GREGORY PORTER, MELODY GARDOT & OTHERS – ROUND NINA: A TRIBUTE TO NINA SIMONE
A compelling tribute to the great Nina Simone – featuring a host of contemporary singers performing their own versions of classics from Nina's recordings of the 60s and 70s! The project was put together in France, with orchestrations by Clement Ducol – but it features a fair bit of singers from a wider scene, including the great Gregory Porter, who makes a key appearance here! Instrumentation is often a mix of contemporary and classic modes – almost a remix of the original ideals of Simone's recordings, although the vocal delivery is very straight, and never played with – which is a good thing. Performances include "Black Is The Color" by Gregory Porter, "Baltimore" by Lianne Le Havas, "Sinnerman" by Keziah Jones, "Just Say I Love Him" by Hindi Zara, "Lilac Wine" by Camille, "Four Women" by Melody Gardot, "Feeling Good" by Ben L'Oncle Soul, "My Baby Just Cares For Me" by Oliva Ruiz, and "Plain Gold Ring" by Youn Sun Nah. ~ Dusty Groove
BLUE MODE – SPACE RACE
A really great groover, and a set that's way more than just another retro funk outing – given that these guys have plenty of tight jazz skills too! The group works here with a few key differences than other organ combos of late – the first of which is the strong use of flute by lead reedman Chip Wickham, who also plays a mean tenor – but uses the flute to create these wonderfully cool, snakey solos that take us right back to 60s giants like Jerome Richardson or Frank Wess! Another standout is the keyboard work of Gabriel Casanova, which also includes Wurlitzer Piano and clavinet in addition to Hammond – a blend of keys that make for a richer sense of spectrum throughout the album, even though all three instruments are handled with the deep soul of a classic organ jazz player from years back. The group also features drums, guitar, and a bit of congas – and titles include a surprisingly groovy remake of "Smells Like Teen Spirit", plus great originals that include "Tortilla Chip", "Rice Beans & Bugaloo", "Dr Shrip", "Space Race", "When The Rope Failed", and "Colt's Run". ~ Dusty Groove
FRAMEWORK – TIDES
'Tides' is the debut album from Manchester-based producer Matt Brewer aka Frameworks. Since the release of his first EP 'Vanish' back in 2012, Frameworks has been building a loyal following for his atmospheric and haunting compositions. 'Tides' sees him joining the dots between instrumental hip hop heroes Aim and RJD2, the epic soundscapes of Cinematic Orchestra and the deft songwriting of Bonobo. Previous collaborators Rioghnach Connolly and JP Cooperreturn for the album with two tracks apiece. Rioghnach gives a captivating vocal performance on lead single 'Calm The Still Night' and the brooding 'Dawn', whilst JP (recently signed to Island Records) brings raw soul to 'Old Friend' and 'No Place To Hide Away'. The bedrock of the album is instrumental with Frameworks' trademark string-laden productions taking in cinematic jazz ('Patience'), folk ('End') and more uptempo fare in the shape of 'Breathing Light' and 'A New Sun'. Tides' shows just how accomplished Frameworks is as a producer and composer, showing a lightness of touch and genuine song-writing talent that few can emulate.