GeeJay: What’s the Sun Without the Rain? review – charming UK jazz-soul

<span>Soulful joy… GeeJay.</span><span>Photograph: Maya Ziyu Ou</span>
Soulful joy… GeeJay.Photograph: Maya Ziyu Ou

Soulful influences seem to be a staple of the current British jazz scene. Artists ranging from production duo Blue Lab Beats to singer Sofia Grant and saxophonist Laura Misch all draw on soaring melodies, warm vocals and a foundational sense of soul rhythm when it comes to their jazz-referencing compositions. Bournemouth/London duo GeeJay are the latest to add to this roster of jazz-soul with the release of their debut album. Building on two previous EPs, What’s the Sun Without the Rain? finds vocalist Gina Jane and producer Jacob Lobo exploring everything from new parenthood to creative persistence across nine tracks of melodic, mid-tempo grooving.

Strengths come in the husky power of Jane’s voice, unfurling harmonic riffs on the infectious Be Brave, rumbling in a lower register on What I Do and skipping through light falsetto on the wistful Falling Into Place. Lobo’s production confidently scatters horn fanfares and luscious piano phrases, yet his drum programming could use added warmth, rather than the spare, synthetic punch that runs through most of the record. A charming debut, promising soulful joy for the future.