Review: Despite not releasing all that much in 2018, Canadian nu-jazz combo BADBADNOTGOOD's reputation continued to rise. That was in no small part due to their eye-catching collaboration with Little Dragon, which resulted in the digital release of "Tried" back in September. Now the track has been given a deserved seven-inch single release by Ninja Tune. With LD lead vocalist Yukimi Nagano doing her best to channel the spirit of Minnie Riperton, "Tried" has a similarly languid, jazz/folk/soul fusion feel as some of the best works by Rotary Connection. BADBADNOTGOOD's admiration of the Charles Stepney-produced band comes through loud and clear through the choice of instruments and arrangements. For further proof, check the accompanying flipside instrumental mix.
Review: Kalita Records are proud and honoured to announce the first ever official reissue of the four choice tracks from Randolph Baker's privately pressed sought-after 1982 disco album 'Reaching For The Stars', plus an unreleased instrumental take of 'Party Life' sourced from the original 24-track analogue master tapes.
Originally recorded at Jim Morris and Rick Miller's Tampa-based Morrisound Studios, 'Getting Next To You' features both a mixture of both local Florida talent plus jazz superstar Nat Adderley and bassist John Lamb at their finest. Originally pressed in a limited run of just one-thousand copies, with no distribution and most copies being sold in the local city and on Randolph's own merchandise table at the back of live gigs, original copies have long been sought-after by both collectors and DJs alike, acknowledged as a true grail and masterpiece in the disco scene and deservedly demanding extortionate figures to those lucky enough to find their own.
Here, in collaboration with Randolph, Kalita Records have chosen to re-release the four choice tracks from the album: 'Getting Next To You', 'Jazzman', 'Callin' Me' and 'Party Life'. The former is an in-demand horn and chant-filled disco masterpiece, which, as Randolph explains, concerns unity and "everyone on the same level in other words, everyone just loving life". It is arguably the song that Randolph is most well-known for in the disco and funk scene and perfect for the modern discerning dance floor. 'Jazzman' is an instrumental track with prominent trumpet and saxophone solos working with funky basslines to produce a truly great jazz-funk groove. It was "a tribute to Nat Adderley and Duke Ellington's bass player, John Lamb, for being so generous and saying yes to the project". 'Callin' Me' is a soulful disco number featuring the lead vocals of Laurie Erickson and is "about being on the road and ensuring loved ones that you will always come back home no matter what. It was like a promise to ensure loved ones they didn't have to worry". Lastly, 'Party Life' is a joyous disco track with a strong funk bassline and horns. As Randolph recalls, it "was the joy like after an actor finishes a movie. There was nothing but joy. It's finished; let's celebrate big time. Where everyone in the studio yelled at the top of their lungs - The End!" Here, with access to the 24-track master tapes we have been able to include the original version plus an unreleased instrumental take, allowing us to focus on the infectious bassline and make it even more ready for the modern dance floor.
Accompanied by extensive interview-based liner notes and never-before-seen photos.
Review: "The dampness of the rainforest, the hostility of the mangrove ultimately did not suit him. So he left his natural environment for the tranquillity of a freshwater body". So goes the (translated) back story of this new EP from Laurent Bardainne. The 'he' in question is a Tiger who ventured across Europe, Asia and America and apparently picked up various musical styles along the way. Whatever you make of that, the tracks here are gold: "Marvin" is smooth jazz fusion with percolating drums, "Porsche 944" has a joyous lead sax and more crisp boom bap drums, while "Aout" is a soaring bit of heartfelt soul Daptone might put out. The Drop Vibes rework of "Porsche 944" features a vocal roller and closes things in fine fashion.
This Is What You Are (feat The High Five Quintet - radio edit) (4:21)
This Is What You Are (The Brazilian Rime) (4:53)
Review: "This Is What You Are" is undoubtedly Mario Biondi's most celebrated work. He first sung it for original composers Was A Bee in 2004, before re-recording it for his debut album (alongside the High Five Quintet) in 2006. Since then it has been reissued or remixed on numerous occasions. Here it gets reissued on a tidy 7" single, with a punchy radio edit - a swinging, Sunday afternoon style chunk of Latin soul-jazz rich in jaunty grooves, soaring orchestration and smooth vocals - being joined by the "Brazilian Rime" rework. This tasty re-recording re-casts the song as a breezy, samba-fired slab of early 1970s style Brazilian MPB. It's an inspired interpretation and could well become the definitive version of the track.
Review: With no less than nine releases on the label to their name already, Black Cash & Theo AKA Thelonious Beats are Galaxy Sound Co's most experienced editors. Here they deliver another fantastic "45" packed with righteous grooves and life-affirming jazz moves. It's the latter that comes to the fore on side A's "Flute Thing", a sweet and seductive drift through picturesque jazz territory with some additional loose-limbed drum solos edited in halfway through. "Do What You Gotta Do" on the other hand is a simmering, string-laden soul treat rich in killer instrumentation, sumptuous orchestration, chunky grooves and hazy vocals. It's a fine edit of a superb cut and easily the record's standout cut.
Review: Hands up all of those who thought Basement Jaxx's Simon Ratcliffe would end up making slowly unfurling spiritual jazz with famed London improvisers Binker Golding (saxophone) and Moses Boyd (drums)? Us neither. To give Ratcliffe credit, this debut single from his new jazz-wise project is simply stunning. Golding's wild sax solos and Boyd's brilliant drumming catch the ear and provide an air of authenticity, but it's Ratcliffe's contributions - drowsy sunrise electronics and meditative synthesizer motifs on A-side "Village Of The Sun", sparkling piano motifs on "Ted" and warm bass on both - that tie everything together and ensure that both tracks are worth far more than the sum of their parts. A surprise, yes, but the results are both thrilling and spellbinding.
Review: 20 years in and The Bad Plus sound as vibrant as when they started out. This latest set comes on Edition Records, and marks the second release since pianist Orrin Evans joined the group last year. As accomplished players in their own right, this particular album finds the new line-up gelling more cohesive and exploring new territory, with scintillating results. Evans in particular shines on "Thrift Store Jewelry", nimbly darting up and down the scales while Dave King's playfully quivering rhythms respond in kind. That's but one small example of the thrills to be elicited from taking a trip with one of New York's most on point outfits.
Review: Following a series of self released albums over the past three years which saw them expand on hip hop classics with an auspicious level of jazz virtuosity, Canadian jazz trio Badbadnotgood grace the Innovative Leisure imprint with this enlightening collection III. Consisting of Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, and Alex Sowinski on drums, it's not hard to see why Badbadnotgood have been getting the usually hushed toned Gilles Peterson all exciting after a few listens of the nine tracks here. If you dug those cover versions you will love this album.
Review: Having teased the jazz fraternity with a cheeky 7" earlier on this year, Andrea assuages our ears with this super smooth full lengther. Pristinely polished and produced with a big band feeling, there's a distinct Rat Pack feeling as we stride confidently through big choruses and sassy sambas ("I Will Never Stop Loving You") before diving headfirst into mournful smoky saxophone and piano laments ("The Meaning Of Love"). A common face performing on the French Riviera, hopefully this should take Balducci to the broader audience he deserves...
Review: Last year, saxophonist Laurent Bardainneunveiled his first work with four-piece band Tigre D'Eau Douce, an EP of contemporary jazz and soul-jazz mutations on Heavenly Sweetness called "Marvin". This fine debut album builds on those rock-solid foundations, offering up a 12-track set in which Bardainne's headline-grabbing sax solos rise above bustling backing tracks that variously touch on jazz-funk, atmospheric 1960s film soundtracks, trad jazz, soul-jazz and wonderfully loose-limbed dancefloor jazz. It's a combination that consistently hits the spot, with evocative closing cut "Star Five", featuring a Gil-Scott Heron-esque spoken word vocal by Anthony Joseph, amongst the many highlights.