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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Listeners / Scrimshire

Scrimshire - Listeners

Albert's Favourites

Adam Scrimshire's fourth full length release is a triumph ripe with brilliant haunting recordings. "Listeners" takes you on journey of blissful soundscapes fusing soul, jazz and electronica. The title suggests that he's more of a listener as he allowed his collaborators freedom to express themselves by sharing their own stories. Those collaborators are a collection of some of our prominent artists on the scene today. "Life Is Valuable" is an electronic soulful tune that features the husky vocals of James Alexander Bright. The rising multi-instrumentalist Emma Jean Thackray's warm vocals and trumpet phrasings are a delight on "Won't Get Better". The disc wraps up with the glorious composition "Thru You" featuring the incomparable Georgia Anne Muldrow. My minor quibble is there's only nine songs but rest assured that each song is a delight worthy of repeated listens. All of Schrimshire's recordings have been superb but this may be his best yet. Highly recommended.

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Reg Dancy, 08/19

The Hollow / Scrimshire

Scrimshire - The Hollow

Wah Wah 45s

Adam Scrimshire’s follow up to his 2008 release is filled with a wide variety of melodic compositions covering all matter of styles. There’s a load of stellar vocal contributions as well as tasty instrumentals that makes the album flow at a swift pace. For instance there’s the latin flavored “Everything You Say” that receives support from Cinematic Orchestra vocalist Heidi Vogel. “Home” is a wonderful dance track infused with a spirited groove and heavenly vocals from the Resonator’s Faye Houston. “Ascension” features funky brass courtesy of the Hackney Colliery Band. Sometimes less is more and with nine high quality tracks that is certainly the case here. If you liked Scrimshire’s first record there’s no doubt you’ll love this one. Don’t miss out on this superb record.

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Reg Dancy, 05/12

Palmares Fantasy / Sean Khan

Sean Khan - Palmares Fantasy

Far Out Recordings

Saxophonist Sean Khan heads to Rio De Janeiro to collaborate with the iconic multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal. You could say that these two are kindred spirits when it comes to improvisation. Their quest for freedom and being in the moment is heard throughout on tracks like "Montreux". This Pascoal original finds him creating rhythms with the use of a teapot and a pint of water. Khan's phrasings are subtle but resonate nonetheless. Another Pascoal cover. the breezy jazz funk "Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser" features the sublime vocals of Rio native Sabrina Malheiros. Khan's own compositions hit the mark as well. The orchestral "Moment Of Collapse" is draped in wind swept strings and the beautiful vocals of Heidi Vogel. "The Blonde" finds them swinging hard and having a good time. Bassist Paulo Russo and Asymuth drummer Jim Mullen keep the rhythm percolating at a fever pitch and laying the groundwork for Khan's soloing. Inspired by the 17th Century settlement of Palmares in Brazil's Alagoas region, Khan takes the listener on an astral journey that is pure bliss. Khan and Pascoal together are a real treat that you shouldn't miss.

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Reg Dancy, 07/18

It's Time / Sean McCabe

Sean McCabe - It's Time

Z Records

"It's Time, the full length debut from DJ/Producer Sean McCabe isn't merely a bunch of dance tracks thrown together to fill an album. Instead McCabe has crafted an assortment of arrangements ranging from soulful house to garage. There's plenty of tasty treats here that will twist your hips and move your feet. For instance, "Everything's Alright" is a melodic soulful house gem with a gorgeous hook, topped off with vocals from Erik Dillard. "Back to Front" featuring Nathan Adams is a infectious dance floor burner with Jazzy horns. "Love For Life" will evoke memories of the classic Sal Soul recording "Moment Of My Life". Any of these cuts could be a dance floor hit, further evidence of the production prowess of McCabe. With the backing of Joey Negro's Z records, expect to hear a steady diet of this superb release for months to come.

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Reg Dancy, 12/14

The Silimbo Passage / Seckou Keita SKQ

Seckou Keita SKQ - The Silimbo Passage

World Adventures

If ever the term ‘world music’ could apply to a band, then it’s here. Seckou Keita SKQ is a quintet, consisting of Senegal’s Keita on the kora (a 21 string harp/lute like instrument from West Africa, played using only the thumbs and index fingers), accompanied by an Italian double/electric bassist, an Egyptian violinist, and a percussionist and vocalist both hailing from The Gambia. But don’t let that scare you; this isn’t some kind of hideous concept fusion group (the stuff of politically correct, right-on musical nightmares). Far from it. This is genuinely beautiful and uplifting music that requires little or no explanation. The focus is on Keita’s crisp, clean and impeccable playing of established West African roots sounds, with sympathetic support from the accomplished musicians around him, adding little tweaks of Arabic or flamenco rhythm here and there. A wonderful album that had me engrossed and that played all the way through twice before I even touched the controls.

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Tom Breslin, 05/08

Mince & Onions / Secret Stealth

Secret Stealth - Mince & Onions

Bocajito Records

Secret Stealth are Nottingham's Bob Sadler and Jim Baron and the oddly titled 'Mince & Onions' is the follow up to the duo's 2005 debut 'Ssshhh'. With element of disco, boogie, electro and house all thrown into the mix this should appeal to fans of the Baron's other project Crazy P. The soulful cuts 'Drive Me Crazy' and 'Hooked On You', both of which feature Holly Brackler on vocals are the standouts for me along with 'Free' a gorgeous string laced arrangement reminiscent of 4hero.

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Andy Allen, 03/07

Driftglass / Seed Ensemble

Seed Ensemble - Driftglass

Jazz re:freshed

Just when you thought the burgeoning UK jazz scene couldn't get any better along comes another group to blow your mind. Seed Ensemble is a ten piece collective led by alto saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi. "Driftglass" is filled with afro-futurism, poetry and protest brought to life by an array of uber talented musicians. The title is named after a short story by Science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany. "Afronaut" features thought provoking poetry from Xana. Sheila Maurice-Grey's glorious trumpet phrasings is just a nod of a strong horn section that includes Theon Cross on Tuba and Chelsea Carmichael on Tenor sax. Drummer Patrick Boyle keeps the beat at a fever pitch. "Wake" (for Grenfall) features lyrics by Langston Hughes sung by Cherise Adams-Burnett. The sobering tone and vocal harmonies juxtaposes images of injustice past and present. "Interplanetary Migration" is a spirited melting pot of jazz and afro-beat plus spoken word from Mr Ekow. Between working in other groups like Kokoroko and Nerija, Kinoshi has created something special here. She has composed a superb collection of music that makes a statement. The result is one of the best albums of the year

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Reg Dancy, 03/19

Michel Ongaro / Senta Lain

Senta Lain - Michel Ongaro

Hippo Records

Senta Lain are a great band from Kenya who were formed by blind band leader Michel Ongaru 8 years ago. Michel is a multi-instrumentalist and plays harmonica, guitar, flute, drums, marimba and piano. Musically the band combine a wide range of influences and cultures which include Kenyan benga and soukous styles with gospel and Cuban Son. Very good.

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Graham Radley, 05/09

Red Handed / Sepalot

Sepalot - Red Handed

Compost Records

Hailing from Germany, DJ/Producer Sepalot showcases a global presence on his third release “Red Handed”. Sepalot creates a hip hop album that provides plenty of funk, a slew of talented vocalists, a dose of electronica and much more. “She Likes Me” is a definite party banger that features Detroit’s Frank Nitti of Frank n Dank. Rapper Blu is enlisted for the irresistibly funky “Surrender”. Fellow German native Esther Adams, who has worked with Sepalot on her own solo project blesses the track “Liquid Embrace” with her soft buttery voice. On “Jump” Olivier Day Soul sounds like a young Bootsy Collins as he croons over this funky track. He also returns on the soulful “Lights” which is one of the best tracks on the disc. With seventeen tracks, the disc began to loose some momentum. The omission of two or three tracks would’ve made this a much stronger record. Having said that, “Red Handed” is an enjoyable disc that displays the beat making prowess of Sepalot and will undoubtedly expand him to a wider audience.

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Reg Dancy, 08/08

Hear To See / Seravince

Seravince - Hear To See

Moovmnt

Many of you may remember Vincent Helbers aka Seravince from his band Flowriders. While his 2007 release “R.U.E.D.Y.” was a soul infused broken beat treat, his latest project “Hear to See” is a mellow jazz flavored soulful Aphrodisiac. Helbers creates warm intense compositions while drummer Richard Spaven provides shivering jazzy rhythms throughout this set.  If that wasn’t enough Vocalist Renee Neufville’s deep tone heightens the mood on several tracks here, especially “Perfect Stranger” and “World Won’t Stop”. MC/Vocalist Esperanzah seductive wordplay is “Rika” is another highlight. “High” is a funky number aided by the vocals of Sharlene Hector. This is one of those soulful treats that will ease into your system with little effort. Don’t try to fight it, just sit back and enjoy it.

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Reg Dancy, 03/13

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