On his milestone tenth studio album, In the Spirit of Ntu, the visionary South African pianist, composer, improviser, and healer Nduduzo Makhathini condenses the thematic, sonic, and conceptual notions explored over his catalog into a layered yet accessible 10-track album. In addition to Makhathini's influences such as John Coltrane, Bheki Mseleku, McCoy Tyner and Abdullah Ibrahim, In The Spirit of Ntu pulls his most foundational cultural Influences into a space where the sounds of the South African landscape are placed at the center of the nation's evolving jazz songbook. In the Spirit of Ntu is Makhathini’s second album to be released on Blue Note Records in partnership with Universal Music Group Africa, and the very first release on the newly formed imprint Blue Note Africa. A central figure of the country’s vibrant jazz scene, Makhathini assembled a band consisting of some of South Africa’s most exciting young musicians including saxophonist Linda Sikhakhane, trumpeter Robin Fassie Kock, vibraphonist Dylan Tabisher, bassist Stephen de Souza, percussionist Gontse Makhene, and drummer Dane Paris, as well as guest vocalists Omagugu Makhathini and Anna Widauer, and America saxophonist Jaleel Shaw.Order here
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Four years after Nuova Napoli, Nu Genea are back with Bar Mediterraneo, a new album and journey, which projects the sounds of the Neapolitan duo formed by Massimo Di Lena and Lucio Aquilina even further. Nu Genea's Bar Mediterraneo is an idea of a shared place where people meet and fuse together; a space that leaves its doors open to travellers and their lives, always exposed to the whims of fate. Some of this can be experienced through the multitude of sounds that come together in the tracks, layers of different acoustic instruments, voices and synthesizers merging in a unique musical blend. Opening up to the voices of many different people, separated by languages but united by the sea and the music, Nu Genea's hometown, Napoli, becomes a true place of encounter. You can hear this all along. In "Gelbi", a gorgeously deep and propulsive Ney flute plunges into murky waters of the melancholic Tunisian dialect sung by Marzouk Mejri. In "Marechia'", unbridled happiness and sun ooze from the delicate vocals of Célia Kameni and create an acrobatic bridge between French and Neapolitan language. In "Straniero", your soul is arrested from the moment the slow spell-binding mandolin ignites the hypnotic patterns recorded by the legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen. In "Bar Mediterraneo", the title track, bittersweet guitar’s riffs, analog waves and choirs are overwhelming the song giving you what you would like to hear on a boat trip along the Amalfi Coast. Nu Genea couldn't afford to overlook their firmly anchored roots into the Neapolitan culture and its dialect with "Tienaté", where the power of neapolitan language (interpreted by Fabiana Martone) supports those quarter-tone strings and the uncessant folk-disco groove that spreads to the entire song. In "Praja Magia", repetitive mandolin riffs lead the song, giving space to a choral yet tight vocal line that speaks of Varcaturo, a village close to Napoli. In "Rire", a volley of poetic, deceptively laidback, lyrical fury interpreted by Sicilian Marco Castello intimately combines with a highly musical, multitextured instrumental backbone and the swoon of a chanson in its heart. In "La Crisi'', the lyrics of a Raffaele Viviani’s poem from 1930 have been adapted to a laidback jazz-funk groove in full NG style. In "Vesuvio", revaluing the evocative verses and powerful mantra of Vesuvio, Nu Genea re-adapted to the dancefloor a folk song by the working-class band E’ Zezi from Pomigliano D'Arco, combining the voices of a school choir with Jupiter-6 arpeggios and bold percussions. Bar Mediterraneo is the place where people constantly return to transform curiosity into participation, tradition into sharing, unfamiliar into familiar. When travellers come through its “doors”, carrying their treasures of words and emotions, they aren’t strangers any more. They take part in a shared experience, enriching themselves and others by leading to unexpected musical journeysOrder here
A complete album masterpiece in every sense of the word, considered by many people to be one of the greatest ever made, regardless of genre.
Recorded at Studio Somil, Rio De Janeiro in 1972, the album was produced, arranged, directed by the self-taught, Arthur Verocai. Previously he had worked on many records in various capacities, with artists including Jorge Ben, Ivan Lins and Celia, but this album gave him the chance to do his thing in it’s most pure form.
The 29 minute masterpiece, perfect in it’s arrangement and fusion of sonics, epitomises the sound of Brazil at the time; strings, guitars, pianos, break beats, bass lines, synthesizers, vocals from the wonderful Célia, Carlos Dafe and Oberdan (Banda Black Rio), plus percussion from Pedro Santos and Paulo Moura on sax. Bossa nova, samba, jazz, MPB, psychedelics and funk sit side by side effortlessly.
The album transcends the genre of Brazilian music, and infact all genres. Highlighted in part by the number of artists that have sampled from it; MF Doom, Ludacris & Common, Little Brother, Jneiro Jarel aka Dr Who Dat?, Dibiase and Action Bronson amongst others.
The original Continental version of the album now fetch around $2000. Our definitive re-issue is an exact replica of the gatefold original LP and the source master is taken from the Continental tapes, re-mastered in 2012 under Arthur’s supervision.
Ben Worrall has made many great records as Crackazat, but has yet to make the kind of ambitious, musically expansive, sonically detailed album that many of us have long believed he's capable of delivering. Until now. Evergreen, his third full-length and first for five years, is simply sublime: an unashamedly soulful, life-affirming set that blends superb vocals and jazz-funk inspired instrumentation (think incredible horn arrangements, smooth bass guitar, twinkling keys and glistening guitars) with the luscious, warming deep house beats that have long been his calling card. It's basically the sound of summer 2022 - in our world, at least -and may well eventually be looked on as one of the finest deep house albums of all time. Yes, it really is that good!Get the vinyl here!
Zach Phillips & Olia Eichenbaum met online in late 2018 and quickly began collaborating remotely, and in France and Brooklyn. First working together under the name the Pearly Gates, they toured western Europe together in 2019 with a common band shared between Olia's group Œ and Zach's Ma Clément & Fievel Is Glauque groups.
After a year of rest, during the early months of the pandemic they started sending music and lyrics back and forth. Before they knew it, the entire Perfect Angels album was written and recorded in under a month, with Olia & the guests' remote overdubs taking a bit more time. It was recorded entirely to Tascam 388 1/4" 8 track tape with computers intervening only during guest overdubs, mixing and mastering.
I'd like people to know that although I play thick guitar harmony on every song, and although I'm somewhat proficient on bass which I also play on every track, I do not play guitar and only manage to record it by taking the original piano voicings I've written and overdubbing them on one string at a time, a technique I developed in 2014 and which is somewhere between never-ever-done and extremely-uncommon. many of the resulting chords are more "pianistic" close-harmony voicings that are in general not possible to play by a single guitarist in standard tuning.
overall I think "Exit" is my best-done overdub work yet (since I have lately concentrated more on recording 100% live) along with Blanche Blanche Blanche "Wink With Both Eyes" and CE Schneider Topical "Antifree," and I love working with Olia. the band name is a joke about how hard both of us are to deal with. : - )
it's worth mentioning that the two of us share some natural sensitivity pursuant to my outsized role in the record and the generalized misogyny that tends to delegitimize and sideline women's contributions to creative work, so it should be understood that Perfect Angels was made collaboratively with input/contributions from and conversation with Olia beyond her merely sending in vocals; I don't usually use the word "producer" (nor "collaboration," which reminds me of the Third Reich and late capitalist business ideology) but I think it would be correct to bill us as "co-producers" of the album.
the album title / title track is a reference to Jacques Lacan's 10th seminar on Transference / Plato's Symposium and we talked about Lacan and Socrates a lot during the making of the record; we are both, in different ways, students of psychoanalysis.
‘Little Orphan Boy’ is the second single taken from album ‘This Is Brian Jackson’, presented with remixes by Two Soul Fusion, a.k.a. Louie Vega and Josh Milan.
The veteran artist’s first true solo LP in over 20 years, ‘This Is Brian Jackson’ is produced by Phenomenal Handclap Band founder Daniel Collás. Collás lovingly re-frames and updates ideas and demos that Jackson first laid down back in 1976, right around the time he recorded ‘Bridges’ with Gil Scott-Heron, for a solo project that never saw the light of day... until now.
Alongside his ‘Two Soul Fusion’ partner Josh Milan, Louie Vega gives the album’s closing track ‘Little Orphan Boy’ two truly vintage remix treatments, taking the song on an eclectic, soul-stirring, timeless journey. The extended ‘Two Soul Fusion’ mix calls to mind the golden era of Masters at Work productions, featuring a Latin-infused percussion groove, shimmering organs and in-the-cut funky guitar lines. The ‘Downtempo’ remix lets Brian Jackson’s vocals ride over a head-nodding, stripped back, yet equally soulful arrangement.
“A dream to work with Brian Jackson” says Louie Vega. “I mean, he’s a big part of our musical landscape and has been a huge inspiration in our lives. From way back to my early years in the Bronx, through to my DJing and producing career, into productions like Nuyorican Soul, Elements of Life, Kenlou, Brian and Gil have always been with us! Now to work on such an amazing song with Brian’s keyboard work and lead vocal, it made it so much easier for Two Soul Fusion (Josh and I) to find that pocket and groove. We had to create anepic piece and take you on a trip through several styles, it was calling for it. That’s due to the original work of Brian Jackson, a true Master at Work & Two Soul Fusion hero!!! I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next on the horizon with us and the one & only Brian Jackson.
Brian Jackson: "I have always loved the musicality and the rhythmic power that surges through the artistry of Louie Vega since I first heard him in Masters at Work. I made a silent wish that one day I would hear one of my songs given that special treatment. Imagine my elation to know that it would finally happen - with a song I wrote and recorded 45 years ago for a solo project that might have never happened if not for producer Daniel Collás and BBE chief Peter Adarkwah! Louie, along with Two Soul Fusion partner Josh Milan and I are alike in so many ways, I knew that if we ever got together, magic would happen and well... here’s to magic! My love and gratitude to Louie, Josh, Daniel, Peter and the beautiful BBE family.”Get it here
Group Theory: Black Music is a stunning new statement from South African drummer and composer Tumi Mogorosi. Standing in the lineage of South African greats such as Louis Moholo-Moholo, Makaya Ntshoko and Ayanda Sikade, Mogorosi is one of the foremost drummers working anywhere in the world, with a flexible, powerful style that brings a distinctive South African inflection to the polyrhythmic tradition of Elvin Jones, Max Roach and Art Blakey. Since his international debut on Jazzman Records in 2014 with Project ELO, Mogorosi has been in the vanguard of the South African creative music scene’s burgeoning outernational dimension, taking the drummer’s chair in both Shabaka Hutchings’ Shabaka and The Ancestors formation and with avant-garde noiseniks The Wretched.
As Mogorosi’s first project as leader since 2014, Group Theory: Black Music marks a return to the drummer’s musical roots. The sound is anchored in the transnational tradition of Great Black Music, with the core of the group comprising a quintet of newcomers Tumi Pheko (trumpet) and Dalisu Ndlazi (bass) alongside the experienced guitarist Reza Khota, with Mogorosi himself and altoist Mthunzi Mvubu, another Ancestors member, representing the current generation of South Africa’s creative music torchbearers. Motivated by Mogorosi’s driving dynamism, the group create deep-hued modal grooves that burn with a contemporary urgency, while established pianist Andile Yenana brings an elder voice to three of the tracks. Featured vocalists Gabi Motuba (Project ELO, The Wretched) and Siyabonga Mthembu (The Brother Moves On) take differing approaches to the spiritual standard ‘Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child’, while poet Lesego Rampolokeng pours out lyrical fire on ‘Where Are The Keys?’, creating a bridge back to the Black Consciousness movement and figures such as Lefifi Tladi and Wally Mongane Serote.
But where Group Theory: Black Music moves an established format dramatically forward is in the addition of a ten-person choir. Conducted by Themba Maseko, their massed voices soar powerfully above every track as a collective instrument of human breath and body, and enter the album into the small but significant number of radical recordings to have used the voice in this way, such as Max Roach’s "It’s Time", Andrew Hill’s "Lift Every Voice", Billy Harper’s "Capra Black", and Donald Byrd’s "I’m Trying To Get Home". At the same time, the presence of this wall of voices brings an inextricable connection to the venerable tradition of South African choral music, and to the importance that the Black choir has had for South Africa’s religious, political and social cultures, including the culture of South African creative music itself. From the Manhattan Brothers and the choral compositions of Todd Matshikiza to figures such as Johnny Dyani and Victor Ndlazilwane, the collective power of voice has been one of the cornerstones of improvised creative music in the country.
‘I started out in a choir’, says Tumi, as he reflects on the significance of Black voices in concert. ‘There’s this idea of mass, of a group of people gathering, which has a political implication. And the operatic voice has both a presence, and a capacity to scream, a capacity for affect. The instrumental group can sustain the intensity of that affect, and the chorus can go beyond improvisation, toward communal melodies that everyone can be a part of.’
This potential for communality in the music swings close to Group Theory’s conceptual centres of gravity. The title refers to the mathematical theory of the same name, the essentials of which concern the axioms that make a simple set of items into a true mathematical group – associativity, closure and an identity element. These mathematical ideas offered Mogorosi a metaphorical platform for thinking about the way that individual players in a musical unit are also bound together at the moment of creation, in a unity that begins to challenge the individual and complicates conventional ideas of leadership and hierarchy. In bringing experienced musicians such as Yenana and Khota into the orbit of younger players, Mogorosi also wants to re-orientate the idea of teacher-student relations toward a more open vision of intergenerational knowledge sharing. ‘We are looking for questions, not answers’, he says.
Mogorosi’s overarching vision on Group Theory: Black Music is encapsulated by the touchstone quotation from Amiri Baraka – ‘New Black Music is this: Find the self, then kill it.’ For Mogorosi, these words speak to an essential feature and function of Black creative and improvised art – the search for the point where individual boundaries collapse into the universal ongoing flow of the music, at the moment of group creation. This flow is not local, it is transglobal, and it joins the music of the diaspora with Africa, allowing connections and relations to range across historic and contemporary spaces of struggle, self-determination and transformation. Such effects are also transtemporal, dropping deep down into the wells of history to bring forth sounds from the present and future, and allowing the music to burrow back into the past. As Baraka’s words imply, the individual cannot escape this search unchanged, and the creative musician does not desire to: in the time of its creation, New Black Music intends to flow into and through the performers from sources beyond them. The writer of a song is never the only author; the soloist always speaks for others; the leaders are never one but a host of many. Previous times and places, previous performances and compositions, previous souls and struggles are always made manifest in the music; the search for the inner self is also a quest to dissolve the individual into the living soundways of those who came before and those who will come after. ‘The album is under my name,’ says Tumi, ‘but the ideas aim at a decentring of the individual composer or author, and a a decentring of the idea of the “leader” – it tries to encapsulate the idea of a group effect, to go beyond the point of origin, and it refuses geo-specific narratives.’
South African creative and improvised music, with its nomadic history of journeys between the US, Europe and South African, has always been exemplary of these ongoing processes, and it is fitting that Group Theory: Black Music should itself be the result of an international collaboration. Starting from a shared vision and understanding of the parallels between the music being made in their respective countries, South African label Mushroom Hour Half Hour and London based label New Soil were able to pool their resources to support Tumi’s large-scale creative vision for this project and enable it to find the global audience it seeks and deserves.Pre-order here
At Jazzman have already given legitimate release to albums that fell foul of the notorious '70s 'tax scam' practice, namely those by Sounds of the City Experience and Ricardo Marrero. It now gives us great satisfaction to present Reality's 'Disco Party' album, for the very first time in agreement with the surviving members of the band. Possibly the most obscure of all the obscurities in the TSG catalogue, 'Disco Party' isn't actually 'disco' at all, moreover it's a fully rounded excursion into mid-70s dancefloor funk and proto-disco-jazz, performed by a group of expert musicians at the height of their powers. Recorded in one long session in NYC, until now, bandleader Dr. Otto Gomez and the rest of his crew had never even heard the recordings they'd made almost 50 years ago. Indeed, none of the band even knew that their album had been released!
At Jazzman, we consider it our mission to shine new light on music that went under-appreciated at the time of its original release. There are many varied circumstances which can cause an otherwise great record to not do so well - for instance, poor budget, marketing, promo and sometimes just plain old bad luck. Perhaps the most unjust circumstance involves the tax loss releases of the mid-70s - records made purely to cheat a few dollars out of the tax man.
Here, along with restoring the music, we have dug deep into the backstory of the group, interviewing Gomez and others to find out exactly who this unheralded NYC funk orchestra were and what happened to them before and after the monumental session laid out on this record. Our liner notes tell the story of the TSG label and the 'tax loss' phenomenon, and we delve into the history of the band from their humble beginnings as the Smokin' Shades of Black(!) to the present day. We also find out exactly what it means to record some brilliant music - only to have it taken away - and discarded.Vinyl here
Recorded when Johnny Walker was touring Worldwide with Veteran Jazz Star Lionel Hampton in 1982 and originally released on his own Private Press label: Walk On Productions.
This neglected underground classic LP has been off the radar since then except for the appearance of "Dipping" on the Kev Beadle – Private Collection (Independent Jazz Sounds From The Seventies And Eighties) compilation on BBE Records.
Almost unknown and unjustly negected, it's a funk drenched jazz journey with some crunchy fat beats laid down by the excellent rhythm section complementing Johnny Walkers cool horn stylings.
Reminiscent of the albums of that early Jazz Dance era by Tom Browne and Rahmlee but with less of a commercial style and with a wholly instrumental edge this is Funky Jazz of the first magnitude that has not dated and sounds like it was fresh out of the studio in 2022.
Funk all the way on "Dipping" and "Dirkie" while "Arrival" is one for the Jazz Dancers.Listen here. Releases June 23
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