Review: Earlier in the year, we were full of praise for "Murmuration", the long-awaited debut album from James O'Keefe and Dave Koor's Expansions project. Famously, that album was recorded in just three days, with the duo and their musical collaborators managing to deliver a polished set despite its spontaneous, freeform roots. We're not sure if the three cuts on this follow-up EP were recorded in a similar manner, but they're certainly pleasingly loose, languid and live sounding. Check the title track "Mosaic", where impeccable jazz-funk electric piano solos ride jaunty bass and swinging live drum breaks, before tucking into the cascading jazz guitar solos, hushed drums and spacey chords of "Transcoso". Over on side B, "Mariposa" sits somewhere between the two A-side cuts, with spacey, stretched-out synth solos catching the ear.
Review: Having previously impressed with a trio of singles - particularly 2013 debut "Lavender" - hopes are naturally high for this first full-length from the James O'Keefe and Dave Koor-helmed Expansions project. Predictably, they deliver in spades, serving up a set whose fluid spontaneity and meandering solos owe much to the fact that the album was recorded in just three days. There's plenty of spacey jazz-funk and fusion fun to be found throughout, from the intergalactic synth solos of "Pocket 5" and dancefloor-burning heat of "Ivory Mountain", to the daydreaming Fender Rhodes motifs and fizzing drums of killer closer "Miles Away". Happily, fine recent single "Breakthrough" also makes an appearance.
Review: Founded in 2017, Ronin Arkestra is a fusionist jazz/electronica collective from Tokyo founded by broken beat keys-man Mark de Clive-Lowe. Given that the band includes some of the finest players in Japan's contemporary jazz scene - most notably members of Kyoto Jazz Massive, WONK and Sleepwalker - you'd expect this first outing on Albert's Favourites to be rather good. It is, of course, with the band sashaying between dubbed-out soundscape jazz ("Stranger Searching"), sun-bright jazz-funk influenced positivity ("Redeye Reprisal"), loose-limbed, semi-improvised intensity ("The Silk Road Prelude") and, most notably, an awe-inspiring 21st century re-imagining of John Coltrane classic "A Love Supreme".