Waaju - WaajuOlindo Records
Waaju is a quintet specializing in Afro Caribbean funk with a touch of jazz. The London based band have collaborated with a number of acts like Ashley Henry, Jordan Rakei and others. Although it's only an ep with five tracks they leave a lasting impression with infectious compositions and sparkling performances. The energetic opening track "Ali's Mall"is filled with pulsating percussion and warm guitar arrangements. It's also a nod to Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure, a huge influence on the band. The polyrhythmnic "Kaolack" has sketches of dub and features sparkling cerebral electric guitar playing from Tal Janes. "Waaju" is filled with spirited percussion from Ernesto Marichales. Sam Rapley's Tenor sax is also a highlight. One can only hope that this is just the appetizer and a full length lp will be forthcoming. It should be a certainty based on the strength of this engaging record.
Reg Dancy, 07/18
Watch TV And The Primetimes - DiscolexiaHitop Records
Watch TV (Ruben Garcia) and his band The Primetimes combine programmed beats and samples with live elements to create a set of mainly dance-floor orientated nu-funk grooves. Although this isn't a bad album, as with the Double Beat set, it lacks those classic elements. For the younger crowd though like those who frequent The Hi-fi Club (Leeds) I'm sure it will win favour.
Andy Allen, 03/07
Watcha Clan - Diaspora Hi-FiPiranha
From the cultural melting pot of Marseille this release (their third) with songs in French, Arabic, Hebrew, Yiddish , English and Spanish is a vibrant mix of Arab, Balkan and Mediterranean influences that are further evolved through a mix of various dance beats from dub to electronic which includes amongst the samples Fanfare Ciocarlia and The Klezmatics. There’s a lot going on here so repeat listenings are required to get the full range and feel of things but the more you find the more you enjoy, I bet they are equally good live.
Graham Radley, 06/08
Wayne Shorter - The SoothsayerBlue Note Records
Wayne Shorter cut some of his finest solo albums for Blue Note in the mid-1960s with 'Speak No Evil' being a particular high point. However, this session from the same year was inexplicably shelved for fifteen years and with repeated listens is on a par with the other recordings. The line up of Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner and Tony Williams speaks for itself. Key tracks include the driving pulse of 'Angola' with a delicious solo from Shorter and beautiful comping from Tyner. In contrast 'Lady Day' is a lovely ballad and a fitting tribute to Billie Holliday with the lyricism in Shorter's playing and compostional prowess emphasized. The title track testifies to the intensity of the collective playing, but it is the melodic nature of the ensemble that impresses here and distinguishes this album from the freer form of say 'The All Seeing Eye'. Shorter in his prime.
Tim Stenhouse, 05/08
Wayne Snow - Freedom TVTartelet Records
Nigerian born and now based in Berlin, Wayne Snow serves up an array of future tripped out soul sounds with "Freedom TV". Fellow Berliner Max Graef lends his much sought after production skills to six tracks here as well. Two of those standouts are "Drunk" where Snow's smooth falsetto rides over a spacey uptempo synth groove. The other is "Rosie", a slow grinding funk gem that would easily fit into a D'Angelo tracklist. "Nothing Wrong", produced by Nu Guinea is an uptempo dance floor gem that starts off with simmering percussion followed by an infectious bass groove. After two impressive EPs, Snow has delivered one of the more engaging albums to emerge this year.
Reg Dancy, 07/17
Web Web - Dance Of The DemonsCompost
The quartet from Munich follow up their sparkling debut "Orqcle" with another winner. "Dance Of The Demons" incorporates spiritual and vintage Ethopian jazz rhythms highlighted by Moroccan based singer Majid Bekkas. Bekkas, one of the premiere voices of Gnawa-Music makes his presence felt throughout the disc. "Agowu" is a fiery tune that showcases Bekkas and is driven by pianist Roberto Di Gioia's sweeping solos. "Sandia" explodes with rumbling percussion from Di Gioia and intense drumming from Peter Gall. Bekkas also introduces the Gembri, similar to an upright bass on "Marcoc Blues". Tony Lakatos's tenor is a warm presence but his soprano is especially pleasing on the title track. This quartet can not only swing hard but they display the ability to back up a singer as moving as Bekkas. This disc is filled with adventurous tracks and prolific performances and is simply a delightful listen. You need this in your collection.
Reg Dancy, 09/18
Web Web - OracleCompost
Web Web is a German based supergroup of acclaimed musicians. The essence of "Oracle" is derived from the Spiritual Jazz movement of the seventies. On "Journey To No End" the quartet explore searing exciting exchanges among each other. Pianist Roberta Di Gloia sets the table with a glorious melody while Tony Lakatos's soloing on Tenor. On "Unreal Prediction" Lakatos's adventurous phrasing on Soprano are deeply satisfying when playing alongside Gloia's rhythmic rhodes. "Alternate Truth" is a moody mellow tune yet full of imagination. Peter Gall's simmering percussion allows Lakatos and Gloia to stretch out. Their solos flow naturally and are a joy to listen. "Oracle" isn't impressive because it was recorded in one take. It's very impressive because these are musicians at the top of their game coming together with superb compositions. This is a delightful record worthy of repeated listens.
Reg Dancy, 12/17
Windsurf - CoastlinesInternasjonal
Daniel Judd is better known as Sorcerer and Sam Grawe is better known as Hatchback and when their mesmeric musical powers combine they make up the exciting, San Francisco based duo, Windsurf. “Coastlines” is the first fruit of their collaborative labour and anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing “Surfing At Midnight”, the first Sorcerer 12 inch released on the UK’s Tirk record label, will kind of know what to expect. Comparisons with Prins Thomas, Morgan Geist and Erland Oye, whilst thoroughly deserved, don’t quite say enough, for Windsurf have their own thing going on, and that thing is perfect, poppy, Nu Disco-ish, electronica that, with wave after wave of washing synthesizer and its lolloping, laidback guitar strum, will have you yearning for long, lazy days by the sea. “Bird of Paradise” is the jewel in the crown, a wondrous, hum-along, vocoder-backed vocal that evokes synth-pop comparisons with Air at their Moon Safari best.
Tom Breslin, 11/08
Wordy Soulspeak - Let The Rhythm HitBBE
It's safe to say that China hasn't been a hotbed for hip-hop but Wordy Soulspeak are out to change that. DJ Wordy provides catchy electronic beats, clever scratching and synths while Jeff Soulspeak provides tight production on their debut "Let The Rhythm Hit". The title track symbolizes their sound with clever synth arrangements and wicked break-beats. "Smokeout" is a nice laid back tune filled with warm keys and synths. WordySoulspeak cite many hip-hop influences and that's quite evident. I would bet that they heard a few Dam Funk recordings since several tracks have a 80's electro funk flavor as well. Wherever the inspiration came from the result is a promising debut from the duo from the Far East.
Reg Dancy, 10/13
Wumni - A.L.A.Documented
There's a lot to be said for home grown talent, even if this Camberwell born dancer, spitter and diva of all trades, who's also Nigerian (because she's lived there for more than a decade it therefore entitles her to have dual nationality)has her foot in many territories - including the US. As confusing as it may seem, this girl's no rolling stone. Wumni's journey through music on her debut album entitled 'A.L.A, meaning Africans Living Abroad, is very clear in what it encompasses. Defined as a combinative reflection of where she's been and what her experiences have birthed, by spending time in all of these places, has proved very favourable and made her a hot commodity in the dance arena. Since leaving behind her Soul II Soul days as the infamous silhouetted dancer of that 'Back To Life' video and being the mainstay of their crew, she then headed to New York, hooked up with the MAW boys Kenny and Louie, as well as helping out the likes of King Britt, Roy Ayers, Osunlade but became most notably a lot more recognised for her work on the Fela Kuti tributes back in the mid-late nineties. It's some of those same Afro house rhythms along with today's broken beat sounds and her unique Nigerian twang and broken English quirkism which her album captures with eloquent expression. Getting you on your feet there's broken beat aplenty to be found in the presence of the politics of "Greedy Body", "Crossover (Commercialism)", while they funky fusions of the Bugz In The Attic's Seiji was responsible for the effervescent percussion and drum production of "Good Foot Charlie". The comical lyrics of "Talk, Talk, Talk" wonderfully marries jazz and hi life as she gets to expressing the nature of man . Deep house tasters "Fanaticals" and "Sweet Lullaby" and the smooth acoustic displays on "Illegal Alien" and a few other choice selections complete this discography of inviting and tasteful collection that's surely been a long time coming.
Marcia Carr, 06/07