Maaaaaaaan, I love hip-hop. I’ll be honest with you, I wish we premiered more of it. I’m like the Bubba of hip-hop: I love West Coast hip-hop, East Coast hip-hip, Southern hip-hop, Midwest hip-hop, conscious hip-hop, hardcore hip-hop, horrorcore hip-hop, abstract hip-hop, but one of my favorites has to be jazz hip-hop, from A Tribe Called Quest to Guru‘s Jazzmatazz projects. So when this premiere for The Jazz Defenders slid across our virtual desk, our PR pal Toni was right to point me in its direction.
Hailing from Bristol, UK, the five-piece is instrumental – literally and figuratively – in building a wonderful sonic foundation perfect for a live lounge setting filled with patrons seated and on the dance floor alike. It’s… classy, really; a keen indication of what’s to come on their second album King Phoenix releasing in March via Haggis Records. There’s piano, horns, bass, and drums, all forming the pristine rhythms and melodies that could carry the song alone, but we got a special guest here on “Perfectly Imperfect”…
Guest vocalist/rapper Doc Brown (who has an awesome-ass logo) flows like the River Avon with bars dealing with self-reflection and relationships, very timely for the week of Valentine’s Day. On the track, he raps:
‘It’s not you, it’s probably me
When I say that, I mean it’s you, obviously
And I know I’m impossible, listen
I self-destruct like the Mission
Busy wishin’ we were kissin’ instead of the overthinkin’
Any time we ain’t linkin’, I’m busy drinkin’‘
Clearly, Doc is going through some stuff, highlighting his “Perfectly Imperfect” self. But not to worry – The Jazz Defenders have his back. While Doc Brown vents his frustrations, the bass elicits a nice head nod with its bounce. Piano is our primary melody throughout the verses, a nice jaunty complement to Doc’s English lilt and lyrics. Drums are understated – polite even – in a manner that doesn’t let you forget who’s running the show underneath it all. The horns (tenor saxophone and trumpet if my research hasn’t betrayed me) punctuate the hook of the track with sunny melodies, while some back-up singing harmonizes to wrap it all up in a neat bow. A little over four minutes of jazzy hip-hop bliss; a taste of down-to-earth, exquisite music that whets the appetite in anticipation of their new album.
A big ‘cross-the-pond thanks to The Jazz Defenders and their team for making this premiere happen. Do yourself a favor and give them a follow on Facebook and Instagram – Doc Brown can likewise be found on Facebook and Instagram. King Phoenix drops in March thanks to Haggis Records, and you’ll find me right there on release day checking the record out. Be sure to run by the group’s Bandcamp as well. And hey, if you’re in the UK, why not catch them on tour? This sort of music was made for a live setting.