Review: The artist formally known as Joey Negro aka Dave Lee brings together a fresh and unique compilation with partner in sound Will Fox that dives deep into the west end sound of London's broken beat, soul and two-step scene. Featuring tracks from the likes of Bugz In The Attic, Jazzanova and Atjazz to 4 Hero and Sunburst Band, we've pulled up numbers like NSM's deep, woozy and downtempo "DJ Power (Use It)" to Jazztronik's piano-laden and garaged influenced "Samurai". Sweet, warm and deeply vocal still is Afronaut & Melissa Browne's "Transcend M.E." with a stripped back, breathy and stepping number from Mark de Clive-Lowe, with Likwid Biskit's closing track "The All New Ummm" surfing into some balmy, LA beat-scene territory.
Review: When Joey Negro dons his Akabu guise, you know he's about to lay down a timeless house groove. He did it with "Sax My Bitch Up", he did it with "Life Is So Strange", and, with the help of Alex Mills' dulcet tones, he's doing it with this, too. Rolling with a classic analogue bassline and deep dreamy chords, the "Strip Mix" is an instant hip-wiggler with serious 'zone-out' potential while the "Warehouse Mix" adds more texture and a hollow harmony to the bass a la Robin S. Everybody wants something...and your dancefloor wants to hear this!
Review: It wouldn't be summer without every house label under the sun releasing an Ibiza-themed compilation. To be fair to Dave Lee's long-running Z Records imprint, they've been delivering White Isle-themed collections every summer for many years. Given that their sound - a blend of funk-fuelled grooves, soulful house, tech-tinged anthems, disco re-edits, boogie revivalism and classic US garage influences - is well suited to sun-drenched alfresco parties, it's little surprise to find that Z Records Presents Ibiza 2015 is rather good. While much of the standout material comes from Lee himself under a variety of guises (check, in particular, the Doug Willis jam "Crystal Lover"), there are also top-notch cuts from Sean McCabe, Opolopo and Fibre Foundation, whose cover of disco/boogie classic "Weekend" is simply superb.
Review: You might not have heard of Al McKay, but you'll certainly have heard some of his music. The songwriter, producer and musician has been a member of some legendary funk, soul and disco outfits over the years, including Earth, Wind and Fire and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. Here, UK disco/house titan Joey Negro sprinkles some magic on a previously unheard cut from the veteran's "Allstars" project. Predictably, the Z Records boss does a terrific job gently building up the instrumentation and vocals on his Extended Remix, turning in a superb retro-futurist disco-funk workout. As well as a great Instrumental version you also get a sparse, delay-laden, Dub style "Reprise" that's every bit as funky as its' predecessors despite its lack of heavy kicks and snares.
Review: Although French veteran Ludovic Llorca has previously provided remixes for Z Records, "Flower Child" marks the first time one of his original productions has appeared on Dave Lee's long-serving label. While there are naturally some subtle nods towards Llorca's classic house sound in the track, it's little less than a flash-fried chunk of disco revivalism that brilliantly wraps period instrumentation - crunchy Clavinets, funk-rock style guitar licks, slap bass and sweeping strings - and a soulful lead vocal around live-sounding beats that are guaranteed to get you up and dancing. It's accompanied by a similarly impressive instrumental version, which wile a little less impactful is nevertheless a genuine aural treat.
Review: Bobby D'Ambrosia and Michelle Weeks' 1997 U.S garage cover of Inner Life disco classic "Moment of My Life" was an enormous club hit in 1997, spawning a swathe of remixes that variously re-cast the track as an early UK garage bumper and a German disco-house stomper. Here Joey Negro finally gets his chance to rework the track and takes it back to the source, re-imagining it as a turn-of-the-'80s disco-boogie cut closer in sound, feel and execution to Inner Life's superb original version. Alongside the sprightly, musically rich vocal version (the "Closer To The Source Take") the Z Records chief has also offered up a killer, NYC 1985 style proto-house dub smothered in echo-laden vocal snippets and wild organ solos.
Review: It's a bit of a surprise to see Italian nu-disco heavyweight Bottin pop up on Dave "Joey Negro" Lee's Z Records label. Then again, "Sage Comme Une Image" isn't your average Bottin production. Featuring tongue-in-cheek French vocals from Jupiter, it sounds like an authentic '70s disco production - all clipped guitars, walking bass and summery grooves. You can see why it appealed to Lee, a man who has spent years laying down revivalist disco, soul and funk with his Sunburst Band project. Remix wise, there's a couple of loopy disco-house thumpers from Spiller, but the best revision comes from Bottin himself. His dub - faithfully groove-obsessed and laden with tape echo - is the package's stand out moment.
Review: During the British jazz-dance scene's late '70s and early '80s boom, there were few DJs that the dancers loved more than Colin Curtis. Still DJing today after 50 years behind the decks, Curtis was a natural choice to put together Z Records' first compilation dedicated to jazz-dance, jazz-funk and fusion sounds. The album is something of a stunner, all told, full of deep selections, floor-burning favourites and high-grade workouts. There's naturally plenty of Latin jazz flavours on show, high-octane thrillers (See Eric Kloss's "The Samba Express"), swinging jazz-funk (check the superb Charles Earland track) and the kind of extended wig-outs that just make you want to bust some serious shapes.
Review: Crackazat returns to Dave Lee's Z Records with a second volume of this unique EP series, which sees the Swedish-based Bristolian producer (real name Ben J Worrall) plundering the label archives for accapellas and creating new tracks around them. Fly Away features the vox from the Sunburst Band's 2004 cut, and is arguably more of a cover version than a new creation. I'll Be There opens with light percussion and a hefty but understated walking bass line, before bursting into life with chorus'd vox and gloriously 90's sounding chords, while Some Day comes on like a lost gem from the early days of Nice N' Ripe.
Review: Back in 2016, Crackazat launched the Period Works series as a vehicle for productions that explicitly paid tribute to his influences and inspirations, and in particular his love of glossy, musically rich 1990s US house and garage. Four years on, he's decided to gather together the tracks released so far in one place, adding a trio of previously unheard creations and a couple of bonus remixes to create Period Works - The Album. Highlights are plentiful, from the authentic 1970s disco rush of superb opener 'Waterfalls' and the classic Masters at Work shuffle of 'Fire Drift', to the 'Brazilian Rhyme'-goes-piano house rush of 'Fly Away' and the big room US garage bounce of 'I'll Be There'. The included squelchy, synth-laden rework of Sean McCabe's 'Holding On' is also superb.
Review: The release of Dave Lee's annual Essentials collection on Z Records - a kind of "best of the year" from his now 30-year-old imprint - is fast becoming as much of a Christmas tradition as family arguments, disappointing presents and undercooked turkey. Predictably the 2020 edition is once again up to scratch, with the much-loved Essex producer showcasing some seriously good disco, deep house, soulful house and revivalist dancefloor jazz-funk. Our picks of a very strong bunch include the rushing, sunshine soulfulness of Crackazat's 'Waterfalls', the Vision's 2020 re-rub of Jakatta and Seal classic 'My Vision', Michael Gray's extra-percussive disco-house take on Hi Voltage's 'Let's Get Horny', the celebratory brilliance of Art of Tones and Anduze's 'Flower Child', and the Shur-I-Kan's previously unreleased instrumental rework of Mistura's 'Smikle For Me'.
Review: This is the 300th release from Dave Lee's Z Records, who also celebrate their 30th anniversary this year. 'Power Of The Mind' bites an uplifting 80s male soul vocal from the Valentine Brothers, who are best known for 'Money's Too Tight To Mention' (as later covered by Simply Red), placing it atop crisp 4/4s, a heavyweight disco bassline, organ parps and vintage-style hands-in-the-air pianos, the end result being a timeless piece of disco-fuelled house music that's built with Saturday night peaktime play firmly in mind, and that's served in simple vocal and dub flavas. Impeccable stuff - long may they continue!
Review: Back in the day, D.C LaRue was one of the undoubted stars of the underground disco scene, so it makes perfect sense that Z Records boss Dave Lee has bagged a swathe of new remixes. Lee dons the familiar Joey Negro alias to kick things off with a brilliant extended interpretation of all-time LaRue fave "Cathedrals", before Ron Basejam wraps spacey synth solos and fluttering flutes around a killer slow disco groove on his fantastic rub of "Do You Want The Real Thing". Elsewhere, Glitterbox regular Dr Packer provides a rolling, delay-laden take on "Indiscreet" rich in killer disco interpretation that could well be the EP's highlight, while the Idjut Boys serve up a typically trippy, dub disco powered "Beats" version of "Let Them Dance".
Review: Part two of a picture sleeve, special release for Record Store Day 2018, featuring new and exclusive remixes of American legend D.C. LaRue. "Overture" (Folamour Orchestra mix) sees the French rising star deliver a glimmering boogie-down perspective for the late night, while Crazy P main man James Baron dons the Ron Basejam alias again - for a sunny dub of "Do You Want The Real Thing?" from the 1978 motion picture Thank God It's Friday. The always reliable Idjut Boys lend their deft hands to a remix of "Let Them Dance" from 1978's classic Confessions LP and closing out this fine remix package on the flip is the Razor-N-Tape affiliated J-Kriv: serving up another 'respectful edit', this time of "Cathedrals".
Review: For the uninitiated, Detroit Rising is a fluid collective of leading jazz and funk musicians from the Motor City, including former members of P-funk legends Parliament/Funkadelic. Here, "Little Bit", one of the highlights from the band's latest album, A Cosmic Jazz-Funk Adventure, is given a club makeover by Z Records regular Sean McCabe. As you'd expect, the Bristol-based Welshman's main "Remix" is a simmering soulful house delight, with superb new instrumentation complimenting Detroit Rising's on-point original parts. The "Dub" is slightly breezier and sunnier interpretation, while the "Moody Mix" doffs a cap to the soulful deep house electronics of long serving British deep house producer Atjazz.
Review: Released on Joey Negro's Z Records, Rio spinner DJ Meme whips through thirty of the best from Z on this new mix - available either as individual unmixed tracks or as one continuous mix. Always a haven for the best soulful and funky house, Z Records highlights such as JN's mix of Doug Willis' "Power To The People", Sean McCabe's mix of JD73's "Think Twice" and Akabu's "The Phuture Ain't What It Used To Be" make for an effortlessly bumping and uplifting voyage.
Review: While Dave Lee (best-known as Joey Negro) has always dealt in disco-fied dancefloor grooves, few of his projects are quite as mirrorball-focused as his Doug Willis material. Here he dons the tongue-in-cheek, Neighbours-inspired alias for the first time in four years. There are two fresh cuts to set the pulse racing: the jaunty, piano-heavy, slightly housed-up gospel disco swirl of happy-go-lucker opener "Risky Biznizz" and the heady, heavily orchestrated peak-time disco brilliance of "Doug's Disco Theme", whose stabbing string motifs are particularly memorable. Also included in the EP are two fresh remixes of Willis classics, with Dr Packer's smooth, delay-laden, roller disco-goes-deep house version of "Skate Dancer" just edging out the tougher Re-Tide & Moon Rocket disco-house rework of "Crystal Lover".
Review: Shockingly, 11 years has passed since Dave Lee released his sole album under the disco-powered Doug Willis alias, "Doug's Disco Brain". The two CD set featured versions of cuts he'd released under the pseudonym over the previous 15 years. Here it comes to digital download in newly expanded form, with the original set - a mixture of tidy instrumental re-edits, sample-fired disco-house cuts and typically boisterous peak-time groovers - being accompanied by various new, rare and forgotten remixes. With 32 high quality tracks to wade through, picking highlights is tough, though our favourites include the percussion and horn-heavy "You Should Be Dubbing", the soaring disco-house brilliance of "Doug's Place", the silly-but-sensational "Disco Owl" and the Clavinet-happy brilliance of the Re-Tide & Moon Rocket Remix of "Crystal Lover".
Review: Aussie retro soul and funk heroes Electric Empire see their soulful ballad, "Always", remixed for dancefloors everywhere by Dave "Joey Negro" Lee. The original is a total homage to mid-70s Stevie Wonder, but here Negro adds a slick shuffling house rhythm and fluid bass which manages to retain the original's vintage feel whilst recalling the sound of more modern disco-house acts like Jamiroquai. Also included is a gospel-heavy bonus 'reprise' and an acappella version too!
Review: For those with a passion for soul, funk and disco, Dave Lee's recent Backstreet Brit Funk compilation was something of an essential purchase. You see, rather than revisiting well-known cuts from across the pond, it showcased a super-hot selection of long-forgotten British black music bangers. Here, some of those Brit funk obscurities get the re-edit treatment, with Ashley Beedle, Faze Action, Boy Norty and Onur Engin supplying the touch-ups. All treat the original material with reverence, preferring to subtly tweak and tease rather than rework. It's all good, with Faze Action's snappy beats and rubbery bass take on Elixia just nudging out Beedle's luscious jazz-funk extension of Nigel Martinez in the stand out stakes.
Review: The blistering disco-house original of "Make Room For Me" by Turin producer Antonello Ferrari dropped way back in July. Such was its good vibes that label boss Dave Lee has commissioned a new pair of mixes. Both are Italian with Micky Moore's 'Super Jazz Funk" mix being the kind of funk-fuelled banger that the likes of Jay Kay only dream of making - all shuffly beats, elastic bass, tight guitar, celestial vocals and yes, pan pipes! Ferrari's own "Make Room For The Dub" mix takes things in a more brooding direction, bringing in hypnotic electro-boogie riffs for some serious damage.
Review: With a surname like 'Ferrari', it's no surprise that this producer hails from Turin, Italy. It's also no surprise that he's totally disco through and through. For this, his Z Records debut, he's teamed up with leather-lunged belter Jennifer Wallace and it's a super-celebratory slice of prime cut disco-house. Label boss Dave Lee provides an unashamedly musical extended mix that indulges all his early '80s New York disco-boogie influences in fine style indeed.
Review: Foreal People is not an alias that Dave Lee AKA Joey Negro uses that often these days, but back in the late '90s he served up a string of singles under the pseudonym. Here one of those singles, 1999's GQ cover "Shake" featuring vocalist David Grant, is given the remix treat by contemporary disco and house hero Dr Packer. His opening "Re-Shake" has a groovier, looser and warmer vibe than Lee's '99 original, being closer to the sound and feel of GQ's 1982 track (albeit with a few choice contemporary touches and occasional dub style effects). Packer's instrumental revision is naturally even more delay laden, though it's more of a straight vocal-free take than a wild late night dub. Either way, it's rather good.
Review: Last year Canadian electro-jazz outfit Four 80 East proved their club credentials via the house-powered "Four On The Floor EP", whose many treats included a fine collaboration with legendary vocalist CeCe Peniston. Here Z Records boss Joey Negro gets his chance to remix that fine cut. On the opening "Redemption Mix" he brilliantly re-imagines it as a soaring chunk of revivalist disco/soulful house fusion in which Peniston's superb vocals rise above bustling jazz-funk bass, warm chords and hazy orchestration. It's a genuine feel good gem and one of his most memorable remixes for some time. For those in love with percussion and the simple dancefloor pleasures of good-time grooves, the accomopanying Brotherhood Dub is a must-check.