South-West based musician Pete Josef has established himself as a well-respected multi-instrumentalist and producer over the years merging jazz, soul, pop, and electronic music.
Building on his genre-bending 2015 debut ‘Colour’, LP, Josef’s new album titled ‘I Rise With The Birds’ explores reconciliation, connection, and space and balance in life. He explains “I’ve had a long and deep attachment to music; you might even say music has defined me.”
Broad and with a grand sense of scale, the LP moves effortlessly between the bittersweet ‘Snatching Time’, to the smooth and soulful ‘Lavender’ and the beautifully melodic This Sun’.
Josef’s thoughtful lyrics and blue-eyed vocals hold the LP’s array of various influences and styles together, with help from a host of collaborators including Marie Lister (vocals), John Pratt and Ben Plocki (saxes), Nick Malcolm and Gary Alesbrook (trumpets), Roshan ‘Tosh’ Wijetunge (double bass), Barney Sage (drum kit) to name a few.
With the LP just out, Josef has blessed us with a selection of tracks that inspired his album. So, without further ado, over to Pete…
Nina Simone – I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today
I got a bit obsessed with the ‘Nina Simon and Piano’ album whilst I was making ‘I Rise With The Birds’. This is an iconic song by Randy Newman, and his version is amazing too, but there is just something so haunting about anything Nina Simone touches – she was a big influence on my track, ‘Night Eyes’.
Tenesha The Wordsmith – Why White Folks Can’t Call Me Nigga
This track embodies so much of the strength and defiance I hear in Nina Simone’s music. It bubbles with energy and urgency – a real wake up, in more ways than one.
Talking Heads – Blind
Someone said to me recently that my track ‘Giants’ sounds like Talking Heads. I since discovered all the Fela Kuti influenced work David Byrne did with Brian Eno. It also got me back into those guys – amazing how they managed such huge commercial success with boundary-pushing music.
Ty – Ha Ha
A tribute to the late great Ty, lost to us far too soon in May this year. He had such incredible sound and flow.
Lady Wray – Come On In
A recent discovery for me, from Big Crown records – a label I really respect, with an awesome production team. Lady Wray was picked up by Missy Elliot back in the day, but her voice shines on this retro-soul stuff. Great songs, great players, great arrangements.
Labbi Siffre – Cannock Chase
He’s written some huge songs, but also has that rare deep soul sound to his albums that reminds me of Terry Callier or some of those more mystic soul voices from the US. A national treasure.
Mammal Hands – The Eyes That Saw The Mountain
I could’ve picked pretty much anything by these guys. The best of the contemporary piano ensembles in my view. A combination of three beautiful musical spirits.
Alabaster DePlume – Whisky Story Time
Talking of musical spirits, this guy is all out on his own. A young guy with an old soul, his music sounds like a dusty old gramophone on a midsummers evening.
Mesadorm – Obsidian
These guys are friends of mine from Bristol days. Blythe has utter beauty in her voice; she is a rare gem. I was lucky enough to have her sing on my album.
Michael Kiwanuka – Final Days, Bonobo Remix
I have been a big fan of Michael Kiwanuka for years, the music and the man. The loveliest man, and one of my favourite voices. The combination of him and Bonobo in this track is awesome – it feels like Bonobo really captured the message of the original song in his rework.
You can also check out the playlist underneath in our hand Spotify playlist minus the Ty track.
I Rise With The Birds is out now via Sonar Kollektiv. Buy here.