Marta Ren and The Groovelvets - Stop, Look, ListenRecord Kicks
Hailing from Oporto, Portugal. Marta Ren burst onto the scene with the 2012 hit single "2 Kinds Of Men". That funky soul burner drew a lot of attention as a classic soul chanteuse with a powerful voice. She follows up that appetizer with the full length LP "Stop, Look & Listen". Accompanied by the funk band The Groovelvets, they deliver plenty of revved up soul as evidenced by the opening track "I'm not your regular woman". Ren shows her softer side on the slow burning funk tune "Smiling Faces" but don't be fooled, she takes no prisoners on the slow and simmering "So Long". The Groovelvets show they're more than capable of laying down the groove and stretch out on instrumental "Be Ma Fela". A voice that belies her age, Marta will command your attention and you'll give in willingly.
Reg Dancy, 02/16
Martha High and Speedometer - Soul OverdueFreestyle
Martha High has been belting out soul songs for four decades strong. Martha started off working as a member of the Jewels, a group that was part of the James Brown Revue. Martha would continue to work with the Godfather of soul and later on work with former band member Maceo Parker. On “Soul Overdue” her voice sounds as strong as ever as she covers classics and makes them her own. A prime example is her rendition of the Etta James timeless “I’d Rather Go Blind” and Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man”. Other highlights include “Save Me” and “Dragging Me Down”, two burning tracks that demonstrate that Speedometer are more than capable of giving up the funk. A killer rhythm section and a dynamic voice adds up to a wonderful record. “Soul Overdue” is right on time.
Reg Dancy, 01/13
Martyn - Great Lengths3024
The long awaited full length release from DJ/Producer Martyn is everything we expected and more. Martyn has arranged an splendid array of electronic compositions steeped in dance, techno and dub step that you will find it irresistible not to move. One of those tracks is the lead song “The Only Choice”, a pulsating track filled with catchy synths and percussion. “These Words” is a techno flavored drum n bass burner enhanced by the warm vocals of D Brdige. “Elden St” is easily my favorite track here, a dense hypnotic house gem with an infectious groove that is reminiscent of the early Detroit sound made famous by Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May and Juan Atkins. Martyn is becoming a household name in the world of electronic dance music and with this new release it’s easy to see why. He never relies on one style and keeps things interesting throughout. You owe it yourself to check this one out.
Reg Dancy, 01/10
Mary Chapin Carpenter - The CallingZoe Records
The Calling is Carpenter's second co-production with pianist Matt Rollings, the pair having first worked together on 2004's ''Between Here and Gone'. There's a political edge to tracks like 'Why Shouldn't We' and 'On The Song' while 'Houston' is about the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Other songs like ." "We're Alright" is a driving song of escape and freedom from the strains of life. while "Twilight" takes us into the serenity of that time of day. Excellent.
Graham Radley, 05/07
Maspyke - StaticABB Records
Already legends of the underground, Maspyke deserve to explode into the mainstream with this debut set of Soul-influenced, hardcore Hip-Hop. Roddy Rod's tough, whip-snapping beats, reminiscent of Jay Dee's Slum Village work, provide the perfect accompaniment to Hanif and Tableek's rugged poetry, which is heavy on both intelligence and attitude. Released in the US in September 2005, this album is finally available here in the UK, and fans of Benji B's Deviation radio show will already be familiar with some of the tracks. Infinitely more sophisticated than the thugged-out chart fodder that we are all bombarded with, and more energetic and dynamic than many of the independent artists out there, this trio strikes a balance that is all too rare in Hip-Hop.
Tom Breslin, 04/06
Massukos - BumpingPoo Productions
Second CD, from the Mozambique group from Niassa Province, who were formed in 1994 to preserve the traditional rhythms of the area. They've used their rise to number one band in the land to fight poverty and to bring about social change, in fact Bumping is dedicated to the memory of Massukos' percussionist Americo Miguel who died in last year aged 32 from a preventable and curable illness. He leaves his daughter and wife who has since given birth to his second child. This is African music at its infectious best, dancing music that gives that happy glow. Don't miss them at Womad and check out more info on www.massukos.org.
Graham Radley, 08/07
Mathias Stubo - Mathias StuboBBE
Norwegian drummer/multi-instrumentalist embarks on a journey of heavenly rhythms and atmospheric soundscapes. Among the highlights are the explosive afro-beat inspired “Those High Frequency Feelings”. Martin Mata contributes to the celestial “Opp I Lufta”. “Back Into My Life” is another enjoyable instrumental slice of electro ambient grooves. With other subtle hints of Pop, funk and well placed sampling throughout the disc, Mathias Stubo delivers a refreshing album filled with creativity and imagination that proves to be a fascinating listen.
Reg Dancy, 11/12
Matt Andersen - Something In BetweenStubby Fingers
Hard working musician on the live circuit ( last seen in UK as part of a package with Jessica Rhaye and Dave Gunning), this first studio CD gives Matt the chance to explore his songwriting. This is country style blues with a terrific studio band that includes Henry Spinetti and Dave Markee. Good stuff.
Graham Radley, 09/08
Matthew Halsall - Colour YesGondwana Records
When trumpeter Matthew Halsall dropped his debut “Sending My Love”, his relaxed tone and superb compositions caught the ears of many by surprise. With a successful debut comes expectations but Halsall appears to be more than up to the task. “Colour You” is supreme quality modal jazz where elusive harmonies soar and the synergy that exists among Matthew and the quintet is simply marvelous. Their chemistry shines on the title track, where Matthew’s free flowing effortless playing is a thing of beauty. Also noteworthy is the work of pianist Adam Fairhall, who seamlessly fills spaces with lyrical playing reminiscent of McCoy Tyner. On the track “Together”, Matthew’s fluid solos and the playing of Rachael Gladwin on harp create the perfect balance to this hauntingly beautiful ballad. On “I’ve found joy”, Matthew and tenor saxophonist Nat Birchall engage in restraint yet adventurous rhythmic soloing that sounds as though they’ve been playing together for years. “I’ve been here before” is another beautiful ballad showcases the delicate brushwork of drummer Gaz Hughes who performs on tracks 3-6 while Marek Dorcik handles the rest. Simply stated, “Colour You” is a virtuoso performance by Matthew Halsall. Once again the bar has been raised because I can’t to hear what he does next. Highly recommended.
Reg Dancy, 02/10
Matthew Tavares & Leland Whitty - VisionsMr Bongo
Keyboardist Matthew Tavares formely of BADBADNOTGOOD is joined by former band-mate saxophonist Leland Whitty on the deeply satisfying "Visions". Tavares and Whitty are joined by bassist Julian Anderson-Bowes and drummer Matthew Chalmers to round out the quartet. “Visions” is filled with meditative and spiritual compositions that are open and atmospheric. “Through The Looking Glass” is spiritual jazz highlighted by Whitty’s flourishes on soprano and Tavares modal approach on keys. The intensity kicks up on “Woah” before Tavares slows down the pace with his fluid piano phrasings. Whitty exchanges his sax for flute and the soft tone compliments Anderon’s gentle guitar strokes on the sublime “Visions Of You”. The quartet came together and completed this album in one take. It’s a triumph from these like minded musicians to compose such a heartfelt and spiritual record.
Reg Dancy, 04/20