Via Common Good Records: Being a producer means always having a collection of beats close by. Being a musician means having a band of peers just a phone call away. One night in early 2016, Los Angeles music creatives and close friends Te’Amir Sweeney and Henry “Professor H” D’Ambrosio were sitting and listening to beats on a hard drive when a vision was born. A vision of bringing together a community of musicians working towards a common goal – a live hip-hop album that reflected the cultural fabric of the city of L.A. and everything it encompassed.
In early Spring 2016 a who’s-who of L.A. musicians, vocalists, and emcees came together for three days at Red Bull Studios in Santa Monica. Sonically inspired by the sounds of 70’s jazz and soul, a long cast of creatives including vocalist Jimetta Rose, live remixer/composer Mark de Clive-Lowe, and emcees Thurzday, Hugh Augustine, and Omar Offendum began recording and collectively crafting the sound of what would become a full length album born from those early 2016 late-night beat sketches.
On Day 1 the band recorded live versions of the beat sketches that Te’Amir and Professor H had produced. Multiple takes were recorded of each sketch, ensuring that the feel and aesthetic of the sound was correct. On Days 2 and 3 singers and emcees sat with the music, writing lyrics live in the studio and recording. Over the next several months the sessions were carefully mixed and edited. Then…..quiet. The project sat for over a year in its semi-final form until a chance conversation between Common Good and Te’Amir around the time of the release of his Fall 2017 drum break record, “Tiger Breaks”. A few edits and mixes later the album was complete.
To characterize the album is to describe the city of Los Angeles as a whole: a vibrant patchwork of neighborhoods, full of culture, art and beauty, but also hardship and injustice. The album is optimistic in its feel, but realistic in its messages. It’s a live hip-hop album that’s inspired sonically by the sounds of 70’s jazz and soul and pays homage to the aesthetic and sample-based grit and color of the beat scene.
A circle is defined as set of points existing on a geometrical plane, each located at an equal distance from the center. A set of points that, together, create something more significant than themselves. That is the definition of this album: a music collective, equal in their vision and contributions, coming together to create a project of supreme musical and social relevance. “Circle”.
Circle is a collaboration featuring:
Te’Amir Sweeney – an acclaimed Los Angeles-based drummer and producer who tours and records with soul singer, Aloe Blacc. He has played with many of the musicians who have crafted LA’s unique brand of hip-hop, beatmaking, jazz, and soul including: Sa-Ra Creative Partners, Kamasi Washington, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, YG, Wondem, Kadhja Bonet, and Ethio-Cali.
Henry “Professor H” D’Ambrosio – a Los Angeles-based engineer and producer. He currently engineers sessions at Truth Studios, Stones Throw Studios, and Red Bull Studios and has worked with a long cast of artists including King Mez, Dom Kennedy, Metro Boomin, Marsha Ambrosius, and Jansport J.
• Te’Amir Sweeney – Drums
• Mike McTaggert – Guitar
• Brian Akio Martinez – Electric Bass, Upright Bass
• Computer Jay – Keys, Synths
• Mark de Clive-Lowe – Keys, Synths
• Randal Fisher – Flute, Sax
• Tutu Sweeney – Keys, Trumpet
• Quetzal – Strings
Artists (Singers / Emcees) –
• Hugh Augustine
• Godfrey At Large
• Jimetta Rose
• Arima Ederra
• Omar Offendum
• Avila Santo
• Seti X
• Louis King
Cover art painting by UNOPUEDE.