When I reflect on the past year in music, I find myself in many ways echoing the sentiments of recently discontinued blog Chromewaves. Frank Yang’s (blogo)eulogy strikes a chord in its expression of frustration with today’s musical climate. It’s discouraging as a music blogger to encounter such a rapid pace- a race to the newest face, the freshest sound. What’s even worse is many artists are discarded as quickly as they are praised, and while their faces are recyclable, more often than not so is their sound. I believe in the artists I post about, and I am invested in their artistic journey and sound. But what’s the X factor? It’s when an artist exudes creative genuineness and musical chops. NYC based musician and composer Rachel Brotman does just that with her New York/New Orleans soulful Jazz. She builds upon the traditions of two historically unique and inventive music cultures while incorporating modern minutiae. Improvisation interspersed with cunningly crafted lyrics meanders along a fine line between poetic and cotidian, breaching the farce that there is a wall between the artist and the audience and connecting sophisticated music with fans of other genres. Brotman has had a big year, with 2013 seeing the release of the stunning Anecdote EP, and she’s still not phoning in. Instead she and the band have been keeping incredibly busy- check out a remix of Clever recorded at Converse Rubber Tracks below: Also for current fans and new inductees, here’s a tasty morsel- Seasons, recorded on the rooftop at [The End] studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in collaboration with Revive Music. It’s like peering through the looking glass, an insight into the vocal delivery Brotman so eloquently embodies. Watching her is a necessary component for Jazz and Soul. It is truly an artform meant to be live, and the added component of her complete indulgence in the music is invigorating (and romantic).
Speaking of the need for this music to be performed live, you fortunate souls have a chance to end the year with an immersive experience in the world of one woman’s Neo-Soul/Jazz creation- playing at The Blue Note (131 West 3rd St) on Saturday (Dec. 21st) at midnight (get your tickets here).