Review: Another fine deep spiritual Jazz reissue on Japanese label P-Vine that came out on Strata East originally in 1974. Soaring vocals are charismatic of this album and it features the track Optimystical which Andres previously sampled.
Review: Dynamite Cuts latest double seven-inch presentation takes us back to 1973, and James Brown's often-overlooked soundtrack to Blaxploitation crime movie "Black Ceasar", a set previously described by one critic as "a full-frontal funk attack". What we get is four of the soundtrack's strongest cuts: electric piano solo-laden funk shuffler "Blind Man Can See", one of Brown's most celebrated and best-loved songs, "The Boss" (sample lyric: "look at me, what do you see? A bad mother!"), the softly sweet, strings-and-solo laden breeziness of "White Lightning", and the crunchy heavy funk strut of "Make It Good To Yourself". As the old saying goes: all killer, no filler.
Brother Soul - "Cookies" (extended Breaks Special edition)
Ramsey Lewis - "Back In The USSR" (extended Breaks Special edition)
Review: More "extended breaks" re-edit fun from the popular Breaks & Beats bootleg "45" series, with the mysterious scalpel fiends behind the project delivering two more light-touch rearrangements of killer cuts from the soul and funk canon. On the A-side theys uccesffully tamper with Bronx outfit Brother Soul's heady 1974 classic "Cookies", naturally giving more prominence to the band's killer funk breakbeats, hazy horns and undulating bass guitar. Over on the flip they lengthen the bustling, tough and loose-limbed drum-breaks featured in Ramsay Lewis's electric cover version of Beatles' rocker "Back in the USSR". Lewis's organ solos are, as ever, energetic, sweaty and breathless, guaranteeing dancefloor pleasure every time the track is dropped.
Review: Taken from a trio of 45s from the Vong45 record label, here the West Loop collective remake some of their favourite soul, jazz and funk tracks. This release in the series has West Loop remaking the original foundation to the A Tribe Called Quest masterpiece 'Electric Relaxation' - 'Mystic Brew' as recorded by Blue Note keyboard player Ronnie Foster in 1972. Featuring all live instrumentation including some fierce Hammond organ vamps, a deep rich bassline and a vibrant electric piano solo, West Loop revitalise the jazziness of the original on 'Part 1' but move into a funkier direction with 'Part 2' on the flip. Perfect 45 territory for the funk and hip hop DJs.
Review: We're firmly convinced that the A-side of this sneaky seven-inch from Mushi 45 main man Mister Mushi borders on genius. Entitled "Hard Lifetime", it sees the Japanese DJ/producer pepper a killer hip-hop-meets funk groove - all tight horn blasts, addictive drum breaks and jazzy soul guitar riffs - with elements of David Byrne's celebrated vocal from Talking Heads classic "Once in a Lifetime". The whole thing is wonderfully infectious, toe-tapping and hip-wiggling, breathing new life into one of music's most familiar tunes (and, for the record, the production is so good that Byrne's vocal sounds like it was tailor-made for the backing track). You'll find the Mushi one's fine instrumental take, shorn of all Talking Heads references, tucked away on the flipside.
Review: While trying to keep himself busy during lockdown, musician Laurence Mason decided to record a Dave Brubeck style cover version of the Stranglers' classic "Golden Brown" full of excitable drum solos, and snaking horn lines replacing the oh-so familiar lead vocal. It became a big hit online after he posted it on YouTube, so Jazz Room Records boss Paul Murphy asked if he could release it on wax. It's a superb version that successfully reinvents the Stranglers' gem as a quality jazz tune. Equally as impressive is his flipside version of the Police's "Walking on the Moon", which is as deep, atmospheric, enticing and intoxicating as they come. In fact, it could well be better than the in-demand A-side, and that's saying something.
Review: This is the only studio album from US Soul/Rare Groove unit "Heaven Sent & Ecstasy", originally issued in 1980. An mysterious jacket design, inexplicable sub-title, some songs included in the soundtracks of "Scrolls, The Book of Life", many mysteries and great music have included and high demanded album with collectors are reissued as vinyl for the first time! P-Vine reissued it as CD in 2006, and now we present it as vinyl with OBI.
Review: In 2003, Japanese nu-jazz maestro Jazztronik released arguably his most potent single to date, a rolling break beat number smothered in breathless piano lines and dreamy female vocal snippets called "Samurai". If you've not heard it or missed out first time around, we'd encourage you to check out the producer's new 2020 version. While it's not vastly different, all of the key elements - beats, piano and the heavenly female vocals - have been re-recorded. As a result, the track has never sounded heavier, brighter, or better. The 12" also includes two superb DJ tools: a drum tool featuring his punchy broken beat rhythms, and a "Piano" mix that showcases his inspiring, virtuoso playing and nothing else. In a word: essential.
Review: There are few greater neo-soul albums than Jill Scott's impeccable debut, "Who Is Jill Scott? Words & Sounds Volume 1". Here it resurfaces on brilliant blue vinyl to mark two decades since it first hit stores. When it was first released in 2000, it turned Scott - previously best known for her work with The Roots - into a soul superstar, thanks in part to a string of radio and club hits (think "Gettin' In The Way", "The Long Walk", "The Way" and Mos Def hook-up "Love Rain (Remix)", but also the undoubted quality of the production and the strength of the now long established vocalist's conscious, heartfelt and empowering lyrics. It's the kind of set that should be in everyone's collection, so if you don't already own a copy, don't sleep on this remastered reissue.
Review: While Canadian composer/producer Galt MacDermot will always be most famous for composing the score to legendary musical "Hair", he was also responsible for some killer jazz, soul and funk records in his time, too. Take "Coffee Cold", for example. Originally tucked away on his obscure 1966 jazz-funk LP, Shapes of Rhythm, the track sees him adding fluid jazz-piano solos to a chunky breakbeat-driven instrumental workout. On the flip you'll find "Space", a jaunty - if strangely mixed - fusion of lolloping but crispy drum breaks and jousting Harpsichord and piano solos. The track is arguably best known for being sampled on Busta Rhymes's "Woo-Hah", though before that it featured on MacDermot's 1969 soundtrack album, Woman is Sweeter.
Takeo Yamashita - "A Touch Of Japanese Tone" (4:21)
Tadaaki Misago & Tokyo Cuban Boys - "Jongara Reggae" (3:38)
Chikara Ueda & The Power Station - "Cloudy" (6:08)
Chumei Watanabe - "Downtown Blues" (3:38)
Kifu Mitsuhashi - "Hanagasa Ondo" (2:51)
Monica Lassen & The Sounds - "Incitation" (5:29)
Norio Maeda, Jiro Inagaki & The All-Stars - "Go Go A Go Go" (3:19)
Akira Ishikawa & Count Buffalo & The Jazz Rock Band - "The Sidewinder" (2:41)
Masahiko Sato, Jiro Inagaki & Big Soul Media - "Sniper's Snooze" (6:42)
Review: Some compilations manage to both educate, inform and educate in equal measure; this fine collection from Japanese crate diggers DJ Yoshizawa Dynamite and Chintam is one such set. Comprising mostly little-known tracks recorded by Japanese artists between 1968 and '70, it offers up a wealth of cuts inspired by American jazz-funk "rare groove". There's much to admire across the ten tracks, from the mazy Rhodes solos, fizzing big band jazz grooves and traditional Eastern instrumentation of Toshiko Yonekawa's "Soran Bushi", and the languidly-slung brilliance of Tadaki Misago and Tokyo Cuban Boys' multi-faceted musical fusion "Jongara Reggae", to the Jimi Hendrix-goes-funk heaviness of "Incitation" by Monica Lassen & The Sounds, and the drums-driven dancefloor madness of Masahiko Sato Jiro Inagaki & Big Soul Media's "Sniper's Snooze". Recommended.
Review: For their latest release, Matasuna Records has put away their re-editing scalpel and instead decided to serve up two obscure old gems by Peru-based Argentine artist Enrique Lynch. Both tracks were recorded in the early 1970s and have become sought-after items amongst the Afro-Tropical collecting community. Having been re-mastered from the original master tapes, A-side "African Bump" - a jazzy, sun-soaked affair notable for its fantastic use of wah-wah guitar, Blaxploitation grooves and high-register horn solos - sounds better than ever before. The same could be said for Lynch's brilliant cover of The Nite-Liters' funk classic "K-Jee", which adds a little South American sunshine to the familiar grooves and celebrated horn lines.
Review: Classic jazz funk album from the legendary Johnny 'Hammond' Smith with a special version with six previously unissued bonus out-takes. Released in 1975 and his 32nd long player, it heralded a fresh chapter in his career that saw him exploring more electronic instrumentation and deeper shades of funk in a similar way to Roy Ayers or Bob James. The result was a timeless document that carries motifs of many of today's artists; the harmonies of "Can't We Smile?", for instance, smack of Plantlife while the punctuated piano work and mirrored squiggling synths on "Song For The Family" echoes with Flying Lotus-style whim. Also a key source of breaks for many junglists, Gears is a historic document that's not only played a strong role in electronic music but still sounds incredible today.