Review: Lascelle Lascelles has a long musical pedigree: he was playing house at London's Wag club back in the late 80s, and went on to co-found Brand New Heavies before joining NME darlings Compaq Velocet. But what we have here is the second long-player (following on from 2017's 'Blackism') from his Vibration Black Project, for which the primary inspiration here is Afrocentric 70s freeform jazz from the likes of Sun Ra. As such, some of the tracks will be a little out-there for some, while others are really just short skits. But it's an album that's definitely worth approaching with ears and mind open, its finest moments sitting somewhere between trip-hop and 40s noir soundtrack vibes.
Review: For their latest full-length exploration of the world of spiritual jazz - the label's seventh, in total - Jazzman has decided to focus on artists and performers whose Islamic faith influenced their work. Given that many jazz greats were early converts to the spiritually charged Ahmadiya school of Islam - Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, Ahmad Jamal and Yusuf Lateef included - there's plenty of fine material for Jazzman to explore. Highlights naturally come thick and fast, with standouts including the Persian jazz-fusion of Emmanuel Abdul-Rahim's "Kalamari Suite", the haunting flutes and intoxicating bongo rhythms of Sabu and Sihab Shahib's "Nus", and The Lightmen's celebratory epic, "All Praises To Allah (Part 1 & 2)".
Review: Raw, unfettered funk from one of LA's hardest working live outfits, Ray Frazier and Shades Of Madness recorded a criminal amount of 45s... One of which - "My Baby's Hand" - regularly fetches the handsome sum of L1000 between collectors. Instantly triggering the biggest northern soul sensations (stomping beats, relentless super-tight grooves, show-stopping splashes of bold soul), this will resonate with, and unite all, funk and soul aficionados across the globe. Highlights include the strident string-led blues riff on the aforementioned "My Baby's Hand", the chop-slapping JB-echoing tightness of "I Who Have Nothing" and the lazier, luxurious swing of "Gonna Get Your Love". Jazzman have curated an exceptional document right here.
Review: Jazzman have surpassed their own reputation for digging skills with this latest reissue. Apparently the reason that this early '70s album is so rare is because it was made as some sort of tax scam and was never intended to actually reach the general public at all! The most baffling thing is though, is just how good the album is: ten tracks of authentic soul and funk played by a band of Bronx-based musicians who were literally playing like no one was listening. Thankfully, they are now.
For A Breath I Tarry (Francis Dosoo's Borrowed Breath remix) - (4:49) 81 BPM
Girl & Robot With Flowers (Cherrystones remix - part 4) - (4:20) 92 BPM
Review: Eight-piece psychedelic jazz combo The Greg Foat Group recently delivered the original of this single. It was an extended EP boasting a variety of incarnations of the tune "Girl & Robot With Flowers", and here we have the breezy 60s-tinged 'part 5' version. Also included are remixes: Linkwood's trippy trance version of 'part 2' and Cherrystones' breaks-heavy version of 'part 4'. Elsewhere Vakula provides a dreamy lounge style version of "Clear Skies" and Francis Dosoo whips out the mellow trumpets for "For A Breath I Tarry".
Review: The Sign Of Four was a famous Sherlock Holmes mystery, and although we don't know if this shady act was referencing it, it would take some Sherlock-style supersleuthing to find out more. That's because when sourcing new vintage releases, in the words of DJ Fryer, at Jazzman they always dig deeper! "Jumping Beans" is a bonkers distress signal from from outer space, beamed straight into a 1960s recording studio helmed by Miles Newbold. Meanwhile "Samba Electronico" is a more down to earth - but still frenzied - retro Latin jazz workout!
Review: Here's a challenge to all you crate diggers out there, according to Jazzman's DJ Fryer they always dig deeper! The results show in this excellent double LPs-worth of vintage prime cuts that sound surprisingly dance-floor friendly rather than quaint. Highlights include the intense funk assault of "Wake Up", the classy, shimmering "Teacherman", the emotional "Lost In The Crowd", the puny "Rollercoaster" and Ashley Beedle's re-edit of "Keep Her Happy".
Review: Since first pitching up on Jazzman in 2011, eight-piece psychedelic jazz combo The Greg Foat Group has caused something of a stir. This second album for the crate-digging specialists is every bit as good as their debut full length, Dark Is The Sun. At times, it sounds like Ennio Morricone and Harold Budd making loose jazz-breaks, at others an almighty freak-out in the company of Afro-busting Blaxploitation detectives. There are quietly beautiful moments ("Girl & Robot With Flowers Part 3"), straight-up late night jazz movements ("For Breath A Tarry", "Cast Adrift"), and breezy, vibraphone-heavy '60s grooves ("The Girl & Robot With Flowers Part 5"). Throughout, it's beautifully played and lovingly produced, with Foat's impeccable piano playing taking centre stage.
Review: Now here's something you don't see every day - a 1960s Norwegian psychedelic Christian rock album! Jazzman Records specialise in reissues of obscurities from the 60s and 70s and here they've really excelled themselves. The story goes that, having noticed that the kids were turning their back on Christianity in favour of Rock 'n' Roll, Oslo priest Olaf Hillestad began combining jazz, folk and er, church music in order to win 'the kids' over. Thus, That's Why was born. The album is a surprise as, if you're looking for classy, quirky folk similar to the soundtrack of The Wicker Man you're in luck. If you're looking for a Christian fix too however, it might be wise to employ a translator!
Review: Billed perfectly as a mix of "esoteric, modal and deep jazz from the European underground", this follow up to Jazzman's 2008 collection of Spiritual Jazz focuses on the wilder side of the art form between the years 1960 and 1978. Starting with the bop-meets-choral beauty of "Communion" by Erich Kleinschuster, much of the meditative music on offer simply shimmers. The eastern/Balkan riffola on Michael Garrick's "Temple Dance", the scratchy funk of Barney Wilson's "Africa Freakout" and the cinematic wash of Heikki Saramanto's "Duke & Trane" are just some of the highlights from this heavenly and very essential 11-track collection.
Review: A lost treasure from 1974, this exquisite re-release from Jazzman showcases the incredible Cali-funk and psychedelic soul of Gold. After initially intending just to re-release single "What About The Child", the Jazzman team set about trying to relocate the tapes of the whole album, which miraculously turned up in a shed in Las Vegas. Such efforts were clearly worth it, as the tight and ebullient funk of songs like "If You Can Dance", "Plastic Lady" and "Ain't That Funky Enough" sit right alongside the best of Bootsy, Earth Wind And Fire and The Temptations.
Review: As any hardcore funk collector would tell you, Barbados-based Blue Rhythm Combo produced some seriously heavy records in the early 1970s. Between 1971 and 1975, they produced two albums for the obscure Merrydisc label and a smattering of blistering singles. This six-track collection from self-confessed vinyl geeks Jazzman gathers together some of their best work in one handy download package. There's much to enjoy, from the party-friendly horns and rhythms of "Get Down" to the laidback grooves of "Sister Jeanie". Sadly, their crazy cover of Paul Simon's "Mother & Child Reunion" is missing, but you can't have everything.
Review: An incredibly lush collection from Jazzman, who have crystalised the best of French jazz/funk pianist and band leader Jef Gilson into this excellent new compilation. Straddling all manner of genres, Gilson's career stretches from vibes-laden hard-bop ("Valse Pour Helene") to esoteric riffage a la Brubeck ("Accueil") and gorgeous and Axelrod-esque choral vocals ("Un Pas, Deux Pas, Cent Pas"). Also worth checking out is the murky, tense funk of "Espagnolade" and the magnificent, 11 minutes+ version of Pharaoh Sanders' "The Creator Has A Masterplan". This is a faultless collection of a much under-appreciated man's work, and might just be one of our favourite reissues of the year so far.
Review: Recorded on a small Californian label in 1977, Terea were a supremely soulful, proto-boogie outfit put together to bolster the vocal talents of Sharon Robinson (who later went on to work with Leonard Cohen, Patti Labelle and Bettye LaVette). This wonderful excavation by Jazzman gives the full Terea album a proper release and it's a marvel - from the fusion/boogie classic "Pretty Bird", the rock-funk of "One & Only", the West Coast whimsy of "Try Harder" and the closing Steely Dan/Randy Newman swing of "Good Company". An obscure gem of an album that thoroughly deserves a renaissance.