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: 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: 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!
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: Building on the heat of last year's "Devil Made Me Do It", Alex Puddu's Afro Soul Prophecy returns with more smoking jazz fusions. "Red Light District" is as hot and illicit as the title suggests thanks to its prominent drums and heated horn work. "The Game Of Love" plays the perfect counter with its much softer, sentimental swoons and loungey dynamics. Instant summer soul soothers.
Review: Alongside Schema label-mate Nicola Conte, Gerardo Frisina has been at the forefront of the Italian nu-jazz scene for the best part of two decades. In that time, he's released a string of fine albums, though this full-length excursion - his sixth in total - is Frisina's first since 2014. Like previous sets, it's rooted in jazz and the heavily percussive rhythms of South America, but also looks to dub and deep house for inspiration. While some of the album's more traditional moments are very good - see the breezy "Blue Latin" and "Naquela Base" - it's those blessed with heavy sub-bass and lashings of echo and delay (check "InCantao" and "Baracoa") that hit home hardest.