Jarrod Lawson-Jarrod Lawson
The Janet Lawson Quintet- T J L Q
The arrival of Mr Lawson is timely indeed. Barren times for soul-related music should bode even better for such a collection. There is talk of D'Angelo comparisons but, vocally nearer to Eric Benet for me. This is a musician and songwriter's album but the pre-eminence of the vocal harmonies seem, to these ears, the foundation of Jarrod's debut. Pleasure will come from a number of the mid-tempos like the builder Redemption or Walk in the Park but the percussive Sleepwalkers and Gotta Keep seize the initiative to these ears.
A brief recording history but no doubt about the impact this Quintet made. A jazz-soprano vocalist of the highest calibre, surrounded by musicians such as pianist Bill O'Connell, her '80 debut gets a new release courtesy of BBE Records - with the driving bass guitar intro to jazz-dance classic 'So High', the bossa-mellow of 'Sunday Afternoon', Four Miles Davis tributes and her cover of Jobim's 'Dindi' accompany the package. Simply essential.
Ethereal electronic soul from Atlanta. Malena offers us a 9-track selection with no filler. Simple, atmospheric and captivating songs, with a far-eastern lilt, accompanied by original electronic drum programming courtesy of producer Kiah Asmoah. Malena's fitting soulful vocal is redolent of 90's Chante Moore. Highlights include the teasing nod towards drum & bass on 'Here' .
Cro Magnon- V
Jazzy Sport's Japanese trio are back with ten on V! Steeped in funk and jazz but often engaging with worldwide rhythms and electronica, The Rhodes and well-chosen synths lead the Cobblestone Jazz-like 4/4 of Floating Point and Patchwork Jazz. In contrast, there are beauties in the shape of the shuffling Kaiyu JIn and Path. Something for all on V.
The foundations of progressive British Afro-Caribbean dance now lay with Ten50 Records. Up and running since May and containing 3 of the Bugz in the Attic team, this is the latest for Blakai featuring the voice of the Broken Beat era. Bembe's A'ccapella is included in the bumper EP. Essential driving electric soul.
Rafael Da Cruz-Renaissance (single)
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Mr Scruff's second single and the highlight of his dancefloor-aimed tracks gets superb remix treatment from man of the moment, Max Graef. Although the soure of the single is not the greatest Mr Scruff LP, 'Friendly Bacteria' offers a number of highlights and a move into new guitar-orientated sounds
Mr Scruff- We Are Coming (Max Graef remix)
Within this Sonar Kollektiv release lies a collection of Kasar's songs, a few years in the writing until this September release. His voice may be an acquired taste on some but on the (largely) reflective cuts, it complements the minimal instrumental accompaniment of Kasar's moving piano leads, percussion and his occasional use of strings. Many could be selected but You, Jungholz, Masquerade, Selfie and Lisa Bassenge duo on Dance to the Mallet rounding off what will be one for the 2014 lists.
Deep moody deep house from Mr Da Cruz as he arrives with his debut single. Quite an entrance too on the Compost Black Label with three mixes to choose from. The original is topped by The Black 80's dub remix where they thow in a soulful vocal on the limited digital bonus. Late night dance as it befits.
Blakai ft Bembe Segue – Simmer Down
Nottingham, England provides the foundation to the music of Harleighblu. Only 21 yet riding high on the back of her 2013 debut on Tru Thoughts, 'Forget Me Not', this 4th single brings a unique cover of The Eurythmics' 'Who's That Girl?' Skipping beats and that mature, Amy Winehouse-like vocal glow in that the identity of the original is not immediate. Accompanied by a diverse selection of remixes of LP cuts, Peshay's swinging D & B take on 'I Believe' and Sware's post-dubstep on 'Sittin' by the Window' make this a valuable single.
Harleighblu-Who's That Girl?
Reissue of the month