Blending Gil Scott Heron insights on modern society with a pop-funk-soul style of early Lenny Kravitz was always going to set jp cooper apart from most of his contemporaries, though it’s taken a little longer than originally expected and has relied on several collaborations with dance acts, and a pop smash – such is the modern way of reaching the pop masses.
On the cusp of releasing debut album ‘Raised under grey skies’, which appears focused on activism and political speech, JP delivers a confident, meditative, performance which showcases not only his music but also the parallels between his interpersonal behaviours and the collective values he regularly sings about.
Highlights of the night include the gorgeous ‘If it was my birthday’, perhaps a close relative of Prince’s ‘If I was your girlfriend‘ both in it’s line of questioning and also in it’s seductive, come to bed, falsetto delivery layered over a delicate pop undertone.
Pop smash, ‘September song’, stops the crowd motionless with its theme of wondering if past loved ones ever think of us; surely one of humankinds most privately asked questions.
A late cover of Donny Hathaways cover of John Lennon’s ‘Jealous guy’ is beautiful in the way that, as great covers do, it reframes a song who’s message is often lost through familiarity. As with most of the set it’s a song, and a delivery, which externalises Jp’s clear belief in our need for left wing, anti racist, globally informed, style and substance, conversations.
A line taken from Grey skies asks “are my best days behind me?”, certainly not on this form JP, they’re just in front of you. Gil would be proud.