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
People Of The Sun / Anthony Joseph

Anthony Joseph - People Of The Sun

Heavenly Sweetness

Poet/musician Anthony Joseph's latest release is his first recording in his native island of Trinidad. For Joseph the time is right spiritually to reconnect with his homeland. He has also bought his band along for the trip from France, not an easy task but the results are well worth it. There's much to savor here starting with the opening track. "Milligan" (The Ocean), a heartfelt tribute to his Father begins with burning grooves from bassist and composer Andrew John and vocals from Ella Andall's Orisha. Joseph's poetic words of wisdom dance along side the spirited percussion and horn rhythms. "Dig Out Your Eye" brims with seductive soprano sax rhythms from premiere reedist Jason Yarde, who also serves as producer. "People Of The Sun" is bursting with soca, steel pan, jazz and funk rhythms. One listen and you'll be transported to the island of Trinidad soaking in the sun and absorbing this superb collection of music. Joseph is one of our great story tellers and this album is evidence of that.

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Reg Dancy, 11/18

From The Archives Vol. 2 compiled By Volcov / Various Artists

Various Artists - From The Archives Vol. 2 compiled By Volcov

BBE

Neroli label founder Enrico Crivellaro aka Volcov demonstrated a deft ear for hidden gems with his first Volume of archives. With "From The Archives Vol 2" he compiles another impressive array of compositions ranging from soul to house and jazz infused rhythms. In a crowded field of 70s and 80s compilations Volcov decided to focus on tunes released within the last fifteen years and the ones that made the cut are simply superb. That's evident from the start with the sorely underrated Carleen Anderson's "All That Glitters". This simmering jazz tinged soul burner showcases one of the unique voices of the past twenty years. "On Space" from Ron Trent is a homage to french violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. This dreamy atmospheric gem has a touch of fusion and is heavy on groove. "The Blue Room" from Quentin Kane & Simon Sheldon is an infectious up-tempo nu soul track that gets an elevated remix from Kaidi Tathum. Other highlights include Volcov's edit of "Lawra" by drummer Tony Williams and the soulful beauty "Let The Music Play" from Collective Peace. This disc flows with one supreme track after another. As far as compilations go, this is one of the best you'll hear this year. Highly recommended.

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Reg Dancy, 11/18

Mesquite Suite / Lucky Brown & The SG's

Lucky Brown & The SG's - Mesquite Suite

Tramp

Joel Ricci aka Lucky Brown returns with his third full length release for Tramp records. "Mesquite Suite" is filled with dusty instrumental analog tinged funk. The disc opens with "Lone Heart", a slow burning funk tune in the tradition of the Menahan Street Band. "Justice" has an infectious organ grinding groove layered with sweet flute rhythms. "Glancing Meteors" is driven by funky drumming and tasty guitar licks topped off with swaying horns. A solid recording filled with inspiration from Mulatu Astatke and the aforementioned Menahan Street Band. Lucky Brown's third lp may very well be his best.

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Reg Dancy, 11/18

Cosmic Forest - The Spiritual Sounds of MPS / Various Artists

Various Artists - Cosmic Forest - The Spiritual Sounds of MPS

MPS

"Cosmic Forest", Nicola Conte's latest compilation is a journey into the vaults of Musik Produktion Schwarzwald (MPS). The German label has a catalogue of approximately 500 albums filled with Spiritual jazz composed by premiere musicians from around the world. MPS founder Hans Georg Brunner recognized the wave of 60s spiritual jazz and re-positioned the label to reflect the trend. It must have been a daunting task to choose from this collection but Conte has done an impressive job. The hypnotic "Evolution" is filled with intense rhythms by saxophonist Nathan Davis who lived in Germany during the sixties. "Revelation" is another highlight. Influenced by Eastern mysticism trumpter Hannibal Marvin Peterson's blistering solos are augmented by swirling piano melodies and percussion. The meditative "Soledad" De Murcia" has a Latin feel courtesy of Pianist Michael Naura and vibraphonist Wolfgang Schluter. There's no filler here, just a superb collection of tunes you'll want to get familiar with from an underrated label

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Reg Dancy, 10/18

The Only Sound / Jonny Drop

Jonny Drop - The Only Sound

Albert's Favourites

Drummer/beatmaker Jonny Drop's last solo release "Beat Tape" demonstrated a niche for soulful hip hop infused grooves. Since then he formed the jazz funk band The Expansions where his sound continues to evolve. On his latest solo record it's evident that his growth as an artist has gone to another level. "The Only Sound" is a warm imaginative soulful journey ripe with beautiful vocals, quality samples and instrumentation. "The Looking Glass" is an blissful mid tempo beauty that features heavenly vocals from Sarah Williams White. Grace Walker blesses the soulful guitar driven "Flashlight". "Moon Food" is tinged with psychedelic rhythms and features premiere reedist Tamar Osborn on flute. Drop seamlessly blends live drumming with loops and beats so you can't tell one from the other. It all adds up to an superb listening experience that you'll have on repeat

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Reg Dancy, 10/18

Boston Goes Disco! / Serge Gamesbourg

Serge Gamesbourg - Boston Goes Disco!

BBE

"Boston Goes Disco" is a deep drive into the underground world of late 70s early 80s Boston Disco. Boston native DJ/Producer Serge Gamesbourg shines a light on forgotten tunes from Massachusetts. Among this 20 track release are a few notable selections. "All In Good Time" by Wildlife is your typical blueprint disco number with swirling strings and a funky groove. Gamesbourg's edit of funky bass driven "I'm Gonna Get You" is a highlight. The Christopher Michael Band's "You Make Me Happy" bridges the gap between funk and Disco. Gamesbourg's edits and reworks breathes new life into these tunes. For Disco afficionados you'll certainly find some gems throughout this disc.

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Reg Dancy, 10/18

Both Directions At Once - The Lost Album / John Coltrane

John Coltrane - Both Directions At Once - The Lost Album

Impulse

This is comparable to finding buried treasure. Or as Sonny Rollins said, "It's like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid". I'm referring to the recently discovered recording by the infamous John Coltrane quartet. These are compositions that Coltrane recorded on March 6, 1963 the day before his duet recording with Johnny Hartman. At this stage in his relationship with Impulse he had the ability to come into the studio and record whenever he wanted. The result of this session is seven tunes, three of them untitled. The album opens with "Untitled Original 11383", a fiery tune with Coltrane on Soprano. The quartet is in peak form with Elvin Jones pulsating polyrhythms and McCoy Tyner's soloing provide superb support. "Untitled Original 11386" finds the quartet hitting hard on the Latin flavored melody. "Villa" is a bluesy number with Coltrane recording alternative takes on Tenor and Soprano. What can be said about this quartet that hasn't been said already. Just another tremendous record by one of the best quartets of all time. Don't hesitate to purchase.

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Reg Dancy, 10/18

Backstreet Brit Funk Vol.2 Compiled by Joey Negro / Various Artists

Various Artists - Backstreet Brit Funk Vol.2 Compiled by Joey Negro

Z Records

Leave it to premiere DJ Joey Negro to assemble another enormous selection of rare gems. Brit Funk Vol.2 has dusted off some hidden UK funk tracks from the late seventies and early eighties that will have you searching for your platform dancing shoes. There's plenty to savor from this double lp that features several unreleased tracks. Among the highlights are Eastbound Expressway's "Never Let Go", a late seventies funk groove with a break beat that certainly jump started parties back in the day. "Ease Your Mind" by Touchdown has an infectious uptempo groove and swirling horn rhythm that has found it's way into several DJ's playlist today. "You Gotta Get It" by Congress is another banger with a wicked synth laden bass groove. Eight years after Vol.1 Negro hits the mark once again.

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Reg Dancy, 10/18

Dance Of The Demons / Web Web

Web Web - Dance Of The Demons

Compost

The quartet from Munich follow up their sparkling debut "Orqcle" with another winner. "Dance Of The Demons" incorporates spiritual and vintage Ethopian jazz rhythms highlighted by Moroccan based singer Majid Bekkas. Bekkas, one of the premiere voices of Gnawa-Music makes his presence felt throughout the disc. "Agowu" is a fiery tune that showcases Bekkas and is driven by pianist Roberto Di Gioia's sweeping solos. "Sandia" explodes with rumbling percussion from Di Gioia and intense drumming from Peter Gall. Bekkas also introduces the Gembri, similar to an upright bass on "Marcoc Blues". Tony Lakatos's tenor is a warm presence but his soprano is especially pleasing on the title track. This quartet can not only swing hard but they display the ability to back up a singer as moving as Bekkas. This disc is filled with adventurous tracks and prolific performances and is simply a delightful listen. You need this in your collection.

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Reg Dancy, 09/18

Travel Light / Children Of Zeus

Children Of Zeus - Travel Light

First Word

Tyler Daley and Konny Kon, better known as Children Of Zeus have been in the game for two decades. Daley appeared under the moniker Hoodman and Kon appearing in a number of groups as a DJ, beatmaker and MC. They first met in 2005 and soon after released three critically acclaimed singles and an EP on First Word records. Their impressive full length debut features an array of talented artists emerging from the burgeoning soul scene in Manchester. "Travel Light" is drenched in laidback rhodes driven hip hop soul and the results are deeply satisfying. Daley's smooth tenor vocals are a complement to Kon's hard hitting rhymnes. On "The Story So Far" Konny and Mc Mstr1 trade bars over a soulful hip hop inspired neck snapping drum beat. "The Heart Beat" is mellowed out 70s soul well suited for Daley's vocals and Kon's poignant verses. Up and coming vocalist LayFullStop lays down blissful vocals on "Fear Of A Flat Planet" and "Hard Work" is dub style lovers rock. Each of these thirteen tracks pack a punch and will be worthy of repeated listens. This is a very strong debut and certainly of the best lps of the year.

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Reg Dancy, 09/18

Tradition / Soothsayers

Soothsayers - Tradition

Wah Wah 45s

The South London Afro Dub collective Soothsayers have been enlightening listeners about social issues through stimulating dub rhythms for two decades. "Tradition" is their first full length release for Wah Wah 45s and it's filled with thought provoking messages layered over a thumping sounds system. "Sleepwalking" is inspired by Fela Kuti so having Dele Sosimi on vocals makes perfect sense. "Take Me High" is filled with hypnotic guitar rhythms and features the falsetto of Cornell Campbell. "Natural Mystic" starts out with a warm flute solo followed by hypnotic horns and percussion that will take you on a journey to the Motherland. Overall an engaging record loaded with strong instrumentation and good vibrations.

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Reg Dancy, 09/18

The Pool / Jazzanova

Jazzanova - The Pool

Sonar Kollektiv

There are a select number of groups that can remain relevant despite not releasing an album within the last decade but Jazzanova is one of the exceptions to that rule. Team members Alex Barck, Claas Brieler, Axel Reinemer, Jorgen Von Knoblauch and Stefan Leisering have anything but idle as they've been working on various projects. Their growth as musicians are evident on this release. "The Pool" embarks on a myriad of musical styles with assistance from an impressive group of friends old and new. One of those new friends is rapper Oddisee who kicks off the disc with the brooding albeit painfully short hip hop gem "Now". "Follow Your Feel" is an upbeat soulful tune featuring Pete Josef on vocals. "Sincere" is filled with minimalist synth grooves and features up and coming vocalist Noah Slee. Jamie Cullum's uplifting vocals will pluck your heart strings on the haunting ballad "Let's Live Well". There's much more here to savor and that's no surprise. A Jazzanova album has never disappointed and this one is no exception.

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Reg Dancy, 09/18

Sound Almighty / Nat Birchall Meets Al Breadwinner

Nat Birchall Meets Al Breadwinner - Sound Almighty

Tradition Disc

Manchester based Tenor Saxophonist Nat Birchall has carved out an impressive resume of spiritual jazz recordings, specifically on Matthew Halsall's Gondwana label. On "Sound Almighty" he teams up with Al Breadwinner & the Breadwinners, a reggae group also based in Manchester. Birchall's fluid horn floats seamlessly across the Breadwinners rhythm section that features Vin Gordon on Trombone, David Fullwood on Trumpet and Stally on Baritone sax. Founder Al Breadwinner's guitar rhythms and percussion bring it all together. The ten track disc flows with meditative traditional reggae dub rhythms. Among the highlights are "Ancient Wisdom" and "Freedom Skank". "Amiak Dub" is hypnotic dub at it's best. An impressive collaboration that's worthy of repeated listens.

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Reg Dancy, 09/18

The Lewis Express / The Lewis Express

The Lewis Express - The Lewis Express

ATA Records

Based in Leeds, The Lewis Express pays tribute to the sixties soul jazz trio Young Holt that also featured famed pianist Ramsey Lewis. With recurring members from the ATA label they revisit a time where jazz and RnB lived side by side. "Love Can Turn A Man" is a slow burning piano driven tune featuring pianist George Cooper. "Cancao De Momento" is an upbeat funky Latin tune with a stirring piano intro followed up with spirited percussion from Pete Williams. "Brother Move On" is a classic soul jazz tune that features funky horn arrangements to complement the double bass work of Neil Innes. This is another strong release from the emerging ATA label that will get a warm reception from funk and soul enthusiasts.

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Reg Dancy, 08/18

Music 4 Alternative Souls / DJ Simon S

DJ Simon S - Music 4 Alternative Souls

Futuristica

DJ/Producer Simon S has been at the helm of Futuristica for well over a decade. Few labels have consistently released as much high quality downtempo grooves and jazz infused soulful hip hop during this period. The aptly titled "Music 4 Alternative Souls" is filled with dreamy tracks and thought provoking hip hop that sink into your body and warm your soul. "Looking" is sublime downtempo soul by vocalist J.Mcfysian. Newcomer Georgie Sweet's tender vocals are a delight on the blissful "Half Human". Rapper Jack Jones spits poignant verses on the gritty "Slick". There's some notable remixes as well. K15 reworks "For You" into a lush house stomper and Mecca 83's layered beats on "Beautiful" are also a highlight. This superb release is just a snapshot of the notable contributions from the Futuristica family. Press play, lean back and enjoy.

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Reg Dancy, 08/18

Heaven and Earth / Kamasi Washington

Kamasi Washington - Heaven and Earth

Young Turks

With "Heaven and Earth" Kamasi Washington picks up where "The Epic" left off. Like "The Epic" this is a triple lp filled with orchestral arrangements, a angelic choir and an array of talented musicians from his hometown of Los Angeles. The title reflects Kamasi's view into the world and it's potential vs it's struggle. "Fists of Fury" is transformed from a Bruce Lee soundtrack to an anthem for justice that features Dwight Trible among others on vocals. "Hub Tones" is a blistering cover of a Freddie Hubbard original that features Chris Gray on trumpet. There's plenty of notable Kamasi compositions as well. "Vi Lua Vi Sol" is a soft melodic tune that features Branden Coleman on keys and the vocoder. Trombonist Ryan Porter applies warm solos as well. "One Of One" is another fiery tune that brings it all together. A climatic arrangement supported by the choir, a strong rhythm section and blistering horns from Washington and Gray. Simply another superb release from a rising star who shows no signs of slowing down

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Reg Dancy, 08/18

The Shakedown / Tenderlonious

Tenderlonious - The Shakedown

22a

After a slew of impressive EPs, Ed Cawthorne aka Tenderlonious drops a proper full length album. "The Shakedown" features his current band the 22a Orchestra, a collective of like minded musicians who know how to groove. The album was recorded in one session and the vibe is laid back 70s jazz and soul styles. "Expansion", a chilled out fender rhodes driven tunes filled with spirited drumming from Yussef Dayes and Reginald Omas on percussion. Cawthorne's flute soloing dances over the beat and figures prominently throughout this session. "Yussef's Groove" highlights Dayes prowess in driving the rhythm. "SV Disco" is a nod to Detroit hip-hop group Slum Village. The track is laced with an infectious bass groove courtesy of Fergus Ireland and tasty keys from Hamish Balfour. Tenderlonious had already made a name for himself for dropping infectious beats and heavy grooves. He's steadily evolving into a formidable jazz musician as well.

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Reg Dancy, 08/18

Time Grove Roots / Time Grove

Time Grove - Time Grove Roots

Wah Wah 45s

Time Grove Roots is the brainchild of Pianist Nitai Hershkovits and beatmaker/producer Rejoicer. Joined by an array of equally talented musicians, they've created an amalgation of atmospheric soundscapes wrapped in jazz, funk, and other musical styles. Among the highlights are "The Navigator", where drummer Sol Monk lays down a studdering hypnotic beat for vocalist Shuzin. Guest vocalist Georgia Anne Muldrow sounds right at home on the haunting piano driven "Sattelite Dish". "The Chase After Tomorrow" is a down-tempo tune filled with frenzied beats by Bemet aka Rejoicer and Hod Moshonov plus vocalist KerenDun. "My Turn" is a dreamy composition from Hershkovits filled with adventurous soloing from dynamic guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. This is an engaging release that's filled with pleasant surprises and comes together beautifully. Definitely worth checking out.

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Reg Dancy, 08/18

Free As The Birds / Jay Phelps

Jay Phelps - Free As The Birds

Ropeadope

Vancouver native Jay Phelps began making a name for himself at home before deciding to move to London at age Seventeen. While establishing himself he proceeded to co-lead the jazz group known as Empirical to critical acclaim. With his sophomore solo release the Trumpeter is ready to expand his sound. "Free As The Birds" kicks off with ethereal intro "Of The World" showcasing his warm tone and soft vocals. "Amphitrite's Bounty" is another blissful beauty filled with warm keys. Things get a bit more adventurous midway through the disc when Phelps partners up with some of New York's premiere musicians. Phelps soloing syncs up beautifully with David Binney's alto and the wordless melodies of Emillia Martensson on "Flash". Pianist John Escreet's dazzling flurries raises the track to even greater heights. The sparkling samba tinged title track brims with joy in part due to Nilson Batata's lively percussion and Martina DeSilva's soft vocals. The entire disc is a delight and worthy of repeated listens. There's a lot to like here from Phelps and he's one to keep an eye on for sure.

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Reg Dancy, 07/18

Palmares Fantasy / Sean Khan

Sean Khan - Palmares Fantasy

Far Out Recordings

Saxophonist Sean Khan heads to Rio De Janeiro to collaborate with the iconic multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal. You could say that these two are kindred spirits when it comes to improvisation. Their quest for freedom and being in the moment is heard throughout on tracks like "Montreux". This Pascoal original finds him creating rhythms with the use of a teapot and a pint of water. Khan's phrasings are subtle but resonate nonetheless. Another Pascoal cover. the breezy jazz funk "Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser" features the sublime vocals of Rio native Sabrina Malheiros. Khan's own compositions hit the mark as well. The orchestral "Moment Of Collapse" is draped in wind swept strings and the beautiful vocals of Heidi Vogel. "The Blonde" finds them swinging hard and having a good time. Bassist Paulo Russo and Asymuth drummer Jim Mullen keep the rhythm percolating at a fever pitch and laying the groundwork for Khan's soloing. Inspired by the 17th Century settlement of Palmares in Brazil's Alagoas region, Khan takes the listener on an astral journey that is pure bliss. Khan and Pascoal together are a real treat that you shouldn't miss.

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Reg Dancy, 07/18

It's A World Before You / Kaidi Tatham

Kaidi Tatham - It's A World Before You

First Word

One of the pioneers of the West London broken beat scene, Kaidi Tatham continues to push his music forward with a sparkling new lp. "It's A World Before You" is filled with breathless up-tempo broken beat and nu soul grooves filled with optimistic vibes. The opener "Joyous" is simply that, an uplifting banger laced with jolting keys and bass. "Out Here On My Own" is mid-tempo soul featuring label mates Children Of Zeus. The title track is another up-tempo heater. It's also the only one where he shares instrumental duties in which he's joined by kindred spirit and broken beat stalwart Dego. Together their keyboard arrangements along with Tatham's drum programming shine through. Mixed by producer extraodianaire Eric Lau who knows how master a recording with the best of them. It adds up to a superb recording that will stay on repeat this summer.

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Reg Dancy, 07/18

Wvr Bvby / Wvr Bvby

Wvr Bvby - Wvr Bvby

Plug Seven

Pronounced "War Baby", Wvr Bvby is an eight piece band from Melbourne. Their debut for Plug Seven records is a mesmerizing collection of high energy compositions built around meditative rhythms and a hypnotic horn section. Lead/Bassist Carl Lindeberg demonstrates strong songwriting skills on all but 2 tracks here and allows freedom for everyone to shine. "Magnetic Ruins" is filled with swaying horns and seductive rhodes playing from Phoebe Elsworth who also wrote the tune. "BSP" kicks off with engaging guitar licks from Joseph Orton followed up with breezy flute melodies from Erica Tucceri. The band's sublime melodies steadily builds towards a dramatic orchestrated climax. The finale "And Another Thing" is a ten minute number that follows the same formula. Superb songwriting layered with strong musicianship throughout as opposed to long winded jam sessions. Overall an impressive release from yet another talented band from Melbourne that deserves your attention.

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Reg Dancy, 07/18

Jack Of All Trades / Lack Of Afro

Lack Of Afro - Jack Of All Trades

LOA Records

Multi-instrumentalist Adam Gibbons aka Lack Of Afro's aptly titled "Jack Of All Trades" finds him stretching out across a myriad of genres. As a result we suggest you dust off your party shoes and get into the assortment of grooves he's delivered. Whatever your taste is there's plenty here to get your motor running here. "Reach Out (Talk To Me)" is a classic soul floor burner with a tasty guitar groove featuring crooner Elliot Cole. "Only You & Me" is a funky Disco floor filler that features Alyssa & Camila Recchio. Wax & Herbal are two MCs that know how to get the party jumping and they demonstrate on "Back In Business" and "Take It Up A Notch". Gibbons finds room for a little rock and folk as well with "Over & Out" and "Home" respectively. Gibbon's sixth lp is much like previous releases, well produced and packed with tasty grooves. Loyal fans are in for a treat and new fans will be equally pleased.

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Reg Dancy, 07/18

Y-OTIS / Otis Sandsjo

Otis Sandsjo - Y-OTIS

Wejazz

This is the debut album from Swedish native and Berlin based Saxophonist Otis Sandsjo. "Y-OTIS" is filled with dazzling compositions built around wobbly polyrhythms and electronics. Bassist Frans Petter Eldh, who also produced the album knows how to shake things up end move in an exploratory direction. On engaging tracks like "Yung" and "BOO!", Sandsjo's melodic riffs meld seamlessly with glorious interaction from pianist Elias Stemeseder. "Sun Sun" is another abstract tune that kicks off with heavy beats from drummer Tilo Weber followed by hazy horn riffs and imaginative keys. Each member of this quartet has received their share of praise from the jazz community but they're unafraid to soar beyond the boundaries. This is a creative gem that you shouldn't miss.

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Reg Dancy, 07/18

Waaju / Waaju

Waaju - Waaju

Olindo Records

Waaju is a quintet specializing in Afro Caribbean funk with a touch of jazz. The London based band have collaborated with a number of acts like Ashley Henry, Jordan Rakei and others. Although it's only an ep with five tracks they leave a lasting impression with infectious compositions and sparkling performances. The energetic opening track "Ali's Mall"is filled with pulsating percussion and warm guitar arrangements. It's also a nod to Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure, a huge influence on the band. The polyrhythmnic "Kaolack" has sketches of dub and features sparkling cerebral electric guitar playing from Tal Janes. "Waaju" is filled with spirited percussion from Ernesto Marichales. Sam Rapley's Tenor sax is also a highlight. One can only hope that this is just the appetizer and a full length lp will be forthcoming. It should be a certainty based on the strength of this engaging record.

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Reg Dancy, 07/18