"Next Up EP": A Track-by-Track Breakdown

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Breaking down my upcoming jazz-hop EP, Next Up, track by track.

On February 14th, Next Up, my contribution to the jazz-hop world, will release everywhere you can stream and download music. The EP is a four-track compilation of original instrumentals I’ve composed, written, and recorded.

The EP is generically labeled as a “jazz-hop” EP; in reality, it’s actually more of a hip-hoppy jazz EP, since the songs are structured and played as long-form, improvisational jazz songs on top of lo-fi hip hop percussion.

The opening track of the EP is the compilation’s title track. The purpose of the track is to introduce the theme of the EP: a jazzy, hip-hoppy compilation of songs, with more bias towards jazz. “Next Up” is about six minutes long and works within a multi-tonic system, shifting between three different keys throughout the song, a concept John Coltrane made famous (but did not invent) with his record, “Giant Steps.”

The next song on the EP is a little more creative. It’s titled, “Gleefully Retiring from BS,” and is a track I wrote to pay homage to John Scofield, a major name in the jazz guitar industry. Its tone is happy and care-free, and the composition serves as a reminder not to take life so seriously sometimes. The bass guitar and electric guitar alternate solos and the percussion stays pretty consistent throughout, focusing on keeping the groove rather than taking any virtuosic solos. The entire song stays in the key of C and works around a chorus.

The third song on the EP, “Dinner Waltz,” is a standard waltz in 3/4 time played acoustically. It’s at this point in the EP where we take a break from the electric guitar sound and take a trip to an Italian restaurant in Venice. The entire song is in the key of G and builds around a single motif. The guitar and bass guitar work together to create movement throughout the piece.

Finally, to finish the EP, we have a track called “I’d Still Love You.” The track is in the key of Ab major and is in 7/4 time. It’s mellow and sweet, yet faster-paced and completely built on improvisation. It’s very organic by nature and begins and ends with the same riff that functions as a bookend for the track, rounding out the entire EP on a happy note.

Next Up comes out everywhere music is digitally streamed and downloaded on February 14th, 2019.