Review: In 1970, 23 year-old Brazilian vocalist Celia Cruz headed into the studio with legendary producer and arranger Arthur Verocai to record the first of four eponymous albums that would go on to become "MPB" classics. Here, Mr Bongo offers up a timely reissue of that highly regarded debut, a set that giddily flits between soaring, orchestrated samba-pop ("Cheia Durango Kid", "David"), sun-kissed ballads ("To Be"), tributes to the songwriting prowess of the Beatles (see "Abrace Paul McCartney", whose strings tip a wink to "Eleanor Rigby", and the brassy, up-tempo beat pop of "Lennon - McCartney") and carnival-ready workouts ("Fotograma").
A Thousand Skies Under Cepheus' Erudite Eyes (feat John Wizards) (2:47)
Ode To The Pleiades (5:58)
Betelgeuse's Endless Bamboo Oceans (2:29)
Witch (Interlude) (1:45)
Rainy Souls, Gloomy Futures (2:33)
Flowing Like A Snake In Ophiuchus' Arms (2:12)
Rainbow Coast (2:40)
Elephant Serenade (2:26)
Lunar Ensemble (4:52)
Ascension Psalm (feat HDADD) (2:49)
Review: Taking off where Tayi Bebba left us, Cristiano Crisci continues his unique creative African fusion adventures on Black Acre. Once again it's an epic melting pot that constantly twists, turns and teases us with mutations and majesty - the heaven sent harmony, timpani and 808s of "Hope", the fuzzy 8-bit zips and zaps of "Nguwe", the cosmic jukeisms and almost Underground Resistance style aesthetics of "A Thousand Skies Under Cepheus", the hard-hitting drum hits but soothing tribal chants of "Betelgeuse's Endless Bamboo Oceans" and the pipe-wielding oriental drama of the rolling "Rainy Souls, Gloomy Futures" are just a small selection of soul-arresting highlights. The whole album truly requires your attention right here.
Review: She may be best known as a TV and radio presenter, but Nigerian star Julie Coker also enjoyed a short but successful music career. She released two albums of note - highlife-focused 1976 debut "Ere Yon (Sweet Songs)" and 1981's more disco-centric "Tomorrow" - both of which now fetch eye-watering sums online. This fine retrospective showcases cuts from both of those sets, with the many highlights including the spacey, delay-laden highlife cheeriness of "Re Hese", the Clavinet-sporting disco-funk-goes-pop bounce of "It's All For You", the low-slung but rising, gospel influenced brilliance of "Gossiper Scandal Monger" and the heavily percussive, off-kilter goodness of album closer "Iyo-Re". You might also notice the intro of 'Ere Yon', which was recently sampled to great effect in Anderson .Paak's "Saviers Road"!
Review: Having impressed on its' CD release earlier in the year, Nicola Conte's collaboration with Italian singer Stefania Dipierro finally comes to vinyl. We're used to the veteran bossa-nova and jazz composer seemingly dropping albums at will, but Natural is undoubtedly a cut above some of his recent sets, thanks largely to the focus provided by Dipierro's breathy, sweet and atmospheric vocals. Delivered in a trio of languages (English, Italian and Portuguese), the singer's delivery sits somewhere between classic jazz and Astrud Gilberto, making it a perfect foil for Conte's jaunty, life-affirming instrumentation. As a result, Natural feels like a contemporary Brazilian classic - even if it was forged in Italy - and boasts all manner of bossa, samba and soul-jazz treats.