Not Nearly Jazz


13 songs, 1 hr 11 min, 6 min reading time.

Deciding to go to a jazz night and this was a result of my prep.

Author: Alice

Spotify link

Deezer link

1) “Nakamarra (feat. Q-Tip)” – Hiatus Kaiyote

This was on a playlist radio of ‘sad jazz’ which started this whole thing… Maybe it doesn’t really count as jazz and is more soul/RnB, but I was reliably informed that RnB has origins in the jazz scene (thanks Alfie).

Album: “Tawk Tomahawk” (2013)
Label: Pineapple Spaceship

2) “1612″ – Vulfpeck

1612 is the code for the door of an AirBnB the band stayed in, and each lyric seems to have a reference to it. “Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway, Frank Sinatra” are all music ‘stars’ which represents the * at the end of the code, and the letters at the beginning of some of the lines correlate to which number that letter is in the alphabet, and then the door code number! I did not find this out myself, I just spend too much time on Genius Lyrics.

EP: “Fugue State” (2014)
Label: Vulf Records

3) “A Taste of Honey” – Paul Desmond

Again suggested by Spotify’s algorithm via the ‘sad jazz’ playlist radio and arguably a better fit to the genre of sad jazz than Hiatus Kaiyote and Q-Tip.

Album: “The Complete RCA Victor Recordings” (1963)
Label: BMG Music

4) “Reason in Disguise” – Ezra Collective

Because I love Jorja Smith really.

Album: “You Can’t Steal My Joy” (2019)
Label: Enter The Jungle

5) “Ode To Billie Joe” – Nancy Wilson

Long story but Dennis Edward’s first line of the song ‘Papa Was a Rolling Stone’ is “it was the third of September…”. I found Nancy Wilson’s song by mistakenly searching the wrong lyric, her first one is “it was the third of June…”, easily confused and glad I was.

Album: “Welcome To My Love” (1994)
Label: Capitol Records

6) “Prickly Pear” – Portico Quartet

Portico Quartet are performing in London in May just fyi, or in Paris, which suits the tune even better.

Album: “Knee-Deep In the North Sea” (2010)
Label: Real World Records

7) “Ceaseless Inexhaustible Child (Cyntoia Brown)” – Ambrose Akinmusire

Ambrose Akinmusine is the jazz trumpeter who actually makes this song, amazing throughout.

Album: “The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier To Paint” (2014)
Label: Blue Note Records

8) “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” – Billy Taylor Trio

Nina Simone did a really good version of this with the original lyrics (non-lyric version was released later) which became a sort of anthem for the Civil Rights movement in the US. Billy Taylor originally wrote it with his daughter in mind, and described it as spiritual which seems to fit the non-lyric version perfectly too.

Compilation: “‘Round Midnight” (2013)
Label: Decca

9) “Keep On” – Alfa Mist

Alfa Mists monologue at the beginning of this is honestly the least of what is good about this song. But I am addicted to Genius Lyrics so here you go: “The family section is a community of everybody doing a different part, everybody being different. You know? And, in a household you learn about authority, right. You learn about order, you learn about selflessness, you learn about organisation, you learn about competition. That’s what a family gives you”.

Album: “Antiphon” (2017)
Label: Sekito

10) “Multi-Love” – Unknown Mortal Orchestra

It’s about a threesome! Also the inspiration for the title of this playlist because I re-listened to it and thought… it’s not even nearly jazz is it? Classed as psychedelic rock apparently, but another Spotify algorithm gem.

Album: “Multi-Love” (2015)
Label: Jagjaguwar

11) “Thang (hips)” – Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding did a 12 song album with each song relating to a different part of the body. I don’t massively rate the others, apart from “You Have To Dance (feet)”.

Album: “12 Little Spells (Deluxe Edition)” (2019)
Label: Esperanza Spalding

12) “Uncertain Smile” – The The

Starting from 3 mins 26 seconds onward, it is almost my favourite of all of these.

Album: “Soul Mining” (1983)
Label: Sony Music Entertainment

13) “Could Heaven Ever Be Like This” – Idris Muhammad

Almost my favourite, because “Could Heaven Ever Be Like This” is just too good. It has 17 names credited to it and they are all incredibly accomplished jazz musicians. Popular mix by Jamie XX which I found out from the longest conversation of my life where I kept misunderstanding and thinking that Jamie XX was in the original song (thanks again Alfie for explaining that one).

Album: “Turn This Mutha Out” (1977)
Label: Sony Music Entertainment