Review: Following their surprise reunion and Strut-release album We Be All Africans last year, Idris and The Pyramids return... This time on Max Weissenfeldt's Philophon imprint. Laying down a spiritual arrangement so frenetic and full of its own life it takes up two parts, Idris's sax plays duet with Philophon's own vocalist Guy One. Gutsy, raw and full of surprises, it's another out-of-body experience from the longstanding jazz troupe.
Review: The colourful obi strip astride the cover of this audiophile reissue boasts that Imani's "Out of The Blue" album is "the ultimate private press jazz holy grail". While that claim is debatable, copies of the Gilles Peterson championed 1983 edition, which the San Francisco based band pressed up themselves, have been known to change hands for four-figure sums. Musically, the four tracks are breezy, sunny and summery. Opener "Just Another Love Song" sets the tone, with soulful group vocals and jazz solos rising above a warm groove, while "Somebody's Love" is a slow jam smothered in spacey synthesizers. "Byrd's House" is a jazz-funk dancefloor number - this time blessed with extended, eyes-closed guitar and piano solos - while "Friendship Cover Charge" is a stomping peak-time workout that should send dancers spinning.
Review: The Incredible Bongo Band were a loose studio collective interpreting classics of the day in their own inimitable percussive fashion .They are of course most famous for their ultimate b-boy classic version of "Apache". This particular 7" however features two Incredible Bongo Band cuts that have not previously featured on any albums. "The Riot" is a frenetic drum workout and has been championed by the likes of the Chemical Brothers. "Ohkey Dokey (Part 2)" takes on a somewhat more subdued hue in comparison, but has some dope funky clavinet in the mix. Well worth checking.
Review: The Fryers sub-label of Jazzman Records come correct once again with this crucial 7" reissue from The Isley Brothers! With a career spanning some 50 years and covering R&B, Rock, Funk, Soul and Disco, it's fair to say The Isley Brothers have been one of the most influential groups on how 20th Century music turned out, yet few people actually know that their universally regarded 1973 hit "That Lady" was in fact a cover version of a track they'd previously recorded a decade earlier. Presented here in all its dusty glory, "Who's That Lady" is a jazzy doo-wop workout that will have the collectors out there running towards the turntables to find out whose version it is. On the flip is their wonderful version of the Blues standard "St. Louis Blues" which has been freshly pressed from the original master tapes!
Review: Repress time: released last year on a limited run of 45s, Chet Ivey's double-A "Dose Of Soul" / "Get Down With Greater" returns to the relief of collectors and funk lovers who missed out. Two of many swelteringly funky gems on his Sylvia Funk Recordings album curated in 2017, "Dose Of Soul" has a raw edge and looseness that's held together with Ayers-style vibraphone chords, while "Get Down With Greater" is much more of a traditional funk jam, with the organ player and bassist playing at their fullest of flavours and Ivey leading in his inimitable 'poisonous' style. Don't sleep!
The Truckin' Company - "Got The Feeling" (Massimo Berardi edit) (5:41)
Izk Eyes - "Ton Of Groove" (The Funk District re-edit) (6:30)
Review: Fledgling label Daje Funk is sure to turn heads with their second sizzling offering of edits, with Rome's Massimo Berardi and Mexico's The Funk District both stepping up to the buttons. Truckin' Company's "Got The Feeling" is a loopy and rolling funk gem that keeps the energy up as strings soar to the skies and a squelchy bassline keeps you locked. The Funk District takes care of the flip with a top tweak of Izk Eyes's "Ton Of Groove", which is an appropriate title: big brass sections to shake your booty, a buttery male vocal and busy guitar licks all drive it forward through big breaks and killer drops.
Review: First Time Out by Theodora Ifudu first came out on a Nigerian pressing back in 1981, and it has been regarded a classic and a point of inspiration ever since. Not only does the album capture the rise of boogie and disco in her native homeland, but it also pushed the classic sound onto a newer, fresher platform that is still sounding somewhat different to her contemporaries. Our favourite tune on the A-side has to be "Gbata Ngwa (Egwu Abia)", its rolling bassline and bittersweet vocals working wonders, but the sounds of "That Man" and "The Way We Are" are equally ear-opening arrangements that will undoubtedly continue to have relevance into the next decade. A majestic album from a multi-talented Nigerian woman.