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The Brkn Record – The Architecture of Oppression Part 2 [BBE Music]

Jake Ferguson, one half of the Heliocentrics returns with volume 2 of his solo project, The Brkn Record. While the theme of vol 1 centered on braking down oppressive institutions, vol 2 takes an extra step in calling out the injustices within the system. Ferguson certainly has enlisted an array of socially conscious artists to push this message forward. The mighty Anthony Joseph appears on three tracks here. “Skull Tax” comes in with a roar. A thumping bass groove and infectious electric guitar provides the canvas for Joseph’s thought provoking lyrics. “We Need Freedom” is a spirtual gem that kicks off with simmering percussion followed by searing Tenor sax and flute rhythms. UK vocalist Jermain Jackman’s falsetto moves the track to another level. “Prison of Skin” is another spiritual jazz keeper that speaks to the socio-economics prison that has held back countless communities. Ugochi Nwaogwugwu, a Nigerian singer/poet adds her heavenly vocals to the tune. A strong recording that entertains and enlightens you simultaneously.


Arthur Melo – Mirantes Emocionais [Wonderfulsound]

Arthur Melo, a Brazilian composer, guitarist and singer returns after a three year hiatus. Backed by his band O Ministerio da Consciencia, the new album “Mirantes Emocionais” pays homage to Melo’s heroes of the 70 & 80s, specifically Milton Nascimento. In addition, the album has plenty of film refernces as he’s studied film and is a fan of the great Director Brian De Palma. Melo’s feathery vocals float over the percussive electric guitar driven “Dama da Noite”. The psychedelic “Principios Organizadores” simmers with electric and acoustic guitar rhythms. Dante Batista Ribeiro’s playing on the sitar adds another layer of flavor to the recording. “Saidas” is a blissful acoustic tune enhanced by the gentle brushes from drummer Theodora Viana. Produced by Kassim, “Mirantes Emocionais” is a superb recording that recalls the past while applying new ideas from the present.


Musclecars – Sugar Honey Iced Tea! [BBE Music]

Brandon Weems and Craig Handfield are Musclecars. Over the last few years they’ve been making a name for themselves for their lush house remixes for a number of artists. “Sugar Honey Ice Tea”, their debut album captures the essence of New York City club culture made famous by some of the legendary local DJs. DJs like the late Larry Levan and Louie Vega, just to name a few are known for injceting a myriad of musical styles seamlessly into their live sets and kept the party rocking. This lp follows the same formula. “Ha Ya” is a deep percussive afro house with a hypnotic chorus. “Tonight” is infectious soulful house with warm vocals. “Circles 11” is the kind of track that would’ve filled the floor at the Paradise Garage back in the day. The duo flex their remixing skills to extend the groove. The end result is a seven minute funk deluxe banger with a pulsating groove and ear popping percussion. Get to know this duo. Based on this impressive release they should be around for a long time.


Another Taste – Another Taste [Space Grapes Records]

Another Taste are a four piece band with a handful of special guests from the Netherlands. The self titled debut specializes in 70s styled boogie tunes. The live instrumentation lends to the authenticity of their sound. Bob Roche on bass and rhythm guitar is a constant presence throughout the disc. Barend Lippens synth arrangements as well as his lead vocals also hit the mark. The opener “Turn Up” is infectious boogie funk. “Anything You Want” is soulful boogie meets Disco with dazzling synths. Vocalist Sarina Voorn gliding over the thumping bass groove.s the icing on the cake. The finale “Perfect Night” is laidback synth laden boogie funk. This is a band that knows how to lay down the funk. Polish your dancing shoes, you’re gonna have a funky good time.


Amanda Whiting – The Liminality of Her [First Word Records]

In a short period, Amanda Whiting has made her presence felt on the UK jazz scene as an accomplished harpist and composer. Strong recordings on Jazzman records and Albert’s Favorite’s are evidence of that. “The Liminality of Her” is her first release on First Word records. The ten track release explores a new direction as the title suggests. Liminality is the in-between moments of what was and what is. “Liminal” is a blissful mid-tempo tune where Whiting manipulates the harp into sounding more like an acoustic guitar. “Waiting To Go” is another highlight where Chip Wickham’s flute phrasings complement the vibrations of the harp. “Rite of Passage is a gentle tune that features vocalist Peach. Whiting is venturing into new territory here. “The Liminality of Her” will be a gratifying listen for those who choose to travel along with her.


Alina Bzhezhinska and Tony Kofi – Altera Vita [BBE Music]

When it comes to Jazz duos, the tenor sax and the harp probably isn’t the first combination you think of. That said, the pairing of Tenor saxophonist Tony Kofi and harpist Alina Bzhezhinska is a heavenly match indeed. “Altera Vita” is a divine recording of two musicians submerging into a cohesive duo creating crisp yet warm compositions. “Tu Vides” begins with meditative percussion that the duo also contributes to the set. Kofi follows up with a seductive solo intertwined with Bzhezhinska’s gentle phrases. While her touch is tender she manipulates the strings for a bigger sound. “Audite Me – Hear Me” opens with the superb Muriel Grossman on the tanpura bass. The Middle Eastern rhythms combined with Kofi’s solo creates a spiritual jazz vibe. Bzhezhinska spins out phrases that bring it all together. Two great performances result in a marvelous recording. This will certainly inspire repeated listens.


Sly5thAve – Liberation [Tru Thoughts Recordings]

Sylvestor Uzoma Onyejiaka, aka Sly5thAve expands on his love of orchestral compositions with “Liberation”. Onyejiaka’s third solo album begins as a suite of orchestral soulful compositions filled with heavenly strings and high hat cymbals. The disc takes on the feel of a film score that captures the essence of sly’s personal journey. “Water Suite” breaks into four parts. The opener “Thirst” is filled with funky brass arrangements. Peter Knudsen compliments the horns with sparkling guitar rhythms. Act two showcases a smaller ensemble but packs a punch nevertheless. “No, No, No, PT 2” is a funky remake of the Destiny’s Child hit that features soulful horn soloing from Jonathan Mones. “Monoxide” has funky hip-hop inspired basslines courtesy of MonoNeon and MacKenzie on vocals. Onyejiaka demonstrates his skills as a composer as well as an arranger. This cinematic release is a portrait of his vision that will certainly resonate with you.


Nawen Afrobeat – Grietas

“Grietas” is the latest release from Nawen Afrobeat. The Chilean band’s six track lp draws inspiration from the music made famous by Fela Kuti. The band itself fronts a strong rhythm section as evidence on “Llovera”. A simmering bass groove is flanked by warm vocal harmonies and a soulful horn section. “Mare Mare” features the Afrobeat ambassador Dele Sosimi. The tune is a aignature Afrobeat funk tune with sparkling percussion alongside Sosimi’s rhythmnic singing. Chico Cesar is one of many special guests on board and he adds his vocals to the finale “Es La Vida”. Newan is one of many bands carrying the torch for Afrobeat. Based on this release they’re pioneers you need to get familiar with.


Jimi Tenor & Aura Safari – Sensory Blending [Hell Yeah Recordings]

Finnish multi-instrumentalist Jimi Tenor and Italian collective Aura Safari met at a party in Perugia where Tenor was set to perform. Within days they decided to go into the studio. They emerged from that session with “Sensory Blending”. The nine track release is filled with retro soul jazz compositions. On “Bodily Synesthesia”, Tenor’s seductive sax soloing along with his soft crooning sets the mood of a dark lit smokey jazz club. “My Bluebell” is a simmering soul jazz number with a heavenly flute solo from Tenor. It’s also highlighted by the vocals of Toimi Tytti. “Gimlet” is a light and airy samba where Tenor’s flute dances over the melody. Aura Safari are an impressive set of musicians who came in with great ideas and formed instant chemistry. Pour yourself a glass of wine, kick back and relax to this engaging album.


Bruk Rogers – Loopholes [Tru Thoughts Recordings]

Cian McCann aka Zero T made his mark in the drum n bass arena. He has a number of recordings on the 4Hero label Reinforced records. He ventured into Bruk during the pandemic and his first release landed on renowned Bruk DJ/Producer Afronaut’s label. Alas, Bruk Rodgers was born. “Loopholes”, the full length debut on Tru-thoughts spans various genres with broken beat as the centerpiece. “Deusa” is ignited by latin rhythms and the warmth of vocalist Roberta Silva. “Feel Alright” is bubbling with broken beat rhythms that features rapper Jswiss and pianist Onj. “Jelly Head” is another banger filled with dazzling synths that features Wipe The Needle. This is an infectious album that’s filled with bangers and shines a light on club culture.


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