The product of an activist’s intuition, Makaya McCraven’s mixtape has brought together the brightest stars of the time: Chicago and London. How do we explain this meeting of two scenes if it isn’t the hype about them both?
As far as monikers go, ‘Lady Soul’ may well have proved a heavy load to bear for many artists. Yet Aretha Franklin, who has died at the age of 76, became the unimpeachable incumbent, the absolute personification of the genre of music that flowered from black America and grew around the whole world.
Hprizm says Catching A Body is intended to be the score to a movie playing inside his head. On that basis, the cinematic visuals flying around the founding Anti-Pop Consortium member's cranium veer strictly to the noir side.
Although he is a percussionist, composer and producer, Kip Hanrahan flexes very much like a film director. When his sleeve notes list ‘players in order of appearance’ he conjures up the image of a silver screen cast, which, as has been the case with his projects since the late ‘70s, is sprawling
The announcement had been posted on social media: they were looking for cassettes recorded and sold between 1975 and 2000 by Walter Gavitt Ferguson, a calypso legend for whom some fans and musicologists knew the address in Cahuita, on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica that he never wanted to leave. It was urgent.
British label World Circuit Records has reissued Cheikh Lô’s very first cassette—Né La Thiass—on vinyl. It’s an original essence produced in 1995 by an inspired Youssou N’Dour in his studio, Xippi à Dakar, with the help of the musicians of Super Etoile.
The Internet fluctuates between extreme collectivity (the Odd Future years) and individualism. Hive Mind is the California group’s Aquemini, a resounding statement about the group’s collective identity. Each musician’s hand is clearly identifiable on all the album’s 13 songs:
The guitarist Jack Wilkins personifies the term underrated. His albums from the Seventies should have made him a star, but instead he morphed into a “musician’s musician,” a player revered by other players for his abundant gifts but unfairly neglected by the commercial public. Windows, initially released in 1973, was Wilkins’s debut recording as a leader.
Fidel Fourneyron is a trombonist of superior skill, a member of the Umlaut Big Band and the Orchestre National de Jazz (ONJ), two recognized institutions of the French jazz scene. He is continuing his unique career with Animal, an innovative centiped trio, if we can indulge in this expression, with Joachim Florent (bass) and Sylvain Darrifourcq (drums).
While it was unexpected that the acclaimed tenor saxophonist Charles Lloyd should have collaborated with the guitarist Bill Frisell and the pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz on the 2016 album I Long to See You, it was even more surprising that Lloyd should include the singer Lucinda Williams, as well as the two guitarists, on his most recent album, Vanished Gardens.
The Habibi Funk compilations go back through the music of North Africa and the Middle East. Explanations from Berlin cratedigger Jannis Stürtz as Volume 8, devoted to Sudanese musician Kamal Keila, is released.
Denzel Curry is a godfather of the SoundCloud rap scene. Based in South Florida, the amped-up rapper's 13 track TA13OO follows 2016's breakthrough Imperial album and establishes Curry as an artist adept at fusing heavyweight and emotional lyrics with slick, electronic production.
The album Lower East Suite Part Three completes a trilogy chronicling the gentrification of New York’s Lower East Side. Founded by Isaiah Barr, this young group ties the New York jazz scene together, from free-jazz adventurousness to the rhythmic loops of the new esthetics.
Retransforming such classic Shorter tunes as “Juju” and “Fe Fi Fo Fum,” and introducing new originals that hint at the work of their main inspiration, Lovano and Douglas reveal how present day jazz can stride towards the future while also embracing the past
The Onze Heures Onze Orchestra falls well within the field of jazz through its instrumentarium, sound ecology, and architecture, but its central theme is the inspiration sparked by composers as varied as Olivier Messiaen, Edgard Varèse and Morton Feldman.
Demiurgic sexagenarian dandy Marc Ribot has struck again, with a totally youthful fury. For the third opus in 11 years with Ceramic Dog, he offers up a sort of Clash-style New York Calling that also borrows sound divagations from his buddies Tom Waites and John Zorn.
Two very different offerings from Manchester-based tenor saxophonist Birchall, a man who has gone about bolstering his discography for some two decades now from within the world of the Tranes (Alice and John) and Pharoahs circa late ‘60s.
Call it a consequence of three decades as the voice of one of the best hip-hop bands to ever strut the planet – Black Thought doesn’t always get the shine it deserves. Streams of Thought Vol. 1 finally sees him drop a solo release.
In France, we were still searching for the ambassadors of a future rejuvenation of the audience when Daïda brought it home for us with La légende de Daïdarabotchi. In this promising first EP, the quintet led by Vincent Tortiller doesn’t get bogged down with manners.
"Gil Scott-Heron and I, we saw each other as conspirators you know, as cool conspirators and trying to get the message of sensitive urgency about becoming more involved with our lives, more involved about what it’s going on at the time in America."
American band The Pyramids first came together back in 1972, disbanding just five years later. Fate can sometimes make you wait: the band finally reformed in 2012 and their classic Afro-jazz style holds true on An Angel Fell (2018).
The instrumentation of Polish group EABS delete the 4,000-plus miles between their home nation and New York City with a hip-hop-led jazz style that leans on golden age rap gods like A Tribe Called Quest and Guru.
The remit of French jazz outfit Florian Pellissier Quintet is to connect Paris to New York; to link the classical to the modern. This ambitious task is fully realized on BijouVoyou Caillou, a relaxing record of chilled arrangements, smooth horn work and a hell of a lot of cool vibes.
Originally released in the mid-’80s, this intriguing funk-laced album finds the iconic pocket trumpeter navigating through the sonic landscapes that some of his jazz leftist contemporaries such as Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, Joe Bowie’s Defunkt and Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society (and Herbie Hancock’ collaborations with Bill Frisell) trafficked.
Compiled by globetrotting DJ, record collector, and label-owner Samy Ben Redjeb, Vol 2 is a 10-year-in-the-making follow up to African Screaming Vol 1, which concentrated on music from Benin and Togo. Benin get sole spotlight this time around as the country’s vandou religion functioning as its thematic binder.
Sonically, Ric Wilson draws on the melodic rap influence of his Chicago brothers and sisters. Wilson echoes aspirations that are equally close to Anderson .Paak as they are Chicago role model Chance the Rapper.
Guadaloupean producer Henri Debs's influence on music from the Lesser Antilles spans four decades. A compilation made by Hugo Mendez and Emile Omar, divided into three volumes, the first of which (1960-1972) has just been released goes over this musical history which also features also Casimir Létang, Guy Conquette and Ry-Co Jazz.
Manga aficionados found out about Kodama—those malicious tree spirits—from Miyazaki’s films. Thus the musical duo has chosen the mysterious and the natural, but their music’s jazz/electro fusion reveals a voluntary tension between the product and the method.
If Both Directions At Once has sparked huge interest then it is not just because a discovery has been made. Not just another gemstone tape by the innovative saxophonist. It is an album by the ‘Classic Quartet’ – drummer Elvin Jones, double bassist Jimmy Garrison and pianist McCoy Tyner – that fully lives up to its billing.
The Brazilian multi-instrumentalist, who made a connection between Nordeste traditions and Miles Davis in the 1970s, just added four volumes to an already massive discography. His oeuvre is as iconoclastic as it is sophisticated, and at age 82, he is touring with it again.