Camp Candle, Eric Reed and Jazmine Sullivan kick off the year with Philly Soul.
Without trying to sound or be apolitical, the rotten-from-the-inside panic of the last five fiery days of siege and insurrection have all but dried and fried me. To heal, now, a good dose of new (and old) Philly soul is necessary. Luckily, there are several new points of light and life and fresh music to balm and buy.
Camp Candle, and their new EP, “If We Had a Pool”
Think of the very moodiest of Cocteau Twins material meeting the most harmonious of Destiny’s Child tunes, and you get where the haunting, soulful Camp Candle has been. And where harder, acid jazzy, funk-driven cousins such as “NRT,” and the smooth-as-Sylk “Come With Me” is going with Camp counselors Hetepsa and NuRa at the wheel.
Eric Reed and his new album “For Such a Time As This”
The Settlement School graduate and sideman/session pianist for Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Clark Terry, Ron Carter and fellow Philadelphian Christian McBride has his own slew of moaning, moody jazz LPs under his formidable belt since 1990’s Soldier’s Hymn. Eric Reed’s new album, released toward the tail of 2020, is saltier, and smoother than the rest. And a sweet soulful trip through a storied set of bracing jazz changes.
Jazmine Sullivan’s new album “Heaux Tales”
Think about how, in 2008/2009 Philly’s Jazmine Sullivan was everywhere with her clear-but-smoky tones on nu-jack, R&B barnstormers such as “Need U Bad” and “Bust Your Windows.” Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn. Right? Sullivan hasn’t stayed on the industry’s release Ferris wheel with tons of material or flash since her first platinum-plated work. Though do not sleep on 2015’s rough, emotional Reality Show. That’s what makes her new album, Heaux Tales, all the more rare and precious. A sad, conflicted yet ultimately uplifting mini-epic about how material goods have too often replaced love and romance in humanity’s high stakes. A fine return.