April 25, 2011

GET TO KNOW JAMAL BATISTE

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The drum set’s wonder boy continues his self-proclaimed unorthodoxy for the soul. Batiste writes music to make listening an experience that transcends the single genre album. Perhaps his dexterity of ambitious talent is this album’s watermark. Heavily hip-hop, his new effort Just Jamal is compartmental for anything from aged funk to Latin slides—he tucks it all in there in no particular order. The album is a grab bag with rather generic base synthesizer tracks, echoed angelic one-liner vocal blips, and a reminder that the movement of the lyrics is deeper than rap. Undisciplined as some of the individual definition of each track is, when he demands a moment of funk, he commands the entire funk in the room—sweet, hazy, aromatic basement funk at that. When he tells the guitar to riff, it familiarly burns the half-cab. His talent remains though the business of showcasing it in this album was more likely misplaced amongst the album’s shotgun vision. All in all, an album for the soul needing not just sounded notes and sewn melodies but an experience. —Charlie Puckett

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