Music Reviews

Show: New reviews | Artists beginning with: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0-9 | Compilations
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Off Track Betting / Nels Andrews

Nels Andrews - Off Track Betting


Second release for Nels recorded with a brilliant line up of musicians including producer Todd Sickafoose , Adam Levy (Norah Jones), Michael Jorgensen (Wilco) and Ben Perowsky instruments. This is by way of a musical journey for Nels as he incorporates a subtle range of diverse sounds into the core of his country folk songwriting, the result is excellent.


Graham Radley, 06/08

Beautiful Feet / Nibsvan der Spuy

Nibsvan der Spuy - Beautiful Feet

Sheer Sound

Quite chilled and melodic with varied influences that move from west to East via African and reggae touches along the way. I especially like his version of ‘Road’ the Nick Drake track which here features viola and piano from Brendan and works really well. Worth checking.


Graham Radley, 03/07

Midnight Feast of Jazz / Nick Pride & Pimptones

Nick Pride & Pimptones - Midnight Feast of Jazz

Record Kicks

On their full length debut, Nick Pride and The Pimptones come out swinging, easing up here and there but they mostly swing hard and often. Blending soul and jazz seamlessly, Nick displays impressive chops on guitar while the Pimptones demonstrate that they’re a funky horn section to be reckoned with. That’s evident on “Come And Get It”, a scorching tune just a shade under three minutes but enough time to get you hyped as the horns come blasting onto the scene and the rhythm section equally holds its weight as well. Drummer Oz Cassidy does a superb job of keeping everything in the pocket. “Lay It On The Line” is a tasty soul serenade thanks to bassist Ian Patterson laying down a nice groove, The horns once again add lots of flavor, particularly trumpeter Keith Nicholson. The title track is a simmering soul jazz treat and Nick’s playing is rhythmic and colorful. Another definite highlight here is “Brighter Day”. This track has it all, a killer rhythm section, funky horns and the vocals of Susan Hamilton to top it off.  This is a very strong debut by Nick Pride here that you can dance to or just sit back and groove to. He and the Pimptones  haven’t broken any new ground here but with musicians on top of their game and well crafted compositions, the “Midnight Feast Of Jazz” is an entree you’ll enjoy over and over.


Reg Dancy, 05/11

Go Deep / Nick Pride And The Pimptones

Nick Pride And The Pimptones - Go Deep

Legere Recordings

"Go Deep" is the third overall album and second on Legere recordings from Nick Pride & The Pimptones. Their impressive debut displayed a band heavy on instrumentation and capable of bridging the gap between jazz and soul. On this release they've totally focused on funk and soul grooves with impressive results. Beth Macari, who appeared on one track from their previous release "Reduced Phat Shake" has become the full time vocalist on all tracks here and that proves to be a great move. Her sultry vocals make an impact right from the start with "What The Heart Wants". a slow grinding soul tune made to order for a dim light basement party. "Give It To Me" kicks off with a seductive bass groove complemented by funky horns. "Good Day" is a sun drenched feel good tune certain to lift your spirits.Pride, who arranged all ten tracks sought for a deep soul recording and hits the mark.A deeply satisfying record for funk and soul lovers to play again and again.


Reg Dancy, 09/16

Reduced Phat Shake / Nick Pride and The Pimptones

Nick Pride and The Pimptones - Reduced Phat Shake

Legere Recordings

  "Reduced Phat Shake", the latest release from Nick Pride & The Pimptones is filled with their signature formula of Northern UK soul that would make vintage Motown lovers swoon. There's plenty of tasty soulful teasers to get your motor running to the dance floor. "Take Care Of My Love" is a high energy dance number highlighted by the vocals of Susan Hamilton. Other vocal contributors include Courtney Valecia on the ultra funky "It's A Love Thing" and the slow burning "Hex On My Soul". "Walkin' Out The Door" is an infectious Blues tune sung by Lyndon Anderson. With an assortment of instrumental tracks like "Soul Food Strutt" and "Non Stop", "Reduced Phat" delivers with an album filled with soulfully deep and satisfying recordings that are light on filler yet heavy on grooves to keep your body shaking to the beat.


Reg Dancy, 04/14

Into The Sky / Nick Rosen

Nick Rosen - Into The Sky

Porter Records

Twenty three year old multi instrumentalist Nick Rosen’s debut “Into The Sky” is a dreamy collection of atmospheric soundscapes that are deeply melodic and spiritually uplifting. Rosen co-produced several tracks with Miquel Atwood-Ferguson, with whom he’s worked with as a member of the Build An Ark ensemble. Their chemistry shines on tunes like “Ancestral Echoes” on which Atwood-Ferguson begins with a simple yet enchanting piano melody before accompanied by his ensemble to build a rich aural mesmeric  sound. Atwood-Ferguson’s playing on  violin is equally engaging. The performances on “African Sun” are also joyful and equally moving, Rosen’s playing on acoustic bass  provides warmth and will certainly strum your heartstrings. The disc also brings together a host of innovative musicians that leave their mark on each arrangement. Cellist Peter Jacobson, French horn Danielle Ondarza and vocalist Mia Doi Todd all put their stamp on this disc.  This is a wonderful record, If you like the stylistic string compositions of Build An Ark that echo peace and hope then you’ll certainly enjoy this.


Reg Dancy, 01/11

Choose Music / Nick Van Gelder

Nick Van Gelder - Choose Music


Nick Van Gelder, former Jamiroquai drummer and key mover and shaker during London’s Acid Jazz heyday, clearly knows a thing or two about making soulful, funky records. Which is why I can’t help but feel a little disappointed upon listening to ‘Choose Music’ (especially given that it’s released through BBE, a consistently brilliant label). The songs are written, produced and, for the most part, played by Van Gelder himself, with vocals from Akwaaba People’s Mazen, and the style is an unashamedly straightforward brand of ‘soulful’, jazzy house music. Many people will undoubtedly love this record - fans of the likes of Reel People, in particular - but to me it is underwhelming and unmemorable. It’s destined to be successful as a piece of inoffensive, background bar Muzak, but a man of Van Gelder’s talent surely has more to give.


Tom Breslin, 09/08

Free Souls / Nicola Conte

Nicola Conte - Free Souls

Schema Records

"Free Souls", the latest release from Nicola Conte features an array of deep soul and Jazz compositions that have emerged from the spiritual jazz revolution. There's a number of talented vocalists who add a little bit of spice to each tune with impressive results. For starters there's the smooth vocals of Marvin Parks on "Shades Of Joy". Melanie Charles heavenly voice compliments Greg Osby's alto phrasings on "Amhad's Blues". Heidi Vogel's deep vocals dance brilliantly over the beautiful "Sandalia Dela". If you've following Nicola's career then you're well aware of his love of Jazz and his insatiable desire to discover and present quality recordings. You can mark this as another superb release to his impressive catalog.


Reg Dancy, 08/14

Let Your Light Shine On / Nicola Conte

Nicola Conte - Let Your Light Shine On


Once known as simply a DJ/Producer, Nicola Conte has turned himself into a credible guitarist as well. "Let Your Light Shine On", his first release for MPS records showcases his own playing along with his band Spiritual Galaxy. The band members are a accomplish group who are joined by an A-list of guest stars. Together they blaze through an array of jazz infused Afro soul compositions. Trombonist Glantuca Petrella's coloring behind the beautiful vocals of Bridgette Amofah on the sun drenched "Space Dimensions" is a delight. Another lovely voice, Zara Mac Farlane serenades us with her tender vocals on the soulful sublime "Ogun". "Mystic Revolution" and "Me Do Wo" are two mellow Afrobeat tunes that feature trumpeter Theo Coker and alto saxophonist Logan Richardson. Every track stands on it's own and worth playing throughout. Conte's sparkling release emanates positive vibes during restless times and makes for a joyful listen.


Reg Dancy, 06/18

Rituals / Nicola Conte

Nicola Conte - Rituals

Schema Records

Italian DJ/Producer Nicola Conte has delivered a string of quality bossa nova jazz recordings over the years but it would be difficult to name one album better than his latest. “Rituals” embodies an essence of cool that is elegant, engaging and ultimately a wonderful listening experience. Conte’s compositions make great use of chords, which are brought to life by an array of wonderful musicians and the outstanding vocalists on this set. The disc starts out with the dreamy “Karma Flower”, sung by Chiara Civello. Nicola plays guitar on this track and also features many contributions, most notably Timo Lassy on flute. “The Nubian Queens”, featuring Jose James is a rhythmic bossa flavored gem that highlights the dynamic interplay between Pietro Lusso on piano, Teppo Makynen on drums and Pierpaolo Bisogno on congas. “Love In” is a beautiful swinging exotic number sung by Kim Sanders, whose voice is flat out gorgeous. “Caravans”, the classic latin Duke Ellington track and the only song here not written by Conte is given a warm treatment by Philipp Weiss on vocals. Overall “Rituals” is a brilliant record that is full of virtuoso performances. Let’s hope this record gets the attention that it rightfully deserves.


Reg Dancy, 03/09

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