TM Juke and The Jack Baker Trio present Boto And The Second Liners, a carnival-spirited album moving from the â€˜80s New York street party feel of junkyard, go-go music and old school inspired hip hop; through the funk and soul of Memphis and the Mardi Gras of New Orleans; and south to Latin America and Brazilian samba. The record boasts some great guest performers – most notably singers Alice Russell, Kathrin deBoer of Belleruche and Andreya Triana, and genre-bending Spanish singer Gecko Turner.The project was born when TM Juke and Jack Baker were on tour with the Alice Russell band, passing their time in airports and vans by cataloguing songs that could be reworked in a South American stylee. The original plan was for an album of covers, but once the pair got to work, the covers were dropped in favour of original rhythmic masterpieces. Written and recorded in less than two months, the album was all played live – not a sample in sight – and nearly all the percussion and drums are single takes. The pair avoided ironing out too many creases and tried not to over-produce, and as a result the recordings have a rough and ready feel and that unique, palpable live energy.
The intro, “Portion Of A Recording” kicks off with a nod to Ini Kamoze’s “World Of Music” and a straight up dancehall-ragga beat using a raft of percussive sounds and bells. On the other end of the noise spectrum, “That Gut Feeling” is a New Orleans inspired groove with a live jam feel, taking a simple hook and building it up slowly with Andreya Triana’s soulful vocals. Ramping up the pace again, “Echoes From The Surface” is a prime example of the kind of mix that you’ll get in TM Juke And The Jack Baker Trio’s live shows with drums and horns aplenty and a whole lot of dirty synth bass, all inspired by that go-go sound of â€˜80s New York. “Spread It On”, a heavy, blow-the-speakers, dancefloor funk track, features sensational vocals from Alice Russell and a subtle reference to Sly & The Family Stone’s “Trip To Your Heart” (which was sampled by LL Cool J for “Mama Said Knock You Out”, trivia nerds). The unrelenting stomp of “Heads High(er)” was the track that kick-started the whole project, and the idea of doing Batucada and Samba versions of famous songs. All the percussion on this track was played in single takes by the main samba man on the project, JP. One of the most melodic and harmony-based highlights of the album is the mesmerising Kathrin deBoer-voiced song “Rolling Stone to Landslide”, with Kathrin’s richly textured voice layered over a lush backdrop incorporating all the instruments on the album: flutes, muted trumpets, horn section, rhodes, bass, guitar, and of course bags of percussion.
TM Juke has built a reputation as a prolific and acutely talented musician, producer and DJ. His previous solo projects have encompassed soul, funk, hip hop and jazz; with sublime hooks and a spirit of experimentation. With two acclaimed solo albums for Tru Thoughts under his belt, he also produced and co-wrote some of Alice Russell’s most highly acclaimed releases and he is one half of dancefloor-destroying duo Me&You. The Jack Baker Trio is, in fact, just Jack Baker, percussionist extraordinaire. His other high profile musical endeavours include playing in the Bonobo Live Band.