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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) 


                    Latest Pre-Sales

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                    #newmusicfriday has come round once again 🙌 Here’s a small selection of some of the great records out today. Labe… https://t.co/sVeUkRwTNe
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