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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
New Teddy CharlesSalute To Hamp ... CD
Bethlehem/Solid (Japan), 1958. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A salute to Lionel Hampton, but one that goes way past the usual – thanks to a very hip group led by vibist Teddy Charles! Teddy made lots of great records in the 50s, and this is definitely one of them – a batch of tunes associated with Hamp, but played here by a modernist hardbop lineup that includes Art Farmer on trumpet, Zoot Sims on tenor, and Bob Brookmeyer on trombone – all players who really help add their voices to the music in wonderful ways, with some especially rich tonal colors that sound great next to Teddy's vibes. The rhythm section is mighty sweet too – with Addison Farmer on bass and Ed Thigpen on drums – keeping the grooves past another Hamp rehash – and titles include "Midnight Sun", "He's Gone Again", "Stardust", "Blue Hamp", "Moonglow", and "Air Mail Special". CD
 
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Barry AltschulFor Stu ... CD
Soul Note (Italy), 1979. New Copy ... $8.99 16.99
An album dedicated to the late drummer Stu Martin – and a set that features some very dynamic drum work from longtime friend Barry Altschul! The album has Altschul really hitting some new notes in his music – stepping off with a bit more dynamic energy than some of his other 70s recordings, working with a group that has a nicely elastic feel – able to change sounds and shapes at the drop of a hat! Other quartet members include Anthony Davis on piano, Ray Anderson on trombone, and Rick Rozie on bass – and the trombone of Anderson is especially great here, adding in a sense of warmth, and almost playfulness at points. Titles include "Drum Role", "Sleepwalker", "For Stu", and a version of the Mingus classic "Orange Was The Color Of Her Dress Then Silk Blues". CD
(Official pressing of the CD, with full artwork – not the CDr pressing found at other online retailers.)

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Ernestine AndersonLive From Concord To London ... CD
Concord (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $13.99
70s live material from singer Ernestine Anderson – half from the Concord Jazz Festival, half from a London performance at Ronnie Scott's – hence the title! The first half has this swinging jazz festival vibe – Ernestine really reaching out to win over the crowd with her charms, and backing by a core trio with Hank Jones on piano, occasionally expanded into a bigger ensemble. The London tracks are a bit more intimate, and feature a trio with John Horler on piano – and some especially great phrasing from Anderson. Titles include "Stormy Monday", "Days Of Wine & Roses", "I Don't Get Around Much Anymore", "Love For Sale", and a long "Ellington Medley". CD

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Fred Anderson, Hamid Drake, K Jordan & W Parker2 Days In April ... CD
Eremite, 1994. New Copy 2 CDs ... $24.99 29.99
Two great days in April – each featuring some very free improvisation from a group that includes Fred Anderson and Kidd Jordan on tenors, William Parker on bass, and Hamid Drake on drums – a quartet with boundless energy, and a really rich sense of each other's place within the sound! The first day features a performance from Amherst, and a relatively fiery one at that – with these unbridled sounds from all players, and some especially tremendous saxophone lines from Anderson and Jordan – often soaring out together, but with a very individual sense of space. The second day is slightly more measured – a Cambridge performance that has some nice solo spots for each player. Both dates are very well-recorded – and packaged in the usual high Eremite standard! CD

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Marisa AndersonMercury ... CD
Mississippi/Important Records, 2013. New Copy ... $14.99
Lovely instrumental work from Marisa Anderson – guitar sounds both acoustic and electric, played in a style that's certainly folksy – but often a bit less traditional than you might expect! There's these cool darker tones around the edges here – a quality that maybe starts with John Fahey, but also echoes some of the more simply expressive solo guitar work of the post-punk generation – especially on the electrified numbers that let the fuzz ring out around the edges, and really help the tunes take shape. The album's quite unique, and very different than most of the contemporary guitar underground – and titles include "The New Country", "Sinks & Rises", "Galax", "Red Sky", "Embudo", "Trinity", "Mojave", and "Furnace Creek". CD

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ArtisticsLook Out ... CD
Brunswick/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $21.99
Heavenly group soul from The Artistics – a quartet who already sounded great on the Chicago scene of the 60s – but who really opened up into something special with records like this! The group's harmonies were well forged on early upbeat groovers – which means that here, when they're kicking back a bit more they really take off – mixing voices and leads in this way that easily rivals the best east coast groups of the period – and which gets some massive kick at the bottom from the team of Sonny Sanders and Willie Henderson – both of whom bring in a gentle funk to some of the best numbers. Titles include their seminal "I Want You To Make My Life Over" – a cut that we never tire of hearing – plus "Being In Love", "If You Had A Change Of Mind", "Don't You Know That I Love You", "She's Heaven", "Look Out I'm Gonna Get You", and "This Love Is Mine". CD

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AssagaiZimbabwe ... CD
Philips/Keyhole (UK), 1971. New Copy ... $16.99
One of the hippest blends of African roots and psychedelic sounds ever – a tremendous record from the UK scene at the start of the 70s! The group is a unique blend of the jazz elements of the Blue Notes group from South Africa – Mongezi Feza on trumpet, Dudu Pukwana on alto and vocals, and Louis Moholo on drums – with some rock touches from guitarist Fred Coker, and Ghanian elements on percussion and vocals from Terri Quays! Most of the other players have strong jazz backgrounds, and because of that the set's got a style that's different than the usual Afro rock outing of its type – more far-reaching and cosmic overall, with some especially great passages from Feza, Pukwana, and Coker. Jade Warrior make a guest appearance too – and titles include "Barazinbar", "Wanga", "La La", "Dalani", "Bayeza", "Sanga", "Come Along", and "Kinzambi". CD

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Average White BandAll The Pieces – The Complete Studio Recordings 1973 to 2003 (19CD set) ... CD
Edsel (UK), 1970s/Early 80s. New Copy 19CD ... $94.99
A huge run of funky soul from The Average White Band – a group who were already well above average at the start, then just got better and better as their music grew during the 70s! The package is the first we've ever seen to honor the group in this way – and includes all their important studio albums, plus lesser-known gems from later years – and 2CDs' worth of rare material too – all in a box with a special 52 page book! Albums include Show Your Hand, How Sweet Can You Get, Average White Band, Put It Where You Want It, Cut The Cake, Soul Searching, Person To Person, Benny & Us, Warmer Communications, Feel No Fret, Shine, Volume VIII, Cupid's In Fashion, Aftershock, Soul Tattoo, and Living In Colour – plus those 2CDs of bonus alternates and rarities! 197 tracks in all – and very nicely done. CD

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Roy AyersLove Fantasy ... CD
Polydor/PTG (Netherlands), 1980. New Copy ... $18.99
One of our favorite Roy Ayers albums of all time – and an overlooked gem from Roy's late 70s years at Polydor! This set's a bit more laidback and less clubby than some other Ayers work of the period – which means it's got this wonderful jazzy groove throughout – a sweet mix of midtempo modern soul and the vibes-based style that Roy kept on perfecting at the time. Tracks are longer than usual, and they really open up in a way that fits the title – slinky and seductive, but never soppy or commercial at all – that really special blend of warmth and wisdom that's always made Roy Ayers so great. Titles include the sublime title track "Love Fantasy", which begins with Roy chatting up some girl in the intro, then sliding into a nice smooth jazz funk tip on the chorus – plus the great cut "Sigh", a sweet little bubbling number with a wonderfully breathy quality! Other titles include "Believe In Yourself", "Betcha Gonna", "Baby Bubba", and "Rock Your Roll". CD

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AztecaAzteca (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Columbia/Big Break (UK), 1972. New Copy ... $14.99
A crowning moment for the west coast Latin scene in the 70s – a wonderful Bay Area set that brings together some of the best talents working on that scene at the time! The set's got a great blend of modes – Latin soul, touches of funk, and plenty of the jazzy inflections you'd expect from a lineup that includes Coke Escovedo on timbales, Paul Jackson on bass, Lenny White on drums, George Muribus on Fender Rhodes, Tom Harrell on trumpet, and Victor Pantoja on congas! Vocals are by Pete Escovedo – who brings in a heady soulful sound to the set – and the vibe is a bit like work by Malo or El Chicano, but even more jazz-based overall! Titles include "Peace Everybody", "Empty Prophet", "Can't Take The Funk Out Of Me", "Azteca", "Ah! Ah!", and "Mamita Linda". CD features two bonus tracks – single versions of "Mamita Linda" and "Ain't Got No Special Woman". CD

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Paulo BaguncaPaulo Bagunca E A Tropa Maldita ... CD
Continental/Discos Mariposa (Argentina), 1973. New Copy ... $9.99
A Brazilian underground classic from the early 70s – mindblowing work that mixes heavy percussion with lots of guitar – in a style that's samba soul one minute, but heavier rock the next! There's a bit of a Jorge Ben influence going on at times – particularly in the way the record uses quickly-strummed acoustic guitar next to the earthy rhythms – but the overall sound is also a bit more fragile at times, and rougher around the edges, especially at its most expressive moments. But that quality only serves to make the album more striking – an instantly captivating set that needs no previous cultural knowledge at all! Really tremendous stuff – the kind of lost treasure that will have you scratching your head, but loving it at the same time! Titles include "Apelo", "Grinfa Louca", "A Mente", "Tramba", "Madalena", "Mensageiro", "Cristina", "Olhar Animal", and "Microfones Metalicos". CD

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BalojiKinshasa Succursale ... CD
Crammed (Belgium), 2011. New Copy ... $7.99 13.98
One of the most compelling combinations of global styles we've heard in awhile – a great second set from Belgian-Congolese artist Baloji! The set's got an unusual approach that's rooted in African instrumentation, run through European filters, and imbued with a bit of hip hop energy – particularly in Baloji's sharply-spoken lyrics – which are more bold messages than straight hip hop rhymes – especially set amidst some of the warmer, more flowing musical passages. The set features guest work from a wide range of talents – including Konono No.1, soukous stars Zaïko Langa Langa, American soul maverick Amp Fiddler, brass band Fanfare La Confiance, and the choir Choeur La Grace – all of whom leave their unique imprint on the set – creating a great sense of change as the music flows along. Titles include "Tshena Ndekela", "De L'Autre Cote De La Mere", "Genese 89", "Kesho", "Tout Ceci Ne Vous Rendra Pas Le Congo", "Nazongi Ndako", and "Karibu Ya Bintou". CD

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Harrison BankheadMorning Sun Harvest Moon ... CD
Engine, 2011. New Copy Gatefold ... $14.99 15.99
The debut as a leader from bassist Harrison Bankhead – long an important figure on the Chicago jazz scene as a sideman, really stepping forth here with a bold new vision of his own! The album's got a very free, open sort of vibe – definitely in the spirit of the AACM, but with some 70s spiritual touches too – especially once things get going, and some of the more rhythmic tracks take hold! The group features the great Ed Wilkerson on tenor, clarinet, and didgeridoo – sounding great, and returning a favor to Bankhead after the bassist's years in Wilkerson's groups. Other players include Mars Williams on saxes, James Sanders on violin, Avreeayl Ra on drums and percussion, and Ernie Adams on more percussion – a lineup that's equally well-suited to free improv numbers, and some of the more groove-oriented tracks. Titles include "Over Under Inside Out", "Chicago Senorita", "East Village", "Morning Sun/Harvest Moon", and "Flying Through Your Dreams". CD
(In a beautiful hand-pressed cover, too!)

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Ron BanksTruly Bad ... CD
Columbia/FTG, 1983. New Copy ... $13.99
One of the original Dramatics, singer Ron Banks strikes out here on his own – a slept on gem from the early 80s! The set's in a similar modern soul mode to LJ Reynolds, who also worked with him in the group, and was having a bit of a solo career of his own at the time. It's got sort of a D-Train feel to it – with classic male soul vocals over instrumentation that includes some slight electro touches, especially on keyboards and drum programs. Banks keeps the whole thing nice and soulful, thanks to some great vocal work, which you'll hear on the smooth mellow track "Let Love Flow", which has a beautiful down-tempo groove, and a nice two-step beat – plus the other mellow tracks like "Make It Easy On Yourself" and "You and Me". Uptempo club cuts include "Truly Bad", "Zap", and "She's So Good to Me". CD

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Ray BarrettoEye Of The Beholder/Can You Feel It ... CD
Atlantic/Expansion (UK), 1977/1978. New Copy ... $16.99
Two massive records from Ray Barretto – both from a time when he was really opening up his groove! Eye Of The Beholder is a really wonderful album from Barretto – more jazz fusion than his usual 70s salsa – but in a way that we really really love! The album's a crossover gem that has Ray working with Stix Hooper, Joe Sample, and Wilton Felder of The Crusaders – a trio who produced the record, and add in some of their instrumental help as well – which helps Ray find this bouncy, sometimes funky sort of groove – a sublime blend of LA fusion and New York Latin! There's still loads of great percussion from Barretto – but the set also has some wicked keyboards, guitar, and lots of jazzy inflections too. Titles include the killer cut "Here We Go Again" – a great midtempo number with a perfect steppers groove – plus the cuts "Tumbao Africano", "Leti", and "Expresso". Can You Feel It offers sweet sounds from the days when Fania Records was one of the greatest things going on the New York scene – and some of its key artists got a chance to work for other labels! This set's one of the best examples of that moment – as Ray Barretto steps out here in some sweet soulful territory for Atlantic Records – on an album that mixes his Latin roots with warmer soul backings that have the same sort of full, rich sound of the best Atlantic R&B of the time. Ray's conga is still part of the sound – especially on the funkier cuts – but the album's also got some strong soul vocals, too – sung by Prince Phillip Mitchell on one of the album's best cuts, and by Cissy Houston and Googie Coppola on a few others. Tracks include "Sting Ray", "Can You Feel It", "What Part Of Heaven Do You Come From", "Stargazer", and "Confrontation". CD

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Keith BarrowPhysical Attraction (with bonus tracks) ... CD
CBS/FTG, 1978. New Copy ... $15.99 16.98
A great secular set from Keith Barrow – a singer who started in gospel, but who's always been best-remembered for this modern soul gem from the 70s! Keith's got a great range to his vocals – one you can hear right from the start, as he dips and soars effortlessly with a quality that's clearly inspired by the spirit – but set here to some wicked smooth soul arrangements from Johnny Allen. The album's got a mix of clubby moments and some even better laidback cuts – and the set also features a few tunes penned by Ronn Matlock, an under-credited master of modern soul. Titles include "Turn Me Up", "Physical Attraction", "You Know You Want To Be Loved", "If It's Love That You're Looking For", "Garden Of Love", and "Free To Be Me". CD features bonus tracks – "Turn Me Up (special disco version)", "Turn Me Up (inst)", "Physical Attraction (12" mix)", and "You Know You Want To Be Loved (7" mix)". CD
Also available Physical Attraction ... LP

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Claudja BarrySweet Dynamite (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Salsoul/Octave (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $21.99
An early hit for Salsoul Records – a set of extended European disco tracks, all building in a nice slow, layered sort of way – then remixed by Tom Moulton for the US dancefloor! The tunes have this instrumental structure that almost doesn't even need the vocals of Claudja Barry – especially the title track, which has this sweet-stepping keyboard line that's really beautiful – more of the hook of the tune than the lyrics themselves. Strings swirl stronger as the album moves on – and Claudja more than redeems herself on the cut "Dance Dance Dance", which is a nice bit of dancefloor funk that really stands out! The other cuts include "Live A Little Bit", "Sweet Dynamite", and "Love For The Sake Of Love". CD features bonus tracks – "It Takes Two", a duet with Ronnie Jones – plus single mixes of "Sweet Dynamite" and "This Taste Of Love". CD

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Robbie BashoZarthus ... CD
Vanguard (UK), 1974. New Copy ... $14.99
One of the trippiest records ever from Robbie Basho – in case you couldn't guess from the striking cover image! The set's a blend of Basho's sublime work on guitar – very much in the John Fahey side of the spectrum – and more Eastern-styled elements from Ramnad V Raghavan, who plays mrdangam on all tracks – creating these captivating rhythmic pulses alongside Basho's guitar! Basho also sings and plays a bit of piano – both very eerie, and very unusual – especially on the last track on the record, which takes up almost all of side two, and has an almost Gurdjieff sort of vibe. Titles include "Zarthus", "Khalil Gibran", "Bride Divine", "Rhapsody In Druz", and "Mehera". CD

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New Les BaxterHouse Of Usher ... CD
Intrada, 1960. New Copy ... $19.99
A surprisingly complex score from the great Les Baxter – written for Roger Corman's famous film version of The Fall Of The House Of Usher! The music is quite lush at times – more orchestral than some of the Baxter exotica from the same period, but still filled with lots of great little twists and turns – especially as the narrative moves on – that ear for odd sounds and unusual tunings that made Les one of the real standouts of his generation! There's lots of weird watery passages, moody reed tones, and offbeat string sounds – and this great reissue features remastered sound and a full booklet of notes. Titles include "Madeline Usher", "Roderick Usher", "Buried Alive", "Catalepsy", "Pallbearers", and "The Ancestors". CD

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Beginning Of The EndBeginning Of The End (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Alston/Creole Stream (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $24.99
One of the rarest funky records of all time – the hard-to-find second album by Beginning Of The End! This West Indian combo hit it big with their first album on Alston, but this second set, for some strange reason, never really got distributed – which is a damn shame, because it's every bit as funky as their first! The uniquely choppy rhythms of the group's first album are every bit as great here as on the first set – and if anything, the band's instrumentation is even better, especially on the guitar, which is wickedly tight, and played with a super-dope flanged-out approach on the solos. Vocals are great too, maybe even more soulful than before, especially on the album's few midtempo cuts – and the album's a must-have for any fan of the group's funky sound! Titles include "That's What I Get", "Super Woman", "Bluestrain", "Jump In The Water", "Falling Apart At The Seams", and "Trip To Nowhere". CD
Also available Beginning Of The End ... LP 9.99

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Madeline Bell/Themes International Rhythm SectionVoice Of Soul/Sound Of Soul ... CD
Themes/Vocalion (UK), 1976. New Copy ... $16.99
Two wonderfully soulful albums from the Themes International sound library label – back to back on a single CD! The Voice Of Soul is a rare date from singer Madeline Bell – a vocalist who cut some key commercial work in the late 60s and 70s UK scene, but who shines beautifully on this rare set for the sound library! The tunes are all vocal, with Madeline in the lead – and the overall feel is a bit like Bell's This Is The One Girl set from the mid 70s – but with a leaner feel overall, thanks to the relatively small combo backing up the vocals. And although the record was never issued publicly at the time, it's a killer batch of mellow soul from the 70s – great vocals sliding along with the keyboards, and quite possibly Bell's finest moment on wax. Titles include "Your Smile", "You're A Winner", "Love Doctor", "Soul Slap", "Flying High", "Mr Smooth Man", and "Love Is All". The Sound Of Soul is all instrumental – classic set of soulful sound library tracks – lots of sweet keyboards, guitar, basslines, and other nice bits – one of the best of the titles on the Themes library label during the 70s, and with loads of great tracks by Alan Parker! The overall style is especially in the cop show mode – with tight production, but lots of hard riffing funk – and titles include "Move & Shake Your Body", "Love Doctor", "Soul Slap", "Crumpet", "Flying High", "Mr Smooth Man", and "Love Is All". CD

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New William BellDuets ... CD
Stax, Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy ... $5.99 11.98
William Bell was one of Stax's first great male singers, prefacing Otis Redding by a few years with his initial recordings for the label. However, what's not as well known is the fact that Bell also recorded some excellent duets for Stax – all of which were only ever issued as singles, until this tasty CD set, which compiles 10 of those duets, plus 3 more solo sides. Bell's sophisticated vocals were perfect for the format – as he was sort of the Marvin Gaye to Stax's Motown-esque lineup of girls that included Judy Clay, Mavis Staples, and Carla Thomas. Titles include the sublime "Private Number", plus "Love-Eye-Tis", "All I Have To Do Is Dream", "My Baby Specializes", "Left Over Love", "I Can't Stop", and "Lonely Soldier". CD

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Bebo Best & Super Lounge OrchestraSaronno On The Rocks ... CD
Chin Chin (Italy), 2011. New Copy ... $8.99 15.98
One of the tightest records to date from Bebo Best – a set that's still awash in cool 60s influences from lounge, bossa, and soundtracks – but which also comes across with an even more spontaneous spirit! There's still a fair bit of programs in the rhythms, and lots of cool sound samples too – but at points, you almost get the feel that the group's jamming live, especially on some of the more Latin-styled numbers. Titles give a good idea of the flavor of the set – and include "Havana Jazz Dance", "Chill Radio Bossa", "Dakiri Bossa Dance", "Jazz Carnival", "Saronno On The Rocks", and "Mambo & Cola". CD

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Bio RitmoPuerta Del Sur ... CD
Vampi Soul (Spain), 2014. New Copy Gatefold ... $16.99
One of the coolest contemporary combos in the Latin scene – a group who bristle with all the fire of a classic New York or Puerto Rican ensemble – and one who really keep the salsa dura flag flying high! Almost every cut here is a winner – just the kind of heavy-hitting gems that you'd only find here and there on a classic Fania album – packed together on this release to make this record one hell of a cooker all the way through! Instrumentation is relatively classic – in a trumpet/trombone 70s salsa style – but there's some unusual touches from time to time, the kind of compelling inflections the group's using to make the music their own – especially as they get more confident over the years. Titles include "Pajaro Pio Pio", "Codeina", "Se Les Olvido", "La Via", "Picaresca", and "Motocilengua". CD
Also available Puerta Del Sur ... LP 16.99

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Jane BirkinLolita Go Home ... CD
Fontana (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $13.99
Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin take Jane's ever-growing trash rock aesthetic into the Euro club world of the 70s – and the result is an insane batch of tracks that are among Birkin's craziest work of the decade! She sings with an incredibly deadpan style – as you'll hear especially on the English-language versions of "What Is This Thing Called Love" and "Where Or When" – and the arrangements by J-P Sabar have a spare electric quality that work perfectly with Jane's flat voice. A real oddity, but the kind of oddity that kept Birkin a compelling artist throughout her career – and proof that style goes a lot farther than substance in the world of Euro pop! Tunes are almost all originals written by Serge Gainsbourg – and titles include "French Graffiti", "Just Me & You", "La Fille Aux Claquettes", and "Rien Pour Rien". CD

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New Walter Bishop, Jr.Keeper Of My Soul ... CD
Black Jazz/Snow Dog (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $13.99 18.99
One of Walter Bishop's greatest records – an amazing session that's as funky as it is spiritual – and quite different than most of Bishop's other work! The vibe here is wonderful – as Bish plays a host of keyboards, not just piano – and works in the company of other players who include Ronnie Laws on reeds, Gerald Brown on bass, Woody Murray on vibes, and Shakur M Abdulla on percussion – a beautiful mix of cats who help Walter carry off some of his hippest recordings of the time! The use of vibes is especially nice alongside the electric piano – and titles include a great take on Bishop's classic "Soul Village", done here in a nice funky version – plus a version of "Summertime" with Bishop on organ, and the titles "Sweet Rosa", "Those Who Chant", and "N'Dugu's Prayer". CD

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Jo BissoLove Somebody ... CD
Marlin/Henry Stone, 1977. New Copy ... $6.99 12.99
Disco grooves, but with a definite difference – given that Jo Bisso had previously worked on the Parisian club scene, and brings a special flourish to this American album from the late 70s! Jo sings lead vocals on the side-long "Love Somebody" – a tune that builds strongly as Bisso gets answered by a trio of lovely ladies who really brighten up the sound – and who then seem to take over even more on the flipside working with singer Claudia Ferrari. This second side is even better than the first – as things get a bit more spare and stripped-down – snaking out on the smooth stepper "Your Love", getting some funky moogy touches on the P&P-like "Let's Keep It Together", and warming up on the mellow disco number "Thank You Baby". Special bonus – CD features a fifth track – not titled or credited at all! CD

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Black HeatNo Time To Burn ... CD
Atlantic (UK), 1974. New Copy ... $16.99
A stone classic from Black Heat – the group's second album, and even tighter than their first! The group's size has dropped a bit between albums – but that only helps them cook even more – dropping a bit of the horn section from before, which allows even more emphasis on their razor-sharp rhythms! There's a slight hint of Afro Funk in some of the rhythms – and the keyboards cook with lots of sweet clavinet lines – mixed with a production style that features some bubbling electronic elements that remind us a lot of that crazy "magic bag" that was used by the Lafayette Afro-Rock Band. That group might be a good point of comparison, but the band also shares a lot of Kool & The Gang's ensemble funk style – especially on their cover of "Love The Life You Live" – which they burn here beautifully! Other tracks include "Super Cool", "M&M's", "Rapid Fire", "You Should Have Listened", "Times Have Changed", and "Check It All Out". CD

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Black SheepWolf In Sheep's Clothing ... CD
Mercury, 1991. New Copy ... $4.99 5.98
A Native Tongues classic from 1991 – one that sounded great way back when, and has held up beautifully over the years – and rightly considered amongst the greatest hip hop albums ever! Wolf In Sheep's Clothing is playful rap at it's best, with funky and and funny cuts galore – but the title is apt, as the wit is pretty sharply barbed – especially when they're skewering hardcore and gangsta cliches. It's as brilliant as ever. Includes the massive "Flavor Of The Month", "Similak Child", "Pass The 40", "To Whom It May Concern", "Butt In The Meantime", "Strobelite Honey", "Are You Mad?", "Blunted", "For Doz That Slept" and more. CD

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Ran BlakeRan Blake Plays Solo Piano ... CD
ESP, 1965. New Copy ... $10.99 12.99
Really amazing early work from pianist Ran Blake – an artist who's continued to blow our minds in more recent years, but who sounds especially outstanding hear in an early session for the ESP label! The album's quite different from some of the freer, bolder music you'd normally associate with ESP – as Ran plays solo here, with a style that's very poetic – although still quite open-ended and free, with a fair bit of improvisation as well. The shift of tones alone is mindblowing – almost beyond anything you might expect to come from the piano, yet without any of the heavier-handed modes of a player like Cecil Taylor. Original material is mixed with very vivid re-workings of jazz standards – and titles include "Vanguard", "Sister Tee", "Eric", "Stratusphunk", "On Green Dolphin Street", and "Lonely Woman". CD

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Bobby Blue BlandTwo Steps From The Blues (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Duke, 1961. New Copy ... $4.99 9.98
An incredible record from Bobby Blue Bland – and quite possibly the greatest one he ever made! The set's got an amazing something special that's unlike most other material of the time – a bit blues, but a lot of soul too – still with some echoes of R&B in the jazzier charts used for the backdrop, but presented with a rock-solid style that definitely points the way towards many sounds and styles to come in the 60s. And although Bland recorded many of these tracks as separate singles, there's a way they're put together here that makes the whole thing sound completely marvelous together – a really well-conceived track list that shows that Bobby's an even greater artist in the space of a full record. The arrangements are perfect, and Bobby's rough soulful voice is blended in this amazing way with killer horn arrangements that are far more sophisticated than most stuff that ever came after this, and which never get in the way, but only back up his deep emotion. The album's a motherlode of classics by the man, with gems that include "Two Steps From The Blues", "Cry Cry Cry", "I Don't Want No Woman", "I'm Not Ashamed", "Don't Cry No More", "Lead Me On", and "I Pity The Fool". And hell, even his version of "St James Infirmary" is pretty wonderful – something we never thought we'd say about that song. CD
Also available
Two Steps From The Blues ... LP 9.99
Two Steps From The Blues ... CD 3.99

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Blaze25 Years Later ... CD
Motown (Japan), 1990. New Copy ... $13.99
A fantastic bit of soul and house that was woefully overlooked at the time of its release – and one of our favorite albums of the past 25 years! The Blaze production team had been hitting the underground club scene hard for a few years with their raw New Jersey house singles – then Motown grabbed them in the studio, and had them cut this classic album of soul tracks that pays homage to a set of greats that runs from Leroy Hutson, to Donnie Hathaway, to Norman Harris, and a host of others – all with a sense of soulfulness and depth that goes way past their standard work for the clubs! The dancefloor tracks are great, but the album's also got some wonderfully mellow moments too – with tracks that include "So Special", "We All Must Live Together", "Missing You", and "Get Up". The CD version has the added bonus of being a bit of a "mini-opera" – with spoken bits that have a narrative quality, linking the tracks together in a way that didn't occur with the LP. CD

Partial matches33
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Blue BeatsBeatle Beat ... CD
Rock Beat, Mid 60s. New Copy ... $11.99 12.98
Not The Beatles, but a group who are trying to cash in on their fame – by showing a monstrous Beatle wig on the cover of the album, covering a horde of dancers – and by playing a whole host of instrumentals with a nod to the Brit Invasion! We're guessing the Blue Beats were some American studio combo – as the overall project doesn't have a real UK sound – and they've definitely got their chops, especially on the guitar lines – which are recorded with a nice dose of echo and a good deal of twang, and mixed in with stomping rhythms and the occasional keyboard line. Titles include "The Chocolate Pudding Slop", "The Swingin Spiders' Bo Diddley", "The Fat Kings' Twist", "The Broken Egg Frug", "The Cold Mashed Potato", and "The Big Shoe Twist". CD
Also available Beatle Beat ... LP 18.99

Partial matches34
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John BlumJohn Blum Astrogeny Quartet ... CD
Eremite, 1998. New Copy ... $9.99 15.99
The only performance ever from this really special group – the Astrogeny Quartet, formed as a new project from pianist John Blum, with key participation from bassist William Parker, reedman Antonio Grippi, and drummer Dennis Charles – but a group that never continued after this date, due to Charles untimely early demise. The energy here is quite powerful, though – with some incredibly free, fast lines from Blum on piano – driven strongly by Charles' drums, and offset with a deeper sense of contemplation from Grippi, especially at the mellower moments. As often on other dates, Parker really holds the whole thing together – and titles include "Astrogeny", "Simultanium", "Dieci", and "Encomia". CD

Partial matches35
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BohannonKeep On Dancin' (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Dakar/Solid (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $22.99
Massive grooves from the mighty Hamilton Bohannon – the kind of skittish, nervous rhythms that made his funk unlike any other artist of the 70s! There's a sense of rhythmic progression here that's super-tight, but often quite subtle in its inflections – a mode that went onto have a huge influence on many generations after the disco era – especially house from Chicago and Detroit! Yet heard here in its original form, the approach is almost even more mindblowing – played live, with a hypnotic feel that's completely compelling – as the grooves shift slowly with subtle phases that often move independently of the vocals – which themselves are often just added to the mix as an afterthought. Bohannon wrote, arranged, and produced – and the record's a sublime blend of guitar, bass, and drums used in mighty fresh ways! Tracks include "Have A Good Day", "Dance With Your Parno", "South African Man", "The Fat Man", "Red Bone", "Truck Stop", and "Rap On Mr. DJ". CD

Partial matches36
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Francy BolandFrancy Boland Playing With The Trio ... CD
Rearward (Italy), 1967. New Copy ... $14.99
One of the few small group recordings ever cut by pianist Francy Boland – and a set that cooks every bit as much as his work with the larger Clarke Boland Big Band on MPS! The reason for the cooking is clear – Francy's got key rhythmic help from group members Jimmy Woode on bass and Kenny Clarke on drums – players who are way more than just partners with Boland on the session – more musical soulmates, especially from a rhythmic perspective – and able to work at that unique Clarke Boland level that's both lyrical and swinging, soulful and modern! The tunes are played in this way that really shows off Boland's skills on the keys – but never in a style that's flashy, just fresh and filled with surprising tones and twists – backed superbly by Woode and Clarke. Titles include "The Girl & The Turk", "Gamal Sady'N'Em", "Night Lady", "Myriam Doll", "I'm All Smiles", "Lonely Girl", and "Nights In Warsaw". CD

Partial matches37
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BombersBombers (with bonus tracks) ... CD
West End/Octave (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $22.99
One of the more guitar-driven groups on the West End label at the end of the 70s – an outfit with a really great approach to cutting longer dancefloor grooves! Tracks on the album have a nice tight feel that's echoed strongly by the guitar and keyboard work on the tracks – not as spacey as you might think from the sci-fi cover of the record, but still with a strong cosmic groove nonetheless! The album includes the legendary break cut "The Mexican", served up here in a full version that's nearly 12 minutes long, and which has lots of nice congas and guitars! Other titles include "Main Man", "Don't Stop The Music", and "Super Max". CD features some nice bonus tracks – including "The Mexican (Paul Poulos 12" special disco rmx)", "Dance Dance Dance (Paul Poulos 12" special disco rmx)", and "Don't Stop The Music (original single)". CD
Also available Bombers ... LP 9.99

Partial matches38
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BreakawayBreakaway/Right On To The Top ... CD
Breakaway/BBE (UK), Late 70s. New Copy Gatefold ... $19.99
A pair of completely rare albums from Breakaway – a St Louis combo from the late 70s – with a groove that's equal part jazzy club and blue-eyed soul! Breakaway is the group's debut – recorded in 1977 with a surprisingly tight sound – especially given that the group were essentially a local club act who got the chance to record a bit in a local studio! The feel is very much in the best LA mode of the time, but maybe a bit looser too – with emphasis on some funky riffing from the male members of the group, plus sweet lead vocals from singer Kathy Newbry-Taylor – an artist who might have been pop, had she worked on the coasts – but who stretches her style nicely here. The album's been made famous by both On Track and Americana comps on BBE – and titles include "There's A New Group In Town", "Who Was It This Time", "Love My Eyes", "Understudy DJ", "Everything's Been Said About You", and "My Symphony". Right On To The Top is the second set from Breakaway – and the album already shows a great deal of growth – especially in the territory of rhythm! Breakaway have definitely dug some of the best club modes from the New York scene – and work here in a jazzy disco style that's filled with sweet keyboard lines alongside the female lead vocals – all with a vibe that's nicely stripped-down, and still lives up to the indie spirit of the group. The set features some guest work on horns, which nicely expands the sound – and titles include "Straight On To The Top", "You Are Love", "Back & Forth", "There's A New Tree In The Forest", "Work With The Music", and "Breakaway". CD
Also available Breakaway (with bonus CD) ... LP 22.99

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Magnus BrooSwedish Wood ... CD
Moserobie (Sweden), 2010. New Copy ... $18.99
Swedish wood, with plenty of brass – thanks to bold, imaginative work as a leader from trumpeter Magnus Broo – easily one of the most important voices on his instrument working today! The group is a beautifully tight quartet – and Broo's trumpet gains plenty from the equally bold basslines of Torbjorn Zetterberg – a player whose name may not be familiar to American audiences, but one who always seems to set a special sort of fire whenever he joins a session! There's a pulsating grace from Zetterberg that really gets things going – maybe the "wood" promised in the title, given the richness of its tone – which Magnus matches with this beautifully blown mix of soul and soaring, almost in a legacy of Woody Shaw or some of his generation. And the group also features added bass from Joe Williamson – making for a twin bottom-up groove that reminds us of similar sessions from the 60s – punctuated nicely by the drums of Hakon Mjaset Johansen. Titles include "I Hear You", "Swedish Wood", "Oh What A Beautiful Day", "Acoustic Kitten", "Thoughts Are Things", and "New Weather". CD

Partial matches40
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Peter Brotzmann/William Parker/Hamid DrakeNever Too Late But Always Too Early ... CD
Eremite, 2001. New Copy 2 CDs ... $22.99 29.99
Peter Brotzmann blows beautifully here – in a set that's dedicated to bassist Peter Kowald, and which features some especially great work from William Parker in the group! Brotzmann's got some soulful tones right at the start – almost an exotic quality in his reeds that spins out strongly with Parker's bass and the creative drum work of Hamid Drake – often with that bold focus that can make an Eremite date like this so great! The performance is fierce, but never in an unfocused way – and Drake is really wonderfully balanced between straighter swing and some of his freer explorations on the drum kit. Titles include "Never Run But Go", "The Heart & The Bones", "Halfhearted Beant", and "Never Too Late But Always Too Early". CD

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Miquel BrownManpower/Close To Perfection – Disco Recharge ... CD
TSR/Harmless (UK), 1983/1985. New Copy 2CD ... $16.99
A pair of albums from Miquel Brown – plus lots of bonus tracks too! First up is plenty of Manpower from Miquel Brown– the Canadian club singer who scored big with the classic "So Many Man So Little Time" club cut in the early 80s – then followed it up with this full album of late disco grooves! Brown's vocal approach is in the higher side of the spectrum – and the cuts take off on the style of some of the Canadian disco modes for divas from a few years before – but feature some instrumentation that's a bit more 80s, especially in the keyboards and beats. There's a few older soul touches at times – and the album's produced by Ian Levine and arranged by co-producer Fiachra Trench – usually in a mode that's somewhat poppy and hook-heavy. Titles include "So Many Men So Little Time", "Manpower", "Beeline", "Sunny Day", "He's A Saint He's A Sinner", and "Maybe He Forgot". CD also features "So Many Men So Little Time (hot tracks Rob Kimble rmx)", "Beeline (Mike Mayberry 12" rmx)", and "So Many Men So Little Time (2009 metropolitan soul rmx)". Close To Perfection has Miquel Brown hitting more of an 80s groove than before – but still holding onto a few of her best disco elements – in the hands of the same production team as previous singles, but maybe also trying to reach for more contemporary club modes as well. Titles include "One Hundred Percent", "Learn The Lines Of Love", "White Lace", "The Easy Way Out", "Blind Date", and "Black Leather". CD also features "Black Leather (12" mix)", "Close To Perfection (M&M rmx)", and "Love Reputation (12" ext dance)". CD

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Randy BrownWelcome To My Room/Midnight Desire ... CD
Casablanca/Shout (UK), 1978/1980. New Copy ... $9.99
Two killers from Randy Brown – sublime 70s soul, back to back on a single CD! Welcome To My Room is a mellow soul masterpiece from Randy Brown – a crucially-overlooked talent from the late 70s, working here with a totally put-together vibe! The album's got the mature, mellow feel of some of the best work by better-known 70s contemporaries – like Leroy Hutson or Lamont Dozier – polished, but never slick – and flowing out with a sensual groove that's especially nice on the more laidback or midtempo cuts. Randy's vocals have some great deep soul echoes – much more so than other singers of this type – and mixed with the warm production from Homer Banks and Carl Hampton, they give the album a rich quality that totally grabs us – a bit like some of Teddy Pendergrass' best mellow work with The Blue Notes. Titles include "I Love You Baby", "Love Is All We Need", "Do It Baby", "Too Little In Common", and "I'd Rather Hurt Myself". Midnight Desire is a sweet, smooth stepper from the great Randy Brown – and a record that's got the same sublime mix of mellow grooves and earthy vocals that you might find on some of Tyrone Davis' best late 70s work for Columbia! Tunes are all plenty darn fresh – written by the team of Homer Banks and Chuck Brooks, who also produced the album – and Randy's got this way of hitting a groove that's confident, but never arrogant – a perfect late 70s masculine mode, of the sort only a handful of singers could handle this well! Titles include "Without You (I Can't Make It Through The Night)", "We Ought To Be Doin It", and "Do You Love Me?" – all of which have great hooks – plus "Do You Love Me", "Love Be With You", and "Love Formula". CD

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Sheree BrownMessages From The Heart – An Extention Of Love ... CD
Expansion (UK), 2013. New Copy ... $16.99
A positive, powerful set from the always-great Sheree Brown – a new recording, but one that sparkles just as much as her rare classics for Capitol Records at the start of the 80s! Like those gems, there's a blend of jazz and soul here that's really wonderful – a special sound that puts Sheree in the rare company of artists like Minnie Riperton or Patrice Rushen – able to embrace so many ideas at once, and turn them into a rich new groove of her own! Rushen actually helps out a bit on the record, as does Leon Ware – although the main production credits go to Brown herself, who only seems to have stepped up her game in these recent years. Great proof that the great ones still keep on keepin on, if given the chance – with titles that include "Messages From The Heart", "Time For The Party", "Just A Simple Love", "I Think I'm Gonna Pray", "Getting Started", "We Can Chance The World", and a bonus version of Minnie Riperton's "Inside My Love". CD

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Ray BryantAlone With The Blues ... CD
New Jazz/Prestige (Japan), 1958. New Copy ... $15.99
A very striking album – one of Ray Bryant's most noteworthy of the time! The album features Ray playing solo piano – quite unusual for the period, as most piano jazz records, especially his, were at least cut in a trio format – with additional bass and drums. Yet the approach works wonderfully for Bryant, and unlocks a surprisingly sensitive side of his music – quite different than some of his more soul jazz-styled work of the period. Ray's wonderfully unfettered here – hitting grooves with a level of expression and sophistication that far surpasses most of his other records. The intimate time on the keys never gets hokey or overindulgent – but it does let Ray open up and show a side that we've rarely heard on wax. Titles include "Stocking Feet", "Blues #3", "Joy", "Me & The Blues", and "My Blues". CD
(SHMCD pressing.)

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Ralph BurnsBijou ... CD
Bethlehem/Solid (Japan), 1954. New Copy ... $13.99
Amazing small group work from Ralph Burns – a real standout, given the amount of his larger ensemble sessions in the 50s! The album features Burns on piano – overdubbed on some tracks – working with a combo that includes Jimmy Raney on guitar, Clyde Lombardi on bass, and Osie Johnson on drums – all gently modern players who fit perfectly with Ralph's vision for the record. Things aren't as dark or as arch as on some of Burns' bigger dates of the decade – almost a bit warm at times, especially thanks to Ralph's piano lines. Titles include "Autobahn Blues", "Echo Of Spring", "Spring Sequence", "Spring", "Spring Is Here", and "Gina". CD

Partial matches46
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Burton IncLA Will Make You Pay $$$ ... CD
Jazzman (UK), Late 70s. New Copy ... $9.99
An obscure little set, but a great one too – a joint effort from Charles and Barbara Burton – served up with a really wonderful blend of upbeat club and modern soul modes! The album's got all the indie soul charm you'd expect from its title and cover – a simple, straightforward approach to the music that's often got lots of personal touches and genre-crossing moments – a great antidote to more mainstream soul of the time, but done with a fair bit of skill throughout! Instrumentation includes some great keyboards next to Barbara's vocals – and a few numbers feature chorus vocals that come across with an especially shimmering kind of sound. Titles include "LA Will Make You Pay", "Sincerely Yours", "Who You Gonna Get", "You Know I Love You", "Groovin At The Night Club", and "Nation Song". CD

Partial matches47
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New BwanaBwana ... CD
Acid Symposium, 1972. New Copy ... $8.99
An insanely wonderful bit of Latin funk! The groove is super heavy, and falls somewhere in between NuYorican soul and Chicano Power rock – with a sound that's pretty close to Black Sugar, but a little bit more psychedelic, due to the heavy guitars and keyboards in the grooves. Hard congas take the lead on most of the tracks – especially the cut "Chapumbambe", which starts with a nice break! Other tracks include "Tema De Bwana", "Motemba", "La Patada", and the massive Latin soul cut "Lolita". CD
Also available Bwana ... LP 9.99

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Jaki ByardSunshine of My Soul ... CD
Prestige (Japan), 1967. New Copy ... $13.99
A trio session – but a killer, too – very different than just about any other piano trio material from the time – with that special sort of edge that always made Jaki Byard really stand out from the pack! There's some very unusual things happening in the rhythms – some slight Eastern elements, a few trippy touches, and other heady elements that live up to the title – but in a subtle way, too. Byard plays piano throughout, but also handles a bit of guitar, too – and the group features Ornette Coleman's bassist David Izenzon on bass, plus Elvin Jones on drums and tympani – the latter of which is used in some very cool ways. Titles include "Trendsition Zildijian", "Sunshine", "Cast Away", and "Chandra". CD

Partial matches49
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Donald ByrdCreeper (Japanese pressing) ... CD
Blue Note (Japan), 1967/1981. New Copy ... $15.99
A rock-solid set from Donald Byrd and a great group of players – a record that's got the same sharp edges and dark undercurrents of late 60s classics like Black Jack, Mustang, and Slow Drag! As with those gems, this album's got Donald really experimenting a bit more – especially with the rhythms – which are put forth by a hip trio that features Chick Corea on piano, Miroslav Vitous on bass, and Mickey Roker on drums! But almost even better is the frontline – with Sonny Red making one of his sublime appearances with Byrd, blowing alto with an edge that's amazing – and frequent partner Pepper Adams, adding plenty of baritone on the deep end. The whole thing's great – oddly unreleased until the start of the 80s – and titles include "Samba Yanta", "I Will Wait For You", "Blues Medium Rare", "The Creeper", "Chico-San", "Early Sunday Morning", and "Blues Well Done". CD
Also available Creeper (Japanese pressing) ... CD 11.99

Partial matches50
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New Donald ByrdMustang! (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Blue Note (Japan), 1966. New Copy ... $18.99
One of Donald Byrd's most fantastic records for Blue Note – and one of three gems that he recorded with the great Sonny Red on alto sax! Byrd and Red work magnificently together – and the two of them play with a tightness and funkiness that's missing from a lot of their other records as leaders – this really sharp edge that makes Sonny sound even better than ever, and a slight funkiness in Byrd's trumpet – which really seems to point the way towards his groove of the 70s! Hank Mobley joins the group on tenor, Walter Booker is on bass, McCoy Tyner's on piano, and Freddie Waits is on drums – and the groove is tight and funky, with a mix of hard bop soloing and funkier Blue Note rhythm playing. Red burns throughout, especially on his own "Mustang", and on the cut "Dixie Lee". Other tracks include "Fly Little Bird Fly", "On The Trail", and "I'm So Excited By You". Plus, this CD reissue also includes 2 non-LP bonus cuts – "Gingerbread Boy" and "I'm So Excited By You". CD
(SHMCD pressing!)

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Guy CabayLi Tins Les-Otes Et On Po D'Mi (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Disques Dessinee (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $14.99
Really cool work from Guy Cabay – a singer who's a bit hard to describe accurately in words, but who definitely ranks right up there with some of the hippest French talents of the 70s! Cabay's got a breathy style of singing that's kind of post-Serge Gainsbourg, and a bit in the Saravah Records mode – especially as the small combo backings often feature some tenor or alto sax elements behind the vocals – a slight jazzy touches that helps underscore the hip singer/songwriter approach of Guy's music. There's a lyricality to his approach that comes through strongly – even if you don't understand French – and titlles include "Tot Reguede", "Julia L'Ote", "Julia Onk", "Li Harlake Et L'Djone Feye", "Li Nuleye E M'Payis", and "Camamele Et Cataplame". CD

Partial matches52
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Bobby CaldwellCat In The Hat (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Clouds/JVC (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $15.99
One of the greatest moments ever from Bobby Caldwell – a special little album that occupies it's own place between genres – a touch of soul, the warmth of jazz, and a delivery that really helped Caldwell reach out to some big new audiences at the time! There's a cool, compressed feel to the record – but a quality that's still quite personal and never too slick – that rare balance that only a few of Bobby's contemporaries could ever match – and which is really hammered home here by the production and great songwriting. Instrumentation uses a warm blend of acoustic and electric elements that offset the vocals nicely – and titles include "Coming Down From Love", "Wrong Or Right", "You Promised Me", "I Don't Want To Lose Your Love", and "Open Your Eyes". CD
(HQ – Hi Quality CD pressing!)

Partial matches53
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Ana CaramSunflower Time ... CD
Universal (Brazil), 1996. New Copy ... $13.99
A great introduction to the music of Ana Caram – an early session recorded both in London and Brazil – with all the great mix of modes that might imply! The album's breathy and bossa in some spots, but full and jazzy in others – and Ana's equally at home in both settings! Some tracks feature just vocals and guitar, while others bring in a bit of light acoustic instrumentation – while others expand with a soulful vibe that's mighty nice, especially on three of the album's tracks produced by Bluey from Incognito. Titles include "Agua De Beber", "Mas Que Nada", "Overjoyed", "Odara", "Port Of Call", "Wave", and "Filhos De Gandi". CD

Partial matches54
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Vikki CarrFirst Time Ever I Saw Your Face (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Columbia/Real Gone, 1972. New Copy ... $15.99 16.98
A bit 70s album for Vikki Carr – and one that really shows a newer, sexier style for the singer! The backings are lush, but never sleepy – wrapped up with the kind of ornate sensuality of the cover image – which Vikki matches perfectly with notes that are well-formed, and understatedly mature – amidst a set of songs that really sum up the new "adult" modes of the time. Backings are mostly by All Capps – who's even more impressive here than usual – especially in his blend of acoustic and electric elements – and titles include "Without You", "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", "The Summer Knows", "Speak Softly Love", "Song Sung Blue", "Help Me Make It Through The Night", "Brian's Song", and "The Way Of Love". CD features 9 bonus tracks – including "I Don't Want A Sometimes Man", "Reflections", "Let The Band Play On", "The Big Hurt", and "Call My Heart Your Home". CD

Partial matches55
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New Michael CarvinFlash Forward ... CD
Motema, 2014. New Copy ... $11.99 15.98
Michael Carvin flashes backwards here – using a quartet of young talent to make magic with a host of older jazz standards – but all at a level that really reflects the freshness of his music in recent years! Carvin's been a favorite of ours for decades, but it seems as if his recent larger recognition has brought about a whole new fire in his music – similar to the rise Roy Haynes experienced in the 90s, with a similar sense of renewed purpose and direction! Here, Michael works with Keith Loftis on tenor, Yayoi Ikawa on piano, and Jansen Cinco on bass – on work by Horace Silver, Bobby Hutcherson, Dizzy Gillespie, and others – tracks that take an especially great cue from the tenor lines in the lead. Tracks include "Sayonara Blues", "In Walked Bud", "Same Shame", "You Go To My Head", and "So What". CD

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Don CherryWhere Is Brooklyn? ... CD
Blue Note (Japan), 1966. New Copy ... $18.99
Easily one of the most powerful albums ever cut by Don Cherry – a searing set of tracks done for Blue Note in the late 60s – and featuring some tremendous tenor work by Pharoah Sanders! There's a tightness and level of energy here that surpasses even Cherry's other excellent Blue Note sessions – a rawness that recalls the style forged often on key ESP albums of the 60s, but honed here into a slightly tighter mode. Sanders' horn is especially well-placed in the set – and pushes Cherry past the spacier notes of other recordings, in a way that unlocks fire from the years with Ornette – but which opens up into a much freer groove. The rest of the group includes Henry Grimes on bass and Ed Blackwell on drums – both a perfect match for the quartet – and titles include the 17 minute "Unite", plus "There Is A Bomb", "Awake Nu", "Taste Maker", and "The Thing". CD
(SHM CD pressing!)

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Clarke Boland SextetMusic For The Small Hours ... CD
EMI/Rearward (Italy), 1967. New Copy ... $19.99
One of the hippest albums ever from the team of Kenny Clarke and Francy Boland – a unique small combo session that's even groovier than their famous big band work! The setting is wonderful – Clarke on drums, Boland on piano, and a sextet lineup that includes Sahib Shihab on flute, Fats Sadi on vibes, Jimmy Woode on bass, and Joe Harris on percussion – all players who know each other well, and groove together as one amazing unit on the set! The tunes here are lyrical and lively, modal and moving, and still some of the freshest jazz cut on the European scene of the 60s – music that's having a huge impact these days in the club jazz underground. Shihab's flute work is sublime, especially next to Sadi's vibes – and Harris' added percussion gives a number of the cuts a bit of a Latin kick that's totally great! There's a bit of vocals on the set, and titles include "Ebony Samba", "Tin Tin Deo", "Potter's Crossing", "Wives & Lovers", "Ensadinado", "Lorraine", "Day By Day", "Love Hungry", and "Please Don't Leave". CD

Partial matches58
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Clarke Boland SextetMarcel Marceau Praesentiert Swing Im Bahnhof ... CD
Rearward (Italy), 1965. New Copy ... $15.99
A brilliant recording by a small combo from the larger big band of drummer Kenny Clarke and pianist Francy Boland – and a great illustration of the driving, soulful sound the group always had at its core! The combo here features some of the most important members of the bigger unit – all artists who have a distinct personality, but an incredible way of coming together in a groove – in ways that are completely unlike any American jazz of the time, and light years ahead of most European work too! The music's really a blueprint for sounds to come for many decades – but served up here by the originals, who do the whole groove better than anyone else could ever touch. The performance is live – recorded in honor of Marcel Marceau – who could hardly keep quiet with such greatness like this in the room! The sextet features Sahib Shihab on flute, Fats Sadi on vibes and bongos, Francy Boland on piano, Joe Harris on percussion, Kenny Clarke on drums, and Jimmy Woode on bass and vocal – the latter of which is especially nice. Tracks include "Just Give Me Time", "Invitation", "Con Alma", "Serenata", "Born To Be Blue", "Yah Yah", "Balafon For Marcel Marceau", and "Insensatez". CD

Partial matches59
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New Jimmy CobbOriginal Mob ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2014. New Copy ... $14.99 15.99
Drummer Jimmy Cobb works here with his Original Mob – a quartet that's been together for over 20 years, and which features a well-matched lineup of Peter Bernstein on guitar, Brad Mehldau on piano, and John Webber on bass! Bernstein's sharp, tight guitar lines are really appreciated in a setting like this – as he plays with a vibe that recalls 60s Grant Green at his best, and which soars strongly in a role that somehow seems to encompass a bit of both rhythm and melody at once. The recording quality really puts Bernstein's guitar up front – at a level that sometimes doesn't happen on other records – and Mehldau, as always, has more then enough bold energy of his own – especially when given rock-solid direction from John Webber's bass. Titles include the Jimmy Cobb originals "Composition 101" and "Remembering You" – plus Bernstein's "Minor Blues", Webber's "Lickety Split", and the titles "Sunday In New York" and "Amsterdam After Dark". CD

Partial matches60
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Cola & Jimmu (Nicole Willis & Jimi Tenor)I Give To You My Love & Devotion ... CD
Herakles (Finland), 2014. New Copy ... $16.99
Jimi Tenor is a man of many talents – able to work in modes from spacey to jazzy to funky, and everything in between – as is singer Nicole Willis, who most folks know from her deep funk recordings, but who reemerges here as a house vocalist in the team of Cola & Jimmu! The look of the cover really sums up the sound of the record – a great old school vibe that reflects the best underground club releases of the late 80s – especially that deeper-than-deep house scene that never even came close to the mainstream! There's lots of spiritual elements in the lyrics – similar to the vibe of Jimi's recent Kabu Kabu records – but Nicole's delivery is very different, often parsed in short lyrical bursts amidst the keyboards and grooves. Titles include "Immortal Champion", "Earthly Delights", "Open Up Your Chakra", "Fantabulous", "Meet You At The Crossroads", and "No More Wars". CD

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Mitty CollierShades Of Mitty Collier – The Chess Singles 1961 to 1968 ... CD
Chess/Kent (UK), 1960s. New Copy ... $14.99
A mighty helping of music from the overlooked Mitty Collier – a 60s soul singer on Chess Records, and one who was every bit as great as bigger label stars like Etta James or Fontella Bass! Like both of those singers, Mitty's got a voice that grabs you right from the get-go – a deeply soulful approach to her music that's really fresh and without cliche – especially considering she got her start belting out tunes years before some of the bigger names in 60s female soul, and managed to keep things mighty real all the years she was working at Chess. Production and arrangements here are all top shelf – handled by Phil Wright, Riley Hampton, and others – and the CD offers up 24 gems from Mitty's years at Chess – the a-sides of all 15 singles cut for the label, plus 9 more great tunes from the flips! Titles include "Everybody Makes A Mistake Sometimes", "Gotta Get Away From It All", "I've Got Love", "I Had A Talk With My Man", "Walk Away", "My Party", "Sharing You", "That'll Be Good Enough For Me", "Git Out", "Watching & Waiting", "Like Only Yesterday", "No Faith No Love", "I'm Your Part Time Love", and "Miss Loneliness". CD

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CommodoresMidnight Magic ... CD
Motown (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $13.99
Lots of Midnight Magic from The Commdores – still nice and funky at the start of the evening, but also chilling out in the wee hours too – really finding a great way to follow the trajectory of the night with the tracks in this set! The album sparkles with strong arrangements and production from James Carmichael – who furthers the vibe perfected on Natural High, yet continues to avoid most of the cliches that would slow down the group in later years. Lionel Richie's given room to step forth on the ballads "Still" and "Sail On" – but the group feel is still nicely maintained on the rest of the record – which also features the tracks "Getting It", "You're Special", "Wonderland", "Sexy Lady", and "Might Magic". CD

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New CookersTime And Time Again ... CD
Motema, 2014. New Copy ... $11.99 15.98
One of the greatest groups going in recent years – a strong revival of key soulful jazz talents from previous years, all working under the leadership of trumpeter David Weiss – who's really helped them come together and find a whole new sort of energy! The lineup features tremendous tenor from Billy Harper – sounding at his classic best with The Cookers – especially when the rhythms spin out majestically from George Cables on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, and Billy Hart on drums – often with these dark undercurrents that make the music wonderfully powerful! And in addition to Weiss on trumpet, the frontline also includes Eddie Henderson's trumpet as well, plus the alto of Donald Harrison – and the horns have a great way of folding together and interweaving, before breaking out in these very personal solos. Titles include tracks by almost all members of the group – and tunes include "Slippin & Slidin", "Renada", "Sir Galahad", "Time & Time Again", "Dance Of The Invisible Nymph", "Dance Eternal Spirits Dance", and "Three Fall". CD

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Mike CooperTrout Steel ... CD
Dawn/Paradise Of Bachelors, 1970. New Copy ... $12.99 13.99
A beautiful set from the British scene at the start of the 70s – a record that's got a fairly folksy tone, but lots of jazzy currents as well! The set was issued on the seminal Dawn Records label – and really shows that imprint's commitment to the left side of the spectrum – as Mike Cooper's vocals and acoustic guitar come into play with more guitar from Stefan Grossman – plus alto sax from Mike Osborne, tenor and soprano from Alan Skidmore, piano from John Taylor, and bass from the late Harry Miller – all key players on the UK avant jazz scene of the time! The mix of these players with Cooper's core inspiration is not unlike some of the most progressive material coming from Island Records – or, even better, the special jazzy moments on records by Tim Buckley or Tim Hardin – company that Cooper could very easily keep, given the strength of his songwriting. Titles include "Don't Talk Too Fast", "On My Way", "Hope You See", "Weeping Rose", "Trout Steel", "I've Got Mine", "That's How", and "Pharoah's March". CD
Also available Trout Steel (with download) ... LP 20.99

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New Larry Coryell with The Wide Hive PlayersLarry Coryell With The Wide Hive Players ... CD
Wide Hive, 2011. New Copy ... $9.99 15.99
A really old school jam from guitarist Larry Coryell – one that takes us back to some of the most tripped-out sounds of his early years! Given the cover, you can definitely expect a psychedelic influence to the music – and the group here really helps Larry get back to his roots – finding a sound that's still plenty jazz, but which mixes in some funky and progressive elements too – that genre-stepping quality that really helped Coryell break down a lot of barriers back in the day. Coryell plays both acoustic and electric on the date, and the lineup features some especially nice Fender Rhodes – plus trombone, saxes, bass, and plenty of percussion. Titles include "Torchlight", "Cobalt", "Terco", "The Last Drop", "Return Of Shirtless", "December Blues", "Honey Dijon", and "Dream Scene". CD

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Country Joe & The FishI Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die (mono & stereo versions) ... CD
Vanguard (UK), 1967. New Copy 2CD ... $13.99
Maybe the greatest moment ever from Country Joe & The Fish – an insane blend of politics, psychedelia, rock roots, and more – all wrapped up in a nice of carnival-esque style that really lives up to the group's name! Many folks later copied the group – and others, like The Fugs, worked in somewhat similar territory – yet there's a really special sound to the group on this early set, a balance that brings more focus to otherwise trippy moments, more sense to their political agenda, and these sharp instrumental inflections that really send the whole thing home. Blues historian Samuel Charters produced, giving the record another influential quality – and titles include "The Fish Cheer & I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die-Rag", "Who Am I", "Pat's Song", "Magoo", "Jam", "Eastern Song", and "Colors For Susan". 2CD set features the full album in both mono and stereo, plus bonus tracks "Janis" and an alternate take of "I Feel Like I'm Fixin To Die Rag". Great notes too! CD

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New Kenny CoxClap Clap – The Joyful Noise ... CD
Strata/180 Proof, 1974. New Copy ... $12.99
Amazing lost sounds from Detroit – a previously unissued album from pianist Kenny Cox – best known for his late 60s albums on Blue Note, but working here in a really righteous style, and using a fair bit of Fender Rhodes as well! The album's a lost gem from the Strata label – home to Lyman Woodard's Saturday Night Special album – and there's definitely a side to this record that's shared with that one – a bit more laidback, definitely, but equally soulful, and mixed with spiritual jazz elements that echo the style of Kenny's Tribe Records contemporaries on the Detroit scene. Other players include Charles Moore on flugelhorn, Buzz Jones on soprano sax and flute, Ron English on bass, and Skeets Curry on electric guitar – and in addition to Fender Rhodes, Cox also plays clavinet, mellotron, and Arp as well! The set's got a bit of vocals – from Fito Foster and Nengue Hernandez – but the main focus is instrumental, and the long tracks really have the group spinning out beautifully. Titles include "Clap Clap The Joyful Noise", "Samba De Romance", "Island Song", "Lost My Love", and "Beyond The Dream". CD

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Pee Wee CraytonTexas Blues Jumpin In Los Angeles – The Modern Music Sessions 1948 to 1951 ... CD
Ace (UK), Late 40s/Early 50s. New Copy ... $14.99
A tremendous guitarist, with a really mindblowing sound – easily one of the most powerful players on the electric guitar of the time! Pee Wee Crayton's got this full, rich tone that reminds us a lot of T Bone Walker – especially when he hits lots of raspy edges – and like Walker, the music here is more of a mix of jazz, jump, and R&B than the straighter blues you'd associate with Chicago electric guitarists a few years later – such as the musicians who recorded for Chess. The work's a rich illustration of the key criss-crossing of scenes and styles that happened in 40s LA – as musicians like Crayton moved from Texas, and picked up lots of hipper, modern elements on the coast! This package features 28 gems from the Modern Records vaults – all of them on CD for the first time ever, and most of them issued here for the first time ever too. Titles include "Texas Hop", "Old Fashioned Baby", "Huckle Boogie", "The Bop Hop", "Blues For My Baby", "Brand New Woman", "Central Avenue Blues", "Long After Hours", "I Love You So", "Tired Of Travelin", "Poppa Stoppa", and "Answer To Blues After Hours". CD

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Miles Davis with John ColtraneSwiss Radio Days Vol 31 – Recorded Live In Zurich 1960 ... CD
TCB (Switzerland), 1960. New Copy ... $10.99 16.98
A classic Miles Davis group – captured here in 1960 with incredible sound! The format is wonderful – as the tracks are quite long, and allow for lots of space for long trumpet solos from Miles, and tenor from John Coltrane – both supported beautifully by the trio of Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums! Coltrane's definitely in fine form – and has this commanding way of playing that almost blows away Davis – especially since Miles usually starts out most numbers here on his own, then lets Coltrane come in second – a move that almost makes the trumpet dim by comparison. Titles include "Fran Dance", "So What", "All Blues/Bye Bye", and "If I Were A Bell". CD

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Stanton Davis' Ghetto MysticismBrighter Days ... CD
Outrageous/Cultures Of Soul, 1977. New Copy ... $11.99
Sublime sounds from the legendary Stanton Davis – a rare 70s gem that's been a favorite of groovehounds for years! The set's got a really unique feel – part spiritual jazz, part soaring club – a blend that's similar to the sound you'd get on James Mason's legendary album too – a unique hybrid of American undergrounds that comes off beautifully throughout! Production is perfect – a Mizell-like blend of acoustic and electric jazz elements, layered with a bit of vocals – and Davis plays soulful trumpet lines, in a group that has some especially nice keyboards! Titles include "Space A Nova (parts 1 & 2)", "Play Sleep", "Brighter Days/Brighter Daze", "Nida", "High Jazz", and "Things Cannot Stop Forever". CD
Also available Brighter Days ... LP 18.99

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Tyrone DavisWithout You In My Life ... CD
Dakar/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $22.99
Warm and tender work from the mighty Tyrone Davis – really singing here at the height of his early powers, in that wonderful blend of the rough and smooth that made him so unique! Davis has a gritty touch in his singing style, but the backings have that perfect Brunswick Chicago soul approach – a blend that's laid out perfectly in the album's arrangements from Monk Higgins, Willie Henderson, and Tom Tom Washington! Tyrone's a singer who's really a cut above – especially on his early work like this – able to charm and convince us with just about any sort of lyric. Titles include "Wrapped Up In Your Warm & Tender Love", "I'm Just Your Man", "There It Is", "I Had It All the Time", and "True Love Is Hard to Find". CD

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DeodatoKnights Of Fantasy ... CD
Warner (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $13.99
Smooth jazzy work from Deodato – a record that takes off from his electric keyboard work of the early 70s, and shows his growing interest in modern soul and R&B a the time! Deodato's still a few years way from some of his famous soul production work, but he's already got a great ear for a groove – and works in a style that's tight, but never too slick – the best Joe Sample or Crusaders territory, but even more groove oriented too. You can definitely hear Deodato's growing taste for modern soul here – especially on the seminal club jammer "Whistle Bump", which is a tight keyboard-driven groove, with some sweeping strings underneath wah wah guitar. The cut's the real standout on the album – although there's a few other nice moments, like "Space Dust" and "Lovely Lady", which has a great mellow Bob James-ish sound. CD

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Manu DibangoAfricadelic ... CD
Aurora, Early 70s. New Copy ... $16.99
Incredibly funky work from Manu Dibango – a set that's easily as great as his classic Soul Makossa album – but which is a lot more obscure overall! The work's got a fiercely-jamming quality all the way through – lots of rumbling percussion at the bottom, and also a bit of keyboards as well – served up in a heady brew that turns out to be a perfect setting for Dibango's sharp-edged reeds! The record's got a few especially great break tracks, but all numbers are pretty darn great too – filled with more funky changes, flaring horns, and 70s-styled grooves than you might ever hope to find in a single album! Tracks include "Black Beauty", "Soul Fiesta", "The Panther", "Africadelic", "Moving Waves", "Afro Soul", "Wa Wa", "Percussion Storm", "Monkey Beat", and "Oriental Sunset". CD

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Dida with Roy HargroveDida Plays & Sings ... CD
Red (Italy), 2011. New Copy ... $15.99 18.99
A sweet little set from Dida – a singer who also plays a mighty nice jazz guitar – a cool combination, especially for a female artist – stepping out wonderfully here in a well-recorded set! Trumpeter Roy Hargrove guests on a few tracks, and Fabio Morgera joins on a few more – but we're more than compelled enough by the core sounds of Dida's trio, which has this timeless feel in its construction of guitar, bass, and drums – almost a late 40s sort of vocal jazz cool – but somehow coming across with a very contemporary vibe that belies the Brooklyn recording location for the album. Titles include "Fried Pies", "Our Love Is Here To Stay", "Calcutta Cutie", "Ir Atzuva It's A Sad City", "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", and "That's All". CD

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Pierre Dorge & New Jungle OrchestraTjak Tjaka Tchicai ... CD
Steeplechase (Denmark), 2014. New Copy ... $15.99 18.99
Pierre Dorge pays tribute to the late reedman John Tchicai – a frequent musical partner over the years, and a player who's shaped the sound of countless others on both sides of the Atlantic! Tchicai got his start with Archie Shepp on the New York scene of the 60s, but moved over to Denmark by the end of that decade – and ended up having a good deal of interaction with guitarist Pierre Dorge in years to come, including performances on some of the best sessions by the New Jungle Orchestra! This album really recalls those great ones – as Dorge chooses tunes that seem to have an especially spiritual flavor, and evoke Tchicai in ways that most of the group's recent work might not have – using especially strong passages from reed players who include Jakob Mygind on tenor and soprano, Anders Banke on tenor and bass clarinet, and Morten Carlson on tenor and taragot. Titles include "Mozombo", "A Rufous Mot Mot", "Jungle Sketches", "Autobahn Tchicai Zwei", "Lucianus In Congo", and "Tjak Tjaka Tchicai". CD

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Dezron DouglasLive At Smalls ... CD
Smalls Live, 2013. New Copy Gatefold ... $11.99 14.99
Bassist Dezron Douglas can be one hell of a leader – especially when he's working with a group and setting as great as this! The album's got that solid punch we love in the Smalls Live series – a way of allowing players to really open up and be themselves, yet also find a cohesiveness as a group that you don't often get in studio sessions – that brilliant magic that can make live jazz performance so wonderful, when it's captured this well – a great document of a musical moment and local expression that might have been missed otherwise. Dezron's bass is very upfront in the performance – and the quintet also features tight trumpet from Josh Evans, bold tenor from Stacy Dillard, sharp piano from David Bryant, and smoking drums from Willie Jones III. Titles include "Nita", "Let's Ride", "The Puppet", "Bish Bash Bop", and "Power Of One". CD
Also available Live At Smalls ... CD 8.99

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Durutti ColumnChronicle LX – XL (2CD box) ... CD
Kooky, 2014. New Copy 2 CDs ... $39.99
One of the most beautiful albums we've heard in years from Vini Reilly – and a set that really takes back to the magic we felt when buying the first few Durutti Column albums on factory! Not only is the sound here very much the Durutti approach we first fell in love with – a strange combination of post-punk production and performance filtered through the aesthetic of Erik Satie – but the package also has a very special look – like one of those cool cassette boxes for Factory that were originally designed by Peter Saville! This set's got way more to offer than those, though – two CDs' of music (plus inserts and even sandpaper) – originally written by Reilly to accompany an exhibition of his portraits, and expanded here to include an even greater range of personal sounds. Vini is in the lead on most numbers on his wonderfully atmospheric guitar – and plays piano, an instrument that's also handled by Poppy Morgan on some tracks – with longtime partner Bruce Mitchell on drums. Vocals are done by Reilly, as well as Jilly Taylor, Billy Rance, and Caoilfhionn – but are definitely secondary to the instrumental sounds on the set. Titles include "Poppy & Pancho", "Nine Years", "The Party", "Embattled Heart & Rattling", "Fanfare", "Electrostatic", "Free From All The Chaos", "Hotel Calderon", and "Sharrock's Tune". CD

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Thomas DybdahlWhat's Left Is Forever ... CD
Manhattan, 2014. New Copy ... $10.99 11.98
Quite a set from Norwegian singer Thomas Dybdahl – at one level a blue-eyed soulster with a flair for weaving his vocals with electronics, at another level a more personal singer-songwriter with a captivating approach to a tune! The music maybe feels a bit like some of the more tuneful records on Norway's Jazzland in the past decade or so – vocals in English, and a quality that could cross Thomas over to many different camps – especially with this album's wider distribution in the US. Some of our favorite moments bubble with keys next to Dybdahl's mix of lightness and rasp – and titles include "City Lights", "The Sculptor", "So Long", "Man On A Wire", "But We Did", and "Soulster". CD

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Dennis EdwardsDon't Look Any Further (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Gordy/Big Break (UK), 1984. New Copy ... $10.99
The Temptations' former lead singer's first solo record with a huge 80s groove album, especially considering the mighty title track – the duet with Siedah Garrett and it's sly reggae influenced bassline and crisp popping beat. This is one of those records we appreciate a lot more with the passing of time and with a late appreciation for that bubbling 80s vibe. Era production notes aside, the songs here are quite solid and Dennis's voice brings the true soul! Also includes "(You're My) Aphrodesiac", "Another Place In Tie", "I Thought I Could Handle It", and "Just Like You". This Big Break UK remastered edtion has 4 bonus tracks: "Don't Look Any Further (12" Extended Mix)", "(You're My) Aphrodesiac (Single Version)", "Don't Look Any Further (12" Remix)" and a 12" instrumental version. CD

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Berndt EgerbladhWhen I Started To Play (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Nashville/Jazzhus Disk (Japan), 1966. New Copy ... $24.99
Amazing sounds from the Swedish scene of the 60s – a record that's archly modern, yet soaringly soulful too – a really wonderful combination of modes in the hands of pianist Berndt Egerbladh! The title's a bit strange – as Berndt's hardly the kind of guy that would make us laugh, and he definitely has our ears right away from the very first notes on the record – a brilliant blend of his own piano, plus alto from Lars Goran Ulander, bass from Lars Gunnar Gunnarsson, and drums from Sten Oberg! The alto is especially nice – very sharp-edged and soulful on the tracks in which it figures – and helping to give the record and even deeper feel than some of Egerbladh's other albums – even though we like those a lot too. Tracks are all originals – beautiful compositions that make the album sparkle with a freshness you'll appreciate instantly – titles that include "Kiki", "Sunday Morning", "Free Hands", "This World Of Ours", "Corny Waltz", and "Estremadura". CD

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EmotionsFlowers (with bonus track) ... CD
Columbia/Gold Legion, 1976. New Copy ... $11.99 14.99
A soaring classic from The Emotions – thanks to some supreme help from the Earth Wind & Fire side of the soul spectrum! This set has the trio really sounding great – with Kalimba Productions by Maurice White and Charles Stepney – and a good deal of EWF help on the instrumentation as well! The girls break out of the rootsier style used on their earlier Stax recordings, and manage to fit perfectly with the jazzy tinges of the new grooves – and, along with Ramsey Lewis and EWF, the Emotions were part of a hugely successful trinity during the late 70s – one that took the indie soul roots of the Chicago scene and turned it into landmark big business for Columbia Records. The album's got a new approach to female group soul that would go onto shape R&B for years to come – and titles include "Flowers", "I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love", "We Go Through Changes", "Special Part", and "You've Got The Right To Know". CD features a bonus single version of "Flowers". CD

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EnchantmentEnchantment (with bonus tracks) ... CD
United Artists/Big Break (UK), 1976. New Copy ... $14.99
Soaring grooves and mellow moments – a perfect blend of 70s soul styles, summed up here beautifully by Enchantment! The album's one of the group's greatest – and certainly one that's been very well-remembered around these parts – thanks to some rock-solid arrangements from Johnny Allen, who almost brings an indie soul vibe to the whole set – while still putting the whole thing together at a totally top-shelf level too! The harmonies are wonderful – especially on the ballads, like "Gloria" and "Sunshine" – and other tracks include "Sexy Lady", "Come On & Ride", "Thank You Girl For Loving Me", and "Dance To The Music". CD features 6 bonus tracks – "Come On & Ride (single)", "Hold On (single)", "Gloria (single)", "Dance To The Music (single)", "Sunshine (single)", and "Hold On (12" disco)". CD

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Ensemble NovoBlue Night ... CD
Frosty Cordial, 2013. New Copy ... $6.99
A new ensemble, but one with a strong influence from older Brazilian modes – especially the best bossa jazz styles of the 60s! The group's got a sweet approach that mixes vibes in with bossa grooves – a really nice change from the usual, and backed up by more classic elements on acoustic guitar and tenor sax! The sound's wonderfully stripped-down, and recorded in a very basic style – so that there's none of the too-smooth feelings you'd get from other contemporary bossa outings – which leaves a really nice sense of personality and expression from the instruments. Behn Gillece plays vibes and Tom Moon plays tenor – and titles include "Andorinha", "Tristeza", "Wind", "Berimbau", "Grace Engine No 1", "O Sol Nascera", and "Boranda". CD

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Kellylee EvansI Remember When ... CD
Motema, 2014. New Copy ... $11.99 15.99
Singer Kellylee Evans works here with the great Eric Legnini – the European keyboardist whose own records are always a delight, and who brings a sharp sense of funky soul to this vocal outing! Kellylee has a style that's rooted in jazz, but expressed in more contemporary soulful modes – which works perfectly for Legnini's strong sense of rhythm – especially on the original tunes that the pair co-created together! Most numbers feature a small combo, often with a romping vibe that's a nice change from the usual neo soul set – and in addition to the originals "Only You", "I Remember When", "One More Lover", "Built To Fly", and "Jungle" – the set also features remakes of "Amazing", "If I Was Your Woman", and "Lose Yourself". CD

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Express RisingExpress Rising (2nd album) ... CD
Numero, 2013. New Copy ... $8.99 13.00
A warm batch of instrumental beats and atmospherics from Express Rising – and a much-anticipated second project from funk archivist Dante Carfagna! Dante's a name you probably know best from his work writing liner notes or Wax Poetics – and helping out in countless important compilations over the years – but a decade ago, Dante dropped his first mysterious project under the Express Rising name – and finally returns here with a second album! The sound is even more enticing this time around – still drawing a bit from the world of DJ Shadow – a frequent Carfagna collaborator on archive projects – but the sound is also surprisingly warm and lyrical too – bits of beats, layers of older sounds, and these spare keyboard bits all served up together in a style that's really unique – and which avoids any of the cliches of both the downtempo world, and the instrumental hip hop scene The approach is often quite poetic, yet still soulful as well – and the whole thing's got a laidback vibe that's neither sleepy nor muddled – a really sort of special space between the grooves. Titles include "Horse Opera", "Dark Early", "Answering Echo So Near", "Winter The Heart", "A Treasure Smile", "Rooms Between Us", and "Memorabilia". CD
Also available Express Rising (2nd album) ... LP 16.99

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Georgie Fame & The Blue FlamesRhythm & Blues At The Flamingo ... CD
Polydor (Japan), 1964. New Copy ... $13.99
Blistering early work from a young Georgie Fame – a set that definitely lives up to the Rhythm & Blues in the title! The set was recorded live at London's hip Flamingo club – and Georgie and The Blue Flames are very much in command of the crowd – burning with the intensity of a American small organ combo, especially the early 60s variety that often played equal parts soul jazz and R&B! Georgie's on the Hammond, and also sings with a rough-edged style that's plenty soulful, and incredibly appealing – a mode that oozes charisma, but never sounds fake or forced. Other instrumentation includes tenor, baritone sax, bass, drums, and conga – plus some great guitar from Big Jim Sullivan – and titles include "Do The Dog", "Eso Beso", "Work Song", "Baby Please Don't Go", "Shop Around", "Humpty Dumpty", and "You Can't Sit Down". CD features 10 more bonus tracks – some of them live, some of them studio – with titles that include "Madness", "One Whole Year Baby", "Do Re Mi", "I'm In Love With You", "Bend A Little", "Parker's Mood", and "Money". CD

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Wilton FelderWe All Have A Star/Inherit The Wind ... CD
ABC/Robinsongs (UK), 1978/1980. New Copy ... $13.99
A pair of albums from saxophonist Wilton Felder – back to back on a single CD! We All Have A Star offers up solo sounds from Crusaders reedman Wilton Felder – a really great set that's very much in the best vibe of his larger group at the time – yet one that also offers up a stronger focus on Wilton's sublime solo work on tenor! The album's got plenty of Crusaders help on board – given that Stix Hooper and Joe Sample produced the set along with Wilton – and the vibe's a wonderful blend of electric backings, with especially great keyboard lines, and Felder's well-phrased saxophone lines over the top! A few cuts feature vocals – sung by Angela Bryant or Debbie Demoia Ross – and titles include "We All Have A Star", "I Know Who I Am", "The Cycles Of Time", "Why Believe", "Ride On", and "You & Me & Ecstasy". Inherit The Wind is one of the best Crusaders-related solo projects – a soulful bit of fusion from saxophonist Wilton Felder, co-produced with his fellow Crusaders! The album's got the best sunny finish of the group's late 70s albums – traces of Latin, funk, and soul bubbling through a warm jazzy mix – staying soulful all the way through, and coming up with a sound that's smooth, but never sleepy. The blueprint for a million other records – none of which ever sounded this good! Titles include "Insight", "LA Light", "Until The Morning Comes", "Someday We'll All Be Free", and "Inherit The Wind". CD

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Manfredo FestManifestations ... CD
Tabu (UK), 1979. New Copy ... $16.99
An incredible batch of Brazilian fusion – cut by keyboardist Manfredo Fest, and one of the few records he ever waxed in the US during the 70s! The record mixes Fest's soaring Brazilian groove with a tight soulful set of arrangements by Jerry Peters – a bit club-oriented, with a similar sound to some of the other records on the Tabu label at the time, but always sensitive to Fest's playing and writing – especially his Brazilian roots! The record features wonderful vocals by Roberta Davis – a very soulful singer who had a hip wordless style that was similar to Tania Maria's at the time – breezy, scatting, and very nice. Her work really makes the record sparkle, working perfectly with Fest's jazzy electric keyboards in a perfect way! Titles include "Jungle Kitten", "Koko & Leeroe", "Arigo", and "Who Needs It". Sweet reissue – in book-style cover, with new liner notes and an interview with Jerry Peters. CD

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New Fire Room (Ken Vandermark)Second Breath ... CD
Bocian (Poland), 2013. New Copy ... $14.99
Tenor, drums, and electronics – played with a frenzied style, and a mode that often has bold energy flowing equally back and forth between the musicians! Ken Vandermark never fails to amaze us with his tones and shapes on the saxophone – and here, he really knocks it out of the park – especially in the passages that resonate the most strongly with the electronics of Lasse Marhaug – which can sometimes be subtle, sometimes strong and noisy! Paal Nilssen Love's drums follow suit strongly in the latter moments – and have a wait of hitting these subtle textures in the more laidback spots – and the whole album features one long performance, recorded live in London. CD
Also available Second Breath ... LP 19.99

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Darrow FletcherPain Gets A Little Deeper – The Complete Early Years 1965 to 1971 ... CD
Kent (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy ... $14.99
Righteous soul from late 60s Chicago – a killer collection of early singles from the great Darrow Fletcher – only a youngster at the time, but already working at a level that's as strong as most of his older contemporaries! Darrow's got this soaring voice that really sends us every time we hear him sing – a style that's possibly a bit like Jackie Wilson, but both deeper and lighter at the same time – very unique, especially in these early years – and perfect for helping Fletcher stand out from the pack! The grooves here are nice and deep – socking hard in the best Chi-town styles of the time, with the sort of punch you'd get on the best One-Der-Ful/Mar-V-Lus recordings – with arrangements by Mike Terry, Phil Wright, Tom Tom, and others. Tracks were originally issued on a variety of labels – Groovy, Jacklyn, Uni, Congress, and Genna – and titles include "The Pain Gets A Little Deeper", "Now Is The Time For Love (parts 1 & 2)", "What Have I Got Now", "What Is This", "Gotta Draw The Line", "My Young Misery", "Infatuation", "When Love Calls", "My Judgement Day", "Sitting There That Night", "Changing By The Minute", "What Good Am I Without You", "We Can't Go On This Way", and "That Certain Little Something". CD

Partial matches91
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Sonny FortuneLong Before Our Mothers Cried (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Strata East/Shout (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... $19.99
A real early moment of genius from reedman Sonny Fortune – a classic set cut for the Strata East label, and one that's got a lot more depth and edge than some of Fortune's later records! Don't get us wrong, we always love Sonny to death – but there's really something special going on here – a quality that has Fortune breaking from some of the straighter scenes he was working in a few years before, and going for a righteous style he'd never create this well again – a rich approach to the music that's very much at home on Strata East! Tracks are long, and graced not only with wonderfully searching solos from Sonny on alto, soprano sax, and flute – but also features trumpet from Charles Sullivan, Fender Rhodes and piano from Stanley Cowell, bass from Wayne Dockery, drums from Chip Lyle, and percussion from the heady trio of Richard Landrum, Mario Munoz, and Angel Allende. The percussion is quite heavy at times, and gives the record a really rootsy feel at some of the best moments – and tracks include the massive 15 minute "Long Before Our Mothers Cried", plus "Tribute To A Holiday", "Wayneish", "Sound Of Silents", and "Five For Trane". CD

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Steve Freund & Gloria HardimanSet Me Free (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Delmark, 1983. New Copy ... $11.99 15.99
An excellent early 80s session from guitarist Steve Freund – recorded on the indie side of the Chicago scene, and a key debut for the vocals of Gloria Hardiman! Gloria's definitely a blues singer, but her phrasing is almost more deep soul at times too – a really rich voice that was finally finding an outlet on the last strong scene in Chicago – but which might have sung for Chess or Brunswick, had she been born a decade or two before! The production is nicely laidback, and Hardiman's special style really helps keep the set away from any cliches – on titles that include "You Got Me", "That's All Right", "The Things I Used To Do", "New Orleans Hop Scop Blues", and "Well I Done Got Over It". CD features four bonus tracks – two unreleased, and two from a rare 45! CD

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Russ GarciaSounds In The Night ... CD
Bethlehem/Solid (Japan), 1957. New Copy ... $13.99
A very unusual album from Russ Garcia – one recorded with a vocal choir singing (mostly) wordlessly on the tunes! The style isn't scatting so much as it is a precursor to modes that would be used more heavily on later soundtracks – an approach that's jazz-based, and often colored with some great blue tones – really hitting some especially eerie notes on the best numbers. There's a sad, almost spooky feel to the record that's really great – with some of the female voices hitting theremin-like passages – and although most tunes are familiar, the arrangements are plenty inventive. Titles include "Wow", "Ill Wind", "Blue Blue Blue", "Painting The Town Blue", "Music City", and "Sounds In The Night". CD

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Larry Gelb TrioDaughters & Lovers ... CD
Imagine Action, 1996. New Copy ... $7.99
A great early showcase for the writing talents of pianist Larry Gelb – a musician who's got this great ear for a lyrical tune! Larry's got this open, almost gentle touch on the piano here – which really helps balance out the sentiments in his tunes, and keep things from ever sounding too overdone – a quality that makes Gelb a really special, overlooked talent from the American underground – as you'll hear on tracks that include "The Love Of My Life", "Lara Rachel", "Jesse", "Blues For Rachel Ward", and "Waltz For Jean Seberg". CD

Partial matches95
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Stan GetzPrezervation ... CD
Prestige (Japan), 1949/1950. New Copy ... $9.99
The title's not a typo, but a strong reference to the influence of Lester Young on the tenor sound of Stan Getz – especially in these early recordings! The material is right from the end of the 40s – and shows a young Stan really coming into his own on Prestige Records – blowing with a crisply soulful tone that emulates his idol, but already finding fluid spaces that take Getz very much into his own territory too! Most recordings were issued in formats that pre-date the LP at Prestige – which makes this full collection an essential document of the time – and players include Al Haig on piano, Kai Winding on trombone, Tommy Potter on bass, Jimmy Raney on guitar, and Roy Haynes on drums. Titles include "Pinch Bottle", "Prezervation", "Liza", "Intoit", "Goodnight My Lvoe", "Short P Not LP", "Be Still TV", and "Opus Caprice". CD

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Astrud GilbertoGilberto Golden Japanese Album ... CD
Verve (Japan), 1969. New Copy ... $13.99
A lost treasure – and one of the rarest albums in Astrud Gilberto's career! The set's a special Japanese-only session – recorded in 1969, and featuring all new Japanese lyrics to a number of Astrud's biggest hits – plus some wonderful new tracks done especially for the session! The backings are all new too – and a great blend of light orchestrations and sweet jazzy touches, in a mode that recalls the hippest style of Astrud's late 60s Verve recordings – and which carries the tunes with a lovely groove that wraps you up so much, you hardly notice that you can't understand the language! Titles include "A Man & A Woman", "Life For Life", "Shadow Of Your Smile", "Street Samba", "I Love Old Love", "You I & Love", "Cupid's Song", and "White Waves". CD

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Jimmy GiuffreNew York Concerts – The Jimmy Giuffre 3 & 4 ... CD
Elemental, 1965. New Copy 2CD ... $21.99 22.99
Amazing music from Jimmy Giuffre – and a much-needed document of this under-recorded time in his career! The 2CD set brings together two different live performances – each done two years after his groundbreaking Free Fall album for Columbia, and with a sound that's even more far-reaching than that classic set! The Giuffre heard here is extremely free on his reeds – especially clarinet, which is blown at a level that prefaces countless European free jazz work to come – with an incredible range of sounds, colors, and tones. Giuffre also plays tenor – with more bite and soul than ever before – almost at an ESP sort of level – and the accompaniment on both sessions is very loose and free, too – with Joe Chambers on drums on both concerts – working with Richard Davis on bass on a trio set, and with a quartet that includes Don Friedman on piano and Barre Phillips on bass. The whole thing is mindblowing – a chapter of this amazing musician's career that demands to be heard – and stands as even more of a revelation than other Giuffre releases in recent years. Titles include "Cry Want", "Syncopate", "Drive", "Angles", "Quadrangle", "Crossroads", and "Three Bars In One". CD

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David Gold, John Cameron, Alan Hawkshaw, et alBig City Suite & KPM 1000 Series Compilation 1972 to 1978 ... CD
KPM/Vocalion (UK), 1970s. New Copy ... $16.99
Sweet KPM funk from the 70s – a set that features the legendary "Big City Suite" from David Gold, plus 20 other groovers from rare KPM sound library albums of the time! Gold's suite is really great – a hip mix of keyboards, wah wah guitar, and strings – all wrapped together warmly in a portrait of a city from a variety of angles, in a variety of moods. The work's almost an update of 50s city-symphony albums, but is put together here with a much hipper 70s soundtrack mode – lots of subtle elements that really keep things interesting! Other tracks offer up a mix of jazz, soundtrack, and sound library funk – hand-picked from KPM classics like Jazzrock, Synthesis, Sounds Of The Times, Trendsetters, and other legendary albums – really packed in here with a huge amount of cuts that are totally great! Titles include "Good Vibrations" and "Trial Of Strength" by Keith Mansfield, "Testing Time" by David Lindup, "Four O'Clock Earthquake" and "Smokey Joe's Dilemma" by John Cameron, "Watchful Eye" by James Clarke, "Sunshine Special" and "Get Ready Get Set Fly" by Alan Hawkshaw, "Open Roads" by Nick Ingman, "Go Getter" by John Cameron, "City Airscape" and "City Police" by David Gold, and "Lap Of Honour" by Clive Hicks. CD

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Grand SlamLifetimers For The Funk – In The Studio 1985 to 2010 ... CD
TNT Productions (Germany), Late 80s/1990s/2000s. New Copy 2 CDs ... $6.99
A great collection of work from Grand Slam – a German funk combo who were serving up a classic take on American sounds long before the Daptone and Soul Fire generation! These guys are equally influenced by James Brown and George Clinton – especially the latter, given the bass-heavy riffs the group use in their music – and the number of times they get some help from P-Funk alumnus Gary Mudbone Cooper on some of these cuts! The vibe is more late 70s ensemble funk than gritty funky 45 modes – but Grand Slam definitely get their groove right – and have some mighty tight instrumentation to live up to their inspirations. 2CD set brings together a lot of work from the group's first 25 years in music – including some rare tracks, previously unreleased numbers, and a few cuts on CD for the first time ever. Titles include "Goin Out (orig demo)", "Da Rain", "Perfect Day", "Rock My World", "Get Your Own Thing (orig demo)", "Light My Fire", "If I Had", "U Blind", "Hunk/Fop", "Real XTC", and "Manik Botanik". CD

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Grass RootsComplete Original Dunhill/ABC Hit Singles ... CD
ABC/Real Gone, Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy ... $11.99 16.98
A really great collection of work from The Grass Roots – one of those groups that we remember from years back, but always forget how much great stuff they recorded! The Grass Roots were a key link between folk and rock in the mid 60s – a group who had some of the raspy charm of the folk generation, but also some of the new psych elements as well – served up in modes that were catchy, but never too cloying or commercial – especially not as much as some of the pop folk groups of a few years before. Instead, they found a way to forge things towards a new California direction – a mode that was hip and with it, but could also break bit with wider audiences as well – as evidenced by hits like "Midnight Confession", "A Melody For You", and "Let's Live For Today". All those tracks are presented here – the last in both regular and uncensored versions – in a batch of 24 tracks that also includes "Glory Bound", "Mr Jones", "Where Were You When I Needed You", "Walking Through The Country", "Heaven Knows", "Bella Linda", and "Lovin Things". CD
 
 
 



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