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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Johnny LetmanDefinitive Black & Blue Sessions – Funky Day In Paris ... CD
Black & Blue (France), 1968. New Copy ... $11.99
One of the best soul jazz sides on the Black & Blue label – a great late 60s session from trumpeter Johnny Letman – one of a number of older American expatriates in Paris! Although Letman worked with Horace Henderson, Count Basie, and Cab Calloway, he really didn't make many recordings as a leader – but he really shines on this laidback session – blowing in a mellow and open-ended way that reminds us of some of the Prestige/Swingville sides of the early 60s. The group here includes Hal Singer on tenor, Tiny Grimes on guitar, and Milt Bucker on piano and organ – and titles include "Funky Day In Paris", "Po Man's Blues", and "On A Persian Market". The CD also features 2 bonus tracks by a trio with Bucker on piano and organ – "Tea For Two", and "Aujourd'hui In Paris". CD

Partial matches502
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Ivan LinsAwa Yio ... CD
Reprise (Japan), 1991. New Copy ... $14.99
A record cut at a time when Brazilian singer Ivan Lins was enjoying a great wave of international fame – a moment that resulted in music that almost had him reaching out as a majestic singer, able to inspire the whole world at once, rather than just the mainstream audiences back home in Brazil! The set's got this quality that's very positive and uplifting – almost as if Lins is borrowing a bit from the production and arrangements that Milton Nascimento was using, but giving it a more personal twist with his excellent songwriting. And the whole thing's tight, but never slick – that careful balance that Brazilian artists could always reach, at a time when American singers would always sound too clunkily commercial. Ivan's voice is wonderful throughout – able to communicate volumes, even if you can't understand his language – and titles include "Pontas Cardeias", "Leva E Traz", "Clareou", "Awa Yio", and "Cru Cre Corroro". CD

Partial matches503
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Little Beaver & OthersLittle Beaver Songbook ... CD
TK/Shout (Japan), 1970s. Used ... $18.99
A heavy helping of Miami soul – all of it composed by Willie "Little Beaver" Hale, and performed by Beaver and some of his best contemporaries at TK Records! Little Beaver is easily one of our favorite artists from the 70s glory years of Miami soul – a hell of a singer, a great guitar player, and a wonderful songwriter who manages to balance rootsy modes with really personal reflections– at a level that comes off beautifully here even when Willie's not singing his own tunes! Tracks include lots of gems from the Cat, Glades, and Blue Candle label – with titles that include "Give A Helping Hand" by William Howard, "I've Got To See You Tonight" by Timmy Thomas, "Jealous Man" and "I Love The Way You Love" by Betty Wright, "Jimmy Bo Charlie" and "Tears Of The World" by Robert Moore, "Wish I Had A Girl Like You" by All The People, "He Don't Ever Lose His Groove" by Gwwen McCrae, "Don't Let It End This Way" by Betty Wright, and the tracks "Mama Forgot To Tell Me", "Don't Let It End This Way", "Katie Pearl", "Joey", "Night Girl Blue", "Miami Girl", "Ain't No Time", and "I Love The Way You Love" by Little Beaver himself! CD
(Out of print, includes obi.)

Partial matches504
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Little Willie JohnEarly King Sessions – 1955 to 1957 ... CD
King/Ace (UK), Mid 50s. New Copy ... $11.99 18.99
Some of the most soulful sounds of the 50s – served up here by an artist who was a huge influence on the sound of James Brown! Little Willie John sprung into the King Records studios of the mid 50s as a talent who was already way more towering than his "little" stature might indicate – a singer who could belt out a tune with the best of the R&B generation, but also step into a soul number with the kind of gospel-influenced style that so many others wouldn't discover for a few more years! He had charm and charisma, but also a nice undercurrent of danger, too – all of which comes through beautifully in this run of 24 early recordings for King – some hits, some overlooked gems, and all titles that still thrill us tremendously after all these years. Titles include "Fever", "Home At Last", "Don't Leave Me Dear", "Uh Uh Baby", "Dinner Date", "Person To Person", "Will The Sun Shine Tomorrow", "Suffering With The Blues", "My Nerves", "Do Something For Me", "Letter From My Darling", "Young Girl", "I've Got To Cry", "If I Thought You Needed Me", and "Love Life & Money". CD

Partial matches505
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Julie LondonJulie Is Her Name/Julie Is Her Name Vol 2 ... CD
Liberty/EMI, Late 50s. Used ... $9.99
A landmark album in 50s vocal jazz – spare, moody, and evocative tunes from Julie London – sung in a stripped-down setting that few other singers would dare at the time! The sound of the set is as sexy as the cover – intimate, personal, and breathily sung in a mode that comes across with a brashly adult presentation of the material. Backing only features Barney Kessel on guitar and Ray Leatherwood on bass – leaving Julie plenty of room to take over the record with her vocals – a real masterpiece of understatement, given the setting! Titles include her famous version of "Cry Me A River" – virtually THE version of the tune – plus "I Should Care", "Say It Isn't So", "Gone With The Wind", "Laura", and "Can't Help Loving That Man". Volume 2 is a lesser-known follow-up to Julie London's classic Julie Is Her Name album. The approach here is similar to the first set – with Howard Roberts backing up Julie's vocals, in a style that's quite similar to that used by Barney Kessel the first time around. Red Mitchell's bass is really the only other instrumentation – and the spareness of the set is stunning – with a nakedness that gets past even Julie's heavy turtleneck on the cover! Titles include "If I'm Lucky", "Little White Lies", "Hot Toddy", "Blue Moon", "Goody Goody", and "Spring Is Here". CD

Partial matches506
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Reggie LucasSurvival Themes ... CD
East Wind (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $13.99
A very nice set of Japanese fusion tracks cut by guitarist Reggie Lucas, with nice electric backing by Hubert Eaves on keyboard, Michael Henderson on bass, and other acoustic players like Mtume, John Stubblefield, and Clifford Adams. The set was recorded by East Wind in Japan, and the best cuts on here have that nice smooth fusion sound that graced their releases in this vein from the 70's. Lucas hits some excellent grooves with a warm sweeping feel, punctuated by tight solos with lots of blue notes, and these cuts include "Tender Years", "The Barefoot Song", and "Slewfoot". The "Survival Themes" suite is a bit more "out", and less to our liking, but there's more than enough good moments on the other cuts! CD

Partial matches507
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Maria LuizaJazz In Bossa/Bossa In Jazz ... CD
Coqueiro (Brazil), 2016. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
The title's no lie, as the set features sounds in both of the different modes – a bit of jazz here, inflected with bossa rhythms – some bossa nova there, but given an especially jazzy take – thanks to the mighty talents of Roberto Menescal, who produced the record, arranged the tracks, and gives support on guitar in the small combo on the album! The set's got a bit more depth than some of Menescal's recent sessions with female vocalists – possibly thanks to Maria Luiza, who's not afraid to really stretch out a note, and bring a personal sort of inflection to the music – at a level that really just pushes past some of the lighter cliches of modern bossa production. Titles include "Old Devil Moon", "Voce", "The Way You Look Tonight", "Pela Luz Dos Olhos Teus", "Lullaby Of Birdland", "Ate Quem Sabe", "Fotografia", and "Preciso Aprender A Ser So". CD

Partial matches508
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Carmen LundyChanges ... CD
Afrasia, 2012. New Copy ... $14.99 16.98
A wonderful record from Carmen Lundy – filled with original compositions, and recorded with a really solid jazz-based backing! The set's a great reminder of why Lundy is one of our favorite jazz singers ever – one of the few who continue to hold true to their original promise over the years, and keep developing their craft as time goes by – really honing in on all the aspects that first made them great, and finding a way to push them even farther! Lundy's vocals are wonderful – fluid, soulful, and instantly captivating – with a power that goes way beyond standard jazz vocalizations – and the lyrics are personal and expressive, but with a righteous vibe too – which keeps them from ever being too familiar, or too cliched. Simply put, Carmen's got a way of putting over a song that just about nobody else can ever touch – and she really can't miss here, with help from Anthony Wonsey on piano and Fender Rhodes, Nolan Shaheed on trumpet, Oscar Castro Neves on guitar, and George Bohannon on trombone. Titles include "So Beautiful", "Love Thy Neighbor", "Too Late For Love", "Sleeping Alone", "Where Love Surrounds Us", and "Dance The Dance". CD

Partial matches509
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Johnny LytleHappy Ground (Muse) ... LP
Muse, 1991. Very Good+ ... $14.99
One of the few later Johnny Lytle LPs to maintain his classic vibes/organ/congas sound of his earlier years – in this case recorded with David Braham on organ and Sammy Figueroa on congas. As the title might imply, the LP features a remake of Lytle's classic "Happy Ground". Other highlights include a great version of Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower" and a moody take on "A Child Is Born". The LP also includes performances by Melvin Sparks and Houston Person, who give the set a nice soul jazz grounding! LP, Vinyl record album

Partial matches510
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Willie MabonChicago 1963 ... LP
America (France), 1963/Early 70s. Near Mint- ... $11.99
French-only issue of early 60s recordings from blues singer and pianist Willie Mabon – recorded in Chicago in 1963 (hence the title) with backing from the band of Burgess Gardner, who we mostly know from funky 45s! The sound of the recording's a bit rough, but in a nice way that almost brings an undercurrent of funk to the tunes. Other players include Earl Crossley on tenor, John Cameron on tenor, and Billy The Kid Emerson on organ – and titles include "Some More", "Too Hot To Handle", "That's No Big Thing", "Ruby's Monkey", and "I'm Hungry". LP, Vinyl record album
(Original French pressing! Cover has an unglued top seam.)

Partial matches511
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Ralph MacDonaldPath ... CD
Marlin/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $23.99
One of percussionist Ralph MacDonald's best albums of the late 70s – and one of the few on his own, given how many other records he played on! The set's a complicated mix of jazz, soul, and a variety of rootsier elements – and MacDonald shows a lot of sides of his personality here – stretching out in the ambitious "The Path" suite, which takes up all of side one, then hitting some more laidback jazz funk on the shorter tracks on side two. "The Path" traces a wide development of percussion – from African styled drumming on the intro, to some tighter clubbier jazz funk by the Bamboo Steel Band on later passages. Side two features a great percussive jammer called "It Feels So Good" – done with almost a Latin Jazz feel, and some sweet electric piano – plus the tracks "Smoke Rings & Wine", "I Cross My Heart", and "If I'm Still Around Tomorrow". CD

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