MAGIC MIX

funk . soul . jazz . nu-jazz

WEEK STARTING 29 Jun

Genre pick of the week Cover of Don't Just Sing - An Anthology 1963-1999 by Karin Krog.
* Newly remastered audio
* 2xLP housed in a deluxe gatefold Stoughton tip-on jacket
* Includes rare archive photos and liner notes Q&A with Krog
* Featuring jazz greats Dexter Gordon and John Surman

The work of Karin Krog may be unfamiliar to much of the world, but in her native Norway and Scandinavia at large, she’s practically a household name. This says much about the local enthusiasm for post-bop jazz but also about the tyranny of distribution: until 1994, Krog’s albums weren’t available in the USA or UK, meaning three decades of recordings were waiting to be discovered. With this anthology of her best recordings from 1963 to 1999 - curated with Krog’s own input - Light In The Attic hope to set the record straight.

To listen to opening track "As A Wife Has A Cow" is to jump into the deep end. It’s 54 seconds of words, voice, and technology, a looped, echoing reading of a Gertrude Stein poem. The effect is disquieting and alien but deeply rhythmic, too - and that’s Krog’s USP. 'Don’t Just Sing' takes in these spoken experiments along with free jazz, improvisation, standards, contemporary covers, and electronic manipulation. It features some of the best regarded jazz players in Europe, not least her partner, John Surman, the English saxophonist / multi- instrumentalist and composer.

Krog began singing jazz in the 1950s and started her first band in 1962. She not only had two tracks on the first ever Norwegian jazz LP, 'Metropol Jazz', but also became the first Norwegian jazz artist to record and release a full album (1964's 'By Myself' on the Philips label). Her sound developed as technological advances made new recording techniques possible, and she quickly embraced the album as the perfect form to contain her sonic experiments. .

Recorded with tenor saxophonist Jan Garbarek and bass player Arild Andersen, 1968’s 'Joy' is regarded as her masterwork. Tracks from it can be found on this compilation, as can a couple of interesting covers: Joni Mitchell’s "All I Want" and Bobby Gentry’s "Ode To Billy Joe," both of which show how Krog brought jazz aesthetics to pop songs of the day.

“Glass" and “Tystnaden" are the two previously unreleased finds from the archives, the former written for a British documentary in 1997, the latter a soundscape improvisation from a 1963 studio session with Lars Werner on piano, Kurt Lindgren on bass, and Janne Carlsson on drums. The compilation rounds off with the “Psalm” movement from John Coltrane’s monumental piece, 'A Love Supreme'. Krog’s version came at suggestion of the man himself. “It was John who pointed to the text on the inner sleeve of the Impulse! LP and said, ‘Karin, look. Why don’t you sing this?’” she remembers.

Krog remains fiercely productive, recording, performing, and running Meantime records from her and John’s villa near Oslo. Now 77, she’s showing no signs of slowing down. “Everybody has to retire at some point, but I believe that once a musician, you’re always a musician,” she says. “If I can’t stand up and sing on stage anymore, I can always do it sitting down!”


Texan soul singer Leon Bridges releases his debut album 'Coming Home' on Columbia Records. Produced by Austin Jenkins and Josh Block of White Denim, the album features the previously released tracks 'Better Man', 'Coming Home' and 'Lisa Sawyer'. Inspired by 60s soul sounds, and specifically the legendary Sam Cooke, Bridges pays homage to the the classic era of soul. One for fans of Truth & Soul, Daptone, Amy Winehouse, Aloe Blacc etc.

The French pianist, composer and arranger Christophe Chassol specialises in ‘ultrascore’ - a performance fusing and harmonising stunning visuals and rhythmic motifs into a filmic / musical whole.

“Big Sun”, the third work of a trilogy, was inspired by a visit to Martinique in the French West Indies, the birthplace of his family.

Critics have described Chassol as a “rare artist, an adventurer of his time” and “an eclectic genius”. He's also recorded sessions for Gilles Peterson, who is a big fan.

After a recent excursion on Theo Parrish's Sound Signature label these two pioneering legends of UK music return to Eglo Records for another heavyweight jaunt through broken house and boogie. Those with their finger on the pulse, and head in the bassbin for that matter, may well be aware of EP opener "Black Is Key", which has been making serious noise through the underground over the last few months. Skipping beats and a bubbling bassline hold down the rhythm section, while stabbing keys and soulful vocals hold it down in the foreground. Once we're locked in, Dego & Kaidi gradually turn up the pressure with glittering sequences and almost spiritual arps, reminding me of the finest Rotating Assembly releases. "Man Made" follows on naturally with the wonkiest funk this side of a Sound Signature release, combining a jazzy drumbox rhythm with diminished keys, G-funk sine waves and a concentric bassline that runs rings around the competition. On the flipside, the deep, boogie tinged house of "Orbiting Uhura" sees the duo taking a leaf out of the Floating Points book, delivering a full blooded hit of bass heavy, mid tempo brilliance. Jazz chords, a bubbling bassline and Roy Ayres keyboard riffing come together in a glorious union of soulful dancefloor brilliance. Closing the EP out in sunnier style, we get the skipping, broken beat beauty of "The Vault Descends", a laid back number perfect for the smokers out there. It's another stone cold classic to add to a long and rich discography. 

‘Inji’ is the debut solo album by Sam Dust, AKA LA Priest.

Across its 10 audaciously imaginative tracks, ‘Inji’ reasserts Dust as a truly idiosyncratic voice in British music, applying the same frantically eclectic, mischievous and willfully absurd spirit of his previous band, the beloved Late Of The Pier, to ever more nuanced and affecting songwriting and composition.

From the obscene space-age stadium rock guitar solo of ‘Oino’, the maddeningly catchy digi-dub single that Dust leaked sample-by-sample on a suitably enigmatic website at the turn of the year, to ‘Learning To Love’, the record’s gargantuan, eight minute long prog-house centrepiece and ‘Occasion’, a melting Martian Prince come-on, ‘Inji’ confounds and delights in equal measure and at every turn.


FORMAT INFORMATION

Ltd LP Info: Limited edition indies only GREEN VINYL edition. Gatefold sleeve with poster + mini booklet.

Pazazz

So Hard To Find / The Right One - Kenny Dope Remix

This is the first official reissue of Pazazz’s deep disco two sider, originally released as an obscure, promotional-only 7” single in South Florida circa 1980. And, while it took nearly two years, this 12” contains the excellent Kenny Dope's remixes of both tracks. Naturally, Kenny brought the funkiest parts of each track to the fore and, while they're DJ friendly, they're now our preferred way to listen to these tunes. Tony Castellanos (guitar and vocals) and Tim Boynton (bass and vocals) founded the Zanzibar band in Miami, Florida, in 1974 for gigs at the Bahia Cabana Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, with the addition of Rick Gritz (drums and vocals). Inspired by the likes of Bill Withers and Steely Dan, Zanzibar played a soulful series of club dates and private parties as well as a their requisite beach hotel gigs at Miami area staples like the Fontainebleau, the Eden Rock and the Marco Polo hotel. In the late 70s, Castellanos changed the name of the band to Pazazz and, while the band was working for the Norwegian Cruise Line, he penned the band’s first single “So Hard To Find.” This and “The Right One,” written by interim drummer Al Varon, who played on the single, were recorded and readied for release on a silver Pazazz label, complete with picture sleeve. It wasn’t until Castellanos received five hundred copies of the single that he realized that the record was flawed. He demanded a second press run – this time issued on a red Pazazz label - but it too was, in Castellanos opinion, flawed. So the band decided against any sort of release, opting to gift copies of both versions to fans at their gigs. The band split in 1981 and forgot about their single until Los Angeles record collector Mike Vegh found a random copy of the record and, impressed by the steady funk of Pazazz’s soulful disco, tracked down Castellanos and brokered the purchase of the last remaining copies of his records. Vegh connected the label with the man and we’re all lucky to receive Pazazz’s small, but great, catalog on this special 12”.


Clarence Reid

I Get My Kicks / Gotta Take It Home To Mother

Clarence Reid is probably better known as Blowfly. As Blowfly, he has recorded numerous albums, mostly of sex-based parodies of other songs, as well as original raps themed around sex. After moving to Miami, Florida, Reid started off writing songs for artists of the Henry Stone family including Betty Wright, Gwen McCrae, and KC & the Sunshine Band. He also recorded many songs of his own in the 60s and 70s including his 1969 hit record 'Nobody But You Babe'. The tracks which Tramp choose for re-release on this 45 are two of his rarest, and certainly two of his best too. 'I Get My Kicks' is an absolute funk belter right from the word go - wham, bam, thank-you mam! 'Gotta Take It Home To Mother' sits somewhere between the mid-tempo funk grooves of the Meters and the raw funk of James Brown. You'd better be quick and get your hands on this limited repress - the other option is to spend hundreds of $$$ for an original copy, if you can find one.

Back in stock Cover of Anthology by Marlena Shaw.
16 Classic songs from one of the great female singers. The hard hitting 60s soul-jazz vibes of ‘Woman of The Ghetto’, ‘Liberation Conversation’, ‘Mercy Mercy Me’, mod dancer ‘Wade In The Water’ and her anthem ‘California Soul’ still sound very fresh. Her smoother 70s tracks like ‘Feel Like Making Love’ , ‘Loving You Is Like A Party’, ‘Back For More’ ‘Look At Me Look At You’, ‘Rhythm of Love’ are masterpieces, as is her epic 'Yuma-Go Away Little Boy’ with its spoken intro. Lastly there's an early 80s track, ‘Without You In My Life’ produced by Gary Taylor. Classic Marlena, classic soul-jazz.

The first release on Athens of the North spaced out sister label Ocean Of Tears had to be something obscure, weird and brilliant so here we are.

Forest Terry was a tripped out intellectual from Boston who dabbled his hands in electronics and psychedelic funk. His former band Original Black Sheep released a couple of top notch psychedelic funk records that would cost you a small fortune if you could find one, this 45 (Forrest's attempt at a solo career) is even more obscure. 'Satellite Love' is crazy psychedelic sex ballad. Athens Of The North's DJ Fryer wanted to put this out the first time he heard it (but it took some time to make it happen). The flip is also a banger, a heavy break driven low-fi funk 45 which Forest uses to show off his Tri-Speed Moog Keytar synthesizer guitar skills, which incidentally he invented and patented. As a nod to the OG label and in the spirit of Forest's do it yourself attitude Fryer had a go a drawing his own Keytar for the AOTN label.

So hopefully this is the start of something wonderful, a label where Fryer can put out those weird and wonderful records that don't fit anywhere else but deserve to be celebrated.

For the third Whole Truth EP, the nameless producer is joined by LA vocal duo Lucid Paradise, otherwise known as Ishtar and E. Da Boss (the latter is best known as the deep-voiced half of Stones Throw's Myron & E), for four tracks of dancefloor delight. "Party Down" takes the same approach as the Tom Noble mix of Myron & E's "Do it Disco", bringing beautiful modern soul vocal stylings to a limber groove that could have graced West End Records in '81. The pair also duet on "Who's Taking All The Love?", trading lovelorn vocals while The Whole Truth flexes his dub muscles and drops some deeply burnt chords, which come into their own on the B2's "Memories Of Love". If like me, you're smitten with the proto house genius of Mark Seven's Parkway project, I'd suggest you take in the sights and sounds of A2 cut "Keep On". Bumping out the speakers like a lost collaboration between Boyd Jarvis, Timmy Regisford and Francois K, the track utilises a meaty bassline, dubby percussion and trippy lead lines to take us to the heart of the dancefloor. After gaining exposure on 6 Music with his previous 12", this latest EP should continue the upward trajectory of The Whole Truth.


Milton Wright

Silence That You Keep / Po' Man (First Versions)

Athens Of The North presents two of the boogie-disco floaters from the label's previously unreleased 'Original Friends and Buddies' album, making both of these versions are on 45 for the first time. The stripped-down version of 'Silence That You Keep' benefits from the more direct tight vocal. Without the synths there is much more space in the mix which suits the melancholy deep disco groove so much better. On the Flip 'Po' Man' has also been stripped right back to its more basic elements also for the better, less-is-so-much-more sound.

When Terry Kane - a sound engineer who was barely twenty years old at the time - built an 8-track recording studio above Henry Stone's office space in the Hialeah area of Miami, he probably never envisaged that he was laying the bedrock for a creative hub that would spawn over 25 gold records and over 100 million record sales worldwide. In the process, it would help to make Henry Stone a legend of American music.

At one end of the spectrum, warehouse boy turned global superstar Harry Wayne Casey - better known as leader of KC & The Sunshine Band - was pumping out disco classics on a massive scale with ubiquitous airplay and sell-out shows. At the other, Rodney Matthew and his group Formula 1, were relying on the might of the TK distribution machine to propel them into the spotlight. As remarkable as their 1977 masterpiece on Du-Vern records was, it inevitably failed to have the seismic impact of The Sunshine Band's commercial dance pop.

For every success story like T-Connection, with their firebrand funk-disco fusion and major label achievements, there were equally talented acts such as Stevens And Foster who also called on Stone's services to showcase their vision: judging by the scarcity of original copies of their self-written and produced modern soul jewel on Jerri Records, they also failed to reach beyond the Sunshine state, save for the rarified ears of collectors and connoisseurs.

The sheer amount of records that came out of those modest premises at 495 SE 10th Court is mind boggling. With a huge roster of in-house labels as well as production and distribution deals, label boss Henry Stone was a passionate, busy, and exceptionally well connected man.

Stone would nurture the early careers of the likes of million seller Betty Wright, as well as provide a platform for Milton Wright and Leno Phillips (her older brothers) to express their creativity. Clarence Reid (AKA Blowfly) and Willie Clark penned a raft of amazing tracks for acts such as Jimmy 'Bo' Horne and Little Beaver (AKA Willie Hale, who would also write a wealth of material for others), while T.K. in-house band Miami's own Robert Moore also released records on yet another T.K. imprint; Blue Candle.

The music scene in Miami and indeed, Florida, at the time was fertile and moved quickly with the times; there were hit-makers and risk-takers, shining stars and those who never went far.

As a living document of Henry Stone's remarkable legacy, the diverse styles and ideas coming out of Miami-Dade County and beyond, as well as a glimpse at the successes and near-misses achieved by a dazzling array of artists at the time, this collection serves as an invaluable insight.

FORMAT INFORMATION

2xLP Info: Limited double vinyl album includes bonus 7" single Brand New ' Party Time / 'Thousand Years'.

Various Artists

Nik Weston Presents Lost Funk, Soul & Disco Gems Volume Three

Super official rareness for Mukatsuku as they dig deep in their box of gems to unearth two stormers from the USA neither of which have either ever been out on a 45 before. First up from 1978 is Atlanta Georgia based funk / boogie group The Chapparrals which featured Cameo guitarist / vocalist Anthony Lockett with a track that kicked off the Holy Grail "Shake Your Head" album on the private label Maximillion. ''Hittin' It'' does exactly what it states on the tin as a monstrous funk groove ably assisted from a punchy brass section leads way to a swirling synth and bassline workout. The track on the flipside also never out as a single in it's own right is by The Diddys featuring Paige Douglas and lifted from the "Agony And Extasy" album from 1977 produced by Charles Earland for the Bam Buu label. Soulful disco funk with tight drums and an overload of lead guitar and that killer vocal melody that will stick in your brain for weeks... Strictly vinyl only. 



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