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Exact matches: 5
Exact matches1
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Aquarian DreamFantasy ... CD
Elektra (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $14.99
Righteous soul, but with a wicked groove too – a killer set from Aquarian Dream, made even better by some great Norman Connors production! In a way, Aquarian Dream were to Norman Connors what Ramp were to Roy Ayers – in that the group wasn't really that dominated by Connors, but they did benefit a lot from his groundbreaking work in the jazz funk field – getting a level of sophistication in their sound that's really wonderful – and mixed with almost equal parts soul, funk, and jazz in the instrumentation! Vocals are often in a harmony mode – again in the manner of Ramp – and there's a classy yet cosmic sound to the record that we totally love. (And there's also one more Roy Ayers-like connection in the vocal department – since the group features Sylvia Striplin, who later recorded for Roy's Uno Melodic label!) The album's got a number of nice groovers with a strongly off-beat sound – and titles include "Friends", "It Ain't Whatcha Say", "You're A Star", "Play It For Me", and "Gentle Thoughts". CD
(SHM-CD pressing!)

Exact matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Aquarian DreamFantasy/Chance To Dance ... CD
Elektra/Expansion (UK), 1977/1978. New Copy ... $16.99
A pair of great albums from this Norman Connors side project! Fantasy is righteous soul, but with a wicked groove too – a killer set from Aquarian Dream, made even better by some great Norman Connors production! In a way, Aquarian Dream were to Norman Connors what Ramp were to Roy Ayers – in that the group wasn't really that dominated by Connors, but they did benefit a lot from his groundbreaking work in the jazz funk field – getting a level of sophistication in their sound that's really wonderful – and mixed with almost equal parts soul, funk, and jazz in the instrumentation! Vocals are often in a harmony mode – again in the manner of Ramp – and there's a classy yet cosmic sound to the record that we totally love. (And there's also one more Roy Ayers-like connection in the vocal department – since the group features Sylvia Striplin, who later recorded for Roy's Uno Melodic label!) The album's got a number of nice groovers with a strongly off-beat sound – and titles include "Friends", "It Ain't Whatcha Say", "You're A Star", "Play It For Me", and "Gentle Thoughts". On Chance To Dance, Aquarian Dream step out on their own – working for the first time without Norman Connors at the helm, but in a groove that's still plenty nice! The clubby aspects of the group's sound are played up by arranger/producer Jeff Lane – who'd worked often with BT Express and Brass Construction, and finds a similar groove here with Aquarian Dream – one in which all the best elements are focused strongly on the rhythms! A few mellower moments round things out nicely with a jazzy vibe – and titles include "Disco Juice", "Gettum Up And Dance", "Big Boy", "Why Can't We Do It Like We Used To", "Dirty Trick", and "Love Slave". CD

Exact matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Sun Ra & His Astro InfinityCosmo Earth Fantasy – Sub Underground Series Vols 1 & 2 ... CD
Saturn/Art Yard, Late 60s/Mid 70s. New Copy ... $14.99 16.99
A set of varied moods and settings – yet one that really does a wonderful job of fleshing out the Sun Ra aesthetic during these crucial years when Ra dubbed himself the "King Of The Sub Underground"! That humorous title is a reference to the fact that Ra and the Arkestra were still working with largely little mainstream exposure – despite the big growth of avant jazz at the time – and were instead working on beautiful recordings like these, often made without any thought of a larger market at all! The CD brings together material from albums originally issued with Sub-Underground in the title – also under other names as well, including Temple U – and the tracks represent the Arkestra really hitting some of their creative heights in a mix of live, studio, and rehearsal recordings. Titles include the brilliant "World Of Africa", recorded in 1968, but with a chunky groove and weird piano that almost feel like a precursor to Fela Kuti; the sublime "Love Is Always" and "Song Of Drums", recorded live with a spare group in a beautifully echoey setting; surprisingly great takes on "What's New" and "Autumn In New York", played by a small group with Ra on a slightly off-tune upright piano; the long "Cosmo Earth Fantasy" suite, with some very fierce sounds; and a nice live take on "Space Is The Place/We Roam The Cosmos", which jumps right into the groove at the start – with a pretty offbeat feel, and lots of cool vocal interplay! CD

Exact matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Eugene RecordWelcome To My Fantasy (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Warner/Expansion (UK), 1979. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A sweet musical fantasy from the great Eugene Record – known by most as one of the driving forces of The Chi-Lites, and the whole Brunswick soul scene as well! By this point in his career, Record's come a long way from his roots in Chicago soul – and works at a level that's much more modern soul than before – yet the overall approach works best on the kind of tunes that Eugene sang and penned in his earlier years – the mellow ballads and midtempo groovers that really let his vocals soar. The set was recorded in Chicago – with arrangements by Record, Tom Tom 84, and Patrick Henderson – and titles include "Pain For Pleasure", "Where Are You", "Fan The Fire", 'Help Yourself To Love", and "Your Love". CD features bonus tracks – "Magnetism", and "I Don't Mind/Take Everything". CD

Exact matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Peter Nero with Arthur FiedlerFantasy & Improvisations/Nero Goes Pops ... CD
RCA/Vocalion (UK), 1965/1968. New Copy 2 CDs ... Out Of Stock
Two surprisingly great albums from pianist Peter Nero – both of which have him working with larger backings from the Boston Pops! Fantasy & Improvisations is a unique meeting of two of RCA's biggest instrumental talents of the 60s, and a surprisingly sophisticated album from pianist Peter Nero – one that presents his own title composition on all of side one! "Fantasy & Improvisations" is a wonderful work – one that makes full use of Nero's pointed style of piano performance, but at a level that's a bit more illuminating than some of his pop material – especially during the improvised passages, which have a deftness that really leaves us breathless! Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops are nicely restrained, but get a bit more standard on the second half of the record – which features a reading of George Gershwin's "Concerto In F". Nero Goes Pops has pianist Peter Nero working with some larger backings from the Boston Pops, led by Arthur Fiedler – but at a level that's hardly "pop" at all, given that the whole program features the compositions of George Gershwin! The music returns Gerswhin's songs to a more serious concert setting – with dramatic piano leads by Nero over the larger backings conducted by Fiedler – on titles that include "Rhapsody In Blue", "The Man I Love", "They Can't Take That Away From Me", "Bidin My Time", and "I Got Rhythm". CD
Close matches: 12
Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Cannonball AdderleyBig Man ... CD
Fantasy/Real Gone, 1975. New Copy ... $15.99
One of the last albums ever issued by the great Cannonball Adderley – and one of the most ambitious, too! The set's a concept album – done in close collaboration with David Axelrod, in a similar spirit to some of Cannon's projects on the zodiac or the bible – but this time turned towards the legend of John Henry! The set's got some fuller orchestrations than some of the others – a bit of strings and a chorus, which sometimes gives the record the feel of a blacksploitation album, sometimes more of a Melvin Van Peebles project. Lead vocals are by Joe Williams, Randy Crawford, and Robert Guillaume – and the core combo features work from Cannonball on alto sax, Dawili Gonga on keyboards, Airto on percussion, and George Bohannon on trombone – on titles that include "Hundred an One Year", "Poundin", "The Steamdrill", "New Star Risin", "On His Bones", "Anybody Need A Big Man", "The Broomstick Song", and "Ten Mile Of Mountain". CD
Also available Big Man ... LP 9.99

Close matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Cannonball AdderleyLove, Sex, And The Zodiac ... CD
Fantasy/BGP (UK), 1974. New Copy ... $11.99
A classic from Cannoball and producer-partner David Axelrod – truly great stuff and maybe even better than the Zodiac set Cannonball did for Capitol! The formula is similar to that one – with David Axelrod producing, electric keyboards by Hal Galper and George Duke, spacey solos by Cannonball and Nat Adderley, and some very hip recitations by Rick Holmes on love, sex, and the zodiac! Holmes is best known as the chappie who cut "Remember To Remember" years later with Roy Ayers – but this album's got a similar "wisdom and knowledge" feel that's pretty wonderful. Titles include "Aquarius: Humanity Plus", "Cancer: All Sides", "Leo: Rosebud", "Aries: Damn Right", "Gemini: Ecstasy", and "Virgo: For Pam". CD

Close matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
AllspiceAllspice ... CD
Fantasy/Dusty Groove, 1977. New Copy ... $5.99 12.98
The only album ever from Allspice – but a hell of an incredible soul record – and one that's kept the group's name strong with collectors and rare groove fanatics for years! The album's on of the best Fantasy Records productions by Wayne Henderson and his At Home team – and like some of the others, is handled with a groove that's tight, yet plenty sophisticated too – light years from mainstream disco or common club of the late 70s, and instead informed by plenty of jazz and deeper ideas as well! The vibe is perfect – as heavenly and righteous as some of the best Roy Ayers club tracks of the time – which proves to be a perfect foil for the Allspice style of mixing male and female vocals – which again is often done in an Ayers-like mode. The sound is sublime throughout – one of those real treasures that should have been a huge record in the 70s, but was barely pressed up at all – and quickly forgotten about by the record company. Yet even after all these years, the whole thing sounds amazing – one of those albums we'd never part with at all! Titles include the groovy "Slipped Away", the funky stepper "Hungry For Your Love" – and loads of other great tunes that include "Love Fire", "Destiny", "She's A Lady", "I Don't Know", and "Give It Time". CD
(On the Dusty Groove label.)

Close matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
BlackbyrdsLovebyrds – Soft & Easy ... CD
Fantasy, 1970s. New Copy ... $4.99 11.98
One of the greatest sides of The Blackbyrds' music – their mellower, more chilled-out tunes – all tracks that we like almost as much as their funkier classics! Although the combo first earned their name for upbeat, sharp-edged funky fusion, they also had a wonderful way with a laidback groove – sweetly stepping instrumentals that were often a bit overlooked next to some of their bigger 70s hits, but which are equally great – and perhaps even more so, as they represented a really unique approach to the music at the time! There's a vibe here that we'd rank right up there with Kool & The Gang on "Summer Madness" – an approach that's often spare, and focused around a key instrumental bit – and which is a great antidote to some of the heavier-handed funk of the time! Keyboards are often heavy on these numbers, and although there's some vocals, the instrumentation is almost always center stage – served up over some sweetly stepping rhythms that are really great. Titles include "Lady", "Wilford's Gone", "A Heavy Town", "All I Ask", "At The Carnival", "April Showers", "Love Is Love", "Soft & Easy", "Lady", "Flying High", "The Baby", "Summer Love", "Dreaming Of You", and "Time Is Movin". CD
(CD case has a cutout notch.)

Close matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
PleasureFuture Now ... CD
Fantasy/BGP (UK), 1979. New Copy ... $11.99
A wonderful album from Pleasure – a group who were already great before, but who really seem to hit a great new level with this late 70s classic! Pleasure started out as a sweet jazz/funk combo with a great edge to their music – but by the time of this set, they'd actually gotten even tighter and better – but all without losing their depth at all! Most of the group's contemporaries just got slick and commercial – but instead, Pleasure found a way to hone their skills wonderfully – and take on some new spacey and electric touches in the process – definitely pointing towards the funky future promised in the title. The set's filled with some of the funkiest and most soulful moments of the group's career – including "Space is the Place", which has great funky drums on the intro; the mellow "Thoughts of Old Flames", a real stunner with a great moody feel; and the classic "Glide", a great dancefloor groover that still stands up well. Other tracks are all great too – and include "Universal", "Strong Love", "Nothin To It", and "Dedication To The Past". CD

Close matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Larry WilliamsThat Larry Williams – The Resurrection Of Funk ... CD
Fantasy/Dusty Groove, 1978. New Copy ... $5.99 12.98
A rare funk album from west coast legend Larry Williams – very different than his heavy R&B of the late 50s, or the brief soul comeback he had with Johnny Guitar Watson in the 60s – and instead a heavy groover with a trippy Cali sound! The record's got a sharp groove right from the start – a vibe that's a bit similar to some of the best Johnny Watson funk of the period – a slight jazzy undercurrent in the instrumentation, with wicked guitar and keyboard bits dancing around each other in the rhythms – often mixed with vocals that have a cool sort of electric feel, and topped with some great horn work from Fred Wesley on trombone and Maceo Parker on alto sax! Rudy Copeland plays keyboards on the album alongside Williams, the the set's got a bit of the feel of Rudy's lost Funky Blindman set – and in a way, also echoes the best strutting, sexy modes of Bootsy Collins too. The album's a surprising gem all the way through – a real lost chapter in Larry's career, and the kind of set that might have broken bigger, had he not died mysteriously a few years later. Titles include "Funky Force", "The Resurrection Of Funk", "One Thing Or The Other", "ATS Express", "How Can I Believe", and "Can't Dance To The Music (If It Ain't Got Funky Rhythm)". CD
(On the Dusty Groove label.)

Close matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Dave PikeBossa Nova Carnival/Limbo Carnival ... CD
New Jazz/Fantasy (Germany), 1962. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A pair of killers from Dave Pike – early work in a tremendous career in music! First up is Bossa Nova Carnival – a sublime set of bossa nova numbers, all written by the bossa pianist Joao Donato! Joao doesn't actually play on the record, but his compositions here are enough – as they help Pike find a new sense of space and pulse in his music – rhythms that really unlock his vibes towards their grooviest ends for the first time ever on record. Most numbers are heavily modal – a great mix with the bossa setting – and the album also features key work from Clark Terry on flugelhorn, Kenny Burrell on guitar, and Chris White on bass – whose loping lines really help shape the overall sound of the record. Also features lots of nice percussion – and titles include "Ginha", "Samba Lero", "Sono", "Carnival Samba", "Sausalito", and "Melvalita". Limbo Carnival isn't some early 60s gimmick session, designed to cash in on a dance craze – and instead, it's a wonderful early Latin set from the great vibist Dave Pike! In fact, given the strength of the grooves here, it would be plenty darn hard to do any limbo action to this one – because the rhythms are bouncy, modal, and very very groovy – served up by Pike on vibes, in a lineup that includes Ray Barretto on conga, Ahmed Abdul-Malik on bass, and Leo Wright on flute and alto – plus a few other straight jazz players like Jimmy Raney on guitar and Tommy Flanagan on piano. Tracks include "Mambo Bounce", "Matilda", "Cattin Latin", "St. Thomas", and a strange groovy version of "La Bamba". CD
Also available Bossa Nova Carnival (Japanese pressing) ... CD 28.99

Close matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Cal TjaderAgua Dulce ... CD
Fantasy/BGP (UK), 1971. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
One of our favorite Cal Tjader albums ever – and one of the first to have his vibes working alongside Fender Rhodes! The record's a surprising little set from the start of the 70s – one that almost has Cal picking up some of the New York sounds of a few years before, then mixing them up with a hipper west coast electric style in the end – a Fantasy Records vibe that meshes together a few different modes, and comes up with a rich new style in the process! There's a bit of vocals on the set – somewhat unusual for Cal Tjader, and often used to augment the soulfully snapping grooves of the best tunes – but even more amazing is the heavy use of Fender Rhodes, played here by the amazing Al Zulaica, who's work on the album really ranks right up there with the best early 70s keyboardists on the coast! Zulaica's piano is amazing next to Cal's warmly chromatic vibes – and other instrumentation includes saxes from Bill Perkins, flute from Mel Martin, trumpet from Luis Gasca, moog from Rita Dowling, and percussion from both Pete and Coke Escovedo. Titles include the killer "Aqua Dulce (Cool-Ade)", a fantastic version of "Gimme Shelter", a sublime of Clare Fischer's "Morning", and the cuts "Ran Kan Kan", "Descarga Cubana", "Curacao", and "Somewhere In The Night". CD

Close matches14
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✨✧ Sandole Brothers/John LaPortaModern Music From Philadelphia/Clarinet Artistry Of John LaPorta ... CD
Fantasy, 1955/1956. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Stunning 50s modern jazz – long overdue for reissue! The CD features 2 long-lost albums – Modern Music From Philadelphia by The Brothers Sandole, and The Clarinet Artistry of John La Porta. The Sandoles were one of the least-known and least-appreciated groups working on the east coast during the 50s. Dennis and Adolphe Sandole had an incredible talent for writing – and in the short time they recorded together, they served up some amazing tracks with a wonderful group sound that recalls some of the Mingus Jazz Workshop recordings with John La Porta. The whole thing's amazing – and titles include "Drums", "Wings Over Persia", "Grenadine", "Boys From Istanbul", "Arabu", "The Tamaret", and "Magic Carpet". The second set of material on the CD features clarinet tracks by John LaPorta – an important east coast modernist who was a key part of Charles Mingus' mid-50s recordings, and who was as important to east coast modernization of the clarinet as Jimmy Giuffre was to the west coast scene. Titles include "Darn That Dream", "Dirge For Dorsey", and "Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea". CD

Close matches15
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✨✧ Cannonball AdderleyPhenix ... CD
Fantasy, 1975. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Sweet funky 70s work from Cannonball Adderley – a record that has him revisiting older tunes from his early soul jazz years – but in ways that give them a whole new electric vibe overall! The album's actually Cannonball's last full studio set, but it's also one of his greatest too – a very hip little record that features arrangements that are slightly bigger than before – almost a CTI sort of mode, with a similar CTI sense of space, sound, and timing! There's some great keyboards on the set – courtesy of George Duke and Mike Wolff – and other players include Nat Adderley on cornet, Airto on percussion, Sam Jones and Walter Booker on bass, and Louis Hayes and Roy McCurdy on drums. The keyboards lead off most numbers, but they're followed strongly by Cannon and Nat – both of whom open up wonderfully in the magical setting of the record! Titles include great new takes on "Sack O Woe", "Work Song", "Jive Samba", "74 Miles Away", "Walk Tall/Mercy Mercy Mercy", "Country Preacher", "Domination", and "This Here" – plus "Hi Fly" and "Hamba Nami". CD

Close matches16
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✨✧ Bunny Lion (Puddy Roots)Red ... CD
Starlight/Fantasy Memory, 1979. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Rare work from Bunny Lion – aka Puddy Roots, a crucially overlooked reggae vocalist of the time! The rhythms here all come from Linval Thompson tracks – and the set was licensed by Linval himself – but the real attraction is the vocals, which have these cool, compelling ways of arching up and down over the grooves – almost more London extrapolation than pure Jamaican roots, but we mean that in the best way possible! The album was briefly issues on the London label Starlight, but gets its first appearance here with real credit to Puddy – on tracks that include "Rat Trap", "Bubbling Dub", "Bunny Lion At The Control", "Natty Rise & Shine", "Ilie", "Go Rockers", and "Heart & Soul". CD

Close matches17
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✨✧ Vince GuaraldiBoy Named Charlie Brown – Original TV Soundtrack (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Fantasy, 1964. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Vince Guaraldi's wonderful music for the first-ever cartoon to feature the Peanuts characters in animated form – a sublime batch of jazz instrumentals that forever changed the face of music in shows of this nature! Vince steps out with an amazing sound right from the start – even different than his previous jazz records from the San Francisco scene – with a more careful balance of swing and sadness, lyricism and soul – always played in a subtle, understated way that really makes the music come through with a lasting degree of power. Core sounds are from the trio of Guaraldi on piano, Monty Budwig on bass, and Colin Bailey on drums – and titles include key early versions of the "Charlie Brown Theme" and "Linus & Lucy" – plus "Oh Good Grief", Pebble Beach", "Schroeder", and "Blue Charlie Brown". CD features two bonus tracks – "Baseball Theme (alt)" and "Fly Me To The Moon". CD
Possible matches: 46
Possible matches18
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Roy AyersSearching For Sunshine 1973 to 1980 (You Send Me/Fever/No Stranger To Love/bonus tracks) ... CD
Polydor/Raven (Australia), 1970s. New Copy 2CD ... $23.99 25.98
A trio of Roy Ayers classics in one sweet set – along with some excellent bonus cuts too! First up is the album You Send Me – a set with a sound like no other – with a slow mellow jazzy style that shows Roy working at the height of his powers! There's some wonderful spacey production on the record – bringing out elements like the vibes, electric piano, and soulful vocals – and turning them into a seductive blend that trails out over the course of the record, hitting a smooth mellow mode that we love every bit as much as Roy's harder and funkier work. The title cut is an amazing extended remake of "You Send Me", which sounds nothing like the original – and other good cuts include the stepping "And Don't You Say No", and the great cuts "Rhythm" and "Everytime I See You", which have these excellent offbeat rhythm patterns. Fever is a great little album by Roy Ayers – one that features none of his hits, which means lots of fresh material – and which has great examples of both sides of Roy's talents at the time! The dancefloor side of Roy kicks in with "Love Will Bring Us Back Together", an extremely catchy groover that's very much in the mode of "Running Away", with plenty of choppy funky riffs, and a good soul base at the core. Even better, though, is the mellow spacey side of Roy – which shows up wonderfully in the cuts "Is It Too Late To Try" and "If You Love Me" – two overlooked gems that float along in a perfect blend of jazz and modern soul, with great breathy vocals and vibes, very much in the spirit of stuff on the You Send Me album. Other cuts include "I Wanna Feel It", "Leo", "Take Me Out To The Ball Game", and "Simple & Sweet" – all nice too! No Stranger To Love is a sly, and often funky set that deserves to be mentioned with his more famous dancefloor ready work of the late 70s – and if it gets an extra point two for the incredibly cool cover photo, the slow burning grooves more than deliver on the promise! The album does a really nice job of rolling out both the sultry jazzy soul and the funkier Ayers modes, with sweet strings in spots, Roy's incomparable vibes, bass and keyboard grooving, and vocals that set the mood for both the slow jams and the funky stuff! Includes the extended mellow number "Don't Let Our Love Slip Away", one of Roy's better downtempo moments, plus great stuff like "Don't Stop The Feeling", plus "What You Won't Do For Love", "No Stranger To Love/Want You", "Shack Up, Pack Up, It's Up (When I'm Gone)", "Don't Hide Your Love". CD also features 8 more bonus cuts – including "Love From The Sun", "Running Away", "Keep On Walking", "Vibrations", "Searching", "Everybody Loves The Sunshine", "Love Fantasy", and "No Deposit No Return". CD

Possible matches19
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Nat King ColeThose Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer ... CD
Capitol (Japan), 1963. New Copy ... $13.99
A great later record from Nat King Cole – kind of corny, but in a really great way – and in a style that ended up making the whole thing a real standout in Nat's last few years on the planet! The songs are mostly old-timey, but swung by Nat in this weird 60s version of nostalgia that really really works – and makes for this odd fantasy of a youth that Cole probably never had himself, directed at a version of mainstream America that would hardly have given an entertainer like him the time of day back in the 30s! Ralph Carmichael handles the arrangements – and in addition to the hit title track "Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer", other titles include "That's What They Meant", "Don't Forget", "Get Out & Get Under The Moon", and "After The Ball Is Over". CD

Possible matches20
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Courtial with Errol KnowlesDon't You Think It's Time (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Pipeline/Shout (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $14.99
A rare bit of Cali soul – and a lot groovier than you'd guess from the cover! The music is rich in jazzy inflections – funky fusion used behind the lead vocals of Errol Knowles, in a blend that's quite similar to the best Bay Area funk of the time – particularly some of the grooves coming from the Fantasy Records scene! Guitars are great – played by Bill Courtial with lots of snakey, angular lines that really emphasize the groove – and other instrumentation includes keyboards and some mighty sweet percussion. Titles include "Losing You", "Love Nevermore", "Corn On The Cob/Time", "Don't You Think It's Time", "Time To Explain", and "Poem For Helen". CD

Possible matches21
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✨✧ DecoFresh Idea ... CD
Qwest/Warner (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $13.99
A definite fresh idea from Deco – a duo that features Philip Ingram on keyboards and vocals – with lots of help from Zen Giles on additional vocals and guitar! The pair harmonize together beautifully – with a sound that's as full as most of the groups of the time, but not nearly as clunky – a lean groove that's augmented by the sweet production from Ollie E Brown, who reminds us again that he was one of the few mainstream producers from the period who could keep his ears to the street, yet come across with a commercial tightness too! The record's a real overlooked gem – a major label set that's got all the charm of the best electro soul indies – but served up with a slight jazzy flourish at times that really makes things great. Titles include "Let's Pretend", "Delicious", "Fresh Idea", "Someone Special", "I'm So Glad I Met You", "Live My Fantasy", and "Burned By A Bad Match". CD

Possible matches22
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Five StairstepsFive Stairsteps – The Complete Curtis Mayfield Years (Five Stairsteps (Windy C)/Love's Happening) (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Outta Sight (UK), Late 60s. New Copy ... $16.99
A pair of killer albums from The Five Stairsteps – 1967's self-titled set for Windy C – plus '68's Love's Happening by The Five Stairsteps & Cubie – together with bonus track on this great set from Outta Sight UK! The Five Stairsteps album is a landmark batch of sweet soul – recorded by the still youthful group that included a 13 year old Kenny Burke! The kids were brought together by their parents Clarence and Betty Burke, but it was Curtis Mayfield who really gave them a push – as he discovered them, produced them, and wrote some excellent songs for them during their best early years. Mayfield's sweet soul style forged with The Impressions runs through most of these tracks – and although the group is young, they really do a fantastic job with the material, and infuse it with a soulfulness way past their years. Titles include "Danger She's A Stranger", "World Of Fantasy", "Ooh Baby Baby", "Don't Waste Your Time", and "Behind Curtains". Love's Happening might be the best record ever by this Chicago soul group! The record's got a full batch of original tracks written and produced by Mayfield – including their amazing, funk steeped version of "Don't Change Your Love", with a breakbeat that lit up the sampler culture for years! That raw drum sound is in effect on even the more delicate numbers, and the lead vocals and harmonies soar or sink deep to the soul, as the groove demands. There's also some kind of tripped out touches in the production in spots, making for a nice balance of sweet soul and leftfield touches. Kind of an underappreciated effort in the grand scheme of Curtis Mayfield productions, but wholly essential! Other titles include "Stay Close To Me", "New Dance Craze", "Baby, Make Me Feel So Good", and "Little Young Lover". 5 bonus singles in the set: "Ain't Gonna Rest (Til I Get You)", "You Can't See", "Change Of Pace", "Madame Mary" and "We Must Be In Love". CD

Possible matches23
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David FriedmanFutures Passed ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $13.99
One of the coolest, grooviest albums we've ever heard from vibist Dave Friedman – a set that really lives up to the promise we sometimes expect from other records of his, but never find this clearly! Friedman plays both marimba and vibes – the latter with this bold, chromatic quality that comes through even in gentle moments – a bit like Gary Burton, but turned towards much more varied ends here – as the songs really shift in mood and approach, keeping things fresh throughout! Vocalist Rimona Francis lends her lovely wordless singing style to about half the album's tracks – but in a way that's more like an instrument than a conventional jazz singer – and the group also features surprisingly great acoustic piano work from Pat Rebillot (who we mostly know from keyboard sessions), plus Harvie Swartz on bass and Bruce Ditmas on drums. Titles include "Rachel's Samba", "Rodney's Dream Of Fantasy & Self Fullfilment", "Three Pieces", "Trinkle Trinkle", and "A Smile On The Face Of Mourning". CD

Possible matches24
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Gerry Gibbs/Ron Carter/Kenny BarronWe're Back ... CD
Whaling City Sound, 2014. New Copy ... $10.99 16.99
Drummer Gerry Gibbs has a hell of a trio for this set – and a great batch of guests as well – all of whom help make some real magic on jazz instrumental versions of soul tunes from the 70s! The core trio features Kenny Barron on piano and Ron Carter on bass – both wonderfully sensitive players, without any of the "thrasher" qualities you might guess from the group's name on the cover – and some passages expand things with the addition of Warren Wolf on vibes, Steve Wilson on alto sax, and Larry Goldings on Hammond – all players we really love too. Titles include "Pick Up The Pieces", "Where Is The Love", "What's Going On", "Reasons", "Too High", "Fantasy", "Creepin", and "Brazilian Rhyme". CD

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Johnny HammondGears (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Milestone/BGP (UK), 1975. New Copy ... $14.99
One of our favorite albums of all time – and a record that just gets better and better the more we listen to it – and we've listened to it for years! Johnny "Hammond" Smith began his career as a simple soul jazz organist – but by the time of this album, 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 same way 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". This stunning version adds in some killer bonus tracks – 6 never-heard cuts from the Milestone vaults, including "Song For My Family", "Funky Native", "Detroit Rainbow", "Can't We Smile (alt)", and slow and fast versions of "A Child's Love". CD

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Alejandro Jodorowsky/Adan JodorowskyDance Of Reality ... CD
Abkco/Real Gone, 2013. New Copy ... $7.99 11.98
Beautiful soundtrack material for the last film ever from Alejandro Jodorowsky – composed and performed by his son Adan – aka Adanowsky – in a style that's surprisingly sensitive, and wonderfully thoughtful throughout! The movie is a fantasy autobiography from the legendary filmmaker – and Adan scores the music at a level that takes us back to some of our favorite French soundtracks of the 60s and 70s – sentimental, but never soppy – carefully emotive, yet never overdone – with a haunting blend of keyboards, piano, and light strings – all used in very focused ways, on melodies that range somewhere between the furniture music of Satie, and the whimsical themes of Nino Rota. First-ever release of the soundtrack – with titles that include "Los Mineros", "Bucefalo", "Jose", "Bodisua", "The Midget", "God Doesn't Exist", and "The Clowns". CD

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Larry's RebelsI Feel Good – The Essential Purple Flashes Of Larry's Underground 1965 to 1969 ... CD
RPM (UK), Late 60s. New Copy ... $9.99
One of the greatest groups going on the New Zealand scene of the late 60s – killer at covers, and even stronger with their own compositions too! There's a definite Brit invasion feel to the material, especially at the start – as you might guess from the overall look of the package – but like some of the best acts from farther-flung scenes of the 60s, these guys really start to drop some of their copycat modes ones they get moving forward enough to find their own sound. The basslines get bolder, the vocals nastier, and the overall groove hits this tight, garagey fire that really has the quintet taking off – and the CD features great notes, and a total of 25 titles that include "Painter Man", "I Feel God", "So Much In Love With You", "I'll Make You Happy", "Shakin Up Some Soul", "Everybody's Girl", "Coloured Flowers", "Fantasy", "Let's Think Of Something", and "My Son John". CD

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Charles LloydCharles Lloyd In Europe ... CD
Atlantic (UK), 1966. New Copy ... $8.99
Overseas excursions from the Charles Lloyd Quartet – a group who were already breaking down plenty of boundaries at home in the US! The lineup is a bit different than some of the other Lloyd sessions of the time, in that Cecil McBee is in the group on bass – adding in some wonderfully spiritual tones to a lineup that features Charles on tenor and flute, Keith Jarrett on piano, and Jack DeJohnette on drums – playing with those inventive rhythms that made his work a perfect fit for Lloyd's lines on the tenor! Titles include "Tagore", "Karma", "Little Anahid's Day", "Manhattan Carousel", "European Fantasy", and "Hej Da!". CD

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Mr PresidentHips Shaking (with bonus track) ... CD
Favorite (France), 2014. New Copy ... $11.99
The coolest work we've heard so far from this Patchworks side project – a record that fuses together equal parts 70s jazz, funk, and soul – with just the right smattering of global influences as well! There's a tightness to the set that we really love – careful instrumentation and production that make the whole thing feel like a Fantasy Records jazz funk project that might have happened down in Rio or Lagos – with slight Afro or Brazilian elements sifting in next to a core groove that comes from really classic basslines, keyboards, and drums! There's some vocals on a few tracks – mostly chorus-type that flow along with the grooves – and tracks include "City Rocking", "Candyman", "Hips Shaking", "Gimme All What You Got", "South Street Walk", "I Get So Crazy", and a surprisingly great cover of "I Can't Go For That". CD includes the bonus track "Give My Love". CD

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✨✧ Lee RitenourRit/Rit 2 ... CD
Elektra/Robinsongs (UK), 1981/1982. New Copy ... $13.99
A super-fusion double header from Lee Ritenour – two classics back to back on a single CD! Few people did soulful fusion better than Lee Ritenour back in the early 80s – and the guitarist always seemed to find a way to really link together all the different sounds of the electric genre – from heavy jamming to soulful grooving to a rock-like appreciation for a good hook! On the album Rit, Harvey Mason provides some great heavy drums, and also helped Lee produce – which gives the record a sharp, soulful focus that's like some of Harvey's own great records of the time – an undercurrent of funk that more than helps keep the Ritenour vocals moving along! Titles include "Mr Briefcase", "Countdown", "Good Question", "Dreamwalk", "Is It You", and "Just Tell Me Pretty Lies". Rit 2 is a nice mix of 80s groove and jazzy fusion – served up by one of the few players who could make such a set come off so well! Lee Ritenour's fusion work of the 70s always had a fair dose of R&B in the mix – but by the time of this set, he had moved even more strongly into a modern soul-based mode of jazz – one that he clearly helped to influence with his initial work, and which he still rode over strongly with the well-selling Rit series of albums for Elektra. Players on the set include Harvey Mason and Tom Scott – and about 2/3 of the album's tracks feature vocals by Eric Tagg. Titles include "Malibu", "Cross My Heart", "Promises Promises", "Dreamwalkin", "Keep It Alive", "A Fantasy", and "Tied Up". CD

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Mongo SantamariaRed Hot ... CD
Tappan Zee/Victor (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $13.99
A great Bob James-directed session from Mongo Santamaria – and a set that takes the fusion-inflected Latin work he was doing on the Vaya label, and blends it with an even tighter, sharper CTI Records vibe! The approach is a bit like that combination of underground Latin and larger label resources that brought great sounds to both Ray Barretto and the Fania All Stars at the time – and the session features excellent CTI help from Bob James on keyboards, Eric Gale on guitar, and Hubert Laws on flute – the latter of whom got his start working with Mongo in the 60s! Titles include a funky electric remake of "Watermelon Man", plus the cuts "Afro Cuban Fantasy", "Jamaican Sunrise", "Jai Alai", and "Sambita". CD

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Woody ShawWoody Shaw With The Tone Jansa Quartet ... CD
Timeless/Solid (Japan), 1985. New Copy ... $13.99
One of our favorite Woody Shaw albums from his later years – and an album that's got the same joyous spirit and free soaring feel of his best 70s work! The core group on the album is the Tone Jansa Quartet – led by European reedman Jansa, and working in a space that's quite similar to that of Shaw's backing groups on previous sessions. Jansa wrote all the tunes on the set, and gave them a soaring feel that we really love – just the right mix of introspection and exploration found on classic Shaw sessions like Little Red's Fantasy or Lovedance. Titles include "Midi", "Boland", "Call Mobility", "River", and "May". CD

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TagesGo! – The Complete Singles ... CD
RPM (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2 CDs ... $18.99
One of the coolest groups in late 60s Sweden – and an act that can go head to head with the best Brit combos of the time! These guys sing in English, and have a jangle-pop style that's really great – mod at the start of this huge run of singles, then moving into headier territory near the end – not entirely psych, but with some nice Sunshine Pop elements that work really well with their upbeat approach to lyrics and rhythms, which sometimes remind us of The Zombies in their earlier years, or The Hollies too. The package features the complete singles from the group – both a and b-sides, all in mono – with a total of 49 very groovy tracks that include "In My Dreams", "Gone Too Far", "Halcyon Days", "She's Having A Baby Now", "Sister's Got A Boyfriend", "Wanting", "Treat Her Like A Lady", "Tell Me You're Mine", "Sleep Little Girl", "Fantasy Island", "True Fine Woman", "Go", and "Miss MacBaren". CD

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Cal TjaderBest Of Cal Tjader – Live At The Monterey Jazz Festival 1958 to 1980 ... CD
Monterey Jazz Festival, 1958/1972/1974/1977/1980. New Copy ... $4.99 11.98
A handful of different Cal Tjader moments from the Monterey Jazz Festival – a frequent setting for Cal's live talents, given his close proximity as a member of the Bay Area scene! The core material here is from Tjader's 1958 performance – featured here in 5 tracks that include Vince Guaraldi on piano, Willie Bobo and Mongo Santamaria on percussion, and Buddy DeFranco on clarinet – the last of whom is a really unique addition to Cal's group, and makes the tunes sound quite different from his studio sides of the time. 1958 titles include "Summertime", "Now's The Time", "Tumbao", and "Cubano Chant" – and other cuts include a 1972 reading of "Manteca" with sweet electric piano, and Dizzy Gillespie and Clark Terry on trumpets; a 1974 version of "Afro Blue" with Jerome Richardson and Frank Strazzeri; a 1977 version of "If You Could See Me Now" with John Lewis on piano; and a 1980 take on "Speak Low" with Roger Glenn on flute. Most titles here are previously unreleased – and the collection's a great match with Cal's classic work on Fantasy. CD
(CD case has a cutout hole.)

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TrafficHeaven Is In Your Mind (mono edition) ... CD
Island/Sundazed, 1967. New Copy ... $13.99 14.99
The great first album by Traffic – one of the best debuts by a British group in the late 60s! Better remembered as Mr. Fantasy, the album has a bit of a confusing release history. This excellent CD version features the album as it first appeared in the US – including the brilliant singles and in the rare mono mix. The punchy, direct vibe of the mono version is wonderful, but however you may prefer to hear it, the artistry is indisputable! There's still plenty of psych pop in the mix, colorful songcraft with a bluesy rock undercurrent. Capaldi, Winwood and Wood are most prominently credited, as Dave Mason hit the road after the singles, but since those are included on this early US version, let's show him some love, too! The organ and a driving rhythm are prominent, with flute and trippy atmosphere throughout. Later on, the group would work with jazzier and bluesier styles, traces of which are here. They would evolve pretty quickly, actually, both stylistically and via lineup shifts. Here's a most vital first stage! Includes "Paper Sun", "Dealer", "Coloured Rain", "No Face, No Name And No Number", "House For Everyone", "Dear Mr. Fantasy", "Smiling Phases", "Heaven Is In Your Mind", the weird closing fade "Were A Fade, You Missed This" and more. CD

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Cedar WaltonTrio Vol 3 ... CD
Red (Italy), 1986. New Copy ... $15.99 18.99
We've always loved the way that Cedar Walton kept maturing in his style over the years – and this 80s album is a wonderful example of the way he really took off during his third decade in jazz! At one level, the tunes are very simple and basic – familiar trio settings, with David Williams on bass and Billy Higgins on drums – but Walton manages to work this subtle magic on the tunes as the album moves on – some hip undercurrents of soul, warmly flowing lyricism, and fresh ideas that make even the better-known cuts stand out from other readings. Higgins' drums help a lot to this end – always shifting up underneath the piano – almost with their own sense of melody at times – and the round, warm tones of David Williams certainly help ground the album nicely too. Titles include the Walton numbers "Ground Work", "Fantasy In D", "Theme For Red", and Another Star" – plus versions of "Once I Loved" and "Girl Talk From Harlow". CD

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Ernie WattsLook In Your Heart ... CD
Elektra (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $9.99
A sweet little record that draws plenty from a double-headed power team – Ernie Watts on reeds, and the mighty Wayne Henderson on production! The album may well be one of the best that Watts ever cut – a set that's not nearly as polished or commercial as his later 80s efforts – and which has that wonderfully soulful flow that Henderson brought to his best records of the time! Charts are full, but loosely grooving too – in the best sort of 70s Fantasy Records mode – and Ernie sounds wonderful in the territory as his work on various saxes glide alongside the rhythms, keyboards, and occasional chorus vocals. Titles include "Just Holdin On", "Makin Music", "Let's Sail Away", and "Beyond The Cosmic Void Suite". CD

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