UK singer Jorja Smith’s debut album Lost & Found arrived two years ago, earning her a distinction within R&B for her affinity to jazz-infused percussion. Fans have been anticipating a follow-up ever since, but Smith has responded with just a handful of singles. Now, the singer is exploring her roots in jazz by offering a cover for Blue Note Records, a veteran jazz label founded in the 1930s.
Smith returns with “Rose Rouge,” a cover of a 2000 song first penned by the French jazz musician St Germain. The original version is purely instrumental, so Smith plays around with her vocal range as she repeats the lines, “I want you to get together / Put your hands together one time.” Though the lyrics are sparse, Smith’s voice is at the forefront of the track as she croons the lines in contrast with the swell of accompanying brass instruments.
The cover arrives ahead of Blue Note Records’ compilation project Blue Note Re:Imagined. Along with Smith, the compilation includes music by Shabaka Hutchings, Alfa Mist, Poppy Ajudha, Jordan Rakei, Nubya Garcia, and others.
Other than a duo of songs released for a Triple J performance, “Rose Rouge” is the singer’s first effort of 2020. Smith’s latest single was the 2019 collaboration with Burna Boy “Be Honest,” which saw both an acoustic release and a hip-swinging remix.
Listen to “Rose Rouge” above.
Blue Note Re:Imagined is out 9/25 via Blue Note Records. Pre-order it here.