Moor Mother — Jazz Codes — Album Review

Experimental | Jazz

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

While Jazz Codes is the eighth studio album from American poet and song artist Moor Mother, it serves as the first that I have taken the time to review. Nevertheless, this isn’t truly the first I have heard from Moor Mother either.

Namely, her 2020 collaborative album with billy woods, titled BRASS, was one of those projects that I nearly reviewed; I would have done so if not for discovering said project too late into that year. But with things being a lot quieter musically with the beginning of July, I thought it a better opportunity than ever, to finally review a piece of her music.

After doing a little bit of digging, it felt safe to say that Moor Mother is an incredibly productive force to be reckoned with, and that musical passion came across perfectly when listening to Jazz Codes.

As somebody who praises jazz as one of the most expressive genres of music, it was great to listen to an album like Jazz Codes, which carries a narrative centred on the ethos of jazz itself. On top of that, the sense of experimentation and fluidity that so many of the instrumentals carry give the album an incredible sense of authenticity.

It is also most certainly that kind of album that leaves the listener prone to getting whisked away in its many soundscapes. And while this approach does compromise a chunk of impact that the instrumentals on the album could have otherwise had, I feel that the indulgence this album brings is very befitting of an artist like Moor Mother.

Jazz Codes also provides a solid mixture of out there melodies, and ones that are easier for new listeners to grasp on to. And while I personally prefer the moments in which Moor Mother really pushes that experimental boat out, I also appreciate the diversity that this album provides. Besides which, with a generous total of eighteen tracks, there’s plenty for listeners to get stuck into.

As for Moor Mother’s vocal and lyrical delivery, that is certainly something to rave about too. There’s undoubtedly a sense of poetry to her lyrics, reminiscent of an artist like R.A.P Ferreira, for example. However, there’s also a layer of passion to go along with it as well; a passion that is clearly aimed at the beauty and authenticity of jazz.

With all of the great factors that have been poured into the project that is Jazz Codes, the finished product ultimately stands as a very memorable and unique piece, when you stack it up against most other projects that we have received in 2022. And while there are more accessible tunes scattered across, it is clear that this album is one that doesn’t have a commercial bone in its body. It is a musically raw project through and through.

This album certainly succeeded in letting me as a listener know everything I need to about Moor Mother as an artist. And while I must say, I am a little late to the listening party, Jazz Codes feels complete enough to feel like a natural reflection of Moor Mother herself.

Favourite Tracks: UMZANSI | APRIL 7th | RAP JASM

Least Favourite Track: BLUES AWAY

ANTI Records

Final Score: 83%

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Joe Boothby

Joe Boothby

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.