Joash - Don't Fear It, Fight ItCompost Records
London producer Joash’s debut is an electronic dance offering highlighted by jazz and pop influenced rhythms and dreamy orchestral soundscapes. Joash started his career as a drummer before becoming drawn to dance and techno by the likes of Plastikman and Laurent Garnier. That admiration has served him well on this release, which features notable selections like the bossa flavored “The First Cause”. “Mission” starts out with a symphony sample that builds into an beat driven futuristic hip-hop gem. Rapper Replife’s take no prisoners approach is the perfect complement to the track. “Montreal” has a jazz fusion vibe in part by the electric guitar inspired melodies. “Climb” is orchestral pop highlighted by the vocals of David Frith. Among the fifteen tracks there are three orchestral remixes but the end of the disc I felt I overindulged, trimming it down to nine or ten original tracks would’ve been enough. Overall this is a solid debut that should spring a promising run of more quality recordings.
Reg Dancy, 05/11
Jocelyn Brown - UnreleasedDigisoul
Just before I received 'Unreleased', I found out that Jocelyn had been on a reality TV show and even though this may well boost sales of this album, I was a little unsure what to expect. Of course I have no idea how well she did, but with a voice as good as Jocelyn's it was unlikely the real world would vote for a real talent, rather than some second-rate pop star. One thing for sure is that Jocelyn has an amazing voice and had featured on far too many tracks to mention here. All fourteen tracks here are certainly aimed at the modern soul scene and a pleasure to listen to. The standout track for me is the excellent 'She'd Called', which is Jocelyn at her best. Ensure you give this a listen.
Simon Harrison, 05/06
Jody Watley - The MakeoverAvitone Recordings
The career that Jody Watley has carved out for herself has been nothing short of phenomenal. When you have been an icon in the music business for three decades and still remain relevant, you’re indeed in a class by yourself. As the title of her latest project suggests, “The makeover” is an alternative take of classic songs Ms Watley has personally picked out as well as a couple of her greatest hits. One of those hits featured here is the classic “Don’t you want me?”, arranged here in a house version courtesy of King Britt. Ms Watley displays great taste in handpicking songs that sound as if they were written just for her. Take for example the Chic classic “I want your love” and Diana Ross’s “Love Hangover”. She stays true to form on both tracks but her rearrangement of Madonna’s “Borderline” is something special. As for her own original work, there’s “A beautiful Life” is a pulsating house track and “Bed of Roses” is a soulful drum n bass gem that is produced by 4 Hero. “The Makeover” is filled with quality music past, present and future. Jody Watley refuses to rest on past success and we continue to reap the benefits.
Reg Dancy, 10/09
Joe Armon-Jones - Starting TodayBrownswood
There's a wave of up and coming UK musicians interconnected and revitalizing the Jazz scene. They're not subscribing to the jazz genre but pushing the boundaries in all matter of styles. Right in the middle of it all is pianist Joe Armon-Jones. Jones last appeared with the Ezra Collective and more recently the Brownswood compilation "We Out Here" which featured Nubya Garcia, drummer Moses Boyd and other newcomers. With his full length debut he's ready to take center stage. Jones opens up with the scorching title track "Starting Today". Joined by roots reggae poet Asheber, Jones dynamic flurries on Fender Rhodes are accompanied by Garcia on tenor sax and trumpeter Dylan Jones. They shift gears on "Mollison Dub", a blissed out dub groove named after Ezra Collective Saxophonist James Mollison. Mollison pairs with fellow tenor Garcia on the track as well. David Mrakpor adds warm rumbling bass lines over Jones's chords. "London's Face" is a spirited tune that features drummers Boyd and Kwake Bass along with Oscar Jerome on vocals. This is a superb demonstration of Jones wide musical palette, not to mention his deft touch on the keys. You'll want to seek out his other collaborations but only after repeated listens of this enjoyable record.
Reg Dancy, 06/18
Joe Clausell Black Coffee - The Djoon ExperienceBBE
“The Djoon Experience” is an experience in dance culture of great proportions. The infamous club located in Eastern Paris captures the spirit of good vibes and soulful house music. The latter of which is in large supply thanks to acclaimed DJs Joe Clausell and South Africa’s own Black Coffee. If your feet and hips aren’t moving within minutes of “The Djoon Experience” compilation then I suggest you check your pulse. Joe Clausell and Black Coffee blend infectious house music that lifts your spirits and transports House music enthusiasts to a place filled with peace love and harmony. Like all the great DJs, Clausell and Coffee capture the mood of party people that frequent the club and propel them to greater heights with a tasty assortment of past and future classics. Among those treats are Gregory Porter’s “1960 What!”, Hugh Masekela’s “We are One” and Ian Friday’s remix of “My Love Song” featuring Nickson. Other highlights include “All Alone” featuring Vikter Duplaix and the DJ Kent Club mix of “Sunrise” featuring Zaki Ibrahim. There’s much more to savor but believe me, “The Djoon Experience” is a highly recommended purchase that will remind you why you love House music so much in the first place.
Reg Dancy, 06/13
Joe Lovano - SymphonicaBlue Note Records
Fans of straightahead jazz know that Joe Lovano is one of the most important tenor saxophonists in the business. His catalogue is far too long to list here. As impressive as he has been through the years, his latest may be one of his best. “Symphonica”, his 20th recording for Blue Note, is an orchestral masterpiece. The main reason for that is the enlistment of the WDR Radio Big Band from Cologne, Germany. With the exception of “Sound Of Love”, the other six tracks are his own compositions that he previously recorded for other projects. One of those compositions is “Eternal Joy”, an energetic track that finds Lovano playing soprano and creating melodic explorations. “Alexander the Great” is another gem that is also full of fire but is very elegant and imaginative. “I’m All For You” is a lovely ballad that is full of lush strings and romantic harmonies. Warm and cinematic, “Symphonica” is wonderful work by an underrated giant. Make sure you don’t miss out on this.
Reg Dancy, 12/08
John Coltrane - Both Directions At Once - The Lost AlbumImpulse
This is comparable to finding buried treasure. Or as Sonny Rollins said, "It's like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid". I'm referring to the recently discovered recording by the infamous John Coltrane quartet. These are compositions that Coltrane recorded on March 6, 1963 the day before his duet recording with Johnny Hartman. At this stage in his relationship with Impulse he had the ability to come into the studio and record whenever he wanted. The result of this session is seven tunes, three of them untitled. The album opens with "Untitled Original 11383", a fiery tune with Coltrane on Soprano. The quartet is in peak form with Elvin Jones pulsating polyrhythms and McCoy Tyner's soloing provide superb support. "Untitled Original 11386" finds the quartet hitting hard on the Latin flavored melody. "Villa" is a bluesy number with Coltrane recording alternative takes on Tenor and Soprano. What can be said about this quartet that hasn't been said already. Just another tremendous record by one of the best quartets of all time. Don't hesitate to purchase.
Reg Dancy, 10/18
Johnick - This Is How We DewBBE
If you happen to be one of the night clubbers who worked up a sweat in the underground clubs during the nineties there’s a strong chance you jacked your body to a Johnick track or two. If you were in New York City then the chances are even greater considering Johnny ‘D’ DeMairo and Nicky Palermo crafted countless house tracks just across the bridge in nearby Brooklyn and received numerous spins by the top DJ’s throughout NYC and around the globe. In fact alongside premier House labels like Strictly Rhythm, Johnick’s Henry Street imprint produced some of the hottest House music during this period. Now courtesy of BBE, you get to experience their deep douse grooves that remain relevant and certain to make you move throughout the night. “This Is How We Dew” is filled with classics such as “Play the World”, aided by a sample of another house banger; River Ocean’s “Love and Happiness. “The Captain” is a deep and soulful track that instantly fills any dance floor and “Smoke” is a superb edit of the Eddie Kendricks classic. This double lp is filled with funky four to the floor beats, not to mention a snapshot of two world renowned DJ/producers and their essential contributions to House music.
Reg Dancy, 09/12
Jonathan Klein/Herbie Hancock - Hear, O Israel: A Prayer Ceremony In JazzJonny Records
Record collector extraordinaire Jonny Trunk launches his new Jonny label (subsidiary to Trunk) in fine style with a reissue of this “rare as rocking horse shit” album. Originally released in 1968 as a private pressing in limited quantities it was the work of a young composer (only 17 years old at the time) Jonathan Klein who married Hebrew song and prayer with New York modern jazz. With players of the caliber of Herbie Hancock, Thad Jones, Ron Carter, Jerome Richardson and Grady Tate this makes for a glorious listening experience. From the opening intro ‘Blessing Over The Candles’ which comes on like the dawning of a bright new day, through intoxicating moments like ‘Sanctification’, the bossa flavoured ‘Kiddush’ to the concluding ‘Final Amen’ this music is truly a blessing to behold.
Andy Allen, 09/08
Jonny Drop - Beat TapeAlbert's Favourites
London based DJ Jonny Drop latest release "Beat Tape" offers a myriad of rhythms that your average beat tape doesn't. Instead of your usual electronic drum patterns supplying the beats there are snare drum rhythms reminiscent from the seventies soul period that provide the foundation. Not too surprising considering Drop is an avid drummer himself. Add some sassy jazz vocal samples and astral melodies and you have a recording that provides definite satisfaction. Highlights include "Mind field" is cosmic jazz funk with ethereal vocal samples. "Billy's Girl"features spacey keys and dreamy soundscapes. "This Is The One" is filled with haunting vocals and strings. This release is filled with superb remixing as well as a glimpse into Drop's musical archive. As far as beat tapes go, this is definitely a cut above the rest.
Reg Dancy, 05/16