JEMAL RODRIGUEZ – AFRICAN SKIES
A killer record from Cali drummer Jemal Ramirez – maybe his greatest set so far as a leader, and a record that features a top-shelf lineup that really captures his vision! We'll be honest in saying that it was vibist Warren Wolf who first caught our attention here – as we love anything that Warren does, and especially value his contribution as a sideman – where he seems to bring the same sort of soulful flow to a group that Bobby Hutcherson could back in the 70s! That's definitely the case here, as Wolf's bold colors work perfectly with the rich lines on piano and Fender Rhodes from Matthew Clark – and are given a soaring spirit when reed work from Howard Riley kicks in – as the player handles alto, tenor, and soprano sax on the set. Mike Olmos plays trumpet on half the album, John Shifflett handles bass throughout, and it's definitely the case that Ramirez's rock-solid drumming and leadership are what really keep the album moving. Titles include Jemal's originals "On The Move", "A Long Way Home", "Where Are They", "No Time Left", and "Stasia" – and other titles include "African Skies", "It Always Is", "A Good Time", "Sister Cheryl", and "Episode From A Village Dance". (180 gram vinyl pressed at RTI! Includes download with 4 bonus tracks!) ~ Dusty Groove
BRIT FUNK ASSOCIATION – FULL CIRCLE
An all star section of the Brit funky soul scene comes Full Circle – with members of Beggar & Co, Incognito, Hi Tension, Central Line and more – on a sweet batch tunes with an upbeat, jazzy groove, too! The opening "BFA Theme (Let The Music Blow Your Mind)" kicks the set off with a theme of togetherness that holds strong throughout, with lead vocals that are often shared by the group in harmony. Kenny Wellington & Paul McLean handle a lot of the songwriting & production, sharing vocals with sax player Patrick McLean, guitar player Breeze McKrieth, sax & flute player David Baptiste, and trombone player Jerome Harper. The Association also includes Steve Salvari & Peter Hinds on keys, Billy Osborne on percussion, and Ernie McKone on bass – with guests Simon Law, Toby Barker and others. Titles include "I've Found Someone To Love", "We Love The Sunshine On Our Face", "Stand Strong, Stand Tall", "Paradigm Shift", "Seventeen", "The First People", "Make It Funky", "Let's All Work It Out", "Shine" and "Get Up". ~ Dusty Groove
HRISTO VITCHEV QUARTET - OF LIGHT AND SHADOWS
The highly anticipated new album by the Hristo Vitchev Quartet has been officially released worldwide! "Of Light and Shadows" marks Hristo's 9th album as a leader and catalogues the evolution and creative development of the internationally award wining quartet through its most adventurous and exploratory chapter yet. "Of Light and Shadows" which consists of 2 parts - the first part is the main musical work and the 2nd part "Behind the Shadows: freely improvised stories" is a free jazz album that shares thematic material from the main compositions but was played and recorded in a completely free manner.