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Jazz - Released September 20, 2019 | Verve

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Jazz - Released September 20, 2019 | Verve

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Jazz - Released August 2, 2019 | Verve

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Coming off his expansive, Grammy-nominated 2018 studio album Hollywood Africans, Jon Batiste offers the more intimate and swinging Anatomy of Angels: Live at the Village Vanguard. Recorded live in 2018 during Batiste's residency at the storied NYC-venue, Anatomy of Angels finds the pianist displaying his fluid jazz chops alongside his longtime Stay Human bandmates bassist Philip Kuehn and drummer Joe Saylor. As the high-profile bandleader on Late Night with Stephen Colbert, Batiste has often showcased his eclectic funk, R&B, and even pop influences. Here, he shifts to a more traditional jazz sound that evokes his deep New Orleans roots and passion for the music of innovative bebop pianist Thelonious Monk. The opening trio original, "Creative," in particular evinces Monk as Batiste kicks the song off with an angular, rhythmically dynamic intro before settling into a jaunty, mid-tempo groove. Similarly engaging is his rambling "Dusk Train to Doha," in which he launches into a cascading rubato intro before settling into the song's slow-burning and bluesy midsection. Batiste also brings along a series of guests including Lake Street Dive singer Rachael Price, who pairs with the pianist for a dusky, urbane reading of Ray Noble's "The Very Thought of You." Later, he expands his trio to an octet with trumpeters Giveton Gelin and Jon Lampley, as well as saxophonists Patrick Bartley and Tivon Pennicott, for a dynamically robust ensemble performance of Monk's classic "Round Midnight." The same group also sticks around for a lively version of Batiste's own modal-tinged title track. While Batiste has long been recognized for his charisma and cross-pollinated sound, with Anatomy of Angels he spotlights his richly textured jazz chops. ~ Matt Collar
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Jazz - Released July 12, 2019 | Verve

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Vocal Jazz - Released June 21, 2019 | Verve

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50 years after his beginnings with Earth, Wind & Fire, and 17 years after the release of his last solo album Soul on Jazz, Philip Bailey continues to enthrall, and proves that he is one of the great voices of R&B and soul of the twentieth century. To create this album, the singer surrounded himself with the biggest talents from the world of jazz including Chick Corea, Robert Glasper and Kamasi Washington, but Tina Weymouth and will.i.am also join the party. The sound sometimes flirts with jazz à la Dave Koz (on Sacred Sounds and Love Will Find A Way, in which the saxophone takes on an important role). However, priority has been given to the accessibility of the music. On the other tracks, the balance shifts in favor of a more modern sound: Stairway to The Stars combines Christian Scott’s trumpet with afro rhythms; Brooklyn Blues (nothing to do with the Barry Manilow track) opens with a kalimba that acts as a calm before the storm, a watermark for the cyclical piano phrases that follow it. Then there is the cover of Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads in which Bailey narrates akin to Gil Scot Heron with a classic jazz combo background. Love Will Find A Way is also a celebration of the history of black music and a way of revisiting its rich heritage of jazz, blues, Motown and R&B through politically charged covers. At a time when racial tensions and divisions of all kinds shake America, his message of love is also one of hope. A sensual album that remains subtle and brings back the music of the past to serve his vision. © Alexis Renaudat/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released May 31, 2019 | Verve

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Pop - Released May 3, 2019 | Verve

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Pop - Released May 3, 2019 | Verve

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Not to be mistaken for a club-oriented project from Grammy-nominated R&B stalwart Durrell "Tank" Babbs, Tank and the Bangas are a wholly collaborative band fronted by the like-nicknamed Tarriona Ball, a poet, singer, and rapper of many, many voices. Ball and the versatile core four instrumentalists have been around since 2011, when they began to build a following in their native New Orleans with a thrilling live show. After six years of activity documented on several live releases and the studio album Think Tank, the band saw their audience multiply instantly when they won NPR's Tiny Desk Contest. The obvious appeal across slightly overlapping demographics -- R&B lovers yearning for bands that aren't museum acts, performing arts students, people who didn't know until October 29, 2014, that T-Pain can sing, and so forth -- led to a deal with Verve Forecast. Two live EPs and a much larger studio recording budget later, the band truly arrive with Green Balloon. For Tank and the Bangas, the title symbolizes wealth, weed, inexperience, and celebration all at once. Ball indulges in some joyously materialistic wordplay but elsewhere alludes to money as a necessity for survival. She sings often of getting high while also feeling guilt about it. As she tries to keep it together, she feels overstimulated, loses track of time and belongings, and achieves blissful escape until a sense of inertia takes over. There's some heartache, too -- most moving of all on "Colors Change," a metaphor-laced reproach of an ungratified lover. No matter how high or low Ball gets, the Bangas keep it vibrant, interacting with the kind of range and fluidity possible only through years of playing together. Never locked in one groove, the players evidently value all eras of jazz, R&B, and hip-hop. Lined up with Mark Batson, Robert Glasper, Jack Splash, and even Zaytoven separately producing or co-produced the majority of the songs, Tank and the Bangas are still involved with all aspects of the recording process and sound every bit like the band that made Think Tank. In particular, "Mr. Lion" -- all strings, piano, Ball, and background harmonies, like something Pharrell Williams intended for the end of a N.E.R.D album until realizing that it requires a powerhouse singer -- indicates that they don't need the help. ~ Andy Kellman
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Jazz - Released April 19, 2019 | Verve

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Pop - Released March 29, 2019 | Verve

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Pop - Released March 1, 2019 | Verve

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Pop - Released February 15, 2019 | Verve

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Pop - Released February 15, 2019 | Verve

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Jazz - Released December 7, 2018 | Verve

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Jazz - Released November 23, 2018 | Verve

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Jazz - Released November 16, 2018 | Verve

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
"This version of SGT PEPPER'S treats the Beatles' originals like colorful clothes worn by today’s most electrifying jazz musicians, who give these old chestnuts a new body and vitality."
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Jazz - Released November 16, 2018 | Verve

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Jazz - Released November 16, 2018 | Verve

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Jazz - Released November 9, 2018 | Verve

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Jazz - Released November 2, 2018 | Verve

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