With only a nominal amount of buzz surrounding Joomanji, I have made it my business to spread the word about this phenomenal hip-hop infused jazz quartet. There’s really little to say about Santa Cruz’s Joomanji past history as a group, other than what their bandcamp says about their new release Manji. According to the band it is considered to be: “A reflection of the on-going evolution” of their creative pallets over a two year period. There are many stand out tracks on Manji, but the one that tickles my senses the most is the elegantly produced “Chasin Rhymes.”
Sophisticated and smooth, “Chasin Rhymes” features languorous vocals from Saara Maria and a crisp vinyl sample of a man soulfully singing the words: “Struuugggled hard.” Relaxed and uplifting, this track can be slightly disorienting due to the hypnotising harmony of a horn’s and dreamy melody of a Rhodes electric piano. I can easily see Joomanji taking some of their stylist influences from neo-soul and jazz rap artists of the 90s and early-mid 2000s. Musicians I consider would be of the more laidback releases of 9th Wonder, Erykah Badu, The Foreign Exchange and A Tribe Called Quest. If you are a fan of those artists make sure to check Joomanji’s new release Manji free of charge at their Bandcamp page.