MAGIC MIX

funk . soul . jazz . nu-jazz

WEEK STARTING 26 Jan

Genre pick of the week Cover of It'll All Be Over by The Supreme Jubilees.
* First ever LP reissue
* First time ever on CD
* 24bit / 96kHz remastering
* Liner notes by Jessica Hundley interviewing the band, plus rare archive photographs
* LP housed in an expanded deluxe Stoughton gatefold “Tip-On” jacket

If God had a disco, the DJ would be playing California gospel-soul group The Supreme Jubilees. “We won’t have to cry no more,” the tuxedo-clad group would sing, in high, angelic vocals over smooth grooves. “It’ll all be over.” Prepare to dance and contemplate death all at the same time.

A band of brothers and cousins, the group was founded from two families: brothers Joe and Dave Kingsby plus Dave’s son David Kingsby Jr., and keyboardist Leonard Sanders plus his brothers Phillips (drummer), Tim (bassist), and Melvin (tenor). The Sanders clan grew up singing together in the Witness of Jesus Christ church in Fresno CA, where dad Marion was pastor. Guitarist Larry Price - who belonged to neither family - completed the line-up that recorded the group’s first - and, prophetically, only - album, 'It’ll All Be Over'.

Released in 1980 on the group’s own S&K (Sanders & Kingsby) label, 'It’ll All Be Over' pinpoints a fatalistic mood exemplified by the title. Its lyrics drawn from the Old Testament, its sound from the church by way of the disco, and it’s a feel captured by the album cover - a low, orange sun setting over the Pacific ocean.

Making the album was not easy. Sessions began in Trac Record Co, a country and western studio in Fresno, CA, where the engineer was so put out by the group’s requests for heavier bass in the mix, he stopped the session and kicked them out. They left with four songs - one side of the album - and the record was completed at Sierra Recording Studio in Visalia, CA. Leonard Sanders reported having a spiritual encounter in his sleep while in Visalia; the next day he recorded his part of the album’s title track in a single take.

After the LP was pressed, the group took their music on tour, first in California, where they played with acts including the Gospel Keynotes, The Jackson Southernaires, and the Mighty Clouds of Joy, and then on an ill-fated trip to Texas. A follow-up album was planned for 1981, but it never materialized; having slept sometimes a dozen to a room in Texas, the men in the band were reluctant to leave jobs, wives, and kids for the hardship of the road. The group simply fizzled out, even if the friendships never did.

A copy of the album sold to a fan on that Texan tour made its way to a San Antonio record store, where it was discovered nearly three decades later by collector David Haffner (Friends of Sound). He managed to track down the Kingsby-Sanders clan at a Fourth Of July barbeque in Fresno in 2004. And he eventually introduced the group to Light In The Attic Records, which now presents the album, restored, remastered, and available to the public for the first time.

Beat Spacek is the latest project from UK vocalist / producer Steve Spacek, a man who should really need no introduction. With boundless abilities, his work transcends genre and style - instead focusing more on swing, melody, vibe and atmosphere. From his legendary output with the band Spacek - 'Curvatia' (2001), 'Vintage Hi-Tech' (2003); solo work on the cult Sound In Color imprint and collaborations with the late, great J.Dilla; to his under-the-radar Black Pocket project for dBridge's Exit Records and his most recent work with Mark Pritchard as one half of Africa HiTech, his fearless approach to creation has always been progressive and highly original.

Beat Spacek sees him once again take the reigns as a solo artist creating a record that is as much a love letter to the future as it is an ode to the past. Created largely using iPhone and iPad apps, the album once again finds Steve liberated through new technologies, excited by the prospects of “the new” whilst expressing notions of the past. It’s a journey through the evolution of modern Britain from a futurist perspective.

Framed against a particular period in the 1980s when Steve was growing up as a young man in New Cross, South East London, 'Modern Streets' is rooted in the duality of the past and the future. Flim-Flams was the club where he first experienced the clash of sounds and styles that characterised South London’s racial, ethnic and cultural melting pot. A spot where punks, soul heads, new romantics, dread locks and skinheads all converged brought together through a love of music and new sounds.

From the paranoid, post-punk, sleng teng musings of "I Wanna Know" to the new wave pop-powered love song "Inflight Wave", 'Modern Streets' is a direct reflection of that experience, envisioned through the mind of a 21st Century rudeboy. Ghanaian highlife is re-imagined in digital form on "Tonight"; "Stand Firm" tips its hat to the dancehall with a futuristic rinse; whilst the sub-bass powered anthem "Alone in Da Sun" draws on the finest elements of dubstep’s sonic vocabulary and reworks them into a loose, new age club jam, brimming with soul and charisma.

Staying on the Mediterranean coast for their third release, Music From Memory this time shift their attention to the work of Mallorcan musician Joan Bibiloni.

Primarily a guitarist, Bibiloni was creating music at an early age, releasing his first single at the tender age of 15. In his twenties he formed Spanish prog-rock outfits Zebra and Euterpe where he would meet Pepe Milan, the two of them becoming the bluesy folk duo 'Milan & Bibiloni'. Bibiloni himself would later go on to play with a number of luminary musicians such as Larry Coryell, Daevid Allen and John Cage to name but a few.

In 1982 Bibiloni set up his own label Blau in order to highlight the much overlooked work of musicians not only on his home island of Mallorca but across the Balearic Islands. In doing so he created a platform not only for local talent but also for his own music to breathe a new life, much influenced by the landscape and life that surrounds the islands.

Whilst Bibiloni's first solo releases on his Blau imprint have stronger echoes of contemporary Jazz fusion of the time, it is on the album known as 'Una Vida Llarga I Tranquila' where Bibiloni really began to experiment with new sounds and technologies; fusing tape loops, drum computers and synthesizers.

Taking these more electronic infused works as a departure point for the compilation and drawing on material from across his following five albums, ‘El Sur’ sets out to highlight Joan Bibiloni’s unique ambient fusion and sun-drenched Mediterranean beach boogie.

Gene Chandler / Baby Huey

In My Body's House / Hard Times

With its rock-solid funky mid-tempo srums Baby Huey’s 'Hard Times' has been the sample source for many hip hop artists including A Tribe Called Quest, Ghostface, Diamond D to name but a few. For this Originals 45 'Hard Times' is paired with the original inspiration for Huey - Gene Chandler’s “In My Body’s House”. Penned by Curtis Mayfield, who released his own version in 1975, Chandler’s interpretation is up-beat and cinematic (in an epic, blaxploitation kinda way) - a total bomb. This 7" gives us both versoins back to back – grab yourself a copy before they’re gone!


Manchester based trumpeter, composer, arranger and band-leader Matthew Halsall is one of the rising stars of the UK jazz scene. His unique sound was brilliantly described as "Rain-streaked spiritual jazz from Manchester" by the Independent On Sunday and previous albums have found Halsall exploring the modal jazz of John and Alice Coltrane or paying heartfelt tribute to the hard bop of the late 50s and early 60s, but on 'Fletcher Moss Park' he offers his most personal statement yet.

Written and recorded over the last couple of years, 'Fletcher Moss Park' is inspired by one of Manchester's most beautiful places. A rambling, multi-tiered park of walkways and dreamy gardens that offers the contemplative Halsall a place of peace and respite from the city, a meditative space to think and write in. The stillness and beauty of the surroundings have steeped into his beautiful compositions for this album. Elegant and sincere, Halsall's compositions draw on his love of spiritual jazz, modern dance music and even his work with the award-winning Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band earlier this year. Halsall who has recently been exploring his music in a stripped-back, electronica influenced, trio (featuring Taz Modi and Luke Flowers who also appear here) as well as the 12 piece Gondwana Orchestra has always favoured an earthy honestly and direct communication over tricksy arrangements and it is this deceptively simple openness that gives his music such a unique flavour as the young composer and producer seeks to express his feelings and thoughts with his music.

'Fletcher Moss Park' opens with three tracks featuring saxophonist Nat Birchall, harpist Rachael Gladwin and pianist Adam Fairhall alongside bassist Gavin Barras and drummer Gaz Hughes all long running members of Halsall's sextet. The beautiful 'Cherry Blossom' opens with a nod to Alice Coltrane before exploring it's own contemplative trajectory, the title track features a gorgeous opening from harpist Gladwin and one of Halsall's trademark slow but foot tappingly catchy grooves, Mary Emma Louise is an elegant tribute to someone special and features some beautifully wistful playing from the composer. 'Sailing Out To Sea' and 'Wee Lan' offer a change in mood, two short interludes for violin (Holly Simpson and Davinder Singh), cello (Adrianne Wininsky) and double bass (Barras), Halsall chose not to play here feeling that the brief musical sketches caught his intentions perfectly. Finally the album closes with the two most recent compositions, the reposeful 'Sun In September' which features fine work from flautist Lisa Mallett, alongside pianist Taz Modi and drummer Luke Flowers and the uplifting 'Finding My Way', which with its compelling groove and fine drumming from Flowers (best known for his work with Cinematic Orchestra) offers a nod towards Halsall's love of contemporary electronic music as well as a hint of future projects. But as with the writing here you can be sure that wherever Halsall's muse takes him his music will remain heartfelt and life affirming in its elegant directness as he explores his own unique musical terrain that stretches from the bucolic stillness of 'Fletcher Moss Park' to a world far beyond!

Herbie Hancock

Empyrean Isles - Remastered Vinyl Edition

On 'Empyrean Isles', Hancock returns to hard bop, but the results are anything but conventional. Working with cornetist Freddie Hubbard, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams, Hancock pushes at the borders of hard bop, finding a brilliantly evocative balance between traditional bop, soul-injected grooves, and experimental, post-modal jazz. Hancock's four original concepts are loosely based on the myths of the Empyrean Isles, and they are designed to push the limits of the band and of hard bop. Even "Cantaloupe Island," well-known for its funky piano riff, takes chances and doesn't just ride the groove. "The Egg," with its minimal melody and extended solo improvisations, is the riskiest number on the record, but it works because each musician spins inventive, challenging solos that defy convention. In comparison, "One Finger Snap" and "Oliloqui Valley" adhere to hard bop conventions, but each song finds the quartet vigorously searching for new sonic territory with convincing fire. That passion informs all of Empyrean Isles, a record that officially established Hancock as a major artist in his own right.

Blue Note President Don Was says, “Two years ago, we began remastering the jewels of the Blue Note catalogue in hi-def resolutions of 96k and 192k. In order to develop a guiding artistic philosophy for this delicate endeavor, we donned our lab coats, ran dozens of sonic experiments and carefully referenced every generation of our reissues. Ultimately, we decided that our goal would be to protect the original intentions of the artists, producers and engineers who made these records and that, in the case of pre-digital-era albums, these intentions were best represented by the sound and feel of their first-edition vinyl releases. Working with a team of dedicated and groovy engineers, we found a sound that both captured the feel of the original records while maintaining the depth and transparency of the master tapes... the new remasters are really cool!

While these new versions will become available in digital hi-def, CD and Mastered for iTunes formats, the allure of vinyl records is WAY too potent to ignore. This year, Blue Note - along with our friends at Universal Music Enterprises - is launching a major 75th Anniversary vinyl Initiative that is dedicated to the proposition that our catalogue should be readily available, featuring high quality pressings and authentic reproductions of Blue Note's iconic packaging. Although this program begins in celebration of Blue Note's 75th Anniversary, our catalog runs so deep that we will faithfully be reissuing five albums a month for many years to come!”

Al Hudson & The Soul Partners

I'm About Loving You / When You're Gone

Al Hudson & The Soul Partners had an international smash hit with “You Can Do It” in 1979, becoming One Way in the process. The Detroit origin of the group was just four years earlier, their recordings for ATCO opening doors to worldwide success and becoming highly sought after 7” single. An original “I'm About Loving You” sold earlier this year for $200 and “When You’re Gone” has fetched close to that value. As a spin off from the ATCO Years CD, bringing these recordings together for the first time (6 never previously on CD), this double header shows the class, sophistication and quality of the recordings. The songs are still massive in northern and modern crossover soul circles.


Nina Simone

To Love Somebody - 180g Vinyl Edition

No slouch as a songwriter herself, Nina Simone ably picked a variety of compositional classics from the new Rock era for her 1969 LP To Love Somebody. Opening with a beautiful, introspective version of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne”, Simone shows an obvious affinity for social statements with the Byrds’ “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” and a trio of Dylan standards: “I Shall Be Released”, “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”, plus a dramatic, meditative “The Times They Are A-Changin’”.

The album title is taken from the Bee Gees song “To Love Somebody”. Her cover of the song became her second British hit single after “Ain’t Got No-I Got Life”. Also “I Can’t See Nobody” is a song by the Bee Gees. “Revolution” (parts 1 & 2) was Simone’s third subsequent single released in the UK, after “Ain’t Got No-I Got Life” and “To Love Somebody” both became hits. The song was released around the time of the same titled song by The Beatles and, although it has a similar hook (“Don’t you know it’s gonna be - all right”) and structure, most of the lyrics differ.

Sly & The Family Stone / LL Cool J

Trip To Your Heart / Mama Said Knock You Out

The Originals imprint is back with another original soul / funk track and the hip hop follow up that sampled it. On side A we rewind to 1967 and Sly Stone’s debut LP “A Whole New Thing” recorded with the Family Stone containing the super funky break, "Trip To Your Heart". Fast forward 23 years to 1990 and Def Jam hip hop ledge LL Cool J got busy with the sampler and roared back with 'Mama Said Knock You Out'.


With an estimated 500,000 inhabitants, Surinam has always had a lively music scene. Although the country is little known internationally, it has a very strong influence on the Netherlands, where many Surinamese people live. Music from Surinam is mainly known for its kaseko (which evolved out of the traditional kawina music) and soul music, but the Surinamese have also been active in other genres such as pop, funk and jazz.

Between 1976 and 1983, Surinam had a lively soul scene, with the output varying from eccentric soul tracks to more uptempo disco and boogie cross-overs. Nowadays, these tracks are becoming increasingly rare and hard to find. Kindred Spirits' compilation “Surinam! Boogie & Disco Funk From The Surinamese Dancefloor 76 - 83” gave a proper introduction to these hidden gems and included the tune "Soul With Milk", from Sumy’s “Tryin To Survive” LP.

Rush Hour now continue their mission to unearth more Surinese sounds by making this 80s boogie and disco-funk album available again to a wider audience. "Tryin To Survive" is truly one of a kind... Expect a-typical pounding rhythms, striking guitars, and stabbing keyboards and synths.

This album is another chapter in the ongoing "there's-much-more-to-Brazil-than-bossa-nova" saga. It's filled with disco-era tracks produced for the Brazilian domestic marketplace, some of which were hits, others which were quite obscure. What binds them all together - besides their common origins, time period and overall musical approach - is the fact that their reputation has been steadily transcending Brazil's borders. This has allowed these tunes to find their place on set lists, want lists and in the crates of the world's most discerning DJs and tastemakers. Artists like Jorge Ben and Marcos Valle have been legendary and influential for decades, and the duo Robson Jorge & Lincoln Olivetti dominated the Rio studio scene in the '80s before creating huge buzz overseas in recent years. Banda Black Rio and Cassiano are also both household names amongst crate diggers and fans of rare groove. While this album is sure to highlight the work of the artists featured on it, its main aim is to shine a spotlight on a sound and a style that continues to hypnotize scores of music lovers. Most importantly, its goal is to get dance floors moving across the world.


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