Black History Month Listening Project (Fourth Annual)

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baystateoftheart
Neil Young as a butternut squash



Age: 26
Location: Massachusetts
United States

  • #21
  • Posted: 02/23/2021 05:03
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Here's what I heard during week 3 (February 15-21). Albums I've heard in full before = *

Great

Point Of Departure - Andrew Hill*
Free For All - Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers*
Our Man In Paris - Dexter Gordon*
Little Dominiques Nosebleed - The Koreatown Oddity
The G.A.T. (Gospel According To...) - Mach-Hommy
Center Of Attention - Pete Rock & InI
Big Fish Theory - Vince Staples*

Quite Good

Paraffin - Armand Hammer*
Shrines - Armand Hammer [x2]
Poor Man Style - Barrington Levy*
Burden Of Proof - Benny The Butcher
Tana Talk 3 - Benny The Butcher*
10 Day - Chance The Rapper*
Black, Brown And Beige - Duke Ellington And His Orchestra Featuring Mahalia Jackson
Power To The People - Joe Henderson
Dogon A.D. - Julius Hemphill
808s & Heartbreak - Kanye West*
Blood - Lianne La Havas*
Da Capo - Love*
Brass - Moor Mother & Billy Woods
The Soul Album - Otis Redding*
Konnichiwa - Skepta*
Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium - The Underachievers*

Pretty Good

Playboi Carti - Playboi Carti*
Organix - The Roots*
Lese Majesty - Shabazz Palaces*

~~~~~

Verdict: the best three albums I discovered this week were...

GOLD


The G.A.T. (The Gospel According To...) by Mach-Hommy

baystateoftheart in canon game wrote:
Well I finally had to bite the bullet and download [censored] to hear this, as there's only a single legal physical copy of it and no legal digital version. Great, compact album with jazzy production and some serious bars from Mach-Hommy. The first track is iffy, but the rest is heat (although I wouldn't pay $3000 for it). It may be conscious hip-hop, but it's still hard as bricks. I've enjoyed his features, but this is my first time listening to one of his projects. I expect I'll seek out more in the future.


SILVER


Little Dominiques Nosebleed by The Koreatown Oddity

My first time checking out The Koreatown Oddity, and I am charmed by the wit and emotional depth of his writing here. The beats and his technique are both strong, but the biggest strengths of this record are the autobiographical concept and the songs written in its service. The best way to improve the album would be leaning into that concept harder, as there are a bunch of songs that don't integrate into it and those tend to be the weaker ones.

BRONZE


Center Of Attention by Pete Rock / InI

baystateoftheart in canon game wrote:
The obvious place to start this review is by gushing about the beats. They're great - prime Pete Rock, and smooth as butter. They set the tone for this album. The obvious thing to say next is that the rapping is rather pedestrian throughout much of the album. None of the members of InI have gone on to successful solo careers. But the thing is, the rapping here is almost always average in a smooth way that fits and accentuates the beats, instead of detracting from them. And there are some genuinely strong verses here and there. Center Of Attention alternates between good and great, but enough of its 68 minutes are great to earn the record a 4/5.

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baystateoftheart
Neil Young as a butternut squash



Age: 26
Location: Massachusetts
United States

  • #22
  • Posted: 02/23/2021 05:18
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And reporting back on the recs I heard last week:


Dogon A.D. by Julius Hemphill

Rec from: Streams
Thoughts: Really enjoyed this one. It hits a sweet spot for free jazz, with plenty of energy but just enough to hold onto if that makes sense. And there's instrumentation that goes beyond the typical jazz combo, which is almost always a plus for me. Can see it being a grower.


Black, Brown And Beige (1958) by Duke E...ia Jackson\

Rec from: Fischman
Thoughts: This was very good as well. I have only good things to say about the composition and performance, even though it's not exactly in my aesthetic wheelhouse. I would have liked there to be more Mahalia on the album though - the vocal tracks are my favorites here.


Power To The People by Joe Henderson

Rec from: Fischman
Thoughts: Three for three on the recs for the week, and this might be my favorite. The three songs in which Herbie Hancock plays electric piano are great. The others are quite nice too, but feel less essential and dynamic.
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baystateoftheart
Neil Young as a butternut squash



Age: 26
Location: Massachusetts
United States

  • #23
  • Posted: 03/02/2021 00:52
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Here's what I heard during week 4 (February 22-28). Albums I've heard in full before = *

Great

Kaya - Bob Marley & The Wailers*
Dialogue - Bobby Hutcherson*
Afro-Cuban - Kenny Dorham*
Philip Cohran And The Artistic Heritage Ensemble - Philip Cohran And The Artistic Heritage Ensemble
Jeffery - Young Thug*

Quite Good

Blazing Arrow - Blackalicious*
The Queen Alone - Carla Thomas*
Pilot Talk II - Curren$y*
Let My People Go - Darondo*
Blackheart - Dawn Richard*
The State Vs. Radric Davis - Gucci Mane*
On Top - The Heptones*
Heaux Tales (EP) - Jazmine Sullivan
Black Reign - Queen Latifah*
Vergangenheitsbewältigung (Crater Speak) (EP) - Slauson Malone
FM! - Vince Staples*

Pretty Good

I Am... Sasha Fierce - Beyoncé*
Visions Of Bodies Being Burned - Clipping.
City On My Back - Rio Da Yung OG

Okay

Uprising - Miles Mosley

~~~~~

Verdict: the best album I discovered this week was...

GOLD


Philip Cohran And The Artistic Heritage...e Ensemble

This is a great rec from travelful. Really expressive playing by the whole ensemble on a wide variety of instruments, even some good vocals, and enough avant-garde edge to keep me on my toes. Exactly what I'm looking for in spiritual jazz, and instantly enters my top 20 for 1967.

(I didn't listen to any other 4/5+ albums for the first time this week, so no silver and bronze.)
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baystateoftheart
Neil Young as a butternut squash



Age: 26
Location: Massachusetts
United States

  • #24
  • Posted: 03/02/2021 01:13
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Reporting back on the other recs I heard last week:


Heaux Tales by Jazmine Sullivan

Rec from: Repo
Thoughts: This got my 2021 listening off to a good start. Jazmine Sullivan has a great voice as always, and the production and songwriting are quite solid. Definitely a good entry in the sex-positive feminist music tradition. Really enjoyed it.


Uprising by Miles Mosley

Rec from: EyeKanFly
Thoughts: Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling this. The songwriting (lyrics and otherwise) and vocals are subpar. This might have been surmountable if the album were more freeform and not structured to depend on the strength of its songs. But as it is, the musicianship isn't enough to make up for these weaknesses. It was okay.


City On My Back by Rio Da Yung OG

Rec from: Skinny
Thoughts: Rio Da Yung OG is a good rapper flowing over good production, but I found his lyrics to be hit and miss. My favorite track is the one where the beat sounds like it's echoing Fast Life, because that's one of my favorite hip-hop songs. A pretty good listen overall.

As an addendum, I do like minimalism and enjoyed the first disc of Unjust Malaise. Planning on hearing the other two at a later date. And I will get to the Pamela Z album soon, as it's compatible with the Women's History Month Listening Project.
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