Review: Hot on the heels of "Mission" earlier this year, Shuya Okino's Kyoto Jazz Sextet troupe present another gem from last year's Unity album complete with a remix of the highest calibre. This time the cascading, Latin rhythm and frenetic horn leads of "Rising" are given the midas dancefloor touch by none other than Ron Trent. Maintaining the wily spirit of the original while coating in warm organ blasts and subtly bumping kicks, it's a precision translation that brings the original into a whole new context.
Review: Destination mid 70s Nairobi where Madagascan guitarist Jimmy Mawi was laying down some serious vibes... Signed to EMI's Pathe imprint, he released three singles during his career which have all since faded to obscurity. Until now. Dusty, garagey and steaming with raw blues fusion, it's hard to deny any parallels to Hendrix as Mawi expresses himself with a rough heartfelt frenzy. Highlights include the Zep-level smoked out soul of "Blue Star Blues" and the insistent drive and reverbed out faraway vocals on "Black Dialogue". Another exemplary Afro-funk find from Soundway.
Review: Stag O Lee's continuing Music From Planet Earth series is arguably the audio equivalent of a silly, space-themed 1950s B-movie. While the series' tongue-in-cheek eccentricity and kitsch celebration of vintage futurism is rather more knowing than your average B-movie, its every bit as entertaining and gleefully lo-fi. Happily, this third instalment is every bit as delicious as its' predecessors, presenting a bizarre but hugely entertaining mixture of '50s rhythm and blues, vintage easy listening, early experimental electronica, outer-space jazz, bonkers lounge music and, in the case of closer "Marty on Planet Mars", a cut-and-paste collage featuring all manner of retro musical treats.
Review: Resurfacing Sun Ra treasures from the 1950s have become increasingly prominent and, by now, his younger fans can truly explore this legend's never-ending catalogue in its original vinyl format. Modern Harmonic are the ones responsible here, and reissuing "The Lady With The Golden Stockings is a great move on their part because it's one Ra monster that we'd been missing from our catalogue; the percussion, the sax and the general feeling of potential deconstruction at any given point make this a truly stupendous affair. "Spontaneous Simplicity" is calmer, more psychedelic and, if we're not mistaken, there's a very early drum machine rambling on in the lower end of the mix, while "Love In Outer Space" finishes this off with Ra's own voice backed by a more traditional sway from the famous Arkestra.
Review: It's been a long time between drinks for Present Sense, a Finnish combo helmed by experienced jazz bassist Jarno Lappalainen. Research confirms that the previous Pressent Sense single landed way back in 2004. For this return to the studio, American jazz vocalist Dean Bowman has joined in the fun. His Gregory Porter style vocals seemingly soar above the band's lilting, emotion-rich jazz on A-side "In The Present", with each musician getting solo space in the track's magical final moments. Turn to the B-side for "The Time", a more up-tempo jazz workout full of alternating horn solos and superb double bass playing by Lappalainen.