TENORS OF KALMA – ELECTRIC WILLOW
One of the coolest projects we've heard from Jimi Tenor in a while – and a set that's a really great sideways-step from some of his other recent music! There's still elements of the spiritual jazz currents that Jimi's been exploring for the past decade or so, but the group's also leaner, and has a sharper electric quality too – bits of fuzz and distortion that sound especially great when things get funky – which turns out to be a fair bit of the time! The trio features heavy drums from Joonas Riippa, who's often setting a tone followed by Kalle Kalima's fuzzy guitar – while Jimi adds in loads of cool extra elements on a range of keyboards, saxes, and flute – plus some occasional vocals. Some elements are quite acoustic and organic, while others have a spacey moogy vibe – and there's a focused energy here that almost distills all of Tenor's musical ideas of the past decade or two, and finds a whole new way forward. Titles include "Can We Yes", "Go Go Go", "Blind", "Sakura", "Hymn To The Sun God", "The Missing Page 1964", and "100 Ufoa Suomesta". ~ Dusty Groove
DAWAN MUHAMMAD – GATEKEEPERS BLUES
A sweet little record from west coast reedman Dawan Muhammad – one of the under-acknowledged talents of his generation, and an artist who's really keeping the indie underground strong with records like this! The album features Dawan in some really great company – a shifting lineup that includes excellent trombone from the late Clifford Adams, piano from Elmer Gibson, bass from James Leary, and trumpet from Modesto Briseno – mostly musicians from Muhammad's generation, who have a similar current of spirit and soul in their music! Most tracks are originals by members of the groups – and played with this soulful sense of flow that takes us back to the more spiritual 70s sessions on labels like Muse and Xanadu – handled by players who know all the freedom of the outside reaches of jazz, yet hang nicely inside while still letting their spirits soar. Titles include "Darshan's Love", "Place On High", "Like It Used To Feel", "That's Cool", "Gatekeeper's Blues", and a version of Coltrane's "Dahomey Dance". ~ Dusty Groove
THE SOUL SURFERS – SOUL ROCK!
These guys are plenty darn funky – and don't let the "surf" or "rock" on the cover make you think otherwise! The core quartet is super-tight, and work with this blistering barrage of funky drums, fierce Hammond, and lots of riffing guitar – which is then often augmented with lots of extra-cool guest elements – including vocals from Myron & E, drums from Malcolm Catto, guitar from JJ Whitefield, vocals from Shawn Lee, and vibes from Didier Selin – all underground funk giants who not only lend their talents to the set, but also give the Soul Surfers a plenty solid seal of approval in the process! There's plenty of classic funk elements in the mix, but the overall sound is pretty fresh and unique, too – and drawing from the array of extra guests helps throw lots of twists and turns into the group's great approach too. Titles include "Astra", "Straight Up", "TSS Groove", "Stop Fooling Around", "Time Is A Gun", "Raw", "Phoenix", and "You Can Run But You Can't Hide From My Love". ~ Dusty Groove