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For Your Consideration: Zongo Junction's 'Thieves!'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Good friend of Nextbop, Adam Schatz (founder of Search and Restore which is a cool jazz website you really should check out if you don't regularly do so already), is part of a cool Brooklyn afrobeat band called Zongo Junction. The eleven-piece band which has curiously fewer people of color than you would expect for an afrobeat band is quite funky to the point that it has little bearing on the music (besides, it's not like the mix-matched race tropes aren't something we haven't seen in the subgenre through the likes of Ubiquity recording artists Ikebe Shakedown or soul collectives like the Menahan Street Band and Antibalas). This New York collective honors and respects afrobeat, certainly to the point of getting your feet moving.

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For Your Consideration: Snaarj's 'Levels'

Alex Marianyi
Contributing Writer
alex.marianyi[at]gmail.com / @alexmarianyi

“We’re a band!” jokes bassist Bobby Wooten, “NO SUBS!” According to alto saxophonist Josh Johnson, Snaarj is “more of a rock band than a jazz ensemble.” Tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi adds, “We try to play our instruments in a different way than we’re expected to.”

I sat down with three of the four members of Snaarj to talk to them about their group and its most recently released album Levels. Of course, I had to ask, and they told me the odd name comes from the word “snarge,” which UrbanDictionary.com defines as “the residue smeared on an airplane after a bird/plane collision.” This grotesque word came to saxophonists Johnson and Laurenzi while on a car trip from their alma mater Indiana University to Chicago, their current home.

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Album Stream: Alan Evans Trio's 'Drop Hop'

Alexander Brown
Staff Writer
alexanderparisbrown@gmail.com / @relaxandaspire

One of the few pleasures of climate change has to be the extended amount of time you can spend outside-- either driving with your convertible top down, relaxing on the grass with a solid mojito, or wearing barely anything while exploring your favorite watering holes and clubs. Luckily the Alan Evans Trio is releasing their debut record Drop Hop later this month to prime you for all sorts of warm weather shenanigans.

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For Your Consideration: Esperanza Spalding's 'Radio Music Society'

J.D. Swerzenski
Contributing Writer
j.d.swerzenski[at]trinity.edu

A couple of weeks back I wrote up a capsule review for the San Antonio Current--the prototypical alternative weekly in town –on Esperanza Spalding’s latest record Radio Music Society. You take the 90 seconds it takes to read here.

I reference this to set-up a fairly bizarre situation that played out shortly before I submitted the piece. I was working on some of the finishing touches via laptop during the Spring Fund Drive for our jazz station here in San Antonio, KRTU 91.7FM. In the large studio we use as Fund Drive HQ, affectionately (though not too cleverly) dubbed “Pledge Central,” we have a half dozen phones, fold-up chairs and enough catered grub for us to last the week. And of course, roughly 8-10 phone volunteers, who on this particular Tuesday afternoon, were milling around the studio looking for something to do while the phones weren’t ringing.

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For Your Consideration: Gregory Porter's 'Be Good'

Angelika Beener
Staff Writer
angelikabeener[at]gmail.com / @alternate_takes

With the sudden and astounding success of singer Gregory Porter’s Grammy-nominated debut album, Water, just fifteen months ago, there’s presumable pressure for his follow up, out this month, to do just as its title states. All can rest assured that there’s no Sophomore Slump Syndrome here; Porter’s Be Good, is.