Terry Callier ‘Total Recall’ (Mr. Bongo)

New release here featuring eleven reworkings of Terry’s classic compositions together with a DVD video track of ‘You’re gonna miss your candy man’.
In the mix on this release you will find Block 16, Hopper, Zero 7, 4 Hero and Mitchell & Dewbury, adding a leftfield slant on what can only be described as music’s father voice. Difficult to compare this with his originals, better to take it at face value as a great nu jazz sound – progressive for perhaps an uninitiated Callier audience.
You need to approach this with a clear mind, if in doing so you are disappointed, then perhaps you should think long and hard about your own state of mind.
Terry Callier is a true genius and to take his music off to another dimension with some of the best producers around, can only provide the listener with evermore appreciation of his status within the pages of jazz.

Steve Williams

V/A ‘A Night Out In London’ Compiled by Nik Weston (Aosis)

Okay, a little hard this one to be objective about, what with Nik’s input on the site, but here goes… critical reviewing.
The thirteen-track compilation opens with a beautiful jazz number from Res with Coltrane/Modal flavours. eloquent nu jazz nugget.
Hey, just thought – night out in London on Japanese release only – not much chance then of hearing it in London… Ironic! Moving on, we find samba beats on Pamela Driggs’ ‘Leicoa’, almost the best thing on this disc, which is truly representative of the many genres of music you would find in the smoke. Opas sound on Yukoh Kusunoki’s ‘After The Dance’ – revival almost, a little passé (to mention Michael McDonald here would be a little too critical), Maysa Leak features on Jazoulsters’ first of three offerings here, ‘Family Affair’ (yes that one) is given a proper reworking – nice one Maysa.
Paris Match next up with a George Benson sound – we don’t like. however, Osamu Kaike’s rendition of ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’ is without a shadow of doubt the best thing here – proper jazz all the way, and even giving Ms. Lundy’s version a run for its money. worth the search, worth the money, worth the effort alone.
we then move through jazz dance meets Jeff Lorber on ‘Shi Wa Zu’, descarga madness on ‘Descarga Pa’Ti’ and true London sounds on ‘Speed Of Love’ scats included free of charge. the cd is in full throttle. up next two more Jazoulster. first ‘Landscape from the Higher Lounge’ – not sure if the title wins first prize or the awesome sax blowing. me no like third Jazoulster track, but nuff praise to Paris Match’s second offering ‘Deep Inside’ with Ananda Project on the mix.
all in all there are some dated sounds I will admit, but 10 out of 13 is some achievement when it comes to the quality here.

Steve Williams

Lonesome Echo Production ‘Silver Ocean’ (Disorient)

Eagerly awaited this one (if only by me!). the album kicks off with the recently released ex-Ten City front man Byron Stingley 12″ ‘sweet dreams’ – funky fresh, instantly you appreciate this album is representing the better side of house music, although that pigeon-hole is not fit for all the tracks. portuguese flamboyance comes correct on the next offering from ex Da Lata songstress Liliana Chachian by way of ‘no colo do mar’ giving house music a heavy slapping of brasil and removes any likelihood of this compilation being filed under ‘lounge’… tremendous.

Ken Boothe & U-Roy together concocts images of splendor – it is challenging music, but with artists like Pharoah Sanders, Lonnie Liston Smith and Nana Vasconcelos all getting it on, I’m afraid the Boothe/Roy combination gets clouded. Pharoah’s ‘love’ with Apani, DJ Spinna and Mr Smith himself gets the big rubber stamp of approval form the ukvibe consortium – hip hop beats rule.

big anthem here has to be ‘soul galactic’ featuring Osunlade – watch out for this at the forthcoming southport weekender… hot stuff; hope indeed this sees a 12″ or even better a 7″ release, as it truly is an opportunity Disorient needs not to miss.

those of you familiar with On-U-Sound records and the whole Adrian Sherwood mayhem back in the day, will just adore ‘spirit of drums’ featuring Mutabaruka – an instantaneous magical moment.

if you are into your soulful house or even nu jazz this album is a must…. do not be hunting this down next year when it has all but disappeared. TUFF MUSIC. big up Disorient, big up.SW

…p.s. you can find a new Mutabaruka 7″ from Un-U-Sound called ‘What Is The Plan?’ with the legendary African Head Charge who, back in 1990, were responsible for blowing up two pairs of speakers at my home, whilst playing the ‘Songs Of Praise’ album.

Steve Williams

Esbjörn Svensson Trio ‘Seven Days Of Falling’ (ACT)

Frantic as I seemed on discovering this album, I quickly delved for my wallet, foolishly without listening to any of the tracks. Impressed as I was with their ‘From Gagarin’s Point Of View’ album from 1999 i was drawn very easily into this purchase only to be very disappointed – as overwhelmed as i had been previously I was equally deflated this time around.
With the accolade of ‘BBC jazz award winner’ and encouraging reviews of late, especially from Jazzwise Magazine’s Alyn Shipton, it surprises me some what that this does very little for me.
As an outside possibility I suggest you listen to “did they ever tell Consteau?” before making your own decision, but if you want good advise, then the previous album is an outright winner.

Steve Williams

Rhian Benson ‘Gold Coast’ (DKG)

Excellent contemporary voice combined with soulful and jazzy arrangements, make for this marvelous album. It would be only too obvious to compare the style of Rhian’s voice to that of Tracey Thorn’s, but that similarity gets a good kicking when the music opens up. For this is a true gem of an album, and one that will inevitably get overlooked by both the soul fraternity and the jazz one alike.
Do us a favour, go and seek this out and have a listen, check out her photos if you must because this is one beautiful lady that can sing, and that doesn’t happen too often.
Extra special moments are ‘I’m In a Bind’ and the title track ‘Gold Sky’, which will be one of those songs you will all be searching for when you can’t get it. Trust me on that one!

Steve Williams

The Rough Guide To The Music Of Morocco

We start with the brilliant Nass Marrakech and their global take on gnawa (look out for them on UK tour in the spring – not to be missed) who are followed by one of Morocco’s biggest stars, Jil Jilala. The Rough Guide takes us from the traditional gnawa and melhoun to some more contemporary influences all of which have helped to shape the varied culture of this exciting land. Further artists featured include, Nass El Ghiwane, Najm El Farah Essafi, Bnet Marrakech and Mustapha Bourgogne, 71minutes of music that will take you from mellow to full on hedonism, from chilled to party. Brilliant.

Graham Radley

Ed Motta ‘Poptical’ (Trama) 5/5

Considered by many as the new voice of Brasil, it will come as a shock to many of you to learn that this 30 and a bit year old has already notched up nine albums. His distinctive soulful voice has an appeal unlike any other. Where two-step grooves often meet beautiful colorful Brazilian sounds – ambiance on plastic.
But try finding his albums and you’re really in trouble. His previous release ‘Dwitza’ was very poorly distributed and not until Whatmusic took over the sales did it manage to surface properly. The previous albums are only available in Brasil at the moment.

Ed Motta is certainly different, so wash away any preconceptions about Brazilian music before you listen and boy are you going to be enthralled.
Appearing live in November at the Jazz Cafe on 28th and 29th to promote this new album, after his successful appearance at the Incognito gig not too long back, he is already setting himself up for great appreciation.

This album? Well Ed Motta is renowned for his collection of unusual and rare keyboards, and some of them are featured here, giving the listener some eye-opening moments. It’s very soulful with even an English song ‘The rose that came to bloom’ highlighting his many talents, that include wine critic and radio presenter to name a few. His uncle was the very Tim Maia who by all accounts was not the best of influences, who sadly died whilst Ed was in London, although he does recognise his uncle’s talents his true influence comes from his wife Edna.

Don’t be fooled here, this album is distinctive and inspiring. It is forward thinking but subtle and with an Ed Motta twist all of its own. Good indeed to see Trama taking this man under their wing, hopefully his distribution will widen and the previous albums see the light of the British day very very soon.
When you’re next in that record shop and you ask to listen to this album, just say to the assistant “drop on ‘Coincidencia'” and stand back… get your money out ready, ’cause it’s spending time!

Steve Williams

Jol ‘Moody Aow’ (April)

Out of the Gonkyburg music collective comes this bombardment of sounds ranging from the jazz funk enthusiasm of ‘Going down’ and ‘Kids in the song’ to the film score enriched ‘spirits of pyrinee’, which would fit nicely with the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence’ – a masterpiece.
For the dance floors we’ve got ‘cool cat’, giving Koop a serious run for their money, with vibes all the way and ‘Hubba ghost’, which should certainly get either early evening club play or radio airplay.
Electronica is the umbrella, with eastern sounds present on both ‘brumpet’ and ‘gonky boa’ and oriental flavours on ‘think tin’ – this project should stand out in the inevitable rain.
With music already featured on the soundtrack to ‘the great forest’ you begin to understand the directions of the album. Movement and Music has also featured work by Jol… but moody music? I think not. this album would be a cherished item in solitary confinement – thought provoking at times, exciting and even just down right funky when you get too comfortable.
Thumbs up all round, it’s quirky enough to be a hit, sufficiently intelligent to maintain longevity and upfront for the nu jazz lovers, but accessible for them to make some money.
‘Spirits of Pyrinee’ stands out on this album and will take its place with many a classic record.

Steve Williams

Marcos Valle ‘Contrasts’ (Far Out Recordings) 5/5

Now readers, for those who bought and cherish Marcos Valle’s last offering, ‘Escape’ and thought it was the best thing since Terry Callier came to England… or was bread involved? You are going to blow your top on this one.
Marcos Valle does justice to both the fresh new sounds coming out of Brasil and those emerging from London. This album is everything Fernanda Porta’s album should have been. It’s fresh, strong and produced perfectly. The music and voice compliment each other and the arrangements cover all musical boundaries – its one hell of an album.
Instantaneously when you first skip through the tracks it’s the ‘Valeu’ featuring Joyce that hits you, it’s the 4 Hero and Bugz in the Attic that grips your attention, but listen again and it is Valle’s ‘Agua de coco’ that stands tallest on ‘Contrast’ tall like Milton Nascimento’s ‘Clube de esquina no.2’, tall like Joyce’s ‘Aldeia de ogum’, a marvelous album that takes the traps in the ‘best of 2003’ race for the tape.

Steve Williams

V/A ‘The Wonder of Stevie’ (Harmless) 3/5

Two CDs here, a mix on CD one of the 15 tracks featured in their original state on disc two, this is put together by Spinna and Bobbito and features tracks produces, written and arranged by Stevie Wonder rather than any song by him.
There are some classics here, I have to admit, both Jose Feliciano’s ‘Golden Lady’ and Carl Anderson’s ‘Buttercup’ have lived with me for many years and the inclusion of ‘Another star’ by Cedar Walton (who worked with Kimiko Kasai back in the day… sorry got carried away there…) is a must-have record.
It’s an unusual array of songs, some I would not have chosen myself but others that need to be included. I have to give them 10 out of 10 for the concept, 7 out of 10 for the choices and for the mix…. mmmm, leave that one hey!
One final word, Norman Brown’s take on ‘Too High’ was a great moment in 1992, and it is nice to see it gets some recognition here, a just moment.

Steve Williams