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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First Class / Smoove

Smoove - First Class

Jalapeno Recordss

DJ/Producer Smoove has long established his allegiance to the funk and his love for Hip-Hop through his DJ sets as well as his recordings with partner Turrell. On his latest solo project “First Class”, he treats us to his exclusive remixes from an array of artists who know how to lay down a groove. “Traveling Man” is a prime example of the funk that is brewing here as Jazz & Blues singer Brenda Boykin croons over a sizzling organ grinder meets thumping bass groove. Smoove turns up the heat with some well-placed edits on “Baby Your Lovin” by Electmric Empire. “Da Wiesel” by Boogaloo Stomp evokes memories of Kool & The Gang’s “Love & Understanding” and hearing this again will get you moving on the good foot. Other highlights include “It’s My Funk” by Charlie Funk feat Afrika Bambaataa & King Kamonzi and “Son Montuno” by the Una Mas Trio. “Frist Class” is exactly that; a first rate funk and soul burner that delivers from beginning to end.


Reg Dancy, 12/12

Family Dinner Vol.1 / Snarky Puppy

Snarky Puppy - Family Dinner Vol.1


Led by bassist, composer and producer Michael League, Snarky Puppy is a soul/funk collective, who although new to me actually formed in 2004. They’ve had numerous releases, all of which have been instrumental but on Family Dinner they have enlisted the assistance of top notch vocalists to create some outstanding music. The set was recorded and filmed live at Jefferson Center, Roanoke, VA in front of a select audience and this package not only includes the album but also a DVD of the performance. Free Your Dreams kicks off proceedings, a tasty organic soul groove featuring Chantae Cann before touching on other solid moments such as the moody Deep, fronted by N’Dambi and the playful Latin jazz dancer Amour T’es La? with Magda Giannikou. Lalah Hathaway revisits Brenda Russell’s Something, a song which she initially covered on her debut album back in 1990, and boy does she rip it up on this new version, performing vocal acrobatics that are quite simply mind blowing. This is soul with a capital S and deserves to be massive.


Andy Allen, 03/14

New York Afternoon / Snowboy

Snowboy - New York Afternoon

Snowboy Records

Veteran DJ/Percussionist Mark Cotgrove aka Snowboy has had a long and distinguish career. He's been an in demand session percussionist, working with esteemed artists like Lisa Stansfield and James Taylor. With his sixteenth album. "New York Afternoon" he has covered  of some of his favorite recordings and given them new life. The title track is a cover of the Richie Cole dance classic. The tune is sung by vocalist Mark Evans and backed by sexy horns and sunny rhythms. "Ole Mambo" originally by  Edmundo Ros receives an overhaul  complete with horn overdubs and sounds more progressive than the original. With "Better" and "Oxen Free" Cotgrove covers two tunes from Boston Mass singer/pianist Jen Kearny. who returns the favor by adding her vocals to the revamped recordings. Cotgrove's production and arrangements are first rate and the musicians on board are simply superb. A tremendous recording where the covers actually out do the originals. Cotgrove demonstrates once again that he's a sparkling conga player and an important ambassador of Latin music.


Reg Dancy, 04/16

Pimp Master / Soil & Pimp Sessions

Soil & Pimp Sessions - Pimp Master

Victor Records

Soil & Pimp Sessions return after their quality debut album 'Pimpin', which featured the full on jazz classics 'fuller love' and 'harbor', both of which eventually found their way onto a limited 12". With the release of 'Pimp Master', it seems they have finally found the attention they deserve, but that could be due to the big knob djs finally seeing what was right under their noses. Intense right from the moment 'No Taboo' kicks off, you know you're in for a roller coaster of a ride with yet more dancefloor anthems and modal numbers to give you a chance to get your breath back. This is proper jazz music for 2005 and I can't wait to see them live.


Simon Harrison, 05/05

Pimp Of The Year / Soil & Pimp Sessions

Soil & Pimp Sessions - Pimp Of The Year

Victor Records

Is there no stopping these guys?! It was only last month I reviewed their 'Crush!' EP, and here they are again with a full length album, 'Pimp Of The Year'. If you've been paying attention then you know the score, this is jazz with punk attitude. The set features 'Summer Goddess' and 'Crush!', the title tracks of their last 2 EPs along with goodies such as 'Worldwide' (a dedication to Gilles perhaps?!) and 'Sahara' with it's stunning piano work. My particular favourites though are 'Scoop Out' which sounds like a 70s cop show theme, the feel good vibe of 'Last Long', a solid jazz-funk affair and track 8, a beautiful modal waltz. This track has a Japanese title and although on some web sites it's translate as 'Fragment' from the 'Summer Goddess' EP it is not the same track.


Andy Allen, 03/06

Pimpoint / Soil & Pimp Sessions

Soil & Pimp Sessions - Pimpoint

Brownswood Recordings

Released on Victor Records in Japan earlier this year, Soil & Pimp Sessions' 'Pimpoint' now gets a UK issue via Gilles Peterson's Brownswood label. There are no real surprises here just the kind of quality furious horn driven jazz we've come to expect from this sextet. Their version of Freddie Hubbard's 'Red Clay' is certainly one of the highlights but check 'Makuroke' with its twisted cosmic keys making it sound like a 70s cop show theme and the feel-good funk of 'Funky Goldman'. Also included as a bonus track is the brilliant 'Sahara' from their 'Pimp Of The Year' set. Look out for the track on 12” with a remix from Zed Bias.


Andy Allen, 07/07

Summer Goddess EP / Soil & Pimp Sessions

Soil & Pimp Sessions - Summer Goddess EP

Victor Records

Soil & Pimp Sessions waste no time in following up their recent ‘Pimp Master’ set with this 6 track EP. No surprises here just more of their distinctive brand of frantic ‘death jazz’. ‘Fragment’ is the instant highlight but drop ‘Ms B.C.’, ‘Sweat’ or the title track and you won’t be disappointed.


Andy Allen, 09/05

Planet Pimp / Soil &amp; Pimp Sessions

Soil &amp; Pimp Sessions - Planet Pimp

Brownswood Recordings

Tokyo’s funky jazzers zip into this one, with with their trademark infectious energy and the music they call ‘Death Jazz’. They can cut the groove down as well as, demonstrated on the delightful ‘Darkside’ or ‘Sorrow’ but my personal favourite is the suitably wild ‘Mingus Fan Club’. Excellent.


Graham Radley, 09/08

Now, Listen Again / Solid Steel presents DJ Food & DK

Solid Steel presents DJ Food & DK - Now, Listen Again

Ninja Tune

The next Solid Steel mix cd goes back to the guys who started the series back in 2001 and by now you should know what to expect from DJ Food and DK. As with the infamous radio show, you never quite know what these guys are gonna throw in the mix and it's just about all here, with some re-works exclusive to this mix. There's the drum and bass remix of Roots Manuva, a dub mix of New Order's "Blue Monday", New Flesh's 2-step grime and a northern soul version of "Purple Haze", plus The Human League, Eric B and Rakim, Bomb The Bass, Aphex Twin through to the theme tune of "Are you Being Served". With a total of thirty two tracks over the sixty five minute mix, you're in for a rollercoaster ride.


Simon Harrison, 03/07

Pleasure From Precision / Solidaze

Solidaze - Pleasure From Precision

Balanced Records

From Winnipeg, Canada, El Salvador born Luis Francisco Cardona (Solidaze) comes with a down-tempo set of hypnotic electro-soul fused with elements of house and nu jazz. Although mainly instrumental it's the tracks featuring vocalist Sarah Michaelson that appeal the most, 'Anti Animosity' and 'In The Meantime'. Of the instrumentals try 'I Too Call Myself I', 'Late Night Movement' and 'Curve Seven' for some deep darkness.


Andy Allen, 08/06

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