Category Archives: Jazz

Karen Aoki – Love for sale

I was fortunate enough to be travelling through Tokyo at the end of 2005 – primarily for food and entertainment – but also for records. I happened to be in a record shop when I heard some a heavenly voice being trasmitted through the speakers. (Is this sort of experience unique to music junkies?)

As it turned out, I was listening to Karen Aoki’s ‘Tokyo J’z Trippin’ album (which doesn’t seem to have made its way into Discogs – yet). While I haven’t managed to find anything from that album that I can post on this blog, there is plenty more work from Karen to choose from. Cue lovely, sultry jazz voice now:

And if anyone manages to locate a copy of ‘Tokyo Trippin’ you should snap it up. It contains production from the likes of Jazztronik and a few other notables of the Japanese jazz/club scene.

Her website is here.

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Filed under Jazz

Fonce Mizell Tribute Mix – by Kevin Beadle

OK, so I know this is another Fonce Mizell post, but Kev Beadle has put together a smashing mix of songs that Fonce touched, and it really does justice to his creative genius (and his brother’s). Beautiful soul-jazz-funk from the likes of Donald Byrd, Bobbi Humphrey, Taste of Honey, Jackson Five, Rance Allen Group, L.T.D., Edwin Starr, and so on.

I only wish there was a download button. 😉

I’m pumping it through the headphones while stuck back at work – feeling the soaring electric synths and bass arrangements characteristic of the ‘Mizell sound’ – as the rain pounds the office windows. This music is hitting the spot …

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Filed under Funk, Jazz, Soul

Eddie Russ – Take A Look At Yourself

Eddie Russ dropped a couple of dope jazz fusion albums that take pride of place on my record shelves – 1976’s ‘See The Light’ and 1978’s ‘Take A Look At Yourself’.

The Pennsylvania-based keyboardist worked with jazz greats including Benny Golson, Sarah Vaughn, Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie, before launching his solo career in the 1970s.

Here is ‘Take A Look At Yourself’, from the album of the same name:

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Filed under Funk, Jazz

Rest in Peace, Fonce …

Today we learnt of the sad passing of Alphonso ‘Fonce’ Mizell – one half of legendary production team ‘the Mizell Brothers’. Along with brother Larry, he was behind a string of monumental hits from the likes of Donald Byrd, Johnny Hammond, Bobbi Humphrey and A Taste of Honey.

Fonce was also part of ‘The Corporation’ – a Motown super production team that wrote and produced all of the Jackson 5’s early hits including ‘ABC’, ‘I Want You Back’ and ‘Mama’s Pearl’.

Amongst other things, the Mizell Brothers were known for giving the synthesizer a promient place in the music of some popular jazz musicians from the 1970s – this is sometimes seen as laying the foundations for the acid jazz and neo-soul movements that would come later.

So here’s one of any number of songs I could have posted to mark his legacy – Donald Byrd’s ‘Think Twice’:

Fly high, Fonce.

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Filed under Disco, Jazz, Soul

Various – The Heart 2 (Tokyo Dawn)

Online music label, Tokyo Dawn, has released another great compilation of soul, jazz, and funk cuts featuring a wide ranging bunch of artists – Diana Krall, Reggie B, Colonel Red and Marc Mac, to name a few.

Whilst it’s a solid compilation all ’round, Kan Sano’s offering stands out. Incredibly catchy and soulful – ‘The Truth’ – is stuck on loop in my head. Check it:

You can cop ‘The Heart 2’ here.

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Filed under Funk, Jazz, Soul

Switch Groov Exp – Bon Très Bien

A neat little latin jazzy groover from French group producer, Switch Groov Exp. I’m not quite sure why, but when I listen to this, it makes me wish I was sitting in a bar somewhere in the Central Americas – by the sea, of course – sipping on a rum and lime juice cocktail. Alas, I’ll have to settle for my own reality: a cup of tea on the couch.

Switch Groov Exp on Soundcloud.

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Filed under Funk, Jazz, Latin

Orakel – When Time Doesn’t Know Itself

From Austria, comes this gem of an album from Orakel (out on 4Lux). At a time when songs tend to be released more as singles or one-offs, it is reassuring that some continue to keep the full album experience alive.

With ‘When Time Doesn’t Know Itself’, comparisons with earlier work from 4 Hero will be likely – but such comparisons are not unreasonable, nor unwelcome.

The album succeeds in combining beautiful string arrangements and assorted vocalists, with crisp drum patterns and solid production qualities. It is sort of a meeting of yesterday’s and tomorrow’s music. And it works wonderfully.

Highlights include the instrumental nu-jazz flavoured piece ‘Come Closer’, the great vocal pairing of Vilja Larjosto & Anya Stuart over flutes and beeps on ‘When Life Has To Confer’, and the interplanetary keys and broken beats of ‘Interplanetary Jaunt ‘. Of course, I could go on an name another six or seven songs.

You can listen for yourself, via the following album sampler:

Guests include Dwight Trible, Sacha Williamson, Vilja Larjosto and Dorian Concept. Buy this album, now.

Orakel’s soundcloud page.

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Filed under Brasil, Hip-hop, Jazz, Leftfield, Soul