Review: They may not have released many records, but samba/soul/jazz fusionists the Han Litz group have been mainstays of the Dutch scene for a decade. Here they return with a wonderfully breezy, samba-soaked collection of cuts that's remarkably their first ever outing on wax. The A-side begins with two warm, afternoon fresh tracks that sound like authentic Brazilian samba jams from the 1970s, before Litz and company indulge in a little flute-heavy jazz ("Preludia") and Afro-tinged broken beat/jazz fusion ("Yemaya Olodo"). Also impressive is closing cut "Epiphany", which has been transformed by Yoruba Soul man Osunlade into a sumptuous shuffle through deep house/samba fusion complete with Flamenco style Spanish guitar solos.
Brazzos Et OK Jazz - "Cha Cha Cha Del Zombo" (3:08)
Brazzos Et OK Jazz - "Tcha Tcha Tcha Mi Amour" (3:12)
Essous Et Rock-A-Mambo - "Baila" (2:36)
Edo Et OK Jazz - "Kumavula Tubakueto" (3:12)
Edo Et OK Jazz - "Sois Sage Amour" (3:12)
Nino & Rock-a-Mambo - "Allegria" (2:49)
Ritmo Vedette Jazz - "Ritmo Vedette Jazz" (2:43)
Franco Et OK Jazz - "Tokeyi Kobina Calypso" (3:17)
Essous Et Orchestre Bantou - "Luiza" (2:45)
Beguen Band - "Yo Me Moero" (2:52)
African Jazz - "Vive Patrice Lumumba" (3:05)
Dewayon & Conga Jazz - "Na Lingi Na Ngai Kubala Te" (2:49)
Kongo Jazz - "La Belle Lucie Botayi" (2:44)
Grupo OK Jazz - "Grupo OK Jazz" (3:14)
Rock-A-Mambo - "Cherie Nini" (2:46)
African Jazz - "Flowers Of Luckness" (2:45)
African Jazz - "Merengue Nico" (2:42)
Rock-A-Mambo - "Les Voyours" (2:42)
Wendo Kolosoy With Beguen Band - "Marie Louise" (3:08)
African Jazz - "Ngonga Ebeti Independance" (2:30)
African Jazz - "MNC Uhuru" (3:02)
Review: Soul Jazz's impeccable curatorial team turn their focus to the Revolutionary and Evolutionary Sounds from the Two Congos 1955-62 on this comprehensive new collection. In these years leading up to independence, there was an explosion of musical styles that are charted here and include jazz and Latin influences, Cuban rhythms, Afro drums and Congolese rumba stylings that transport you away from this dreary autumn and to much warmer climes. This package also includes a 50-page booklet detailing extensive texts about the musical happenings of the period and stunning images by Congolese nightlife photographer Jean Depara.
Review: When it came to putting together their first compilation, German label Harmonie Exotic turned to Balearic scene mainstay Jose Manuel. His idea was simple: to gather together a range of mostly obscure experimental ambient tracks made between 1982 and '84, all of which possess equal amounts of "magic" and "mysterious character". The resultant set is, of course, a bit of an eye-opener - a genuine voyage of discovery that drifts between the low-slung, dub disco influenced headiness of D-Day's "Sweet Sultan", the drowsy new age purity of Vangelis Katsoulis, the glistening Balearic pop of Human Software's "Soft Sequence", the sludgy Arabic new wave oddness of International Noise Orchestra and the unique combination of Middle Eastern drums and next-level electronics that is Manuel Wandji's "Pourquoi Pas!".
Review: First released way back in 1992, Radio Tarifa's debut album "Rumba Argelina" has long been considered something of a global fusion classic. Reissued here on vinyl for the very first time - weirdly, it has only ever been available on CD in the past - the album has lost none of its charms. It's naturally rooted in various strains of traditional Spanish music - flamenco, Andalucian folk music and so on - but also incorporates musical elements from North African and Arabic music, with occasional nods towards tango and such obscure (but surprisingly enjoyable) styles as German medieval music.
Review: From 1986-1991, Uruguayan vocalist and musician Mariana Ingold was a pivotal figure in the evolution of the indigenous Candombe rhythms of her homeland. She took the sound in new directions with artists like Eduardo Mateo, Jaime Roos, and Hugo Fattoruso across a series of albums that made use of the newly emerging synth technologies of the time. The result is a folk-y album of found sounds, acoustic guitars and majestic harmonies that are all tied together with Ingold's own delicate, elegant vocals. This collection draws her best work into one beautiful anthology that has upbeat numbers like "Trasnoche" next to soothing lullabies such as the heavenly "Tiempo Leve".
Review: Recorded in 1983 and '84 respectively, "Feelings" and "Sidiku Buari & His Jam Busters" were the last albums recorded by Sidiku Buari, a New York based musician who turned to music after a promising career as an athlete in his native Ghana. He initially rose to prominence making highlife and afro-disco, but by the early '80s Sidiku was in full-on Afro-boogie and electrofunk mode, offering up tracks rich in colourful synthesizer lines, punchy electronic drums and righteous vocals in his native tongue. There's much to set the pulse racing across both slabs of wax, from the squelchy, club-ready brilliance of "Music" and "Anokwar (Truth)", to the slap bass propelled flex of "Minsumobo", dub disco grooves of "Karambani" and flute-laden breeziness of "Rhythm Of Africa".
Review: The second salvo from "forgotten music" specialists Dig This Way Records takes us back to 1988 and the synthesizer and drum machine-driven Highlife antics of obscure outfit Ode-Omore Osarenren & Ewaen Osetin Stars. Even by the standards of Nigerian music, it's an obscurity, but also pretty special. Check, for example, the clicking machine drums, group vocals and exotic synthesizer lines of opener "Ukhiokhio", the gorgeous guitars, whistling synth melodies and percussive breeziness of "Omoto" and the trumpet-laden tropical brilliance that is closing cut "Enothiomwani". The set's most endearing quality is undoubtedly its inherent positivity, something that's only enhanced by the band's use of sparkling synthesizer sounds.
Americo Brito & Djarama - "Rapaz Novo E Malandro" (7:32)
Cabo Verde Show - "Terra Longe" (3:30)
Elisio Vieira - "Tchon Di Somada" (4:20)
Vlu - "Rua D'Lisboa" (5:45)
Galaxia 2000 - "Coracao Dum Criola" (3:55)
Mendes & Mendes - "Mitamiyo" (5:24)
Danny Carvalho - "Roncanbai" (4:37)
Mendes & Mendes - "Walkman" (4:50)
Jose Casimiro - "La Mamai Ta Bem" (5:01)
Elisio Vieira - "Bem Di Fora" (5:35)
Zeca & Zeze Di Nha Reinalda - "Mocinhos" (4:24)
Review: Rotterdam is one of the many big port cities around the world that welcomed a high number of Cape Verdean immigrants. In the 1970s, Americo Brito was one of them and he soon got involved with the local music scene and found an ever larger community of likeminded talents. He took to the stage with his band and made for a buzzy little scene that found them tour with their own sound system. Here he works with Rotterdam local Arp Frique to serve up Cape Verdean music old and new with plenty of traditional Funana and Coladeira sounds next to jams influenced by wave, disco and funk, jazz, reggae and Latin pop.
Review: For Brazilian music collectors, the two 1970s albums by sadly departed vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Ana Mazzotti have long been must-have sets. Listening to Far Out's new reissue of the second of those, 1977's self-titled "Ana Mazzotti", it's easy to see why. The album is warm, woozy and groovy, joining the dots between slick and summery samba-jazz, synthesizer-laden bossa-nova, Azymuth style jazz-funk/fusion (see the delicious and laidback "Sou") and the kind of atmospheric, otherworldly deepness rarely heard in Brazilian popular music during that period. Highlights are plentiful throughout, with "Cordao", the spacey and up-tempo "Eta Samba Bom" and languid "Bairro Negro" among the many standout tracks.
Review: Far Out has decided to pay tribute to one of Brazilian music's most overlooked - and, let's face it, obscure - talents, Ana Mazzotti. She recorded just two albums in the 1970s before passing away from cancer in her early 30s a few years later. Both of those album have become sought-after, particularly 1974 debut "Ninguem Vai Me Segurar". This first ever reissue proves why. Warm, breezy and effortlessly soulful, it sees Mazzotti and her backing band sashay between languid samba-jazz, intergalactic bossa, soft-focus Brazilian soul and the kind of attractive jazz-funk/fusion that would later become the hallmark of Azymuth (not much of a surprise since two of that band's founder members were part of Mazzotti's backing band).
Review: "Der Say Ah" has long been a banger on dance floors tuned into international sounds. It's the sort of bouncy afrobeat and sax-laced classic that has been fetching huge amounts online. DJs like Gilles Peterson and Nightmare on Wax have been playing it for yonks and now, after many years of it being out of print, it is back courtesy of Push The Fader. The Akoya Re-Rub mix here was mixed by Ben Kane who worked on D'Angelo's Black Messiah, so this sounds beyond good. The 7" version comes from DJ Spinna with extra keys from Ticklah, psyched out bass and extra dub feelings.
Review: Hozan Yamamoto is a widely revered figure in Japan, and a true icon of the seventies jazz scene. This album from 1971 is one of this best and a seminal work that effortlessly floats through fusion, soul and big band styles and has been basically impossible to buy in original format. Trust Mr Bongo to come correct with this fully licensed version which features his trademark flute playing and finds the maestro in a soaring, uplifting mood here. Big brass adds weight to his leads while well formed grooves drive the album along. Add in subtle Japanese stylings and it all adds up to a J jazz classic.