Monday, June 24

Esther Marrow - Newport News, Virginia

He Don't Appreciate It
No Answer Came
Hello Brother
Money Honey
Peaceful Man

What A wonderful World
Walk Tall
It's Been A Long Night
Chains Of Love

Produced by Bob Thiele for Flying Dutchman in 1969.
Arranged by Gene Page and Artie Butler.

Musicians unknown.

A perfect album by gospel singer Esther Marrow. The arrangements of Gene Page and Artie Butler, the lyrics of James Rein and the music of Joe Zawinul make a very great mix between soul, gospel and funk.

Wednesday, November 5

Interview Nick From Record Kicks

How did you start being a record collector ?

I've started collecting 45s right after I felt in love with northern soul first and deep funk then in the 90s. Both genres are about rare and obscure american singles, so start collectig has been a natural step.

How did you decide to make your own label ?

I've always wanted to do it. Before opening RK I spent 4 years at Vitaminic a digital distribution company. I was label manager first then in the last 2 years we stated producing lounge / rare groove compilations, we set up an internal label distributed by Edel and I was taking care of the label doing both the A&R and label management. We released 20 records some very good stuff like Get Smart compilation collections. After 4 years I left Vitaminc and opened RK. All the time spent at Vitaminic gave the knowledge of the music business, it's been very usefull.

What are the difficulties for being independent?

It's really hard to survive these days. The difficulties are linked to the general situation of music market which is really poor at the moment. You need to push really hard. RK office are placed in the basement... it reminds me of a Bunker!

Italy has always been a big producer of music, will you make a compilation of Italian funk/rare groove/jazz scene in the 70's ?

You're right there's a lot of very good funky library music and jazz in this country. Great composers like Micalizzi, Ortolani, Piccioni and many more. The point is that a lot, if not all the best stuff, has already been rereleased during the lounge period at the end of the 90s by labels like Right Tempo and Irma. Also I have to say, with RK we're more focussed on contemporary deep funk, soul, groove scene... but who knows.

How is the funk scene in Italy nowadays? The Scene for jazz is quite big, what about the funk/soul scene ? Do you have some Italian new mastersounds?

We already had an Italian response to the New Mastersounds, the great Link Quartet. We had the fortune to release their last studio album "Italian playboys" before the split up... hope they're going to change their mind and do a reunion, they were great.... anyway we're still waiting for an Italian Sharon Jones :) A part from jokes the scene is growing fast. When we started back in 2003 nobody was taking care of funk and especially of contemporary funk bands here. Today thanks to planetary success of Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson, Nicole Willis the scene is growing rapidly, we have more media focussed on the scene and more bands practicing. We also run a deep funk clubnight here in milan called BOOGALOO club with a very strict music policy which is very successful since 2003. Always packed with 500 people attending. We'll do the 6th anniversary this year, we hosted many good djs/bands such as Keb Darge, Boogaloo Investigators, Jazzman Gerald, Diplomats of Solid Sound, Henry Storch, Ian Wright, Andy Smith.. Off course there's still a lot to do especially if you think that acts like Sharon Jones or Nicole Willis never played in Italy.

Can you told us a little bit more of Trio Valore ? Deep Funk from Italy?

Not really is a brand new deep funk & mod jazz super group formed by 3 monsters, Steve White (Style Council / Galliano / JTQ), Damon minchella (Ocean colour scene) and Seamus Beagnen (Madness, Supergrass, Babyshambles, Death In Vegas .. and many more). On the album appeared also as special guests Benjamin Herman (New Cool Collective), Louk Boudesteijn & Jan Van Duikeren (Paul Weller band). The Italian name comes from Steve White who loves Italy. Damon has Italian parents, so he's the only half italian.. as Damon used to say "The only Italian thing about the other 2 is that they try to avoid paying their taxes"

What are your plans for 2008/2009?

We're excited to release the new album from Kokolo Afrobeat Orchestra next March, it's a james brown cover album ala Kokolo.. pure dynamite! Baby Charles are working on the new album that hopefully will be ready for end of 2009. On our sub label Soulful Torino Records we're reissuing rare deep funk from Panama, check the first Soul Fantastic 45 top notch tropical funk! Next year we'll release a Soulful Torino compilation with all the 45s released so far. We also have a bunch of new Record Kicks singles on the way... really busy ... keep an eye open!


Friday, April 11

Magic Disco Machine - Disc-O-Tech (1975)

Juste avant la déferlante disco du milieu des années 70, Motown voit déjà le vent venir et, surfant sur la vague, sort cet album de musiciens de studio sous le nom de Magic Disco Machine.
On y retrouve un duo de choc maison : Hal Davis à la production et James Carmichael aux arrangements mais aussi Paul Riser, Freddie Perren. Les vocaux étant confiés à des groupes comme Sisters Love, Bottom & Co, Devastating Affair ou encore la chanteuse Gloria Jones.
Cet album est surtout connu pour le morceau « Scratchin » ayant fait le bonheur des B Boys du monde entier.
Le plus drôle dans cette histoire c’est que l’album n’est pas disco.

Ecouter un extrait :

Sunday, October 21

Interview with James « Plunky » Branch / Plunky & Oneness of Juju

A conscious funk

Interview réalisée le 26 Mars 2006 à Marseille lors du festival Bol de Funk.
Est-il utile de vous présenter James Plunky Branch dont les concerts ont enflammé le public lors de ses passages en France ?
James a su traverser les époques et les styles, diffusant un message plein de spiritualité et de conscience.

First question about your shows in France, it’s the second time that you’ve been here, how do you feel about it, how's the crowd?

So far the crowds have been just great and I feel great about it.
This may be a life changing tour for me, I’m very gratified that not only older fans seem to appreciate the music but even some new younger people and I think that we’re converting them...

Now we’re going back in time, I would like to know where the name Oneness of Juju came from.

The name Juju, we took in San Francisco in 1972 I think, we chose it primarily because we wanted to have an African name, we didn’t have a specific reference to Nigerian Juju Music. We just wanted to have a name that sounded African.

We were performing and studying Yoruba “chants” from Nigeria but also Afro-Cuban music which has a relationship. But we chose the name not because we were so knowledgeable about Juju, we just picked the name as an inspiration.

I would like you to tell me about the Strata East Label. How did you get on there, how was it to work with them and how did you make the 2 albums?

Strata East was an very important business entity because it represented one of the first times that African American musicians took charge of the business part of the industry.

For fifty years before that, musicians had been just that, musicians. Here was Stanley Cowell and Charles Tolliver, the people who started that Label, attempting to take over and to take charge of their own business interests.
When we heard about their efforts they had put out maybe 3 or 4 albums and we were excited to say here is a black company featuring Jazz music with the musicians producing themselves and releasing the records.

So that Label was based in New York and we were based in SF, we had a gig in NY for a festival, we came and looked up the Strata East people. We had recorded the album that would become “A message from Mozambique” before we left SF and so we were shopping a tape and before we went anywhere else we went to Strata East and they heard it and immediately said “OK you can join us”. It was interesting because they had us join the Label as equals. It wasn’t like a hierarchy, like president right here and you were lowly musicians. All of the musicians were equals.

And in fact you mentioned Gil Scott Heron, in fact GSH and Mtume and Oneness of Juju we were the young people at the Label, the other musicians were a little bit older, and a little bit more conservative. They weren’t quite sure when they opened the label that they were ready for the political things that the 3 of us were doing. MTume had done an album for Strata East called “Akabe Line” which is very nationalistic and Oneness of Juju did this one called “Juju” that was African avant-garde Jazz and GSH came with his poetry very much political, he talked about Watergate and so the older musicians weren’t quite sure that they were ready for what we were doing. So there was a kind of 2 different camps within the label. I became great friends with Mtume and GSH at that time, we saw ourselves as sort of the young revolutionaries, the young lions of the label.

That was a very positive experience for me, because I was able to learn about the business at the same time as meeting these older, more experienced musicians that helped us along in our career. But lastly we helped them too 'cause the Label, I think, was much more exciting for having had the younger musicians who were striking out in this new direction.
In fact GSH’s record probably sold ten times more than anybody else's records at the Label.
We were important to them but they were important to us.

You stayed for 2 years and then you left the Label?

Well after those first two years there was something like a chism, a split. As I said, the split came from some of the straight-ahead jazz musicians who were concerned that the Label may move to a more “avant-garde” way or even into a funky way. But GSH's record was so successful, you would think that that would be positive, but some of the musicians were upset that the music was so commercial. The record met this commercial success, it took the label in a whole different direction, just in terms of business. So they were some arguments about which way the label was going to go, so I decided that I would start my own label “Black Fire”.

I worked with men from Washington DC. Jimmy Gray had been the distributor for Strata East in the DC area and so I combined with him, he and I partnered to start a Label.
We said “we can do the same thing based in Washington” and so we started our own Label and it was fairly successful for us, I’m glad we did it ‘cause again, it was a continuing of the learning experience
And if I would say something to the younger musicians, I would say “Don’t be afraid to strike out a new directions.”
At one time, Jazz music was a new direction, it’s a fairly old direction now, but in the early days Jazz was a new direction.
Hip Hop, at one point in the early eighties was a new direction.
But we find great success when we have the strength to go out on our own.

And when did you get into Funk, this was a new direction for you ...

Well, it was a new direction for a Jazz musician because we had been associated with avant garde Jazz movement and people like Sun Ra, Paroah Sanders, John Coltarne, Ornette Coleman. You don’t think of those names and Funk together
And before us you really didn’t think too much about African music and Funk together or Jazz with African music together. There were some, I’m not claiming that I invented that, but we were fairly early on with these kind of combinations, fusions of different music. So yes it was a new direction for such a political avant-garde Jazz group to go to African and Funk music

A lot of artists in the 80s disappeared or lost their inspiration, how did you live through this period, how do you explain this situation/fell about this?

I think it‘s a kind of natural reaction that some musicians who had some level of popularity, when the market for the music changed it can be very discouraging. In the US we have a disposable culture that means somebody gets hot, and 6 months later we cast them aside and we find a new, younger musician. We constantly go for younger musicians.
So as the music or music group gets older, they get less popular and the record companies cast them aside, they are not able to record, they seem to be a little less interesting for the public. They find other things to do. They teach or get out of music all together.
And it’s also understandable; as musicians get older they have more financial responsibilities. When you’re younger you might play music even if you're not making money, you just make it for the love of the music. But after getting older, you have children, you have bills, and if you say “well there’s nobody behind this record, no record company wants to release it”, then you do, you fall out of the game.
For musicians such as I, I was able to maintain because I did some other things.
I was able to teach in school, because my music is very diverse and I’m very versatile I can do other things, I can teach, play art venues, play in museums, not just night clubs, I can lecture and most importantly, what we were talking about, I’m involved in producing. So I use the time to study new media, to build a home studio, to record other people, younger musicians to keep my ideas fresh. I’m able to stay active in that way.
There was a period where I didn’t play a lot, commercially, I didn’t go touring in night clubs but I was able to make a living for myself in my state of Virginia, playing in colleges and producing.

Why did you move back to Virginia ?

I was originally from Virginia, I went to New York to go to school at Columbia University and then because I was into political issues I moved to San Francisco to get away for 2 or 3 years. Then I came back home because it was easier for me to raise a family.

I suppose you’ve been to Africa, when was the first time and what where your impressions?

I’ve been in Africa six or seven times and I can’t remember the first year but by the time I got to Africa, I had been performing for 20 years and wanting to go for that long. I finally went to Nigeria and to Ghana. I didn’t like Nigeria as much as I liked Ghana.

Nigeria and particularly Lagos was a big city, very harsh, abrasive, Ghana was more laidback, more relaxed and that was more in keeping with what I liked.
But going there was a rewarding experience, I had the chance to play with Sunny Ade, with Fela, I met Asante and a host of musicians.
I went to Ghana to tour for their “Commission on Children”, then another tour with Oneness of Juju & Asante.
But this was the late 80s, 90s.
Africa is an important place for me but I think now for the future, Europe will be important for me. What’s going on right now, with the release of the new DVD in France and I hope it will be important for the musicians and the people as well. Because I think, once again, it may not be a totally new direction but we’re representing this idea of Jazz and Hip-Hop and African, making statements and bringing people together. And I think it could be a good thing.

You’ve also been to Brazil and to Cuba, for some new projects?

I went to Brazil to score the music for a film, for a friend of mine. He asked me to go to Brazil to study the music and to prepare a sound track for his film. I went to Cuba for the same reason, a different friend was making a documentary film about Cuba.
I took my son, a Hip Hop producer and we went there twice. And while we were there, making the music for his film, we filmed some footage ourselves. My friend’s film was never released, but we made a film of the footage that we shot about Afro-Cuban music. It’s called “Under the Radar - a survey of Afro-Cuban music”. That’s a project for me, and you can tell from my most recent releases that that’s a direction that I want to go in. Doing videos and documentary films, use of multimedia to express our music.
As I said we released a DVD “Live in Paris” this year and I’m more exited by the documentary portion of the DVD!
We also have a DVD that we’re doing ourselves in Richmond called “African Rhythms 2006”, it’ s a short music video of that song, a remake of that song along with 10 other live segments.
Were beginning to have a library of multimedia. It represents a new direction and we’re making DVD about the music and the history of music.

Concert in Marseille

Wednesday, September 19

Tatsuya Takahashi & Tokyo Union - Black Pearl

Black pearl
Speak like a child

Life is more precious than diamonds
With the force of nature
Soul eyes

Produced by Conrad Silvert for Zen Records
Recorded on September 23-26th, 1980 at The Automat studio - San Francisco.

With :
Yoshifumi Tada (tp)
Tsuneo Takeda (tp)
Kiyoshi Ohsaka (tp, fh)
Nobuo Katoh (tp, fh)
Kenji Nishiyama (tb)
Osamu Matsumoto (tb)
Tatsuroh Matsubayashi (tb)
Michiharu Yamazaki (tb)
Tatsuya Takahashi (sax, fl, cl)
Keiji Mori (sax,fl)
Hiroshi Yaginuma (sax, fl, cl)
Norio Moriguchi (sax, fl, cl)
Kenichi Tada ( sax, cl)
Masahiro Kanayama (p)
Atsuo Wada (b)
Hideki Nakamura (dr)
Hidetoshi Kaeano (g)
Hiroyuki Ohkubo (g)
Herbie Hancock (p)
Slide Hampton (tb)
Richie Cole (sax)

I have never been a fan of jazz big bands, those noisy and overcrowded orchestras, but this one is different.
This only-Japanese album has been recorded in 1980 ; it has received the valuable help of Herbie Hancock (and Slide Hampton too), which is giving to the main title track the required amount of funkiness.
The well-named Black Pearl tune is a 8 minutes jazz-funk killer which starts with a nice slapped bass line.
It is a perfect combination of the powerful horn section (which sounds a bit like the '76 Horny Horns) of the orchestra and the elegant-laid-back-funky-style of Herbie Hancock.
The rest of the album is less interesting from a "funkateer point of vue", but may fully satisfy any jazz enthusiast.
Amazingly, this record is not so hard to find for a fair price of $20 or even less !

Audio sample

Friday, July 6

Los Ritmos Americanos - Brazillian Jazz Breaks vol.1

A new fresh mix by Los Ritmos Americanos. Check those brazillian jazz breaks from the 70s vaults of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro & Minas Gerais !
And still available : Soulful Spring Mix and Moody Grooves & Spiritual Jazz vol. 1

Tuesday, March 20

Interview with Byard Lancaster - The photos by Hugo Zangl

Interview of Byard Lancaster / Sounds Of Liberation

Founded in 1971, the individual members of Sounds of Liberation are all leaders in their own right. From the very start, the group built their reputation as innovative artists, playing gigs everywhere throughout Philadelphia, especially in Germantown’s Vernon Park. They recorded their first album in 1972, the self-titled Sounds of Liberation, on the Dog Town label. As their touring schedule expanded, Sounds of Liberation appeared at the Miss Black America Pageant, the New York City Arts Festival, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and numerous colleges and universities throughout the United States. The original members included Jamal, Lancaster, Sudler, Hill and James, in addition to the late percussionist Rashid Salime and bassist Billy Mills who has since changed his instrument to the piano.

Through the decades, all of the members have continued to consistently front their own bands and recordings, compose and publish their original music, and conduct workshops, seminars, master classes and lecture demonstrations for students ranging from pre-kindergarten through the undergraduate and graduate levels at universities. Individually and collectively their artistry has become known worldwide, particularly in Europe, Japan and the Philippines. Since their inception the Sounds of Liberation have defied classification, choosing instead to create a menagerie of original music that is fresh, free, lyrical, percussive, highly cultivated and spiritually elevated.

We met them in September 2006, for their show at La Villette and it was probably one of the best show I have ever seen.

These are some audio samples of our interview of the master Byard Lancaster :

Wegofunk : As a pionneer of free jazz, can you tell us more about this music?
Byard Lancaster : Audio Sample

Wegofunk : You don't sing but you have a message. What is the message contained in your music?
Byard Lancaster : Audio Sample

Wegofunk : You recorded a great jazz-funk 45 in Paris at the end of the 70s. What do you like into funk music?
Byard Lancaster : Audio Sample
Listen to Just Test

Wegofunk : You played with the best jazz musicians. Can you just describe us some musicians you played with on stage?
Byard Lancaster : Audio Sample

Wegofunk : What about the Sounds of Liberation?
Byard Lancaster : Audio Sample
Wegofunk : Is Jazz dance the inspiration of Sounds of Liberation?
Byard Lancaster :Audio Sample

Wegofunk : Something to add?
Byard Lancaster : Audio Sample

Ekseption - 5

For Example/For Sure

A La Turka
Midbar Session
My Son

Produced by Rick Van Der Linden for Philips in 1972.

Rein Van Den Broek (keys, lead voc,string & vocals arr)
Dick Remelink (sax, flutes)
Cor Dekker (Bass)
Peter De Leeuwe (Drums, Percussions, Guitar)
Rick Van Der Linden (Piano, Hammond, Spinet)

Ekseption is a dutch band mixing jazz and classic music, giving strange combinations and sometimes good stuff. The good surprise comes from the song Vivace that contains a 1 minute sample of heavy groove. It includes a floating atmosphere with a B3-hammond "a la James Brown".

Audio Sample

Monday, March 19

The Aquarians - Jungle Grass

The Aquarians
What Do You Mean, What Do I Mean?
Excuses, Excuses

The Head
Jungle Grass
Mucho Soul

Produced by Mark Slotkin & Bill Rinehart for Creative Complex and UNI
Recorded in Hollywood in 1969.

With :
Vladimir Vassilieff (p.)
Bobby Hutcherson (vibes)
Lynn Blessing (vibes)
Carl Lott (d.)
Stan Gilbert (b.)
Al MacKibbon (b.)
Joe Roccisano (fl., sax)
Joe Pass (g.)
Francisco Aquabella (perc.)
The Gemini Twins (voc.)
David MacKay (voc.)
Vicki Hamilton (voc.)

Here is an amazing recording by pianist Vladimir Vassilieff, between 60s hippies melodies (it was recorded on west coast in 69), latin boogaloo and brasillian funky jazz.
Bayu-Bayu is in a "Marcos Valle" mood and Joe Pass' guitar sounds like Wes Montgomery : just beautiful!!
The Gemini Twins appear only on the Aquarians ; however they make this track very "lovely"!!

Audio Sample

Geneviève Paris - Entre Le Vert Et Le Gris...

Requiem Pour Un Chanteur De Metro
Un Dimanche Matin
Entre Le Vert Et Le Gris

La Tête Dans Les Iles
Tu Fais Ta Valise
De Paris En Paris (instrumental)
Ca Se Voit
Je Perds La Mémoire, Je Crois

Produced by Jacques Bedos for AZ
Recorded in Paris in 1977.

With :
Gérard Bikialo (ac. & el. p., synth.)
Christian Padovan (b., voc.)
André Ceccarelli (d.)
Marc Chantereau (perc.)
Geneviève Paris (voc., g., ac. p., synth.)

Geneviève Paris is a parisian pop singer.
On this album, De Paris En Paris is the only very interesting track, but what a track!!
This is a Cortex-like instrumental jazz-funk with rock influences, featuring André Ceccarelli on drums and Marc Chantereau (Sirocco, Telemusic, Voyage) on percussion.
Audio Sample

Saturday, November 11

Orquesta Flamboyan - Se Viste De Gala

Me Siento Guajiro
Bailey's Four Women
Ay Carmela!

Que Cosa Tendran Las Mujeres
Joe's Landlord
El Merengue

Produced by Ralph Lew for Cotique Records
Recorded in 1970 in New-York.

With :

Frankie Dante (voc.)
Eddie Gonzalez Jr. (b.)
Billy "Tata" Baxter (timbales )
Jerry Gonzalez (congas on “Bailey’s Four Women”)
Ray Armando (congas)
Alex Ojeda (bongos and vocals on “Bailey’s Four Women”)
Joe Mannozzi (piano)
Joe "Chickie" Fuentes (trombone)
Angelo Rodriguez (trombone)
Harry Vigianno (guitar and tres)
Jose "Juicy" Cruz (guiro and claves)
Vince Garett (vibes)

A fantastic album of salsa with influences of carribean music (mento, ska) and funk. Venceremos is a killer dancefloor track for latin funk lovers!!

Audio Sample

Thursday, November 9

War - Live

Introduction by E. Rodney Jones Of Radio WVON, Chicago, Ill.
Sun Oh Son
The Cisco Kid
(Intro) Slippin Into Darkness

Slippin Into Darkness
Slippin Part. 2

All Day Music
(Intro) Get Down

Get Down

Produced by Jerry Goldstein, Lonnie Jordan & Howard Scott for Far Out Productions / United Artists Records
Recorded November 25th, 1972 at the High Chaparral, Chicago, Ill.

With :
Lonnie Jordan (kb, voc., g., perc)

B.B. Dickerson - (b., perc., voc)
Harold Brown - (drums)

Howard Scott - (g., perc., voc)
Charles Miller - (clarinet, fl., perc., sax., voc)

Lee Oskar - (harmonica, perc., voc.)
Papa Dee Allen - (perc, voc.)

This album is for me the best of War. Because it is their best period (72/73), the energy is really intense and their mastery on stage is incredible. All the tracks are over-boosted. The set includes Slippin' Into Darkness, All Day Music and Get Down in their original long form, as well as the previously unrecorded Ballero, a superb latin jam session that reached #33 on the pop and #17 on R&B singles charts.
But the track that makes me crazy is The Cisco Kid with the funkiest wahwah guitar I have ever heard!!

Audio Sample

Friday, October 27

SOUL - Can You Feel It

Can You Feel It
Tell It Like It Is
Do What's Never You Want To Do
Peace Of Mind

My Cherie Amour
Love, Peace And Power
To Mend A Broken Heart
Sleeping Beauty

Produced by Steve Feldman and Richard Talmadge for Musicor / Talmadge Production
Recorded in NYC in 1972.

With :
Lee Lovett (b., voc.)
Larry Hancock (org., voc.)
Gus Hawkins (fl, sax)
Walter Winston (g.)
Paul Stubblefield (d.)

This is the second album of the SOunds of Unity and Love (SOUL). Maturity has gained ground since What It Is and covers give way to outstanding originals. Energy is still present on this album even if the tracks are more arranged and better produced.

Audio Sample

Wednesday, October 25

F.A.T. - Funky And Tough

How Can I Explain
Life Is A Beautiful THing
Satan's Dream

Magician Man
Doing Bad
Free My Mind
Tip Of My Tongue

Produced by Willie Clarke for Bold Records and TK Productions.
Recorded in 1977.

With :
Eric "Fat" Gallon (d., voc.)
McKinley Odom (b.)
Tom Naguet (g.)
Kenny Jones (tp)
Anthony Clayton (t. sax.)
Oliver Crew (bass 747 tb)
Oscar Daley (tb)

Fat Gallon is a recording session drummer. His only album for Bold Records is hard to find. But it has been reissued in high quality.
Amazing is the best adjective to qualify the tracks of this record : soul, funk, p-funk and psyche are mixed and the mood is quite crazy.
Not as Funky And Tough as could suggest the title, but really preposterous!!

Audio Sample

James Brown - Reality

Funky President (People It's Bad)
Further On Up The road
Check Your Body
Don't Fence Me In

All For One
I'm Broken Hearted
The Twist
Who Can I Turn To

Produced by James Brown for Polydor.
Recorded in NYC in 1974.
Arranged by James Brown, Fred Wesley and Dave Matthews.

With :
James Brown (voc.)

Probably not the best year for James Brown with his problems of drug and despair. In spite of this, he produces here some funky dance tracks (Funky President, Check Your Body, Reality) and covers of Cole Porter's Don't Fence Me In, Briscusse show tune Who Can I Turn To, Further On Up The Road and an unrecognizable rendition of Hank Ballard's The Twist.

Audio Sample

Sunday, October 15

Mike Longo - Talk With The Spirits

The Proclamation

Angel Of Love
Talk With The Spirits

Produced by Dizzy Gillespie for Pablo Records .
Recorded in NYC in 1976.

With :
Mike Longo (ac. p.)
Harold Vick (t. sax.)
Virgil Jones (tp)
George Davis (g.)
Bob Cranshaw (b.)
Mickey Roker (d.)
Dizzy Gillespie (perc. & voc.)

A jazz-funk album by Dizzy Gillespie's pianist Mike Longo. All the tracks are composed by Mike Longo. He plays here only acoustic piano but the feeling is still very funky.
Something sure : all the musicians took a lot of pleasure to play on this album!!

Audio Sample

Jack McDuff - The Fourth Dimension

Layin' Back
Rolling Stone
The Fourth Dimension
Half Breed

The City Bump
All Is Fair In Love
Show Casing

Produced by Esmond Edwards for Cadet Records.
Recorded in NYC in 1974.

With :
Jack McDuff (org., el.p., kb)
Jean DuShon (voc.)
Harold Vick (t. sax.)
Joe Farrell (t. sax., fl.)
Pee Wee Ellis (s. & t. sax, fl.)
Joe Newman (tp)
Richard Williams (tp)
Seldon Powell (b. sax.)
Garnett Brown (tb)
Joe Beck (g.)
Eric Johnson (g.)
Jimmy Ponder (g.)
Gordon Edwards (b.)
Wilbur Bascomb (b.)
Grady Tate (d.)
Norman Pride (perc.)

Jack McDuff proves here once more his ability to bring up to date his interpretation of jazz and groove.
The City Bump, played by McDuff, Ellis (on flute), Ponder and Tate, is an irresistible jazz groove track, fat and minimal.

Audio Sample

Saturday, October 14

Ceasar Frazier - 75

Mighty Mouse
Summer Breeze
Sweet Children

Funk It Down
Living For The city
Walking On The Side

Produced by Bob Porter for Westbound Records.
Arranged and conducted by Horace Ott.

With :
Ceasar Frazier (org., el. p., kb)
Jon Faddis (tp)
Joe Shepley (tp)
Garnett Brown (tb)
Charlie Brown (t. sax.)
Babe Clarke (b. sax)
Horace Ott (ac. & el. p.)
John Tropea (g.)
David Spinozza (g.)
Richie Resnikoff (g.)
Cornell Dupree (g.)
Wilbur Bascomb (b.)
Bernard Purdie (d.)
Jimmie Young (d.)
Buddy Caldwell (perc.)
Joe Venuto (perc.)

On the ring : Ceasar Frazier versus Horace Ott (B3 Hammond versus Fender Rhodes). It is the most sensational and spectacular meeting of the Year (75, as the title of the album). A fabulous dance between all those musicians. The arrangements are massive and the beat is fat.
A must-have for jazz and funk lovers.

Audio Sample

Wednesday, October 11

Al Hirt - Soul in the Horn

Honey Pot
Mess Around
Long Gone

Love Ya Baby
Sunday Goin to Meetin Time
Snap Back
Harlem Hendoo

Arranged and conducted by Teacho Wiltshire & Paul Griffin for RCA Victor in 1967

Al Hirt (trumpet)
The other musicians are not mentionned.

This New Orleans trumpeter is best known for his work as a mainstream pop artist. He tries to make this album soulful as the title said and well, he succeded. Even if a lot of track keep its pop sound, you can find some funky drum breaks on "Honey Pot" and "Girl". The "Harlem Hendoo" track I mentionned is a monster one, a solid jazz funk base with a deep atmosphere and an oriental feeling.

Audio Sample

Sunday, October 8

Mary Watkins - Something Moving

Yesterday's Children
Back Rap
Brick Hut
A Chording to people

Leaving All the Shadows Behind
Witche's Revenge
I Hear Music

Produced by June Willington and arranged by Mary Watkins for Olivia Record in 1978.

Mary Watkins (keys, lead voc,string & vocals arr)
Jerene Wackson (ele & classic guitar)
Joy Julks (electric bass, french horn)
Linda Tillery (drums, perc, voc)
Vicki Randle (voc, congas)
Donna D. Dickerson (voc, lead voc)
Gwen Avery (voc, lead voc)
Colleen Stewart (clav)
Bonnie Kovaleff (trumpet)
Priscilla Andrews (violin)
Sabrina Berry (viola)
Stephanie Harice (violin)
Melian Eldalin (violin)
Hilda Lakewood (violin)
Kirsten Wickham (cello)

An all woman personel for this album on the feminist label Olivia.
Mainly jazz but many influences such as blues, funk & cinematic.
Two good tracks in a jazzfunk influence : Brick Hut with his great bass sound
Witche's Revenge is more in a fusion mood with a very good sound a rhodes making a cinematic atmosphere.

Audio Sample

Saturday, October 7

Harold McNair - The Fence

The Fence
True Love Adventure
Early In the Morning

Scarborough Fair
Here, There and Anywhere

Recorded in Chelsea, England in 1970.
Produced by Sandy Roberton for September Productions and B&C Records

With :
Harold McNair (sax., fl. & el. sax.)
Rick Grech (b.)
Keith Tippett (p.)
Colin Green (g.)
Alan Branscombe (p.)
Terry Cox (d.)
Danny Thompson (ac. b.)
Tony Carr (perc.)

This is not funk but a very funky 70s jazz played by jamaican flautist and his english band. Harold McNair is really a fantastic musician inspired by Roland Kirk. All the tracks are both soulful and modern.

Audio Sample

Monday, September 25

Raw Soul Express - Raw Soul Express

Dedicate All My Love
Burn the Candle

It's In You
All Alone
Right On
Music Meditation

Produced by George "Chocolate" Perry for Cat records & TK Productions
Recorded in 1976.

With :
Rickey Washington (voc., fl., bar. sax.)
Christopher Booker (tp, voc.)
Martel Williams (tp)
John McMinn (t. sax.)
Chris Perkins (kb)
Tommy Johnson (g.)
Diego Iborra (d.)
Albie Manno (b., voc.)

A rare and very great album of funk. 3 big tracks : It's In You, R.S.E., Emergency ; and a jazz-funk track with a smooth feeling : Music Meditation.

Audio Sample

Mike Longo - Funkia

Ole' for The Gypsies
Windmills Of Your Mind

What's Going On
The Last Tango In Paris
Southern Soul

Produced by Sonny Lester for Groove Merchant in 1973.

Michael Longo (ac. p., el. p.)
Ron Carter (b.)
Mickey Rocker (d.)
Potato Valdez (perc.)

Not such as funky as 900 Shares Of The Blues, this album is a great mix of jazz, brasillian groove and latin beats, with covers of Dizzy Gillespie, Les Mc Cann and Gato Barbieri.
The track Funkia is in a Blaxploitation OST mood.

Audio Sample

Sunday, September 24

Luis Gasca - Born To Love You

A Love Supreme
Dr. Gasca
Search For Peace
I Was Born To Love You (Yo Naci Para Quererte)

New Orleans Strut
Samba Para San Francisco
Just Say Goodbye

Produced by Orrin Keepnews
Recorded in Berkeley (Ca.) in 1974.
Arranged by Joe Gallardo, Luis Gasca & Jack DeJohnette

With :
Luis Gasca (tp, flugelhorn)
Oscar Brashear (tp)
Eddie Henderson (tp)
Ray Pizzi (sax, bassoon)
Joe Henderson (t. sax.)
Hadley Caliman (t. sax.)
Joe Gallardo (tb)
Julian Priester (tb)
Jack DeJohnette (el. p., d.)
George Duke (el. kb)
Mark Levine (ac. p.)
John Heard (ac. & el. b.)
David Holland (el. b.)
Terry Bozzio (d.)
Carmelo Garcia (perc.)
Victor Pantoja (perc.)

Luis Gasca plays here with all his friends (Joe Henderson, Hadley Caliman, Jack DeJohnette, etc.) in different moods : samba, jazz and jazz-funk.
Dr Gasca and New Orleans Strut are two great instrumental funk tracks.

Audio Sample

Grady Tate - Windmills Of My Mind

The Windmills Of Your Mind
And I Love Her
Sack Full Of Dreams
Would You Believe

Work Song
A Little At Time
Don't Fence Me In
All Around The World

Produced by Gary McFarland for Skye Recording.
Recorded in 1968 in NYC.
Arrangements : Mike Abene & Gary McFarland.

With :
Grady Tate (voc.)
Bob Cranshaw (b.)
Chuck Rainey (b.)
Billy Butler (g.)
Eric Gale (g.)
Herbie Hancock (org., p.)
Paul Griffin (p.)
Bob Thomas (d.)
Bernard Purdie (d.)
"Snookie" Young (tp)
Bernie Glow (tp)
Marvin Stamm (tp)
Jerome Richardson (sax, fl)
Joe Farrell (sax, fl)
Romeo Penque (sax, fl)
Sol Schlinger (sax, fl)
Danny Banks (sax, fl)
Urbie Green (tb)
Jimmy Cleveland (tb)
Jay McAlister (tuba)

Grady Tate was a very in-demand drummer in the 60s. This album is his first one as a singer. Here is a superb mix of soul, r'n'b, jazz and funk. The arrangements of Jerome Richardson and Gary McFarland are magnificent.

Audio Sample

Annette Peacock - The Perfect Release

Love's Out To Lunch
Solar Systems
American Sport
A Loss Of Consciousness
Rubber Hunger

The Succubus

Produced and composed by Annette Peacock and Aaron Sixx.
Recorded in London in 1979.

With :
Annette Peacock (voc.)
Max Middleton (kb)
Robert Ahwal (g.)
Richard Bailey (d.)
John McKenzie (b.)
Daryl Lee Que (perc.)
Lennox Langton (steel drums & perc.)

A psychedelic and groovy album with lots of floating atmospheres, Fender Rhodes (by Max Middleton), funky bass and rock drums. Annette Peacock raps, talks and sings on these grooves.

Audio Sample

Monday, September 18

The Joey Jefferson Band - The Joey Jefferson Band

Revolution Rap
Hot Lips
Walk On by

Baby Just To Love You
Sleep My Love
Hot Fun In The Summertime

Self-produced by Joey Jefferson for Mutt & Jeff Production.
Recorded in Los Angeles, California in 1975.

With :
Joey Jefferson (g.)
James Gadson (ds)
Leon Haywood (org.)
Ron Brown (b.)
Inez & Katherine (voc.)
Strings & Horns arranger : Willie Hoskins

A self-production by guitar player Joey Jefferson. As a big fan of Wes Montgomery, Joey's first solo album is as George Benson's or Kenny Burrell's ones at the end of the 60s.
A nice & funky groove with super drummer James Gadson (The Watts 103rd Street Band, Bill Withers)!!

Audio Sample

Sunday, September 17

Clifford Coulter - Do It Now, Worry About It Later

Ridin' On Empty
Yodelin' In The Whatchamaname Thang
Do It Now
Worry Later

Mr Peabody
Before The Morning Comes

Recorded in Los Angeles and San Francisco, 1971.
Produced by Ed Michel.

With :
Clifford Coulter (ac. p., g., org., voc., melodica, perc.)
John Turk (tp)
Harry "Sweets" Edison (tp)
Jimmy Cleveland (tb)
Willie Ruff (fr. horn)
Bill Perkins (a. s.)
Plas Johnson (b. s. & t.s.)
Marshall Royal (t. s.)
Mel Brown (g)
Sonny Glaze (g.)
Ray Maccarthy (g.)
Jimmy Calhoun (fender b.)
Ron Beck (ds)

The cover of this album is totally crazy, as much as the music is strongly funky. Very great musicians playing an instrumental funk, with jazz language and soul power.
A must-have for early-instrumental-funk lovers!!


Thursday, September 14

Cal Tjader - Lost Bolero In Berkeley

Gary's Theme
Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
Charisma (She's Got)
Never Can Say Goodbye

Curtain Call
Where Is The Love
I Want You Back

Produced and arranged by Ed Bogas for Fantasy Record in 1973 (except Gary's Theme arranged by Cal Tajder in memory of Gary McFarland)

with :
Cal Tjader (vibes, percs)
Pearl Bonney (voc)
Jon Faddis (tp)
Billy Brooks (tp)
Don Cooke (tb)
Melvin Moore (tp)
Frank Wess (fl)
Seldon Powell (ts)
Herman Riley (ts)
Jerome Richardson (fl & ts)
Merl Saunders (el. p, org)
Ed Bogas (kb)
Mike Wolff (el. p)
Joe Beck (g)
Larry Carlton (g)
Randy Oda (g)
George Duvivier (b)
Chuck Rainey (el. b)
Dick Berk (ds)
Jimmy Johnson (ds)
Michael Smithe (perc)
Bobby Hall Porter (perc)
Ralph McDonald (perc)
King Errison (perc)
Mayuto Correa (perc)

A full-spectrum album by vibraphonist Cal Tjader. Including soul-jazz tracks (Gary's Theme, Charisma, Never Can Say Goodbye), samba-jazz (Curtain Call), bossa-nova (Where Is THe Love), a latin cover of Maurice Ravel's Bolero and an instrumental and funky version of Jackson 5 's I Want You Back.


Tuesday, September 12

Clifford Coulter - East Side San Jose

Do It Again
East Side San Jose
Prayer Garden
Cliff's Place

Sal si Puedes (Get Out If You Can)
Big Fat Funky Shirley
Alum Rock Park

Recorded in San Francisco and Los Angeles in april and may 1970
Produced by Ed Michel for Impulse/ABC Records

With :
Clifford Coulter (voc, ac. & el. piano, org, g.)
John Turk (tp)
Cornelius Bumphus (ts)
Gino Landry (as)
Mel Brown (g.)
Jerry Perez (rhythm g.)
Jimmy Calhoun (b.)
Joe Provost (d.)
Billy Ingram (d.)

An early and funky album by multi-instrumentist Clifford Coulter. Alum Rock Park and East Side San Jose are two uptempo tracks with a raw and funky sound. The rest of the album is composed by blues, soul, jazz and boogaloo tunes, always with a crunchy sound and very well recorded.


Saturday, September 9

Morris Wilson - Fantasy Island

Put You Foot On the Ground
Night Breeze
Beboppers Delight

Rock Bottom
Love Tones
Echoes Of The Past

Produced by Morris Wilson for Mowill Records. Recorded in Aleatoric Studio in 198?

with :
Morris Wilson (ts, voc)
Pierre Lewis (kb)
Andre Lewis (b)
Richard Lowe (d)
Rocky Garrity (d)
Michael Harris (perc)
Nancy Richardson (voc)
Roberta Davis (voc)
Howard Bivens (voc.)

A late album by saxophonist Morris Wilson, self-produced, in a Grover Washington Jr mood (when he was playing for CTI). With a cover of Booby Lyle's Night breeze and a parody of Sugarhill Gang's Rapper's Delight (Morris Wilson is scatting instead of rapping!!).


Friday, September 8

Charles Wright and The Watts 103rd Street Band - You're so Beautiful

Express Yourself II
Let's Make Love Not War
Just To Settle My Nerves

What Can You Bring Me?

Your Love Means Everything To Me
You're So Beautiful
I Got Your Love

Recorded at Goldstar Recording Studio, Hollywood, Ca in 1971.

with :
Charles Wright (org, piano, g, arr.)
Gordon DeWitty (org)
Monk Higgins (piano, arr.)
James Gadson (drums, arr.)
Melvin Dunlap (bass)
Benorce Blackmon (guitar)
John Rayford (sax)
Bill Cannon (sax)
Gabriel Flemmings (tp, arr.)
Joe Banks (tp)

One of those very funky albums by Charles Wright and his excellent musicians. Including a special version of ExpressYourself : all the band scatting and jamming on the drummer's beat. And the funky track What Can You Bring Me? Contains samples.
A lesson of groove.


Bobby Bryant - Swahili Strut

Swahili Strut
A Prayer For Peace

Kriss Kross
We've Only Just Begun
The Beauty Of Her Soul
Nite Crawlers

Recorded in 1971
Produced by Gene Barge for Cadet Records
Arrangements by Bobby Bryant and John Klemmer (The Beauty Of Her Soul)

with :
Bobby Bryant (t)
Bob Norris (congas)
Herman Riley (ts)
Charles Owens (ts)
Carl Lott (d)
Henry Cain (org)
David T Walker (g)
Arthur Adams (g)
Willie Allen (b)
Max Bennett (b)
Delbert Hill (bs)
Joe Sample (p)
Brass section on The Beauty Of Her Soul and A Prayer For Peace :
David Duke (french horn), Buddy Childers, Cat Anderson, Albert Arrons, Oscar Brashear, Freddy Hill (trumpets), Groven Mitchell, Lou Blackburn, Mike Wimberley, George Bohannon (trombones), Tommy Johnson (tuba).

Very nice album by californian trumpet player Bobby Bryant. Mostly notable for the track A Prayer For Peace, a very powerful big-band funk-jazz tune with a great brass section and a slight blaxploitation feel. Also features a smooth cover of the Curtis Mayfield track We've Only Just Begun and two other very soulful laidback mid-tempo tracks (Swahili Strut, Nite Crawlers).

Joe Henderson - Canyon Lady

Tres Palabras
Las Palmas

Canyon Lady
All things considered

Produced by Orrin Keepnews for Milestone Records
Recorded in October 1973 at Berkeley, Ca

with :
Joe Henderson (ts)
Luis Gasca, Oscar Brashear, John Hunt (tp)
Julian Priester, Nicholaas TenBroek (tb)
Hadley Caliman, Ray Pizzi, Vincent Denham (flutes)
George Duke (el. piano)
Mark Levine (ac.piano)
John Heard (b)
Eric Gravatt (d)
Carmelo Garcia, Victor Pantoja, Francisco Aguabella (perc.)

Modal and funky jazz album by saxophonist Joe Henderson on Milestone Recordings. He mixes here latin, funk and modal jazz to get into a perfect mood, both deep and groovy. George Duke on Fender Rhodes and Luis Gasca on trumpet are at their best. Contains a sample of Troublemakers' Express Way.
Probably one of his best album.


Wednesday, September 6

Bill Cosby - Sings A Rocking Soul Album By "Silver Throat"

Bright Lights, Big City
Big Boss Man
Hush Hush
Baby, What you Want Me To Do
Tell Me You Love Me
Aw Shucks, Hush Your Mouth

Little Ole Man
Mojo Workout
I Got A Woman
Don'cha Know
Place In The Sun

Recorded in 1967
Produced by Fred Smith for Warner Bros Recording

Featuring the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band :
Al McKay (g)
Gabe Flemings (p, tp)

Melvin Dunlap (b)
James Gadson (d)
Big John Rayford (sax)
Bill Cannon (sax)
Ray Jackson (tb)

The first musical album by Bill Cosby! Not a funky album, featuring mostly rythm'n'blues, soul & blues tracks including covers of Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Willie Dixon. The single Little Ole Man, a cover of Stevie Wonder's Uptight reached the Top40 in 1967! Not to bad for a first studio recording!!

Letta Mbulu - Naturally

Afro Texas
Learn To Love
Noma Themba

Never Leave You
Now We May Begin
Saddest Day

Produced by Caiphus Semenya for Junat Productions
Arrangements by Caiphus Semenya, Wayne Henderson , Jimmy Jones

with :
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (as)
Nat Adderley (tp)
Joe Sample (key)
Arthur Adams (g)
David T. Walker (g)
Wilton Felder (b)
Stix Hooper (d)
Letta Mbulu (vcl)

The whole african soul of Letta Mbulu is present on this wonderful album. All these top musicians light up her voice.
"Songs like Kube, Noma Themba, Hareje and Zimkile reflect how comfortable - maybe a little slick - Mbulu could be at the crossroads of African and American music" Doug Payne.

Check also the breaks on Afro Texas!
You will understand why this album is one of my favourite.


Janne Schaffer - The Chinese

Halkans Affair
No Registration

The Chinese
Harvest Machine
Daniel Sover
Fillet Mignon
Air Mattress

with :
Bengt Karlsson (g)
Bjorn J:son Lindh (flute, kb)
Halan Nyqvist (tr)
Jan Bandel (perc., vibes)
Jan Tolf (perc.)
Janne Schaffer (g)
Malando Gassama (perc.)
Ola Brunkert (d) (he was Abba's drummer)
Slim Notini (p)
Stefan Brolund (b)
Sven Larrson (tb)

Recorded in 1974
Originally issued on De Luxe/Vertigo/Phonogram

A nice recording by swedish guitarist (the third) with a smooth funky groove with lots of floating atmoshperes and funky breaks. May be sampled. Recorded originally in 1974, but a re-issue was produced by Butt records in 1986.