Review: Far Out takes a second deep dive into the previously unheard early demos of Brazilian jazz-funk greats Azymuth, offering up more unpolished gems recorded during the years as one of Brazil's most sought-after session bands. Interestingly, much of the material is closer in tone and style to their subsequent releases, though some of the rhythms, solos and basslines are arguably a little wilder and more experimental. Highlights include the fizzing opener "Duro De Roer", the sweaty and percussive brilliance of "Bateria Do Mamao", the Blaxploitation influenced spy-chase madness of "Quem Tem Medo" and the surprisingly smooth "Manha", the demo that eventually earned Azymuth a recording contract.
Review: It's not hyperbole to suggest that "A Love Supreme" is not only amongst a handful of jazz records that everyone should own, but also one of the greatest albums of all time. As this weighty vinyl reissue proves, it's lost none of its charm. The four-part suite is undoubtedly Coltrane's masterpiece: a deeply spiritual album that saw the virtuoso saxophonist add sublime solos to a backing track that combines elements of modal jazz, hard bop, avant-garde jazz, free jazz, post-bop and modal jazz. It says a lot about Coltrane's quality - and that of his assembled players - that it was recorded in a single day in December 1964. Basically, it's brilliant and there should be a copy in everyone's record collection.
Review: During the 1970s, Sanifu Al Hall Jr decided to form a group dedicated to blending jazz, soul and cutting-edge electronic sounds. The brilliantly named Cosmos Dwellerz Arkestra never released any music during the period - not commercially, at least - with this fascinating 12" marking their belated debut. "Love Thoughts", which was committed to tape in 1977, is undoubtedly intergalactic, offering a spiritually-minded mix of spiraling jazz-funk synths, woozy horn solos, stoned drums and toaster-hot bass. On the flip you'll find an interesting curio: an extended 1967 radio interview with Sanifu Al Hall Jr in which he discusses his musical story and approach to life.
Review: Jazzman's dusty-fingered diggers recently did a deal to reissue some of the "holy grail" albums released by Austin-based Fable Records in small numbers back in the early 1970s. Forty Seven Times Its Own Weight's "Cumulo Nimbus" is the first of these. It's a pleasingly warm and evocative set of tracks from the one-album combo that offers an enjoyable and cutting edge fusion of hard-wired jazz-funk, post-modal fusion, horizontal slow jams and low-slung goodness that pairs free-jazz style solos and spiritual grooves with just the right amount of funk-fuelled instrumentation (see "Jig"). The set includes both dancefloor-friendly and laid-back fare, with the jaunty title somehow managing to tick both boxes at once.
Review: Finnish jazz scene heavyweights Timo Lassy (saxophone) and Teppo Makynen (drums) are old studio buddies. They've released a number of collaborative singles, but this self-titled set is their first joint album. After kicking off via the slow-burn ambient jazz creepiness of "Fallow", the pair shuffles through sparse but engrossing cuts that combine Lassy's meandering headline-grabbing saxophone solos with Makynen's ambidextrous drum rhythms and melodic percussion parts (think xylophone, marimba, kalimba etc). It's very experimental in nature and closer in spirit to free-jazz than some of their collaborative work, though the results are uniformly impressive and strangely alluring.
Review: Soul Jazz has previously dug deep into the back catalogue of American flautist Lloyd McNeill, reissuing a number of albums including two made with his acclaimed jazz quintet. Their latest rummage through the vaults has resulted in the reissue of one of his most sought-after sets - 1976 private press LP "Treasures", original copies of which now change hands for significant sums online. It remains a fine album, all told, with McNeill's breezy, ear-catching flute solos rising over backing tracks that are variously sublimely sun-kissed (the bright pianos and cheery madrigal mood of "Salvation Army"), suave and swinging ("As A Matter Of Fact") and effortlessly soft and seductive (the unfurling beauty of "You Don't Know What Love Is").