Reggae with jazz on Groundation’s A Miracle

unnamedHarrison Stafford’s second big project in 2014 is a brand new full-length album from his band Groundation. A Miracle is their eight album and follows Building an Ark, released in 2012.

Groundation has always made music rooted in Jamaican reggae, but with clear influences from jazz. And this new album is cooked according to the same successful recipe. The set sounds like it’s partly recorded via all-night jamming sessions where each player gets to shine. It’s harmonic, yet improvisational and shines light on both genres.

A Miracle also owes quite a lot to Bob Marley & The Wailers and albums like Rastaman Vibration and Exodus. Apart from several musical references it features the vocal talents of Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt – two of the founding members of Bob Marley’s backing trio the I-Threes. Neville Garrick, Bob Marley’s longtime friend and art director, has also made the cover sleeve.

Harrison Stafford’s singing style is as usual an acquired taste. It’s theatrical, nasal and dramatic. But he has proper backing from Jamaican singers Kim Pommell and Sherida Sharpe, two songstresses that add several well-needed harmonious dimensions.

Onboard is also three U.S. jazz musicians. And their talents can be recognized on tracks like Gone a Cemetary and Cupid’s Arrow.

This album is no miracle, but it’s definitely no disappointment for Groundation’s fans and followers.

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