Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - Soul Time (2011)

Few acts have created their own universe as successfully as Brooklyn-based Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. Forming in 1996, the band’s quest to create bona-fide funk-soul has long outlived their original critics’ view that the 10-piece band was merely some form of extended pastiche. Using only original instruments from the 60s and 70s and recording in glorious analogue, they eschew any post-modern references and create full-on, joyous grooves which achieve their aim of sounding like they were dug up in some dusty old vinyl shop.
Having cemented their reputation in the UK as being Mark Ronson’s house band and featuring strongly on Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album, their albums have never quite captured their full force as a live act. Soul Time!, a compilation of singles, B sides and live favourites of the past decade comes pretty close though, and serves as a perfect introduction to the band. Showcasing bandleader Bosco Mann’s soulful writing, Soul Time! scores with its note-perfect emotion and keening brass arrangements. [...]
[...] There is nothing modern about Soul Time!, yet it sounds both refreshing and contemporary. The exceptional musicianship and impeccable vocals may not be to everyone’s taste, but for 40 very happy minutes, you can revel in SJDK’s very discrete world.

By Daryl Easley (BBC Music)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Laika Fatien - Nebula (2011)

“Born in Paris of an Ivory Coast father and a Moroccan-Spanish mother, Laïka was raised mainly by women (her grandmother, mother, and aunt) in a Moroccan Jewish family. She leans towards her maternal Sephardic culture, open to different styles of music in the Mediterranean.” (MySpace) And as Malcom McLaren has sung: “Jazz is Paris, and Paris is jazz”, not quite surprisingly, Laïka got her inspiration from artists as Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae, Shirley Horn, Nina Simone and Abbey Lincoln. She collaborated with Sixun, Julien Lourau, Steve Williams, Antoine Roney, Michael Bowie, David El Malek, Richard Galliano, Toot Thielemans, Robert Glasper, Gregory Hutchinson, Peter Martin, Daryl Hall, Vince Benedetti and Claude Bolling’s big band. Laïka has also taken to the stage of theaters in a different guise, quite seriously and played in Claude Lelouch’s film “Hasards ou Coïncidences”. Leader of her quintet, Laïka bring back to us some of the shining and the perfume of the classic jazz, this “Nebula” taste like a good old record from the 40s.
11 tracks, nice pieces from a time that seems has dawn long-long time ago. It’s like a 20 years old whiskey in a quiet bar wrapped in discrete smoke on a Wednesday evening.

The Soul Rebels Brass Band - Unlock Your Mind (2011)

Described by Village Voice as the "missing link between Public Enemy and Louis Armstrong," The Soul Rebels Brass Band, as you would imagine, encapsulate a hip hop sensibility while paying full respect to the brass band tradition from which they come. Led by Lumar LeBlanc and Derrick Moss, the New Orleans-based eight-piece produce funky, horn-driven music that immediately invites the listener to party.
Formed in the mid-2000s, the patronage of southern funk legends The Meters did them no harm at all, and as a result, their support slots became more prestigious; now, Unlock Your Mind is their first, full-length studio album. Many will know them from the season finale of TV series Treme. The question after all of this is simple: how can such a joyous live act transfer onto disc?
The answer: fairly effortlessly. They clearly evoke their most obvious reference point, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, but there are also elements of David Shire’s claustrophobic brass-heavy score from the cult 1974 film The Taking of Pelham 123. 
[...] At times, it veers into school orchestra territory at the moment when they first learned how to play the theme from Rocky; but this is a minor quibble. Overall, this is a full-on, joyous, positive album that makes you feel like celebrating – indeed, you may be hard pressed to hear a more vibrant, life-affirming record this year.

By Darryl Easley (BBC Music)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Indigo Jam Unit - Independent (2011)

One of the most prolific bands on the Japanese scene, indigo jam unit's seventh original album and tenth overall release since 2006 is about to hit the shops just three months after the well-received covers project recorded with vocalist Alicia Saldenha. As with all their releases, the artwork for Independent is a distinctively simple match of sans serif typography and bold colour. And once again fans can look forward to a nine track set of tunes that feature funky basslines, memorable piano melodies and explosive percussion.
The album opens with Escape, featuring a heavy bass loop that continues for the duration of the tune. Takehiro Shimizu then comes in with some jazzy cymbals and drumwork before some crashing piano chords signal the beginning of the drama. The combination of these sounds suggest a frantic and furious flight from something rather ominous. No matter how fast they run away the danger seems to be drawer closer and closer and the abrupt end to the track leaves you wondering whether they fled successfully or were captured by their pursuers.
Whatever the outcome, the band were fortunately able to complete the rest of the album and move on next to Rising. Led by a memorable and haunting piano riff, the track is also notable for its use of the band's signature twin drum sound.
Another heavy bass loop marks the start of Baobab, a fine tune with some great drums and percussions over which Yoshichika Tarue can weave his magic. The tempo changes slightly half-way through, with the percussion and drums taking on a more African and then gradually builds to a powerful finale. Resolution, on the other hand, is a down-tempo number led by an exquisitley melancholy introspective piano loop. As the title, Bounce is a funky uptempo feelgood number that is bound to get you tapping your feet after the more reflective mood of the previous tune, and this track is bound to go down well live.
Devotion is a standout tune with a shuffling drumbeat over which is layered a Latin-flavoured piano hook. It's an exotic and uplifting mid-tempo number that provides the perfect escape from cold winter evenings. 
The final third of the album kicks off with Phoenix, an atmospheric track led by some really impressive piano. The subdued and sobre mood of the first half of the tune gives way to a radiant burst of energy later on signalling the rebirth and resurrection, with the track finishing with a great feeling of hope and optimism. From high drama we then move to more conventional jazz stylings with Sepia, a great swinging tune with an awesome drum solo for its climax, which is followed by the ballad Genuine.
Once again indigo jam unit deliver the goods with Independent. It's an album that sees them sticking to a formula that has served them well for the last few years, but all the time they can continue to produce impressive new tunes like these, there is little need to fix what ain't broke.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Renegades of Jazz - Hip To The Jive (2011)

Wass Records are very proud to present Renegades Of Jazz with their debut-album “Hip To the Jive”. This album is brimming with dance floor shakers, raw break beat and a touch of Big Band Jazz.
David Hanke is the German brainchild of Renegades Of Jazz and has been making big waves since his first 12”single Karabine was released on Wass Records in 2010 creating a big impact amongst avid vinyl collectors and music fans alike.
Hip To The Jive album is a journey through heavy Big Band Jazz swing, an onslaught of massive break beats, exotic samples, wild and wonderful bass tones, B-Boy breaks and beautiful downbeat rhythms. Twelve raw tracks packed tight with energy and heavy production skills.
Played by the likes of Craig Charles (BB6 Music) and Pete Isaac (Jelly Jazz) the Renegades Of Jazz sound has found a lot love and support worldwide. Through the huge success, Renegades Of Jazz is already taking shape to become a nine-piece live band set to take to the stage in 2012.

Hip To the Jive is released on limited vinyl (500 copies only) and digital download on Wass Records.

Hip To The Jive by Renegades Of Jazz

Gretchen Parlato - The Lost and Found (2011)

The first vocalist to study at the Thelonious Monk Jazz Institute and winner of the Thelonious Monk Vocal Jazz Competition in 2004, Gretchen Parlato has cut a different path than singers who stick to time-tested standards and familiar jazz works. Her third CD is a wide-ranging affair, featuring singer/songwriter pop ballads, post-bop, her own originals, and works by her supporting musicians adding her lyrics. Her core band consists of keyboardist Taylor Eigsti, bassist Derrick Hodge, and drummer Kendrick Scott, with tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens added on several tracks. Parlato's approach to Wayne Shorter's "Juju" has a mysterious air, with her hypnotic vocals buoyed by Stephens' effusive tenor. Parlato's interpretations of pieces by several rising stars from her generation are impressive, including the whispering treatment of Ambrose Akinmusire's "Henya," along with pieces by Eigsti and Stephens. She demonstrates her versatility in her breezy interpretation of the samba "Alô, Alô," mastering its Portuguese lyric and providing the sole accompaniment as percussionist. Parlato penned both the music and lyric to the driving post-bop vehicle "Winter Wind," while her "Better Than" is a dreamy pop ballad. It's clear that Gretchen Parlato doesn't want to be restricted by stylistic boundaries, so jazz fans with open ears will find a lot of treasures to discover within The Lost and Found.

- By Ken Dryden (AMG)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nujabes - Spiritual State (2011)

Jun Seba (瀬場潤 Seba Jun?, February 7, 1974 – February 26, 2010) was a Japanese hip hop producer and DJ who recorded under the name Nujabes (ヌジャベス Nujabesu?), the reverse spelling of his name in Japanese order. Nujabes was also owner of the Shibuya record stores, T Records and Guinness Records and founder of the independent label Hydeout Productions.

In addition to Japanese artists like Uyama Hiroto, Shing02 and Minmi, Nujabes collaborated with Nitish underground American hip hop acts CYNE, Cise Starr (as a solo apart from the hiphop collective CYNE), Apani B, Five Deez, Substantial, CL Smooth, Terry Callier, as well as British rapper Funky DL. He was also a member of the production duo Urbanforest, an experimental collaboration with Nao T. His track "Feather" drew attention from underground hip hop listeners.

Nujabes was one of the most prolific contributors to the background music and soundtracks of Samurai Champloo, an anime which blends a feudal Japan setting with modern anachronisms, especially in regard to hip hop culture.

A distinguishing feature of Nujabes' sound is his incorporation of Jazz samples in his tunes. For an example, the track "The Final View" on his album Metaphorical Music features the Jazz Standard "Love Theme From Spartacus" by Pianist Barry Harris, as played by Saxophonist Yusef Lateef, sampled over the track. Nujabes incorporates Lateef's head melody on oboe, cuts of his solos, and background piano comping in his piece.

On February 26, 2010, Jun Seba was involved in a traffic accident upon exiting the Shuto Expressway late at night. He died at a hospital in Shibuya Ward after failed efforts to revive him. He was 36 years old.
Spiritual Stale which was released in early December 2011, is a posthumous album of unreleased and unfinished tracks left to the caring hands of Nujabes friends and collaborators. And a beautiful closure to a truly original and understated artist it is!!!

Nujabes - Spiritual State (Album Teaser) by Daze the Interludist

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Baker Brothers - Time to Testify (2011)

The Baker Brothers are back with Time To Testify, their first studio album since their covers project, Avid Sounds. So how does this latest project shape up? Well, from the opening instrumental, Statement of Intent, you get the feeling that this album is going to be slightly edgier than both Avid Sounds and its predecessor, Transition Transmission. Their sound has developed considerably since their debut album filled with edgy, hard hitting funk instrumentals. Subsequent releases have seen the band introduce vocals, initially from guests, and more recently performing vocal duties themselves, and the sound had gradually evolved, with soul and AOR influences creeping in to their song-writing. The line up has also changed, with one of the brothers leaving the original trio and the overall line-up being expanded to five members. With its fifteen tracks including a mix of songs, instrumentals, rock, funk and soul stylings, Time To Testify is an altogether solid album, and possibly their strongest release since Baker's Dozen.

Enrico Rava Quintet - Tribe (2011)

Since his return to ECM with Easy Living in 2003, the grand master of Italian jazz has gone from strength to strength, in a series of truly exceptional recordings including Tati, The Words and The Days, The Third Man, and New York Days. Enrico Rava is currently playing at a peak of lyrical invention, and his newest Italian quintet is amongst his strongest ensembles. Gianluca Petrella, Rising Star Trombonist in the Down Beat Critics Poll of 2005, is retained from The Words and the Days line-up and he has a front-chemistry with Rava which burns in this project. Fast-moving, quick-witted exchanges abound. Enrico has always encouraged younger musicians, and pianist Giovanni Guidi (born 1985) is a real find, a player of creativity and imagination: "When I notice the gifts of a young musician, I immediately involve him in my groups. This is not motivated by altruism," Rava insists. "Giovanni Guidi is like Bollani and Petrella: he astounds me every time." Bassist Gabriele Evangelista (b. 1988), another young player of promise, works splendidly alongside widely-experienced drummer Fabrizio Sferra, whose resume includes work with Chet Baker, Paul Bley and Kenny Wheeler. Material on Tribe includes new and old tunes by Rava and a brace of collective improvisations. The album was recorded at Arte Suono Studio in Udine in October 2010, with Manfred Eicher producing.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

John Zorn - A Dreamer's Christmas (2011)

The biggest surprise of the year is John Zorns beautiful Christmas CD. Zorn has hand picked seven of his favorite Christmas songs, penned two lovely originals and they are performed here in classic Dreamers style with plenty of exciting solos, exotic colors and catchy lyricism. Filled with a joyful holiday spirit, innocence, a touch of nostalgia and a charming lyricism, this is music for all ages that will make you smile with delight from the very first notes. As a special treat, vocalist Mike Patton delivers an intimate and heartfelt rendition of Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, making A Dreamers Christmas an instant classic, and an essential CD for any contemporary Christmas celebration.

Tzadik Records

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

John Zorn - At The Gates of Paradise (2011)

Channelling the work of Romantic visionary William Blake and ancient Gnostic writings from the Nag Hammadi archives, At the Gates of Paradise is the newest installment in Zorn’s ever growing catalog of mystical works. The music is filled with bright light and a childlike innocence, and ranges from long form compositions with constantly shifting time signatures that unfold with a compelling inner logic to mysterious ballads and hypnotic moods. Featuring an all-star quartet of Zorn true believers, 20-year veterans who perform this music with a special passion and searing intensity, the performances are filled with exciting solos and brilliant group interaction.

John Medeski (piano, organ); Kenny Wollesen (vibes); Trevor Dunn (bass); Joey Baron (drums)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Portico Quartet - S/T (2012)

Portico Quartet still sound like nothing you ever heard before. The Mercury nominated East London based outfit's unique brand of hypnotic minimalism has expanded to embrace new sonic territories. Drawing on the inspiration of electronica, ambient, classical and dance music as they take their strange, beautiful, cinematic, future music to exciting new vistas where the inspiration of Burial, Mount Kimbie and Flying Lotus rubs shoulders with the textures of Arve Henriksen and Bon Iver and echoes of Steve Reich and Max Richter. But all underpinned by a shared joy in collective music making as the band push their inimitable music into the future.

[...] With their new, richly layered sound Portico Quartet have, like so many other artists today, brought elements of the recording studio into the live environment, blurring the lines between band and producer. Emboldened by this process the new album is produced by the band themselves and brilliantly engineered by Greg Freeman at the Fish Market studios and Real World. Jack explains how they've mastered the art of creating such a detailed live sound; "Because of the way we were making it by putting on the effects live, we did half of the production while we were composing it. So we knew where all the reverbs were going because we are doing that all live as well, so we knew exactly where we wanted that to go - like distortion or whatever, all the effects - almost doing our own live 'dubs' of the acoustic tracks. So when it was in the studio we knew exactly what was going on. Then it was a case of mixing everything and making sure it fitted in, and putting it down in the best way we possibly could."

The result is an album of compelling musical journeys exploring both inner and outer spaces. Abstract, virtual, visceral, horizon-less landscapes of sound, melody and rhythm; unlike anything you've ever heard.

Mike Flynn, London, November 2011

The Echocentrics - Echoland (2011)


Download MP3: The Echocentrics “We Need A Resolution” (Timbaland Tribute)

The Echocentrics return with a new EP called Echoland. The EP is a tribute to hip-hop producer, Timbaland, featuring live instrumental reinterpretations (with one vocal tune from Tita Lima) of classic Timbo tracks.
Working on the follow up to Sunshadows, Echocentrics leader Adrian Quesada, found himself occasionally hitting walls and struggling to make creative progress. What began as a couple of “exercises” to get the creative juices flowing, dissecting the minimalistic genius of Timbaland turned into this EP.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pink Martini & Saori Yuki - 1969 (2011)

Widely considered to be the “Barbara Streisand of Japan”, Saori Yuki released her debut album in Japan in 1969 and has gone on to make over 30 albums in her 42 year-career. Yuki discovered Pink Martini after the band covered her song “Taya Tan” for their 2007 album Hey Eugene! Most recently, Yuki sang a verse of “White Christmas” in Japanese for the band’s hit 2010 holiday album Joy To The World.

In honor of the year of her debut release, Saori Yuki partnered with Pink Martini and producer Thomas M. Lauderdale to create a loving tribute to the music released in 1969. Featuring Japanese pop hits alongside internationally recognized tunes like Jorge Ben's "Mas que nada" and "Puff the Magic Dragon", "1969" is a brilliant collaboration, with Thomas M. Lauderdale's magical arrangements, Pink Martini's stellar musicianship, and Saori Yuki's soaring vocals.

Friday, December 9, 2011

DRC Music - Kinshasa One Two (2011)

Kinshasa is a vast, sprawling and chaotic city with a glorious musical tradition. The capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo may have suffered from war and dictatorship, with the result that many live in poverty, eking out a living on the streets; but there’s also an energy and a wild optimism that is reflected in the sounds that can be heard across the city. Kinshasa was home to Franco, Africa’s greatest guitar hero, and is now famed for that rousing and remarkable disabled band, Staff Benda Bilili.
It’s only natural that the city would attract adventurous African music fan Damon Albarn, who arrived four years ago to work alongside local musicians with the Africa Express movement.
more here...

Modeselektor - Monkeytown (2011)

Twisting tempos and convention, Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary are a pair of Berliners who’ve smashed holes in the maternal linear structure of techno, added much-needed comedy into rap and electrified dancehall with the essence of a European Friday night. They’ve repeatedly rebuilt dance music in their own image, and whilst Monkeytown is their third album it’s the first recorded side by side in the same studio.
As further proof of their distillation of thriving energy, we see Radiohead’s Thom Yorke join the duo in the studio for two collaborative tracks.
Other collaborations appear: long-time ally Sascha Ring, Warp’s PVT, rap guru Busdriver, noise artist Otto Von Schirach and vocals from Antipop Consortium. It’s a dense and near-complete journey. Few dance albums can keep their soul for the duration, but with tracks featuring this many facets, ideas, genres and tempos, Modeselektor romp home. Monkeytown is the sound of two men working in harmony, perfectly in control of their machines.
more here...

Mario Biondi & The Unexpected Glimpses - Due (2011)

Mario Biondi on a hunt for new talent introduces the "talent album: a unique project from the beloved artist who gives space in his new album for other artists, most of them just emerging. "Due" is a double cd of 20 songs (13 of them unreleased until now) featuring collaborations between the catanese crooner and twenty artists of the finest new jazz and talent from Italy and the world.
Artists include Vahimiti, Denise Williams, Luca Florian, Samantha Iorio, Jeff Cascaro, Walter Ricci, Andrea Bertorelli, Sagi Rei, Fabrizio Casalino, Chiara Civello, Hana Boel etc.

One of Biondi's best ever efforts and another candidate for Album of the Year for Twisted Jazz.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

BaBa ZuLa - Gecekondu (2011)

Good news: the return of psychedelic rockers BaBa ZuLa! For their latest masterpiece they have brought on board some truly inspirational artists such as Asian Dub Foundation co-founder Dr. Das, Nu Jazz mastermind Bugge Wesseltoft and other magnificent guest musicians including Titi Robin, Alcalica, Serra Yilma and Cem Yildiz. On Gecekondu, BaBa ZuLa founder Murat Ertel (saz and other stringed instruments, vocals, oscillator, theremin) and Levent Akmann (wooden spoons, percussion, machines and toys) are accompanied by members of their touring band Cosar Kamci (percussion, darbuka) and Elene Hristova (vocals).
BaBa ZuLa are a unique and eye-opening experience - and afar remove from stereotypical notions of Turkish music.
more here...

A BaBa ZuLa Interview on their new Album "Gecekondu", Istanbul and the influence of the metropolis to their music.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dengue Fever - Cannibal Courtship (2011)

It’s now a decade since brothers Zac and Ethan Holtzman founded Dengue Fever, after meeting Cambodian karaoke singer Chhom Nimol at a nightclub in LA’s ‘Little Phnom Penh’ neighbourhood. Over the course of five albums and two EPs, their fusion of Cambodian pop, Californian surf/garage rock and more has blurred the artificial boundaries between world music and pop/trash culture with plenty of style and humour. Opting to produce themselves on this latest studio album happily hasn’t dimmed their offbeat charm; it’s a tuneful, diverse and often witty addition to their discography.
more here...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Roots - Undun (2011)

The new album from The Roots entitled undun is set to hit the market on December 6th, undun is the story of Redford Stephens and it’s a brief story of his life that has also been accompanied by video clips that have been created to help the story along.
more here...
listen to the Roots Undun album here via NPR

We’re all on a journey
Down the hall of memories
Don’t worry bout what you ain’t got
Leave with a little bit of dignity
Never loved what I had
Always felt like I deserved more
But when I Make it to the other side
That’s when we’ll settle up the score


Kojato & The Afro Latin Cougaritas - All About Jazz (2011)

Another winner from the Bahama Soul Club family. Another serious candidate for top flight entry to our BEST OF THE YEAR LIST!

, one of the most promising projects of modern Afro-Jazz, started in 2010 with an amazing feature on the BAHAMA SOUL CLUB‘s bestseller-album „Bossa Nova Just Smells Funky“.
His first track was called „Afro Shigida“ and was one of the highlights on this release.
Producer OLIVER BELZ, the man behind The Bahama Soul Club and The Juju Orchestra was deeply impressed by the combined talents of the fabulous keyboard player and arranger ANDRÉ NEUNDORF and the inimitable multi-instrumentalist and singer KOJO EBENEZER SAMUELS.
Kojo „the priest of music“ was born 1943 in Monrovia and became one of the most well known musicians from Liberia when he worked with Fela Kuti and Cecil Taylor

The first album „All About Jazz“ comes with 10 tracks of finest Afro Jazz that captures the musical spirit of a lifetime. KOJATO, a world traveller in Jazz finally brings it all together: Afro-, Latin-, Soul-, Gypsy- & World-Jazz.
He obviously knows all the routes Jazz can take and defines a new place the audience can land.

Welcome to the Ritmo Machine (2011)

Only days out there and already an instant classic and serious candidate for top flight entry on our TWISTED JAZZ BEST OF THE YEAR LIST.

'Ritmo Machine' is CYPRESS HILL's Eric Bobo and mix master Latin Bitman. With a funky blend of hip-hop beats, live instrumentation, and guest appearances, Ritmo Machine' is a border-crossing culture clash of electronic, hip-hop and Latin music.

Eric Bobo, the son of Latin jazz legend Willie Bobo, brings exciting live percussion to Latin Bitman's signature fusion of dub, electronica and hip hop. Eric Bobo, who recorded and toured with the BEASTIE BOYS during groundbreaking releases 'Check Your Head', III Communication' and 'Hello Nasty', has been a full time member of Cypress Hill since 1994.

The album features guest appearances from Ana Tijoux (Nacional Records), Money Mark & Mix
Master Mike
(Beastie Boys), Sen Dog (Cypress Hill), Chali 2na (Jurassic 5), P-Nut (311), and Sick Jacken (Psycho Realm).
Welcome to the Ritmo Machine made an impressive early arrival at radio, debuting at #17 at KCRW in Los Angeles and #1 on the World music chart at KEXP in Seattle.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Barry Adamson - Destination (2012)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Havana Cultura: The Search Continues (2011)

Continuing his longstanding love affair with Cuba and its musical melting pot, globetrotting DJ/broadcaster Gilles Peterson is back with a new chapter in his Havana Cultura album series – producing an original studio album and lovingly curating a compilation of new Cuban talent.
Welcoming a string of guest musicians, vocalists and rappers to Abdala Studios, Havana, Gilles orchestrated the glorious sound clashes that populate the latest chapter in this landmark series, highlighting a clutch of artists innovating in the spaces between jazz, soul, traditional Cuban rhythms, reggaeton and hip-hop. The so-called “Havana Cultura Band” will bring the essence of those exciting, anything-goes recording sessions to London’s newly refurbished Electric Brixton… the full rainbow spectrum from freeform rumba styles to frenetic, danceable piano workouts via hip-hop’s golden age and classic soul. The internationally acclaimed pianist Roberto Carcassés heads up an all-star cast featuring soul diva Danay Suarez and Edrey from hype rap outfit Ogguere, plus Alexey (El Tipo Este)from Obsesion and Cuban diva Osdalgia… Gilles P, as creative head of the project, will of course be jumping up on the turntables for a DJ set too, ably supported by co-producer and close confidante – the very talented Simbad.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Susana Baca - Afrodiaspora (2011)

Susana Baca - Detras de la Puerta by ferarca

Susana Baca's seventh album for David Byrne's Luaka Bop imprint is an ambitious affair with Baca bringing her instantly recognizable and elegant vocal style to the table in an attempt to show the pervasive influence of African rhythms and song forms on South American and Caribbean music. It’s not that she hasn’t been doing this all along on her releases, but the title of this one, Afrodiaspora, clearly states the case, and there is an astounding variety of styles blended together here, from tango, salsa, and flamenco to New Orleans-styled brass band blues and dance numbers, and everything comes out sounding distinctly Afro-Peruvian no matter how many regional variations are tossed into the mix. But Baca isn’t about fusion so much as she is about shining a light on how much folk traditions continually soak up new wrinkles and rhythms as part of the natural human approach to making and playing music, and if the Afro-Andean elements on display here are relatively new, they’re fully in line with what folk music always does: take what works and run with it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Deep Street Soul - Look Out Watch Out (2011)

Deep Street Soul's new album builds upon the diamond hard and gritty funk & soul template they established with their self titled 2009 debut long player.

Not content to return with simply more of the same, Look Out, Watch Out expands the groups sound and repertoire, featuring as it does, incredible new vocalist May Johnston, guest contributions from renowned Randa Khamis and Roxie Ray, a choice cover version plus original tracks augmented with some raucous and heavy brass!

Buon Compleanno Irma!

An incredible success story, Irma records was born 23 years ago in Bologna, Italy, right at the "zenith" point of the indie labels revolution in the 80s and just a few years before the multinationals enter the "alternative" zone and swallow everything. Well, not quite everything! Irma records continue to this very day long after the Jestofunk years (the most succesful band on their roster). An eclectic mix of house, acid jazz, funk, bossa nova, lounge and millenium exotica (plus many more hybrids) have sweetened our ears through these years and hope to continue doing so for the years to come.
IRMA BDay is a free download compilation available from the XL supplement of La Repubblica newspaper.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stuart McCallum - Distilled (2011)

Distilled is a beautifully atmospheric recording, the third album from Stuart McCallum, best known for his work with the Cinematic Orchestra. The Manchester-based guitarist/composer knows how to combine established and contemporary sounds, making them into music that is never less than fascinating and, at its best, a thing of breathtaking beauty.

Much of the beauty of this album comes from McCallum's ability to blend instruments together to form a sound that is both cooperative and undifferentiated—a process based on cycles of composition, recording and sampling. This is not music that thrives on competition or contrast, but on graceful interaction, on sharing of ideas and musical spaces. McCallum intermingles the different instruments, samples and technologies with genuine creativity. Each instrument is crucial to the overall sound—not by retaining its own sonic identity, but by adding another layer to the carefully crafted whole.

Bruce Lindsay (AllAboutJazz)

Monday, October 24, 2011

[Jazz on Film] Sounds and Silence - Peter Guyer and Norbert Wiedmer, 2009

«sounds and silence» is a musical road movie about the passionate career of a man obsessed with music.

On the way through a world of sounds and noise – with Manfred Eicher, the oustanding discoverer and mediator of contemporary music and founder of the music label ECM. On this journey we are meeting musicians and composers, but also people and places which are connected with him and with each other. We are encountering stories, landscapes, cities, disputes and hugs, tranquillity, hectic pace, work, self-doubt, joy, passion.

A search for clues at concerts, in recording studios, in back rooms, at waysides with the musicians Arvo Pärt, Eleni Karaindrou, Dino Saluzzi, Anouar Brahem, Gianluigi Trovesi, Marilyn Mazur, Nik Bärtsch, Kim Kashkashian, Jan Garbarek and many others. A sensual, impressive, meditative road movie which accomplishes the extraordinary : to catch the magic of music.

Friday, October 21, 2011

[Jazz on Film] - Begone Dull Care (1949)

Begone Dull Care (1949) is a visual music animated film directed by Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart. Using drawn on film animation, McLaren and Lambart paint and scratch directly onto film stock to create a visual representation of Oscar Peterson's jazz music. The film is produced by the National Film Board of Canada.
" Begone Dull Care is one of the great classics not only of animation but also of jazz on film. This 1949 short captures with joy and remarkable precision the spirit of the jazz music performed by the Oscar Peterson Trio. Director-animators Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart applied colours directly to the clear film with paint brushes of various sizes, stencil brushes, sprayers, crumpled paper and different textured fabrics.
As an example of film-jazz fusion, Begone Dull Care has captivated writers expert in both genres. In an interview about his 2000 book Jazz et Cinema, author Gilles Moullic says, "the most beautiful short on jazz is truly McLaren's Begone Dull Care"…. In it, McLaren understands very well that jazz-cinema is whatever 'happens' on screen. He worked a lot on a form of movement which is drawn out over the entire duration of the piece. There are flashes, breaks and splits in the drawing as well as, simultaneously, a continuous rhythm, a necessary pulse.” This National Film Board of Canada production won seven international awards, including prizes from the Venice and Berlin film festivals, and, more than 50 years after its creation, still appears on some critics Top 10 lists.
Begone Dull Care is one of 60 films directed and animated by Norman McLaren during his carreer at the National Film Board of Canada [AVTrust] "

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Deep Blue Organ Trio - Wonderful (2011)

Chicago's Deep Blue Organ Trio mines one of popular soul artist Stevie Wonder's most fertile creative periods—the late sixties through the early seventies—on Wonderful!. The organ trio format is known for its unvarnished soulfulness, and the group's reverent treatment of these familiar hits gives a breezy lift to Wonder's always engaging and ebullient melodies.

A Hammond B3 organ, guitar and drums is a pared-down way to express music, especially Wonder's often highly produced sounds. But it is a refreshing way to listen to Wonder's songs, a way that emphasizes the purity of his catchy melodies. On "Jesus Children of America," from one of Wonder's handful of masterpieces, Innervisons (Motown, 1973), organist Chris Foreman drives the tune forward on a cold gusty wind, with drummer Greg Rockingham supplying an undercurrent of cymbal splashes, punctuated by snare drum pops. Guitarist Bobby Broom's lines are sharp and piquant, slicing through the wash of the B3.

"My Cheri Amour," the title track of Wonder's 1969 album, and one of his most popular and recognizable tunes, get a ruminative treatment, laidback and relaxed, with Broom comping beautifully behind Foreman. "Golden Lady," another huge Wonder hit from Innervisions, has a feeling of yearning, with Broom and Foreman trading the lead in front of turbulent drums.

Wonder's music has always been well-crafted and tightly-arranged. The Deep Blue Organ Trio works with the same tight, flawless, soulful approach to music making, and they have crafted a fittingly Wonderful! tribute to living legend.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

VA - Brownswood Bubblers 7 (2011)

It’s a typically diverse selection of rough diamonds plucked from the stream of amazing music that winds its way through Brownswood HQ: UK beatnut Jon Phonics opens proceedings with a glittering 80s funk bomb; Tanya Auclair lays raw vocal harmonies upon sparse, rickety drum structures, nestling comfortably in the nook between the electronic and the organic; our own jazz prodigy Zara McFarlane draws inspiration from the late, great Harry Whitaker on ‘Waking Sleep (Thoughts)’; and there’s a nod to vintage Badu-esque soul via the effortlessly graceful Ntjam Rosie. Veering into hip-hop territory, Tall Black Guy, Chris Turner and Jesse Boykins (featuring MachineDrum on production duties) provide the requisite bump, whilst Cubic Zirconia’s ‘Night Or Day’ finds Tiombe Lockhart and Bilal duetting on a deliciously loose-fitting techno jam. Bringing up the rear, Ratcliffe (half of UK institution Basement Jaxx) unleashes the sonic equivalent of a Hudson Mohawke / Aphex Twin collabo – deranged hypercolour pop of the highest order.

Brownswood Bubblers Seven // Album Teaser by Brownswood

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Zara McFarlane - Until Tomorrow (2011)

Zara McFarlane - 'Until Tomorrow' Album Preview by Brownswood

Anybody keeping an eye on the ongoing development of the British jazz scene will have noticed Zara McFarlane in the last few years. The 28 year-old London vocalist has made a string of impressive appearances with musicians who do no choose their collaborators without careful consideration – Denys Baptiste, Orphy Robinson, Soweto Kinch and Jazz Jamaica All Stars to name but some. McFarlane’s appearance on the latter’s 2006 Motown-themed album Motor City Roots revealed a singer whose power was offset by delicacy, as was clear from her sensitive handling of Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour.

The arrangements for Until Tomorrow have a liberal dose of subtle, stealthy swing, yet as steeped as Zara McFarlane is in the jazz tradition, she has brought an eminently soul undercurrent to what she does, and it is entirely possible that she could appeal to audiences weaned as much on Jill Scott and Erykah Badu as Cassandra Wilson and Dianne Reeves. Blessed with a fine voice and a strength of character that has led her towards thought-provoking, if not challenging lyrics, Zara McFarlane has with Until Tomorrow taken a giant step down the road to what is surely a long, illustrious career.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Randa & The Soul Kingdom - What You Need (2011)

Hailing from Perth and firmly at the forefront of the Australian funk and soul scene are Randa & The Soul Kingdom led by Jordanian born and Australian raised soul sister Randa Khamis.

With producer Lance Ferguson (The Bamboos, Cookin On 3 Burners, Lanu, Black Feeling) at the controls of the debut self titled album, the result was bristling with edgy, gritty funk and soul. The buzz on Randa And The Soul Kingdom led to a full European tour with label mates Deep Street Soul, a live session for Mark Lamarr on BBC Radio 2. Randa was being lauded as a modern day equivalent to Marva Whitney, Ann Sexton and Vicki Anderson in their prime by Mojo Magazine, Blues & Soul and Randa's music even featuring in the US version of teen TV show Skins.

Instead of flying straight back to Australia after the tour, Randa spent 6 months residing in London collaborating with funk/soul artists to write her second album. Inspired and influenced by the music and musicians in London, the second album What You Need was born. Finally back in Melbourne, Australia she went straight into The Shed Studios where the songs were recorded and produced by Lance Ferguson and John Castle (Megan Washington) once again at the controls.

Whilst retaining the funk undercurrent, this new album What You Need also often incorporates elements of 60's and Northern soul, 70's disco and some more down tempo, reflective moments within what is a varied and mature collection of songs.

With this follow up album, Randa & The Soul Kingdom cement their reputation as one of the most hard working and authentic purveyors of genuine 21st century soul.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Dining Rooms - Lonesome Traveller (2011)

Three years after “Ink”, The Dining Rooms release their sixth studio album "Lonesome Traveller".

“Cinematic music” and “songwriting” (also developed in the Sem’bro Project released by Summer Dawn in 2010) are the main features of the Milanese duo work.

The meeting with the London based singer Jake Reid, and his undeniable vocal characteristics, played an important role in the writing and production of this album. Almost marked by fate, the meeting with Jake was fortuitous and immediately deep. Stefano and Cesare were looking for singers for their new album, when Stefano received an e-mail from Jake congratulating him for their previous productions and asking for any features in the near future.
Stefano listened to the tracks performed by Jake and decided to play them to Cesare; an immediate feeling has dawned shortly between Jake’s soulful and vibrant voice and The Dining Rooms musical atmospheres.
Jake ‘s approach to the album has been very enthusiastic and dynamic, he performed songs already written and wrote new ones inspired by the new collaboration. The result is an unusual album for the Dining Rooms style: for the first time there is a prevailing voice that defines the project stylistically.
"Lonesome Traveller" is an elaborate record, it is especiallythe crossing of the traditional song format by means of complex melodic textures and a minimalist approach to the vocals, which is interwined with the instrumental parts in a kind of a psycho-jazz, soul mantra.
The whole is rhythmic and expansive, harmony and nocturnal melancholy, abstraction and melody, an hypothetical meeting point among the vocal albums of Brian Eno, “Another Green World”, and his more ambient productions, “Music for airports” and “Music for films”.
"Lonesome Traveller" is also a concept album about the journey, inspired by a series of writings by Jack Kerouac ("Lonesome Traveller", released in 1960).
The song titles and the development of the tracklist are designed like chapters of a book or scenes from a movie, a sort of emotional narrative that becomes the underlying theme of the album and blends, seamlessly, literary, musical and cinematic references, from Don DeLillo (“Running Dog”) to Woody Allen (“Interiors”); from Can (“Fading Gradually) to half-breed jazz (Io cammino ma….) passing through Erik Satie meeting Aphex Twin and Boards Of Canada ("We are the music makers," "We are the Dreamers," "Hotel rooms").
The traveller is lead by "existential" questionings and embarks on a journey that is primarily research based, with self-discovery as the central focus.
The journey, an unexplored horizon, becomes a metaphor for life: the conquest of man’s own internal world evoked in this album by the dialectic between voice and instruments. This highlights the gap between stability and instability, speed and slowness and between established values and absolute freedom.
It is the driving force of human will, to look ahead to the future and the unknown as a new challenge. The journey therefore contains a substantial polarity between loyalty to man’s own roots and the challenge of research, between the promise of the conquest and the risk of loss, between the hope of return and surrender to the unknown.
The significance of the journey is key to this album’s structure and merit……

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lack of Afro - This Time (2011)

Lack Of Afro (Adam Gibbons) has achieved a startling amount in the few years since his first Freestyle releases. Playing live and DJ-ing across the world, producing and remixing everyone from Tom Jones, The Pharcyde, The New Mastersounds through to Kraak & Smaak!

In 2011, as well as collaborating on an album project with Eddie Roberts of The New Mastersounds, having also produced and played on the album, Colours by Freestyle label mate Frootful, Adam somehow found time to create what is, without doubt his strongest album yet: This Time.

A wide ranging and eclectic, progressive musical outlook has always been the Lack Of Afro approach, and on this collection the music pulls together several strands into a fantastic, homogenous journey with almost too many highlights to mention! Several top notch vocalists feature, Jake Morleys Holding My Breath with its moody minor key feel riding over an aggressive rhythm track is one tune that is bound to find favour on dance floors worldwide.

A Time For with Wayne Giddens' smoky, falsetto voice is already gaining a reputation as Lack Of Afro's most genuinely soulful composition ever, evoking as it does a mid 70's sound that Al Green, Curtis Mayfield or Marvin Gaye would have been rightly proud of. Already available as a 7 inch single/download (FSR7069) the amazing feedback to this beautiful song ensures it will certainly become renowned as timeless classic.

Fool is a track that echoes 1960s pop-soul of artists like Dusty Springfield, as Angeline Morrisons sweet voice rides over orchestral strings, whilst on The Importance Of Elsewhere Angeline displays fully deserved soul credentials and her contributions mark her out as a rising star in 2011.

With flavours of afrobeat on Contusions, the laid back far eastern tonality of Little Fugue, Def Jam Records star Wax rocking all over P.A.R.T.Y. alongside Herbal T, and a smattering of well rounded and grooving instrumentals like Lazy Lazurus, This Time is the Lack Of Afro album we have all been waiting for. Considered, soulful, contemporary yet retro, accomplished certainly and setting standards in modern music others will struggle to follow.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Quantic - The Best of Quantic (2011)

posted on

‘The Best Of Quantic’ is out now on double CD and vinyl, to celebrate an incredible ten years of swinging and soulful, funk-filled and tropical, authentic and innovative, DJ-delighting, booty-shaking, culture-clashing, horizon-broadening and consistently sweet music from Quantic on Tru Thoughts records. All the biggest tunes are here, plus three exclusive new tracks.

It is a decade since a 20-year-old Will Holland (aka Quantic) came to meet Tru Thoughts A&R Robert Luis, holding in his hand the demo that was soon to become his first album, ‘The 5th Exotic’. Picked up on by the biggest names in underground music at the time, including Gilles Peterson, LTJ Bukem and Richard Dorfmeister, it was clear that this impressive debut heralded a very special new arrival onto the scene. A record-obsessed DJ and crate-digger, his musical talents have always been matched by a rare curiosity and drive that sets him apart. His passion to find the roots of the sounds that he loves has taken him on a journey from the UK to Cali, Colombia, where he now lives and works with a diverse and vibrant mix of musicians.

Quantic Tru Thoughts Podcast No 38

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Cinematic Orchestra - Entr'acte & Manhatta (singles, 2011)

The Cinematic Orchestra release 'Entr'acte' & 'Manhatta'

Posted on (13.09.11)

Debuting in 2010 with a live score at London's Roundhouse, Entr'acte and Manhatta are two films made in the same era as Man With A Movie Camera, showing the world in the 1920's from three distinct cultures. The Man With A Movie Camera score in 2003 was a landmark release for The Cinematic Orchestra, the most critically acclaimed of all the attempts at scoring the film. It is with some fanfare that two new soundtracks along with the film footage are to be released on the Ninjashop and iTunes...

Entr'acte (1924) is Rene Clair's Dada-influenced 20-minute short, commissioned for the interval of Francis Picabia's new ballet, Relache, in Paris in 1924. The original music for the film was composed by the famous composer Erik Satie, who makes a cameo appearance along side surrealist photographer Man Ray.

Manhatta (1921) is a short 11-minute documentary film made by painter Charles Sheeler and photographer Paul Strand. The film consists of 65 shots sequenced in a non-narrative structure, providing a view of the city in its formative years.

Buy Entr'acte at the Ninjashop

Download on iTunes

Buy Manhatta at the Ninjashop

Download on iTunes

The Cinematic Orchestra have also now sold out 'InMotion' at London's Barbican on 1st October. Continuing the on-going live event curated by the band, a selection of films will be given original live scores. As well as their own performance, The Cinematic Orchestra have invited Dorian Concept and Tom Chant, Grey Reverend and Austin Peralta to perform exclusive scores to hand picked short films.