Review: Mukatsuku struck gold again on this latest first time on a "45" issue. It boasts a couple of lesser-known jazz-funk fusion jams which originally featured on Argentine musician Jorge Navarro's 1977 album "Navarro Con Polenta", an LP that has never been issued outside of South America. A-side "Funk Yourself" is a bustling, high-octane jazz-funk Hammond licks and spiralling horns jumping above a Blaxploitation style backing track. "Repartamos El Funky" is a more laid back but no less musically intricate affair, with a variety of high-grade electric piano and guitar solos riding seemingly endless jazz style drum solos and rubbery bass. Juno hand-numbered copies come in exclusive sleeves and this 45 not be repressed. DJ Support comes from Ge-ology, Dom Servini, DJ Koco (Japan), DJ Food,The Allergies,45LIVE.net ,Dr Bob Jones,Rob Luis, Smoov and more
Flying Fantasy (exclusive instrumental version) (4:35)
Rhodes E Serenidade (3:37)
Review: Small repress of the Modern Sun Records founder and experienced jazz-wise producer Marc Friedli AKA Skymark. A-side "Flying Fantasy" originally appeared on the Spanish producer's 2016 album "Resistance Sonore", but is here featured in instrumental form for the first time. If anything, it's better than the original version, largely because we get to revel in Friedli's mazy Fender Rhodes solos, rubbery jazz-funk synth bass and loose-limbed, West London style broken beats. You'll find plenty more jaunty jazz-funk vibes and liquid electric piano solos on B-side cut "Rhodes E Serenidade", which first slipped out way back in 2015. DJ Support so far from Dom Servini, Emanative,Red Greg,Kevin Beadle, Mike Chadwick,Dynamite Cuts & Rocafort Records so far
Review: Tennessee's legendary jazz pianist, Harold Mabern, is surely one of the kings of the mighty Prestige label, and his material helped bridge the gap between jazz and funk back in the 1970s, alongside the likes of Idris Muhammad, The Jimmy Castor Bunch and all those geniuses. "I Want You Back" is a stone-cold classic and contains one of the most hummable trumpet lines ever, and if you hear closely it's been reworked and sampled by none other than the King of pop when he was only a little one. Funk Inc's sublime "Sister Janie" resides on the flip, a more lo-fi funk bullett for the diggers, and complete with a dusty organ!
Review: Cuban bandleader, composer and rumba magician Ramon Santamaria had a huge influence throughout his 40 year career, notably writing Coltrane's famous "Afro Blue". Here are two of many stand-out cuts from his 1963 album Watermelon Man! While most the album's focus was on his Herbie Hancock cover, it's tracks like these that really gave the album its spirit and unique character; "Yeh Yeh!" is a samba shaking horn-led cut laced with crackling percussion and party cries while "Get The Money" leans back with rhythm and blues sass and a rhythm that's as powerful as Ramon's legacy. Moneymaker shaking guaranteed.
Review: Longstanding horn boss Jukka has been cooking up rare gold for over 10 years now in various troupes and forms. The Soul Trio is his latest project, having sparked the fire last year on We Jazz. The fire now heating up with every toot, this Timmion 45" is a jazz funk inferno. "Introducing The Soul Trio" is a snare-rattling, organ-snapping entry tune while the clipped, hooky riff on "Martha's New Movement" is the finishing move. Victory is Jukka's.
Review: Back in 2017, we aptly described the Jukka Eskola Soul Trio as "the Finnish horn boss's newest project". The combo is now not so new, of course, but the trumpeter and flugelhorn player's outfit remains a go-to source for quality jazz and jazz-funk material. There's more than a little Latin flavour to be found on "Tiny B", a Hammond-powered shuffler rich in South American drum rhythms and the kind of sticky trumpet solos that were once a hallmark of Herb Alpert's records. Flipside "Stick Of A Branch" is a far more up-tempo affair, with Eskola's punchy playing riding fluid vibraphone motifs and floor-rocking jazz drums.
Review: Ernie Hawks & The Soul Investigators return to Timmion with a pair of brand-new soul scorchers, and this ain't no reissue business. For real. As per usual, the imprint know exactly where to source the very best in the contemporary gear while everyone else is looking to the 70s for that adrenaline rush. As it turns out, this is some marvellously constructed soul music, right from the heart and soul, with "Cold Turkey Last Time" and "Trackin' Down" containing all the elements of fine ballads that are both future-proof and utterly stand-out. Check it and don't wreck it.
Review: In 1970, 23 year-old Brazilian vocalist Celia Cruz headed into the studio with legendary producer and arranger Arthur Verocai to record the first of four eponymous albums that would go on to become "MPB" classics. Here, Mr Bongo offers up a timely reissue of that highly regarded debut, a set that giddily flits between soaring, orchestrated samba-pop ("Cheia Durango Kid", "David"), sun-kissed ballads ("To Be"), tributes to the songwriting prowess of the Beatles (see "Abrace Paul McCartney", whose strings tip a wink to "Eleanor Rigby", and the brassy, up-tempo beat pop of "Lennon - McCartney") and carnival-ready workouts ("Fotograma").
Review: The Brazil 45s / Mr Bongo outlet is back with its classic moves, coming through with some truly special soul blends out of the Brazilian golden era. Dalila and Neyde Alexandre feature in this latest 7", the former with 1968's "Canto Chorado", a slow-burning bubble of funky exotica - surely impossible to find in its original shade - and the latter with a funky little bomb from 1971 by the name of "Perplexidade" - surely the smoothest, sexiest soul number out this week! Lovely stuff.
Review: Jazz fans take note: Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album more than lives up to its name. It features previously unreleased recordings by the late, great John Coltrane and his regular accompanying players (pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and Drummer Elvin Jones). The reels of tape the tracks were salvaged from were dated 1963, around the time that the quartet laid down some of its most forward-thinking work for the legendary Impulse label. Much of the material consists of original Coltrane compilations, though there are a few notable covers (including a great version of jazz standard "Nature Boy") dotted throughout. As you'd expect, Coltrane's performance is incredible from start to finish.
Review: It was two years ago when Finnish combo Bowman Trio (AKA trumpeter Tomi Nikku, double bassist Joonas Tuuri and drummer Sami Nummela) first rocked up on We Jazz to showcase their particular brand of "loft jazz". This fine single is the three-piece's first new material since the release of their eponymous debut LP in 2016. Both original compositions are pretty darn good, especially A-side "The Chase (Version 1)", where Tuuri's rubbery, "Bullit"-style bassline and Nikku's headline-grabbing trumpet solos brilliantly wrap themselves around Nummela's hybrid jazz/bossa-nova beats. The band opt for an altogether sunnier sound on flipside "The Hillary Step", an invitation to dance from the halcyon days of swing-time jazz that includes some killer stop-start sections and impeccable drum fills.
Review: Finnish trio Mopo earned plenty of plaudits for their most recent album (their fourth in total), "Mopocalypse". It's from that fine set that A-side "Riisto" is taken. Given that the track is a deliciously fuzzy, low-slung floor-rocker - think distorted, Afro-funk influenced horns, frenetic drums and a heavy, full-throttle bassline reminiscent of some of the heaviest '60s and '70s deep funk records known to humanity - it's an inspired choice of single. The B-side is pretty darn tasty, too. Groovier and more relaxed with decidedly psychedelic analogue synth action (presumably provided by guest collaborator Jimi Tenor), "Acid Panama" is every bit as inspired as "Riisto" in its own peculiar way.
Review: Over the last few years, Jimi Tenor seems to have settled into a new role as an elder statesman of left-of-centre Finnish jazz. He's also taken to composing music for film, as with the four cuts on this extended-play seven-inch. They're all featured on Kati Juruus's recent movie Cinema Dadaab, which focuses on the escapism films provide for the inhabitants of a refugee camp. Echoes of the setting and storyline can be heard across Tenor's compositions, which variously mix and match elements of jazz-funk, Blaxploitation-era soundtracks, the polyrhythms of Africa, the intoxicating instrumentation of the Middle East and the Finnish musician's own eccentric musical vision.