Review: Swedish house producer HNNY gave up DJing in 2016 but has still been working on music in the background, and we're glad he has, because the two cuts here for new label born out of a Stockholm audiophile bar, Hosoi, are lovely. A side "By" conjures a gorgeous mood with soft snares and what sounds like Spanish guitar strumming away beneath aching vocal coos. Flip over for "Hosoi", a dreamy downtempo groove with live sousing drum work and incidental chords that drift by on a warm breeze. This EP is a perfect tonic for those needing a break from busy modern life.
Review: Jazz Room Records is the work of legendary London jazz-dance DJ Paul Murphy, so it's perhaps unsurprising that the label's first outing is an essential reissue of one of his personal favourites: Hugo Heredia's spiritually-minded 1976 Latin-Jazz fusion masterpiece, "Mananita Pampera". Although it begins with a dense and psychedelic collage of Heredia's breathy flute playing, the album's genius lies in its' combination of heavy Latin percussion, skittish jazz drums and the bright and breezy instrumentation atop (piano, double bass and Heredia on sax). Of course, there are a few slower, laidback cuts to be found dotted across the album, but for the most part it's a sweaty, excitable dancefloor excursion that's been a staple of Murphy's sets since the 1980s.
Review: While this may look like a reissue of a long-lost 1970s free-jazz rarity, it's actually a brand spanking new album. It is, in fact, the debut album from ever-changing collective BRAHJA, whose de facto bandleader Devin Brahja Waldman has previously collaborated with Patti Smith, Lydia Lunch and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore. The self-titled set is pleasingly trippy, with more traditional spiritual and improvised jazz cuts nestling side by side with more experimental electrified, alt rock-influenced efforts (see "Qwikness"), delightfully out-there hybrid pieces (see "Keepers", which boasts drifting vocal chants and Terry Riley style synthesizer motifs) and spooky, early Cinematic Orchestra type fare ("Welcome To Wohlhom", "Return of the Good Enemy").
Review: Ill Considered is a fully live and improvisational jazz band made up of four members. They loosely pre-write themes then set to making music without communication or knowing where on earth they might end up going, or what they might sound like. It's a rule breaking approach that leads to rule breaking but brilliant music layered up with deep, walking bass, dense drums and freeform sax that feels impossibly alive. "8" is another bristling work of rhythm and conversational top lines that exudes a controlled sense of chaos, bubbled under with menace and remains thoroughly unpredictable and exhilarating from start to finish.
Review: Originally pressed (on a limited run) in 2013, LA Latin funk troupe Boogaloo Assassins have reissued these two spellbinding cover versions again due to public demand. Still on a highly limited run, both cuts need to be in your collection: Dawn Penn's "No No No" gets a strict samba switch with lavish percussion and consistent vocal harmonies throughout while Sonny Henry's "Evil Ways" (best known from its Santana cover) gets the dreamy instrumental treatment where the horns and glocks do the narrating over a tight bed of wood blocks, shakers and liquid Rhodes. Killer stuff and Juno is one of the few stores outside of USA which is carrying the 45. Don't Sleep !
Review: Like many veteran jazz artists, American pianist Keith Jarrett has amassed a vast discography. The 92 solo and collaborative albums he's notched up since 1968 cover many styles of jazz, making it tricky for newcomers to know where to start. We'd suggest beginning with this 1999 album, which is as pure as you'll get. Made up entirely of solo piano pieces - mostly covers, with a sprinkling of Jarrett's own compositions - "The Melody At Night With You" not only offers a brilliant introduction to Jarrett's trademark playing style, but also the breadth of material he's covered. More importantly, the whole collection is hugely entertaining and enjoyable, with Jarrett putting his own twist on everything from Duke Ellington classics and Oscar Hammerstein show tunes, to Gershwin ballads and traditional favourites.
Review: Ubiquity is back with another of its two part 7"s, this time from contemporary soul group The Soul Surfers. Experts at covering the greats, they recently turned their hand to a classic from The JB's, while this time out it is Kool & The Gang's classic "Summer Madness" that gets a deep-cut and sexy make over. Part 1 is a sensuous slow burner with downtempo drums and heavenly guitar playing, while part 2 has harder drum grooves and dreamy , psyched-out guitars. It's another ageless rework that you need in your life.
Review: Rocafort Records has excelled itself once again with this release, a four-track journey into "oriental jazz" by a quartet of international musicians helmed by young Turkish pianist, composer and arranger Gokhan Surer. He describes his style as "world, fusion, jazz", which is a neat summary of the exotic, evocative and emotion-rich material on offer. Check first the warm occidental jazz shuffle of "Chimera" before recoiling in wonder at the Turkish strings, double bass, hushed percussion and jazz-funk style electric piano solos of "Dere". Over on side B, "Makam Rasta" is an inspired fusion of reggae, jazz-funk and Arabian instrumentation, while "Onbesli" is a rolling fusion cut underpinned by hip-hop style beats.
Review: Turning your hand to the catalogue of a jazz colossus like Yusef Lateef would be beyond most contemporary jazz musicians, but then Nat Birchall is currently one of the best saxophonists in the business. Alongside his quartet and with the aid of some unusual instruments from around the world - something Lateef was famously fond of doing - Birchall has delivered a set of covers that breathe breezy new life into some of the American multi-instrumentalist's most admired compositions whilst retaining some of the original flavour. Our favourites include the droning North African brilliance of "Mashariki", the sun-baked afternoon breeze of "Ringo Oiwake" and the piano-powered bliss of "Willow's Walk".
Review: Jazz-man Greg Foat has always been more open-minded and eclectic than many give him credit for, delivering nods to pastoral folk, movie soundtracks and library music amongst his more jazz-focused output. Even so, "Photosynthesis" is still a curveball, featuring as it does drowsy and mostly leisurely soundscapes that move from Radiophonic Workshop influenced weird-outs and mutant lounge music, to stoned horizontal grooves and post trip-hop soundscapes. Interestingly, some of the album's standout moments come laden with woozy electric pianos and the kind of hazy, slow motion guitar motifs that evoke mental images of long, drawn-out sunsets.