Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career4AD
Follow up to the excellent ‘Let’s Get Out Of This Country’ and once again working with producer Jari Haapalainen. This is Tracyanne Campbell coming up with some of her strongest songs to date, sometimes dark (Away With Murder) and often, like ‘Careless Love’, relationship based but always delivered in that special Camera Obscura way. I love it, this band so deserve to be huge.
Graham Radley, 05/09
Candido Fabre y su Banda - Cubano soyTumi Music
Excellent new CD from Candido after a too long five year absence, vocally some of the smoothness has gone but developed a rawer edge which fires the music onto the dance floor. His reputation as a songwriter has led to his material being covered by Isaac Delgado, Los Van Van, Oscar D'Leon while his reputation as an improviser means he can rip it up on tracks like 'El Granmy'. Very Good
Graham Radley, 03/07
Carlos Nino & Lil Sci -Shaman Work Recordings
Spiritual jazz meets conscious hip-hop. Carlos Nino, perhaps best known for his work with avant garde vocalist Dwight Trible teams up with John Robinson, aka Lil Sci. Lil Sci, also known for his work with the group Scienz Of Life is an underground rapper cut from the mode of hip hop legends like KRS-1 and Brand Nubian. That certainly sounds like lofty praise but Lil Sci more than lives up to it. “The Right Song feat Tiffany Page” has that feeling of lazy summer days in the park. Carlos creates an organic mood on the fender Rhodes that reflects a laid-back California vibe while Lil Sci speaks of the chemistry that’s emerging between him and a west coast babe. On “Circulate”, Lil Sci spreads the knowledge of self, hence the verse “Witness the focus of a man, as greater and wise to last era, he moves with a stealth disguise like mascara, spreading his gospel, colossal so clever, no thank you it’s my pleasure, to deliver great measures of quality all in your microbiology”. Poignant lyrics can only take you so far and Carlos's production is on point to elevate the music. His blend of cosmic jazz works well on the Pharoah Sanders remake “Freedom” and the Dwight Tribble assisted “The Dream”. There are many other hip hop releases that will garner more fanfare. It would be a shame if you were to overlook this one.
Reg Dancy, 07/08
Carlos Nino & Friends - High With A Little Help FromKindred Spirits
Carlos Nino's latest project is an ambient peaceful journey through spiritual music that will undoubtedly ease your mind and heal your soul. Carlos has always been about spreading love and happiness and this project is no exception. Carlos friends assist on all tracks here. The disc begins with the terrific “Thursday August 9 2007”, a warm rhythmic tune that starts out with a hypnotic flute solo. Another highlight is “Friends featuring the Oasis of Pe”. This is the only track with vocals and they only appear at the beginning but the distinctive voice of Dwight Tribble is always a treat to hear. “9 Moons full” experiments with layers of percussion and afterwards you’re serenaded by the soothing sounds of the sea. Once again Carlos Nino enriches us with a brilliant record that explores different musical moods. Clearly he is carrying the torch from legends like Pharoah Sanders and Alice Coltrane by creating music to heal and inspire everyone. Treat yourself to a rewarding spiritual experience.
Reg Dancy, 04/09
Carmen Lundy - Come HomeAfrasia
Following her recent guest appearance on Quasimode’s ‘The Land Of Freedom’ the great jazz vocalist Carmen Lundy is back with her ninth album to date. ‘Come Home’ is a stunning collection of, other than a version of ‘Nature Boy’, original compositions and features players of the caliber of Geri Allen on keys, percussionist Mayra Casales and of course her brother Curtis Lundy on bass. From the opening magical moments of ‘Lost In San Rafael’ Ms Lundy takes you on a journey of emotions with dancers such as ‘Gossip’, the uplifting title track and funky Fender Rhodes workouts on ‘Lil’ Lu’ through to brooding numbers such as ‘My Wedding Vow’. A new Carmen Lundy release is always something to behold and ‘Come Home’ is certainly no different!
Andy Allen, 03/08
Cassandra Wilson - LoverlyBlue Note Records
It doesn’t matter what musical arena Cassandra Wilson sings in, she puts her stamp on each record and makes it her own. That is certainly true on “Loverly”, a collection of jazz standards and blues classics. Many of the titles may be familiar to you like “Lover come Back To Me” and “Caravan”. The latter is an energetic remake that features the hugely talented Marvin Sewel on acoustic guitar. His playing throughout the disc simply adds another dimension to several compositions here. Another example is “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most.” Marvin and Cassandra transform this classic into an acoustic number that is just fabulous. In addition to Marvin, the band assembled here is outstanding. You have Lonnie Plaxico on bass, Reginald Veal on acoustic bass, Herlin Riley on drums, Lekan Babalola on percussion and Jason Moran on keys. With Cassandra you also realize just how closely aligned jazz and the blues really are. She dips her toe into the blues pool on several tracks here but on “Dust My Broom” she dives right in. She takes us on a trip down in the delta on the Robert Johnson classic and the ride is quite enjoyable. Overall “Loverly” is a wonderful record and further proof that Cassandra is in a class by herself.
Reg Dancy, 09/08
Catalyst - CatalystCobblestone Records
Catalyst were a Philadelphia based quartet who recorded a total of four albums together before going their separate ways. This reissue of their 2nd set was originally released in 1972 and is firmly rooted in jazz-fusion. It kicks off with the funk driven 'Ain't It The Truth' before embarking on an ethereal journey with the majestic 'East'. Other highlights include the deep swing of 'Catalyst Is Coming' and the beautiful melody of 'New-Found Truths'. If you're into The Visitors (Earl & Carl Grubbs) then this is for you.
Andy Allen, 07/07
Cecilia Stalin - Step Like a Giantceciliastalin.com
On her latest release, Cecilia takes us on her spiritual journey and rest assured this is a ride worthy of repeated trips. “Step like A Giant” is a fabulous record that meshes elements of jazz, soul and dance while capturing the essence of several Coltrane classics and much more. There are many highlights worthy of repeated listens such as the title track, a funky spinoff of the timeless “Giants Steps”. On “Favorite Things” Cecilia flips the bebop classic into a Samba flavored tune filled with enticing rhythms and infectious grooves while turning up the heat with a sensuous rendition on “Favorite Seduction”. On “My Naima”, rapper Replife skillfully waxes poetic and serves as the perfect complement to Cecilia’s angelic vocals while molding this gem in her own image. The tempo picks up in the latter part of the disc with infectious dance tracks like “One” filled with percolating percussion and “CPW”. Quite simply a first rate release that nails it in all areas and will be one of the best records you’ll hear this year.
Reg Dancy, 03/12
Cecilia Stalin - Straight It UpFirefly
Most of you will remember Cecilia from Koop's excellent "Baby" and "Waltz for Koop" but judging by this album, those two tracks are only the tip of the iceberg. Cecilia is based in Stockholm but has also lived in New York and in both cities she has quickly become a regular at the legendary jazzclubs. Here is proof yet again that Scandinavians are leading the way with 21st century jazz. With a total of nine tracks this is a wonderful journey through the acoustic jazz productions and Celcillia's expressive vocals and lyrics. "Straight It Up" has been compared to some of the true greats of our scene and I cannot disagree. In fact it is so good that it would not look out of place on the excellent Ricky Tick Records, and fans should take note.
Simon Harrison, 03/06
Ceilidh Minogue - Ceilidh MinogueGreentrax Recordings
Well we would have included this one for the name alone but Ceilidh Minogue has deservedly developed over the last eight years to become one of Scotland's most popular ceilidh bands. This is ceilidh with a new twist provided by Gregor Lowrey (accordion) Gavin Marwick (fiddle) Bob Turner (piano) and Al Morrow as the core of the band joined by Duncan Findlay (guitar) Roy Percy (bass) John Burgess (sax) Steven Hawkes (trumpet) and Angus Wares (guitar/mandolin). Really good.
Graham Radley, 12/06