Brahma Ballads 3.0: Jazz and Soul

So for this Brahma Ballads I’d thought I’d talk to all of you about two genres of music that I grew up listening to, and I’m sure you’re all familiar with. Jazz and soul music have each influenced each other and most genres of music have elements of both mixed in. It’s a shame, then, that so many write off these genres as dead, when in fact, they’re expanding and evolving to this day. Here a few artists that continue to push forward jazz and soul music:

Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding. Courtesy of

I might as well get this out of the way. You can’t write about jazz without writing about what might be the biggest upset in Grammy history. This Portland-born bassist became the ┬átarget of a lot of hate for receiving the award for Best New Artist. Now I have to ask, what’s the point in hating on an artist for winning an award? Anyways, Ms. Spalding is a prodigy; that’s the term you use for someone who went to college at the age of 16. While she’s an expert at the bass, I find that her beautiful voice is what drives her smooth songs, singing in Spanish or English. I’d recommend you buy her debut album Junjo, and then if you like that, move on to The Chamber Music Society, her new album which has a classical influence.

The Roots

The Roots. Courtesy of

The Roots formed in the 90’s and have been grooving out ever since. Their fusion of hip-hop and soul music has gained them critical acclaim, and Billboard success with their 1999 album Things Fall Apart. Uniquely, rather than rely on sampling, The Roots play their own instruments, and put on fantastic live shows. I’d recommend starting with their album Phrenology or Wake Up!, their collaboration with another artist on this list, John Legend.

John Legend

John Legend. Courtesy of

John Legend is probably the most familiar name on this list, having won nine grammy’s and collaborated with the likes of Kanye West, Andre 3000, and Alicia Keys. His distinctive voice and his multi-instrument skills make him stand out on all his albums. Start out with Get Lifted, his debut, and check out his other stuff. I definitely recommend Wake Up!, his collaboration with The Roots. Feel free to skip Evolver, it’s not that good.


Jazzanova. Courtesy of

A German Jazz band based out of Berlin, Jazzanova has been playing since 1995 in clubs and festivals, with only two albums to their name so far. Their chill style and willingness to experiment with different genres, such as electronica, makes them an interesting and entertaining object in Jazz history. Their two albums are In Between and Of All the Things.

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Hi! My name is Luke Thacker and I'm a Senior at Mac! I'm heavily involved in newspaper (duh). Feel like I've written something really dumb and want to correct me? Rant angrily at how wrong I am? Maybe give a little bit of praise? Scroll down to comment on my story!

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