Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective - WatinaCumbancha
This is an excellent CD featuring an exciting collection, covering all ages, of musicians from the Garifuna communities. The Garifuna, people originated when two European ships, filled with West African slaves sunk off the coast of the Caribbean island of St. Vincent in 1635. Many of the slaves survived and mixed with the locals creating a new culture. They then resisted European colonization, and were forcibly exiled to the Caribbean coast of Central America. More recently that culture has come under threat from lots of external influences but Andy Palacio has proved to be an exception to this sad situation. Raised in the Garifuna stronghold of Barranco, Belize, Palacio wassurrounded by music and other traditions. This CD celebrates that wonderful heritage and the African influences of this music which sits happily alongside Cape Verdean as an example of emotional music delivered and played beautifully.
Graham Radley, 04/07
Anita Wardell - Kinda BlueSpecific Jazz
Follow up to the excellent ‘Noted’ this is another classy jazz release with every one of the ten tracks having blue(s) in the title but all having a different musical aspect. Her vocals flow easily and adventurously into and around the songs with an excellent band including Robin Aspland, Jeremy Brown, Steve Brown and Tristan Mailliot.
Graham Radley, 06/08
Annabel (lee) - The CleansingYoungbloods
"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.
Reg Dancy, 09/17
Anne Wirz - InfiniHeavenly Sweetness
'Infini' is the debut album from Parisian based jazz vocalist Anne Wirz. She's backed in the main by a trio (piano/Fender Rhodes, bass and drums) on this largely self penned set, much of which is sung in French. For me though it's the covers which she excels on such as Sathima Bea Benjamin's 'Music' and her amazing interpretations of 'Maiden Voyage' and the Carlos Garnett/Norman Connors jazz-dance classic 'Mother Of The Future'.
Andy Allen, 01/08
Anonamas - Truth Thru FictionInfinite Soul Music
“Come on, clap your hands” Anonamas ask… and by close of play that truly is the order of the day to this majestic neo soul album. Beats are strong; rhythms gripping and lyrics thought provoking enough to rank this album high amidst its peers in 2006. For heads bouncing around labels Tru Thought; BBE; Stones Throw and to artists floating around the Mitsu the Beats; Madlib; Ndambi waters will find comfortable refuge here. This sometimes hypnotic collection of ideas comes across as a tried and tested sound rather than the fact of it being a brand new project. Subtle grooves and vocals clarity pull together music for today with maximum impact. There's no weak links here, proud work by anyone's standards. Watch out, for they will not lie unnoticed. Particular monsters come by way of 'Africa' an almost N'Dambi wonder, ‘Soul Stir feat. C.J. Phelps' a jazz undercurrent and scat head-nodder, and the anthem that is ‘The Hustle', contender for track of the year – but fear not, Truth Thru Fiction is a whole album with many segments all of which exceptional. This perhaps stamps as testament to the wonder that is MySpace, for without we would not be here with this album having so much joy.
Steve Williams, 11/06
Anthony Hamilton - Ain't Nobody Worryin'So So Def
The gravely voiced modern soul man Anthony Hamilton impressed with tracks such as "Since I Seen't You" (whatever that means) and "My First Love" from his "official" debut album "Comin' From Where I'm From" (So So Def 2003). "Ain't Nobody Worryin" continues in a similar vein and whilst there's nothing to quite compare to the aforementioned cuts I bring it to your attention for "The Truth", a wonderful low slung sexy groove. Also worthy of note is the socially conscious title track, co-written and produced by Raphael Saadiq. Hamilton's southern roots really shine through on this one.
Andy Allen, 02/06
Anthony Joseph - People Of The SunHeavenly 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.
Reg Dancy, 11/18
Anthony Joseph - TimeHeavenly Sweetness
Time is the 4th studio album for soul poet Anthony Joseph. Produced by Meshell Ndegeocello and backed by a new band, this new project sees Anthony making a shift from the Afro-funk sound he was creating with his Spasm Band. The sound is still soulful and jazzy but takes more of a back seat in supporting the poetry and is particularly effective on the low slung space funk of Hustle To Live which has a killer popping bass line, the ambient Shine and Joy, a tasty slab of Jazz-Funk.
Andy Allen, 02/14
Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band - Leggo De LionKindred Spirits
Anthony Joseph was a new name to me but he's been on the scene for a number of years. Joseph is an author of two poetry collection cds and also has just released the novel "The African Origins of UFOs". Lyrically this is an intense album which requires your full attention. Daydream for a second and you'll be lost, then you're back to the rewind button, to start again. Driving in whilst listening to this became rather fun and games because I must have listened to this four times over. The jazz soundtrack by The Spasm Band is just perfect, with a real feel of the 70s and Strata-East or Impulse classics, to ensure this is essential for your collection.
Simon Harrison, 04/07
Anthony Smith's Trunk Fulla Funk - Life as We Know ItTerrestrial Records
As I was listening to “Trunk Fulla Funk” I was left wondering what size trunk Athony Smith is actually referring to. Certainly there are moments when Anthony Smith and his band are grooving but its never enough to hold your interest. “That What It Do” is a nice midtempo cut and “Marching Orders” is easily the best track on the disc. The band really tears into this one and Anthony Smith provides impassioned Rhodes work. However tracks like “Funk Out With Your Junk Out” and “You got Mopped” were uninspiring at best. Most of the selections here feel more like pop tunes and are simply lacking that groove to make you move. This is certainly worth listening to but I can’t promise that you’ll want to keep listening after that.
Reg Dancy, 08/08