Nico Gomez & His Afro Percussion Inc. – Baila Chibiquiban [MSR019]

”Joseph Van Het Groenewoud”, who would later become known as ”Nico Gomez”, was a musician & composer from the Netherlands. He spent his youth in the Antilles, Cuba and other islands of the Caribbean, which had an unmistakable influence on his music. As a passionate musician and skilled guitarist he was familiar with the typical rhythms and melodies of this region. Later he returned to the Netherlands, before fleeing from there to Belgium in 1946 to escape from serving in the Dutch army in Indonesia. From then on he called himself ”Nico Ooms”. It’s said that he was so obsessed with Cuban music that he changed his name to ”Nico Gomez” – in any case, the name fit better with the Latin American music he brought to the stage. ”Baila Chibiquiban” is a killer cut, which is now finally available again on 7” single. The original version is complemented by a great edit by Frenchman ”Tonton Boom” (aka ”Mr. Boom”).

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Nico Gomez & His Afro Percussion Inc. – Baila Chibiquiban [MSR019]

Camarão Orkestra – Nação África [FVR154]

Nação África is the new single by Camarão Orkestra, the most Brazilian of Parisian bands. Sinewy bass and battery pulsating, it’s stitched to the dancefloor that “Nação África” spreads its groove. And it’s with a variety of keyboards and synthesizers that the tight production maintains a level of constant motion, surrounded by the burning riffs of the brass section and Amanda Roldan’s refreshing vocals. Patchworks provide two remixes to close the record.

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Camarão Orkestra – Nação África [FVR154]

Fabriano Fuzion – Cosmik Sindinka [BM1805]

Since childhood Serge Fabriano bathed in music, between his native Guadeloupe and Paris where he grew up. He attended the music conservatory, learnt how to play bass, played with many musicians and was ultimately angling for a career as a music teacher. During the mid-70’s, he alternated between teaching classes and live gigs, and performed in Germany with a funk band comprised of ex-GIs from the US Army. From 1978 onwards, Serge Fabriano devoted more time to music. He became a musician’s musician, doing studio recordings with rock bands and he also played with members of the Caribbean diaspora. Later the group Fabriano Fuzion was born. The band brought together some of the Caribbean’s most inspired musicians: Martinican-born Mario Canonge on the piano, Alain-Jean Marie on the synth, Labor brothers on saxophones, Claude Vamur on the drums, singer/percussionists Marie-Reine Lamoureux and Marie-Céline Lafontaine, Roger Raspail, Sully Cally and Hector Ficadière on Ka percussions. It is precisely the Gwo Ka – this ancestral “root” music deeply embedded in the heart of the Guadeloupe musician – which constitutes the rhythmic backbone of this first opus. The Gwo Ka, the jazz, the poetry and the spiritual vibe are gathered here to form a splendid album; one of the true masterpieces to emerge from the French West Indies.

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Fabriano Fuzion – Cosmik Sindinka [BM1805]

Biosis Now / Afro Train – Independent Bahamas V’s Ivory Coast Afro Funk [MUKAT053]

Few years ago label manager Nik played in France and the promoter pulled out a Biosis now 45 that he never knew existed up till then and was generally thought to be a long album track only. An extensive search revealed nothing online including popsike/discogs/ebay except a tropical seller who’d just bought a huge caribbean collection with the record included saying he’d never seen it before either and he was keeping it…Failing to secure a copy themselves the label licensed it instead and created their own 45 edit which retains all the funk & soul of the elongated album version into a 7 inch friendly format. On the flipside and 1973 Tumba Safari from Afro Train get’s a funky afrobeat re touch for peak time club play that would save you several hundred pounds on an original if you could actually find a copy!

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Biosis Now / Afro Train – Independent Bahamas V’s Ivory Coast Afro Funk [MUKAT053]

Carl & Carol Jacobs – Yonge Street Jam Band [ERC042]

An update of Robot Jam’s music and riddim in a true Caribbean sense, Yonge Street is a freestyle remix and comes in the original’s Parts 1 & 2, plus a special Discomix by rising tape manipulator, Jonny 5. Following Robot Jam on Crosby Records, the Jacobs’ husband and wife team released a series of soca 12”s for Eddy Grant’s Ice Records in the following years. However, come 1988 and they decided to return to the electro flavours that had garnered considerable interest, reworking the Robot Jam tapes to create a new version for release on Straker’s Records in Brooklyn. Running for over 30 years from the early 70s to late 90s, Granville Straker’s label was a cornerstone of the soca scene releasing main stays, reggae stars and what have become highly sought rarities such as Yonge Street and The Rebles’ Sweetest Taboo. In Yonge Street again the cut-up samples are there, topped with a fresh bass line and Carl’s own rap attack. While Part 1 acts as straight up vocal version, Part 2 swerves towards scat-megamix stylings that work in their own right. However, as with the ”Disco Giant” series of 2015, this one-off return hands the tapes over for a modern reinterpretation. With acclaimed releases for Bahnsteig 23 and Power Cuts, plus an upcoming EP for Pleasure Wave, Jonny 5 has finally made the leap from respected CBS Forum oracle, DJ and collector with a penchant from dub to obscuro European cold wave and post punk oddities to finally sit in the producer’s chair. After sending the label a personal mix made for his own use, he was hauled in to the studio to officially cut, mix, arrange and dub a long-form Discomix in the truest sense that perfectly creates a dance floor retake that might well be heard from boat parties off the Dalmatian cost to the open air street parties of Sao Paulo and all over festivals across the green fields of Europe.

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Carl & Carol Jacobs – Yonge Street Jam Band [ERC042]

The Beginning Of The End – Funky Nassau LP [ALSTON77001]

Seminal early 70’s Bahamian Funk of the highest order. The debut LP from the Munnings brothers legendary outfit. “Funky Nassau” is one of the most sought after Soul/Funk records ever with it’s highly original blend of US black music styles and Bahamian roots. A very famous band in their native Nassau, the group only had 2 full length albums under their belts along with a slew of 45 singles but have managed to stamp their name on the ears and minds of record lovers since they first burst onto the scene. The obvious track to reference here is the title track “Funky Nassau” a breakbeat fuelled monster dance cut that has supplied hungry samplers with sounds for decades (everyone from The Prodigy & The Roots among those who have used the cavernous drum break!), the rest of this excellent LP also includes the amazing Funk of “Come Down” and a whole host of other brilliant sun-drenched tracks. Absolutely essential. Here’s your chance to own a true classic! You’d be hard pressed to find another well rounded debut LP, this one is pure joy from start to finish.

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The Beginning Of The End – Funky Nassau LP [ALSTON77001]

VA – Surinam Funk Force [RHMC002]

A compilation of highly collectable and rare Surinamese 45’s and LP cuts. Compiled by Antal Heitlager & Thomas Gesthuizen this is the follow up to the Kindred Spirits released Surinam! compilation. This volume goes even deeper into the field of 70ties and 80ties funk music from the Surinamese dance floors.

vinyl / CD

VA – Surinam Funk Force [RHMC002]

Big Mean Sound Machine – Blank Slate 014 [BS014]

Big Mean Sound Machine is a twelve-piece Afrobeat band native to Ithaca, New York. They tour 150 days a year and have a large and dedicated following up and down the East coast. Still, it is a crime that Big Mean Sound Machine is not well known elsewhere. The band’s tremendous sound combines a big band aesthetic while channeling a global sense of musicality. Their shows leave fans drenched in sweat from dancing as audiences absorb the West African, Caribbean, Jazz and Funk traditions that Big Mean Sound Machine carries forward.

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Big Mean Sound Machine – Blank Slate 014 [BS014]

VA – Tanbou Toujou Lou: Meringue Kompa Kreyol Vodou Jazz & Electric Folklore From Haiti 1960-1981 [OSTP001]

Between the 1960s and 1980s, experimentation and electric reinterpretation of traditional rhythms was rife, along with the sophisticated balancing of a host of influences. There’s the jazz-era instrumentation, brought during the early 20th century American occupation, which introduced horn sections to Haitian ensembles. Cuba, cultural imperator of the Afro-Atlantic and perennial ally of Haiti, imbued Meringue, Mambo, Son, Guajira, Charanga, and a slew of Afro-Cuban styles into the Haitian repertoire. Accordion-driven Colombian Cumbia and Dominican Merengue left their mark. A melting pot of sound was all held together by the countless rhythms, drum patterns, and percussion brought across the Atlantic from Africa, surviving slavery’s violent cultural repression. New York City label Ostinato Records make their impressive debut with this compilation of Haitian Jazz and Electric Folklore spanning two decades from the sixties onwards. Allegedly compiled from an array of private collections and radio archives in Brooklyn and several digging trips throughout Haiti, this 20-track selection offers an intriguing overview of the country’s musical diversity in this period.

vinyl / CD

VA – Tanbou Toujou Lou: Meringue Kompa Kreyol Vodou Jazz & Electric Folklore From Haiti 1960-1981 [OSTP001]

Candido – Dancin’ & Prancin’ [SA8520]

Candido Cameron was a Cuban percussion maestro who had played with luminaries such as Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich and Count Basie throughout his illustrious musical career which started in 1952. Fast forward to 1979 and Candido finds himself caught up in the Disco boom that had engulfed his adopted New York City. Feeling he could add his trademark quick-fire Conga and Bongo playing to Disco’s straight 4 x 4 syncopated rhythm he cut some records with legendary NYC label Salsoul. The fruits of this partnership were 2 full length LP’s and a handful of 12″ singles that changed the face of underground Disco. The first of these two LP’s made for Salsoul was the truly epic “Dancin’ & Prancin” containing the all time classic “Jingo” which has been sampled, edited, re-configured and coveted by too many names to mention! It’s a killer funky Disco version of master Nigerian drummer Olatunji’s 1969 percussion suite of the same name, Salsoul style. The LP also contains one of the deepest Disco records of all time; “Thousand Finger Man” a testament to Candido’s percussion prowess and a spacey, beautiful voyage that has left more than an indelible mark on modern House music, often being cited as a huge influence by artists such as Masters At Work and more.

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Candido – Dancin’ & Prancin’ [SA8520]

VA – Koute Jazz: A Collection Of Rare Jazz From The French West Indies [HS134VL]

First compilation exploring abundant french West Indies jazz scene of the 70s and 80s. 12 little known songs, only known by collectors of vinyl, which mix the jazz and the West Indies rhythms for the best of the Creole Jazz.

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VA – Koute Jazz: A Collection Of Rare Jazz From The French West Indies [HS134VL]

Carl & Carol Jacobs – Robot Jam [ERC022]

The second in the Caribbean reissue series comes this time from Trinidad with an electro-sample Jam for all intents and purposes. The super rare Robot Jam by singer song writing duo Carl and Carol Jacobs is presented in 2 parts and comes with a very special remix via the esteemed Nick The Record, here teaming up with Dan Idjut for a dub-electro work out.

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Carl & Carol Jacobs – Robot Jam [ERC022]

Stephen Encinas – Disco Illusion [ICE004]

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Invisible City Edition descend to even further depths and give us a fully re-mastered issue of this mythical treasure. For many this is the ultimate Disco Illusion; a record that should have been epoch making in its day, something that would have been a staple for David Mancuso, Larry Levan & Ron Hardy had it ever gotten distribution when it was originally released 34 years ago. Somehow time passed it by and it was only re-discovered in a warehouse in Trinidad last year. Since then it has been gaining momentum fast, with DJ support from Moodymann, MCDE, Floating Points & Kon, as well as original copies selling for four-digit sums. Part of the illusion is in the structure of the record. The A-side begins with beautiful, but relatively normal disco song, but suddenly an Egyptian sounding bridge turns the things inside out and the song opens up into a proto-house jam complete with bubbling Sun Ra synths and Black Ark tape delay action. The there’s the b-side, which sounds like Bob James after he had a taste of callaloo, with deep electronics and a mind-melting steel pan solo. Finally, thanks to Invisible City this record is getting the life it has always deserved. ”

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Stephen Encinas – Disco Illusion [ICE004]

Mala – Mala In Cuba [BWOOD090CD]

Cover art - Mala: Mala In Cuba

Vinyl Boxset includes 4 x 180g vinyl, including free download code with bonus tracks. Album sampler BWOOD089 also fits in to complete the boxset. The results of a true culture clash, ‘Mala in Cuba’ marries the intricate rhythms and deep, spiritual roots of Cuba with Mala’s own roots in South London and his dedication to bass culture.

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Mala – Mala In Cuba [BWOOD090CD]