Review: Dedicated to the Hammond-heavy 1960s soul-jazz sounds of Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Grant Green and Reuben Wilson, the Beat Bronco Organ Trio are a fresh outfit with classic inspirations. The Madrid threesome's debut single is something of a retro-futurist treat. We're really enjoying A-side "Easy Baby", a loose and languid fusion of ear-pleasing Hammond licks, laidback, breakbeat-driven drums and flanged jazz guitars that impressively increases in intensity throughout, culminating in a frenzy of sweaty drums and eyes-closed guitar solos. "Geriatric Dance", meanwhile, is even more up-tempo, with high octane Hammond and jazz guitar solos stretching out over a feverish funk drumbeat.
Review: Lonnie Liston Smith made a lot of rather good records in the 1970s and '80s, though few are quite as heavy, intergalactic and intoxicating as "Space Princess". Initially recorded and released in 1978 as the opening track of his jazz-funk focused "Exotic Mysteries" album, the track - a suitably cosmic workout of epic proportions - quickly became a firm dancefloor favourite at both the Loft and Paradise Garage in New York thanks to its extended, Latin-tinged percussion breaks. Here the original DJ promo 12" gets the reissue treatment, with the peerless classic being accompanied by fellow "Exotic Mysteries" cut "Quiet Moments" - a gentle, samba-soaked shuffle through sunrise-ready jazz-funk bliss.
Review: If you're a DJ who digs funk, soul and disco, there's a fair chance that you are familiar with Average White Band classic "Pick Up The Pieces", a staple of those kinds of sets - and, of course, hip-hop, where its killer break has been looped countless times over the years - since its initial release in 1974. Should you not own a copy of the distinctive, horn-heavy classic, we'd suggest picking up this reissue, not least because it also boasts the band's lesser-known cover of Ned Doheny classic "Get It Up For Love", featuring vocals from no less than Ben E King, on the flip. Their version of the hazy blue-eyed soul gem sits somewhere between Doheny's original version and the arguably better known Tata Vega disco cover.
Review: It would be fair to say that Paris Holley is not one of the best-known purveyors of 1980s funk and soul, though the handful of releases he put out in the decade tend to be cherished by serious diggers and DJs. 1984 jam "I Choose You", which is here reissued for the first time since the '80s, is undoubtedly one of his standout moments. Hazy, super-sweet and laidback, the cut sees Holley adding his soulful, high octave tones to a blissful backing track rich in fluid piano lines, sun-kissed guitars and mazy synth lines. Arguably even better is synth-funk B-side "Punkin' Funkin", a fizzing workout that sounds like a more soulful, talkbox-free take on Zapp man Roger Troutman's trademark sound.
Review: In 1974, trained jazz pianist Edson Frederico quit his job as an arranger and musician on a Brazilian TV channel. Less than a year later he released his first and only solo album, the now sought-after "Edson Frederico E A Transa". As the sleeve credits for this limited Record Store Day reissue prove, it was never really a solo affair; in fact, the multi-talented pianist and organist was joined in the studio by a multitude of vocalists and musicians. The result is a warm and breezy set of songs that perfectly encapsulate the musical melting pot that was Brazilian popular music at the time (think samba, MPB, jazz-funk, fusion, soul, funk and '60s beat music). Frederico's impeccable electric piano and organ playing feature heavily throughout, though they never dominate. Superb stuff all told.
Review: Having spent much of the recent portion of his career crafting high quality mash-ups and sneaky Jackson family re-edits, former hip-hop beat-maker Jorun Bombay has flipped the script a little of late. Like his previous release, "The Space Jazz-Funk Experience", "The Planets Edit" sees the Canadian producer getting busy with an intergalactic jazz-funk cut of unknown origin. A-side "Planet Edit 1" sets the tone, rearranging a space funk workout that's light on drums but heavy on Moog solos, drowsy electric piano chords, warm bass and hazy guitar riffs. You'll find a more floor-friendly outing on the flip, where "Planet Edit 2" underpins deep space synth solos with crunchy, head-nodding hip-hop style funk beats.
Review: Best known amongst house heads for being the source of the lilting orchestral sample in Pepe Bradock's "Deep Burnt", Freddie Hubbard's 1979 version of "Little Sunflower" is a soul-jazz classic and a half. Since the full version of Hubbard's vocal re-make (the trumpeter first recorded an instrumental take in 1968) only ever appeared on a hard-to-find promo 12", this Record Store Day reissue should be an essential purchase. It remains a gentle, breezy and sunset-ready jazz-dance gem, with Hubbard's emotion-rich vocals and mazy trumpet solos riding Latin-tinged percussion, elastic double bass and some suitably jammed-out jazz pianos. In other words, it's the kind of life-affirming treat that's capable of spreading sunshine on even the cloudiest day.