LISTEN: Top 5 Summer Tracks We Love

LISTEN: Top 5 Summer Tracks We Love

Summertime is here and there are 5 tracks that are providing the soundtrack to my life right now. Here are some tunes that are in heavy rotation that I’d love for you to check out. Enjoy the final hours of the extended holiday vacation!

1. Art of Cool / Music Heroes Mixtape Session 2: – Floetry Reunion Tour Mix featuring Floetry, Eric Roberson and The Foreign Exchange. Don’t forget the concert is this Sunday, July 12th at DPAC. Tickets here.

2. The Secret by Nicolay

3. All I Know (Dream Mix) by Butcher Brown

4. For The World by The Internet

5. The Switch by Emily King



START OF COOL: Day 1 Fun with Rhythm Instructor Teli Shabu

START OF COOL: Day 1 Fun with Rhythm Instructor Teli Shabu

The 2nd Annual StArt of Cool Jazz Summer Camp started yesterday. The campers participated in Teli Shabu’s Rhythm Class. Check out some of these photos taken by Ronald Parker of Artige Photography. Looks like things are off to a great start.

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You are invited to the 2nd Annual StArt of Cool Summer Jazz Camp recital on Saturday, June 27th at 12pm. The recital will be held at GSA located at 311 Dowd Street, Durham. Refreshments will be served immediately after the event.

The camp runs from 9am-3pm each day this week. We have the pleasure of introducing jazz to 24 students this week. They will learn the blues, percussion and how to play in a jazz combo. This year we are also adding a mathematics component.

Please check out the video of campers from last year’s jazz camp. This video shows the campers in action.


LISTEN: ‘Them Changes’ by Thundercat

LISTEN: ‘Them Changes’ by Thundercat

“Nobody move there’s blood on the floor…

And I can’t find my heart…”

Yasssss! Art of Cool Fest 2014 alumni, bassist Thundercat is back with a new mini-album dropping on June 22nd. The first thirty seconds of the new single “Them Changes” sounds nostalgic like an ode to The Isley Brothers “Footsteps in the Dark”. Head bobbing and grooving to this new single, we are happy that the Brothers Bruner are back with new summer jams for us. Listen now to “Them Changes”.

LISTEN: Robert Glasper’s Upcoming Album ‘Covered’

LISTEN: Robert Glasper’s Upcoming Album ‘Covered’

After completing the second festival we received a candid message from the manager of one of our artists thanking us for booking as if we were selecting artists from our iPods. The manager said that most festivals do not book that boldly. This really made us feel like we are on the right track as being a tastemaker in the Triangle area.

When we started listening to First Play – Robert Glasper’s ‘Covered’ album on iTunes Radio it was refreshing to hear that he covered songs from his iPod as well. Playing with his original trip we let this one play while working on AOC tasks. Needless to say we love what this #AOCFEST alum is up to with this album.

Give it a listen here.

JUST ANNOUNCED: Kamasi Washington *LIVE* @Motorco Aug 7th

JUST ANNOUNCED: Kamasi Washington *LIVE* @Motorco Aug 7th

Immediately after Art of Cool Festival we like to wind down and try to recover. Putting on a weekend jazz-inspired experience is a lot of fun but also about a year’s worth of work too. During our “down time” in early May we heard about the release of a new jazz album by Kamasi Washington on Brainfeeder. We certainly couldn’t sleep on Brainfeeder so we had to check it out.  We are huge Thundercat, Taylor McFerrin & Flying Lotus fans so we were expecting something super cool.

To our surprise the album was three hours long with some tracks over 14 minutes long. This was old-school. I mean who puts out tracks in 2015 that are 14 minutes long? Kamasi Washington does.

We listened to “The Epic” in its entirety and we must say. We loved it. For the jazz-curious Kamasi is that cat that you may have heard on the “To Pimp A Butterfly” album. Don’t take our word for it though. Read the Pitchfork review here.

JUST ANNOUNCED: We have the pleasure of teaming up with Sol Kitchen, Hopscotch and Moog Music to present this amazingly talented musician on August 7th at Motorco Music Hall as part of “The Epic” Tour. Tickets are on sale now.

What can you expect at the show? Check out “The Epic” performed live at Regent Theater in downtown LA.



LISTEN: Braxton Cook Meets Butcher Brown Releases “OOOOO”

LISTEN: Braxton Cook Meets Butcher Brown Releases “OOOOO”
There are only a few bands that have played both AOCFEST 2014 and 2015. Butcher Brown and Braxton Cook are the guys that we simply have to include in the line up each year. They are just that cool.


The guys have come together again as “Braxton Cook meets Butcher Brown” and they just released their first single, “Ooooo”. The full album will be released this summer!


The track features Cook along with DJ Harrison, Keith Askey, Andrew Randazzo, and Corey Fonville. It also features tenor saxophonist Marcus Tenney. The track was recorded at Jellowstone recording studio down in RVA and produced by the keyboardist DJ Harrison. The music is reminiscent of something you’d hear at your family reunion or at a summer BBQ; it’s soulful, groovy and sincere.  Give it a listen and share.


LISTEN: Have You Heard Our Mixtape?

LISTEN: Have You Heard Our Mixtape?

Art of Cool and Music Heroes have teamed up to launch a mixtape series. The goal is to expand the audience for jazz.

In this first series we are merging traditional jazz with hip-hop and R&B to show the correlation between the genres. Eventually we will introduce the next generation of jazz players to the same audience. There are a lot of new great jazz artists pushing the music forward. It is our mission to expose this new music to Art of Cool followers.

Take a listen.

Follow us on Mixcloud.

Share with friends.

Art of Cool and Music Heroes presents Original Loops by Theaocproject on Mixcloud


LISTEN: Nicolay’s City Lights, Vol 3: Soweto

LISTEN: Nicolay’s City Lights, Vol 3: Soweto

Woke up this morning & couldn’t wait to listen to Nicolay’s new release, City Lights, Vol. 3: Soweto. We are huge The Foreign Exchange fans so we were pleased to hear Phonte on some of the tracks. This release did not disappoint. This is feel good music. Music we can run to in the morning.

You can tell there is a huge influence from The Foreign Exchange’s trip to South Africa in this release. We love it. The album just came out today & we encourage you to pick it up NOW. Tracks we like include:

It’s In The Way That You Smile

The Brightest Star


The Secret

City Lights, Vol. 3: Soweto is out now and available on iTunes.


START OF COOL: Time is Running Out…You Can Help!

START OF COOL: Time is Running Out…You Can Help!

“The students left the Art of Cool workshop performance a few weeks ago and haven’t stopped talking about the instruments they would like to learn to play. Mr. Strong’s love for jazz came across in such a way that you want to be a part of his team and this is what I’ve seen in the students,” says Agatha Brown.

Time is running out! We’ve got two weeks left to raise $9,965 to send all of the children from GSA to Start of Cool Jazz Camp. The camp begins June 22nd and lasts for five days.

Donate Now!

At $25 you’ll provide a chance for a camper to attend rhythm class & play in the Start of Cool Bucket Band. Help make it happen today.

At $50, you’ll provide a chance for a camper to attend songwriting class & to write their own Blues song. Will you pledge at this level?

At $100, you’ll provide quality instruments for campers to learn and perform in jazz combo class. Contributions are tax deductible.

At $250, you’ll provide one child the chance to attend the entire week-long camp where they will learn rhythm, songwriting, vocal jazz, join a bucket band and jazz combo. You will receive premium seating at the recital on Saturday June 28th (10am at Global Scholars Academy). Will you help a child attend summer camp?

You’ll provide not only an enriching musical experience but most importantly you will help campers:

  1. Build self-confidence or self-esteem
  2. Increase independence and develop leadership skills
  3. Gain a willingness to try new things

Donate Now!

LISTEN: Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – Surf

LISTEN: Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – Surf

We love it when hip-hop and jazz collide. It has happened for decades with Buckshot Lefonque, Tribe Called Quest and more. We are very excited that jazz is intentionally working its way back into popular culture. Recently jazz and the next generation of jazz players were tapped by popular rappers like Kendrick Lamar & Chance the Rapper to breathe new life into hip-hop subject matter. Of course this type of cool collision of genres fits right in the pocket for us. It is a way to expand minds and audiences. Here are a few cuts from the new release by Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment that should appeal to the hip-hop head and jazz-curious alike.

Tracks we recommend you give a listen:

Nothing Came To Me

Wanna Be Cool

Just Wait


Something Came To Me

Sunday Candy

Download Surf for FREE on iTunes.

Warning: We’re not editors or critics. We are music lovers and musicians. We like what we like. From time to time we will post music that we are listening to and hope you will give it a listen.