Review: The release of Dave Lee's annual Essentials collection on Z Records - a kind of "best of the year" from his now 30-year-old imprint - is fast becoming as much of a Christmas tradition as family arguments, disappointing presents and undercooked turkey. Predictably the 2020 edition is once again up to scratch, with the much-loved Essex producer showcasing some seriously good disco, deep house, soulful house and revivalist dancefloor jazz-funk. Our picks of a very strong bunch include the rushing, sunshine soulfulness of Crackazat's 'Waterfalls', the Vision's 2020 re-rub of Jakatta and Seal classic 'My Vision', Michael Gray's extra-percussive disco-house take on Hi Voltage's 'Let's Get Horny', the celebratory brilliance of Art of Tones and Anduze's 'Flower Child', and the Shur-I-Kan's previously unreleased instrumental rework of Mistura's 'Smikle For Me'.
Review: This excellent collection from Z Records draws together some of boss man Joey Negro's favourite label cuts of 2019, many of which he of course had a hand in either producing or remixing. There are naturally tons of superb multi-track remixes of disco gems old and new (see the versions of the O'Jays, Delia Renee, Tamiko Jones and Double Exposure), as well as fresh revisions of vintage Joey Negro house productions under other aliases (Doug Willis, Z Factor, Foreal People) and a swathe of killer cuts that join the dots between disco and house (Sunkids and Chance, Four80 East and CeCe Peniston, Bobby D'Ambrosia and Michelle Weeks). Throw in tracks and remixes from the likes of Fouk, Crackazat and Lay-Far and you have a superb collection of peak-time-ready workouts.
Review: The Z Records crew is off to the White Isle of Ibiza and they want us to dance along at home - hence this fittingly summery selection of celebratory disco and house gems. There are naturally plenty of recent label highlights (see the cuts from Crackazat and JKriv & Adeline) and a swathe of fine tracks and revisions from boss man Joey Negro. Amongst the many highlights you'll find the celebratory disco brilliance of Bob Sinclar, Dimitri From Paris and Byron Stingily's "Love Is The Answer", the boogie/house/soul fusion of Opolopo's colourful revision of "Searching" by Roberto De Carlo and Dyanna Fearon, the soulful house sweetness of Cookie's "Best Part of Me (Unreleased Original Mix)", and Faze Action's epic, solo-laden, jazz-funk style re-make of Raven Maize classic "Forever Together".
Review: Last year Dave Lee AKA Joey Negro released his first single under the long-running Mistera alias (one of a dozen or so pseudonyms he's used throughout his production career) for almost five years. It's taken a little less time to deliver the follow-up, a deliciously positive chunk of real disco/soulful house fusion featuring the distinctive vocals of long-serving chanteuse Angela Johnson. Each of the three mixes is rather good, all told, with the sweet and summery "Disco Blend" version - all live instrumentation, swirling strings and soaring vocals - being our pick of a strong bunch (though the solo-laden "Sunburst Keys Mix" instrumental is also rather good).
Review: Dave Lee's Z Records imprint has always been a reliable source of the sort of grandstanding house, soulful garage and disco-flecked grooves that require strong vocals. Lee, of course, is a past master at this kind of thing, and his 20-plus year career has seen him forge links with many legendary vocalists. This compilation celebrates those 'divas' - there are notable appearances from Taana Gardner, Gwen Guthrie, Thelma Houston, Michele Weeks and Taka Boom - by showcasing some of their best work for Z. There's some great material peppered throughout, from the classic disco-soul of the Sunburst Band's "In The Thick of It" and "Everyday", to the block party electrofunk of Kola Kube's cover of Carly Simon's "Why".
Review: Joey's live band get geared up for the summer with a brand new single. It's been a while since we heard any brand new material - almost four years in fact - but, as with pretty much all of Dave Lee's projects, it's been worth the wait. With soothing harmonies, infectious percussion, a gutsy bass groove and lavish strings, it's an instant heart warmer with instant appeal. For those looking for a more stripped back groove, head directly to the Latin Escapade dub where you'll hear that slick, strolling bass in all its live glory. There's also an instrumental, reprise AND accapella on offer, meaning no DJ need is left out. Truly sun-splashed, let's hope it encourages some better weather...