Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ikebe Shakedown - Hard Steppin' EP (2009)

Combining traditional African rhythmic textures with melodies and grooves steeped in American funk, soul, and jazz, Ikebe Shakedown offers a unique and powerful sound. The 8-piece, Brooklyn-based band formed in early 2009 and, after a slew of dates around NYC, recorded their debut 7” single and EP, Hard Steppin', at Dunham Studios in June (where was recorded the Menahan Street Band album). The 5-track offering, released on Colemine Records, has already received high praise from critics, fans, and distributors.

Ikebe Shakedown
Ikebe Shakedown - Hard Steppin'

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Speedometer - The Shakedown (2010)

Speedometer, one of the most successful UK funk & soul bands of the last decade, attain the next level of their musical ascendancy with the release this brand new studio album on Freestyle Records.

Having spearheaded the resurgence in deep, gritty funk and soul for 10 years, as well as working with Eddie Bo, Marva Whitney, Sharon Jones, Billy Wooten, and Sir Joe Quarterman amongst a list of many musical legends, and selling out tours of Europe and the Far East as well as a string of authentically rootsy albums and singles, this is the album where all that experience and hard work reaches its deeply soulful zenith!

The Shakedown marks a step change in the groups sound and style, featuring more vocal led songs, a wider musical horizon, the vocals of regular Speedometer vocalist Ria Currie and very special guests Myles Sanko, Natasha Watts, The Stilhouettes and former James Brown singer, Martha High!

The Shakedown is without doubt the strongest, most varied & accomplished Speedometer album to date, brimming with soul, beautiful songs and that unrelenting, deep groove that Leigh Gracie and the gang do so well!


Speedometer - The Shakedown by Freestyle Records

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cayetano - Back Home (2010)

Klik Records welcomes a new artist to its roster. A familiar music personality to the Greek and International electronic scene, Cayetano with his third full-length album ‘Back Home’.

After two releases on the Etage Noir label, one in collaboration with Loopa Scava and his album ‘The Big Fall’, Cayetano is now recognised in the world of electronic music, standing shoulder to shoulder with his artist influences such as Bonobo, Peder and Quantic.

Once more Cayetano continues creating music in his own unique way, a blend of dubby, jazzy, latin and trip hop sounds which sees our protagonist surrounded once again by his long time associates George Haritos playing trombone, Renos Psarras on trumpets, Jimmy Joanne on bass, Stephan Knuf on drums, DJ Booker on turntables, Akis Katsoupakis on Rhodes keyboards and finally the voice of Valia Athanasiadou.

An academic musician but most of all a modern and conscious artist, Cayetano is not afraid to use the latest technology in order to create musical compositions based on his influences and life experiences. Today, sampling faces glorious days, so the proper use of it can be a great proof of the value and respect an artist pays towards the art he serves. It’s a way to bring together sounds from different backgrounds and cultures, creating a landmark musical result of today's world.

’Back Home’ provides ten different musical stories that Cayetano brings together as one unique whole. From the sparkling shimmer of ‘Glassleaves’ to the scratched up funk of ‘K Blues’ and the dub inflected ‘Day After Day’ to the otherworldly waltz of the closing ‘Left My Girl For A Bizarre Sextet’, Cayetano’s new musical journey is full of subtle twists and turns.

"Like a boat trip across the Aegan sea... every song is like a precious little island with an unmistakable original flavour" -Michael Mayer

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Eric Truffaz - In Between (Blue Note, 2010)

Swiss trumpet player Erik Truffaz has hooked up with his former musical accomplices to turn out a dark, melancholy album, In Between. His trumpet soars through the sound of rigged keyboards and accompanies the voice of singer Sophie Hunger.
After three years and three albums springing from some fruitful partnerships (Benares, Paris and Mexico), Erik Truffaz has gone back to his old quartet. Close friend Benoît Corboz has taken up the keyboards formerly played by Patrick Muller, and brought his rigged Hammond organ and his Rhodes piano into the studio. Sophie Hunger, one of Erik’s Swiss compatriots, joined the musicians to record one of the compositions, Let me go! and a cover version of an obscure Bob Dylan number, Dirge.
In Between is in constant oscillation – flitting from past to present, joy to sadness, life to death.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bajka – Escape From Wonderland (2010)

ac 2055 - Digipak - Bajka Remix albumBajka, the singer/songwriter with that unique voice - the one you recognize immediately and will never forget... releases her first solo album "Bajka in Wonderland" in 2010 on ChinChin Records. Her name means fairytale in slavic, she was born in India, grew up in South Africa and has been releasing music for almost 15 years, doing feature colabs for artists like Bonobo, Radio Citizen, Beanfield, etc.. Fortunately you can now listen to a remarkable and outstanding musical vision, an album with eleven tracks! This was made possible through the coóperation with the producer and composer team Daniel Regenberg and Jerker Kluge, both profiled Jazz musicians with a long list of projects and recordings of their own, with the capacity to organise a production of such an outstanding project. 

"Ιn Wonderland" has been released on ChinChin Records as a remix album called "Escape from Wonderland" at September 17, 2010,  including 14 fantastic remixes from: Bahama Soul Club / Basement Freaks / Bebo Best / Club des Belugas / Dr. Rubberfunk / Fab Samperi / Jojo Effect / Minimatic / MopMop / Renegades of Jazz / Smoove / Solo Moderna / Tim McVicar / Valique

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

VA – London Street Jazz (2010)


This is the third volume celebrating the Acid Jazz label's 21st anniversary, and this BGP focus on the label's jazz heritage. This compilation, by Dean Rudland, covers all the bases from hard bop through organ grooves, latin rhythms and fast fusion.

This CD gives an alternative view of London's acid jazz club scene, showing where many of the label's bigger acts' influences come from. Artists such as the James Taylor Quartet, the Brand New Heavies and the New Jersey Kings show their love of the Mizell Brothers' fusion. Whilst future TV star Max Beesley, Simon Bartholomew and the obscure but brilliant Ohm take a turn at a more jazz-funk groove.

Others such as the Bukkyleo Quintet and the outstanding Ed Jones Quartet play it in a more acoustic mode. In this they are joined by Snowboy with his Latin take on John Coltrane's `Mr PC'. Looking at jazz from outside these points of view are the Emperors New Clothes with an almost free `Eyes That Burn' and the Filthy Six, Acid Jazz's newest signing, who explore a late 60s early 70s Donald Byrd sound.

The in-depth sleeve notes explain how jazz became so important to a generation of London musicians on the UK soul scene and how they imbued it with a unique British flavour. Also how a Swedish piano teacher spawned a generation of UK organ groups.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chico Mann - Analog Drift (2010)

The sounds of Africa have taken multi-instrumentalist Chico Mann—aka Marcos García—all over the world. So it’s fitting that on Analog Drift, his second album and first for Wax Poetics Records, he’s returning the favor. Over the course of twelve thumping, impossibly soulful songs, including a cover of Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” Chico Mann introduces the rhythms and guitarisms of Afrobeat to the music of Cuba, the Latin freestyle flavors of 1980s New York and Miami, and the synth-heavy electro beats of dance floors across the globe.

“I’ve spent years learning to speak Afrobeat, albeit with a Cuban accent,” García says. “What I do is engage Afrobeat in conversation with Afro-Cuban funk, while electro and freestyle set the stage. I’m employing several dialects to make a larger musical statement. They’re all branches of the same tree.”

And that’s exactly what Analog Drift is: a statement. It’s saying something. At a time when most artists are blowing smoke in your face, García is blowing soul in your face. Not to mention truth and feeling. Songs like the searching “Mentirosos” and the reflective “Hay Que Correr” are guaranteed to get right to the heart of your matter; plus, synthy rumpshakers like “Anima” and “All That Is Rising” have been proven to get you movin’. So García’s music is good for your mind and behind. And it’s always real. The total package.

Monday, November 8, 2010

John Legend & The Roots - Wake Up! (2010)

A welcome return, given these troubled times, for the singer who has become the beacon of modern, intelligent, inspirational soul music, and with a collection of smouldering, socially aware songs that manage to sound both angry and optimistic at the same time. That they are is hardly surprising, given that, with the exception of the final track, Shine, every song is a leftfield soul protest classic from the 60s or 70s, from a stellar selection of artists including Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Curtis Mayfield, McFadden & Whitehead and Bill Withers. And Legend has been shrewd enough to go for songs that might not be their best known but are surely among their most interesting, hence a series of often-neglected gems, of the calibre of Hang On in There, Compared to What and Wake Up Everybody, are given the sort of prominence they always deserved.
more here...

John legend and the Roots - Hard Times

Sunday, November 7, 2010

VA - What's Nu (2010)

The passion to push boundaries and to look for new innovative styles and sounds within jazz music brought four bands together. Monsieur Dubois, State of Monc, The Jazzinvaders and Flowriders joined forces in the Dutch Nu-Jazz Movement to explore and expand Dutch Nu-Jazz. At the dawn of a new decade they proudly present us the latest, roaring result of their Movement, the second compilation album 'What's Nu?'.
The CD 'What's Nu' is a true milestone in the history of the Dutch Nu-Jazz Movement. Since its foundation in 2006, the Dutch Nu-Jazz Movement has been rooted in solid grounds. These connected bands stir up discussion and confusion about the definition of today's (nu-)jazz. With respect for the traditional jazz and a great sense of tomorrows sound, they win the hearts and minds of thousands by playing the best Dutch Nu-Jazz music the world can groove on.

From Germany and the UK to Morocco and the Ukraine: the Dutch Nu-Jazz Movement rolls though Europe and beyond to get people off their feet and enjoy their new beats and sounds.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bahama Soul Club - Bossa Nova Just Smells Funky (2010)

Bahama Soul Club feat. Xantoné Blacq "Open Wide" by bahamasoulclub

Review by Craig Charles, June 2010 :

I first heard this outfit when they had just started posting music on their myspace page, since then I have been a massive fan!

But then again, the main man behind The Bahamas, Oliver Belz, has a very fine pedigree having been one of the prime movers behind the wonderful JuJu Orchestra.
His debut album as The Bahama Soul Club, “Rhythm Is What Makes Jazz Jazz” was hardly ever off the show, and was one of my albums of the year in 2008.
But the big question is after making such a mark on his debut, can he deliver on that difficult second album.
All the signs are there as he has retained some of the vocalists from the previous album such as Berlin resident Pat Appleton and Bella Wagner from just over the border in Austria, and to augment that very solid base he has also drafted in the combined talents of two of the finest vocalists in the UK, Xantoné Blacq, and one of my personal favourites John Turrell who was recently voted on my show as lead male vocalist for the UK Fantasy Funk Band.

From the start, this album slips into gear with the superb jazz cut that is “King’s Wig” to the last knockout punch of the dancefloor monster “Nassau Jam” I can tell that Oliver has lost none of that Midas touch. There is something quite unique and mesmerising about the sound of The Bahama Soul Club, it is a gumbo in the best sense of the word, throwing in Bossa, Soul, Afro-Latin, and Jazz all into the pot and coming up with a sound that is both immediate, timeless, and above all has the sun shining through every single tune.
The question I asked earlier was, does he deliver on the difficult second album and the answer has to be a resounding “YES!”

Make a friend of this album as, believe me, it will be friend for life, it is that good!

BSC My Space page - BSC feat John Turrell 'Serious' on YouTube

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Maddslinky - Special

Maddslinky - Make A Change (2010)

Dubstep pioneer Maddslinky – aka Zed Bias – is back, and he’s signed to Tru Thoughts to release his new album, ‘Make A Change’ on 25th October, with a stellar list of collaborators including man of the hour Skream (who cites Maddslinky’s early work as a major inspiration) plus Mr Scruff, Tawiah, Jenna G, Ghost 1, Mighty Moe, Nile Sugar, and of course Omar, who lends his world-famous vocal talents to the lead single, “Special”.

The album is already in huge demand with repeated radio play of upfront tracks by tastemakers including Benji B (1Xtra), Gilles Peterson (Radio 1), Mary Anne Hobbs (Radio 1), Alex Nut (Rinse FM), and a recent interview and guest mix for Ras Kwame on Radio 1. The album track “Further Away” feat Tawiah was voted No.3 track of the year in the 2010 Gilles Peterson Worldwide Awards, despite not being out yet; and another, “Lost On Tenori St”, was included in Martyn’s recent ‘Fabric 50’ mix.

Madds' Tru Thoughts page - Zed Bias on MySpace - 'Special' feat. Omar (Atjazz Remix)

Bonobo - Black Sands (2010)

There was little in Bonobo’s first two albums – 2000’s Animal Magic and 2003’s Dial ‘M’ For Monkey – to suggest that Simon Green could ever craft anything as grand, expansive and accomplished as Black Sands.

Back then his moniker could almost have referred to his tendency to merely ape other trip hop producers without adding anything substantially individual himself. 2006’s Days to Come might have scooped Gilles Peterson’s Radio 1 listener’s prize for Album of the Year, but even then few would have predicted that four years later Green would have become a one-man Cinematic Orchestra, responsible for an album that can stand alongside Every Day or Ma Fleur as a classic of its genre.

For it’s not just a record label that Bonobo shares with Cinematic Orchestra these days. Like Jason Swinscoe, Green has progressed from predominantly sample-based production to more live instrumentation, although Green plays most instruments himself rather than relying on an extended family of musicians. But, more to the point, Green has become equally adept at mastering mysterious and multi-layered atmospheres.

But although the parallels with Bonobo’s peers are obvious, his fourth album doesn’t just sit in their shadows. Rather, it’s an inspiring example of how, free of pressure and publicity, he has blossomed into something beautiful at his own pace.