The Jade Element are a trio who got together in San Diego, California to explore their musical ambitions. Anthony Molinaro (producer/composer), Alfred Howard (lyricist) and singer Rebecca Jade shared a mutual love of nu/neo soul and trip hop and working with studio musicians they began to flesh out their ideas. Then – as an eight piece – they went on the road and have since become popular on the California alternative, live circuit.
Their debut eponymous album may well remind you of trip-hop pioneers, Portishead. Their music is dark and broody with hints of dub. It’s hugely atmospheric and experimental with shifting rhythms and unusual musical textures. What makes it different, however, is the soulful vocals of Rebecca Jade. Hear it best on the closing cut – ‘River Run Deep’, which, surprisingly, given the general context, has a passionate Southern soul feel to it, enhanced by some store front church piano from Anthony Molinaro. She shines too on ‘Move On’ – another soulful outing with real strings and an intriguing piano motif, this time from Rob Koonce. Elsewhere stuff like ‘Carried Away’ and ‘Back And Forth’ might be too dark for your average soul collector while ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘Escape’ are wildly experimental and prove hard work. Throughout, though, Jade’s vocals are assured and confident. She has real soul potential but I’m unsure whether The Jade Element is the vehicle to unlock it. Find out more on www.thejadeelement.com