Any serious fan of Madlib’s work will tell you that no matter how much Otis Jackson Jr. gets down with hip-hop, jazz remains his first love. If Yesterday’s New Quintet hadn’t proven it to you already, then the Jackson Conti album certainly will. Sujinho explores Madlib’s appreciation for Brazilian music, teaming up with Azymuth drummer Ivan “Mamão” Conti. The result is a proper Latin jazz album with both original works and cover tunes, all of it joyous and strikingly beautiful.
The ten-minute “Papaya” is a great place to start, its inviting chords and warm instrumentation erasing the doldrums of the everyday. The percussion workouts on this album are infectious enough to have you dancing in the streets. Each tune reaffirms the natural pairing of Madlib and Mamão, be it the sweet interplay of vibes and drums on “Brasilian Sugar” or the bustling samba of “Casa Forte.”
You can hear the elation in Conti’s voice as he sings on “Segura Esta Onda,” a bouncy number closing out the album. This release comes just in time for summer road trips and long days at the beach. If you only know Madlib as beat producer and MC, Sujinho should put any doubts to rest regarding his prowess as a composer, arranger and musician.