In the latest “Late Night Tales” episode, one of my favorite soul singers and songwriters and musicians, Jordan Rakei, is in charge of compiling a bluer than blue set of 17 songs on double-vinyl. Jordan has assembled some tracks from friends and label mates, like Alfa Mist, Snowpoet, Fink, Joe Armon-Jones, or Bill Laurance. And he also contributes two tracks of his own.
The handpicked tracks on offer just fall perfectly into Jordan’s own inimitable style of jazz, soul, electro, and fusion. The very ambient-styled “Covering Your Tracks” by English singer, producer, songwriter, guitarist, and DJ Fink, who is based in London and Berlin and who also worked with John Legend and Amy Winehouse in the past, opens up this brilliant, stylish album. The dark and brooding tune is from Fink’s 2017 LP “Resurgam” and if it sounds too rock or folk-induced for you, the second track by brilliant UK producer and composer Alfa Mist, “Mulago” (from his 2019 LP “Structuralism”), offers a change of pace and groove with some broken beats and trumpets swirling over a piano-led jazz-fusion groove, still keeping in touch with the overall theme of late-night moods and atmosphere.
The wonderfully relaxed and subdued soul of Charlotte Day-Wilson is up next on a downtempo groove tune I haven’t heard before from Charlotte: “Mountains” is much more in sync and in tune with modern-day indie soul than some of the more well-featured female artists of the past couple of years. It’s a lush and opulent production with pretty effective backing vocal arrangement. Jordan’s mate from his Brisbane years, Moreton, is featured with a simplistic pop tune. On “Count A Heart”, which comes across as a blissful anthem, Jordan can be heard as well. Highlights abound here: just give a listen to the jazzy “Untitled 2”, the brilliantly voiced tune by Puma Blue a/k/a Jacob Allen on this wonderful vibrato-heavy, distorted-guitar bliss. Torch song meets Bill Frisell meets Tracey Thorn. Or the amazingly psychedelic “Momo’s” by New Zealand-based Connan Mockasin.
I won’t get into detail on all of the songs here, since there are simply too many great tracks on Jordan’s fantastic comp. “Virtual U” by Oso Leone, recorded in Mallorca for their 2019 release “Gallery Love”, works pretty well with its sympathetic and sexy vocals courtesy of Xavier Marín and the soothing percussion. The future jazz piece “Idiom” from London-based producer and pianist Joe Armon-Jones, which he recorded with bassist Maxwell Owin for his 2017 debut, still sounds incredibly fresh. There is the wonderful voice of Homay Schmitz on an ethereal, eerily angelic “Speak Up”. Ex-Snarky Puppy keyboardist Bill Laurance is featured with the smooth and funky “Singularity”, sort of a cross between Herbie Hancock and George Duke, but with a more esoteric touch, a track from his 2019 LP “Cables”.
And it’s save the best for last. Jordan himself can be heard on an exclusive cover of Jeff Buckley’s “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over”, where he once again proves why he is one of the best contemporary soul singers around. Amsterdam-based trio Cubicolor tread the same path with “Counterpart”. And the refreshing, multi-faceted Jordan is back with his own “Imagination”, another trippy tune which certainly not only works for late-night listening. The track gets an exclusive extension with a cool spoken word version by the fascinating Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Please check out the double-vinyl which is available as a plain black version and a green one too.