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".
Theme For Us (feat Joshua Idehen & Chip Wickham) (7:28)
The Socials (feat Soothsayers) (5:23)
Life Is Valuable (feat James Alexander Bright) (3:13)
After (feat And Is Phi) (6:03)
I Never (feat Madison McFerrin) (8:29)
Won't Get Better (feat Emma-Jean Thackray) (6:55)
Don't Stop Here (feat Ego Ella May) (4:47)
Thru You (feat Georgia Anne Muldrow) (5:44)
Review: Although he never stopped delivering breezy and evocative blends of hip-hop, soul and jazz, Adam Scrimshire hasn't offered up an album in almost six years. That's one of the reasons that we were so excited about "Listeners", his new full-length excursion. Happily, we can confirm that the Wah Wah 45s affiliate has hit the spot with his more jazz-focused set yet. While it's not "pure" jazz in the traditional sense - there are odd electronic noises, differing rhythms, soulful vocals and trips into ambient, broken beat and hip-hop soul territory - it features a wealth of talented jazz players, some inspired vocalists and the kind of soft-touch production that rewards repeat listens. In other words, it's his musically intricate set to date.
Review: Headed up by jazz-man and broken beat hero Mark de Clive-Lowe, Tokyo's Ronin Arkestra is an all-star collective that includes members of some of Japan's leading jazz and electronic music outfits. We shouldn't really be surprised, then, that debut album "Sonkei" is rather special. It features some suitably grandiose and epic contemporary jazz workouts - see "Onkochishin", the wonderfully spiritual and dancefloor-friendly "The Art of Altercation" and loose-limbed closing cut "Tempestuous Temperaments" - but the influence of other forms of music (most notably dub, ambient and electronica) is evident throughout, often in subtle and surprising ways. In other words, it sounds like a future jazz classic in the making.