Review: Kalita Records are proud and honoured to announce the first ever official reissue of the four choice tracks from Randolph Baker's privately pressed sought-after 1982 disco album 'Reaching For The Stars', plus an unreleased instrumental take of 'Party Life' sourced from the original 24-track analogue master tapes.
Originally recorded at Jim Morris and Rick Miller's Tampa-based Morrisound Studios, 'Getting Next To You' features both a mixture of both local Florida talent plus jazz superstar Nat Adderley and bassist John Lamb at their finest. Originally pressed in a limited run of just one-thousand copies, with no distribution and most copies being sold in the local city and on Randolph's own merchandise table at the back of live gigs, original copies have long been sought-after by both collectors and DJs alike, acknowledged as a true grail and masterpiece in the disco scene and deservedly demanding extortionate figures to those lucky enough to find their own.
Here, in collaboration with Randolph, Kalita Records have chosen to re-release the four choice tracks from the album: 'Getting Next To You', 'Jazzman', 'Callin' Me' and 'Party Life'. The former is an in-demand horn and chant-filled disco masterpiece, which, as Randolph explains, concerns unity and "everyone on the same level in other words, everyone just loving life". It is arguably the song that Randolph is most well-known for in the disco and funk scene and perfect for the modern discerning dance floor. 'Jazzman' is an instrumental track with prominent trumpet and saxophone solos working with funky basslines to produce a truly great jazz-funk groove. It was "a tribute to Nat Adderley and Duke Ellington's bass player, John Lamb, for being so generous and saying yes to the project". 'Callin' Me' is a soulful disco number featuring the lead vocals of Laurie Erickson and is "about being on the road and ensuring loved ones that you will always come back home no matter what. It was like a promise to ensure loved ones they didn't have to worry". Lastly, 'Party Life' is a joyous disco track with a strong funk bassline and horns. As Randolph recalls, it "was the joy like after an actor finishes a movie. There was nothing but joy. It's finished; let's celebrate big time. Where everyone in the studio yelled at the top of their lungs - The End!" Here, with access to the 24-track master tapes we have been able to include the original version plus an unreleased instrumental take, allowing us to focus on the infectious bassline and make it even more ready for the modern dance floor.
Accompanied by extensive interview-based liner notes and never-before-seen photos.
Review: This bold project from Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 captures the world's most prominent afrobeat musicians in the midst of a world tour, entering the studio for a one-shot blast that captures the raw, unpolished talent of a mammoth ensemble locked into a groove. Kuti brought his band to the Artone Studio in Haarlem, Holland, and without rehearsal they laid down this album of effervescent afrobeat grooves in one take, cut direct to disc on the in-studio lathe in a true capturing of the moment. Every vibration in the room going through the cutting lathe's needle, now forever immortalized on this record. What's not to love about that?
Children Of The Night (Ryuhei The Man edit) (3:38)
Children Of The Night (3:59)
Review: Japan seems to excel at everything and anything it does, including reissuing golden jazz funk. This time out, Hysear Don Walker's "Complete Expressions Vol. 2" is mined for the two escapist and mellifluous tracks that make up this essential 7". Ryuhei The Man edits "Children Of The Night" into a smooth flowing bit of late night and romantic jazz funk. It rides on a pensive bass loop and has a subtle sense of drive, while the slower original is that bit more sentimental with its noodling chords and more meandering mood. Both sides are pure winners.
Review: During the 1970s, Dale O. Warren's ever-changing 24 Carat Black project delivered some of the finest hybrid soul-jazz music around, with the project's 1973 debut album considered something of an underground classic. "III" is the collective's third "official" album and was put together by Numero Group following the discovery of a number of 1980s recordings by the late, great Warren (with vocalists Princess Hearn, Vicki Gray, and LaRhonda LeGette) in a storage lock-up. Sparse but warm, languid and jazzy, it's a leisurely, soft-touch collection of cuts stripped of production trickery but high on dewy-eyed vocals, organic drums and tactile instrumentation.
Review: Roberto Aglieri is a noted Italian flutist and composer, and his 1987 album Ragapadani stands as one of his finest achievements. Archeo Recordings are ever hip to the finest treasures hidden away in the folds of esoteric music, Italian or otherwise, and have done a great service in reissuing the album so that it might reach a wider audience. Aglieri's flute sounds haunting and evocative over the range of delicate synth treatments, largely orbiting the minimal realm but with a naive charm that makes the music wholly accessible at the same time. Soothing, thoughtfully crafted music for tender times.
Review: The Awakening is the seventh and final studio album from The Ahmad Jamal trio. It was originally released way back in 1970, and in the years since has become something of a must-have for jazz collectors. Given that finding original vinyl copies is getting increasingly difficult, this reissue is more than welcome. Musically, it's a boisterous and hugely entertaining affair, with Jamal's virtuoso piano playing taking centre stage. With an accompanying drummer and double bass player providing steady, if unspectacular, backing, Jamal tickles the ivories like a man possessed. Along the way, he doffs his cap to a number of then popular jazz styles, remodeling them in his own image.
Review: The buzz around this sophomore set from Bahrandi-born British jazz musician Yazz Ahmed has been palpable. One critic even described it as a "modern jazz masterpiece", and it's easy to see why. While rooted in numerous now traditional jazz styles, it also mines the jauntiness of jazz-funk and draws huge influence from Arabic musical culture. As a result, La Saboteuse is packed full of intoxicating, beautifully performed highlights. Check, for example, the gently foreboding movements of the trumpet and clarinet-laden "Jamil Jamal", the trippy ambient electronica/jazz fusion of "The Space Between The Fish and the Moon" and the skittish, vibraphone-heavy epic that is "Organ Eternal". Simply essential.
Review: Earlier in the year, British-Bahraini jazz musician Yazz Ahmed delivered her second album, a set so good that one critic (rightly) described it as "a modern jazz masterpiece". This surprisingly speedy follow-up is almost as good, and sees the masterful trumpeter and her musical accomplices guide us through a series of inventive original "fusion" compositions that variously fuse elements of big band jazz, Arabic musical culture, spiritual jazz, cinematic soundscapes, Afro-Cuban jazz and Blaxploitation-era jazz-funk. In other words, it's another strong set that confirms that looming superstar status of the effortlessly brilliant Ahmed.
Review: Tony Allen is on record as saying that The Source, his first album on iconic jazz label Blue Note, is the best recording he's made. Given his length of service and vast discography, that's a bold claim. Certainly, it's a fine album, with the legendary drummer and his selected musicians - mostly jazz players from Paris, plus a Cameroonian guitarist and previous Allen collaborator Damon Albarn on one cut - effortlessly blur the boundaries between Afrobeat and the kind of jazz pioneered by Allen's percussion heroes Art Blakey and Max Roach. It's a brilliant hybrid that fits Allen's unique style of drumming like a glove, and there's no doubt that the former Fela Kuti sticks-man is the real star of the show.
Review: Two titans of African music come together for a collaboration that will sadly never be repeated after the passing of the late Hugh Masekela. Allen's instantly recognisable drumming and Masekela's iconic trumpet are a match made in heaven - after all their paths first crossed back in the 70s thanks to Fela Kuti's galvanizing energy. Forget the throwback stuff trying to capture the spirit of the originators, this IS the originators sounding cool and deadly in every way. Funk lovers, Afrobeat heads, curious ears and dancing souls take heed - this right here is an unmissable transmission from two grandmasters in their field.