Reviewed this week
It's third time around for this classic album, which Strut first reissued back in 2002. The band known at different times as Juju, Oneness Of Juju, Plunky & The Oneness Of Juju and eventually just Plunky & Oneness have been an institution on the funk, soul and jazz scene from the early 70s right through till the current decade, but this their debut long-player from 1975 arguably captures their distinctive blend of funk, jazz and Afro influences at its rawest and most hard-hitting. This release also now includes the slightly different single version of the title track, plus bonus cut "Afrobeat".
It would be fair to say that Anthony Joseph is an artist of many talents. Over the years he's collaborated with a multitude of top-notch musicians and producers, performed some breathtakingly good poetry and written some damn fine books. "People of the Sun", his latest album, is another triumph. Inspired by Port of Spain's legendary annual carnival, the set sees Joseph wrap his own politically charged spoken word vocals around some joyously positive music bristling with Caribbean musical references. There are naturally nods towards calypso and soca, not to mention plenty of typically tropical instrumental flourishes (steel drums, pedal steel, chiming metallic percussion), though the influence of soul, jazz-funk and, most notably, contemporary jazz is arguably much stronger. Either way, it's a terrific
Germany's Web Web outfit are, inarguably, making some of the finest contemporary jazz around at the minute, often expanding into outernational terrains, such as this latest album for Compost, Dance Of The Deamons. "Land Of The Arum Flower", like much of the album, feels like a well-balanced blend of Mulatu Astatke, for the enigmatic tonalities, of Sun Ra's unpredictability, and much of the session jazz found on imprints like Strata East. Enchanting and psychedelic are two words that spring to mind when hearing the depth and details of tunes like "Agowu" or "Maroc Blues", but the point here is that you are getting some of the only jazz to tap into the African music as well as this. In fact, we'd categorise this as Afro first and foremost, served with a rhythmic sequence of instruments and compositions that are traditionally at the 'jazz' end of the spectrum. Worth a good old listen and, yes, it comes highly recommended.