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Luvpark: Luvpark

Jazz improvisation meets funk and urban elements on Luvpark’s self-titled album (Imani). The Philadelphia-based collective, which is led by acclaimed jazz pianist Orrin Evans, has a contemporary sound and isn’t afraid to acknowledge ’70s fusion, as on “Apple Street” and “The L.E.J.” The Stevie Wonder-esque “Soul Dancer” finds singer J.D. Walter delivering an extended scat as the band grooves along, while the slow-burning “Fade Away” features smooth, almost mesmerizing, vocals from R&B singer Bilal. The spoken-word piece “It Ain’t Hip Hop” takes present-day rappers to task for the perceived wanton violence and sex in their lyrics and their failure to acknowledge the precedents set by such rap icons as KRS-One and Public Enemy. “Dorita” is a catchy, danceable contemporary jazz tune, and the album wraps up with the elegant “Libra,” whose melody will stay in your head long after the album’s over.

Originally Published