Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Darondo - Let My People Go (2006)

It’s hard for legitimately great music to stay hidden. Most “buried treasure” gains credibility simply by virtue of its age, giving us a whiff of an elusive past that we somehow missed the first time around, if not quite the same heady aroma of a true classic. Very rarely does a classic album—classic in terms of both vintage and status—appear out of thin air.

And yet that is exactly what Let My People Go has done. Like a magician pulling a previously-invisible rabbit out of his hat, the good folks at Luv N’Haight have given us an album of forgotten early ‘70s soul that legitimately deserves to share shelf space with the likes of Marvin Gaye, Al Green and James Brown. That may seem like a tall order, but Darondo is more than just a footnote. Even if his recorded output prior to this release was only six tracks, wow, what a six tracks they were!

In the early ‘70s, Darondo released three singles. That might look like a short sentence, but that was the story of his discography. He lived in the Bay Area and recorded with session men like guitarist Eddie Foster and producer Al Tanner. He opened for James Brown, hung with Sly Stone and Fillmore Slim. And then . . . well, sometime between now and then he found a wife in Fiji. Which should give you an idea of how far afield from the world of R&B superstardom he found himself.

And that was basically it. If it weren’t for the long memories of a few obsessive crate diggers who fondly remembered those three classic singles, Darondo would probably have faded from mere obscurity into total oblivion with the passage of time. But one of those crate diggers just happened to be a man named Gilles Peterson, who reintroduced Darondo to the world on 2005’s Gilles Peterson Digs America compilation. Do we owe the existence of this fine album to Peterson’s visionary trainspotting? Not being privy to the inner working of Luv N’Haight’s thought processes, I hesitate to say (the brief timeframe argues against it, despite the fact that both Peterson’s compilation and Let My People Go were published by Ubiquity)—but Peterson’s timely reintroduction definitely created an anticipation that would not have otherwise been present.

Let My People Go is composed of Darondo’s first three singles and three previously unreleased studio outtakes. Despite the slightly stapled-together nature of the compilation, it doesn’t lose anything in terms of cohesiveness. The unreleased tracks are easily of the same quality as the original singles—and with only nine songs to choose from, a sag in quality towards the end of the album would definitely stick out.

Didn't I

Listen to my song

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dessa – A Badly Broken Code (2010)

Dessa has earned praise for her range as a thoughtful songwriter, a fierce emcee, and a singer with an expressive alto voice. As a member of Doomtree, her work has attracted a ferociously dedicated fan base, held the 1 spot with CMJ, and appeared on Billboard’s Heatseeker’s charts. A Badly Broken Code is Dessa’s eagerly anticipated full-length album. Doomtree producers Paper Tiger, MK Larada, Cecil Otter, and Lazerbeak all contribute beats to the album. “The Chaconne” is pensive and beautiful, with piano, violin, and guest vocals by Grammy-nominated Matthew Santos. “Dixon’s Girl” sounds like a French cabaret, with shuffling drums and sultry refrains. “The Crow” (on which P.O.S sings back-up vocals) is comprised of aggressive drums, distant organ melodies, and punctuated by haunting sung choruses. “Poor Atlas,” an entirely a cappella arrangement, layers old-world harmonies to tell the story of a woman who attempts to improve upon the human design, building a body from balsa and ash. The varied sound pallet of A Badly Broken Code is unified by Dessa’s inimitable style as a lyricist. Tenderness, wit, and poetic sensibility define her songwriting and every track on her full length reaffirms her position as one of the most capable lyricists in underground hip hop.

Dessa on MySpace

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro - Uhuru Peak (2010)

The six-piece phenomenon, the nasty groove-making cats, the deep-dapping and history changing dogs call themselves the Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro. Well dressed, slick but playing some of the rawest and deepest funk that would shake anyone's booty, and add that with furious energy of a rock and roll band , and you have these amazing gentlemen.

Akiko - What's Jazz: Style (2008)

Akiko's tribute to the "style" of jazz - soon followed by her "spirit" set - and a package that has far more substance than you might expect! The work's got a cool, classy sort of feel - older jazz modes handled with small group instrumentation that either features piano or organ in the lead, occasionally with a bit of horns, but usually just trio or quartet grooving behind Akiko's slinky vocals! The tunes are a mix of compelling covers and some even more surprising originals by Akiko - self-penned tunes that really stand out in the set, and make us love her talents even more than when she's just going for older American modes. Titles include "When Life Is Over", "Love Theme From Spartacus", "Ladies Love Mercedes", "Come Together", "Madly", and "What's Jazz".

Love Theme From Spartacus
- Ladies Love Mercedes - Introducing How High The Moon

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sade - Soldier of Love on David Letterman

from her new album od the same name

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Andreas Thermos Quartet

Born in Athens, Greece. Studied the Piano at an early age and then he started playing the Saxophone. He graduated from the music high school of Pallini (Athens) and Nakas conservatory. In 1995 he was awarded with a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music.
He graduated from Berklee in 2000 with a bachelor on Performance. While he was in the U.S.A he represented Berklee in many events and had the opportunity to study or perform with many artists such us: George Garzone, Billy Pierce, Hal Crook, Phil Wilson Big Band, Kendrick Scott, Mark Kelley, Milan Milanovic, Vardan Ovsepian. After staying in NYC for one year he returned to Greece.
He has collaborated with many Greek artists such as: Takis Farazis, George Kontrafouris, Takis Paterelis, Dimitris Vasilakis, Irineos Koulouras, Kostas Kouvidis, to name a few. He has also performed with Dick Griffin, Daniel Tilling, Shelley Burns, Jason Yarde, Javier Vercher, and others, in various festivals and concerts.