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Jyoti - Mama, You Can Bet!

The prolific Georgia Anne Muldrow releases a third collection under her Alive Coltrane-assigned Jyoti pseudonym. A series of captivating and melodically irresistible vignettes of Jazz and Funk, brimming over with melody, edge, relevance and balance, Georgia's pedigree is without question: Grammy-nominated and with a body of work demanding respect and attention from every release of her career.

Unlike the previous two records, 'Mama, You Can Bet' contains tracks with vocals from Georgia including the lead single ‘This Walk.’ The album’s only guest musician includes Georgia’s long-time friend and acclaimed saxophonist Lakeica Benjamin on the track ‘Ra’s Noise.’ It also features two Charlie Mingus compositions that Georgia remixed for the album ‘Bemoanable Lady Geemix’ and ‘Fabus Foo Geemix.’
Out now on her SomeOthaShipConnect label and available on Bandcamp. 

Las Vegas heroine takes another step towards greatness...

Keleketla! - Keleketla!

Keleketla! is an expansive collaborative project, reaching outward from Johannesburg to London, Lagos, L.A. and West Papua, “Keleketla!” started as a musical meeting ground between Ninja Tune cofounders Coldcut and a cadre of South African musicians (introduced by the charity In Place Of War).

The final product is a future-facing assemblage of influences, drawing connections between different points in a jazz-tipped, soulfully-minded spectrum; it builds outwards, from the solid musical foundations of those first sessions, featuring the likes of Thabang Tabane, esteemed percussionist and son of the legendary Phillip Tabane. On the one hand, there are gqom beats, interlaced with activist chants and and (the late, great) Tony Allen’s live Afrobeat drums; on the other, there are warm, lyrical meditations, aided by horns and keys. The name “Keleketla” means “response”, as in “call-and-response”, a title which speaks to the project’s aim: to build out a shared musical ground, traced across different recording sessions, continents apart.

The main sessions took place at Soweto’s Trackside Studios, where they started a set of songs and settled down to rehearse and record them. Upon returning to the UK, Black and More sought out extra collaborators, setting up sessions with musicians who could expand and re-imagine the album’s horizons. In many cases, this meant building on the sessions in Soweto, such as in ‘Crystallise’, where Tamar Osborn’s sax parts were added to the lyrics that Yugen Blakrok laid down in Trackside. In other cases, they led to new tracks altogether, such as ‘Freedom Groove’, which came out of an off-the-cuff jam between Tony Allen and Matt Black; Allen’s drum part was taken to build a new track, overlaid with fat, battle-cry brass from Antibalas, and a powerful call to freedom from The Watts Prophets in L.A.

Music and politics is a recurring theme on the record, most notably on ‘Future Toyi Toyi’, recorded in Khayelitsha, which features a recording Black and More made of hip-hop activists Soundz of the South, singing a revolutionary chant, referenced in the title, combined with – amongst other elements – a gqom track by Durban producer DJ Mabheko for the single version. Their creation was partly inspired by their experiences with the Keleketla! Library, who held a party during their stay. At the party, they saw the library’s co-founder Hlasane mix a recording of a student chant into a fiery, uptempo moment in his set, sending the crowd into a frenzy. It was a moment where they were reminded of how closely entwined politics and music can be. “It was almost a religious experience,” recalls Black, “to see the effect music could have in galvanising the audience like this.”

Likewise, ‘Papua Merdeka’ centres around a political invocation. Led by Benny Wenda, it’s a call for freedom for the nation of West Papua from Indonesia, which Wenda fled in 2004 after being persecuted by the Indonesian military. He now leads a campaign from his home in Oxford, where the vocals for the track were recorded. Tony Allen, the rhythm behind Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat revolution, recorded the drums, along with Miles James, a guitarist who’s played with Michael Kiwanuka and Yussef Dayes, and who – as the son of an old family friend – featured in a Coldcut video when he was just a year old.

“Keleketla!” is about finding musical connections. Starting with the tight community around the Keleketla! Library, this project has grown out of those closely forged bonds that can develop around music. Recalling the records he was introduced to and friends made while in South Africa, More says, “There’s music lovers everywhere and that’s what we thrive with.” “Keleketla!” is about embracing that call-and-response tradition, and seeing where it takes you. Out now.

Oneness of Juju - African Rhythms 1970-1982

Strut kick off a brand new deal with the seminal independent black jazz and soul label Black Fire in July with ‘African Rhythms 1970-1982’, a comprehensive 2CD / 3LP compilation of Oneness Of Juju, led by Plunky J. Branch. 

Tracing their career from the band’s earliest work in 1970 with South African exiled jazzman Ndikho Xaba in San Francisco, the compilation covers the band’s journey to New York’s loft jazz scene, forming Juju and releasing two landmark albums of hard-hitting percussive jazz on Strata-East. “I saw myself as a cultural warrior,” explains Plunky. “We studied about Africa and tried to infuse our music with an African spirit.”

Moving back to his hometown of Richmond, Virginia during the mid-‘70s, Plunky drew in a superb new group of musicians and vocalists and created the band’s new incarnation, Oneness Of Juju, retaining the African influence but fusing his sound with funk and R’n’B on the classic ‘African Rhythms’ album.

“We realised that, if we put a backbeat to the Afro-Cuban rhythms, people in Richmond and Washington D.C. could be drawn into it; it didn’t change anything about our message.” The change would lead to a series of enduring soul-jazz classics on Jimmy Gray’s Black Fire label, including ‘River Luv Rite’, ‘Plastic’ and ‘Don’t Give Up’ and their biggest crossover international hit, ‘Every Way But Loose’ in 1982, later famously remixed by Larry Levan.

The band received renewed interest in their music during the mid-‘80s as Washington D.C.’s go-go innovators cited the band as a major influence and rare groove DJs revived their albums for London dancefloors. 

‘African Rhythms 1970-1982’ reprises a compilation released on Strut in 2001 and is newly remastered by Frank Merritt at The Carvery. Both formats feature a 12” sized 4pp booklet featuring rare photos and a comprehensive interview with Plunky Branch within liner notes by Chris Menist. 

Instinct - Point of View

Spearheading the new Garage movement, prolific producer INSTINCT presents his second album within ten months, Point Of View. Set for release this September on his label of the same name, it features exciting new material as well as previously released certified anthems that join the dots between Garage, Dub, Minimal, Breakbeat and Tech.

The INSTINCT project was started by the young veteran James Burnham who wanted to take himself in a different direction in the studio. He is also known under the alias of Burnski, where his trademark house grooves have been found on his other esteemed label Constant Sound amongst many others. His inspired take on garage has given rise to a new scene, with productions selling out instantly and DJ sets capturing the attention of audiences across Europe. James describes how INSTINCT was formed “I love so many genres of music, and I’ve dabbled with everything from film music to drum and bass, but this just happened to start on a UKG tip. Using a new alias seemed to free the shackles and give me more freedom especially with BPM and genres”.

Highly respected by both fans and fellow artists, INSTINCT music can be found in the record bags and BBC Radio 1 Essential Mixes of names such as Caribou, Enzo Siragusa, Ben UFO, Moxie, Fourtet, Ricardo Villalobos and many more. The debut INSTINCT album Still Life released last year made its way into the Phonica list of best albums for 2019, whilst stand-alone singles including Someone and Pistolwhip reached the top of the Mixmag and Ministry of Sound charts. Point of View sees another collection of irresistible tracks land, cementing INSTINCT as a bastion of vital new school garage.

Ten years after being nominated as the Best Breakthrough DJ in DJ Mag, it feels like James Burnham is blowing up all over again, with even more energy and invention. His INSTINCT label has become a pillar of the new school garage sound, releasing his own tracks as well as killer productions from artists like Holloway, 0113, Pinder, Kelper and Jack Michael. Crossing over from the dance music scene INSTINCT music has also been picked up by the global fashion brand Diesel for an advertising campaign, propelling his compelling sound to new audiences. A DJ and producer who has an unquenchable thirst for exploration and innovation, expect the ripples of this next album to amplify the INSTINCT name even further into the musical landscape across the world.

Kenny Wellington - Lock It Down

The trumpet and songwriter behind so much that forms the foundation of British Soul, Funk and Jazz-Funk Music for over 40 years, Kenny Wellington returns for more straight-up, joyous, impactive sound for the summer of 2020.

The last eight years have been hugely productive for Mr Wellington - from his own solo work on 'In Retrospect' and stellar 'Free Spirit' LPs to the all-star Brit-Funk Association's debut in 2018 and now five songs of the same, inimitable standard.

'Lock it Down' showcases the man's lyricism to be as on-point as it was back in the day: expressive, soulful and in the Miles Davis ethos; every note counts. The title cut opens with the constant of Marcus-Miller like plucking bass and (what sounds like) rhythm-guitartist supreme, 'Breeze' McCreith scatting away. The Mid-Tempo 'Time Don't Wait (Let's Go Right Now)' and 'Where Do We Go from Here' offers an escape to better climes and times while 'The Thing About Your Love' allows Kenny to stretch out effortlessly, synchronising with his fellow players. More vocals play a part in 'Heading Home', remastered from a few years ago to book-end a very welcome return during these uncertain times, setting us up for further spoiling from the 'Association's imminent follow-up LP.

Out now and available to download from the usual sources.

MF Robots - Happy Song

Following up last year’s label debut, a fiery cover version of the Chairmen Of The Board classic ‘Finders Keepers’, ‘Happy Song’ offers up a scintillating first taste of album ‘Break The Wall, due for release in Spring 2021. And what an introduction it is: uplifting and timeless soul/funk, showcasing Dawn Joseph’s effortless yet powerful lead vocal and Jan Kincaid’s unmistakable, vibrant rhythm section to perfection. Jazz-tinged Rhodes chords, ultra-tight horns and a funky clavinet riff on the outro complete this highly polished arrangement, underpinning a melody that can only be described as an earworm.

Collaborating for the first time while recording and performing with one of the UK’s most commercially successful Acid Jazz bands The Brand New Heavies in 2013, founder / drummer Jan Kincaid and vocalist Dawn Joseph discovered immediate musical chemistry and began writing songs together right away. They soon left the band to concentrate on their own work, starting MF Robots (Music For Robots) and releasing an eponymous debut in 2018. The album was so well received that the duo soon morphed into a band as they found themselves in-demand at venues and festivals all over Europe.

Forthcoming long player ‘Break The Wall’ represents a new benchmark for Jan and Dawn, reflecting the MF Robots project coalescing and maturing while fine-tuning their material, both on the road and in the studio. Watch out, also, for Dego and Kenny 'Dope' Gonzalez remixes.

Jake the Rapper - Lullaby No 2 EP

Bronx-born Jake The Rapper has become something of a Berlin legend, following his long exile in the German club capital. His residency at the notorious Bar 25 will live on in memory, but his musical innovation continues.

Here, he joins Ouïe Circle, the label of Bar 25 cohorts Nico Stojan and Acid Pauli established as an outlet for like-minded producers. This four track EP provides four different takes on Lullaby No.2. The radio version is a funky, mid tempo house cut, featuring Jake’s unmistakable vocals.

Perfectly in keeping with the aesthetic of Ouïe, the track features guitars, keys, and a seductive low key groove. The full version stretches out over almost 7 minutes, primed for the club.

The remix by Freudenthal (Nein Records, also one half of Berlin-based new wave duo Pardon Moi) is a more synth heavy take, somehow referencing the best of 80s pop alongside the more psychedelic end of the club spectrum. It’s also presented here in a radio ver- sion - Jake’s mastery of pop sensibilities making it an obvious move for radio play.

Jonny Reebok - Aphrodite Dub/Ghost Town Riddim

Following his stand out remix of ALTA’s ‘Figured Out’, flipping the track into a smooth DnB cut, Jonny Reebok makes a welcomed return to Soothsayer. This time at the forefront of the release with an original Dub inspired AA side.

Since its 2016 inception, Soothsayer has fast become a dynamic tastemaker label, adding fuel to the fire of burgeoning artists such as KUČKA, Willaris. K, Dro Carey, and ALTA, plus a remix catalogue from the likes of Mall Grab, Ross From Friends, and Ruf Dug.

Enter Jonny Reebok, whose 2019 Drum n Bass remix of ALTA’s ‘Figured Out’ turned heads at Soothsayer enough to snap him up for two more dubbed out cuts.
Born in the UK and raised in Australia by a musical father who played in bands and opened his young ears up to The Specials, The Clash, and The Cure, Jonny picked up a guitar from a young age. In his teens he started producing hip-hop style beats for his friends who rapped, eventually progressing to electronic music. Keeping his UK roots intact he found himself gravitating towards Garage, and 90s Jungle and Drum n Bass.

With an inquisitive mind leading him to dig deep into the musical heritage laid before him, Jonny recently found himself captivated by the foundations of Dub Reggae.

Jonny Reebok - “I found myself watching a documentary on how Dub formed the structure of electronic music, and how remixes are done. It led me down a rabbit hole of researching and listening to this music’s evolution. I fed this back into the studio and it changed everything for me. Previously I had been sample based, whereas now rhythm and bass are at the forefront. Aphrodite Dub & Ghost Town Riddim are homage to this. ”

Jonny’s debut 2018 releases ‘Tyrone’ and ‘You Don’t Know Flavours Bwoy’ may be on a housier tip, but he has a nature to experiment with genres that currently move him, and Soothsayer provides the perfect playground to realise his full potential. Jonny Reebok is just getting started.

The 7 Day Weekend - The 7 Day Weekend

It's a good time for fine melodic, cinematic Funk at the moment - not least with the recent Melbourne outfit, Surprise Chef just about to gift us 'Daylight Savings' at the same time as this beauty. 

From the USA comes the self-titled debut album from a band with an incredible pedigree: The 7 Day Weekend are acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and producer Alan Evans (co-founder and drummer of soul-funk legends Soulive), and in-demand keyboard player Kris Yunker (Alan Evans Trio / Jen Dunkin & The Business).

Mention the name Alan Evans to a room full of music lovers, and you will get a consensus-nod at one of the most celebrated and tenacious drummers in the jazz, funk & soul scene. A producer, recording engineer, guitarist, percussionist, vocalist and writer, Evans’ repertoire of skills has been perfected through two decades of dedication. As co-founder, writer and drummer of Soulive for 20 years, Alan Evans co-wrote, co-produced, recorded, and mixed the majority of the band’s work. He still tours the world with Soulive and has shared the stage with legends including The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Dave Matthews, John Scofield: the list (and beat) goes on!

The 7 Day Weekend is born from and influenced by the sounds and compositions of 60s and 70s film scores. Evans & Yunker combine their songwriting and production aesthetic to create what they describe as “electrorganic music”. Blending evocative ambient soundscapes with impeccable funk & hip hop-influenced grooves, the duo have put together a luscious collection of instrumentals for their self-titled debut.

From boogie, to jazz-funk, to sultry cinematic sounds, “The 7 Day Weekend” is an album that draws equally from the sonic landscapes of Galt McDermot as it does from those of J-Dilla. Sitting somewhere between concept album and imaginary film score, this full-length eschews the music industry’s current focus on singles, rather it seamlessly flows from the first track to the last, conjuring laid back summer grooves and transporting the listener to the weekend no matter what day of the week it is.

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