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
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

Jambu / Jungle Fire

Jungle Fire - Jambu

Nacional

"Jambu" is the second full length LP from the Los Angeles based band known as Jungle Fire. The ten member group's scorching sound spans Afrobeat and Latin rhythms layered over gritty funk. They started out by gathering for occasional jam sessions for b-boy acts before morphing into a full time unit. Those jam sessions would eventually lead to a record deal with the acclaimed North Hollywood California based Nacional Records. "Jambu features a mix of fiery up-tempo bangers as well as some mild mid-tempo grooves. "LA Kossa" is infectious Latin funk with blistering horns. "Efori" has a mellow groove with a light touch of percussion. "Bele Bele" is complemented by electric guitar licks and funky horns. Jungle Fire's brand of "Tropi-Funk" ensures you're gonna have a funky good time.

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Reg Dancy, 04/17

Biorhythm / Inner City Sound Clash

Inner City Sound Clash - Biorhythm

Stilnovo Music

"Biorhythm" is the debut album of Eleonora Cutala under the moniker of Inner City Sound Clash. The ten track release is a collection of emotive electronic soundscapes and a melange of moods. In addition, Cutala has collaborated with an array of artists who are in touch with her vision and are superb in expressing themselves through her recordings. The sweet sultry vocals of Jaidene Veda provides plenty of warmth on "The One For Me". "Sunrise To Sunset" is filled with hazy synths, warm vibes and a perfect match for Olu's falsetto vocals. "Forgiven" is sultry house bolstered by the vocals of Dezaray. Cutala's compositions are pure bliss and a sonic journey that you shouldn't miss.

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Reg Dancy, 04/17

Love In Beats / Omar

Omar - Love In Beats

Freestyle

"Love In Beats", album number eight is another brilliant release from Omar. As the title suggests there's plenty of head nodding beats spread across a broad range of rhythms. Part of the formula for the enduring sound is the production between Omar and his brother aka Scratch Professor. If that wasn't enough the array of guests on board lift these tracks to another level. Evidence of that lies in the opening track "Vicky's Tune" where Robert Glasper pushes the rhythm with a burst of piano stylings and Ty adds his customary clever wordplay. "Give My Heart" has an air of seventies classic soul with heart warming strings that features the late Leon Ware. "Deja Vu" has an international vibe due in part to French vocalist Mayre Andrada. While many chase the latest trends Omar has cultivated his own sound and it continues to evolve with each release. When it comes to soul music he is the gift that keeps on giving.

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Reg Dancy, 03/17

Fenix / Azymuth

Azymuth - Fenix

Far Out

One of the crown jewels of Brazil for over forty years, Azymuth returns with their first album in five years. "Fenix" captures their wide range of rhythms, from jazzy fuk to sun drench fusion. Keyboardist Kiko Continentino fills the huge shoes created by the passing of long time member Roberto Bertrami and his energy shines throughout here. Take for instance his spacey chords on "Fenix" which complements Alex Malheiros funky bass grooves. "Orange Clouds" is warm and sublime Brazilian Jazz. "Carumb" is their signature brand of "Samba Doido" aka crazy Samba laced with spirited percussion from Ivan Conti. Longtime fans will be pleased to find the group once again on top of their game.

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Reg Dancy, 03/17

Cage Street Memorial - The Pilgrimage / Carleen Anderson

Carleen Anderson - Cage Street Memorial - The Pilgrimage

Freestyle

Carleen Anderson's seventh LP, "Cage Street Memorial - The Pilgrimage" is the third piece of a trilogy that involves a book and a one woman show. Anderson's latest release is an amalgamation of soul, gospel, and classical rhythms emanating from lifelong experiences and influences. There's an element of her heritage can be heard in songs like "Wade In The Water". While "At The Cross" is steeped in the Southern baptist church. "Upwards From The Ground" has elements of folk and showcases Carleen's vocal range. "There are notable contributors from Orphy Robinson on vibes and bassist/co-producer Renell Shaw piercing groove on "All That Glitters" will warm your soul. Anderson wrote, arranged  and played piano on all tracks here. This is a deeply personal and poetic project that utilizes all of her talents and is certainly her most ambitious project yet.

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Reg Dancy, 03/17

One Point One / Myele Manzanza

Myele Manzanza - One Point One

First Word

Drummer and New Zealand native Myele Manzanza and First Word Records are a perfect match in that they consistently deliver stellar music. Manzanza's latest release "One Point One" is a entertaining live recording at the Blue Whale in Los Angeles. The date is a string laden affair featuring the Quartetto Fantastico String Quartet, as well as Mark De Clive Lowe on keys and many more. "Bar Thing" is a gorgeous tune that begins with a whirlwind of strings and percussion followed by De Clive Lowe's simmering keys. The tune continues to heighten the anticipation before bassist Ben Shepard unleashes an infectious groove that is augmented by the vocals of Nia Andrews. "Montara" is a beautiful cover of the Bobby Hutcherson classic where the vibes are replaced by the violinist of the String Quartet and De Clive Lowe on rhodes yet still captures the warm and beauty of the original. Miquel Atwood Ferguson imprint figures prominently on this disc, specifically his arrangements on the sublime "Atlantis" which features Andrews again as well as MC Charlie K This is the live recording where you envision yourself sitting front and center admiring great performances and absorbing one superb recording after another. This is essential listening to say the least.

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Reg Dancy, 03/17

Overflow / Edwin Sanz

Edwin Sanz - Overflow

Alex Wilson Records

Percussionist Edwin Sanz might be known more for his work with the European based band Mercadonega however he's done far more than that. After many successful years with them he went on to perform with the Cuban Orchestra known as Rodrigo & Gabriel. With "Overflow" his second release as a solo artist he's poised to become a household name. Sanz adds zest to his original compositions and a few covers as well. "Ella" kicks off with a soothing piano melody followed up with Elvin Castillo on vocals "Something About You" originally penned by soul singer Anthony David is transformed it into an infectious merengue. "Eres Tu" is a tender Latin ballad that features Wladimir Patz on vocals. "Overflow" represents the global influences that have helped shaped Sanz blossoming career. This is an engaging disc that's firing on all cylinders you'll no doubt enjoy.

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Reg Dancy, 02/17

Boogie Breakdown South African Synth Disco 1980-1984 / Various Artists

Various Artists - Boogie Breakdown South African Synth Disco 1980-1984

Cultures Of Soul

"Boogie Breakdown" is a collection of the eighties Disco period in South Africa. Compiled by Deano Sounds of the Boston US based label Cultures Of Soul and Dj Okapi, the disc highlights the largely forgotten period and the US influence on the artists highlighted here. The disc features two tracks each from six of South Africa's most prominent acts during this period. "Good Vibes" from Harari features sublime keys and funky guitar riffs. "I Wanna Be Myself" by Don Laka is filled with wicked synths and thumping bass grooves. These tracks could've easily fit right in the eighties boogie era and certainly deserved a larger audience. Cultures Of Soul compilations have successfully explored various rhythms from around the globe and this is no exception.

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Reg Dancy, 02/17

La Sombra / Chip Wickham

Chip Wickham - La Sombra

Love Monk

You may be familiar with Flutist and Saxophonist Chip Wickham from from his funk and soul projects.  Among his various affiliations are The Fire Eaters, a group he formed with guitarist Eddie Roberts from The New Mastersounds. From there he went on to play in the Craig Charles Fantasy Funk band. Ultimately his journey would lead him towards the world of Jazz and a collaboration with trumpeter Matthew Halsall. He would proceed to perform on Halsall's debut "Sending My Love". Wickham and Halsall formed a friendship which led to collaborations with Nat Birchall Go Go Penguin and others. "La Sombra", his debut  is comprised of seven lush compositions inspired by his years of residency in Madrid. The title track opens the disc on a lovely note, a gentle ballad with a haunting piano intro. Wickham caresses the notes tenderly while drummer Antonio Pax subtle jabs on vibes is equally satisfying. "Red Planet" and "The Detour" are rousing pieces. Each are ignited by Pianist Gabri Casanova and fueled by bassist David Salvador providing the perfect canvas for Wickham's rich phrasings. Wickham's bandmates are assembled from Madrid's vibrant Jazz scene share his vision and passion. It's quite possible you'll get swept away by this superb recording.

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Reg Dancy, 01/17

Astral Progressions / Josef Leimberg

Josef Leimberg - Astral Progressions

World Galaxy

If we've learned anything musically within the last two years, it's that the LA music scene has exploded like no other area. Trumpeter Josef Leimberg has been right in the middle of the scene, having worked with everyone from Kamasi Washington, Miguel Atwood Ferguson and Kendrick Lamar just to name a few. With his debut "Astral Progressions" he's poised to make himself a household name. Leimberg has brought along some of his friends who help share his vision. "Interstellar Universe" features the aforementioned Washington on Tenor Sax and embodies the big sound in the form of strings and a chorus found on his recent recording "The Epic". Georgia Anne Muldrow sounds right at home on the cosmic sounds of "As I Think Of You". Other notable tracks are "Between Us 2" featuring Bilal and the title track  featuring Kurupt. You'll no doubt want to hop on board this pleasant journey of celestial vibes and interstellar sounds. Leimberg's compositions seamlessly weaves elements of soul, jazz and hip-hop while incorporating his own sound. Thanks to this wonderful record, his audience is poised to grow at a rapid rate.

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Reg Dancy, 01/17

French Disco Boogie Sounds Vol 2 / Various Artists

Various Artists - French Disco Boogie Sounds Vol 2

Favorite Recordings

This is the second installment by DJ Charles Maurice and Favorite Recordings "French Disco Boogie Sounds". This rare and obscure collection features an array of French and West Indian artists recorded between 1978 to 1986. "Funky Biguine" recorded by French Caribbean act Crystal is a nice boogie tune filled with percolating percussion and well placed synths. French vocalist Greg Smaha's falsetto glides over the mid-tempo "Sunshine". "Talk Me Mam's" filled with seductive strings and soothing keys would've been right at home in any NYC club during the peak of Disco. This is a nice glimpse into a forgotten period in the rich musical history of Nice in particular and France in general. Props to Charles Maurice and Favorite Recordings for their diligence in resurrecting these quality recordings.

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Reg Dancy, 01/17

Anthology Vol. 2 / Brian Auger

Brian Auger - Anthology Vol. 2

Freestyle

"Anthology Vol. 2" is the second installment of remastered recordings from pianist/organist Brian Auger. Once again Auger seamlessly weaves between bebop and greasy soul jazz with enormous results. Auger puts his stamp on jazz classics such as "Love For Sale" and "All Blues", the latter featuring vocals by Julie Driscoll.  "Funky Mama" and the Art Blakey classic "Moanin" find him stretching out on the hammond B3. There's also a number of tunes recorded by Auger's seventies band the Oblivion Express. "Happiness Is Just Around The Bend" is one and "Straight Ahead" is another. The latter is a touch of fusion highlighted by funky wah wah guitar rhythms and Auger on keyboards. "Black Octopus", never before released features  the Herbie Hancock 70s fusion band The Headhunters is another delight as well. There's much to enjoy here so pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine and enjoy fifty years of brilliance from Mr Auger.

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Reg Dancy, 01/17

Mr Bongo Record Club Volume One / Various Artists

Various Artists - Mr Bongo Record Club Volume One

Mr Bongo

Just when you think there are no more hidden gems to be found, Mr Bongo continues to impress us. Once again they have blessed us with loads of obscure quality recordings from their massive vault. The new compilation "Mr Bongo Record Club Volume One" features a myriad of musical styles from artists from around the world. With twenty tracks in tow, there's much to savor here. "Seara De Oxala is Brailian funk by Barbosa. "Fish & Funjee" is African Psychedelic funk from Lantei Lampley.  "El Mercado" is a very hard to find fusion recording from Venezuelan guitarist Alex Rodriguez. In order to get into this club you must bring plenty of funk and lay down some good grooves. All the artists here have gone well beyond that. This is a superb collection that will provide instant satisfaction.

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Reg Dancy, 01/17

Break The Habit / Sophie Barker

Sophie Barker - Break The Habit

Disco Gecko

"Break The Habit" the third album from vocalist Sophie Barker. Formerly a collaborator with Zero 7 and Groove Armada, Barker's latest release is filled with lush compositions and haunting guitar rhythms. Producer Alex Pilkington has orchestrated a intimate sound, limiting the number of musicians to allow the warmth to pour through the recordings. Each of these tunes are a delight within itself. "3 Things" features a searing electric guitar as the perfect compliment to Barker's melodic vocals."Breathe Me In", performed with a full band is a stirring number that will strum the heartstrings. "Let's Start Again" demonstrates the contrast in sounds with synths and trippy drums. Superb emotive songwriting and musicianship throughout, it will be quite difficult to break the habit of repeated spins from this wonderful record.

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Reg Dancy, 01/17

Afrokraut / David Nesselhauf

David Nesselhauf - Afrokraut

Legere Recordings

Producer and multi-instrumentalist David Nesselhauf latest release pays homage to the 70s period in German music known as "Afrokraut" This era fuses 70s Afro beat rhythms and German rock elements. Nesselhauf's infectious compositions pay immediate dividends here. The opening track "Boat Mama" has a funky albeit relaxed groove enhanced by cosmic guitar rhythms. "Come Along Bintang Bolong" features a spirited groove plus vocals from Amadou Bah and fellow Diazpora drummer Lucas Kochbeck "A Route Obscure" is layered with sublime keys and ethereal synths. This is a atmospheric journey that will arouse your curiosity to seek more music from this forgotten period.

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Reg Dancy, 12/16

Edda's Garden / My Trippin Mojo

My Trippin Mojo - Edda's Garden

Resistant Mindz

"Edda's Garden" is mellow soul from My Trippin Mojo. The Leipzig Germany based band's debut recording is rooted in funky horns, wah wah rhythms and soothing vocals courtesy of Sabrina Bornmann. Among the highlights are the laid back "Unconditional Love", filled with Bornmann's warm vocals and Christopher Mengel's psychedelic guitar rhythms. "My World" is a slow burning dim the lights soul with soothing horns. "Nice Grits and Cool Cars" and "One For sue" are funky instrumentals. Bassist Johannes Riedel recorded the band in his analog studio and the result is vintage 70s soul with just enough grit that will transport you back in time. A splendid debut from a band whose mojo will certainly get your groove on.

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Reg Dancy, 12/16

Havana 58 / Bahama Soul Club

Bahama Soul Club - Havana 58

Buyu

The fourth release from the Bahama Soul Club builds on the legacy of their previous release "The Cuban Tapes" "Havana 58" fuses the Latin and Bossa rhythms of the past with the vibrant sounds of today. Some of Cuba finest vocalists and musicians are on board to add a bit of spice to an array of engaging compositions. Olvido Ruiz, the lead singer of the Bahama Soul Club showcases her range on three tracks. "Let God" is bluesy soul and "Muevelo Papi" boasts an infectious samba groove. Sexto Sentido, Cuba's premier vocal quartet shines on several tracks as well. "Meyer Lansky" features the quartet's warm harmonies over a seductive piano groove and hypnotic drum snare. "Tropicana Flight" shows they're equally adept at turning up the tempo on this guitar thumping boogie tune. "Havana 58" is poised to transport you to a musical culture that filled with generations of great music. You'll no doubt enjoy the ride.

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Reg Dancy, 12/16

Down n Wired / Various Artists

Various Artists - Down n Wired

Perfect Toy

"Down & Wired Vol. 1" is a collection of dusty grooves compiled by the Germany based Perfect Toy label. There's a number of hidden gems here for the raw soul enthusiast "Tragedy" is up-tempo funk and the only song released by The Revised Brotherhood. "Going West" is a gritty guitar and organ grinding soul jazz gem. "Chain" is slow burning funk filled with blistering horns. While there were a number of funk and soul heavyweight groups during the seventies there were many groups that fell through the cracks. Thankfully we have labels like Perfect Toy to make sure they remain relevant.

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Reg Dancy, 11/16

Motor City Booty / Amp Fiddler

Amp Fiddler - Motor City Booty

Midnight Riot

Detroit native and veteran funkmaster Amp Fiddler has been a pioneer in the Motor City for over twenty years. The keyboardist/producer's resume includes a ten year stint in George Clinton's band as well as working with everyone from Moodyman to Maxwell. Released on Yam Who?'s Midnight Riot label, "Motor City Booty" is a 11 track dance floor burner that showcases his distinctive sound of formulaic funk and soul.  Among the highlights are "Superficial" filled with soulful dance grooves peppered with funky keys and percussion. "Soul Fly Pt. 1" is vintage 60s soul while Pt. 2 is a pulsating party house groove. Both versions as well as other tracks here feature the sultry vocal trio Dames Brown as well as contributions from Nico Redd and Alena. Fiddler's myriad of infectious grooves are synonymous with the Detroit sound and ensures you'll have a funky good time throughout this enjoyable disc.

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Reg Dancy, 11/16

Living In The Past / Jazz Chronicles

Jazz Chronicles - Living In The Past

Futuristica

"Living In The Past" is the third release from Jazz Chronicles aka DJ/Producer Simon S. Simon has created an array of emotive soul jazz compositions fused with hip-hop beats and infectious grooves. There is much to savor here starting with the opener. "Drift" is an ethereal tune filled with warm harmonic rhythms courtesy of Jon Lloyd on Bass Clarinet and Flutist Rachel Grennell. "Lately" is a sweet down-tempo tune layered warm chords and features the sublime vocals of Nicola Kramer. Potent rhymes from rapper Jack Jones grace the bumpin track "Serious". A blissful collection that emanates good vibrations and warms the spirit from start to finish. Simply stated another superb release from his Futuristica label

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Reg Dancy, 11/16

An Animal Orchestra / After Altamont

After Altamont - An Animal Orchestra

After Altamont

"An Animal Orchestra", is the debut from the London based group After Altamont. The seven track disc is an amalgamation of dreamy folk, electronica and live instrumentation. Founder Stavros Potamitis experimentation with electronics began during his early DJ tenure across Europe. From there he moved to London and cut his teeth with production and sound engineering.  His myriad of skills play dividends on this ambitious record. Among the highlights are "K-Band" featuring Shawni "Roots" featuring Kevin Davy White on vocals. "Yellow Circus" filled with haunting rhythms is spacious and dense. Potamitis's ethereal compositions augmented by enchanting vocals result in deeply satisfying listen.

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Reg Dancy, 10/16

Samba Esquema Novo / Clara Moreno

Clara Moreno - Samba Esquema Novo

Far Out

You can say that Clara Moreno's career as a vocalist was destiny. She is after all the daughter of Joyce Moreno and Nelson Angelo are two of Brazil's most treasured stars.  Clara's seventh lp "Samba Eequema Novo" is a reboot of Jorge Ben's 1963 lp. Among the highlights are a down-tempo version of the  classic "Mas Que Nada". "Vem Moreno Vem", is a sweet duet with Wilson Simoninha. Bassist Thiago Alves haunting bass sets the mood for Moreno's sultry vocals on "Quero Esquecer Voce". The musicians here are part of Moreno's touring band and the familiarity pays dividends. Pianist Joao Cristal imposes a gentle and enchanting sound while Trombonist Paulo Malheiros horn arrangements are sublime.  Moreno not only capture the spirit of Benoir's work but breathes new life into these timeless recordings. Once again Far Out recordings has released a beautiful slice of Brazil that you need in your collection

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Reg Dancy, 10/16