This year I listened to more than 4000 new releases in my role as PBS 106.7FM Music Manager, went to countless gigs and waded through record stores at home and abroad on the hunt for material for my radio show Jazz Got Soul. 2015 brought us some truly sensational new albums and as always it is hard to compile such a list of 10 favourites but here it is below! This year’s list showcases some stunning soul, jazz, disco and hip hop releases and I highly recommend picking up ALL of these titles.
Jill Scott – Woman
Soulful r’n’b pop perfection. This album has been on high rotation on my iPod, car and home stereo since its release in July. Jill is truly divine! This album delivers her signature lyrical poetic genius with a cheeky dash of humour teamed with magestic vocal lines, and elegantly delivered arrangements.
Kamasi Washington – The Epic
LA beats scene meets Coltrane inspired jazz for this millennium. Kamasi is a living legend and this impressive record is a new classic. I salute you Mr Washington, thanks for invigorating the movement into modern consciousness.
Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon
If the weapon in question is stunning textural layers, gorgeous rhode keyboard swirls, unpredictable grooves and Nai Palm’s extraordinary vocals and guitar work then yes, I choose HK. What an amazing record and statement in neo soul jazz fusion. Making Melbourne cool. I really hope they win the grammy, so deserved.
Tuxedo – Self Titled
Disco bliss. I have had so much fun dancing, singing and doing housework to this record whilst pretending to be Olivia Newton John from Xanadu. Vocally speaking Mayer Hawthorne is like a Buble on steroids. Cavalier, handsome and smooth with a more muscular and arrogant delivery.
The Meltdown – Self Titled EP
One of my favourite tracks of 2015 as attested to in tonedeaf! Simon’s voice is sublime, the production is terrific and the band just sits in the groove like they were all born to play it. Great song, great band, can’t wait for an album.
Lianna La Havas – Blood
I relish the dreamlike surrealism that is ‘Unstoppable’, an incredible opening track. The rest of the album unfolds from here showing intimate and somber moments and a deeper funk than her debut. A really solid piece of work, the songs are well crafted intelligent pop and Lianne’s husky voice just shimmers.
Barney McAll – Moorroolbark
Jazz chops galore within a heartfelt tribute to his hometown. Each piece is like a sonic Australian jazz picture and I have had very vivid colours and images present in the third eye while listening. This is a really beautiful album.
Leikeli47 – Self Titled
This EP just rocks.
Sampa the Great – the Great Mixtape
Soulful jazz inflected hip hop. An incredible debut offering from a ridiculously talented and exciting new artist. Great is an understatement.
Leon Bridges – Coming Home
Isn’t this everyone’s favourite album of the year? Southern Texan soul cooked to perfection. The songs are wonderful, Leon’s voice is magical and start to finish this album is a winner. I adore the tiny desk performance above:
Other favs of 2015 highly recommended!
The Bad Plus Joshua Redman – Self Titled
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
Badbadnotgood & Ghostface Killah – Sour Soul
THEESatisfaction – Earthee