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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Televizije Beograd - Dirigent Vojislav Simic / Jazz Orkestar Radio

Jazz Orkestar Radio - Televizije Beograd - Dirigent Vojislav Simic

Cosmic Sounds Records

In February 2004 my Basic Soul Radio Show was lucky enough to have a guest mix from Zeljko Kerleta, the man behind Cosmic Sounds Records, and during that 60 minute mix he dazzled us with some amazing rare European jazz classics. Three tracks in, he played a track by the RTB Big Band, which completely blew me away, and Zeljko mentioned that he would be re-releasing this album very soon. A few weeks ago this beautifully packaged cd arrived and I was straight on the phone purchasing one of the limited 500 copies vinyl copies [you've been warned]. Featured here is a collection of 70s recordings by the Radio Television Beograd Jazz Orchestra, very much in the style of MPS, which should have you all slavering at the mouth. All the tracks are original compositions and feature some of the great European talents around at the time, including Dusko Goykovich, Gerd Dudek and Allan Skidmore, to name a few. We should all thank Zeljko because we've all been given a chance to listen to this wonderful lost gem.

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Simon Harrison, 05/05

The Sure Co 5ive / Jazz Re Freshed

Jazz Re Freshed - The Sure Co 5ive

Jazz Re Freshed

Not only can Richard Spaven keep the time, he can also compose infectious Jazz rhythms with grooves steeped in hip-hop and move people from both genres in the process. Spaven has been a sought after drummer for years now and came up with the idea for this trio project while on tour. “The Sure Co.”, the latest release from the Jazz Refreshed imprint will leave you wishing this was an album. Instead it’s just a five track ep, albeit a superb one. The synergy created by the trio is evident right from the beginning from pianist Grant Windsor’s dazzling melodies on “The Sure Chimes”. Guest vocalist Nailah Porter earthy tones adds another layer on the shivering “Loose Shots”. Bassist Neville Malcolm lays down scorching grooves throughout the session and shines especially on “Persephone”. This is gorgeous work from Spaven and after serving us a few appetizers it’s time to deliver us a full length lp to showcase his artistry.

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Reg Dancy, 02/13

Belle Et Fou / Jazzanova

Jazzanova - Belle Et Fou

Sonar Kollektiv

Driving into Leeds before Christmas with a friend and I put the "Belle Et Fou" cd on. To our surprise we heard the voice of someone who sounds so much like Barry White, I wondered if I was playing the right cd, or had Jazzanova really done a track with the legend. We finally found the cd cover to discover it was Capital A. What a way to grab your attention and the quality just continued. Micatone, Clara Hill, Thief and Georg Levin sound a treat, with covers from the Jazzanova back catalogue and loving homage to many of the greats. Jazzanova spent five months working on this project to create the soundtrack, which was then used for the theatrical show aired last year. I just wish I'd known about this a little earlier. It's great to see artists like Jazzanova and Legends of the Underground taking projects like this to a new level and audience, which will have a great effect on the scene as a whole. This will certainly keep fans of the collective happy until their new album arrives later this year.

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Simon Harrison, 01/07

Funkhaus Studio Sessions / Jazzanova

Jazzanova - Funkhaus Studio Sessions

Sonar Kollektiv

The Berlin collective known as Jazzanova have compiled a catalogue that long time veterans would trade their right arm to have in their possession and the numerous remixes and compilations is a testament to their success. Over the years they’ve evolved from creating timeless electronic grooves from the critically acclaimed “In Between” to composing timeless soul gems featured on “Off All The Things”. Now with “Funkhaus Studio Sessions” they have taken to the stage and improvise on their catalogue and display a musical side previously unheard from the group. Paul Randolph, who provided vocals to the 2009 hit “Let Me Show Ya”, revisits that tune and other recordings from the Jazzanova catalogue with startling results.  Randolph’s raw emotive vocal chops resonate on several tracks like “No Use”. Originally sung by Clara Hill, Paul adds a touch of his own tenderness to this down-tempo ambient gem. Part 2 of this tune is a funkier version that demonstrates the cohesion the band has achieved from their constant touring during the past three years.  “I Human” is the only original track featured here. Co-written by Randolph, It’s a light hearted tune that pokes fun at the social media world we now live in. There are many more highlights like the atmospheric “Believer”, a Randolph original from his “Lonely Eden album.  The disc wraps up in grand fashion with Shaun Escoffery’s “Let Me Go”. Paul and fellow Jazzanova musicians let loose on the 2002 hit that serves as a fitting finale to a disc that deserves daily spins in your musical rotation. Simply stated it’s another superb recording by Jazzanova and one of the best lps you’ll hear this year.

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Reg Dancy, 08/12

Of All The Things / Jazzanova

Jazzanova - Of All The Things

Verve

There are good records that you will play for a few days, maybe a few weeks before they fade to black. Then you have that great record that you have been playing for weeks. The weeks turn into months and before you know it you have a future classic in your possession that you can’t put down. Jazzanova’s new release “Of All The things” would belong to the latter. The new record features appearances from Ben Westbeech, Leon Ware and Jose James just to name a few. Where their last record “In Between” was more of a electronic offering, “Of All The Things” is packed with 70’s soul, Brazilian bossa and jazzy ballads that provide immediate satisfaction. Among the many highlights is “Let Me Show Ya”, a song that is simply love at first listen. This is classic soul music at its best and the voice of Paul Randolph is smooth, rich and passionate. The same track gets sampled and reworked into a hip-hop track entitled “So Far From Home” that is performed flawlessly by Phonte of Little Brother. “Gafiera” is a nice breezy Brazilian tune performed by Pedro Martins & Azymuth. It’s always a treat to hear Bembe Segue and hearing her sing a jazz tune is an added bonus. “Morning Scapes” is an excellent combination of sultry vocals and live instrumentation, particularly Magnus Lindgren’s performance on flute. In fact, the Jazzanova musicians bring a sense of warmth on every track here that reminds you of how music used to be made. Before you purchase any other record, be sure you have “Of All The Things”. Jazzanova delivers an outstanding disc that delivers one great track after another. This is without a doubt one of the best records of 2008.

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Reg Dancy, 11/08

The Pool / Jazzanova

Jazzanova - The Pool

Sonar Kollektiv

There are a select number of groups that can remain relevant despite not releasing an album within the last decade but Jazzanova is one of the exceptions to that rule. Team members Alex Barck, Claas Brieler, Axel Reinemer, Jorgen Von Knoblauch and Stefan Leisering have anything but idle as they've been working on various projects. Their growth as musicians are evident on this release. "The Pool" embarks on a myriad of musical styles with assistance from an impressive group of friends old and new. One of those new friends is rapper Oddisee who kicks off the disc with the brooding albeit painfully short hip hop gem "Now". "Follow Your Feel" is an upbeat soulful tune featuring Pete Josef on vocals. "Sincere" is filled with minimalist synth grooves and features up and coming vocalist Noah Slee. Jamie Cullum's uplifting vocals will pluck your heart strings on the haunting ballad "Let's Live Well". There's much more here to savor and that's no surprise. A Jazzanova album has never disappointed and this one is no exception.

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Reg Dancy, 09/18

Up & Out / Jazzinvaders

Jazzinvaders - Up & Out

Social Beats

In May 2005 a Social Beats twelve track sampler dropped on my doorstep and featured three tracks by the unknown to me Jazzinvaders. The main track "Up & Out" became a firm favourite and was in my record box for the rest of the year. Producer/percussionist Phil Martin is the force behind the Jazzinvaders with contributions from two members of the Dutch jazz band The Houdini's: Rolf Delfos on horns and saxophone and Erwin Hoorweg on piano. It initially started off as a jam session and eventually turned into a cracking album, combining latin and afro beats with some moustache tingling basslines that will keep any dancefloor happy. Lovely vocals are by Danish jazz vocalist Mette Burild and Dutch vocalist Linda Bloemhard, to round off a quality album.

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Simon Harrison, 03/06

Cannibal Rock & En:Code / Jazztronik

Jazztronik - Cannibal Rock & En:Code

Tokuma Japan Communications

These latest offerings from Ryota Nazaki follow a similar path to that walked on his previous sets, seamlessly fusing elements of jazz, Brazilian, house, broken beat etc. The Flora Purim fronted 'Dentro De Mim', 'Dentro Mi Alma' featuring Sonia Santana and the title track on 'Cannibal Rock' all shine brightly, as does the twisted broken cut, 'Beeping'. 'En:Code' opens with the spiritual vibes of 'Pathways (Jazztronik Theme)' with Valarie Etienne and Rob Gallagher, a track 4 Hero would have been proud of. It then passes through the Marcos Valle blessed 'Rio. Sol E Mar', 'Little Tree', a violin led waltz and the epic tech-jazz title track. I hear through the grapevine that Pantone are soon to release the best tracks from this pair on a single CD album for the UK market.

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Andy Allen, 03/06

Remixes I & II / Jazztronik

Jazztronik - Remixes I & II

Tokuma Japan Communications

Jazztronik is certainly making sure we spend lots of cash - especially those outside of Japan - with another two cd release. As I'm sure you guessed by the title, it's time for the remixers to have their way with the tracks from albums Cannibal Rock and En:Code. Both cds are jampacked with all the big name producers/remixers with their new interpretations. On the first few listens I am leaning towards Part II with essential re-works from Domu, Two Banks of Four, Needs, Louie Vega, DJ Mitsu, 2000 Black and that's only half of them. The first cd is certainly worth a listen even just for the wonderful Sleepwalker remix of "Pathways" and Osunlade's remix seems to be causing quite a stir with select djs. OK it's expensive but worth every penny.

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Simon Harrison, 04/06

Samurai / Jazztronik

Jazztronik - Samurai

Pantone Music

Soul DJ Andy Davies kick starts his new Streetsoul label in fine style with this Chicago rarity which he discovered on acetate whilst working at John Anderson's Soul Bowl record shop during the mid 90s. After airing 'Joy Trip (Part 1)' on his radio show the track caused a huge buzz amongst the soul fraternity and has eventually resulted in this release. 'Joy Trip (Part 1)' is a majestic string fueled two stepper of the highest order but the album packed full of quality tunes covering northern, crossover and funk styles plus a great version of The Lovelites' 'Get It Off My Conscience'.

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Andy Allen, 09/05

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