1 Oct 2020

England

An On-U Sound thing. That fuzzed trumpet is the bomb.

'A long-standing figure on the London jazz scene, trumpeter Harry Beckett kept his music fresh over a long career, and none more so than on his debut On-U Sound release in 2008 produced by Adrian Sherwood, which invites reggae and dance music influences to happily live alongside his modal jazz flavours. Harry sadly passed away in 2010 but this is a fitting testament to the versatility and innate musicality of his talents.' - On-U Sound

'Plans were already in place to announce the re-release of this 2008 album when the sad news broke of Harry Beckett's death a few weeks ago. The Barbados-born trumpeter Harry Beckett was one of the great treasures of British culture. Charlie Mingus was a fan, and his old LPs such as 'Flare Up' have become sought-after rarities.

Even in his early 70s he was still on great form, creating a magnificent sonic treat in the shape of ''The Modern Sound Of Harry Beckett'', on which he teamed up with a variety of dub-reggae and electro-jazz collaborators, confidently stirred into a steaming sonic bouillabaisse by On-U Sound producer Adrian Sherwood. Beckett and Sherwood worked together many times over the years, but this album is the sole full length from the unusual pairing, created by the simple but effective method of Beckett improvising over new and revised On-U rhythm tracks.'

'Barbados-born trumpeter Harry Beckett is one of the great treasures of British culture. Now in his early 70s and on great form, he has bequeathed us a magnificent sonic treat. The Modern Sound of Harry Beckett teams him with a variety of dub-reggae and electro-jazz collaborators, confidently stirred into a steaming sonic bouillabaisse by On-U Sound producer (and occasional label boss) Adrian Sherwood. Beckett's genius is that he is always true to himself, whoever he performs with. Whether the context is free jazz, Jah Wobble's folk-dub or one of Graham Collier's classic bands, Beckett's effervescent, tumbling, improvised melodies never fail to lift the spirits. Here, pitted against dark, insistent riffs (Fantastic Things), fractured, urban soundscapes (Facing It), throbbing, Tutu-like skank (The Forgotten Man) or feelgood beats (Switch Up!), he is magnificent. Blue Note, which rejected this album, must be feeling very foolish.' -John L Walters

'The front cover of this album is straightforward, almost demure: it shows jazz trumpeter Harry Beckett framed simply, against a black background, by his name in gold lettering. Across the bottom is a single dignified line: "The Modern Sound of Harry Beckett." What this somber packaging doesn't lead you to expect is the degree of modernity you're going to encounter when you cue up the disc. The only hint lies in the fact that this album was released by famed producer Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound label, which has been responsible for some of the wildest and most forward-thinking dub, reggae, and electro-funk albums of the last three decades. Having caught that little detail, you might be a bit better prepared for what you'll hear: the slow and deliberate funk groove, compressed horn tone, and nifty flute fragments that comprise "Something Special"; the (unfortunately rather mediocre) Junior Delgado cameo on "Ultimate Tribute"; the gently lurching soca rhythm on "Fantastic Things"; the chugging reggae grooves of "Out of the Blue" and "Like You Didn't Know." Sherwood's production style strikes a perfect balance here between sonic creativity and respectful restraint, and Beckett himself is brilliant, creating horn lines that weave and insinuate themselves through the grooves rather than riding on top of them. Established On-U Sound fans will find this to be an enjoyable curiosity; Harry Beckett fans may find it revelatory.' -Allmusic Review by Rick Anderson

'Harry Beckett had already had a long and celebrated career as a jazz trumpeter before Adrian Sherwood requested his services. Here then is an introduction to Beckett's first appearance for On-U Sound:

A long-standing figure on the London jazz scene, trumpeter Harry Beckett has kept his music fresh over a long career, and none more so than on his debut On-U Sound release in 2008 produced by Adrian Sherwood, which invites reggae and dance music influences to happily live alongside his modal jazz flavours.

Born in Bridgetown, Barbados in 1935, Beckett was just 19 when he left home in 1954 and arrived in Britain. All he brought with him was his trumpet, the talent he was born with and a desire to learn. As fierce and fiery as any trumpet and flugelhorn stylist, yet also capable of a shimmering lyricism, Beckett found a home in Britian's jazz scene. He was, however, no overnight success. The jazz scene of 1950s London didn't open its arms to him initially, and it wasn't until the mid-60s that other musicians began to take notice. Ever since, Beckett's playing has been turning heads.

He had joined Graham Collier's band in the early '60s, remaining with it until 1977. Beckett was featured in the film "All Night Long" with Charles Mingus in 1961. He also worked with Mike Westbrook's orchestra and Chris McGregor's Brotherhood Of Breath. Beckett played with the big bands of Neil Ardley, Mike Gibbs and John Warren, and was part of the London Jazz Composer's Orchestra. He also was a member of small combos led by Tony Oxley, John Surman and Ray Russell. Beckett played with the Stan Tracey Octet in the mid-'70s, and also worked with Elton Dean and Zila, a group led by Dudu Pukwana.

'The Modern Sound Of Harry Beckett' (ON-U CD1002(2)) is going to surprise a lot of people. You're more likely to hear it echoing out the door of a hip night club or booming from a car driven by some twenty-something than from the deck of one of Beckett's more mainstream fans. Nils Petter Molvær, Bugge Wesseltoft, maybe some of those guys from the F-ire Collective. You might have expected something like that from them but not from Harry Beckett. Yet, like all his work, this album is defined as ever by the class of Beckett's playing and the beauty of his music.

Pairing Beckett's liquid, quicksilver trumpet and distinctive melody lines with the maverick genius of reggae and dance producer, Adrian Sherwood, might not sound like a match made in heaven. In practice, it proves to have been inspirational. How they came to connect speaks volumes about Beckett's open-minded approach to music. It also features contributions from the late, great Junior Delgado. According to Beckett, his work with Jah Wobble provided the launching pad for his late-in-the-day On-U 'career':

"Through the years, I've been doing things on Jah Wobble's albums. And Adrian had been in contact with Wobble for years. He heard what I had been doing and he asked me to work with him. So, it all really started there and then he asked me what I thought about this idea he had for an album."

It's one of those rare records - a collaboration of diverse and divergent talents that transforms into something far, far more than the some of its parts.

Sadly old age finally caught up with the legendary and much travelled and recorded trumpeter, and 'The Modern Sound...' was to be his last ever album. He died on 22 July 2010 following a stroke.'

1. Something Special 4:41
2. Ultimate Tribute 6:08
3. Fantastic Things 3:34
4. The Storyteller 4:15
5. Facing It 4:59
6. Rise & Shine (Cry Of Triumph) 5:02
7. The Forgotten Man 4:54
8. Out Of The Blue 3:50
9. Switch Up! 5:25
10. Like You Didn't Know 4:55
11. Are You Sitting Comfortably? 4:10
12. Everything Will Flip 4:51
13. Tell Me Now 4:30

Notes
Incl. booklet

Credits
Personnel: Harry Beckett (trumpet); Skip McDonald (guitar); Dave Wright (flute, saxophone); Carlton "Bubblers" Ogilvie (piano, organ, background vocals); Orphy Robinson (vibraphone); Deji Bakari (steel pan); Louis Beckett (sound effects).

Benin

Albarika Store was originally founded by Adissa Seidou as a record shop, before launching its own label in 1964. Acid Jazz’s new reissue series will explore the label’s eclectic range of releases, spanning from folk and sato styles, to funk, blues and psychedelia.

'Acid Jazz Records is proud to announce an exclusive licensing agreement with Albarika Store, the legendary record label that defined the sound of Benin and influenced the entire region of West Africa and beyond.

This is the first exhaustive look at the archive and will see the label presented in a way that ensures its historical importance is recognized. The first releases will be a series of super-rare and in-demand original albums to be reissued on vinyl. Transferred from the original tapes and mastered by Frank Merritt at The Carvery, they are presented with beautiful artwork and packaging to match the sonics. This is the music as it should be heard.

Poly Rythmo ’Segla’ – hens-teeth rare Poly Rythmo album from 1978 that was originally released without a sleeve as ALS059. Or at least, if it came with a sleeve, nobody outside of Benin seems to have seen one. Recorded at EMI Lagos, Nigeria, as per most of the Poly Rythmo recordings for Albarika, the sound quality is from the tapes is dynamic and fresh.'

1. Mi Kple Mi De 16:39
2. Dodji Lo 9:30
3. Segla 6:56

Credits
Written-By – Melome Clement

30 Sep 2020

Britain

One of the great, lost British jazz gems of the 1970s, available for the first time on vinyl/cd since 1975. Harry Beckett’s sought after 1975 release combines Jazz Fusion workouts, grooves and Latin influences. Featuring the great Ray Russell on guitar.

'The greatly missed trumpeter Harry Beckett has become incredibly collectable in recent times, with this album reaching significant sums, appealing to both Brit-jazz fans and the digging community after those elusive open drum breaks. The music is amongst the best he made in his career and features the funky guitar of Ray Russell in a number of superb Latin and Caribbean jazz fusion workouts. A gem and a lost classic.'

'It’s been a real Joy to bring this long-lost classic back to life. There’s not much more can be said about Harry’s beautiful talent. He lifted the atmosphere wherever he played and was a gentleman, always softly spoken, but a presence in the room. I remember, as a callow youth, interviewing him for a sleeve note in the basement of Mole Jazz. He was thoughtful, listened to my questions and answered with a civility and intelligence they barely deserved. I’ve always thought Joy Unlimited one of his best albums. In fact, one of the best British jazz albums of the 70s, and one of the finest jazz rock albums full stop. It has never been reissued, and never released on CD or digitally, so this is an opportunity for the world to hear what a great player and composer Harry was. It will bring you joy-joy unlimited.

Harry died 22 July 2010, ten years ago. We’d like to celebrate his life and dedicate this release to one of the finest black British artists of his generation.' -Cadillac

Harry Beckett: Joy Unlimited review – a lost classic from 1975
4 out of 5 stars.

The late trumpeter and friends simply dazzle in this immaculate, feel-good set

'A welcome rediscovery from 1975, with a promisingly cheerful title. Barbados-born Harry Beckett (1935-2010) had one of the most beautiful trumpet tones I’ve ever heard. It was firm, but soft at the edges, with a chuckle lurking somewhere inside. Joy Unlimited isn’t typical of its time, or of anything except itself. All six tracks are Beckett compositions, tuneful, spirited and attractively arranged. His own solo playing is quite astonishing.

In the first piece he takes off at terrifying speed, hitting some high notes that may interest your dog. This is to make sure you’re paying attention. After this, the gorgeous sound, on both trumpet and flugelhorn, takes over, notably in Rings Within Rings. There’s one brief but enchanting slow piece – a duet with guitarist Ray Russell, Changes Are Still Happening – and a wonderfully rolling Caribbean-flavoured number, Glowing, featuring Brian Miller on keyboards.

The rhythm throughout is the immaculate work of bassist Darryl Runswick, drummer Nigel Morris and Martin Davis on congas. There’s a good-natured feeling of togetherness about the proceedings, an aura that seemed to follow Beckett around, and which probably helped them record this whole album in one day.' -Dave Gelly

'The Barbados-born trumpeter Harry Beckett moved to Britain when he was 19. His first known recording session came in 1961 alongside Charles Mingus. This happened during the London sessions for the Tubby Hayes album All Night Long (Fontana, 1962), which was chronicled in the 2020 All About Jazz article Jazz & Film: An Alternative Top 20 Soundtrack Albums.

To debut with Mingus was an auspicious beginning and Beckett never looked back. Seemingly loved by everyone who met him, his music and personality reflected each other and both are perfectly caught by the title of this upbeat album. Joy Unlimited, originally released by Cadillac in 1975, is jazz rock infused with a dash of Calypsofied funk. It is played by a killer sextet of musicians' musicians with guitarist Ray Russell and keyboard player Brian Miller sharing most of the solo spotlight with Beckett. Exuberant and energizing, it has catchy tunes and frill-free arrangements. It is the absolute, total, care-free flipside of the moody contemporaneous work of Miles Davis and makes great summertime listening.

Beckett passed in 2010. During an eventful recording career he worked with many of Britain's most significant jazz and jazz-rock bandleaders and township-jazz expats, plus along the way important Americans such as Mingus, Oliver Nelson and David Murray. Like the alto saxophonist Joe Harriott (with whom he recorded), he was an early pioneer of a culturally distinct strand of Caribbean and African-enriched jazz, which in 2020 is a key ingredient in the new London jazz of players such as Shabaka Hutchings, Nubya Garcia, Binker Golding and Camilla George.' -Chris May

1. No Time For Hello 8:43
2. Glowing 6:27
3. Changes Are Still Happening 1:15
4. Bracelets of Sound 8:08
5. Ring Within Rings 6:57
6. Not Just Tomorrow 9:20

Notes
Originally Recorded at Chalk Farm Studio 12 March 1974

Personnel: Harry Beckett (trumpet, flugelhorn), Ray Russell (guitar), Brian Miller (piano, electric piano, synthesizer), Darryl Runswick (bass, electric bass), Martin David (congas), Nigel Morris (drums)

Port-au-Prince, Haïti

Love love this album!! The very best of Tabou as far as I'm concerned!! -vintageknitter1

“Tabou Combo is to Haiti what Los Van Van are to Cuba or Kassav to Guadeloupe and Martinique” (La Presse, 2014). 

'Two years ago, this legendary group from the Pearl of the Antilles ignited the outdoor stage in front of 25,000 people at the closing of the 28th annual Festival international Nuits d’Afrique. Fuelled by a powerful brass section, the energy mushrooms as the notes unfurl; such is the signature of this monument of Haitian kompa. Not to be missed under any pretext !

It was 1968. The world was changing, morals were evolving, and revolutions were rumbling all over the world. In Pétionville, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, two young men, Albert Chancy and Herman Nau, were making their own revolution: with friends, they created “Los Incognitos,” a name inspired by their total lack of recognition.

The following year, they changed the name to Tabou Combo. Since then, Haitian kompa has been adorned with influences from merengue, funk and soul, but the energy remains undiminished, and audiences keep asking for more.

In 1969, less than a year after it was created, the group won a competition on Haitian television and earned a countrywide reputation. In a few months, Tabou Combo became one of Haiti’s best known groups – before it disappeared after some of its members went into exile. Fortunately, they soon got back together and, despite a few changes, the group got going again in 1971.

In 1974, Tabou Combo became known in Europe through its new piece New York City. The following years were a time of new albums and international tours. In 1989, their album Aux Antilles became a best-seller for weeks on end in various European and Caribbean countries. Some of their pieces were used in films, in particular the song Juicy Lucy chosen by Maurice Pialat for Police.

Tabou Combo consist now of Yves Joseph (“Fanfan”) and Roger M. Eugène (“Shoubou”) on vocals, Yvon André (“Kapi”) on percussions, Jonas Imbert and Herman Nau on drums, Reynald Valme on congas, Gary Josama and Jean-Claude Jean on guitar, Ronald Felix on bass, Jocel Almeus on keyboard, André Atkins on trombone and Curtis Eby on trumpets.

Some of the musicians have been with the group since its early years of existence. They maintain a communicative energy and an irrepressible desire to convey their passion and enthusiasm to their audiences. As noted by Jonas Imbert, who jointed in 2005: “I watch the audience during our concerts and, whatever their origins, I feel their joy go back and forth between them and us. That’s the best sensation in the world! I feel privileged to play among these magnificent musicians.” A fine tribute to this group that has succeeded over the years in rising to the rank of legend.'

1. Yapatia 3:54
2. Gislene 3:03
3. Melodie (K) 4:00
4. Dans La Vie 3:14
5. Carole 3:10
6. Eleve L'ecole 2:25
7. Junior 5:08
8. Parfois 2:48
9. Yon Ti Gacon 3:23
10. Natacha 3:50
11. Les Freres Tabou 2:17
12. Ce Pas 2:42

Britain

Gilles Peterson released a couple of great compilations a few years back (Impressed Vols 1&2) that work as a great primer for anyone who is intrigued to hear more Brit Jazz.

'BBC Radio 1's Gilles Peterson compiles a representative, though by necessity highly personal, sample from Britain's rich and sometimes overlooked 1960s legacy of uncompromising straightahead jazz, which serves as an excellent retrospective for novices and connoisseurs alike. The compilation is carefully selected, with many of the country's finest groups represented. As all of the tracks were previously released, this collection should encourage many listeners to explore some of the recordings from which individual selections were taken, and to acquaint themselves with some outstanding, if sometimes lesser-known, artists. There are many treats to be found, from Tubby Hayes on vibes leading his quintet through a riveting version of his "Down in the Village" (from the album by the same name); to Graham Collier's layered "Lullaby for a Lonely Child," from his Down Another Road with a fine sax solo from Stan Sulzmann; to a tight hard bop rendition of Graham Collier's "Rolli's Tune," by a wonderful septet led by trumpeter Harry Beckett. These tracks, and the others collected, represent some of the best non-commercial straightahead jazz of the time, and show that the neglected Brits were producing modern jazz at least on par with what was coming from the United States at the time. Remember, too, that during this period Great Britain was exporting some of the best pop, including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones; developing a spectacular cadre of explorers of free improvisation, from Evan Parker to Derek Bailey and John Stevens; and reaffirming ties to New Orleans music through some persistent and authentic-sounding practitioners of trad jazz. Gilles Peterson shows that his country could also create straightahead jazz of the highest caliber.' -AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy

'The idea was a brave one that paid dividends. Major label, Universal, seeks the services of Gilles Peterson to showcase a forgotten world of music from the UK's jazz scene of the late 60's ad early 70's. There could be no better person to do this than Peterson as he has the knowledge, the records and the big name. Still this was a mighty big gamble. Surely this music was rare for reason. Had it gone unrecognised for so long because of a lack of interest or simply a lack of knowledge? Well the answer was the obvious as this has become a big seller and has kick-started the reissue of many "lost" gems from the UK scene. The music here is superb and shows the wonderful depth and variety of the UK players. There are many styles covered here and a nod to all the major players. Michael Garrick, Mike Westbrook, Joe Harriott and Tubby Hayes were the match of anyone and that is highlighted here. What you also get though is a chance to hear music that has never been reissued before.' -bruklover

Mood medicine

'They may be in their 70s, but Gilles Peterson's favourite jazz musicians can still rock the clubs'

Impressed with Gilles Peterson (Universal) is a compilation I would have bought on the strength of one cut: Rolli's Tune from Harry Beckett's 1970 album Flare Up (Phillips). My vinyl version has not fared well over the past three decades; it has suffered from teenage clumsiness, careless borrowers, bad needles, heavy cartridges and kamikaze CD auto-changers, but Flare Up is a great album, performed by a studio band of the UK's finest.

Rolli's Tune, written by bandleader Graham Collier, Beckett's regular employer at that time, is an example of late 1960s British "modal jazz": beguilingly complex in execution, but very simple in structure. The lovely eight-bar tune, floating over a two-chord sequence, demonstrates Collier's characteristic knack for creating and sustaining a mood from minimal materials. Beckett's sound and playing style is one of the most recognisable in jazz: a bubbling, cliche-free melange of joy and melancholy that is like no other trumpeter. And just listen to the fantastic bass playing of the young Chris Lawrence, whose name is regrettably absent from Universal's scrappy credits. The full Flare Up album will appear on a Voiceprint CD later this year.

Impressed also includes hard-swinging cuts from Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Ross and modal excursions from the Michael Garrick trio, free-form pioneer Joe Harriott (with Amancio D'Silva), Collier's sextet and two Garrick compositions (Dusk Fire and Black Marigolds) by the legendary Don Rendell-Ian Carr Quintet. A double vinyl version, complete with a big monochrome image of the photogenic Peterson in DJ mode, contains an extra track: Original Peter by Mike Westbrook.

Remarkably, Peterson has played all these ancient tracks on his Radio 1 show, alongside the house, techno and hip-hop. The DJ admits that he would not "drop Tubby at one in the morning at a festival", but would happily play a vibes-soaked track like Hayes's ultra-rare Down in the Village at London's Bar Rumba or Plastic People. He raves about the sheer power of Rendell's playing: "This is as good as anything in the world."

The musicians featured seem a little Bemused, as well as Impressed. "I'd never heard of Peterson before, but he obviously has a lot of clout with the record company," says Garrick, who is planning a series of events as he approaches his 70th birthday in May. "I'm agreeably surprised." Garrick contributes a short introduction to Tony Higgins's enthusiastic liner essay. Collier, who has only just heard about the album says: "We do live in interesting times." He is still busy with new work.

Saxophonist Don Rendell is equally pleased to see his old band in the spotlight. "Dusk Fire was our number one hit," he says of Garrick's eastern- influenced composition, "the one with the greatest impact." Rendell, semi-retired at 76, was in his prime in the 1960s, "with all the exuberance of late youth, working closely with a great quintet [Carr, Garrick, Trevor Tomkins and Dave Green]." The saxophonist, who met John Coltrane when he played in Britain in 1961, added some of the spirituality and intensity of Coltrane's explorations to his already distinctively European voice on saxophone and flute.

Peterson discovered the music when record dealers came to his house with tempting bags of obscure vinyl. (His note pays "special respect to the boys with the bags".) "As a collector, I had gone through US, French and Italian jazz... the irony is that of all the good jazz in the world, British jazz is the rarest."

Albums from this era are worth hundreds of pounds; only a handful (such as Collier's and Harriott's) have been re-released on CD. The DJ gets a hit from the rarity, but he also hears deeper connections with some of the less formulaic artists on the current dance scene.

"With British artists like Cinematic Orchestra and Matthew Herbert," Peterson says, "there's a base of people connected to this sort of music already. The thing about jazz is that it's a mood thing... it can help you with your moods." -John L Walters


1. Michael Garrick Trio - First Born 4:10
2. Joe Harriott / Amancio D'Silva Quartet - Jaipur 8:10
3. Ronnie Ross - Cleopatra's Needle 5:41
4. Harry Beckett - Rolli's Tune 6:16
5. The Tubby Hayes Quintet - Down in the Village (Live) 10:58
6. The Don Rendell / Ian Carr Quintet - Black Marigolds 13:28
7. The Graham Collier Sextet - Lullaby for a Lonely Child 5:37
8. The Don Rendell / Ian Carr Quintet - Dusk Fire 12:17

29 Sep 2020

Benin

1978 Rare Afro Funk Reissue. This band could just as easily be from Cote D'Ivoire or Cameroun as Benin but here they are on the same label that Orchestre Poly-Rythmo made many of their best records for.

'add in my top 10 afro funk' -justagroove

'Acid Jazz Records is proud to announce an exclusive licensing agreement with Albarika Store, the legendary record label that defined the sound of Benin and influenced the entire region of West Africa and beyond.

This is the first exhaustive look at the archive and will see the label presented in a way that ensures its historical importance is recognized. The first releases will be a series of super-rare and in-demand original albums to be reissued on vinyl. Transferred from the original tapes and mastered by Frank Merritt at The Carvery, they are presented with beautiful artwork and packaging to match the sonics. This is the music as it should be heard.

Ipa Boogie – is a super rare LP from 1978 that almost never surfaces in good shape. Today even average condition copies can command £500 to £1,000 on the collector's market and for good reason. These are the only known recordings by this obscure band and present the listener with some of the finest afro-boogie, afro funk the extensive catalogue has on offer.'

Lyrics:
Get the music now and make it dire
Get the music now and make it dire
Get the music now and make it dire
Get the music now and make it dire
Spin it on, spin it on
Get the music now and make it dire
Get the music now and make it dire
When you get on the floor
And you'll feel like this
When I tell you what you know
You gotta leave then
When you get the music
You'll feel some good thing
You shake the booty here now

Get the music now and make it dire
Get the music now and make it dire
Get the music now and make it dire
Get the music now and make it dire
Get the music now and make it dire
Get the music now and make it dire
Spin it on, spin it on
Let me tell you one thing
All I want love was truly
I got to my way to look how you're dancing to
Certainly, I wanna go home on right now
To find some life I'll go to club with you
Yeah oh, ah yeah
Well, I think about that, do you wanna?
Will you never get a something? yeah
Will you get it now? yeah eh
Please get it now 
Please get it now
Please get it now
Please get it now

Get the music now and make it dire 
Get the music now and make it dire
Get the music now and make it dire
Get the music now and make it dire
(Soul Bass)

1. Get The Music Now 6:58
2. Africa 5:13
3. Jesus Kese Me 4:36
4. Alo Dangereux 5:21
5. Giving Yourself To Me 4:58
6. Sunga Mba 6:16

Ohio

J.C. Davis would be completely obscure except for the fact that he led James Brown’s Famous Flames for a few years. Four of the tracks on this album were released as 45s, which are highly sought after and can be had for a few hundred dollars. Only 1,500 of these were pressed...

Shadow remixed all of JC Davis’ music from the original tape, in the original studio and on the original mix board. Will I Am sampled this EP for Justin Timberlake, allowing JC to finally benefit financially from his years of musical service.

'The last several months have brought to light a number of excellent reissues of out-of-print and obscure artists from the heyday of soul music, and I’ve had the great pleasure of picking up several of them. You just can’t go wrong with good soul music—I don’t know anyone who doesn’t dig on a little Otis Redding or Sam Cooke from time to time—and frankly, if those people are out there, I don’t know that I’d want to know ‘em. :) The recent unearthing of these neglected classics is a cause for celebration, not to mention a source of astonishment at the ridiculously high quality of said recordings compared to the ridiculously low number of people who actually heard them the first time around.

Case in point, one James C. Davis. Known primarily for his role as the band director of the James Brown Orchestra in the mid-60s, Davis played a significant role in establishing the sound that would make The Godfather rich, revered, and famous. After leaving that band, he cut several records for Chess Records before retiring to the quiet life in central Ohio, where he still kept a band and played local shows. In May 1969, J.C. and his band laid down six cuts at John Hull’s Mus-I-Col Studio in Columbus, four of which were released on 45s on the band’s own New Day label. These same 45s now fetch hundreds of dollars apiece on the collector’s market.

You can definitely hear that JB sound on these tracks, as Davis wails on the tenor sax and his band drops some of the baddest funk breaks ever heard, alternating between sung songs and wicked instrumentals. And hearing Benny the Hat kick out the percussion, it’s no wonder that the Shadow swooped in on this stuff.' -Jonathan Wright

Hunter Gatherer | 4/9/2005

36 years ago, tenor sax player J.C. Davis and his band went into the Mus-I-Col Studio to record a few tracks. The results of this session have been re-mastered by Josh Davis (aka DJ Shadow, no relation) and released on his Cali-Tex Records.

J.C. Davis would be completely obscure except for the fact that he led James Brown’s Famous Flames for a few years. Four of the tracks on this album were released as 45s, which are highly sought after and can be had for a few hundred dollars. Only 1,500 of these were pressed, so this album will become a rarity as well ‘I’m sure.

The music is not as funky or outrageous as one might expect from someone who led James Brown‘s band. There’s plenty of funk and ‘I’m sure we’ll be hearing the breakbeats from these tracks on future recordings that we add. The band sounds relaxed and disciplined at the same time. (Maybe they are relieved that they aren’t going to get fined for coming in late or missing a note, like JB used to do.) Shelly, notable for its unselfconscious singing, and A New Day (is Here at Last) are the slowest tracks.

The recording quality is amazing. I wouldn’t have known that this was recorded 36 years ago unless it said it on the back of the album. The drums sound fat and Mr. Davis‘s sax in particular sounds full.

John Laughter says:
Here's what I know about JAMES 'J.C.' DAVIS, along with a scanned photo from a 1960 tour program booklet:

He seems to have hailed from Burlington, N.C. but somehow ended up living in Ohio where he first met James Brown, just as Brown's career had progressed enough to afford hiring a road band to accompany his Famous Flames. (Contrary to popular belief, the Famous Flames were Brown's original group - consisting of 4 other singers and a guitarist. Several of the singers alternated - with Brown - on piano and drums until they could afford to hire back-up musicians). The Famous Flames NEVER designated Brown's actual band.

Around October, 1958, Davis joined Brown's road show in Columbus, Ohio, as band director and chief soloist.

While with Brown, Davis appeared on many recording sessions - frequently taking sax solos - and even recorded a solo single with the Brown band as JAMES DAVIS on Federal Records. Davis also recorded a series of instrumental singles for Chicago's Chess family of labels, under his own name.

Sometime in late February, 1961, Davis quit Brown's band to assume a similar position with ETTA JAMES until May, 1962.

By now a veteran and trusted leader for tour-worthy back-up bands, when Etta was not working, Davis hired out his group and backed up JACKIE WILSON in February-March, 1962.

After leaving Etta James, he toured the 1962 summer months with LITTLE WILLIE JOHN.

Davis continued to free-lance and other 'sightings' have his 'quintet' backing a December, 1962, one-nighter package that consisted of THE DRIFTERS, GENE CHANDLER & MAXINE BROWN, and a string of May, 1964 dates with JACKIE WILSON.

I've been told he settled in Cleveland, Ohio, in the mid-60's. Unfortunately, that's all I know.

Alan Leeds says:
Thanks for the CD. Fascinating, great stuff!!! Kudos!!

Here is an update on J.C. Davis......as irony would have it, just today I discovered a newly issued vinyl LP compilation of some tracks he cut and released on an indy Ohio label in 1969! The label has a brief bio;

He settled in Columbus, Ohio in the mid-60's, retiring from the road after tours with Etta James and Linda Jones. There (in Columbus) he cut 2 indy singles for his own New Day label with his Ohio-based band in May, 1969, the titles of which are: 'A New Day (is Here at Last)', 'Circleville', 'Coconut Brown' and 'Buttered Popcorn.' These and several previously unissued tracks from the same sessions were recently compiled and released on a vinyl LP A NEW DAY! THE COMPLETE MUS-I-COL RECORDINGS OF J.C. DAVIS on the Cali-Tex label CT-103. The sidemen are listed on the album but none are recognizeable 'names'...probably just local cats in Columbus at the time.

Topkat says:
You said in your article that JC Davis led James Brown's FAMOUS FLAMES. By THAT, I assume you mean James Brown's BAND.

Just one problem.

James Brown's BAND was not , is not , and HAS NEVER BEEN called THE FAMOUS FLAMES.

The FAMOUS FLAMES were the name of his SINGING GROUP.

His BAND was simply called THE JAMES BROWN BAND.

This is a common mistake that someone started as a lie some 50 years ago, and people are making the SAME mistake today.

James even attempted to correct the error himself once , on the DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW back in the Eighties....Yet, people are STILL making THE SAME MISTAKE TODAY. THE FAMOUS FLAMES are: BOBBY BYRD, BOBBY BENNETT, LLOYD STALLWORTH, and JOHNNY TERRY. They were SINGERS...NOT BAND MEMBERS.

The FAMOUS FLAMES were just inducted into the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME in 2012. The men I mentioned were the ONLY inductees. Not FRED WESLEY, MACEO PARKER, JABO STARKS, BOOTSY COLLINS, CLYDE STUBBLEFIELD, and 15 other guys playing instruments on stage.

JAMES BROWN himself was a member of The Flames. He was their LEAD SINGER. He was NEVER A MEMBER of The James Brown Band. Ask ALAN LEEDS. He is well familiar with this fact: THE FAMOUS FLAMES was ALWAYS the name of Brown's VOCAL BACKING GROUP ....never his BAND....EVER.

On the group's belated 2012 Induction, Here is what The Digital Dream Door Website said:
''Though for years people believed the Famous Flames were James Brown's backing band, those instrumental giants had no official credit on record and in fact had NO RECOGNIZED NAME until they were dubbed the J.B.'s in the 70's for lack of anything else to refer to them as. The Flames in fact were the (name of the) VOCAL GROUP Brown joined in the mid-50's and with his presence making them Famous, they continued to use that moniker for a dozen years. They were led by Bobby Byrd, one of the most important side figures in a major star's career, and while they featured fluctuating membership over the years, the most prominent members included Johnny Terry, Bobby Bennett and Eugene "Baby Lloyd" Stallworth. The combination of the gospel-derived harmonies of the Flames and the intense leads of Brown made the group the undisputed leaders of the soul movement and the most explosive act in all of rock.''

Bobby Bennett, The last surviving member of The Famous Flames, accepted the induction for the group in Cleveland on April 14, 2012.

Here is what Wikipedia said about The Famous Flames:
"Although the passing of time, and attempts made by certain groups and individuals to re-write history, (not to mention many uninformed DeeJays nationwide) who have in recent years unfairly tended to credit James Brown as the sole artist on their songs, it should be made clear that they were recorded and made hits by the entire group, "James Brown and The Famous Flames",. These were the songs that established Brown's career, and they were recorded by all of them ...not just him. The Famous Flames were a "group", and Brown was initially just one of the members...just like all of the rest. In addition, claims made by uninformed individuals that the Famous Flames were a "band" or were backup musicians are also incorrect . The Famous Flames were a singing group . The "band" was the James Brown Orchestra...a totally separate entity from The Famous Flames."

Again, The Famous Flames were a VOCAL GROUP...NOT BACKING MUSICIANS.

Why the confusion? Wikipedia explains :
" In 1964, the group recorded another successful live album, Pure Dynamite! Live at the Royal, but as before with the Apollo album, the group's name was not placed on the cover though they were clearly on the record, and were included in the album's intro. The Flames also contributed to the recording of the 1964 studio album, Showtime. Again, Brown, and not the Flames, was included in the credit alone though they were featured on the cover of the album. King Records caused further confusion by listing some James Brown solo recordings as recordings by The Famous Flames when the group wasn't on it; this had started back in the group's Federal days with the ballad "I Want You So Bad". This confusion made fans of Brown believe for years that the Famous Flames was actually Brown's backing band. In 1964, James & the Flames had another top 40 hit with the blues ballad, "Oh Baby, Don't You Weep", which reached # 23 Pop on the Billboard Chart, and # 4 R&B on the Cash Box R&B chart, and later released their last recording together, "Maybe The Last Time", which was a b-side of James Brown's Smash recording, "Out of Sight", for which, ironically, The Flames did not receive label credit."

When The Flames recorded albums with Brown, Their name, but not their faces , graced the album covers ...so unless you saw the group in concert, You didn't know what they looked like, while at the same time, several later singles were credited to them on the labels (King Records' mistake) that they didn't actually sing on, because Brown stopped using them on record after 1964, although the group still continued to tour together until 1968.

Again, The Famous Flames were a SINGING GROUP...NOT A BAND.

i hope that clarifies things.

1. Introduction 0:18
2. A New Day (Is Here At Last) 3:12
3. Circleville 3:20
4. Don't Ever Leave Me [unreleased] 2:59
5. Coconut Brown 4:43
6. Shelly [Vocals – Al Curry] [unreleased] 2:43
7. Buttered Popcorn 3:17
8. A New Day (Is Here At Last) (Alternate Take) 3:49

Credits
Bass – Perry Kibble
Coordinator [Project] – Dante Carfagna, Josh Davis
Drums – Benny The Hat
Engineer [Original Engineer] – John Hull
Guitar – Lefty Parker
Mixed By [Re-Mixed] – Josh Davis
Music By, Lyrics By – J.C. Davis
Organ – Samuel Richardson
Tenor Saxophone – J.C. Davis
Trumpet – Al Curry

Notes
Recorded in May, 1969 at John Hull's Mus-I-Col Studio at 780 Oakland Park Avenue or Long Street, Ohio.

Shadow remixed all of JC Davis’ music from the original tape, in the original studio and on the original mix board. Will I Am sampled this EP for Justin Timberlake, allowing JC to finally benefit financially from his years of musical service.

4 and 6 previously unreleased.

Jamaica

Two CD set containing the first official reissue of two classic 1970 Trojan albums. 

'By the close of the '60ss, Ecliston Adolph Elanza 'Clancy' Eccles was at the vanguard of the Jamaican music scene, having produced many of the island's most popular and influential recordings since launching his New Beat and Clandisc labels in 1967. Reflecting his standing in Jamaica, London-based reggae giant Trojan not only launched their own version of his Clandisc label, but also issued a pair of collections entirely comprising the singer-songwriter-producer's work, both of which were collected on the recently released set, Freedom & Fire Corner. The popularity of these albums spurred the company to swiftly put together the two best-selling Clancy Eccles-produced albums that provide the focus of this follow-up compilation: Foolish Fool and Herbsman. Including a mix of major Jamaican hits and rarities performed by an equally eclectic mix of artists, the track-listings from this pair of boss reggae long-players have now been augmented by an impressive 34 bonus recordings, which include six previously unissued tracks and a further 19 currently unavailable digitally.'

Reissue of two compilations of Clancy Eccles productions that were originally released by Trojan Records in 1970, plus 34 bonus tracks from around the same time….LTW’s Ian Canty remembers the year that the skinhead reggae craze began to wane, but the musical quality didn’t………….

'1969 will always be the year in skinhead folklore, twelve months full of classic dance music, ultra-sharp clothes and (it has to be said) bovver. But when that year ended things didn’t just come to a screaming halt as 1st January 1970 dawned. Though the more style obsessed skin trendsetters began to diversify their fashions and tastes to distance themselves from the herd of newcomers, reggae music makers still aimed their efforts more or less squarely towards the UK adherents to the craze. Also, away from London, a lot of kids were still finding out about and digging this strange new fashion and were certainly up for a bit of old moonstomping. People didn’t turn straight into glam rockers after the last chorus of Auld Lang Syne, so the new year hadn’t changed things quite as much as one might think looking back from a modern perspective.

As we saw on the recent 2CD Clancy Eccles collection Freedom/Fire Corner, the producer was in his element during the boss reggae/skinhead reggae era. Trojan Records in the UK had noted his hot streak of productions and issued two collections of recordings drawn from his Clandisc label, entitled respectively Foolish Fool and Herbsman Reggae, in 1970 to cash in on this run of form. These sets and bonuses feature long-term oppos of Clancy like his backing band the Dynamites, toaster King Stitt and Cynthia Richards, but also some less familiar though very talented names.

The Foolish Fool album begins this set with ten tracks from the original LP, two Wailers songs being omitted because of copyright reasons. As they weren’t actually produced by Eccles, this does make sense. What remains is a great deal of eminently danceable boss reggae and it mostly sounds fresher than the material that is issued ad infinitum on the collections that crop up regularly in supermarkets these days. Cynthia Richards leads off with the bewitching title track, quality from the “Sock It To ‘Em JB” intro forward. She also prospers on the cool Conversation where her vocals positively soar. Don’t Look Back by Busty Brown is a really pleasing reggae dance tune with assertive and tuneful singing. The erstwhile Clive Smith eventually joined the Chosen Few, but his big voice shone on his solo works including Here Comes The Night, which also features on Foolish Fool.

Joe Higgs, aka the Godfather of reggae, had been recording since 1958 and mentored Bob Marley & The Wailers early on. Don’t Mind Me is the pick of his offerings here, a lazy vocal delivery juxtaposing neatly with a frantic reggae rhythm. The Dynamites pitch in with exotically flavoured organ instrumental Revival and the steady beat of the Drumbago collaboration Dulcemania also hits the spot. Clancy’s own recordings on the LP are Feel The Rhythm, an infectious cut on the Fattie Fattie rhythm of his big hit and set closer Africa, a consciousness lyric with some prime choir backing vocals.

Moving onto the 18 bonus additions to this set, King Stitt’s DJ toast of In The City is a real winner and the soulful Rodney’s History by Carl Dawkins shows why he went onto briefly join the Techniques. He simply was that good and the brass section shows up well too. Barrington Sadler’s Soul Power gives a nice change of emphasis, one of Clancy’s rare mento recordings (Rub It Down by the same artist on disc two is another good one) and the Westmorelites’ Zion (Take 3) is a superior sufferers’ song. Eccles himself closes out the disc with Long, Long Time, a top drawer dance tune.

Herbsman Shuffle naturally featured a couple of the players that also appeared on Foolish Fool, but there are a host of newcomers. Earl George, later to record successfully for Lee Perry in the mid-1970s as George Faith, hits with a sparkly organ-laced soul reggae number See Me (take 2) and the Coolers’ Oh Tell Me Why (take 2) has an appealing vocal style. False Nyah by Barry & The Affections (also known as the Attractions) portrays in the lyric a beatdown to backstabbing “friends” and has a familiar rhythm I can’t quite place at the moment, but it is very good indeed. It’s a shame they drifted out of music soon after this release.

King Stitt shines on the neat western-themed shouter The Ugly One and tags up with DJ/dub innovator Andy Capp (Lynford Anderson) on the cool title track. His Sound Of The Seventies could even make the later recruits to skinhead believe the decade would be one long moonstomp! Of the veterans of Foolish Fool Cynthia Richards again acquits herself excellently on the mid-paced skanking heaven of Promises and the Dynamites have a queasy guitar instro take of the Beatles’ Hey Jude. Clancy himself has fun on a recut of his big hit Fattie Fattie and I would say on balance Herbsman Shuffle just edges it over its predecessor, an excellent original reggae collection by anyone’s standards.

Again this disc comes with a load of contemporaneous extras that make for an attractive package. In particular I loved Soul Lover by Bunny Grant, the unhurried lead vocal and musical dexterity being a treat. Also Baby I Love You by The Dingle Brothers (no Emmerdale jokes please) is a real gem, they also recorded as the Minna Boys and had been plugging away since the ska days. They continued into the 1980s, but I would imagine they seldom sounded better than on here. The duet Angel by Glen (Brown) and Roy has a nice steady power to it and the Dynamites’ Mercilina sets itself firmly in the mode of an archetypal skin stormer. To bring things to a close we have the novelty yuletide item Christmas Tree by King Stitt, but Clancy’s own final track points to the future – the strings and very pop reggae of the catchy Unite Tonight.

1970 may have been the year the skinhead dream faded but we have to bear in mind it still held currency as the new decade dawned – after all Double Barrel topped the charts in 1970, so there must have still been a lot of people into that driving beat. Clancy Eccles was in his element and this collection is addictive and full of top quality dance tunes that still get the blood pumping. Foolish Fool/Herbsman Shuffle can still see a skinhead train off from the station with true power and soul, offering you the opportunity of a great deal of fun should you wish to indulge. I would urge you to so, as from 1969/70 Clancy’s tunes proved difficult to match by anyone else on the reggae scene – pure boss sounds.' -All words by Ian Canty


Disc 1: Foolish Fool
1. Cynthia Richards - Foolish Fool 3:46
2. Busty Brown - Don't Look Back 2:50
3. Clancy Eccles - Feel The Rhythm 2:32
4. Joe Higgs - Mademoiselle 2:57
5. The Dynamites - Revival 2:58
6. Busty Brown - Here Comes The Night 1:47
7. Drumbago & The Dynamites - Dulcemania 2:52
8. Joe Higgs - Don't Mind Me 2:34
9. Cynthia Richards - Conversations 2:42
10. Clancy Eccles - Africa 2:34
Bonus Tracks
11. Winston Wright & The Dynamites - Ramble 3:15
12. Clancy Eccles - Time Will Tell 2:57
13. Higgs & Wilson - Again 2:14
14. King Stitt - In The City 2:38
15. Barry And The Affections - Love Me Tender 2:32
16. The Dynamites - Pop It Up 2:33
17. Carl Dawkins - Rodney's History 2:14
18. Clancy Eccles - Credit Squeeze 3:23
19. Cynthia Richards - I Can't Wait 2:30
20. The Dingles - I Don't Care 2:34
21. The Coolers - Tell Me Why [Take 1] 3:20
22. The Dynamites - What Does It Take 2:31
23. The Westmorelites - Zion [Take 3] 2:36
24. Earl George - Standing In The Shadows Of Love 3:25
25. King Stitt - Jump For Joy 3:02
26. Barrington Saddler - Soul Power 2:50
27. The Dynamites - Hey Jude [Alt. Take] 3:26
28. Clancy Eccles - Long, Long Time 3:10

Disc 2: Herbsman Reggae
1. King Stitt & Andy Capp - Herbsman Shuffle 2:40
2. Clancy Eccles & The Dynamites - Senor Judas 3:01
3. The Dynamites - Black Beret 3:03
4. The Dynamites - Phantom 2:40
5. King Stitt - Sound Of The Seventies 2:34
6. The Dynamites - Hey Jude 3:29
7. Barry And The Affections - False Nyah 3:00
8. Earl George - See Me [Take 2] 2:56
9. Cynthia Richards - Promises 2:34
10. The Coolers - Oh Tell Me Why [Take 2] 3:21
11. Clancy Eccles - Fattie Fattie 2:42
12. King Stitt - The Ugly One 2:56
Bonus Tracks
13. Winston Wright & The Dynamites - Flip [Take 2] 2:46
14. Clancy Eccles - Molly 2:43
15. The Westmorelites - Skank Me 2:29
16. King Stitt - King Of Kings 2:14
17. Clancy Eccles & The Dynamites - Reggae Shuffle 2:18
18. Carlton Wedderburn - Why Must I Cry 2:41
19. Glen & Roy - Angel 2:44
20. The Dingles - Baby I Love You 3:17
21. Bunny Grant - Soul Lover 2:39
22. The Dynamites - Conversation Version II 2:36
23. Clancy Eccles - Africa [Alt Take] 2:33
24. The Westmorelites - Zion [Take 1] 2:41
25. Barrington Saddler - Rub It Down 2:27
26. The Dynamites - Love Me Tender 2:33
27. King Stitt - Christmas Tree 3:24
28. Clancy Eccles - Unite Tonight 2:33

Brasil

"Musica de grupos do samba e capoeira do Brasil"

'Batucada and Capoeira are two musical styles from Brasil. Batucada comes from the Samba Schools of the South and Capoeira is a martial art originating from Bahia in the North of Brasil. The music that accompanies Capoeira is played on the Berimbau and drums. The Berimbau is a long stringed instrument that is played with a small stick. The most famous musician associated with this instrument is Airto Moreira. This CD features a number of famous Berimbau players from Brasil including the most famous Capoeira master of them all Mestre Bimba with two tracks recorded in Salvador in 1969. The Samba Schools of Rio are made up of hundreds of singers, dancers and drummers. The music and songs they make are called Samba. When just the drummers play, the music is called Batucada. This is what you have on this CD : Some of the heaviest Batucadas ever to come out of Brasil! Mainly taken from the early seventies and featuring the most famous Samba Schools such as Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel and Portela all these Batucadas have been known to fill dancefloors around the world.' -Soul Jazz Records

1. Luciano Perrone - Samba Quente 1:43
2. Welcome To Rio - Ensaio De Escola 2:13
3. Bateria Fantastica Da Portela - Demonstraçao De Som E Adamento 6:15
4. Mestre Bimba - Sao Bente Grande 2:17
5. Mestre Geraldo E Sua Bateria - Mistura #2 7:20
6. Mestre Suassuna E Dirceu - A Morte Do Capoeira 3:47
7. G.R.E.S. Mocidade Independente De Padre Miguel - Apresentaçao 3:28
8. Luciano Perrone - Berimbau & Capoeira 3:17
9. Welcome To Rio - Ritmo Do Brasil 2:26
10. Mestre Suassuna E Dirceu - Cavalaria 2:37
11. Bateria Fantastica Da Portela - Demonstracao De Grupos 4:13
12. Mestre Bimba - Santa Maria 1:52
13. Luciano Perrone - Samba Vocalizado 2:27
14. Mestre Nago - Hora De Rezar 2:24
15. G.R.E.S. Mocidade Independente De Padre Miguel - Repique Reza Forte 2:54

Notes
These compositions were recorded between 1969 and 1978.

28 Sep 2020

Britain

Excellent British Jazz 1963 - 1974 Compilation

'Impressed with Gilles Peterson Vol 2 is the second volume of unique, rare and beautiful British jazz from the renowned Radio One international DJ. This album sees him uncover more exceptional UK jazz, this time from the 60s and 70s. Featuring landmark recordings, elusive rarities and previously unreleased exclusives, Impressed Vol 2 builds on the success of the first volume, with many of the tracks reissued for the first time since their original release.'

'I bought this album in 2004 and it was a revelation. This is a great compilation and a fine introduction to the British jazz scene of the 1960s and early 1970s. This is the second volume of British jazz that Gilles Peterson compiled. This was something of a golden era. What is interesting is that most of these musicians don't sound American. This is jazz with an English accent.

I already owned Stan Tracey's Starless & Bible Black which features a classic, sax solo from Bobby Wellins. It is a brilliant track and worth hearing. Mike Westbrook's Metropolis is beautiful. The tracks by Neil Ardley, Amancio D'Silva, and Mike Garrick are also outstanding.

I was a little perplexed about never having heard of most of these people before. I have been collecting jazz records since 1973, and the only British jazz I own from that era is by John McLaughlin, Dave Holland, Nucleus, and Stan Tracey. McLaughlin and Holland had to be hired by Miles Davis before they were taken seriously in Britain. Nucleus never received their due. This album, however is worth hearing.' -David Lindsay

'The second of the Gilles Peterson Impressed series that continues to bring rare UK jazz from the 60's and 70's to a wider audience. The formula is once again the same, bring a host of amazing jazz tunes reissue them for the first time add a fine set of liner notes and enjoy. Peterson's labour of love has yielded success and he was comissioned for this second volume after the wonderful reception the first record received. It is a little pointless debating which is better as both are essential to any jazz fan. They cover so many bases that fans of all types of jazz will find something to love here. Peaceful mellow numbers with lush orchestration is taken care of by the likes of Michael Garrick and the Stan Tracey Quartet, dancefloor bombs by Tubby Hayes and Paul Gonsalves and exotica by Amancio D'Silva. Essential music from a forgotten corner of the jazz spectrum. Buy this and volume 1 and see that the UK can swing with the best of them!' -bruklover

'I won't present Gilles Peterson. The guy is not a producer, probably not the best DJ around but he has acquired a near legendary status thanks to his fantastic ears, the record labels he created (Acid Jazz, Talkin' Loud, Brownswood), his club nights, his BBC Radio show and his compilations. Impressed 2 explores a scene staid relatively unknown and unexplored, the British jazz scene of the 60's and 70's. At the time, Great Britain was busy reinventing rock&roll and his jazz artists staid in the shadows of fame. Of course, all the gems gathered on this compilation are just excellent and it would have been a real shame to keep Michael Garrick Septet, The Stan Tracey Quartet, The New Jazz Orchestra or Tubby Hayes & The Paul Gonsalves All Stars only in rare groove diggers vinyl collection.' -Zorba Le Break

1. Michael Garrick Septet - Ursula 5:43
2. The Stan Tracey Quartet - Starless & Bible Black 3:46
3. Paul Gonsalves Quartet - Boom Jackie Boom Chick 3:51
4. Harold McNair - The Hipster 4:35
5. The New Jazz Orchestra - Le dejeuner sur l'herbe 7:40
6. Mike Taylor Remembered - Timewind (Previously Unreleased) 1:47
7. Amancio D'Silva - A Street in Bombay (Previously Unreleased) 10:56
8. Tubby Hayes & The Paul Gonsalves Allstars - Don't Fall Off the Bridge 9:18
9. Neil Ardley - Will You Walk a Little Faster 3:46
10. Mike Westbrook - Metropolis (Part IX) 8:01

Jamaica

This is the real deal, the vintage dub versions from the Black Star Liner album (1976). This is raw 1970's dub, rough and tough one drop!

'A dub companion to Black Star Liner was finally issued in 2012, featuring stark, stripped down (and often slightly slower) versions to the anthems contained in that classic album. Rather than playing as straight dub versions to the songs, it works best as a meditative listen, ghostly echoes of very familiar songs drifting over the drum beat, lyrics popping up from the mix and from memory.'

Heavy Bass in the mix!!!

'This is a bassy record. Previewed it and purchased the LP version as soon after, and especially for the price, (I paid about 10.99 for mine at the time) its worth getting. How I rank this among other dub LP's? It doesn't have a lot of effects, quite subtle actually, but the bass and drums that are predominate throughout each track keep me intrigued. A few tracks have some vocal snippets as well as horns, but the album isn't drenched with either of them. 10 tracks on Vinyl and 4 more on CD or download. Highly Recommended!' -Darrell Arciniegas

'We reggae fans have had to get used to waiting for good things as far as our music is concerned. In most other genre's, almost everything is out there, even the most obscure music from the fifties up has been retrieved from the dusty passages of time and re-presented to todays record buyers. In reggae this is not the case, despite what some may feel, much classic or fabulous music remains obscure. So it really is cause to celebrate when something one either never knew existed, or fondly entertained daydreams of, finally emerges, blinking, into the light. Fred Locks' classic album Black Star Liner was released circa 1976 to much excitement amongst London's reggae fraternity. Its title track had been a sizeable Jamaican hit and its star track True Rastaman quickly became a firm favourite. But only sound men and their followers would ever have heard or been aware of the dubs to the albums tracks.  Well, the wait is over, hear them now in their full dubwise glory. True unearthed treasure.' -Dub Vendor

'The long lost dub companion to the Roots album 'Black Star Liner' (from 1976) for the first time available as brilliant sounding US pressing! This LP vinyl only release is in conjunction with the 4CD box set by Fred Locks 'Reggae Legends' (VPCD5007), which includes the orginal vocal album plus this Dub LP, and the artists' 1978 and 1982 albums. The big one - these tracks previously only heard on dubplate specials on London sounds Sir Coxsone and Frontline and long thought lost to the world are finally available for all. The power of these versions remained for life with all those privileged to rock with them in those halcyon days and this set is certain to be embraced by reggae fans worldwide. The "Black Star Liner" vocal set raised the bar for roots reggae music on release in 1976 and this long overdue vinyl release of its long lost dub companion is sure to set the vintage reggae world alight.'

1. Black Star Liner In Dub 2:53
2. Redemption Dub 3:22
3. I've Got A Dub 4:15
4. Children of Selassie Dub 3:03
5. Dub-A-Long 3:43
6. True Rastaman Dub 4:08
7. Blood Money Dub 3:20
8. Wall Of Dub 3:58
9. Wolf In Dub Clothing 2:32
10. Last Day Dub 2:47
11. Jumbo Jet 2:38
12. Redemption Rock 2:39
13. Black Star Liner Version 2:50
14. Wolf 2:48

Jamaica

Very classic, sublime roots album from one of the big bosses of Roots Reggae music. Reggae singer Fred Locks enjoyed massive success with a 1976 song titled Black Star Liners, which has been called one of “the most important songs in reggae music of the 1970s”.

'Man called Fred Locks... African dreadlocks, as I would say! Another roots classic from 1976, one for all Twelve Tribes warriors in the house, Albert Malawi on drums, Bagga Walker on bass, Pablove Black on keys, Chinna and Sangie Davis on gitz, and more players besides. Fred Locks looks for a vision of his redemption, singing songs for the sons of The Almighty, on his journey to being a true rastaman, sing a long with him and dont let Babylon use, or abuse, you!' 

Black Star Liner/ True Rastaman
'His all-time classic album was released in 1976 on Grounation offshoot label Vulcan. The songs on it stand tall 40 years later and the album is a rare thing, one where all the songs  stand on their own merit. Everyone will have their own favourites, but ‘Walls’, ‘True Rastaman’ and ‘I’ve Got A Joy’ are all personal standouts. Fred Locks did a slightly later version of ‘I’ve Got A Joy’ as ‘Love And Harmony’.  Some of the musicians on the LP were from the Twelve Tribes organisation – Albert Malawi, Pablove Black and Bagga Walker. There were other major Jamaican musicians playing on the album as well, including Chinna Smith and Jah Jerry on guitar.'

'These 30 minutes go by faster than any other album and I think it might have the catchiest melodies and choruses I’ve ever heard in reggae. Do not sleep on this record. Fred’s voice will grip you from the start and keep you reeled in until the very end. Then you can repeat the album over and over because unfortunately, Fred never came close to matching the quality of music on here in the latter parts of his career.' -Dilly

'Absolutely outstanding roots. One of the best, I would say, standard roots albums. Fred Locks has a very appealing vibe and I find myself turning to this record at times when I am in the mood for a less challenging or aggressive sound. I would listen to this record anytime and it makes me feel like going outside and sitting under a tree and covering myself with leaves and grass. While I tend to prefer my roots heavy and deep, "Black Star Liner" is the perfect, mellow, easy, and light 70's roots record. The best track here is "Vision of Redemption," which is one of/the only track that really gets an intense vibe going and it works very well. Its catchy and its substantive. "True Rastaman" is the second best track which is good for the opposite reasons. This track is very breezy, playful, and innocent. It creates an uplifting image of the "True Rastaman" as simple, honest, and contented. The CIA and the politicians (for whom rasta don't work) are corrupt servants of Babylon and the rasta is blissfully uninvolved in their scheming. Other strong tracks include "Wolf Wolf" and "Don't Let Babylon Use You." Overall, this is a great casual record. Its not earthshattering, its not painful, or profound. Alliteration aside, it succeeds because of its soothing and sincere simplicity.' -BabylonYouDoom


Fred Locks achieved cult status very early in his career when a song entitled "Black Star Liners" which was released in 1975 in Jamaica and then later on in England. The song was about a prophecy supposedly made by Marcus Garvey about the repatriation of black people to Africa:

"Seven miles of Black Star Liners coming in the harbour (x2)

I can see them coming, I can see Idrens running.
I can hear the elders saying ‘These are the days for which we've been praying!’

It's repatriation, black liberation,
Yes, the time has come: black man, you're going home.

Seven miles of Black Star Liners coming in the harbour.
I can see them coming, I can see Idrens running.
I can hear the elders saying "These are the days for which we've been praying !"

Marcus Garvey told us that freedom is a must,
He told us that the Black Star Liners are coming one day for us.

Seven miles of Black Star Liners coming in the harbour."

That song and the LP that followed made Locks a household name in reggae circles and defined an era. Most of the songs on that first album are deeply Rastafarian in orientation and uncompromising in their approach. The tune entitled "The Last Days" is about the apocalypse while "A True Rastaman" defined the qualities expected of a Rasta and echoed Bob Marley's "Rat Race": "So Jah say/Rasta doesn't work for the CIA." The song entitled "Sing Along " was an inspired recut of the 1971 Randys track and "I Got a Joy" was characterised by an optimsitic and upbeat tone.

1. Black Star Liners 2:43
2. Vision of Redemption 3:03
3. I've Got a Joy 3:54
4. Songs of the Almighty 2:47
5. Sing-A-Long 3:00
6. True Rastaman 3:32
7. Don't Let Babylon Use You 2:44
8. Walls 3:08
9. Wolf Wolf 2:41
10. Time to Change 2:54

USA

Essential free / spiritual jazz by Mtume Umoja Ensemble led by James Mtume. The whole album is beautiful with deep jazz compostion like Utamu with superb solo by Gary Bartz, Carlos Garnett, James Mtume. Or the raw black power Alkebu-Lan with fierce afro centrist spoken word. An absolute must to any spiritual jazz collector.

''Also, without even seeing the line up in written form I can tell you that Yusef Iman and Andy Bey were vocalists on this tremendous album and Yusef Iman's young sons opened up Utamu with their spoken word, Leroy Jenkins on violin, Ndugu on drums along with of course the great Mtume.........what a time that was !!!....the song Saud of course was a tribute to McCoy tyner's Muslim name. Carlos Garnett at his ferocious peak on this album, along with my main alto man Gary Bartz...what a time !!!'' -Ronald Boyle

'There are altogether too few artists in jazz history that approach the spacefaring vastness of Sun Ra. Yes, the proprietors of this album wish us to know that it is not jazz 'or any other irrelevant term' but simply 'black music.' However, this is avant-garde jazz at its most free and unhinged. Within two minutes of the first proper song, we have the horns going off in two directions, the rhythm section fractured and cycling in no apparent pattern, the vocalists hollering on one side and the poets reciting on the other, feeling less like live interplay and more like radical sound collage. It brings to mind the revivalist church concept of 'make a joyful noise' being this wonderfully life-affirming and vivid cacophony. It is like a broken engine with all its parts spinning separately, waiting to be fused together into something new and wonderful. By about seven minutes, everything coalesces into that sky-reaching new form, although the album is never quite finished with noisy breakdowns and hectic changes. It is a fascinating political and musical artifact, and a truly joyous firestorm of noise.' -jshopa

Hyper-afro spiritual jazz teetering between avant-garde inventiveness and free jazz madness.

"This album is a mean motherfucker. It’s an amazing document of the pure fire of Black Nationalist Free-Jazz. I discovered it during a period when I was picking at the outer reaches of Leroy Jenkins’ discography (he’s a member of this ensemble). At the time I had exhausted his output as a band leader and as a member of the Revolutionary Ensemble and was desperate to hear more. It begins with an Afro-Spiritual/Political monologue. Even before the music started, I knew I was onto a good thing. When its first notes cried out, I nearly fell out of my chair. It’s astounding. I spent years desperately trying to track down a copy. It doesn’t turn up often and when it does, it’s rarely cheap. I waited it out and got lucky. The ensemble is lead by James Mtume, a percussionist who during this period was playing regularly with with Miles Davis, Buddy Terry, Sonny Rollins, Pharoah Sanders and others. He released two albums as a leader. Both are great representations of 1970’s New York Free-Jazz, and among the best displaying the possibilities of larger ensembles. Alkebu-Lan – Land Of The Blacks was recorded at The East, a radical venue in the Clinton Hill Neighborhood of Brooklyn, remembered for the Pharoah Sanders album bearing its name, and notable for not allowing White people to pass its doors.

Mtume left the world of Jazz in the late 70’s and went on to have a fairly successful career as a Modern Soul and Disco artist. This phase in his career didn’t produce many things I like, and is probably most noted for the track Juicy Fruit, which was famously sampled by Notorious B.I.G.

Of all the albums I’ve chosen for this list, Alkebu-Lan stands slightly at odds. Most of the artists featured here, like Mingus, use complex orchestration to capture the depth of their anger and emotion. To achieve this, they exacted remarkable control over the emotional realization of their music. Alkebu-Lan is the other end of the spectrum. It is a howling storm set forth on the world. There isn’t an ounce of restraint on its four sides. It makes the emotional onslaught of Punk and Hardcore sound like a childish temper tantrum. Despite all that it unleashes, somehow its sound still returns me to Mingus. It’s not only the scale of the ensemble, but how the musicians play off each other. The album embraces the rising tide of the whole rather than the brittle interplay of single musicians. The dissonances they create despite their energy and emotion feel considered and composed. It’s a rare and wonderful thing. If you spend the time it takes to hunt it down, you won’t be disappointed." -The Hum

'I can’t tell you how many years I spent hunting for this record, or how long it remained at the top of my want list before I tracked down a copy I could afford. Prices generally hover between $200 and $400, but I’ve seen it go for more. If you want it, don’t wait. This reissue is a long time coming. Alkebu-Lan – Land Of The Blacks (Live At The East) is one of my favorite Jazz records of all time (though it is carefully pointed out in the monologue that introduces the album, that is should not be heard as Jazz, but rather as a distillation of Black Music). It’s a mean motherfucker. Brutal, and filled with fire. One of the quintessential documents of musical Black Nationalism. I discovered it in a roundabout way –  picking at the outer reaches of Leroy Jenkins’ discography (he’s a member of this ensemble). I was overwhelmed with the desire to own every record he played on. Having exhausted his output as a band leader and as a member of the Revolutionary Ensemble, this record came into focus as one of the few I hadn’t heard. When it finally reached my ears, I was blown away, and so began a desperate hunt sprawling over the years.

The album’s four sides were recorded at The East, a venue that once stood two blocks from my former home in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. It’s most remembered for the Pharaoh Sanders LP Live at The East, but in its day it was one of the most important venues in NY. It also was noted for being Black only. There are stories of prominent members of the Jazz community showing up with White friends, and being turned away. Same went for White musicians with friends and colleagues inside. Though it’s a complicated subject, I have to say I respect the venue’s policy. Of course I would have wanted to go, and wouldn’t have gotten in. It might have been paramount to racism, but in a country where being of African descent bars you from nearly every sense of possibility afforded to others, the fact that one of the most remarkable venues in the city made a statement by reversing the institution is something I have to embrace (despite faults). These practices were connected to the movement of Black Nationalism, which attempted to build Black pride, and autonomy in a context which was more explicitly racist that our own. Though I personally don’t think racial equity in America has improved as much as we like to pretend (the way it is expressed, and its self-consciousness has simply evolved and become more duplicitous), the framework of The East was more accepted and balanced within the era that existed. It had a place in a larger body of discourse which had lost faith faith in the potential of equity, and was looking for new ways to protect the interests of the African American community. It’s an important context to remember when approaching the album.

Alkebu-Lan – Land Of The Blacks is an Afro-Spiritual triumph which shifts between Free-Improvisation and explicit idiom and structure. It marks the debut of James Mtume as a band leader. Mtume was a percussionist who played regularly with Miles Davis, Buddy Terry, Sonny Rollins, Pharoah Sanders, and others. This is the first of two albums he offered the world of Jazz before moving into a fairly successful career as a Modern Soul and Disco artist. He’s probably most well know for the track Juicy Fruit – famously sampled by Notorious B.I.G. The Mtume Umoja Ensemble was fairly large – 15 players. This helps set the album apart from many of its peers. The sound is thick, rising with a power that has few equivalents. The “big band” is one of my favorite threads within Jazz of this period. The trend partially grew from of the movement’s loss of larger audiences. Where the late 40’s had seen the contraction of ensembles to meet the economic difficulties faced by Big Bands, the late 60’s and 70’s saw a massive exodus of fans to other genre’s (Soul, Funk, Rock & Roll). Rather than having a sustainable economy to adapt to, few Jazz musicians were able to make a living at all. These unfortunate circumstances helped spawn one of the most remarkable periods of creatively in the music’s history. There was nothing to loose. If no one was listening, why not do whatever the fuck you want? If no one was getting paid, why not let the band be the size it needs to be? Why not all work together? That’s what Alkebu-Lan – Land Of The Blacks is – a collective scream that its makers knew few people would hear.

The album begins with an Afro-Spiritual/political monologue. It’s a window into another time. Even before the music starts, you know you’re onto a good thing. As the ensemble gathers, they unleash a howling storm. Nothing is held back. As a totality, the record is hard to describe. It’s constructed to never entirely allow generalization. This is a statement of cultural identity. It is the sound of Black America, and that sound is a complex series of intersecting streams. Within it we hear the poetic (literally and figuratively), and the politic. We hear the distillation of centuries of musical history operating as a single unit – Africa, Big Band Jazz, Bop, Soul, Spiritual and Free-Jazz (it both hybridizes and moves between distinct articulations of these forms). If I was to suggest an entry into Free-Jazz for the uninitiated listener, this might be it. Not because it’s easy to access, of even because it’s the best example to understand the movement through, but because of its complexity, and the character of that complexity. The elements of its construction, with the way it shifts between these distinct features, offers a deeper understanding of Jazz as a people’s music – one that came from one place and moved toward another. It can be incredibly inviting, before sneaking up and hitting you over the head.  It does what it sets out to. It is a realization of unity. Despite moments of apparent chaos, few records of its kind feature musicians working as such a considered whole – both in consciousness and musicality.  It’s an absolute gem. If I was to recommend as single Jazz reissue to buy this year, this would probably be it. The only shop I’m currently aware that is stocking it is Soundohm,  but if you’re not in Europe I’m sure it will find its way to you soon. Check it out bellow and pick it up as quickly as you can.' -Bradford Bailey


Mtume Umoja Ensemble ‎– Alkebu-Lan - Land Of The Blacks (Live At The East)

Label: Strata-East ‎– SES-1972-4
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1972
Genre: Jazz
Style: Free Jazz, Speech, Poetry, Free Improvisation

A1 Invocation 4:17
A2 Baba Hengates 17:50
B1 Utamu 10:01
B2 Saud 10:45
C1 Alkebu-Lan 15:29
C2 No Words 8:35
D1 Separate Not Equal 7:17
D2 Sifa (The Prayer) 16:15

Credits
Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Gary Bartz
Artwork [Cover], Design – Wabembe
Bass – Buster Williams
Congas, Horns [Tonette], Producer – Mtume
Drums – Billy Hart, Ndugu
Engineer – Endesha O'Brien
Photography By [Back Cover] – Je
Photography By [Liner] – Ray Gibson
Piano – Stanley Cowell
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Carlos Garnett
Violin – Leroy Jenkins
Vocals – Andy Bey, Eddie Micheaux, Joe Lee Wilson
Voice [Poetry] – Weusi Kuumba, Yusef Iman