If we can’t go see three major artists at Jazz à la Villette, we will follow their latest discographic peregrinations which, in each case, aimed to transmute the disappointment of the “next world” into the joy of playing. Cuban Ana Carla Maza amazes us with Bahia (solo album that she will present on September 3 at La Villette). The Londoner Jacob Banks seems to have a fire in the larynx, as his singing ignites us, in Lies About The War (Lies about war). As for the American Theo Croker (invited, on the 11th, by Emile Parisien, at the Philharmonie), he does not want war, but loveas Love Quantum proclaims it.
Nigerian-born, London-based Jacob Banks, who just operated the stage version of Lies About The War at the great Halle de la Villette, conjured ” the impotence felt in the face of the pandemic as a new source of power“, he explained. Revealed in 2017, the singer, musician and now, at 31, independent producer, has several hundred million views on YouTube. He has deepened his style, in this opus where soul tradition and hip-hop modernity, dark electro and fervent gospel harmonies merge, at times letting African sources well up. By its intensity and its secret tears, his voice recalls that of Otis Redding. If the symphonic finery suits it perfectly, it also has the power to spin us when it unwinds a stripped-down duet with the guitar, as at the end of the CD.
By baptizing his disc Bahia, the Cuban Ana Carla Maza pays homage to the neighborhood of the same name where she grew up, in Havana. The choice of the solo gives all latitude to her virtuosity as an instrumentalist as much as to her delicate quality of interpretation in the tracks where, with her fresh voice, she sings in Spanish and French. In the instrumentals, she declines the mysteries of a confusing technicality. Sparkling tango dedicated to the Argentinian master Astor Piazzolla, reinvention of the immemorial huayno rhythm of the Quechua people (Peru)… At 26 years old, Ana Carla shows, in this second album of which she has signed texts and compositions, an undeniable maturity.
With Love Quantum Theo Croker, fantastic American trumpeter, celebrate love with magnificence. In addition to being a composer, poly-instrumentalist and producer, he has invited renowned artists, rapper Wyclef Jean, soul divas Jill Scott and Teedra Moses, young R&B stars Jamila Woods and Ella May… And an armada of outstanding instrumentalists from jazz and more. The number and the aesthetic diversity of the guests combine to build a polyphonic work, of which the leader, as a wise architect, has preserved the cohesion. His arrangements, which marry electronics and acoustics, breathe a spatiality, suggesting galactic infinity. It is magic.
Jacob Banks, Lies About The War (Polydor), www.mrjacobbanks.com.
Ana Carla Maza, Bahia( Persona Editorial /The other distribution, www.anacarlamaza.com.
Theo Croker,Love Quantum(Star People Nation/Sony), www.theocroker.com.