Saturday, May 30, 2020

"The Garden is My Stage" by Vocalist and HGTV Landscape Designer MAYITA DINOS

After a decades-long career as a landscape designer,  MAYITA DINOS is now releasing her debut CD, THE GARDEN IS MY STAGE. It’s not that she hasn’t been singing in public for many years, but the stars finally aligned with the opportunity to record her silky, warm, and highly appealing voice. Dinos’ approach to music, the arts, and life in general is the product of her mixed heritage. She was born in Puerto Rico to a Puerto Rican mother and a father of Greek and Turkish ancestry.

Music has always been part of her life, and she fondly remembers singing with her grandmother, who taught her songs in Spanish. “I loved singing with my grandmother,” says Dinos. “But she was strict. I couldn’t just sing a song. She made sure I was singing it with feeling.” Dinos is also a successful landscape designer specializing in sustainable landscape design, which requires more than just a knowledge of horticulture. A beautiful garden is like a lush symphony composed of colors, shapes, and textures. Dinos’ lovely work attracted the interest of a television producer, and she spent the next five years as a landscape expert on various shows on the HGTV and DIY networks. 

Mentored by Los Angeles music legend Howlett Smith, Dinos has been performing in jazz venues for many years before the opportunity presented itself to make this recording. Each of the songs that Dinos chose relates to the natural world and the music she hears in it. Dinos created gorgeous, evocative composite art for each song, included in the booklet accompanying the CD package. Listeners can enjoy the florid images while taking in her dulcet and smoky voice through which she expresses her introspective nature and the profundity of her attachment to the natural world. THE GARDEN IS MY STAGE is the fruition of a project by an artist fully engaged with the sounds and sights and textures of our beautiful world.

GABE DAVIS  acoustic  bass
HUSSAIN JIFFRY  electric bass
MICHAEL HUNTER  trumpet & flugelhorn
ALEX BUDMAN  flute, clarinet, soprano sax
TIKI PASILLAS  drums & percussion

EUGE GROOVE - SING MY SONG featuring Guests Peter White,Paul Brown, Maysa, Phillipe Saisse and others

“These times have unleashed a creativity in me that I haven’t felt in years. I think it’s been a time of self-reevaluation. A cleaning of the house so to speak,” confides Euge Groove, who has been first call for everyone from Tina Turner, Richard Marx and Joe Cocker to Tower of Power and Huey Lewis. The chart-topping saxophonist, composer and producer who has scored close to a dozen #1 hits, will release his twelfth recording as a leader, Sing My Song, on June 26, 2020.

“I started work on the album about two and a half years ago. I definitely put everything I had in to it. I had been touring non- stop over the last few years and just found it hard to find the time to dig in without distractions,” says Euge. “Along comes Covid-19 and all I have is time. Ever since we went into Lockdown in LA in mid March, I worked nonstop, literally, on finishing the project. Working sometimes 24-hour days. It really wasn’t until after I finished last week that the seriousness of the world’s situation sunk in. I’ve decided to continue on that creative path.” 

Euge Groove’s unleashed ambition and intention has resulted in an inspired 11-track excursion that is his finest work yet. Surrounded by a cadre of some of the most revered artists on the Contemporary Jazz scene, including Maysa, Peter White, Phillipe Saisse and Paul Brown among others, the camaraderie on Sing My Song transcends the music. “I love these guys. I think of them as friends more than just musicians, even though I love their work. They all brought so much to the table.”

Euge Groove has garnered a devout following with his irresistible mix of danceable grooves, mind-bending hooks, technical agility, R&B infused melodies and inspired solos. Sing My Song opens with the sensual and joyous “Hey Boo,” which shows off his flawless multi-layered saxophones to perfect effect. He tips his hat to his Tower of Power Days on “Dirty Dozen,” the album’s first single which is a spunky and intriguing thriller that would work well as the newest James Bond theme. Euge Groove’s tenor saxophone snakes through all the choruses on a soulful chase, hitting all the right notes. The song “Rise” transports us back to the classic CTI sound as Euge Groove does a dazzling recreation of Herb Alpert's 1979 hit. The track features guitarist Paul Brown, who creates beautiful synergy with Euge on the song. “Paul Brown has been a mentor of sorts when it comes to mixing and arranging the songs,” confides Euge Groove. Sing My Song also features the gorgeous gospel-tinged ballad "Until Tomorrow,” featuring Euge's pristine soprano and guitarist Peter White. “Peter is one of my besties. I also look up to him as an artist. He never disappoints!” Returning the favor to us all Euge Groove does not disappoint on “Say I Won’t” as he serves up his growling tenor on the energized and playful and modulating ditty.

Sing My Song’s title track and show-stopping number is co-penned by Euge and his label-mate, singer songwriter Lindsey Webster and features the dynamic and always consistent songbird Maysa. Webster was a guest vocalist on Euge’s album Groove On and this is the first time he and Maysa have recorded with one another. “I love Lindsey and her writing and I’ve been a huge Maysa fan for years,” confides the saxophonist. “The lyric, song and performance really hit the core of my soul. I think the theme is something everyone can relate to no matter what your ‘song’ may be. To me, it’s all about staying strong inside no matter what others may think. You have to value yourself from within, not through the eyes of others.” There is a re-mix version of this song at the album’s finale that highlights a lush orchestral arrangement by Phillipe Saisse. “Phillipe is truly a gifted artist in so many ways. His orchestral arranging is just beautiful. I asked him to do a full orchestral arrangement, not just strings, but strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, the whole thing,” explains Euge. “I remember getting his arrangement on a Friday evening. Shortly after he sent me the remix version of ‘Sing My Song’ with just Maysa, myself, and the orchestra. I was blown away. He did it just for fun, but I knew it had to make the album. So, I included it as a sort of a bonus cut. His arrangement is another reason the song became the title track.” The romanticism sustained and legato tension of Euge Groove’s tenor playing on "Gatito" is a memorable tribute to Argentinean saxophonist Gato Barbieri. “He was very influential in my early years of playing,” shares Euge Groove. “He played with such passion.” Euge shifts to cruise-control for "The Journey Ahead” and explains, “This song is all about pushing forward. When one door opens to the next we often have no idea where it will lead us. There are moments when you open those doors where you just feel like “ahhhhhhhh.” It just feels so good. The bridge to ‘The Journey Ahead’ captures that feeling for me.” Euge Groove shows off his ability to paint melodies that have a way of staying in your mind on the assuring “Of Course” and the composition "Good Night" closes the chapter and turns the page on another winning Euge Groove recording.

Euge Groove’s musical sensibilities are hard-won. Born Steven Eugene Grove in Hagerstown, Maryland, he grew up in a musical home. His mother played piano and taught the church choir and Euge began his musical pursuits at the age of seven, beginning with piano and adding saxophone at nine. Two saxophonists had a profound effect on his approach to playing. “One was French classical player Marcel Mule, who really defined what the sax was supposed to sound like for me and the other was David Sanborn, who took that sound and brought it into the mainstream world,” Euge reminisces. 

Through the years, Euge’s love of Jazz, R&B, Gospel and Blues have all come together to inform his personalized sound. He explains, “I’ve listened to everyone from Grover (Washington, Jr.) and Sanborn to (Charlie) Parker and Coltrane, as well as (Michael) Brecker, (Stan) Getz, King Curtis, Jr. Walker, Richard Elliot and Kirk Whalum. The more mature we become the more those influences fuse into something new. A graduate of Miami’s School Of Music, Euge launched his professional career in Miami in the mid-80s, playing in salsa bands, Top 40 club bands and doing the occasional high-profile session date like Expose’s “Seasons Change,” a #1 Billboard AC hit. In 1987 he moved to L.A., wrote a track for Richard Elliot’s The Power of Suggestion and Elliot recommended Euge to take over his spot in Tower of Power. Euge toured with TOP for four years, including a year backing Huey Lewis & The News. 

He went on to record, tour or perform with the likes of Joe Cocker, The Eurythmics, The Gap Band, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Aaron Neville and Richard Marx (that’s Euge’s horn on “Keep Coming Back,” a #1 AC hit duet he recorded with Luther Vandross). In 1999, Euge started recording his own material, dubbing himself Euge Groove, and posting his music on the now-defunct website; downloading started almost immediately and Euge was soon topping the Jazz chart.

He signed soon thereafter with Warner Bros. “Vinyl,” his first single from his eponymous Warner Bros. debut, set a record by spending 27 weeks on the R&R charts, eventually ranking #24 for the year. In 2004, Euge Grooves’ Narada debut, Livin’ Large, spent 68 weeks on the Billboard charts. The title track was the #5 most played song for 2004 on the R&R singles chart. Just Feels Right followed in 2005 and its first single was #1 for two months. There followed in the next decade a string of hit singles and best-selling albums; his hit “Religify” was ‘song of the year’ in 2007, and his albums S7ven Large and House Of Groove each spawned #1 hits. Got 2 Be Groovin’ came in 2014 and 2016 saw the release of Still Euge, which featured the hit title track as well as memorable vocal appearances from Oleta Adams and Rahsaan Patterson. Groove On was released in 2017 featuring and the title track scored yet another #1 for him.

With the release of Sing My Song Euge Groove hopes the music will connect with his fans. He concludes, “They call turning in an album to the record label ‘delivery’ for a reason! Each of these songs are like children to me. There is so much time and focus put into each one. I hope the music touches people and they will hear this and feel this labor of love.”

Harold López-Nussa | "Te Lo Dije"

Walk the streets of Havana on any day and you’ll hear the soul of Cuba: music pouring from private homes and bustling restaurants, windows rattling with the parties thrown inside, nightclubs pulsing with throngs of people dancing. On his vibrant and spirited third recording for Mack Avenue Records, Havana-based pianist and composer Harold López-Nussa sets out to capture that stirring sensation with an exhilarating marriage of jazz and Cuban pop music, defiantly standing up to the doubters who failed to share his radical vision.

Much like its near equivalent in English, “I told you so,” the Spanish phrase “Te lo dije” can be deployed as a boast or a put-down – often both at once. López-Nussa throws down that gauntlet on Te Lo Dije, due out August 28 worldwide via Mack Avenue Records. The album features the pianist’s core quartet of drummer Ruy Adrián López-Nussa, bassist Julio César González and trumpeter Mayquel González, bolstered by a number of special guests including Afro-Cuban funk superstar Cimafunk; French accordionist Vincent Peirani; famed Cuban reggaeton vocalist Randy Malcom; and vocalist Kelvis Ochoa.

The combustible blend of Afro-Cuban and modern jazz that has marked all of the pianist’s acclaimed releases is enlivened by the sounds that thrill modern Cuban audiences: the Songo of the iconic band Los Van Van, the Mozambique of Pello el Afrokan, the reggaeton that has swept Latin America and the world since the late 90s. The results pulse with the lifeblood that runs through the streets of Havana.

Roughly translated as “Havana exposed,” opener “Habana Sin Sábanas” sonically transports listeners to the city via recordings in which López-Nussa captures the bustle of daily life. “The Windmills of Your Mind” acknowledges López-Nussa’s French ancestry with an homage to composer Michel Legrand, who died in 2019. Renowned French accordion virtuoso Vincent Peirani adds his own Gallic flavor to the mix.

One of modern Cuba’s leading composers, Leo Brouwer, wrote the gorgeous ballad “Un dia de Noviembre.” López-Nussa’s own “Lila’s Mambo” is dedicated to the pianist’s youngest daughter, inspired by her alternately sweet and devilish nature. An infectious handclap rhythm sets the tone for “Jocosa Guajira,” with vocals by Kelvis Ochoa, a complex contemporary version of a guajira with intricate, interwoven rhythms.

Both “Timbeando” and “Sobre el Atelier” are renewed López-Nussa compositions, both previously recorded solo for his 2007 solo recital Sobre el Atelier. The title track from that album is a bolero dedicated to Harold’s grandfather, whose studio was beneath the family’s home. “Timbeando,” featuring López-Nussa on Fender Rhodes, was inspired by Chick Corea’s Elektrik Band and was the piece he played to win the Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition in 2005.

“El Buey Cansao” is a song by Los Van Van, a band that has been enormously popular and influential in Cuba over the last 50 years. For his version, the pianist invited one of the biggest contemporary stars on the island, Cimafunk, to sing. The band and its Songo style also inspired López-Nussa’s own “Van Van meets New Orleans,” a self-explanatory piece that seeks to unite his hometown with its sister city in the States, whose ties with Cuba are integral to the development of jazz.

“JazzTón” is the album’s most daring hybrid, melding jazz with the controversial reggaeton genre, often dismissed by “serious” musicians in Cuba. Randy Malcom of the immensely popular Gente de Zona brings an authentic spirit, while the core quartet is bolstered by trombone, percussion and additional keyboards that really bring the party to life.

The title track, “Te Lo Dije,” makes the point with playful braggadocio: doubt if you will, scoff if you must, but López-Nussa will play his music, his way. “This is my Mozambique,” he sings repeatedly, making clear that whatever the style, the voice is his own. The style was invented by the legendary percussionist Pello El Afrokan in the 1960s, but Te Lo Dije – the song, like the album as a whole – lives vividly in the current moment.

The music of pianist/composer Harold López-Nussa reflects the full range and richness of Cuban music, with its distinctive combination of classical, folkloric and popular elements as well as its embrace of jazz improvisation and interaction. López-Nussa studied classical piano at the Manuel Saumell Elementary School of Music, the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory and the Instituto Superior de Artes (ISA). His career gracefully spans styles, from his recording of Heitor Villa-Lobos ́ Fourth Piano Concerto with Cuba’s National Symphony Orchestra to his featured role on the album Ninety Miles, playing alongside jazz stars David Sánchez, Christian Scott and Stefon Harris. Te Lo Dije is the ninth album in a catalogue that includes exquisite classical pieces, mesmerizing solo creations and explosive jazz trio outings.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Susie Meissner | “I Wish I Knew”

Vocalist Susie Meissner opens her fourth album, I Wish I Knew, with Curtis Lewis’ “The Great City The choice works for purely musical reasons, as an upbeat swinger that gets things off to a finger-snapping start; it also fits in perfectly her love of the more obscure corners of the classic American songbook.

But the song also serves to pay tribute to Philadelphia, the city that’s embraced Meissner and become her professional home base over the last decade. I Wish I Knew, due out July 17, 2020 through LydianJazz Records, is the singer’s second release featuring a stellar group of Philly-based musicians: trumpeter John Swana, saxophonist Larry McKenna, bassist Lee Smith and drummer Byron Landham.

In addition, Meissner invited some longtime collaborators from outside Philadelphia: pianist John Shaddy, guitarist Paul Meyers and master clarinetist Ken Peplowski. Since the release of her 2009 debut, I’ll Remember April, Meissner has worked with a host of gifted jazz musicians, including Martin Wind, Brian Lynch, Wycliffe Gordon, Joe Magnarelli and Matt Wilson, among others. But she discovered a spiritual home in the City of Brotherly Love.
“From my first gig in Philly I was hooked,” Meissner says. “There’s just a different feeling in Philadelphia. It exerts a real gravitational pull. It’s such a great city to play; I love working there and I love working with these musicians.”

To be clear, “The Great City” wasn’t written about Philadelphia. Still, the lyric captures the friction between the magnetic allure and daunting loneliness that characterizes any major metropolis, Philly included – maybe Philly especially, given the town’s brusque reputation. In Meissner’s rendition, the charm of the place defiantly wins out, her gleaming adoration winning out even as she warns against its “cold, cruel stone.”

“When you’re in, it’s hard to get back out” is the song’s message, but Meissner hardly sounds eager to escape. She isn’t a Philadelphian, by birth or by residence – the former honor goes to Buffalo, the latter to New Jersey. Yet when it’s time to take the stage you’re most likely to find her at Chris’ Jazz Café, the club that she fondly refers to as the “heart and soul of jazz in Philly.” She’s played there upwards of 35 times over the past decade, and it’s a room that her elite ensemble considers a home base. “I wanted to capture the feeling that we create every time we have a gig together,” Meissner explains. “This album really represents how much we enjoy and respect each other’s talents.”

The album’s title, I Wish I Knew, is aptly chosen for these uncertain times, though Meissner had something a bit more personal in mind. Her intentions were drawn from the song’s lyric, which expresses the essential unknowability between any two people. The vulnerability, the wary hopefulness, the wistful longing: all are achingly rendered in the pairing of Meissner’s yearning vocal and Peplowski’s eloquent clarinet.

“That was one take,” Meissner says enthusiastically. “We decided to record that song at the last second, and it was magic. When you experience something like that, your insides start shaking. It’s so creative and so in the moment. That’s why we used that title for the album; I hoped that the tenderness and feeling of ‘I Wish I Knew’ would translate to everything else.”
The diverse repertoire on I Wish I Knew ranges from familiar standards like “I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face” and “It Could Happen to You” to classics known more for their instrumental jazz interpretations such as “Alfie” and “Poinciana.” Others dig deeper into the Songbook to dust off some neglected gems. Whatever the source, a spectrum of styles and approaches drove Meissner’s selection process. “I listen to everything,” she says. “I wanted different styles, different genres, and different authors, because the guys in the group are storytellers.”

Duke Ellington’s “In a Mellow Tone” spotlights Peplowski’s gift for summoning the ghosts of jazz eras past while speaking in the vital language of the moment. His solo is parried by the darting jabs of Paul Meyer’s guitar. Meyer and Meissner later duet on a mesmerizing rendition of “The Shadow of Your Smile,” combining to hint at the lingering shades of bittersweet memory.

“It Could Happen to You” is graced by a summit meeting between two virtuoso veterans, Peplowski and Philly living legend Larry McKenna. Their fluid lines weave together gracefully but powerfully, buoyed by the expert rhythm section of Smith and Landham. McKenna’s burnished tenor sound is especially magical on ballads, as vividly evidenced on “Alfie” and “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.” Meissner sets the tone on both, the compassionate encouragement of “Alfie,” the forlorn ruefulness of “Goodbye,” which the saxophonist expertly carries forward into his captivating solos.

“I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face” offers a tender dialogue between Meissner and pianist John Shaddy, her accompanist in song as in life. The two are well accustomed to each other’s voices, resulting in an airily intimate reading with John Swana’s plaintive trumpet providing the inner monologue to the couple’s sonic embrace. The “wings on your heels” mentioned in “Hello Young Lovers” is wonderfully illustrated by the floating dance between the winger and Swana’s light-footed flugelhorn.

Swana brings a more offbeat vibe to the session via his use of the Electric Valve Instrument (EVI), a mutated electronic horn that looks like a cross between a trumpet and a surge protector and which evokes synthetic, even alien, tones. It provides an unsettling dizziness to Meissner’s intoxicating “You Go To My Head,” and is an essential element in the exotic jungle of sounds conjured by the ensemble’s take on “Poinciana.” More than any other, that piece captures the Brotherly Love (and Sisterly Affection, as the more equitable amendment adds) of the recording date; the outpouring of fellowship from the entire line-up was unplanned but ecstatically welcome.

The album ends, appropriately enough, with “The Party’s Over.” The best thing about a great party, though, is that it supplies the joyful memories that tide one over until the next get-together. In the group of artists she’s convened for I Wish I Knew, Meissner has discovered a warm band of fellow celebrants for whom she plays the perfect hostess. Fortunately for those of us who weren’t there with them, this album extends an open and welcoming invite to bask in those vibrantly emotional moments.

Chicago Avant-Jazz Trio Threadbare Release New CD Silver Dollar

Jason Stein has spent the last fifteen years injecting audiences’ ears with such a singularly unique approach on the bass clarinet that Eric Dolphy may finally find himself denied as the go-to reference for the instrument. Currently Stein leads two bands, Locksmith Isidore and the Jason Stein Quartet, and co-leads Hearts & Minds and Nature Work (with Paul Giallorenzo and Greg Ward respectively). Stein's work with Threadbare, his latest project, places him beside two gifted young Oberlin College graduates and recent Chicago transplants. 

Composers Ben Cruz (guitar) and Emerson Hunton (drums) lock in perfectly as a rhythm section, carefully walking a wire between jazz and rock (they also play together in the indie band Moontype). Cruz is an amazingly versatile guitarist, balancing power chords and intricate jazz runs all over the neck. Both he and Hunton are simple and basic when necessary, but can become absolutely astonishing when appropriate without being showy. Perfect for Stein.

All three members of Threadbare grew up on rock 'n 'roll and their version of it is as thrilling as it is fierce. Cruz’ “Silver Dollar” sounds like he watched the Dead Cs “Armed” writhing on the floor for 25 minutes until he finally proposed the question “Hey, what if we help this thing get up and walk?” To hear Cruz and Stein trade off energy wheezing over Hunton's leg-stomp thudding is a sheer joy. 

So how is Threadbare's jazz game? Well, they have Jason freaking Stein – plus you can go watch a clip of Cruz playing “If I Were A Bell” with a trad bassist and drummer on his website. Check out “And When Circumstances Arrive”, which features a broken melodic structure not unlike the tunes Mary Halvorson composes before flying off into the stratosphere with an especially out solo from Stein. And there's “Funny Thing Is,” which features a lightning fast hard-bop head played in unison by Stein and Cruz before erupting in frenzied bass clarinet spray over abstract jazz guitar block chords and Hunton's out-but-in groove. 

To hear Cruz and Stein trade off on this album is an absolute thrill. The icing on top is the sound of Hunton elevating everything brilliantly. Around the time of The Bells, Lou Reed said something along the lines of “If you can't play jazz and you can't play rock, you put them together and you really have something.” True enough. But what if you can play both fluidly? What if you have a rock 'n' roll heart and a jazz brain and the instincts, chops, and intelligence to pull it all off and make it fly like freedom? You're Threadbare, that's what.

New Music Releases From Deon Yates, Alexander Hawkins & Tomeka Reid, Daniel Haaksman

Deon Yates - Quintastic

Nearly 10-years after being named runner-up in the Capital Jazz Challenge, that launched his exciting and prolific career as a Smooth Jazz artist, Detroit-bred saxophonist Deon Yates is feeling more than great, he's feeling QUINTASTIC. The socially trending title of his 5th solo album literally means “a person aged 50 or more and is still attractive and successful.” That timeless magnetism, relentless hooks and intense, horn-sizzling energy are the driving forces that propelled the title track onto the Groove Jazz Top 100 Smooth Jazz Songs of 2019! Featuring guest producers Chris "Big Dog" Davis, Jackiem Joyner and Darren Rahn, the current single, "In The Moment," features producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Nathan Mitchell! ~

Alexander Hawkins & Tomeka Reid - Shards & Constellations

The title's a great one – a very apt description of the sorts of sounds created by the improvising duo of Tomeka Reid on cello and Alexander Hawkins on piano – as the performance has this sharp, stark approach at times – jagged sounds from either instrument, almost as bursts of spontaneity – but constellated together to form a beautiful progression of music! The work is maybe a great illustration of that way that, taken as a snapshot, free improvisation might seem like nonsense – but taken as a whole, there's an intrinsic logic that really holds together the creative magic between two very imaginative performers like this duo. Reid maybe has more of an edge than usual, and Hawkins' work on piano really lives up to the best legacy of the Intakt label – on titles that include "If Becomes Is", "Albert Ayler", "A Guess That Deepens", "Shards & Constellations", "Danced Together", and "Strange Familiar". ~ Dusty Groove

Daniel Haaksman & Others - Black Atlantica Edits

A fantastic collection of cross-cultural grooves from Daniel Haaksman – the man who first raised our ears with his excellent Rio Baile Funk Favela Booty Beats compilations – then kept on giving us great music during all the years in between! This set has Haaksman providing his own edits of tracks that have a fair bit of global elements in the mix – contemporary club, but rife with acoustic, organic sound styles – which are further expanded by Daniel in his thoughtful edits throughout the entire set! There's plenty here for the dancefloor, but also a deeper cultural mission at hand – on tracks that include Haacksman edits of "Akabongi" by Soul Brothers, "Vamos Farrear" by Pinduca, "Morbiyassa" by Kaba Blon, "Cazukuta" by DJ Havaiana, "Sunny Crypt" by Francis Bebey, "Me Gritaron Negra" by Victoria Santa Cruz, "Dissan Na M'Bera" by Super Mama Djombo, and "Black September" by Master Chivero. ~ Dusty Groove

Thursday, May 28, 2020

GROUPE RTD: The Dancing Devils of Djibouti

While the music of Somalia is widely celebrated, its neighbor, the Republic of Djibouti, formerly known as French Somaliland, is home to an equally deep reservoir of its own unique Somali music.

The small but culturally grand country on the mouth of Red Sea remains one of the few places in the world where music is still entirely the domain of the state. Since independence in 1977, one-party rule brought most music under its wing, with almost every band a national enterprise, integral to the state propaganda apparatus.

No foreign entities have been permitted to work with Djibouti’s rich roster of music — until now.

In 2016, Ostinato Records met with senior officials of Radiodiffusion-Télévision Djibouti (RTD), a.k.a. the national radio, to discuss a vision for lifting the shroud on Djiboutian music as the young country of less than a million people increasingly opens up to the world. Three years later, in 2019, Ostinato became the first label granted full authorization to access the national radio’s archives, one of the largest and best preserved in Africa, home to thousands of reels of Somali and Afar music.

But just next door, in RTD’s recording studio, a world class band entirely unknown outside the country, whose songs are a living embodiment of the archives, lay in waiting. Composed of sensational new, young talent backed by old masters, the band — Groupe RTD — is the national ceremony outfit. By day, they perform for presidential and national events and welcome foreign dignitaries.

By night, when no longer on official duty, Groupe RTD is clearly one of East Africa’s best kept secrets.

Helmed by Mohamed Abdi Alto, possibly the most unheralded saxophone virtuoso in all of Africa, and mentored by Mogadishu-born guitarist Abdirazak Hagi Sufi — both of whom feature as instrumentalists on our Grammy-nominated Sweet As Broken Dates compilation — Groupe RTD is the finest expression of Djibouti’s cosmopolitan culture.

Situated on the Bab El Mandeb (Gate of Tears) strait, a historic corridor of global trade connecting the Suez Canal and the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean, Djibouti is blessed with influences from East Asia, the Arabian peninsula, India, and even more distant sounds.
Djiboutian music, particularly the addictive brand wielded by Groupe RTD, is, by their own admission, the juncture where Indian Bollywood vocal styles, offbeat licks of Jamaican dub and reggae, sleek horns inspired by Harlem’s jazz era, and haunting and joyous synthesizer melodies of the Red Sea collide.

Sax player Mohamed Abdi Alto — so talented that they added “Alto” to his legal name — honed his trade from a steady diet of John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. Abdirazak’s guitar style draws heavily from his love affair with Jamaican music. Young singers Asma Omar, who won a youth talent contest to join the band, and Hassan Omar Houssein are fluent in the classic hits of Bollywood and Indian music. Synth player Moussa Aden Ainan brings a distinctly dexterous Somali touch, reminiscent of the exceptional keys work of Somalia’s Iftin and Waaberi Band. Their sound is kept afloat by measured Tadjouran rhythms, courtesy of drummer Omar Farah Houssein and dumbek player Salem Mohamed Ahmed’s perfect interplay.

But recording this album was Ostinato’s biggest challenge yet. A web of bureaucracy and strict rules had to be navigated. Djibouti’s authorities gave us only three days to record the entire set, with no extension. Up for the task and eager to deliver, the musicians promptly tore down the “no smoking or chewing khat” sign in RTD’s recording studio and began a heated, three-day, khat-fueled devilish feast of music amid a smokey haze, unleashing the very reason the band was founded: to strut Djibouti’s majestic music on the world stage when the opportunity arrived.

The recording equipment in the radio had not been upgraded in decades and technical neglect meant we had to devise a novel approach to ensure the highest quality recording possible. With the help of Djibouti’s head of customs, we flew in a state-of-the-art mobile recording studio replete with the very best audio interfaces and carefully positioned microphones around a less than soundproof room to achieve a vibrant, professional sound while maintaining the analog warmth of decades prior.

This game-changing setup, a far cry from the old days of field recordings, is Ostinato Records’ vision for the future: to capture the contemporary sounds of Africa and the world flawlessly, in any environment or circumstance.

We proudly present Ostinato’s premier studio recorded album and the first ever international album to emerge from Djibouti — Groupe RTD: The Dancing Devils of Djibouti.
This album, if listened to at an inappropriate volume, should firmly register Djibouti in the global consciousness, shifting its image from a strategic outpost of geopolitical games to cultural powerhouse.

New Music Releases From Bob James, David Philips/Abel Boquera, Dave Scott

Bob James - Once Upon A Time: The Lost 1965 New York Studio Sessions

Captured with no audience at Wollman Auditorium in New York City in 1965 by Resonance founder and co-president George Klabin, Once Upon A Time: The Lost 1965 New York Studio Sessions features previously unreleased studio recordings from pianist Bob James. This release features James with two different trio settings - one from January 20, 1965 with bassist Larry Rockwell and drummer Bob Pozar, and another from October 9, 1965 with bassist Bill Wood and drummer Omar Clay - performing a mix of jazz standards and original compositions. The title track "Once Upon A Time" was named by James as an homage to the ONCE Festival of New Music in Ann Arbor, MI which ran from 1961-1966 and holds a special place in his early musical career. The package includes an extensive booklet with essays by jazz writer Mark Stryker (Jazz from Detroit) and engineer George Klabin; a new interview with Bob James by Zev Feldman, and 2011 interview with Bob Pozar by Hank Shteamer (Rolling Stone); plus rare archival photographs.

David Philips & Abel Boquera - The Duo Sessions

David Philips and his good friend and keyboard wizard Abel Boquera have been playing in bands together for the past 10+ years. Last year they decided to get together in Abel's studio to make a few videos playing duo. The audio from this session is what you find here. Abel played an old 1970s Fender Rhodes electric piano and mixed/mastered the session. The first 2 songs are David's originals from his record "Get Along" and the last was a bit of fun; a cover version of the Michael Jackson hit "The Way You Make Me Feel."

Dave Scott - Ambiguity

Trumpeter Dave Scott has a sense of urgency here that we may never have heard before – a real edge in his horn, with a quality that comes through right from the very first note – and which continues to grow and shift in a set of all original compositions that definitely has us listening to Scott with a new sense of attention! The group is very well-suited to his shifting musical moods here – sometimes swinging, but sometimes more tentative and moody – served well by the quintet lineup of Rich Perry on tenor, Gary Versace on piano, John Hebert on bass, and Billy Mintz on drums. Titles include "Special Sauce", "Song For Janie", "Ambiguity", "Diligence", and "Obscurity". ~ Dusty Groove

Worldly Jazz Trio La Lucha's "Everybody Wants To Rule The World"

La Lucha presents their newest album and debut for Arbors Records, Everybody Wants To Rule The World. This project displays the telepathic interplay you expect from a band that’s been together for years. The trio consists of best friends from three different parts of the world: Colombia (Alejandro Arenas), Mexico (John O’Leary), and the United States (Mark Feinman), who met in 2006. The combination of these three spirited personalities has endeared listeners to the band, and to an ever-widening circle of collaborators. La Lucha has built an impressive resume performing with jazz legends including Randy Brecker, Dick Hyman, Charles McPherson, Wycliffe Gordon, Marty Morell; as well as, the renowned guests that appear on this album: Melissa Aldana, Ken Peplowski, Chuck Redd, Diego Figueiredo, and Houston Person.

Beautifully produced by clarinetist Ken Peplowski, this album features a diverse and creative group of musicians with widely eclectic interests. From punk to heavy metal, salsa, jazz, world music, and even classical tuba, La Lucha melds their energies and unique musical and cultural backgrounds to create their sound. This is evident in their original compositions as well as the choice of cover material, including Latin American styles, American Songbook standards, and self-described ‘twisted arrangements’ of pop tunes. Having grown up in very different parts of the world with varied musical influences permeates throughout the music. “We find that jazz is the perfect vehicle for those differences to meld together, due to the freedom that exists within it. There is also a wonderful human and musical coexistence within La Lucha and that gives us a joy that sets the tone of what we do.”

Everybody Wants To Rule The World opens with the virtuosic playing of Brazilian guitarist Diego Figueiredo in “Por La Tarde,” an original by Arenas that was influenced by the Colombian music style Bambuco. Followed up by “Space Oddity,” crafted with the original Bowie recording in mind, and produced with background colors and sounds of a Moog synthesizer. “Lullaby Medley” melds two songs that have nothing in common but the titles, showcasing vibraphonist Chuck Redd. Written expressly for their friend and the only song on the album to have a straight ahead swing feel, “Blues For Houston Person” displays the deep innate sense of blues that saxophonist Houston Person personifies.

“1+2” lays out a haunting melody composed by Feinman, inspired by his journey through new parenthood written after his daughter was born last May. This number also acts as the first appearance on the album by one of the truly great saxophonists on the scene, Melissa Aldana.

There's so much compositional strength in this trio, not least of which is O’Leary, whose theme “The Sundering” is a sinuous and tricky melody, which shows how incredibly tight La Lucha moves together as a band. “I was born in Mexico to a Mexican mother and an American father; the summer before my 13th birthday, my mother and I packed our bags and left everything behind to have a chance at the American Dream.” O’Leary explains, “The Sundering" is a piece dedicated to the immigrant families that are separated from their children at our southern border. They weren’t as fortunate as me to be born Americans. That could have been me.”

"Otra Vez” is a catchy melody written by Feinman who describes it as a “Jewish Cumbia” and features Peplowski and Aldana. “Sometimes it’s just a spark of an idea that expands once we start exploring, other times it’s a full-fledged idea that the guys beautifully arrange.” Feinman spoke on their shared writing experience, “Having shared interests and experiencing new adventures with my brothers, I always compose specifically for Alejandro and John.” “Don't Talk” is a timeless melody by Brian Wilson, and La Lucha makes it sound like it belongs to them while still honoring the original.

The title track of the recording, “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” features Aldana answering herself as a "ghost" voice, and captures the essence of the lyrics in the original recording. “Lilis,” also written by Arenas, shows another side of La Lucha, channeling the great soul and funk recordings of times gone by, but filtered through their own perspective. “Dance Dance Dance” is a pop song by Feinman with a “Billy Preston meets Yes” tone to it. Patrick Swayze’s hit “She's Like The Wind” from the movie Dirty Dancing is played with very simpatico trio playing and occasional Fender Rhodes comments by Peplowski. The record closes with a Brazilian chorus singing at the end of this very blissful number, “Samba Pra Diego” written by Arenas for Figueiredo.

With a name meaning ‘the fight or struggle,’ La Lucha positively reminds the audience to overcome whatever one needs, including the obstacles found in living with a commitment to an artistic life. “Trust is at the core of what we do. Our approach to writing and arranging music is very democratic, because each member of the group is an essential part of the La Lucha sound and brings something unique to the table. The sound we have is impossible to achieve without this particular combination of individuals, and that sound is the essence of our music.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Citrus Blue – Expansions And Visions

"If you look at Incognito as being the flagship of my career, consider Citrus Sun as being the indulgent - and for fun only - speedboat that rides alongside her" That is Bluey explaining his love for Citrus Sun, who deliver their fourth album Expansions and Visions. "This band is our getaway, our live-for-the-moment statement", he says. And for the second album running, the band did literally get away - to Krabi on southern Thailand's West coast, where they enjoyed a life of beach and boat trips by day and writing and recording by night. 

The core of Citrus Sun is the Incognito rhythm section - Bluey, keyboard player Matt Cooper, bassist Francis Hylton, guitarist Francisco Sales and drummer Francesco Mendolia - who are joined by guest musicians and singers. A gritty reworking of the Ashford-Simpson classic "California Soul" features Noel McKoy, with background vocals from Jamiroquai's Valerie Etienne and Hazel Fernandes. Valerie also takes the lead on a blistering version of Lonnie Liston Smith's "Expansions", described by Bluey as "a pivotal song in the soundtrack of our lives". Legendary UK guitarist Jim Mullen returns on "Expansions", "Stay You" (a Seventies-styled tribute to the late Leon Ware) and a very funky instrumental "Hard Boiled". 

Featured on much of the album is the youngest addition to the band, 22-year-old Indonesian harmonica sensation Rega Dauna, who delivers a solo on the jazz funk tune "A Lust For Life" with a maturity which belies his age. Also showcased on that track are the band's Portuguese guitarist Francisco Sales and Dominic Glover on trumpet. Bluey himself contributes vocals on several of the cuts, including the album closer "Thinking Of You", a gorgeous soulful bossa duet with American singer Deborah Bond.

New Music From Flevans, Andrea Scala, Fanflures Brass Band

Flevans - Accumulate

Gathering up all his favourite styles - funk, soul, disco, house, quirky pop and cinematic sounds, multi-instrumentalist Flevans has created his latest studio album "Accumulate", that draws from all but is still undeniably his own. Working with a crack team of collaborators he’s served up another absolute gem of a record that is more lyrical than any of his work before. One of the stars of the last album Laura Vane (MJ Cole, Cee Lo Green) returns to the fold to front four tracks with her versatile and powerful vocal. Label mate, Smoove & Turrell front man, and all-round Geordie extraordinaire John Turrell also gets to flex his tones on the wonderfully upbeat northern soul gem "Silly Games". Plus there are two unique cuts with the mysterious Scooby Jones, a man who has worked and toured with acts as diverse as Ed Sheeran, The Black Eyed Peas, Craig David and more. Really, there’s no gamble here, just another killer LP - Flevans has speculated, so you can accumulate!

Andrea Scala - Coming Back, Leaving Again

Italian drummer Andrea Scala  wrote and produced the Coming Back, Leaving Again album in Italy with pianist, arranger and producer Fabio Raponi (Dionne Warwick, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, musician and arranger for Sony Music, BMG, RCA, etc.). Collaborators on the album included talented Italian and international musician friends, such as the talented Roberto Tarenzi (he played in the studio and live with Dave Liebman, Max Roach, John Patitucci, James Cammack), bassist Francesco Puglisi (Randy Brecker, Sarah Jane Morris, Mina, Fabrizio Bosso, etc.), The guitarist Nicola Costa (Ennio Morricone, Nicola Piovani, Darryl Jones, etc.), The guitarist Manlio Maresca (Neo with the recording of Steve Albini, Andymusic, etc.), among talented jazz musicians. The musical style of the album is modern jazz/alternative/avant garde.

Fanflures Brass Band – La Rumeur D’or

It’s the 2nd Album release for the french Brass Band mixing Jazz - Funk - Hip Hop and Swing into a new highly energetic album. After their first album "Dans ta Face!" (2016), with pure Funk New Orleans, spotted by les inrocks Web, in a traditional way referred as Hot 8 brass band or Rebirth brass band, les FFLRES Brass Band went digging into more actual sound with a cover of the french band "Saian Supa crew" for a Latin - Ragga Brass Band cover which got some succes with brass band lover (100 000 stream on spotify, and radio air plays). For 2019, the band goes further into this direction for the 2nd album with more compositions and a more actual sound with a lot of different influences, like swing, hip hop, pop and funk.

Dee Dee Bridgewater – Afro Blue

If you collect vintage 70's soul-jazz vinyl, there is a good chance that you already own a record that features the amazing vocal talents of Dee Dee Bridgewater. Whether it be Roy Ayers, Norman Connors, Billy Parker or Carlos Garnett - Dee Dee is the glue that fuses these artists together. Although best known for her jazz work, Dee Dee has had a wonderfully rich and varied career encompassing soul, musicals, gospel, and underground disco from the 70's to the present day. 

She is still active as a vocalist, composer, and producer and remains one of our favourite vocalists at Mr Bongo HQ. We take things back to the early years of Dee Dee's career with her debut album 'Afro Blue'. Recorded in Tokyo in 1974, the album was released exclusively in Japan via two different Japanese labels (Trio Records in 1974 and All Art in 1985 respectively). 

Each release had unique cover art and we have opted to present the album in its original 1974 form.'Afro Blue' features an exquisite collaboration of American and Japanese musicians, such as Cecil & Ron Bridgewater, Motohiko Hino and producer Takao Ishizuka. The result is a sublime deep soul-jazz masterpiece with timeless versions of 'People Make The World Go Round', 'Love From The Sun', and 'Afro Blue'. It is arguably one of the finest albums in its genre. This record has long been a sought-after item for DJs and collectors alike, so we are delighted to finally make this wonderful music from an understated great available to all.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

David Sanborn - Anything You Want ~ The Warner / Reprise / Elektra Years (1975-1999)

Over an astounding career that began as a blues sideman at age14 then evolving into one of the most in-demand and imitated musicians across genres, saxophonist David Sanborn is a living legend. Distinguished by a biting, ear-bending tone and a penchant for soulfully explosive runs, Sanborn’s sound has graced great recordings by artists that include David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Donny Hathaway, Chaka Khan, The Temptations, Jaco Pastorius, Kenny Loggins, Todd Rundgren, Esther Phillips and Bob James. 

As an artist, Sanborn earned 8 gold records, a platinum-seller, won six Grammys, and topped international critics and readers polls. On July 30, David Sanborn turns 75-years-old while 2020 additionally marks the 45th anniversary of his debut LP as a leader. In honor of these milestones, SoulMusic Records proudly presents this 3-disc “audio travelogue” that covers the arc of his artistry like no other. “David Sanborn - Anything You Want: The Warner-Reprise-Elektra Years (1975-1999)” salutes Sanborn by taking a deep dive into the 17 albums he recorded as a solo artist within the highly impressionable 25-year period he was earning a reputation for world alto saxophone dominance. 

From Taking Off (Warner - 1975) to Close-Up (Reprise - 1988) through Inside (Elektra - 1999). Produced by Los Angeles-based musicologist A. Scott Galloway with co-production by founder David Nathan, this deluxe package explores David Sanborn’s catalogue in an artful approach - an immersive 45-song experience, filled with cherry-picked radio edits, rare mixes, live versions and overlooked album cut gems that present Sanborn at his eclectic, emotive finest. Each of the three discs covers a specific aspect of Sanborn’s vibe, offering a variety of palate-pleasing styles that plays out like three 15-song feasts in one.

New Music From Ryan Perry, R.L. Walker, Herb Alpert

Ryan Perry – High Risk, Low Reward

Like all the great artists, Ryan Perry isn't afraid to rip it up and start again. Since 2007, the Mississippi bandleader has blazed a reputation in the award-winning Homemade Jamz Blues Band. But when it came to his solo debut, Perry took a leap of faith and trusted his talent to land him safe on the other side. Now, High Risk, Low Reward announces the touchdown of a solo artist to treasure. This album," he says, "was the hardest thing I've done to date." Driven by Perry's soulful guitar and fathoms-deep vocal, High Risk, Low Reward will thrill long-standing followers of the Homemade Jamz Blues Band. But the eleven songs that Perry tracked at Berlin's Studio Erde with producer Roger Inniss will sweep up a whole new fanbase too. From the classic porch-blues vibe of the title track, to Hard Times' torn-and-frayed ode to struggle in modern America, this is an album that touches every generation that hears it. Ain't Afraid To Eat Alone is funky and heartfelt, opening with a stinging lead-guitar intro that sets the standard. Homesick has a mid-tempo funk-blues lick and a heavy heart, while other standouts find Perry reflecting on his own broken-down relationships. On Changing Blues, the bandleader considers where his beloved genre might roam from here. "The blues has changed in the past twenty years," he considers. "What will it sound like in twenty more?" Wherever the blues scene goes, expect Ryan Perry to be at the head of the pack, still addressing age-old truths, but serving them up with a vigour and vision that chimes with fresh listeners. "The new generation of the blues is here now," he nods. "And it's here to stay"

R. L. Walker - Coming Big

The three words that form the acronym in big, in COMING BIG, (Blessed. Inspired. Genuine.), the 6th independently released solo album by sensual, easy-grooving saxophonist R.L. Walker, says it all about his intentions and the dynamic vibes he shares. Drawing from his personal spiritual path and background in gospel music, he’s truly feeling blessed, inspired and genuinely showcasing his skillset! Like other gospel/jazz saxophonists such as Kirk Whalum, Walker has a few direct references to his faith, but mostly, his passion plays out via sensual, infectious ballads of varying tempos and old school, soul-jazz leanings. Guests include bassist Brendan Rothwell, vocalist Demetriace “Chee Chee” Jordan and keyboardist/producer/arranger Lew Laing Jr. ~

Herb Alpert - From Legal Eagles To Tijuana Brass 1958-1962

Before he arrived in the US Top 10 in November 1962, accompanied by The Tijuana Brass and their 'Lonely Bull', trumpeter HERB ALPERT had spent four years cutting mainstream Pop 45s, under various aliases. These early 45s run to eight releases, an intriguing body of work which takes in popcorn teen vocals (three of which were bizarrely released under his newborn baby son's name, Dore Alpert), R&R and a novelty debut 45. This unique compilation comprises these early 45s, alongside the mono single version of his breakthrough hit 'The Lonely Bull' and the first, million-selling Tijuana Brass LP, in stereo. Includes the "slowed-down" version of his rare-as-hens-teeth collectors' instro 'Fun House', which was released as The Roosters. These early, pre-Tijuana Brass 45s are unavailable elsewhere on CD, thus making this compilation indispensable to Herb Alpert collectors.

Brian Andres Debuts New Trio Latino Project On "Mayan Suite"

Brian Andres Trio Latino Mayan Suite Drummer Brian Andres unleashes an electrifying new project with the release of Mayan Suite, the inaugural recording of his Trio Latino, on Bacalao Records. Though it finds Andres stepping back from his longtime leadership of the eight-piece Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel, the new trio (featuring pianist Christian Tumalan and bassist Aaron Germain) shows itself to be every bit as musically rich as the larger ensemble. What's more, the album's striking originals and zesty interpretations find the band equaling that richness with audacity. 

Indeed, Andres created the trio in the hope of finding just such an emboldened style. With fewer voices, he says, "There's much more space to explore, for creative expression, and with that freedom there's greater responsibilities for all three of us." 

In fact, Tumalan and Germain fulfill both their freedom and their responsibility in supplying all of Mayan Suite's original compositions. The pianist brings three -- including the title track, a five-part series of hard-grooving miniatures that packs fully realized statements as well as satisfying improvisations into a remarkable seven-and-a-half-minute journey. Yet Tumalan shows no less ambition in the adrenaline rush of "Viento Solar" or the wistful tenderness of "Si Tu Vez." Germain, meanwhile, presents dazzling, dancing Latin syncopation on "Escucha" and a light-stepping aura of mystery on "Higashi Nakano." 

That is not, however, to understate the merit of the musicians' playing. Andres, Tumalan, and Germain balance their considerable chops with invention and eloquence, whether on the thrilling originals or the fiery renditions of Chick Corea's "Got a Match?" and the standard "On Green Dolphin Street." It's not happenstance that all three are rhythm players: Trio Latino's prowess on Mayan Suite, collectively and as soloists, comes in the service of irresistibly kinetic grooves drawn from the Afro-Latin jazz canon. 

"Whether it's bomba or mambo, whether there's a hand drummer or not, those rhythms are represented," Andres says. "Aaron and Christian are steeped in those traditions. One of the things about this trio, I wanted us individually to have a voice of our own." Of that, Mayan Suite leaves no doubt. 

Brian Andres Brian Andres was born Nov. 7, 1968 in Cincinnati, Ohio to musical parents: His father played woodwinds, his mother piano and vocals. The younger Andres naturally followed their example, taking up the drums at the age of nine. He continued through high school and into the College-Conservatory of Music before beginning his most intensive education, playing the blues with Cincinnati Slim and the Headhunters. It was the first of many gigs, in many styles. 

Yet it was while hearing someone else's band -- a salsa band -- that Andres's life was changed. The neck- and shoulder-twisting polyrhythms took him over completely; he immediately formed his own Latin jazz outfit and began consuming the grooves wherever and whenever he could. He was particularly drawn to the concentration of musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of whom, Paul van Wageningen, was so friendly and inspiring that Andres soon made the move to Northern California himself. 

It was there that Andres found his groove, so to speak. He jelled with Latin musicians of all stripes, found work in multiple projects, and fronted his own Afro-Latin Jazz Cartel -- with whom he recorded his first album, Drummers Speak, in 2007. 

He has continued at the head of the octet for over a decade: they have received critical acclaim, recorded two more albums (San Francisco, 2013; This Could Be That, 2016), and worked with the cream of the crop of Latin jazz talent in the Bay Area. The Cartel's rhythm section -- the nerve center of the band -- comprises Andres's Trio Latino. The smaller ensemble has taken on a life of its own, one which Andres has now documented with the recording of Mayan Suite. 

"Covid-19 and the resulting Shelter in Place order has made life very difficult for everyone," says Andres. "Many musicians, myself included, feel a profound sadness during this time, because we are deprived of our most cherished activity -- performing for an audience. Thankfully we can still connect with our instrument alone, in study and practice, which keeps the spirits up, but there is no substitute for performing. Because of this, Trio Latino is looking to do a live online performance sometime soon. We are working out the details now to be able to provide the best presentation possible."   

Monday, May 25, 2020

New Music From Tony Kofi, Spontaneous Groovin' Combustion, Mark Soskin

Tony Kofi - Another Kind Of Soul: A Portrait Of Cannonball Adderley

A very cool tribute to the legendary Cannonball Adderley – but one that has a spirit that's nicely that of its leader, alto saxophonist Tony Kofi! Tony's got a tone that's different than Cannon – maybe a bit sharper, with this pinched, edgey quality that's really great – and which opens up the familiar tunes in a great way, and sounds especially nice on two of the album's originals! The group also features Andy Davies on trumpet, Alex Webb on piano, Andrew Cleyndert on bass, and Alfonso Vitale on drums – a group who know all the energy an Adderley group performance requires, while also letting their own souls and spirits take new directions too. Titles include "Work Song", "Sack O Woe", "Things Are Getting Better", "Another Kind Of Soul", and the originals "A Portrait Of Cannonball" and "Operation Breadbasket". ~ Dusty Groove

Spontaneous Groovin' Combustion - Jackie's New Car

Having experienced success as an NYC rocker, composer, producer and woodwind performer Warren Keller now channels his most vibrant, grooving influences into his role as leader of the perfectly named fiery, urban jazz fusion ensemble Spontaneous Groovin’ Combustion. Their latest single “Jackie’s New Car” simmers over a mid-tempo funk swing vibe with a dynamic and infectious melody carried by the razzle-dazzle of “The Session Horns,” retro keyboards, jangly guitars and Keller’s punchy, improvisation-rich sax solo. This snazzy, infectious track will be featured on the group’s upcoming self-titled EP, which includes sampled Jeff Lorber as well as support from Third Richardson, Alex Al, and Dwight Sills. ~ 

Mark Soskin - Everything Old Is New Again

A beautiful set of mostly original music from pianist Mark Soskin, and a set that draws equal strengths from the soprano sax and bass clarinet of Billy Drewes – who plays with a great style that mixes lyrical modes with more of an edge – a mode that's a really wonderful complement to Soskin's piano! There's a slow-building sense of growth to most tunes – tracks that have a nice way of building up, finding their sound, then really flowering once the time is right – as the Soskin/Drewes pairing is given just the right sort of rhythmic pulse from Jay Anderson on bass and Matt Wilson on drums. Titles include the originals "Chutes & Ladders", "Tribute", "Once More", "Elvin's Tune", "Stretching", and "Hymn For Her" – plus versions of "Pretending To Care", "Happy House", and "Guinnevere". ~ Dusty Groove

New Music From My Luv Notes, Prostuda One / Graham Mushnik

My Luv Notes – You Don’t Own Me

My Luv Notes’ latest single is “You Don’t Own Me,” a sultry, soulful and hypnotic song that taps into the subtle dangers inherent in getting too emotionally entangled with the people you’re willing to help. It’s a warning to the person abusing his/her privilege to “Enjoy me when you have me/Cuz the meter’s runnin’ down”, in the second verse, and true to the spirituality that runs through much of the artist’s work, she addresses the deeper reality that the person’s true help and support will come from above. She sings in the bridge, “Hands together now/You’re gonna’ find your way/Look up high while I, while I walk away.” The track is the first official release from My Luv Notes’ upcoming full-length album, also titled You Don’t Own Me. The album will be the follow-up to the well-received 2019 release Day Late

Prostuda One - Gone

The new downtempo artist collective known as Prostuda One has unveiled the brand-new full-length effort that provides listeners with some of the best chill, downtempo jams to come around in ages. An extremely hard-working collaborative, Prostuda One proves their phenomenal artistry on this prolific 14 track debut that is sure to blow more than a few minds. Prostuda One may in fact be the new kings and queens of the downtempo scene. Many in-the-know DJs who have heard advance copies of the disc heartily agree. Presented here is the first EP from the collective, "Gone," which includes bonus instrumental and acappella mixes

Graham Mushnik - Peeping Through The Porthole

Loads of sweet little instrumentals from Graham Mushnik – most of which feature his own organ in the lead, tippling nicely over rhythms that run from bossa, to jazz funk, to soundtrack-styled modes – often peppered with nice touches on sax and flute! The record's maybe a nice throwback to that great generation of new keyboard creations from 20 years back – the world of Money Mark and others – and Mushnik works here on one side as a solo artist, with just a few guests – and on another with his group Martini – although the whole thing is pretty unified overall. Titles include "The Lost Gallion", "Interlude", "Flow Up Flow Down", "Swordfish Bossa", "Last Cup Apocalypse", "Marvin's Club", and "Shinkansen Lullaby". ~ Dusty Groove


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