Various Artists - Freedom Jazz FranceHeavenly Sweetness
The Parisian label Heavenly Sweetness once again have dug deep into their vaults to showcase some of the most obscure yet very stimulating Jazz compositions. "Freedom Jazz France", a collection of spiritual Jazz recordings spanning from the mid to late sixties from artists who had taken up residence in Paris for one reason or another. No matter the reason, there are timeless treasures like "Note So High", a hard bop tune that features vocals from vocalist Stella Levitt. "Colchiques" is sublime modal jazz from organist Eddie Louiss. "La Musique d' orphee" is celestial jazz with melodic background vocals. These recordings certainly were influenced by the burgeoning free jazz movement of the late sixties yet each artist has their own unique story to share and their impressive compositions are a testament to that. Overall this is a fascinating listen and another superb release from Heavenly Sweetness.
Reg Dancy, 02/14
Various Artists - French Disco Boogie Sounds Vol 2Favorite Recordings
This is the second installment by DJ Charles Maurice and Favorite Recordings "French Disco Boogie Sounds". This rare and obscure collection features an array of French and West Indian artists recorded between 1978 to 1986. "Funky Biguine" recorded by French Caribbean act Crystal is a nice boogie tune filled with percolating percussion and well placed synths. French vocalist Greg Smaha's falsetto glides over the mid-tempo "Sunshine". "Talk Me Mam's" filled with seductive strings and soothing keys would've been right at home in any NYC club during the peak of Disco. This is a nice glimpse into a forgotten period in the rich musical history of Nice in particular and France in general. Props to Charles Maurice and Favorite Recordings for their diligence in resurrecting these quality recordings.
Reg Dancy, 01/17
Various Artists - Freshly Composted Vol.2Compost Records
Yes, Compost Records are finally there; 250 releases and thirteen years old, I can't believe how time flies. I don't remember seeing their first release in the shops but I remember catching onto these guys pretty early. This compromises some of their recently singles and it's the kind of compilation I like because I've been hammering most of these tracks to death. There is Moodymann's remix of Ali Tree, Carl Craig's remix of Beanfield, Todd Terje's re-work of Felix Laband and Tony Nwachukwu's remix of Karama, which are all essential. There's also the added bonus of Soil and Pimps, Ben Mono and Koop. You need this.
Simon Harrison, 01/07
Various Artists - From The Archives Vol. 2 compiled By VolcovBBE
Neroli label founder Enrico Crivellaro aka Volcov demonstrated a deft ear for hidden gems with his first Volume of archives. With "From The Archives Vol 2" he compiles another impressive array of compositions ranging from soul to house and jazz infused rhythms. In a crowded field of 70s and 80s compilations Volcov decided to focus on tunes released within the last fifteen years and the ones that made the cut are simply superb. That's evident from the start with the sorely underrated Carleen Anderson's "All That Glitters". This simmering jazz tinged soul burner showcases one of the unique voices of the past twenty years. "On Space" from Ron Trent is a homage to french violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. This dreamy atmospheric gem has a touch of fusion and is heavy on groove. "The Blue Room" from Quentin Kane & Simon Sheldon is an infectious up-tempo nu soul track that gets an elevated remix from Kaidi Tathum. Other highlights include Volcov's edit of "Lawra" by drummer Tony Williams and the soulful beauty "Let The Music Play" from Collective Peace. This disc flows with one supreme track after another. As far as compilations go, this is one of the best you'll hear this year. Highly recommended.
Reg Dancy, 11/18
Various Artists - Future Sounds Of BrazilBBE Records
There has been an avalanche of amazing Brazilian music this year and with the BBE release of “Future Sounds of Brazil ”, the heat continues. This sparkling compilation has enlisted some of Brazil’s hottest Dj’s like DJ Marky, Gui Boratto, Anderson Noise and much more. Renato Cohen. Everyone on board brings the heat while supplying their unique blend of mixing and arranging. For instance there’s the pulsating house track “Hossomaki” from Kids from Japan that starts off the disc. Marcelinho’s “Oceano” is an infectious slice of techno house. No else does it quite like DJ Marky and the track “Days go slow”, he’s joined by S.P.Y. to create a blissful high octane broken beat gem. Bulldozer Media has been instrumental in expanding the landscape for the enomous amount of new Brazilian grooves. Future Sounds of Brazil is evidence of that and sure to put a charge into any party. This is yet another example of the progressive rhythms flowing from South America and I’m loving every minute of it. Rest assured that you will too.
Reg Dancy, 12/09
Various Artists - G.I. DiscoBBE Records
What is G.I. Disco? It’s the duo of Kallie Kuts & Daniel Best, two aspiring DJ’s that resided near the US Army bases in Berlin Germany. The American GI’s brought along with them the 80”s club music that was so prominent in the clubs back in the states. Some of hottest music of that period made its way into the clubs of West Germany and West Berlin and would make an impact that is quite evident decades later. Some of the tracks on hand here like “I.O.U.” by Freeze and “Touch Me” by Fonda Rae were synth heavy club classics that came on strong after the end of the Disco era. “100%” by Caprice is typical of those tunes by a one hit wonder that stuck in your head but couldn’t identify if your life depended on it. Other notable tracks include “Another Man”, the 1984 hit by Barbara Mason, “Rumors” by The Timex Social Club and “Do It To The Music” by Raw Silk. This is a strong collection of music that captured the 80’s funk, soul and dance scene. Not to mention the musical seeds that were planted on the German music culture.
Reg Dancy, 01/11
Various Artists - Gilles Peterson BrazilikaFar Out Recordings
We all know that Gilles Peterson loves all flavors of music but it seems as though he has a special place in his heart for the wonderful music pouring out of Brazil. His latest “Brazilika” is the latest release that focuses on the sounds of Brazil and he has assembled a impressive list of heavy hitters young and old. There are twenty three tracks here including five unreleased tracks. The disc plays out as a continuous mix and moves along at a crisp pace but what matters most is that you’re treated to seventy three minutes of scintillating heart pumping music. There are many standouts including “Os Escravos Do Jo” by Friends from Rio 2 feat. Celia Vaz. “Canto Pre Oxum” is a lovely samba by The Ipanemas. “Chegada” is a gentle peaceful acoustic song by Joyce, Nana Vasconcelos, Mauri. If that wasn’t enough, there are several notable remixes such as world renowned DJ/producer Osunlade’s rework of Na Batida Do Agogo’s “Grupo Batuque”. Arthur Verocai’s “Tudo Do Bom” receives an alternate take courtesy of DJ/producer Domu. Of course we can’t have an A list of Brazil’s musical all stars and not include Azymuth. Band leader Alex Malheiros appears with the band on “Depois Do Carnival” and once again with his daughter Sabrina on “Uno Esta”. Once again Gilles doesn’t disappoint with his compilations and this one is no exception. “Brazilika” is a terrific record that provides a sample of the burgeoning talent of musicians on the Far Out recordings roster. Be prepared to serve your musical palette to a healthy serving of some of the finest music Brazil has to offer.
Reg Dancy, 11/09
Various Artists - Gilles Peterson Digs America: Brownswood U.S.A.Ubiquity Records
Gilles’ Brownswood Basement sessions for his Worldwide shows are essential listening for any discerning music fan. With rarity guaranteed, the quality is always impeccable, as is the case with this selection of gems from the U.S. The set opens in fine style with the Al Green influenced ‘Didn’t I’ by Darondo, before passing through Jon Lucien’s ‘Search For The Inner Self’ (released as a 7” prior to his legendary RCA albums) and on to the immaculate vocal jazz dancer ‘A Perfect Day’ from Bobby Cole. As if that wasn’t enough to wet your appetite there’s Baaska & Scavelli’s mythical ‘Get Off The Ground’, ‘The Kingdom Within You’ by Ira Sullivan and J.R. Bailey’s soul sensation, ‘Just Me ‘N’ You’. Experimental folk comes in the form of Ellen McIlwaine’s version of ‘Higher Ground’ and Caroline Peyton’s ‘Just As We’. Also pay special attention to the funky jazz of ‘Circles’ by The Ensemble Al Salaam from the Strata East stable and The World Experience Orchestra’s ‘The Prayer’, an intensely beautiful piece. This is an absolute must!
Andy Allen, 11/05
Various Artists - Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura AnthologyBrownswood
Havana Cultura Anthology", presented by Gilles Peterson celebrates eight years of the Havana Cultura series. The Havana Cultura initiative was founded in 2007 under the auspices of Cuban rum maker Havana Club. He extended an invitation to Gilles to visit Cuba and listen first hand to the emerging diverse talent channeling all genres. It was an easy decision based on the superb compositions presented here. The Havana Cultura Band figures prominently throughout but there are other sterling performances as well. "Espera Mi Gente" is simmering down-tempo fusion from the band which includes performances from Edrey Riveri aka Ogguere and Danay Suarez on vocals. The energy level kicks up a few levels on "Roforofo Fight" featuring vocalist Mayra Caridad Valdes. Jazz and Hip-Hop mesh seamlessly on "Check La Rima", the band's cover of A Tribe Called Qwest's "Check The Rhyme". If this is your first exposure to this splendid series then you're in for a treat. If you're already familiar then you can expect a continuation of the finest that Cuba has to offer.
Reg Dancy, 06/17
Various Artists - Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura: RemixedBrownswood Recordings
When you take a record that already has an assortment of quality recordings and you lay down some equally burnin’ remixes, it’s comparable to taking your favorite dish and adding a few new spices to them. Indeed, “Havana Cultura” captured the spirit of traditional Cuban music and introduced the masses to a bunch of musicians we might not have otherwise heard from. Now “Havana Cultura Remixed” receives the blessings of some of the foremost dj’s and producers in the game today. For starters, there’s Louie Vega’s rework of “Reforefo Fight”, a nine minute mélange of swirling horns, energetic percussion and crisp vocals by Mayra. “Rezendo” is an infectious piano driven groover courtesy of Michel Cleis. A surefire favorite will be the Donald Byrd classic “Think Twice”. Remixed by 4Hero, this alternate take gives the track a breath of fresh air. Not that was needed but it’s certainly welcome. The same can be said for the entire disc, there are quite a number of appealing remixes here that will have you adoring these songs for the first time all over again.
Reg Dancy, 09/10