Soul Basement featuring Jay Nemor | What We Leave Behind
by Peggy Oliver
The embodiment of music, when a vocalist or musician so emphatically chooses, can express how we can observe the world around us and what we take from those experiences in life. The latest work from Soul Basement entitled, What We Leave Behind, crafts a journal that reflects personal retrospectives that speaks to several issues.
A producer/musician/songwriter who fully appreciates unique vocal partners in crime, all of Fabio Puglisi’s catalog under Soul Basement since its debut release in 1998, focuses on the lead vocalist as the showcase while keeping his diverse imprint, in which the Italian native stretches beyond the soulful vibe such as pop, lounge and blues. For What We Leave Behind, Puglisi’s leans on jazz visionaries such as John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk and the vocalist/spoken word revolutionary, Gil Scott-Heron. This time, Puglisi’s featured artist is Jay Nemor, whose elastic bass/baritone voice adapts to suit all the music’s focal points and moods. Built up as a live performance in the studio, Puglisi and Nemor weave an excellently, flawless blended package of hope, love, social consciousness and giving kudos to those who raised their children.
The bossa nova fueled “Love Will Find You” offers compassion on failed love and how to bounce back afterwards: “It’s not just you/It takes two for love to be true/So whatever love does turn out to be true/ Does not necessarily a reflection on you.”“Angel of Mine” finds Nemor sweetly illustrating a classy romantic connection in this calm jazz frosted piece, highlighted by an improvisational piano solo a la Monk. In a more acoustic slanted modern jazz setting with keyboards, bass and muted trumpet capped by subdued percussion, “With You” lights up the imagination of the ultimate love attraction.
While “Noise Pollution” emits a breezy, upbeat funk feel, the message heeds a strong call towards a new revolution in taking change seriously: “What happened to the notion of the government for the people?” “It’s Time” delivers a knockout nod to Gil Scott Heron as Nemor switches the vocal game from the calm to the frustrating regarding the disturbed condition of the world: “TV shows are stupefying us/Social media is distracting us/so called world leaders misleading us/All them smiling faces, man who can you trust.”
In an account of Nemor’s childhood that comes full circle, the minimalist “Future Reminiscence” captures the firm guidance by his parents: ”Own up to your actions/And don’t make a waste of your time/God, family and school/Is all that should be on your mind.” The other two performances from Puglisi and Nemor on What We Leave Behind, “I’m Doing Fine and “The Joy Inside,” are also not to be discounted, as this latest installment of Soul Basement’s catalog is the most intriguing, capped by thoughtful vocal execution and musicianship. Four and three quarter stars..
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