Bright and intricately designed tail feathers outstretched to the heavens, the peacock invasion of a tropical tree-lined street in Coconut Grove reached full throttle. Dozens traipsed past a house brimming with Miami music industry insiders – including Jorge Mejia, President & CEO of Sony/ATV Latin America and U.S. Latin (he’s also a world-class composer); Grammy-winning artist manager Marya Meyer; Executive Director of The Rhythm Foundation James Quinlan; co-founder of PopLife Aramís Lorié; Grammy’s Florida Chapter Vice President Milcho; and Christopher Macleod, owner of music venue / bar The Corner, and a dozen more – gathered for an intimate showcase performance to mark the worldwide release of Heart & Sol, the remarkable new EP by Miami musician Cleaveland Jones.
Over 47 meticulous minutes, Jones and monster session drummer Brian Lang sonically bulldozed through Heart & Sol, an album chocked full of soulful rock, R&B and funky beats, punctuated by stunning Motown horns cascading through tracks Until I Met You, Tell Me What It Is This Time, The Show Must Go On, and Little Bit. It was also the debut of the musician’s all-new live show format – simultaneously playing guitar, singing, triggering and looping background tracks, he’s striking computerized pads and constantly in motion, accompanied only by dynamic live percussion. The set also included the hip-shaking afro-Brazilian and reggae tracks Hello Hello and That’ll Be The Day, illustrating Jones’ remarkable songwriting diversity. The result is an impactful sequential mashup of songs and unexpected aural transitions – a musician on the move, literally and figuratively.
Since the showcase event and the EP’s release on January 17th, Jones’ star is rapidly rising, noticed by playlist editors at the streaming powerhouse Spotify, who have elevated his new song Until I Met You to the popular All Funked Up playlist. That’s right – Coconut Grove resident Cleaveland Jones’ music is now wedged between legends Prince and Bootsy Collins and gathering over 1,000 new subscribed Spotify listeners per day. It’s doubtful there’s currently a hotter local Miami musician. Curious? Follow Jones on Soundcloud here, Spotify here or have a listen via the embedded player below.
Written and recorded in his home studio over 18 months (where he also acts as a for-hire producer to other musicians), Heart & Sol punctuates a life spent pursuing music. Born in Cleveland, Cleaveland (née Louis Duvin using the original spelling of the city), lived abroad pursuing Tibetan studies in India, Nepal and Bhutan before moving to Brazil full-time, where for two years he traveled between the big cities, tiny villages, jungles and stunning coastlines that inspired his obsession with afro-Brazilian beats and samba. He left Brazil fluent in Portuguese and schooled in the instrumentation and musical language of world music before making Miami his permanent home.
Says the artist, “This EP has been a bit of departure from my usual style. The collection on Heart & Sol has distinct funk and soul foundations, and while I’ve been known to experiment with multiple genres on my previously work, the funk vernacular is where I’ve really found my groove.” Recent interviews with Voyage MIA and Miami Magazine reveal additional insight into Jones’ work.
Want to see Cleaveland Jones live? He’s performing his new material at Little Havana’s Bar Nancy on January 30th and February 20th.