With support from the likes of Gilles Peterson and Craig Charles, ephemerals star has risen steadily in the three years since they launched their critically acclaimed debut album, nothin is easy. Unafraid to push boundaries, their third album, egg tooth, explores new directions: their modern soul and R&B songs now tinged with flavours of jazz, afrobeat, psychedelia and bluesy cinematic orchestral arrangements.
With influences ranging from Nina Simone to Kate Tempest, Steve Reich to Alice Coltrane, egg tooth sees songwriter Hillman Mondegreen and singer Wolfgang Valbrun combine beautifully, marrying direct and honest lyricism with powerful vocal delivery. It’s an album with recurring themes of rebirth, love, world politics and philosophy in a varied and eclectic collection of songs – an eclecticism perhaps a reflection of ephemerals diverse backgrounds: the singer Wolfgang is a New Yorker living in Paris, the writer in Nottingham, the sax player lives in France, while the keys, trumpet and rhythm section are in Bristol, Sussex and London.
Ephemerals – Egg Tooth is now available for pre-order, vinyl, digital and cd
Gerardo Frisina recorded this new mini-LP called Blue Latin with the same line-up of musicians as the previous EP Olympia: John Guerretti (piano and Hammond), Ernesto Lopez (drums and percussion), Hendrickson “Pucci” Mena (trumpet), Domenico Mamone (baritone and tenor saxophone), Alessandro Marcado (bass) and Gilas (flute).
Among the six tracks from Blue Latin, exclusively available on vinyl LP, there’s a personal rework of Na- quela Base João Donato, where the original piano melody is played by wind instruments, and the almost-meditative Incanto, which combines spiritual jazz influences and African atmospheres.
Gerardo Frisina – Blue Latin is now available on vinyl only
Since first appearing on DJ Shadow’s 2006 album The Outsider The Heliocentrics have gone on to release a string of records that float through jazz, hip-hop, psych, krautrock, and musique concrete whilst collaborating with numerous genre heavyweights from Mulatu Astake to Gaslamp Killer and picking up prestigious fans along the way, such as Madlib and the recently departed David Axelrod.
The primarily instrumental group, who operate out of their vintage analogue studio in East London called the Quatermass Sound Lab, bring in a new singer on album number four – a young Slovakian singer called Barbora Patkova. The result is an album that takes the band, already solidified in ever-expanding grooves and rhythms into new previously unexplored dimensions.
The Heliocentrics – A World Of Masks is now available for pre-order, limited gatefold gold 2LP and digital
The Hot 8 Brass Band is set to release their fifth album, On The Spot on March 31 on Tru Thoughts Records and the lead single Working Together released on Dec. 16 2016, has been gaining support from Jamie Cullum (BBC R2), Garth Trinidad (KCRW) and Craig Charles (BBC R2/6Music).
The new record has its roots firmly in live performance, and in true Hot 8 style it pairs hard-hitting, heart-on-sleeve sentiment with party-fuelling beats, hooks and grooves. On The Spot refers to the saying, on the spot, the glorious, rare moment in a New Orleans parade when the band stops to take a break but keeps playing for the crowd. Vibing and keeping the energy up, when they’re completely in the moment they sync up and the magic happens – a new tune is created, on the spot. Buzzing with the live, spontaneous synchronicity which has fuelled their development from the streets of New Orleans to the forefront of the global scene over the last two decades, the new LP sees Hot 8 committing this spirit to record – and in the live arena the tunes are set to blow up.
Insight and Damu The Fudgemunk are back together as Y Society and return with a track taken from their forthcoming album called Ears Hear Spears.
The limited black and white vinyl is now available for pre-order through Redefinition Records.
The seventh volume of Jazzman’s acclaimed Spiritual Jazz series examines the influence and impact of Islam on four decades of jazz innovation.
Through Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, the civil rights era in America saw African American liberation politics famously associated with Islamic belief. This was not the first time that radical developments in African American cultural life had been widely associated with Islam – that distinction belongs not to political or sporting giants, but to the progressive jazz musicians of the bebop generation. Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, Sahib Shihab, Gigi Gryce, Idrees Sulieman, Ahmad Jamal, Yusef Lateef; all these legendary jazz pioneers – and countless more – were early converts to the spiritually charged Ahmadiyya school of Islam.
Their faith profoundly influenced the music that they made, and the presence of prominent and innovative Muslim musicians at the heart of jazz culture in America has been recognised ever since. The tracks on this collection follow the story of Islam and jazz from the 1950s to the 1980s. Spiritual Jazz 7 presents a selection of visionary music – inspired by faith, powered by jazz.
Spiritual Jazz 7: Islam will be available on 2xLP gatefold vinyl, CD and digital on march 17 through Jazzman Records
Pre-1950s, Belgian jazz lovers had been starved of jazz music when it was banned from public life, going underground during the German occupation of WWII. However, jazz would soon go through a radical change when US jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk developed a new style called bebop or modern jazz. The big bands disappeared in favour of the small groups, the rhythms became more complex and improvisation was the new keyword. In Belgium, the epicentre of jazz shifted from Brussels to the industrial city of Liège in the east of the country. Inspired by the new sounds of Bird and Diz, a group of youngsters including Bobby Jaspar, René Thomas, Jacques Pelzer, ‘Fats’ Sadi Lallemand, Jack Sels and Francy Boland, joined each other in jam sessions and formed modern jazz combos.
But the complexities of modern jazz made larger audiences turn their backs on this new form of jazz and with very few working opportunities for the modern jazzmen in Belgium, most moved abroad to persue a career.
Even though the most talented Belgian jazz musicians lived abroad during the golden era of modern jazz, Belgium was not a complete jazz wasteland. Clubs like La Rose Noire and the Blue Note were the go-to places for touring musicians seeking an after-work jam session.
Due to the absence of its main players during the heydays of modern jazz, Belgium will not be remembered for a unique jazz sound or an extensive discography. However, the little country produced a number of highly talented musicians who played lead roles on the international jazz scene. ‘Let’s Get Swinging: Modern Jazz in Belgium 1950-1970’ retraces their steps and presents some of their finest works.
Let’s Get Swinging: Modern Jazz in Belgium 1950-1970 will be available on 7th April on Deluxe Edition 2CD and Gatefold 2LP on 180gr vinyl through Jazztime Europe and SDBAN Records. Includes extensive liner notes and plenty of photos from public and private archives.
Great Quintet session with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams recorded live at Teatro dell’ Arte in Milan in 1964.
Plane Jane is back with another proper 2-sider. This time by way of Miles Bonny, we heard Hello Jesus a few years back on an EP Miles had put out and Lepse has been playing it to dancefloors ever since. The tune gets such a heavy response we wanted to get it on a 7, so here it is.
Side A is Bonny’s version of a song that isn’t called Hello Jesus, with production by Canadian duo Circle Research. The bass and drums alone catch you from the first beat, add the gritty synth lines and Miles’ smooth but rough vocals and we have a hit. Sure to set the dance on fire for all the DJs that play this kind of thing.
Side B find Bonny’s version of a song that is not called High Enough, again with the strong production lead by punchy drums and a very recognizable bassline. Another Plane Jane classic sure to be getting heavy play across the world.
Miles Bonny -Hello Jesus / High Enough now available on 7″ vinyl
I remixed the track a few years ago, you can still check it out on my Soundcloud and / or Bandcamp