Friday, December 22, 2017



More than 25 years after Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Melissa Manchester released Tribute, her 1989 album that honored the great female singers who influenced her, she turns the tables with The Fellas, a radiant encomium to the men, including Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme', Tony Bennett and Dean Martin, and the iconic songs they made famous. Tracks include: Ain’'t That a Kick in the Head; Chances Are; They Say It's Wonderful; For Me and My Gal; Love Is Just Around the Corner; Smile; Night and Day; and How Do You Keep the Music Playing.


Vibist Steve Nelson is in a slightly different setting here than on some of his other recent records – running through a set of familiar standards in a laidback way, yet still handling them with that remarkably bold strike on the vibes that always makes his music so unique! The group's got a nicely warm vibe – Massimo Farao on piano, Aldo Zunino on bass, and Byron Landham on drums – and although Farao gets in some nice solos, Nelson's clearly the main attraction – as he makes these tunes explode with chromatic hues, but in an easygoing way! The whole thing's another example of why Steve's been one of our favorite vibes players for years – and titles include "Easy Living", "East Of The Sun", "Samba De Orfeu", "Beautiful Friendship", and "Lady Be Good" – plus Steve's original "Blues Up". ~ Dusty Groove


A beautiful live performance – recorded in Italy, but by a group of musicians who record for Japan's Venus Records label – easily one of the classiest jazz imprints of the past decade or two! And as a further twist, a number of the artists here are American – which makes the whole thing a great trans-national performance, handled with energy to match! Yet even without all of that pedigree, the music is wonderful in and of itself – long tracks that seem to bring even more of an edge to the usual Venus presentation – especially in the rhythmic department, which can sometimes be a bit more subtle on the label's studio recordings. The group features lots of heavy work on the bottom – bassists Aldo Zunino and Nicola Barbon, drummers Roberto Facchinetti and Byron Landham, and percussionist Ernesttico – and strong solos are by Jerry Weldon on tenor and Massimo Farao on piano. There's also a few vocal moments – with singers who include Daria Toffali, Joyce Yuille, and Denise King – and titles include "Estrada Branca", "Theme From Mash", "Get Up", "September Song", "Sunny", "Triste", "O Amor Em Paz", and "Teach Me Tonight".  ~ Dusty Groove

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Craft Recordings, the Catalog Division of Concord Music, is pleased to announce the release of Stax Singles, Vol. 4: Rarities & The Best Of The Rest, a 6-CD box set that delves deep into the Stax Records archives, and explores the label’s efforts to diversify their output. This new addition to the critically acclaimed series of Stax singles boxes offers a more profound study of the Memphis label’s catalog, including long-forgotten B-sides and rarities, and focusing not just on soul tunes – for which the label was most famous – but also offering a cross-section of rock, pop, blues, gospel and country recordings from 1960-1975. Available February 9th, the collection will also include an 80-page booklet, offering four new in-depth essays by music journalist Lee Hildebrand, writer and producer Alec Palao, box set co-producer Bill Belmont and Rob Bowman, author of Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story Of Stax Records, and producer of Vol. 4’s discs 1-3.
Featuring recordings from the catalogs of both Craft and Rhino Entertainment – the Catalog Division of Warner Music – who jointly control Stax’s iconic masters, this comprehensive box set is the perfect companion piece to Vols. 1-3; the first of which, The Complete Stax/Volt Singles 1959-1968, was released by Atlantic Records in 1991 and reissued by Rhino in 2016. Volumes 2 and 3, originally released by Stax in 1993 and 1994 respectively, and reissued by Concord in 2015, offered soul singles spanning 1968-1975, collectively. In his introduction, co-producer Bill Belmont discusses the concept behind Vol. 4: “Over the years, within the collector-fan circuit, and in reissues and collections of vintage Stax material worldwide, some ‘B’ sides have attained a status comparable to the promoted work.”  Adds Rob Bowman, in his essay regarding the soul portion of the box, “[Stax’s B-sides] are, by and large, better than most companies’ A-sides.”  Continues Belmont, “Stax’s ‘other side’…has never been presented on its own – thus here, the “other” [imprints] are all gathered under the Stax umbrella; part of the all-encompassing rubric ‘where everything is everything.’”

While Stax is primarily known for its soul music – Vols. 1-3 focused exclusively on that genre – the label also managed a variety of imprints throughout the ’60s and ’70s, many of which explored new sonic avenues, including rock (from Ardent, Enterprise and Hip), gospel (Chalice, Gospel Truth) and country (Enterprise). Also compiled are several instrumental and blues tracks from the earliest days of the label, when it was known as Satellite Records. The collection includes over 60 wide-ranging artists, including the Staple Singers, Big Star, the Bar-Kays, Jean Knight, Don Nix, the Rance Allen Group and Johnnie Taylor.
Stax Singles, Vol. 4: Rarities & The Best Of The Rest comes at the conclusion of a wide-ranging celebration of Stax Records’ 60th Anniversary by both Craft and Rhino. The unique partnership of the labels commemorated the first marketing collaboration of the Stax recordings, which had been divided since Atlantic Records split with Stax Records in early 1968. Throughout 2017, the two labels have collectively released over 15 vinyl reissues, including Rufus Thomas’ debut Walking The Dog, Sam & Dave’s Soul Men and Carla Thomas’ Carla LP (Rhino), as well as titles like Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, the Sons of Truth’s Message From The Ghetto and John Gary Williams’ self-titled debut (Craft). Special attention was also focused on two Stax giants this year: Isaac Hayes and Otis Redding. Craft released a series of remastered, high-resolution digital reissues for Hayes (vinyl reissues will follow in 2018) as well as the critically acclaimed box set, Spirit Of Memphis (1962-1976). Rhino paid tribute to Redding with mono editions of Soul Ballads and The Soul Album, as well as a forthcoming seven-LP vinyl box, The Definitive Studio Albums Collection, while Concord released the double LP Live From The Whisky A Go Go earlier in the year. Looking ahead, Rhino will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Redding’s best-selling “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” single. For Record Store Day’s Black Friday event, Rhino commemorated the 50th anniversary of Redding’s Live In Europe Album with a limited-edition red vinyl pressing, while Concord saluted ’70s rockers Big Star with a live tribute to their Third album, Stroke It, Noel: Big Star’s THIRD In Concert, as well as Hayes, with a vinyl edition of Spirit of Memphis, offering highlights from the box set. Additionally, during the Stax 60th celebration, both labels collaborated on the Stax Classics series of CDs, highlighting Stax’s biggest stars, while the 3-CD collection Soulsville U.S.A. culled material from both Concord’s and Rhino’s masters, much like Stax Singles, Vol. 4.
Track List:
Disc 1:

1. Carla & Rufus: Deep Down Inside
2. Rufus And Friend: Yeah, Yea-Ah
3. Prince Conley: All The Way
4. The Canes: I’ll Never Give Her Up
5. The Astors: Just Enough To Hurt Me
6. Eddie Kirk: I Found A Brand New Love
7. Rufus Thomas: Fine And Mellow
8. Booker T. & The Mg’s: Fannie Mae
9. Floyd Newman: Sassy
10. Rufus Thomas: I Want To Get Married
11. Bobby Marchan: That’s The Way That It Goes
12. The Cobras: Shake Up
13. Barbara And The Browns: You Belong To Her
14. Dorothy Williams: Watchdog
15. Baracudas: Free For All
16. Barbara And The Browns: I Don’t Want Trouble
17. Gorgeous George: Sweet Thing
18. The Astors: I Found Out
19. Rufus & Carla Thomas: We’re Tight
20. Rufus Thomas: Chicken Scratch
21. Ruby Johnson: Weak Spot
22. Rufus Thomas: Talkin’ Bout True Love
23. Mable John: If You Give Up What You Got (You’ll See What You Lost)
24. Sam And Dave: A Small Portion Of Your Love
25. Ruby Johnson: Keep On Keeping On
26. Rufus Thomas: Greasy Spoon
27. Mable John: Left Over Love
28. Ollie & The Nightingales: Girl, You Have My Heart Singing
29. Mable John: Don’t Get Caught

Disc 2:
1. Shirley Walton: I’m So Glad You’re Back
2. Delaney & Bonnie: We’ve Just Been Feeling Bad
3. Linda Lyndell:  I Don’t Know
4. Judy Clay & William Bell: Love-Eye-Tis
5. Judy Clay: Remove These Clouds
6. The Staple Singers: Stay With Us
7. Rufus Thomas: So Hard To Get Along With
8. Jeanne & The Darlings: I Like What You’re Doing To Me
9. Booker T. & The Mg’s: Over Easy
10. Mable John: Shouldn’t I Love Him
11. William Bell & Judy Clay: Left Over Love
12. Jimmy Hughes: Sweet Things You Do
13. Art Jerry Miller: Grab A Handful
14. Eddie Floyd: Consider Me
15. Booker T. & The Mg’s: Soul Clap ’69
16. Jeanne & The Darlings: Standing In The Need Of Your Love
17. The Bar-Kays: I Thank You
18. The Soul Children: Make It Good
19. Ollie & The Nightingales: I’ll Be Your Everything
20. William Bell: Let Me Ride
21. Booker T. & The Mg’s: Sunday Sermon
22. Carla Thomas: Hi De Ho (That Old Sweet Roll)
23. Shack: A Love Affair That Bears No Pain
24. The Nightingales: Just A Little Overcome
25. The Newcomers: Mannish Boy

Disc 3:
1. Ilana: Let Love Fill Your Heart
2. The Soul Children: Ridin’ On Love’s Merry-Go-Round
3. Hot Sauce: I Can’t Win For Losing
4. Lee Sain: Ain’t Nobody Like My Baby
5. Hot Sauce: Echoes From The Past
6. The Mad Lads: Did My Baby Call
7. Isaac Hayes & David Porter: Baby I’m-A Want You
8. Jean Knight: Pick Up The Pieces
9. Johnnie Taylor: Stop Teasing Me
10. Isaac Hayes: Type Thang
11. John Gary Williams: In Love With You
12. Major Lance: Since I Lost My Baby’s Love
13. Hot Sauce: Mama’s Baby (Daddy’s Maybe)
14. The Soul Children: Poem On The School House Door
15. Rufus Thomas: That Makes Christmas Day
16. The Staple Singers: What’s Your Thing
17. Shirley Brown: Yes Sir Brother
18. Hot Sauce: Funny
19. Frederick Knight: Let’s Make A Deal
20. The Green Brothers: Can’t Give You Up (I Love You Too Much)
21. John Gary Williams: Just Ain’t No Love (Without You Here)

Disc 4:
1. Sid Selvidge: The Ballad Of Otis B. Watson
2. The Caboose: Black Hands White Cotton
3. Dallas County: Love’s Not Hard To Find
4. Casper Peters: April
5. Clark Sullivan: Reaching For A Rainbow
6. Billy Eckstine: I Wanna Be Your Baby
7. Chuck Boris: Why Did It Take So Long
8. Barbara Lewis: Why Did It Take So Long
9. Finley Brown: Gypsy
10. O.B. Mcclinton: Slip Away
11. Billy Eckstine: When Something Is Wrong
12. Ben Atkins: Good Times Are Coming
13. River City Street Band: Some Other Man
14. O.B. Mcclinton: Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You
15. Big Ben: Would I Be Better Gone?
16. Don Nix: Black Cat Moan
17. Don Nix: She’s A Friend Of Mine
18. Larry Raspberry And The Highsteppers: Rock ’N Roll Warning
19. Chico Hamilton: Conquistadores ’74
20. Cliff Cochran: The Way I’m Needing You
21. Connie Eaton: Let’s Get Together
22. Karen Casey: The Way I’m Needing You

Disc 5:
1. Poor Little Rich Kids: Stop – Quit It
2. Lonnie Duvall: Cigarettes
3. Poor Little Rich Kids: It’s Mighty Clear
4. The Honey Jug: Warm City Baby
5. The Goodees:  For A Little While
6. The Honey Jug: For Your Love
7. Kangaroo’s: Groovy Day
8. Bobby Whitlock: And I Love You
9. Southwest F.O.B.: Smell Of Incense
10. The Goodees: Condition Red
11. Billy Lee Riley: Family Portrait
12. This Generation: The Children Have Your Tongue
13. Billy Lee Riley: Show Me Your Soul
14. The Waters: Day In And Out
15. The Village Sound: Hey Jack (Don’t Hijack My Plane)
16. The Cheques: Cool My Desire
17. The Goodees: Goodies
18. Paris Pilot: Miss Rita Famous
19. The Knowbody Else: Someone Something
20. Cargoe: Feel Alright
21. Big Star: In The Street
22. Cargoe: I Love You Anyway
23. The Hot Dogs: Say What You Mean
24. Big Star: O My Soul
25. The Hot Dogs: I Walk The Line
26. Big Star: September Gurls

Disc 6:
1. The Dixie Nightingales: The Assassination
2. The Dixie Nightingales: Hush Hush
3. The Dixie Nightingales: I Don’t Know
4. The Stars Of Virginia: Wade In The Water
5. The Dixie Nightingales: Forgive These Fools
6. The Jubilee Hummingbirds: Our Freedom Song (Free At Last)
7. The Jubilee Hummingbirds: Press My Dying Pillow
8. The Pattersonaires: God’s Promise
9. Rev. Maceo Woods And The Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church Choir: Hello Sunshine
10. Roebuck “Pop” Staples: Tryin’ Time
11. Terry Lynn Community Choir: His Love Will Always Be
12. Reverend W. Bernard Avant Jr. & The St. James Gospel Choir: Don’t Let The Green ass Fool You (Don’t Let The Devil Fool You)
13. The Rance Allen Group: There’s Gonna Be A Showdown
14. The Rance Allen Group: That Will Be Good Enough For Me
 15. Reverend Maceo Woods & The Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir: The Magnificent Sanctuary Band (Marching For The Man)
16. Louise Mccord: Better Get A Move On
 17. Charles May & Annette May Thomas: Satisfied
 18. The Rance Allen Group: I Got To Be Myself
 19. The People’s Choir Of Operation Push Under The Direction Of Reverend Marvin Yancy: He Included Me
20. The Rance Allen Group: We’re The Salt Of The Earth
21. Louise Mccord: Reflections
22. The Rance Allen Group: Ain’t No Need Of Crying


On February 16, Craft Recordings will release a deluxe edition of one of the most iconic and enduring records in jazz. Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the recording session in 2017 and the 60th anniversary of the first stereo release of the album in 2018, Way Out West, alongside Saxophone Colossus, cements Sonny Rollins’ status as one of the top tenor saxophonists of all-time. This meticulously compiled package pays appropriate tribute to the importance of the landmark recording with an audiophile-quality pressing of the original album and a second LP of bonus material featuring rare and previously unreleased tracks from the legendary 3 A.M. session with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne. Both records are pressed at Quality Record Pressings (QRP) on 180-gram vinyl from lacquers cut by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. GRAMMY® Award-winning writer Neil Tesser contributes liner notes, which include excerpts from a recent interview he conducted with Rollins especially for this release. Rare photos by famed jazz photographer William Claxton round out the collection, which comes housed in a handsome, hinged box.  More info below on the album and Rollins.

Way Out West (Deluxe Edition) will also be available at streaming outlets, mastered for iTunes, and in Hi-Res digital (96/24 and 192/24) on street date. Pre-order Way Out West (Deluxe Edition) on Amazon.

Track Listing:

Disc One - Original Way Out West Album
Side A
A1. I’m an Old Cowhand
A2. Solitude
A3. Come, Gone

Side B
B1. Wagon Wheels
B2. There Is No Greater Love
B3. Way Out West

Disc Two - Bonus Tracks from the Way Out West Recording Session
Side A
A1. Monologue: You Gotta Dig the Lyrics (previously unreleased)
A2. I’m An Old Cowhand (alternate version)
A3. Dialogue: Titling “Come, Gone” (previously unreleased)
A4. Come, Gone (alternate version)

Side B
B1. There Is No Greater Love (alternate version, previously unreleased)
B2. Way Out West (take 1, previously unreleased)
B3. Way Out West (alternate version)

Over his long and distinguished career, Sonny Rollins has made many dozens of albums. Among those recorded during the ’50s -- Prestige's Saxophone Colossus, Blue Note's A Night at the Village Vanguard, Riverside's The Sound of Sonny and especially Way Out West, originally recorded for the Contemporary label -- qualify as all-time Rollins classics. The session for Way Out West, Rollins' first-ever in California, was called for at 3 a.m. to accommodate personnel's busy schedules and included bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne. Sonny, who could never be accused of overstatement, announced after four hours of recording, “I’m hot now.” What transpired on the date was nothing less than magic, with Brown and Manne effortlessly supporting Rollins and pushing him to new peaks on “I'm an Old Cowhand,” "Way out West,” “There Is No Greater Love” and “Come, Gone,” the latter a cookin’ take on the timeless ballad “After You’ve Gone.”  This deluxe edition celebrates this landmark album in Rollins’ career with a full second LP of rare and previously unreleased bonus material, deluxe packaging, new liner notes by Grammy®-winning writer Neil Tesser and rare photos by famed jazz photographer William Claxton.

Theodore Walter Rollins was born on September 7, 1930 in New York City. He grew up in Harlem not far from the Savoy Ballroom, the Apollo Theatre and the doorstep of his idol, Coleman Hawkins. After early discovery of Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong, he started out on alto saxophone, inspired by Louis Jordan. At the age of thirteen, he switched to tenor and fell under the spell of the musical revolution that surrounded him, Bebop. He began to follow Charlie Parker, and soon came under the wing of Thelonious Monk, who became his musical mentor and guru. Sonny quickly separated himself from the pack, working and recording with Babs Gonzales, J.J. Johnson, Bud Powell and Miles Davis before he turned twenty. “Of course, these people are there to be called on because I think I represent them in a way,” Rollins said recently of his peers and mentors. “They’re not here now so I feel like I’m sort of representing all of them, all of the guys. Remember, I’m one of the last guys left, as I’m constantly being told, so I feel a holy obligation sometimes to evoke these people.”

Rollins throughout his long and decorated career released a series of landmark recordings, several of which would change the shape of jazz: “Valse Hot” introduced the practice, now common, of playing bop in 3/4 meter; “St. Thomas” initiated his explorations of calypso patterns; and “Blue 7” was hailed by Gunther Schuller as demonstrating a new manner of “thematic improvisation,” in which the soloist develops motifs extracted from his theme. Way Out West (1957), Rollins’ first album using a trio of saxophone, double bass and drums, offered a solution to his longstanding difficulties with incompatible pianists. During the years 1956 to 1958, Rollins was widely regarded as the most talented and innovative tenor saxophonist in jazz.

He has since gone on to win numerous awards, including his first performance GRAMMY for This Is What I Do (2000), and his second for 2004’s Without a Song (The 9/11 Concert), in the Best Jazz Instrumental Solo category (for “Why Was I Born”). In addition, Sonny received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2004. His continued advocacy for jazz music has earned him recognition of the highest order throughout his exemplary career, including induction into the Academy of Achievement (2006), the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class (2009), membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2010), the Edward MacDowell Medal (2010) and the Medal of Arts (2011), which was bestowed upon him by President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony. Rollins accepted the award, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence, “on behalf of the gods of our music.”

On December 3, 2011, Sonny Rollins received Kennedy Center honors, alongside actress Meryl Streep, singer Barbara Cook, singer/songwriter Neil Diamond and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Rollins said of the honor, “I am deeply appreciative of this great honor. In honoring me, the Kennedy Center honors jazz, America’s classical music. For that, I am very grateful.”

Tuesday, December 19, 2017



Record Kicks proudly present "Funk Sides", the new compilation featuring 14 deep funk cuts taken from the label's vaults, out today in every digital store. Under its motto "The explosive sound from Today's scene", Milan-based independent label Record Kicks, together with similar outfits like Daptone, Jazzman, Freestyle or Timmion Records, has been pitching the so-called "Deep Funk" scene for 14 years. After the previous installment "Soul Sides" here's "Funk Sides" another irresistibly infectious compilation made of 14 heavy funk pearls from the Record Kicks vaults. Featuring tracks from Marta Ren & The Groovelvets, The Liberators, Hannah Williams & The Affirmations, Dojo Cuts, Martha High & Osaka Monaurail, Calibro 35 and many more. Play it loud!


The name of vibist Warren Wolf is emblazoned proudly across the front cover here – and for good reason, too – as the musician really steals the show in performance by a quartet led by drummer Rodney Green! The set's live, and maybe a bit looser than some of Warren's recent records – with long tracks that really showcase that boldly chromatic style he brings to his work on vibes, and which make him maybe our favorite contemporary talent on the instrument. And the group's also got strong work from Jacob Christoffersen on piano and David Wong on bass – rounding out the sound nicely, and given the whole thing maybe a bit more force and color than some of the more staid vibes/piano settings. Titles include "Bud Powell", "Emily", "Budo", "Just One Of Those Things", "Well You Needn't", and "Humpty Dumpty". ~ Dusty Groove


A heck of a great little guitar funk album – one of two rare sides cut by the amazing Eddy Senay! The record's all-instrumental – and Eddie's fuzzed-out guitar takes center stage over tripped-out arrangements that recall the best psychedelic funk of the early 70s – bubbling along with just enough drums, bass, and keyboards to make for a chunky bottom groove – while Senay wails over the top on guitar! The record reminds us of similar guitar funk albums from the time – including the work of Dennis Coffey, Eddie Fisher, or Donald Austin – but the groove's even more laidback and trippy, with a few nice breakway moments from the rhythm section. Tracks include "Jubo", "Hot Thang", "Message of Love", and great covers of "Ain't No Sunshine" and Donny Hathaway's "Zambezi". (Limited colored vinyl pressing). ~ Dusty Groove



A set recorded live at the Mezzrow Jazz Club in New York, but one that's definitely in keeping with the other titles in the Smalls Live series – even if the setting is different! Pianist Tardo Hammer and bassist Peter Washington get wonderful space to stretch out here – taking familiar tunes on long, live readings – with sublime interplay between the bass and piano, and some wonderfully creative solos throughout! The format is simple, but there's magic throughout – and the whole setting is a great reminder of that special sort of spirit that comes from well-matched creative talents in jazz. Titles include "Bean & The Boys", "Milestones", "It Could Happen To You", "Star Eyes", "Isn't It A Pity", "Hackensack", and "These Foolish Things". ~ Dusty Groove


The "contra" here is a contrabass clarinet, not a stringed contrabass – yet John McCowen manages to play his instrument in a way that greatly resembles the larger wooden source of acoustic sound! The tones are very deep, and very slow-rising – used by McCowen in this wonderful way that makes us aware of textures we never would have expected from the instrument – none of the clearer reed elements you might normally hear, and instead these deep, rumbling elements that are as powerful as they are minimal! CD features three long tracks – "Fur Korv", "Chopper HD", and "Berths 1 to 3". ~ Dusty Groove


Stanley Turrentine's a hell of a soloist in a large ensemble setting – and there's possibly no better place to hear that talent at work than on this classic 60s date for Blue Note! The format's a bit different than other Turrentine records of the time – no small group romping, nor larger band soul jazz – and instead this laidback and classy mode that's handled with a heck of a lot of soul by arrangers Thad Jones and Duke Pearson – with this sophisticated vibe that almost points the way towards some of Stan's ballad work of the 70s. Strings are balanced nicely with jazz inflections from players who include Hank Jones, Roland Hanna, and Duke Pearson on piano – plus Kenny Burrell on guitar, Benny Powell on trombone, and both Snooky Young and Jimmy Nottingham on flugelhorn. Titles include "The Look Of Love", "Emily", "I'm Always Drunk In San Francisco", "MacArthur Park", "Blues For Stan", "This Guy's In Love With You", and "Here There & Everywhere". (SHM-CD pressing!)  ~ Dusty Groove



We've always loved Spike Wilner as a pianist, but this set's also a great reminder that he's a hell of a composer too – as all the tracks, save one, are originals by Wilner – and played by a strong quintet of all-stars from the Smalls club that he manages himself! The album's a brilliant testament to the kind of open, expressive, yet still-swinging jazz that Wilner's helped foster strongly over the past decade or so – and the group shines from work by Ryan Kisor on trumpet, Joel Frahm on tenor, Tyler Mitchell on bass, and Anthony Pinciotti on drums – musicians who definitely have a warm spirit that ties them together strongly. Some of these songs are really wonderful – tunes that are already tremendous, before the solos – which make them shine even more. Titles include "Iceberg Slim","Upasaka", "Trick Baby", "10th Street Rag", "La Tendresse", "Sasquatch", and "Stitch In Time". ~ Dusty Groove


The third Smalls Live appearance by saxophonist Ian Hendrickson Smith – and maybe the best so far! Ian's a player that you might know from his work in The Dap-Tones and Roots – but he's also a hell of a jazz musician, too – and does a fantastic job here in a quintet that features Ryan Kisor on trumpet, Spike Wilner on piano, Adam Cote on bass, and Lawrence Leathers on drums! The notes are a bit spare, but it sounds like Ian's playing alto on many tracks – blowing in this crisp, soulful style that takes us back to Lou Donaldson's early 60s years on Blue Note – but with a more open, extended vibe – thanks to the beautiful Smalls Live presentation! Kisor and Wilner are both great, too – musicians who really seem to hit their best strides in a concert setting – and titles include a great reading of "Book's Bossa" – plus "This Love Of Mine", "For All We Know", "I'm A Fool To Want You", and "Willow Weep For Me". ~ Dusty Groove


A fantastic setting for the tenor talents of Nick Hempton – a set that was supposedly recorded on a day when he'd set fire to his compositions, and lost his piano player – leaving the remaining trio to perform here out of a set of familiar changes and loosely-structured grooves! The result is wonderful – with Nick's crispy horn right out front, with support from George Delancy on bass and Dan Aran on drums – all making great use of the long-spun format of the Smalls Live sessions, which seem to be a perfect setting for such a recording! Hempton's grabbing our ears here like never before – with a rawness to his tone, while still swinging strongly – and in best live improvisation tradition, the changes from the familiar tunes are really transformed – which makes the whole record way more than you'd expect from the titles. Tracks include "Droppin A Franklin", "Poor Butterfly", "Not The Sort Of Jazz That Stewart Lee Likes", "Whistlin Blues", "Blues To You Rudy", and "When I Grow Too Old To Dream". ~ Dusty Groove

Jazz-funk group Under The Lake resurfaces with “Jazz, Groove & Attitude”

Like the name of one of their seminal influences, The Crusaders, Under The Lake has crusaded in the name of rhythm and groove, making jazz-funk records that don’t fit neatly into any box. Powered by the dual-horn attack of tenor saxophonist David Evans and trombonist John Moak, and armed with eleven original new songs composed and produced by keyboardist Jayson Tipp, the Portland, Oregon-based group will release their fourth album, “Jazz, Groove & Attitude,” on February 23. The Mind In Overdrive label release that will be serviced and promoted on multiple jazz radio formats after the holidays coincides with the 25th anniversary of the band’s debut disc, “Dive In.”

Relying on live instrumentation consisting of warm and earthy horn harmonies, danceable rhythm guitar riffs, rubbery bass lines and sturdy drum beats, Under The Lake sounds like a throwback to the vintage soul-jazz bands that pioneered the growth of contemporary jazz in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Although the group’s previous three platters garnered generous radio spins and chart action throughout the world in addition to receiving the plaudits of critics – from JazzTimes, Jazziz and the New York Daily News in the U.S. to major media outlets in France, Germany and Canada – Under The Lake didn’t veer from their path in order to tailor their records for commercial purposes. The tunes on “Jazz, Groove & Attitude” average nearly six minutes in length. The music has a lively energy and soulful edges as melodies and grooves develop and flow freely and spontaneously with ample time to simmer before erupting into a boil. The focus track at radio will be “George Is His Name,” a cut inspired by the late George Duke. Another song of note is “LJT,” which was written in honor of Team USA’s Lee Evans, John Carlos and Tommie Smith who are remembered for turning their 1968 Olympics medal ceremony into a fist-raised protest. 

Tipp said, “As a kid growing up in the ‘70s, the music that I enjoyed most tended to have a little more interesting chord changes and extended musical passages. When I began my recording career and formed Under The Lake in the early ‘90s, smooth jazz was at its height and we never fit neatly into that or any other format. After a couple of lengthy breaks as our lives went in divergent directions, I reformed the band with a plan to record again. I reflected on what music I really wanted to play and it just seemed natural to gravitate back to what had influenced me early on. Over the last several years, I had gotten a lot deeper into The Crusaders and Joe Sample’s catalog. As the band and material came together, having a tenor (sax) and trombone leading the melodies seemed to bring it all together.”

The rebooted Under The Lake lineup consists of Tipp, Moak (Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Brubeck, Randy Brecker, Diane Schuur, Branford Marsalis), Evans (Pete Fountain, B.B. King, Nicholas Payton, Gladys Knight, Four Tops, Temptations), drummer Brian Foxworth, bassist Kenny Franklin, guitarist  Evan Mustard, alto saxophonist Nat Caranto and special guest Joe Powers on harmonica.

After 1993’s “Dive In,” Under The Lake followed up two years later with “Up For Air,” took a decade-long “life” pause and regrouped to issue “People Together” in 2007. The unit has performed at top West Coast festivals and venues, sharing the marquee with contemporary jazz forces Sample, Billy Cobham, Stanley Jordan and Keiko Matsui. To pave the way for “Jazz, Groove & Attitude,” Under The Lake will play First Taste Oregon in Salem on January 27 and headline a tribute to The Crusaders at the PDX Jazz Festival in Portland on the album’s street date.    

Reflecting fondly on the occasion of Under The Lake’s silver anniversary while enthusiastic about what’s ahead, Tipp said, “Even after all these years, I still run into folks that remember the band or shows we’d done years ago. The music from the first few albums still gets played on various outlets. I think ‘Jazz, Groove & Attitude’ is the best collection of material I’ve assembled with some really talented musicians. I hope that people enjoy it, that it starts the ball rolling so we can build on the momentum, creating new opportunities for us to perform in front of more audiences in more places.”
“Jazz, Groove & Attitude” contains the following songs:

“Breaking Through”
“Good Things”
“November 30th”
“George Is His Name”
“Father’s Day”
“Second Time Around”
“Full Of Life”
“I Just Can’t Wait”
“Rise And Shine”
“September Groove”

Monday, December 18, 2017



In the label’s 23rd year, release number 200 arrived in the form of a ridiculously ahead of its time long lost album from 1976 by the musical god Hermeto Pascoal. Mystical Brazilian psych-folk from the Quartin catalogue was unearthed in the form of Piri’s Voces Querem Mate? Sabrina Malheiros made a very welcome return with her first studio album in four years and it was well worth the wait. São Paulo’s can-do-no-wrong 10-piece Nomade Orquestra did no wrong with their earth-traversing second album EntreMundos. And the dancier side of things saw scorching heat from some ultras of underground music including Ron Trent, Dego and Ig Culture as well as newer names on top of their game like Max Graef, Glenn Astro and Contours, who each did Ivan Conti Mamao proud reworking a groove from the Azymuth drummer’s forthcoming solo album. Here’s a selection of some of our Far Out highlights of the year. Includes: Hermeto Pascoal - Danca Do Paje; Azymuth - Fenix (Ron Trent Remix); Nomade Orquestra - Jardins de Zaira; Piri - Reza Brava; Philippe Baden Powell – Chica; Sabrina Malheiros - Salve O Mar; Arthur Verocai - Bis (feat. Azymuth); Ivan Conti - Azul (Max Graef Remix); Sabrina Malheiros - Clareia (2000Black Remix); Far Out Monster Disco Orchestra - Vendetta (Al Kent Dub Mix); Dokta Venom - I Owe U Something; and Ivan Conti - Mamao's Brake (IG Culture Remix).


Wonderful contemporary work from the legendary Chairmen Of The Board – not exactly the same version of the group that climbed the charts at the start of the 70s, but one that definitely gets their spirit completely right! The album's a recent recording, but it features plenty of vintage talent on board – including the Philly songwriting team of the Steals Brothers, and Detroit soul legend McKinley Jackson on production work – handling things with an approach that really reminds us of the kind of group soul albums they cut back in the day! Ken Knox is the lead here, with a very different style than that of General Johnson – and in a way, the album's maybe thought of best as a criss-cross between classic Philly group and Detroit modes, rather than just another Chairmen Of The Board set. Titles include "Each Morning I Wake Up", "Words Left Unsaid", "No One Else", "I'm Ready Willing & Able", "Get Your Lovin", "All I Need Is You Tonight", and "Get Your Lovin (DJ mix)". ~ Dusty Groove


Sugaray Rayford looks like a vintage soul singer on the cover, and he sounds like one too – here on an album that may well be the first time he really found his groove! Previous Rayford efforts have been a bit more blues-based, but the approach here goes strongly for a deep funk style – using a tight backing combo, and sometimes a trio of female backup singers – all to bring Sugaray's strong vocals into the territory of older southern soul! The instrumentation's never too overdone – and respectfully always leaves the tremendous vocals in the lead – on titles that include "Home Again", "Don't Regret A Mile", "Take Me Back", "Keep Moving", "What Do We Own", "The World That We Live In", "Troubles", and "Ain't Got No Business To Die". ~ Dusty Groove

"Moving Day," Second CD by Bassist/Composer Mark Wade

Mark Wade Trio Moving Day On their 2015 debut, Event Horizon, bassist and composer Mark Wade and his trio displayed an uncanny empathy and earned a warm reception from press, radio, and fans. Moving Day, his sophomore recording which will be released February 2 by his label Mark Wade Music, showcases the evolution of the trio's tight, seemingly telepathic interplay.

"We've had a chance to develop a sound and identity and an understanding of one another as an ensemble. We had some of that with the first CD," he explains, citing his bandmates Tim Harrison, on piano, and drummer Scott Neumann. "But this CD, three years later, shows that we've really formed some strong chemistry together. By the time we got to the recording session, we had been playing some of these tunes live in front of audiences a number of times."

Wade started writing music for Moving Day a few months after the release of Event Horizon, and the new album includes seven harmonically and rhythmically challenging originals as well as inventive arrangements of the standards "Autumn Leaves" and "A Night in Tunisia" (reinterpreted as "Another Night in Tunisia"). With the exception of "In the Fading Rays of Sunlight," the gentle waltz that closes Moving Day, all of the selections utilize frequent meter changes.

The meter shifts are not immediately obvious, however, due to the way Wade, Harrison, and Neumann keep their performances flowing so perfectly. "There aren't many tunes that don't have at least one or two meter changes," Wade explains. "It wasn't my intention to do that. It was just kind of the way the music worked out." 

Mark Wade was born on December 29, 1974, outside Detroit in Livonia, MI. He taught himself to play bass guitar at 14 in Long Valley, NJ. During his senior year in high school in Morristown, NJ, he joined the Royal Nonesuch, a rock quartet for which he began writing original songs.

He attended New York University, studying with renowned bassist Mike Richmond, who encouraged him to take up acoustic bass for jazz and to hone his arco technique and sight-reading abilities in order to better play European classical music. He received a B.A. in music with a concentration in jazz in 1997. Wade considers Richmond, whose extensive resume includes work with Stan Getz, Jack DeJohnette, Lee Konitz, and Mingus Dynasty, a major influence, along with Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Scott LaFaro, Michael Moore, and Red Mitchell.

Over the past 20 years, Wade has balanced his musical schedule between jazz, classical, and commercial gigs. His jazz credits include playing in the string section for the Jimmy Heath Big Band's performances of Ernie Wilkins's Four Black Immortals; backing singer Stacey Kent on The Today Show; playing with trumpeter Bill Warfield's New York Jazz Repertory Orchestra; and recording with singer Elli Fordyce. Wade has performed with numerous classical ensembles, including the Key West Symphony backing guitarist Sharon Isbin and violinist Robert McDuffie, both of them Grammy winners. He is presently principal bassist of the Bronx Opera Company.

Bill Warfield, who directs the jazz program at Lehigh University (where Scott Neumann and Tim Harrison also teach), invited Wade to join the faculty in February 2017. The bassist commutes one day a week from his home in Queens to the university in Bethlehem, PA, to give private lessons on both acoustic and electric basses.

The Mark Wade Trio's gigs at Club Bonafide in Manhattan, Flushing Town Hall in Queens, and other venues have greatly increased since the release of Event Horizon, and Wade's own raised profile resulted in his landing a spot in the 2016 DownBeat Readers' Poll as one of the year's Top 10 bassists. The ensemble had its first appearance in Europe in late 2017, including a performance at the Sunside Sunset Club in Paris. Interest in the trio's music was sparked in Europe when the Edition 46 label in Berlin reissued Event Horizon a year after Wade released it himself in the U.S.

Wade does not take for granted the rapport he, Harrison, and Neumann have established, which is evident in their ability to flawlessly navigate consistently challenging original compositions and arrangements in a flowing, unforced manner. "I'm really lucky that I have guys to work with to put this together," Wade says. "I'm only one-third of the sound. It takes all three of us to make it happen, and they do a really great job with it. We've been able to develop a certain kind of language together that helps bring out something deeper than just your average run-of-the-mill trio that you might throw together at a session."

The Mark Wade Trio will be performing CD release shows at the Airtrain Jazz Festival, Jamaica, NY, on 2/15, and Club Bonafide in NYC, 3/3.   

Thursday, December 14, 2017



Es:sensual presents a continuation of pianist-composer Omar Sosa’s collaboration with Hamburg’s NDR Bigband (North German Radio—Norddeutscher Rundfunk) and acclaimed Brazilian cellist-composer-arranger Jaques Morelenbaum, whose inaugural effort can be heard on the Omar Sosa-NDR Bigband CD Ceremony (Otá, 2010). Recorded at NDR’s Hamburg studios under the direction of Sosa and Morelenbaum, Es:sensual features the latter’s vivid arrangements of selections from Omar’s CDs Free Roots (1997), Mulatos (2004), Promise (2007), Across the Divide (2009), and Ilé (2014). Rooted in Afro-Cuban spiritual and percussive traditions and intimately versed in a range of contemporary world musics, Omar’s finely textured compositions present Morelenbaum with the foundation to summon forth an expansive palette of sounds, inspiring the NDR Bidband’s brilliant soloists, maximizing the ensemble’s sonic potential, and providing ample latitude for Sosa’s own luminous keyboard improvisations. ~ Michael Stone


A fantastic funky album from flute man Dave Valentin – done right after his time on the New York Latin underground, including some work with Ricardo Marrerro – and in that lean, sharp sound of the early years of the GRP label! The vibe here is more CTI than the smoother later sound of the imprint – and the arrangements have plenty of space for Dave's flute to soar out in Bobbi Humphrey-like solos – amidst larger charts from Dave Grusin, Dennis Ball, and Valentin himself. Grusin also plays a fair bit of keyboards on the record, Marcus Miller plays bass, and one track features sweet guest vocals from Luther Vandross and Patti Austin. Titles include "Open Your Eyes", "Fantasy", "Astro March", "Land Of The Third Eye", and "Sidra's Dream". CD features a bonus 7" mix of "Sidra's Dream". (Hybrid Super Audio CD pressing – works on standard CD players!)  ~ Dusty Groove


Expansion begins each year with one of the label’s most anticipated collections, “Luxury Soul”. The success of the series comes down to the quality of tracks sourced from independent soul music artists, often unsigned or with recordings previously unissued or on limited release elsewhere. This year’s set includes music by Linda Clifford, Shirley Jones with The Jones Girls and Cool Million feat. Keni Burke, artists from the 70s/80s appearing at the UK’s Luxury Soul Weekender in January. Also for the first time on CD is music by Tristan, Chris Jasper, Myles Sanko, Robb Scott, Marcus Anderson and The Wanda featuring Chaka Khan, Tristan feat. Heston, Marcus Anderson feat. Anthony Saunders, Will Wheaton & Bridgette Bryant, Soulutions, Lina, Gordon Chambers, Kim Tibbs, Jay King, Kenya, Marcia Mitchell, Dimitris & Sulene, Sir Piers feat. Frank McComb, Brian Power, Mather & Kingdon, The BritFunk Association, Andre Espeut Quintet, Crack Of Dawn, Cool Million feat. Gregers, Bobbi Humphrey, Kazu Matsui Project, Sophia Ripley, Robb Scott feat. Sylvia Mason, Adika Pongo feat. Christopher Williams, The Groove Association, Kashif, Tracy Hamlin, Watergates, Leon Ware, and Lonnie Hill.

BIGYUKI (Talib Kweli, Matisyahu & A Tribe Called Quest Collaborator) Announces Debut Album Reaching For Chiron

Torn between the ferocity of the equine and the civility of man, Chiron was considered to be the noblest of the centaurs. His front legs were not of a horse but of a man. He trotted about mythological worlds as a refined anomaly, forged with the best traits of both beasts. For keyboardist and songwriter BIGYUKI we are all on the verge of that transformation with our digital devices amplifying and polishing our intellects. His debut album Reaching For Chiron is a perfect synthesis of heart and technology, heavy beats and buoyant melodies.

"We don't memorize phone numbers anymore. We don't memorize maps. It's like a part of the brain now," says BIGYUKI. "There is an ongoing discussion about AI creating a god or summoning a devil. I kind of feel like in the near future there is no way a human will develop themselves without help from AI. It's a unity between human and machine."

BIGYUKI is naturally the perfect embodiment of that modern man. Raised in Japan, he moved to Boston to attend the Berklee College of Music. Up until that point a majority of his keyboard experience had been with the classical masters. "Playing classical music I learned how to depart from this realm. Me becomes not me. That's when I learned that. I love Chopin. I could really relate as my young self. He has beautiful melodies. I loved it. I think that part is still in me. Whatever music I play, it's always there."

Not long after arriving in Massachusetts, BIGYUKI began to see the changes, expanding and acquiring the knowledge that would create his powerhouse sound. An encounter with the much sought-after drummer Charles Haynes at Wally's Cafe landed BIGYUKI a church gig in the Boston suburb of Dorchester, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the state. "People seemed to like my enthusiasm, attitude and maybe my playing. I didn't know any songs but I have an ear that doesn't suck. I can figure it out." And he did. He played that gig for six years, lasting far longer at the church than at the college. "That really kind of gave me a sense that maybe where you are from and what your background is doesn't really matter."

A move to New York helped to solidify BIGYUKI's transformation. He worked regularly with hip-hop artists like Talib Kweli and Matisyahu and made numerous contributions to the long-awaited return from A Tribe Called Quest. All of these elements -- Chopin, jazz, gospel, hip-hop -- reside between the keys on BIGYUKI's debut, trampling anyone who stands in the way.
The album opens by tuning into an intergalactic transmission with the ethereal "Pom Pom," a malleable swim through space dust that is engulfed in a storm of synths, Randy Runyon's panic attack-inducing guitar and drummer Justin Tyson's driving hi-hat. Despite its intensity, "'Pom Pom was one of the simpler ones," BIGYUKI explains.

He gets an assist from Taylor McFerrin on two tracks. "Eclipse" features vocalist Chris Turner in a swoony mood, crooning poet J. Ivy's impassioned lyrics over drummer Louis Cato's thundering presence. Drummer Marcus Gilmore sprinkles the funk on "Missing Ones," a chill-out crawl that blinks breathlessly from the atmosphere.

"Coming up with the bass lines and the changes was the easy part. Harmonies and melodies are very simple but then coming up with a form? Figuring out how to make the four-minute piece interesting enough so that you don't stop in the middle of it? That's the hard part." "Belong" and "In A Spiral" both showcase BIGYUKI's more sensitive side.

"Belong" features some of BIGYUKI's most delicate work on the album. Amid the clipped rhythms programmed by Reuben Cainer, BIGYUKI channels an inner calm that becomes even more stripped down on "In A Spiral," a virtual cabaret performance amidst the unrelenting futurism found throughout the album.

"I wanted to come up with something that was straight fire. That was the idea. Let's make something that hits people hard." There isn't any mystery to "Burnt N Turnt." BIGYUKI is aiming straight for the club floor with help from producer Bae Bro. The two mix samples and synthesizers for a menacing spin. "Boom," the duo's second collaboration further along the record, is equally indebted to the heavy jam, vocal samples twisted into place by dense drum programming.

"It was after one of those taping sessions for Stephen Colbert's late show. I was part of the house band for two months. I started jamming over my piano figure with Louis Cato and I recorded it on my phone." That sample made its way into the final recording of "NuNu." Drummer Lenny "The Ox" Reece lays down a skittering track that melds seamlessly with a distant vocal sample manipulation. There is a latin-ish vibe simmering beneath the surface throughout. "Reuben Cainer sprinkled a little bit of his flavor to it and the rest is blood and tears."

BIGYUKI first worked with Bilal years ago. The soul singer is the main guest on "Soft Places" making the tune decidedly his own. "You know that it's Bilal as soon as you hear his tone. He gives musicians such a freedom to stretch. He makes the music his playground." With help from co-producer and sound designer Stu Brooks, BIGYUKI presents a post-apocalyptic love song that veers through time to create a soundscape that ears can easily tumble into.

"Simple Like You" puts hip-hop in the center of BIGYUKI's universe. Javier Starks brings a swagger to the album that is refreshing and unexpected. A staccato riff keeps everyone on their toes while Celia Hatton's top melody on viola packs a hard-left turn with a symphonic break.

The album closes with "2060 Chiron," another floating collaboration with Cainer. An industrial pulse surrounds the futuristic song that is also incredibly indebted to the science fiction soundtracks of the 1980s. And as quickly as it arrives it goes, taking with it the future of BIGYUKI, the shape-shifting keyboardist, part man, part beast, all soul.

BIGYUKI · Reaching for Chiron
Likely Records · Release Date: February 2, 2018


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