Some of the music on “We Are” draws its acoustic-funk aesthetic from the 1960s, but other parts recall the 1990s, when Keb Mo’ was becoming a Grammy favorite, and the Starbucks-curated album summarizes the whole. Thee genres infiltrated parental CD players everywhere. “Cry,” a single from Batiste’s album, which won Best Original American Performance and Best Original American Song, is reminiscent of that era.
He also dabbles in now. The first half of “Boy Hood”, his collaboration with Trombone Shorty and PJ Morton, reimagines trap aesthetics for a meditation on the simple joys of childhood in New Orleans.
Ultimately, Batiste’s music is about feeling good as a collective act. Often that means playing things that sound familiar, and taking it lightly. On “Freedom,” a horn-driven funk strut that won a Grammy for Best Music Video and was nominated for Record of the Year, Batiste looks like he’s climbed inside the cast of an old protest song, and instead Created a party anthem.
But before you get to Batiste, there’s something else to understand: He comes from a city where time and space have somewhat collapsed, and where most other parts of the country ended 50 years ago. The black instrumental tradition really continues. That tradition is based on gathering and dance, and consequently has perhaps the least complicated relationship to the musical enjoyment of any lifestyle in this country – even in spite of increasingly desperate Conditions The people living there are facing
Batiste’s vibe might seem saccharine to someone outside New Orleans, especially if you haven’t wandered Frenchman Street with a plastic cup in hand, or found your way into a brass-band performance. festival hall Get infected with Neville Brothers’ Caribbean-infused funk on a weeknight, or a spring afternoon at Jazzfest. Hear the records Batiste’s New Orleans teammates are releasing these days – trombone shorty, pj morton And tank and bunga, for some, follow in the footsteps of Nevilles, Dr. John, and Professor Longhair—and you’ll find a similar strain of happy-to-make-you-feel-good funk. Challenge your ironic, digital brain to love it back. See if you can handle it.
Batiste’s 11 nominations on Sunday – the most of any artist – touched categories under R&B, Jazz, Roots Music, Film Scoring (for). Her work Pixar film “Soul”) and on classical music. What that tells you is that supporting a young jazz musician these days means stepping back into something broader than a single genre, even if he’s a relative traditionalist, proud to stand in Sachmo’s shadow.
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