It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon in a posh suburban neighborhood. The guests enjoy a garden party, champagne in hand, while a guy in shaggy shorts arrives and steals the Monopoly board. If it wasn’t a Jak Lizard scene, you’d think it was something from a Woody Allen film.

With a hipster look and a crazed smile, Jak gives off contagious good vibes. His music, like his image, is simple and authentic and he spots links between all styles within a soul tradition. The New Yorker excels in the art of storytelling: “Rose outta bed with a fresh new sense of solitude / Cold water on the face do a lot to a solemn dude” (“Quality of Life”). But where others might lock themselves into excessive romanticism, the singer’s dynamism delivers a new freshness. His diction sometimes borders on hip-hop and his unbridled flights into higher registers betray a sincerity sorely lacking in the hyper-market of the world music industry. Even “Can I Stay,” which slips into an almost obsolete doo-wop, leaves an unsuspected smile on the listener’s face.

Midway between Chance the Rapper and Mika, Jak reminds us that it is still possible to get excited about positive music.


Jak Lizard Shine to Rise 

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