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JUST SAY YES....

Thursday, 28 November 2019 19:21 BILL B E-mailPrintPDF

altThere were (indeed are) plenty of great cuts on CORNEL CARTER'S chart riding 'Absolutely' album. One of the cuts singled out by critics and DJs alike was the sprightly dancer 'Say Yes'; well now that very cut has won remix status from the Metlife team (Michael Gray/Jon Pearn). You may remember Metlife had created a tasty remix of CC's 'I See Love'... the album heralding single. Now they work the same contemporary soulful dance magic on 'Say Yes'. It's an uplifting, make-you-smile sound perfectly matching the tune's title.... "just say yes to life"!

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 November 2019 19:37

 

BAKER BOY.....

Thursday, 28 November 2019 19:18 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altDon't know too much about 22 year old, London-born, Sheffield-based ARCHIE BAKER save that he's currently promoting his single 'Casual Happiness'. Archie admits that his song isn't classically soul, jazz or funk... but like a lot of the music we feature here @ SJF there's a soulful undertow to the six minute plus track.

The cut has an unusual sound (Mr B counts amongst his influences Bill Withers, Dire Straits, Vulfpeck, John Mayer, and Nubiyan Twist) that begins with bird song, a piano motif and a plaintive sax. The song and vocal have a mournful quality (despite the title!). In places that melancholia might recall a certain Van Morrison while in the musical changes there's a whiff of Oasis! See what we meant by "unusual"!

ARCHIE BAKER; 'Casual Happiness' available to stream/download now

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 November 2019 19:37

 

UP ON THE HILL

Thursday, 28 November 2019 16:25 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altLatest album from BUTCH INGRAM'S Philly revival label, Society Hill is 'The Men Of Society Hill'. Subtitled "the lovers' compilation", Butch (and the rest of the Ingram clan) have brought together a clutch of famed (some more so than others) male Philly soul men (and groups) to offer their take on the classic Philly ballad... yep, it's sweet, sweet romance all the way...something Philadelphia was always famous for.

I'm guessing, if investigating, most soul folk will go straight for the Blue Magic track 'I Can Show You Love'. Not sure what incarnation of Blue Magic this is but this cut is right up there with their very best.... baritone lead, tracked by that famous falsetto! Other "big" names on the 12 tracker include sometime Temptation Glenn Leonard, whose 'Betcha Don't Know' shows why he was such a good Eddie Kendricks replacement in the Tempts. Then there's (oddly) a track from Major Harris. Yes, Harris died in 2012 so don't have too much to say about the provenance of his 'I Love You'. It's classic Philly though... which is true of almost everything here. Philly collectors need to check this one!

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 November 2019 16:38

 

IT’S A JAZZ THING

Thursday, 28 November 2019 16:19 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altFKA JAZZ is the working name of sax man SAMIR ZARIF and chart anoraks might have noticed an album credited to FKA Jazz currently climbing the Billboard jazz charts. The LP is 'Beautifully Awkward' - FKA Jazz's second full-length album release, the first of which was in 2017 titled, 'Stereotype Threat'.

Samir says that the title 'Beautifully Awkward' is especially apropos. "Love is both beautiful and awkward," he explains. "And so are people in general, which is a really fascinating perspective. Putting that definition on love really brought me to a good place — more open and honest with myself and the people I connect with. Naturally, it went right into the music I was creating."

A complex explanation for sure... matched by the music on the 14 tracker (though there are plenty of intros/outros/prefaces and interludes). Sonically , how can we describe it? Well, it's not jazz as we know it... in places it reminded me of Guru's 'Jazzmatazz' series though the sax, not the vocal/rap, is the dominant force and it has a smooth complexion too – though never safe or bland. Tracks with immediate "grab appeal" are the vocals 'Beautiful Magic' and 'Supreme Love'.

What is obvious is that FKA Jazz isn't frightened to push that old envelope... interesting and intriguing... maybe Rotary Connection meets Blue Lab Beats! Out now.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 November 2019 16:38

 

ON THE GROOVE LINE …

Wednesday, 27 November 2019 20:48 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThe Grooveliner is a six piece soul and funk band operating in and around St. Louis, Missouri and they've just released their second full length album.... 'Join Me At The Bar'.

The band got together in 2015 and though they never intended to label themselves as a genre-specific band, the overall sound on 'Join Me at the Bar' is rough and tough organic brass led funk and soul best typified by this LP's big vocal track... 'Baby Goodbye'. Singer here is St Louis' Ryan Stewart and between them (singer and band) they plough an old school southern soul style furrow. The set's first single is a touch different. 'Sexy/Psycho' is a chanted, funk groove prefaced by some Hendrix style guitar and yes it does, in places, hark back to the so called "psycho soul" of Norman Whitfield. "Sexy"? Well you can make up your own minds.

Elsewhere, well the oddly named 'Messenger Illiterate (Take It To Eli)' is gentle with a country/blues flavour (think Tony Joe White).... Ryan Stewart at the mic again. If you want some intricate brass work then try 'Chicago Five Finger Discount Shuffle' – the three piece brass section dominate as they do through the whole nine tracks.... all originals by the way.

The Grooveliner: 'Join Me At The Bar' is out now

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 November 2019 21:04

 

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