Joy Jones - Godchild (2009)

Joy Jones
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Bugz In The Attic is a well-traveled collective of DJ's, producers and musicians who have successfully promoted the progressive soul movement throughout their home base of the U.K.
and worldwide.  Since they began in the mid-nineties, the Bugz have woven many complex musical layers into their broken beat style, an electronic music genre which was first inspired by the jazz fusion era of the seventies.  Their recorded projects include the Got The Bug 2-disc series featuring remixes of jazz pianist Gene Harris, Latin superstars Ruben Blades and Willie Colon, and others.  The broken beat movement that was first popular in West London has also been echoed in the electro funk of Afrika Bambaataa, Carl Craig's marriage of techno and house music, and one of electronica's pioneers - Kraftwerk.   Even though broken beat is not as prominent in the U.S., a Los Angeles based, self-proclaimed honorary ladybug named Joy Jones has played a major role in the Bugz' expanding musical crew.   

Jones is a well-traveled musician who first met the Bugz in London while continuing her medical studies and perfecting her musical craft.  Since that initial meeting, Jones and The Bugz' vision of creating their brand of progressive soul was extremely mutual.  A popular performer in the spoken word scene that was highlighted by a one-woman show in 2006. The Nappy Goddess Complex, Jones recorded a series of independent singles starting in the early 2000's, many which were collaborations with the Bugz family.   Some examples include the stirring spoken word piece "Hands" by U.K. DJ/producer Agent K, which was mixed by Bugz producer Daz-I-Kue; "Zombie (Part One)" with The Bugz and Jones from a tribute to Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, Red Hot + Riot; and now "The Joy," a track from Jones' full-length debut, Godchild

Jones taps into her musical inspirations, her education, and the emotions she has experienced throughout her travels on this Future Soul Records disc.  The aptly named "Nomad" best describes Jones' nomadic lifestyle and her strong affection for the African culture with a kalimba (an African thumb piano) underneath the broken beat backdrop.  "Glass Boxes" compares the differences between inner and outer beauty in a gently swaying jazz-style arrangement that employs unusual time signatures.  

Jones' spiritual beliefs are quite evident on Godchild.  "Promised Land," a song that Jones dubs her personal song, dominates with the spirit of Kuti's Afrobeat stamp in its intensive drum line.  Based from the scripture "this too shall pass," Jones zealously delivers a passionate sermonette of hope through troublesome times on another Afrobeat spiced blues and gospel mix, "This Too."  Another moment that forgoes the electronic drippings for a mild flowing harp and acoustic guitar, "Right Now," states how God loves us through our imperfections.  Of course, I can not forget to add the jubilant, Afro-Cuban percussive remix by Daz-I-Kue of the popular children's Bible song - "The Joy."

The musical intricacies throughout Godchild effectively incorporate electronic rhythms including broken beats while meshing pop, gospel, jazz, world and acoustic soul.  Bugz members Daz-I-Kue and Kaidi Tatham join a production team of like-minded music innovators including The Soulful Fundamentalist (Keith Harris) and the U.K. producer-musicians Leroy Brown & Drew Horley.  And Jones's chameleon alto voice and her timing she developed as a spoken word artist present an fascinating spin on several pieces, expressing a vulnerable quality on "Right Now" and providing a down-to-earth narrative for the tragic storylines behind "Hollywood".   

Now with Godchild under her belt, Jones is already establishing her soul music platform with or without The Bugz.  This honorary ladybug should also continue spreading her wings in any direction she musically see fits including proudly representing the U.S. in the broken beat culture.  Highly Recommended.

By Peggy Oliver
 
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