Be the Change

“Love Isn’t Always Enough”


Among the many admirers of neo-soul singer, composer and keyboardist Jarrod Lawson count veteran percussionist Sammy Figueroa. A sideman with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Chaka Khan to name a few, Figueroa was knocked out by Lawson’s 2014 debut recording, eventually tracking him down to let him know that he’d like to collaborate. The results can be heard on Lawson’s latest release, Be the Change (Dome), a collection of the singer’s original songs which range from the personal to the socio-political. Lawson composed the album’s title track, which borrows Mahatma Gandhi’s instruction to “be the change you want to see in the world,” after meeting Figueroa in 2017, and the percussionist subsequently toured and recorded with Lawson’s band. The song could hardly be more timely, as the singer urges listeners to look beyond the political divisions that have riven the country in recent years. But with touchstones such as Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway, the Califonia-and-Oregon-raised singer also knows his way around a love song. Written while he was going through a divorce, the heartbroken “Love Isn’t Always Enough” sounds like a vintage 1970s soul tune, testing the tensile strength of Lawson’s tremolo and falsetto. The song reached the top of the Indie Soul Chart in February.

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The Authoritative Voice in Jazz