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VA – The Congregation – Jazz Alliance International [Right Tempo]

Whereas most compilations focus on the past, Massimiliano “Jazzcat” Conti shines a light on the quality recordings of the present. The Italian resident DJ has delighted listeners with his eclectic mixes and mix shows. The Congregation is a superb collection that intertwine soul and modern jazz tracks with present day culb culture. Evidence can be found with “Seasons In My Mind”. The previously unreleased Yellowtail track that features jazz crooner Mark Murphy. Mama Terra’s “Ruptura” is a spiritual jazz burner that’s equally enjoyed on the dance floor or in your living room. The hard driving piano rhythms aligned with orchestral vocal harmonies will bring immediate satifaction. The finale “Who Will Save The World” features the spoken word genius of Anthony Joseph. The seven minute gem is fueled by a simmering groove, warm piano melodies and a sterling horn section. There isn’t a weak track in sight here. The Milan based Right Tempo records consistently delivers with quality recordings and this is no exception.


Feiertag – Roots [Sonar Kollektiv]

Joris Feiertag, aka Feiertag is a dutch based drummer/producer from the Netherlands. “Roots”, his third release on Sonar Kollektiv is a fresh concoction of tasty uptempo electronic grooves laced with live instrumentation. There’s a number of talented vocalists on board lifting the compositions to greater heights. “Keep Your Head Up” percolates with warm percussive rhythms aligned with the falsetto vocals of Noah Slee. UK Poet Nego True appears on two tracks, the laid back “Love Hills” and the infectious banger “Feel Me”. “Law Of Attraction” has a slow burning lovers rock kind of vibe that features Oshun. Fellow labelmate Pete Josef adds his golden voice to the joyful “Give A Little”. Although the lineup is impressive it’s Feiertag’s array of creative compositions that ignite this disc. This is a joyful listen throughout that’s worthy of your attention.


Tommaso Cappellato – Dancing Around Fire [Pavimento Fertile]

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.


Cosmic Renaissance – Universal Language [Schema Records]

Cosmic Renaissance is a collective led by Italian Trombonist Gianluca Petrella. Patrella is one of the premier musicians of a vibrant Jazz community in Italy. Joining him here are frequent collaborators Mirco Rubegni on trumpet, bassist Riccardo Di Vinci, drummer Federico Scettri and percussionist Simone Padovani. This is a reduced lineup from Petrella’s Cosmic orchestra band and each member rises to the occassion. This ten track release features a landscape of strong rhythmnic vitality that blends the acoustic arrangements with electronics with impressive results. The title track “Universal Language” packs a punch with a hypnotic groove driven by Scettri. On top of that London Tenor Titan Soweto Kinch appears with rapid fire lyrics. “Wonder” is a mellow burner where Anna Bassy’s sultry vocals are layered with Petrella and Rubegni’s melodic phrasings. Kinch brings more lyrical fire on “Education”. The track builds to a fever pitch before leveling off into euphoric soundscapes. Gianluca’s imaginative arrangements are riped with spirited performances. The use of electronics are well placed and lifts these recordings to another level. Simply marvelous.


VA – Neujazz 2 [Sonar Kollektiv]

The second installment from the Sonar Kollektiv series. “Neujazz 2” features an array of up and coming homegrown artists from Berlin and beyond. The lp drifts between melancholy mid tempo soundscapes to infectious jazz inspired grooves. The disc kicks off with “Open”, a previously unreleased tune from the duo known as Waan. Saxophonist Bart Wirtz and Keyboardist Emiel Van Rijthoven compose a atmospheric gem filled with engaging harmonies. Tutu Amuse have been one of the highlights of 2022 for the label. “Ohm” provides a sample of their sublime psychadelic sensabilities. Marian Tone aka Key Elements gives the a jolt with “Space”. Only a shade under three minutes, it’s a potent mix of jazz fusion and jungle. Vinicius Mendes dips into the songbook of the Brazilian songstress Joyce and emerges with a beautiful cover of Aldeia de Ogum”. There’s also impressive contributions from Pete Josef, Micatone and others. Simply put “Neujazz 2” is another winner from the label that always delivers.


JSOUL x B.Jamelle – Mellowdisiac [BSM Records]

“Mellowdisiac” is the latest release from Baltimore based producer/beat maker JSoul and vocalist B.Jamelle. The nine track EP is laced with mellow jazz infused soul compositions. B.Jamelle’s vocals are soothing to the ear as evidenced on “To Flower”, a slow burning ballad. “Really Love” features poetic verses from Jamil Honesty. The aptly titled “Blissfully Undone” is one of the stronger tracks here. JSoul’s production is full of creativity and the warmth of B.Jamelle’s vocals make for a perfect combination. JSoul already solidified himself as an architect at making soulful hip-hop. With B.Jamelle on board he’s adept at creating mellow grooves as well.


Divorce From New York – Sausalito [High Praise Edits]

Producer Alvaro Granda aka Divorce From New York returns with his sophomore LP “Sausalito”. You may be familiar with Granda as one half of San Sebastian based production duo Reykjavvik606. They’ve worked with the likes of Tenderlonious and Ishmael Ensemble among others. “Sausalito” is filled with rugged broken beat rhythms layered with mind bending chords and harmonies. The opening track “Sausalito” kicks off with euphoric chords before easing into a sparse, edgy hypnotic rhythm. “Paralelo66” erupts with heavy bruk rhythms and wobbly synths. “Last Day of Sunset” oozes with infectious Summertime energy and good vibes. The pulsating Disco rhythms make this a worthy highlight. “Mapacho River” is a sonic journey aligned with a rough edged drum kick and jungle rhythms. Short and sweet with only seven tracks, Granda delivers a banger with each track packing a big punch. Granda is someone to keep an eye on. With beats like these I can’t wait to hear what he does next.


John Beltran presents Sol Set – Ola de Novo [All Good Music Label]

“Ola de Novo” by Sol Set evokes images from Sao Paolo. It’s one of the latest projects from Detroit native DJ/Producer John Beltran. Beltran emerged in the late nineties Detroit techno and house scene and later would release recordings on Ubiquity records. With “Ola de Novo” Beltran reunites with Guitarist/producer John Arnold and songwriter Jeremy Ellis among others. “Aztec” originally written by Beltran twenty years ago kicks the disc off. A percolating samba tune with a gorgeous piano melody. Beltran revisits this track and in turn becomes the springboard for the entire album. “Sugarloaf” simmers with infectious percussion. “Rhythm Of The Sun” is a sun drenched Samba tune oozing with hypnotic percussion and emotive vocals from New York based artist Sofa Knezevic. Sol Set is the first release from Beltran’s label All Good Music. It’s a nine track delight with grooves to dance to or simply vibe out to. This is essential listening and a welcome return by Beltran.


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