Deep Jazz - Heaven & EarthPerfect Toy Records
Hailing from Germany , Jerker Kluge and his Deep Jazz ensemble deliver a spirited collection of 60’s inspired jazz that would fit nicely in the Impulse or Blue Note library. Kluge, shifting between double bass and upright bass wrote two of the compositions and co-wrote another (Starlings Talk). The opening title track is a mellow modal number that is driven by Florian Riedl on flute and Julia Fehenberger on vocals. “Black Tiger” is a riveting number that showcases superb soloing by Martin Fredebeul on Soprano sax, followed by Ulrich Wangenheim on bass clarinet and Till Martin on Tenor. The up-tempo bop “Red Smoke” also features the three horn players but it’s the work of pianist Jo Junghanss that steals the show. His inspired playing here and on the other tracks is simply breathtaking. Jerker doesn’t break any new ground here but he succeeds by breathing new life into the genre and the result is timeless music that any jazz enthusiast will enjoy.
Reg Dancy, 02/10
Deep Street Soul - Come Alive!Freestyle
The third LP, "Come Alive!" from the Australia based group Deep Street Soul is raw funk in it's purest form. Indeed the ten track LP packs a punch with gritty grooves and stellar vocal performances. The group's main vocalist Mighty May Johnson sets the disc in motion by ripping through the organ grinding funk of "Done Me Wrong". Melbourne native Joshua Tavares strums the heart strings with stirring ballad "The Hardest Part Is Knowing". Fellow Australian Kylie Audist delivers her powerful vocals on the mid-tempo funky burner "Love On Tap". If you like your funk straight with no chaser then you need this in your collection.
Reg Dancy, 03/16
Def Harmonic - All These WorldzBrilliante Records
Milwaukee's Jason Todd, Lunaversol9 and Epicenter are back with their second Def Harmonic album which of course features more mad, yet damn funky beats and quality vocals. Jason's voice is not only unique but he switches between rapping and singing seamlessly and works a treat with Lunaversol9's verse. As with all their previous work there is a real fun factor to their lyrics, and the track this style peaks with is the 2005 anthem 'Spaced Out', a track I've been hammering for months. Having checked these guys live at Cargo earlier this year, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with over the coming years. With 'All These Worldz' being the sound of now, why on earth haven't these guys been signed to a major?
Simon Harrison, 12/05
Defected Presents - House Masters - Joey NegroDefected
It's a bit of a surprise that this is the first go round for Joey Negro to sit in the House Masters chair but he and Defected records feel like a perfect match. Negro has solidified his status as one of the premiere DJs of the last twenty years and his remixes and production credits are too numerous to list here. For Defected records he has assembled a superb collection of some of his favorite Disco classics, deep house gems and some tasty boogie tunes. For starters, if you've never heard of his remix of Patrice Rushen's "Haven't You Heard" you'll will not want to miss out on this Disco hit. "Ride The Storm" is a certified Club banger from Akabu (One of Negro's many aliases) featuring Disco Diva Linda Clifford. The Sunburst Band, Joey's boogie band is also featured here with several tracks. "The Secret Life of Us" and Garden of Love" stand out as favorites. Can't leave out the deep house dishes and there are plenty. "Can't Get High Without U" featuring Taka Boom is simply wicked and Raven Maize's timeless classic "Forever Together" will stir up memories of late night club parties that lasted until the break of day. If this doesn't spark you to purchase then check your pulse If all is well then quickly add this to your collection.
Reg Dancy, 01/15
Dego - Too Much2000black
Dj/Producer Dego has consistently delivered infectious soul infused dance tracks that defy any genre via his 2000black imprint. With his third full length lp "Too Much" the grooves are a bit subdued compared to previous releases yet pack plenty of punch to shake your hips and move your feet. Once again he's enlisted an array of esteemed vocalists to take his compositions to the next level. Highlights include "A Strong Move For Truth" featuring West London vocalist Nadine Charles. "Just Leave it" featuring House vocalist Lady Alma is another foot stomper. Instrumental tracks like "Unknown Faults", "You Are Virgo" and "Ogawa Okasan Said Just Play" capture the essence of the disc with funky extended grooves complemented by tasty synths. This is what we've come to expect from Dego. He weaves various cultures of soul, bruk and boogie into his signature sound that's noticeable from the first note. Prepare to get your groove on.
Reg Dancy, 11/19
Dele Sosimi - No Fit Touch AmWah Wah 45s
Almost ten years since his last release, London resident and aforbeat ambassador Dele Sosimi returns with "No Fit Touch Am". Dele worked alongside the legendary Fela Kuti and eventually became his music director of Fela's Egypt 80 and Positive Force. Dubbed the King of Afrobeat piano, Sosimi's keyboard prowess appears on a number of tracks here. "Where We Want to Be" is a mid tempo groove with infectious syncopated rhythms and tasty horns. "Na My Turn" is another funky number that speaks about rising up to the political corruption in Nigeria. "I don't Care" is filled with tasty rhythmic guitars and percussion. Sosimi's sought out to produce a recording that's not only filled with powerful lyrics that speak to activism but also superb instrumentation and arrangements. He succeeds mightily on both fronts.
Reg Dancy, 07/15
Democustico - DemocusticoFar Out Recordings
Firstly I must warn you... there is a dark, filthy, nasty world where Seiji has trodden and from where he has discovered the East-Mental Vocal remix that is far too dangerous for you to encounter... better we confine ourselves to the project that is 'The Album' as safety is paramount. You may have read that the album is a fusion between Brasilian and Asian kaleidoscopes - well even that is a little misleading. FarOut produce some great releases, of which this is one, but with a clear Brasilian umbrella covering their catalogue, so that's where I want you to position yourselves. This is as elegant as you would expect of Joyce; this is as dramatic as you would expect of Grupo Batuque; and this is as gripping as you would expect of Azymuth. Gabriela Geluda's songs are full of timbre and warmth on all eleven pieces here, 'Grito' is powerful stuff indeed (and perhaps why Seiji has picked up on it and.... lets not go there!). 'Vega-Lume' is the band's most recognisable offering and worthy of its place in 2006 alone, 'Rejoycing' is a great bossa splash and 'Nunca Never' is quirky and jumpy - a sit up a take note kind of tune.. Great. So where indeed does Democustico take the listener? For me, who revels in all things Brasilian, it's a class offering from a great label with ever so subtle touches of tambura, pandeiro, rain sticks, bells and cleaver programming, courtesy of Roc Hunter, providing me with an album that will last and last, and something I am confident you would agree with. For those who need a little more encouraging... listen to 'Pera', listen also to 'Brasil' and tell me I'm wrong!
Steve Williams, 11/06
Dennis Ferrer - The World As I See ItDefected Records
For the south Bronx resident whose days in production started out with Damon Wild as techno producers back in the early nineties, the shape of Dance music today has developed many changing faces since Dennis's first release. In that time his growth as an in demand producer is of itself testimony to his longevity within a rather fickle industry, but also of his ability to turn his hand at off loading successive dance floor gems of great strength; both in quality and lyrical profoundness and classy with mass appeal; as reflected in his work to date. His God given talents also display in various ways parts of who he is now, what he's grown up on by way of music from many Black artist's of the seventies through to a foray of influences from electronic dance of the eighties as well as dabbling with many West African Hi life sounds that have so complemented much of his classic works of the late nineties and beyond. Capturing all of the aforementioned elements and more is where is his debut double long player for King Street records comes in, so much so that a timely UK home for its release on Defected records was without question a must. For every track written and produced by Dennis bar a few co-written numbers, his skill for writing songs be it on the r & b crooning of "I Can't Imagine", the Philadelphia enthused resonance of "Change The World" featuring Karlon Brooks Sr., or the accolades of poetical reasoning that is "Underground Is My Home", or the gospel-leanings of "How Do I Let Go" and "Run Free" reveal that speaking from the heart is the key to Ferrer's success. It's having a conscious to speak about the things that matter combined with a key bass line of simplicity that have made the status of the rather emotive opening cut 'Church Lady' the pinnacle of club hits of all the major dance floors around the world. From start to finish each track stands up for itself with a voice that has much to say as the booming bass driven beats of 'P 2 Da J' suggests, also the sublime techno and Afro tribal injections of 'Transitions' favoured by many DJ's it blurred the lines of all house genres, just like the infectious organ thrills of 'Son Of Raw' a rampant foot stomp of a tune if ever there was such a template to hold up. Bonus cuts on CD are classic bullet tracks, no fillers but pure thrillers on this totally competent and impressive offering. It may be the world as Ferrer sees it but when others can see where you are coming from and share your sentiments things can only keep getting better for him and his fans.
Marcia Carr, 04/07
Diamond District - In The RuffOddisee Music
The cover of Diamond District’s new album displays an abstract picture of the White House but there lies a world that while only a few miles away feels like light years away for the people who live in it. Fortunately for us we have three guys from the DC area to wax poetic on their city the way they see it. Diamond District is the brainchild of rapper/producer Oddisee along with members X.O and YU. Together they represent the nation’s capitol with raw uncut hip-hop with “In the ruff”. Oddisee adeptly blends gritty beats with soulful grooves while providing tales of life in the district (Washington D.C.) and the obstacles to rise above it. All three members display great chemistry and their rhyming skills are definitely on point as they trade verses off one another. The opening track “Streets won’t let me chill” is about man’s struggle to stay on the straight path without succumbing to negative elements around him. “I mean business” is an absolute banger that utilizes the Gang Starr classic “Mass Appeal” with great results. The title track “In the Ruff” serves as a reminder to the crew to never give up their quest to live the high life. Overall, “In the ruff” deserves an A for hard hitting beats, supreme production by Oddisee and thought provoking lyrics. If you like that boom bap hip-hop in the mode of Pete Rock or J Dilla then this cd is definitely for you.
Reg Dancy, 10/09
Dick Gaughan - Gaughan Live! at the Trades ClubGreentrax
A venue and artist who are perfectly suited with Dick always closing his autumn tour of England and Wales with a date at this famous Hebden Bridge venue. Starting with Si Kahn’s ‘What You Do With What You’ve Got’ followed by Brian McNeil’s ‘No Gods’ there’s 13 tracks in all ending with Dick’s own ‘Both Sides The Tweed’. Inspiring.
Graham Radley, 06/08