Review: Percussionist Kahil El Zabar and tenor saxophonist David Murray have long been keen collaborators. Since laying down their first joint album in 1989, they've collaborated on countless recordings and live performances, each helping them carve a deeper and more distinactive niche within spiritual jazz. Their latest full-length excursion, "Spirit Jazz", may well be their best collective work to date. Joined by bassist Emma Dayhuff and keys-player Justin Dillard, the pair work their way through a septet of fresh compositions that combine the free-wheeling, intergalactic spirit of spiritual jazz with grooves and arrangements that are far more accessible than those offered up by their contemporaries. It's an alluring combination.
Review: Headed up by Benin-born Kaleta - a guitarist who has previously worked with Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade and Lauryn Hill - Super Yamba Band is a New York collective whose decidedly psychedelic fusions of Afrobeat, Highlife and Afro-funk have been getting rave reviews. "Medaho" is their debut album and it more than lives up to the hype. With Kaleta's variously fuzzy, sun-kissed and flash-fried licks to the fore, the band trips its way through nine mostly dancefloor-friendly workouts that wrap heavy funk instrumentation, rousing horns and Afrobeat style organ riffs around polyrhythmic drums that recall the distinctive swing of Tony Allen. It's a stylistic blend that guarantees results, as the sheer volume of highlights triumphantly proves.
Review: These days, Hamad Kalkaba is a retired Army colonel and track and field athletics administrator in his native Cameroon. Yet back in the mid 1970s, he was a musician with dreams of potential super-stardom, trying to update traditional Cameroonian "Gandjal" music for the funk generation. To that end, he recorded a small number of singles and EPs alongside his backing band, the Golden Sounds. It's those thoroughly obscure and overlooked releases that make up Hamad Kalkaba & The Golden Sounds, a retrospective of his pioneering work. Sitting somewhere between Afro-beat, Afro-funk and Afro-jazz, with a distinctively Cameroonian rhythmic swing, the music showcased on the album is undeniably special.
Review: Baltimore house legend Karizma steps forth with his debut album as Kaytronik, which continues his long running association with UK label R2 Records. At 17 tracks long, Thee Album is somewhat conservative compared to Chris Clayton's last Karizma outing, 2013's 39-track Wall Of Sound, but canvasses the full spectrum of his widely lauded production talents. Leading out with some vintage string heavy boom bap, the Kaytronik sound unfolds to encompass classic US house, tougher DJ tools, jagged brukked up rhythms, jazzy beatdown and everything in between. In simple terms Thee Album is a true master at work. Don't Sleep!
The Jazz Committee For Latin American Affairs - "Ismaaa"
Armand Lemal - "Souffle" (part 2)
Masabumi Kikuchi - "Pumu #1"
Joe Malinga & Southern African Force - "ITwenty Five"
Review: IF-Music record store chief Jean-Claude has quickly become one of BBE's go-to men when it comes to putting together compilations of obscure jazz gems. This eight-track selection of gems sourced from "the four corners of the globe" was curated in cahoots with fellow record dealer Victor Kiswell and follows hot on the heels of two volumes of the "A Journey Into Deep Jazz" series. There's much to admire, from the piano-powered springtime sweetness of Joe Malinga and Southern African Force's "ITwenty Five", the slowly building spiritual jazz-funk of Kafe's "Fonetik a Velo", to the bongo and organ-rich deepness of Armand Lemal's "Souffle".
Review: London singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka builds on the success of his first two albums by drafting in Danger Mouse and Inflo to produce the beats that house his hugely expressive voice. That voice is of course front and centre - and whether delivering tender moments of intimacy or more breezy soul, it is always wrought with tension and emotion, slow burning and buttery smooth. The production feels timeless yet contemporary whether offering gauzy, guitar laden textures "Hero" or soaring pop ("Final Days") and makes this an album that touches on all forms of soul with equal originality.
Review: Much like the first instalment in this deep digging series on Kognitif, the label boss of the same name serves up a real masterclass in soul, electro, hip hop and beats. The self-taught musician and trip hop and hip hop producer is a big name in France and will likely only win more fans worldwide with the Soul Food series. Volume 2 features big horn jams such as "Don't Make Me Wait", sample heavy jams like "Same Old Thing" and breezy, upbeat groovers as heard on "Go With The Flow" all interspersed with more worldly and jazz tinged offerings.
Review: To get away from the 'one track after the other' compilation concept K&D checked in at Havlis Super Sound where their man Alex (don of the echo chambers) has a secret dub-laboratory. There K&D did a dub session on the selected tracks to inject some dynamics and life into it. They took two bottles of Highland Park whisky and their old dub-echoes from the cellar and did a smoked-out dub echo-orgy.