Billy Hawks - "(O Baby) I Do Believe I'm Losing You" (3:03)
Review: This Juno colour vinyl exclusive finds Linda Lyndell serve up her own majestic cover of the classic "What A Man." Her vocal is smooth and buttery but also laden with gravitas, while the sweeping horns and jazzy keys all around her help to lift the spirits. On the flip is an ice cold slice of funk from Billy Hawks in the form of his "(O Baby) I Do Believe I'm Losing You". It's raw soul that glides at high speed with plenty of hip swinging claps. This is a much sought after reissue that will shift quick, so make sure you do too.
Salvation (Act III: Upon Whose Shoulders We Stand)
Theme For Cecil
Virgin (Act IV: 400 Years: The Clotilda)
The Last Slave Ship
Review: Those familiar with the catalogue of Idris Ackabor and the Pyramids will tell you that there's always been something special about the long-serving band's inspired blend of spiritual jazz, space-age sounds, Afro-jazz and extra-percussive polyrhythms. Even so, new album "Shaman!" is particularly awe-inspiring. Constructed as a four-act musical journey stretched across two slabs of wax, it adds a wealth of intriguing additional musical ingredients (think dubby soul-jazz, Afrobeat, jazz-rock and free-jazz) to their already highly seasoned sound soup with predictably tasty results. It takes a few listens to really get to grips with (there's a lot going on, despite the set's obvious accessibility), but it's such a good album that you'll want to fully immerse yourself as many times as possible.
Review: We're rather excited by the prospect of Blue Note's forthcoming "Reimagined" compilation, which sees a variety of rising stars from the UK's jazz, soul and R&B scenes delivering new interpretations of classic cuts from the legendary jazz label's vast back catalogue. This teaser single features two of the more striking and talked-about covers. Jorja Smith takes on St Germain's early noughties jazz-house masterpiece "Rose Rouge", brilliantly re-imagining it as a deep, fluid and dreamy nu-jazz number rich in authentic instrumentation, shimmering electronics and effortlessly soulful vocals. It's genuinely brilliant. Over on the flip, the Ezra Project takes on Wayne Shorter's "Footprints", somehow mixing up hip-hop, post-bop jazz, funk and Afrobeat to create a stunning new interpretation. There aren't many of these around, so act fast to avoid disappointment.
Review: By the time he recorded "Brazilian Dorian Dream" in 1976, Brazilian composer, musician, producer and bandleader Manfedo Fest had already worked on countless bossa-nova, samba and jazz albums, both in the United States and his native Brazil. Yet the album, which Far Out has now reissued, is like nothing else he recorded before or after - and not just because it was based on "the principle of the modal diatonic scales of the Dorian mode". Musically, it's deliciously vibrant and colourful, combining elements of his native Brazilian samba and bossa-nova with Azymuth style jazz-funk, American jazz-fusion, and futuristic, then cutting edge synthesizer sounds. Above all, though, the album strikes a near perfect balance between funkiness and the sweet sunniness that defines some of the greatest Brazilian music.
Review: If you don't already own a copty of Gil Scott-Heron classic "The Bottle", one of the many highlights from the pioneering spoken word artist and musician's 1974 collaboration with Brian Jackson, "Winter In America", then we'd heartily recommend picking up one of these limited-edition, white vinyl singles. For the uninitiated, the track features Scott-Heron musing on alcoholism and poverty over a killer flute-laden soul-funk groove. This time round it comes backed by another Scott-Heron/Jackson gem, "Johannesburg" - a more musically inventive and bluesy meditation on arpartheid first featured on the pair's 1975 album "From South Africa To South Carolina".
Review: More must-have reissue action here, as Soul Brother Records offers-up an ultra-limited, Juno exclusive white vinyl "45" featuring two revered gems from Washington D.C funk heavyweights The Soul Searchers. On the A-side you'll find "Blow Your Whistle", a deliciously weighty, energetic and infectious funk stomper laden with wah-wah guitars, punchy horns, bustling grooves and, as you'd expect from the title, whistles. Over on the B-side you'll find "Ashley's Roachclip", a more laidback chunk of breezy instrumental soul goodness from 1974 whose headline-grabbing attraction is a seriously good - and extensive - flute solo.
Street Dreams (feat Miguel Atwood Ferguson) (2:12)
One More Time (3:10)
1989 (feat Miguel Atwood Ferguson) (3:25)
Toulouse (feat Miguel Atwood Ferguson) (2:48)
Big Rick (3:29)
Save Me (feat Mach Hommy) (5:57)
Mr Wu (3:37)
Hold On (feat Lauren Faith) (3:12)
Early Prayer (5:02)
Review: Given that keyboardist and producer Kamaal Williams' 2018 debut album "The Return" was such a rip-roaring success critically and commercially, hopes are naturally sky-high for this delayed sequel. Happily, we can confirm that Williams has arguably excelled himself on "Wu Hen", once again blurring the boundaries between jazz-funk, seductive downtempo grooves, hazy space jazz, deep house influenced dancefloor workouts (see "Mr Wu", whose title references his other artistic alias, Henry Wu) and soft-focus soul - all with the assistance of an expanded line-up of guest musicians and vocalists. Perhaps the biggest impact is made by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, a composer whose string arrangements add an ear-catching new dimension to Williams work. Stunning stuff all told.
Review: Those who've studied Tony Allen's distinctive drumming style often cite Art Blakey as an influence, so it's little surprise to find him paying tribute to the legendary jazz drummer on this superb album. Joined by his regular band, Allen covers a quartet of tracks written and recorded by Blakey and his band, the Jazz Messengers. The results are predictably impressive, with Allen's loose and polyrhythmic percussion providing a rock solid foundation for the horns, piano and double bass that sits atop. It's naturally closer to all-out jazz than to Afrobeat, but still bristles with the kind of punchy horns and life-affirming playing that characterizes Allen's work. "Thunder Suite", in which Allen drops a number of sweaty drum solos, is particularly potent.
Review: Over the last 12 months, Adrian Younge and A Tribe Called Quest member Ali Shaheed Muhammad have been inviting some legendary musicians to swing by the former's Los Angeles studio to make fresh tracks with vintage equipment. The results are detailed on "Jazz Is Dead", a superb album that combines elements of dusty soundtrack jazz, soul, jazz-funk, Latin jazz and head-nodding live beats influenced by the duo's hip-hop roots. Highlights include the atmospheric, slow-motion warmth of Roy Ayers collaboration "Hey Lover", the floor-rocking fusion heaviness of epic Azymuth hook-up "Apocaliptico", the languid sweetness of 'Down Deep" (featuring Doug Carn) and the samba-soaked sunshine that is Marcos Valle composition "Nao Saia Da Praca".
Review: You may have noticed a fair few limited-edition white vinyl releases popping up on Juno in recent times. Here's another, this time from Expansion Records. What's on offer is certainly tempting: two much-sampled gems from 1980s electrofunk and jazz-funk maestro Don Blackman. On the A-side you'll find "Heart's Desire", a jaunty slab of jazz-funk-soul rich in multi-tracked scat style vocalizations, rubbery slap-bass, deep chords and jazzy solos. It's a stone-cold classic all told and really deserves to be in every soul head's collection. Turn to the flip for "Holding You, Loving You", a sumptuous slow jam that's as languid, loved-up and subtly summery as they come.
Review: The alwayshara working Soul Jazz team are back with another of their vital compilations, this time an overview of the many great contemporary jazz artists who have reinvigorated the scene in recent years. Matthew Halsall, Yazmin Lacey, Ill Considered, Tenderlonious, Theon Cross, Emma-Jean Thackray and plenty of others all feature. What they have in common is a desire to explore cross-genre styles and spiritual sounds that are all either self-published or have been put out by small indie labels. It makes for an experimental album with plenty of uplifting and soulful moments that prove just how rich the scene is right now.
Review: It's not hard to see why Reggie Andrews & The Fellowship's "Mystic Beauty" is a holy grail record for jazz lovers that has long been unavailable and often fetches four digit prices on second hand markets. A earthy, stunning set of modal soul jazz from the LA underground of the 60s brimming with glowing piano chords and mellifluous keys drifting next to lilting trumpets and gently swaying drums, with the overtness of Afro-Cuban rhythms and Latin sunshine. Whether it's spiritual-jazz, soul-jazz, jazz-funk, none quite capture the musical beauty of this most profound and life-enriching album, which is so masterfully led by pianist Reggie Andrews.
Review: First released in 1979 during the heyday of Brazil's jazz-funk movement, Antonio Adolfo's Viralata has long been considered an era-defining release by those who know. Given that original Brazilian copies are frustratingly hard to come by, this official reissue from Far Out Recordings - who previously worked with Adolfo on his 2007 set Destiny - should be an essential purchase for all those who dig Brazilian music. A little more jazz-focused than albums by contemporaries such as Azymuth, much of "Viralata" is slick, polished and incredibly well produced, with notable samba influences amongst the unashamed tributes to leading American artists. As you'd perhaps expect, the musicianship is astonishing.
Review: Saxophonist Nat Birchall has been busy over the last couple of years, offering up a string of inspired collaborative albums, including a fine dub-wise excursion with Al Breadwinner and a brilliant tribute to Yusuf Lateef created with his regular Quartet of players. His latest album, "Mysticism of Sound", is a slight departure from his regular sound - if he indeed has one, given his exploration of many strains of jazz over the years - for two reasons. Firstly, it's an impressively evocative exploration of Sun Ra-inspired space jazz, with his meandering and emotive sax solos acting as spiritual guide throughout. Secondly, it's a genuinely solo album in which there are no guests: each and every instrument, including synths, bells, drums and bass, were played, was played by Birchall himself.