Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New Music Releases: Saskia Laroo, Lafayette Harris, Eri Yamamoto & Choral Chameleon

Saskia Laroo - Trumpets Around The World

"The Dutch Lady of Jazz" is what trumpeter Saskia Laroo has been affectionately called by the press and fans for years. On November 15, she released her highly anticipated eighth album “Trumpets Around The World”, with which she will also celebrate three milestones at the same time: the new release, 40 years on stage as of this year, 25 years leading the Saskia Laroo Band, and 25 years since the start-up of Laroo Records. On the protean “Trumpets Around The World”, Laroo skillfully combines her mastery of various instruments, namely, trumpet, bass, and saxophone with funky dance, hip hop, modern grooves, singing and rap. Here stands Laroo's repute for a candid improvisational style, inspired by influences and cultures from all over the world. ~ smoothjazz.com

Lafayette Harris - You Can't Lose With The Blues

Straight, strong, and soulful work from pianist Lafayette Harris – working here with a nicely understated trio that features Peter Washington on bass and Lewis Nash on drums – both musicians with more than enough sensitivity to make some subtle contributions, while still letting Harris dominate the lead and do his thing! The tracks are all relatively short – most in the four or five minute range – but like a piano pro of the old school, Harris really packs a lot into a little space – on titles that include "Bloomdido", "Love Me In A Special Way", "Things Ain't What They Used To Be", "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying", "He's My Guy", and "The Juicy Blues".  ~ Dusty Groove

Eri Yamamoto & Choral Chameleon – Goshu Ondo Suite

One of the most beautiful albums we've ever heard from pianist Eri Yamamoto – in large part because of the presence of the Choral Cameleon vocal group! The mix of piano and voice is wonderful – haunting and powerful, in a way that reminds us of some of the best Vince Guaraldi experiments of this type – but with a sharper edge, as you might guess from the piano of Yamamoto – and support from David Ambrosio on bass and Ikuo Takeuchi on drums! Sometimes the voices rise high and proud – as in a Max Roach jazz-with-voices album – other times they drift dreamily, providing more of a subtle ascendant current to the lines of the piano. Either way is great to our ears – a really wonderful record – and tracks feature the long "Goshu Ondo Suite", plus "Echo Of Echo". ~ Dusty Groove

Monday, December 30, 2019

New Music Releases: Spiritual Jazz 10 – Modal, Esoteric, & Deep Jazz From Prestige Records; Junius Paul, Free Soul TK

Spiritual Jazz 10 – Modal, Esoteric, & Deep Jazz From Prestige Records (Various Artists)

A really loving look at a sometimes-forgotten side of the Prestige Records label – a company that's famous for giving the world plenty of hardbop and soul jazz in the 50s and 60s, but which also helped lay the groundwork for American spiritual jazz to come! Long before Impulse, Strata East, MPS, and other labels were working with the music – and even long before Coltrane first started to soar into the cosmos – Prestige was letting its musicians really experiment with unusual rhythms, extended solos, and even some non-Western instrumentation – which resulted in a set of records that were years ahead of their time, and which still sound pretty darn mindblowing all these many years later! The package is a long-overdue entry in this hip series from Jazzman Records, and will also have you looking at your collection of older jazz in a completely new way – thanks to tracks that include "Summertime" by Ahmed Abul-Malik, "Love Theme From Spartacus" by Yusef Lateef, "Dorian" by Roy Haynes, "Rip A Dip" by The Latin Jazz Quintet, "Warm Canto" by Mal Waldron, "Organ Rounds" by Moondog, "Death & Taxes" by Walt Dickerson, "Song Of Delilah" by Ahmed Abul-Malik, and "Modette" by Roy Haynes – plus 70s tracks "I've Known Rivers" by Gary Bartz Ntu Troop and "Peace" by Idris Muhammad.  ~ Dusty Groove

Junius Paul - Ism

A fantastic record from the contemporary Chicago scene – one that both gives bassist Junius Paul his first showcase as a leader, and underscores the richly collaborative energy in which the musician works! The set was recorded at various points in the Windy City underground – with Paul at the help of a shifting lineup that includes Makaya McCraven on drums, Corey Wilkes on trumpet, Justin Dillard on piano and keyboards, Jim Baker on piano and Arp, Isaiah Spencer on drums, Marquis Hill on trumpet, and Tomeika Reid on cello – with most musicians also handling other instruments too, in a continuation of an AACM legacy – on a record that's then edited by Makaya McCraven, in the best International Anthem mode! The music is jazz, but of the most forward-thinking type – and titles include "Ma & Dad", "Fred Anderson & A Half", "Twelve Eighteen West", "Georgia", "Spocky Chainsey Has Re-Emerged", "The One Who Endures", "Baker's Dozen", "View From The Moon", "You Are Free To Choose", "Paris", "Collant Denier", and "Sprouts". ~ Dusty Groove

Free Soul TK (Various Artists)

A deep double-dip into the legendary TK Records catalog of Miami Soul – and one that offers up a very different version of the label than you might know from the hits! This 2CD set follows in the best tradition of the Free Soul series from Japan – which means that the collection is filled with unusual tracks that we might have missed otherwise, alongside other numbers that we do know, but which seem to have a really special vibe in this setting – an unpacking of the TK catalog from top to bottom, with a special focus on warmer, more unusual bits of funk and soul. Titles include "Jolie" by Lattimore, "Don't Waste My Time" by Jerry Washington, "Keep It Up" by Milton Wright, "You Knock Me Out" by Wildflower, "Cramp Your Style" by All The People, "I Can't Leave Your Love Alone" by Willie & Anthony, "Street Love" by Spats, "Concrete Jungle" by Little Beaver, "Good Good Lovin" by Charles Johnson, "90% Of Me Is You" by Vanessa Kendrick, "I Got Bills To Pay" by Johnny K, "You Can Be A Lady" by JP Robinson, "Love Is A Simple Thing" by Leon Ware, "Island Girl" by Lew Kirton, "Share Your Love" by Herman Kelly & Life, "Ain't Nothin Wrong" by KC & The Sunshine Band, "What Would Your Mama Say" by Facts Of Life, "Jazz Freak" by Paulette Reaves, "Let's Make A Baby" by Funky Brown, "The Love We Had Stays On My Mind" by Freddy Henry, and "How Long" by Brandye. ~ Dusty Groove

Sunday, December 29, 2019

New Music Releases: Jack Ashford's Just Productions, Calibro 35, Jason McGuiness

Jack Ashford's Just Productions (Various Artists)

A huge legacy of Detroit soul – all from the masterful hands of onetime Motown maestro Jack Ashford and his Just Productions team! Ashford's had his hands in countless great records over the years – early work with Motown, key Detroit Pied Piper Productions material, and all these excellent cuts from later years – done by Jack in a mix of Northern Soul styles, and some even funkier modes for the 70s! Almost all these tracks only got released on tiny little labels, mostly as singles – and the set also includes a few never-heard tunes from the Ashford vaults – although overall, most of this music is still pretty darn obscure. Yet that never stops it from being great – as, similar to Detroit contemporary Dave Hamilton, Ashford was always working at a top level – and always found a way to bring his A-game to the table, even if he wasn't going for a hit. LP version features the vinyl debut of a few tracks – and titles include "Payback's A Drag" by The Smith Brothers, "I'll Fly To Your Open Arms" by The Family Brick, "Sweet Baby" by Al Gardner, "I'm Gone" by Eddie Parker, "The Story Of My Life" by Billy Sha-Rae, "There Can Be A Better Way" by The Smith Brothers, "Don't Leave Me Baby" by Ray Gant & The Arabian Knights, "Stay Here With Me" by Sandra Richardson, "I Need Your Love" by The Stylists, and "Let Me Take Care Of Your Heart" by Jack Ashford himself.  ~ Dusty Groove

Calibro 35 - High Tension Vol 35 – Calibro 35 Plays Lesiman

Maybe one of the coolest records we've ever heard from Calibro 35 – and certainly one of the funkiest – thanks in part to a selection of tracks that are pulled from the catalog of Italian sound library genius Lesiman! The music is very hip – unusual sonic touches alongside tight basslines, great drums, and riffing guitar – all recorded with a mode that seems more open, airy, and inventive than any other Calibro 35 record too! And oddly, even though the group are reaching for a more direct reference to a sound and style they've already been exploring, the whole thing is maybe their most individual album overall – and the group's greatest calling card to date. Titles include "Milano 7", "Play Car", "Players/Bagliori", "Moto Centripeto", "Macchine Nello Spazio", "Schegge", and "Ricognizione Sulle Macerie".  ~ Dusty Groove

Jason McGuiness - Empyrean Tones

Jason McGuiness handles the keyboards, but he's also got some great help on the session too – a strong lineup of guests that includes Kamasi Washington on tenor, Phil Ranelin on trombone, and Keyon Harrold on trumpet! Drums are by Te'Amir Sweeney, who's got this crackling touch that brings a tight acoustic core next to the freer flows that McGuiness brings on keyboards – balancing the album out nicely, and grounding some of the cosmic currents of the leader – in ways that nicely hold a space between an album of electric funk and spiritual jazz! Titles include "Titals", "Cosmos", "Discipline", "Empyrean Tones", and "Black Messiah Project".  ~ Dusty Groove

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Bob Holz to Release New Album with Rolling Stones Bassist Darryl Jones

Jazz Fusion Legend Bob Holz to Release New Album Featuring Rolling Stones Bassist Darryl Jones, Dean Brown, Randy Brecker, Ric Fierabracci, Billy Steinway and Brandon Fields

Jazz Fusion legend Bob Holz will release his fifth album for MVD Audio in early 2020. The record is titled "Holz-Stathis Collaborative". Joining Bob Holz is Rolling Stones bassist Darryl Jones. Both Bob Holz and Darryl Jones have played with the late jazz fusion guitarist Larry Coryell.

Bob Holz is wrapping up a busy 2019 which included featured concerts at The Whiskey a Go Go and Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood,CA. Bassist Darryl Jones is joining Bob Holz in the recording studio fresh off the No Filter tour with The Rolling Stones. Darryl Jones has played bass for the Rolling Stones since 1993. He has also worked with Miles Davis and Sting.

The album features ten new original tunes penned by Holz, Billy Steinway and Dean Brown. The album is being recorded and mixed by multi platinum sound engineer  Dennis Moody.
Other musicians on the album include guitarist Dean Brown, trumpet legend Randy Brecker, saxophonist Brandon Fields, Blood, Sweat and Tears bassist Ric Fierabracci and pianist Billy Steinway.

Internationally renowned drummer and composer Bob Holz is signed to MVD Audio (a division of MVD Entertainment Group), managed by Eric Cohen of EC Music Agency and produced by Rob Stathis.In the past Bob Holz has worked extensively with Larry Coryell, Mike Stern, Stanley Clarke and Randy Brecker.

Friday, December 27, 2019

New Music Releases: Jazzz, Meem, A. Billi Free

Jazzz – Yummy Vibes

This is JazzZ, but with a triple Z and some additional juju magic: With influences like Sade Adu and Aaliyah, "Yummy Vibes" is a soulful and magical musical alchemy of afrobeats, R&B and reggae vibes.The lyrical themes include love ("Lover", "Juju Na Magic"), freedom of expression, not letting the fear of lack of acceptance hold you back from being yourself ("My Body"), relationship issues ("Gbim Gbim"), and sexual freedom ("Shine Your Love", "Wild Thing"). Inspired by her everlasting muse, the Yoruba Goddess Yemoja, protector of woman and children, this is the start of something big for Lagos-based vocalist JazzZ. Get onboard the Yummy Vibes train and let JazzZ take you on an afro-futuristic transcendental cosmic musical journey.

Meem – Monsters vs Music

Australia’s pioneer of beatmaking returns with one of his strongest releases to date. Forging new collaborations with vocalists worldwide (Manchester, London, New York, Jamaica, Toronto, Arizona), this new release is a rock-solid collection of conscious hip hop and future reggae vibes. Encompassing his own distinctive vision of music production, Meem’s 7th album ‘Monsters vs Music’ is a melting pot of throwback party funk, innovative hip hop, positive reggae and classic jazz-hop. Produced in Sydney with an international focus, this release is the culmination of the past few years of Meem’s collaborations with some of the worlds finest underground vocalists. Based in Sydney, Meem is an integral part of the Australian music scene. He is one of Sydney’s most in demand DJs, and host of Australia’s longest running funk music radio show ‘Back To Funk’ on 2ser 107.3 FM since 1980. His previous production work includes six critically acclaimed releases, numerous remixes, and countless edits that are played by DJs across the globe. But this one isn't just about the music, it's also about the monsters as you'll hear.

A. Billi Free – I Luma

In theme and style, A. Billi Free effortlessly slides between the present and the future and between earth and space on her debut album I Luma. Meaning "in front" in the Samoan language, I Luma centers A. Billi Free's sincere musings on discovery and adventure in her universe over soulful, uplifting, dance-ready jams. I Luma is backed by an electronic/pop/alternative R&B sensibility entirely composed and produced by Chicago production duo and Tokyo Dawn artists, Tensei. Interstellar jazz multi-instrumentalist Angel Bat Dawid on clarinet sets the tone for this enchanted musical journey on the track "Flourish". Recorded in New Mexico, Illinois, and Massachusetts, the resulting magic outweighs the challenges of this type of creation as the album’s sonics are strong and richly layered, providing a solid foundation for A. Billi Free's smooth tone and earnest message to transmit through the cosmos. Rooted in an eclectic blend of hip hop, soul and electronica, she has spent the last decade in the deserts of southern New Mexico and west Texas fusing elements of both the city and the border into her sound.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

New Music Releases: Space Funk, The Jazz Defenders, Sonny Rollins

Space Funk – Afro Futurist Electro Funk In Space 1976 to 1984

Sun Ra was one of the first 20th Century artists to soar off in space, and George Clinton followed his lead with the Mothership in the 70s – and after that time, there was a surprisingly huge legacy of funk and soul artists who also headed for the cosmos – as you'll discover in this very unique set! The package is one of the deepest-digging soul collections we've ever heard from Soul Jazz – as most of the material here is pretty darn obscure – tracks that are from farther in the hinterlands of American soul at the end of the 70s and start of the 80s – and which are heavy on the sort of electrified touches it must have taken to send a funky spaceship out into the stratosphere! Many of these cuts have a sweet electro soul groove, which includes some nice keyboards and even a bit of vocoder work too – while others have a more old school funk approach, but still plenty of cosmic vibes in the mix. Titles include "Supersonic Space Lady" by Ernest Flippin II, "Make It Good To Me Baby" by Copperfield, "Break Out" by Rodney Stepp, "Computer Funk" by Ose, "Fly Guy & The Unemployed" by Ramsey 2C/3D, "Fee Fi Fo Fum" by Leo, "Bionic Funk" by Santiago, "Space Invaders" by Solaris, "Computer Power" by Jamie Jupitor, "Plastic" by Juju & The Space Rangers, and "Computer Games" by Frank Cornelius. CD features the bonus track "Electro-?" by Robotron 4.  ~ Dusty Groove

The Jazz Defenders - Scheming 

The Jazz Defenders produce music that is a modern soul-jazz slant on classic bebop and hard bop, effortlessly channeling the spirit of the golden Blue Note era of jazz. The band's debut album "Scheming" is released on Haggis Records, the label started by UK funk band The Haggis Horns. Jazz has always been a massive part of what The Haggis Horns are about so this marriage was the perfect fit. The Jazz Defenders were founded by George Cooper, one of the UK's most formidable jazz pianists, who at only 31 years of age has already amassed a comprehensive repertoire of working partnerships including Hans Zimmer, Nigel Kennedy, U2 and The Haggis Horns. In 2015 George set about choosing some of the finest musicians the UK has to offer to form a group that have since wowed audiences with their superb musicianship and virtuosity. For their debut album, The Jazz Defenders offer an original set of tunes written by Cooper and each member of the ensemble. Filled with as much playfulness and humor as it is of skilled mastery and musical prowess, "Scheming" is a delight for the ears. From the first to last track it's evident The Jazz Defenders thoroughly enjoyed making this album. There's a connective thread of irony throughout "Scheming", proving jazz doesn't have to take itself too seriously to be of the highest quality.

Sonny Rollins – Newport Jazz Festival 1973

Sonny Rollins is a true colossus. Championed by Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis as a young player, he quickly became one of jazz's leading voices on tenor saxophone. His tone, swing and almost superhuman creativity persisted from the mid 1950s for over 60 years. At the time of this concert, aged 43 and playing with a band of old friends and new talents, Sonny was at the height of his powers. This performance from the Newport Jazz Festival was captured by National Public Radio on June 30th 1973 and features the band responsible for Rollins' Horn Culture LP (1973). Fresh from a two year break in Jamaica and India where he studied yoga and eastern philosophy Sonny put together a band of old friends and new talents. Pianist Walter Davis Jr had known Rollins since his earliest days as a professional musician. A disciple of both Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, Davis worked with Max Roach and other leading lights of be-bop in the 1950s before landing the piano seat with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Bassist Bob Cranshaw first played with Rollins at the 1959 Playboy Jazz Festival and provided a solid core on his 1962 piano-less classic LP The Bridge. David Lee, a drummer from New Orleans was first spotted by Dizzy Gillespie who invited him to join his band in 1969. In 1971 he spent a year with vibist Roy Ayers before answering the call from Rollins. The youngest member of the quintet, guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo was given his break while still at university by Japan's foremost saxophonist Sado Watanabe. The music features Love Letters, a 1940s popular song by Victor Young and Edward Hayman; Sais, the centrepiece of the set and a rare example of Rollins on Soprano saxophone; he ballad There Is No Greater Love, first featured on Rollins' 1957 LP Way Out West and Alfie's Theme, originally written by Sonny for the famed Michael Caine film Alfie.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

New Music Releases: Lisa Hilton, Vincent Herring / Bobby Watson / Gary Bartz, Grant Green

Lisa Hilton – Chalkboard Destiny

We live in an exciting time of constant change... is the introductory quote from the award winning composer, and acclaimed pianist Lisa Hilton, in her liner notes for her latest release Chalkboard Destiny recorded with jazz luminaries JD Allen on tenor sax, Rudy Royston on drums and Luques Curtis on bass. It s an appropriate prelude for an album that unfolds with the track Rush Hour Rhapsody - quickly exposing the listener to the robust energy of Hilton's band. There s also a hard-to-pin-down energy flowing between Allen s explosive virtuoso displays, the dynamic details of Royston s accents or the booming lines of Curtis s bass alongside Hilton s fluid piano but impressive it is in a beguiling way. Allen's solo in the middle of Sympathy for Blues is astounding, and along with Curtis's agile bass, Royston's touch and the laid back retro charm of Hilton's piano you'll want to play this one over and over. Hilton conveys that the concept behind Chalkboard Destiny is the idea that our future, our destiny, can be continually reshaped, implying that we are not beholden by history or traditional myths, allowing us a freedom in creation. The title track easily exhibits this concept with Royston s rim shots clacking for attention. Hilton also shows her harmonic and emotional depth with her tender composition Temporary Lullaby, as well as the moving Waltz From Nowhere. The Joni Mitchell classic, Blue Boy showcases the compatibility of this group Allens dusky tenor a contrast to his band mates. Tracks Tropic of Tango, Myths & Fantasy, and Adventures & Alibis all delve into a variety of Latin rhythms and engaging harmonic ideas as well. Café au Mojo, is a bright piece where traditional ideas abound. Altogether an exuberant exhibition of top notch players rallying around traditional ideas in new ways.

Vincent Herring / Bobby Watson / Gary Bartz - Bird At 100

A tribute to the music of Charlie Parker – but a set that sparkles more from the individual inspiration of the three alto giants in the lead – a great lineup that features Gary Bartz, Bobby Watson, and Vincent Herring! The tracks are long, with great lead passages that have all three horns soaring together, then individual solos from each player – and although the songs include a number of classics from the Charlie Parker songbook, the album also features original tunes by Herring and Watson, and another by Jackie McLean – maybe marking the whole thing as being very much in the spirit of its title – a look back at a century that's felt the influence of Bird, with all the alto sax changes that have taken place in the time since his passing. The rhythm trio is excellent too – David Kikoski on piano, Yasushi Nakamura on bass, and Carl Allen on drums – and titles include "Bird-Ish", "Klactoveedsedstene", "The Hymn", "Folklore", "Bird Lives", and "Yardbird Suite". ~ Dusty Groove

Grant Green - Sunday Mornin' (180 gram pressing)

A beautiful little session from one of the greatest guitarists ever! The album's part of Blue Note's tendency to "churchify" Grant Green on some albums – giving his guitar a gospelly groove that has some nicely soulful connotations – but it's also a record that's maybe the strongest of that bunch, as it's got this approach that's loose and open – and which has this fantastic flow that's aided by the piano of Kenny Drew! Drew is the equal star on this set – and the longer tunes on the record really allow for plenty of open solo space – and the whole thing shines with Drew's piano matching lines with Green's strung-out single-note solos. The groove is pretty hard, and the recording quality keeps the whole thing nice and lively – thanks also to work from Ben Tucker on bass and Ben Dixon on drums. Titles include "Sunday Mornin", "Come Sunrise", "Exodus", and "Freedom March".  ~ Dusty Groove

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

New Music Releases: Randy Muller, Al Sunny, Sulu & Excelsior

Randy Muller - Welcome to My Life

A fantastic return to form for Randy Muller – the man who gave the world such great music in the 70s with the groups Brass Construction and Skyy, then continued with a rich underground legacy over the years! Randy's given us a few recent records in the past few decades, but this is his first in a long time – and it really feels like he's been saving up his best, and focusing his groove – coming up with this warm, wonderful blend of jazz, funk, and soul – all topped by Randy's own vocals, plenty of keyboards, and some especially great solos on funky flute! In fact, the flute work here really sets the album apart from the rest – sometimes with echoes of the classic Bobbi Humphrey/Larry Mizell music of the 70s, other times with more contemporary mode that comes off equally well. Great to hear from Randy again – and the set is another feather in his mighty full cap – with titles that include "What Are We Gonna Do", "So Happy", "Over & Over", "Nice & Slow", "Brazilian Nights", "Pimms & Lemonade", "Lover To Lover", "I Cry", "Summer Luv", and "Welcome To My Life". ~ Dusty Groove

Al Sunny - Planets

Al Sunny is a singer who really lives up to his name – as his voice has this warm glow that's really wonderful, and which is a perfect fit for the classic-styled backings on the set! And by "classic", we mean a tight mix of soul and 70s AOR modes – laidback, but well-crafted – with plenty of Fender Rhodes from Florian Pellissier – a keyboardist that we really love for albums under his own name! Al comes across with this great vibe – never too forcedly soulful, and right on the money – and he also brings plenty of his own tight guitar work into the mix too, which helps underscore the jazzier currents in the music. Titles include "Should I", "A Million Miles Away", "How Does It Feel", "If Your Heart", "You & I", and "Planets". CD features the bonus track "Song For Two". ~ Dusty Groove

Sulu & Excelsior - Antimatter Suite

A sweet set from Sulu & Excelsior – essentially the solo project of singer, rapper and trumpet player Steven "Sulu" Mallorca despite the sprawling sound and stylistic breadth – with influences that stretch from classic Motown, to late 60s funk, to live horn-backed hip hop and the skills to fuse them seamlessly! Sulu is a soulful singer and solid MC, often doing both in single rap, and handles most of the instrumentation – from the beats, to piano & keys, to horns, with guests on vocals, bass and guitar on just a handful of tunes – all the more impressive given the full band vibe you get here. lncludes "My Own Volition", "You Don't Mind Me Sayin' That", "Find Another" with Hiro-A-Key, "Antimatter", "Lady Libby", "Mad Dog Magic", "Equilibrium", "Space Suit", "Silver Fox", "Gratitude", "Hate To See You Go". ~ Dusty Groove

Monday, December 23, 2019

New Music Releases: Selenites Band, Aldorande, Cotonete & Di Melo

Selenites Band - Ethio Jazz Groove Project

An album that definitely lives up to the title – as the music here is rooted in classic Ethiopian modes, but also has the freer flow of a contemporary funky jazz ensemble! There have been other Ethio-styled albums from current groups in recent years, but this set may well be one of the best – as the group really leave room for plenty of their own sense of expression, which includes some nicely roomy solos, especially on baritone sax! Other instrumentation includes Fender Rhodes, moog, flute, bass, drums, guitar, and some guest organ – and titles include reworks of classics by Mulatu Astatke and some of his contemporaries – "Yegelle Tezeta", "Yekatit", "Muzikawi Silt", "Yekermo Sew", and "Antchim Endelela".  ~ Dusty Groove / (Hand-numbered limited edition of 300!).

Aldorande - Aldorande

A jazz funk killer from Aldorande – a French quartet that features some mighty nice keyboards from Florian Pellissier, who we also really love on his own recordings too! The style here is different than those, though – very tight rhythms with a slightly cosmic core – almost jazz funk taking things back from the broken beat generation, finding a way to move with energy learned from that scene, but in a style that's more cohesively funky – classic and contemporary at the same time! The group get a bit of help from added horns at points, and there's also a bit of vocals on the set too – but the main energy comes from the fantastic mix of keyboards and rhythms at the core. Titles include "Praia Do Destino", "Rayon Vert", "Because Of You", "La Fin Est Un Commencement", "Beauty Island", and "Sous La Lune".  ~ Dusty Groove

Cotonete & Di Melo - Atemporal

A legendary soul singer returns to the fold – the mighty Di Melo, who's best known for one killer Brazilian funk album in the 70s – working here with superb support from contemporary French combo Cotonete! Di Melo's vocals maybe sound even better than before – with a raspy charm that only deepens the soul, and which has this tremendous power, even if you can't understand his Portuguese lyrics – and Cotonete provide grooves that move between tight funk and airier moments, often drenched in Fender Rhodes, which gives the whole thing the right sort of 70s echoes to take us back to Di Melo's classic material. Really tremendous, and long overdue – with cuts that include "Canto Da Yara", "Papos Desconexos (parts 1 & 2)", "Linhas De Alinhar", "Verso E Prosa", "Kilario", and "Mulher Instrumento (parts 1 & 2)".  ~ Dusty Groove

Sunday, December 22, 2019

New Music Releases: Andre Solomko, Upperground Orchestra, Arp Frique & Erik Ritfeld

Andre Solomko - Le Deltaplane

Great sounds from Andre Solomko – an artist who's been giving us some great 70s-styled music in recent years, and may well have topped himself with this fantastic set! Andre plays alto and soprano sax, in a setting that's got the warm glow of a sweet 70s fusion record – but this time around, he also gets plenty of great vocal contributions from female singer Charlotta Kerbs – whose soulful lyrics appear on most of the album, and give the fusion grooves a slightly AOR sort of vibe – but always at a level that's very understated and individual, and never just trying to cop an older groove. Instead, Andre brings a great sense of personality to the music – which also includes lots of Fender Rhodes and other keyboards – on titles that include "Moonbeach Disco", "Le Deltaplane", "Aquaplane", "Summer 79", and "Paraphraser". ~ Dusty Groove

Upperground Orchestra - Euganea

Darker sounds than usual for this cool Italian combo – a set that still has the cosmic elements of their previous record, but a much sharper edge, and a style that feels a lot more improvised and free! Each of the long tunes build up in a way that's organic – free at the start, then taking on more shape as the musicians come together – with a shifting lineup of instrumentation that includes bass clarinet, flute, alto sax, percussion, oud, drums, bass, and a fair bit of electronics – the last of which are used sparely sometimes, more boldly at others. Titles include "Ghebi", "Hephaistos", "Barene", "Sinopia", and "Kaigo". ~ Dusty Groove

Arp Frique & Erik Ritfeld - Improvised Suites For Analog Machines

A really fantastic set of keyboard sounds – a record that features improvised duets between Arp Frique and Erik Ritfeld – who each switch up their machines on every different track! At the core of the record is an Elka Drummer One rhythm box and a Roland Space Echo – but then each of the tracks has Frique and Ritfeld moving to a different keyboard unit as they improvise together – all in a way that's tuneful and rhythmic, but with a style that's a lot more creative than the usual keyboard record of this style! Each track is named after the keyboard used – and titles include "Arp", "Farfisa", "SH2000", "DX7", "Solina", and "Juno". ~ Dusty Groove

Saturday, December 21, 2019

New Music Releases: Black Jazz Consortium, Carl Craig, Dexter Story

Black Jazz Consortium - Evolution Of Light

A crackling little full length set from Fred Peterkin – aka Black Jazz Consortium – a set that continues his forward-thinking approach to a groove, but which also brings in a recent love of the music of Brazil as well! The Brazilian elements here are very spare – this is still mostly future house overall – but the lighter touches really open up the sound, and especially speak to the warmer collaborative energy from a list of guests who include Leonardo Peretti Reibnitz, Trovao Rocham, Leo Vieira, Bruna Elisabetsky, and Slikk Tim. Titles include "More Blessings", "Another Path", "Salvador", "Brisbane", "Energies Collide", "Focus", "Love Alliance", "Resonate", "Soul People For Life", and "Sacred Sun". ~ Dusty Groove

Carl Craig - Detroit Love Vol 2 (Various Artists)

A heavy helping of Detroit Love – and one that will also make you love Detroit too – or, at least, completely respect the city for having such a continually rewarding underground over the last few decades – long after the possibility of chart hits or bigger fame have passed! Detroit's electronic scene first got notice at the end of the 80s – when its own grooves were rising to rival the house music coming from Chicago – and while that moment sparked some big international fame, the decades have continued to see the city working to improve, refine, and mature their initial impulses – with the sorts of fantastic sounds that you'll hear in this set! Not all the music is new, but most of it is – and the set combines some wonderfully fresh tracks from the Carl Craig side of the universe – both his own music, and work by key contemporaries too – with titles that include "It Is What It Is" by Rhythim Is Rhythim, "Rosalie" by Green Velvet & Carl Craig, "Do It All Night (C2 edit)" by DJ Minx, "Credit Card (Gay Marvine rmx)" by BMG & Sal P, "Satori" by Ectomorph, "Formulaic Mode" by Mirko Loko & Stacey Pullen, "My Love Check" by Claude Vonstroke, and "Alleys Of Your Mind" by The Dirtbombs. ~ Dusty Groove

Dexter Story - Bahir

The world of Dexter Story just keeps getting bigger and bigger – not just because he's a richly collaborative player, but also because he's got this musical style that really opens up to so many different elements – but without ever sounding like he's trying to crash them together in any sort of inorganic way! Instead, Dexter draws evenly from spiritual jazz, Ethiopian rhythms, underground soul, and some of the best strands of 21st Century grooves – opening up the door for his own wonderful lead lyrics, while creating and exploring a planet of his own. Guests on the record include Carlos Nino on percussion, Te'Amir Sweeney on drums, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson on strings, and Randal Fischer on tenor – and the set features guest vocals from Haile Supreme, Marie Daulne, Endeguena Mulu, Sudan Archives, Jimetta Rose, and Kibrom Birhane – although Dexter gets plenty of time in the lead too. Titles include "Mamdooh", "Buna Be Chow", "Gold", "Techawit", "Shuruba Song", "Bahir", "Abebaye", and "Jijiga Jijiya". ~ Dusty Groove

Friday, December 20, 2019

New Music Releases: Rongetz Foundation, Crowd Company, Ahmed Abdullah

Rongetz Foundation - Alphabet City Music Club

We've loved these guys since the start, but this time around they really seem to be knocking it out of the park – fusing their fantastic blend of funky jazz and contemporary soul with a fresher vibe than they've ever had before! These guys draw on plenty of classic elements, but never sound like a retro group at all – as they've got this bold spirit and forward-thinking energy that bristles with positivity, and really marks their music right from the start. The singers get some really great space in the spotlight this time around – a lineup that includes Vanisha Gould, Alina Engibaryan, Mr Day, and Vuyo Sotashe – plus rapper Lewis Parker. Rongetz plays trumpet, produced, and arranged – and instrumentation includes some great keyboards and organ, plus tenor, alto, and flute. Tracks include "The Tour Song", "Clapping Your Soul", "Funky Fancy NYC", "Death Of A Music Box", "Success Success", "Murky Park", and "Somehow Blues". ~ Dusty Groove

Crowd Company - Lowdown

Hot on the heels of new single "Express 76", acclaimed UK funk band Crowd Company return with another taste from their forthcoming third album in the form of "Lowdown", a sassy slice of sister funk that once again features Ryan Zodis & Eric Bloom, the sax & trumpet virtuosos from USA funk band Lettuce. "Lowdown" is released digitally on November 29th via Vintage League Music and anticipates the band's new album that will see the light of day on CD, LP & Digital on January 31st 2020. Both the single and the album were recorded in Millers Falls, USA at the studio of Alan Evans (Soulive / Ae3) who also produced the record.  We're not quite sure what Crowd Company have been eating lately but we wouldn't be surprised if it was some high-energy spinach cause they are on a roll and have never sounded better! If first singles "Express 76" and "Lowdown" are any indication of what is to come, we're ready to bet the next album will firmly cement the band's standing as a force to be reckoned with in the global funk scene!

Ahmed Abdullah - Life's Force

A crowning moment of achievement for trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah – a record that draws on his rich experience working with Sun Ra, but focuses the energy into a warmer, more spiritual jazz setting overall! The album's a lost treasure from the US scene of the late 70s – a perfect melding of jazz modes of the time, and one of those dates that somehow has all the players sounding even better than usual – really hitting a unique space together – one that's rhythmic, yet searching – free, yet structured – and always open to new ideas throughout! In addition to trumpet from Abdullah, the group also features vibes from Jay Hoggard, French horn from Vincent Chaney, cello from Muneer Abdul Fatah, bass from Jerome Hunter, and drums from Rashied Sinan. Hunter's bass is an especially moving force in the session – giving the album a warm, soulful current that really holds things together – and titles include "Song of Tenderness", "Eternal Spiraling Spirit", "Long Time Black", and "Life's Force". ~ Dusty Groove

Thursday, December 19, 2019

New Music Releases: Art Ensemble Of Chicago, William Hooker, Chick Corea

Art Ensemble Of Chicago - We Are On The Edge – 50th Anniversary Celebration

A tremendous tribute to the legendary Art Ensemble Of Chicago – a group who work here with only two of their surviving members, but with help from a constellation of jazz musicians inspired by their music! The group here is large, and includes AACM members and other younger talents – a fantastic lineup that mixes the core work of Famadou Don Moye on drums and percussion, and Roscoe Mitchell on reeds with work from Nicole Mitchell on flutes, Hugh Ragin and Fred Berry on trumpets, Tomeka Reid on cello, Jaribu Shahid and Junius Paul on basses, Enoch Williams and Titos Sompa on percussion, and Christina Wheeler on voice and a range of unusual electronic instruments! There's a very ambitious feel to the music – like some of Roscoe Mitchell's larger form creations, but with more of a spiritual jazz current that comes from the whole ensemble – and from vocal contributions from Moore Mother and Rodolfo Cordova Lebron. The double-length set features a studio album and a live album by the expanded group – and titles include "Bell Song", "We Are On The Edge", "Chi Congo 50", "Fanfare & Bell", "Odwalla/The Theme", "Tutankhamun", "Mama Koko", "Saturday Morning", and "Villa Tiamo".  ~ Dusty Groove

William Hooker - Symphonie Of Flowers

A great album as a leader from the legendary William Hooker – and a fantastic reminder of how wonderful he can be in the spotlight! The set begins with some solo drum work from Hooker, then moves into bolder improvisations with an unnamed saxophonist and pianist (odd that the label didn't give us this information) – the latter of whom plays some very cool Sun Ra-like electric piano at one point! Hooker is clearly the star of the show, though – and begins with some almost-funky lines, something we've never heard before – then moves into the more familiar mode of improvisation that's made his work on other albums so great over the years. Titles include "Jazz", "Soul", "Hieroglyphics", "Chain Gangs", "Freedom Riders", and "Rastafarian". ~ Dusty Groove

Chick Corea - Flying on the Wings of Creativity

A Christmas celebration from Chick & Friends, available exclusively from Chick's website. Hear arrangements of Christmas songs never heard on Earth or other parts of the galaxy: Pennies from Heaven; A Child is Born; Greensleeves; and The Christmas Song. With Chick on piano, Gayle Moran Corea (Return to Forever & Mahavishnu Orchestra) on vocals, Hans Glawischnig (Chick Corea & Billy Childs) on bass and Tom Brechtlein (Wayne Shorter & Robben Ford) on drums. This is an exclusive recording from Chick, not available in stores, meant to inspire throughout the holidays. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Neneh Cherry Celebrates 30th Anniversary Of 'Raw Like Sushi' With Remasters And Super Deluxe Box Sets

Neneh Cherry continually draws inspiration from her surroundings. In the late '80s, she traversed between post-punk London nightlife and the burgeoning hip-hop movement in New York. Capturing these unique experiences, and also shaped by the influence of her musical family, she exploded onto the pop music landscape by closing out the '80s with her internationally acclaimed debut album, Raw Like Sushi. This melting pot of musical styles and streetwise lyrics that take on life and love with equal parts tenderness and toughness is set for a 30th Anniversary celebration befitting its global impact.

Raw Like Sushi has been remastered at London's Abbey Road Studios and will be released on January 31 in super deluxe format across 3CD and 3LP heavyweight vinyl box sets, as well as in special edition alternative gold vinyl and digital formats, and 1CD and 1LP formats. A limited-edition gold 1LP, plus signed prints with the first 500 preorders of 3CD and 3LP formats, will be available exclusively via uDiscover, Sound of Vinyl and recordstore.co.uk.

The box sets include a stunning 48-page 12x12 book packed full of iconic photos, new interviews, liner notes and memorabilia. The album features five of Neneh's biggest singles - including the worldwide smash hit single "Buffalo Stance" as well as hit singles "Manchild" produced by Massive Attack's Robert Del Naja, "Kisses On The Wind," "Heart" and "Inna City Mamma." It also features rare mixes of key tracks by Massive Attack, Arthur Baker, Smith N Mighty, and more.

Since the release of Raw Like Sushi 30 years ago, Neneh Cherry has continued to define and redefine culture, style and music releasing five studio albums, including 2018's Broken Politics, produced by Four Tet, which was met with critical acclaim by the likes of The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, The Guardian and The FADER. Neneh went on to tour the album throughout the world in 2019 including her largest-ever headline shows in New York and Los Angeles, and festival performances at Glastonbury, Art Basel Miami, Primavera, Pitchfork Chicago and more, culminating in a stand out performance in September at the iconic Hollywood Bowl, proving her music and message are more relevant than ever.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

New Music Releases: Susan Alcorn / Joe McPhee / Ken Vandermark, Dopolarians, Mareike Wiening

Susan Alcorn / Joe McPhee / Ken Vandermark - Invitation To A Dream

Amazing sounds from three great improvisers – two of whom we've known and loved for years, one of whom we're just beginning to discover! The trio features Ken Vandermark on tenor and clarinet, Joe McPhee on soprano sax and pocket trumpet, and Susan Alcorn on pedal steel guitar – the last of which is an instrument that's used in very different, very unconventional ways – more like a subtle sonic element, but still with some musical qualities – which then seems to create the same sort of balance in McPhee and Vandermark, both of whom are more fragile, more sensitive here than we've heard them in years! There's still a few more fully-blown passages, but the real beauty of the record lies in the more subtle sonic interplay, which is magical throughout. Titles include "Invitation To A Dream", "The Eyes Of Memory", "Rise & Rise", "Every Season Has Its Reason", and "I Am Because You Are". ~ Dusty Groove

Dopolarians - Garden Party

A beautiful meeting of generations – from a group that features William Parker on bass, Alvin Fiedler on percussion, and Kidd Jordan on tenor – alongside Chris Parker on piano, Chad Fowler on alto and saxello, and Kelly Hurt on a bit of occasional voice! At times, the style is very much in a mode that you might expect from the three older legends – almost an update of an older loft jazz approach at times – but there are warmer currents at other moments, particularly when Parker's piano dominates a bit more – really providing a great setting for all involved, as things more from freer passages to moments of bolder composition with more of an angular swing. Titles include "Garden Party", "Impromptu", "C Melody", "Dopolaria", and "Father Dies Son Dies". ~ Dusty Groove

Mareike Wiening - Metropolis Paradise

Maybe the first album we've ever seen to feature drummer Marieke Wiening as a leader – but a set that fits in very nicely with the overall aesthetic of the Greenleaf label – in the way that the label's releases are always trying to push the further boundaries of jazz expression, but all without ever sounding too avant or outside! In this case, Wiening is wonderfully restrained – and lets a lot of the initial energy of the tunes come from the guitar of Alex Goodman and the piano of Dan Tepfer – both artists who work in bright chromes, which are then augmented with work from Rick Perry on tenor and Johannes Felscher on bass – as Marieke comes in with rhythms that are complicated, yet never too overbearing – gently shaping the colors that come from the other players. Titles include "For A Good Day", "Misconception", "Free Time", "Relations", "Free At Last", and "Viewpoints". ~ Dusty Groove

Monday, December 16, 2019

Urban-jazz pianist Kayla Waters tops the Billboard singles chart for the third time with “Full Bloom”

Urban-Jazz pianist Kayla Waters is blooming into a consistent hitmaker. The Washington, DC-based musician-songwriter-producer-arranger went No. 1 on the Billboard national airplay chart dated December 14 with “Full Bloom,” which became the third chart-topping single of the emerging artist’s budding recording career.  

“Full Bloom” appears on Waters’ sophomore album, “Coevolve,” issued last year by Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm Records. The album is a conceptual collection of songs loosely mirroring Waters’ own growth and development – musically, personally and spiritually. On “Full Bloom,” she uses the metaphor of a plant to tell the story of its evolution from seedling to flourishing flora. Writing with Michael Broening, who crafted the rhythm track, Waters’ lush piano melodies are permeated with fervent joy and exuberance just like the artist herself. Midtrack, guitarist and labelmate Nick Colionne adds an electric guitar solo like a nourishing ray of sunshine.     

“Full Bloom’s” chart coronation concludes another year of significant growth for Waters, a classically trained pianist and a Howard University music school graduate. She spent half her weekends in 2019 on the road performing at marquee music festivals, theaters and clubs. Highlights include her debuts at Boscov’s Berks Jazz Festival, Seabreeze Jazz Festival, Newport Beach Jazz Festival, Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival and the Algarve Jazz Festival, the last of which marked her European premiere. Waters’ 2020 concert calendar is already booking up with dates into September. Next month, she hits the high seas for the first time to perform aboard the Capital Jazz SuperCruise and in June, she will make her first appearance at the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway.
Waters introduced herself with self-confidence in 2017 with “I Am,” the first single from her debut album, “Apogee.” The single became her first Billboard No. 1 hit. The imaginative set earned her the Rising Star in Jazz award from the Black Women in Jazz and the Arts and Best Jazz Artist honors at DC’s Wammies. A year later, Waters scored her second consecutive No. 1 single with “Zephyr” from “Coevolve.”   
Still in her 20s, Waters’ artistic vision, creativity, old-soul depth and sophisticated sonic palette that incorporates improvisational jazz, R&B grooves and inspired gospel tones have made her a welcome addition to the contemporary jazz scene. Add to it Waters’ ambition, attention to detail, alluring beauty, charismatic charm, devotional nature and fashion-model style, she represents a brand with the true potential to transcend far beyond music. Her plans for 2020 include releasing her third album in the fall and opening her PuriKey Productions to writing and producing music for other recording artists.


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