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Various Artists

Craig Charles - The Craig Charles Trunk Of Funk Vol. 3

    In Craig Charles' own words ‘The Craig Charles Trunk Of Funk Volume 3' features "19 of the finest slices of super slinky soul, boot shaking blues and boogie, dazzling discofied ditties and fine funky rump shakers!” As a lifelong soul boy, Craig Charles has been adding to his trunk of funk since his youth in Liverpool, going to see local heroes The Real Thing live, and wearing out his shoe leather dancing in the city’s many underground clubs. As a poet, actor, radio & television star (including comedy sci fi 'Red Dwarf' and soap opera 'Coronation Street') he’s been famous since his teenage years, and for over 22 years he has been evangelising for the good groove via his world renowned BBC 6 Music weekend and day time shows, DJing at clubs and festivals around the globe – his reputation as a one of the highest profile ambassadors for all things soulful & funky is indisputable. Craig's latest collection, his tenth in total, like all the previous releases has been curated in partnership with his long time compilation collaborator Greg Boraman of IMPRESS!VE Collective Music & Arts and blends up-tempo club classics, with fresh music from the cream of the crop from the contemporary soul and funk scene with a smattering of old school classics. The end result is akin to having Craig personally DJing in your own home – blending contemporary and classic soul, disco, deep funk and beat heavy rhythm and blues. Beautifully presented in a double LP gatefold sleeve & CD, The Craig Charles Trunk Of Funk Volume 3 is a treat for the hundreds of thousands of listeners of his BBC Radio radio shows, regulars at his club nights and also for DJ’s who need 19 floor focused musical treats in one handy package.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: They've hit the right spot every time we've had the Craig Charles comps in, with exclusive versions and mixes added onto the already impressively diverse lineup of unknowns and semi-knowns. Volume 3 is no different, with Charles' good taste knowing no bounds.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Mercy (Smoove Remix)
    2. In The Morning (Exclusive Track)
    3. Somebody Help Me Out (Boogie Back Radio Mix)
    4. Rendezvous
    5. Starlight (Radio Edit)
    6. LYB (Love You Better) (The Waz Exclusive Trunk Of Funk Remix)
    7. I Don't Mind (Mr. Lex Trunk Of Funk Remix)
    8. I Thought It Was You (Live)
    9. Watchu Want (Exclusive Trunk Of Funk Vocal Version)
    10. God's In Control
    11. Ain't No Good (But It's Good Enough For Me)
    12. Gonna Lift You Up
    13. Shake (2022 Remaster)
    14. Big Time
    15. Prophet
    16. Power (A.Skillz Remix)
    17. Trust Me
    18. Day In Day Out
    19. Tarzan

    Tony Higgins, Mike Peden

    J Jazz - Free And Modern Jazz Albums From Japan 1954 - 1988

      BBE Music is thrilled to present J Jazz: Free and Modern Jazz From Japan 1954-1988, a remarkable large-format book covering some of the deepest, rarest, and most innovative jazz music released anywhere in the post-war era. Compiled by Tony Higgins and Mike Peden, co-curators of BBE Music's acclaimed J Jazz Masterclass Series, the book also features a foreword by Japanese jazz icon, Terumasa Hino.

      This is the first time a book of this type has been published outside of Japan and the first anywhere of this size and scale. It is a unique collection of over 500 albums of free and modern jazz released in Japan during a period of radical transformation and constant reinvention. An era that saw Japan return from the ravages of World War Two to become a global economic power and emerge as both a technological leader and an international cultural force. Through a unique gallery of albums, J Jazz charts the development of jazz in Japan from the first stirrings of the modern jazz scene in the mid to late 1950s and on through the hard bop and modal jazz of the 1960s.

      It steers the reader into the radical directions of the 1970s when free jazz, fusion, post-bop, and jazz-funk opened up a growing number of Japanese jazz artists to a new global audience before consolidating in the mid to late 1980s with a musical scene that laid the path for the contemporary jazz generation to follow. Over 500 full-colour sleeves from many of the leading names in Japanese jazz sit alongside rare and private pressings that tell a story of constant change and musical exploration. J Jazz includes profiles of several leading record labels such as East Wind, Frasco, King Records, and Nippon Columbia as well as critical independents such as Three Blind Mice, ALM, and Aketa’s Disk. J Jazz includes interviews with celebrated jazz photographer Tadayuki Naito, and pianist Tohru Aizawa, bandleader on the totemic spiritual jazz album, Tachibana Vol 1, as well as free-jazz record collector and jazz musician Mats Gustafsson.

      The book also features a chapter on albums by non-Japanese artists that only received a Japanese release, with collectible, rare, and obscure releases by figures such as Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Mal Waldron, Steve Lacy, and Art Blakey. J Jazz includes Japanese jazz charts from some of the world's leading jazz DJs including Gilles Peterson, Toshio Matsuura, Paul Murphy, and Shuya and Yoshihiro Okino. Among the specialist content is a feature on obi strips by record dealer and Japanese jazz expert, Yusuke Ogawa, plus a special article on Japanese Blue Note albums.

      Across its 300-plus pages, J Jazz includes a detailed introduction contextualising the music, tracing the story of Japan's fascination with jazz back before the war. It also features biographical information on many of the key artists involved in shaping the post-war Japanese jazz scene including Sadao Watanabe, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Masabumi Kikuchi, Masahiko Togashi, Terumasa Hino, Yosuke Yamashita, Fumio Itabashi, Masayuki Takayanagi, Takeo Moriyama, Isao Suzuki, and many more.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Philosopher's Stone - Tohru Aizawa Quartet
      2. Love Talken - Kohsuke Mine
      3. Little B's Poem - Hideto Sasaki, Toshiyuki Sekine Quartet + 1
      4. Take - Takeo Moriyama
      5. Takeuma - Makoto Terashita Meets Harold Land
      6. Dog's Dance - Miyasaka + 5
      7. Future On You - Shintaro Quintet
      8. Blue Road - Masaru Imada Trio + 1
      9. Zekatsuma Selbst - Koichi Matsukaze Trio + Toshiyuki Daitoku
      10. Rerev (Extended Version - Live) - Hideyasu Terakawa Quartet

      Grupo Ébano

      Grupo Ébano

        GRUPO ÉBANO (Pr. "Grupo EH-ba-no") In the time-honored spirit of excavating gold from the unlikeliest dark corners, we bring you the shiniest of gems which is guaranteed to thrill lovers of classic Brazilian bossa and MPB. This self-titled album by Rio's Grupo Ébano, an all-female gospel vocal group, was originally released on CD only in 1997 on a small independent label and in small quantities. The songs, all originals from the pen of group leader (and backing vocalist to the stars) Gil Miranda, are richly melodic and sophisticated in the mode of all the 60s and 70s Brazilian classics (think Quarteto Em Cy) while their positive spiritual message is more reminiscent of the Clark Sisters if they sang in Portuguese. This first-time reissue, first-time vinyl & digital edition and debut international release will bring many new fresh ears to this lovely and very classy album which will appeal to different generations of Brazilian music lovers, from tastemaking DJs to their parents to even their grandparents.

        TRACK LISTING

        Disc: 1
        1. Cristalina
        2. Ave No Ninho
        3. Verso E Rima
        4. Sertão Mar
        5. Tuas ObrasTeCoroam
        6. Pé No Chão

        Disc: 2
        1. Pai Da Criação
        2. Horas
        3. Já Vou Indo
        4. Ele Chegou
        5. Meu Lugar
        6. Esse Amor
        7. Rio Seco

        Musclecars

        Sugar Honey Iced Tea!

          Sugar Honey Iced Tea! is the highly anticipated debut album from musclecars, set for a May 2024 release on BBE Music. Having already established their presence in the club scene, from the joyous atmosphere of their Coloring Lessons parties to their residency at Nowadays in NYC, and with genre-bending performances worldwide, musclecars are eager to unveil this new world they've intentionally crafted. This forthcoming album comprises 13 tracks that sonically come together to offer a profound lens into the Afro-American experience. Themes range from joy, to loss, intimacy, helplessness, perseverance, and all the facets that lie in between. From the very first tune, musclecars set the tone with an exploration of afro-dystopia, carrying listeners through the entire album whilst creating imaginary futures born out of self-preservation and self-discovery. Through their practice of sonic storytelling, native New Yorkers Brandon Weems and Craig Handfield use this album to speak to the nuances of their daily lives and their environment. Join them on this musical journey as they delve into a collection that captures the essence of the black experience with authenticity, emotion, and rhythm. This album stands as one of their favorite bodies of work in recent memory, and they're so excited to share it with you.

          TRACK LISTING

          Disc: 1
          1. The Afro-American Conundrum (Where Does That Leave Us?)
          2. Ha Ya! (Eternal Life) (Feat. Natalie Greffel)
          3. I Don’t Remember The Last Time I Saw Stars
          4. Dream Boy
          5. Tonight (Feat. Kamaal)
          6. Every Party Must Come To An End (Feat. Kamaal)
          7. Running Out Of Time

          Disc: 2
          1. There’s Space For Us All
          2. Carlos Sanchez Interlude
          3. Water (Feat. New Past)
          4. Hello? (Feat. Aden)
          5. Circles I (Prelude)
          6. Circles II (Feat. Toribio)

          Audrey Powne

          From The Fire

            Audrey Powne's stunning debut album, From The Fire, is set to be one of those must have LPs in any music lover's collection. Something of an auteur release it features nine tracks all composed by Audrey, with all string arrangements and all produced by her. Audrey's decision to produce the whole album herself came from a desire to take creative control of her music and apply techniques developed from the influences of the producers she had previously worked with. If all of the above were not enough Audrey also wrote the lyrics for those tracks on which she sings, and as a multi-instrumentalist contributes piano, Rhodes and organ. She also features as a trumpeter with dextrous and soaring solos as evidenced by the two single releases so far; Feed The Fire and the title track, From The Fire. Due to be released by BBE as both a vinyl and on digital From The Fire is an album of Soul-Jazz with a serious environmental and social messages as well as one which blends classical music, hip-hop and influences from Roy Hargrove, Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock. Indeed it is Roy Hargrove's studio techniques evident in his work with the RH Factor that Audrey credits as a major factor in her producer role here. As well as her solo work, Melbourne born Audrey Powne has also worked as a session player with acts as diverse as Maceo Parker, Midnight Oil, Jimmy Barnes, Masta Ace and the Grammy nominated band The Teskey Brothers. With testimonies and positive reviews from Gilles Peterson, Earmilk, Bandcamp Daily, tracks on the Sunny Side Up compilation and performances on Boiler Room Audrey Powne is a supreme talent whose star is on the rise. From The Fire is destined to become a future classic.

            TRACK LISTING

            Disc: 1
            1. Overture
            2. Feed The Fire
            3. Sleep
            4. Interlude 1
            5. Indigo

            Disc: 2
            1. Survive
            2. Interlude 2
            3. From The Fire
            4. Souled Out

            Aki Takase Trio

            Song For Hope - 2024 Reissue

              BBE Music welcomes pianist Aki Takase to the J Jazz Masterclass reissue series, with her 1982 live album ‘Song for Hope’. A musician of poise and precision who has been a noted composer, performer and recording artist for over 40 years, Takase’s ‘Song for Hope’ continues BBE Music’s exploration of Japanese modern jazz from a golden period spanning the late 1960s to the mid-1980s. 

The ‘Song for Hope’ album is taken from a recording of Takase’s debut European performance taped in November 1981 at the Berlin Jazz Festival and was originally issued in 1982 by Enja Records, a key European jazz label founded in Munich 1971 by Matthias Winckelmann and Horst Weber. On Enja, Takase found herself labelmates with some of the world’s leading jazz pianists like Mal Waldron, Dollar Brand and Randy Weston, and she followed in the footsteps of other leading Japanese artists on the label such as Terumasa Hino and Yosuke Yamashita. The hypnotic title track was included on J Jazz vol. 3, and it features J Jazz stalwart Takeo Moriyama on drums, joined by Nobuyoshi Ino on bass. Moriyama’s career has been well documented on J Jazz vol. 1, and his sublime ‘East Plants’ album was reissued as part of the J Jazz Masterclass Series. Bassist Ino has been an active member of the Japanese jazz scene since the mid-1970s and has performed and recorded with many leading artists and groups including Fumio Itabashi, Masahiko Togashi, Hiromasa Suzuki, Masaru Imada and Masayuki Takayanagi.

Aki Takase was born in Osaka in 1948 and began playing piano aged 3. Raised in Tokyo, she studied classical music at the Toho Gakuen Academy, and her musical interests developed from a starting point in classical, before going on to encompass contemporary music and jazz. Among the first jazz compositions she explored were works by Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman and, in 1972, she moved to New York, working with, among others, Lester Bowie, John Zorn and Dave Liebman. 

She recorded her debut album for Seven Seas/King Records in 1978 and appeared on some key J Jazz album such as Yoshio Ikeda’s ‘Sketches of my Life’ and Seiichi Nakamura’s ‘Wolf’s Theme’. Takase has lived in Berlin since 1987 and is married to German pianist and composer Alexander von Schlippenbach, with whom she records and performs, sometimes as part of the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. She has also performed and recorded extensively with many other leading figures in contemporary jazz and improvised music including David Murray, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, and Maria João. The J Jazz Masterclass Series is curated by Tony Higgins and Mike Peden for BBE Music.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Monologue
              2. Song For Hope
              3. Minerva's Owl
              4. Mountain Forest

              Alina Bzhezhinska

              Altera Vita

                'Altera Vita' is the first studio album by World renowned multi-award winning artists Tony Kofi (tenor saxophone) and Alina Bzhezhinska (harp) as a duo. The album is saxophone and harp in perfect harmony with Tony and Alina also providing the bulk of the percussion to accompany their recordings. Tony Kofi is widely recognized as one of the leading Jazz saxophonists in the UK and his duties include regularly lending his skills to legendary group Cymande for their live performances. Alina has been heralded as the "New Sound of Europe'' and the duo’s innovative and refreshing approach to recording is apparent on this album. The namesake and inspiration for this album; ‘Altera Vita’ (2023) was named in Downbeat’s jazz albums of 2023, which is very rare for a single release! 'Altera Vita' mirrors the human experience, from conception through to the inevitable end or new beginning. Throughout the journey the appreciation of our environments is paramount, 'Altera Vita' guides us through an intensified refocus on our senses through the medium of sound. This homage to the ethereal is dedicated to the influential Pharoah Sanders —a lynchpin in the creative and personal lives of Tony & Alina. Sharing a platform during the 2017 EFG London Jazz Festival at the Barbican in a concert honouring Alice & John Coltrane, Pharoah's influence was profound. Riding the wave of inspiration following Pharoah's passing, Tony channeled his gratitude into the creation of 'Altera Vita (for Pharoah Sanders)' (single). With Alina's harmonious harp in counterpoint, a serene musical dialogue was born, echoing the grandeur of Pharoah's legacy. This track released in 2023 to critical acclaim was a major catalyst for the creation of 'Altera Vita' as an album 'Altera Vita', the album, is a spontaneous response to a world in dire need for a reset. In a reality where billions find themselves hostage to the ‘doom-scroll’, where topics are disproportionately centred on the darker shades of our existence, and where our attempts to foster connection have only yielded deeper factionalism, 'Altera Vita' surfaces as an aural oasis. An audioscape that personifies tranquility, spirituality and peace — abstract concepts essential to the restructuring of our collective consciousness. 'Altera Vita' was designed by Tony & Alina to provide the listener with an opportunity to sit still and be aware. The heart of 'Altera Vita' took shape during a busy summer schedule over the span of two electrifying days at Fish Factory Studios, London, The synergy between Tony & Alina underpinned these rapid-fire recording sessions. The ebbs and flows, the improvisational dance of saxophone and harp intermingled with the percussive beats also from the pair, with the phenomenal Muriel Grossmann contributing tanpura from her Ibiza base – all demonstrated the effortless energy harvest of a creative partnership seasoned over years of performance and practice. Their achievement is a testament to music as our communal solace and our binder. Encapsulating the interplay of West African and Eastern European sonic traditions, notably expressed through jazz, Tony Kofi and Alina Bzhezhinska become symbols of our shared human fabric —a powerful reminder that our commonalities vastly overshadow our differences.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Tabula Rasa - Blank Slate
                2. Tu Vides - You See
                3. Tange - Touch
                4. Audite Me- Hear Me
                5. Anima - Breathe
                6. Altera Vita -Another Life

                Various Artists

                J Jazz Vol. 4: Deep Modern Jazz From Japan - The Nippon Columbia Label 1968 -1981

                  This latest station stop off is with the famed Nippon Columbia label, one of the biggest labels in Japan, whose jazz output embraces every possible style imaginable. Focussing on the key years 1968-1981, J Jazz volume 4 sees compilers Tony Higgins and Mike Peden dig even deeper into their record collections and pull-out tracks that span styles ranging from solo to big band, jazz classical interpretations and heavy jazz rock, to febrile post-bop, white hot samba fusion, and modal psychedelic wig-outs.

                  J Jazz volume 4 features icons such as drum master Takeo Moriyama, keyboard magi Hiromasa Suzuki, Fumio Itabashi, and Masahiko Satoh, and guitar wizards Kazumi Watanabe and Kiyoshi Sugimoto, alongside big band maestros and innovators Nobuo Hara and his Sharps and Flats, and Toshiyuki Miyama’s New Herd. Thunderous basslines nestle alongside glistening runs of electric piano, bubbling synths and air-tight drumming as the heavy psychedelic modal blues of Jiro Inagaki flows with the infectious samba grooves of Takashi Mizuhashi featuring Herbie Hancock; Shigeharu Mukai’s fusion funk epics take the music to another level and Mikio Masuda’s driving keyboard rhythms brings the heat to an incendiary dancefloor zone.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Exchange – Takeo Moriyama
                  2. The Ground For Peace – Jiro Inagaki & His Soul Media
                  3. Chakkiri Bushi – Nobuo Hara And His Sharps & Flats, Hozan Yamamoto
                  4. Trial Road – Tomoki Takahashi
                  5. A Muddy Muffin – Masahiko Sato
                  6. Samba De Negrito – Takashi Mizuhashi & Herbie Hancock
                  7. Scramble – Hiromasa Suzuki
                  8. A Head Wind – Shigeharu Mukai Quintet*
                  9. Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Faun – Nobuo Hara And His Sharps & Flats
                  10. Jones Street – Kiyoshi Sugimoto
                  11. By The Red Stream – Hiromasa Suzuki, Jiro Inagaki & Big Soul Media
                  12. Kaleidoscope (Edit) – Mickie Yoshino & Kazumi Watanabe
                  13. Ougi Denju-shiki – Toshiyuki Miyama And His New Herd
                  14. Toppu – Shigeharu Mukai
                  15. Mickey’s Samba – Mikio Masuda
                  16. Macumba – Fumio Itabashi*

                  *CD Only.

                  J&F Quintet

                  Contrast

                    Originally released in 1976 on the Swiss label Delta Production, Contrast is a highly collectible and very rare example of Swiss Jazz that is now re-issued by BBE Music. Its new release is due in no small part to the diligence, enthusiasm and curatorship of IF Music's Jean-Claude. With mint copies of the original going for upwards of £350 the release of J&F Quintet's Contrast is a gift to all serious Jazz heads and collectors. Recorded by founding band members Stefan Schneller, Donat Beer and Toni Schädler, with the addition of drummers GieriBievi and Peter 'Huck' Hug and bassist Andri APiorta, Contrast fuses Jazz with music from the Swiss-Romansh traditions to create an absolute masterpiece of a debut album. Surprisingly, Contrast also constitutes the only release by J&F Quintet as the members were subsequently to go their separate ways to work on other projects. It is thanks to Jean-Claude's determination and ear for great music that we are able to hear this fantastic album. After hearing it played to him at a record fair, Jean-Claude set about tracking down the original members of the band with a view to re-issuing Contrast. Post pandemic he was able to contact the band members who, rather fortuitously, still had the original master tapes. It is from these tapes that the album has been beautifully remastered ready for release on BBE Music. Contrast by the J&F Quintet will be released on BBE Music and will be available as both 180 gramme vinyl and high quality digital formats.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    1. White Arena
                    2. L'Auca
                    3. Transistor
                    4. Shagalak
                    5. Sint-Flute
                    6. Basilio

                    Isao Suzuki

                    Approach

                      BBE Music’s highly-acclaimed J Jazz Masterclass Series continues with an album that unites three J Jazz legends with a young musician beginning their professional career. Recorded and released in 1986, ‘Approach’ is both sophisticated and experimental in equal measure, balancing serene ambient moments with thunderous and dynamic explosions of energy. ‘Approach’ was originally issued on the Art Union label and sees bass uber-maestro Isao Suzuki, percussion and drumming icon Masahiko Togashi, and keyboard wizard Hideo Ichikawa join together with neophyte guitarist Akira Shiomoto to deliver a first-class showcase of contemporary jazz across five tracks, demonstrating their individual talents working as one unified ensemble. Suzuki’s deeply resonant and pliant basslines move sinuously across the album, supporting Togashi’s ebullient flashes of percussion and Ichikawa’s lush textures and colourations; topping it all off is the young Shiomoto’s guitar adding melodic texture and shine. Opening with ‘Make Trip’, Ichikawa’s gentle introduction makes way for a change of gear as Suzuki’s bass drives the band along before Togashi’s drum and percussion centrepiece solo leads to the outro. The plaintive and bluesy ‘Otari’ follows next, with Ichikawa’s piano flowing around and between the rhythmic undertow from Suzuki and Togashi. Things turn slightly more experimental on ‘Mysterious’ as Suzuki, the piece’s composer, turns to arco bass effects and Ichikawa employs synthesiser and electronic textures to add colour to the palette.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      1. Otari
                      2. Make Trip
                      3. Mysterious
                      4. Tornado
                      5. East Words
                      6. Long Straight Road

                      Roy Ayers

                      Reaching The Highest Pleasure / I Am Your Mind Part 2 (Pépé Bradock Remix)

                        'There are moments when we harmonise with each other and become one with nature and reality.' When, in the early 2000's, Pete Adarkwah heard of the existence of tapes of unreleased Roy Ayers and Ubiquity recordings sitting in storage he contacted Roy to get hold of them to be mastered and released. Released they were under the banner of 'Virgin Ubiquity' which spawned two volumes of the original grooves as well as a compilation of remixed versions of selected tracks. Now coming out on a 10” single, 'Reaching For The Highest Pleasure' gets it's first ever vinyl release, thus adding to the canon of 'must have' Roy Ayers records. This vibraphone heavy track and funk-fuelled bassline epitomises Roy's Black Consciousness inspired output from the mid-70's that also saw seminal albums such as Red Black and Green, Mystic Voyage and Everybody Loves The Sunshine recorded with various line ups of 'Ubiquity'. This release is backed with the call to arms of personal freedom and self that is 'I Am Your Mind part 2' remixed by Parisian producer Pépé Bradock AKA Julien Auger. First released by BBE on the original 'Virgin Ubiquity' compilation as the original recording and subsequently as a remixed version on 'Virgin Ubiquity remixed', this track features a stunning female vocal as well as Roy's spoken word philosophies laid over a deep and infectious groove. These two tracks are Roy Ayers at his legendary best from his most innovative period of creativity with his Ubiquity band of top flight Jazz, Funk and Soul musicians and artists. As already said, this a must have record.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. Reaching The Highest Pleasure
                        2. I Am Your Mind (Part 2) Pépé Bradock Main Mix

                        Sly Johnson

                        55.4

                          French vocalist, beatboxer, songwriter and producer Sly Johnson unveils 55.4, his much- anticipated fourth studio album, released on BBE Music. Hailing from Paris, Sylvère Johnson (Sly Johnson) is a major force on the French Hip-Hop, Soul and Jazz scenes, both as a solo artist and as a member of super-group SAIAN SUPA CREW for over a decade, where he was known by the moniker Sly The Mic Buddah. When the crew broke up in 2007, Johnson began to carve out an impressive career, releasing on Blue Note and Universal Jazz, as well as collaborating with Larry Gold, Roddy Rod, T3 & Elzhi from Slum Village, Georgia Ann Muldrow, Dudley Perkins, FINALE, Erik Truffaz, and legendary French rapper Oxmo Puccino among many others. Written and recorded during the first COVID lockdowns between March and May 2020, Sly Johnson’s fourth album blends Soul and Hip-Hop, twinning vocal arrangements reminiscent of Prince and D’Angelo with loose, supple, beats and jazzy chords. Most of the musical heavy lifting is done by Johnson himself, but the album features bass by Laurent Salzard, guitar by Ralph Lavital and Anthony Jambon, keys by Nicholas Vella & Laurent Coulondre and a spellbinding guest vocal by Jona Oak. Why 55.4? “It took 55 days of creation to make the songs of this 4th solo album” says Sly.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Alive
                          2. Be My Lady (It’s Been Too Long)
                          3. Bullshit (I Can’t Stand It No More)
                          4. Trust Me
                          5. Okay
                          6. E.N.E. (Equality - Naturally - Eternally)
                          7. Today
                          8. Feel
                          9. E.V.R.B.D.D. 2
                          10. What's Going On
                          11. The H.B.D. Song (Souffle Tes Bougies)
                          12. Got To Be Funky (The Mic Buddah’s Re-Vision Remix)

                          Jazzanova

                          Strata Records - The Sound Of Detroit - Reimagined By Jazzanova

                            In association with DJ Amir and 180 Proof Records, BBE Music proudly presents ‘Strata Records - The Sound of Detroit - Reimagined by Jazzanova’, a brand new celebration of the iconic imprint. How does the Berlin-based production collective Jazzanova find itself reimagining songs from the iconic, Detroit record label Strata? “I couldn’t think of a more perfect band to do this work,” DJ Amir says about Jazzanova, a combination of DJs, record collectors and musicians, “because they brought passion and love to the project, because they know the music and love the music. And on top of that, they know how to play.” This unlikely, yet ideal pairing is the result of years of work and passion from Amir Abdullah, the crate-digging, DJ and label-head for 180-Proof Records which in 2011 began reissuing the groundbreaking Strata Records back catalog and unreleased gems from the vaults. On Strata Records - The Sound of Detroit - Reimagined by Jazzanova, DJ Amir and Jazzanova breathe new life into eleven hand-picked tracks from the Strata catalog for fans of the label’s historic recordings and new ears alike. Strata Records rose from the ashes of Detroit’s tumultuous 1960s decline..

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Barry says: A superb compilation from the ever reliable BBE which sees renowned collective Jazzanova reimagining the output of Detroit stalwart label Strata. It's an absolute wealth of amazing material to draw on, and the endlessly talented Jazzanova do it great justice here. A match made in heaven.

                            TRACK LISTING

                            Disc: 1
                            1. Introduction
                            2. Face At My Window
                            3. Root In 7-4 Plus
                            4. Lost My Love
                            5. Creative Musicians
                            6. Joy Road
                            Disc: 2
                            1. Orotunds
                            2. Inside Ourselves
                            3. Scorpio’s Child
                            4. Beyond The Dream
                            5. Saturday Night Special
                            6. Loser

                            Various Artists

                            We Are The Children Of The Sun

                              Selected by British DJ and vinyl hunter Paul Hillery, new BBE Music compilation 'We Are The Children Of The Sun' showcases a shimmering collection of rare folk funk and AOR with a distinctly Balearic feel. Former tour DJ for Polyphonic Spree and the man behind YouTube channel and mix series ‘Folk Funk & Trippy Troubadours’, Paul Hillery’s lovingly handpicked musical assembly takes in strummed soft rock, blissful beach beats, the soft fizz of electronica, all carried to your ears by a gentle summer breeze. The music on 'We Are The Children Of The Sun' ranges from hazy, long-forgotten early 70s tapes, right through to digital compositions recorded during lockdown in 2020. “Tune in” says Paul, “and ruminate while consciousness is awoken with transmissions dropping out from the fringes of psyche tranquillity, holding hands with folk-funk that runs deep and hazy, as the bejewelled turquoise waters lap gently at the ocean’s shore.”

                              TRACK LISTING

                              1. Jim LaMarche, Theresa Moylan, Music Industry Arts - Make Believe
                              2. Mike Baumann, Tom Huntington - Man Of Misery
                              3. David Datunashvili - Wonders
                              4. Pixie Lauer - Sunday Morning
                              5. Ron Drago - Phase Dance
                              6. Guy Schwartz - Ride That Train
                              7. Marla Fant - Land Of Wonder
                              8. Diana Pequeno - Mistérios
                              9. Airborne - Marie
                              10. Scott McGregor Moore - So Good When It Comes
                              11. Checkpoint - I Send You All My Love
                              12. Gabriel Gladstar - Flow
                              13. White Feather - Summer Days Golden Haze
                              14. Philip John Lewin - Fear Of Flying
                              15. Monica Rypma - Let Love Flow
                              16. Alex Crispin - Effert
                              17. Michael Welch - Phone Home
                              18. Guy Maxwell - You Never Sang This Song

                              Koichi Matsukaze Trio Feat Ryojiro Furusawa

                              At The Room 427

                                The ninth album in BBE Music's J Jazz Masterclass Series presents ‘At the Room 427’ by Koichi Matsukaze Trio Featuring Ryojiro Furusawa, a rarely heard exemplar of post-modal power bop and free jazz. Delivered by a trio playing with an intensity and energy that draws on classic Eric Dolphy and mid-era Coltrane but definitely with its own particular vibe, At the Room 427 is an exemplar of febrile improvised jazz that could only come from Japan. This deluxe reissue sees a welcome return to the J Jazz Masterclass series for saxophonist Koichi Matsukaze. Originally issued in 1976 on the cult ALM label, At the Room 427 is the debut album from one of the most exciting and forward-thinking instrumentalists to emerge in the mid 1970s. Matsukaze's distinctively angular, deconstructive style adds an unpredictable quality to the session that is balanced by the muscular bass of Koichi Yamazaki and the kinetic drumming of Ryojiro Furusawa, who provides a sound footing for Matuskaze’s fiery solos and free-form chemistry. The album opens with the epic Acoustic Chicken, a 20-minute tour de force of dynamic and explosive interplay.

                                Featured on J Jazz: Deep Modern Jazz From Japan volume 3 and written by Furusawa, Acoustic Chicken's strong melody lines and scorching sax finely mesh with the driving rhythm section. Furusawa’s Elvin Jones-like rolls and batteries of percussion are underpinned by Yamazaki’s driving and rounded bass. At the Room 427 also includes a radical deconstruction of the Billie Holiday classic Lover Man and three more original compositions by Matsukaze. The album was recorded live in November 1975 before a small audience in – as the title states – Room 427, a classroom in Chuo University, the alma mater of both Matsukaze and Furusawa. However, despite the rudimentary surroundings, the recording by Yukio Kojima, founder of ALM, manages to give the listener the feeling of being in the room itself, up close to the band, bristling with an intense energy. This reissue of a long-lost rarity of post-bop/free playing maintains the exceptionally high standard set by the previous releases in the BBE Music J Jazz Masterclass Series. As with all releases in the series, At the Room 427 comes with full reproduction artwork and extra sleeve notes, with artist interviews and biographies. The J Jazz Masterclass Series is curated by Tony Higgins and Mike Peden for BBE Music.

                                TRACK LISTING

                                1. Acoustic Chicken
                                2. Theme Of Seikatsu Kojyo Iinkai
                                3. Little Drummer
                                4. Lover Man
                                5. Theme Of Seikatsu Kojyo Iinkai

                                Various Artists

                                Modern Love

                                  BBE Music is thrilled to announce the release of Modern Love, a diverse compendium of specially commissioned cover versions of rarities and classics in tribute to David Bowie. Featuring an array of artists such as Jeff Parker, We Are KING, Meshell Ndegeocello, Helado Negro, Khruangbin, Matthew Tavares, Nia and more, Modern Love seeks to champion Bowie’s lesser-known connection to soul, R&B, jazz, funk, and gospel. The prominent jazz influences throughout Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, were a key inspiration for curating this collection of reimagined Bowie songs with these artists. The resulting album is an eclectic tribute featuring a group of artists who not only fit together creatively, but who, like Bowie, straddle different worlds musically, with soul and jazz at their core. Modern Love offers a fresh look at Bowie's trailblazing career, aiming to highlight the often overlooked relationship between his back catalogue and musical genres traditionally pioneered by artists of color. The project was curated by music executive and DJ Drew McFadden, alongside BBE Music founder Peter Adarkwah. "I felt that the connection between Bowie and R&B, jazz, funk, gospel and all things soulful, had never really been explored before — at least not so much in covers, which tend to lean more towards rock and pop,” says McFadden. “Certainly, there's been plenty of Bowie covers over the years, but none that have really tapped into what seems to have been a big part of his core musical style and direction

                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  1. Life On Mars By Miguel Atwood-Ferguson
                                  2. Sound & Vision By Healdo Negro
                                  3. Lady Grinning Soul By Kit Sebastian
                                  4. Soul Love By Jeff Parker And The New Breed Feat. Ruby Parker
                                  5. Panic In Detroit By Sessa
                                  6. The Man Who Sold The World By The Hics
                                  7. Right By Khruangbin
                                  8. Silly Boy Blue By Nia Andrews
                                  9. Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family By Foxtrott
                                  10. Move On By L'Rain
                                  11. Tonight By Eddie Chacon & John Carroll Kirby
                                  12. Modern Love By Jonah Mutono
                                  13. Where Are We Now By Bullion
                                  14. Fantastic Voyage By Meshell Ndegeocello
                                  15. Heroes By Matthew Tavares
                                  16. Space Oddity By We Are KING

                                  Arthur

                                  So Close To You / Reincarnation

                                    Seven years after their last 'Americana' compilation for BBE Music, The Mighty Zaf and Mark GV Taylor present two more rare “blue eyed soul” cuts from across the pond: 'So Close To You' by Arthur, and 'Reincarnation' by Future Force. Taken from his first and only solo album, 1981's 'Joy', 'So Close To You' is a sweet, folk-tinged song written by Arthur's guitarist Dean Devener and voiced by Maye Cavallaro. Hailing from New York, a diamond dealer by day and a bassist by night, Arthur joined his first band in '66. He was living in the tiny community of Inverness, just North of San Francisco when he recorded 'So Close To You', which featured mainly local musicians from the West Marin area. Future Force was formed by brothers David and Howard Bowler, who went on to write and produce dance cuts for A&M with the band's keyboardist Eric Li, including the hit song 'Sayin' Sorry Don't Make It Right' by Denise Lopez. Recorded live with only the lead vocals overdubbed, 'Reincarnation' captures the raw, soulful sound for which Future Force shows had gained notoriety, both in New York City and beyond. The song was written by guitarist Jehri Riley and performed by lead singer Jackie Stewart, who was born in Brixton to Jamaican parents, moving to NYC at the age of 13. 'Reincarnation' was originally the B-side of NYC pop / funk band Future Force's only recording, a 7" single released in 1981.

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    1. So Close To You
                                    2. Reincarnation

                                    Carl Smith And The Natural Gas Company

                                    Burnin'

                                      Originally released in 1980 on short-lived Oregon label ‘Match Box Recordings’ and unearthed for BBE Music by The Mighty Zaf, ‘Burnin’’ is the only album recorded by Portland jazz/funk band Carl Smith And The Natural Gas Company. At the time of the release of this album, Carl Smith’s band had already been performing for almost two decades, starting out as the ‘Carl Smith Orchestra’ in 1959, fusing 40s and 50s big band styles with rock’n’roll, before gradually morphing into the more compact jazz / funk influenced outfit you can hear on Burnin’.

                                      "Carl had this bright red delivery van he bought from the natural gas company. He got a hold of that thing and that’s how we went on the road. When we’d roll up to the gig they’d see this big van full of musicians and on the outside it said “Natural Gas Co.” Then out comes Carl Smith and it’s all over." - Lee Bradford (trumpet, flugelhorn)

                                      The orchestra that Carl Smith founded was a Portland institution for about 50 years all-told, becoming an essential training ground for young musicians on the come-up; even the later Grammy-award winning trumpeter Chris Botti passed through at the age of 17 and Jefferson Airplane’s Signe Anderson was a long-time collaborator. It was “hard to find many jazz players around here who haven’t played with the band” said Smith in a 1980 interview with The Oregonian. They performed at festivals, universities, nightclubs, dance studios and even military bases from Portland to Seattle and everywhere in between, opening for Dave Brubeck, Buddy Miles and Johnny Ray among many others. The story of this album's recording has gone down in infamy among the remaining band members and Carl Smith's daughter Carlee (who performed lead vocals on ‘Love Won’t Let Me Go’), all of whom recall a fraught, rushed recording process, led by a producer who had no musical experience and was nothing more than a puppet for the somewhat shady label owners. This led to the album being cut too fast and accidentally pitched up a key, so if you want to hear it as the band intended, pull the pitch control down a little on your turntable.

                                      "Turns out the whole thing was backed by a bunch of farmers from central Oregon who were looking to take a loss… So here we were playing out and selling records. As soon as we were about to hit one thousand copies sold, their plan was to stop promotion so it would die...but we didn’t know that." - Peter Piazza (trombone, electric violin, euphonium).

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      1. Livin' A Dream
                                      2. Gotta Be Willin' To Lose
                                      3. Azz A Rite
                                      4. Get It Right
                                      5. Dig A Little Deeper
                                      6. Love Won't Let Me Go
                                      7. Left Overs
                                      8. You Take The Time
                                      9. Rosas
                                      10. Stuff Like That

                                      Kohsuke Mine

                                      First

                                        BBE Music present the latest in the acclaimed J Jazz Masterclass Series: Kohsuke Mine ‘First’, the debut album by one of the leading artists in the new wave of modern jazz that swept Japan in the late 60s and early 70s. ‘First’ epitomises the shifting sound of the Japanese modern jazz scene of the time, characterised by rich textures and tones, kinetic rhythms, punctuated by urgent, angular melody lines. Reissued for the first time since original 1970 release, Mine is joined by master keyboard player Masabumi Kikuchi on electric piano, and two American players - bassist Larry Ridley and drummer Lenny McBrowne - to deliver one of the strongest debuts in the J Jazz canon. ‘First’ announced the arrival of a serious talent, one who was to be a hugely influential figure in the Japanese jazz scene across the decade that followed and beyond. ‘First’ established an artist who built a reputation for standout albums spanning spiritual jazz, post-bop, modal and funk-fusion. All of that started here, on this exemplary album. ‘First’ is issued on CD, digital and vinyl. The vinyl edition is presented as a double album, cut at 45rpm by the Grammy-nominated Carvery, with full original reproduction artwork, including obi strip. Both CD and vinyl comes with a 4500 word sleeve note and interview with Kohsuke Mine by Tony Higgins, plus artist portraits by Shigeru Uchiyama. J Jazz Masterclass Series is curated by Tony Higgins and Mike Peden for BBE Music.

                                        TRACK LISTING

                                        1. Morning Tide
                                        2. Love Talken
                                        3. Straight No Chaser
                                        4. Mcphee
                                        5. Little Abbi
                                        6. Bar' L' Len

                                        Various Artists

                                        J-Jazz Volume 3: Deep Modern Jazz From Japan

                                          J Jazz volume 3 is the latest in its definitive compilation series exploring the finest modern jazz from Japan. Since the first volume in February 2018, the J Jazz compilation series has showcased some of the most creative, inspired and sought-after jazz recorded in Japan during a golden period spanning the 1960s to the 1980s. Illustrating the richness and versatility of the composers and musicians on this collection, the music spans a wide yet coherent range of styles: samba, funk fusion, modal, spiritual, post-bop and bossa all combine to present an aural portrait of a jazz scene that was constantly moving and shifting its multiple musical centres of gravity. Mastered at the Grammy-nominated Carvery studio in London, many of the tracks featured are reissued for the first time, including mega-rare private press cuts from the Yasuhiro Kohno Trio, Masaru Imada Trio, and Hideyasu Terakawa Quartet. There’s heavy post modal bop by J Jazz legends Kohsuke Mine and Koichi Matsukaze; samba heat from Tatsuya Nakamura, Hideo Shiraki and Seiichi Nakamura; and funky dance floor energy by Hiroshi Murakami, Ryojiro Furusawa Quartet and Shigeharu Mukai. 

                                          TRACK LISTING

                                          Song Of Island
                                          Morning Tide
                                          Kemo Sabe
                                          Groovy Samba
                                          Song For Hope
                                          Cumorah
                                          Phoebus
                                          ¼ Samba II
                                          Cumulonimbus
                                          Burning Cloud
                                          Planets
                                          Wolf’s Theme
                                          Honey Sanba
                                          Kirisame
                                          Black Nile
                                          Acoustic Chicken

                                          The fifth release in the BBE Music J Jazz Masterclass Series has the perfect combination of rarity and exceptional musicality that inspires seasoned collectors to break out in a sweat. 'Animals Garden' by Miyasaka + 5 was originally issued in 1979 on the cult private Japanese label ALM and is reissued for the first time on LP, CD and digital formats. 'Animals Garden' was a one-off project led by master drummer Takashi 'Bear' Miyasaka and features a powerful and progressive jazz group including saxophonist Kōichi Matsukaze, whose 'Earth Mother' album has also been reissued by BBE Music. The four extended tracks on 'Animals Garden' exemplify the high standard of playing and arranging that was a characteristic of jazz composed and recorded in Japan during the late 1970s. All four numbers were composed by Miyasaka and the album spans a range of styles, from febrile post-bop and head nodding modal, to deep funky blues and elegiac balladry. The title track was included on J Jazz Volume 2, but the three remaining cuts are equally enchanting. As ever, 'Animals Garden' will be issued with an exact reproduction of the original artwork, translated original notes plus brand new sleeve notes. The vinyl album will be presented in a deluxe thick card gatefold sleeve with reproduction obi strip, spread across two LPs cut at 45rpm for superb sound quality. BBE Music's J Jazz Masterclass Series is curated by Tony Higgins and Mike Peden and is dedicated to presenting the very finest in modern jazz recorded in Japan from a 'golden period', the late 1960s to the mid-1980s.

                                          TRACK LISTING

                                          Animals Garden
                                          Ballad For Mammoth
                                          Dog's Dance
                                          Pecker's Blues

                                          London production hero and DJ Simbad (aka SMBD) joins forces with BBE Music for retrospective album ‘Collections Vol.1’. Despite having produced a stellar series of remixes for the label over the years, ‘Collections Vol.1’ is Simbad’s debut on BBE as an artist, so he’s brought a few friends along for the ride. The album features guest vocals from Lulu James, LaAerial, Steelo, Entek, Byron The Aquarius, Rae Rae, Claudia Smith and Miryam Solomon, all deftly framed by Simbad’s distinctive, warm, jazz-infused production. Although a constant traveller, Simbad’s affinity with the UK, and in particular London, has placed him at the centre of the city’s music scene for many years now; with influences and inspirations flowing in both directions between him and his adopted hometown.

                                          Says Simbad: “I came to London end of the 90's with my saxophone for a summer & ended up staying. This is the place where my music journey as a DJ & a producer truly began. The culture of this island hit me hard & deep. And because most of the stuff I've done is still unreleased (and I never stop making music where ever I go) I am absolutely delighted to share this collection of tunes featuring some of the most talented singers (and friends for life) that I had the pleasure to work in these last 10-15 years, recorded in my London studio sanctuary throughout the years. And hopefully even the old songs still stand the ground...”

                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                          Sil says: For fans of Mark Dego, long defunct Goya Music and all that jazz concerning 'broken beats'. Yes, it is still alive and seemingly kickin with Simbad proving it on this killer 12".

                                          TRACK LISTING

                                          A1. Elevate (feat LaAerial)
                                          A2. Let Go (feat Steve Spacek)
                                          A3. Rainin' Luv (dub) 
                                          B1. Get Your Sh Together (feat Byron The Aquarius) 
                                          B2. Thankful (feat Miryam Solomon) 

                                          Following the sell-out success of our landmark compilation, J-Jazz: deep modern jazz from Japan 1969-1984, BBE Music is thrilled to present another exploration into the very finest Japanese modern jazz. J-Jazz 2 builds on the solid foundation of the first compilation and sees co-compilers Tony Higgins and Mike Peden once again pick choice sections from their own record collections.

                                          They present a deep dive into an intoxicating and beguiling range of styles: from cinematic roaring big-band (Little G by Nobuo Hara) and sparse minimal acoustic funk (Teru-Teru Bozo by Teru Sakamoto), to deep spiritual modal epics (Dragon Dance by Makoto Terashita and Harold Land) and funk fusion (Mother of the Future by Electro Keyboard Orchestra).

                                          J-Jazz 2 delivers more astonishing high quality jazz that will appeal the old school hard-core jazz head as much as those digging the current sounds of the current vibrant jazz explosion in the UK and USA. The specially chosen tracks on J-Jazz volume two span across 25 years of Japanese musical progression and invention. From the elegiac stark beauty of Serenade to a Dimly Lit Street and the modal vortex of Daguri, to the fierce post-bop freedom of Bull Trout and the mid-tempo bossa lilt of Vietnam, there is enough here to satisfy the most curious and demanding jazz fan seeking something extra special.

                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                          Patrick says: After scoring a sell out success with the first volume, BBE revisit the treasure trove of Japanese jazz for another killer compilation of wild cuts and diverse rarities. This is a set so deep that the listener is a cat, whiskey and coffee away from turning into a Murakami protagonist...

                                          TRACK LISTING

                                          A1. Makoto Terashita Meets Harold Land - Dragon Dance
                                          A2. Kohsuke Mine Quinte - Daguri
                                          B1. Mabumi Yamaguchi Quartet - Distant Thunder
                                          B2. Hideto Sasaki & Toshiyuki Sekine QuarteT + 1 - Stop Over
                                          C1. Miyasaka + 5 - Animals Garden
                                          C2. George Kawaguchi Big Four - Vietnam
                                          C3. Hiroshi Matsumoto & Hideo Ishikawa Quartet - Serenade To A Dimly Lit Street
                                          D1. Electro Keyboard Orchestra - Mother Of The Future
                                          D2. Teru Sakamoto Trio - Teru-Teru Bozu (Black Keys)
                                          D3. Toshiyuki Miyama & The New Herd - Fallout (with Masahiko Sato)
                                          E1. Makoto Terashita - Dai Hosaku (Great Harvest)
                                          E2. Takashi Miyasaka Quintet - Straight Road
                                          F1. Nobuo Hara & His Sharps & Flats Orchestra - Little Giant
                                          F2. Akira Miyazawa - Brown Trout


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