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Cymande Promised Heights

Early ’70s U.K.-by-way-of-West Indies outfit Cymande mixed jazz, soul, calypso, reggae, and funk like no one before them; it’s no exaggeration to say they were years, if not decades, ahead of their time. Long revered among loop diggas, they’ve been sampled by The Fugees, De La Soul, Masta Ace, and MC Solaar, among others. Promised Heights is an updated version of Cymande’s third album–recorded in 1973, but only now released in the U.S.–featuring three bonus tracks and two remixes (including “Brothers on the Slide”). Even without the revisions, the songs sound less dated than one might think, with unique arrangements that differentiate Cymande from most of their funk contemporaries. If this isn’t rare groove/breakbeat heaven, nothing is.

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