By the time the programme began, there wasn’t an empty corner inside Redbones Blues Café, which was the host venue for the launch event. Music industry stalwarts, including Marcia Griffiths, Bob Andy and Mikey Bennett, among others, came out in their numbers in support of Jah9 & Rory “Stone Love” Gilligan’s first collaboration.
New Name is a 12-track compilation that sees Jah9 charging ahead of the grain with a refreshingly stylistic and lyrically potent album. New Name presents the singer at her finest, working alongside master instrumentalists like Donald ‘Danny Bassie’ Dennis on bass, Kirk Bennett on drums and Lamont ‘Monty’ Savory on guitar. You can feel the ‘old school’ edge in the compositions, as veteran selector turned producer Rory Stone Love carefully translates Jah9's "jazz on dub" aesthetic. This musical pairing is a perfect composite of tested techniques and innovative experimentation. Jah9 spawned a wave of acclaim while honing her craft amidst Kingston's bustling underground poetry and live music scene a few years ago. She came to the fore with the release of Keep Holding On and Warning, and later with Intentions, a sonorous cry against social injustice with a classic roots-dub feel. Disc jockeys quickly caught on as Jah9 touted her brand of 'message music,' fueled by the release of her 9mm album sampler in 2011.
When asked how she would respond to eager fans who wonder, ‘why the long wait?’ Jah9, a Yoga instructor with deep spiritual roots, says she has learned to practice patience along her musical journey. “I surrender all plans to the will of the Most High,” she affirms. She describes her latest project as “an evolution of faith, which has now culminated in this public declaration of the truth I have found.”
New Name is a call to order for foundation building and spiritual renewal. It achieves Jah9's mandate, as a singer, a poet and an activist striving towards dutiful introspection and an appetite for social justice. Invariably, an album of this ilk will afford the singer an opportunity to spread her roots deeply & widely, as she skillfully navigates her way through this musical stratosphere. New Name in now available on iTunes in a deluxe version containing extended versions of three of the existing album tracks. Hard copies are available for purchase in Jamaica at Bookophilia.