Friday 3 March 2023

'We da People' by Emanuel Harrold

'We da People' marks the new album release from Emanuel Harrold whose new project is released courtesy of the UK's Gearbox Records.

For the native of St Louis, Missouri, Harrold's collaborations with Gearbox have led to some genuinely exciting results with 'We da People' serving as a fairly swift follow-up to last year's 'Funk La Soul' four track EP.  Harrold has amassed an incredible reputation over the years as a formidable drummer, multi-instrumentalist, composer whose skills have seen him grace stages and clock in studio time with an exciting and dynamic line-up of revered artists including Keyon Harrold, Daman Albarn, Avery Sunshine, De La Soul, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and perhaps most famously celebrated jazz vocalist Gregory Porter.  The long-standing relationship with Porter has seen Harrold's drumming become a staple in his live shows and also having appeared in every one of his album releases to date - amongst the incredibly long list of recorded songs the two share together it's only right to point out that that is Emanuel Harrold on drums for the near-thirteen minute masterpiece that is '1960 What?' from Porter's Motema Records debut, 'Water' (2011).

As a solo artist and bandleader in his own right, Harrold can boast two previous EP releases to his name with the aforementioned 'Funk La Soul' (Gearbox, 2022) and the sensational 'Look Forward' (2017), with the latter released independently and brilliantly introducing Harrold's distinctive neo-soul-meets-jazz aesthetic that has permeated throughout his subsequent projects.

Consistently in tune with his gospel upbringing, Harrold has always unapologetically used his music to exude positivity and sought to inspire in the same way.  Songs amongst his ever-expanding catalogue of music have extolled the virtues of love, faith, hope and self-belief with his 'We da People' collaboration with trumpeter Keyon Harrold - the scene-stealing 'Fight Harder' - a perfect reflection of those values coupled with an unwavering commitment to never giving up on achieving one's goals.

Harrold's vision for 'We da People' is brought to life through a varied and extensive guest list of musicians with a core line-up comprised of guitarist Andrew Bailie, Jahmal Nichols on electric bass and percussionist Dominique Thomas amongst many other world class names.  And the guest list as well sees Harrold having assembled some fantastic artists as both friends and long-term collaborators... Gregory Porter features on the album's scintillating and rousing opening number 'I Think' which is elegantly enhanced through some sublime string arrangements; the always brilliant Saunders Sermons pulls double duty as vocalist and trombonist on the gospel-infused 'Good Word' and Shareef Keyes injects some effervescent energy on the already exuberant production of 'See'.  

Having amassed so many years within the music business as a key contributor to so many artists' studio recordings and live shows, it's a fantastic thing to see Emanuel Harrold receive the attention and acclaim deserving of his boundless talents so we enthusiastically look forward to more from Harrold in the coming years and to see his star - and of course his message - continue to soar.

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