Written By: Fletcher Bonin
In Spanish, the word ‘jardin’ of course means ‘garden’. In the case of Gabriel Garzon-Montano’s latest album Jardin, I think the translation is perfectly fitting. This ten track release is alive and has been cultivated, flourishing and blooming on every song. Gabriel has long been classified as an R&B artist, and yet this album, released just earlier this month, is jazzy and verges on indie in style. Don’t get me wrong, the smooth and romantic themes of R&B are still completely alive and well on this album. Montano’s vocals are breathy and halting over steady, gentle beats. Jardin is Ginuine meets Anderson.Paak in a beautiful amalgam where jazz and R&B intersect. His lyrics are creative and linger on the edge of each trip of the beat, maintaining a steady high alto or tenor throughout the album, departing rarely and effectively when he does. This music is challenging and more complex than meets the eye, it may even take a few listens to be fully appreciated. That being said, the album is rich with beautiful notes and ripe key changes. However, my favorite aspect of Jardin is the intriguing lyrical scheme, each word made more effective by Gabriel’s subtle intonations.
One of my favorite and, I think, most interesting tracks off the album is the final song ‘Lullaby’. It is on this song that Gabriel departs from his usual jazzy tenor vocal selection in exchange for a soothing alto, perhaps not surprising given the song’s title. The track is deep and sonorous, comforting and relaxed, everything you’d want from a lullaby. He sings the refrain, “sleep baby sleep” in a way that is sure to quiet even the most restless child.
For something a little faster paced and more quintessentially Gabriel, I would suggest the fascinatingly titled song ‘Long Ears’. This track proves rich with the aforementioned texture and complexity, especially with Gabriel’s lyrical composition. He croons, over halting drum hits and steady riffs, “flowers at your feet, you brought me to my knees, praise me, praise me.” Jardin is many layered and multivalent, a maze of musical decisions, each more interesting and harmonic than the last. If you are looking for a way to switch up your usual playlist, or to introduce a little complexity into your shuffle, I highly recommend checking out Gabriel Garzon-Montano’s latest album, Jardin, I guarantee it will remedy your playlist woes.
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