Jack Herrera:

    City Lights
    Silver & Gold
    Jack Herrera for President
    For You
from Retro Futuristo (YabYum, 2000 – unreleased)

Gentlemen, Valentine’s Day is upon us. The conspiracy theorist in me believes this “holiday” is a capitalist plot devised by Hershey’s, American Greetings, the Society of American Florists, and the National Restaurant Association, but I’ll save that lengthy diatribe for later. Bad news first: you’ve braved the lines at your local See’s, successfully accomplished the mindnumbing task of choosing a card printed with saccharin nothings, paid inflated prices for imported roses (they’re from Equador), and secured a reservation for some impossibly expensive (at least until next year) fine dining. The good news? The music, my countrymen, is for free.

In 1998 Jon B began experimenting with an ambitious side project called Jack Herrera. At its core, Jack Herrera consisted of Jon B and his then-background singers, Silky Deluxe and Dominiquinn. Accompanied by a full band (including horn section), Jack Herrera begat Retro Futuristo largely on the back of Jon’s tourbus while supporting 1997’s Cool Relax. Never commercially released, Retro Futuristo represents the trio’s brand of neo-soul before Kedar Massenburg had the wherewithal to trademark the musical movement. A female friend (whose music critique I deeply respect) once told me that ANY woman would love Jack Herrera. Well friends… from her mouth to God’s ears and from my private collection to yours.

I first heard “City Lights” on Garth Trinidad’s Chocolate City radio show in 2000. I spent the greater part of that year hunting it down. The musicianship is loose, but perfectly imperfect. “Silver & Gold” features a guest verse from Black Thought over a sparse, mellow groove. Never trust a big butt and a smile. Looking to cure post-election blues? “Jack Herrera for President” rollicks and rolls like any self-respecting jam session must. And when the moment is right, “For You” should seal the deal.

Are we cuttin’?