Formed in 2019 by DJ Nikolay 'Marcon' Markov and guitarist Yanko Argirov, DJ Marcon & The Palo Santos are an Afrobeat-inspired outfit from Bulgaria who made their debut on Timewarp Music with 'Parara' just a few months ago. Now they return to the Greek label with another Fela-tastic two-tracker that you just know is going to be big with the likes of Gilles Peterson and Mr Scruff. The saxophone takes centre stage on the lively, upbeat 'Still Here' itself, while a trumpet does more of the heavy lifting on the accompanying 'Journey South', which could find favour with the bruk beat crew.
Label newcomer Canopy Records, compiled and conceptualised by label head Sumosui, sends out some super Afro transmission for this first release. 'Africa No 1' is a single that features a superb tune from Benin City in Edo State, Nigeria, which was first put out locally in 1987. It is by the late great Nigerian reggae artist Ehi Duncan and his The Africa Army Express band and next to the uplifting original are two new mixes from Captain Planet. He brings the tune into the modern day with some tight key, horn and synth sounds for the first mix, and the second is a slower, more mid-tempo bit of afro disco. Lovely vibes.
One of the soul scene's most influential DJs, it's little surprise that Colin Curtis' Jazz Dance Fusion compilations on Z Records have been so impressive. He's dived even deeper into his vast record collection on this third volume, serving up a fine array of both classic cuts and sought-after obscurities. There's naturally plenty of Latin jazz on show - the backbone of the jazz-dance scene since the 1970s - but also forays into spiritual jazz, Hammond-heavy dancefloor workouts (see the sweaty 'Yatra Ta' by Martin Johnson), soul-jazz (JuJu), energy-packed percussion jams (GeeW) and Afro-Latin fusion (The Drive).
As always, the Breakbeat Paradise team are bang in form as they unveil yet another top quality drop, this time welcoming the explosive sounds of Boydex inside, who delivers a weighty five track collection. We open up with the bulbous bounces of 'Push it', which sees the team link up with Sully Sax & Pecoe for an old school funkadelic freak out, followed by the horn-driven title track 'Funk Fam' and disco-laced delights of 'Cosmic Funk', which also sees Stabfinger move into the collaborative harness. Two more corkers to round off then as 'Party' lets fly another dizzy display of brass and guitar combos, before the stuttered drum taps and distant vocal sampling of 'Ease Your Mind' gives us a crunchy landing to close out with. Lovely work!
Welsh harpist Amanda Whiting is a staunch favourite on the live jazz circuit and has worked with an impressive array of musicians, ranging from Jazzanova to DJ Yoda, Danni Minogue and Jamie Cullum. This, her second full-length, follows hard on the heels of last year's debut 'After Dark' (also on Jazzman) and suffice to say the title gives you a pretty good idea what to expect - many of the cuts here are probably better described as "pieces" rather than "songs". It'll all be a bit too polite, restrained and library music-ish for some, but if gentle, lilting downtempo grooves are what get you through the day then you'll be in your element.
The Jazz A Vienne festival has been drawing jazz lovers to southeastern France every year since 1981, and now they mark their Covid-delayed 40th anniversary with a 14-track compilation featuring a blend of brand new material and classic live recordings from the festival itself - "hard bop, pure jazz classicism and hip-hop urgency united in a single breath," is how they put it. It's one of the vintage nuggets - The Milt Jackson & Hank Jones All-Star Quartet's 1997 recording of 'Delilah' - that provides the album's standout cut for yours truly, but with the likes of Lalo Schiffrin and Gilberto Gil nestling up alongside a host of younger artists, jazzbos of a more tradtional (but definitely not 'trad') mindset will find much to enjoy here.