Music Reviews

Show: New reviews | Artists beginning with: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0-9 | Compilations
Journey to the Mountain of Forever / Binker & Moses

Binker & Moses - Journey to the Mountain of Forever

Gearbox Records

Binker Golding and Moses Boyd are part of the collective of young musicians emerging on the vibrant London scene. As Binker and Moses they remind us just how engaging a drum and sax duo can be without the reliance of a chordal instrument. The duo explores a a variety of moods with Golding's adventurous solos servng as the lead voice. "Trees On Fire" finds Binker swinging with a flurry of energy that builds throughout while Boyd infectious rhythms equally holds his own. "The Valley Of The Ultra Blacks" find Golding on soprano and unleashing a flurry of spirted soloing while Boyd's mighty percussion asserts itself with high energy. With fifteen tracks of their own compositions and inspired by the great duets of the past. Binker and Moses come out swinging and produce one of the best records of the year. I'm already looking forward to their next release.

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Reg Dancy, 11/17

Relationships / Trevor Lawrence Jr

Trevor Lawrence Jr - Relationships

Ropeadope

The name Trevor Lawrence Jr may not jump off the page at first but when you dig a little deeper you'll find that the Los Angeles native has been drumming for everyone from Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar to Stevie Wonder just to name a few. If that wasn't enough he's also the drummer for saxophonist Terrace Martin's new group, The Pollyseeds. Somehow he found the time to craft his full length debut entitled "Relationships". Lawrence's debut illustrates his musical vision of traditional soul, jazz, hip-hop and funk. Among the highlights are "B-Side" a seventies inspired soul layered with wah wah rhythms and sultry vocals. "The Guts" is gritty street soul featuring Shariff Simmons on spoken word and tasty trumpet riffs from Nicholas Payton. "Bring The Party" is a catchy up-tempo jazz funk instrumental. "Tiptoe" is blissful RnB enhanced by live and programmed drums and features Neka on vocals. There's an enormous amount of talent emerging from LA and Lawrence Jr is the latest example. He's certainly one to watch.

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Reg Dancy, 10/17

Kev Beadle Presents Private Collection Vol. 3 / Various Artists

Various Artists - Kev Beadle Presents Private Collection Vol. 3

BBE

DJ and avid vinyl collector Kev Beadle  has resided in the upper echelon of respected DJs for over 20 years. So when he started pulling out some of his own dusty vinyl classics for his "Private Collection" series, it gave us another reason to love him even more. Now with Vol.3 he unleashes a delicious collection of seventies slept on tunes you didn't know you needed before but you certainly know now. The disc kicks off in furious form with "Quiet Fire" infused with spirited drumming from the great Roy Haynes. "La Em Guayaquil" is an infectious jazz-rock hidden gem from the Brazilian band Banda Metalurgia. Louis Hayes' late seventies free jazz delight "Little Sunflower" features the engaging wordless yodeling of Leon Thomas. Other notable tunes include "Maryke" and "Samba De Amor". Unless you have direct access to the Kev Beadle vault you would be wise to take a deep drive into this superb collection.

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Reg Dancy, 10/17

It's Time / Thee Gobbs

Thee Gobbs - It's Time

Atjazz Record Company

South Africa continues to build on it's reputation as a haven for spiritual House music and culture. Thee Gobbs is another stellar DJ to emerge from the homeland to keep on your radar. "It's Time", his debut on Atjazz showcases his deft touch as a producer with a keen sense of musicianship. He seemlessly fuses the spirtual melodies with the emotive harmonies deep infectious grooves. This double cd features Gobbs original compositions while disc B features some tasty remixes from some of the most notable DJ/Producers today. "The Love" is a joyous dance track featuring Johannesburg based vocalist Tsholo. "Thin Ice" is another pulsating tune featuring vocalist RJ Reynolds. "Like A Drum", the track that rose Gobbs name to a broader audience features a number of scorching remixes but among my favorites is the deep house remix from Fish Go Deep. "Time To Rise" receives a soulful house remix from priemere DJ/Producer Sean McCabe. Gobbs had already knocked on the door with his two previous singles. Now with "It's Time" he's blowing it wide open.

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Reg Dancy, 10/17

Double Sided / DJ Vadim

DJ Vadim - Double Sided

BBE

DJ Vadim and Californian songwriter vocalist Katrina Blackstone return following their successful collaboration on "Dubcather" with "Double sided". Vadim's latest release is amalgamation of dub step grooves, boogie tunes with several eclectic rhythms mixed in between. Among the highlights are "Choose" where Blackstone's sultry vocals ride over a wicked synth laden beat. "Stand Up" is roots reggae laced with funky dub echo effects and pulsing drums. "How Long" is an upbeat boogie tune with a catchy melody that lingers long after the song is over. Vadim has delivered another impressive disc full of live instrumentation and thumping bass grooves. Along with Ms Blackstone they've formed the perfect musical combination.

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Reg Dancy, 10/17

My Name Is Nicole Willis / Nicole Willis

Nicole Willis - My Name Is Nicole Willis

Persephone records

"My Name Is Nicole Willis", is the latest release from the Finland based classic soul vocalist. Ms Willis revisits some of her earlier releases as well as unleashing new material with help from The Umo Jazz Orchestra. For their part the Orchestra's added horns and producer Jimi Tenor's arrangements create a dynamic classic soul experience. One of those new tracks, "Haunted By The Devil" opens up with lush horns and strings followed up with Pete Toikkanen's funky wah wah guitar. "Together We Climb" should be familiar to fans. Originally performed by Nicole and The Soul Investigators, this alternate take maintains the infectious groove and bluesy guitar rhythms while incorporating swaying orchestral arrangements. "Still Got A Way To Fall", another bluesy soul burner finds Willis performing spoken word about perseverance through trying times. The Willis, Tenor and Toikkanen partnership knows a thing or two about quality soul music. This sparkling release takes their sound to another level.

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Reg Dancy, 10/17

The Cleansing / Annabel (lee)

Annabel (lee) - The Cleansing

Youngbloods

"The Cleansing" is the new album from Richard E and Sheila Ellis, better known as Annabel (Lee). Sheila's poetic songwriting and haunting vocal phrasings compliment the cinematic soundscapes arranged by Richard and they resonate throughout this disc. There are two themes to savor here. The A side is intimate acoustic folk highlighted by "Paris, Room 14" and "Move With Me" where  Sheila's vocals evoke a peaceful dreamy atmosphere. Strings and instrumentation drive the B side and evidence of that lies in the emotive "Autumn Requiem". "Far" is Avant garde folk and one of the highlights here. This is an intimate and peaceful disc wrapped around abstract sounds and howling classical imagery. A mystical voyage you shouldn't miss.

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Reg Dancy, 09/17

Nubya's 5ive / Nubya Garcia

Nubya Garcia - Nubya's 5ive

Jazz Re:freshed

There's a new generation of UK jazz artists and Tenor saxophonist Nubya Garcia is one of the key players on the scene. She has studied with members of the educational program known as Tomorrow's Warriors and has emerged as a sought after horn player. With "Nubya's 5ive" she fronts a band filled with musicians broadening the scope of jazz. Drummer Moses Boyd is a band leader in his own right and seamlessly keeps the rhythm cooking throughout. With the opening track "Lost Kingdom", Boyd's deft command of rhythm provides a foundation for Garcia and trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey. Pianist Joe Armon-Jones spirited playing is pure delight on "Fly Free". With "Red Sun" Garcia and company stretch out in freewheeling form and the results are pure joy. Whether it's bebop or experimental, Garcia is a rising star who certainly warrants your attention. The multifaceted Jazz Re:freshed label never disappoints and this superb release is no exception. Highly recommended.

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Reg Dancy, 09/17

The Feel Good Agenda Vol.1 / Mike City

Mike City - The Feel Good Agenda Vol.1

BBE

Producer/writer Mike City made his mark in the early 2000s with the smash hit "I Wish" by Carl Thomas. From that point he would go on to pen tracks for Brandy, Angie Stone and countless others. For his latest full length release, he's invited a  number of his friends are on board to lift these impressive RnB infused dance tracks to another level. Veteran Fayth Evans urban edged soprano vocals are the perfect match for the track "When I Luv". The angelic vocals of Teedra Moses float on the soulful house inspired "Been Too Afraid". The mid-tempo burner "You're In Heaven" is boasted by the deep smokey vocals of acclaimed songstress Lalah Hathaway. Additional appearances range from Terri Walker, Maysa to UK RnB legend Junior. The title speaks for itself. "The Feel Good Agenda Vol.1" is certain to give you happy feet and provoke repeated listens.

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Reg Dancy, 09/17

Harmonies / Lord Echo

Lord Echo - Harmonies

Soundway Records

Melbourne producer Lord Echo has built an impressive resume filled with compositions that fuse reggae, afrobeat and latin rhythms. His latest full length release "Harmonies" may be his best yet. There's plenty to savor here right from the outset. "Woah! There's No Limit" is an engaging reggae tune with swaying horns and tropical rhythms. "The Sweetest Meditation" is a gorgeous boogie tune filled soothing vibes and infectious percussion. Both of the aforementioned tunes feature the golden falsetto vocals of Mara TK who appears on two additional racks as well. Two other noteworthy reggae tunes are "Low To The Street" and the superb cover of The O'Jays "I Love Music" Both tunes feature the blissful vocals of Lisa Tomlins. Throw in the afro-soul instrumental "Makossa" and you have one of the more enjoyable albums of the year.

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Reg Dancy, 09/17

The Self / Richard Spaven

Richard Spaven - The Self

Soul Has No Tempo

Richard Spaven continues a steady ascent as one of the premiere drummers on the scene today. He has gained international acclaim through his trademark drumming style, resulting in collaborations with the likes of Jose James, Flying Lotus and others. "The Self", his latest release is a culmination of all his influences, notably jazz, electronica and drum n bass. "Stills" is a atmospheric gem highlighted by frequent collaborator Jordan Rakei's smooth falsetto. "The Hidden Camera", filled with dub step rhythms is a nod to the London club culture. "Greeting to Saud" is a blissful tribute to the great McCoy Tyner is laced with gorgeous synth melodies courtesy of pianist Kris Bowers. A visual album filled with ambient sound and textures worthy of repeated listens. If you're familiar with Mr Spaven then you know his music defies genres and for that we're grateful based on the results. If you're new to him then you're in for a treat.

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Reg Dancy, 09/17

Dilla / The Abstract Orchestra

The Abstract Orchestra - Dilla

ATA

The Abstract Orchestra is a big band comprised of jazz musicians from around the UK placing an emphasis on hip-hop with "Dilla". Their latest release is filled with alternate takes from the catalogue of the acclaimed producer, the late J Dilla. Led by saxophonist Rob Mitchell who mirrors the mixture of rhythms and textures frequently constructed in hip-hop productions. "Fall In Love" brings all the elements together perfectly. Backed by an irresistible drum snare beat and topped off by lush strings and soothing horns. "A.N.G.E.L." is another banger that highlights the synergy between the strings and horns along with lush backing vocals. "Dilla Mix 1 & 2 is a medley of Dilla treats like "Last Donut" and "Welcome to The Show". Mitchell and company successfully capture the spirit of hip-hop and Dilla specifically with a superb LP that will remind you of his brillance.

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Reg Dancy, 08/17

Voyager / Moonchild

Moonchild - Voyager

Tru Thoughts

"Voyager", the third full length release from Moonchild displays tremendous growth from the West coast trio. Once again there's plenty of lush compositions filled with RnB, soul and folk influences. However "Voyager" is heighthen by a string section and a harpist giving this release a fuller sound. Collectively they've penned compositions centering around the varying dynamics of love. Amog the standouts are "Cure", led by Amber Navran's soothing vocals and gorgeous keyboard melodies. "Now and Then" features funky beats from producer Max Bryk not often heard from their compositions. "Let You Go" is aided by gentle guitar rhythms. It's easy to see why this trio has garnered a long line of admirers. This disc is filled with one gorgeous composition after another. Three years in the making, "Voyager" is well worth the wait.

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Reg Dancy, 08/17

Lab Experiments Vol. 1 - Mixin / Cookin On 3 Burners

Cookin On 3 Burners - Lab Experiments Vol. 1 - Mixin

Soul Messin

Hailing from Australia, Guitarist Dan West, Drummer Ivan "Choi" Khatchoyan and Organist Jake Mason make up the organ grinding trio known as Cookin On 3 Burners. "Lab Experiments Vol.1" is filled with 60s-influenced funk and soul compositions certain to get your groove on. Among the highlights are "Real Life Baby", a laid back tune with bluesy guitar rhythms from Dan West and soaring vocals from Emmi. "Wind Up" is a funky instrumental filled with wicked organ rhythms and funky guitar riffs. Veteran soul singer and native New Zealander Kylie Audist adds her strong pipes to the sun drenched mid-tempo "More Than a Mouthful". An engaging album that would easily fit into the crowded classic soul arena and hold it's own. These cats indeed know how to burn.

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Reg Dancy, 08/17

Where Do I Begin? / Profusion

Profusion - Where Do I Begin?

First Word

Kieron Ifill, aka K15 and Emerson make up the duo known as Profusion. K15 has rapidly established himself as a premiere producer with an ear for future soul beats and cosmic synths. Emerson velvet vocals has landed him on a number of tasty projects from labels like BBE to Toyko Dawn and others. Although they've collaborated for years they've finally stepped forward with their debut lp. On the title track "Where Do I Begin" Emerson's golden vocals glide over warm n spacey chords and a mid-tempo beat. "Golden" has elements of drum n bass complimenting warm synths. "Flying" is filled with heartfelt lyrics and soothing synths. This lp is brimming with warm vibes and representive of the quality of British soul emerging in 2017.

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Reg Dancy, 07/17

Inspirations / Dwight Trible

Dwight Trible - Inspirations

Gondwana

The list of musicians Dwight Trible has performed with ranges from hard bop musicians such as Bobby Hutcherson to the late J Dilla. For his latest project entitled "Inspirations" Trible teams up with trumpeter Matthew Halsall on the Gondwana records imprint. The two share a love for transcendental and spiritual jazz and they mesh seamlessly here. On "Tryin Times" Trible's baritone complements Halsall's rich tone on the Donny Hathaway composition. Pianist Taz Modi's tender melodies strike deep emotions on the Coltrane classic "Dear Lord". Bassist Gavin Barras's shivering grooves establishes the overall sound for the group. There are other glorious covers such as "Feeling Good" and "What the World Needs Now is Love". What you need to do now is simply hurry up and purchase this wonderful record. Trible's totally identifiable voice combined with Halsall's phrasing and production will no doubt result in repeated listens.

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Reg Dancy, 07/17

Standing On The Wall / BB Boogie

BB Boogie - Standing On The Wall

R2

One of the pioneers of the West London broken beat scene, Daz-I-Kue shifts gears, relocates to Atlanta and gets into the spirit of the boogie with "Standing On The Wall". Daz invites a superb collection of vocal talent to capture the essence of seventies boogie grooves. Among the highlights are "We Can Do it" a high energy floor burner featuring Vanessa Freeman. "In The Middle", a cover of the seventies funk group Unlimited Touch is an engaging boogie tune featuring Joy Jones. "Tonight We're Gonna" is soaring Disco funk that features legendary Soul and Dance vocalist Leroy Burgess. A splendid collection of soulful dance tunes filled with infectious rhythms certain to get your party on.

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Reg Dancy, 07/17

Freedom TV / Wayne Snow

Wayne Snow - Freedom TV

Tartelet Records

Nigerian born and now based in Berlin, Wayne Snow serves up an array of future tripped out soul sounds with "Freedom TV". Fellow Berliner Max Graef lends his much sought after production skills to six tracks here as well. Two of those standouts are "Drunk" where Snow's smooth falsetto rides over a spacey uptempo synth groove. The other is "Rosie", a slow grinding funk gem that would easily fit into a D'Angelo tracklist. "Nothing Wrong", produced by Nu Guinea is an uptempo dance floor gem that starts off with simmering percussion followed by an infectious bass groove. After two impressive EPs, Snow has delivered one of the more engaging albums to emerge this year.

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Reg Dancy, 07/17

Trudi's Songbook / Ruby Rushton

Ruby Rushton - Trudi's Songbook

22a

"Trudi's Songbook" is the latest release from the six piece London based band known as Ruby Rushton. Reedist Edward Cawthorne wrote and arranged all tracks here and his flute playing figures prominently throughout the disc. "Moonlight Woman" features a mellow groove that's driven by Aidan Shepherd's spacey keys and wicked bass licks from Fergus Ireland. "Prayer for Yusef" taps into the spirit of the acclaimed reedist with Cawthorne's bamboo flute phrasings. Percussionist Joseph Deenmamode takes the lead of spirited interplay with the rest of the band. This is a slow burning experimental fusion of funk and jazz filled with influences from Dilla to Herbie Hancock's "Head Hunters". Cawthorne and company provide plenty of moments that make this release deeply satisfying.

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Reg Dancy, 06/17

Ankhor / Liz Aku

Liz Aku - Ankhor

Sonar Kollektiv

Belgian vocalist Liz Aku has made a name for herself with solo projects and collaborations over the past fifteen years. Now she comes into her own with her latest release on Sonar Kollektiv. "Ankhor", produced primarily by Mara TK from Electric Wire Hustle is a future soul serenade filled with wicked grooves and visual melodies. "Seasons Change", originally an instrumental from Canadian production duo Potatohead People is filled with airy vibes and heavy drums. Aku's vocals layered on top is pure bliss. "Secrets Die" is built around warm Rhodes and Natalia Mann's beautiful harp melodies. "Just What I Need" is the one track performed with a band. Drummer Lander Gyselinck sets the tone and pianist Bram Weijters creates gorgeous melodies. "Breathing Underwater" is one of two sublime duets with Mara TK. Simply one of the best records to emerge this year and one that should propel Aku to a wider audience.

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Reg Dancy, 06/17

Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura Anthology / Various Artists

Various Artists - Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura Anthology

Brownswood

Havana Cultura Anthology", presented by Gilles Peterson celebrates eight years of the Havana Cultura series. The Havana Cultura initiative was founded in 2007 under the auspices of Cuban rum maker Havana Club. He extended an invitation to Gilles to visit Cuba and listen first hand to the emerging diverse talent channeling all genres. It was an easy decision based on the superb compositions presented here. The Havana Cultura Band figures prominently throughout but there are other sterling performances as well. "Espera Mi Gente" is simmering down-tempo fusion from the band which includes performances from Edrey Riveri aka Ogguere and Danay Suarez on vocals. The energy level kicks up a few levels on "Roforofo Fight" featuring vocalist Mayra Caridad Valdes. Jazz and Hip-Hop mesh seamlessly on "Check La Rima", the band's cover of A Tribe Called Qwest's "Check The Rhyme". If this is your first exposure to this splendid series then you're in for a treat. If you're already familiar then you can expect a continuation of the finest that Cuba has to offer.

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Reg Dancy, 06/17

Just / Lo Tide

Lo Tide - Just

Diventa Music

Lo Tide returns with another assortment of the electronic serene soundscapes we've come to expect from him. "Just", his latest release is a contrast of moods and textures. "Sea and Wind" is a blissful instrumental with warm string arrangements. "Heat" is a down-tempo tune that features the sultry vocals of Frankie Uyterlinde. "Shine A Light" provides a welcome shift to a up-tempo number with a measured groove. Lo Tide's sound continues to grow and each release is an adventure onto itself. "Just" has dark moments and bright moments and drenched in emotion. He's rising up the ranks of producers of electronic music.

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Reg Dancy, 05/17

Canvas / Duke Hugh

Duke Hugh - Canvas

Rhythm Section

In just three years, Rhythm Section International has become one of the premier record labels in South London. They're been relentless in debuting an impressive array of newcomers and Netherlands native Duke Hugh is no exception. "Canvas" is his impressive full length debut that demonstrates a deft touch for arranging laid back grooves as well as an ear for melody. Highlights include "Greenleaf", a breezy tune with tasty guitar riffs. "Home" is another mid tempo tune filled with bouncy drums and synths. "Canvas" is a pleasant portrait of Hugh's creativity as a producer. These are tunes you'll want to bring along for your chill out moments. He's certainly one to keep an eye on.

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Reg Dancy, 05/17

Drunk / Thundercat

Thundercat - Drunk

Brainfeeder

"Drunk", the third full length release from LA bassist Stephen Bruner aka Thundercat is a genre bending pot of eccentric jazz infused with funk and pop rhythms. The 23 track release is a journey of contrasting moods, from light hearted humor to dark subject matters. In order to express these emotions he's invited a number of his friends from the burgeoning LA scene to take these compositions to another level. On "Uh Uh" he teams up with mufti-instrumentalist Zack Sekoff and unleashes sparkling bass riffs. "Lava Lamp" is a dreamy melodic down-tempo tune featuring red hot producer Sounwave. "Friend zone" is a upbeat number laced with trippy synths that touches on the awkward position of relationships. Flying Lotus jumps on board for several tracks, most notably "Show You The Way" and "Them Changes", the former featuring icons Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins. Thundercat's virtuoso bass wizardry combined with his soft falsetto and zany lyrics are an adventure to behold, not to mention an fascinating listen.

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Reg Dancy, 05/17

Sunshine / Hector Plimmer

Hector Plimmer - Sunshine

Albert's Favourites

"Sunshine", the latest release from DJ/Instrumentalist Hector Plimmer is a pleasant release filled with soft ambient rhythms, delicate drumming and synths. Plimmer's mellow arrangements project a mood of solitude were inspired by his recent live performances caught the attention of the rising London label Albert's Favourites. Notable tracks include "Sunshine" featuring hypnotizing vocals from And Is Phi. "I Wish" is filled with gorgeous synths and vocals. "Eastern System" is drenched in tribal rhythms, enhanced by the Kalimba. Whether it's hip-hop, jazz or a mash up of rhythms Hector is pushing his music forward and this could be the release that gives him the acclaim he deserves.

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Reg Dancy, 04/17