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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Luz Negra / Richard Galliano

Richard Galliano - Luz Negra

Warner Jazz

Recorded in Sao Paulo last year this is Richard Galliano's first studio album since 2001's 'Face To Face'. There is of course a very strong Latin American influence but the jazz (he's played with Chet Baker, Michel Petrucciani and Jan Garbarek amongst many top jazz names) and classical references that have featured so prominently in his evolving career are woven within too by this excellent musician. Re-released at the same time is a remastered version of 1992's 'Solo' a tribute to Astor Piazzolla who was in a coma at the time of the recording. Both are full of textures, passion and superb music.


Graham Radley, 03/07

Live In Marciac 2006 / Richard Galliano & Tangaria Quartet

Richard Galliano & Tangaria Quartet - Live In Marciac 2006

Milan Records

Excellent live recording, at this jazz festival, from accordionist Richard Galliano which was the first appearance of this new group made up of Alexis Cardenas, Rafaël Mejitas and Philippe Aerts. The concert also features Hamilton De Holanda on mandolin. Very good.


Graham Radley, 09/07

Never Satisfied / Richard Marks

Richard Marks - Never Satisfied

Now Again

"Never Satisfied" is the anthology from Atlanta singer guitarist Richard Marks. Marks may not be a household name outside Atlanta Georgia however this collection reveals a talented soul singer/songwriter and guitarist as well. Over twenty one tracks Marks and his display the type of raw RnB soul arrangements reminiscent of the Stax house band sound as well as other influences. "Funky Fingers" is a funky organ flavored instrumental. The title track is driving funk with tasty guitar licks and horns. Marks voice isn't powerful but effective. "Speak Now" is a slow burning ballad with sweet backing vocals. If not for the fact that this was unreleased material you could've strip off five or six songs to make a stronger record. That being said, "Never Satisfied" provides some sparkling moments of hot buttered soul that will delight raw soul enthusiasts. .


Reg Dancy, 09/15

Real Time / Richard Spaven

Richard Spaven - Real Time

Fine Line Records

Richard Spaven's subtle yet exploratory drumming has become identifiable from the first few notes of his records. As satisfying as his debut "The Self" has been, "Real Time" may be even better. There's much to savor from the nine track lp starting with the lead single "Faded". Jordan Rakei's blissful vocals float above gentle atmospheric textures. Rakei shines again on the Andy Bey original "Celestial Blues", aided by Stuart McCallum's sparkling guitar playing. "Loved One" is a beautiful tune filled with ambient soundscapes and vocal harmonies. Spaven's working band of guitarist McCallum, bassist Robin Mullarkey and Oli Rockberger on keys have a chemistry that's apparent throughout the disc. Add the soulful vocals of Rakei and you have a winning formula. They emphasize an ensemble approach filled with jazz infused instrumentation combined with superb songwriting. Simply put this is an exceptional record worthy of repeated listens. Highly recommended


Reg Dancy, 01/19

The Self / Richard Spaven

Richard Spaven - The Self

Soul Has No Tempo

Richard Spaven continues a steady ascent as one of the premiere drummers on the scene today. He has gained international acclaim through his trademark drumming style, resulting in collaborations with the likes of Jose James, Flying Lotus and others. "The Self", his latest release is a culmination of all his influences, notably jazz, electronica and drum n bass. "Stills" is a atmospheric gem highlighted by frequent collaborator Jordan Rakei's smooth falsetto. "The Hidden Camera", filled with dub step rhythms is a nod to the London club culture. "Greeting to Saud" is a blissful tribute to the great McCoy Tyner is laced with gorgeous synth melodies courtesy of pianist Kris Bowers. A visual album filled with ambient sound and textures worthy of repeated listens. If you're familiar with Mr Spaven then you know his music defies genres and for that we're grateful based on the results. If you're new to him then you're in for a treat.


Reg Dancy, 09/17

Whole Other / Richard Spaven

Richard Spaven - Whole Other

Fine Line Records

Richard Spaven has become one of the premiere drummers on the scene today. His rhythmic playing, largely influenced by the Drum n Bass and Broken Beat sound emerging out of the underground club scene in London has made him a sought after drummer. He provided a sampling of his talents on "5ives", the EP he released in 2010 by combining these elements, along with Jazz, Hip-Hop and Dub Step. On his full length debut "Whole Other", he showcases his skills as a composer while enlisting an array of talented vocalists to bring them to life. The title track is a downtempo tune that features the lush vocal harmonies of The Hics. "SideIISide" features warm Rhodes playing from Grant Windsor and gorgeous vocals from Sharlene Hector. "Tribute" features sublime guitar rhythms courtesy of Stuart Mc Callum. Spaven is pushing the boundaries by blending genres and making beautiful music in the process. He's certainly one to watch moving forward.


Reg Dancy, 09/14

Rim Arrives / Rim Kwaku Obeng

Rim Kwaku Obeng - Rim Arrives


The availability of a Samuel K Mfojo, better known as Rim Kwaku Obeng recording has been scarce to say the least. It has been a daunting task for record enthusiasts to get their hands on the talented drummer's late seventies work. Thanks to the emergence of BBE records Africa label, that's no longer the case. "Rim Arrives", originally recorded in 1977 is filled with Afro infused Disco rhythms that displays his drumming prowess. There's also an EP scheduled for release but there's much to savor here. Let's begin with "Believe In Yourself", a mid tempo burner soaked in funky rhythms, tasty horns and an inspiring chrous. "Funky Drummer" is another sure shot, laced with funky sax, spirited drumming and rhythmic guitar  "International Funk", originally a 12 inch release is infectious Disco funk with it's spirited percussion and synths. Obeng went through some hard times prior to  these sessions and his recordings never received the shine they deserved. With "Rim Arrives" his time has finally arrived.


Reg Dancy, 10/15

Our Kingdom / Rime

Rime - Our Kingdom

Infracom Records

Fresh from the Nordic country is Finnish producer Antti Hynninen amd singer Sara Sayed, better known as Rime. Their debut “Our Kingdom” is a delicious slice of electronic soul filled with soothing vocals, mellow mid-tempo grooves and uplifting lyrics. Hynninen blesses each track with layers of warm melodic keyboards while Sara’s soft feathery touch makes for a perfect combination. There are plenty of highlights to savor here like the wonderful “Smoke And Regret”, filled with soft synth grooves to complement Sara’s sweet vocal phrasings. “Loose Ends” is no less enjoyable, beginning with a wave of gorgeous rhodes and lush strings that provide the canvas for Sara’s soft seductive voice.  “Breal You” is another winner that incorporates the similar ingredients, armed with a slightly up-tempo groove. Overall this is a strong showcase of warm melodic electronic soul music that is consistent throughout. Their concept is simple yet the results shine as bright as a warm summer afternoon. Make no mistake though, this is a quality record for all seasons to savor and enjoy.


Reg Dancy, 04/11

Locutions / Rinse The Algorithm

Rinse The Algorithm - Locutions


Rinse The Algorithm is a seven member unit lead by bassist Rich Brown. Rich has built a reputation as one of the most in-demand electric bassists on the scene today, especially in his hometown of Toronto. “Locutions” is an eleven track debut that is equal parts contemporary jazz, funk and fusion wrapped together to provide a harmonic soulful experience. There are some sparkling moments when each member pushes one another and in the process create some stimulating music. Let’s start with the opening track “Urban Nocturnal”, a mellow quiet storm type track that is a solid introduction to the group’s work. Things get interesting on “Constellation 149”, a contemporary jazz tune that starts with a simmer at the onset but starts to burn after that. Pianist Robi Botos displays impressive chops but plays with grace and passion. “Black Nimbus” is a slow funky number with Rich out front laying down bass lines that would make Stanley Clarke proud. Luis Deniz matches Rich with some inspired playing on alto sax. “Soothe The Machinery” is a fusion flavored track that sizzles thanks in part to the beautiful voice of Yvette Tollar. Overall “Locutions” is a delightful listen and serves as a coming out party not only for Rich Brown but the talented musicians he has surrounded himself with. His ability as a bass player and a composer should form the foundation for a bright future and the recognition he truly deserves.


Reg Dancy, 10/08

Sambarama / Riovolt

Riovolt - Sambarama

Irma Records

Here's another beautifully packed CD. Attention to detail makes all the difference and you even get a free CD-R in there as well. Riovolt is a real mixed bag of Funk, Jazz, Drum & Bass, Samba and Electronica. The killer track for me, and the reason you need to buy this album, is 'Starjive', a brilliant Brazilian flavour jazz funk bomb brought up to date for 2005 and not a million miles away from Azymuth. Norbert Küpper, the producer and composer behind Riovolt, grew up with Soul, Fusion and Funk, and these influences shine throughout 'Sambarama'. Vocals are provided by Zuco 103's Lilian Vieira and Ju Cassou, which completes the package perfectly.


Simon Harrison, 12/05

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