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: Back in 2016, Crackazat launched the Period Works series as a vehicle for productions that explicitly paid tribute to his influences and inspirations, and in particular his love of glossy, musically rich 1990s US house and garage. Four years on, he's decided to gather together the tracks released so far in one place, adding a trio of previously unheard creations and a couple of bonus remixes to create Period Works - The Album. Highlights are plentiful, from the authentic 1970s disco rush of superb opener 'Waterfalls' and the classic Masters at Work shuffle of 'Fire Drift', to the 'Brazilian Rhyme'-goes-piano house rush of 'Fly Away' and the big room US garage bounce of 'I'll Be There'. The included squelchy, synth-laden rework of Sean McCabe's 'Holding On' is also superb.
Review: Undoubtedly the strongest selling point of Z Records' second set of "Dubstrumentals" (largely instrumental remixes to you and me) is the sheer number of previously unreleased mixes on offer. Sure, the quality of the disco and house cuts on show is uniformly excellent but it's unusual to get so many previously unheard treats in one place. There are some genuine gems, too, including a sparkling Hot Toddy nu-disco instrumental mix of Joey Negro's "Stomp Your Feet", an inspired Saison instrumental of Akabu & Linda Clifford's "Ride The Storm" that features two exquisite extended breakdowns, a must-have "Disco Blend Instrumental" of Joey Negro and Horse Meat Disco's "Candidate For Love", and a stellar, proto-house style dub of The APX's "Sweet Surrender".
Review: To coincide with Z Records' 30th birthday, boss man Dave Lee AKA Joey Negro has been sourcing new remixes of classic back catalogue cuts. Here he showcases the latest, which sees Tropical Disco label mainstay Moodena work his magic on the Sunburst Band's "Big Blow", a track first featured on the Lee-helmed combo's 1998 debut album. Moodena makes the most of the original track's low-down disco-funk feel, looping up the original groove, underpinning it with bouncy new house drums and making the most of Lee and company's brilliant instrumentation (think wah-wah guitar snippets, addictive horn blasts, rich electric piano keys and rubbery bass guitar). It's the kind of rolling, rock-solid revision that sounds like it will cause dancefloor devastation every time it's played.
Review: Remarkably, three decades have now passed since Dave Lee AKA Joey Nergo inaugurated his label, Z Records. To mark the occasion, Lee has compiled this suitably epic, 44-track retrospective. There are plenty of big tunes and underground anthems present- see Jakatta's "American Dream", Raven Maize's "The Real Life", The Sunburst Band's "Everyday" and Doug Willis's "Spread Love" - as well as some of the veteran DJ/producer's favourite catalogue cuts and some slept-on gems. Throw in a string of memorable remixes - think Ame's remix of Akabu's "Phuture Bound", Grant Nelson's vintage rub of Z Factor's "Gotta Keep Pushin" and Joey Negro's revision of Patrice Rushen disco classic "Haven't You Heard" - and you've got a brilliant retrospective of one of house and disco's most consistent labels. Don't sleep!
Review: Unbelievably, this much-sampled classic will be 20 years old next year. No doubt there'll be more new mixes on the way then, but in the meantime there's this very serviceable refix from deep house men-of-the-moment Saison. The London duo wisely leave those very familiar sweeping, string-like pads and Ms Clifford's spoken vocal to retain centre stage and concentrate their efforts on the bottom end, supplying a bassline and tough-but-muted drums to make the track more easily programmable for a new generation of DJs...some of whom won't even have been born when it was first released, but let's not dwell on that!
Review: We can think of few DJs more suited to compile a retrospective of killer 1990s house and garage than Z Records boss Joey Negro and Fanatix member Neil Pierce. It's perhaps unsurprising then that this follow-up to Negro's admired 2015 compilation is packed to the rafters with must-have treats. There are naturally some suitably big cuts present - see Kerri Chandler's fine mix of N-Joi's "Anthem" and Todd Terry's rub of Martha Walsh's "Runaround" - but for the most part the selections will be new to all but a small collection of veteran US garage enthusiasts. Our highlights include the riff-powered goodness of Slam Mode's "100% Power", Marshall Jefferson's deep dub of Screamin' Rachael's "Rock Me" and the soulful rush of Donald O's "Everything's Gonna Be Alright".
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: Foreal People is not an alias that Dave Lee AKA Joey Negro uses that often these days, but back in the late '90s he served up a string of singles under the pseudonym. Here one of those singles, 1999's GQ cover "Shake" featuring vocalist David Grant, is given the remix treat by contemporary disco and house hero Dr Packer. His opening "Re-Shake" has a groovier, looser and warmer vibe than Lee's '99 original, being closer to the sound and feel of GQ's 1982 track (albeit with a few choice contemporary touches and occasional dub style effects). Packer's instrumental revision is naturally even more delay laden, though it's more of a straight vocal-free take than a wild late night dub. Either way, it's rather good.
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: When it comes to blending classic disco and bumpin' peak-time house, few can match Joey Negro - a man who has been offering up disco-fied house jams since the early '90s. There are naturally plenty of his own tracks and remixes on "Put Some Disco In The House", an expansive collection of quality disco-house moments, with highlights including the rolling disco-boogie heat of "Put The Music On It (Original Disco Mix)", the chunky, walking bass-propelled "Dancing Into The Stars" (with Horse Meat Disco and Angela Johnson) and a slamming rework of Sessomato's jazz-funk flavoured "Moody". There's plenty of heat to be found elsewhere, too, with standouts including JKriv and Adeline's "Vertigo", Opolopo's boogie-tinged revision of Sylvester classic "I Need You" and the spiraling disco pump of Yam Who and Jaegerossa's "Grateful".
Review: If you missed any of Z Records most potent releases this year, do not fear: boss man Joey Negro has brought together all of the label's best bits on one handy, plus-sized compilation. There's another chance to savour the Escort style Brooklyn disco revivalism of J Kriv and Adeline's "Vertigo", Sean McCabe's smooth and soulful rework of Detroit Rising and Ron Trent's impeccably musically rich remix of Joey Negro's "Distorting Space Time". Synth-fired boogie goodness is also provided via a superb "Unreleased Dub" of Janet Kay's 1980s gem "Eternally Grateful" and a brilliant Joey Negro rework of the APX, while soaring, string-laden disco hits are dotted throughout the compilation. If you dig disco, house and boogie, you need this in your life.
Review: By now, we should all know what to expect from each new album in Joey Negro's "Remixed With Love" series, namely fantastic new revisions of classic disco, boogie, soul, electro and jazz-funk classics created using the original multi-track tapes. This third volume naturally contains a few inspired revisions of well-known cuts - a riotous take on The Fatback Band's "Do The Bus Stop", an astonishing, dubbed-out version of the Temptations' "Law of the Land" and a soaring, life-affirming rearrangement of Patrice Rushen's "Never Give You Up" included - but also some suitably smart tweaks of lesser-known gems. These include a sublime revision of the APX's '80s gem "Loose Yourself To The Groove" and an insatiable take on Mass Production's "Shante" full of jammed-out electric piano solos and rubbery electric bass.
Review: Less than a month after Joey Negro dropped the original version of "Distorting Space Time" - a Lonnie Liston-Smith inspired chunk of intergalactic party disco rich in trippy instrumentation - as part of the vinyl-only Space Time EP, we're treated to a digital edition containing a trio of tasty reworks. Top of the pile is deep house don Ron Trent's sublime revision, which is not only typically warm, woozy and percussion rich, but also makes great use of dub delays and Joey Nergo's spacey FX. Elsewhere, Fouk successfully breaks up the beats on a formidably jazzy and bass-heavy interpretation, while Negro's own "Space Funk" take sits somewhere between luscious turn-of-the-80s jazz-funk and starlit electrofunk. The producer's use of crunchy Clavinet lines and talkbox scat vocals is particularly alluring.
Review: It may have taken eight years, but Joey Negro has finally got round to putting together a follow-up to his superb Backstreet Brit Funk compilation. Like its predecessor, this sequel shines a light on Britain's under-appreciated musical response to the U.S soul, jazz-funk, disco and electro scenes of the late 70s and early 80s. On the whole, the showcased tracks are altogether deeper selections than those found on volume one, meaning obscure highlights come thick and fast. These include - but definitely aren't limited to - the low-slung disco-funk of Rick Clarke's "Potion", the glassy-eyed breeziness of Paradise's "Stop and Think", the footworker-friendly jazz-funk riot of Touchdown's "Ease Your Mind" and the samba-soaked carnival flavours of "Brazeila" by Brazeila. Oh, and a killer dub of Janet Kay's overlooked Brit-boogie classic "Eternally Grateful" that has never before been released.
Review: Joey Negro's "Love Hangover", a brilliant disco-house cover of the Diana Ross classic of the same name, is the gift that keeps on giving. Here, the eight anniversary 2016 re-master is bundled with two brand new re-rubs by Micky More and Andy Tee. They begin with the "Classic Disco Blend" revision, which is notably looser and more orchestrated in tone than Joey Negro's disco-house original, with the duo allowing every instrument used to sparkle at some point in the mix a-la original Salsoul mixer Tom Moulton. In contrast, their "Groove Culture Blend" beefs up the bottom end and loops key sections for a heavier disco-house vibe.
Review: A chilled Brazilian-tinged boogie cut from the recent Joey Negro epic entitled Produced With Love gets transformed into a piano fuelled, peaktime banger by Swedish jazz musician/producer Crackazat. He retains the Latino flavour of the original but 'adds bags of dance floor energy.' Dave Lee has been one of the most prolific producers in dance music over the last three decades and we would highly recommend the album to anyone who considers themselves a fan of proper house, disco or soul music. It features collaborations with such legends as Diane Charlemagne, Linda Clifford and Alex Mills. In addition to remixes of recent heroes of the scene such as Horse Meat Disco and Peven Everett.
Review: Half the fun of each new Ibiza season is the accompanying DJ mix albums that ensue. Here it's the turn of Z Records' legend, Joey Negro, who compiles and selects Z Records Presents Ibiza 2017. With Joey Negro you know you will always get an expert blend of house and disco, new and old. Here we see exclusives rub shoulders with first time digital virgins. Highlights include Dr Packer's thumping edit of "Change Position (88)" by Brooklyn Express, the hazy bass twangs of "Phantom" by A Band Called Flash and the warm electro of "It's More Fun To Compute" by Negro himself.