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Reviews: Future Jazz / Soul


Review: Jackson Conti Sujinho

Label: Mochilla

Long before meeting Ivan “Mamão” Conti, drummer of the Brazilian trio Azymuth, Madlib was a huge fan. Brought together through the documentary Brasilintime, Madlib and Mamão had an instant chemistry based on a mutual respect, and that same energy was injected into their debut album, Sujinho. Read more » 

Review: Various Kon & Amir: Off Track Vol. 2–Queens

Label: BBE

For their fifth official release, Off Track: Vol. 2, crate-diggers Kon & Amir give us a double-disc-sized peek into the disco and African grooves in their box. Read more » 

Review: Various New Orleans Funk: The Original Sound of Funk Volume 2

Label: Soul Jazz

Memphis had Stax, Detroit had Motown, and New Orleans had, well, a bunch of fucked-up, in-fighting local labels that never really managed to push the Crescent City’s funk and soul tunes to the sort of superstardom that they should have been sharing. Soul Jazz doesn’t even dig too far in the deep cuts here; instead, The Original Sound of Funk Volume 2 offers a flawless set from Louisiana’s songwriting royalty: Allen Toussaint, Betty Harris, Eddie Bo, Lee Dorsey, and The Meters included. Read more » 

Review: Mark Ribot's Ceramic Dog Party Intellectuals

Label: Pi Recordings

The title sums it up: Ceramic Dog guitarist Marc Ribot is an almost excessively intelligent musician, and he's ready to party. His bad-ass guitar playing has graced works by Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, the Lounge Lizards, and his own more experimental projects. Now, with the fine help of Shahzad Ismaily on bass and Moog and Xiu Xiu drummer/electronics man Ches Smith, he's bringing that goodness to the PA system of a hipster bar near you. The album's songs leap from a floor-stomping single of a title track to noise-rock to shimmering guitar notes to shuffle-and-clap ska. Read more » 

Review: The Herbaliser Same As It Never Was

Label: !K7

Hopscotching across downtempo and hip-hop to jazz and soul, The Herbaliser has stayed fresh. But Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba have gone back to the ‘60s in this rousing paean, with mixed results but always with masterful grooves. Read more » 

Review: Various Carolina Funk: First In Funk

Label: Jazzman

From the folks that brought you Midwest, Texas, and Florida Funk, Carolina Funk offers up even more lost gems. This time, the obscure recordings have been scoured from the southeast, featuring unknowns like The Ultimates, The Black Exotics, and Wally Coco. The 22-tracker is a vibrant, sweat-drenched listen from start to finish. Roy Roberts’ “You Ain’t Miss It” and Frankie and The Damons’ “Bad Woman” are spirited, upbeat recordings that would make James Brown proud. Read more » 

Review: Clara Hill Clara Hill's Folkwaves: Sideways

Label: Sonar Kollektiv

The latest effort by Berlin-based Clara Hill attempts to show a different side of her laid back, soulful repertoire: acoustic, folk-based orchestral sounds. While it does not diverge much from her usual blend of R&B-inspired tracks, there is plenty to dive into and discover. Her long-standing relationship with Jazzanova is stamped all over these 10 songs, for better and worse: The scratchy textures and crisp guitar on “Sad Girl” is a great modern throwback, while the lilting orchestra of “Everything” is simply too grandiose and presumptive to make an impact. Read more » 

Review: Waldeck Ballroom Stories

Label: Dope Noir

Viennese producer Klaus Waldeck’s new album is an homage to the ballroom era–to the 1920s and jazz halls and smoky-voiced singers backed by wah-wah-wah horns and noodly clarinets. But since it’s Waldeck, better known for making downtempo sounds than assembling a big band, the album knits those influences into something low-key, less about a ballroom full of dancing couples than memories of such (one of the album’s best tracks, in fact, is called “Memories”). Read more » 

Review: The Embassadors Healing the Music

Label: Nonplace

An international music team-up that produces everything from smoky jazz to hybrid reggae, The Embassadors created an earthbound spacewalk with Healing the Music. Led by the emotional vocals of Michel Ongaru, who transcribed Embassadors architect Hayden Chisolm’s English lyrics into sung Swahili, the group’s tracks, like the measured, slow-burning “Wimbo Wa Wana” and laid-back “Chema Chajiuza,” are addictive sonic exercises. Read more » 

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