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Ezra Collective|Where I'm Meant To Be

Where I'm Meant To Be

Ezra Collective

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Ezra Collective won well-deserved critical and commercial acclaim for 2019's You Can't Steal My Joy, a raucous debut long-player laced with elements of Afrobeat, jazz, hip-hop, and grime. However, before they could take it on tour globally, the COVID-19 pandemic set in. They introduce the same musical chemistry on Where I'm Meant to Be and still employ massive doses of jazz-funk layered inside swinging Afrobeat, salsa, grime, and soul.
On "Life Goes On" (featuring Sampa the Great), party sounds meet James Mollison's honking tenor sax, Femi Koleoso's funky beats, and Sampa's rapid-fire delivery as T.J. Koleoso's insistent bassline and Ife Ogunjobi's trumpet solo above Joe Armon-Jones' organ and piano vamps before massive funk arrives with a trumpet solo to carry it out. "Victory Dance" commences as a triple-timed drum and percussion orgy atop shouted human voices. Afro-Cuban-styled horns and hand percussion bump and burn before the horns usher in an Afro-Cuban theme. Armon-Jones enters, then takes off with rapid montunos as the tune moves to intense salsa with soaring trumpet. They don't let up when Kojey Radical fronts the band on the single "No Confusion." Anchored by T.J.'s circular funk bassline, the horns pulse in driving Afrobeat style above Femi's breaking snares and hi-hat while Armon-Jones lays down sinister chord voicings, adding to the rhythm section's heft as Radical syncopates his incendiary delivery. "Welcome to My World" is all groove and grit as post-bop and Afrobeat horns meet dubwise rhythms in a strutting frenzy. "Ego Killah" is strictly dubwise steaminess with double-time bass and piano vamps; interlocking drums and percussion rub against and buoy one another. That track is followed by the R&B-centric "Smile" led by Armon-Jones' crystalline jazz piano harmonies supported by a rhythm section playing smooth, gentle, neo-'80s soul. "Live Strong" inserts grooving '70s-styled funk into shimmering contemporary jazz piano and swinging horns. Emeli Sande assists on the livelier sounding "Siesta," offering her heavenly yet assertive soprano atop Rhodes piano, congas, bongos, and bass. "Belonging" arrives as interstellar space jazz with glorious soloing from Mollison and martial snare from Koleoso. Armon-Jones opens a harmonic door in the bridge as the tune begins to assert itself, wedding spacious spiritual jazz to driving neo-electro and funk. His knotty acoustic piano solos with both Koleosos in trio. The set closes with a reading of Sun Ra's "Love in Outer Space" as a finger-popping, smooth, jazzy, neo-soul jam with Nao (Neo Jessica Jones) emoting in her wispy, reedy soprano as T.J. Koleoso guides her with a slippery, resonant bassline framed by ascendant horns and spectral keys. While Where I'm Meant to Be is a logical follow-up to Ezra Collective's debut, it's a soulful, musically advanced, rhythmically infectious one, too.

© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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Where I'm Meant To Be

Ezra Collective

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1
Life Goes On (feat. Sampa the Great)
00:03:23

Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Composer - Eric Lau, MixingEngineer - Riccardo Damian, Producer - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Ezra Collective, Producer, MainArtist - S.Tembo, Composer - T.Koleoso, Composer - O.Koleoso, Composer - J.Mollison, Composer - J.Armon-Jones, Composer - I.Ogunjobi, Composer

2022 Partisan Records 2022 Partisan Records

2
Victory Dance
00:04:55

Eric Lau, MixingEngineer - Riccardo Damian, Producer - Ezra Collective, Producer, MainArtist - T.Koleoso, Composer - O.Koleoso, Composer - J.Mollison, Composer - J.Armon-Jones, Composer - I.Ogunjobi, Composer

2022 Partisan Records 2022 Partisan Records

3
No Confusion (feat. Kojey Radical)
00:03:14

Eric Lau, MixingEngineer - Riccardo Damian, Producer - Kojey Radical, MainArtist - Kwadwo Adu Genfi Amponsah, Composer - Ezra Collective, Producer, MainArtist - T.Koleoso, Composer - O.Koleoso, Composer - J.Mollison, Composer - J.Armon-Jones, Composer - I.Ogunjobi, Composer

2022 Partisan Records 2022 Partisan Records

4
Welcome To My World
00:07:14

Eric Lau, MixingEngineer - Riccardo Damian, Producer - Ezra Collective, Producer, MainArtist - T.Koleoso, Composer - O.Koleoso, Composer - J.Mollison, Composer - J.Armon-Jones, Composer - I.Ogunjobi, Composer

2022 Partisan Records 2022 Partisan Records

5
Togetherness
00:04:34

Eric Lau, MixingEngineer - Riccardo Damian, Producer - Ezra Collective, Producer, MainArtist - T.Koleoso, Composer - O.Koleoso, Composer - J.Mollison, Composer - J.Armon-Jones, Composer - I.Ogunjobi, Composer

2022 Partisan Records 2022 Partisan Records

6
Ego Killah
00:05:55

Eric Lau, MixingEngineer - Riccardo Damian, Producer - Ezra Collective, Producer, MainArtist - T.Koleoso, Composer - O.Koleoso, Composer - J.Mollison, Composer - J.Armon-Jones, Composer - I.Ogunjobi, Composer

2022 Partisan Records 2022 Partisan Records

7
Smile
00:05:03

Charles Chaplin, Composer - John Turner, Composer - Geoffrey Parsons, Composer - Eric Lau, MixingEngineer - Riccardo Damian, Producer - Ezra Collective, Producer, MainArtist

2022 Partisan Records 2022 Partisan Records

8
Live Strong
00:07:36

Eric Lau, MixingEngineer - Riccardo Damian, Producer - Ezra Collective, Producer, MainArtist - T.Koleoso, Composer - O.Koleoso, Composer - J.Mollison, Composer - J.Armon-Jones, Composer - I.Ogunjobi, Composer

2022 Partisan Records 2022 Partisan Records

9
Siesta (feat. Emeli Sandé)
00:05:48

Emeli Sande, Composer, MainArtist - Eric Lau, MixingEngineer - Siesta, SoundEngineer - Riccardo Damian, Producer - Ezra Collective, Producer, MainArtist - T.Koleoso, Composer - O.Koleoso, Composer - J.Mollison, Composer - J.Armon-Jones, Composer - I.Ogunjobi, Composer - Ezra Collective & Riccardo Damian, Producer

2022 Partisan Records 2022 Partisan Records

10
Words by Steve
00:01:48

Eric Lau, MixingEngineer - Steve McQueen, Composer - Riccardo Damian, Producer - Ezra Collective, Producer, MainArtist - O.Koleoso, Composer

2022 Partisan Records 2022 Partisan Records

11
Belonging
00:05:57

Eric Lau, MixingEngineer - Riccardo Damian, Producer - Ezra Collective, Producer, MainArtist - T.Koleoso, Composer - O.Koleoso, Composer - J.Mollison, Composer - J.Armon-Jones, Composer - I.Ogunjobi, Composer

2022 Partisan Records 2022 Partisan Records

12
Never the Same Again
00:06:42

Eric Lau, MixingEngineer - Riccardo Damian, Producer - Ezra Collective, Producer, MainArtist - T.Koleoso, Composer - O.Koleoso, Composer - J.Mollison, Composer - J.Armon-Jones, Composer - I.Ogunjobi, Composer

2022 Partisan Records 2022 Partisan Records

13
Words by TJ
00:00:38

Eric Lau, MixingEngineer - Riccardo Damian, Producer - Ezra Collective, Producer, MainArtist - T.Koleoso, Composer

2022 Partisan Records 2022 Partisan Records

14
Love In Outer Space (feat. Nao)
00:05:41

Sun Ra, Composer - Eric Lau, MixingEngineer - Nao, MainArtist - Riccardo Damian, Producer - Ezra Collective, Producer, MainArtist - Tris Ellis, SoundEngineer - Ezra Collective & Riccardo Damian, Producer

2022 Partisan Records 2022 Partisan Records

Album review

Ezra Collective won well-deserved critical and commercial acclaim for 2019's You Can't Steal My Joy, a raucous debut long-player laced with elements of Afrobeat, jazz, hip-hop, and grime. However, before they could take it on tour globally, the COVID-19 pandemic set in. They introduce the same musical chemistry on Where I'm Meant to Be and still employ massive doses of jazz-funk layered inside swinging Afrobeat, salsa, grime, and soul.
On "Life Goes On" (featuring Sampa the Great), party sounds meet James Mollison's honking tenor sax, Femi Koleoso's funky beats, and Sampa's rapid-fire delivery as T.J. Koleoso's insistent bassline and Ife Ogunjobi's trumpet solo above Joe Armon-Jones' organ and piano vamps before massive funk arrives with a trumpet solo to carry it out. "Victory Dance" commences as a triple-timed drum and percussion orgy atop shouted human voices. Afro-Cuban-styled horns and hand percussion bump and burn before the horns usher in an Afro-Cuban theme. Armon-Jones enters, then takes off with rapid montunos as the tune moves to intense salsa with soaring trumpet. They don't let up when Kojey Radical fronts the band on the single "No Confusion." Anchored by T.J.'s circular funk bassline, the horns pulse in driving Afrobeat style above Femi's breaking snares and hi-hat while Armon-Jones lays down sinister chord voicings, adding to the rhythm section's heft as Radical syncopates his incendiary delivery. "Welcome to My World" is all groove and grit as post-bop and Afrobeat horns meet dubwise rhythms in a strutting frenzy. "Ego Killah" is strictly dubwise steaminess with double-time bass and piano vamps; interlocking drums and percussion rub against and buoy one another. That track is followed by the R&B-centric "Smile" led by Armon-Jones' crystalline jazz piano harmonies supported by a rhythm section playing smooth, gentle, neo-'80s soul. "Live Strong" inserts grooving '70s-styled funk into shimmering contemporary jazz piano and swinging horns. Emeli Sande assists on the livelier sounding "Siesta," offering her heavenly yet assertive soprano atop Rhodes piano, congas, bongos, and bass. "Belonging" arrives as interstellar space jazz with glorious soloing from Mollison and martial snare from Koleoso. Armon-Jones opens a harmonic door in the bridge as the tune begins to assert itself, wedding spacious spiritual jazz to driving neo-electro and funk. His knotty acoustic piano solos with both Koleosos in trio. The set closes with a reading of Sun Ra's "Love in Outer Space" as a finger-popping, smooth, jazzy, neo-soul jam with Nao (Neo Jessica Jones) emoting in her wispy, reedy soprano as T.J. Koleoso guides her with a slippery, resonant bassline framed by ascendant horns and spectral keys. While Where I'm Meant to Be is a logical follow-up to Ezra Collective's debut, it's a soulful, musically advanced, rhythmically infectious one, too.

© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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