Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Soul Mixtape's Review 2012 - PART ONE

Welcome to the first part of our Best of 2012 posts. This year, weve split our review into two; Part one will focus on picks from both current artists and my own picks with previews of some of our choices for you all to sample. Next week we will have the annual Top 10 LP's of the year for you to peruse, agree or disagree with, and maybe hunt down with some of those vouchers you got this holiday season!

So, without futher ado, lets introduce you to the artists who have kindly agreed to share their thought on 2012 musically.

Angela Johnson started out as part of the great Cooly's Hot Box before going solo with the awesome LP's They Do not Know (2002) and Got To Let It Go (2005) and A Woman's Touch Vol.1 (2008). Last year she released a great remix LP of some of her classic tunes. Similarly, Teri Tobin released a great debut LP Love Infinity (2011) and currently has So Good to me (2012) on release. Rhonda Thomas has been with us for a while now, from her debut EP Rhonda (1999), through various excellent LP's, a founding member of great Soulful Jazz group Jiva, to her current Xmas release Little Drummer Girl (2012).

Diggs Duke. Do we really have to fill you in on this dude? He's been all over the blog over the last year, and anyhow, we will be talking about him in detail next week. (Hint Hint) SoulPersona, producer/remixer/artist. Soulacoaster (2009) was an absolute corker of an LP, and this UK based artist has kept himself busy remixing and producing artists like Princess Freesia since. Sherry Davis is also UK based, one of our future bright stars who released this Omar produced corker this year, a definite entry in my tunes of the year list!

And finally, Mic Murphy and David Frank of the System. You dont know who these legend's are? Type "the system" in our search box at the top of the page and read up on our ARTISTS post and GREAT PRODUCERS post.

So lets get on with Question 1:

2012 has not been a bad year for Soul and Jazz music. Can you tell us about your pick for LP of the year?

To be honest I don't really listen to music from the present as most of the stuff in my collection is from the 70's and 80's! My mate Nick Van Gelder released a great album called "Groovitas" as did Princess Freesia with her self produced "The Rainbow Ride" which is a wonderful album.

Sherry Davis:
The best albums of the year for me have been Alex Clare, The Lateness of The Hour, Jessie Ware Devotion and my old fave Anthony Hamilton's Back to Love. I love the fact that Anthony stays true to his old school soul roots and I can't get enough of his smoky vocals. Jessie and Alex have broken a lot of ground in the UK Soul Scene and they are bringing in a Nu Soul Vibe which I find exciting.

Diggs Duke: I can say, without a doubt, that Hiatus Kaiyote's "Tawk Tomahawk" was my favorite album of the year. They were able to successfully translate all of their influences into a cohesive sound. I like almost every song on the album and the lead singer, Naipalm, has a great voice.

Teri Tobin:
It's tie for me. Robert Glasper - Black Radio and Frank Ocean - channel ORANGE

Mic Murphy (THE SYSTEM): Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again; Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dreams; The Weekend - House Of Balloons; Rihanna (my guilty pleasure!)

David Frank (THE SYSTEM): Not sure about album of the year but I really really like Eric Benet's Harriet Jones....I also like Wale/ Miguel. Lotus Flower and generally Frank Ocean. There are more but those come to mind.

Rhonda Thomas: Gregory Porter's "Be Good" is unapologetically jazz at a time when so many others are moving away from the genre. His live performance is refreshing and honest. I've seen him perform with a pianist, upright bass, drummer, sax and trombone and completely whoo the audience.

Angela Johnson:
That would be difficult for me. There's a lot of beautiful music out there that I haven't heard, but heard about. If I can give you honourable mentions...
I'm really digging Miguel's, "Kaleidoscope Dream". His style and his approach is nothing new, but something about it is refreshing. He's creating his own lane. Eric Roberson's, "Mister Nice Guy" and Anthony David's "Love Out Loud" are excellent LPs! They always put out quality music and continue to raise the bar.

Well, the Soul Mixtape will be announcing their choices for LP of the year next week, but lets give you a preview of one of the tunes on one of those LP's now...... an absolute corker that starts off in a jazzy rare groove steppers mode before coming with the Neo Soul.....

Question 2:

Of all the songs you've heard this year, which ones stand out as something special?

Soulpersona: I try not to think like that as I make so much music myself every day, so i'm pretty content... Plus as mentioned above my knowledge of modern day music knowledge is limited!

Sherry Davis: I absolutely love Never the Right Time by Cleo Sol. When I heard it I downloaded it immediately! It's so girly and attitude-ish! The perfect song to strut down the street to. I met her in a studio and was like, Omigod, I love your song! And then I ran over and sang it to her. Haha.

Diggs Duke: Bilal sings a David Bowie tune called "Letter to Hermione" on Robert Glasper's "Black Radio" album. It was a very special rendition. I think Bilal is as good as any singer in history.

Teri Tobin: Timothy Bloom feat V Bozeman, Emily King - Radio, Tonight - John Legend,
Mint Condition - Believe in us, Keyshia Cole - Trust and Believe, Leon Timbo - any he writes/sings.

Mic Murphy (THE SYSTEM): Feel So Close by Alex Clare ; I Wont Give Up by Jason Mraz; The James Bond Theme (SoulNRnB: Can you imagine The System doing a Bond Theme?!? WOW)

David Frank (THE SYSTEM): Wow what a question. I'm happy for whoever did the songs that I like. I'm not the jealous type....except from a number of Years ago..."One thing" by Amerie....how original was that...to my ears anyway.

Rhonda Thomas: Sy Smith's "Fast And Curious", Eric Roberson's "Male Ego", Anthony David's "Love Out Loud", Jesse Fischer's "Gotham Underground", and The Endangered's "Calling On You", Gregory Porter's "1960 What?".

Angela Johnson: Miguel's "Adorn", hands down!! I've love that track and I wished I had written and produced it. It's so slick!

So here's Angela's pick that I really dug too;

And here's another pick of mine, the Pharrell produced Frank Ocean monster:

Question 3:

Whose music has most influenced you and your work?

Soulpersona : There's no one artist that influences me, there's a whole load of them. Freddie Hubbard, Marvin Gaye, Roy Ayers, Patrice Rushen, Kleeer, The Salsoul Orchestra and many, many more... I'd have to give Jocelyn Brown a special mention though as she sang either lead or background vocals on many of the tracks back in the day that I love.

Sherry Davis: There are so many. Vocally I have to say Mariah. Other than that, it's Diana Ross, Jill Scott, Michael and Janet Jackson, D'Angelo...I could really bore you with the amount of influences I have. I love film music also and try to incorporate that into my sound. Classic Composers like Karl Jenkins, John Barry and Hans Zimmer are my heroes. Nowadays I'm getting into the 70's soul and funk too. Betty Davis, Isaac Hayes, Black Merda...am I boring you yet?

Diggs Duke: Duke Ellington is by far the biggest influence on my music. He paid great attention to detail when arranging his music. There was never any fluff.

Teri Tobin: I have an eclectic taste in music and artists that inspired and influenced me along the way. Donny Hathaway is always at the top of my list. Marvin. Prince. Luther. Stevie.

David Frank (THE SYSTEM): Earth wind and fire.average white band. Stevie wonder.james brown.arif mardin as producer.Prince barry white.Omar.dr dre productions. Kashif productions.Traffic.the band.Aretha franklin. Glad knight and the pips.Rollercoaster by.....forgot the bands name..forgive me.(Editor: Ohio players?) other funk bands of that era.Chaka khan.many jacksons and michael jackson songs.Timberland productions with jimmy douglas 'engineering'And so many more. Currently datsik bassnectar excision zedd and other dubstep. Kuk hurrell vocal production...so much more

Mic Murphy (THE SYSTEM):
Music Of My Mind Stevie Wonder / David Bowie Young American / Curtis Mayfield anything Curtom Records (Baby Huey and The Baby Sitters featuring Chaka Khan, bet you don't know that one!) and /The Gap Band Magicians Holiday Album on Leon Russels Shelter Records / Mothers Finest / Mandre / (don't get me started hahaha) Sylvester & the Hot Licks / Buddy Miles "Them Changes" still kills me

Rhonda Thomas: Al Jarreau's vocal stylings are almost visual. He dances with his voice. I love vocal acrobatics and use a lot of percussive/scat elements when I sing.

Angela Johnson: Quite a few artists come to mind that have influenced me in different stages of my life and career. The artist that stands out most would be Michael Jackson. All around, his dedication to his art and his commitment to music was incomparable!

Well, if were talking influences, then the Isley Brothers have a special place in my love for music. So, as its Xmas, lets hear an Isley Brothers Christmas tune, one of my favorites, thats gone way under the radar.

 Question 4:

Were all about new talent too at the Soul Mixtape, so can you give us a heads up on who we should be keeping an ear open for musically?

Soulpersona: There's a keys player called Carl Hudson that's putting out an instrumental jazz/funk/soul album on my label Digisoul next year. It's one of the best albums i've ever heard.

Sherry Davis: My new EP is out in the new year, so look out for that! I would also say keep an eye out for Daley, who is currently blowing up with his new single Remember Me feat. Jessie J. He's an amazing artist and is incredibly flawless live. I would deffo encourage soul/funk/r&b lovers to get out to the local soul nights, there's an insane amount of talent out there that doesn't always get to radio.

Diggs Duke: There are too many and I don't want to single any of them out right now. I'm always talking about other people's music on Twitter, and I have a very extensive playlist of music from all over the world, modern and classic, on my YouTube channel. (http://www.youtube.com/diggsduke)

Teri Tobin: Leon Timbo, Cleveland Jones, Morris Alan, V. Bozeman, King

Mic Murphy (THE SYSTEM): Blood Orange, Andre Cymone's return.

Rhonda Thomas: Bashiri Asad, Jon Bibbs, The Endangered, and Chantae Cann

Angela Johnson: Unfortunately, I've been out of pocket with all the new talent coming out. I have to do some catching up. When I do find new talent, I'm sometimes the last to know...LOL... I'm in the studio day in, day out, working on my new material. (SoulNRnB: You can remedy that! I recommend you download a few Street Sound mixes Angela! Your one stop shop for new talent!)

New Talent Eh? How about this great tune from Kameron Korvet that sounds like 90's Toni Toni Tone mixed with Chucki Booker/Troop? The lyrics are naughty in a way that Brian McKnight's cringeworthy "ifyouready2learn" could only hope to emulate...
Or this brilliant version of Aaliyah's "More than a woman" from slept on Mark De-Clive Lowe and Nia Andrews, talent in abundance...

 Question 5:

Finally, what does 2013 hold in store for us with regards to you? Is there any new music or live shows forthcoming?

Soulpersona: No shows at present, but i've got a new album coming in January 2013 called "Soulperfreesia" it's another collaboration with my favorite artist to work with Princess Freesia. There will be another Soulpersona album in the Spring, and i'll also be finishing off a raregroove album i'm producing for Jocelyn Brown. All will be available from my label www.digisoulmusic.com

Sherry Davis:
My next show is on 22nd December at XOYO and I'm really really really excited about my new EP which is out in early 2013, so keep your eyes peeled for the release date : )

Diggs Duke: I'm going to be playing live a bunch. There is a show scheduled at Drom in New York City on February 10, 2013. I'm very excited about it because I know some excellent musicians up there and it will surely be an awesome performance. I will be putting my debut LP out on a prestigious European indie label next year, as well. Lastly, I'm working on forming an orchestra to play my music and the music of some of my more talented peers. I have a lot to look forward to right now. Check out http://diggsduke.bandcamp.com/

Teri Tobin: Currently I'm working on an EP that is untitled, but we hope to have that released in the latter part of the 1st Quarter (2013). We are also looking to bring the live show abroad and especially to the UK! The fans and radio have been so supportive since the release of my first full-length project. Also on my wishlist is....Brazil....South Africa. So be on the look out for those announcements. The best place to stay connected to be kept abreast of tours, releases, etc is http://facebook.com/teritobin .

Mic Murphy (THE SYSTEM): New System Album "System Overload" will drop in January and then we are looking forward to taking it to the stage. ( Editor: you can find details on Mic and David's SYSTEM FAN PAGE here http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-System-Fan-Page/165063106875907 )

David Frank (THE SYSTEM): As above, The new system album will be out and we intend on touring. more details soon.

Rhonda Thomas: I'm excited to announce the release of my Christmas CD "Little Drummer Girl". My duet with Eric Roberson on the song "Mistletoe" is one of the highlights of the CD. One of my other favorite's is a duet with Alex Lattimore "Baby It's Cold Outside". I can't wait for you to hear it. My CD release concert is 12/21/12 at SW Arts Center in Atlanta. You can hear the music at www.rhondasings.com.

Angela Johnson: I'm cranking out another solo project in 2013 which I'm really excited about! I've also been putting ideas together for a children's record. Lately, I've been working with a 11yr old singer from Brooklyn and it's been an incredible experience. I'm still growing in this game and it feels good to know that I haven't peaked yet! :) (SoulNRnB: Check out Angela's Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/angelajohnson.music?ref=ts&fref=ts )

And that's it. Just a little more space to highlight a couple more tunes to check out.

Slow jam of last year, for me, was Daley featuring Marsha Ambrosius "Alone Together", this year its this: Tweet.
And Conya Doss made a return with this great song

 And Finally, this great remix of Jose James "Its all over your Body";

There are so many more great tunes released this year. Check out our street sounds sessions mixes to find out what was hot in 2012. A BIG THANK YOU to the contributing artists for thier selections, we hope they made interesting reading and maybe pointed you in a direction of a tune or two.

As previously mentioned, Best LP's of the year next week, and to get you in the mood heres the last couple of years choices in one handy package. Download, enjoy, and see you back here next week for this years picks!

Top 10 LP's of 2010 and 2011.rar

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