Tito Puente – Live In Montreal. UCJ

Live DVD from the king of mambo, a remastered recording (not sure when the original wise but I think it was early 80’s) that shows Tito doing what he does best. Tracks featured are, The Opener, Morning, Stella By Starlight, Oye Como Va, Tito’s Especiale, On Broadway & Pare Cochero plus an interview with the great man. Top stuff. Graham Radley

Various ‘Sahara Lounge’ (Putumayo)

Middle East meets beats, perfectly summed up by Sharif’s opener ‘Shiraz’ what a brilliant track, enchanting Persian/Iranian traditional classical music featuring the santur enveloping a wave of electronica and produced by Ramin Sakurai (Supreme Beings Of Leisure). Other ones to note are Dahmane El Harrachi and the Sonar remix of ‘Ya Rayah’. the wonderfully named ‘Soap Kills’ from Lebanon and ‘Dub4me’ and Jasmon (feat. Mohammed Mounir) with ‘Hanina’. There’s 6 rare & previously unreleased tracks amongst the 12. Highly recommended.

Graham Radley

Paco De Lucia – Cositas Buenas. Universal

First release for five years from the legend of flamenco consists of all new material covering rumbas, bulerias, tangos and tientos. Always inventive he uses traditional flamenco to inspire new influences, improvising as only a master can to make a seamless flow of rhythms, solos and melodies. A superb line up of supporting musicians as well with Jerry Gonzalez, Tomatito, Juan D’Angelyca and Diego el Cigala. Genius. Graham Radley

Sidewinder ‘Resolution’ (Soma) 4/5

First thing that hits you is the production, excellent blend of Electronica and live instrumentation, especially when you get to the second track; ‘The adventure’, a blinding track with feel-good vocals from Nancy Jenkinson who doesn’t do too bad a job on ‘Raindance’ either.
Summer is certainly the time for this, and the forthcoming release date might just have been a little late in the year for it is a crisp warm sound, especially on ‘Morph’s groove’.
As we move on to the fourth composition ‘Ego riot’ the dance floors open properly. Ruff tune – one for the boogie retro audiences, we like this.
Jazz electronica fused ‘Skit 4’ then ‘Everyday’ with its club punch just brings you ever closer to the climax…. ‘Stanway’s revenge’ is a monster tune and one that certainly needs the attention – if this has not seen 12” status yet, then boy does it need too. We think this will warrant spending your hard-earned monies all by itself.
It is an accessible album, one you can see being put together for, and fitting nicely on, the Jazz FM daytime playlist, albeit perhaps for a few killer tracks, which inevitably will be overlooked by the producers. But hey, why not make good music, get the sales up, the airplay sorted and make a little money. Watch out though because I can see Sidewinder running things in the future when they get a little more confident with the public. The album concludes with chilled soulful melodies. Good example of electronica around at the moment, and well worth the search – we like.

Steve Williams

TJ Rehmi ‘The Warm’ (Chill Dharma Moon)

Spreading wings out into the wider world from Birmingham this is as good an advert for the city as any. TJ first came to national note in 1996 with ‘The Fusionist’ on Nation, soon Europe took note of his stylish, chilled use of drum’n’bass and cultural roots and further superb releases and re-mixes followed. This is his fifth full-length release, the core of drum’n’bass, Asian traditional and beats remains but the style has evolved as the talent has grown so the whole is more organic more expressive and simply superb.

Graham Radley

Jean-Jacques Milteau ‘Blues’ (3rd Emarcy)

Parisian harmonica player J.J. Milteau brings in Gil Scott-Heron, Terry Callier and N’Dambi to produce a varied release that brings a whole new perspective to any thoughts you might previously of the harmonica. J.J.Milteau is a musical explorer, this time he¹s heading for the land of soul ‘The Lonely Knows’ with its opening of harmonica straight out of a western glides into N’Dambi’s soulful blues while ‘Some Kind Of Pressure’ with Terry Callier has your man getting dirty with the blues. Lou Donaldson’s ‘Turtle Walk’ features some tasty baritone from Howard Johnson whilst Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘Home Is Where The Hatred is’ works just right with Gil’s vocals bouncing off J.J.’s flowing harmonica breaks. Very good.

Graham Radley

Cassandra Wilson – She Who Weeps. JMT

Re-issue, Cassandra Wilson’s sublime vocals (listen to the classic Body & Soul) in their earlier days at the start of her journey to become a jazz superstar. Here in 1990 she gives notice of what is to come with her interpretations of both her own and material from Billy Strayhorn, Aretha Franklin etc. She has ideal accompaniment here, particularly pianist Rod Williams and percussionist Tani Tabbal but it¹s always the voice that moves you, timeless yet fragile. Graham Radley

Toufic Farroukh Ali On Broadway – The Other Mix. Le Chant Du Monde

Lebanese saxophonist and composer Toufic Farroukh has re-visited his France only first album from 1993 and added a little mixed a bit more before re-mastering the whole to produce a fine contemporary CD of middle-eastern jazz. Toufic studied music at the Conservatoire National de Musique in Paris and collaborates regularly as a composer with the department of modern dance at the Paris Conservatory, that training and environment gives his music a more expressive feel with jazz giving added freedom. Well worth checking out.

Graham Radley

Roy Ayers – Virgin Ubiquity (unreleased recordings 1976-1981) BBE

According to the sleeve notes this is just a small selection of literally hundreds of previously unreleased recordings which Roy himself owns and to which he has given Barely Breaking Even label boss, Peter Adarkwah unlimited access. The resulting album is quite brilliant since everything here is pure quality. Of the 13 tracks though my current favourite’s are ‘I Really Love You’, ‘Oh What A Lonely Feeling’, ‘Mystery Of Love’, ‘I Just Wanna Give It Up’ and ‘Brand New Feeling’ which all feature Merry Clayton on vocal chores. The latter being the only inclusion from the recent 12” releases. It’s quite staggering that tracks such as these have been kept hidden for so long but thankfully their time has now come. Let’s hope there are plans to release further volumes.

Andrew Allen

travelling the spaceways since 1993