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Atlanta, Georgia, United States | INDIE

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop Jazz


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"Album Review: Jaspects 'The Polkadotted Stripe'"

I remember a time when most popular artists all bu...
I remember a time when most popular artists all but shunned higher education and skipped school to pursue big dreams of money and fame in the music industry. But lately if you are looking for the next big thing in music you need to look on the college campus, hell even most rappers got degrees now. And now the next big college musicians to hit the scene are Morehouse's music department alumni the Jaspects with their latest album The Polkadotted Stripe. The Jaspects have been gaining a lot of momentum on the interwebs lately and I recently heard of them through Twitter thanks to NCCU Communications graduate Phonte. Their style of music is an interesting fusion of Jazz, Hip-Hop, Soul, Funk, and a little Rock thrown in for balance and is a little reminiscent of the group from illadeph that has been known to experiment with different genres.

The Polkadotted Stripe is definitely a treat, Morehouse definitely has to be proud of these grads. They created a deep and moving piece of work that takes you on a journey though a vast musical landscape. The very first track '2012' featuring the quirky and immensely talented nerd girl Janelle Monae is a futuristic funky jam that is fused with different styles and melodies, and they were able to utilize the reviled auto-tune to surprisingly amazing effect here. 'Falling,' is a nice groovy track that makes you think of good times chilling with friends at the Sunday afternoon jam session. The structure of the album is very orchestral in nature in that songs often linger on for a minute or two long after the lyrics are done. Most notably done on the title track 'Polkadotted Stripes' is an 8 minute long anthem that is multi-layered and genre bending.

There is a lot to love about the album but sometimes all that genre mixing and experimenting can be a little over stimulating and sometimes it sounds like the album doesn't know what it wants to be. It could be that the title 'The Polkadotted Stripe' is a metaphor for confusion and mix matching, like some of the music is. Often the instrument heavy music can be over powering, not to mention the way the delivery method of the lyrics. Tracks like 'Like A Drum' and 'Be Your Man' take the gimmicky auto-tune too far and they would have been better suited without it's use. The album does pick back up with the smooth and sultry ballad 'Find My Way To Love' featuring newcomer Chantae Cann. But then it drops you right back in the confusion with 'Chuck Jones' which is bordering somewhere between genius and annoyance. It's a rocked out fairytale song that either tries to be socially conscious or scared straight, but it does pick up in the end fading into a nice instrumental melody straight into the album's finale.

Overall 'The Polkadotted Stripe' is a nice musical ride and one you should have in your rotation. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how well crafted the music is and you'll find yourself nodding or swaying along with the beat. The Jaspects are definitely worth studying more, so educate yourself.

JayTeeDee gives Jaspects 'The Polkadotted Stripe' 6 out of 7 head nods.
- Bama Love Soul

"Jaspects The Polkadotted Stripe Muddy Water"

If the country had a soundtrack for its current state, innovative “jazz” ensemble, Jaspects newest project, The Polkadotted Stripe would probably be it. The sextet has released their most experimental project to date, led by politically charged tracks like “2012,” featuring Janelle Monae. All in all, Jaspect’s break from their traditional jazz roots have served them well, as they’ve delivered one of the best releases in music — genre’s aside. –jh - Jacinta Howard- RollingOut.Com

"Throw Yo' J's Up!: Jaspects Throwdown @ The Warner Building"

Last night after hitting up the Atlanta Film Festival Opening Reception (thanks Saptosa!) I sped over to the Warner Building to catch the Jaspect's album listening session for their new album The Polkadotted Stripe. I missed the actual album listening but all of my folks up in there told me it was very dope, very dope. Especially thier song with Janelle Monae, "2012." However I did catch some of their performance afterwards and as usual, they did not dissapoint. I Qikked some of the set last night, you can still peep it if you missed the live video.

If you aren't up on Jaspects or never seen them perform you are truly missing a treat. Think traditional jazz meets funk times Hip Hop and throw in the energy of a Public Ememy show and you might be close. I guess the best way to describe them is with the description the use themselves: "Students of Jazz, Children of Hip Hop." I did a post on them over at my old stomping grounds a while back.

I can't lie, when I first heard the first single "Unifunk" it kinda threw me off.

I grew to love them because of the way they played hard jazz without a hint of contemporary or that soft jazz shit. So when I heard all of the synths in the song, I was like awwww dammit! But, I've grown to like the song and after hearing them play it live I've learned to love it.

They're having an album release party tomorrow night at the Apache Cafe (the album drops on Tuesday). If you haven't been to a Jaspects show yet, I urge you to go. Its a nice show to take your lady or lady friend to. And if you're rolling on the dolo tip fellas, I'm telling you now, Jaspects brings 'em out shawty. I'm talking of the wifey variety fellas, so, come prepared. - South Peezy- mauricegarland.blogspot.com

"Jaspects Black In America Interview"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYoa3n1_xck&feature=player_embedded - CNN


Selections from all albums have airplay on various independent digital radio stations in Nashville, Baltimore, Atlanta, Hampton, VA, Norfolk, VA, and Seattle.

"The Polkadotted Stripe" (April 2009)

"Double Consciousness" (May 2007)

"Broadcasting the Definition" (March 2006)

"In 'House' Sessions" (March 2005, out-of-print)



Born during the hip-hop movement, Jaspects integrates their youthful skill to progress music and build a bridge between musical genres. Formally trained alumni of Morehouse College’s music department, Jaspects’ goal is to produce an exhaustive musical experience that involves TRUE freedom of expression via musical and lyrical creativity.

Jaspects’ latest album The Polkadotted Stripe embodies Jaspects’ thesis as it interrogates the idea of musical, social, and political freedom. The concept of the group’s fourth effort procures from the world of fashion. Delving deep into research, Jaspects learned that the fashion truth bastardizing the marriage of polka dots and stripes is man-made. Therefore, Jaspects’ The Polkadotted Stripe inquires: “What is truth?” Upon much discussion and studying, Jaspects recognized that in most instances reality is well, relative. With that in mind, The Polkadotted Stripe defined is someone or something that debunks the notion of
social standards.

“PDS’” single "Unifunk" is an example of Jaspects’ trademark genre-bending production. Techno meshed with soulful horns, a grooving bass line, and T. Brown's futuristic vocoder stylings engulf "Unifunk" and provide an opportunity for serious social commentary to entrench the listener during this dancer's delight. "Unifunk's" lyrics focus on the state of the world today and spread the message of unity through "universal funk" or "Unifunk."

Jaspects works to rescue the concept of musicianship while breaking down the structural constraints of hip-hop. The band promotes the idea that the culture of hip-hop can support an entity that focuses on musical depth without ostracizing the mainstream fan of the genre. Jaspects uses music as a change agent in ways pioneers such as Public Enemy, Erykah Badu, and Marvin Gaye have. The message conveyed by Jaspects remains consistent, "make your music mean something to the world at-large."

The band operates out of Atlanta and consists of T. Brown (Memphis, TN), Jon-Christopher Sowells (Dallas), drummer Henry “HC3” Conerway, III (Detroit), Dwayne “Spacey” Dugger (Queens, NY), Stagolee (Aniston, AL), and King James (Stamford, CT). In addition to PDS, Jaspects has released three other independent albums: In ‘House’ Sessions (2005), Broadcasting the Definition (2006), and Double Consciousness (2007).

Individually, Jaspects’ works have appeared in the 2005 major motion picture “Hustle & Flow,” on Chamillionaire’s platinum albums “Chamillitary” and “Sound of Revenge,” on Carlos Santana’s “All That I Am,” and with platinum recording artists David Banner, Wyclef Jean, Big Boi (“Kryptonite”), and Mary J. Blige (“Just Fine”). Collectively, Jaspects has shared bills with: Dwele, Bilal, Mike Phillips, Herbie Hancock, Eric Roberson, Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, and rap phoneme Drake. Jaspects has also collaborated with Grammy-nominated artists Janelle Monae, PJ Morton and Anthony David, in addition to Kedar Entertainment act Algebra, and Good Music’s Fonzworth Bentley.

CNN featured four selections of Jaspects’ music on their 2008 documentary “Black in America.” Jaspects is a two-time selection for “Best Atlanta Band” by Creative Loafing newspaper (2007 and 2008) and “Future of Jazz” winners (2006 and 2007) for the Atlanta Jazz Festival. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts featured Jaspects in January 2009 as a headliner for the Millennium Stage Series.