Thundercat & Marcus Gilmore on Already There (trk7), or Invisible/Visible(trk11), featuring vocals of Taylor’s proud poppy Bobby McFerrin of ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ notoriety.