I Think I'm Good
Jazz and hip-hop have influenced one another for decades, with increasingly less resistance from either side of the equation in recent years. Among those for whom both genres are lingua franca, drummer and vocalist Kassa Overall has emerged as a singular presence. Having played drums with Geri Allen’s group for seven years, his jazz bona fides are impeccable. But at age 40, he also grew up with hip-hop as the default setting for pop music and a powerful means of expression. Overall’s full-length debut album, 2019’s critically acclaimed Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz, set the template for his followup, I Think I’m Good (Brownswood), a deeply personal meditation on his struggles with mental illness that also offers commentary on racial inequities and social justice. The Brooklyn-based artist’s blend of jazz and hip-hop is farily seamless on an album that includes performances by top jazz talents Vijay Iyer, Joel Ross, Theo Croker, Brandee Younger, Sullivan Fortner and Aaron Parks, as well as synth effects and rhythms that anchor the music in the 21st century. “Find Me” provides an excellent example of Overall’s hybrid, as he shares vocals with J Hoard. His drums and Stephan Crump’s acoustic bass provide a foundation for the engaging track, which also features Julius Rodriguez on piano and Morgan Guerin on electric wind instrument. Somehow, the song manages to communicate emotional urgency within a somewhat laid-back R&B context.