Simon Jefferis - Vibrations (Album Review)
Updated: Jun 14
12 June 2020
Album Rating 5/5
Live Potential 5/5
Solo Performances 4.5/5
Diversity in Songs 4/5
Favourite Songs White Rabbit, Back 2 Ours, Soul2ThePeople, Something in the Water
I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of Simon Jefferis until I listened to Vibrations. I’ll be making amends for that missed time.
Jefferis is a Brixton-based multi-instrumentalist and producer of jazz, hip-hop and ‘atmosphere heavy-beats’.
Earlier in 2020, he released two singles: ‘White Rabbit’, featuring singer Rosie Lowe, and ‘Something in the Water’ with Ife Ogunjobi, Ben Vize and David Mrakpor, both songs of which feature in Jefferis’ first album Vibrations.
The album is an immense collaborative project featuring exciting names and rising talents in jazz and hip-hop including Abhi the Nomad, Sheldon Agwu, Shunaji, Rosie Lowe, Ife Ogunjobi, Natty Reeves, David Mrakpor, as well as PYJÆN’s own Ben Vize and Dylan Jones.
The album features the big tracks like ‘White Rabbit’, ‘Something in the Water’ and ‘Back 2 Ours’, interlaced with shorter beat-heavy tunes that ooze with jazz, funk and hip-hop goodness. The combined effect is glorious.
Opening with ‘Atlantic Road’, a silky hip-hop tune featuring Sheldon Agwu, the album sets itself out as a continuation of hip-hop and D’Angelo-style neo-soul. This sound is carried on with Rosie Lowe’s beautiful singing in ‘White Rabbit’, before taking itself down the avenues of jazz and funk.
‘Back 2 Ours’ was another fantastic rap tune with Abhi the Nomad and David Mrakpor while tunes like ‘Something in the Water’, ‘Vibrations’ and ‘Soul2ThePeople’ all provided the satisfaction of jazz and soul, featuring PYJÆN members, vocals from Shunaji, and Ife Ogunjobi on the trumpet.
Simon Jefferis himself appears on the guitar, keys, drums and bass. He brings the perfect balance of his own musical skill matched with his collaborative approach, giving other musicians space to flourish on the album.
There are two ‘Skit’ tracks, which I particularly enjoyed called ‘Don’t Upset the Neighbours’ and ‘It’s pronounced Jeff-riss’. The first one is a noise complaint at a party, a phenomenon I miss dearly, and the second one a frustrating interview on a chat show. They work as humorous sketches in between the grooving tunes.
Vibrations has become one of my favourite jazz-hip-hop albums of 2020 with its provisions of everything funky, jazzy and summery.
The timing of the release of Vibrations falls at a significant period in the world and this did not go unacknowledged by Simon Jefferis.
On Tuesday 9th June, Jefferis tweeted about the recent events and debates around racism and the Black Lives Matter Movement. Jefferis said: ‘I’ve had some discussions about moving my album release back, as I wanted to give the conversation about racism a bit more space after the events that took place last month’. He went on to explain that this wasn’t so simple owing to being on a small, independent label.
As fans and artists in the spheres of jazz and hip-hop, we are indebted to black artists and musicians and it is apt of Jefferis to emphasise this.
‘I owe a lot to the countless black musicians, producers and artists that have shaped my sound and also to those who feature on the album,’ says Jefferis. ‘I hope this project is seen as a celebration of this.’
Vibrations came out on the 12th June on the rising label, DeepMatter.
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