T.R.A.C. - The Network (produced by Marc Mac)BBE
Brooklyn based rapper T.R.A.C. demonstrates on “The Network” that he has lyrics in abundance and the beats to match, courtesy of Marc Mac. Like The Foreign Exchange did several years ago, TRAC and Marc Mac collaborated over the internet and “The Network” is an impressive result of two likeminded talents providing immediate satisfaction. Over fifteen tracks, T.R.A.C. effortlessly waxes poetic on the daily grind and the economic hardships that surround his environment. On “Step Rite On In” Marc Mac samples the 70’s Blue Magic classic over thick beats while T.R.A.C. leads us on a journey into his life and the code he lives by. ”Radio Heroes” is another banger that features the vocals of Baron aka Drue Davis. “Over My Shoulder” has a laidback groove with a jazzy bassline. On this tune, T.R.A.C. laments about struggling to stay on the right path without being drawn into temptation. “Somn’ For Your Ears” provides more bounce to the ounce and finds T.R.A.C. professing to commitment to the hip hop game. With a release as strong as this one, that’s good news for hip hop enthusiasts.
Reg Dancy, 06/11
Takuya Kuroda - Fly Moon Die SoonFirst Word
"Fly Moon Die Soon" is the latest lp from Trumpeter Takuya Kuroda and his first on First Word Records. The Kobe Japan native and now Brooklyn resident's sixth full length release is more groove based than previous releases yet still navigates seamlessly between Jazz and funk. Kuroda's approach for this recording is more raw and organic, culimating in a warm and soulful project "ABC" is feverish jazz funk with a wicked bass groove. "Moody" also brims with heat. Kuroda's warm soloing glides along side engaging synth melodies. Kuroda also puts his stamp on two covers here. The Ohio Players "Sweet Sticky Things" receives proper justice but I really love what he does with Herbie Hancock's "Tell Me A Bedtime Story", injecting a dose of exuberant funk. Kuroda continues to grow with each release. In a short time he's compiled an impressive catalogue. I wouldn't say it's his best but you'll no doubt enjoy it as much as his other albums.
Reg Dancy, 01/21
Talc - Sit Down ThinkWah Wah 45s
2006 has been an amazing year for music and there has been no let-up on weekly releases since January. Trying to listen to everything is difficult due to time and if you play across the board it's hard to give each piece of music the attention it deserves. So after "Modern Sleepover", "Please Please Please Me" from the Wah Wah 45s compilation a few months ago and recently "Garden of Dance", I was ready for something special and believe me this is more than something special- it's going to be a masterpiece, if you've got your head screwed on properly. The lyrics are clever and some of the funniest you'll hear this year, certain to put a smile on your face, if not split your sides.. When was the last time you heard a band sing about being a carrot or a lobster and this is only the start. Todd Terje has been quoted saying "that he nearly wet his pants when he heard "Modern Sleepover": you've been warned.
Simon Harrison, 09/06
Talib Kweli - EardrumWarner Bros
What a journey it has been for Talib Kweli. Ever since he and Mos Def hit the scene as Black Star, followed by collaborating with Hi-Tek on Reflection Eternal, the expectations have been high. While there have been some shining moments (Quality) and some lackluster moments (The Beautiful Struggle), the feeling has been that Talib hasn't released his best yet. With "Eardrum" he may finally silence the critics. The first item that struck me about "Eardrum" was the number of songs. Twenty to be exact. Usually, when an hip-hop artist drops a cd with twenty plus songs, there are about seven to ten songs that could have easily been purged. However, I'm pleased to note that "Eardrum" is not only very enjoyable throughout but it's surely one of the best hip-hop cd's this year. The track "Country Cousins" displays Talib's affection for the south while holding his own on the southern delivery as well. The Will I.Am produced "Hot Thing" is a banger that should garner him plenty of airplay without alienating his core audience. The Pete Rock produced "Stay Around" finds Talib rapping about all the suggestions people have for him when they see him in the street (Talib, you should rap about this, you should rap about that, any more suggestions, yeah you in the back, you should rap on beat, you should rap more street). You can just imagine how often that happens. What happens often here is satisfaction from a disc seems to have a little something for everybody. Whether flirting with the ladies along with Kanye on "In The Mood" or asking the heavenly father to deliver him from temptation on "Hostile Gospel, Pt.2" (which I favor over Pt.1), the result is a consistent and focused effort. After months of delays, Talib delivers with arguably his best record to date.
Reg Dancy, 12/07
Tall Black Guy - 8 Miles To moenartFirst Word Records
Tasty hip hop beats and soulful samples have become synonymous with Detroit native Terrel Wallace aka Tall Black Guy”. “8 Miles to Moenart” is a tribute to his roots and of the lineage of the musical Detroit landscape that runs deep. That’s evident throughout this disc that features a touch of electro soul laced with hip hop and Jazz rhythms. Among the highlights are “The Dark Streets” an infectious down-tempo house track with a wicked beat. “There’s No more Soul” is a warm down-tempo soul gem that is complemented by the wordless phrasing of Diggs Duke. Ozay Moore’s lyrics on “Mon Amie De’ Troit” combined with the laidback hip-hop beat captures the spirit of a day in the life of Detroit. A bit disappointing that there’s eight tracks here but an otherwise superb disc that will keep your head nodding with each listen.
Reg Dancy, 06/13
Tamil Rogeon - Son of NyxSoul Bank Music
Violinist and composer Tamil Rogeon has built an impressive resume filled with a wide array of accomplishments. He has composed and conducted for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Austrailian National Academy of Music. He's co-founder of the orchestral electronic band The Raah Project and has worked with acclaimed producer Harvey Sutherland. "Son Of Nyx" is his latest release and it's a spiritual jazz gem not to be missed. Rogeon's sublime violin melodies are puncuated by Danny Fischer's spirited drumming on "House No Wheels". "Bad Sandals" is filled with Rogeon's lush melodies. The track is also highlighted by engaging percussion from Fischer and warm vocal harmonies from Rita Satch that make for a climatic finale. The disc wraps up with the ten minute plus spiritual jazz delight "Horns No Eyes". The tune unleashes splash of riveting fender rhodes in parallel with Rogeon's majestic phrasing of melodies. Simply a superb ending to a wonderful record. This is an early standout for a 2021 release that you need to get.
Reg Dancy, 02/21
Tawiah - Starts AgainFirst Word
Singer songwriter Tawiah has been a staple in the South London music scene with numerous guest appearances and a couple of EPs under her belt. Her heavenly vocals has taken lead for The Cinematic Orchestra, Eric Lau and many more. "Starts Again" is her full length début and sounds nothing like what she's done before. That being said the ten track lp is a brilliant stripped down session that weaves together her musical outlook while chronicling her life journey. "Recreate" starts out with a rumbling drum beat and a bass heavy groove. "Borders" is a soul pop tune filled with a joyous chorus that spreads her message that her love has no boundaries. "How Much Left" floats with warm string arrangements courtesy of Miquel Atwood Ferguson. Co-Produced by Sam Beste and notable contributions from Sharlene Hector, Rahel Debebe Dessalegne among others. This is a superb outing from an ultra talented vocalist.
Reg Dancy, 02/20
Te'Amir - Abyssinia & Abyssinia RiseTru Thoughts
Drummer/producer Te'Amir is another artist to emerge from the deep well of Los Angeles. "Abyssinia & Abyssinia Rise" marries jazz and funk with Ethiopian rhythms. A release shaped in large part to Te'Amir exploring his Ethiopian roots. Among the highlights are "Habesha", a haunting piano driven hip hop track that features Rebekah Raff on harp. "Randal In Addis" is filled with spirited Afrikan horn rhythms courtesy of Randal Fisher. "The Quest" blends Ethiopian jazz inspired instrumentation and soulful vocals from Dustin Warren. A bit disappointing that it's under 25 minutes but this LP is a delightful listen. Te'Amir is someone to keep an eye on.
Reg Dancy, 03/19
Teeko and B Bravo present - Tempo Dreams 2Bastard Jazz
Bastard Jazz delivers a second installment of Tempo Dreams, this time enlisting the talents of Bay area funkateers DJ/Producer Teeko and B. Bravo. Together they create an lp filled with electro-funk jams reminiscent of the eighties funk revolution. Highlights include Don't Stop", a wicked bass heavy tune with spacey synths. "Come Too Far" eases along with a laid back groove and features the deep bass vocals of Black Spade. "Back To The Mitten" is another funky gem with sweet synths augmented by Tony Ozier holding down the vocals. Teeko's production is solid throughout and the vocal arrangements are on point. There's a new generation of funk enthusiasts on the scene delivering the funk and Teeko and B. Bravo are two of many newcomers doing their part to push it along. Much to our delight.
Reg Dancy, 01/14
Tekameli - EscolteuMilan Records
These three excellent Roma musicians from southern France, Jean Soler, Salomon Espinas and Julio Bermudez and their guests play Rumba Catalana and Flamenca with great style. This is a collection of religious songs and chants which range from sad to happy but always with passion and wonderful musicianship. Top notch.
Graham Radley, 07/08