Poetz4Peace might initially sound a somewhat dated name bit it¹s simply what they are, a small group of writers and musicians using their art to overcome cultural and political divide within Cyprus’ and healing the way to reunification.
Based in Nicosia, Olive Tree Music is a newly formed record label behind this first ever project of its type linking both communities and funded by the United Nations. The aim is to bring the people of the divided nation of Cyprus together by providing a structure in which artists from both Cyprus and northern Cyprus can work freely together to heal years of pain.
Poetz 4 Peace combines the talents of Haji Mike (a Greek Cypriot poet and MC), Zeki Ali (a Turkish Cypriot poet), Mike Minas (an English Cypriot bouzouki master), Mike Cherry (keyboards) and Steffen Franz aka Standout Out Selector (a Northern California based producer. Musically there¹s a lot going on with hip-hop layered with bouzouki and reggae laced with beats all with a vibe and all providing a perfect mix to spread the word. Excellent.
The Blue Note Club spreads the word on jazz far and wide (clubs operate in New York, Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Osaka & Milan) this is a snapshot of those grooves that move compiled by Ravin and Carlos Campos. 11 tracks – Helmu Hattler, Break 4 Jazz, dZihan & Kamien, Audiolotion, Physics, Bobby Hughes Combination, Bob Brazil, Barato, Swimming Pool Sound, Mr. Hermano and my pick going to Home Boy¹s quirky ‘Control Yourself Cousin’. Graham Radley
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.