Omar at Jazz Cafe
There is a close-knit and familial vibe surrounding Omar’s album launch party, a sense that everyone in attendance has known and loved this talented singer-songwriter for many years. Indeed, one of Omar’s best-loved songs of the night is 23 years old (There’s Nothing Like This), but this evening he is here to introduce his new album The Man.
Omar has recently been awarded an MBE for services to music and has long been credited as the king of British neo-soul. Although never reaching universal recognition, there has been a steady and dedicated fan base for this innovative recording artist for years. One cannot fail to mention the adulation he has been met with in the industry: Stevie Wonder and Erykah Badu have cited Omar as one of their favourite artists.
The Jazz Cafe is a great setting to listen to the soul, funk, Latin and reggae stylings of Omar and his band – musicians playing guitar, keyboard, drums, saxophone, lilting backing vocals and even a fresh new rap element. The bar is fully booked for the night and diners are able to gaze down over the balcony, which is perfect for lovebirds!
New tracks include Simplify, Bully, and Fuck War, Make Love. There is a fusion between the mellow grooving funk and the subjects Omar touches on with his lyrics. Moments full of warmth and charming similes include “I found love I can feel it, it’s like walking in sunshine” off title track The Man. Omar is a family man, dedicating a song to his “babies” that is reminiscent of Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely. Influences of William DeVaughn and Curtis Mayfield fill the bar as Omar and the crowd belt out “diggin’ the scene with a gangsta lean” (Be Thankful For What You Got).
A testament to Omar’s likeability is the chanting that ensues for his encore before the presenter re-introduces him as one of “The UK’s crown jewels”. Omar is as keen to promote his music as he is to raise awareness for local charity ACTL, who are fundraising throughout the night for bone marrow donations from black, mixed race and ethnic minority groups. This sense of community spirit and the slow burning niche Omar has forged for himself over the years is a welcome change from churned out, mass-produced music – a case of placing artistic dedication first and foremost.
Photos: Steve Taylor
For further information and future events visit Omar’s website here.
Watch the video for The Man here: