Review: As usual, Z Records' annual compilation of catalogue tracks doing business over on the White Isle is packed to the rafters with high-grade dancefloor treats. It opens with a sweltering Dave Lee and Harry Romero mix of Z Factor's '90s house classic 'Ride The Rhythm' and ends with Lee's string-laden disco rework of Foreal People's 'Does It Feel Good To You'; in between, you'll find an attractive mixture of bouncy Afro-boogie revivalism (Emmaculate's extended mix of 'Dougswana' by Dave Lee as Doug Willis), reworked Z Records classics (Atjazz giving a classic-but-percussive deep house feel to Jakatta's 'American Dream'), super-soulful house (Wipe The Needle),driving disco-house (Prospect Park) and breezy piano house (Sean McCabe's 'Italo Piano' mix of Soul Dhamma). As the old clich? goes, this is genuinely "all killer, no filler".
Review: Four mixes to choose from of this latest offering from UK disco don Dave Lee, which sees him teaming up with male vocalist Lifford and reassuming an alias (Raw Essence) that he hasn't used for about 20 years or so. The Extended Album Mix rocks pure early 80s boogie vibes, executed of course with Lee's usual impeccable production values, while the Dub It Again Mix brings the 80s synths forward. Lazywax's vocal and instrumental remixes, meanwhile, strip things right back to bare bones and as such may work better on those floors that lean more to the soul (as opposed to disco) side of the street.
Review: No, Essex's favourite disco don hasn't had a senior moment and accidentally covered Supermen Lovers' early 00s commercial house smash. Instead, he's teamed up with UK soul legend Omar on a brand new track that's... well, pretty much as unmissable as you'd expect a collaboration between Dave Lee and Omar to be! 'Starlight' comes served in fairly self-explanatory Club Edit, Extended Album Mix and Extended Instrumental rubs - I'd head for the album mix if I were you, because that's where a truly sublime jazz-funk piano line worthy of Rodney F himself gets to really shine though in all its glory.
Review: 'Garden of Love' is now one of the oldest tracks in the bulging back catalogue of Dave Lee's jazz-funk and boogie inspired Sunburst Band outfit. It was first featured on the outfit's debut album Here Comes The Sunburst Band and has been remixed a number of times since. The latest to give the track a good seeing to are Heist Recording chiefs Dam Swindle. Their take is driving but groovy, with the band's original instrumentation - dazzling Rhodes electric piano motifs, jazzy boogie bass, spiralling synth sounds - and vocalisations riding a bumping deep house beat. Lee provides his own re-edit of their remix, chopping it down slightly while alternating between the more euphoric and stripped-back sections of the Dam Swindle interpretation.
Review: Two new remixes here of this Afro-flavoured production by Dave Lee in his Doug Wilis guise, which first came out back in 2007, and which was also remixed by Audiowhores the following year. The man picked to do the honours for 2022 is Emmaculate, AKA Chicago's Eric Welton, who doesn't flip the script too much, retaining the hi-life-ish feel of the Original but now augmenting the Rhodes that took the lead first time around with some scorching sax work. An Instrumental is also supplied, so if you'd rather dispense with the chanted male vox, you can.
Review: Older heads, don't get it twisted! This isn't, as I first thought, our man Dave revisiting the Sharone track of the same name that came out on his Republic label way back in 1989, but rather a brand new cut that's serve up in a choice of three mixes. The Dave Lee Destination Boogie Mix is aptly titled and hence fairly self-explanatory, but as appealing as that sugar-sweet female vocal is, it's his Taste The Bass Dub that wins out for yours truly. Again, little explanation required there - and the same goes for the acapella that completes the package.
Review: A slightly confusing release this, because these appear to be remixes of a track that's never actually been released in its original form. With no social media presence whatsoever, we'll also assume Risque Connection is another new alias for Mr Lee himself, the name presumably a nod to reggae producer Joe Isaacs' late 70s disco covers outfit Risco Connection. As for the record itself... well, you know Norma Jean Wright's 1978 original, and you probably know Lee's 2000 take with Taka Boom and East 57th Street's 1997 version with Donna Allen as well! No big surprises here, then, but with Gray and Lee at the helm you can't really go wrong, can you?
Review: Dave Lee's annual round-up of 'essential' cuts from the catalogue of his Z Records imprint is always worth picking up, and this year's edition is no different. Packed with high-grade disco, deep house and what would once have been called 'US garage' (that's soulful house, kids), it's a near faultless selection that will keep you in peak-time anthems for months to come. Our picks of an extremely strong bunch include the electric piano-heavy, downlow disco-funk bounce of 'In Your Blood' (a rare collaboration between Lee, Darcus and Roland Wrightangle), Sean McCabe's lusciously warm and groovy take on Matty, Monique and Monique Bingham's 'Now What', Andres' loopy, boogie-tinged deep house version of Joey Negro and Sacha Williamson's 'I Recognise', and Backroom Productions' recently reissued rework of their own 'The Rhythm' (as The Power).
Review: 'In Your Blood' first cropped up on a 'Remixed With Love' release, which implies Roland Wrightangle & Darcus are real people and not just another new alias for the many-hatted Mr Lee, but we can't be entirely certain! Either way, 'In Your Blood' is certainly authentically 70s-sounding whichever of the three mixes you plump for - the raw, looping funk of the Dave Lee In The Music Mix, a slightly deeper/mellower/jazzier rub from Ron Basejam, or the fairly self-explanatory Dave Lee Bloody Dubby mix. Proof, were any required, that the boy from Essex still does it better than most!
Review: Essex's own disco don Dave Lee reassumes his late 90s/early 00s Prospect Park mantle for this Saturday night-friendly outing on his own long-running Z Records. There are no major surprises on offer, it has to be said - this is straight-up disco/soulful house of the kind that could have come out at any point in the past 25 years. What must ALSO be said, though, is that Dave does this sound waaaaay better than most - having helped invent it! - and with self-explanatory Disco Re-Shake and Jazzy Re-Shake mixes on offer, fans will be more than satisfied, with the latter's fluid jazz-funk geetar winning out for yours truly.
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: 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: 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: 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.