Review: Italy's Sound Exhibitions bring us five convincing contemporary funk/jazz-funk cuts courtesy of publicity-shy label regular Funk Windows. 'Agente 007' is a hazy, laidback affair with Hammonds, brass and funk guitar, 'Metrofunk' is a piano-led cut built for staring out of rain-streaked diner windows and, well, 'Film Funk', 'Solhl' and 'Soullight' continue in much the same vein! All five cuts share a cinematic, soundtrack-y feel (somewhere between Blaxploitation and 'Hill Street Blues') that means they're perhaps a little polite for rug-cutting purposes and so better suited to afternoon/bar play, but there's no doubting the craftsmanship involved.
Review: Familiar to labels like Smalltown Supersound and Ninja Tune, legendary Norwegian eight-piece Jaga Jazzist arrive on Brainfeeder with a deep dive into post-rock, jazz and psychedelic themes and synth wave influences. Presenting their first studio album since 2015's Starfire, Pyramid is the result of a reclusive two week recording session deep in the Swedish woodlands, resulting in the group's first ever self-produced record. With the 14-minute-long and classically jazz "Tomita" the crowning track on Pyramid, find some pumping night drives in "Apex" to the retro-active yet futuristic jazz-electro-funk of "The Shrine" or the spacey, new age synth and cosmic jazz in "Spiral Era".
Review: 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!
Review: With a new album on the way before the end of the year on Strut, their new home, Nubiyan Twist unleash two tracks to whet the appetite. 'Tell It To Me Slowly', featuring the almost crooner-style vox of Nick Richardson, is a near-broken soul-jazz workout that's likely to find favour with the likes of Gilles Peterson and Snowboy, while the Nubiya Brandon-sung 'Sugar Cane' takes us into laidback, late-night jazz pastures. Both cuts may be a little polite-sounding for mainstream club tastes, but the specialist spots - and the jazz-dancers - will lap them up.
Review: Idris Ackamoor and The Pyramids are releasing a new album entitled 'Shaman!' via Strut. Ackamoor and The Pyramids formed during the early 1970s as part of Cecil Taylor's Black Music Ensemble, releasing three albums before they disbanded. The album unfolds over four acts with personal musical statements about love and loss, mortality, the afterlife, family and salvation. "When Will I See You Again" is the first single taken from the album and it is one seriously soulful and funky groove that is a great taste of what's to come.
Review: This Grammy-nominated New Orleans' ensemble are known for spreading joy everywhere they go with their cheery, upbeat covers and originals. We haven't heard from them since the start of the summer (that would be festival season then), but now they're back with two new cuts from their much-anticipated forthcoming album On The Spot. Both their keys talents are equally represented starting with an ecstatic cover of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly's conscientious funk jam "Working Together". This is followed by a new original number, "Keepin' It Funky", which holds its own as a swaggering chant-along. Counting down to the album.
Review: When Tru Thoughts heard Vein Melter by New Yorkers Jesse Fischer and Sly5thAve, they just knew that they had to sign it up immediately. Why? Because this EP sees the pair 'reframe' four cuts from Herbie Hancock's classic jazz-funk album Headhunters for a contemporary dance music audience. The results have already gained hype from the likes of Gilles Peterson and Jeremy Sole and Anthony Valadez (KCRW). Highlights include the synthy tribal jam "Chameleon", the bachelor pad seducer "Watermelon Man" and the flutey drum machine groover "Sly". Essential!