Reviewed this week
During the British jazz-dance scene's late '70s and early '80s boom, there were few DJs that the dancers loved more than Colin Curtis. Still DJing today after 50 years behind the decks, Curtis was a natural choice to put together Z Records' first compilation dedicated to jazz-dance, jazz-funk and fusion sounds. The album is something of a stunner, all told, full of deep selections, floor-burning favourites and high-grade workouts. There's naturally plenty of Latin jazz flavours on show, high-octane thrillers (See Eric Kloss's "The Samba Express"), swinging jazz-funk (check the superb Charles Earland track) and the kind of extended wig-outs that just make you want to bust some serious shapes.
Strut and Art Yard's access to the very best music seems to be a bottomless pit of wonder, and there is no much better way to assert your dominance as a label than releasing killer material from the legendary Sun Ra. Like the last previously unreleased record, Of Abstract Dreams is a session most likely recorded at WXPN FM studios in Philadelphia, back in 1975. The opening "Island In The Sun" carries a majestic paino over triumphant percussion bumps, and "New Dawn" offers a steady, constant groove with that inimitable piano style stretching and twisting wildly around the hi-hats. "Unmask The Batman" is more of a classic bop piece, complete with a tough bottom end, and "I'll Wait For You" is the most experimental of the three, where Ra's singing comes out for the Sun Gods above. Highly recommended!
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