Soulshowmike’s Album Picks: Candidates for the top selections of 2020 | Pittsburgh City Paper

Soulshowmike’s Album Picks: Candidates for the top selections of 2020

As a radio host with deadlines, there’s a tendency to skim tracks of a new album. Sometimes, there's a note-to-self that the album is worthy of more attention. Let’s cover two 2020 releases that received the full listen.

Bryony Jarman-Pinto released Fish Factory Sessions as a follow-up to her 2019 debut, Cage and Aviary. After frequently airing “As I’ve Heard,” the title track from the first release, I looked forward to the new EP. Fish Factory Sessions is named for the London studio where it was recorded, and it features new music alongside some reworked arrangements from “As I’ve Heard.”

This album is best categorized as jazz. There’s a just-right breathiness to Jarman-Pinto's vocal delivery. The instrumentation is beautifully sparse, sprinkled with flute and vibes at times. Here’s a candidate for The Soul Show’s 2020 Top Ten.

Also vying for the top is Down To The Lowest Terms: The Soul Sessions by Steve Arrington. After studying percussion under Sheila E., he joined Slave, a great funk outfit from Dayton, Ohio. Arrington emerged as one of Slave’s signature vocalists, emulating, as he said, John Coltrane’s sax with his extended, semi-nasal attack on notes. Fourteen tracks went from socially conscious to uptempo scat to feel-good summer (reminiscent of Arrington's “Watching You” with Slave.) Wonderful album. My biggest wish was that the late Slave bassist Mark Adams could’ve been here to collaborate with Arrington one more time.

Join me on The Soul Show for the final Top Ten 20 selections: 91.3fm WYEP and, Sat., Dec. 26 at 2 p.m.

Mike Canton is the longtime host and producer of The Soul Show on WYEP 91.3FM. He recently launched a syndicated edition of the program, now airing in three markets. Both are produced in his Electric Basement Studios. Canton is also a Pittsburgh-area voice artist.