Music Reviews

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Girl and Robot with Flowers / Greg Foat Group

Greg Foat Group - Girl and Robot with Flowers

Jazzman

With their second lp, The Greg Foat group display their musical horizons by playing a number of styles; composing modal jazz compositions as well as cosmic jazz inspired funk.  Although there are twelve tracks “Girl and Robot with Flowers” features six alternate takes of the title track with each piece taking on a life of it’s own.  Part 1 is an atmospheric jazz piece that features Rob Mach on Sax.  The band stretches out on Part 3 & 4; the former is a scorching funk tune with bassist Phil Achille laying down a hearty groove. Before you know it Part 3 eases into Part 4, changing tempo and shifting into mellow funk with spacey soundscapes.  Some of the best moments occur on the two featured ballads.  “For a Breath I Tarry” is a warm ethereal tune highlighted by Rob Mach’s melodic soloing  while “Blues for Lila” is a warm emotive tune that features Greg in a trio setting.  The Greg Foat Group eliminate any thoughts of a sophomore slump with another impressive lp and another golden nugget from Jazzman records.

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Reg Dancy, 03/13

Lights From The Inside / Gregor Treshor

Gregor Treshor - Lights From The Inside

Break New Soil Recordings

Frankfurt’s own Gregor Treshor has been at the forefront of the techno scene ever since his 2005 hit “Still EP”. Based on his latest release, “Lights From The Inside” the thirty year old DJ appears poised to build on that success.  Treshor’s thirteen track release features tunes that are more groove influenced than his previous release but the results are more than satisfying. Among the highlights is the title track, led by a hypnotizing yet gorgeous melody. “Black To Zero” stands out in part due to its wicked bass line and “Echelon”, complete with warped out chords will be a definite crowd pleaser for rave audiences. With quality production and well written tracks, “Lights From The Inside” will no doubt please his fans and solidify Gregor’s status as a first rate techno DJ/producer.

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Reg Dancy, 05/11

Dream Come True / Gregory Charles Royal

Gregory Charles Royal - Dream Come True

Celeste

Originally released in 1979 jazz trombonist Gregory Charles Royal’s super rare ‘Dream Come True‘ finally gets a reissue. The in-demand up-tempo waltz ‘Dancer’ did make an appearance over ten years ago on the dubious looking compilation ‘A Good Example Of What It Is’ on Higher Learning Records but it’s great to have it again on a quality pressing. The said track is nothing short of exquisite and definitely the standout here, but not to be overlooked is the funky title track and the melancholy ‘For You’ on which Gregory provides some fragile vocals.

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Andy Allen, 09/08

A Life of Consummate Ease / Gripper

Gripper - A Life of Consummate Ease

ATIC Records

‘A Life of Consummate Ease’ comes to us on ATIC Records, the label set up by Andy Turner (better known as Aim) upon leaving Grand Central, and the influence of both Aim and the wider Grand Central stable is heard throughout Gripper’s music. This is to say that there is a plethora of styles and sounds at work on this album and you never quite know what’s coming next. ‘The Interpreter’, for example, is a frantic trumpet blast of Latin Jazz, whilst ‘Zombie’ is a bouncing, Trackmode-esque slab of synth-house and ‘Backwater Prophet’ takes up Rae & Christian’s instrumental Hip-Hop mantle. Amazingly, though, the quality is consistent right across the board and so it is this impressive variety that is the making of this album. For me, the high point is the return of Niko, another Grand Central stalwart, putting in a powerful performance when providing vocals on ‘The Daddy’.

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Tom Breslin, 10/08

Eternal Development / Grooveman Spot a.k.a. DJ Kou-G

Grooveman Spot a.k.a. DJ Kou-G - Eternal Development

Jazzy Sport

The formula: a hearty helping of expertly crafted beats - one-part classic Hip Hop, one part Broken Beat - with a sprinkling of highly talented vocalists. How could the man go wrong? Well, he doesn't! Japan's Grooveman Spot is on top of his game here, layering squelching synths and soulful keys over crisp, snapping beats that vary in tempo and form, but never in quality. Some are head-nodding instrumentals, some are full-on fodder for a discerning dance floor ('Rude Fantastic'), and others are graced by star turns from the likes of Count Bass D, Grap Luva, O.C., Jack Davey and Capital A. Of particular note, is the Dilla-esque 'Turn It Up' featuring M.E.D. and 'My Mind', which introduces - to me at least - skilled Japanese rappers, Hunger, Raythought and U-Zipplain. Overall result: an album that I can't recommend highly enough!

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Tom Breslin, 04/07

Food For Your Latin Soul / Grupo X

Grupo X - Food For Your Latin Soul

Loft Recordings

It's been around five years since Grupo X broke through with their debut album "X-Posure" and it's great to have them back, even though they've never really been away, with an extensive live schedule. "Food For Your Latin Soul" continues where they left off, with a mix of Salsa, Bugalu, Latin, Brasilia and Jazz. All eleven songs have been written by bandleader Jonny Enright and Jimmy Le Messurier, and once again on lead vocals we have Lisa Millett, who's caused quite a stir on the house scene, but the six tracks she features on here are much better suited to her vocals. Five years is a long time in the music industry but it's been well worth the wait.

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Simon Harrison, 03/06

Mitteleuropa / Gruppo Jazz Marca

Gruppo Jazz Marca - Mitteleuropa

Arision Recordings

Arision again dig deep to bring us a welcome re-issue of Gruppo Jazz Marca"s Italian rarity "Mitteleuropa". Here pianist Roberto Magris extends his usual trio to accommodate a horn section giving the compositions a much fuller sound than that found on their "Comunicazone Sonora" album (also re-issued on Arision), which is most effective on the immaculate "Dedalus".

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Andy Allen, 09/06

Atlas / Guida De Palma & Jazzinho

Guida De Palma & Jazzinho - Atlas

Freestyle Records

Produced by Ed Motta, Jazzinho's sophomore set is another solid selection of Brazilian rhythms, incorporating elements of soul, funk and jazz along the way. Ed's influence is apparent throughout and best savoured on the joyful opener, 'The Lagoon Monster', 'Humano, Desumano', 'Maria Mulata' and the awesome bass heavy groove of 'Da Tempo ao Tempo', which is also appears with a Nicola Conte rework.

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Andy Allen, 11/06

Veludo / Guida De Palma and Jazzinho

Guida De Palma and Jazzinho - Veludo

Toca Piano Fala Frances

Guida de Palma & Jazzinho aren't strangers to Latin Jazz rhythms as their catalog would strongly suggest  . Their latest release, "Veludo" is a testament to that with nine sublime compositions that range from Guida's Portuguese roots to soul jazz rhythms with warm and dreamy melodies. That combination is evident on the opening track "A Seed In You", a simmering tune highlighted by the incomparable Leon Ware, who knows a thing or two about romantic lyrics. "Papao", Portuguese for Bogeyman is funky organ flavored Samba goodness. "Whispers In The Darkness" is a sensual ballad with strings. Written and produced by De Palma this is a enjoyable record that combines Guida's lush vocal harmonies and Jazzinho's strong instrumentation. A perfect record to soothe your mind and warm your soul.

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Reg Dancy, 04/14

Hi-Falutin / Gum Drop

Gum Drop - Hi-Falutin

Altered Vibes

People are finally starting to wake up to Altered Vibes after an excellent selection of releases in 2005. Kicking off 2006 with the debut from Gum Drop proves the perfect way to start the year. Gum Drop is produced by Rob Mac whose previous alias's include Jumbonics, Speeka and course writer for Straight No Chaser and as you'd expected from a man of with such eclectic taste, there is a mixed bag of styles, beats and grooves. Vocalist Randolph Matthews is yet another name you need to watch out for in 2006, with a number of projects and his debut dropping later in the year. Here he features on three tracks "Coming Up For Air", "(Keeps On) Burning" and "Sinking Feeling". Other guests include Hiphop and P-Funk vocalist Jason Todd, the unknown-to-me-until-now Zena Edwards, and on strings Lucy Wilkins who of course worked with 4 Hero and Massive Attack. Another essential release.

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Simon Harrison, 01/06

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