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Ramsey LewisFunky Serenity/Salongo ... CD
Columbia/R2 (UK), 1973/1976. New Copy .... $15.99 16.99
Two electric killers from Ramsey Lewis – back to back in a single package! Funky Serenity is sweet electric funk from Ramsey – one of his best from the 70s, and a set with Lewis on Fender Rhodes, electric harpsichord, and other keyboards, grooving away in an open-ended 70s mode that still retains all the heavy soul of his classic work for Chess. Morris Jennings adds in some very nice percussion with his drum work, and Cleveland Eaton's on funky bass, giving the set a strong bottom groove. Features the sublime sample cut "My Love For You", a great version of "Knights In White Satin" that's done with a weird spacey groove, plus the tracks "Kufany Mapenzi (Making Love)", "Serene Funk", "What It Is!", and "Dreams". Salongo is a tremendous little record, and one of the funky 70s sets that Ramsey Lewis recorded with Earth Wind & Fire! Well, not Earth Wind & Fire entirely – but the Kalimba Productions team of Maurice White and Charles Stepney that gave the group its sound – plus a nice sprinkling of other players that were often associated with sessions by the group! Ramsey's own combo here includes Steve Cobb on drums and vocals, and Derf Reklaw on reeds and vocals as well – and the overall sound has bits of African and Brazilian influences, worked into a soulful fusion groove that sounds a lot like the instrumental backings EWF were using at the time. Titles include "Brazilica", "Slick", "Rubato", "Salongo", and "Seventh Fold". CD

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New Osunlade & OthersOccult Symphonic ... CD
R2 (UK), 2010. New Copy .... Out Of Stock
A collection of spiritual house tracks from the contemporary underground – all picked and mixed by Osunlade, all with a feel that's quite similar to his own Yoruba Records work! Beats are deep and usually very bassy – which gives the music a warm, earthy style right from the start – and makes the tracks less bombastic and more organic overall. Instrumentation is usually more percussive than melodic, but shifts over time to create this rich, soulful tapestry – a quality that holds through especially strong over the course of the mix. In fact, most tracks feel as if they might well have come from the same artists or producers – a further testament to Osunlade's ear for a mix like this. Titles include "Black Gold" by Itamar Sagi, "Umlat2" by Mike Dehnert, "Ironia" by Andy Catana, "Deploy" by Atheus, "Under The Gold Beat" by Pascal Feos, "Snowblind" by Simon Hinter, and "Childhood" by Christopher Rau. CD
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New JivaDay Into Night ... CD
Soulnari, 2007. Used .... Temporarily Out Of Stock
The greatest set to date from Atlanta's Jiva – a group who've grown tremendously over the years, and who've always rewarded our interest with some really amazing music! And while previous efforts were already great, this record's a huge step forward – a set that's focused, balanced, and totally righteous – filled with jazzy rhythm lines, topped with soaring vocals, and held together beautifully with some spacier keyboards that add a slightly cosmic edge! But when we say cosmic, the record's never too cosmic – never broken beat or European-styled, still very firmly grounded in the warmer soul modes of the Atlanta scene. Khari Simmons wrote, produced, and arranged the entire set – and also plays most of the keyboards too – and titles include "Shine", "Better2gether", "Twilight Bossa", "Like A Star", "Day Into Night", "Understand", and "You Lift Me Up". CD

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New Liquid LiquidLiquid Liquid ... CD
99 Records/GR2 Classics, Early 80s. Used .... Out Of Stock
A seminal set of grooves from Liquid Liquid – the downtown New York combo who were as important to the early 80s scene as ESG! Like that group, Liquid Liquid lived in a weird space between genres – part funky, part punky, and with a stark sound that was perfect for the post-disco scene of the time. Also like ESG, the group's music was issued by the seminal 99 Records label – a key outlet for artier grooves of the time, but one that never got the groups the sort of exposure they deserved, given the strengths of their music. Instrumentation here is heavy on percussion, but also features bits of guitar, bass, marimbas, and some very cool roto-toms too – and although there's vocals on many tracks, they're often submerged darkly in the mix. The collection features tracks from the Optimo, Successive Reflexes, and Liquid Liquid Eps – plus live material from 1982 – a total of 18 tracks that includes the seminal "Cavern" sample track (used most famously in "White Lines") – plus "Lock Groove", "Optimo", "Scraper", "Push", "Bell Head", "Zero Leg", "Eyes Sharp", "Out", "Lub Dupe", "Rubbermiro", "Groupmegroup (live)", "Push (live)", and "Bell Head (live)". CD