Roger Romero is a killer writer, editor and musician, lending his talents to Found Sound and East End Mile. Plus, he has a fantastic, eclectic taste in music that covers everything from jazz to pop and hip hop. Last year might be over, but its music endures. Read on for Roger's record recommendations and take the good parts of 2016 with you into the new year.
1. Emily's D+Evolution – Esperanza Spalding
This album is, to me, the pinnacle of musicianship. Esperanza Spalding single-handedly morphed my perspective on what it means to be a musician while simultaneously blowing my mind with her talent. The live performance of her album is her own unique vision of a musical; Spalding assumes the lead role and plays the crap out of a concert at the same time. It's an epic and visceral experience.
2. Malibu – Anderson .Paak
Another artist whose talent knows no bounds. He's so cool. He's got serious chops as a performer (on drums), rapper, singer and producer. I respect this man so hard. I'm grooving to Malibu constantly. Listening to Anderson .Paak is just part of my day-to-day now.
3. Blonde – Frank Ocean
There are so few works that are as vulnerable as Frank's record this year. After waiting forever, this record didn't disappoint.
4. Purpose – Justin Beiber
This album was my guilty pleasure listening at first. Soon enough, though, I got over myself and realized that the production and songwriting for the record was on point and that I shouldn't feel ashamed for loving it.
5. A Seat at the Table – Solange
The second I heard this, I was fascinated by Solange as a singer, producer and a songwriter. I hadn't heard a single thing she'd created before, and then suddenly she was one of my favorite artists.
6. In the Magic Hour – Aoife O'Donovan
I think her voice is literally made of angels. It's as close as a voice can get to perfection, in my eyes. Her songwriting is stronger than ever in this record. I find myself constantly going back to Aoife O'Donovan for the how emotionally relatable her sound is.
7. EROS – Omar Sosa & Paolo Freso
I found this recording through randomly reading jazz album reviews in Downbeat. It's free-flowing, unique, engaging and unremittingly beautiful
8. Art Science – Robert Glasper Experiment
I've been a huge fan of Robert Glasper for a long time, so I had huge expectations for this release. Every member of Glasper's band shines through this album. They have solidified their already distinctive sound and approach while adding personality to each track.
9. 99.99% – Kaytranada
I had an idea who Kaytranada was, namely because I heard that he was working with BADBADNOTGOOD. Once I heard about his collaborators (Anderson .Paak among them), I gained an active interest and then realized that this dude makes dope music with dope musicians. 99.99% easily has some of the most polished and unique production out there.
10. Coloring Book – Chance the Rapper
What can I say about Chance's record that hasn't already been said? He has such a deliberate and infectious sense of purpose when he creates music. His voice is unique, his collab game is strong and the music is some of the best out there.