I’m going to tell you about a band that I dig so much, that I’m driving seven hours to Minneapolis to hear them play for the second time—in the middle of the week in October, no less. If you ask around the Desautels Faculty of Music these days, you’ll find a good number of us jazz students are deeply into an Australian band called Hiatus Kaiyote. Hiatus Kaiyote is a band that slips between the cracks of jazz, soul, funk, and R&B to create something completely their own. They call it “multi-dimensional poly-rhythmic gangster shit.” I call it the new child of soul and jazz.
The band is led by enigmatic singer/guitarist Nai Palm. Her songs are sophisticated compositions well beyond her years, influenced by Stevie Wonder, neo-soul, and the natural world. Hiatus formed in mid-2011, when bassist/producer Paul Bender approached Nai Palm after seeing her play solo using a borrowed guitar. Keyboardist Simon Mavin and percussionist Perrin Moss round out the band, also contributing their production skills.
Hiatus Kaiyote exploded into the music world in 2012, after they released their first EP, Tawk Tomahawk. Prince tweeted about them, Questlove tweeted about them, Erykah Badu tweeted about them, Q Tip asked to collaborate… I think you see the point.
Since then, they have been touring internationally to support their latest release, Choose Your Weapon (2015), which quickly became my favourite record of the year. They combine the harmonic palette and sophisticated communication of jazz with the groove of soul and R&B—give them a listen!