The Haggis Horns - What Comes To MindHaggis Records
The Haggis Horns have been serving up their brand of funky horn arrangements to a long list of artists like Mark Ronson, Corrine Bailey Rae and The New Mastersounds, with whom they first premiered. With their third lp, entitled "What Comes To Mind" , they have solidified themselves as a funk and soul band capable of laying down the grooves to make you move. Evidence lies with tunes like "Give Me Something Better" featuring vocalist John McCallum. Lucinda Slim, the other featured vocalist adds some spice to "I Can't Stop This Feeling". "Keep On Bumpin" is reminiscent of early seventies boogie funk. Prominent backing vocals and exciting horns make this a worthy listen for funk and soul enthusiasts.
Reg Dancy, 01/16
The Heritage Orchestra - The Heritage OrchestraBrownswood Recordings
Already off to a flying start with the likes of Ben Westbeach and a UK issue of Soil & Pimp Sessions, Gilles Peterson and Simon Goffe's new Brownswood label now unleashes the outstanding debut from The Heritage Orchestra. The forty plus collective in collaboration with Chris Bowden present a selection of beautifully crafted cinematic jazz-funk arrangements. From the set's opener 'Mothers And Daughters Now Mothers', a nine minute epic, you know you're in for a treat. The drama continues with breathtaking moments such as 'Sky Breaks' featuring vocalist Liz Swain and 'Tell Me Stories' with Natalie Williams on lead but this is an album that really needs to be savoured in its entirety.
Andy Allen, 09/06
The Idan Rachel Project - Within My WallsCumbancha
Second International release from Israeli composer and keyboard player Idan Raichel further developing his range of influences so that Israeli/Middle Eastern fuses into a wider global soundscape. Sung in Hebrew, Arabic, Cape Verdean (Mayra Andrade is a songwriting collaborator) Creole, Spanish and Swahili you get a feel of the diversity with other collaborators including Marta Gomez, Somi, Zohar Fresco and Alon Nadel plus a 24 piece orchestra. Old meets new, ambient meets traditional, the result is captivating.
Graham Radley, 05/09
The Impellers - My CertaintyLegere Recordings
On one hand The Impellers third release "My Certainty", is packed with the raw soul you've come to expect from the ten piece band. On the other hand this release offers a new wrinkle or two and displays noticeable growth in their music. Vocalist Clair Witcher lures us in with her sultry voice while composer mufti-instrumentalist Glenn Fallows and the band lay down tight grooves throughout the disc. "The Routine" is a signature Impellers tune that's filled with funky horns and infectious guitar rhythms. The title track ventures into acoustic territory and presents a pleasant change of pace. "Can't Change Me" is a bluesy slow grinding ballad. Fans will appreciate the evolution of their funky sound while newcomers will simply enjoy the ride.
Reg Dancy, 07/14
The Impellers - This Is Not A DrillLegere
The ten piece soul juggernaut known as The Impellers return with their second full length lp. Their twelve track sophomore release features plenty of soulful bangers like “Hear What I Say”, filled with funky horns and the wicked rhythm section that will certainly move your feet and twist your hips. “Pon Lo Afuera” is another winner filled with funky drumming and tasty Rhodes. “Signs Of Hope and Happiness” is slow burning grind it out soul that is certain to turn up the heat. Their first recording for Legere records is evidence that The Impellors can lay down a groove and bring the funk with the best of them. As the title implies this is not a drill, just real live soul that will meet the approval of raw soul aficionados worldwide.
Reg Dancy, 05/12
The Invisible Session - The Invisible SessionSchema Records
Paolo Fedreghini and Marco Bianchi together with Schema's co-founder Luciano Cantone are The Invisible Session. There are no real surprises here just the type of solid Italian jazz we have long come to expect from Schema. Jenny B handles most of the vocal chores throughout this set and particularly shines on the stunning mid-tempo groove 'Til The End' and the single 'To The Powerful', a deep and mystical affair.
Andy Allen, 05/06
The Ipanemas - Call of the GodsFar Out Recordings
There’s little of note to be said about The Ipanemas that hasn’t already been said before. Essentially, all you really need to know is that, having formed in the 1950s, their experience and pedigree is unrivalled within Brazilian music and that there are no finer proponents of the afro-bossa nova sound (that they so lovingly pioneered and perfected) alive today. This, their fifth album, is quite simply wonderful. There is no gimmicky concept or technological trickery, just sublime, timeless music.
Tom Breslin, 09/08
The James Hunter Six - Hold On!Daptone
James Hunter's style is steeped in classic 60s soul and he has been winning over listeners with his warm and gritty voice since 2006. That's when his LP "People Gonna Talk" dropped and soared to number one on the Billboard chart. Now with his third album and first for Daptone records he's poised to expand his fan base. The James Hunter Six bring the heat on this ten track release starting with "Hold On", the first single and "Free Your Mind", two notable up-tempo highlights.. The horn section is crisp, the beat is tight and Hunter's voice is full of warmth and grit. Ladies beware, your temperature may rise with ballads like "Light Of My Life" and "In The Dark". Both filled with heartfelt lyrics of love and affection. UK fans already know about the talented Mr Hunter and thanks to Daptone everyone else will recognize as well.
Reg Dancy, 03/16
The Jazz Defenders - SchemingHaggis Records
The Jazz Defenders are a quintet from Bristol led by pianist George Cooper. Their ten track release is filled with engaging hard bop recordings. On the opener "Top Down Tourism" Cooper displays a melodic and deliberate style as he's accompanied by Nicholas Dover's assertive tone on Sax and Nick Malcolm on Trumpet. Matt Brown's dynamic drumming and cymbals pushes everyone on the Latin flavoured "Late" They slow down the pace on "Rosie Karima" and perform a beautiful ballad. throughout this set the band channels the spirit of 60s Blue Note recordings. These compositions show they can hold their own with anyone.
Reg Dancy, 03/20
The John Betsch Society - Earth BlossomHeavenly Sweetness
'Earth Blossom' from drummer/percussionist John Betsch is one of the rarer releases on Strata-East but thankfully Heavenly Sweetness have picked it up for reissue. Originally released in 1974 this is a beautiful example of spiritual jazz and features the haunting title track plus the percussive masterpiece 'Ode To Ethiopia' which has long been in demand.
Andy Allen, 01/08