Aaron Jerome - Time to RearrangeBBE Music
This seems like it's taken ages to be released but I think that is due to hearing that Aaron was signed to BBE such a long time ago. I've been really looking forward to hearing it. Aaron has been around for a while now and has been producing some ace tracks/remixes over the last few years. Next year should see his profile explode with this cracking debut album. Some of the vocalists maybe unknown to the masses but most people in the scene will know all about Bajka, Kathrin deBoer from Belleruche, Mozez, Andreya Triana, Yungun and Simphiwe Dana, and boy do they sound good on all their tracks. There is no real point in highlighting any one tune because they are all something special and fans of the Cinematic Orchestra and 4Hero will enjoy Aaron taking things to another level. Essential!!
Simon Harrison, 01/08
Aaron Parks - Invisible CinemaBlue Note Records
On his Blue Note debut, pianist Aaron Parks creates an acoustic jazz gem with cinematic soundscapes of the highest quality. Parks weaves between melodic piano excursions and spontaneous improvising that will captivate any listener that appreciates atmospheric free jazz. The musicians listed here are on the A-list of rising stars, particularly guitarist Mike Moreno. His soloing on “Peaceful Warrior” is spirited and hypnotic. “Nemesis” is a rock infused tune of boundless energy. “Harvesting Dance” is another winner that starts off with a beautiful piano solo before Mike Moreno takes us on a journey of harmonic explorations that is fluid and rhythmic. Drummer Eric Harland does a great job of laying down the rhythm that allows room for everyone to create. Aaron Parks is one of a handful of forward thinking musicians that are pushing the boundaries of jazz. “Invisible Cinema” displays his enormous talent as a composer as well as a pianist with great tonality. Once you come along for the ride of this wonderful disc you will not want to get off.
Reg Dancy, 11/08
Abdul Rahim Ibrahim (Doug Carn) - Al Rahman! Cry Of The Floridian Tropic SonHeavenly Sweetness
Following his releases on Black Jazz Records Doug Carn converted to Islam and took the name Abdul Rahim Ibrahim. Originally released in 1977 on Tablighi Records, the super rare ‘Al Raman! Cry Of The Floridian Tropic Son’ sees him fuse Islamic influenced spiritual jazz with Californian sweet soul. The result is breathtaking with immaculate cuts such as the lilting ‘Casbah’, the joyful ‘Tropic Sons’, the brooding ‘Al Rahman!’ and the Blaxploitation flavoured ‘The Watcher’.
Andy Allen, 09/08
Adriana Evans - El CaminoExpansion Records
When Adriana Evans' self-titled debut was released in 1997 it impacted greatly on the newly emerging neo/organic soul scene. Although her follow up 'Nomadic' failed to spark the same level of interest this, her third set sees a return to form. It features all the traits of her first, strong beats, infectious horn arrangements and of course Adriana's delectable vocal tones. She particularly shines on 'Hey Now', 'Calling Me' and 'Undercover' along with the mellow samba 'Blue Bird In Bahia' and the Latin flavoured 'All For Love', all of which are like a breath of fresh air.
Andy Allen, 03/07
Africando - KetukubaSterns Africa
Fourteeen years and now 7 albums since the first came together, this is a tribute to the late Gnonnas Pedro who sang with Africando from 1996 until his death in 2004. The title song,being his last recording. This album also sees Pascal Dieng of Super Cayor and Basse Sarr of Orchestre Afro-Salsa de Dakar joining the Africando family. My pick is Madilu System who joins Africando for an excellent version of "Mario", which he originally recorded with Franco's T.P.O.K. Jazz. Superb.
Graham Radley, 11/06
After Altamont - An Animal OrchestraAfter 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.
Reg Dancy, 10/16
Aim - Flight 602Atic Records
Aim aka Andy Turner is one producer whose productions I've always looked forward to hearing. Ever since his first 12"s on Grand Central, he's always been a name to watch out for. My interest is because I was brought up in a town not far from where Andy was brought up and still resides. I do remember seeing him at clubs around the area, back in the day. Whenever I have read reviews of his work, funnily Barrow-In-Furness always seems to get a mention and he way well be the only producer in the area making music. "Flight 602" is his third album and proves yet again he is a quality beats producer and serves up plenty of funkiness for prevailing dancefloors, especially with "Birchwood", "Smile" both of which should find a home with Quantic fans. Niko, Turner's wife features on vocals and gives the album a little more depth and variety. This is a great way to kick off Atic Records.
Simon Harrison, 10/06
Ajoyo - AjoyoRopeadope
Ajoyo is a seven piece collective spearheaded by saxophonist Yacina Boulares. Originally from Tunisia (North Africe), "Ajoyo" is a hybrid of rhythms emanating from Cameroon. Boulares cultivated this sound while working with an illustrious collection of Cameroonian musicians like Jojo Kuo, the former drummer for Fela Kuti and the late Martino Atangani, among others. This engaging eight track release has much to offer. "Chocot" is a blistering instrumental with funky horns and festive afrobeat rhythms. "Benskin" features lush vocals from Sarah Elizabeth Charles and spirited melodies from Can Olgun on keys. "The Pearl" is another uplifting tune with soothing horns which also features Charles.Overall Ajoyo is filled with strong yet understated musicianship and uplifting lyrics that touch on social issues. This is a glorious record filled with good vibes that will move your feet and lift your spirit.
Reg Dancy, 07/15
Akli D - Ma YelaBecause Music
Akli D arrived in France in the early 80's after fleeing Algeria. Discovered by Manu Chao playing in a cafe (I wish they had cafes like that around here) Manu Chao went on to produce this, Akli D.'s second album. Songs of our time, told by a modern day storyteller, songs that have an enlightened perspective on global issues that affect us all. Songs like 'Malik' which is the 'never again' story of Malik Oussekine, a pacifist student who died from injuries inflicted by the police at the famous student demonstration of 1986. Rooted in the Berber rhythms of North Africa he also mixes in reggae, celtic and global roots to produce a chilled backdrop to the songs. He's in UK next February but it looks like only playing the predictable 'big' venues as part of a package hopefully he'll be back soon playing a cafe near you.
Graham Radley, 11/06
Al Kent - Disco Love 2BBE
If there is a little known Disco record out there languishing in somebody’s vault, chances are Al Kent will find it. With “Disco Love 2” he has delivered another batch of rare gems that have never seen the light of day. While some of the selections here will not cause a uproar over as to why they have been in exile, there are a few gems that certainly merit your attention. The standout tracks include “I Feel Like Dancing” by Aged In Harmony sounds like one of those frequent Prelude releases from back in the day with an anonymous vocal blessing a funky groove driven Disco treat. “Love Exchange” is the type of up-tempo disco jam that was played in roller rinks throughout the late seventies. “I Think I’ll Do Some Steppin On My Own” is one of the stronger selections featured here. Vocalist Sandy Barber belts out an up-tempo tune with strings that would have easily fit into the Philly International catalogue. “Loosen Up” is another highlight that begins with a blistering conga solo that shifts into a wicked bass groove peppered with funky horn riffs as well. For those who occasionally suffer from the Disco fever, “Disco Love 2” is the remedy for you.
Reg Dancy, 06/11