Archive for January 5th, 2021

Saxappeal – Black Gold

LaDarrel Johnson has been playing the saxophone since he was child, so it’s not an exaggeration to say that the instrument is an extension of himself. Professionally known as Saxappeal, the GRAMMY-nominated musician/producer is highly sought-after for his skills on stage and in studio. Before the pandemic, his busy schedule included touring with legends like Charlie Wilson. But quarantine allowed him the chance to direct all of his energies towards his new solo album Black Gold, and it’s literally music to our ears.

The album fuses jazz, soul, hip hop, funk, R&B and spoken word into a groovy amalgam that deserves a permanent spot in your music rotation. Although we were privileged to receive an exclusive first listen over the summer with “The Song That’s Called…,” we weren’t prepared for the straight heat that Saxappeal brings on this 15-track collection. Perhaps that’s why he titled the opening track “Don’t Be Alarmed.” Backed by horns and laced with beats, the song is a vibe that sets the tone for the remainder of the album. In fact, Black Gold is an entire mood.

Mr. Johnson is a man on a mission, transforming his saxophone into an unstoppable force of nature. There’s no escaping the sheer force and brilliance on tracks like “Swazi Tribe Vibes,” “I.P.T.,” the aforementioned “The Song That’s Called…” and “Red Cup, Turn Up.” Tribute songs “For Mack” and “Mamba Mentality (Homeboy)” are quite remarkable, not just because you feel Saxappeal’s heart and soul through his playing, but also because of the men that they honor. Far from a somber affair, both tracks stand out in a sea of spectacular compositions. Continue reading