FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
66TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS
BEST ALTERNATIVE JAZZ ALBUM
Current Jazz and improvised music lacks DANCE grooves and the overall art form has lost its appeal to facilitate dancing
over the past few decades. My En Motion album includes elements of Jazz fused with Dance, Hip-Hop & R&B with
sophisticated compositions and arrangements. This music was the soundtrack of my life as I was born and
raised in New York City. Growing up over the last two decades of the 20th Century, Black music developed and I was
able to visually and aurally observe this development via the radio, live concerts and dance clubs. During the pandemic,
I reflected on the music that inspired me to want to pursue music as my livelihood.
I wanted to create tracks that captured those sounds and emotions.
The album features diverse musical styles and interests from Jazz, Hip-Hop and Dance music from different eras. Stylistically, the album is inspired by artists like Kaytranada, Thundercat, Louie Vega, the overall New Jack Swing movement, Quincy Jones, Tom Browne, The Blackbyrds, Roy Ayers, the Brothers Johnson among others.
I enlisted not just virtuosic musicians but people I consider great friends. The lineup is stellar; with the core band of Sam Barsh (also the album’s producer), Eric Harland, Kaveh Rastegar, David Gilmore, Rachel Eckroth, and guests include James Francies, Ben Wendel, Victor Provost, Sasha Berliner, Kenny Davis, Mark Williams, Butter, Allakoi Peete, Suphala and Raydar Ellis. Added featured performers are Badia Farha, Mumu Fresh, Kardinal Offishall and the iconic Chuck D.
This album is a sonic journey of what has made me the musician, composer, producer and more importantly, human being that I am today.
'En Motion showcases an innovative North American nu-jazz approach. While Isles continues to honor and celebrate his inspirations, he pays them homage by using their innovations to go deeper and wider, expanding the music's reach.' -Thom Jurek, All Music
BEST ARRANGEMENT, INSTRUMENTS & VOCALS
Black Girl Magic (Track 2) is a song that had to be created. It's an Anthem for all the Black girls and women around the world. It represents Strength, Confidence, Identity, and of course, Beauty. It was an honor to collaborate with songstress Badia Farha (who wrote the powerful lyrics and melody), lyricist MuMu Fresh (who wrote her own profound rap verse with some vocal sounds) and vocalist Nikki Grier (who provided vocal effects) as they are three powerful black women themselves. Now, I'm a father of a radiant Black girl, so I was inspired to co-create a song that she and other Black girls and women can live by as well as exude the message with jubilation and celebration.
BEST INSTRUMENTAL COMPOSITION
Perfect Cadence (Track 6) exhibits a melody and syncopated eighth notes by the rhythm section reflecting my baby daughter, Cadence’s jovial and playful nature. She possesses a unique personality. I used the glockenspiel which is a familiar sound for
baby lullabies accompanying the trumpet melody.
I recently experienced the greatest day of my life when my daughter was born. There was an easy decision to name her, Cadence (which is a term in music and dance). I composed a piece which reflects how she is to me and the most resolved sound in music, V chord to I chord....called Perfect Cadence. I created a melodic, rhythmic and harmonic sequence as well as a tambour of the glockenspiel (played by Sasha Berliner) representing the joyous and illuminating aura my lovely Cadence exhibits. Also, there is a surprise cameo appearance before the tune concludes.
BEST JAZZ PERFORMANCE
Harlem Shake (Track 3) is my interpretation of the New Jack Swing movement in late '80s/early '90s. Around that time, I was starting to become serious about music, especially as a trumpet player and I would always immerse myself in different types of music especially Hip-Hop and R&B, listening to local radio stations in NYC like WBLS and KISS-FM (now defunct unfortunately). I composed 'Harlem Shake' to reflect those days and sounds of Harlem, where I spent a lot of time as a native New Yorker.
BEST JAZZ PERFORMANCE (FEAT. SAM BARSH)
Fatherly Bond (Track 13) is a composition that made me reflect on the wonderful bond with my father as me recently becoming a father. This piece represents how being a father is the most important purpose in my life as my Dad showed me. Producer and Keyboard extraordinaire Sam Barsh plays an elegantly soulful and compelling solo, reflecting his sensibility as a new father himself.
BEST JAZZ PERFORMANCE (FEAT. ERIC HARLAND)
La Fiesta (Track 12) is my favorite Chick Corea composition and I wanted to pay homage to him after he made the transition a couple of years ago. This tune has infinite arranging possibilities and we certainly explored it for this rendition of it. Drumming legend Eric Harland provided powerful Latin, Reggaeton and Hip-Hop grooves as well as a versatile and illuminating solo that propels the overall arrangement.
BEST JAZZ PERFORMANCE (FEAT. JAMES FRANCIES)
The Jump Off (Track 1) had to be the opening track of my 'En Motion' album. It was inspired by my love for dance and house music, especially growing up in New York City, where I would go to dance clubs and soak in the music. This track sets the tone for the album exhibiting Groove and Bounce as Keyboard Maestro James Francies adds relentless energy to the song with a virtuosic solo.
1. The Jump Off - 5:42
2. Black Girl Magic (feat. Badia Farha, Mumu Fresh & Nikki Grier) - 4:32
(N. Isles/B. Singleton/M. Youssef)
3. Harlem Shake - 4:04
4. Bate's Letter from MistaChuck (feat. Chuck D) - 2:58
(N. Isles/C. Ridenhour)
5. Reality (feat. Kardinal Offishall) - 3:41
(N. Isles/J. Barrow)
6. Perfect Cadence - 6:36
7. Septune - 5:32
8. Cristo Redentor - 4:51
9. Iso - 2:24
(N. Isles/S. Bar sheshet)
10. Lush - 4:43
11. The Smoke - 4:44
(J. Greenwood/T. Yorke/N. Godrich/T. Skinner)
12. La Fiesta - 6:36
13. Fatherly Bond - 5:25
Nabaté Isles, Trumpet (1-13) and Drum Programming (9)
Sam Barsh, Keyboards (2, 4, 5, 8-13)
Amy Bateman, Violin (1, 8, 10, 11)
Sasha Berliner, Vibraphone (8, 10), Glockenspiel (6) and Malletstation (12)
Zachary Brown, Cello (1, 8, 10, 11)
Butter, Percussion (1, 3, 8, 10)
Chuck D, MC (4)
Kenny Davis, Acoustic Bass (13)
Rachel Eckroth, Piano (3, 7) and Keyboards (1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10-12)
DJ Raydar Ellis, Turntables (4, 6, 8)
Badia Farha, Vocals (2, 7, 9, 11)
James Francies, Keyboards (1, 3, 5)
Mumu Fresh, MC (2)
David Gilmore, Guitar (1-4, 6-8, 10-12)
Nikki Grier, Vocal Effects (2)
Eric Harland, Drums (1-13)
Cadence Zalika Isles, Vocal Inflections (6)
Frederika Krier, Violin (1, 8, 10, 11)
Beth Meyers, Viola (1, 8, 10, 11)
Kardinal Offishall, MC (5)
Allakoi Peete, Percussion (2, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12)
Victor Provost, Steel Pan (4, 5, 11)
Kaveh Rastegar, Acoustic (6) and Electric Basses (1, 3, 7, 8)
Suphala, Tabla (4, 8, 11)
Ben Wendel, Bassoon (7, 8) and Tenor Saxophone (1)
Mark Williams, Trombone (13)
Producers: Sam Barsh & Nabaté Isles
Recorded and Engineered by:
Aaron Nevezie, Nolan Thies and Alex Conroy at The Bunker Studio, Josh Giunta at GSI Studios, Amadis Dunkel and Rich Lamb at Blue Frog Studios & Dan Kottmann and Nadav Lavie at Daxxit Studios.
Mixed by: Hanan Rubinstein at Daxxit Sound Studios, Jay-J Hernandez of Shifted Music & Sam Barsh of Barsh Music
Mastered by: Charlie B. Wilder at Lemon Tree Studio & Jay-J Hernandez of Shifted Music
Photography by: Anna Webber
Graphic Design by: Kaya Marks
Management: Brad Davidson of Render Records