Robert Strauss - Mr. FeelingsBBE Records
Robert Strauss follows up his debut album 'Quasars & Phasars' (Freerange) with an even stronger set. Whilst contemporary, 'Mr. Feelings' is heavily influenced by the feel-good grooves of 80s soul. With boogie bombs like 'Music Is My Life' fronted by Richie Henessey, 'Miami Jammin' and 'Hot Like An Oven' featuring the legendary Leroy Burgess. This should be huge.
Andy Allen, 11/07
Roger Eno/Plumbline - TransparenciesHydrogen Dukebox
Here we have the first collaboration between Roger Eno and Will Thomas aka Plumbline, both of whom have released projects on All Saints and Hydrogen Dukebox. This is a beautiful cinematic album with a whole host of influences, which literally include sounds from clocks, cars and church bells, the kind of thing you would expect from Matthew Herbert. In fact the first track "Transparency" could easily be the work of Herbert himself. The recording "Transparencies" began with joining the dots of various churches and buildings among the beautiful landscape of East Anglia. Things then moved to New York to be manipulated by Will, which gives the album the gritty rhythms, melodies and soft tones. Lovely stuff.
Simon Harrison, 03/06
Roger Robinson - IllclecticaAltered Vibes
Roger Robinson is now into his tenth year of programming poetry, performing, writing and teaching, and currently divides his time between London, New York and Trinidad. He has been hailed the UK's answer to Saul Williams and just listening to the stunning 7" single 'Nicola's Song' you can see why there is quite a buzz around the release of his debut 'Illclectica'. Produced by Roger and Rob Mac from Scratch/Speeka, they have arranged twelve brilliant tracks of various styles and moods, with exceptional poetic lyrics from Roger. Whatever you do, do not miss out on this wonderful album, you won't regret it.
Simon Harrison, 06/05
Roisin Murphy - Ruby BlueEcho
Over the last five months, three beautifully packaged 12's have been released, produced by the genius Matthew Herbert and featuring stunning vocals from Moloko's leading lady. All nine tracks from the three 12's now come complete as a cd package. Of course we have Herbert's quirky productions skills, which are perfectly suited to Roisin's vocals, who sounds not a million miles away in style to Herbert's long time collaborator and wife Dani Siciliano. You have the sought after 'Night Of The Dancing Flame', smoker 'Sinking Feeling' and my personal faves 'Ramalama (Bang Bang)' and 'Sow Into You'. Keep an eye out for the forthcoming single because it's supposed to be remixed by someone special.
Simon Harrison, 06/05
Roland Appel - Talk to your AngelSonar Kollektiv
Unbelievably, this is the first solo long-player from Roland Appel, who has already achieved much success as one half of Fauna Flash (with Christian Prommer being the other), one third of Truby Trio, and co-producer of G-Stone’s Voom:Voom project. His 2007 single, ‘Dark Soldier’, was a slow burning hit, gaining support from just about every DJ worth their salt, and the rest of the album pretty much picks up where that left off. Electronic house of varying tempos is the order of the day, so uncompromising big room drum loops and bold, building synth chords (think Ame’s ‘Nia’) play the major part, with the occasional female vocalist in a supporting role. Granted, this isn’t really anything new, in terms of an original style, and in some places feels like a definite nod to our ‘progressive house’ past, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, if you like a tougher shade of brilliantly produced, dance floor driven house music – and let’s face it, many people do – then this is all rather good news.
Tom Breslin, 05/08
Rolf Zielke - Beaches In Your SoulAgogo
Pianist Rolf Zielke's engaging release "Beaches In Your Soul" is a tasty stew of contemporary Jazz with a tinge of Brazilian and Middle Eastern influences as well. Zielke and his band come out the gate swinging on the elegant "Awakening". Saxophonist Stephan Abel's warm yet robust melodies are the perfect compliment to Zielke's shimmering flourishes. Cellist Stephen Braun adds another layer of melodic brilliance on strings. Braun shines even brighter on "Night Sea Journey", a blissful atmospheric composition. Mohannad Nasser's strumming on the oud adds a touch of a Middle Eastern vibe woven together perfectly. Zielke's elegant playing and arrangements will evoke images of Bill Evans but he's clearly carving out an identity for himself here. "Okavango Serenade" is a lovely ballad enhanced by Trumpeter Beeny Brown's sublime melodies. Zielke's playing and songwriting are top notch. The musicians on board here rise to the occasion. He has demonstrated a great deal of creativity by weaving a multitude of cultures into a deeply satisfying set. No doubt more attention will be coming his way.
Reg Dancy, 06/21
Rongetz Foundation - Kiss Kiss Double JabHeavenly Sweetness
"Kiss Kiss Double Jab", the Rongetz Foundation's third lp is swinging jazz meets sizzling soul. Trumpeter Stephane Ronget aka Rongetz's compositions captures the spirit of the New York City scene and features an impressive all star lineup .Newcomer Lilli Cooper, whose luscious vocals and witty charm can be heard throughout this disc. She seamlessly waxes poetic. on "Hip Hop Muze", which features Gary Bartz on alto and Trombonist Steve Turre. Cooper's vocal dexterity shines again on the Brazilian flavored "cab Samba". "Such A Morning Person" kicks off with a funky drum snare followed by an infectious bass and warm keys. All the ingredients swirling together for Cooper to operate. All in all an engaging disc that is hip, funky and full of swing.
Reg Dancy, 05/15
Ronin Arkestra - SonkeiAlbert's Favourites
Ronin Arkestra is a Tokyo based collective led by multi-instrumentalist Mark De Clive Lowe. De Clive has assembled some of the première players in Japan's jazz scene for this date. "Sonkei" is filled with rich and engaging compositions driven to greater heights thanks to Wataru Hamasaki on sax and De Clive Lowe on keys. Drummer Nobuaki Fujii from the amazing group Sleepwalker keeps the rhythm at a fever pitch and creates a canvas for everyone to paint figures of color and passion. "Onkochishin" and Cosmic Collisions are evidence of that. The latter finds De Clive Lowe alternating between synths and electronics playing off the explosive horn section. "Circle of Transmigration" is a delight that finds Hamasaki delivering breezy flute melodies The creativity flowing through this session soars from start to finish and leaves you thirsty for more. An exceptional piece of work that belongs every spiritual jazz fan's collection.
Reg Dancy, 12/19
Roos Jonker & Dean Tippet - Roos Jonker & Dean TippetSonar Kollektiv
Roos Jonker & Dean Tippet are a singer songwriter team from Amsterdam. They've been collaborating as a duo since 2009. Their warm and compelling vocals caught the attention of Benny Sings, eventually becoming members of his group "We'll Make it Right". Now the duo present their deeply melodic release on Sonar Kollektiv. On the Bossa flavored "The One" they blend folk and minimal pop over a sweet guitar rhythm. "Script" is a swaying lullaby that finds their vocals floating over a soft piano melody. Jonker is featured on "Dean", a blissful jazz pop arrangement with wah wah guitar rhythms laced with subtle piano and harp. Jonker and Tippet's vocals are hypnotic separately. Together they're simply mesmerizing. Without raising their vocals beyond a whisper they create ten alluring compositions that linger long after the song is over. This is a sheer delight that will certainly stroke your heartstrings.
Reg Dancy, 07/20
Roots Manuva - Awfully DeepBig Dada Records
Rodney Smith aka Roots Manuva releases his third album for Ninja Tune's baby brother - Big Dada. Mr Manuva manages to surpass himself once more with that distinctive voice and experimental riddums. Two singles: 'Colossal Insight' and 'Too cold' have already graced the shelves in rekkid stores across the planet featuring some superb remixes alongside the originals. Now Roots is a real marmite situation, you either like his style of vocal or you hate it. This dude has written some brilliant songs in the past and there are plenty more to be devoured from this album.
I think Roots Manuva has matured even more with this release. Some of the beats are very original and he proves that he's still not scared about rhyming about the real deal in this messed up land we call home. If you still haven't bought this gem then at least give it a listen - Roots Manuva fans will love it.