Label: Rhythm Section International Released: July 2021
On his most raw work to date, Jerome Thomas continues to mesmerise on third extended play - ‘That Secret Sauce’. The well of experience that this artist continues to draw from is deep, and some of the songs on this project have been waiting a long time to see the light of day. Jerome takes his time with his music, with each re-emergence from beneath the waves a more triumphant and exciting evolution of the last.
As a whole, ‘That Secret Sauce’ is a combination of live work, and some choice produced conscious Funk from incredible producer Talos. Credits also go to London Jazz royalty David Mrakpor and a talent I was not aware of, bassist Kwesi McIntosh. After an Intro/Interlude that oozes satisfaction, we move into familiar live favourite 'That' which explores monogamy's less discussed truths. This theme continues into recent single 'Secret' a track that really showcases just how sensitive yet deeply sensual an artist Jerome is. He exhibits a seemingly effortless compromise within this track as he states "Nobody has to know" - more than hinting at a real comprehension of romantic impermanence. Having followed Jerome for some time, I never particularly mused on the many comparisons to D’Angelo. However on ‘That Secret Sauce’ I really start to understand his kinship to other common comparison, Marvin Gaye. This is most apparent to me on third track ‘Sauce’ - which is undeniably a most respectful nod - with an authentic groove, the Latin percussion aptly trilling around Jerome’s intertwining melodies and many hushed harmonies. 70’s understanding within production is a trademark of Talos, which can be also heard in excelsis on his recent double A side release ‘Night Flight’. There are of - course strong overtones of lust within this project. Indeed, it is hotter than the confusion of love felt on previous project ‘Moodswings Vol 1’ but around track 4 we swing back to a different experience on this ceaseless topic. 'Thanks, No Thanks' tells a classic tale of becoming attracted to someone only to suddenly become utterly perturbed, astonished that you could even have considered it. Notably the Noir/Bop trumpet solo riding this hungover Funk, adds such character to this track, it almost spits in disgust as it skulks home in shame.
Leading into another element of Jerome's expression, we enter the melancholic 'Settle Down' which visits familiar sensations felt on first E.P ‘Conversations’ - where we meet Jerome’s yang, a contemplative and at times deeply troubled young Black man. This is finally exemplified in what is surely to become a Jerome Thomas classic - 'No BS' a song that could easily sit on Conversations, with its gentle combining of dreamy Jazz Boom Bap and stoned cynicism.
"I tend to keep myself to myself,
focusing on my mind and my health,
trying to move my Mum up out of Hackney..."
Yet despite these warm comparisons which remind us of works past, as I stated, each new project seems to re-invent Jerome, and we will no doubt witness this to maximum effect in the inevitable incredible live shows to come.