Review: Following their surprise reunion and Strut-release album We Be All Africans last year, Idris and The Pyramids return... This time on Max Weissenfeldt's Philophon imprint. Laying down a spiritual arrangement so frenetic and full of its own life it takes up two parts, Idris's sax plays duet with Philophon's own vocalist Guy One. Gutsy, raw and full of surprises, it's another out-of-body experience from the longstanding jazz troupe.
Review: Their first new material since their 2011 self-titled album, highly acclaimed Brooklyn funk septet let loose with two exemplary lessons in bright, tight timeless funk. "The Beast" is just one long head-nodding groove that oozes world class horn work. As we hit the sax solo there's a vague waft of Afrofunk but played a much slower, sedate tempo. "Road Song" is a little more upbeat but, thanks to some lone piano work, there's a touch of poignancy about the vibe. Think Booker T & MGs.
Review: The colourful obi strip astride the cover of this audiophile reissue boasts that Imani's "Out of The Blue" album is "the ultimate private press jazz holy grail". While that claim is debatable, copies of the Gilles Peterson championed 1983 edition, which the San Francisco based band pressed up themselves, have been known to change hands for four-figure sums. Musically, the four tracks are breezy, sunny and summery. Opener "Just Another Love Song" sets the tone, with soulful group vocals and jazz solos rising above a warm groove, while "Somebody's Love" is a slow jam smothered in spacey synthesizers. "Byrd's House" is a jazz-funk dancefloor number - this time blessed with extended, eyes-closed guitar and piano solos - while "Friendship Cover Charge" is a stomping peak-time workout that should send dancers spinning.
Review: The Incredible Bongo Band were a loose studio collective interpreting classics of the day in their own inimitable percussive fashion .They are of course most famous for their ultimate b-boy classic version of "Apache". This particular 7" however features two Incredible Bongo Band cuts that have not previously featured on any albums. "The Riot" is a frenetic drum workout and has been championed by the likes of the Chemical Brothers. "Ohkey Dokey (Part 2)" takes on a somewhat more subdued hue in comparison, but has some dope funky clavinet in the mix. Well worth checking.
Review: The Fryers sub-label of Jazzman Records come correct once again with this crucial 7" reissue from The Isley Brothers! With a career spanning some 50 years and covering R&B, Rock, Funk, Soul and Disco, it's fair to say The Isley Brothers have been one of the most influential groups on how 20th Century music turned out, yet few people actually know that their universally regarded 1973 hit "That Lady" was in fact a cover version of a track they'd previously recorded a decade earlier. Presented here in all its dusty glory, "Who's That Lady" is a jazzy doo-wop workout that will have the collectors out there running towards the turntables to find out whose version it is. On the flip is their wonderful version of the Blues standard "St. Louis Blues" which has been freshly pressed from the original master tapes!
Review: Repress time: released last year on a limited run of 45s, Chet Ivey's double-A "Dose Of Soul" / "Get Down With Greater" returns to the relief of collectors and funk lovers who missed out. Two of many swelteringly funky gems on his Sylvia Funk Recordings album curated in 2017, "Dose Of Soul" has a raw edge and looseness that's held together with Ayers-style vibraphone chords, while "Get Down With Greater" is much more of a traditional funk jam, with the organ player and bassist playing at their fullest of flavours and Ivey leading in his inimitable 'poisonous' style. Don't sleep!
The Truckin' Company - "Got The Feeling" (Massimo Berardi edit) (5:41)
Izk Eyes - "Ton Of Groove" (The Funk District re-edit) (6:30)
Review: Fledgling label Daje Funk is sure to turn heads with their second sizzling offering of edits, with Rome's Massimo Berardi and Mexico's The Funk District both stepping up to the buttons. Truckin' Company's "Got The Feeling" is a loopy and rolling funk gem that keeps the energy up as strings soar to the skies and a squelchy bassline keeps you locked. The Funk District takes care of the flip with a top tweak of Izk Eyes's "Ton Of Groove", which is an appropriate title: big brass sections to shake your booty, a buttery male vocal and busy guitar licks all drive it forward through big breaks and killer drops.
Review: Famed for their thrilling, dancefloor-friendly fusions of West African funk and disco, American electrofunk and post-punk pop, Ibibio Sound Machine is one of the most exciting and essential bands of recent times. It's for this reason that "Doko Mien", the Eno Williams fronted band's first album for two years, is so hotly anticipated. Happily, we can confirm that it's another stunning set, with Williams and company charging through a set of sizzling songs that wrap kaleidoscopic synths, rubbery bass, fiery horns and off-kilter funk-rock guitars around grooves that variously doff a cap to '80s electro, Italo-disco, jazz-funk, Tony Allen and thrusting, mind-altering mutant disco. In other words, it's another must-have collection of cuts from the London-based band.
Review: Originally released in 1975, "Back To Rhythm" is one of the crowning glories of Akira Ishikawa's glittering career. The Japanese drummer turned his hand to countless wonderful records over his career, but this one was surely one of the best. Mr Bongo seem to think so, and they're giving it a proper reissue treatment. There are funk breaks galore embedded in this joyously upbeat, irresistibly groovy sound, where the horns parp with clarity and the guitar licks cartwheel through airy mixes. Managing to be both fulsome and loud without coming over too heavy, Ishikawa's sprightly take on instrumental funk has never sounded better than on this release.