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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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

Pyramid / JD73's Electrio

JD73's Electrio - Pyramid

Atjazz

"Pyramid" is latest release from JD73's Electrio. Formed in 2012, JD73's Electrio sound is steeped in Jazz fusion with sleek funk serving as the foundation. The trio is comprised of Dan "JD73" Goldman, bassist Hamlet Luton and drummer Gordon Kilroy. Goldman's rhodes playing is short and sweet and aims straight for the soul. "Stepping Up" is filled with gorgeous rhodes from Goldman layered on top of a languid mid tempo groove. "Subsonic" is an infectious funk toe tapper amplified by Luton's terrific bass groove. "4 On 4" gets an assist from the dancing electric violin rhythms that bob and weave around Kilroy's sparkling drumming. Goldman and company serve up a satisfying disc that aims to please jazz fusion enthusiasts.

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Reg Dancy, 01/21

Best Of Friends / Jerline & Friends

Jerline & Friends - Best Of Friends

Streetsoul Records

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, 05/07

Love Rising Up / Jersey Street

Jersey Street - Love Rising Up

Ubuntu Music

"Love Rising Up" is the latest from Manchester based group Jersey Street and their first release on Ubuntu music. Fronted by vocalist Dawn Zee their music fuses jazz, house and soul. It has been awhile since we heard from them but based on this recording, the wait was well worth it. The disc kicks off with the title track, ripe with lush strings an irresistible house groove topped off by Zee's vocals soaring over the melodies. "No One Can Take Your Place" is another banger filled with polished jazz orchestration. The pace winds down with "Open Your Mind", a slice of mellow infectious soul jazz. Zee's nuanced vocal chops combined with superb musicianship is unmistakable throughout these engaging recordings. The fact that the group made a considerable amount of preparation towards production and arrangements is evident through the first listen. An exceptional album from some of Manchester's finest that shouldn't be missed.

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Reg Dancy, 10/20

Let Me Show You  / Jesse James

Jesse James - Let Me Show You

Soul Junction

I was first introduced to deep soul vocalist Jesse James in the early 90s when I bought a copy of the brilliant I’ve Been There Before (Gunsmoke) on 45 from Birmingham’s respected soul collector and radio DJ, Mickey Nold. Jesse James actually goes back way further though and has been recording since the late 60s. On Let Me Show You, the quality UK label, Soul Junction draws together a selection of ten rare and previously unreleased tracks recorded in the 70s. I Feel Your Love Changing is an anthemic modern soul swayer as is I Gave You Love With An A Plus. Also check out his version of the brilliant Just As Long As We’re In Love written by the legendary Terry Callier and Larry Wade and previously recorded by TC himself and The (mighty) Dells. Jesse gets funky on One And Only Love and I’m In Love With Loving You, neither of which would have sounded out of place on any of Willie Hutch’s 70s albums. I Got The Feeling and Let Me Show You are classy steppers but touch down anywhere on this set and you won’t be disappointed.

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Andy Allen, 03/14

Almeria / Jessica Lauren

Jessica Lauren - Almeria

Freestyle

"Almeria", a province of Spain is scenic, sublime and a natural paradise not known to everyone. For pianist Jessica Lauren, it's a place filled with fond memories and a romantic charm. They serve as an ideal inspiration to this beautiful new release. Lauren's warm approach to harmony and rhythm are reflected in this blissful collection of modal compositions. "Kofi Nomad" is a simmering afro rhythmic tune augmented by Collocutor member Tamar Osborn's baritone sax phrasings. "Amalfi" is a brimming bossa nova treat that features trumpeter Yazz Ahmed, Osborn on flute with Lauren singing the melody. The closing "Argentina" is a stirring duet between Lauren and Osborn. Lauren's channels the subtlety of Horace Silver on this wonderful ballad. Simply put this is another winner from the premier pianist that shouldn't be missed.

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Reg Dancy, 05/18

Four / Jessica Lauren

Jessica Lauren - Four

Freestyle

Pianist Jessica Lauren has built a diverse resume, having chaired with everyone from soul icons Jean Carne and Dexter Wansel, to present day visionaries like Emanative and Scrimshire . With “Jessica Lauren Four” she has blended elements of soul, gospel and Latin Jazz melodies into an impressive intimate engagement worthy of repeated listens. The disc kicks off with the hypnotic “White Mountain”, an ambient tune filled with deep grooves and lush rhythms that would fit comfortably either on the dance floor or in your dining room. Jessica glides into an assortment of Latin arrangements that showcase her superb use of time and space, effectively allowing her compositions to breathe and her musicians to shine. That’s apparent on “Mel Benson” where David “Booie” Gallagher and Paul Gunter’s rhythmic percussion wizardry erupt throughout the track. “Swamp Thing” is haunting, moody and simply gorgeous, thanks in part to bassist Andrew Kramer’s dark grooves. Legendary vocalist Jocelyn Brown appears on the disco flavored “Happiness Train” but it’s the gospel inspired “I Believe”, highlighted by Jessica’s shivering organ grinding that will awaken your spirit. “Jessica Lauren Four” is filled with compositions benefiting from her delicate approach that ultimately evolves into one enjoyable record.

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Reg Dancy, 05/12

Grassroots - The Prologue / Jigmastas

Jigmastas - Grassroots - The Prologue

BBE

It is widely accepted that the golden age of Hip Hop took place throughout the 1990s. Among the diverse collection of MCs and groups were the dynamic MC/DJ Producer collaborations. Think Gangstarr, Pete Rock and CL Smooth. Another combo that made a lot of noise on the underground scene was the duo known as Jigmastas. Brooklyn based DJ Spinna and Kriminul made their share of hypnotic street music. With "Grassroots - The Prologue" we're re-introduced to the impressive catalog of beats and rhymes this dynamic duo put together. "Lyrical Fluctuation" is a gathering of some of hip hop most influential lyricists. Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Pharoah Monch, Mr Complex and Shabaam Sahdeeq all jump on the track while Krimnul drops potent verses as well "Thief's Theme" is another banger highlighted by Spinna's sampling of Nas "The World is Yours". You're certain to nod your head to "Beyond Real" filled with hypnotic spacey synths and thick beats . Throughout the disc Kriminul fluently displays the depths of his lyrical arsenal. Spinna, for his part chops up beats and arranges tracks with the best of them. If you yearn for some good ole boom bap hip hop then this is definitely the one for you.

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Reg Dancy, 10/15

From The Vault / Jill Scott

Jill Scott - From The Vault

Hidden Beach

Whenever someone releases a collection of songs from their musical archive one has to wonder whether these are hidden gems or songs not worthy to see the light of day. In the case of Jill Scott’s “From The Vault”, these are definitely songs that merit your attention, not a small feat considering that she has recently “Light Of The Sun”. “From The Vault” features songs from her tenure at Hidden Beach and there are a bunch of quality recordings like “Wake up Baby”, s bluesy tune with tasty rhythm guitar and organ riffs. “Running Away” is another winner, a mid-tempo Rhodes inspired groover.   “Comes to Light” might be the strongest track here, a gentle ballad with a gorgeous melody. Overall this isn’t an album I would listen to from start to finish but there are four or five songs that are worthy of repeated listens. If you’re a die-hard Jill fan you may even add a few more.

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Reg Dancy, 10/11

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