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“Paroxysm”, the latest from Adam Scrimshire was inspired mainly by the inhumane treatment of refugees and migrants by the government. There are a couple of tunes related to the pandemic but the mistreatment of migrants was too much to ignore. Fortunately Scrimshire’s emotive compositions provide a voice for all of us who are outraged while serving as a welcoming tonic. The haunting soundscapes of “Eyes Wide Shut” provide plenty of space for Faye Houston’s soothing vocals to glide over Scrimshire’s piano rhythms. “Your Invitation is A Lie” erupts with Idris Rahman’s powerful flurries on tenor topped off by spirited drumming. “Flames” is another highlight. Tamar Osborn’s clarinet provides warmth and the arrangement is elegant and luminous. “Paroxysm” is a splendid representation of the moods we’re experiencing right now. Whether it’s joy, pain or indifference you can be certain that Scrimshire can channel it into something beautiful. This album is evidence of that.
In 2019 James Alexander Bright & Tom Findley made their presence felt with the single “Tigers Roar”. The single garnered critical acclaim and filled us with hope there was more to come. The wish has been granted. “Everything is Slow” is the debut from Bright & Findley. The eleven track disc is filled with laidback synth funk compositions tailored made for lazy Summer afternoons. Findley’s arrangements combined with Bright’s vocals are a potent mix. Among the highlights are the languid “When I look into the World” The swaying string arrangements and ambient soundscapes will warm your heart. “It’s Only Rain” is another downtempo delight. “NY Disco” is a nod to the Brooklyn Disco scene that also leans into eighties boogie. Warm and melodic, this is an electro soul gem that you shouldn’t miss.
Italian DJ/Producer Lorenzo Morresi and Le Isole pay tribute to “library music” on his latest release “Pop Flop”. Library Music are obscure vinyl recordings written strictly for radio and television. These string laden jazz funk recordings were written by an array classically trained composers. Producer Luciano Cantone, who co-produced some of the recordings owns a large collection of rare library gems. Together they breathe new life into these recordings and lay down the groundwork for this impressive album. The disc kicks off with “Shalom”, a cosmic jazz funk heater. “Savana Urbana” is a mellow experimental number with a haunting groove. The ten track disc is filled with other cinematic compositions worth digging into. With Cantone’s vast collection I would expect to hear recordings like this from Morresi. This record deserves an encore.
Danny Wheeler aka Wheel Up returns with his sophomore lp “We Are The Magic”. The West London based producer is one of the new torch bearers of the broken beat sound. This album however, is much more than that. The opening track “Infinity” will win you over with warm ethereal vibes. It’s co-produced by Harry Bryson aka Abacus, who brings a touch of drum n bass flavor that he’s known for. The tempo is scaled back a bit but the strings and the wicked bass will take you back to the early days of 4hero. Wheeler has also enlisted an array of superb vocalists that give the tunes wings. On “More Life” Wheeler creates an intimate mood tailor made for the angelic vocals of Victoria Port to draw you into her world of song. Port, one half of the duo Anushka also shines on the title track as well. “Singularity” featuring Steelo will certainly fill a dance floor. It has all the ingredients, a strong groove, infectious drumming, electronics and tasty vocals. Whether he’s dj’ing or producing, Wheeler has his finger on the pulse of club culture. This is another superb release that packs plenty of heat.
Vol. 2 of BBE label head Paul Murphy’s “The Jazz Room” series highlights swinging Jazz, sizzling Latin Jazz grooves and much more. The tasty tracks chosen here will take you back to a time where the Jazz club was the place to be to get your party on. Evidence of that begins with the percussive Latin banger “Manteca” from Ceasr’s Salad. “Rebel No. 23” has a swinging 60s soul jazz groove courtesy of Tenor sax/Flutist Chip Wickham. Parisian based Florian Pellissier is one of the priemer pianists worldwide. Pellissier and his quintet come out swinging hard with “The Hipster”. Murphy certainly has great taste as Vol. 1 has demonstrated. Once again he delivers another marvelous compilation to expose you to hidden gems old and new.
LA based drummer/composer Tommaso Cappellato teams up with the Italian Collective Pavimento Fertile to deliver the infectious dance EP “Dancing Around Fire”. Cappellato’s latest features dynamic dance flavored compositions certain to inject instant body movement. The opener “Made of Golden Light” gets its hooks in you with a wicked bass line aligned with spacey synths. Latin St Juste’s feathery vocals adds a warm touch. The title track is filled with cosmic funk. Cappellaro demonstrates his dexterity not just on the drums but on the keys as well. While the dance tracks instantly pop out the gate, the mid-tempo tunes provide an equal amount of energy. Although there’s only seven tracks here, Cappellato’s latest is a high octane spacey funk deluxe that definitely hits the mark and is worthy of repeated listens.
“Agoro” is the new release from the Brazilian trio Caixa Cubo. Their eight track release is a free flowing soundscape of warm rhythms, soft melodies and tenderlyrics. It’s layered on top of burning Brazilian Jazz funk. The opening track “Asase” is a simmering tune filled with hypnotic fender rhodes and a engaging chorus. The title track erupts with boundless energy highlighted by Trumpeter Matthias Schriefl. Schriefl’s flurries are the ying to the bands yang. Joao Fideles’s drumming will lift your feet off the ground and Henrique Gomide’s funky vamping are a warm summer breeze of rhythms. Although the disc wraps up around twenty five minutes, it packs a punch nonetheless. This ia a formidable trio to keep an eye on.
The New Zealand based collective The Circling Sun channel the spirits of Pharoah
Sanders and Alice Coltrane on their marvelous debut. Fellow New Zealnder, producer Julien Dyne serves as the primary songwriter and he delivers. The six track lp is a blissful ride of spiritual jazz that will resonate with any fan of the genre. Among the highlights are “Kohan”, a blissful tune driven by the bass rhythms of Ben Turua building the canvas for all to shine. The heavenly chorus aligned with J.Y. Lee’s warm melodic flute makes for a fantastic voyage. “Spirits” evolves with a wave of piano rhythms and hypnotic percussion. Lee’s Soprano lifts the tune to another level. Each track is a delight in its own right that’s filled vibrant energy and superb performances. Highly recommended.
Manchester based DJ Luke Una delivers another impressive compilation for the premiere global label Mr Bongo. “E Soul Cultura Vol 2” is laced with obscure yet superb recordings found in dusty record shops across the globe. Una, like many promiment DJs frequent these record shops and always manages to come away with an assortment of hidden gems. “Ile De Mes Amours” is a soul jazz gem from Guadeloupean singer percussionist Erick Cosaque. “Lost Children” is a mid-tempo synth laden 80s soul number with a Northern Soul vibe from Gospel vocalist Veronica Mickie. “Logun Ede” is a strip down late seventies Brazilian soul jazz gem from Eloah. House music is represented here as well with a scintilating dub remix of Mr Scuff’s “Giffin” courtesy of Speechless. Una picks up where he left off with Vol 1 by delivering another quality compilation in all manner of styles. Vol 1 was quite impressive and this one is no exception.
“Night Shift”, the debut album from Brussels based producer Kuna Maze captures the essence of night clubbing. The thirteen track disc is busting loose with infectious broken beat and jazz infused funk grooves. Maze picks up where his last project with Nikitch, “Back and Forth” left off. Both releases merge electronica alongside live instrumentation that exude warm vibes. “Broken Light” pops with tasty synths and wicked bass riffs. “Don’t Drop Dead” is another burner filled with spacey synths and soft drums. “On The Way” displays a jazzier side. The tempo downshifts a bit but the energy remains the same. Maze has demonstrated that he can manipulate space and create atmospheric soundscapes that will heighthen your mood. Whether you’re clubbing or simply want to nod your head to good grooves, you need this.