La Shica - Trabajito DeChinosWarner Jazz
Elsa Rovayo aka La Shica started off as a flamenco dancer but then singing took over as did taking a contemporary view of flamenco. She integrated hip hop into her music, not the most obvious of fusion partners but one that works really well taking both genres into new territory . There’s still a place for the traditional though with ‘Dos Carnes Paralelas’ being a beautiful ballad with guest Miguel Poveda. Very good.
Graham Radley, 08/08
Lack Of Afro - My Groove Your MoveFreestyle Records
On his follow up to the successful debut “Press On”, Adam Gibbons, the man behind Lack of Afro delivers another disc rich with rare grooves, live instrumentation and soulful vocals for good measure. “My Groove your Move” is filled with loads of funky rhythms that will make your body move. Adam plays most of the instruments here with a little help from his friends and heat things up right from the start. “Special Baby” is an up-tempo funk track with an infectious rhythm guitar as the driving force behind the groove. “Closer to me” is arguably the hottest track on the disc. The rhythm section is cooking some serious funk here especially with the Hammond B3 adding some extra sauce. Plus Roxie Ray’s vocals are the seasoning that takes it over the top. The band brings the groove down to a slow burn with “Rejection in 6/8 time”, the type of jam to cool down to from non-stop partying. The two hip-hop tracks are just decent however. “International” is solid and “Suspicious Glow” would’ve been much better without the corny intro. That said, there’s more than enough funk here to satisfy any appetite. Plus the production here is excellent; each track embodies that live session experience where musicians recorded a track in one take. The result is a rewarding listening experience. Adam Gibbon’s sophomore release proves that he knows how to bring the funk either as a DJ or a musician. This is another quality recording from the Freestyle label that merits your attention.
Reg Dancy, 10/09
Lack Of Afro - Time ThisFreestyle
Adam “Lack of Afro” Gibbons has been quite busy since his last album in 2009. He has lent his talents to projects like label mate Frootful and Eddie Roberts of The New Mastersounds. “This Time”, his latest release features an array of talented vocalists to shine upon a myriad of musical styles. Prime cuts include the ethereal “Holding My Breath” featuring Jake Morley. “A Time For” is a gritty mid-tempo soul tune balanced out by Wayne Giddens warm falsetto. “Contusions” sparkles with a mélange of horns and African rhythms. Wayne Giddens appears again evoking comparisons to Eddie Kendricks on the soulful burner “What The Hell”. This is a progressive step forward from “My Groove Your Move” and a move that showcases the growth in Gibbon’s talents. Overall this is a superb record that captures many moods. Whether you want to groove or simply need to chill, this record has what it takes to help you do it.
Reg Dancy, 01/12
Lady Daisy - In My HeadphonesBBE
Lady Daisy has built up a strong following on the underground scene with her unique brand of hip-hop inspired funk and soul. Her sophomore disc "In My Headphones" seamlessly blends her husky voice with an assortment of tasty grooves. Credit husband/producer Batsource, who has also built a following within the underground hip-hop community with his beatmaking prowess. There's plenty of evidence here starting with the opening track "Ready" a playful soul tune filled with hip-hop influenced beats. "Fruit" is soothing soulful goodness with haunting melodies. "Full Circle" is a tender piano driven tune that displays the gentle side of this talented vocalists. No longer under the radar, Lady Daisy emerges with an impressive record that will no doubt widen her fan base.
Reg Dancy, 05/14
Landermason - The ReasonLama
Third release for Fiona Lander and Paul Mason, their North East roots are displayed on 'Dance To Your Daddy' but most of the rest of the fifteen tracks are self penned. Described as a mix of folk and jazz you'd maybe need to think on the lighter side of both to get a better idea of where they are coming from.
Graham Radley, 08/07
Lanu - This Is My HomeTru Thoughts Recordings
When I read in the press release that Lanu is a member of The Bamboos I was expecting an album with killer funk anthems but I couldn't have been further from reality. What we have here is some of the best house, broken beats and soul, that could be easliy be mistaken for some of the top producers in those genres. It just goes to prove it makes no difference what your background is: if you're good you can do anything and Lanu does it with brilliance. You must check out the amazing Simon Grey featuring on keys on "Rise" and Cherie Mathieson on vocals "Runaway". This album is certain to cause a frenzy in many scenes over 2007: don't miss out.
Simon Harrison, 02/07
Lars Bartkuhn - The New ContinentSonar Kollektiv
Lars Bartkuhn is a musician, a producer and a dj from Frankfurt who has built a strong reputation creating soulful deep house music on his own and with the group Needs. Before that group he was a jazz musician at heart, taking up the guitar as a teenager. He returns to his roots on “The New Continent”, a project based on electronic and acoustic orchestrated compositions. The opening track “Goodbye Dancing Hello God” is an ambient tune with wonderful chord changes that conjures images of long drives on lazy afternoons along the countryside. A favorite of mine is “In Harmony With The Elements”, a cinematic gem that’s filled with dreamy soundscapes. ”Prayer Dance Into The Sun” is filled with floating guitar solos and synths. I love how this track starts off in a melancholy mood then builds intensity towards the end. In summary this is a wonderful record from Lars Bartkuhn. The entire disc is a delightful listen. You can hear the influences from the likes of established artists like guitarists Marc Johnson, Pat Metheny and pianist Lyle Mays. Kudos to Sonar Kollektiv. They continue to fill their roster with exceptional artists making beautiful music.
Reg Dancy, 10/08
Lau - Arc LightNavigator Records
Their debut, also on the superb Navigator Records, quite rightly received rave reviews, this follow up fittingly sees the trio of Kris Drever, Martin Green and Aidan O’Rourke continue their adventurous approach to traditional folk music bringing to it the vibrancy of their brilliant live shows and a euphoria of song presentation that builds the passion with great musicianship and spirit, they were very good, they keep getting better.
Graham Radley, 05/09
Le Trio Joubran - MajazRandana Rand
The title is the Arabic translation of the word 'metaphor' with the brothers this time joined by percussionist Yousef Hbeisch. Terrific at this year's Womad and developing all the time, weaving intricate improvisations around traditional music, from their Palestinian homeland. Superb musicians and CD.
Graham Radley, 12/07
Ledisi - Lost and FoundVerve Records
remember clearly the day I walked into a now defunct record shop and saw a cd by an artist I had never heard of. The disc was literally jumping off the shelf and sending subliminal messages like : "Buy me! You may not know me but once you hear me, you'll be hooked on me. I'm a songstress who can really sing and write my own lyrics as well." I tried to resist but eventually I gave in and purchased "Soulsinger" by Ledisi. Needless to say, my risk turned out to be my reward because Ledisi's debut was one of the best releases of 2000. That was followed with "Feeling Orange But Sometimes Blue". An album that displayed her skills as a jazz singer but also offered some soul tracks as well. Fast forward to 2007 and "Lost and Found", her debut on Verve Record that captures the sassiness and raw emotion that her fans have become familiar with. On the opening cut, "Been Here", Ledisi makes you feel as if you are sitting in the front row and she has just entered the stage. This song is just a tease but a sign of good things to come. The track "Joy" finds Ledisi singing about all the love she has for her man over a bubbling mid-tempo beat. Ledisi slows things down a bit on "In The Morning" where she get can't let go of the man who goes in and out of her life. One of the most powerful songs is "Lost and Found (Find Me)". Ledisi yearns for someone to bring some joy in her life after enduring so much pain. After years of struggling as a independent, it's Ledisi's time to have her music heard by the masses. "Lost and Found" will move her far beyond cult status. Recommended.
Reg Dancy, 12/07