Friday, April 16, 2010

Terry Callier - Speak Your Peace (2002)

On Speak Your Peace, Callier has found the perfect working mates in Jean-Paul Maunick and Marc Mac (from 4Hero), two men who understand that his work is more about nuance than statement, sense impression than solid image, poetry than prose. Callier's glorious voice and wonderfully fluid acoustic guitar are front and center in the mixes of both men.[...]
As for Callier's compositions, they're stronger than ever. Quoting his words in the context of a review is to belittle their achievement in that they are inextricably wedded to his musical frameworks. (Let's just say that if all pop music were as profound, we would all be activists working for peace and harmony.) The upshot is that this is easily the most seamlessly beautiful and wonderfully consistent recording he's made since his return. There are 14 tracks of ethereal, moving soul, groove, and poignancy that would (or at least should) make Bob Dylan and Smokey Robinson cry. Speak Your Peace rates with Callier's Cadet work in its vision, articulation, and execution. Indeed, on this recording one can hear, in the grain of his voice, a plea for wholeness that could only come from profound heartbreak.

Andreya Triana - Lost Where I Belong (2010)

The Bamboos - 4 (2010)

Bamboos vocalist Kylie Auldist’s work on this album could truly be described as virtuoso, especially on tracks such as “On The Sly”; huge live number “The Ghost” – in which she really changes up the vocal style range-wise and shows us she’s got many more tricks up her sleeve – and the hard-hitting track “Keep Me In Mind”, that sees Kylie delivering possibly her best ever recorded vocal performance on a chorus hook that is equal parts gospel soul and hip hop. Other vocalists also add a major degree of excitement: adored US rapper Lyrics Born features on the party funk number, “Turn It Up”; and the incredibly catchy, fresh and unique “You Ain’t No Good” features the mysterious and reclusive Tongan, King Merc, more of whom may become known when this tracks drops as the second single, later in 2010. The brooding guitar figure, ’60s soul drums and reverbed-out claps come across like the mutant love child of Phil Spector and Gnarls Barkley – setting up King Merc’s soul-drenched vocal like a rough mounting for a fine stone.

‘4’ is one of the most exciting, original, vibrant and downright addictive albums of the coming year, and could easily see The Bamboos catapulted beyond the confines of a genre to permeate the international mainstream musical consciousness
…The Bamboos have arrived!

Bamboos @ Tru Thoughts - "On The Sly" - The Bamboos Home Movies pt.1 -

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - I Learned The Hard Way (2010)

Produced by Bosco Mann and recorded on an Ampex eight-track tape machine by Gabriel Roth in Daptone Records’ House of Soul studios, this record drips with a warmth and spontaneity rarely found since the golden days of Muscle Shoals and Stax. Sharon’s raw power, rhythmic swagger, moaning soulfulness, and melodic command set her firmly alongside Tina Turner, James Brown, Mavis Staples, and Aretha as a fixture in the canon of soul music. From the lushPhilly-Soul fanfare that ushers in “The Game Gets Old” at the top of the record, to the stripped down Sam Cooke-style“Mama Don’t Like My Man” at the tail, the Dap-Kings dance seamlessly through both the most crafted and simple arrangements with subtlety and discipline. I Learned the Hard Way is the “Daptone Sound” at its finest.

Daptone Records - "I Learned The Hard Way" - "Mama Don't Like My Train" - Sharon on MySpace

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Aloe Blacc - Shine Through (2006)

Aloe Blacc brings a Soul music sound that is altogether something different from most of what you've heard before. Get ready for some great, sparse, and subtle production that puts Aloe Blacc's vocalism and lyricism at the forefront. This album came out in 2006, and it still sounds fresh.

From the get go you know you are into something different. The opening track "Whole World" gives you this simple drum break and understated electronic sounds over which Aloe Blacc sings his list of musical influences. It is interesting to me that a song that consists of a list of influences sounds nothing like any of the artists being quoted. But maybe that is the point? Aloe is letting you know that you are in for something different. The opener is followed by the equally different "Long Time Coming". Musically the album has a definite Hip-Hop flavor to it (Aloe Blacc is also an MC) but it has been stripped down to a few bare essentials and slowed down in pace a bit.

Aloe Blacc - I need a Dollar

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Michelle Amador - Higher (2009)

With an extensive background in jazz, singer/songwriter and composer Michelle Amador’s serene voice has been featured on a number of compilations throughout the years such as Yellowtail’s “Grand & Putnam”, Phuturistix’ “Rainbow Soul”, and Red Bull’s “Various Assets”. It was at the Red Bull Music Academy in Rome, the annual music symposium now famous for bringing together top global talent, where she met UK nujazz/dubstep producer Dave Jones aka Zed Bias – as a result, the concept of the album “Higher” was born. While still at the academy, Michelle and Mr. Bias created the track “In & Out” which included fellow artists Graeme Blevins, DJ Eurok, and Om’ Mas Keith from Sa-Ra Creative Partners. From there, the recording continued in Bias’ Manchester studio with a host of incredible live musicians.

One of the songs recorded titled “Because of You”, and also on the album, became a smash hit and favorite among DJs, top class tastemakers, and was then released as a single which featured remixes by the world famous Osunlade & Atjazz. “Higher” is a strong follow-up to the huge single, and definitely shows that Michelle’s lush vocals and insightful lyrics laced over the Zed’s production work are a perfect match.

Full Bio @ AllAboutJazz - 'Who You Are (ArtBleek rmx)' - 'Eager of the Years -