A seminal set of grooves – two Headhunters classics on a single set! First up is Survival Of The Fittest – a landmark bit of jazz funk from one of the greatest backup groups of the 70s! Herbie Hancock first brought The Headhunters to light – working with the San Francisco-based combo that included Bennie Maupin, Mike Clark, Paul Jackson, and Bill Summers – using their sound to give his work the right dose of funk it needed to reach new audiences during the decade. This album's the first to feature the group on their own, without Herbie – and if we don't mind saying so, they sound even better without him! The whole thing's a wonderful mix of jazz funk grooves and very unusual rhythms – and the record contains the monster full length version of "God Make Me Funky", which is 9 minutes and 35 seconds of non stop funk, plus the cuts "If You've Got It, You'll Get It", "Magic", and "Here & Now". Straight From The Gate is a killer – and the album's much more of a solid soul effort than the group's debut! The vocals are better, with more of a feel for the lyrics – and the songs themselves are a great mix of funk and smooth soul. There's still plenty of tight jamming and cool electronics – and the group still includes Mike Clark, Bennie Maupin,and Paul Jackson. Includes the sample cut "I Remember I Made You Cry", plus "Pork Soda", "Dreams", "Straight From The Gate", and "Mayonnaise". CD
Some of the warmest grooves we've heard so far from Osunlade – a beautiful selection of tracks that work perfectly together – almost as if the artist himself had a hand in their creation! The tracks follow strongly in the vein of organic house that Osunlade's always brought us – but they also seem to have a special sort of glow here – one that's more subtle, but still rhythmically bold – never too over the top in the way the instrumentation glides along, with especially great work on keyboards. Most tracks are instrumental – and titles include "Disconnected Thoughts" by Andrew Soul, "Sunspot" by Steven Tang, "Build Her" by Professor Delacroix, "Late Night Thinking" by Estroe, "Palm Leaves (Mr Fingers Afropshycojungledub inst)" by Gerd, "Atlanta" by Ananada Project, "Believe In Reflecting" by Roaming, and "Phantom" by Tomas Svensson. CD
A massive funky double-header – two great albums in a single package! First up is the self-titled album from Larry Young's Fuel – quite possibly the greatest Larry Young album of the post-Blue Note years – and a massive bit of funk that totally redefines his sound! Larry's working here with his hip group Fuel – an ensemble that features Laura Logan on lead vocals, giving the tunes a real focus through her lyrics – and letting them pack a bit more punch too, since her voice sounds a lot like Betty Davis at the time! Larry's keyboards are forceful, but never too over the top – and he's notched things down a bit to focus on the overall groove of the set – still keeping things adventurous on the keys, but also working in a mode that's much more heavily jazz funk! The album's one of THE essential electric jazz sets of the 70s – and features the classic break cut "Turn Out the Lights" – plus other great tracks that include "Floating", "Fuel for the Fire", "I Ching", "H+J=B (Hustle + Jam = Bread)" and "New York Electric Street Music". Spaceball is funky fusion in a runaway spaceship – the second album by Larry Young's cosmic heavy Fuel ensemble! The album's a perfect batch of jazzy keyboard grooves in a tradition that includes Lonnie Liston Smith, Johnny Hammond, and Charles Earland during his Mercury years – with Larry on moog, organ, Hammond B-3, Fender Rhodes, and other cool keyboards – grooving with a sound that ranges from fast and choppy to sweet and spacious. Julius Brockington also plays a lot of funky keys on the set next to Larry, and although a few tracks have vocals, the real focus here is on the instrumentation. Titles include "Startripper", "Message From Mars", "Moonwalk", "Sticky Wicket", and "Flytime". His last album, and a nice bit of far-reaching funk! CD
Akira Sakata —
Pochi ... CD Denon (Japan), 1980. New Copy ...
A gem of a record from the legendary Akira Sakata – one of the most soulful, spiritual saxophonists on the Japanese scene – a player who may well be their equivalent to Albert Ayler or Archie Shepp! This beautiful album from 1980 really shows Sakata coming into his own – blowing with a sense of freedom that's never too loose – always directed by some sort of inner spirit that shapes his notes and their path, with a mixture of the searing and contemplative passages we'd expect from both Ayler or Shepp. The material was all recorded on the First Appearance Tour of Sakata's trio with Hiroshi Yoshino on bass and Nobuo Fujii on drums – and titles include "Cho Cho", "Guzura In Wonderland", "R2 Strange Island", "Do In", and "Strange Island". CD