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Close matches: 326
Close matches1
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Isao TomitaCaptain Ultra ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1967. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Very early work by Isao Tomita – some unusual space-age soundtracks, done in the years before his greater electronic fame! The music here is everything you'd expect from the cover – a great retro-future sort of style, and one that uses conventional soundtrack instrumentation, but with lots of odd twists and turns, weird effects, and more – all to create a cool space-driven batch of tracks! At times, the music is almost like that of Peter Thomas in his 60s space age mode – but at other points, things are moodier too – quite dark, with electronics bubbling under acoustic instrumentation in a very spooky way. The 2CD set features a whopping 90 tracks in all – all with Japanese titles – a heck of a deal at this price! CD

Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Pepper AdamsJulian (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $16.99
Genius work from Pepper Adams – one of those players we sometimes forget about, then drop the needle on a record like this and fall in love with his music all over again! Adams blows baritone sax like nobody else – with a sensitivity that you'd normally hear on tenor, and a mix of modes that should have made him one of the most respected saxophonists of his generation – something that maybe didn't happen because of his unusual horn! Yet although big, there's nothing heavy about the way Pepper handles his horn – as you'll hear especially on the few ballads – and as usual for Adams, his choice of a group is great too – a sharp lineup with Walter Norris on piano, George Mraz on bass, and Makaya Ntshoko on drums. Titles include "Julian", "Ad Astra", "Jirge", "Spacemaker", and "Three & One". CD features two bonus tracks – "Time On My Hands" and "Lady Luck". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

Close matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Nat AdderleyGood Company ... CD
Challenge/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1994. New Copy ... $16.99
The legendary Nat Adderley is definitely in good company here – a group with excellent work on alto from Antonio Hart – a player who comes off in a very different way than the famous alto of Nat's late brother, Cannonball! Antonio seems to open up some nicely dark currents in Adderley's music – underscored by the piano work of Rob Bargard, who can do a great job of shading things in from below – while the whole group moves with great rhythm work from the team of Walter Booker on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums. Tunes include two great Bargard originals – "Rob's New Tune" and "War Zone" – plus versions of "Rwanda", "Sermonette", "Corcovado", and "Unit Seven". CD
(Part of the "Timeless Jazz Syndicate" series!)

Close matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Shoji AketagawaAt The Babel ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1985. New Copy ... $18.99
Two beautiful long tracks from Japanese pianist Shoji Aketagawa – recording here with just he bass of Hiroshi Yoshino for accompaniment – in a style that mixes some of the deeper tones of Shoji's straighter records with an approach that's maybe looser and more improvised overall! Parts of the album almost feel as if Cecil Taylor were trying to step into Erroll Garner territory – hitting moody ballads, but breaking out with freer moments on the keys – while others are maybe a bit warmer, and have some of that unusual full piano resonance that always makes these Aketa's Disk recordings by Aketagawa sound so different than most other Japanese piano recordings of the period. The set features two long tracks, both nice and open! CD

Close matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Shoji AketagawaFly Me To The Moon ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Mid 70s. New Copy ... $18.99
An indie piano jazz treasure from the Japanese scene of the 70s – originally issued on the Aketa's Disk record, and with a sound that's a bit different than some of the bigger-label piano trio albums of the time! There's a real edge here – a harder sound on Aketagawa's keys than some of his contemporaries, even though things are relatively straight and swinging – as if Shoji knows the farther reaches of the avant spectrum, and manages to fold them into long, open groovers with the help of a trio that features Koichi Yamazaki on bass and Takashi Miyasaka on drums! Shoji also vocalizes a bit behind his piano – not singing, but kind of the energetic sounds that you'd hear from better-known pianists, like Erroll Garner or Keith Jarrett – in a similar tradition of enthusiasm along with their work on the keys. Titles include "Aketa's Blues", "Fly Me To The Moon", "There Is No Greater Love", and "Obachama Ote O Douzo". CD

Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Shoji AketagawaSoto Wa Ii Tenki ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $18.99
A rare treasure from the Aketa's Disk label – one of the hipper Japanese jazz imprints of the 70s, and a great showcase here for the mighty piano talents of Shoji Aketagawa! There's something very unusual about the piano that Shoji is playing here – as it's got a tonal quality that almost feels like an old upright, but a wider scope of sound that you'd here from a grand piano – a very resonant vibe that seems to encompass many different strands of jazz at once, both older and modern, with a flair that maybe evokes the similar spirit of Jaki Byard – but which, in Aketagawa's hands, comes across with very personal results. CD

Close matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Shoji AketagawaYamazaki Blues ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $18.99
A slightly different album than usual from pianist Shoji Aketagawa, but one that still follows strongly in the best tradition of his offbeat gems for the Aketa's Disk label! This set has Shoji co-credited on piano and vocals – the latter of which aren't really sung lyrics, but maybe more sub-verbal expressions done alongside his bold work on the piano – almost an expansion of the kind of grunts you'd hear on older recordings by Erroll Garner, but taken into an even more pronounced position – so that they're often strong enough to become part of the melodic makeup of the tune! The group also features bass from Koichi Yamazaki, and drums from Takashi Miyasaka and Kenichi Kameyama – on titles that include "African Dream", "Footprints", "Yamazaki Blues", "Kameyama Blues", and "Dear Old Stockholm". CD

Close matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Gene AmmonsGene Ammons In Sweden ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $14.99
An album issued after the untimely early death of tenorist Gene Ammons, but one that features the player working in a nicely relaxed live setting – one that really shows the transformation of his instrument since his famous late 50s/early 60s records on Prestige! Gene's horn here seems to have more of an edge, more of a bite, even on the mellower numbers – which open up in this slow-building formation that's very much in the best Chicago tenor legacy, and which maybe ties Ammons a lot more closely to contemporary Von Freeman than some of the more tightly-produced that were issued in the US during his final years. The mighty Horace Parlan is in the quartet, and gets plenty of space too – alongside Red Mitchell on bass and Ed Jones on drums –on titles that include "Ahus Jazz", "Lover Man", "There Is No Greater Love", and "Billie's Bounce". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Average White Band & Ben E KingBenny & Us (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Atlantic/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $13.99
Ben E King joins the Average White Band for this sweet 70s set – a killer record that not only stands as one of King's best efforts of the decade, but one that also gives the group a great new frontman! Ben's not the only singer on the record, but his presence here can definitely be felt – deepening up the grooves nicely, and giving the already-great AWB sound an even more badass feel! Titles include the classic "Star In The Ghetto", a funky remake of "What Is Soul", an earlier hit for King – plus "Keepin It To Myself", "Imagine", "Someday We'll All Be Free", "Get It Up For Love", and "The Message". CD features bonus tracks – original single versions of "Star In The Ghetto" and "Get It Up For Love". CD

Close matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Celi BeeBlow My Mind ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $22.99
Celi Bee picks up a few 80s touches for this album – mixing her usual disco groove with some slight Eruo electro touches – adding in a nice dose of darkness to the set! Celi's still got an undeniably strong talent for a catchy tune – the kind of vibe that first made us fall in love with her music during the TK years – and even amidst some colder keyboards here, she still comes across with plenty of charm – a sing-song way of hitting the lyrics that makes even simple, silly words kind of groovy. This approach is heard to great effect on the track "Donkey Donkey" – and on other tunes that include "It's Love", "Blow My Mind", "Dancin Nuts", and "Love Drops". CD

Close matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Richard Beirach with Terumasa Hino & Yoshiaki MasuoZal – In Duet With Terumasa Hino & Yoshiaki Masuo ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $22.99
One of the most beautiful albums of the 70s from pianist Richie Beirach – and in saying that, we don't mean to insult the rest of his other great American work! This set was done in Japan, and it's maybe one of Beirach's most obscure of the decade – but it's also a really special session that features the pianist in combination with two different musicians – guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo on side one, and trumpeter Terumasa Hino on side two – each artists whose contributions bring out a slightly different side of Beirach's sound! The guitar on side one highlights some of those spacious, airy notes that Richie brought to his beautiful ECM sides of the period – while Hino's use of both trumpet and flugelhorn emphasizes some of the darker tones of the piano, but in ways that are completely different than Beirach's work with Dave Liebman. One title is also just solo piano – and titles include "Yesterdays", "Mavrodaphne", "Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair", "Zal", and "What Is This Thing Called Love". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Richie BeirachElegy For Bill Evans ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1981. New Copy ... $22.99
Superb work from pianist Richie Beirach – a set that's dedicated to Bill Evans, and which certainly embraces some of the key numbers in his songbook – but which also has that even more spacious sound that Beirach was bringing to his trio dates in the 70s! Richie's sense of timing and tone are fantastic – doing so much with so little, that Evans would have been pleased – although again, Beirach is hardly borrowing straight from Bill's style. Also fantastic is bassist George Mraz, whose way of inflecting notes and measuring color and mood almost rival the role of Eddie Gomez when playing with Evans – all balanced nicely by the work of Al Foster on drums, who's at his most subtle here. Titles include "Blue In Green", "Nardis", "Peace Pipe", "Spring Is Here", "Solar", and "In Your Own Sweet Way". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Karl Berger with Masahiko SatoWith Silence ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $16.99
There's nothing silent here – as the album's one of the most biting 70s albums we've heard from vibist Karl Berger – an album that's relatively free overall, and which features some fantastic work by Masahiko Sato on piano! Sato really seems to bring out the darker tones in Berger's vibes, and his sometimes use of marimbas – really wonderful hues that are especially compelling when the whole group takes off for a long free run of improvisation! Other players include Allen Blairman on drums and Adelhard Roidinger on bass – and titles include "From Now On", "With Silence", "Get Up", and "The Only One Of Its Kind In My Garden". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

Close matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Billion Dollar BandBillion Dollar Band ... CD
Good Sounds/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $13.99
One of the coolest records to come from the TK Records Miami soul empire of the 70s – and one of the few that was ever issued on their tiny Good Sounds subsidiary! We know little about the group, but the approach here is great – kind of all the strengths of the usual TK/Criteria Studios groove, but taken to a sharper, tighter edge – with maybe less of the obvious try for commercial crossover that some of the label's other material might have. The tunes are a mix of uptempo grooves and mellower soul, and mostly avoid the more standard disco approaches of the time – which leaves these guys to stand out almost like they've emerged from the funky 45 scene with a bunch of great tracks, only to disappear in the shifting sands of time! Titles include "Get In The Groove", "I Like Whatcha' Doin", "Our Love", "Money Don't Grow On Trees", and "Love's Sweet Notions". CD

Close matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Jo BissoLove Somebody ... CD
Marlin/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $22.99
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

Close matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
BlowflyButterfly ... CD
Weird World/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Mid 70s. New Copy ... $11.99
The raunchy one is at it again – serving up funky, filthy, and funny parodies of 70s soul and pop songs with more than enough bad language to make even the most street hip hopper turn red! The band is nice and tight on most of the tracks, grooving hard with a funky wah-wah sound underneath Blow's freaky comedy bits – and providing the funk that really makes the album work, because we'd hate to imagine it without the music! Titles include "Suck Train", "Rap Dirty", "Juice It Up", "Niggaz Ain't Sh*t", "Neither One Of Us", and "Easter Bunny". CD
(Part of the Miami Sound – Original Soul/Funk/Disco Collection series!)

Close matches17
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Hamilton BohannonBrunswick Complete Singles Collection ... CD
Brunswick/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Early 70s. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
Killer cuts from the legendary Hamilton Bohannon – an artist who first broke big on the Brunswick label with a really unique approach to a groove! Bohannon's cuts were always funky, but never straight funk – and instead, he had this minimalist way of layering together elements that was definitely a huge influence on later disco and club – but heard here in a style that's much more raw and down to earth! The package offers up 23 tracks that come from 45s that Bohannon did for the Brunswick label – some of which have different mixes, and all of which are razor-sharp groovers that are sure to please any fan of funk. Titles include "Run It On Down Mr DJ (parts 1 & 2)", "Come Winter", "Happy Feeling", "Gittin Off", "Have A Good Day", "Bohannon's Beat", "East Coast Groove", "The Fat Man", "Red Bone", "Truck Stop", "Stop & Go", "Save Their Souls", and "The Pimp Walk". CD

Close matches18
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Dollar BrandAfrican Sketchbook ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1969. New Copy ... $16.99
Spare, solo, and incredibly haunting work from Dollar Brand – recorded in Germany in 1969, and featuring Brand on both flute and piano, playing a set of 14 original compositions designed to provide small sketches of his African homeland. The mood of the work is less sprightly than some of his compositions for larger groups, and carries with it the tone of exile, an extra layer of sadness that gives a real emotional depth to the music. Titles include "Salaam – Peace – Hamba Khale", "Slave Bell", "The Stride", "Tokai", "The Dream", and "The Aloe & The Wildrose". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

Close matches19
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim)Dollar Brand At Montreux ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $16.99
Extremely solid live work from Dollar Brand – playing here before a very enthusiastic crowd at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1980! The group is especially nice – a tight quintet with Carlos Ward on flute and alto, Craig Harris on trombone, Andre Strobert on drums, and Alonzo Gardner on electric bass. The use of electric bass gives the set a nice romping groove – driven onward by the freedom of the live setting, and by the very strong response of the crowd – making for some great long tracks that sparkle with Brand's unique South African jazz approach. Titles include "Ishmael", "The Perfumed Forest Wet With Rain", "Whoza Mtwana", and "The Homecoming Song". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

Close matches20
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Anthony BraxtonTown Hall 1972 ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $22.99
Seminal work from Anthony Braxton – a crucial concert recorded at Town Hall in the early 70s – originally only issued in Japan, but a date that's ended up getting some real global attention over the years! The first half of the set features Braxton's alto in a trio with Dave Holland on bass and Phil Wilson on percussion – working in lots of open, angular space – on two very long readings of Braxton compositions "Composition 6N" and "Composition 6(O)" – plus an incredible take on "All The Things You Are" – done around the time Braxton had recorded some straighter material, but really pushed outside here by the trio! The second half of the set features work by a quintet – still with Dave Holland on bass, but also a Circle appearance by Barry Altschul on drums, plus John Stubblefield on tenor, flute, and bass clarinet – and even Jeanne Lee on vocals. Braxton plays a number of horns – alto and soprano sax, flute, bass clarinet, b-flat clarinet – and even some percussion – and the group play one long track, "Composition 6", in two parts. CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches21
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
James BrownSoul Syndrome ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $22.99
A rare TK Records effort from James Brown – very much in the best uptempo funk mode of the later Polydor years! The groove here is quite similar to those better-known efforts – grooves that are a bit quicker than a few years before, but still played in a core JB funky style – live and lively, with plenty of emphasis on the rhythms! Brown often referred to his style here as disco, but it's a lot more like some of the P-Funk progressions of the period – a mode that's more polished than a grittier funky generation, yet far from smooth club or disco overall. There's plenty of choppy little groovers that make the record great – and titles include the long cut "Rapp Payback", plus "Funky Men", "Smokin & Drinkin", "Stay With Me", and "Mashed Potatoes". CD
(Part of the Miami Sound – Original Soul/Funk/Disco Collection series!)

Close matches22
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
California Three (Dwight Dickerson)Windows ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $22.99
A really great group – one that we've never seen under this name before, but which features familiar names Dwight Dickerson on piano and Donald Bailey on drums, plus bass from Harvey Newmark! The album's got all the lyrical charm and sparkle of Dickerson's best from the time – a really soulful, fluid record that certainly shows the growing changes in west coast modes – maybe hence the group's name – with that subtle spirit that really marked some of Dwight's key contributions during the 70s. Titles include "Windows", "Solar", "Yesterdays", "Body & Soul", "Blue Monk", and "Freedom Jazz Dance". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches23
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
CollageShine The Light (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Constellation/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1985. New Copy ... $14.99
Fantastic funky soul from the prime years of the jheri curl scene on the west coast – served up by a group who are maybe a more electro-styled combo than their labelmates The Whispers and Lakeside! Collage are even heavier on the basslines and keyboards than on the previous record – really going for that special Cali take on street soul modes that were first bubbling up on the east coast – maybe classing things up a bit, especially with the kind of strengths the Solar/Constellation label brings to the table! Titles include their classic "Romeo Where's Juliet" – plus "Kickin It", "Winners & Losers", "Shine The Light", "In the Mix", and "Here & Now". CD features bonus tracks – "Romeo Where's Juliet (12" radio)", "Romeo Where's Juliet (12" dub)", and "Winners & Losers (single)". CD
(Part of the Solar Records Original Master Collection series!)
Also available Shine The Light ... LP 9.99

Close matches24
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Hank Crawford & Calvin NewbornCenterpiece ... CD
Versatile/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $22.99
A nice little collaboration between saxophonist Hank Crawford and guitarist Calvin Newborn – a record that turns out to be one of the best from both players for the time! Crawford's managed to shake off some of the hoke of his earlier records – and although his sound here isn't earth-shattering, it's a lot fresher than it might be – with a laidback use of the alto that's augmented by some especially nice Fender Rhodes, as part of Hank's growing talents on the keyboard. Crawford also arranged and produced, but Newborn still gets in plenty of space too – using some bluesier licks to bring in an earthier tone, while still also staying in the smoother feel of the record. Titles include a remake of "Breezin", plus "Centerpiece", "Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You", "I Can't Stand It", "I Had A Dream", and "Frame For The Blues". CD
(Part of the "Versatile: Find Out Fusion" series!)

Close matches25
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Ted CursonFireball (aka Trio) ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $22.99
A fantastic, freewheeling session from trumpeter Ted Curson – one that we'd rank right up there with his seminal sides for the French Futura label! Like those, this album really features Ted stretching things out – working in very loose trio formation, with just Ray Drummond on bass and Roy Haynes on drums – on these open-ended tunes that still swing with plenty of soul, even without any other instrumentation. Curson's horn is great – blown beautifully, and filled with spirit – and some numbers have him really reaching out with his sound, in ways that may well make the date one of Ted's most adventurous since the 60s! Titles include classic Curson tunes "Quicksand" and "Straight Ice" – plus "Round Midnight", "Snake Johnson", "Pent Up House", and "Wave". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches26
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Rein De GraaffNow Is The Time ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 2002. New Copy ... $16.99
A great selection of material from the sometimes overlooked Dutch pianist Rein DeGraaf – a player who's been making great music since the 60s – and who's heard here on a series of recordings from 1972 up through 2002! We're not sure, but we think all the cuts on this set are exclusive to the album – and showcase the way that Rein can easily slide in with all-star hornmen – a quality that made him very much in-demand for accompanying overseas visitors on the Dutch scene – as you'll hear here, amidst reed work from players who include Charlie Rouse, Bud Shank, Ferdinand Povel, James Clay, Bob Cooper, Herb Geller, and Dexter Gordon! Rhythm players vary – although drummer Eric Ineke is on most numbers – and there's also a few beautiful duets as well. Titles include "Now Is The Time", "I Want To Be Happy", "Out Of Nowhere", "Eternal Triangle", "We'll Be Together Again", and "Days Of Wine & Roses". CD

Close matches27
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Buddy Defranco featuring Gordie FlemingWaterbed ... CD
Choice/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $13.99
A really cool 70s album from reedman Buddy DeFranco – and one that resonates strongly with some of his groovy 60s work with Gumina! As with those records, this one features both clarinet and accordion – the former by Buddy, the latter by Gordie Fleming – used here in a match that's surprisingly strong all the way through, with this great blend of sharper tones and warmer colors – augmented by electric bass work from Michel Donato, and work on drums by Peter Magadini! The accordion has all these cool chromatic elements – similar to the way the instrument could be recorded at its best by the MPS label – and titles include "The Dreaded Lergy", "Uncle Horsley Writhes Again", "Waterbed", "Sunnyside Beach", and "Lush Life". CD
Also available Waterbed ... LP 9.99

Close matches28
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bob DegenChildren Of The Night ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $16.99
Pianist Bob Degen is great here – but the record shines equally from the contributions of the great Terumasa Hino – who plays cornet throughout, and really puts a bold sort of sparkle on the record! In truth, the whole group is great – a quartet that also features Cameron Brown on bass and Motohiko Hino on drums – and there's a soaring, positive energy to the record that really stands as one of Degen's strongest statements on wax – a tremendous session that also features two originals by the leader, and two more by Hino – played with nonstop creative energy throughout! Titles include "Blues For Hall", "Sun Dive", "Children Of The Night", and "Neged". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

Close matches29
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Rein De Graaff – Dick Vennick QuartetModal Soul ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. Used ... $16.99
The Dutch jazz scene had plenty to offer back in the 70s – not just the better-remembered avant jazz from big free jazz musicians, but also some great straight ahead material too! This album's a key set from that wonderful time – and features a combo led by pianist Rein DeGraaf and reedman Dick Vennik – a great player who blows tenor, soprano sax, and flute on the record – with a depth of feeling that has us wondering why he never scored bigger fame on this side of the Atlantic. Even the mellower moments have a nice sort of bite – and rhythms are from Koos Serierse on bass and Eric Ineke on drums – on titles that include the stunning 13 minute title track "Modal Soul", plus "Short Rainbow", "Sweet Basil", "Detour Ahead", and "Lonely Hunter". CD
(Out of print, includes obi.)

Close matches30
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Jack DeJohnetteJackeyboard ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $22.99
Jack DeJohnette is a hell of a drummer, and he's also a hell of a pianist too – a side of Jack's talents that isn't always shown on record, and which has maybe never been as well-recorded as on this fantastic Japanese session from the 70s! DeJohnette has a spiritual, long-building approach to the piano here – almost like Stanley Cowell on Strata East, but with his own flavors too – and the final track of the album features Jack on melodica, an instrument he handles in a different way, but with an equally compelling approach. The trio here features George Ohtsuka on the drum kit and Mitsukaki Furuno on bass – on four long tracks, "McCoy's Tune", "Fun Calypso", "Jack's Blues", and "Minority Blues". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches31
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Eric DolphyBerlin Concerts ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1961. New Copy ... $16.99
Wonderful work by Dolphy – as essential to his catalog as any of his albums on Prestige from the same time! Although Dolphy broke plenty of musical barriers in the studio, to our ears, it was always in a live setting that he sounded best – freely exploring the kind of space his playing opened up, hitting notes that were more soulful and spiritual than many that he ever recorded on his studio sides. This set is a perfect example of that trend – as Dolphy's working here with a strong straight jazz combo, one that includes the great Benny Bailey on trumpet, in a set that features familiar tunes, turned into haunting explorations of Dolphy's new jazz idiom. One of the highlights is an incredible 15 minute version of Randy Weston's "Hi Fly", with Dolphy doing great work on flute – and other tunes include "Hot House", "Geewee", "When Lights Are Low", "I'll Remember April", and "The Meeting". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches32
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
8th Day8th Day (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $9.99
The first album by 8th Day – a record with a bit of a complicated pedigree, but a massive amount of 70s Detroit soul as well! The set was supposedly compiled to cash in on the group's hit single "She's Not Just Another Woman" – reportedly recorded by 100 Proof Aged In Soul, but issued under the name 8th Day, so that it wouldn't compete with the group's other hits on the charts! But after that cut took off, Holland-Dozier-Holland needed a group to back it up, so they assembled some lesser-known, but strong, Detroit soul talents to record this album. Unlike the group's second album, which is a much funkier affair overall, this one sounds a lot like 100 Proof – with a raspy southern-tinged soul approach, filtered through some tighter, more full-on HDH arrangements that really give the whole thing a great sort of punch! A great album if you dig the Invictus/Hot Wax soul sound – and titles include "I'm Worried", "Enny Meeny Miny Mo", "You've Got To Crawl Before You Walk", "Just As Long", and "She's Not Just Another Woman". Features the bonus tracks "She's Not Just Another Woman (single)", "Eeny Meeny Miny Mo (inst)", "If I Could See The Light In The Window", and "If I Could See The Light In The Window (inst)". CD
Also available 8th Day (180 gram pressing) ... LP 16.99

Close matches33
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Booker ErvinLament For Booker Ervin ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1965/1975. New Copy ... $16.99
A compelling split album – both a performance by and a tribute to the legendary tenorist Booker Ervin – issued after his death, but also featuring a rare European performance from the 60s as well! The album features one long track by Booker – "Blues For You" – recorded in 1965 at the Berlin Jazz Festival, with a quartet that includes Kenny Drew on piano, NIels Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass, and Alan Dawson on drums – and the piece spans both sides of the LP, and is much more open-ended than any of Booker's studio recordings from the time – which has him hitting a free intensity of tone that's similar to some of the live sides he clocked with Charles Mingus. The album also features the tune "Lament For Booker", a haunting piano piece played by Horace Parlan, recorded in 1975 – dedicated to Ervin, who's passed at an early age by the time of the recording. CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

Close matches34
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Europe Jazz All Stars (Surman/Humair/Mangelsdorff/Louiss/Pedersen)Room 1220 ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $22.99
An overlooked performance by a quintet of avant jazz masters from the European scene at the start of the 70s – one that was recorded and issued only over in Japan, but which bristles with the energy of some of the best French and German avant albums of the time! The tracks are long, and relatively free – and feature this incredible lineup of John Surman on baritone, Albert Mangelsdorff on trombone, Eddie Louiss on piano and organ, Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass, and Daniel Humair on drums – players who come together here with the kind of boundless surprises you'd imagine from their European recordings of the time – save maybe for Pedersen, who is surprisingly at home in this improvised setting! The cover makes the record feel like some lost gem on MPS – and the vibe is very much like the cream of that label's free jazz records of the time – with titles that include "Room 1220", "Triplet Circle", and "My Kind Of Beauty". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches35
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FantasiaSweet Sweet City Rhythm ... CD
Amazon/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $14.99
A 70s album on Miami's powerhouse TK Records – but a set that's got a real northeast pedigree, given that arrangements were handled by John Davis, and the whole thing was recorded at the New York branch of Sigma Sound! Peggy Santiglia handles the lead vocals, but many of the tracks are long-spun numbers in the best disco-suite mode – almost a record of 12" single cuts, but maybe a bit more concise! Davis is in prime form throughout – with modes that sometimes get a big funky in the best late 70s club tradition – and titles include "Fantasia/Carnival", "Sweet Sweet City Rhythm", "Go On And Dance To The Music", and "Alice Street". CD
(Part of the Miami Sound – Original Soul/Funk/Disco Collection series!)

Close matches36
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Tommy FlanaganBallads & Blues ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $16.99
A key 70s session from Tommy Flanagan – a record that showed that he was still one of the most fluid and soulful players of his generation! The album has Flanagan working only with the bass of George Mraz – in a drum-less format with even less structure than usual, a perfect setting for Tommy to stretch out, open up, and do his thing on the keys of the piano. There's still always a gentle swing and good focus to most tracks here – and Flanagan never gets too indulgent with the setting, even on the longer numbers. Titles include "Blue Twenty", "With Malice Towards None", "Blues For Sarka", "Star Eyes", and "They Say It's Spring". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

Close matches37
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Tommy FlanaganEclypso ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $16.99
A sweetly swinging seventies set from pianist Tommy Flanagan – one of those records that's a perfect balance between the bop-inspired dexterity of his work on the keyboard, and that undeniable warmth he always brought to his best recordings! Tommy's got maybe a bit more bite on the keys, especially when moving at a quicker pace – and backing is by George Mraz on bass, whose round tones emphasize the warmer elements, and Elvin Jones on drums – who may well be part of the reason for the bite! The set features a number of bop classic tunes – like "Oleo", "Confirmation", and "Relaxin At Camarillo" – plus the great title cut "Eclypso", and a moody reading of Tom McIntosh's excellent "The Cup Bearers". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches38
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FoxyHot Numbers (with bonus track) ... CD
Dash/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $9.99
Way more than disco, a bit different than funk, and a lot cooler than you might guess from the image on the cover – a stone classic from Miami groovers Foxy, and easily one of their best records ever! The set's nice and tight right from the start – not really disco, but more of a compressed approach to funk, with some surprising Latin touches too – especially in some of the percussion moments that really open up, creating a nice sense of energy to the record! The group have more than enough tightness to cross over to the AOR crowd, but they still keep things sharp on most tracks – and make the album real TK standard from the glory days. Titles include "Devil Boogie", "Hot Number", "Chicapbon Chicapbon", "Headhunter", "Lady", "Give Me That Groove", "Lady Of The Streets", and "Give Me A Break". CD features the bonus track "Call It Love". CD

Close matches39
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George FreemanMan & Woman ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. Used ... Just Sold Out!
One of the more laidback albums from George Freeman's early 70s run – but still a great little set that shows the mellower side of his talents! Despite the sexy style of the cover, the sound here is relatively straight soul jazz – small combo work with Harold Mabern on acoustic piano, Kenny Barron on electric piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass, and Buddy Williams on drums – all in support of Freeman's snakey guitar lines over the gentle rhythms and slinky grooves. George's sound is slightly less tripped-out than on other records, but still has that undeniable Freeman tone – a raspy edge that's quite different than most of his contemporaries! Titles include "I Ain't Got Nobody", "You've Changed", "Groovy Lady", "Squeeze Me", and "Till There Was You". CD
(2018 pressing, includes obi.)

Close matches40
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Ryo FukuiMellow Dream ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. Used ... $18.99
A well-titled album from Japanese pianist Ryo Fukui – one that's got a warm sense of flow that takes it well past conventional piano trio work! The group here features Fukui on piano, Satoshi Denpo on bass, and Yoshinori Fukui on drums – all working together beautifully as a unit – with a vibe set fire by Ryo's work on the keys, and a sense of imagination that makes even familiar tunes sound completely fresh. The whole thing's in the best Japanese piano tradition of the 70s – that wonderful new territory explored by key pianists like Fukui – with a sound that's open and free, but never avant either. Titles include "Mellow Dream", "Baron Potato Blues", "Horizon", "What's New", and "My Funny Valentine". CD reissue adds "Early Summer 2006 at Slow boat". CD
(Out of print, 2006 pressing with bonus track – part of the Shibuya Jazz Classics reissue series!)

Close matches41
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Ryo FukuiScenery ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. Used ... $19.99
Lyrical magic from pianist Ryo Fukui – a lost gem from the Japanese scene of the 70s, and a beautifully flowing album throughout! Fukui's got a wide-open touch to the piano that we totally love – and is easily one of the best of his contemporaries on the Japanese trio scene of the time – working in the open-ended mode that was allowed by labels in Tokyo during the 70s, a style that was never too far outside, but which really allowed the pianist to soar with a driving, rhythmic intensity. There's a bit of a modal groove to some of the tracks on the album, but more than that, there's just a beautiful sense of freedom – a love of sound and texture that's never reduced to mere experimentation, and which has Ryo taking full command of the keys to soar to the skies on waves of acoustic soul. The group on the set features Yoshinori Fukui on drums and Satoshi Denpo on bass – and tracks include "I Want To Talk About You", "Scenery", "Autumn Leaves", "Early Summer", and "It Could Happen To You" – plus 2 bonus tracks, "Mellow Dream" and "Horizon", both original compositions! CD
(Out of print 2005 pressing with 2 bonus tracks – includes obi!)

Close matches42
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Red GarlandMisty Red ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1982. New Copy ... $16.99
A great later session from pianist Red Garland – recorded in the early 80s with support from Ahmad Jamal's old trio-mates – Jamil Nassar on bass and Frank Gant on drums! The Garland heard here is a gentler one than on his earlier recordings – playing with a nice Jamal-like sense of spacious exploration and mellow grooving. Tunes are mostly standards, but they're handled here in a manner that makes them feel much more like personal statements of expression than familiar chestnuts – and titles include "This Can't Be Love", "Misty", "But Not For Me", "Over The Rainbow", and "If I Were A Bell". CD
(Part of the "Timeless Jazz Syndicate" series!)

Close matches43
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Jimmy GiuffreMusic For People, Birds, Butterflies & Mosquitoes ... CD
Choice/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $13.99
Overlooked 70s work from Jimmy Giuffre – a hip trio session that has all the free elements of his earlier recordings, but possibly an even greater focus on tone! Jimmy plays a range of reeds here – tenor, clarinet, and flute – and he works with bass and drum accompaniment, but often in a really gentle way that allows his own solo energy to dictate the tunes – coming out in space that's boldly soulful on the tenor, yet more fragile and intimate on the flute – kind of a cross between more expressive avant work and some of the more spiritual tones of the time. The tenor tunes are especially great – kind of opening a new chapter for Giuffre's career – and titles include "The Bird", "Mosquito Dance", "The Chanting", "The Butterfly", "Dervish", "Phoenix", and "Night Dance". CD

Close matches44
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✨✧ Glass HouseInside The Glass House (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
A great album by one of lost groups on the Invictus label! Glass House were a stellar male/female vocal group with a good deep soul sound – very much in the spirit of other Invictus albums of the era, with a tremendous feel for down home, gritty soul but executed with the smooth HDH vibe – a really wonderful blend that's slightly different than other Holland-Dozier-Holland productions of the time – making The Glass House a real standout in 70s soul! Ronald Dunbar handled all of the production for Holland-Dozier-Holland, and he also wrote most of the tracks – and titles include "You Ain't Livin' Unless You're Lovin", "Crumbs Off The Table", "Heaven Is There To Guide Us", and "I Surrendered". CD features three bonus tracks too – "Bad Bill Of Goods", "He's In My Life", and "I Can't Be You". CD

Close matches45
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Benny GolsonThis Is For You John ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $16.99
A lost treasure by Benny Golson – and one of his most noteworthy records since the early days! The "John" in the title is Coltrane – and the set's got a sweeping spiritual groove that's quite different from much of Golson's other work, and which shows that he's never stopped growing as a player. Benny's in the frontline with Pharoah Sanders, and the pair of them solo beautifully on tenors – with very sympathetic rhythm backing from Cedar Walton, Ron Carter, and Jack DeJohnette. Golson's tone is an advanced version of that raspy edge he was using during the late 50s – put to great use here in a spiritual jazz kind of vein. Titles include "Times Past", "Page 12", "Vilia", "Change of Heart", and "Origin". CD

Close matches46
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Eddie GomezDown Stretch ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $22.99
Bassist Eddie Gomez hardly ever has a down stretch – especially given all the creative combinations he's worked in over the years – and this rare 70s album from Japan is more of a high point than anything "down" at all! The record's a trio date, with killer work on Fender Rhodes and piano from Takehiro Honda – who's easily one of our favorite Japanese pianists of the time, and a musician who really brings a different sort of energy to the record than some of Gomez's other sessions with piano players, especially Bill Evans. Drummer Elliot Zigmund is also nicely creative, too – really working the kit in unusual ways, and often staying back a bit so that Eddie can get some wonderful space in the lead, especially at the start of some of the songs. The whole thing's great – an overlooked moment of genius from Gomez – and titles include "Caprice", "Half Life", "Blues E", "Dream Passage", and "Down Stretch". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches47
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Nobuo Hara with Sharps & FlatsSoul Modern Jazz 3 – Members ... CD
Columbia/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1960. New Copy ... $14.99
Hard driving jazz from the Japanese scene of the 50s! The album's one of the best recorded by Nobu Hara and the legendary Sharpes & Flats group – a really swinging set of big band jazz that drives with the power of some of the 60s recordings by the Clarke-Boland Big Band, and which offers plenty of space for the soloists to swing out during the set with really dynamic energy – especially as the saxes and trumpets break from the group to start their own sort of presence in the music! Unfortunately, all the notes are in Japanese – so we can't tell you the exact lineup or the song titles – but the album's a strong one, and a perfect example of the strength of the Japanese scene in the postwar years! CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches48
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Johnny HartmanLive At Sometime ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $22.99
A rare 70s album from the legendary Johnny Hartman – a singer who recorded famously on our shores during the 60s, then had a much more obscure run of records in the following decade! The performance is live, a really intimate set that features Rolland Hanna on piano and George Mraz on bass – both wonderfully sensitive accompanists to the maturing style of Hartman's vocals – maybe even more expressive than on his famous records, but at a level that's more sophisticated too! The tunes are handled with great care, and the lack of any drums really allows a strong focus on Johnny's voice – on titles that include "Summertime", "On A Clear Day", "The Way We Were", "Little Girl Blue", "Sometimes I'm Happy", and "Send In The Clowns". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)
Also available Live At Sometime ... LP 48.99

Close matches49
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Hampton Hawes, Cecil McBee, Roy HaynesLive At The Jazz Showcase In Chicago Vol 2 ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $16.99
A hell of a great live set from pianist Hampton Hawes – thanks especially to the other members of the trio! Hawes is at his free, open, 70s best on the piano – but bassist Cecil McBee really takes the record to the next level – spinning out these amazing lines that are as rhythmic as they are melodic – often crafted with that rounded tone that was his important calling card during this stretch! Drummer Roy Haynes is a bundle of energy – bursting out in surprising ways, occasionally in counterpoint to the piano and bass – and the whole thing cooks nicely on a set of extended tracks. Titles on this second volume include "Carson Blues", "Spanish Mood", "Walking Around The Town", "Blue Bird/Blue Hamp", and "My Funny Valentine". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

Close matches50
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Tubby HayesNew Edition – Rare Radio Recordings 1958 to 1962 ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), Late 50s/Early 60s. Used 2CD ... $29.99
Rare BBC recordings from Tubby Hayes – working here with the Jazz Couriers, the Johnny Dankworth Orchestra, Victor Feldman, Walter Bishop Jr, and his own quartet and quintet. 30 tracks in all! CD
(2018 pressing, includes obi.)

Close matches51
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Terumasa HinoHino's Journey To Air (2020 Record Store Day Release) ... LP
Love/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy Gatefold (reissue)... $35.99
Trumpeter Terumasa Hino at a level that's quite different than most of his early work in Japan – recording in New York, and using a very spiritual approach – one that's clearly influenced by some of the other players in the session! The album features one long track – a bit improvised, and almost free at times – but also given a strong sense of direction, too – that balance between completely unbridled expression and structure that can make some of the best spiritual jazz sessions so great! Hino's on trumpet, and also plays some flugelhorn – and other players include Steve Grossman on tenor and flute, Pete Yellin on alto and flute, Dave Liebman on alto and tenor, Olu Dara on trumpet, Bob Moses on drums, Dave Holland on bass, and Mike Garson on piano and Fender Rhodes. LP, Vinyl record album
(Record Store Day Japan 2020 release.)

Close matches52
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Terumasa HinoLove Nature (2020 Record Store Day Release) ... LP
Love/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy Gatefold (reissue)... $35.99
An amazing moment from Japanese trumpeter Terumasa Hino – an early 70s session recorded in America – with fantastic work from Gary Bartz on alto and Reggie Workman on bass! The album's not like Hino's later American dates – which were often more fusion based – as the style here is sublimely spiritual, with long tracks stretching out in just the same energy as some of the first few albums by Bartz! Also like Bartz, the tunes really stretch out, but never go too far outside – less avant than searingly expressive, with fantastic work from both horn players throughout. The group also features a guitarist, who colors the sound nicely – and the album features two long tracks – "Sister Mayumi" and "Each Other Love Nature". LP, Vinyl record album
(Record Store Day Japan 2020 release.)

Close matches53
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Terumasa HinoPart – Terumasa Hino Meets Reggie Workman (2020 Record Store Day Release) ... LP
Love/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy Gatefold (reissue)... $35.99
A fantastic collaboration between Japanese trumpeter Terumasa Hino and avant bassist Reggie Workman – one that might seem unusual if you only know Hino's later work, but which was part of a few key collaborations that Hino and Workman did together at the start of the 70s – part of a real spiritual awakening in the trumpeter's music! The tracks are long and very expressive – and the group is mostly Japanese – with Hino on trumpet, Workman on bass, Motohiko Hino on drums, Kiyoshi Sugimoto on guitar, Mideo Ichikawa on electric piano, Yuji Imamura on conga, and Takao Uematsu on bass clarinet and tenor – all working together in a spirit that's clearly caught the imagination of the post-Coltrane years, and which is completely different than the straighter hardbop that Hino was recording just a few years previously. Titles include "A Part", "Ode To Workman", and "Be & Know". LP, Vinyl record album
(Record Store Day Japan 2020 release.)

Close matches54
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Terumasa HinoPeace & Love (2020 Record Store Day Release) ... LP
TDK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy Gatefold ... $35.99
Groundbreaking work from Japanese trumpeter Terumasa Hino – recorded on an early trip to New York, back in 1970, working with a sextet that includes some of his own Japanese players, like drummer Motohiko Hino and pianist Hideo Ichikawa, plus the great American bassist Reggie Workman! The album features 2 very long tracks – "Gongen" and "Peace & Love" – both a bit free, and infused with a post-Coltrane sense of spiritual exploration. Hino's really changing his style a lot in this setting – taking a lot more chances than on earlier Japanese sessions, reaching out towards a future jazz approach for the 70s. LP, Vinyl record album
(Record Store Day Japan 2020 release.)

Close matches55
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Major HolleyMajor Step ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1992. New Copy ... $16.99
The legendary bassist Major Holley is on the cover here – but the group's an all-around really great affair – co-led by tenorist Joe Van Enkhuisen, and featuring work from Rein De Graaf on piano and Han Bennink on drums! We're not sure we've heard Joe before, and he's fantastic – the kind of sharp-toned, swinging tenorist that the Dutch scene has given us a few key times in the past – steeped in classic modes, but well tuned to modern elements too – bridged nicely by Bennink and De Graaf. A few numbers really previous sessions with Holly on the cover, but others are much more open and adventurous – and we mean that in a good way – on titles that include "The Fuzz", "Red Dressed Baby", "Blues For Alice", "Major Step", and "What Am I Here For". CD

Close matches56
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Loleatta HollowayLove Sensation (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Salsoul/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $24.99
Landmark club grooves from the great Loleatta Holloway – and a record that definitely has her at the top of the disco game for the 70s! Holloway's working here with a nice variety of arrangers and producers – including Bobby Womack, Norman Harris, Dan Hartman, and Tom Washington – each of whom add some sweet little touches that let Holloway's vocals really take off, and find a space that's even more proud and powerful than ever before! Rhythms have an incessant Salsoul groove – that great approach that was often tightly funky at the core, and which really helped transform a key few singers like Holloway – taking them to the clubs, but without losing any of the depth of their roots. Key proof of this is the sublime leadoff track – "Love Sensation" – one of the greatest Salsoul tracks ever, and maybe one of the best female disco numbers too. The cut's a monster, one of the most anthemic dance tracks of all time – and it's followed by other good numbers that include "Two Became a Crowd", "My Way", and "Short End of the Stick". CD features bonus tracks – 6 more mixes of "Love Sensation", including "Tom Moulton 12", "unreleased Tom Moulton", "Shep Pettibone 12"", "Shep Pettibone 12" rough", and "acapella". CD
(Part of the Salsoul Records Original Master Collecion!)

Close matches57
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Richard Groove HolmesDancing In the Sun ... CD
Versatile/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $22.99
Groove Holmes is definitely dancing in the sun here – working with full arrangements from Mario Sprouse, in a sweetly soulful style that's not unlike Johnny Hammond at the time! Groove still plays Hammond on most numbers – but also a bit of mini Korg too – and although the backdrops are in a fully-arranged jazz funk mode, there's still a strong focus on Holmes' keyboard lines up front, which still get plenty of space to stretch out and do their thing. Sprouse plays a bit of keyboards on the record too – and titles include a remake of "Misty", plus "Let's Groove", "Dancing In the Sun", "Highway Of Life", and "Calypso Holiday". CD
(Part of the "Versatile: Find Out Fusion" series!)

Close matches58
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Richard Groove HolmesStar Wars/Close Encounters (with bonus track) ... CD
Versatile/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $22.99
Groove Holmes runs through a set of famous 70s film themes – or tunes associated with films – working here with larger backing arrangements from Mario Sprouse! The style is smooth, but still mighty nice – as the tunes are long, and there's lots of solo space for Groove (who plays a bit of mini Korg on the set next to his organ!) and flautist Karen Josephs, who also gets a lot of solos space too. Sprouse plays all the rest of the keys – Fender Rhodes, Korg, and piano – and the full feel of the tunes has a very soundtracky sound, more in a cop show mode! Titles include "Gonna Fly Now", "Carry On My Wayward Son", "Star Wars", and "Close Encounters". CD also features a bonus unreleased version of "You Light Up My Life". CD
(Part of the "Versatile: Find Out Fusion" series!)

Close matches59
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Takehiro HondaI Love You ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. Used ... $19.99
Straight trio grooving from Takehiro Honda – but pretty darn great work nonetheless! The album's a nice bridge between the harder, more rhythmic pulse of his early soul jazz sessions, and the later, freer sound of his more lyrical trio sides – and the whole album shows Honda opening up with a new sense of freedom, really taking off on the keys of the piano, while still keeping a nicely understated groove going at the bottom. The rest of the trio includes Yoshio Suzuki on bass and Kan Murakami on drums – and titles include "Sunny", "I Love You", "Autumn Leaves", "Willow Weep For Me", and "Here's That Rainy Day". CD
(Out of print, 2012 pressing – includes obi.)

Close matches60
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Takehiro HondaWhat's Going On ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $24.99
Early soul jazz piano work from Takehiro Honda – recorded in a style that's quite different than most of his later albums! The sound here is full and rich – with Honda's work on the keys augmented by fuller backings arranged by Teddy Adams – all recorded in the US (we think), with a quality that's a fair bit like some of the best soul jazz coming out of LA at the end of the 60s! Honda plays both acoustic and electric piano – and the groove has a hiply vamping style that's always verging on funky, but which is a bit more laidback overall. The record echoes with plenty of the best influences from Les McCann, The Crusaders, Gerald Wilson, and other west coast soul jazz figures – and titles include "Greasy Spoon", "Sham Time", "Ain't Tell You A Good Way But", "Ain't It Funky Now", "What's Going On", and "Check Out Your Mind" CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches61
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Takehiro Honda with Sadao WatanabeTakehiro Honda Meets Rhythm Section Featuring Sadao Watanabe ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1969. Used ... $19.99
A fantastic pairing of two key Japanese talents of the late 60s – pianist Takehiro Honda and reedman Sadao Watanabe – both of whom come together here on a record that's one of their most soulful of the time! Honda's clearly drinking deep from the soul jazz modes of Ramsey Lewis, Les McCann, and Ray Bryant – and really makes the tunes move with a strongly rhythmic vibe on his left hand, which is amplified by the round basslines and tight drums in the combo – working with a well-crafted groove that would be right at home on an American label like Chess or Prestige at the time. Watanabe blows with a very soulful vibe, too – even more than on his own records on Takt – and while he's not on every track, his presence here is really wonderful. Titles include "Quiet Sea", "Stella By Starlight", "Minton Blues", "Hey Jude", and "Ain't Tell You A Good Way But". CD
(Out of print, 2012 pressing – includes obi.)

Close matches62
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Jimmy Bo HorneGoin Home For Love ... CD
Sunshine Sound/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $22.99
A wicked set of groovers from Jimmy Bo Horne – produced with a snapping KC & The Sunshine Band groove, and proof that the Miami sound could still burn strong at the end of the 70s! The tunes are a mix of mellow numbers and funkier tracks that have a snapping "spank" sort of rhythm – that percolated approach to rhythm that TK first started laying down in the mid 70s, but which was given a bit more of an open-ended sound here. Jimmy's vocals are much better than the usual singer for this sort of set – sweetly crackling on the mellow tunes, but hitting with a deeper soul on the groovers. Titles include a long remake of "I Get Lifted", "You Get Me Hot", "Goin Home For Love", "Spank", and "Without You". CD

Close matches63
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Bobbi HumphreyCity Beat ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1988. New Copy ... $14.99
An under-discovered batch of jazzy soul from Bobbi Humphrey – an artist we love for her 70s work on Blue Note and Epic, still sounding pretty great here in the late 80s! The overall style of the album's a bit different than Bobbi's 70s work – more in a Patrice Rushen blend of 80s groove R&B styles and jazzy flourishes – and the whole set was done in collaboration with arranger Tommy James, who also plays a lot of keyboards on the set. Bobbi's flute work is as sweet as ever – especially on the mellower, more laidback tracks – and even her occasional vocals still sound pretty nice too! Titles include "Tropical Voyage", "Loop 12", "Come Get To This", "Days Of You & Me", "What The Heart Needs", and "City Beat". CD
(Part of the "Malaco – The Truth Of Southern Soul Definitive Collection" series!)

Close matches64
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Klaus IgnatzekJacaranda ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1987. New Copy ... $16.99
Pianist Klaus Ignatzek is kind of a secret hero of ours – a great player on his own, but also a really great leader – one who always has a special ear for putting a group together, and bringing out the best in the musicians on his sessions! This record is a great example of that talent – as it really seems to bring out the best in trumpeter Claudio Roditi, driven on strongly by Mario Gonzi on drums and Paulo Cardoso on bass – all stretching out on long tracks that move easily between lyrical moments and harder-burning numbers – with more than a few great originals to remind us of the compositional talents of Klaus! Titles include "Blues For Lee", "Day For Night", "Jacaranda", "Let's Take A Break", and "Monster Mood" – plus nice takes on "Eu E Brisa" and "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise". CD

Close matches65
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Kayo IshuLiving Scat – Neo Standards ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1960s/1970s. New Copy ... $13.99
Breezy and easy vocals from Japan – a collection of recordings made by singer Kayo Ishu from the late 60s and 1970s – not really "scat" in a conventional style, but cool wordless vocals with a sweet jazzy feel! The 19 track set brings together tunes from a variety of different Japanese albums – some of them faceless easy listening sessions – and the tunes feature Kayo singing in a mode that's dreamy, floating, and free – a bit like Barbara Moore's recordings from the time, but somewhat gentler and with a lighter touch! Titles include "Cold Road", "Dedicated To Byrd", "You Belong To Me", "Summer Samba", "Again", "Five Minutes More", "Route 66", "Awakening", "Strangers In The Night", "My Pure Lady", "One Rainy Night In Tokyo", and "Ken & Merry". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

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Kayo IshuLiving Scat Elegance ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1969/1971. New Copy ... $13.99
A beautiful little CD – especially if you like dreamy French soundtrack work from the 60s! Kayo Ishu sings a variety of tunes from famous 60s soundtracks, but about a quarter of the set is work by the mighty Francis Lai – done in a moody, mellow style that's right in keeping with his original work – and which features floating wordless vocals on nearly every track! The CD brings together tunes from 2 albums by Kayo – both of them in a similar mode, floating along in soundtracky magicalness! Titles include "13 Jours En France", "Rargo", "Vivre La Nuit", "Twenty Ten", "La Rein De Saba", "Le Passager De Pluie", "The Red Tent", "Du Soleil Plein Les Yeux", "The April Fools", and "La Lecon Particulier". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

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Fumio ItabashiImpact ... CD
Paddle Wheel/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1984. New Copy ... $22.99
Pianist Fumio Itabashi's definitely making an impact with this record – pushing his music even farther than before with some inventive, creative arrangements that make strong use of trumpet, trombone, and tenor sax! Itabashi's piano is at the core of the record, but he's moving in ways that are quite different than previous albums – almost avant at points, yet never too far out – just angular and exploratory, in ways that really seem to bring out some bold voicings in the horns! Players are all in Japanese, so we can't tell you their names – and although the cut "Little Mayu" is a bit straight, it's more than made up for by the cuts "Tokyo Blues", "F1", "Last Summer", and "All The Things You Are". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches68
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Fumio ItabashiLife & Live – Watarase ... DVD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 2011. New Copy ... $4.99
A really unusual performance from Japanese pianist Fumio Itabashi – who returns here to Watarase, a site that inspired his most famous album in the 70s! Itabashi plays here outdoors – a really amazing setting for a grand piano – yet his work on the instrument is ever bit as bold and powerful as when it's captured in the closeness of the studio – although maybe taking off with even more inspiration from nature, which is always something that Fumio brings to his unique combination of lyrical lines and magical flow! The performance runs for approximately 63 minutes, and all other notes are in Japanese, or else we'd tell you more. DVD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series! DVD is NTSC – All Region.)

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Fumio ItabashiRed Apple ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1986. New Copy ... $22.99
A nicely biting session from Japanese pianist Fumio Itabashi – a set that rounds out his trio with guest alto sax and guitar on a few of the cuts, which makes for a fuller, more driven sound overall! There's definitely a soulful groove to the set – kind of an 80s soulbop mode overall – and Itabashi's piano is recorded with a bright tone that sets the record apart from American efforts of the time, a slightly different feel than his 70s material at points, although some of the best numbers still have those comping lines we love so much in his music. Titles include "Don't Say Goodbye", "I'm Gone", "Mina", "Alicante", "Red Apple", and "Beatrice". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches70
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Fumio ItabashiRise & Shine – Live At The Aketa's ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. Used ... $18.99
A soaring live set from Fumio Itabashi – one of our favorite Japanese pianists of the 70s, and a tremendous player with a strong McCoy Tyner-like sound! The session features Fumio stretching out on 3 long tracks in trio mode – only bass and drums to back him up, and plenty of space to take off on long-spiraling lines on the keys! There's a pulsating groove to the first track in the set – the 20 minute long "Jumping Board", which dips, turns, and flies with the right kind of energy you'd expect from the title. That's followed by a mellower reading of "My Funny Valentine" – but one that's still quite long, and really builds nicely through the set. And last up is another Itabashi original – "Rise & Shine" – presented here in the full 17 minute version, which layers sound upon sound as the tune builds on – really cascading beautifully along! CD
(Out of print 2006 pressing, includes obi.)

Close matches71
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JacksHarakashi Onna ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1968. New Copy ... $29.99
Weird rock work from an equally weird Japanese film – one that seems to be filled with nudie images, if we can trust the photos included in the booklet! The group's a quartet – with guitar, bass, drums, and vocals – the latter of which don't always feature strongly, but when they do, they've got a moaning, earthy sort of quality – not bluesy, but almost more anguished – feeling a bit like a Japanese take on early Nick Cave – even though the work was recorded much earlier. The instrumentation's often nicely rough – hardly the polished rock of an American film score – with guitar parts that slip a bit at times, and tunes that seem to change their mood and mind halfway through, almost as if they're improvised. The set features 20 tracks in all – all with Japanese titles! CD

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Maria Joao & Aki TakaseLooking For Love ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Germany), 1987. New Copy ... $7.99
Maria Joao is one of the most unique vocal talents in jazz – a singer who's partly inspired by the new freedoms of the more experimental female jazz vocalists of the 70s, but one who also draws a lot from the hippest Brazilian singers too! There's an approach here that mixes together Sheila Jordan with Joyce, Nana Caymmi with Karin Krog – but all at a level that also explodes with new imagination too, especially when paired with the very dynamic piano of Aki Takase! The set's got plenty of sharp edges and vocal/piano experiments, but also never fails to find a way to swing – on titles that include "Mae Dou Iho Nao", "My Favorite Things", "Estranha Forma De Vida", "Watashi No Obakasan", "Don't Shout At Me/Amanojaku", and "Confirmation/Donna Lee/Au Privave". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches73
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Elvin JonesIn Europe ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1991. Used ... $14.99
An impressively spiritual set from Elvin Jones – recorded in Europe with some great accompaniment from reedmen Sonny Fortune and Ravil Coltrane! Both Fortune and Coltrane play in a mode that's clearly inspired by the latter's father – freely opening up with the angular and searching tones that show up on the best Jones albums of the early 70s – when the horn chairs were usually filled by Frank Foster, Dave Liebman, and other well-suited players. The difference here is that both Fortune and Coltrane really keep things swinging and soulful – never going too over the top or blowing just for the sake of space – but instead continuing to create in a manner keeping with the beautiful rhythms laid down by Jones, bassist Chip Jackson, and pianist Willie Pickens. The album features 3 long tracks – "Ray", "Doll Of The Bride", and "Island Birdie". CD
(Out of print, 2015 pressing – includes obi.)

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Hank Jones TrioLive In Japan ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $22.99
Pianist Hank Jones always got some of his best 70s treatment working overseas – and that's definitely the case here, as Hank stretches out beautifully in a live trio date that was originally intended just for the Japanese market! The sound is sublime – really respectful of all that careful balance of swing and lyricism that Jones brings to the piano at his best – given understated accompaniment from George Duvivier on bass and Shelly Manne on drums – both musicians who always seem to let Hank show the way, but definitely know where to follow. Tracks include "Blue Lou", "Cotton Tail", "The Man I Love", "Crazy Rhythm", "I Only Have Eyes For You", "Basically The Blues", "Polka Dots & Moonbeams", "Yardbird Suite", and "On Green Dolphin Street". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches75
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So KaburagiShinjuku No Onna/Sakariba Jinngi ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970/1971. New Copy ... $29.99
Great soundtrack music from Japan – tunes made up of romping drums, acoustic and electric guitar, floating flutes, and more – all delivered with a very compelling feel overall! There's the same mix of mod and psyche influences you might find in the best late 60s Italian soundtracks – but unlike most of those classics, the music here is totally fresh – and often put together with odd little twists and turns that are completely unexpected! There's a subtle sense of drama in each of the short tracks here – yet not one that falls into Hollywood cliches, and which is instead free to roam around a world's worth of great musical influences. CD features a whopping 30 tracks in all – and all titles and notes are in Japanese. CD

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Yasuhiro KounoPeace ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $23.99
An early 80s piano trio classic from Japan – one that features a group led by keyboardist Yasuhiro Kohno, and which also features a "plus one" vocalist on the final track! The style here is very much in the best Japanese mode of the 70s and early 80s – free-flowing lines on the keys that really take off with a great sense of freedom, yet never go outside, nor get too modern in their conception. There's a strong influence here from McCoy Tyner on most numbers – hinted at strongly by Kohno's original composition "Like McCoy" – which sits nicely alongside other originals "JC Blues", "Dancing Dolls", "Good Friday Blues", and "Fuji". Mami Mishina joins in on vocals for a version of Horace Silver's "Peace". CD

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Yasuhiro KounoRoma In The Rain ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1984. New Copy ... $24.99
Pianist Yasuhiro Kouno has a really special guest on this record – vibist Masahiro Kanno, who's presence on the record makes the whole thing ring out with a really fantastic sense of joy and life! The vibes often lead the tunes, ringing out strongly next to the piano – and with a lyrical, soulful vibe that's a lot more like the combination of Jack Wilson and Roy Ayers than some of the sleeper vibes/piano modes inspired by Milt Jackson and John Lewis – a quality that's also echoed by the rhythms of the record, which flow nicely from the bass of Terumichi Yamada and drums of Hironobu Fujisawa. All tracks are original, and filled with beautiful tones – titles that include "For B's Smile", "Waltz For Baby", "Roma In The Rain", and "Dancing Dolls". CD

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Irene KralWhere Is Love? ... CD
Choice/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $13.99
Mid 70s magic from vocalist Irene Kral – one of a handful of albums that really had Kral setting herself apart from most other jazz vocal contemporaries! The approach here is very simple – just Irene's voice and piano backing from Alan Broadbent – but a hell of a lot goes on in the spare space, thanks to subtly expressive vocals from Kral – never too overdone, yet filled with a mature sophistication that's wonderful – almost conversational at points, yet always with a soft swing that reminds us that she's a jazz singer at heart. Titles include "Love Came On Stealthy Fingers", "I Like You You're Nice", "When I Look In Your Eyes", "A Time For Love/Small World", "Never Let Me Go", "Lucky To Be Me/Some Other Time", "Don't Look Back", and "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most". CD
Also available Where Is Love? ... LP 2.99

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David LiebmanOpal Heart ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $16.99
An unusual Australian session from reedman Dave Liebman – one that features some wonderful contributions from the great Mike Nock on piano! Nock's bold, rich sense of sound is a great pairing with Liebman's work on tenor and soprano sax – and a number of the cuts have a vibe that's very different than some of Dave's recordings with Richie Beirach – his most frequent partner on the keys – even though the group features more familiar rhythm players Ron McClure on bass and Ed Soph on drums. We really love Mike's sense of tone and timing, and here his contributions are wonderful – on titles that include "Sunburst", "I Concentrate On You", "The Opal Hearted Aborigine", "Port Ligat", and "Down Under". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

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Kirk Lightsey with Freddie HubbardTemptation ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1987. New Copy ... $16.99
A very hip group, and a wonderful meeting between trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and pianist Kirk Lightsey! We always like Kirk, but love him even more when he's working with a horn player – as his sound seems to catch fire, and move with even bolder notes than usual – which is definitely the case on the album's opener, a nice take on Hubbard's classic "Gibraltar" – in a spirit that continues strongly throughout! Bass is from Santi Debriano, drums are from Eddie Gladden, and Jerry Gonzalez plays percussion on one track – and Freddie's in that great 80s sound of his – a mode that's a return to the straighter hardbop of his Blue Note years, but with the phrasing learned during his 70s funk years – on titles that include "Gibraltar", "Evidence", "Brigitte", "Temptation", and "Society Red". CD

Close matches81
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Abbey LincolnAbbey Sings Billie – Live At The UJC Vol 2 ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1987. New Copy ... $16.99
Abbey Lincoln takes on the legacy of Billie Holiday – in a strong live set recorded with a small group at the end of the 80s! The setting's a bit more relaxed here than on some of Abbey's other albums of the period – a bit looser and sometimes more languid, but only in the best sort of ways to get at the moodiness of Billie Holiday's approach to the tunes. A few numbers seem to bristle with a bit more of that Abbey Lincoln sense of pride – that righteous legacy that runs straight from Billie's classic "Strange Fruit" – but overall, the spirit of Holiday's more traditional approach definitely guides the performance. The group's a quartet – with Harold Vick on tenor – and titles on this second volume include "For All We Know", "No More", "Gimme A Pigfoot", "God Bless The Child", "For Heaven's Sake", and "Don't Explain". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

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Little BeaverJoey ... CD
Cat/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $13.99
An excellent early album from the amazing Little Beaver – a set that's also probably one of his best ever – served up with some extra-dope guitar, and nice deep Miami soul production by Steve Alaimo! Beaver handled all the arrangements – which means that there's plenty of room for his great guitar to come to the forefront – and this album also features some of his great vocal work, set in a style that's a lot rawer than later releases – rooted a bit more in deep soul and blues, which fits nicely with the guitar. Titles include the single "Joey", plus the long "Katie Pearl", and a nice cover of "Two Steps from the Blues", which features his funky soul guitar on a nice solo – plus the tracks "What The Blues Is", "That's How It Is", "I'm Losin the Feelin", and "Give A Helping Hand". CD

Close matches83
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MachitoLive At North Sea '82 ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1982. New Copy ... $16.99
Late work from Machito, but great work too – a live set that shows that he's not only still a hell of a Latin bandleader, but also open to some of the more advance modes the music took on in the 60s and 70s! Tracks are long and very jamming – performed live by a band that includes work from Chocolate Armenteros and Shunzo Ohno on trumpets, Markovic Gut on tenor, Glenn Stulpin and Mark Friedman on altos, and Gilberto Colon on piano – on tracks that have some great room for solo space! Machito handles percussion, and vocalizes a bit too – also joined by singer Paula Grillo – on Latin jazz slammers that include "Tibiri Tabara", "Oye La Rumba", "Buenas Noches Che Che", and "Mambo Inn". CD

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Norio Maeda & PlayboysEnraku No Playboy Kouza – The Playboy Manual (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Takt/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1969. Used Gatefold ... $36.99
The album's got a sexy little cover – but that's no surprise, considering that the record's a late 60s "Playboy Manual" from Japan! The format is quite weird – as each track begins with some Japanese spoken bits from Norio Maeda, possibly on the art of seduction – and things then give way to some very groovy instrumental music, all in a hiply swinging blend of jazz and easy modes! The style's quite like some of Maeda's other work of the time – but even groovier – and the instrumental tunes alone are great – with romping piano, blasting horns, and some very tight, mod rhythms. Includes versions of "Sunny", "Mustang Sally", "More", "The In Crowd", "Yesterday", "Sound Of Silence", and "Girl From Ipanema". CD
(Out of print, includes obi.)

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Albert Mangelsdorff & Lee KonitzArt Of The Duo ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $16.99
A fantastic showcase for these two modern jazz giants – sublime trombone sounds from Albert Mangelsdorff, perfectly paired with the alto sax of Lee Konitz – all at a level that makes the album one of the best from both players at the time! The session was actually a late MPS effort, but issued on Enja – and it vaguely recalls some of the Mangelsdorff MPS duos from a decade before – but maybe more rhythmic and swinging overall – never totally free jazz, and clearly improvised – but with an inherent rhythmic core that's also very much appreciated, especially as both players throw out some very creative sounds. Titles include "Hot Hut", "Inclination", "A Minor Blues In F", "En Passant", "Bloas", and "Matti's Matter". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

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Charlie MarianoAmerican In Italy ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1996. New Copy ... $16.99
Warm and mellow later work from Charlie Mariano – the better side of his time in Europe, as the later years saw Charlie relaxing a bit, and going for a sound that was more traditional than his fusion of the 70s – yet still informed by some of the freedoms learned in his years away from the US. The group working with Mariano is a trio – with Andrea Pozza on piano, Ares Tavolazzi on bass, and Fabio Grandi on drums – and the tunes a mixture of Italian-themed numbers and works from Italian soundtracks, with titles that include "Il Ferroviere", "Gelsomina", "La Ragazza Di Bubue", "Sinfonia No 5", "Sinno Me Moro", and "More". CD
(Part of the "Timeless Jazz Syndicate" series!)

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✨✧ Eddie MarshallDance Of The Sun ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. Used ... Just Sold Out!
Drummer Eddie Marshall never cut many albums as a leader, but we'll always love him for this one – a sublime San Francisco 70s session that features tremendous vibes from the great Bobby Hutcherson! But actually, the whole group's great – and also includes George Cables on piano, James Leary on bass, and Manny Boyd on tenor and soprano sax – who works alongside Hutcherson's vibes with some of the same soulful currents as Harold Land from earlier years! The tunes are well-paced – mostly by Marshall, with a slight undercurrent of spirituality – and a lyrical beauty that almost has Bobby in "Little B's Poem" territory at times. Titles include "The Stroll", "The High Priestess Of Gone", "Andree", and "But I Refuse To Come Down". CD
(Out of print, includes obi.)

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Shigeo MaruyamaYu Yu ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1987. New Copy ... $13.99
A really great jazz singer from Japan – and one who works here in a style that seems to owe very little to anyone else – a mode that pushes the jazz vocal tradition as far forward as some of the hipper European singers of the 70s, even though the approach used here is Shigeo Maruyama's own! A number of the songs are originals, with lyrics in English – but with rhythms and inflections that are quite different than American jazz – and backing is by a small combo, but with lively touches on percussion, flute, and guitar – elements used to shade in all the unusual corners of Shigeo's vocal inflections! Titles include "Rio Samba", "Tackle", "Ya Ya", "Potato Vendor", and a version of "Straight No Chaser". CD

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George McCraeDiamond Touch ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $14.99
The Diamond Touch here is from Gregg Diamond – who brings a real Bionic Boogie feel to this album for George McCrae – a sound that shifts slightly from the Miami soul approach of earlier records, moving George up to New York for the session, and coming up with a strong disco groove overall! The approach is a bit smoother and more polished than some of McCrae's earlier work, but still manages to keep a similar rhythmic focus – and although George never steps out too strongly on any tracks, the Diamond Touch keeps the overall sound pretty strong throughout. Titles include "Givin Back The Feeling", "Nothing But Love", "Love In Motion", "Loved & Lost", "Dance In A Circle", "Cut The Rug", and "Dancin Through The Storm". CD
(Part of the Miami Sound – Original Soul/Funk/Disco Collection series!)

Close matches90
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Jimmy McGriffMain Squeeze ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... $18.99
One of the grooviest albums ever from Jimmy McGriff – a hard-wailing session that's filled with plenty of cooking lines on the organ, and a few especially funky tracks! The groove here is tight, short, and very sharp – strongly in the mode of other post-Sue sessions by McGriff – like The Worm or other Groove Merchant sides – with a style that's often much more focused than Jimmy's earlier years, and strongly turned towards the rhythms of the tunes! A few numbers are more familiar soul jazz, but these are nicely offset by the harder funk numbers of the record – like the romping, stomping break classic "The Main Squeeze", the totally groovy "The Worm Turns", and the fast-vamping "GMI". The group features Jimmy Ponder on guitar and Connie Lester on alto sax – and other titles include "The Sermon", "Stella By Starlight", and "The Blues Train To Georgia". CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo' Groovy Collection!)

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Carmen McRaeI'm Coming Home Again ... CD
JAS/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy 2CD ... $28.99
A great smooth soul session from Carmen McRae – an album that's not nearly as well known as her American sides of the 70s, but which is possibly even better overall! The record features a great batch of smooth soul arrangements by Mario Sprouse – a blend of jazz and contemporary soul modes that's almost in the same space as Marlena Shaw – and the band backing up Carmen is filled with superstar players who include Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Hubert Laws on flute, and Grover Washington on sax. The whole thing's got that well-crafted feel you'd expect from a Japanese session at the time – and it includes many nice moments, like a cover of "Mister Magic" with some nice breaks – plus "New York State Of Mind", "Sweet Alibis", "Come In From The Rain", "The Masquerade Is Over", and "I'd Rather Leave While I'm In Love". 2CD version – featuring the entire album! CD
(Part of the "Versatile: Find Out Fusion" series!)

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Blue MitchellGraffiti Blues ... CD
Mainstream/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. Used ... $9.99
One of Blue Mitchell's hippest funky sets of the 70s – an unusual little record that mixes a bit of funky harmonica with his own soulful trumpet! The approach definitely echoes a bit of the "blues" in the title – but the groove is much more straightforward and funky – that hard-edged approach that shows up on the best electric Mainstream sessions of the time, with a bad-stepping bottom that moves along nicely throughout! Harmonica's handled by Don Bailey, and other players include Joe Sample on keyboards, Herman Riley on tenor, Freddie Robinson on guitar, and Ray Pounds on drums. Cuts are all nice and long, quite open overall, and almost more relaxed than some of Blue's other Mainstream sessions – and titles include "Graffiti Blues", "Yeah Ya Right", "Express", "Asso Kam", and "Dorado". CD
(2017 pressing, includes obi.)

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Ronald MuldrowYesterdays ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1992. New Copy ... $16.99
A sweet set of organ jazz on Enja Records – a label that normally never embraces the Hammond this strongly, but does a really great job on this overlooked gem! The group's led by guitarist Ronald Muldrow, and features organ work by Mel Rhyne – that legendary Indianapolis player who was just beginning to open up a strong second chapter of his career during this generation – really sounding great, and every bit as important to the sound of the record as Muldrow's guitar! Ron plays with a nice sense of color, and phrasing that occasionally rivals that of one of Rhyne's hometown contemporaries from years back – and Victor Campbell provides some nicely snapping drums to keep the whole thing moving along. Titles include "Besame Mucho", "Sham Time", "Yesterdays", "Grooving High", and "Love For Sale". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

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Kunihiko MuraiYaju Shisubeshi/Yaju Gari ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), Early 70s. New Copy ... $29.99
Jazzy soundtrack work from Kunihiko Murai – later known as the producer behind YMO, but here working in a great style that borrows heavily from French and Italian film music modes of the 60s! Instrumentation often includes some great piano and vibes – used in jazz-based ways, but often with a classical undercurrent – especially in the mix of styles that was coming out of the Paris scene in the 60s. Strings occasionally come in, but never in a sleepy way – and usually to underscore the jazzier instrumentation with a slight sense of depth and color. The second film here brings in a bit of electric guitar and some slightly funkier moments that step along with a bit of wah wah guitar – and a few of the best cuts in that score have qualities that we'd rank right up there with better-known soundtrack funk of the period! As with all Ultra Vybe titles, the notes and titles are all in Japanese – but like the rest of them, this one's a true treasure for fans of soundtrack music – and the kind of a set that we'd never discover otherwise. CD

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Oliver NelsonSkull Session ... CD
Flying Dutchman/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $13.99
A fantastic transformation of the Oliver Nelson sound of the 60s – a large ensemble record that takes all the soul of his earlier groove, and reworks it with a more electric vibe for the 70s! Nelson's at the height of his powers here – working brilliantly as a leader and arranger, to open the door for strong sounds from younger players like Mike Wofford and Lonnie Liston Smith on keyboards, and the great Dennis Budimir on guitar! The record's unlike most of what you'll hear on Nelson's other albums – even his other Flying Dutchman work of the time – as it's got loads of wonderful keyboard moments, and even some moog and Arp as well. Titles include "Skull Session", "125th And 7th Ave", "Flight For Freedom", "Baja Bossa", and "Dumpy Mama". CD
(Part of the Flying Dutchman 1000 Master Collection!)
Also available Skull Session (180 gram pressing) ... LP 23.99

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✨✧ Oliver NelsonSwiss Suite (Japanese pressing) ... CD
Flying Dutchman/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. Used ... $13.99
A killer set of searing soulful spiritual material from Oliver Nelson – and one of his best albums of the 70s! There's hardly anything "Swiss" in the music – save for the fact that it was recorded at the Montreux Jazz Fest – as the large ensemble recording has Nelson at the helm of a very hip group of musicians – really stretching out into territory that's more Strata East than any of his other work, especially on the title track! In addition to the tenor from Gato Barberi and alto from Eddie Vinson – both featured on the title – the set also features Charles Tolliver and Harry Beckett on trumpets, Bosko Petrovic on vibes, Na Na on barimbau, Bernard Purdie on drums, and Stanley Cowell on piano. Side one features the soaring "Swiss Suite" – an extended number done for the set – and side two has a bit more Nelson touches coming into play with the progressive lineup – on titles that include "Stolen Moments", "Black Brown & Beautiful", and "Blues & The Abstract Truth". CD
(2017 Japanese pressing from Solid/Ultra-Vybe – includes obi.)

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New York Jazz QuartetBlues For Sarka ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $16.99
A surprisingly wonderful album – even if these guys break our cardinal rule of jazz combos, which is never to put the name of your home city in place of the players in the group! The group's a quartet with Frank Wess on flute and tenor, Roland Hanna on piano, George Mraz on bass, and Grady Tate on drums – and the set was recorded live in Munich before a very enthusiastic crowd. The sum total of the players is way more than the parts – as all of them manage to really stretch out on the set, working through some long tunes that have a soulfulness and inspiration that's rare for Wess and Hanna especially. Includes the long funky groover "Smelly Jelly Belly" (hate that title!) – plus the cuts "Rodney Round Robin", "Blues For Sarka", and "All Blues". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

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New York Jazz QuartetSurge ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $16.99
A stunning 70s set by the New York Jazz Quartet – a group you might not recognize immediately by name, but which features some key all-star players – a lineup that includes Frank Wess on flutes and saxes, Roland Hanna on piano, George Mraz on bass, and Richard Pratt on drums! Wess is especially amazing – very different than his reedman styles of earlier decades – both in small combos and larger ensembles, with an especially strong sensitivity on the flute – an instrument he always played famously, but which he really seems to feel here – with energy that really augments the sorts of warmth and lyricism that Hanna can bring to the piano when he's at his best. Plus, there's this deeper core of rhythm at some points, which really seems to give both Roland and Frank a vibe that really does them better than usual – on titles that include "Tee Piece", "Surge", "Placitude", "87th Street", and "Big Bad Henry". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

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Mike NockTalisman (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. Used ... $16.99
Beautiful solo piano from Mike Nock – and a record that grabs us a lot more than we would have expected! Nock's a player who's had so many different great moments, in so many different settings, it's almost easy to overlook a more subtle record like this – yet the album's got a sense of power and majesty that really draws from Mike's previous years, the focuses it forward in a very personal way! Nock plays acoustic piano throughout, but he often blocks out the notes in ways that recall his music on Fender Rhodes – letting some of the most brilliant sounds hang out there magically in air, soon to be followed by another illuminated moment, then another – until the sound builds up with this lyrical power that's really wonderful. Titles include "Diggers' Delite", "Sunrise", "Talisman", "For Cindy", "Curl", and "Walkabout". CD also features bonus tracks "Love Child" and "What's New". CD
(Out of print, 2014 pressing – includes obi.)

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Alexander O'NealAll True Man (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Tabu/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1991. New Copy ... $9.99
A classic set from all-true Alexander O'Neal – and maybe one of his last great records for the Tabu label! The set's got a nice balance of groovers and mellower moments – really showing the growing diversity of O'Neal as an artist, as he tries to move away from some of his bigger ballads. The rhythms are often handled by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis – who themselves are going for a leaner style than in the 80s, yet still have that undeniable funky punch in the mix! At tines, Alexander's not leading the songs so much as stepping into the grooves – but at other times, he comes as the strong singer that first emerged in the mid 80s. Titles include "What Is This Thing Called Love", "The Yoke", "Time Is Running Out", "All True Man", "Midnight Run", "Used", "Shame On Me", and "The Morning After". Bonus tracks include "All True Man (classic club mix)" and "Sentimental (edit)". CD

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