Terrace Martin – Velvet Portraits

Terrace Martin – Velvet Portraits

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I’m going to be honest, I don’t listen to much contemporary jazz. That being said, I’ve been hearing the name Terrace Martin, two time Grammy award winning artist and producer, being thrown around a lot – for good reason. Martin has been involved with several prominent acts like Kendrick Lamar (engineering the famous “Untitled 5” off the album he dropped earlier this year), YG (“Twist my Fingaz”), The Game and Snoop Dogg. A rapper himself, Martin’s music spans a variety of genres. Although this album is billed as “jazz”, really it is much more than that – classical, funk, soul, and more.

Martin starts his album with a slow crescendo, his sax rising above a cacophony of symbols and singing violins, smoothly transitioning to Valdez Off Crenshaw, a rhythmic tune that reminds me of how the world seems when I’m having a good morning – full of color, exciting and bright. Throughout the album, Martin showcases his musical talent, from funk (“Push”) to electronic (With You”) to soul (“Patiently Waiting”, “Reverse”) to jazz (“Think of you”, “Curly Martin”, “Valdez off Crenshaw”).

First listen: I wasn’t a huge fan of the album and was even tempted to stop listening partway through “Turkey Taco,” however the second half of the album really picked up with “Tribe Called West” and from then on Martin had me hooked. To be honest, any song that has “Oakland” in the title is gonna bring up lotsa nostalgia and good feelings. Lalah Hathway kills it on the vocals too. “Bromali,” “Think of you,” and Martin’s version of “Mortal Man,” make a strong closing statement.

Second listen: I’m becoming more of a fan of the first tracks – it’s all becoming a lot more cohesive. Actually though how is this so good ?????? Some parts of the album still feel a bit slow, but even “With You”, which didn’t particularly speak to me, is now making me get up and boogie like never before. What is Terrace Martin? Is one person really this talented? He’s so smooooth. No one should be allowed to be so smooooth. I’ve definitely been sleeping on this album. Major regrets. To truly understand you have to listen to it for yourself.

I don’t have a rating system yet but it’s really good!!! So let’s just call this 9/10

highlights: curly martin, oakland, with you, valdez off crenshaw

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