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
DAVE VALENTIN - LAND OF THE THIRD EYE
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
LUXURY SOUL 2018 (VARIOUS ARTISTS)
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.