Review: Between 1971 and '73, Brazilian singer and composer Tim Maia released a quartet of eponymously titled album, all of which are now considered classics by those in the know. This is the third in the sequence, originally released in 1972 and now available on CD for the first time in the UK. The tracks largely lean heavily on American soul and funk tropes of the time - rich grooves, luscious orchestration, and so on - with Maia adding vocals in both English and Portuguese. There are occasional nods to jazz-funk, samba and rumba, but by and large Maia stuck to his funk and soul script. The results are uniformly excellent, with "Idade" and "Razao De Samba" being particularly memorable.
Review: Recorded in New York in 1966, Miriam Makeba's "Pata Pata" - her first for the legendary Reprise Records imprint - has long been considered one of the most important and influential South African albums of all time. Strut certainly thinks so and has offered up a "definitive version" that contains both mono and stereo mixes of the album, alongside new sleeve notes that tell the singer's remarkable story in vivid detail. Musically the set is rooted in jazz, but also incorporates sounds, rhythms and instrumentation not only reflective of Makeba's home country, but also nods to American soul, Latin rhythms and calypso (the latter showcasing the influence of her mentor, Harry Belafonte).
Ricardo Marrero & The Group - "And We'll Make Love"
Koko Ateba - "Si T'es Mal Dans Ta Peau"
Sookie - "Tonight" (feat Jeannine Otis)
Raphael Toine - "Femmes Pays Douces"
Eboni Band - "Desire"
Robert J Riggins - "I Need You Now"
Salero - "Teardrops & Wine"
Momo Joseph - "Teardrops & Wine"
Claude Genteuil - "Dreams Of Love"
Gatot Soedarto - "Sayangilah Daku Kasih"
Synchro Rhythmic Eclectic Language - "Pasto"
Review: Since the Beach Diggin' compilation series launched a few years back, a number of its obscure, Balearic-minded selections have been given full length reissues of their own. We can probably expect a number of the tracks from this brilliant fifth volume to get the same treatment. As usual, the wide-ranging track list is thick with highlights, from the synth-heavy, French language reggae of Raphael Toine's 1986 bubbler "Femmes Pays Douces" (taken from the artist's frustratingly hard to find Ce Ta Ou album) and vibraphone-laden jazz-funk smoothness of Yasuko Agwa's sought-after "L.A Night", to the barely-known brilliance of Andre Maria Tole's Cameroonian gem "Sweet Dole". In other words, it's another essential selection.
J Rawls presents The Liquid Crystal Project - "A Tribute To Troy"
Sons Of Time - "Before Sundown" (feat J-Live)
Sam Krats - "Revive Rap" (feat El Da Sensei & Gee Bag - Jim Sharp remix)
Space Invaders - "Done It Again"
Melvin Sparks - "If You Want My Love" (with Jimmy Scott)
Smith & The Honey Badgers - "The Billionaire Strut"
Laura Vane & The Vipertones - "Man Of Your Word"
Osaka Monaurail - "No Trouble On This Mountain" (feat Shirley Davis)
Ann Sexton & The Baltic Soul Orchestra - "You're Losing Me"
Marc Gregor - "Mabusso"
Benjamin & The Dreamdancers - "Not One More Tear"
Djar One - "The Get Down" (feat Andy Cooper)
Misumani - "Prove Your Love" (feat First Touch)
Skyy - "Call Me"
Hollie Cook - "Postman"
Review: In 2008, German label Unique asked crate-digging party starters Soulinus and Pun to put together the first volume in their "This is DJs Choice" compilation series. Only one further instalment - with tracks selected by Keb Darge and Lucinda Slim - appeared before the series was shelved. Happily, Unique has decided to re-launch it, with Marc Hype and DJ Suspect in charge of the track list. They've done a bang up job, all told, offering up a sizzling, 15-track selection that giddily sprints between steel band reggae (Hollie Cook), soul-jazz (Melvin Sparks), heavy funk (Smith & The Honey Badgers, Osaka Monoaurail), boogie (Skyy), Afro-latin heaviness (Marc Gregor) and head-nodding hip-hop (Sons Of Time, Benjamin & The Dreamdancers).
Review: Over the years, Cesar Mariano and Cia's 1977 set "Sao Paolo Brasil" has achieved cult status, with dusty-fingered diggers regularly proclaiming it one of the finest jazz-funk/fusion albums of the period (a fact confirmed by the high prices that original vinyl copies often change hands for online). Remarkably, this timely Mr Bongo reissue marks the first time the set has been released outside of its native South America. Rich in glistening jazz guitars, fizzing, Azymuth-style organ riffs, spacey synths, warm bass and skittish drums, the album's eight tracks bristle with breeziness, subtle samba motifs, sumptuous dancefloor grooves, sunny downtempo workouts and effervescent arrangements. In a word: essential.
Special Occasion - "Flyin' To Santa Barbara" (12" version)
Parenthese - "Come Back"
Russ Long - "Never Was Love"
Pacific Dreams - "Mellow Out"
Miller Miller Miller & Sloan - "Key To My Heart"
Scott Cunningham - "Blues Take You Over"
Review: On his fourth exploration of the world of global "Adult Oriented Rock", French crate-digger Charles Maurice focuses on the period between 1977 and '86. That means a greater emphasis on synthesizers, dusty drum machines and the kind of sparkling melodies that would once have drifted from daytime radio at an alarming rate. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the dewy-eyed synth-soul of Arlana's "When You Call My Name" and the breezy boogie of Omega Sunrise's "Too Hip", to the sparse Balearic bliss of Isabelle Mayereau's "Orange Bleue", the flute-laden easy listening hum of Fernando Toussaint, the sax-happy '80s sleaze of Special Occasion's brilliant "Flyin' To Santa Barbara" and the jaunty Latino jazz-funk of "Mellow Out" by Pacific Dreams.
Elegiac Suite For Elizabeth: Time/The Mighty River/The Wind
Striped Pants (with Cadenza)
Review: Soul Jazz have carefully and considerably been focusing on resizing some of Lloyd McNeil's most majestic work and now they turn to Elegia. It was originally released in 1980, but was a private dress that has been out of print for 40 years. It is a gorgeous record of elegant flute, that takes in a tropical mix of Brazilian and Latin influences, humid and jungle-like percussive sounds and plenty of jazz spiritualism. Elements of Claude Debussy, John Coltrane and Nina Simone all feature and make this a vital addition to anyone's collection.
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").