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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Afro Blues Quintet Plus OneNew Directions In Sound ... CD
Mira/BGP (UK), Late 60s. New Copy ... $11.99 18.99
Smoking grooves from an incredible group – the amazing Afro Blues Quintet, a combo with a sound like no other! These guys were never one for stardom, but during the mid and late 60s, they burned up the west coast scene with an incredible blend of vibes, piano, and reeds – often kicked up nicely with some hard-rolling rhythm work that gave their tracks a similar mod groove to classics by Johnny Lytle, Ramsey Lewis, or Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers! But the real difference with the ABQ (if we can call them that!) is that they had a really spacious approach to their sound – never putting too much into the mix, and instead using the space between the notes every bit as much as the notes themselves. The grooves are great, and since most of this work has never been reissued, the set's totally fresh to the ears of most listeners! As usual, the folks at BGP have done a great job with the notes – and the set features 22 tracks from the group's Mira, Surrey, and Crestview recordings – titles that include "Monkey Time", "Freaks", "La La La", "Southside Habit", "Mirror Image", "Afro Rock", "Evening Of The Beast", "Spartacus", "Candie Luv", and "Our Mambo". CD

Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Lorez AlexandriaThis Is Lorez/Lorez Sings Pres ... CD
King/BGP (UK), 1957. New Copy ... $11.99 18.99
Incredible early work from Lorez Alexandria – the kind of albums that instantly set her apart from other singers of the 50s, reissued here properly for the first time in years! On This Is Lorez, the singer is working with sublime small combo backings from the group of pianist King Fleming – an unusual Chicago ensemble that includes Wilber Wynn on guitar, Ronald Wilson on flute and oboe, Vernel Fournier on drums, and Audrey Jones on bongos – a musical lineup that brings in a different sort of sophistication to the record, shading tunes with moody colors on flute and oboe that perfectly support Alexandria's soulful and sensitive interpretations of the tunes. The whole thing is pure genius, and a key look at the new levels of sophistication that were bubbling everywhere on the Chicago scene during the years of Jamal and Sun Ra. Lorez Sings Pres follows in a very similar mode – with backing by a Chicago group that again includes King Fleming piano, plus Charles Stepney on vibes, Paul Serrano on trumpet, and Vernel Fournier on drums – an extremely hip lineup that makes the record far more than just the Lester Young tribute promised in the title! But despite the instrumentalists, the real star on all sides is Alexandria – who sings with dark tones and deep colors that go far beyond conventional jazz vocals – all carried off with that slightly breathy mode that was one more unique aspect of her work! CD features all tracks from both albums – a total of 22 titles that include "Snowstorm", "I'm Glad There Is You", "The Sky Is Crying", "I'm Making Believe", "Necessity", "Penthouse Serenade", "DB Blues", "This Year's Kisses", "Easy Living", "No Eyes Blues", "Jumping With Symphony Sid", and a key early reading of "Baltimore Oriole". CD

Close matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
AzymuthJazz Carnival – Best Of Azymuth ... CD
Milestone/BGP (UK), Early 80s. New Copy ... $11.99 18.99
A sublime collection of keyboard-heavy groovers recorded by the legendary Azymuth – some of the best tracks the Brazilian trio cut during their early 80s years for Milestone Records, all of them a sweet blend of Brazilian jazz and west coast fusion! The keyboard work of Jose Roberto Bertrami is right up front in the mix – and although the sound is a bit fuller than Azymuth's original work in Brazil, the style is no less soulful – filled with fluid lines, tight rhythms, and really warm production that certainly brings out the best aspects of the music. Titles include the 9 minute version of "Jazz Carnival", plus "Dear Limmertz", "Cascade Of The Seven Waterfalls", "Missing Doto", "Turma Do Samba", "Maracana", and "Textile Factory" – plus solo tracks by members that include "Partido Alto" by Jose Roberto Bertrami, "Pantal Il Swamp" by Ivan Conti, and "Papaia" by Alex Malheiros. CD

Close matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Gary BartzSingerella – A Ghetto Fairy Tale ... CD
Prestige/BGP (UK), 1974. New Copy ... $11.99
One of the last Gary Bartz albums for Prestige – and a really unique session with a different feel than some of his earlier work! Gary's still got plenty of angular funk in his sound here – thanks to some edgey keyboards from Hubert Eaves – but he's also tightened things up a bit without smoothing them out – cutting down on the longer jams in favor of a more focused approach, and singing himself on many cuts, taking on the quirky lyrical role that used to be held by Andy Bey! Bartz also produced the record himself, but Larry Mizell handled the final mix – giving the record a slightly spacier Mizell-inflected groove, but one that's not as full as on other Bartz/Mizell collaborations. The vocals here are all pretty great, and the album's filled with oddly-grooving tunes that really have a heck of a lot of charm – including the call-response track "Dozens", plus "I Don't Care", "Lady Love", "St Felix Street", "Nation Time", and "Blind Man". CD

Close matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
BlackbyrdsAction/Better Days ... CD
BGP (UK), Late 70s. New Copy ... $11.99 18.99
Two of the later Blackbyrds LPs on one CD! Action is a great little sleeper from the Blackbyrds – a record that never gets as much due as their earlier records that have a hard funky feel, but offer instead a tasty batch of smoother jazz funk numbers that show the group still continuing to grow. Donald Byrd's still at the production helm – and the band's got a nice spacey sound that almost reflects directions that other funk groups, like Kool & The Gang, were taking at the time. The best case of this is the massive cut "Mysterious Vibes", a slow jazzy stepper that was sampled to great fame a few years back – but you can also hear it on the cuts "Supernatural Feeling", "Soft & Easy", and "Dreaming About You". Better Days is filled with sweet warm grooves from the mighty Blackbyrds – a set that has George Duke working with the group, giving them some of the electric vibe of his own great work! The sound is less sharply funky than the early days of the group, but still mighty nice – and titles include "Do It Girl", "Love Don't Strike Twice", "What We Have Is Right", and "What's On Your Mind". CD

Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
BlackbyrdsFlying Start ... LP
BGP (UK), 1974. New Copy Gatefold (reissue)... $13.99 19.99
Not the band's first album – as you might think from the "start" in the title – but a classic batch of jazzy, funky, and soulful grooves from The Blackbyrds – one of those combos that few groups could match back in the 70s! The set's got a beautifully put-together feel – tight enough to crossover somewhat big with a larger audience than the group's previous effort – but still filled with the kind of righteous energy that first got them going, a sublime mix of jazzy rhythms and soulful elements, all held together tightly by production from Donald Byrd. Tracks include the big hit "Walking In Rhythm", which was an oft-spun 45 back in the day – plus some great funk moments, like the tasty "Spaced Out", the choppy "The Baby", and the captivating "Blackbyrds Theme". Other cuts include "Future Children Future Hopes", "I Need You", and "April Showers". LP, Vinyl record album
Also available Flying Start ... LP 7.99

Close matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
BlackbyrdsNight Grooves ... LP
Fantasy/BGP (UK), 1978. New Copy (reissue)... $13.99 19.99
A great album of funky dancefloor tunes! Originally issued in 1978, and clearly for the New York dancefloor crowd – the record takes the earlier work of funk group The Blackbyrds, and remixes the tracks slightly to pump up the groove a bit for the dancers. While the approach might not sound good on paper, it actually works wonderfully on the record – as the tunes retain all of the jazz funk feel of the originals, without any of the cheap tricks you might expect. The album's as essential as any of the group's earlier albums – and it's filled with great versions of classics like "Supernatural Feeling", "Gut Level", "Walking In Rhythm", "Do It Fluid", "Rock Creek Park", and "Happy Music". LP, Vinyl record album

Close matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Camille Lil BobStop/Brother Brown ... 7-inch
BGP (UK), 1969/1972. New Copy ... $9.99
Raw soul from Camille Bob – a singer who only cut a handful of tunes, all of them great! "Stop" has these wicked vocals right up front in the mix – almost as if Camille is trying to blow the needles way into the red – rising high above the fierce funky guitar and bold horns in the groove! "Brother Brown" is a wicked bit of funk – fast guitar with a mad wah wah groove, topped with horns that are tight one minute, weird the next – all given this bad-rapping lyric from Camille that's totally outta site! 7-inch, Vinyl record

Close matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
James Bond (Jimmy Bond)James Bond Songbook ... CD
Mira/BGP (UK), 1965. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
Way more than just a James Bond cash-in record – and instead an ultra-hip jazz session from the west coast scene of the 60s! The James Bond at the helm of the record is actually Jimmy Bond – the great bassist who worked on some key sessions of the late 50s and early 60s as a sideman, and who turns out to be a surprisingly great leader on this rare mid 60s date! The record is more jazz than anything else – played with a crime/spy bent, to be sure – but also flowing with really great solos and a fair bit of a bossa influence in the rhythms! The group here is more than hip enough to make the record work – with Harold Land on tenor sax, Bobby Bryant on trumpet, and Buddy Colette on flute and tenor – all working in a sextet led by Bond, with plenty of round, warm, almost modal lines on his bass – punctuated nicely by piano from Joe Parnello and drums by Joh Guarin. Arrangements are by Dick Groove – who keeps things very groovy – and many of the tracks here are actually original numbers written by Bond and Warren Baker, titled after Ian Fleming books that had not yet been made into movies at the time of this album! Titles include "Casino Royale", "Moonraker", "For Your Eyes Only", "007 Theme From Dr No", "Man With The Golden Gun", "Diamonds Are Forever", and "Live & Let Die". CD

Close matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Oscar Brown JrKicks! – The Best Of Oscar Brown Jr ... CD
Sony/BGP (UK), Early 60s. New Copy ... $11.99 18.99
Some of the most unique vocal work ever recorded – a stunning collection of Columbia sides by Oscar Brown Jr, a singer who mixed together equal parts jazz, soul, and folk – and came up with a sound that was all his own! Oscar bubbled out of the hip Chicago scene of the early 60s – and had a much more righteous approach than most of his contemporaries – not only writing his own lyrics for most of the tunes, but working in a genre-blending style that crossed over to a variety of difference audiences. Oscar could groove with the best in a southside club, but also appeal to the northside intellectuals – opening doors wherever he went with a fresh approach to jazz vocals! The set features work from all 4 of his Columbia albums – including a number of tracks on CD for the first time – and features arrangements by Quincy Jones, Floyd Morris, and Ralph Burns – on 23 tracks that include "All Blues", "Work Song", "Excuse Me For Living", "The Snake", "Mr Kicks", "Afro Blue", "Signifying Monkey", "Dat Dere", "Hazel's Hips", "Jeannine", "Opportunity Please Knock", "The Tree & Me", "Elegy (Plain Black Boy)", "Tall Like Pine", and "But I Was Cool". CD

Close matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
John Carter & Bobby BradfordSelf Determination Music ... CD
Flying Dutchman/BGP (UK), 1970. New Copy ... $11.99
A landmark recording – one of a handful of early documents of the avant garde LA scene, featuring a nimble quartet headed up by the inventive frontline of John Carter on reeds and Bobby Bradford on trumpet, over the fluid rhythm team of Tom Williamson on bass and Chicago expatriate Bruz Freeman on drums! Carter and Bradford's energetic approach followed its own line of development, much in the way that other small cells of improvisers were developing their own take on the "new thing" in the post-Coltrane/Coleman environment of the late 60s and early 70s throughout the country. The compositions unfold in a way that implies both multi-linear improvisation and composed events, but blurs the line between the two, all the while played with a great deal of fire and few of the intellectual abstractions of other free players! Titles include "The Sunday Afternoon Jazz Blues Society", "The Eye Of The Storm", "Loneliness", and "Encounter". CD

Close matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Larry CoryellBarefoot Boy ... CD
Flying Dutchman/BGP (UK), 1972. New Copy ... $11.99
One of Larry Coryell's greatest albums ever! Barefoot Boy is a much more expansive session than some of Coryell's others, fueled in part by the spiritual intensity of the Impulse Records generation. It's got a momentum that's pretty darn exciting throughout – but the compositions are nice and long, which gives the players plenty of space to explore. Personnel includes Steve Marcus on tenor and soprano sax, Mike Mandel on piano, Roy Haynes on drums, and Larry Killian on congas – working with Coryell on long trippy tracks that remind us a bit of 60s work by Chico Hamilton, Charles Lloyd, and Gabor Szabo. Titles include "Call To The Higher Consciousness", "The Great Escape", and "Gypsy Queen". CD

Close matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Dyke & The BlazersWe Got More Soul – The Ultimate Broadway Funk ... LP
BGP (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy 2LP ... $16.99 22.99
The best collection we've ever seen of the work of funky soul legends Dyke & The Blazers – a double-length set that features full, unedited versions of their classics – plus a whopping batch of previously unreleased tunes! Dyke & The Blazers had a groove that was mighty solid back in the late 60s – a hard-vamping, tightly rhythmic groove that easily matched the best early funk of the time from Charles Wright, Sly Stone, or James Brown – and which was often served up with a rougher edge, and an overall sound that was a lot more dangerous! However, many of the group's singles really trimmed down their performances – shaving off key instrumental moments that are lovingly re-attached here, and combining them with some even rarer tracks that never saw the light of day back in the 60s. The whole thing's amazing – and this 2LP set features 18 tracks that include "Black Boy", "Stuff", "Moon", "Booga Jivin", "Runaway People", "Funky Broadway Time (parts 1 & 2)", "Swamp Walk", "Extra Funk", "Let A Woman Be A Woman Let A Man Be A Man", "Soul Cake", "She Knows It", "Let's Do It Together", "Bring It On Back", "Funky Walk (parts 1 & 2)", and "Triple Funk". LP, Vinyl record album

Close matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Fame GangGrits & Gravy – The Best Of The Fame Gang ... CD
Fame/BGP (UK), Late 60s. New Copy ... $14.99
The legendary Fame Gang finally gets their due – in this CD that's overflowing with tight funky instrumentals, most of which have never been issued at all! The "best" in the title is certainly well-put – given the quality of the music – but don't think "hits", as 18 of the CD's 25 tracks have never been issued before – which makes the whole collection way more of a discovery than you might expect! Back in the late 60s, the Fame Gang were the house rhythm section at Fame Records down in Muscle Shoals – as important as the Mar-Keys, Bar-Kays, or MGs were over at Stax Records – and graced with not only an impeccable sense of groove, but also a really bold, soulful flair on their horns! There's no vocals here at all – and the cuts feature loads of tenor, guitar, and organ solos over rhythms that are easily some of the funkiest ever cut at Fame studios. We're not entirely sure why these gems weren't released at the time – but they're all tremendous, and we're plenty happy to have them out now! Titles include "Smokestack Lightning", "Hey Joe", "Soul Stutterin", "Sunrise", "Walk Tall", "Rang's Thang", "Stand", "Cannonball", "Muscle Soul", "Shufflin", "Sax Appeal", "Crime Don't Pay", and "Groove Killer". CD

Close matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Frank FosterLoud Minority ... CD
Mainstream/BGP (UK), 1971. New Copy ... $11.99
One of the most amazing albums ever from Frank Foster – a totally righteous set that's light years ahead of his earlier work with the Basie Band! The format here is right up there with the best on Strata East at the time – a large-group session that's filled with some of the hippest players of the early 70s – all coming together with a joyous, spiritual sense of power! Foster's in the lead on tenor and soprano sax, but other players include Cecil Bridgewater and Hannibal Marvin Peterson on trumpets, Harold Mabern on keyboards, Elvin Jones on drums, Dick Griffin on trombone, Stanley Clarke on bass, Airto on percussion, and even Dee Dee Bridgewater on vocals! Tracks are all quite long and flowing – spiritual expressions of jazz that rival the greatness of anything recorded for Impulse – and titles include "The Loud Minority", "Requiem For Dusty", "JP's Thing", and "EW – Beautiful People". CD
Also available Loud Minority ... LP 9.99

Close matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Funk IncChicken Lickin' ... LP
Prestige/BGP (UK), 1972. New Copy (reissue)... $13.99 19.99
Funky organ, hard tenor sax, and plenty of choppy guitar make this another jazz funk gem in the crown of the legendary Funk Inc! The group are still totally at the top of their game here – stepping out with a deep, soulful Indy-bred blend of jazz and funk – a groove that was easily one of the hippest going in the early 70s Prestige Records scene – and that's saying a lot, given the company the label was keeping at the time! The record's got one track that features some nice soulful vocals – the political cut "Let's Make Peace & Stop The War" – but the best cuts are the instrumentals, grooving along hard in the band's best modal funky tradition! Titles include "The Better Half", "Jung Bungo", and "Running Away". LP, Vinyl record album

Close matches17
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Funk IncHangin' Out/Superfunk ... CD
Prestige/BGP (UK), 1973. New Copy ... $11.99 18.99
Two excellent albums from Funk Inc on one CD! Superfunk is one of the band's greatest albums – and a really tight batch of funky tunes given some stellar production by David Axelrod! The band's a bit tighter than on earlier releases – leaving behind the hard jazz-jam sound for a more together soul-oriented one, heard to best effect on the album's enduring classic, "Goodbye, So Long" – a rolling funky tune that features vocals on the chorus, and an unbelievably catchy instrumental sound that you might recognize instantly from its use as a sample over the years. The rest of the record's just as great – and the band runs through The Meters' classic "Message From The Meters", Barry White's funky "I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More Babe", and a great rendition of the electric jazz classic "The Hill Where The Lord Hides". Hangin Out features their organ-heavy sound vamping away on some really tight groovers – not as break-heavy as some of the tracks on their first album, but with some excellent modal riffing in a sweet jazz dance mode. The big cuts include "Smokin' At Tiffany's" and "Dirty Red", both groove classics that have a strong Prestige jazz funk sound. Other cuts include a sweet cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Give Me Your Love", plus the tracks "We Can Be Friends" and "I'll Be Around". CD

Close matches18
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Guitar Slim Green with Johnny & Shuggie OtisStone Down Blues (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Kent/BGP (UK), 1970. New Copy ... $11.99
A blues album, but one with a difference – thanks to some tremendous help from the legendary Johnny Otis and his young son Shuggie! Despite the fact that the leader is billed as Guitar Slim Green, Shuggie actually plays some lead guitar on the record too – adding in some cool, complicated solos that point towards his genius to come as a solo act – and which also get some nicely romping rhythms from Johnny on drums! The Otis family was definitely bringing a lot of funk into their sound at the time, which they share plenty with Slim here – helping to make the record way more than just another late 60s rootsy blues session, and instead a great west coast criss-crossing of modes. Titles include "Shake Em Up", "My Little Angel Child", "5th Street Alley Boogie", "Old Folks Blues", "This War Ain't Right", and "Big Fine Thing". Also features two bonus tracks, both unissued – "My Marie" and "Rock The Nation". CD

Close matches19
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Dave HamiltonDetroit City Grooves ... CD
BGP (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy ... $11.99 18.99
Funky vibes and fuzzy guitar – a full CD worth of instrumental work by Detroit soul legend Dave Hamilton! Hamilton's well known for his production and arranging work for a variety of other artists, but here he steps out on his own as a heck of a great funky musician – working in a sly, slinky motor city groove that's fuzzed up with plenty of touches that recall the best moments of the early Westbound generation. Hamilton plays vibes equally well as guitar on the set – recalling a bit of the jazz of his early roots as a recording artist, but mixing it in with plenty of trippier styles from the end of the 60s – making for a groove that's totally outta sight all the way through! But best of all, the CD features a full album's worth of material that's issued here for the first time ever – Hamilton's legendary Soul Suite project, which is presented here alongside additional rare tracks from singles! The CD features a total of 16 cuts in all – with titles that include "Blue Funk", "Soul Suite", "The Sweeter The Juice", "Brother Rat", "Pisces Pace 2", "Tell Your Mama", "Yesterdays", "Take It In Stride", "The Deacons", "Blue Vibes", "Marriage Is A State Of Vibes", "Cracklin Bread", and "Can You Dig It". CD

Close matches20
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Johnny HammondGears/Forever Taurus ... CD
Milestone/BGP (UK), 1975. New Copy ... $11.99 18.99
Amazing stuff! Johnny "Hammond" Smith began his career as a simple soul jazz organist – but by the time of Gears, he'd teamed up with the mighty Larry Mizell, the genius arranger/producer who'd breathed new life into the careers of Donald Byrd and Bobbi Humphrey. Mizell works with Hammond in the say we he does with other jazz artists – by taking a groove that works best with their solo style, and slowly layering other instrumentation and effects on top of it, so that when the solo kicks in, it's supported on waves and waves of funky sounds and soulful grooves. Mizell and his brother Fonce both play keyboards on the record, and the rest of the group includes monster fusion players like Harvey Mason, Roger Glenn, Hadley Caliman, and Jerry Peters. The real treat is Johnny, though – as his solos are heavenly, the best of his 70s work, stripped mean and lean, laid in at just the right points. Includes the breakbeat classic "Shifting Gears", the house classic "Los Conquistadores Chocolates", and funky numbers "Fantasy" and "Tell Me What To Do". The second half of this CD is Forever Taurus, which Johnny recorded right after his legendary Gears album, and it features production by Wade Marcus that's very much in the Larry Mizell mode that made Johnny huge in the 70s! As with the Gears record, Johnny's backed by a large ensemble of players – and the overall sound has lots of nice touches, extra percussion, and a good electric groove. Tracks include "Cosmic Voyager", "Walk In Sunshine", "Ghetto Samba", and the title cut. CD
 
 
 



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