Review: Contemporary jazz label outta the UK, First Word, brings us a compilation highlighting a select group of artists, groups and collaborations the label has works with and supports, taking in broken beat, hip hop, jazz and R&B to spoken word and soul. Highlights from its UK roster include tracks by Darkhouse Family, Kaidi Tatham and Sarah Williams White to a streak of US artists in 14KT (and that Tall Black Guy remix) to Muhsinah, Stro Elliot & James Poyser. Special mentions go to Melbourne songstress Allysha Joy, New Zealand jazz drummer Myele Manzanza and Japanese trumpeter Takuya Kuroda! French act Souleance turn out some playful latin breaks in "Mont Maudit" with some classy disco coming outta Don Leisure's "Egg Yolk Bun". Full flavoured First Word selections.
Review: Trumpeter and composer Takuya Kuroda outta Brooklyn, New York (via Kobe, Japan), makes his way to First Word Records. Known for his session work and work with American vocalist Jos? James, Kuroda has garnered his own reputation within the NYC jazz scene for his unique and hybrid sound of soulful jazz, funk, post-bop, fusion and hip hop. A recognised artist on legendary label Blue Note also, Fly Moon Die Soon presents Kuroda's sixth studio album that the artist himself describes as an expression between 'irony', 'nature' and 'the beautiful obscenities of humanity.' Find uplifting, body moving ragtime, beatdown and funk tracks in "TKBK" to the live lounge numbers in "Change (feat Corey King)" to this LP's legendary title track with its sweet Asiatic notation and R&B flavours.
Review: Tom A. Leah, AKA Werkha, should need no introduction to broken beat and nu-jazz lovers by now: the likes of Gilles Peterson and Mr Scruff are regular supporters and he's toured with Bonobo and Chet Faker. This eclectic EP ranges from the wigged-out broken beat of 'Generation X' to the smooth disco-lounge of 'Favourite Corner', via the funk-hop of 'The Key', the cinematic leftfield jazz vibes of 'Swing Thru' and the neo-soul/future R&B of the female-vocalled 'In Sunny G', and as such neatly demonstrates the Glasgow-based Mancunian's stubborn refusal to fit neatly into any one musical box.
Review: Based in London, Teotima (AKA Teotima Ensemble) are a loose collective of musicians specialising in soul-jazz with a world music twist and here, two tracks from their recent 'Wordless' album get remixed to suit the more electronically inclined. Up first is the K15 Remix of 'But I Can't', which sits somewhere between deep house and broken beat, and features a haunting female vocal alongside all manner of weird n' wobbly keyboard sounds. That's accompanied by the Soundspecies Remix of 'If Every If', a slice of dusty, lo-fi electronica with a dubwise sensibility to the production. One to suit those who like their beats on the more cerebral side.