I SPY SOUL is excited to now share popular interview series, The Pulse, with our audience. The Pulse is the splendid brainchild of host and WBGO Afternoon Jazz radio personality, Keanna Faircloth who presents an outstanding array of burgeoning and acclaimed artists with a common strand of jazz, but with a mix of other musical influences. The Pulse is presented live on the WBGO Facebook page, and subsequently available on the WBGO website, but will now also be available to check out while you’re here if you miss it.
We often wonder why things happen in life the way they do and when they do. Why when you least expect it things – life altering things happen. Needless to say, all of us during most of 2020 in particular, have been racking our brains to figure it all out. Loss of some kind and the distress it causes has unfortunately been a hallmark of these times for sure. So much so you can’t help but wonder if it’s masking lessons, signs of hope or a divine plan – The irony that out of the most unlikely places and times inspiration and opportunity often comes.
Singer/Songwriter Bradd Marquis has gone through this process of wondering, navigating loss and both discovery as well as rediscovery over the last several years. It was a big part of the reason for his three year absence from the music scene before releasing earlier this year his very relevant single, “No War.” During this time he lost his grandparents. Grandparents who helped raise him. His grandfather or “Pop” as Marquis calls him was first after a bout with cancer and later, “Mom”, his grandmother followed. Being very close to them both, a substantial focus was on providing the care they needed. “Both of them at separate intervals needed twenty-four hour care,” Marquis shares.
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.
“Only he who gives up is defeated/ The defeated are those who never fail / You don’t take the opportunity to lose / You don’t get the opportunity to win.”
Accomplished rapper JSWISS passionately proclaims those words over the horn and string-driven climax of “Defeat”, the single from he and Grammy-winning, producer, composer and trumpeter Michael Leonhart.
This follow-up to their first two acclaimed singles, “BLACKOUT” and “On The Money” , “Defeat” is a hard-hitting, spirited and inspiring reminder that the true champions in life don’t run from failure, but overcome it. JSWISS and Leonhart with this track and the others have consistently crafted a trademark sound that is hip hop with a cinematic sheen that brandishes top shelf lyricism, performance and musicianship. “Defeat” is also one of three songs inspired by themes from award-winning author Paulo Coelho’s book “Manuscript Found In Accra”, all of which appear on the duos’ upcoming 5-song release, “The Alchemy EP”, which drops in January 2021.