Music Reviews

Show: New reviews | Artists beginning with: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0-9 | Compilations
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Aystelum / Ed Motta

Ed Motta - Aystelum

Trama Records

I recall talking to Ed Motta about his musical influences following his appearance at the Jazz Cafe a couple of years back. He cited a diverse spectrum of styles from Black Jazz / Strata East to Barry Manilow. Fortunately ‘Aystelum’ leans towards the former, particularly on tracks such as the opener ‘Awunism’, ‘E Muita Gig Vei!!!’, ‘Balendoah’ and the title track. His Brazilian soul roots are also present and correct on the fabulous ‘Patidid’ and ‘Gueagui’. Of course he delves into the Parisian music hall style as he did on ‘Dwitza’, but on the whole this is an excellent set from an outstanding talent.

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Andy Allen, 09/05

Perpetual Gateways / Ed Motta

Ed Motta - Perpetual Gateways

Musthavejazz

For pianist Ed Motta, "Perpetual Gateways" is the gateway between his love of soul and jazz and just so happens to be his first US recording. Motta has assembled an impressive group of musicians, notably pianist Patrice Rushen, drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Greg Phillanganes and many more. Among the highlights are "Hypochondriac's Fun", a jazz infused pop tune reminiscent of Motta's previous release "AOR". Those recordings undoubtedly inspired by Motta's admiration for Steely Dan. "Heritage Deja Vu" is another highlight filled with warm melodic Rhodes and Motta's powerful albeit soothing vocals. The midpoint of the disc segues into the jazz phase and the band stretches out as evidenced on "I Remember Julie". Motta displays his improvisational vocal dexterity while Trumpeter Curtis Taylor's colorful phrasings add another layer of pleasure. "Overblown Overweight" is another delight augmented by Motta's scat singing. Originally known as a pop soul singer, Motta's ascension into the jazz arena is seamless and this recording is nothing short of tremendous.

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Reg Dancy, 02/16

Roughneck Live In Paris / Eddie Roberts

Eddie Roberts - Roughneck Live In Paris

One Note Records

Since the release of Eddie's excellent Roughneck album back in 2004 he's been on the road with both The New Mastersounds and his Roughneck project, doing what he does best and packing out clubs all over Europe. Now is your chance to take the vibe of the live show which was recorded at Le Triptyque, Paris in October 2005 and enjoy it at your leisure. I'm unsure of the full line-up of the band but as always with Eddie's projects they come into their own at a live gig, and if you've not checked out the live show, shame on you. Eddie's second instalment of Roughneck should be out later this year: can't wait.

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Simon Harrison, 03/06

Fiction Jar / Eddy Meets Yannah

Eddy Meets Yannah - Fiction Jar

Compost Records

The duo from Croatia returns with their third album and delivers with an enjoyable disc filled with their signature array of house flavored dance tracks, not to mention some nu-soul rhythms and progressive beats. Among the highlights are ”Mr. Sakamoto & The Forgotten Rails”, a futuristic house track enhanced by notable guest Zed Bias.  “Little Dragon” is a cleverly composed broken beat treat. Yannah’s soothing vocals and Capital A’s low key rhyming style complement each other very well. Add Eddy’s composition skills and you got a sure fire banger that ranks very high on the head nod meter. “Difference” is a nice mid tempo nu-soul treat that demonstrates that their talents stretch beyond dance music and they’re equally adept at. “Nostalgic” is a high energy instrumental packed with a thumping bass and clever synth arrangements. Eddy’s production talents and Yannah’s vocal artistry make a winning combination. As solid as “Once In A While” was, Fiction Jar” is a much stronger record that you need to add to your collection.

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Reg Dancy, 09/10

 / Eddy Meets Yannah

Eddy Meets Yannah -

Compost records

Yet another corking album from the Compost stable and this time it's from Eddy who is half of Eddy and Dus and Yannah aka Jana Valdevit. With a serious amount of musical history between them I always knew this would be good. With a mix-up of Broken beats, Jazz and Brazilian styles and top vocals from Yannah, make sure you pack this for your summer holiday because it'll make perfect sense on a sandy beach in the sun.

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Simon Harrison, 07/05

Overflow / Edwin Sanz

Edwin Sanz - Overflow

Alex Wilson Records

Percussionist Edwin Sanz might be known more for his work with the European based band Mercadonega however he's done far more than that. After many successful years with them he went on to perform with the Cuban Orchestra known as Rodrigo & Gabriel. With "Overflow" his second release as a solo artist he's poised to become a household name. Sanz adds zest to his original compositions and a few covers as well. "Ella" kicks off with a soothing piano melody followed up with Elvin Castillo on vocals "Something About You" originally penned by soul singer Anthony David is transformed it into an infectious merengue. "Eres Tu" is a tender Latin ballad that features Wladimir Patz on vocals. "Overflow" represents the global influences that have helped shaped Sanz blossoming career. This is an engaging disc that's firing on all cylinders you'll no doubt enjoy.

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Reg Dancy, 02/17

Rumba Con Flores / Elaine Correa

Elaine Correa - Rumba Con Flores

Movimentos

On her debut, Elianne Correa demonstrates that she's an talented pianist and composer. "Rumba Con Flores" is an eight track LP is woven by her love of Jazz, soul and Afro Cuban rhythms. That fabric is felt right from the start with "Wemilere", a pleasant tune filled with bata drums and a Yoruba prayer courtesy of Cuban Rumba player Gerardo de Armas and vocalist Manuela Panizzo. Cuban trova Yanaysa Prieto and British Congolese Binisa Bonner are the other vocelists on this date. Prieto sings lead on a number of tracks here. Among those include the standout "Rumba Con Flores" and "Aftertaste", the latter is certainly influenced by Correa's love of soul music and is filled with warm and melodic rhythms. Bonner's soulful harmonies provide the perfect compliment Prieto's vocals throughout the recordings. This is a delightful debut that delivers a slice of Cuba while seamlessly fusing other genres as well. Superb musicianship and blissful vocals stamps this as a must have. Correa certainly shapes up as an artist to keep on your radar.

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Reg Dancy, 03/16

The After Suite / Elan Mehler

Elan Mehler - The After Suite

Brownswood Recordings

After an impressive debut with “Scheme for thought” on the Brownswood label, Elan Mehler returns with the gorgeous “The After Suite”. Elan’s sophomore release reaches higher degrees of sublimity than the first disc. Each composition is rich in harmony and is augmented by the inclusion of vocalists, particularly Becca Stevens. Her phrasing is so soothing on tracks like “Factory” and “The 54th Leap” and each is simply superb. “The After Suite Part 2” is another tune that strikes that delicate balance between powerful and tenderness. “Strange Bird” is a stirring solo that is a glorious display of Elan’s supreme talents. I could go on about but you need to experience the sheer beauty of this record for yourself. Quite simply, this is an absolute gem that you shouldn’t miss.

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Reg Dancy, 09/09

Communication / Electric Conversation

Electric Conversation - Communication

Futuristica Music

A few months back, when I was listening heavily to the Basement Soul compilation, a song that really stood out for me was "Dancing" by Electric Conversation. Unfamiliar with the group, I did some research. I discovered they're from France and releasing their debut very soon. I also found that they're on the Futuristica label created by Simon S of Break Reform. This was clearly a sign of good things to come since damn near everything coming out on Futuristica has been pure heat. With enormous hype already built up for this disc, was I setting myself up for a letdown? Absolutely not! "Communication" is the rare disc that just gets better with each track. Electric Conversation has crafted an excellent collection of soulful hip-hop infused songs that just melt your heart. The title track "Communication" has all the ingredients of hot buttered organic soul. "Vibe Change" provides more of the same as vocalist K-Ro sings lead while Oz provides the vocals on the chorus. Both songs provide that cosmic soul vibe. What's great here is that E.C. have managed to create soulful electronic music that is warm and intoxicating. In addition, fellow members of the Futuristica family like Deborah Jordan and Rep Life stop by to bless the disc as well. Everyone should know Deborah from "Silhouette Brown". Her gorgeous vocals on "In My Mind" take the song to another level. Rep Life lends his superb rhyming skills to the song "Cosmos". Now there a couple of songs spoken in French but the music is so undeniably good that it hardly matters. You'll find yourself nodding to it anyway. Hands down if you're a fan of futuristic soul with a touch of hip-hop and Electronica, you need this in your collection. A must have.

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Reg Dancy, 12/07

Electric Wire Hustle / Electric Wire Hustle

Electric Wire Hustle - Electric Wire Hustle

BBE Records

Every year there is one record that comes out of nowhere and before you know it, that record has become part of your daily musical rotation. There is a strong chance that once you start listening to Electric Wire Hustle, it will become a part of your rotation too.  The debut album from the New Zealand based trio successfully merges old school soul with an eclectic array of nu-soul, psychedelic funk and thick ear splitting beats. With the silky soulful vocals of Mara TK, EWH hits on all cylinders. The opening track “Test The Waters”, has Mara’s expressive vocals complimenting the brooding hypnotic with overwhelming results. “Walk On” is a sensual psychedelic gem augmented by the pairing of Mara and Stacy Epps. The song is delivered in a laid back manner and may lull you into a dreamy state of mind and you’ll find no fault with that “This World” is future soul accompanied by uber talented Georgia Anne Muldrow. While the guest appearances would certainly aid any project, make no mistake this record stands firm on the strengths of the trio. Taay Ninh’s multi-instrumental talents are all over this record as are the trio’s production skills and Myele Manzanza’s drumming is felt throughout. How refreshing to play a disc from start to finish with nary a weak track in it’s path. Quite simply, this is one great record that deserves a space with your collection. As for EWH, the future looks very bright.

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Reg Dancy, 08/10

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