Review: After several successful releases together, UK soulful house stalwart Sean McCabe returns to ZR, this time for a remix/mix album. We handed over the keys to the vaults of Z Records parts and let him run wild in his underpants. The album features 6 new exclusive McCabe remixes - Monique Bingham, Blackbyrds, The Sunburst Band and Soul Dharma, plus Sean's interpretation of an unreleased Akabu song Time Line". That's all alongside many of Sean's classic remixes, plus his personal favourites from the extensive ZR catalog and a DJ mix.
Review: Horse Meat Disco and Dave Lee previously collaborated on a number of tracks for the former's fine debut album, Love and Dancing, so it's no surprise to see them revisit their previous hook-up with Angela Johnson, 'Dancing Into The Stars'. Lee kicks off proceedings with a 'Super Soulful' mix that joins the dots between warming deep, soulful house, colourful jazz-funk and joyous boogie, before Horse Meat Disco channel the spirit of Patrick Cowley on their throbbing 'Dub Wise Vocal Mix'. Arguably best of all though is the EP-closing 'extended DJ Friendly edit', a ten-minute chunk of celebratory disco-boogie brilliance that's as positive, sunny and cheery as you'd expect.
Review: As the title suggests, this fantastic - and let's face it, pleasingly epic - compilation showcases some of the many disco-centric cuts in the Z Records vaults, throwing in a few exclusives (see Dave Lee's fantastic, hybrid disco-boogie rework of Firefly's 'Love is Gonna Be on Your Side') for good measure. Such is the high-quality threshold that picking stand outs is tough, but our picks of a very strong bunch include the slick, boogie-funk brilliance of Crackazat's 'Sensationalized', Larry Levan's vintage, delay-heavy synth dub of Johnny Dynell's 'Rhythm of Love', the stomping disco-house release of 'Gotta Thing (2021 Remaster)' by Foreal People, Taana Gardner and Dave Lee, and John Morales' epic rework of Sean McCabe's 'Love For Life'. As the old saying goes, this is all killer and no filler.
Review: While Dave Lee has donned many aliases over the years, and worked on many projects, you get the feel that the Sunburst Band, his musician-led tribute to the jazz-funk, disco and boogie of his youth, brings him most joy. 'Listen Love', the first new Sunburst Band single for some time, is certainly a joyous and exuberant affair, especially in its EP-opening 'Jazz Funk Renaissance Mix' form. This is little less than a carnival-ready dance through Brazilian jazz-funk pastures topped off by a superb, partially improvised lead vocal from Wayne Hernandez. Louie Vega and Josh Milan join forces to deliver two headline grabbing reworks: an expansive, full vocal Latin house take and a driving dancefloor dub that's as sweaty and breathless as they come.
Review: Glitterbox resident Dr Packer is a leading light of the contemporary disco scene, while Dave Lee was arguably THE key architect of the whole post-house disco phenomenon in the first place. So when the former helms a compilation on the latter's label, you'd expect great things, and suffice to say you're very unlikely to be disappointed. Hell, for this writer the deep n' sultry JN Revival Mix of early 90s classic 'Do What You Feel' is worth the price of admission on its own, but with Packer's own remixes of label favourites making up over a third of the tracklist, the collection as a whole is pretty much unmissable.
Review: Fresh off a run of hot remixes for Glitterbox is Razor'n'Tape's JKriv who turns the disco arpeggios up to 11 with his soaring remix of Prospect Park's 'The Kinda Love'. Complete with real live strings, rattling percussion and the powerhouse vocals of Yolanda Wynns. JKriv also turns in a completely different more Chic-esque version on his 'Kinda Boogie' Mix. Packing away the synths and bringing the live disco bass and guitar into the spotlight.
Review: Second time around for the Sunburst Band's 'He Is', a track that first featured on the revivalist disco, soul and jazz-funk outfit's 2004 album The End of Time. This time round the headline attraction is a fresh revision from Freerange co-founder Jimpster, who combines snippets of the band's rich, organic instrumentation with his own drowsy late-night chords, tough beats and booming bass to deliver a properly driving, ultra-deep club rocker. Those who like energy and dreaminess will love it. The EP also offers another chance to listen to band founder Dave Lee's 2005 'Club Mix', a rather fine fusion of bustling deep house and glassy-eyed jazz-funk flourishes that boasts some seriously soaring improvised vocals and synth solos to die for.
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 is the 300th release from Dave Lee's Z Records, who also celebrate their 30th anniversary this year. 'Power Of The Mind' bites an uplifting 80s male soul vocal from the Valentine Brothers, who are best known for 'Money's Too Tight To Mention' (as later covered by Simply Red), placing it atop crisp 4/4s, a heavyweight disco bassline, organ parps and vintage-style hands-in-the-air pianos, the end result being a timeless piece of disco-fuelled house music that's built with Saturday night peaktime play firmly in mind, and that's served in simple vocal and dub flavas. Impeccable stuff - long may they continue!
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: Released on Joey Negro's Z Records, Rio spinner DJ Meme whips through thirty of the best from Z on this new mix - available either as individual unmixed tracks or as one continuous mix. Always a haven for the best soulful and funky house, Z Records highlights such as JN's mix of Doug Willis' "Power To The People", Sean McCabe's mix of JD73's "Think Twice" and Akabu's "The Phuture Ain't What It Used To Be" make for an effortlessly bumping and uplifting voyage.
Review: Covering the many guises of Dave "Joey Negro" Lee, Z Records compile some of the British house don's most 'beefa-shaped moments on this new, 25-track collection. Recent delights, such as his collaboration with Gramaphonedzie ("No Sugar") and his more soulful Doug Willis project ("Music Speaks Louder Than Words") mix up against classics such as "The Real Life" (done under Lee's "Raven Maise" alias) and tribal-house anthem "American Dream" - here represented with the extended "Different Gear" mix. Look out also for The Revenge's excellent edit of the disco bomb "Kilimanjaro" by Letta Mbulu.