by Petula Caesar
I picked up “Manifest”, the latest musical offering from Jahiti, who is also part of the legendary duo BrownFISH. Jahiti has been promising us this particular project for a little while, so I was excited to finally get my hot little fingers on my keyboard to download it. And as I prepared to play it, I became nervous.
I’ve seen Jahiti perform live. He is an awesome live performer. He is energetic and passionate onstage both vocally and musically with a rugged edge that is absolutely hypnotic. The fact that he is pretty easy on the eyes is not a horrible thing either. In addition to being talented, he also is very good at working his talents, whether doing an acoustic set or performing with a full band. But I worried that the soulful rawness that is a key element of his musicality wouldn’t translate onto a recording. Granted, this isn’t his first recording, but he has definitely evolved as a singer, songwriter and musician since his last release, and I really wanted this project to capture that. I wanted a lot of things for this project, maybe too much. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe they were too low. Could such a talented artist make a CD that sucked? I watched the songs download one by one and these thoughts danced through my head. I wanted it to be perfect, I really did — kind of like that first date you go on with that guy you really like that you really want to go well. Once the downloading was complete, with a bit of trepidation I started playing “Manifest”.
And as I tend to do, I worried for no reason.
“Manifest” is a crowning achievement for Mr. Smith — a collection of 13 tracks that perfectly blends everything Jahiti is — a strong songwriter with simple, pointed, powerful lyrics — a soulful crooner who successfully brings his island infused folk-funk music to everything he touches — and a musician who can construct a song well and knows how to add just enough polish without taking away the edgy quality that is a crucial part of his appeal as a singer/songwriter.
I enjoyed “Manifest” immensely. The opening track, “Come Like Love” drew me in immediately with its bouncy quality and melodic flow. The recorded rendition of his signature song “Daughter Of The Most High” is particularly well done — just enough lushness and fullness was added in the production to create a soaring epic love song that is spiritual and sensual at the same time. Another signature song, “Movie Star”, also translated well into the studio, keeping all of the tension that makes it such a great song when done live, but adding enough additional elements to give it shine and polish. Overall the production on “Manifest” was extremely well-executed; it was never overdone or overproduced. When it needed to be more stripped down and bare, it was. Jahiti’s production team, which included MoRece from Stinkiface Music and Kariz Marcel, definitely hit all the right notes on this one and did excellent work, and I commend Jahiti for overseeing the project so well. There was also lots of well-done live music throughout, and I definitely want to recognize the musicians who lent their talents to this, because they also did stellar work on “Manifest”. They include Jahiti, MoRece, Rufus Roundtree, Steve “Supaman” Herring, Chris Peacock, Tony Johnson, Judah, Ralph Rogers, Kendal Davis, Marcel Martin and Kentrell Harris. Other standout tracks for me were “Murder”, “She’s Telling Me”, and “Woke Up.” “Manifest” is a major musical accomplishment for Jahiti of which he should be tremendously proud. It is everything it should be and more, and has been one of the most enjoyable musical experiences I’ve had recently. It is a masterpiece from start to finish.
So clearly you need to pick up this CD. At ONLY $10 its a steal, trust me. Make sure you purchase one from this man when you see him at performances, OR you can purchase a download in MP3 format directly from him at www.jahitiworld.com. Yes its available on iTunes, but I always ask folks to buy directly from the artist whenever possible. And if you go to the website, you can also pick up the classic project “FISH Bowl” that includes Jahiti’s partner in BrownFISH music OOH on the popular title track.
He’s a clip from “Come Like Love”, and the music video from “Daughter Of The Most High”.