Soul Basement - What We Leave Behind (2016)

Soul Basement
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Love and politics. They are two of the things that we aren’t supposed to talk about in polite company, but are the prevailing topics on What We Leave Behind, the unapologetically analog album created by Italian producer Fabio Puglisi with vocals from Jay Nemor that comes to us by way of Puglisi’s band, Soul Basement.

Soul Basement derives its influence from hard bop artists who such as John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Pharaoh Saunders. Nemor’s resonant baritone, singing and dropping of verses that are both socially conscious and sentimental on the record’s spoken word pieces, endows the record with the spirit of another Soul Basement influence – the pioneering Black Arts Movement artist and hip-hop forefather Gil-Scot Heron.

Love and politics. They are two of the things that we aren’t supposed to talk about in polite company, but are the prevailing topics on What We Leave Behind, the unapologetically analog album created by Italian producer Fabio Puglisi with vocals from Jay Nemor that comes to us by way of Puglisi’s band, Soul Basement.

Soul Basement derives its influence from hard bop artists who such as John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Pharaoh Saunders. Nemor’s resonant baritone, singing and dropping of verses that are both socially conscious and sentimental on the record’s spoken word pieces, endows the record with the spirit of another Soul Basement influence – the pioneering Black Arts Movement artist and hip-hop forefather Gil-Scot Heron.

That baritone adds gravitas to spoken word pieces such as “It’s Time,” a track that finds Nemor keenly observing that people clamor to be led, when actually leadership in mass movements often instead came from the people. “Everybody looking for a new leader/some modern teacher, speaker/Eager to show the way and be our keeper/Even after countless have stood at the front line/Time after time after time.”

He issues a blistering critique of the current political state on the high energy funk number “Noise Pollution,” that opens with the line, “Talking loud/saying nothing/Tired of all these politicians faking and fronting,” recalling the James Brown song and standing as a critique of the 2016 election.

“’With You,” and “Love Will Find You” are jazz influenced tracks with the former featuring an acoustic bass and piano flourishes, providing a rhythmic foundation for Nemor’s baritone, and the latter a faster paced percussive number that finds Nemor dispensing advice to be patient and look for a true relationship partner. Both tunes provides insight into Puglisi’s direction.

What We Leave Behind is a record that celebrates a style of music making that is becoming increasingly rare. Soul Basement recorded What We Leave Behind live in a studio with all of the musicians in the same room. We know that plenty of great records are recording using technological advances that have been made over the past 50 years. However, Puglisi’s production choices ensures that What We Left Behind has the richness, warmth and intimacy that can only come when artists occupy the same space. Recommended

By Howard Dukes

 

 
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