Keyboardist and artist BIGYUKI has been described as “NYC’S musical secret weapon.” For many prominent artists and musicians, as the saying goes, ‘that cat is out of the bag’ and to further expand it, is running rampant all over the place to parts way beyond the city’s borders. The talented musician, who hails from Japan but dwells in NYC, has over the years become a much sought after player being called upon to add his virtuosic skills to the mix on recordings and live performances for a long list of premiere artists – Q-Tip, Bilal, Talib Kweli, Jose James, Busta Rhythms, Ben Williams, Kamasi Washington, Lauryn Hill, Matisyahu, J.Cole, Marcus Strickland, Meshell Ndegeocello, and many, more. You can hear his work on the historic last release from A Tribe Called Quest’s We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service and on the recently released Petestrumentals 3 from hip hop producer, icon Pete Rock and The Soul Brothers stellar crew.
BIGYUKI is still a bit of a secret to music fans by name, but that too is hanging by a thread. In combination with his work with others he’s also been wowing burgeoning audiences with his splendid, high- spirited performances as a leader and has released a few of his own projects that have garnered deserved high acclaim. Needless to say, the busy keyboardist doesn’t get much time to do the latter. Even during this time of closed venues and cancelled performances his calendar has still hummed quite steadily with recordings and virtual gigs.
But luckily for us some of the extra time has allowed him the opportunity to complete and release his outstanding new project entitled, 2099. The EP is home to five outstanding tracks that winningly display BIGYUKI’s great range and musical influence blending portions of jazz, hip hop, funk, soul and R&B. It also features a cast of top-tier talent including rap artist Talib Kweli, drummer Marcus Gilmore, drummer/vocalist Tim “Smithsoneon” Smith, vibraphonist Joel Ross, vocalists Kendra Foster and Anna Wise and poet J. Ivy. In the accompanying video he shares the story behind his choosing 2099 as the title which has a little bit to do with Prince and the summoning of “Light Walkers” tasked with helping in a way we can certainly use during these times.
2099 is a project BIGYUKI believes is certainly relevant and is meant to musically offer hope for a return to not just normalcy, but to a world that’s better than normal. As he puts it, “For each of us to really maybe just appreciate what we have, what we do. You know, we tend to take things for granted. This was a really great chance to see what we really do love. See what we really do miss. So maybe each one of us can really appreciate the things that life can give you.” And he adds, “Just have more compassion. The one thing that we could share [during this time] was life’s struggle. We are all in it.“
Check out the video below:
The new release 2099 is out now! Listen to it on Spotify