dimanche 24 octobre 2010

Blue Brazil - Blue Note In A Latin Groove (Blue Note - 2004)

Blue Brazil - Blue Note In A Latin Groove

Blue Brazil gathers seventeen rare Brazilian songs released in the 60's and 70's on EMI-Odeon Brazil. All the songs are in a jazzy/samba/bossa note but some of them are very danceable. This is particularly the case of Homenagem A Mongo, a Cesar Mariano written tribute to Latin percussionist Mongo Santanisuis performed by Som Tres and which starts with a storming breakbeat. This is the only track on this compilation that makes it deserve its title Blue Note In A Latin Groove. Marketing guys at Blue Note probably found it clever to call it that way to appeal to both Brazilian music and Latin music lovers. The last ones will be dispointed but the first ones will get definitely a run for their money. This is always an exquisite pleasure to find Joyce's best song ever, Aldeia De Ogum, among other gems.

samedi 23 octobre 2010

Letta Mbulu - Naturally (Fantasy - 1973)

Letta Mbulu - Naturally

Naturally is the kind of album that can change your life forever and goes directly to your desert island playlist. Benefiting from the help of Cannonball and Nat Adderley, Letta Mbulu mixes perfectly well deep soul with her south african jazzy roots. This is just amazing that this album didn't enjoy any success when it was released and staid ignored for so long. I consequently give all the respect due to BGP for bringing back this pure moment of magic from the vaults.

dimanche 17 octobre 2010

Sunnyview - Fresh Beats (Hi & Fly Records - 2007)

Sunnyview - Fresh Beats

Sunnyview is born on the ashes of Miami TK Records at the begining of the 80's. TK founder Henry Stone associated with Moris Levy to reissue TK catalogue and explore the possibilities of a new musical trend of synthetic music, electro funk. Exploring all the possibilities of keyboards and drum machines, electro funk can be divided in numerous schools, all represented on this compilation. From hip hop to freestyle, from funk to minimalist instrumentals, from Pretty Tony to Newcleus, all the subgenres and its underground heroes are here represented. Hi & Fly is a reissue label with pretty bad reputation. If all its compilations are excellent, there no editorial work to create liner notes, tracklisting is erratic and I'm not sure if they paid artists their due share of royalties. Anyway, with Fresh Beats it's breakdancing time again and it will make you start crazy move like the windmill, the back-spin, a couple of freezes and the thomas.

samedi 16 octobre 2010

Skyy - Inner City (Salsoul - 1984)

Skyy - Inner City

Inner City
is Skyy last Salsoul album and the last album ever released on Salsoul. Created in 1974 by The Cayre brothers in 1974, Salsoul was one of disco era most celebrated label. When disco age faded away and soul music entered in a tunnel that ended only at the end of the 90's, Salsoul stopped all operations. The mid 80's were a pretty bad time for African American music lovers. Black music seemed to have lost its mojo. After 20 years of charts domination and trendsetting, R&B charts were devitalized by two vampires that attracted all the light: Prince and Michael Jackson. Things in fact were still bubling in the underground: hip hop was a couple of years away from the begining of its golden age, freestyle was preparing what will be R&B 90's sonic revolution and house and garage were getting ready to take over European dancefloors. But for mainstream ears, radio was boring like hell. Skyy was created in 1970 and was Randy Muller's creature. Randy charted hits all over the 70's and 80's with Skyy or his other dancing machines like BT Express, Brass Construction, Funk Deluxed or Rapheal Cameron. Kenny Dope released a pretty good compilation of his best tracks on Plaza records in 2005. Inner City is probably one of Skyy most overlooked album and is clearly inspired by the freestyle sound of the time. It is one of the album of that era that aged the best. Dancin' To be Dancin', close to what Jellybean Martinez did for Madonna, is still able to full up a dance floor everytime it is played.

samedi 9 octobre 2010

Manzel - Midnight Theme (Dopebrother - 2004)

Manzel - Midnight Theme

Midnight Theme is a compilation gathering instrumental tracks composed between 1973 and 1978 by a US army lieutnant, Manzel Bush, and some of his friends in small Kentucky studios. Manzel Bush never got signed by a major label despite his producer, a guy named Shad O'Shea, efforts and only three of his songs, Midnight Theme, Space Funk and Jump Street were indepentely released as 45 rpm. 30 years later, Midnight Theme is one the most sampled breakbeat of hip hop, being used by the likes of Golden Age legends Eric B & Rakim, Cypress Hill, De La Soul or Grand Puba. Manzel sounds a bit like what the Mizell brothers did for Blue Note in the 70's or Roy Ayers albums of the same period: a very cool spacey jazz funk. This 2004 reedition was supervised, mixed and remixed by Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez himself for a top notch result.

dimanche 3 octobre 2010

David Axelrod - Heavy Axe (Fantasy - 1974)

David Axelrod - Heavy Axe

I know, I know, another David Axelrod post for the third time in less than a month. Even if Heavy Axe is not as good as Songs Of Experience or Song Of Innocence, it's still a very good effort from David Axelrod, with one certified masterpiece, the last track, Everything Counts. Everything Counts is the closest song on the album to what you can expect from an Axelrod track: killing breakbeat, a heavy bass, a scorching production with a melancolic twist and tearjerking strings. The rest of the album is more in an easy listening/jazz/soft R&B mode, with the help of Cannonball Aderley on the saxophone. Curiously the later is featured on the worst tracks, especially a cheesy cover of Stevie Wonder, Don't You Worry About A Thing.