Instrumental Jazz/R&B artist Tizaan Alphonso is bringing the listener's latest and most freshly-inspired creation, 'Feel It'. 'Feel It' is an 8-track album consisting of a range of melodies appropriate to stimulate any listener. Tizaan Alphonso strives to make his listening audience feel a range of emotions and feelings with his sound, and he ultimately succeeds with the product of 'Feel It'.
The album begins with "Living in the City", and the song immediately has such a genuine groove to it. We feel that this stems mainly from the incorporation of prominent trumpet and drum rhythms. which makes you feel automatically spirited and incredibly alive! This enriching vitality sustains itself with the following track, "Say What?", as it begins with a similar tempo as sustained in "Living in the City", but housing more of a mellow and nonchalant persona. We really found that we got lost in the natural sway of "Say What?", especially with all of its instrumental properties. Once we reach about a third way through the track, we find the mood shifting as Tizaan Alphonson begins to add in more delicate and airy touches with a heavy piano integration. "Say What?" maintains its solidarity, but moves onto more of a creamier texture beyond the halfway point of the song. The robust liveliness returns once we near the last portion of the instrumental track, and Tizaan Alphonso yet again leaves listeners with a rapidly beating heart.
As we progress through the album, we find ourselves listening to "Beyond the Stars". The track first unravels itself with an otherwordly and extraterrestrial soundscape, which eventually morphs into a more soothing and intimate atmosphere. "Beyond the Stars" takes a turn early on with the vocal blend, and we find the track completely elevated with the collective effect it has with its instrumentals and vocal sound. There's a warm feeling that emulates with "Beyond the Stars", and a warm embrace that washes over listeners. This same kind of embrace is present in "Feel It", the fourth track the album sees from Tizaan Alphonso. We're receiving more of a low-key emotionality from Tizaan Alphonso here, where listeners are brought along this incredibly stimulating journey filled with all sorts of emotionality. This emotionality extended itself into the albums next track, "Devaneio". "Devaneio" introduced itself with a somber melody, but soon progressed into a more dramatic soundscape, fronted by a strong piano presence. "Devaneio" has got to be our favorite track from this album, as Tizaan Alphonso uses a certain piano style to his utmost advantage. "Wildflower" is the sixth track from Tizaan Alphonso's 'Feel It' album, where the instrumental artist continues to bring a warm melodic sound to listeners' ears. The vocal pick for this track brought about an at-home type of feel, where listeners are granted the opportunity to bask in the various curative properties "Wildflower" brings to the table. The narrative of "Wildflower" is stimulating, but light enough to follow along while also maintaining a certain level of relaxation. Tizaan Alphonso takes it slow with the rhythm in "Wildflower", and this pretty much brings upon that hypnotic feel. We can easily admit that we're drawn to the mysteriousness of "Wildflower", and how it's able to strike our various senses with such intensely soft power. The whole track is an incredibly diverse experience, and Tizaan Alphonso took it upon himself to take listeners on an extremely eclectic listening experience with this song. We progress onto "Perspective", where Tizaan Alphonso takes the time to accelerate the mindset of listeners with the dynamic melody, paired to an exhilarating vocal performance. When we say exhilarating, we truly mean a soft thrill due to a body-wide energy propagation. Tizaan Alphonso made us and our senses completely alert to the various jazz infusions presented within "Perspective". We felt the same with the sound in "It's Our Time", except we definitely felt that this track had more of a voluptuous feel. "It's Our Time" is the bonus track of the album, and it begins with a constant and consistent vocal melody, but soon develops into such a soft and articulate vocal soundscape. The vocals don't present themselves in an overwhelming way, as they slowly unravel and expose themselves to the auditory depth of listeners. Over halfway into the song, and you'll hear those extrusive piano sounds again, taking full-stage, and ultimately elevating the production of the song. Tizaan Alphonso ends off 'Feel It' with the progressive, yet contemporary jazz soundings of "It's Our Time", which proves to be a fitting end to the 8-track album! Check out the diverse properties of Tizaan Alphonso in 'Feel It' here.
Welcome, Tizaan Alphonso! Congratulations on releasing your 8-track album "Feel It". With all of the various jazz properties packed into the album, where would you say the majority of them stem from inspiration-wise? Was there always a certain element of jazz that drew you to incorporating its sounds into your music?
A majority of my influences include great artists like Herbie Hancock & Robert Glasper. I absolutely love their style of piano playing and composing. Glasper somehow found a way to modernize jazz by introducing groovy hip-hop/R&B elements to his music, which really got me digging deeper into this is a genre of music and influenced me tremendously to write most of my music.
I also love writing tunes in odd meter - 5/4 7/8 etc. For me, it's just another way of expressing my adventurous creative side. The title track "Feel It" is exactly this odd meter "Snarky Puppy" Fusion vibe. Complicated stuff to execute but very easy on the ears. That for me is the beauty of music. No matter how harmonically or rhythmically challenging your music is, it has to really connect with the hearts of your listeners.
Apart from playing the piano, I also love to sing my heart out! I've always loved Soul/Gospel since I was little, listening to legends like Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers. Other kids thought I was crazy, but truth is, music was flowing in my veins since I was born; both my parents being great musicians themselves. Some of my biggest inspirations include D'Angelo and Anderson Paak.
The main element of Jazz that I was most drawn to was "improvisation". Most of my tunes have a short catchy theme or riff and then heads straight to the improvisation/solos. This for me is another way of expressing oneself! So yeah, I'd like to consider my album "Feel It" as a fresh mix of Jazz-fusion, R&B, and Soul, however, focused on exhibiting my own unique sound and artistic identity. This album is most definitely a reflection of who I truly am as a human being. Just pure emotion and passion!
Out of each track presented in "Feel It", which track felt more emotionally-driven? Was there a certain track that you struggled with recording-wise?
The most emotionally driven track for me would definitely be "Wildflower". I dedicated this tune to the children suffering in Syria due to the political war that killed so many innocent. I just believe music is a universal language and that we as musicians can send a message of love to anyone out there. Each time I sing and play this tune, I express my sorrow and love for those children who have gone through so much. Each of them are "wildflowers" drifting in the breeze deserving a chance to bloom to the fullest!
Not particularly. We did live recordings of each tune (all instruments recorded at the same time, except vocals) so that there would be maximum interaction between the musicians while playing. We tried to do 3-4 takes of each tune. But the tune we spent the most time on, was "Feel It" because of the tricky arrangement, especially due to odd time signature and various metric modulations throughout.
You promote such a lively and groovy ambiance with your instrumental sound! Where did you originally obtain the vision to create music that gives such energy and vitality to your audience?
As I said earlier, my music is a reflection of who I am as a person: lively, lovable, and caring. Even when I perform live, I like to interact and connect with my audience. This vision to create such energy and vitality with my listeners, first came to me when I saw a VHS recording of Freddy Mercury's live gig with Queen at Wembley Stadium (Live Aid 1985). This was where it all began! 70,000 fans captivated by this brilliant front-man! This only made my future clearer. That day I said to myself, "This is what I wanna do when I grow up!"
Later in 2013 when I was introduced to Snarky Puppy, I saw one of their living room concerts from their albums "Family Dinner: Volume One" and "We Like It Here" on Youtube. Oh boy, was I blown away! Everything was so locked in. The powerful compositions. The solos. That only pushed me to become a better musician and hoped to write such music like this someday!
'Feel It' saw a variety of collaborations with a few different artists. How would you describe your experience collaborating in order to produce some of the tracks seen within this album?
It was a joy collaborating with some wonderful musicians including DJ Vindictiv, who is one of the finest DJ's/producers in the Netherlands. My first experience working with him, was when we played together at North Sea Jazz Festival 2019 in Jesse Passenier's Fringe Orchestra. Definitely one of the most creative people I've worked with. I couldn't be more sure of featuring this dude on my album!
His ideas fit perfectly in my Electro-Jazz/Hip-Hop tune "Beyond The Stars" creating a super groovy yet out-of-the-box experience for my listeners. I also had the pleasure of working with one of my dear friends from Cuba, Michael Escuriola Verdacia who is an exceptional percussionist. He definitely added that Latin-Jazz flavor to some of my tunes, especially "Say What?" Overall, it was a fantastic experience working with musicians and friends from all over the world, each of them from different cultural backgrounds; including - backing vocalist Marie Weis(Luxembourg), saxophonist Gregor Oehlmann (Germany), trumpeter Gustavo Andres Jaramillo(Columbia), drummer Mateo Montes (Columbia), guitarist Filippo Pizzoli (Italy), double bass player Peter Willems (Netherlands) and electric bassist Yannick Heselle (Belgium). I got to learn so much playing with them, creating something beautiful at every rehearsal. Thus, also helping me grow as a musician.
We appreciate the time, Tizaan Alphonso! Where do you think you're planning on taking your instrumental sound from here? Are there any elements of knowledge that you've gained from releasing 'Feel It' that you intend to apply to your future music?!
Looking ahead, I plan to dig deeper into the "Science of Groove" and keep thinking of ways to take my music to the next level. I am constantly motivated to write new music, fortunately, due to my persistent creative drive. But I also thought about trying out something a little differently next time. Perhaps, an acoustic trio album (piano + bass + drums) and incorporate my playing style/sound into some Contemporary Jazz compositions that I have been cookin' up recently.
As an independent artist, the entire process of recording and releasing my debut album "Feel It" was definitely challenging, but was totally worth it in the end. I listen to my album almost every day, just so that I can think of ways to improve my sound and think of what I could have possibly done better. As Marcus Miller once said, “It's a great thing about being a musician; you don't stop until the day you die, you can improve. So it's a wonderful thing to do."