Massukos - BumpingPoo Productions
Second CD, from the Mozambique group from Niassa Province, who were formed in 1994 to preserve the traditional rhythms of the area. They've used their rise to number one band in the land to fight poverty and to bring about social change, in fact Bumping is dedicated to the memory of Massukos' percussionist Americo Miguel who died in last year aged 32 from a preventable and curable illness. He leaves his daughter and wife who has since given birth to his second child. This is African music at its infectious best, dancing music that gives that happy glow. Don't miss them at Womad and check out more info on www.massukos.org.
Graham Radley, 08/07
Mathias Stubo - Mathias StuboBBE
Norwegian drummer/multi-instrumentalist embarks on a journey of heavenly rhythms and atmospheric soundscapes. Among the highlights are the explosive afro-beat inspired “Those High Frequency Feelings”. Martin Mata contributes to the celestial “Opp I Lufta”. “Back Into My Life” is another enjoyable instrumental slice of electro ambient grooves. With other subtle hints of Pop, funk and well placed sampling throughout the disc, Mathias Stubo delivers a refreshing album filled with creativity and imagination that proves to be a fascinating listen.
Reg Dancy, 11/12
Matt Andersen - Something In BetweenStubby Fingers
Hard working musician on the live circuit ( last seen in UK as part of a package with Jessica Rhaye and Dave Gunning), this first studio CD gives Matt the chance to explore his songwriting. This is country style blues with a terrific studio band that includes Henry Spinetti and Dave Markee. Good stuff.
Graham Radley, 09/08
Matthew Halsall - Colour YesGondwana Records
When trumpeter Matthew Halsall dropped his debut “Sending My Love”, his relaxed tone and superb compositions caught the ears of many by surprise. With a successful debut comes expectations but Halsall appears to be more than up to the task. “Colour You” is supreme quality modal jazz where elusive harmonies soar and the synergy that exists among Matthew and the quintet is simply marvelous. Their chemistry shines on the title track, where Matthew’s free flowing effortless playing is a thing of beauty. Also noteworthy is the work of pianist Adam Fairhall, who seamlessly fills spaces with lyrical playing reminiscent of McCoy Tyner. On the track “Together”, Matthew’s fluid solos and the playing of Rachael Gladwin on harp create the perfect balance to this hauntingly beautiful ballad. On “I’ve found joy”, Matthew and tenor saxophonist Nat Birchall engage in restraint yet adventurous rhythmic soloing that sounds as though they’ve been playing together for years. “I’ve been here before” is another beautiful ballad showcases the delicate brushwork of drummer Gaz Hughes who performs on tracks 3-6 while Marek Dorcik handles the rest. Simply stated, “Colour You” is a virtuoso performance by Matthew Halsall. Once again the bar has been raised because I can’t to hear what he does next. Highly recommended.
Reg Dancy, 02/10
Mawkin Causley - The Awkward RecruitNavigator Records
Essex folk band Mawkin in a very successful collaboration with the wonderful singer Jim Causley from Devon. The result is inspiring with their live sets adding to the excitement and expectancy over this They’ve managed to capture the freshness of their take on traditional folk and it’s all so wonderfully topped off by that terrific voice. Recommended.
Graham Radley, 08/09
Max Cole - Star ChartsWah Wah 45s
2006 is certainly going to be quite a year for Max Cole, with three projects being released over the following months. First we have Max's excellent debut for the ever consistent Wah Wah stable. Max has a lovely if unique voice which just gets better and better with every play. The single "Mo High" which was released in 2005 stood out to be that little bit different, but those not convinced will find a slightly different vibe here and it's a pleasure to listen to. Initially a bedroom producer who knows that it's not all about electronics he is also a dab hand at various instruments, giving this the live feel suited to Max's vocals and wonderful guest vocalists Deborah Jordan and Lucy May. The next two projects from Max are Moto Tengu and Other Worlds: can't wait.
Simon Harrison, 05/06
Maya Azucena - Junkyard JewelPurpose
Brooklyn native Maya Azucena first put her name on the map in 2003 with her debut "Maya Who?!". A great blend of soul and funk highlighted by a dynamic voice you would not forget even if you tried. For those in the know, it was quite obvious how talented this woman is. Finally, we have "Junkyard Jewel", an acoustic album with a solid band to provide her with a raw authentic sound. In this setting, the music is stripped down and the feeling is more personal. You get the impression that Maya reached back into her musical roots and pulled out hymns that have played a part of who she is today. The vibe has a folk feel to it and evokes all sorts of emotions. Be it joy, pain, spiritual or blues. It's hard to really zero in on tracks that stand out because the entire disc flows very well. However, "Runaway blues" really left a impression on me with the strong vocal harmonies laid out. The performance on "Wash Over" is downright stirring with violinist Tarrah Reynold's persuasive melodies. If that wasn't enough, she puts her stamp all over Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". Want to hear a beautiful voice in it's purest form? Make room for some quiet time and give "Junkyard Jewel" a listen.
Reg Dancy, 12/07
Me&You - Floating HeavyTru Thoughts Recordings
2007 is turning out to be the year of the cover song, with numerous raggae, jazz, funk and house versions doing the rounds on radio stations and dancefloors. One track I've not played for many years is Roni Size's "Brown Paper Bag": a classic, yes, but every time a certain Mr Peterson plays in Leeds, he plays this track without fail. I've never worked out why but maybe he'll explain one day. You&Me aka co-owner of Tru Thoughts Rob Luis and TM Juke have produced a reggae verison that has bought life back into "Brown Paper Bag". "Floating Heavy" is a cracking album that really mixes up the styles. From drum & bass, soul, broken beat, jazz, raggae, disco, dubstep through to break beats, this will keep me happy with anthems for the rest of 2007 and beyond.
Simon Harrison, 05/07
Medline - A Quest Called TribeMy Bags
French producer Medline's latest release "A Quest Called Tribe" pays tribute to A Tribe Called Quest. Medline adds a gentle touch along with a melodic soul jazz groove to some of our beloved recordings from the legendary hip-hop trio. For starters the classic "Relaxation Electrique" is transformed into a sublime number with soothing vibes. "Jazz (On A Du)" is a medley of well chosen Tribe treats. "Trouver une Voie" channels "Find A Way" from the Love Movement lp. A delightful reminder of just how treasured these tracks are. Not to mention the creative possibilities when placed in the right hands. Medline's cool rhythmic arrangements will ease any concerns. A superb record worthy of repeated listens.
Reg Dancy, 03/19
Menagerie - The Arrow Of TimeFreestyle
Producer and multi-instrumentalist Lanu Ferguson has serenaded us with a myriad of projects ranging from The Bamboos to Black Feeling. His broad musical vision have made him a sort after musician and created high anticipation for his releases. Menagerie, his latest project is no exception. Ferguson's latest is inspired by the 1970's spiritual jazz era and is filled with post bop spiritual and Afro jazz rhythms. "Evolution", erupts with an enchanting piano solo and percussion followed by Fallon Williams philosophical words of wisdom. "The Arrow Of Time" is another winner fueled by simmering horns, tantalizing keys and a harmonious vocal chorus. "Spiral" is an infectious jazz funk gem with a monster groove. "The Arrow Of Time" is a marvelous collection of compositions that inspire joyous energy and warm vibes. Ferguson once again knocks it out of the park with an album that provides definite satisfaction.
Reg Dancy, 02/18