Review

Riley G’s debut, A Groove For The Nation, pairs live jazz with revitalising pop melodies

Riley G’s debut, A Groove For The Nation, is his message of hope for South Africa: music to uplift the country. At least that’s the intention, and while it seems like a mammoth venture, powerful music really can uplift a nation. 

A Groove For The Nation takes you right into smoky lounges and onto stages, capturing perfectly the essence of live jazz music.

Jazz has a nature unlike any other live music, and that translates heavily on this record. It’s indulgent, opening on a mighty ten-minute instrumental work up – “Far From Over” is the start of Riley G’s jazz love affair.

He moves on more experimentally, incorporating machine vocals on “Purity” and full on pop anthem hooks on “Welcome to Durban”, and while this may feel revitalising for some, the album’s essential sound is lost to a confusing mix of styles. 

“A Groove For The Nation” ends things off as the culmination of everything Riley set out to put into his record, and while it certainly has the power to get Mzansi grooving, I can’t say for sure whether it will uplift an entire nation – worth the try.