Review: INFRACom! recently celebrated promoting nu-jazz artists for over 20 years with the literally titled compilation, Twenty+ Years Rooted In Jazznotjazz. An album highlight, "Driver" by the Matthias Vogt Trio, now gets its turn in spotlight as a single. Its lost none of its sparkle, instead it's shimmering, melancholic noodles twinkle like never before. There is also an exquisite, dramatically orchestrated version supplied by Joash too.
Review: Here we have the latest single from this veteran act's latest album, Kaleidoscope. The album marked a sea change for the band, who, having previously only recorded cover versions, decided to record original material with a host of singers like N'dea Davenport and Mediha. The latter is featured here on this light and breezy jazzy, acoustic pop number. If you want this a little fruitier however, then opt for Opolopo's energised Mediterranean house version.
Review: Italy's Gabriele Poso recently delivered his Roots Of Soul album, and such was the response, they've now decided to release a remix edition "A Night With You" is remixed by Yoruba twice: the house mix conjures up 70s Stevie Wonder with a pilled up salsa band (including over enthusiastic whistle blower) serenading diners in a open-air Euro restaurant. Their soul remix loses the heavy beats for a breezier rendition. Elsewhere, the Atjazz remix of the instrumental "Roots Of Soul" is classic Balearica and "With Me Come Fly (Dodi Palese)" is edgy trance with diva vocals.
Review: Italian singer Gabriele Poso has recorded with Nicola Conte and Osunlade, on whose Yoruba Soul label she released her debut album, From The Genuine World, in 2008. This second album picks off where that left off, offering sultry songs and summery soul steeped in afro-cuban rhythms, Spanish flamenco, sweaty salsa, breezy jazz and foot-tapping salsa. While occasionally earnest, it's largely an enjoyable journey, with glittering instrumentals (see "Dona Flor") complimenting the impressive range of songs on offer (Poso is equally adept at slow jams as uptempo floorfillers). There's also a decent collaboration with Osunlade, in the form of the super-soulful "You Don't Love Me".
Review: Rime is a new collaboration between producer Antti Hynninen (from Auteur Jazz) and singer Sara Sayed. Together they've embarked on an electric soul odyssey on "Our Kingdom", creating a beautiful range of broken beat-influenced pop that seriously impresses from start to finish. The Erykah Badu-ish "Revolution" might just be one of the sweetest and smartest things you'll hear all year, while lush, electric orchestral arrangements give the album a really unique sound - from the bumping "Sucker" to the Dilla-esque "Outro".
Review: A truly inspired jazz album of considerable breadth, Mop Mop follow on from their Kiss of Kali album with this wide-angled follow up. Led by Italian Andrea Benini, there's a large cast of notable players featured such as trombonist Gianluca Petrella, as well as vocalists such as Alan Farrington and Baby Sol (who?s worked with Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone and Paloma Faith amongst others).
After the languid, David Axelrod-esque opener The Return of the King, the beats break out on the infectious be-bop of Destination. All number of funky inspirations are name checked during the spoken verses (James Brown, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk amongst others). Baby Sol turns in a fantastic vocal on Mr Know It All, a slow and bumping soul song produced with crystal clarity by Benini. There are some Mandrill-style spoken interludes too, spooky and voodoo-laden like Outerspace or the title track, which give the album a real sense of depth and concept.
Possibly the highlight of the album is Mop Mop's cover of Don Cherry's Brown Rice (here retitled Naja Haje). Picking up Cherry's distinctive 8-note phrase and rearranging it for vibraphones is a masterstroke, as is swapping the original's icy mood for a warm and soulful bass and congas backing. While many songs here might feel familiar to nu-jazz and broken beat fans, there's rarely been an album so wide in scope in either of these genres. Any jazz fans period should give themselves up to this very special piece of work.
Review: Re:Jazz return with their second collection of electronic edits on Infracom. Always deep and soulful, the album treads water in varying styles of electronic music. Besides quality edits, Re:Jazz also open the album with a completely new original track called "Star Chasers." Melodic and heart warming, it fits in perfectly with the entire album.