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Africa - Released June 18, 2021 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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French Music - Released June 18, 2021 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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French Music - Released June 18, 2021 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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Africa - Released June 18, 2021 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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Africa - Released May 14, 2021 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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Africa - Released May 14, 2021 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

London's prolific hip-hop jazzmen Blue Lab Beats (more than three dozen releases since 2016) delivered the killer digital mix outing The Sounds of Afrotronica in collaboration with Kaidi Akinnibi during the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2021. They also wowed listeners in late 2020 with their commissioned cover/remix of Bobby Hutcherson's killer "Montara" on the smoking Blue Note Re:Imagined comp. The five-track We Will Rise EP marks their own debut entry on Blue Note's storied artist roster. When the Black Lives Matter protests took over America's streets during the summer of 2020, Blue Lab Beats responded to the violent images they saw on television by creating this healing balm for their brothers and sisters. In just over 16 minutes, producer NK-OK (Namali Kwaten) and multi-instrumentalist Mr DM (David Mrakpor) offer hope and inspiration to accompany the struggle against systemic racism and police violence on both sides of the Atlantic. Opening track "Blow You Away (Delilah)" was cut in collaboration with Ghanian rapper and soul singer Ghetto Boy (with whom they appeared on "Fired Up" on Angelique Kidjo's brilliant Mother Nature album, which was released on the same day as this album). Amid slippery highlife guitars, jazzy horns, and a roiling drum kit, they glue together boom-bap grooves and jazz-funk hooks. "Nights in Havana" finds them teaming with session guitarist Alex Blake in a slippery, Latin-tinged house groover, layered with their guest's Grant Green-inspired multi-octave six-string lines, NK-OK's shuffling four-on-the-floor snare and tom-tom vamp, and Mr DM's funky bassline, underscored by wafting synth and bumping Rhodes piano. The title track features funky alto saxophonist Braxton Cook, whose virtuosic solo elevates this 21st century soul jazz instrumental. It's equally suitable for slipping across the club floor or cruising down a city street with the volume on stun. If the late Grover Washington, Jr. started making music now, it might sound something like this. After a brief and slinky instrumental interlude, the set closes with the humid, sensual "Tempting (Dance 2)." It features vocals from co-writers Kojey Radical and DTSOUL. Mr DM's breezy keyboards and guitars pair elegantly with NK-OK's punchy yet in-the-pocket snare and hi-hat breaks, while their collaborators layer and stitch raps and sung lines right into the vamps. We Will Rise lives up to every expectation Blue Lab Beats have inspired. The only downside is that this is an EP, not an album. Let's hope one arrives soon. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Africa - Released March 26, 2021 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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Africa - Released March 26, 2021 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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French Music - Released March 5, 2021 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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Africa - Released March 5, 2021 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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Africa - Released March 5, 2021 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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World - Released October 9, 2020 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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World - Released October 9, 2020 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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French Music - Released June 26, 2020 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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World - Released May 4, 2020 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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World - Released May 4, 2020 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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World - Released October 18, 2019 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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World - Released October 18, 2019 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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World - Released September 20, 2019 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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World - Released September 20, 2019 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France