Review: Unlike much of Ennio Morricone collaborator Alessandro Alessandroni's work, 1974 set "Prisma Sonoro" was not the soundtrack to a well-known film or TV show, but rather a collection of instrumental pieces composed for a music library. It's long been regarded as one of the finest examples of Italian library music around, so it's great seeing it get the reissue treatment. Much of it is pleasingly cheery, sunny and laidback, with Alessandroni doffing a cap to folk, samba and MPB as much as easy listening, classical and soundtrack style jazz. It's typical of his versatility, of course, with the intricacy of the arrangements and subtle musical details making it a set that you can return to time and time again.
Review: Dedicated to the Hammond-heavy 1960s soul-jazz sounds of Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Grant Green and Reuben Wilson, the Beat Bronco Organ Trio are a fresh outfit with classic inspirations. The Madrid threesome's debut single is something of a retro-futurist treat. We're really enjoying A-side "Easy Baby", a loose and languid fusion of ear-pleasing Hammond licks, laidback, breakbeat-driven drums and flanged jazz guitars that impressively increases in intensity throughout, culminating in a frenzy of sweaty drums and eyes-closed guitar solos. "Geriatric Dance", meanwhile, is even more up-tempo, with high octane Hammond and jazz guitar solos stretching out over a feverish funk drumbeat.
Alkebulan (feat Eric Harland & Kassa Overall) (2:50)
Understand Yourself (feat Chronixx) (5:05)
Review: The genius of trumpeter, composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Theo Croker's work has always been his ability to meld more traditional spiritual jazz sounds - not to mention modal and post-bop - with elements of contemporary soul, R&B and hip-hop. "Star People Nation", Croker's first album for three years, continues this approach, flitting between starry, decidedly intergalactic workouts ("Have You Come To Stay", "Subconscious Flirtations & Titillations"), seductive vocal numbers (the twinkling jazz-soul of the Rose Gold voiced "Getaway Gold"), deep, head-nodding jams ("Wide Open", "Portrait Of William") and fizzing dancefloor escapades (the brilliant "Just Let It Ride" and off-kilter Afro-jazz epic "Alkebulan").
Review: In 1974, trained jazz pianist Edson Frederico quit his job as an arranger and musician on a Brazilian TV channel. Less than a year later he released his first and only solo album, the now sought-after "Edson Frederico E A Transa". As the sleeve credits for this limited Record Store Day reissue prove, it was never really a solo affair; in fact, the multi-talented pianist and organist was joined in the studio by a multitude of vocalists and musicians. The result is a warm and breezy set of songs that perfectly encapsulate the musical melting pot that was Brazilian popular music at the time (think samba, MPB, jazz-funk, fusion, soul, funk and '60s beat music). Frederico's impeccable electric piano and organ playing feature heavily throughout, though they never dominate. Superb stuff all told.
Review: These are heady times for fans of rare and obscure jazz albums, with essential new reissues dropping every week. Here's another, from lesser-known quintet Griot Galaxy. "Kins", their debut, was recorded over two days in September 1981 and originally appeared in stores early the following year on tiny imprint Black & White Records. This reissue replicates the original artwork and tracklist, with the cuts now sounding better than ever thanks to a tidy re-mastering job and extra-deep grooves. Musically, the six cuts on offer are wild and intergalactic in tone, with Griot Galaxy expertly combining elements of modal, spiritual jazz, free jazz, jazz-fusion and, on dancefloor-ready standout "Zenolog Aintro", bustling jazz-funk.
Review: For the latest missive on their excellent Jazz45 sub-label, Jazzman has decided to offer up two sought-after catalogue cuts from contemporary spiritual jazz maestro Muriel Grossmann, a sax player, singer and composer who already has a swathe of quality albums to her name. First up is an edited version of 2018 cut "Golden Rule", a wonderfully breezy and out-there affair that sees Grossmann add mind-altering sax solos to a heavily percussive, off-kilter backing track rich in jaunty pianos and slick double bass. On flipside "Okan Ti Aye" she layers up the drums and cymbals further while offering bolder, heavier sax motifs. The result is a track of rare drive and intensity.