Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Aloe Blacc at Santos Party House

Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III, better known by his stage name Aloe Blacc, was born in 1979 to Panamanian immigrant parents in suburban Orange County, California. Growing up in Laguna Hills, he turned to music with a rented trumpet in third grade, later learning to play guitar and piano. In 1995, Blacc formed Emanon —"no name" backwards—the name inspired by the title of a Dizzy Gillespie song. Emanon released three hip hop albums combining break-beat loops and jazz samples. Blacc also toured and recorded with the members of the hip hop collective Lootpack and worked with the French jazz ensemble Jazz Liberatorz, among other collaborators. Blacc switched from rap to singing, launched his career as a solo artist in 2003 and released his first solo album in 2006. His profile increased in 2013 when "I Need a Dollar" from his second solo album became the theme song to the HBO series How To Make It in America. Blacc's voice also was featured on Avicii's international dance hit, "Wake Me Up." Blacc's most recent album, 2014's Lift Your Spirit, featured the hit "The Man."

At Santos Party House tonight, Blacc sang a silky and pleasantly grooving mix of old-school funk and soul with a light pop sway. While many of the lyrics revealed Blacc's social consciousness, the songs were delivered in smooth pop packages. There was no hint of cynicism or anger in the lyrics, but rather an attempt to preach the positive. Backed by a soul band that powered the songs with guitar frills, keyboard rolls and horn blasts, Blacc's smile encouraged others to grin as well.

Visit Aloe Blacc at www.aloeblacc.com.