Various Artists - Inside Scandinavia 2Raw Fusion Records
Here’s the second instalment from Sweden’s excellent Raw Fusion stable. It's jam packed with exclusives and tracks that feature on cd for the first time and compiled by label boss Mad Mats. All the big artists and producers from Scandinavian are featured with a range of styles from Hip Hop, House, Jazz, Latin and Nu-Soul, featuring Teddy Rok 7, Red Astaire, Jukka Eskola, Espen Horne, Fertile Ground, Povo and Todd Terje to name a few. Please don’t tell me I need to list any more tracks, what on earth are you waiting for?
Simon Harrison, 02/06
Various Artists - Jazz Biznizz 4Counterpoint Records
Three years after releasing the 3rd installment of the Jazz Bizniz series, Counterpoint returns again with "Jazz Bizniz 4". This new release does an outstanding job of capturing the essence of the raw soul-jazz and afro/Latin recordings that went largely ignored yet still sound fresh and new today. It’s mind boggling how these recordings could have remained on the shelf if not for the good folks at Counterpoint to give them a second life. Aside from the rare old grooves, there are some new grooves that will whet your appetite. There are several quality tracks worth mentioning but prime cuts like "Glass" by Jeff Resnick, a soulful jazz fusion piece reminiscent of the Mizell recordings of the late seventies. “Schizophrenia” is a funky hip-hop flavored jazz track performed by Cirius B. It’s one of the newer cuts featured here and a group you should keep an eye on. Another musician worth checking out is former Fela Kuti percussionist Najite Olokun Prophecy. His contribution here is the mid-tempo afro-beat gem “Honesty”. Other highlights include “A dream without you”, a funky mid-tempo soul groover sung by Lillian Alexander. “Jazz Bizniz 4” has a little something for everyone. If you’re familiar with the previous releases then you’ll certainly enjoy this one. This is a high quality compilation that shouldn’t be missed.
Reg Dancy, 03/09
Various Artists - Jazz CubaWarner Jazz
Ok what I have is a 12 track sampler taken from this series. This first wave of releases, which have not been available in the UK before, will feature Chucho Valdez, Guapacha with Chuco Valdez, Irakere, Los Papines & Ruben Gonzalez and Orquesta Cubana De Musica Moderna. Further releases will include Los Amigos, Cachao and Ruben Gonzalez. The quality is of course superb.
Graham Radley, 06/07
Various Artists - Jazz ToysPerfect Toy Records
It must be more and more difficult to come up with rare and original selections for compilations, so the pressure is on for head of Perfect Toy Records: Marcus Hacker to deliver the goods. Marcus was involved with compiling the excellent Spinning Wheel and Pop Boutique compilations, so he has set his standards high. Here we have a great selection of jazz tracks that will blow any dancefloor apart covering from the 1970’s through to 2005. My favourites include: The Earthquakers "Soul Samba", “Photograph” by Swegas, Orchester Heinz Kiessling’s “Drift” and of course the 2005 anthem "Carrousel" by Hipnosis. Marcus has done himself proud.
Simon Harrison, 10/05
Various Artists - Jazz TravelsHitop Records
Compiled by Casbah 73 this first rate compilation shines the light on some lesser-known jazz gems from around the world and covers a variety of styles. It opens with the sweeping strings and bossa rhythm of 'Consolacao' from Luiz Eca & Orquesta Da Cordas before moving into Salena Jones' rip roaring take on 'Right Now' and the bright and breezy 'Don't Kill Your Fantasy' by Chinchilla. Esther Phillips' northern soul favourite, 'Just Say Goodbye' also takes it's rightful place, as do the mad fusion dancers 'Snowflake' from Ronnie April's Positive Energy and Gerardo Batiz' 'En Fa'. The one I'm currently hooked on though is Archie Whitewater's psychedelic soul-jazz masterpiece 'Cross Country', which isn't unlike Chicago's early work.
Andy Allen, 10/06
Various Artists - Jerome Derrajdi presents The American Boogie DownBBE
Still Music’s subsidiary label Past Due has already built up a strong reputation for releasing super rare or previously unreleased disco and boogie cuts complete with remixes on 12”. Now label boss Jerome Derradji teams up with BBE and selects ten tracks for ‘The American Boogie Down’. Some of the tracks have already been out on Past Due but even if you’ve got them there’s plenty here to make this an essential purchase. Highlights include ‘Get It’ by The Morning After, The Right Direction’s ‘Midnight Rhythm’, Devarne’s ‘You Are Number One’, the P-Funk flavoured ‘Get Up Get Down And Let Your Body Pop’ from Geyship Daviz, DIT’s slick ‘You Bring Out The Best In Me’ and the infectious synth laden ‘Galaxy’ by Visions Of Tomorrow’. There’s also a bonus disc featuring all ten tracks mixed by Derradji himself.
Andy Allen, 06/08
Various Artists - John Morales - The M&M MixesBBE Records
It’s easy to lose sight of all the quality remixes that emerged during the eighties. After all, a new 12” inch seemingly dropped daily or whenever we frequented our favorite clubs from back in the day. We would rush to our local record shop humming a tune we heard the night before as the top DJ’s were making their mark remixing future dance classics. Thanks to John Morales, we have an opportunity to relive some of those moments with “The M&M Mixes. It’s only fitting since many of those dance classics were mixed by John himself. The “M&M Mixes” is an excellent collection of some of his greatest remixes that were beloved by the dance music community. The disc starts out with “Weekend” a huge club hit mixed by John and also produced by the legendary producer Patrick Adams. Another pleasant surprise and no doubt a worthy addition to this disc is “I want you all tonight” by the late Curtis Hairston. And any compilation that highlights classic club tracks would be shamed if it didn’t include Inner Life’s “Ain’t No Mountain High enough”, which features the great Jocelyn Brown. The ten minute dance floor filler still sounds superb twenty years later. The M&M mixes is a tremendous time travel through a important period in the culture of dance music. The dance music that you love today owes a debt of gratitude to John Morales and the rest of the pioneers that laid it down before them. This compilation will enhance your appreciation as well as keep your body moving. After a self-imposed exile that has lasted nearly ten years, it’s great to have John back blessing us with his timeless music.
Reg Dancy, 02/10
Various Artists - Karen P ...BroadcastingSonar Kollektiv
The name Karen P may not be familiar to many at first but listeners of Gilles Peterson’s worldwide show on Radio 1 will certainly make the connection. Karen is not only contributing to the third installment of Sonar Kollektiv’s broadcasting series but she has also produced two tracks here with Si Begg. Karen has assembled this disc to play out like an actual radio show and it certainly works. She has definitely learned the art of “connecting the dots” as Gilles is known for. Broadcasting starts out with the eclectic “Pikku Myyn Laulu” by Moomin Voices. The first half then settles into a folk vibe. A definite highlight would include Jamie Woon’s acoustic “Robots” from his 2007 ep. The bluesy “BlueJay” by Owusu and Hannibal is another favorite that fits in well with the first half of the disc which immediately shifts gears with Tettory Bad’s “Unite”, a hip hop flavored track that features the soulful vocals of Fatima. The second half of the disc continues to groove thanks to the sophisticated soul of Jimi Tenor’s “Spell”. Aaron Jerome’s “Brighter Days” feat Andreya Triana is a definite club banger. This track and Stereotyp’s “Take The Weight” are light soulful house tracks that are pure heat. Karen P shows she has a great ear for quality music of all flavors. Thanks to her, “Broadcasting” is a winner that provides definite satisfaction.
Reg Dancy, 07/08
Various Artists - Kev Beadle Presents Private Collection Vol. 3BBE
DJ and avid vinyl collector Kev Beadle has resided in the upper echelon of respected DJs for over 20 years. So when he started pulling out some of his own dusty vinyl classics for his "Private Collection" series, it gave us another reason to love him even more. Now with Vol.3 he unleashes a delicious collection of seventies slept on tunes you didn't know you needed before but you certainly know now. The disc kicks off in furious form with "Quiet Fire" infused with spirited drumming from the great Roy Haynes. "La Em Guayaquil" is an infectious jazz-rock hidden gem from the Brazilian band Banda Metalurgia. Louis Hayes' late seventies free jazz delight "Little Sunflower" features the engaging wordless yodeling of Leon Thomas. Other notable tunes include "Maryke" and "Samba De Amor". Unless you have direct access to the Kev Beadle vault you would be wise to take a deep drive into this superb collection.
Reg Dancy, 10/17
Various Artists - Kings Of Drum & Bass compiled by 4Hero & DJ MarkyBBE Records
You would be hard pressed to find 2 more influential contributors to the world of drum n bass than Dego and DJ Marky. Obviously the good folks at BBE had similar thoughts and decided to combine their talents in one package. “The Kings of drum n bass” is really two cd’s in one with Dego and MJ Marky each delivering over 60 minutes of uninterrupted music. Dego, known for his ground breaking work as one half of 4Hero brings along that soulful element that is so prevalent in their musical catalogue while Marky’s signature hardcore edgy style is a nice change of pace and is sure to keep your body moving. This is essential listening for drum n bass lovers
Reg Dancy, 02/10