Various Artists - 12 inches of PleasureBBE Records
BBE strikes again with 12 inches of pleasure, the compilation featuring previously unreleased remixed vinyl records that you probably wanted but was unable to get before now. The third installment in this series is a diverse collection that includes some soulful grooves and blazing house tracks that are certain to move your feet and lift your spirits. The disc jumps off with Nick Van Gelder’s “Brighter Star”, an organic jazz flavored soulful beauty that features the underrated Marcia Arnold on vocals. J-Live comes out fired up on the Katalyst track “Killing Ya Self”. In addition to that we have the Abicah Soul remix of ultra talented percussionist Luisito Quintero’s “Music for Gong Gong”. Roy Ayers “Brand New Feeling” continues to receive new life after sitting in the vaults for almost twenty years. It re-emerged on the BBE Ubiquity Remixed album a few years ago and has become a favorite of many ever since. The sting international controversy mix transforms what was a sexy seductive slow burner into a percolating house track. It can’t be overstated the tremendous work that BBE has done in reviving not only the obscure 12” vinyl but the other compilations released this year as well. Don’t sleep, you’re going to really enjoy this one.
Reg Dancy, 12/09
Various Artists - 20+ years rooted in jazznotjazzINFRACom
Jan Henning and the late Name Vaughn shared a vision for cutting edge genre bending music. Together they sought to create a home where up and coming musicians would have the freedom to create compositions as their vision sees fit. With the birth of the Germany based INFRACom, consider their mission accomplished. "20+ years rooted in Jazznotjazz" isn't embedded in one particular genre but a myriad of musical styles. This compilation features a number of artists who've contributed to their impressive catalog over the years. Jan's love for electronica is evident on the self produced drum n bass banger "Megashira". "Reicht" is a funky number filled with wicked synths and broken beats. When it comes to Jazz fusion, "Celebration Of Life" is as good as it gets. This twelve minute gem is highlighted by superb ensemble playing, particularly on trumpet and blissful melodies and rhythms. Vocalist Mediha Rustempasic joins Re:jazz to create soulful bliss on "Love Will Find You". What started as a labor of love has morphed into one of the most important independent labels today. A deeply satisfying record that you shouldn't miss.
Reg Dancy, 11/14
Various Artists - 25 Years of Mr BongoMr Bongo
What started out as a small record store in London quickly emerged as one of the most influential record labels on the scene today. Mr Bongo, founded by David Buttle served as the lone supplier of early hip-hop that emerged from the states. In addition they became known as the source for hard to find Latin and Brazilian music. They steadily grew from there and found residency in Tokyo before finally settling in Brighton. "25 Years of Mr Bongo" celebrates the old and the new. From the storied legacy of hard to find Brazilian music to fresh sounds and new talents. Some of those timeless treasures include the sublime rhythms of "Carolina Carol Bela" from Jorge Ben & Toquinho and "Heaven" from Ebo Taylor. Future classics include the funky grooves and African rhythms of Blo's "Chant To Mother Earth" and "Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser" from Quarteto Em Cy. The hypnotic beat patterns of "Boa Noite" by Karol Conka represent the future of Brazilian hip-hop. For a trip into hip-hop's storied past look no further than The Incredible Bongo Band's classic "Apache. The wicked electric guitar riffs and the spirited percussion still resonates today. With one eye on the past and the other on the future, Mt Bongo continues to be a trailblazer for all manners of universal music.
Reg Dancy, 03/15
Various Artists - 4Hero ...MixingSonar Kollektiv
The third release in a series of mixing compilations from the Jazzanova label. Dego of 4Hero takes us on a musical journey with an assortment of funk, soul and hip-hop classics from the seventies to the present. Classics like Patrice Rushen’s “Message In The Music” fit nicely along side Georgia Anne Muldrow’s “Blackman”. Dego takes it back to the electronic synth era of the eighties with Two Sisters “High Noon”. He follows that up with a track he produced himself, Face’s “Act Like All Is Right”. Other highlights is the sound of Detroit that is sprinkled throughout this disc by the likes Dabrye, Wajeed and the late J. Dilla. The one downside to this disc is that the total time of forty two minutes feels like a tease when it comes to the end. This is one minor quibble to an otherwise entertaining cd. A disc that manages to relive many moments in the evolution of black music.
Reg Dancy, 02/08
Various Artists - A Slice Of Paradise Vol.1Fusionova021 Records
Inspired by the parties held at beach bar Xiringuito in Playa Del Postiguet, Alicante, Spain, this 5 CD package features mixes from a selection of DJs who have graced it's decks. With offerings from Biggabush, Nick Matthews, Gav Smith, Ben Mono and resident (and the man behind Fusionova021 Records) Enrique Domenech, you know this is going to be tasty. Nick Matthews' selection features the Yam Who? remixes of Alison Crockett's 'UR' and Amp Fiddler's 'Dreamin' along with the brilliant 'Nocturne' from David Borsu and Sidewinder's 'The Adventure [Version #2]'. Intuit's 'Crianca Das Ondas', Mojo Project's 'Where Is The Butterfly [Break Reform Mix]' and Break Reform's own 'Medusa [Dynamic Syncopation Mix]' turn up on Enrique's mix. It's the Gav Smith disc which is my favourite though, with tracks from his own Pantone label like Jazztronik's 'Froro' and 'In The Morning' by Jafrosax feat Vikter Duplaix. There's also the Spiritual South mixes of Paul Murphy's 'Jazz Room' and 'Veja O Sol' from A Bossa Electrica, plus Antonio Ocasio's 'Blessed'. I've never been to Xiringuito but if this is the sort of stuff they're playing then I think I need to pay a visit and taste a slice of paradise for myself.
Andy Allen, 10/05
Various Artists - Abstract Blue Recordings Vol.1Abstract Blue Recordings
I believe this will be the last release on this excellent and constant label, and what a way to finish its reign of everything soulful. Here is a mix of unreleased and essential tracks from the back catalogue. Of course Break Reform appears, but here are the essential remixes by Domu, Unknown Quality and Yam Who? Nanar sounds so, so good on unreleased tracks with Low Budget Soul, Kamara and the classic, but rare, Aztec Productions. Other tracks worth mentioning are Low Budget Soul featuring Marcia Escoffery and the Break Reform remix of Alison Evelyn's 'Found A New Thing'. This may be the end of Abstract Blue, but Simon S and collective will be back with new label Futuristica very soon: roll on 2006.
Simon Harrison, 03/06
Various Artists - African Reggae: PutumayoPutumayo
Tracks from Cote d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, South Africa, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Guinea-Bissau. Ba Cissoko with Tiken Jah Fakoly give us the sweet melodic side of reggae with ‘On Veut Se Marier’ while Majek Fashek’s ‘Man Of Sorrow’ has a real feel of Marley. Very good.
Graham Radley, 02/09
Various Artists - Afro Rock Vol.1Strut Records
Once again the folks at Strut records have dug up and dusted off a hidden gem. Afro Rock Vol.1 features hard to find music out of East Africa from the 60’s and 70’s. Originally released on Duncan Brooker’s Kona label in 2001, the music will now have a wider audience to educate on just how prominent the soul and funk scene was in the Motherland. Some of the talent to emerge during that scene is Gerado Pinto. Known as the Nigerian James Brown, Gerado and The Heartbeats bring the funk on the energetic organ grinding “Heavy Heavy Heavy”. On “Africa”, they bring the tempo down considerably and create a spirited jazz inspired gem. “Mebala” is a mid-tempo guitar driven funk track that is reminiscent of prominent rhythm sections of that era. Overall “Afro Rock Vol. 1” is an entertaining polyrhythmic blend of Afican rhythms and seventies soul influences. This is essential World music that shouldn’t be missed.
Reg Dancy, 08/10
Various Artists - Americana Rock Your Soul Vol 2BBE
Zaf Chowdhry and Mark Taylor, soul music connoisseurs return with their second installment of the "Americana - Rock Your Soul" series. Volume two continues with another collection of rare unreleased material from the 70's and 80's. Just like Vol.1 there are a few hidden gems, however this collection is a bit more upbeat and engaging than Vol.1. That's quite evident by the opening track "There's A New Group In Town", by A Breakaway. "Vaya Mulata" by Luc Cusineau is laid back funk with a stirring touch of the Wah Wah guitar. "Give It To You" is sweet atmospheric Disco by RCR. Jaye P. Morgan delivers a smooth ballad with an eighties vibe complete with soothing vocals and synths on "Here Is Where Love Belongs". Overall this is a much more enjoyable set than Vol.1. While they're aren't any knockout tracks, there's enough to keep you entertained for the journey through the archives of the Black American songbook.
Reg Dancy, 03/14
Various Artists - Americana-Rock Your SoulBBE
BBE has been very busy dropping a number of quality compilations and there are many that demand your immediate attention, “Blued Eyed Soul and Sounds from The Land of The Free” however isn’t one of them. This compilation of soft rock and soulful grooves courtesy of Zafar Chowdhry and Mark Taylor provides a few moments of enjoyment starting with Eric Tagg’s “Living off the Love” and Tender Leaf’s “Coast to Coast” which features a nice falsetto voice floating over a nice rhythm guitar and keys. In addition, Midnight Flyer’s “I Just Want To Love You” is a nice soft rock soul tune would’ve been spiced up if left in the hands of, say Shuggie Otis, of whom it reminded me of. Instead it starts out with a little fire and fades with a fizzle. After that you’re left with tunes like “Can’t Hide Love” by Jaye P. Morgan that will make no one forget the EWF original. “I Got the Feelin’” is symbolic of most of the tracks here: a mediocre soulful pop tune with good intentions but doesn’t have the grooves that will make you want to play it again. I got the feeling that if you’re looking for quality soulful sounds you will find plenty of alternatives within the BBE catalogue that will live up to the billing.
Reg Dancy, 10/11