The essential shared DNA between jazz and hip-hop is well-recognized by now, with each borrowing from the other in a cross-pollination that continues to be the main driving force pushing both genres forward, stateside—and the Pacific Northwest is home to some of the artists at the cutting edge of that evolution. Those who discovered BrandonLee Cierley on KMHD’s list of favorite singles released in 2020 found a well-balanced artist with one foot in the “lo-fi” beats that lately have dominated playlists curated for relaxation and the other in so-called “serious” improvised music, proving that sophistication and accessibility need not be at odds.

Even Cierley’s saxophone tone taken on its own strikes an artful balance, both confident and inviting, easily compared to that of prominent contemporary voices like Braxton Cook (one of Cierley’s instructors). Like so many great artists, though, one of Cierley’s strongest assets is his collaborative spirit and innate sense of who to work alongside to best hone his sound, and that’s exactly what’s shown off in his newest release, a collection of reworkings of recent single “Season’s Change.” The EP serves as a colorful portrait of Portland’s sonically diverse beat production and emcee scene—from the gentle, ambient boom-bap of a remix featuring Winks to a gutsier, bassier version from Noah Coinflip that is, in parts, delightfully difficult to even identify with the original. This little compilation packs a big punch, celebrating and artist and a scene both on their way to great things.


Stream “Season’s Change (Remixes)” below.

“Season’s Change (Remixes)” is out everywhere Feb. 12. Featuring production and contributions from Jonny Tobin, Cameron Formanczyk, Sam Arnold, The Drum Temple, Noah Coinflip, Kapok, Dali Rock, Boooka, Winks, Tony Banx & Cary Miga.