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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Boston Goes Disco! / Serge Gamesbourg

Serge Gamesbourg - Boston Goes Disco!

BBE

"Boston Goes Disco" is a deep drive into the underground world of late 70s early 80s Boston Disco. Boston native DJ/Producer Serge Gamesbourg shines a light on forgotten tunes from Massachusetts. Among this 20 track release are a few notable selections. "All In Good Time" by Wildlife is your typical blueprint disco number with swirling strings and a funky groove. Gamesbourg's edit of funky bass driven "I'm Gonna Get You" is a highlight. The Christopher Michael Band's "You Make Me Happy" bridges the gap between funk and Disco. Gamesbourg's edits and reworks breathes new life into these tunes. For Disco afficionados you'll certainly find some gems throughout this disc.

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Reg Dancy, 10/18

Bean Unit / Setsubun

Setsubun - Bean Unit

Accidental Records

How to classify ? it’s a folked up jazz, fired by dubby brass meets electro type thingy really. Formed by three members of Bellowhead, plus Japanese musicians and the Bon dancers, it’s a wildly different sound that’s often challenging but if we wanted safe we can find enough cans of mediocrity on the shelves can’t we ? Terrific.

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Graham Radley, 02/08

From Africa With Fury Rise / Seun Kuti &amp; Egypt 80

Seun Kuti &amp; Egypt 80 - From Africa With Fury Rise

Knitting Factory Records / Because Music

Seun Kuti follows up his 2008 debut “Many Things” with the powerful “From Africa With Fury Rise”. Seun has taken songs he has performed live into the studio and with the help of highly acclaimed producers Brian Eno and John Reynolds has composed one of the strongest albums of the year. This seven track release contains all the essential ingredients to the Afrobeat sound; blistering horns, infectious percussion and a nonstop funky groove. Of course it’s not just about the music, for all the lyrics pack a powerful punch with the intent to inspire the people of Adrica who continue to suffer from mental and physical abuse. Take “Africa Soldier”, the opening track kicks off with a long instrumental before Seun sings about how the African soldier gets into Politics and wants to remain in power, not to help his people but to empower himself.  On “You Can Run”, Seun’s message to the oppressors is that you can’t outrun the beatings and betrayal you have piled on our people. “Rise” finds Seun imploring his people to rise above the injustices that for years have shackled his people.  Seun follows in the footsteps of his father to spread the message of fighting the system yet succeeds by carving out his own style. This is essential listening that will make you stand up and move to the groove and hopefully stand up for what’s right.

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Reg Dancy, 05/11

Gul Acdi - A Flower In Bloom / Sevda

Sevda - Gul Acdi - A Flower In Bloom

Network

Another terrific Network discovery, this time from Azerbaijan and with a voice, that is beautiful, moving and deeply expressive. Listen to 'Alvida' seven minutes of emotive expression with just piano and voice and the pain of separation, then listen to 'Goy-Gol' and you've got a romping Azeri salsa track or 'Mahur' a classical Mugham improvisation with tar, kemancha and voice or the CD closer 'Lolo, Lolo' which takes us at speed through African, flamenco and Afro-Cuban rhythms. Top stuff.

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Graham Radley, 08/07

The Loop / Shafiq Husayn

Shafiq Husayn - The Loop

Eglo

 Laid back psychedelic California soul courtesy of Shafiq Husayn, one third of Sa-Ra Creative Partners. "The Loop" is filled with breezy melodic compositions he's worked on over the past decade. Shafiq has assembled a number of notable collaborators to raise his tracks to another level. Vocalist Jimetta Rose co-wrote and performed on a number of songs here but the breezy jazz infused "May I Assume" featuring fellow vocalist Fatima is a standout. Other highlights include "It's Better For You" featuring the infectious raspy vocals of Anderson Paak. Hiatus Kiayote's poly-rhythmic sound fits like a glove on "Cycles". Despite the A-list of guests it's the sonic brew of musical styles molded into an eclectic soulful sound that makes Shariq's music so joyful and addictive. Long overdue but definitely worth the wait.

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Reg Dancy, 05/19

Introducing: The Voice Of India Today / Shankar Mahadevan

Shankar Mahadevan - Introducing: The Voice Of India Today

Saregama

I've been playing this more & more over the past few weeks, a special priced double CD from one of India's most popular contemporary singers. Classically trained but not afraid to collaborate or bring his excellent voice to other styles, he's been the regular singer for A.R. Rahman and worked with John McClaughlin in the reformed Shakti. Also includes a video of his 1998 hit 'Breathless' Superb.

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Graham Radley, 12/06

Disco Partizani / Shantel

Shantel - Disco Partizani

Crammed Discs

Glorious pop music, with an equally glorious mix of styles and influences, on a bed of East European cultures, past and present. Among the many guests are clarinettist Filip Simeonov (Taraf de Haidouks) trumpeter Roy Paci (Manu Chao) reggae/dancehall queen Mantiz and singer Brenna MacCrimmon . The ex DJ knows what works an audience and uses it to great effect.

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Graham Radley, 09/07

Soulstice / Shapeshifter

Shapeshifter - Soulstice

Inertia Records

On their fourth album, the New Zealand based band continues to build on their unique brand of alternative drum n bass music. “Soulstice” combines elements of soul, dub step and folk to create their most ambitious project yet. The disc kicks off “New Day Come”, an energetic track that is enhanced by the melody from the Norman Connors classic “You are my starship”. “In The Rain” starts out as an acoustic gem that simmers, thanks in part to the vocals of Ladi6. “One” is a blissful track with uplifting lyrics and a gorgeous piano loop. You can’t help but feel good after listening to this one, thanks in part to the vocals of Paora Apera (aka P Digsss). “Soulstice” is an enjoyable record that will have you listening to drum n bass in a different light. This is groundbreaking work that should propel this group to greater heights.

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Reg Dancy, 01/10

100 Days and 100 Nights / Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - 100 Days and 100 Nights

Daptone Records

Raw, uncut soul at it's best. Take one look at the Dap Kings and you'd ask yourself, can these guys really bring the funk? Yes! They really, really can! The third release for Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings is a little milder than their previous release "Naturally". However, they still come at you hard nonetheless. There's really no track that stands out more than the other as the entire disc just flows at a crisp pace. The disc begins with the title track. A semi-slow burner that has everything that you loved about soul music, live instrumentation, warm harmonies and a lead voice that packs a punch. Midway through the song, Sharon pauses for a second, slows down the pace and reasserts herself while the Dap Kings break it down to another level. "Nobody's Baby" has a funky mid-tempo beat that will surely have your head noddin', albeit a bit short at just over two minutes. That's a minor quibble that you can deal with. What's more important is serenading yourself with ten tracks of soul music in it's purest form. If that wasn't enough, there's also bonus cd that features music from various artists from the Daptone label titled Binky Griptite's Ghetto Funk Power Hour. Hosted by Daptone guitarist Binky Griptite, this disc burns for sixty minutes. If this isn't money well spent I don't know what is.

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Reg Dancy, 01/08

7 Summers / Shaun Martin

Shaun Martin - 7 Summers

Ropeadope

"Seven Summers" is the debut of pianist Shaun Martin of Snarky Puppy. The full length release chronicles his journey and growth as an artist and a person. The result is an engaging collection of jazz,fusion laced with funk and gospel rhythms. A fixture in the Dallas Texas community, he's with everyone from serving as music director for Kirk Franklin to collaborating with Erykah Badu. "Lotus" is spirited fusion with plenty of space for Martin's superb soloing. "Love Don't Let Me Down" is a warm ballad with a gospel flavored organ groove. "Madiba" is jazz funk inspired by the passing of Nelson Madela.The disc wraps up with vocalist and fellow Dallas native Geno Young on the funkified "All in A Days Work". There's a number of tunes that reflects the Snarky Puppy sound but make no mistake, this has Martin's personal touch all over it. This is an joyous recording that has a little something for everyone.

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Reg Dancy, 10/15

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