Review: Italian pianist and composer Paolo first came to light during the acid jazz explosion in the early 90s. Largely overlooked by his UK counterparts, his Trio's albums Do It and Ombre are both well worthy investments for any funk fans. As is "Chameleon". Delivered in two parts, both jams are tighter than a bouncer's crotch squeeze and about a million times funkier. "Part 2" pips it for a highlight thank to its leniency towards sultry wig out territory. Lovely stuff.
Review: Effectively a Renegades Of Jazz offshoot, Mankoora is a brand new act with fire in their belly and a scorching Latin spirit in their lungs. Both cuts here are true salsa slayers with shin-splitting stomps and horns so vibrant you could light a pipe from them. "El Loco" teases with a plucked guitar intro before dropping into a classic big beat that conjures up memories of Bentley Rhythm Ace. "Boogaloo Tormenta" is far more explosive with some fantastic vocal adornments and a percussive spirit that smacks of a thousand carnivals.
Review: Gamm is an established re-edit and mash-up label that's managed to repeatedly dig up new-old gems since the early Noughties. Having previously tackled Marvin Gaye's back catalogue, The Reflex return with a new EP and this time they've gone Stevie Wonder crazy; providing re-workings of three of the great man's tunes. First up is "I Wish", a nine minute elaboration of the one people think is called 'Sneakin' Out The Back Door...' and one which does a lot to reverse the damage done by Will Smith on his "Wild Wild West" tune. "Higher Ground" is teased out and into a more DJ-friendly format and finally things on high with "Sir Duke" (the one everyone thinks is called 'You Can Feel It All Over'), which gets embellished with a subtle 4/4 beat and big, splashy and celebratory cymbals.
Review: From the man who gave us the album The Golden Age Of Danish Pornography earlier this year come two instro funklets that are screaming for all discerning dancefloors. "Black Orgasm" carries a really groovy 60s organ motif while occasional lady moans can be heard deep in the background. "Naughty Girls At The Wild Party" is racier again with a stomping snare pattern, fuzzy guitars and an overall sleazy riff. Puddu is clearly a rather horny gentleman. Ladies keep away from him; as long as he stays this horny, his music will remain this steamy.
Review: A dusty old classic originally released on the legendary Brunswick, both sides originally saw the dancefloor at the peak of Motown's soul explosion. With such a powerful delivery and distinctive talk-like flow that drags oh-so-coolly behind the beats, you wonder why Tony didn't score so many hits. "Suddenly" is the real power house with a middle eighth that's been sampled in several genres. "It Hurts me More" is more your trad soul with a big chorus and softer sentiment.
Review: It's been three years since his debut album "Aural Penetration". Since then he's formed a band - The DooDoo Funk All Stars - and produced for various hip-hop heads including members of Pharcyde. Here we can hear why he's in high demand; both instrumental cuts ooze street soul smarts and enough sexiness to carry themselves with or without a vocal. With two totally different shades of synth-soul covered (wonky, LA-style and a more European jazz) Tony's got something for everyone.
Review: What a groove! Brentford Allstars embody that sweet spacious soul Studio One was best at. Early dub with more emphasis on the instruments and groove than the mixing desk, every member of the band fits the hook perfectly. KRS-1 knew this better than anyone else when he pinched it for a Boogie Down Productions jam in 88. A textbook example of golden day hip-hop samplery, both sides on this are impeccable.
Review: We wouldn't blame you if you thought this was a rare re-release from the late 60s, but no, this is classic funk done by a band who are very much alive, kicking and major league gigging. Tight, slightly lo-fi and seriously funky, both cuts on this cheeky 7" showcase the band's extensive repertoire. "The Ghetto: There's No Way Out" comes at you like a speedy Booker T & The MGs while "Sunk Without The Funk" isn't a far cry from Sharon Jones and her band of merry Dap Kings. Both absolutely rule.
Universal Robot Band - "Dance And Shake Your Tamborine"
Review: Although he started his career back in the early 2000s and has links with Moodymann's Mahogani Music label, Andres' profile has increased of late thanks to a string of brilliant EPs for M1 Sessions and his own La Vida . The time is surely right, then, to drop his first commercially available mix CD. As you'd expect, it's firmly rooted in soul, effortlessly joining the dots between disco-funk, jazz, slow jams, global beats and summery Latin flavas. Opening with the Universal Robot Band's impeccable "Dance and Shake Your Tambourine", Culture Shock sits somewhere between a particularly good radio show and a dancefloor-bating mix-up, making it perfect for home listening. It also includes Gilberto Gil's disco era samba classic "Toda Menina Baiana", which is never a bad thing.