Sun Ra Quartet – The Sky Is A Sea of Darkness When There is No Sun To Light The Way [ARTYARD45003]

SUN RA QUARTET - The Sky Is A Sea Of Darkness When There Is No Sun To Light The Way

Asolutely stellar jazz from Sun Ra alongside John Gilmore, Luqman Ali & Michael Ray. This quartet version of the title song appeared on 1978’s ‘New Steps’ LP. Over on the flip is the ‘Alien vocal version’ of Somewhere In Space, recorded in 1957. Two expertly plucked out (fully licensed) Sun Ra essentials, presented on a heavyweight (70gram) Art Yard styled 7″.

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Sun Ra Quartet – The Sky Is A Sea of Darkness When There is No Sun To Light The Way [ARTYARD45003]

VA – Wamono A To Z Vol 1: Japanese Jazz Funk & Rare Groove 1968-1980 [180GWALP01]

DJ YOSHIZAWA DYNAMITE JP/CHINTAM/VARIOUS - Wamono A To Z Vol 1: Japanese Jazz Funk & Rare Groove 1968-1980 (reissue)

Wamono A to Z Vol. I – Japanese Jazz Funk & Rare Groove 1968-1980, Selected by DJ Yoshizawa Dynamite & Chintam. Dig right now into the Wamono sound – the cream of the Japanese funk, soul, rare groove and disco music developed throughout the years since the end of the sixties in Japan. Fully licensed Nippon Columbia and Victor Japan masters available for the first time outside of Japan, featuring Akira Ishikawa, Jiro Inagaki, Chikara Ueda, Kifu Misuhashi, Toshiko Yonekawa and more! Tracks selection by Japanese super diggers and Wamono specialists DJ Yoshizawa Dynamite and Chintam.

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VA – Wamono A To Z Vol 1: Japanese Jazz Funk & Rare Groove 1968-1980 [180GWALP01]

Han Sotofett & Jakko Eino Kalevi with Andres Lõo – Jazzsomdub [AMFIBIA25]

HAN SOTOFETT/JAAKKO EINO KALEVI with ANDRES LOO - Jazzsomdub

Finnish multi instrumentalist Jaakko Eino Kalevi & Norwegian producer Han Sotofett (aka DJ Sotofett) teamed up with Estonian drummer Andres Lõo on the “Jazzsomdub” album for a wide & improvised excursion within a narrow world of drums, percussion, saxophone, flutes, electric piano, monophonic synths and tape delays. Besides distinctively exploring Lõo and Kalevi’s batterie & percussion work with deep-listening quality drum mixes there are elements of impulsive beauty, particularly on “Essens” free carrying sax solo. The album partly reaches for well known directions of jazz in the vain of the cosmic, psychedelic, improvised, atonal and spiritual, but the particularness lies within the rhythm & mix – like a rubber band stretched in 4 dimensions.

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Han Sotofett & Jakko Eino Kalevi with Andres Lõo – Jazzsomdub [AMFIBIA25]

Sun Ra Arkestra – Swirling [STRUT153LP]

SUN RA ARKESTRA - Swirling

The planets align this October as the mighty Sun Ra Arkestra, under the direction of the maestro Marshall Allen, release their first studio album in over twenty years, ‘Swirling’. Recorded at Rittenhouse Soundworks in Philadelphia, the new recording represents the continuation of a heartfelt rebirth of the Arkestra under Allen’s guidance since Sun Ra left the planet in 1993, gaining new generations of followers from their regular touring across the globe. With a big band line-up featuring long-standing Arkestra members including Danny Ray Thompson (RIP), Michael Ray, Vincent Chancey, Knoel Scott, Cecil Brooks, Atakatune (RIP), Elson Nascimento and Tyler Mitchell, the album is a full-blooded celebration of Sun Ra’s legacy. Tracks include brand new arrangements of Arkestra staples ‘Angels And Demons At Play’, ‘Satellites Are Spinning’, ‘Door Of The Cosmos’ and ‘Rocket No. 9’ alongside lesser known gems; the rousing blues ‘Darkness’ is recorded here for the first time, resurrected from the Ra archives by Marshall Allen. Other highlights include an epic version of ‘Seductive Fantasy’ (first recorded on Ra’s ‘On Jupiter’ LP in 1979), the freeform sonic blast of ‘Infinity / I’ll Wait For You’ and a first ever recording of the Marshall Allen swing composition, ‘Swirling’. “We truly hope that this recording brings much joy to a planet which is so deeply in need of a spirit sound and vibration,” states saxophonist Knoel Scott. “We hope it contributes to a change in the ominous direction of man’s journey through the cosmos.” “This new release is the Arkestra’s love offering to the world,” concludes Marshall Allen. “Beta music for a better world.”

vinyl / CD

Sun Ra Arkestra – Swirling [STRUT153LP]

Matana Roberts & Pat Thomas – The Truth [ROKU024]

ROBERTS, Matana/PAT THOMAS - The Truth

Pat Thomas is one of the most extraordinary pianists of our time. In a first time duo with saxophonist Matana Roberts, the lyricism of his distinctly dexterous and curious approach to the piano paints pathways for Robert’s poignantly vocal saxophone. Together the two speak; locked grooves and neat switchbacks on the keys form dialogue with long deliberate lines on the alto, punctuated by Roberts’ ecstatic vocalisations.

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Matana Roberts & Pat Thomas – The Truth [ROKU024]

The Stance Brothers – On Top [WJ0711]

STANCE BROTHERS, The - On Top

Producer/drummer Teppo Mäkynen shares a new release with his celebrated alias The Stance Brothers. ”On Top” is a solid gold Stance groover which appears on this We Jazz Records 7” vinyl single as two versions. On side A, the track is led by guitar and flute (the latter courtesy of Diamond T aka Timo Lassy) and the flip introduces a soul jazz scorcher with organ & vibes. Both cuts are ripe and ready to be enjoyed by DJs and home listeners alike.

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The Stance Brothers – On Top [WJ0711]

Sharhabil Ahmed – The King Of Sudanese Jazz [HABIBI013-1]

AHMED, Sharhabil - The King Of Sudanese Jazz

Habibi Funk’s 13th outing is a release by Sharhabil Ahmed, the actual King of Sudanese Jazz (he actually won that title in a competition in the early 1970s). Sonically it sounds very different from what Jazz is understood to sound like outside of Sudan. It’s an incredible unique mix of rock’n’roll, funk, surf, traditional Sudanese music and influences from Congolese sounds.

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Sharhabil Ahmed – The King Of Sudanese Jazz [HABIBI013-1]

Byron The Aquarius – Ambrosia [AX091]

BYRON THE AQUARIUS - Ambrosia

Byron The Aquarius is no stranger to true music fans. Early 2020 he gathered his friend musicians in Atlanta for a few day session at Patchwerk Studios under Jeff Mills’ supervision. The result is a fantastic mix between Soulful House and Jazz Music with a touch of Blues.

“The overall goal was to create something that bared the traits and signs that would catch the attention of a music lover. Someone that has danced themselves into a relationship with music that is unconditional and undeniable”. – Jeff Mills

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Byron The Aquarius – Ambrosia [AX091]

Paradise Cinema – Paradise Cinema [GONDLP040TG]

PARADISE CINEMA - Paradise Cinema

The multi-instrumentalist Jack Wyllie (Portico Quartet/Szun Waves) presents his new project Paradise Cinema. It was recorded in Dakar, Senegal in collaboration with mbalax percussionists Khadim Mbaye (saba drums) and Tons Sambe (tama drums). The impressionistic and dream-like quality of ‘Paradise Cinema’ is a stunningly effective realisation of Wyllie’s experience, in ahypnagogic state of aural consciousness. Atmospherically ‘Paradise Cinema’ is vaporous and enigmatic, but also percussive; existing in a paradoxical sound-space that’s amorphous,yet still purposeful, serene, but propulsive and aesthetically sharp. Khadim Mbaye and Tons Sambe, provide the rhythmic backbone of the record. There are traditional elements of mbalax rhythm, but it is often deconstructed or played at tempos outside of the tradition, so while it hints at a location it occupies a space outside of any specific region. ‘Paradise Cinema’ is also informed by notions of hauntology – a philosophical concept originating in the work of French philosopher Jacques Derrida– on possible futures that were never realised andhow directions taken in the past can haunt the present. On the album’s title Wyllie comments, ”there are a handful of old cinemas in Dakar – these big modernist buildings dotted around the city built around independence. They’re old and derelict now, but feel to me like monuments to that period, when the city was flooded with utopian ideas about its potential futures.” As such it sits closely to 4thworld music – situated in an imagined culture and time that never came to pass. And while it contains rhythmic references to Senegal it combines these elements with ambient and minimalist music to produce a sound that sits outside of any tradition.

vinyl / CD

Paradise Cinema – Paradise Cinema [GONDLP040TG]

The Heliocentrics – Telemetric Sounds [MMS039]

HELIOCENTRICS, The - Telemetric Sounds

The Heliocentrics, the UK’s cosmic, psychedelic-funk ensemble issue their second album on maverick producer Madlib’s label, Madlib Invazion. Drawing equally from the funk universe of James Brown, the disorienting asymmetry of Sun Ra, the cinematic scope of Ennio Morricone, the sublime fusion of David Axelrod, Pierre Henry’s turned-on musique concrète, and Can’s beat-heavy Krautrock, they have – regardless of the label on which they’ve released their music – pointed the way towards a brand new kind of psychedelia, one that could only come from a band of accomplished musicians who were also obsessive music fans. It’s only six months since The Heliocentrics released their last album, ‘Infinity of Now’, but boy how the world has changed since then. To reflect that, this new collection of songs is more intense, dark, paranoid, uncertain and, well, angry. It makes for a typically out there record that pulls together disparate worlds and defies familiar conventions. There are moments of sweetness and light such as “Space Cake” but also pixelated realms of jazz complexity that glisten and glean. This is an album that will lead you to strange, thought provoking places, but will also greatly reward any time you spend there.

vinyl / CD

The Heliocentrics – Telemetric Sounds [MMS039]

VA – New Horizons: Young Stars of South African Jazz [AFS049]

VARIOUS - New Horizons

New compilation of South Africa’s leading young jazz talent on Afrosynth Records, compiled by DJ Okapi and Shane Cooper. Featuring Thandi Ntuli, Kyle Shepherd, Mabuta, Yonela Mnana, Zoë Modiga, Benjamin Jephta, Siya Makuzeni, Lwanda Gogwana, Mandisi Dyantyis, Reza Khota, Bokani Dyer, Vuma Levin and a broader group of talented supporting musicians. From tight trios to expansive, cosmic collectives, this compilation highlights the best of what’s come out of the country in recent years.

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VA – New Horizons: Young Stars of South African Jazz [AFS049]

Kibrom Birhane – Circles [FLYC101]

BIRHANE, Kibrom - Circles

Ethiopian-born Jazz Musician Kibrom Birhane mixes Spiritual Jazz with Ethiopian Jazz motifs to create a unique and deep sound that resonates across many cultures and musical concepts. His understanding of Jazz and improvisation is unparalleled among Jazz artists in the world today. This understanding combined with a connection to the spirits creates a rich and diverse tapestry of sounds, ideas and discoveries. Kibrom is a member of Los Angeles based Ethio-Cali group, that has included Jazz luminaries Kamasi Washington, Dexter Story, Mark De-Clive Lowe and many others.

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Kibrom Birhane – Circles [FLYC101]

Beat Bronco Organ Trio – Missoula-Nairobi, Pt. 1 & 2 [ROC037]

BEAT BRONCO ORGAN TRIO - Missoula Nairobi

Bridging the link between the drummer’s hometown in Montana and the love of African rhythms, Beat Bronco Organ Trio offer us this sublime, lilting instrumental full of precussive warmth and mid-tempo syncopations. Departing from the land of the shining mountains and heading across continents to the sound of the twangy, rolling guitar, parts 1 & 2 are a delightful yet raw aural journey carried out across a live, 4-track tape machine. Totally analog and fresh, as we often wish music could be.

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Beat Bronco Organ Trio – Missoula-Nairobi, Pt. 1 & 2 [ROC037]

Placebo – Polk / Balek [MSR022]

PLACEBO - Polk

About four years after the label was founded in summer 2016, ”Matasuna Records” is about to drop its 25th release. To celebrate this anniversary, Matasuna has dug up another treat and is delighted to reissue two songs from the legendary LP ”1973” by Belgian jazz-funk group ”Placebo” of jazz legend Marc Moulin, who is rightly considered one of the rare groove Holy Grails. Both songs are available for the first time as official reissue on 7inch vinyl – the title song is even available on 45 for the first time ever.

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Placebo – Polk / Balek [MSR022]

VA – Soul Love Now: The Black Fire Records Story 1975-1993 [STRUT238LP]

VARIOUS - Soul Love Now: The Black Fire Records Story 1975-1993

Black Fire was an influential spiritual jazz and conscious soul label that is now the subject of a first ever compilation. It has been put together by Strut and covers the years 1975 to 1993, showcasing a rich mix of jazz, deep African polyrhythms and empowering lyrics across plenty of classics and rarities. The highlights are plentiful and the comp also comes with extended sleeve notes around the black-owned label’s rich history, as well as a reprint of one of the original Black Fire magazines published by founder Jimmy Gray. This is a real piece of black music history.

vinyl / CD

VA – Soul Love Now: The Black Fire Records Story 1975-1993 [STRUT238LP]

Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids – Shaman! [STRUT214LP]

IDRIS ACKAMOOR/THE PYRAMIDS - Shaman!

Influential jazz collective Idris Ackamoor and The Pyramids return with an epic new opus, ‘Shaman!’, featuring a fresh line-up including original 1970s Pyramids member Dr. Margaux Simmons on flute, Bobby Cobb on guitar, long-term associate Sandra Poindexter on violin, Ruben Ramos on bass, Gioele Pagliaccia on drums and Jack Yglesias on percussion. The band transitions from the political and social commentaries of 2018’s acclaimed ‘An Angel Fell’ into more introspective themes. “I wanted to use this album to touch on some of the issues that we all f ace as individuals in the inner space of our souls and our conscience,” explains Ackamoor. “The album unfolds over four Acts with personal musical statements about love and loss, mort ality, the afterlife, family and salvation.” Evolving around Ackamoor’s intricate compositions, the album takes us effortlessly across moods and emotions through a series of expansive, extended pieces. Starting with ritual, soul-searching, and masculine vulnerability on the title track, the band explores timeless existence on ‘Eternity’ and mourns the sudden loss of loved ones in the prescient ‘When Will I See You Again?’, a track which gains new relevance amidst the current COVID-19 crisis. Ackamoor pays tribute to his mentor Cecil Taylor on the angular ‘Theme For Cecil’ and renders homage to the ancestors on ‘Salvation’ and ‘The Last Slave Ship’, recalling the last ship to bring slaves to the US from Africa, the Clotilda. The superb ‘Virgin’ is an anthem of forgiveness, new beginnings and self-healing.

vinyl / CD

Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids – Shaman! [STRUT214LP]

Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Roy Ayers – Roy Ayers [JID002LP]

YOUNGE, Adrian/ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMAD/ROY AYERS - Jazz Is Dead 2

In February 2018, Roy Ayers performed four sold out shows in Los Angeles as part of the Jazz Is Dead Black History Month series. It wasn’t until 2020 that fans of Ayers discovered that in addition to those shows, the legendary vibraphone player had also recorded an entire album of new material with Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Over the course of its eight original compositions, written collaboratively by Younge, Shaheed Muhammad & Ayers and recorded at Younge’s Linear Labs in Los Angeles, the resulting album sounds both like an unearthed an unreleased album from Ayers’ classic period in the 1970s (which produced the oft-sampled “Red, Black & Green,” “We Live In Brooklyn, Baby,” “Everybody Loves The Sunshine,” and “Running Away), as well as something startling, new and unexpected. Joining Ayers, Younge & Shaheed Muhammad onthis musical journey are drummer Greg Paul, vocalists Loren Oden, Joy Gilliam, Saudia Yasmein, Elgin Clark & Anitra Castleberry, as well as Phil Ranelin & Wendell Harrison of the legendary Spiritual Jazz label Tribe Records. The 8 tracks on this album testify to the love not only of a legendary musician’s legacy, but to the vitality & necessity of this music and these sounds in the present era, a thread that will likely run throughout all of the upcoming releases from Jazz Is Dead Records.

vinyl / CD

Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Roy Ayers – Roy Ayers [JID002LP]

Oneness of Juju – African Rhythms (1970-1982) [STRUT233LP]

ONENESS OF JUJU/VARIOUS - African Rhythms 1970-1982

Strut kick off a brand new deal with the seminal independent black jazz and soul label Black Fire in May with ‘African Rhythms 1970-1982’, a comprehensive 2CD / 3LP compilation of Oneness Of Juju, led by Plunky J. Branch. Tracing their career from the band’s earliest work in 1970 with South African exiled jazzman Ndikho Xaba in San Francisco, the compilation covers the band’s journey to New York’s loft jazz scene, forming Juju and releasing two landmark albums of hard-hitting percussive jazz on Strata-East. “I saw myself as a cultural warrior,” explains Plunky. “We studied about Africa and tried to infuse our music with an African spirit.” Moving back to his hometown of Richmond, Virginia during the mid-’70s, Plunky drew in a superb new group of musicians and vocalists and created the band’s new incarnation, Oneness Of Juju, retaining the African influence but fusing his sound with funk and R’n’B on the classic ‘African Rhythms’ album. “We realised that, if we put a backbeat to the Afro-Cuban rhythms, people in Richmond and Washington D.C. could be drawn into it; it didn’t change anything about our message.” The change would lead to a series of enduring soul-jazz classics on Jimmy Gray’s Black Fire label, including ‘River Luv Rite’, ‘Plastic’ and ‘Don’t Give Up’ and their biggest crossover international hit, ‘Every Way But Loose’ in 1982, later famously remixed by Larry Levan. The band received renewed interest in their music during the mid-’80s as Washington D.C.’s go-go innovators cited the band as a major influence and rare groove DJs revived their albums for London dancefloors.

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Oneness of Juju – African Rhythms (1970-1982) [STRUT233LP]

Massimo Guanti – Diapositive [LON002LP]

Beside the telluric year in pop music and culture, 1977 was still ranked as the future for Italian leftfield composers. Published by Roman imprint Gemelli and credited to the elusive Massimo Guantini (none else than influential jazz player and composer Sandro Brugnolini), Diapositive is a fully cinematic journey in the realm of sci-fi and cool jazz. Fully produced at famous roman Emmequattro Studios (home of many fascinating recordings by piano player Enrico Pieranunzi) the album is deeply rooted in the coolness of italian libraries, showing up such an incredible music craftsmanship. Fully adorned by a vibrant rhythm section, an acoustic piano, a clavinet, a Fender Rhodes and a proper ‘acid jazz’ guitar-playing, this album will lift your mind and soul for good.

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Massimo Guanti – Diapositive [LON002LP]

SimfOnyx – Magenta Skyline / The Unresolved [APDLT015]

Delights label is getting back on its way-out tracks with a new 45. Two cinematic funk cuts, recorded shortly before the COVID-19 lockdown by Markey Funk and Shuzin under a new moniker – SimfOnyx: slow and haunting “Magenta Skyline” on the A-side, backed by heavy uptempo slasher chase theme “The Unresolved” on the flip.

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SimfOnyx – Magenta Skyline / The Unresolved [APDLT015]