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Daniel Villarreal – Panama 77 [International Anthem]

“Panama 77” is the debut of Panamanian born and Chicago based drummer Daniel Villarreal. The twelve track disc is layered with psychedelic Latin rhythms aligned with jazz fusion and folkloric sensibilities. Villarreal has been a fixture in the Chicago music scene, recently as a member of the group Dos Santos. The disc kicks off with “Bella Vista” where Villarreal demonstrates a keen sense of polyrhythms. Villarreal’s spirited percussion creates an enchanting groove for Elliot Bergman’s howling baritone. “In/On features labelmate guitarist Jeff Parker. Villarreal’s hypnotic percussion simmers over a samba beat alongside organist Dave Vettraino. With Parker’s glorious electric guitar rhythms layered on top you have an irresistible groove worthy of repeated listens. “Parque En Seis” opens with Villareal on congas and cow bells, paving the way for Bardo Martinez’s bass guitar grooves and synths. Chicago based International Anthem is known for their roster of genre bending jazz artists. Villarreal’s debut is left of center brilliance that stacks up well with their catalog.


Brandon Coleman – Interstellar Black Space [Brainfeeder]

“Interstellar Black Space”, the sophomore lp from Brandon Coleman picks up where “Resistance” left off. Which means there’s an array of engaging synth funk tunes and jazz infused compositions. “On The One” is a slice of Minneapolis funk aligned with wicked synths and a thumpin’ bass groove. Coleman is joined by close friend and label-mate Kamasi Washington on “We Change Part 1”. Coleman’s use of the vocoder soars over the dreamy spacey funk groove. “We Change Part 2” leans toward straight ahead jazz and features trumpeter Keyon Harrold, Bassist Ben Williams and drummer Marcus Gilmore. “Runnin” is also a highlight. It’s an infectious flurry of spacey melodies where Coleman flexes his chops on electric and acoustic piano. Coleman’s use of the vocoder on a number of ballads would make Herbie Hancock blush. It’s evident that’s one of his influences along with George Duke and other masters of the funk. Make no mistake, Coleman is forming his own sound. He displays a gentle touch on the keys and a vivid astral imagination that will perk your ears up. There’s no sophomore slump here, just an enjoyable record.


Jasmine Myra – Horizons [Gondwana Records]

When it comes to Gondwana records you can expect supreme spiritual jazz recordings. Leeds based Saxophonist Jasmine Myra is the latest artist to emerge on the label with a sublime recording worthy of your attention. Myra’s debut “Horizons” was written during the lockdown and unintentionally became a therapeutic composition to pull her through trying times. The eight track disc moves along with a simmering down-tempo pace. For starters the title track finds Myra’s horn aligned with warm hypnotic strings. “Morningside” is another blissful tune where Myra generates sweet melodies on the soprano as well as engaging harmonies on the piano. Produced by Matthew Halsall who serves as a guiding light throughout the recording. Myra demonstrates that she’s an adept reedist and a capable pianist as well. Her tender compositions provide a glimpse of a promising future.


Inkswel & The Snaglepuss – Chasing Infinity [Cosmocities Records]

DJ/Producer Jules Habib, aka Inkswel has proven to have traces of funk and a knack for the groove in his DNA. He has compiled a catalogue of essential grooves ranging from boom bap hip-hop to funk n soul. Inkswel’s latest release “Chasing Infinity” is no exception. It’s a album filled with bumpin tracks aided by a star studded lineup. “Everything” is tasty hip-hop featuring veteran rapper Dudley Perkins. “Butterflies” is laid back cosmic funk featuring the familiar falsetto vocals of Steve Spacek. The title track is an infectious dance track with a thumping groove that features veteran House vocalist Oliver Knight. We’re just scratching the surface here as there’s notable contributions from Kylie Audist, Amp Fiddler and more. An energetic album filled with various tempos certain to shake your hips and press repeat.


VA – Future Sounds of Jazz Vol 15 [Compost Records]

“Future Sounds of Jazz Vol 15” is the latest compilation from the reliable German based Compost Records. The twenty one track release features compositions with sketches of jazz layered over house grooves, electronics and African rhythms. The selections are curated by Label head Michael Reinboth. The disc kicks off with the warm percussion driven groove of “Last Home” from Bristol based DJ/producer Typesun. “At Les” from Toshio Matasura is a rich and vibrant composition laced with percolating guitar rhythms. “Sunday Afternoon” is a ten minute atmospheric gem filled with relentless beats out front and seductive horns and jazz tinged chords around the edges. The track has a meditative quality that pulls you before you even know it. “Future Sounds of Jazz” is a sampling of worlds colliding, the visceral vibes of future sounds with the cerebral cool of Jazz. It’s a splendid compilation from Reinboth.


Jimpster – Birdhouse [Freerange Records]

“Birdhouse”, the seventh lp from DJ/Producer Jamie Odell, aka Jimpster was created during the lockdown of 2020. It finds him taking a step back in time with a collection of soulful down-tempo electronic gems. There’s much to savor here with plenty of selections worthy of repeated listens. “Ascension” is a warm and sultry track featuring UK vocalist Oliver Night. “Beautiful Day” featuring Cairo is equally engaging. Cairo’s feathery vocals layered over Odell’s emotive rhodes arrangements add up to an intoxicating mix. “Future Paradise”, one of the few instrumentals here is an gorgeous cascade of lush strings and synths. “Tell You” is awash in spiritual vibes and heavenly vocals. I do hope this isn’t a one and done project. Odell has made some exceptional House music and there’s no doubt there’s more on the way. That being said we need an occasional release here and there like this one. Simply a marvelous release that deserves a place on your shelf.

Moonchild – Starfruit [Tru Thoughts Recordings]

“Starfruit”, the fifth album from Moonchild demonstrates a band that’s hitting it’s stride. Their signature sound of soft melodic tones and heartfelt songwriting has resonated with audiences around the globe during their worldwide tour. The vocals of Amber Navran have certainly struck a chord, no pun intended and her vocals are recognizable from the first note. The new release supplies more of their musical good vibes, this time with an array of superb artists in their own right. The opener “Tell Him” aligns Amber with the velvet vocals of Lailah Hathaway. It has a noticeable groove not often found in their compositions yet still embodies the lush texture you’ve grown to love. “You Got One” is equally divine. Alex Isley’s heavenly vocals alongside Navran’s is like two Angels in a versus match. “Get By” is filled with joy and exuberance due in large part to the up and coming band Tank and The Bangas. Despite the large amount of guests on hand here their authenticity remains true to form. Overall it’s another marvelous release that you shouldn’t miss.


VA – Zepherin Saint presents Soulful Culture Vol. 2 [Tribe Records]

Producer Dean Zepherin, aka Zepherin Saint has amassed a tremendous collection of soulful afro house compositions over the last decade. The Harrow London native’s second installment of “Soulful Culture” is a delicious blend of soulful and deep house recordings from his Tribe recordings catalog. The superb compilation contains contributions from prominent DJs like Louie Vega, Larry Heard to premiere vocalists like Arnold Jarvis. This compilation has plenty of star power. The disc kicks off with “Directions” a simmering ten minute synergy of percussion and organ grinding grooves from percussionist Jab. Alex Attias pulls off a rare occurrence of Georgia Anne Muldrow on a house track with the soulful banger “I Wanna Know”. “Sweet Ting” by Trinidadian Deep is one of an array of deep spiritual house gems with lush rhythms on display here. “In The Distance” is an atmospheric soulful house heater from DJ Spinna. There’s far too many tasty house treats to mention here. Frankly, two plus hours of infectious house music never sounded better. Simply put “Soulful Culture Vol 2 is a triumph. Purchase, press play and get swept away.


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