After spending many years developing musically, and performing alongside notable artists such as: Wale (Rapper), Ray & Goodman and Brown (R&B group), Millie Jackson (Blues singer), Ricky Dillard (Gospel artist), and Sonnie Badu (Ghanian singer), BJ Simmons emerged as an acclaimed composer and band leader, with a new album, named, “Acronyms.”

When BJ decided it was time to create his own body of work, he thought about albums that “changed the game” and wondered how he could explain the ethereal music of jazz his own way. He began experimenting with a variety of sounds, tone colors, and instrumentations. Creating a new body of work for many, can be an adventurous yet daunting task however, it seemed as if the album concept, “jumped right in his face.” It was the idea that music could sound like the contemporary text language that people use on a daily basis (e.g. LOL, YOLO, SMH). The idea that each composition could be written to sound like text abbreviations became a journey of itself.

 

 

Musically, “Acronyms” is a sound that resonates to more than just the jazz genre. It awakens the listener to consider the stirring elements of hip-hop, fusion, and soul-jazz while shaping what text abbreviations sound like when you read them. To complete this new sound, he called for the musical prowess of vocalist, Mariah Maxwell featured on “YOLO”, critically acclaimed drummer Greg Clark Jr., featured on, “ADHD”, and Philadelphia Rapper Khemist, who was featured on, “WWW.” “Acronyms” opens with a deep and high-energy waltz which features the virtuoso pianist, Allyn Johnson.

As a debut album, “Acronyms” is not only an example of BJ’s imagination, but a testament to to the idea that music can come from the most unlikely places. If this is an example of what is to come, then his future looks bright. 

 

Photographer: Lorna Pinkney

Musician: BJ "BJONSAX" Simmons

Venue: Bohemian Caverns (Washington, DC 2015)