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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At The Living Room / Marco Di Marco Trio

Marco Di Marco Trio - At The Living Room

Arision Records

Following on from 2004's 'My London Friends', Arision have kindly given us a chance to own a copy of this now legendary jazz album, where the original sells for big bucks. Recorded at the Living Room in Paris in 1973, this has to be up there with the best piano jazz albums ever recorded. Here Marco plays both the fender Rhodes and piano, to amazing effect with Jacky Sampson on bass and Charles Saudrais on drums, to achieve those funky basslines. Watch out for more reissues from the Arision stable.


Simon Harrison, 06/05

Sempre / Marcos Valle

Marcos Valle - Sempre

Far Out Recordings

Marcos Valle returns with another collection of samba tinged boogie tunes. "Sempre" is Valle's fifth release on the Far Out label. This vibrant recording is heightened by prominent Brazilian musicians like Asymuth bassist Alex Malheiros and percussionist Armando Marcal among others. The opener "Olha Quem Ta Chegando" is infectious samba boogie laced with funky guitar and brass arrangements. "Odissela" is a funky synth laden instrumental. "Alma" is a mellow sun drenched head nodder. Valle's vocals are in peak form and the production is in the capable hands of Daniel Maunick (son of Incognito frontman Bluey). This is another impressive release from the resurgent vocalist that will please long time fans and attract newcomers as well.


Reg Dancy, 08/19

Marcos Valle JID003 / Marcos Valle, Ali Shaheed Mohammad & Adrian Younge

Marcos Valle, Ali Shaheed Mohammad & Adrian Younge - Marcos Valle JID003

Jazz Is Dead

The Jazz IS Dead series, lead by Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Mohammed strikes again with the legendary Brazailian vocalist Marcos Valle taking center stage. What Younge and Shaheed Mohammed do so well capturing the emotion of Valle's sound while blending it with their analog 70's soul influenced arrangements. The studio sessions harken back to the days when artists completed a recording in one or two takes and that's more than enough for the veteran vocalist to shine. "Queira Bem" is filled with sun drenched rhodes and sparkling percussion. Valle's vocals float over the rhythm like a warm summer breeze. "Viajando Por Al" is a seductive bossa duet. "Nao Sala Da Praca has a percolating groove that's tailor made for Valle. The dusty analog approach from Younge and Shaheed Mohammed are a match made in heaven for one of the vocal Kings of Brazil. Simply a superb release worthy of repeated listens.


Reg Dancy, 09/20

Badyo / Mario Lucio

Mario Lucio - Badyo


Third solo release since his days as songwriter for Simentera. ‘Badyo’  but the first one to get an International release. On this he takes his Cape Verdean roots back to the arrival of the African slaves and the styles and influences they brought with them (he wears a chain around his neck instead of a tie on the cover image). It’s a grower this one with a subtle but telling rawness that soon involves you and brings you back for more, very good.


Graham Radley, 06/08

Church / Mark De Clive Lowe

Mark De Clive Lowe - Church


There are few of artists who perform comfortably in a myriad of musical styles as well as Mark De Clive Lowe. His personal projects range from Jazz, Broken Beat to Hip-Hop and  future soul. In addition, his production credits extend to artists like Sy Smith and Sandra St Victor, not to mention numerous collaborations with the likes of Sheila E and Omar just to name a few. His latest project entitled "Church" is named after the music events he hosts in New York and Los Angeles respectively. From the opener "The Mission", a simmering appetizer that builds momentum features rapper John Robinson.  "Brukstep" is a frenetic up-tempo number that displays his keyboard wizardry. Vocalist and partner Nia Andrews contributes her blissful vocals to the elegant tune "Hollow" as well as two other compositions. There's a number of tasty Jazz compositions here that are airy and rhythmic like "Imam" and "Sketch For Miguel" the latter featuring Miguel Atwood Ferguson on Viola and Jamire Williams on drums. Quite simply you can insert this disc, press play and walk away and you're disappointed only when the record ends. Highly recommended.


Reg Dancy, 06/14

Heritage / Mark De Clive Lowe

Mark De Clive Lowe - Heritage


Pianist/Producer Mark De Clive Lowe explores his ancestry with his latest release "Heritage". De Clive Lowe consulted with his family to gain a deeper understanding of his Japanese roots and the results are his most personal work to date. "Bushido 1", meaning "The Way of the Warrior" begins with a splash of piano aligned with Josh Johnson's simmering alto sax. De Clive Lowe's melodic excursions takes the listener on a mystic voyage. "Memories of Nanzenji" is a meditative tune that is awash in Brandon Combs expressive cymbals. De Clive Lowe and Johnson's playing is free flowing and spiritual. "Niten-Ichi" begins with a slow burning piano that quickly evolves into a high energy free for all that includes Teodross Avery on Tenor sax. "Heritage" is the first of a two part project. Based on De Clive Lowe's brilliance here, there's no doubt that part two will be as equally rewarding as this one


Reg Dancy, 04/19

Journey To The Light / Mark De Clive-Lowe

Mark De Clive-Lowe - Journey To The Light

Freedom School

While Mark De Clive-Lowe isn't known as a Jazz purist, he has proven to be a wizard on the keyboards and synthesizers. His latest project, "Journey To The Light", is a snapshot of the live Freesoul sessions he has performed over the last year or so. This project is a combination of cosmic Jazz improvisation and break beats. You may find yourself wanting to dance to this one minute or simply just enjoying the live instrumentation the next. One of those tracks that will make you move is "Voices Whisper". Bembe Segue's wonderful voice and scatting towards the end graces this track and the others as well. However, it is the work of Jason Yarde on Sax, Richard Spaven on drums and percussionist Sammy Figueroa that really move this disc. Jason Yarde's solo work is powerful and a real treat while Richard Spaven's drumming pushes everyone to greater heights. "Peace Be Central" offers more of the same. Mark's rhythmic piano playing has never sounded better and the energetic playing left plenty of space for the lyricism of Bembe Segue's scorching vocals. Mark and Bembe have been making beautiful music together for some time now. This is just another major achievement of the great music these two have collaborated on. This is not easy to find but certainly worth the effort. Recommended.


Reg Dancy, 01/08

Sentient Stardust / Marsha Swanson

Marsha Swanson - Sentient Stardust

Mostly Music

Good thought provoking lyrics, which are delivered in catchy songs, that stand well alongside others at the top of the female singer songwriter genre  with influences ranging from Kate Bush to Carol King.


Graham Radley, 08/08

Stop, Look, Listen / Marta Ren and The Groovelvets

Marta Ren and The Groovelvets - Stop, Look, Listen

Record Kicks

Hailing from Oporto, Portugal. Marta Ren burst onto the scene with the 2012 hit single "2 Kinds Of Men". That funky soul burner drew a lot of attention as a classic soul chanteuse with a powerful voice. She follows up that appetizer with the full length LP "Stop, Look & Listen". Accompanied by the funk band The Groovelvets, they deliver plenty of revved up soul as evidenced by the opening track "I'm not your regular woman". Ren shows her softer side on the slow burning funk tune "Smiling Faces" but don't be fooled, she takes no prisoners on the slow and simmering "So Long". The Groovelvets show they're more than capable of laying down the groove and stretch out on instrumental "Be Ma Fela". A voice that belies her age, Marta will command your attention and you'll give in willingly.


Reg Dancy, 02/16

Soul Overdue / Martha High and Speedometer

Martha High and Speedometer - Soul Overdue


Martha High has been belting out soul songs for four decades strong. Martha started off working as a member of the Jewels, a group that was part of the James Brown Revue. Martha would continue to work with the Godfather of soul and later on work with former band member Maceo Parker. On “Soul Overdue” her voice sounds as strong as ever as she covers classics and makes them her own. A prime example is her rendition of the Etta James timeless “I’d Rather Go Blind” and Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man”. Other highlights include “Save Me” and “Dragging Me Down”, two burning tracks that demonstrate that Speedometer are more than capable of giving up the funk. A killer rhythm section and a dynamic voice adds up to a wonderful record. “Soul Overdue” is right on time.


Reg Dancy, 01/13

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