DJ Yoda : Home Cooking
Reviewed by David Taylor
Genre : Hip Hop/Jazz/Soul
Time to explore something different for a change as I delve into the latest offering from supreme turntablist talent DJ Yoda.
Just looking at the featured artists of this album got me excited. Over the last few years there has been a flourishing Jazz scene in London, coming out of South London and most notably Peckham.
Venues such as the Secret Jazz Club and label Brownswood Recordings are nourishing a new wave of young artists who are pioneering a magnificent new sound labelled by some as ‘London Jazz’.
These uber talented young artists would traditionally have been making Grime, Drum & Bass or Dubstep but instead they are favouring Jazz music and live musicianship as opposed to electronically produced and sample based music that would ordinarily have been the staple diet of young artists coming out of London.
The rich plethora of aforementioned urban underground styles are clearly an influence in this majestic and emerging new sound; I am hooked.
Go search down Henry Wu, Ezra Collective or Moses Boyd if you are looking for an introduction to some of the best in class that are at the forefront of London Jazz.
As well as featuring two of the greats from this scene in Nubya Garcia and Henry Wu the album also features appearances from R’n’B vocal sensation Joel Culpepper not to mention legendary Baby Bam from The Jungle Brothers.
The album opens with the luscious ‘London Fields’ a track that opens with gorgeous strings and the soul drenched vocal of Culpepper. Next comes a lovely jazzy break that takes the track off down a winding, soulful path. Yoda peppers the break with some subtle cuts which make way for an incredible string section; epic.
Next up is ‘Thornton Heath’ a stand-up bass driven affair sitting behind a cool vocal offering from British Soul powerhouse Omar. The track involves some heavy cuts from Yoda on an excellent brass sample which work really well.
In parts the album leans back with some moving instrumental tunes such as ‘Gospel Oak’ but these moments of beauty always feature that unmistakable reminder that Yoda is first and foremost a Turntablist with expert cuts and some dope samples stirred in for good measure.
‘Abbey Road’ a track that takes its name from the studio where parts of the album were produced is a head nodding, beat strong instrumental which makes way for more dexterous scratches in a nice Hip Hop and Jazz melting pot.
‘Hither Green’ is another melodic track opening with vocals from Joel Culpepper which make way to verses from Baby Bam. The arrangement is superb and the beat moves along nicely on top of some top notch strings and keys.
‘Afrika’ brings a heavy Hip Hop beat to the party and uses a dope harmonica lead but the Jungle Brother’s rhymes are the stand out feature.
The album takes another breather with ‘Croxley Green’ a patchwork of scratches samples sewn into a heavy bass line and some luscious synth pads. This is the most electronic offering of the selection and again the musicality and arrangement are incredible.
The album draws the curtains and comes to a close with ambient track ‘Boundary Gardens’ which floats along to a soothing vocal from Soul singer-songwriter Andrew Ashong.
The production is, as you would expect from a talented soundsmith such as Yoda, sublime and ‘Home Cooking’ is the perfect soundtrack to your downtime and a superb showcase of some of the UK’s brightest shining Soul & Jazz artists.