Review: Over the years, Cesar Mariano and Cia's 1977 set "Sao Paolo Brasil" has achieved cult status, with dusty-fingered diggers regularly proclaiming it one of the finest jazz-funk/fusion albums of the period (a fact confirmed by the high prices that original vinyl copies often change hands for online). Remarkably, this timely Mr Bongo reissue marks the first time the set has been released outside of its native South America. Rich in glistening jazz guitars, fizzing, Azymuth-style organ riffs, spacey synths, warm bass and skittish drums, the album's eight tracks bristle with breeziness, subtle samba motifs, sumptuous dancefloor grooves, sunny downtempo workouts and effervescent arrangements. In a word: essential.
Review: Soul Jazz has previously dug deep into the back catalogue of American flautist Lloyd McNeill, reissuing a number of albums including two made with his acclaimed jazz quintet. Their latest rummage through the vaults has resulted in the reissue of one of his most sought-after sets - 1976 private press LP "Treasures", original copies of which now change hands for significant sums online. It remains a fine album, all told, with McNeill's breezy, ear-catching flute solos rising over backing tracks that are variously sublimely sun-kissed (the bright pianos and cheery madrigal mood of "Salvation Army"), suave and swinging ("As A Matter Of Fact") and effortlessly soft and seductive (the unfurling beauty of "You Don't Know What Love Is").
Elegiac Suite For Elizabeth: Time/The Mighty River/The Wind
Striped Pants (with Cadenza)
Review: Soul Jazz have carefully and considerably been focusing on resizing some of Lloyd McNeil's most majestic work and now they turn to Elegia. It was originally released in 1980, but was a private dress that has been out of print for 40 years. It is a gorgeous record of elegant flute, that takes in a tropical mix of Brazilian and Latin influences, humid and jungle-like percussive sounds and plenty of jazz spiritualism. Elements of Claude Debussy, John Coltrane and Nina Simone all feature and make this a vital addition to anyone's collection.
Review: The work of Northern Brazilian musician-turned-bandleader Mestre Cupijo has long fascinated record collectors. Much of the allure can be attributed to Cupijo's trademark sound, which fused African-influenced Brazilian dance music and traditional Amazonian rhythms with sounds from Colombia (notably cumbia), Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The results, as showcased on six albums during the 1970s, were exciting and enthralling; a cross-pollination of sounds heavy on jaunty horns, shuffling rhythms and celebratory vocals. Here, Analog Africa presents the first in-depth retrospective of Mestre's work, hand-picking the finest tracks from his six obscure 1970s albums and offering them up in remastered form. For anyone interested in either African or Brazilian music, it should be an essential purchase.
Review: Having previously reissued Mkwaju Ensemble's inspired 1981 debut "Ki-Motion", WRWTFWW now turns its attention to their equally impressive follow-up from the same year, "Mkwaju". Beginning with a breezy chunk of Marimba-driven four-to-the-floor bliss, the album sees the Japanese trio - whose members included legendary percussionist and ambient artist Midori Takada - shuffle between hypnotic, Steve Reich-influenced minimalism ("Shak Shak"), melodious fusions of new age electronica and modern American classical ("Tira-Rin"), and glacial ambient soundscapes ("Pulse In The Mind"). Best of all, though, is "Flash-Back", a dense and intoxicating percussion workout that stretches out over 13 mind-bending minutes.
Review: When it came to recording his sixth full-length excursion, Mocky had a simple plan. The Toronto-raised musician decided to book out legendary Los Angeles recording studio United for a day, invite along a swathe of talented musician friends - Lucky Paul, Mark De Clive-Lowe, Nia Andrews and Joey Dosik included - and record the improvised results straight to tape. Staggeringly, those results are superb, with the assembled cast serving up musically rich and complex soundscapes that variously doff a cap to classic jazz, boogie, swing, neo-classical, Reich and Riley style minimalism, pastoral folk, broken beat, Jon Hassell style "Fourth World" music, and much more besides.
I'm Getting Sentimental Over You (with George Bassman)
Body & Soul (with Johnny Green)
Review: It's exceedingly rare to stumble across any unreleased recordings by jazz greats such as Thelonious Monk, let alone find them in the trash. Yet, somewhat remarkably, that's the story behind "Monk", a 1963 recording of the pianist in full flow - accompanied by his "all-star" line-up of Charlie Rouse (saxophone), John Ore (double bass) and Frankie Dunlop (drums) - that mysteriously resurfaced in a Scandinavian skip last year. This CD edition presents a fully remastered version of that rare recording - captured on tape at a live show in Copenhagen - for the very first time. It's a wonderful listen, with Monk and company darting between original compositions and altered jazz standards in typical be-bop style.
Review: When popular 1950s singer Jaye P Morgan first released this eponymous album in 1976, she would undoubtedly have hoped it would reignite her career. Sadly it didn't, but the album - a curious but hugely enjoyable mix of saccharine, synth-laden slow jams, disco-fired dancefloor workouts, Broadway style torch songs and fuzzy funk - went on to become a cult classic amongst Balearic-minded diggers. As this essential reissue proves, much of the material has aged rather well. Check, for example, the laidback AOR disco chug of "Can't Hide Love", the Barry White style seductiveness of "Here Is Where Your Love Belong" and the spine-tingling rush of Morgan's killer disco cover of Detroit soul staple "You're All I Need To Get By". Don't sleep!