Review: Hozan Yamamoto is a widely revered figure in Japan, and a true icon of the seventies jazz scene. This album from 1971 is one of this best and a seminal work that effortlessly floats through fusion, soul and big band styles and has been basically impossible to buy in original format. Trust Mr Bongo to come correct with this fully licensed version which features his trademark flute playing and finds the maestro in a soaring, uplifting mood here. Big brass adds weight to his leads while well formed grooves drive the album along. Add in subtle Japanese stylings and it all adds up to a J jazz classic.
Review: Far Out has decided to pay tribute to one of Brazilian music's most overlooked - and, let's face it, obscure - talents, Ana Mazzotti. She recorded just two albums in the 1970s before passing away from cancer in her early 30s a few years later. Both of those album have become sought-after, particularly 1974 debut "Ninguem Vai Me Segurar". This first ever reissue proves why. Warm, breezy and effortlessly soulful, it sees Mazzotti and her backing band sashay between languid samba-jazz, intergalactic bossa, soft-focus Brazilian soul and the kind of attractive jazz-funk/fusion that would later become the hallmark of Azymuth (not much of a surprise since two of that band's founder members were part of Mazzotti's backing band).
Review: It seems so obvious you wonder why it doesn't happen more often: Stefano Torossi's "Feelings" album from 2000 was made up of track titles that convey certain situations and emotions that he masterfully reflects in the music. This new double 7" includes the highlights, such as the racing jazz and trumpet stabs of "Running Fast," the sustained and uneasy chords of "Fearing Much" and "Feeling Tense," which is actually a pretty lush bit of smooth jazz. "Walking In The Dark" rounds off the double pack with playful guitars and luxuriant synths that are pure soundtrack goodness. Ace.
Tonis Magi & Music Seif - "Sa Haara Kinni Mu Kaest" (3:30)
Els Himma - "Keskoo" (2:44)
Valter Ojakaar - "Rasked Veosed" (4:05)
Uno Naissoo - "Marss Eksprompt" (2:49)
Gunnar Graps & Magnetic Band - "Leidmine" (3:17)
Eesti TV & Raadio Estraadiorkester - "Keskoosamba" (instrumental) (4:10)
Tarmo & Toomos Urb - "Valgud Peeglis" (feat Vanemode - short version) (4:59)
Eesti Raadio Estraadiorkester - "Malestuste Teel" (instrumental) (5:41)
Review: Several years deep into their quest to amplify their homeland's rich funk talent, Eastern European collective Estonian Funk Embassy level up with this exceptional compendium of tracks written and recording during Estonia's time under Soviet control. The first time most of these records have been released and distributed beyond domestic release, it's a total treasure trove of grooves ranging from upbeat, big band-led swing ("Keskoosamba"), thigh-slapping horn-heavy funk ("Rasked Veosed"), smokier, lounge-lapping jazzier influences ("Naed Vaid Oma Silmi"), sleazy disco funk ("Sa Haara Kinni Mu Kaest" and many shades in between. Capturing Estonia's musical legacy in all directions, this is a genuinely unique record.
Review: Jazz Room Records is the work of legendary London jazz-dance DJ Paul Murphy, so it's perhaps unsurprising that the label's first outing is an essential reissue of one of his personal favourites: Hugo Heredia's spiritually-minded 1976 Latin-Jazz fusion masterpiece, "Mananita Pampera". Although it begins with a dense and psychedelic collage of Heredia's breathy flute playing, the album's genius lies in its' combination of heavy Latin percussion, skittish jazz drums and the bright and breezy instrumentation atop (piano, double bass and Heredia on sax). Of course, there are a few slower, laidback cuts to be found dotted across the album, but for the most part it's a sweaty, excitable dancefloor excursion that's been a staple of Murphy's sets since the 1980s.
Review: For Brazilian music collectors, the two 1970s albums by sadly departed vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Ana Mazzotti have long been must-have sets. Listening to Far Out's new reissue of the second of those, 1977's self-titled "Ana Mazzotti", it's easy to see why. The album is warm, woozy and groovy, joining the dots between slick and summery samba-jazz, synthesizer-laden bossa-nova, Azymuth style jazz-funk/fusion (see the delicious and laidback "Sou") and the kind of atmospheric, otherworldly deepness rarely heard in Brazilian popular music during that period. Highlights are plentiful throughout, with "Cordao", the spacey and up-tempo "Eta Samba Bom" and languid "Bairro Negro" among the many standout tracks.
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: Before they found fame with their 1975 debut album, Azymuth divided their time between working as backing musicians (attending recording sessions with some of Brazil's top talent) and recording experimental home demos. Recently rediscovered, these demos are finally being given a release thanks to the efforts of Far Out chief Joe Davis. There's much to admire on this first batch (a second volume is also available) of previously unheard early recordings, from the high-octane Brazilian funk insanity of "Prefacio" and Jimmy Smith-esque "Melo De Cuica", to the spacey samba/jazz-funk fusion of "Xingo (Version One)" and the relaxed, slow-burn brilliance of seven minute B-side opener "Laranjeiras".
Review: Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou is an Ethiopian nun known for her unique solo piano playing. For three decades she lived a reclusive life with only rare performances, including one at the Jewish Community Center in Washington, D.C. in 2008. Featured here are recordings sourced from the '60s of her truly captivating performances and are deservedly reissued by the Portland, Oregon based Mississippi/Little Axe Records. Featured here are all original compositions available for the first time on vinyl beyond the original early editions, said to be near impossible to find.
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: By the time he recorded Gail, Michel Sardaby was already an established player on the European jazz scene. The Martinique-born pianist had made a string of memorable guest appearances and released two well-regarded albums before he set foot in Media Sound Studio in New York City in February '75. The resultant set, recorded with local jazz and funk musicians, has long been an in-demand record on both the jazz and jazz-funk scenes. The tracks touch on both, as well as contemporaneous modal jazz. While bassist Richard Davis and drummer Billy Hart play their part, it's Sardaby who is the real star, delivering a thrilling range of riffs and solos on piano and Fender Rhodes.