Andy Compton - Compton's SoulPeng
Andy Compton of The Rurals has been blessing us with quality house music for many years but on “Compton’s Soul” he has flipped the script and delivers a collection of warm and sublime soul music in the vein of vintage Roy Ayers and early EWF. Andy features an array of talented vocalists who fill his compositions with lovely harmonies layered over soulful grooves. Compton sets the mood right from the start with the laidback “And it Rains”. With vocals courtesy of Divinti, this track captures the spirit of the entire disc with melodic rhythm guitar licks. Vocalist Jaidene Veda collaborates on the majority of tunes here and her sultry voice sparkles on the mellow funk number “Record By Record” as well as the smoky jazz infused “Too Good to Be True”. This is a very strong record by Andy Compton and company that provides definite satisfaction. When you need an escape from hours of electronic music this will be the perfect antidote.
Reg Dancy, 02/12
Andy Compton - Sowetan OnestepsPeng
The latest from Bristol based house producer Andy Compton is an ode to South Africa and the bond he has built over the past five years. In recent years South Africa has emerged as one of the most beloved scenes for house music and their dance parties have been known to attract thousands. It was there in 2014 that Compton met Soweto percussionist Bonging and Guitarist Shamrock. The trio proceeded to collaborate on several compositions and the result is "Sowetan Onesteps". The eleven track disc features Compton's signature lush production and sultry vocals layered over deep house grooves, Shamrock's guitar riffs and vocal scats adds new elements to tracks like "A Fathers Love" and "Chillin In The Ghetto". Bonging's conga playing evokes the spirit of South Africa and is felt throughout the disc. Vocal highlights include "Time" featuring Kenyan resident and vocalist Asali and "I Belong" features Celestine. This is another triumph for Compton. After thirty albums is still going strong and delivering tasty music.
Reg Dancy, 04/16
Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective - WatinaCumbancha
This is an excellent CD featuring an exciting collection, covering all ages, of musicians from the Garifuna communities. The Garifuna, people originated when two European ships, filled with West African slaves sunk off the coast of the Caribbean island of St. Vincent in 1635. Many of the slaves survived and mixed with the locals creating a new culture. They then resisted European colonization, and were forcibly exiled to the Caribbean coast of Central America. More recently that culture has come under threat from lots of external influences but Andy Palacio has proved to be an exception to this sad situation. Raised in the Garifuna stronghold of Barranco, Belize, Palacio wassurrounded by music and other traditions. This CD celebrates that wonderful heritage and the African influences of this music which sits happily alongside Cape Verdean as an example of emotional music delivered and played beautifully.
Graham Radley, 04/07
Anita Wardell - Kinda BlueSpecific Jazz
Follow up to the excellent ‘Noted’ this is another classy jazz release with every one of the ten tracks having blue(s) in the title but all having a different musical aspect. Her vocals flow easily and adventurously into and around the songs with an excellent band including Robin Aspland, Jeremy Brown, Steve Brown and Tristan Mailliot.
Graham Radley, 06/08
Annabel (lee) - The CleansingYoungbloods
"The Cleansing" is the new album from Richard E and Sheila Ellis, better known as Annabel (Lee). Sheila's poetic songwriting and haunting vocal phrasings compliment the cinematic soundscapes arranged by Richard and they resonate throughout this disc. There are two themes to savor here. The A side is intimate acoustic folk highlighted by "Paris, Room 14" and "Move With Me" where Sheila's vocals evoke a peaceful dreamy atmosphere. Strings and instrumentation drive the B side and evidence of that lies in the emotive "Autumn Requiem". "Far" is Avant garde folk and one of the highlights here. This is an intimate and peaceful disc wrapped around abstract sounds and howling classical imagery. A mystical voyage you shouldn't miss.
Reg Dancy, 09/17
Anne Wirz - InfiniHeavenly Sweetness
'Infini' is the debut album from Parisian based jazz vocalist Anne Wirz. She's backed in the main by a trio (piano/Fender Rhodes, bass and drums) on this largely self penned set, much of which is sung in French. For me though it's the covers which she excels on such as Sathima Bea Benjamin's 'Music' and her amazing interpretations of 'Maiden Voyage' and the Carlos Garnett/Norman Connors jazz-dance classic 'Mother Of The Future'.
Andy Allen, 01/08
Anonamas - Truth Thru FictionInfinite Soul Music
“Come on, clap your hands” Anonamas ask… and by close of play that truly is the order of the day to this majestic neo soul album. Beats are strong; rhythms gripping and lyrics thought provoking enough to rank this album high amidst its peers in 2006. For heads bouncing around labels Tru Thought; BBE; Stones Throw and to artists floating around the Mitsu the Beats; Madlib; Ndambi waters will find comfortable refuge here. This sometimes hypnotic collection of ideas comes across as a tried and tested sound rather than the fact of it being a brand new project. Subtle grooves and vocals clarity pull together music for today with maximum impact. There's no weak links here, proud work by anyone's standards. Watch out, for they will not lie unnoticed. Particular monsters come by way of 'Africa' an almost N'Dambi wonder, ‘Soul Stir feat. C.J. Phelps' a jazz undercurrent and scat head-nodder, and the anthem that is ‘The Hustle', contender for track of the year – but fear not, Truth Thru Fiction is a whole album with many segments all of which exceptional. This perhaps stamps as testament to the wonder that is MySpace, for without we would not be here with this album having so much joy.
Steve Williams, 11/06
Anthony Hamilton - Ain't Nobody Worryin'So So Def
The gravely voiced modern soul man Anthony Hamilton impressed with tracks such as "Since I Seen't You" (whatever that means) and "My First Love" from his "official" debut album "Comin' From Where I'm From" (So So Def 2003). "Ain't Nobody Worryin" continues in a similar vein and whilst there's nothing to quite compare to the aforementioned cuts I bring it to your attention for "The Truth", a wonderful low slung sexy groove. Also worthy of note is the socially conscious title track, co-written and produced by Raphael Saadiq. Hamilton's southern roots really shine through on this one.
Andy Allen, 02/06
Anthony Joseph - People Of The SunHeavenly Sweetness
Poet/musician Anthony Joseph's latest release is his first recording in his native island of Trinidad. For Joseph the time is right spiritually to reconnect with his homeland. He has also bought his band along for the trip from France, not an easy task but the results are well worth it. There's much to savor here starting with the opening track. "Milligan" (The Ocean), a heartfelt tribute to his Father begins with burning grooves from bassist and composer Andrew John and vocals from Ella Andall's Orisha. Joseph's poetic words of wisdom dance along side the spirited percussion and horn rhythms. "Dig Out Your Eye" brims with seductive soprano sax rhythms from premiere reedist Jason Yarde, who also serves as producer. "People Of The Sun" is bursting with soca, steel pan, jazz and funk rhythms. One listen and you'll be transported to the island of Trinidad soaking in the sun and absorbing this superb collection of music. Joseph is one of our great story tellers and this album is evidence of that.
Reg Dancy, 11/18
Anthony Joseph - The Rich Will Only Be Defeated When Running For Their LivesHeavenly Sweetness
"The Rich Will Only Be Defeated When Running For Their Lives" is the latest offering of spoken word brilliance from Anthony Joseph. The poet's latest release is a jam fest filled with Afro Caribbean rhythms fronted by a powerhouse lineup. Jason Yarde, who also serves as producer serenades us with his buoyant Alto and baritone sax on several tracks. On the opener "Kamau", Shabaka Hutchings brooding bass clarinet slivers into your body while Colin Webster's fiery Tenor dances on top of the infectious groove. The tune is a tribute to Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite who passed away in early 2020. "Calling England Home" is a slow burning number about a man trying to find his place in a new country for decades before feeling at home. "Language" is another long playing heater that pays tribute to Jamaican Poet Anthony McNeill. Drummer Rod Youngs sets the stage with heart pounding rhythms while creating space for others. Tenor titan Denys Baptiste muscular Tenor sends shivers while Webster switches from Tenor to Baritone and delivers with spine tingling soloing. The horn players aren't the only stars here. Parisian pianist Florian Pellisser finds his place within the delicious groove on "Swing Praxis" to add colorful melodies. Bassist Andrew John is superb at laying down a delicious groove and keeping your head on a swivel throughout the disc. As for Joseph, he's at his absolute best as he dives deep into his Caribbean roots. Quite simply it's another masterpiece from Joseph. He's the gift who keeps on giving. He's an absolute treasure and this record is among the best to emerge this year.
Reg Dancy, 05/21