Review: Insane boogie fire from Rio circa 82; both Robson Jorge and Lincoln Olivetti were already decorated before they joined forces, but this one took both of their reputations and amplified them beyond expectation. Their one and only album, it's loaded with soul and funk from every corner of Brazil's sexy city and brought together with beautiful attention to detail; the gradual vocal breakdowns, rude synths and lavish instrumental sections, key cuts such as the Wonder-level "Aleluia", the jazz slides and glides of "Pret-A-Porter" and the sexy 80s electro boogie "Squash" will still completely flip any party 35 years later. Stunning.
Review: Bruno Hovart, Favorite Recordings' man of many talents, is at it again here. He's the man at the controls on this debut album from Pat Kalla, a French vocalist of Cameroonian heritage who has previously contributed to Hovart's Voilaaa records. Backed by Lyon band Le Super Mojo and with Hovart conjuring up his authentic '70s style production, Kalla lays down a string of superb songs that variously touch on Afro-disco, soul, Highlife, Juju, accordion-fired Cameroonian dance music of old and the kind of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed tropical fusion so popular in former French colonies in the Caribbean. It's a wonderfully joyous and breezy set, and certainly worthy of your attention.
Review: La Mambanegra was founded by saxophonist Jacobo Velez in Cali, the world capital of salsa on the Pacific coast of Colombia. According to Salvador de Bahia, Cali is the city with the most African descendants. This strong Afro influence is clearly heard in the songs of the 15-member orchestra. El Callegueso y su Mala MaNa combines traditional salsa from the streets of New York City during the seventies with elements of Jamaican, Cuban and Colombian music, as well as funk and current hip-hop influences. Velez raised the genre "break salsa" for his simmering brew. It is presented by some of the most accomplished musicians in Colombia, including the living Latin jazz legend Eddy Martinez and the salsa band Niche, and stretches over ten, roller-coaster-like songs, with stories from the Colombian everyday life on the family history of the band founder. "El Callegueso, was the godfather of the album, but it is only when it comes to love, for example in the piece "Cantare para vos" or "El Blues de Yemanja", that is the tribute to one Ocean goddess.
Review: Cuba's Orland Cachaito Lopez, who sadly passed away back in '09, had only released his first LP under his name in 2001. World Circuit was the imprint to bring the man to the foray, and here they are once again with this marvelously packaged reissue. Solid and guaranteed to please. Needless to say, this album is full of Havana's magic vibe, rocking some pretty full-proof rhythms with a swing and a charm that can only be found on the Caribbean island. But, it's not simply Lopez's Cuban heritage which makes it stand out; rather, there is just the right balance of motion between dance and form, making this album a sure stand-out to anyone remotely interested in anything 'jazz'. Lovely stuff.
Review: This "Special Edition" of Lord Echo's recent third full-length, Harmonies, seems to be aimed at DJs. Whereas the original pressing contained the same tracks on one piece of wax, this version stretches the same tracks over two super-loud, heavyweight records. Formatting aside, the album itself is something of a head-in-the-clouds, feet-on-the-floor treat. It features the Kiwi producer working with a range of collaborators - Tony Laing of Fat Freddy's Drop and regular studio buddy Mara TK included - to serve up intoxicating cuts that brilliantly fuses reggae, dub and rocksteady rhythms with elements borrowed from disco, Afro-soul, Afro-funk, spiritual jazz and, more surprisingly, techno. It's a hugely vibrant and entertaining set, offering a good balance between dancefloor vibrations and more laidback concoctions.
La Nina Popof (feat Sotomayor, Dr Zupreme & Agrupacion Carino) (3:04)
A Go Go (2:31)
La Rosa De Tokyo (2:49)
Caballo Negro (feat Mu Of La Banda Baston) (2:27)
Review: Mexico City nine-piece Los Musicos De Jose can trace their history right back to 1996, though the current extended line-up has only been playing together for a few years. Traditionally, they've excelled at creating music that adds a little Central Amercian swagger to instrumental funk. On this album, though, they flip the script, delivering an 11-track set that gleefully pays tribute to legendary Cuban bandleader and mambo pioneer Perez Prado. While mambo is the dominant style, you'll also hear nods towards psychedelic funk, hip-hop, rock and other complimentary Latin American styles, not to mention appearances from a swathe of guest vocalists.