Wednesday, May 06, 2020

New Music Releases: Ego Ella May, Works For Me, Mdou Moctar

Ego Ella May - So Far 

A British singer with a wonderfully fluid feel – a voice that slides right into a tune, wraps around the keyboards and other instrumentation, and picks up this special sort of glow along the way! The album's very heavy on Fender Rhodes, which are almost a second sort of voice on the record alongside Ego Ella's lead – this great grounding in organic modes that allows some of the spacier touches of the production to take off in a nice way, yet all without knocking the warmly soulful spirit of the music off course. On some numbers, May has this crispy charm that especially wins us over – and titles include "Come On", "Underwater", "Tea & Sympathy", "How Far", "Head", "Rush Hour Crush", and "Being Loved". CD features two bonus tracks – "Waiting" and "Pay My Bills". ~ Dusty Groove

Works For Me (Alexa Tarantino / Tony Davis /Caili O'Doherty / Adi Meyerson / Joe Strasser) - Reach Within

An incredibly well-crafted set of soulful hardbop – the kind of record that the Posi-Tone label seems to do better than just about anyone else these days – and which is so tight, so together, the whole thing almost seems effortless! Yet there's clearly a lot of effort going in here – original songs by some members of the group, and a crack cohesion of all the players, right from the start – an ace lineup that features Alexa Tarantino on saxes and flute, Caili O'Doherty on piano, Tony Davis on guitar, Adi Meyerson on bass, and Joe Strasser on drums! The album bursts out of the gate, filled with color and life – and there's an especially magical combination of the piano, bass, and guitar as they trade tones and colors together in the rhythms. Titles include "Reach Within", "Le Var", "Lake Sebago", "Mr M", "Salt & Vinegar", "Your Smile Keeps Me Sane", and "El Gran Birane". ~ Dusty Groove

Mdou Moctar - Ilana: The Creator

An album titled after the creator, and a set that's maybe the most spiritual to date from Tuareg guitar genius Mdou Moctar – a record that comes across with a strong sense of focus right from the start, and which seems to have Mdou's guitar sounding even better than ever! The drums are maybe a bit stronger than on previous records – and maybe a bit more American-inspired too – which pushes the songs forcefully, while Moctar spins out these beautifully hypnotic lines on guitar – at a level that's made him a real global star in recent years. Titles include "Asshet Akal", "Inzigam", "Tarhatazed", "Ilana", and "Tumastin". ~ Dusty Groove

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