Rich Brown - AbengRich Brown
Guitarist Rich Brown is well known as a superb bass player yet on his latest release "Abeng" he's proving to be an exceptional composer as well. With a first rate band surrounding him, he proceeds to create clever compositions filled with superb soloing as well as incredible ensemble playing. For instance Luis Deniz's colorful phrasings shine on "Window Seat" and especially on "The Lotus Ascension". In addition pianist Chris Donnelly Brown's playing is inventive, melodic and exploratory, specifically on the triumphant finale "Achilles and The Tortoise". "Chant Of The Exiled (Abeng)" is another standout. The significance of the Abeng is that it is an instrument used by The Maroons (escaped African slvaes) to communicate specific messages throughout their community. In a climate filled with divisiveness Brown expresses his hope for change by pursuing unfamiliar paths. The result is an exciting passage of rhythms and some of Brown's most exciting work to date.
Reg Dancy, 11/15
Rich Medina - Connecting The DotsKindred Spirits
Demonstrating that he is not only a superlative spoken-word artist and skilled DJ, but a gifted producer to boot, Philadelphia's Rich Medina draws from a vast pool of influences here to deliver a work that takes us from Philly to Detroit via Nigeria and West-London. With an impressive array of guest-vocalists and musicians, and stylish, original melodies, we are treated to head-nodding Hip-Hop, mid-tempo soulful House, the finest Soul, and other boundary-defying grooves. 1xtra's Benji B is a fan, and so should you be!
Tom Breslin, 11/05
Richard Galliano - Luz NegraWarner Jazz
Recorded in Sao Paulo last year this is Richard Galliano's first studio album since 2001's 'Face To Face'. There is of course a very strong Latin American influence but the jazz (he's played with Chet Baker, Michel Petrucciani and Jan Garbarek amongst many top jazz names) and classical references that have featured so prominently in his evolving career are woven within too by this excellent musician. Re-released at the same time is a remastered version of 1992's 'Solo' a tribute to Astor Piazzolla who was in a coma at the time of the recording. Both are full of textures, passion and superb music.
Graham Radley, 03/07
Richard Galliano & Tangaria Quartet - Live In Marciac 2006Milan Records
Excellent live recording, at this jazz festival, from accordionist Richard Galliano which was the first appearance of this new group made up of Alexis Cardenas, Rafaël Mejitas and Philippe Aerts. The concert also features Hamilton De Holanda on mandolin. Very good.
Graham Radley, 09/07
Richard Marks - Never SatisfiedNow Again
"Never Satisfied" is the anthology from Atlanta singer guitarist Richard Marks. Marks may not be a household name outside Atlanta Georgia however this collection reveals a talented soul singer/songwriter and guitarist as well. Over twenty one tracks Marks and his display the type of raw RnB soul arrangements reminiscent of the Stax house band sound as well as other influences. "Funky Fingers" is a funky organ flavored instrumental. The title track is driving funk with tasty guitar licks and horns. Marks voice isn't powerful but effective. "Speak Now" is a slow burning ballad with sweet backing vocals. If not for the fact that this was unreleased material you could've strip off five or six songs to make a stronger record. That being said, "Never Satisfied" provides some sparkling moments of hot buttered soul that will delight raw soul enthusiasts. .
Reg Dancy, 09/15
Richard Spaven - Real TimeFine Line Records
Richard Spaven's subtle yet exploratory drumming has become identifiable from the first few notes of his records. As satisfying as his debut "The Self" has been, "Real Time" may be even better. There's much to savor from the nine track lp starting with the lead single "Faded". Jordan Rakei's blissful vocals float above gentle atmospheric textures. Rakei shines again on the Andy Bey original "Celestial Blues", aided by Stuart McCallum's sparkling guitar playing. "Loved One" is a beautiful tune filled with ambient soundscapes and vocal harmonies. Spaven's working band of guitarist McCallum, bassist Robin Mullarkey and Oli Rockberger on keys have a chemistry that's apparent throughout the disc. Add the soulful vocals of Rakei and you have a winning formula. They emphasize an ensemble approach filled with jazz infused instrumentation combined with superb songwriting. Simply put this is an exceptional record worthy of repeated listens. Highly recommended
Reg Dancy, 01/19
Richard Spaven - The SelfSoul Has No Tempo
Richard Spaven continues a steady ascent as one of the premiere drummers on the scene today. He has gained international acclaim through his trademark drumming style, resulting in collaborations with the likes of Jose James, Flying Lotus and others. "The Self", his latest release is a culmination of all his influences, notably jazz, electronica and drum n bass. "Stills" is a atmospheric gem highlighted by frequent collaborator Jordan Rakei's smooth falsetto. "The Hidden Camera", filled with dub step rhythms is a nod to the London club culture. "Greeting to Saud" is a blissful tribute to the great McCoy Tyner is laced with gorgeous synth melodies courtesy of pianist Kris Bowers. A visual album filled with ambient sound and textures worthy of repeated listens. If you're familiar with Mr Spaven then you know his music defies genres and for that we're grateful based on the results. If you're new to him then you're in for a treat.
Reg Dancy, 09/17
Richard Spaven - Whole OtherFine Line Records
Richard Spaven has become one of the premiere drummers on the scene today. His rhythmic playing, largely influenced by the Drum n Bass and Broken Beat sound emerging out of the underground club scene in London has made him a sought after drummer. He provided a sampling of his talents on "5ives", the EP he released in 2010 by combining these elements, along with Jazz, Hip-Hop and Dub Step. On his full length debut "Whole Other", he showcases his skills as a composer while enlisting an array of talented vocalists to bring them to life. The title track is a downtempo tune that features the lush vocal harmonies of The Hics. "SideIISide" features warm Rhodes playing from Grant Windsor and gorgeous vocals from Sharlene Hector. "Tribute" features sublime guitar rhythms courtesy of Stuart Mc Callum. Spaven is pushing the boundaries by blending genres and making beautiful music in the process. He's certainly one to watch moving forward.
Reg Dancy, 09/14
Rim Kwaku Obeng - Rim ArrivesBBE
The availability of a Samuel K Mfojo, better known as Rim Kwaku Obeng recording has been scarce to say the least. It has been a daunting task for record enthusiasts to get their hands on the talented drummer's late seventies work. Thanks to the emergence of BBE records Africa label, that's no longer the case. "Rim Arrives", originally recorded in 1977 is filled with Afro infused Disco rhythms that displays his drumming prowess. There's also an EP scheduled for release but there's much to savor here. Let's begin with "Believe In Yourself", a mid tempo burner soaked in funky rhythms, tasty horns and an inspiring chrous. "Funky Drummer" is another sure shot, laced with funky sax, spirited drumming and rhythmic guitar "International Funk", originally a 12 inch release is infectious Disco funk with it's spirited percussion and synths. Obeng went through some hard times prior to these sessions and his recordings never received the shine they deserved. With "Rim Arrives" his time has finally arrived.
Reg Dancy, 10/15
Rime - Our KingdomInfracom Records
Fresh from the Nordic country is Finnish producer Antti Hynninen amd singer Sara Sayed, better known as Rime. Their debut “Our Kingdom” is a delicious slice of electronic soul filled with soothing vocals, mellow mid-tempo grooves and uplifting lyrics. Hynninen blesses each track with layers of warm melodic keyboards while Sara’s soft feathery touch makes for a perfect combination. There are plenty of highlights to savor here like the wonderful “Smoke And Regret”, filled with soft synth grooves to complement Sara’s sweet vocal phrasings. “Loose Ends” is no less enjoyable, beginning with a wave of gorgeous rhodes and lush strings that provide the canvas for Sara’s soft seductive voice. “Breal You” is another winner that incorporates the similar ingredients, armed with a slightly up-tempo groove. Overall this is a strong showcase of warm melodic electronic soul music that is consistent throughout. Their concept is simple yet the results shine as bright as a warm summer afternoon. Make no mistake though, this is a quality record for all seasons to savor and enjoy.
Reg Dancy, 04/11