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Bluey - Tinted Sky

A man who needs no introduction, Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick - founding member of Light of the World and Incognito, composer and record producer brings us his much anticipated 3rd solo album.

Since 1979, Bluey has been at the forefront of much of the most important Soul-related music movements, being the link between Brit-Funk and Acid Jazz. and since, much beyond. As important as ever in 2020, the new album features 11 killer cuts constructed with the musical genius of his co-writer Richard Bull.

The inspirations are best summed up by Bluey himself :

‘Writing this against the backdrop of the Global Pandemic which we all face, I find myself thinking about coping mechanisms-of which we all draw upon and hold on to. For me its music. Throughout my life , I have turned to music for comfort, to remember, for inspiration and to celebrate. It is the constant that has been there from my first memory on planet earth and will probably be my last'

The new long-player arrives on 12 June.

British Soul/Funk pioneer steps out on his own for a third collection...

GIGĒE - Lullaby (EP)

An exciting new face rising swiftly through the ranks, GIGĒE joins the mobilee roster with ‘Lullaby’. The fierce four-tracker, including remixes from AFFKT and Ivan Masa, drops Friday June 5th. 

With a fruitful career working behind the scenes in electronic music, Polish-born Paris-based GIGĒE finally steps into the spotlight herself. She wowed with her skill and production on debut EP ‘Reborn Pulse’ (Katermukke) in October 2019. Supported by the likes of Charlotte de Witte whilst still charting high on Beatport, the release achieved both tastemaker and mainstream success. 

Leading the live wire’s mobilee debut, the title track kicks off with unexpected neo-classical flavours; breathy elements merge together into a transportive soundscape as a true electronic journey unfolds. A fresh take on techno, make no mistake – GIGĒE is making her mark. AFFKT heads in a darker direction with his driving rework. The understated acid bassline takes the listener to the darkened dancefloors that we are currently missing.

‘Last Journey To Valhalla’ is a deep and dreamlike amble. Melodic, otherworldly, echoing the majestic mythological Valhalla itself. Ivan Masa makes the quest even more thrilling, bringing his own underground energy through warping synths and cinematic sounds. 

GIGĒE’s first foray with the esteemed Berlin label resonates with their genre-challenging ethos; forward thinking in their makeup - but pure mobilee in their far-reaching sound.

Miguel Campbell & Jimmy Switch - Be the Night/I'll Be You Again (EP)

Veteran British producer Miguel Campbell takes an excursion from his own Outcross label for a driving House twosome. The man behind many big records like 'Baby I Got It' and one part of the duo MAM (working with Matt Hughes) he has remixed Deadmau5 and Flight Facilities. The other half is fellow Outcross artist Jimmy Switch - he of much history, including residencies at Ministry of Sound and producing his own material on Idris Elba’s 7 Wallace, Origins and Freakin909.


'Be the Night' drives forward at classic House pace with a crisp kick-drum and hat that is so potent. Moody synths, guitar effects and a looped vocal make for peak-time resonance. 'I'll Be You' perhaps goes deeper, having an eye on the gap between Deep House and Nu-Disco in the way Annie's 'Greatest Hit' made its impact on Dance Music 20 years ago. One can see either (although 'I'll Be You' in particular) becoming staples in the summer season  - should it take place. In the gentlemen's own words:

“We have been excited about this release as it is our first extended play record together. We have been working hard in the studio over the last 12 months, producing music and having a great time. Although both of our unique production values are different, our sounds complement each other in many ways and it was fun to experiment, we think you can hear this in the way that the EP turned out.”

Released to the wider world on the rejuvenated Skint Records on 1st May.
 

 

Gary Bartz and Maisha - Leta's Dance

The propulsive debut single “Leta’s Dance” magically combines Gary Bartz’ soulful musical lyricism with Maisha’s African-jazz influences.  

Maisha, led by drummer Jake Long, have been central to the UK’s jazz explosion, releasing their critically acclaimed debut LP, “There Is A Place” on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings in 2018. Theirs is an organic & explosive sound that blends influences from Afrobeat and Broken Beat to Persian music, whilst giving a nod to the heritage of spiritual jazz’ titans Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane and of course, Gary Bartz.

Having cut his teeth playing with the likes of Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Art Blakey and finally in 1970, Miles Davis at the peak of his electric period, Gary Bartz became a leading figure of the early-to-mid 70s spiritual jazz movement, releasing a string of ground-breaking albums on legendary NYC jazz label Prestige Records with his NTU Troop, featuring classics such as “Celestial Blues”, “Uhuru Dance” and “I’ve Known Rivers”, before collaborating on Blue Note Records with the Mizell Brothers on the anthemic jazz funk of “Music Is My Sanctuary”. An oeuvre much loved by Soul-Jazzers and Hip-Hop fans alike.

This record really is an event, in and of itself, a meeting of talents, minds, generations and zeitgeist moments, captured in a unique and pure manner. The music does not disappoint, as Maisha have been inspired to reach new heights whilst we find Bartz truly reinvigorated, and both artists in tune to the spirit of the other. 

Like Night Dreamer's recent sublime album by Seu Jorge & Roge, Leta's Dance was recorded in Haarlem’s Artone Studio, Amsterdam, in just one-take, straight-to-disc, avoiding post-production embellishments and retaining the purity of the performance.
 

Malcolm Strachan - About Time

Scottish trumpeter Malcolm Strachan is a founder member of top UK funk/jazz-funk band The Haggis Horns as well as an in-demand session musician. ‘About Time’ is his debut solo set – a superbly accomplished collection of nine original compositions that are firmly rooted in the classic acoustic modern jazz style typified by the great 60’s and 70’s recordings of the legendary Blue Note Records imprint.

 

The breadth of style on show is impressive, from the Latin vibes of ‘Mitchell’s Landings’ and ‘Better Late Than Never’, the swirling, cinematic feel of ‘Take Me To The Clouds’ and the swagger of ‘Time For A Change’: the different viewpoints that he takes on jazz really gel and work as a whole. The soulful ‘I Know Where I’m Going’ has a Marvin Gaye feel, the punchy ‘Uncle Bobby’s Last Orders’ bring to mind late 60s UK jazz flavours while the ponderous ‘Where Did You Go’ is a tender ballad and a good way to end a brilliant album.

**Review from Soul Brother Records, Putney.

Hesychia369 - Neurogenesis (EP)

Kevin Wettstein is a young producer from Zurich, who is already well established in the world of post-Dilla hip hop and future soul under his moniker Melodiesinfonie. He has released various records and also performs live on drums with his band.
On this 12“ he speeds up the rhythms and proves that his command of beat science, focussed on twisted grooves aimed at the dancefloor. Kevin s also a resident DJ at Zurich's infamous club Zukunft. He is without  doubt a truly gifted musician and being only in his early 20’s, Mr Wettstein has a bright future in front of him, always influenced by soul, jazz, funk and afro as well as house, techno, breaks and beyond.

Aksak Maboul - Figures (Double LP)

Enjoying a resurgence at the moment is Crammed Discs owner Marc Hollander, back with his ground-breaking, ever-changing Aksak Maboul band. Originally landing in 1977 with the first incarnation of the band, Aksak were at the cutting-edge of one of the most pioneering periods in music history.

Embracing a Punk and Jazz-ethos, minimalism and the soon-to-come dominance of electronic music, the outfit produced two LPS: 'Onze Dances pour la Migraine' and 'Un Peu de l'âme des Bandits': bothe recently repressed to vinyl. Personnel changes followed and Aksak Maboul wrapped it up in 1985. 


Marc's energy was put into his Crammed label and 350 albums later, joining the worldwide dots from Beirut to Kinshasa and back to Brussels, he revived some unfinished 1980 -'83 recordings, completing them with Veronique Vincent in 2014.

Up-to-date, Vincent and Hollander sound so refreshing in 2020; as fascinating (and fertile) as ever. Two LPS of 22 tracks reflect on the new-wave era of synthesised sound alongside progressive music for these times. This listener loves the introspective yet elated sentiment throughout: from the nrevy moodiness of 'C'est Charles' to the wonderful changes sparse drum machine led 'Un Caid'. Intertwining between French and English languages, this is perhaps comparable to the work of Flying Lotus in recent years.

 

Look forward to this in isolation and in liberation. Out on Crammed Discs on 22 May 2020.

Roy Ayers - Reaching the Highest Pleaseure

Discovered among the storied Roy Ayers 'Virgin Ubiquity' studio session tapes, BBE Music presents 'Reaching The Highest Pleasure', a previously unreleased gem capturing Ayers and his band at their smooth and soulful best.


Lovingly remastered by Optimum mastering in Bristol, this lost masterpiece recorded in June 1977 features a sumptuous bass-line and ultra-tight groove, over which Roy's extended vibraphone solo simply soars.

For reasons lost to the mists of time, 'Reaching The Highest Pleasure' was never included on either volume of BBE's 'Virgin Ubiquity' albums, however eagle-eared music fans may remember a slightly different version being championed by Gilles Peterson around a decade ago.


As we all know, pleasure is most rewarding when it's shared, no matter how long it takes, so enjoy this previously unpublished page of musical history from the Godfather of neo soul himself, Mr Roy Ayers.

Spiritual Jazz Vo.11: Steeplechase Records (Denmark - Various Artists)

Among the most treasured of collections of any genre, Jazzman Records' Spiritual Jazz series reaches its 11th edition, this time, heading to Denmark.

 

Founded in 1972, SteepleChase Records is one of the most significant and prolific European jazz record labels. With a catalogue running to well over 200 titles, the Copenhagen-based imprint has recorded and released music from some of the greatest names in jazz, including Dexter Gordon, Andrew Hill, Jackie McLean, Horace Parlan, Chet Baker and Stan Getz.

Starting out by recording visiting Americans when they performed at the legendary Café Montmartre, founder Nils Winther was encouraged to start the label by none other than the great Jackie McLean, who was the first artist to release a record on the new imprint. From there, Steeplechase rapidly grew into one of the foremost labels to document European jazz with all its distinctive originality and style. With a particular emphasis on recording front rank American artists who had chosen the expatriate life in Europe, Steeplechase was first in line to document the sounds of the greats as they developed in exile.

As always, their double-gatefold LP features extensive liner notes - including a history of the label as well as notes on each of the individual tracks. Photos from the recording sessions and cover art from each of the LPs (from which the  selection has been taken) is also included. A free 320kbps MP3 download card is included as a bonus. With in-demand tracks from the likes of Billy Gault, Johnny Dyani and Khan Jamal, and the unearthing of deep cuts from greats like Jackie McLean and Mary Lou Williams, Spiritual Jazz 11: Steeplechase pays tribute to one of Europe's most important jazz labels and furthers our exploration into the infinite realms of spiritual jazz. Out now.

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