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ZOO TIME...

Monday, 19 November 2012 21:25 Bill b E-mailPrintPDF

menMENAGERIE is the latest project from prolific Aussie muso, LANCE FERGUSON. FERGUSON, of course, is one of the main men in antipodean soul and funk outfit, THE BAMBOOS. He also works on his own using the LANU alias. In that alter ego he records in his own right, produces other artists and remixes music in his own idiosyncratic way.

To flesh out his latest musical ideas, FERGUSON has put together a studio ensemble which he's dubbed MENAGERIE. In this musical zoo are people like top Aussie sax technician PHILIP NOY and keyboardist MARK FITZGIBBON – a veteran of the London jazz dance scene of the 80s. Together they've tried to recreate the spiritual jazz that made labels like Tribe, Strata East and Black Jazz famous back in the day... though FERGUSON will be quick to insist that he's given it all a 21st century twist.

MENAGERIE'S album is called 'They Shall Inherit' – a reference to the aspirations FERGUSON has for his children – and the music is a far cry from the BAMBOOS signature sound. Highlight on the 6 tracker is the atmospheric 'Leroy And The Lion' - on which vibes maestro ROY AYERS guests. Listen up too to the spoken word piece 'The Quietening' – a real, retro rumbler.

MENAGERIE'S 'They Shall Inherit' is released on Tru Thoughts on Dec 10th.

Last Updated on Monday, 19 November 2012 21:37

 

WHERE’S SHEA GOING?

Sunday, 18 November 2012 19:43 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

sheaSHEA (BRYCE) is a rising star on the UK soul scene. Croydon-born, she admits she had a difficult childhood but her musical ambitions kept her going. After a stint at the Brit school she tried to form an all girl group – but the project never took off. However several savvy producers on the UK scene realized that the lady's committed and soulful vocals could add sparkle to their work. SHEA'S gone on to work with MJ COLE, SHY FX and ATTACA PESANTE with whom she worked on 'Make It Funky For Me' – which became an anthem on the UK Funky House scene. Her latest collaboration has seen her adding strident vocals over SMI'S sophisticated club dancer 'Just Fine' – just released on Makin' Moves Records.

On top of all that SHEA'S working on her own debut solo album. Tentatively and enigmatically titled 'Grey Clouds And Rainbow Fingernails', the set's slated for early 2013 release. In the meantime the lady's set to unleash the album's first single – 'Where Did You Go'. The self-penned songs is a smoky, jazzy dancer and yes, there's a hint of AMY WINEHOUSE about it – but, it has to be said, AMY'S musical template is a good 'un for a young artist to work from.

Sneak previews of the album reveal that the Latin-flavoured 'So High' is another goodie – reminiscent of CORINNE BAILEY RAE at her peak and with nothing new from Leeds' finest on the horizon maybe the time's right for SHEA. Look out for an interview with the lady here at SJF very soon.

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 November 2012 19:53

 

RISIN’ UP...

Sunday, 18 November 2012 19:41 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

riseBack in 2004 THE SOULNATURALS (brain child of TONY CANNAM) issued the acclaimed 'Sweet Communication' long player. Since then, CANNAM'S been busy with a number of other projects but for the past few months he's been working with a new SOULNATURALS incarnation and there's a new album on the way next year.

The LP will be heralded by a succession of singles – the first of which becomes available on November 26th. It's a broody, psychedelic-tinged slab of dance floor action called 'Rise Brother Rise'. Vocalist on the cut is Milton Keynes's LOTUS D (fresh from headlining touring productions of 'Dream Girls' and 'The Magic Of Motown'). She delivers the song with just the right amount of smoky atmospherics to offset the gospel-flavoured chorus led by CHANTELLE NANDI.

The cut has a real organic feel to it – hardly surprising since it was recorded on analogue equipment salvaged from the original Motown Studio B.

RISE BROTHER RISE by the SOULNATURALS is out on Nov 26th on the BRITISH SOUL STANDARD label.

 

SUNBURST SINGLES...

Sunday, 18 November 2012 11:15 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

sunbOne of this Summer's best "summery" albums was 'The Secret Life Of Us' from JOEY NEGRO and the SUNBURST BAND. The long player topped the Solar Sweet Rhythms chart for nine weeks and it was a regular play-out on CRAIG CHARLES' BBC soul shows. In case you missed out, ZR Records have just issued three of the album's best tunes in single format.

They are the catchy, CHIC-flavoured title cut (a vocal double-header with DONNA GARDIER, and DIANE CHARLEMAGNE), the DOOBIE BROTHERS inspired 'Caught In The Moment' and the melancholy disco tune 'In The Thick Of It'. Once again, internet download portals will oblige all round.

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 November 2012 11:21

 

GET TOGETHER WITH CALVIN...

Sunday, 18 November 2012 11:13 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

calvinCALVIN RICHARDSON – the self proclaimed "Prince Of Soul" – is currently putting the finishing touches to a new album due to be issued on the Numo label. The set – called 'Enough Said' – promises to be a mix of searing ballads and sweet dancers delivered in RICHARDSON'S trademark Southern style.

In the meantime, the man's issued the first single – the up-tempo 'We're Together'. The song, though maybe lacking a little in focus, is a busy little beater that might appeal to both the steppers and the Modern soul crowd. The usual download portals will let you judge for yourself.

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 November 2012 11:21

 

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