Do you miss packing your friends into the car, playing your favorite tracks and dancing in your seat? Us too. Welcome to Pass the Aux, where every other week the KQED Arts & Culture team introduces you to new(ish) releases from Bay Area artists. Here’s what we have on deck.
Black London feat. Viveca Hawkins, “Devil’s Pie” (D’Angelo cover)
D’Angelo’s regal Verzuz appearance last week was a reminder of the quiet power of his discography—not only has he produced some genre-defining neo-soul gems, but his music has always been infused with an insightful political consciousness. While fans await new music from him, Oakland’s Black London music collective is embarking on a project to pay homage to his seminal 2000 album, Voodoo. Over the next several weeks, they’ll be releasing jazz interpretations of some of D’Angelo’s best-known tracks.
First up is their cover of “Devil’s Pie,” featuring singer Viveca Hawkins. While D’Angelo’s original juxtaposes the organic feel of his bluesy vocals with a stripped-down hip-hop beat, Black London brings in lush, new textures with Hawkins’ honeyed voice, Kev Choice and Mike Blankenship’s celestial keys and Howard Wiley’s soulful saxophone. The collective finds pockets for improvisation, breaking free from the structure of a straightforward pop song. It’s an unorthodox approach that reflects D’Angelo’s own creative thinking in his lyrics about how capitalism compromises people’s values: “Who am I to justify / All the evil in our eye / When I myself feel the high / From all that I despise.”—Nastia Voynovskaya
Dom Jones, “One More Night”
Poet and R&B vocalist Dom Jones recently debuted her single “One More Night” off of her new EP, CHASM. The jazzy song is an uplifting and melodic musical approach to that bad habit of reaching out to a former lover for one more night of romance. “I only think of you when my body is hot, the night is cold, that’s when that old love crosses my mind,” sings Jones in the opening seconds of the uptempo track.