Review: The first release from the Axis Audiophile Series. Jeff Mills has formed an electronic jazz fusion band and this 12? is a recording of their recent performance in Kobe during the TodaysArt.JP Festival. Mills manages the decks, drums and percussion and is joined Detroit legend and Underground Resistance stalwart Gerald Mitchell (Los Hermanos/Galaxy 2 Galaxy), keyboardist Yumiko Ohno and bassist Kenji Jino. "Eventide" has the same kind of urban, uplifting soul as anything Kaidi Thatham or Mark de Clive-Lowe have made and isn't bad at all! On the flip "Happy Gamma Ray" features uplifting keys and emotive chords backed by funk bass and one of Mills' unmistakeable 909 drum machine workouts. It really seems that there's no limit to this Motor City legend's creativity which has spanned nearly 30 years and we're excited about this new chapter in the Wizard's sonic universe.
Review: Last year, Nunorthern Soul unveiled the first part of their Ryo Kawasaki retrospective. While that focused on selected works created by the Japanese jazz guitarist between 1979 and '83 - including a couple of strong nods towards disco - this follow-up looks at material recorded and released between '76 and '80. There's plenty to enjoy, from the Abbey Road-era Beatles-meets-Courtney Pine vibes of "Snowstorm" and George Benson-in-space trip of "Quasar Infection", to the freestyle, synth-laden jazz-funk madness that is "Nogie". Arguably best of all, though, is "Thunder & Sea Gypsies (Medley)", an impossible-to-pigeonhole journey that moves from krautrock style looseness to cosmic jazz via some thrillingly psychedelic wig-outs.
Review: Hot on the heels of "Mission" earlier this year, Shuya Okino's Kyoto Jazz Sextet troupe present another gem from last year's Unity album complete with a remix of the highest calibre. This time the cascading, Latin rhythm and frenetic horn leads of "Rising" are given the midas dancefloor touch by none other than Ron Trent. Maintaining the wily spirit of the original while coating in warm organ blasts and subtly bumping kicks, it's a precision translation that brings the original into a whole new context.
Review: Having been described as something of a short-lived (ethereal) stoner trio, Kanaan rise from the ashes with their first official release, Windborne, six tracks of pure, instrumental psychedelia. Made up of members from legendary French industrial metal band Treponem Pal and associated act Dirge, the freshly hailed Norwegian group Kanaan on this debut outing successfully fuse free-jazz with post-rock and touches of metal with a mass of '70s avant garde inspirations. The cruising (Eno & krautrock referencing) "Harmonia" a highlight amidst the Sabbath-like "Act Upon The Mundane World" and its radical title-track "Windborne".
Review: Those active on the London jazz scene may already be aware of Mark Kavuma. The trumpeter-composer has his own hard working quartet, but also heads up both the Burger Sextet and the hip-hop-infused Floor Rippers. Members of those combos provide able support on this eponymous debut album, which bristles with fine compositions from the man himself. Heavily influenced by vintage Blue Note and Prestige releases, the album boasts multiple highlights, from the glistening jazz guitar solos on "Carolina Moon" and Kavuma's own punchy trumpet work on frantic opener "Into The Darkness", to the extended percussion solos that rise above the stellar cover of "Abide With Me". In other words, it's not only a great debut, but also one that suggests Kavuma could be a name to watch in coming years.
Review: During its original lifespan in the early 1980s, Japanese imprint Johnny's Disk Record released some brilliantly weird and wonderful records, most of which now changed hands for eye-watering sums online. "Atsusa Mo Samusamo", the third album from obscure combo King Kong Paradise, is one such example. Here reissued for the first time since its original 1984 release, the set offers a surprisingly sun-kissed blend of Pat Metheny style jazz guitars, Wailers-style reggae riddims, wild electronics and lo-fi production that makes most of the tracks sound like they were recorded using microphones placed several hundred metres away from the band. It's an undeniably unique record and one that still sounds sublime 35 years after it was recorded.
Billy Bang's Survival Ensemble - "Illustration" (8:16)
Michel Sardaby - "Martinica" (5:47)
Kafe - "Fonetik A Velo" (10:04)
Le Steel-Band De La Trinidad - "Calypso Jazz Improvisation" (5:07)
The Theo Loevendie Consort - "Timbuktu" (4:46)
The Jazz Committee For Latin American Affairs - "Ismaaa" (8:13)
Armand Lemal - "Souffle" (part 2) (8:44)
Masabimi Kikuchi - "Pumu #1" (6:04)
Joe Malinga & Southern African Force - "ITwenty Five" (8:59)
Review: IF-Music record store chief Jean-Claude has quickly become one of BBE's go-to men when it comes to putting together compilations of obscure jazz gems. This nine-track selection of gems sourced from "the four corners of the globe" was curated in cahoots with fellow record dealer Victor Kiswell and follows hot on the heels of two volumes of the "A Journey Into Deep Jazz" series. There's much to admire, from the piano-powered springtime sweetness of Joe Malinga and Southern African Force's "ITwenty Five", the slowly building spiritual jazz-funk of Kafe's "Fonetik a Velo", to the bongo and organ-rich deepness of Armand Lemal's "Souffle" and the self-explanatory "Calypso Jazz Improvisation" by Le Steel-Band De La Trinidad.
Review: It would be fair to say that Dadisi Komolafe is not one of American jazz's better-known flautists, having appeared on just a handful of records in the early to mid 1980s. However, his sole album on Nimbus West Records, 1983's "Hassan's Walk", has long been a collector's item amongst serious jazz heads. Happily it has now been given the reissue treatment, with a re-mastering job that guarantees exquisite sound quality throughout. The album's standout moment is undoubtedly the 15-minute title track, where Komolafe's breezy, life-affirming and occasionally powerful flute solos rise above jaunty pianos, loose-limbed drums and memorable double bass. There's plenty to set the pulse racing elsewhere, though, with the vibraphone-sporting "Calvary" and Thelonious Monk cover "Round Midnight" standing out.