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Mark GV Taylor and George Arthur are the curators for Reference Point. Since 201
2 Reference Point has hosted events that have attracted listeners and musicians
world wide. The twelve track lp features a global menu of glorious music old and new. “Palavras” erupts with warm Samba vibes courtesy of Caixa Cubo. “We Don’t Have To Talk About It” is classic rock with a touch of mellow jazz from the NYC based band Bell Helium. “A Place In Space” is a laid back seventies boogie tune from Joe Thomas. “Factory Rhythms” is sublime modal jazz from the JR Quintet. Once again BBE delivers with another marvelous compilation certainly worth checking. A great combination of reuniting with familiar tunes as well as an introduction to something new.
The fourth installment from Menagerie and the third lp released on Freestyle records. The group led by Lance Ferguson expands beyond the spiritual jazz recordings of the previous releases. “The Shores Of Infinity” features more groove oriented compositions yet they contain plenty of potency to keep you locked in for the ride. Evidence of that lies in the title track, a breezy funk number that’s airy, free and laced with warm electric piano chords. “Kingdom” is a fusion banger filled with bubbling percussion and vocal harmonies. Top that off with engaging soloing from trumpeter Ross Irwin. “Danieda’s Dance” is reminiscent of the deeper compostions the band has become known for. The nine minute track is punctuated by flurries of tenor riffs from Phil Noy and majestic piano flurries. This is another marvelous recording from Ferguson that you shouldn’t miss.
“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.
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.