Zara McFarlane: I often play Zara MacFarlane’s If You Knew Her album to anybody who claims they hate jazz vocalists. Zara has stupendous range and her album showcases this without too much histrionics.
Her sense of history and poise is evident in her cover of the Lee Perry production Police and Thieves.
King Krule: The only good thing about Britain these days is still their music. Led by redheaded frontman Archy Marshall, King Krule is masterful melancholy and a fusion of all the good parts of dub step, rock, jazz, hip-hop and cold English cool. (MB)
Blood Orange: Freetown Sound by Blood Orange (Devonte Hynes) — the new album was a surprise drop and I could not be more thrilled. I discovered Blood Orange a few years ago and his previous album (Cupid Deluxe) has been on high rotation on my iTunes for ages. Freetown Sound is named after the capital of Sierra Leone — his father’s home town — and features the likes of Starchild, Nelly Furtado, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Zuri Marley. (SK)
The Reading List
This Present Darkness: Stephen Ellis’s This Present Darkness is a look into the history of Nigerian organised crime. Ellis’s posthumous work is thoroughly researched and thus engrossing but it doesn’t have the warmth and lyrical flair of, for example, Robert Saviano’s towering look into the Camorra titled Gomorrah: Italy’s Other Mafia. (KS)
The Course of Love: I’ve just started reading this novel by one of my favourite modern thinkers, Alain de Botton. It’s a convoluted meditation on what love really is, wrapped up in the story of Kirsten and Ribah, a young couple who fall in love and whose story is about the difficult part, staying in love in marriage. (MB)
The Book of Memory: I’ve had this sitting on my bookshelf since last year, but have finally cracked it open — with no regrets. Pegtina Gappah tells the story of a woman on death row in Zimbabwe and peppers her story with the nuances of Zimbabwean society before and after independence. I’m not usually a fan of fiction, but have really enjoyed her easy-reading style of storytelling. (SK)