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Close matches: 279
Close matches1
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Pepper AdamsTwelfth & Pingree ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $13.99
Exactly the kind of session that really lets Pepper Adams show his stuff – full of long, live tracks that really have Adams stretching out on baritone – handling the instrument with soul, depth, and dexterity that might well be unmatched during this point in his career! The quartet here features Walter Norris on piano, George Mraz on bass, and Makaya Ntshoko on drums – and while all players are excellent, especially Mraz, it's really Pepper whose shining light guides the session – both on his original tunes "Bossa Nouveau" and "12th & Pingree" – and on nice takes on "Well You Needn't" and "A Child Is Born". CD
(Part of the Enja Jazz Master Works series!)

Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Harold AlexanderSunshine Man ... CD
Flying Dutchman/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $13.99
A wicked bit of funky jazz from reedman Harold Alexander – and a set that's much sharper and harder-edged than some of his later work! There's maybe a bit of freedom in the mix, here too – some post-Coltrane spiritualism that mixes with some of the more funk-based currents – which include excellent electric piano by Neal Creque, and tight funky drums by Pretty Purdie! The tracks are all nice and long, but have a completely different approach than you'd find on labels like CTI or Prestige at the same time – both more complex, but maybe also more spontaneous too – in ways that really make the album a treasure all the way through, and has us wishing that Harold gave us a lot more like this. Titles include the classic "Sunshine Man", plus "Tite Rope", "Quick City", and "Mama Soul". CD

Close matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Cesar AscarrunzCesar 830 ... CD
Flying Dutchman/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. Used ... $12.99
Lost Latin funk from the Bay Area scene of the 70s – and an album that may well blow away better-known work by groups like Malo, Azteca, or El Chicano! The album's near-perfect right from the start – and brings in plenty of New York elements to the groove, thanks to the inclusion of a heady amount of jazz alongside the soul, Latin, and funk elements in the grooves! The legendary Teo Macero produced and arranged – and really takes a lot of care in the studio to focus the overall energy of the tremendous talents on the record – players who include Hadley Caliman on flute and tenor, Steve Marcus on soprano sax, Benny Velarde on timbales, and Francisco Aguabella on congas – plus the trio of Cesar, Mark Levine, and Merl Sanders on keyboards. Most numbers have this really full, flowing groove – jazzy, but with a strong emphasis on the rhythms – and often touched with some great work on guitar that echoes the Santana-inspired sound of the generation, yet never in a rock way at all. Linda Tillery sings vocals on a few numbers, but the main focus is definitely instrumental – and the whole album's great – with cuts that include "See Saw Affair", "Azucar", "Descarga", "The Devil & Montezuma", "Gotta Get Away", and "Bridges". CD
(2018 pressing on Solid/Ultra-Vybe, includes obi.)

Close matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Beginning Of The EndBeginning Of The End (with bonus track) ... CD
Alston/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $13.99
One of the rarest funky records of all time – the hard-to-find second album by Beginning Of The End! This West Indian combo hit it big with their first album on Alston, but this second set, for some strange reason, never really got distributed – which is a damn shame, because it's every bit as funky as their first! The uniquely choppy rhythms of the group's first album are every bit as great here as on the first set – and if anything, the band's instrumentation is even better, especially on the guitar, which is wickedly tight, and played with a super-dope flanged-out approach on the solos. Vocals are great too, maybe even more soulful than before, especially on the album's few midtempo cuts – and the album's a must-have for any fan of the group's funky sound! Titles include "That's What I Get", "Super Woman", "Bluestrain", "Jump In The Water", "Falling Apart At The Seams", and "Trip To Nowhere". CD also features their Holiday track – the very groovy "Gee Whiz It's Christmas". CD

Close matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Dollar Brand/Johnny DyaniGood News From Africa ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $14.99
Beautiful duets between pianist Dollar Brand and legendary bassist/Blue Notes member Johnny Dyani – two great South African jazz musicians who should have recorded more together in a format like this! Brand's open-ended rolling piano lines bring out the best in Dyani's bass – which at this point in his career, was not often heard in such an intimate setting, and was instead often hidden amidst larger more bombastic groupings of avant players – a shift in setting that really brings out some of the more spiritual currents in his music. The record features a version of Brand's excellent "The Pilgrim", plus the tracks "Msunduza", "Ntsikana's Bell", "Good News", and "Moniebah". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
BrandyeCrossover To Brandye ... CD
Kayvette/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $13.99
A killer bit of female soul by a very short-lived group – one with a great sound that comes out of some real criss-crossing of styles – some deep soul currents, but some hipper modern soul touches at the top! The set was produced by Brad Shapiro, and has a good blend of his modern and southern styles of the mid 70s – similar to his work with Candi Staton – but it also features some impeccable arrangements from David Van DePitte, who gives the record a sweeping, swaying feel that buoys the vocals up on some really soulful backings. Titles include a great version of "How Long", plus the tracks "Mr Mystery", "You Accuse Me", "Rhythm Of Love", "One Woman's Trash", and "I Can't Weigh My Love". CD

Close matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Don BryantPrecious Soul ... CD
Hi Records/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1969. New Copy ... $13.99
A real lost treasure on Hi Records – one of the few albums ever cut by Don Bryant, a singer whose talents seemed to be eclipsed by the rising stars of Al Green and Ann Peebles – but who was every bit as great! Bryant's got a sound here that's still firmly in the Hi style forged by Willie Mitchell – who produces this set – but there's also some nicely rougher edges too, a sound that's almost more Stax than Hi – and which certainly features a bit of a nod to Wilson Pickett down in Muscle Shoals – not exactly funk, but with some nice grit in the grooves! The whole thing's great – and titles include "Try Me", "Cry Baby", "Funky Broadway", "Soul Man", "Land Of 1000 Dances", "She's Looking Good", and "Slip Away". CD

Close matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Billy Butler & InfinityHung Up On You ... CD
Pride/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $13.99
A gem of a record from the great Billy Butler – brother of better-known Jerry from the Chicago scene, and maybe best known for his northern soul work of the 60s – but a hell of a great artist here in a rare group soul date from the 70s! Billy's lead vocals are supported by the Infinity trio of Phyllis Knox, Errol Batts, and Larry Wade – who glide and soar wonderfully alongside Butler – with a style that's got all the best charms of group soul work from Philly or New Jersey at the time, but an approach that's maybe even deeper and more righteous too – with arrangements from Jerry Long, and tracks produced in both Memphis and Chicago. A record we love to death, and have treasured for years – with tracks that include "I'm So Hung Up On You", "Storm", "Free Yourself", "When Your Baby's Gone", and "You Can't Always Tell". CD

Close matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
GC CameronGive Me Your Love ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $9.99
A wonderful later album from GC Cameron – a singer you might know best as the early lead in The Spinners – sounding quite different here in a Malaco Records setting! The album's got Cameron slow-stepping through some great mellow soul cuts – warm, sensuous tunes that work perfectly with his vocal approach – produced with just a few southern soul inflections by the team of Tommy Couch and Wolf Stevenson. The overall approach is light years from Detroit – and titles include "Let's Share", "Hearts & Flowers", "Give Me Your Love", "No Lovin Til Friday", "Love Trap", and "Night Like This In Georgia". CD
(Part of the Malaco Definitive Collection, The Truth Of Southern Soul Series!)

Close matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Chairmen Of The BoardBittersweet (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $13.99
An excellent album from this sublime soul trio! The record's got a nice heavy style – similar to the funky soul that was creeping into the sound of other artists on the Invictus label – and it rumbles along with a nice fuzzy edge that adds a whole new dimension to the incredible vocals of the group. Holland-Dozier-Holland produced, but the real skill here is that of General Johnson and Greg Perry – who wrote all the songs on the album save one – and whose vocal genius really makes the whole thing soar. The album yielded no hits for the group, but still has plenty of great numbers – and with General Johnson's vocals, just about anything would sound great! Cuts include "Bittersweet", "Weary Traveler", "So Glad You're Mine", "Elmo James", "Working On A Building Of Love", and "Men Are Getting Scarce". CD features two bonus tracks – "Let Me Down Easy" and "Everybody's Got A Song To Sing". CD

Close matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Chairmen Of The BoardGive Me Just A Little More Time ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $13.99
A landmark album of 70s soul – and perhaps the most enduring full LP by this enigmatic harmony group! The vocals of General Crook alone are more than enough to win us over – some of the most distinct lead soul singing we've ever heard, pitched perfectly with the backings of the rest of the group. But the overall package is even better – righteous arrangements that really show the new Holland-Dozier-Holland energy for the 70s – more of a punch than most of Motown a few years before, and open to some headier elements that only serve to do even more with the vocals! Titles include the group's huge hit "Give Me Just A Little More Time", a totally compelling number with a scattershot beat, and some wonderful lead vocals from the always-great General Johnson – plus, their cover of Clarence Carter's "Patches" – which was a big single for them – and the tracks "Bravo Hooray", "Since The Days Of Pigtails & Fairytales", "Come Together", "You've Got Me Dangling on a String" and "Tricked & Trapped". CD

Close matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Otis ClayHi Records Single Collection ... CD
Hi Records/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Mid 70s. New Copy ... $13.99
A great slice of work from Chicago soul singer Otis Clay – a collection of his 70s singles for the Hi Records label – a number of which never appeared on his albums at the time! Clay's work was some of the best male soul on the label next to Al Green – and he received a similar careful treatment in the studio from producer Willie Mitchell – who made Clay's vocals come across with a richness that really topped his earlier singles from the Windy City! This package features some great numbers that were originally issued only as 45s – including "It Was Jealousy", "You Can't Escape The Hands Of Love", "Let Me Be The One", "Brand New Thing", "I Didn't Know The Meaning Of Pain", "If I Could Reach Out", "You Did Something To Me", "You Hurt Me For The Last Time", "Show Place", and "Baby Jane" – plus some other great tracks too! CD

Close matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
CollageGet In Touch (with bonus track) ... CD
Solar/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $22.99
Collage may not have been the biggest group during the legendary early run of Solar Records – but they were certainly one of the tightest – as you'll hear on this classic album of 80s groove! Collage boast a lot more members than their contemporaries – a total of 10 guys are pictured on the back cover – but they've got a tightness to match all the leaner west coast funk acts of the time – with some nice electro touches in the beats, and lots of sweet basslines and keys around the vocals! Cuts include "Get In Touch With Me", "Young Girls", "Move In Time", "Near To Me", "Simple", and "Love Is For Everyone". CD features the bonus track "Get In Touch With Me (single version)". CD
(Part of the Solar Records Original Masters Collection!)

Close matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
CollageShine The Light (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Constellation/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1985. New Copy ... $22.99
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!)

Close matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Lamont DozierLove & Beauty (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... $13.99
A massive album by Lamont Dozier – probably his best ever! Every cut's a winner, and the LP shines with a sharpness and tightness that's missing from some of Lamont's other LPs from the 70s. The songwriting is impeccable – and as the album progresses, you get that eerie "deja vu" feeling you can have when discovering a landmark work for the first time. There's a hint of funk in the mix, but the strongest point is the production – which bowls over the top with a mix of strings, piano, and Lamont's wonderfully honest vocals. Includes the wonderful soul anthem "Don't Leave Me", which comes up again in a very tight instrumental version – plus the tracks "The Picture Will Never Change", "Why Can't We Be Lovers", and "Slipping Away". Great all the way through, and a stunning bit of seventies soul that will have you returning again and again! CD features a massive 10 bonus tracks too – including "Superwoman", "Lady By Day", "I'm Gonna Hijack Ya", "Don't Leave Me Starvin For Your Love (parts 1 & 2)", "Why Can't We Be Lovers (single)", "Let's Get Together", "I'm So Glad (parts 1 & 2)", and "You Took Me From A World Outside". CD
Also available Love & Beauty (180 gram pressing) ... LP 26.99

Close matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
8th Day8th Day (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $13.99
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 ... LP 24.99

Close matches17
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Electro Keyboard OrchestraElectro Keyboard Orchestra ... CD
Columbia/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $22.99
Electric keyboards galore – and a sweet 70s album from Japan! The set features a large group of Japanese keyboard players – all playing Korg synthesizers, in styles that range from laidback and mellow to upbeat and funky! The group's got core backing by a tight rhythm combo – electric guitar, bass, and drums setting up the pace on some of the most driving numbers – but overall, most of the sound is from the electric keys – making for a really groovy little record that's got lots of cool 70s soundtrack touches, and plenty of tracks that sound like they were lifted off of American cop or crime scores of the time! Titles include "The Fire Dance", "Mother Of The Future", "Mayflower", "Ironsides", "Heated Point", "Soaring Seagull", and "The African Dawn". Great break on "The Heated Point" too! CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches18
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
FoxyHot Numbers (with bonus track) ... CD
Dash/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $13.99
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
Also available Hot Numbers ... LP 2.99

Close matches19
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
FreedomFarther Than Imagination ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $22.99
An amazing, unjustly obscure bit of southern funky soul – played with kind of a club oriented groove, and a strong nod towards middle-period Earth, Wind, & Fire – a far different vibe than a lot of the southern soul on the Malaco label! The band has some nice harmony vocals over a jazzy bass-heavy style – and the record mixes uptempo funky tracks with smoother mellower ones. Includes the dancefloor cuts "Dance Sing Along" and "Get Up And Dance" – plus great mellow numbers like "Summer Memory" and "Wake Up Your Mind". Other titles include "Farther Than Imagination", "Know You Better" and "You've Just Got To Be The One". CD
(Part of the "Malaco – The Truth Of Southern Soul Definitive Collection" series!)

Close matches20
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Glass HouseInside The Glass House (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $13.99
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
Also available Inside The Glass House (180 gram pressing) ... LP 24.99

Close matches21
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Dusko GoykovichSketch Of Yugoslavia ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $16.99
A fantastic vintage set from the great trumpeter Dusko Goykovich – and a record that's very much in the best tradition of his groundbreaking early work! Goykovich emerged from the Yugoslavian scene during the key years of communist rule – and his bold, bright horn work was a shining light of freedom in the 60s and 70s – and was also often used as a way of illuminating the richer cultural corners of the Balkans, at a time when interaction with the area was more restricted. As with some of his famous MPS/Saba work, Dusko here creates an extended jazz suite, almost as a sonic poem to his homeland – performed with a core quartet that has Gokyovich on flugelhorn, Fritz Pauer on piano, Peter Trunk on bass, and Tony Inzalaco on drums – all with added horns from the NDR Radio Orchestra, who work beautifully to flesh out the vision of the leader, yet still really let Dusko stand as the main solo voice in the set. The whole thing's wonderful – proud and passionate throughout – with titles that include "Haze On The Danube", "Balkan Dance", "Bosna Calling", "East Of Montenegro", and "Shumadaya". CD

Close matches22
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Al GreenTokyo Live ... CD
Cream/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $13.99
A tasty double-live set from Al Green – one that has him working through longer versions of tunes than you'd hear on his studio albums, and really doing great in front of an appreciative Japanese crowd! The overall approach here is a bit more modern than on some of his older Hi albums – as the band uses the extra space to make things a bit more uptempo and really push the groove – but Al's vocals still hold the whole set together nicely, especially on the numbers where he lets loose a bit more. Linda Jones is one of the backup singers on the set – and titles include "Belle", "Let's Get Married", "Love & Happiness", "I Feel Good", "Dream", "God Blessed Our Love", "You Ought To Be With Me", and "Tired Of Being Alone". CD

Close matches23
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Greens IIIRazor ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1984. New Copy ... $9.99
Three gals – all named Greene – coming together in a sweet 80s update of girl group modes! There's a style here that's definitely in the same territory as the Mary Jane Girls – lots of catchy lyrics and sweet bubbling electro rhythms – but the girls also have this really stripped-down style that's very much their own – and which makes the whole album feel like finding a batch of obscure indie soul 45s from the period – filled with tunes that might have made the big time, had they gotten a little more push and polish. Yet it's that lack of polish we like the best about the record, and which sets it apart from the mainstream pack – and titles include "Be Mine", "You Want My Body", "3D", "Falling In Love", and "Burn This Place". CD
(Part of the Malaco Definitive Collection, The Truth Of Southern Soul Series!)

Close matches24
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Chico HamiltonEl Exigente ... CD
Flying Dutchman/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $13.99
Great work from a fantastic period of drummer Chico Hamilton – a time when he'd moved way past the chamber jazz of his 50s years, and even some of his more freewheeling 60s modes on Impulse Records! Here, Chico seems really obsessed with rhythm – to a level where he's not afraid to complicate things, even in search of a groove – working with odd timings and changes that are still pretty groundbreaking, even all these many years later! As with previous records, Hamilton shows a great ear for picking unusual and inventive players – as the set includes Arnie Lawrence doing some incredible work on electric alto sax, and Bob Mann adding in trippy guitar fills that give the tracks a wild stoner feel. Chico's drums are freer than ever – and the album's a real lost gem in the Flying Dutchman mode – with titles that include "Volvos", "Up Front What Counts", "Swingin On A Sitar", "How 'Bout Bobby", "As I Open My Eyes", and "Gonna Get Some Right Now". CD
(Part of the Flying Dutchman 1000 Master Collection!)
Also available El Exigente ... LP 7.99

Close matches25
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Nobuo Hara with Sharps & FlatsSoul Modern Jazz 3 – Members ... CD
Columbia/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1960. New Copy ... $22.99
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 matches26
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Roy HaynesRoy Haynes Hip Ensemble ... CD
Mainstream/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $13.99
Drummer Roy Haynes works here with an ensemble that's definitely as hip as the title promises – a really righteous group that makes the album one of Roy's most spiritual records ever! Haynes was always a drummer who was really a cut above, even back at the start – but here, he really steps out strongly with a new musical vision for the 70s – working with a lineup that includes George Adams on tenor and flute and Marvin Hannibal Peterson on trumpet – but players who give the music a really bold feel, right from the start! The rest of the lineup is wonderful, too – as Carl Schroeder plays Fender Rhodes with this flowing vibe that's plenty soulful – alongside bass from Terud Nakamura and Mervin Bronson, conga from Lawrence Kilian, bongo from Elwood Johnson, and more drums from Haynes himself. Titles include a sublime reading of Stanley Cowell's "Equipoise" – plus "Tangiers", "You Name It", and "Satan's Mysterious Feeling". CD

Close matches27
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Jon HendricksCloudburst ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1982. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
A mixed bag of tracks from Jon Hendricks – but with some really great moments! The set was recorded in Germany in 1982, and it features Jon running through a variety of styles to please the crowd – some of them blusey, some of them straight readings of older numbers – but on a few of the album's best tracks he really opens up, hitting that uniquely soulful vocal style that's made him a favorite for years with the jazz groove scene. The best tunes include "No More", a vocal remake of Hubert Laws tune, done with a really great hook – and a sublime 8 minute take on Edu Lobo's "Arrasto", swung here with a soaring glowing groove. Other tracks include "Jon's Mumbles", "Watermelon Man", "Gimme That Wine", "Cloudburst", and "It Was A Dream". CD features the bonus track "Reza". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches28
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Terumasa HinoLove Nature (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Love/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy Gatefold ... $29.99
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". CD
(Part of the Deep Jazz Reality series!)

Close matches29
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Richard Groove HolmesI'm In The Mood For Love ... CD
Flying Dutchman/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. Used ... $13.99
Quite a different album than you might expect from the title and cover – which seem to imply a set of late nite ballads! Instead, the album's got fuller arrangements and a more upbeat groove – that larger ensemble mode that some organists were using in the mid 70s – as on the later Prestige jazz/funk years, or even some of the work on the Groove Merchant label! Groove Holmes here still gets plenty of space to solo, even though the arrangements feature some additional keyboards from time to time – and Horace Ott handles the backings with a nicely soulful vibe. There's also some vocal chorus presence on the record – handled by The Breathless group, who work in a way that just echoes the instrumentation – and titles include "Morning Children", "I'm In The Mood For Love", "I've Got A Love For You", and "This Is The Me Me" – plus the laidback "Non Kulu Leku", which has a very mellow CTI/Kudu feel. CD
(Includes obi.)

Close matches30
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Richard Groove HolmesNew Groove ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... $13.99
Funky funky Groove Holmes – one of his tightest albums ever! The set's a monumental batch of organ jazz groovers – recorded with some larger backings from Manny Albam, and a super-dope, super-funk sort of 70s feel that's really outta site! The tracks are lean and very rhythmically oriented – all instruments grooving very strictly on the beat, except for Groove's wailing Hammond – which takes off over the top in some fierce musical flights! Bernard Purdie chops up some wicked drums on the set, and titles include "Red Onion", "Meditation", "Good Vibrations", "Chu Chu", and the solid groover "You've Got it Bad". CD

Close matches31
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Richard Groove HolmesNight Glider ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $16.99
Sweet 70s funk from the legendary Groove Holmes – an album that has his funky organ riffing nicely over some tight larger arrangements! The style is really great, and a nice departure from the smaller combo Groove Holmes sound of the 60s – more in keeping with his later Blue Note work, in that the organ's in the lead, grooving soulfully, and the rest of the band vamps and comps behind him with a tight style that's almost in the soundtrack mode! Players include Pretty Purdie on drums, Horace Ott on electric piano, and Seldon Powell on tenor – and Horace Ott wrote two nice originals – "Night Glider" and "Flyjack" – and Groove contributed "Pure Cane Sugar". Other tracks include "Go Away Little Girl", "Young & Foolish", and "One Mint Julep". CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo' Groovy Collection!)

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Richard Groove HolmesOnsaya Joy ... CD
Flying Dutchman/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $13.99
Maybe one of the greatest albums ever cut by organist Richard Groove Holmes – and a set that's worth it alone for the massive title track! Groove soars right out of the gate on that one – taking up most of side one with help from a vamping trio of guitar and drums – while he delivers this stretched-out, hard-burning solo that almost seems to take a page out of the book of the younger Charles Earland – but also stands as a great reminder of the fresh, soulful genius that Holmes brought to the Hammond in the 60s! In addition to "Onsaya Joy", other tracks are a bit more straightforward, but no less soulful – and titles include "On Green Dolphin Street", "Song For My Father", and a remake of "Misty". CD
(Part of the Flying Dutchman 1000 Master Collection!)

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Takehiro HondaI Love You ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $22.99
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
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

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Takehiro HondaJodo – Pure Land ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $22.99
A great trio date that has Takehiro Honda working with Reggie Workman on bass and Motohiko Hino on drums – an extremely great group that really takes off in this setting! The record is one of the freer sides from Honda at the time – done in the more open, lyrical modes that were coming into prominence in Japan at the time – although still with a strong sense of rhythm, as was common in all of his work. One track features Honda on electric piano – but we're actually more partial to the acoustic numbers, as they burst out with a proud, righteous energy that's really great! Titles include "Jodo", "Lazy Dream", "The Way To Brooklyn", and "Second Country". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches35
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Takehiro HondaTakehiro Honda Trio ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $22.99
Some of the earliest work we've ever seen from Japanese keyboard legend Takehiro Honda – a great batch of trio tracks, recorded with an open spirit and freely soaring vibe! Honda's playing acoustic piano throughout – working in a trio with Yoshio Suzuki and Fumio Watanabe – and his style here is often heavier on the left hand than in later work – clearly influenced by American soul jazz players of the 60s, and carried off with the skill to match! There's some great bluesy undercurrents on the best numbers – but still played with some of the greater freedoms of the Japanese trio style – and titles include "Emergency", "CMT & T", "This Guy's In Love With You", and "Hakai To Jojyo". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches36
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Takehiro HondaThis Is Honda ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $22.99
A great early album from Japanese pianist Takehiro Honda – one of the key jazz talents of Japan in the 70s, and a wonderfully lyrical keyboardist with a style that's right up there with the best American players of the 60s. Unlike later albums, which have Honda grooving with a bit more of an electric vibe, this one's a straight acoustic session – with Honda magically soloing out on relaxed versions of standards like "Round Midnight", "When Sunny Gets Blue", "Secret Love", and "Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise". The album's arranged with that wonderful spacey feel you get on some of these classic Japanese trio sets from the 70s – with impeccable sound throughout! CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

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Takehiro HondaWhat's Going On ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $22.99
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 matches38
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Takehiro Honda & Mama TMisty ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $22.99
A rare vocal session from pianist Takehiro Honda – one recorded with Japanese singer Mama T, who sings here in English throughout! Mama's name is one that might make you think she's a blues singer – but her approach is mostly that of a 60s soul jazz vocalist – jazz at the core, but with some more soulful inflections at times, in a way that really takes the tunes and makes them her own! Honda's playing acoustic piano, using lots of bluesy undercurrents – and titles include "Misty", "Bell", "Stormy Monday", "For Once In My Life", and "I Love You More Today Than Yesterday". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches39
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Takehiro Honda with Sadao WatanabeTakehiro Honda Meets Rhythm Section Featuring Sadao Watanabe ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1969. New Copy ... $22.99
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
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches40
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Honey ConeTake Me With You (with bonus track) ... CD
Hot Wax/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $13.99
A brilliant early set from Honey Cone – and a perfect illustration of the way the trio really moved past simple girl group modes of the 60s! There's a bold, proud, righteous tone to the record right from the start – thanks to these soaringly soulful vocals from the girls, and these fuzzy arrangements from Tony Camillo – who seems to borrow a bit from the more righteous modes of Norman Whitfield at Motown, then give things a bit more of a girl soul twist! The combination is amazing, and the album's rock-solid all the way through – filled with great original tunes that really keep a unified feel throughout – and titles include "Are You Man Enough", "Take Me With You", "Girls It Ain't Easy", "While You're Out Looking For Sugar", "The Feeling's Gone", "Sunday Morning People", and "Take My Love". CD features a bonus 7" mix of "While You're Out Looking For Sugar". CD

Close matches41
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Bobbi HumphreyCity Beat ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1988. New Copy ... $22.99
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!)

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Kayo IshuLiving Scat – Neo Standards ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1960s/1970s. New Copy ... $22.99
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 ... $22.99
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!)

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Fumio ItabashiLife & Live – Watarase ... DVD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 2011. New Copy ... $24.99
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 ... Just Sold Out!
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!)

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Fumio ItabashiRise & Shine – Live At The Aketa's ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $22.99
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
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches48
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Fumio ItabashiWatarase At Watarase ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 2011. New Copy ... $22.99
A really wonderful live set from Japanese piano legend Fumio Itabashi – a player who exploded in the 70s with a style that was free-flowing yet very rhythmic – one of the best illustrations of the new lyrical heights of the Japanese piano scene – still sounding pretty darn wonderful here after the passage of decades! Fumio immediately takes off on the tunes – building up a sound in a mode that's maybe a bit inspired by the directions that McCoy Tyner opened up on the piano, but which also has more soul jazz currents at times too – blended together in this effortless sense of rhythm and melody that make Itabashi's command of the piano completely breathtaking, and very different than just about any other solo artist on the instrument that we can think of. The CD features six long tracks – all with titles in Japanese. CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

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JBsGroove Machine ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $13.99
A rock-solid groove machine from The JBs – an album that's a bit different than their earlier sides for People Records, yet still pretty wonderful overall! The approach is more club than funk – yet the grooves are still mostly live ensemble playing – kind of a ratcheted-up version of the JBs' style, and very similar to the groove that James Brown himself was hitting at the end of the 70s! Given the already-sharp sound of the group, you can bet that the music here is light years better than most other studio disco groups of the period – and although James Brown produced, most of the tracks are instrumental – save for one with vocals by Maxxi. Titles include "Rock", "Georgia Peach Disco", "Just Wanna Make You Dance", "Rock Disco #1", and "Rock Groove Machine". CD

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Syl JohnsonBack For A Taste Of Your Love ... CD
Hi Records/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $13.99
A great second-chapter effort from the legendary Syl Johnson – a sweet little record in which Johnson's raw vocals come into play with the tighter, warmer sound of Hi Records – with amazing results that have made the album a classic for years! The blend here is great – as Johnson's trademark crackle is still very much in place, but the production by Willie Mitchell really helps give him a lot of focus too – especially on some of the more heartfelt numbers, which come across here with a sensual force that Syl might never have hit on his own. Syl wrote a number of the tracks himself too – and titles include "I'm Yours", "Feelin' Frisky", "I Hate I Walked Away", "Wind Blow Her Back My Way", "I Let A Good Girl Go", and "The Love You Left Behind". CD
Also available Back For A Taste Of Your Love ... LP 29.99

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Syl JohnsonTotal Explosion ... CD
Hi Records/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $13.99
A wicked explosion from the legendary Syl Johnson – one of his smoking sets for Hi Records – done with solid soulful help from Willie Mitchell! Mitchell's familiar Memphis groove is firmly in place here – tightly compressed rhythms and horns, vamping perfectly for Syl's raw vocals – and the set also seems to feature Johnson smoking some grooves on harmonica too – but in a way that's still a lot more soul than blues! There's a few great funky moments on the set – a nice reminder of the Twinight years – and tracks include "I Only Have Love", "Take Me To The River", "Bustin Up Or Busin Out", "'Bout To Make Me Leave Home", "That's Just My Luck", "It Ain't Easy", "Steppin Out", and "Watch What You Do To Me". CD

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Mitsaki KatayamaFirst Flight ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $22.99
Exactly the kind of record that's got us digging Japanese trio sessions from the 70s so much – a set that's filled with lots of warm, soulful sounds, creatively compelling changes, and fresh rhythms that really keep the tunes interesting! There's a slight undercurrent of funk on most numbers, but never too much – as the set still preserves all the best lyrical lines of pianist Kichiro Sugino, who steps beautifully around the bass of Kishio Kitahara and drums of Mitsaki Katayama – a perfectly-hinged trio who soar plenty on the record – more than enough to earn the "flight" in the title! This one's really a cut above – filled with wonderful energy, and never a dull moment throughout – a real gem that's waiting to be re-discovered by the 21st Century generation. Titles include "Unknown Point", "Arizona High Way", "It's Over", "Louis", and "First Flight". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches53
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Herman Kelly & LifePercussion Explosion! (with bonus track) ... CD
Alston/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $13.99
The percussion-heavy soul gem from Herman Kelly & Life – recorded in both Brazil & Miami – and awash with killer drum work all the way through! The album's a key part of the Miami sound especially – and really shows the way that city's 70s funk scene used congas heavily – really filling up the middle of a cut with even more energy than usual! The album's best known for the classic sample cut "Dance to the Drummer's Beat" – which is offered up here in a nice extended version, with a long percussion break that makes it even tastier than usual – and the record's also got a few other uptempo cuts like "Who's the Funky DJ?" and "Do The Handbone" – plus the tracks "Time After Time", "A Refreshing Love", and "Share Your Love". Also features the bonus track "Who's The Funky DJ (7 inch version)". CD

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Denise LaSalleRight Place, Right Time ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1984. New Copy ... $9.99
A really great back to basics set from Denise LaSalle – returning to her deep soul roots after some bigger, clubbier records for major labels! There's a nicely down-home vibe to the record – the start of LaSalle's presence on the bluesier underground of the aging chitlin circuit – but still not as fully bluesy as she's be a few years later. The album draws a bit from Miami soul modes of the previous decade, but also really lets that Malaco approach grow into its own with a strong singer like Denise – finding new confidence as the label was fast becoming one of the last soul labels left in America! Latimore does a great guest appearance on the title cut "Right Place Right Time" – and other tracks include "Bump & Grind", "Good Man Gone Bad", "He's Not Available", "Why Does It Feel So Right", "Love School", and "Your Husband Is Cheating On Us". CD
(Part of the Malaco Definitive Collection, The Truth Of Southern Soul Series!)

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Laura LeeTwo Sides Of Laura Lee (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Hot Wax/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $13.99
A standout set from the great Laura Lee – a deep soul singer with power to rival the greatness of Aretha Franklin, but one who's also got a funkier punch to her music too! The album's a great blend of late 60s female southern and tight 70s bad sister funk – a style that's a bit like that of Gwen McCrae at her early best, but handled here with a fuller vibe that's right in keeping with the best modes of the Invictus/Hot Wax scene from the Holland Dozier Holland team! Vocals are wonderful throughout – and the album features the breakbeat classic "Crumbs Off The Table" – plus "Guess Who I Saw Today", "If I'm Good Enough To Love (I'm Good Enough To Marry)", "Rip Off", "You've Got To Save Me", and "Workin & Lovin Together". CD features bonus tracks – "Crumbs Off The Table (single re-edit)", "I'll Catch You When You Fall", and "I Can't Hold Out Much Longer". CD

Close matches56
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O'Donel LevyBlack Velvet ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $16.99
A stone laidback set from O'Donel Levy – one of the greatest soul jazz guitarists of the 70s, and a player who sounds fresher and fresher to us over the years! This album's a bit more laidback than some of Levy's other sets for Groove Merchant – with larger arrangements that feature Charles Covington on electric piano and organ, Fats Theus on tenor and flute, and Billy Skinner on trumpet – but the approach actually works well, as the slow-moving tracks trip out over a lot of space, giving O'Donel plenty of room to craft his uniquely spacious and chromatic solos. Titles include versions of "Watch What Happens", "Love Story", "Call Me", "You've Made Me So Very Happy", and "Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time", plus the originals "Granny" and "Nature's Child", both of which have a nice little groove! CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo' Groovy Collection!)

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O'Donel LevyDawn Of A New Day ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $16.99
Totally wicked guitar work from the mighty O'Donel Levy – easily one of the hippest talents to ever work for the Groove Merchant label! Levy's got a sound here that's a bit like Wes Montgomery on some of his late 60s sides, but also a fair bit funkier overall – a style that's steeped in soul and schooled on advancements in the 70s generation of funk fusion and blacksploitation soundtracks. Backings are relatively large – arranged by Manny Album, with players who include Charles Covington on organ and electric piano and Cecil Bridgewater on trumpet. Tracks include covers like "I Wanna Be Where You Are", "People Make the World Go Round", and "Maiden Voyage" – plus some nice originals, like "Dawn Of A New Day" and "Baa Waa". CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo' Groovy Collection!)

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O'Donel LevyEverything I Do Gonna Be Funky ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... $16.99
The butt-squeezing cover should be enough to let you know that this is one funky album – but if that doesn't get the message across, the grooves certainly do! O'Donel Levy plays tight and funky guitar, and also sings a bit on the set – working with a tight combo that features Charles Covington on keyboards, and some great electric funk arrangements by Dave Matthews! The album's got a more full-on funk approach than some of Levy's more laidback efforts from the time – and the instrumentation's all very hard-grooving, with lots of sweet electric touches! Tracks include "Living For The City", "Sideshow", "Hey, Love", "Are You Foolin' Me", and "Marbles". CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo' Groovy Collection!)

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O'Donel LevySimba ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $16.99
Fantastic sounds throughout – and maybe the best album ever by this legendary 70s guitar player! O'Donel Levy's got this tremendous sound that comes from playing an electric hollow body – in a tone that takes the best bits of Grant Green and Wes Montgomery, and strips them down for a hipper, badder 70s sort of mode. The album's got some great blackploitation-esque arrangements by Manny Albam, and O'Donel's groove is nice and lean as he snakes over the top of the record in some very soulful solos! Lots of cool grooves, and titles include "Joni", "Nigerian Knights", "Bad, Bad, Simba" and "Sad, Sad, Simba". CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant, Mo' Groovy Collection!)

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O'Donel LevyTime Has Changed ... CD
LC/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $16.99
A great later set from 70s guitar genius O'Donel Levy – slightly different than his earlier work for the Groove Merchant label, but equally great in its own sort of way! Levy's still working here with producer Sonny Lester on the LC label – and the tone is great, with this clear, clean, soulful line that should have made O'Donel one of the giants of his generation – tripping along with these well-crafted solos that are a perfect fit for the laidback rhythms of the tunes! And if you're worried that the later date and different cover style is too much of a shift for Levy, don't – because there's plenty of greatness within – and the record really knocks it out of the park compared to some of his more mainstream contemporaries. Titles include the great "Butta" – plus "Love Will Never Die", "Have You Heard", "Dancing Girl", and "Time Has Changed". CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo' Groovy Collection!)

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O'Donel LevyWindows ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $16.99
A great later album from O'Donel Levy – recorded after his initial flurry of work for the Groove Merchant label, but still plenty darn nice! The sound here is slightly smoother and a bit more electric than before – with Levy's sweet guitar work snaking out over some larger backings that almost have a funky soundtrack feel. The groove is still great, and O'Donel brings plenty of his trademark chromatic lines to the set – guitar parts that almost sound even better in this setting! Titles include "Moisturizer", "Green Machine", "Panama Red", and a track called "I Believe In Miracles", which is not the Jackson Sisters' hit, but a nice mellow groove with vocals that sounds like some of the George Duke soul cuts! CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo' Groovy Collection!)

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David LiebmanSolo – Memories Dreams & Reflections ... CD
PM/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1981. New Copy ... $16.99
David Liebman plays solo, but not in a way that's spare or lonely at all – as the record often features Dave overdubbing himself on a variety of instruments – including soprano sax, flute, Fender Rhodes, and other keyboards! Liebman jokingly refers to the record in the notes as "playing with myself", but the approach is much better than that – and instead creates one of the most personal, poetic albums we've ever heard from the legendary reedman. Titles include "Hiroshima Memorial", "Guided Dream", "Words", "The Power Of The Cross", and "Translucence". CD
(Part of the Modern Jazz Connection series!)

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Little BeaverWhen Was The Last Time ... CD
Cat/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $13.99
An excellent album of smooth soul tracks – very different than Little Beaver's earlier work, but every bit as great! The album's got a warm, mellow finish that's almost a maturation of the sound that Beaver first forged on his Party Down album – with plenty of his deep soul vocals and guitar work laced through the mix, on top of lots of nice keyboard bits from Timmy Thomas! The groove is mellow Miami soul at its best – and in a way, it's this shift that really helped Beaver keep his music alive – giving it a depth that sets it apart from some of the hitbound Miami music of the period. Titles include the classic groover "Concrete Jungle", plus "When Was The Last Time", "Pretty Little Girl", and "I Really Love You Babe". CD

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Norio Maeda & PlayboysEnraku's Playboy Seminar No 12 – The Playboy Manual ... CD
Ultra Vybe/Takt (Japan), 1969. New Copy ... $22.99
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
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches65
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Turk MauroUnderdog (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Jazzcraft/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $13.99
It's hard to imagine anyone thinking of tenorist Turk Mauro as an underdog – at least not after the smoking sound of this set! The record's one that really broke Mauro out to bigger audiences at the time – a set we've seen nestled in some of the hipper jazz collections we've run across over the years – especially for collectors who dig the long-blown, constantly-creative sound of tenorists like Johnny Griffin or Dexter Gordon. Mauro comes head to head with both right from the start – blowing with a confident tone,a nd beautiful sense of imagination throughout – sometimes on baritone as well, on the album's tracks that have Al Cohn joining in on tenor. The rest of the group features warmly sensitive rhythm from Hugh Lawson on piano, Bob Cranshaw or Tom Barney on bass, and Ben Riley on drums. Titles include "Turkquoise", "The Underdog", "Jazz Leif", "Zoot & Al", and "Until It's Time For You To Go". CD features six more bonus tracks – a few alternate takes and the cuts "My Buddy" and "For All We Know". CD

Close matches66
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Gwen McCraeGwen McCrae (1974) ... CD
Cat/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... $13.99
A landmark album from the Miami soul scene of the 70s – the record that put Gwen McCrae on the map, and showed to the world that the TK sound was about to dominate the charts! There's a really unique groove to the set – part older southern soul, part percolated electric modes – that funky groove that Little Beaver, Timmy Thomas, and some of Gwen's TK contemporaries had been cooking up at the time. Both Beaver and Thomas are working on the sessions – as are Willie Clark, Latimore, and George Perry – and even the backup vocals are hip – with help from George McCrae, Betty Wright, and KC of Sunshine Band fame. But throughout it all, Gwen's the real star – singing with an impeccable vocal approach that's full of soul, yet never overdone – heard to amazing effect on the classic track "90% Of Me" – and other gems that include "For Your Love", "He Keeps Something Groovy Going On", "It Keeps On Raining", "He Don't Ever Lose His Groove", "Move Me Baby", and "Let Them Talk". CD

Close matches67
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Jimmy McGriffBlack & Blues ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $16.99
An unusual double-length album for Jimmy McGriff – released during his funkier years at the Groove Merchant label, but with a gritty sort of sound that takes us back to his first few records on Sue in the 60s! The "blues" in the title is definitely well-chosen – as the tracks here are long, lean, and drawn out – blues-drenched soul jazz played by a small combo that includes Larry Frazier on guitar, Rudy Johnson on tenor, and Saint Jenkins on drums – plus Gerry Jemmott on electric bass, adding a bit more vamp to the background than usual. There's a very earthy feel to most numbers – almost improvised jams at times, at least on the tracks that are credited to McGriff as the writer. Titles include "Blue Groove (parts 1 & 2)", "Blues For A Broken Down Funky Old Bus", "Bahama", "Mack The Knife", "Harp-er", "Mocha", "Hey Mrs Jones", "Amen", and "Penthouse Serenade". CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo' Groovy Collection!)

Close matches68
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Jimmy McGriffStump Juice ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $16.99
Massively funky – and one of Jimmy McGriff's best albums for the Groove Merchant label! The album's follows strongly on the mode of Jimmy's classic Worm album – also produced by Sonny Lester, issued slightly before on the Solid State label. The set's got that stripped-down, hard-n-funky sound that Jimmy used on his best albums from the time – rhythm crackling at the bottom with a really sharp edge, and a lean, clean keyboards soaring over the top in some really mighty solo work – somewhere between James Brown funk and early 70s soundtracks! The drums are great, the tunes are tasty, and Jimmy plays both keyboards and Hammond – with a groove that's always outta site! Titles include the funky "Stump Juice", plus "TNT", "Stretch Me Out", "Pisces", "Cumayon", and "Purple Onion". CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo' Groovy Collection!)

Close matches69
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MiamiParty Freaks ... CD
Drive/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... $13.99
Excellent work by this sweeeeeet Miami funk ensemble – one of the tightest combos to ever grace the Sunshine State! This is the first of the group's two albums for the Drive/TK label – and it's got a great sound that mixes rougher funky 45 type playing, with some of the smoother production of the Miami scene – handled in this case by Willie Clarke & Clarence "Blow Fly" Reid! The whole thing's great, with a hard-ripping sound that's well worth all the praise the group have gotten over the years. Titles include the breakbeat cut "Chicken Yellow", plus their great 2 part single "Party Freaks", which has a cool Shaft-like groove to it – as well as the tracks "Same Ol Beat", "Funk It Up", and "Freak On Down My Way". CD

Close matches70
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Kan Mikami & Ryojiro FurusawaSyokugyo – Profession ... CD
Johnny's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $22.99
A pretty amazing record from a time when it seemed like all holds were off on the Japanese record industry – especially on smaller labels like Johnny's Disk, who recorded this album during a period of really intense creativity! The album begins with heavy drums from Ryojiro Furusawa – almost making it feel like you're about to hear a whole album of improvised music – but then Kan Mikami comes in with guitar and vocals, and the tunes get shaped in very different lyrical ways – but still while being driven by Ryojiro's very bold work on the drums! The whole album seems to swing between these solo, improvised moments and more song-based inspiration – and as with many of the true treasures on the Johnny's Disk label, you've really got to hear this one to appreciate its genius. CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches71
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Charles MingusMingus In Europe Volume 2 ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1964. New Copy ... $9.99
Great recordings the important 1964 tour of Europe by bassist Charles Mingus – a key musical moment that not only saw some of the last recordings of Eric Dolphy before his departure from this planet, but which also introduced the overseas scene to some key up-and-coming talents who were in Mingus' tenure! The group here is a quintet, but plays with the fire of some of Charles' bigger ensembles from a few years before – and the setting has some especially open space for great solos from the reedmen – both Dolphy on alto, flute, and bass clarinet – plus Clifford Jordan on tenor. Dannie Richmond plays drums, and Jaki Byard is superb on piano – and titles on this second volume include "Charlemange", "At-Fw-You", "Sophisticated Lady", "So Long Eric", and "Orange Was The Color Of Her Dress Then Blue Silk". CD
(Part of the Enja Jazz Master Works series!)

Close matches72
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McKinley MitchellMcKinley Mitchell (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Chimneyville/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $9.99
One of the few full albums ever issued by McKinley Mitchell – a deep soul singer with an equal amount of blues in his approach – and this great raspy approach to a lyric that's somewhere in between ZZ Hill and Bobby Blue Bland! The date of the album is 1978, but the whole thing has a vibe that could be years earlier – a really classic southern soul approach, with backings by a sweet studio combo that's clearly getting some great directly from James Stroud, who also helped with production. Things are nicely laidback and under-polished – and Mitchell's wonderful voice really gets to shine on tracks that include "Open House At My House", "You're So Fine", "The Town I Live In", "You Know I've Tried", "Run To Love", "Dream Lover", "End Of The Rainbow", and "Follow The Wind". CD features bonus tracks that include "Poverty", "Days Got Brighter", "Slave For Your Love", "Falling For Your Love", "Trouble Blues", and "When It Rains It Pours". CD
(Part of the Malaco Definitive Collection, The Truth Of Southern Soul Series!)

Close matches73
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Willie MitchellSolid Soul ... CD
Hi Records/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1968. New Copy ... $13.99
They definitely got the title right on this one – as the set's a solid batch of soulful instrumentals all the way through – one of our favorites from the great Willie Mitchell! Willie's got a lot more bite here than on some of his famous warmer productions in the 70s – a gritty Memphis soul instrumental style that's pretty close to the best of its kind over at Stax Records – complete with tight, punchy drums on the bottom – and a sweet mix of organ, tenor, guitar, and trumpet in the lead! Nothing's ever too forced, and there's a groove that's laidback, but right on the money – on titles that include "San Ho Zay", "Monkey Jump", "Strawberry Solo", "Hideaway", "Up Hard", "The Horse", and "Grazing In The Grass". CD

Close matches74
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Dorothy MooreTalk To Me ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $22.99
A wonderful record from Dorothy Moore – done at a time when the singer was not only one of the leading lights of the southern soul scene, but also maybe the heir apparent to styles that had previously been handled by giants like Aretha Franklin, Ann Peebles, or Shirley Brown! Many of the tunes here have an older origin – soul or pop songs of the 50s and 60s – but they're reworked in that hip Malaco blend of deep soul and modern soul modes – warmed up a little, but never too much – given contemporary instrumentation, but never in a way that's too commercial. Titles include "It's All In The Game", "Angel Of The Morning", "Something", "If I Could Feel That Old Feeling Again", "Crazy In Love", "Lonely", and "Talk To Me/Every Beat Of My Heart". CD
(Part of the "Malaco – The Truth Of Southern Soul Definitive Collection" series!)

Close matches75
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✨✧ Oscar MoorePresenting Oscar Moore – With Leroy Vinegar ... CD
VSOP/Solid/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1957. Used ... Just Sold Out!
... CD
(2017 pressing, includes obi.)

Close matches76
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✨✧ Shintaro Nakamura with Shunzo OhonoEvolution ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1985. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
Soaring piano lines, burning trumpet solos, and soulful tenor sax – all wrapped together beautifully in this obscure Japanese session from the 80s – a date that has all the free-thinking power and unbounded energy of some of our favorite American soul jazz sessions from a decade before! The group's led by bassist Shintaro Nakamura, but features wonderful contributions from trumpeter Shunzo Ohno, tenorist Robert Kenmotsu, and pianist Jeff Jenkins – all of whom get plenty of space to state their case on the album's long and stretched-out tracks. The bass of Nakamura and piano of Jenkins sets up a good modal groove on most numbers – and titles include "Future On You", "Don't Forget Me", "Sweet & Sour Sound", "Evolution", and "A Blind Man". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches77
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Eiji NakayamaAya's Samba ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $22.99
Beautiful grooves from a cool Japanese group – one led by bassist Eiji Nakayama, with some great electric piano and tenor sax in the lineup too! The tracks are long, and relatively open-ended – kind of in the Three Blind Mice label style of the period, but with an even more contemplative feel – especially on some of the piano lines, which get nice and blocky – really feeling their way into space, as the tenor sax comes into the mix to carve out a few more edges! Titles include "Aya's Samba", "Yellow Living", "See Sea Town", and "Far Away Road". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches78
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Eiji NakayamaMy Present Song ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $22.99
A brilliant bass-led trio session from Japan – a perfect example of that scene's jazz greatness back in the 70s! Japanese piano trios definitely got their nod in the US and Europe, but at the time, the scene also had some equally wonderful combos who were led by bassists, not pianists – put together in ways that were always unusual and creative, especially in the way they approached a groove! This album's a beautiful illustration of the bass trio when it's done right – long-flowing, lyrical lines from leader Eiji Nakyama, accompanied by guitar and drums that dance along with equally great energy – mixing up straight jazz moments with modal numbers – really changing things up to keep things interesting, yet never in a gimmicky "hey, here's the bassist" kind of way. Titles include "My Present Song", "Children", "Nam", "Hello Johnny", "Theme From Finale", and "Cumorah". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches79
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✨✧ Natural HighNatural High 1 ... CD
Chimneyville/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $22.99
An obscure little modern soul groover – with a jazzy funk touch that you wouldn't expect from a record cut at Malaco Studios and released on the southern soul heavy Chimneyville imprint – usually home to much rootsier material! The group's got a soaring groove – with a lot of uptempo moments and few mellower ones – always exuberant, and filled with a sense of joy and power that really comes through right away! The groove is upbeat, and has the same sense of positive energy you'll find in the lyrics and tight instrumentation – and titles include "Dance To The Funk", "Come & Go Away With Me", "You Make Me So Happy", "Reachin Out", "Time Is Wasting", "Don't Be Lonely", and "Trust In Me". CD
(Part of the "Malaco – The Truth Of Southern Soul Definitive Collection" series!)

Close matches80
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Ollie NightingaleSweet Surrender ... CD
Pride/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $13.99
The former leader of Ollie & The Nightingale steps out on his own – hitting a wonderfully deep approach to Memphis soul that's even more sublime than his previous group's records for Stax! There's a quiet genius going on here – a simple but powerful take on southern soul that pushes the genre into a new level of sophistication while still holding onto its roots. The album's a lost southern soul classic that should be on the shelf of anyone who digs male deep soul vocals – and we've never been certain why Ollie never scored bigger with the set at the time! Production and arrangements are by Gene Bowlegs Miller, and titles include "Here I Am Again", "May the Best Man Win", "Sweet Surrender", and "I Gave Her Everything She Needed". CD

Close matches81
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Alexander O'NealAll Mixed Up (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Tabu/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1989. New Copy ... $13.99
A sweet set of remix tracks from Alexander O'Neal – and a package that takes the already-great soul vibe of his Hearsay album, and helps give it some deep new energy for the dancefloor! The album's different than the US version of All Mixed Up – with a different cover, title, and track list – and an overall approach that may well even be tighter than the domestic release, in that key way that the Brits had of putting just the right moves on a remix at the end of the 80s! Titles include "Fake 88 (house mix)", "What Can I Say To Make You Love Me (hateful club mix)", "Never Knew Love Like This (ext version)", "Criticize (Ben Liebrand rmx)", "The Lovers (ext mix)", "Criticize (rmx)", "What Can I Say To Make You Love Me (Ben Liebrand rmx)", and "Fake (ext rmx)". CD features 4 bonus tracks that includes "You Were Meant To Be My Lady (88 Keith Cohen ext rmx)", "Innocent (88 Keith Cohen house mix)", "Fake (hop mix)", and "Hearsay 89 (dub mix)". CD

Close matches82
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Alexander O'NealAll True Man (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Tabu/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1991. New Copy ... $13.99
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

Close matches83
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Hiroshi OkazakiLiving Jazz – Neo Standards ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $22.99
A sweet Japanese take on American easy grooves – an album originally issued in 1971 under the title Easy Listening Special, and featuring the vocals of Hiroshi Okazaki! Hiroshi sings in English, with a warm, mellow, and round sort of tone – not exactly soulful, but cool and almost breezy – perfect for the album's light instrumentation and catchy bossa-styled rhythms. There's some great piano on the set – tinkling away over slightly funky bass and drum bits – almost in the mode of some of the sweeter work by the Young-Holt combo – with the addition of vocals, of course! Titles include "Spinning Wheel", "Girl Talk", "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head", "Here There & Everywhere", "Maybe September", and "Didn't We". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches84
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Hiroshi OkazakiLiving Voices – Neo Standards ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $22.99
A great lost slice of easy from Japan – sweet vocal tracks that are sort of a groovy take on the Hawaiian sound of the 60s! The tracks include a lot of Hawaiian standards, sung by the Living Voices in a mode that's occasionally gentle and dreamy, but which at other times has a surprising groove underneath – not the sleepy Hawaiian music records you'd know from the American scene of the 50s and 60s, but a groovier style that shows the way that the Japanese market continued to explore the genre,a nd really make something different! The set brings together titles from 1970 and 1974 albums, and titles include "Beyond The Reef", "To You Sweetheart Aloha", "Mapuana", "Blue Hawaii", "Lovely Hula Hands", and "Around The World". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches85
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Open SkySpirit In The Sky ... CD
PM/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $16.99
A powerful little trio – and one of the boldest setting that reedman Dave Liebman recorded in during the 70s! The Open Sky combo features Dave on a range of reeds – tenor, soprano, and alto flute – plus a bit of acoustic piano and percussion too – often working with these long lines that are very spiritual and progressive, but neither too jamming, nor too outside at all! Bassist Frank Tusa's got this warm, round tone that really deepens the record – and drummer Bob Moses is at his best in helping to bring just the right sort of spark to the music. The best tracks are nice and long – and titles include "Bugs Bunny", "Mfwala Myo Lala", "Striving For Truth", and "Amy". CD
(Part of the Modern Jazz Connection series!)

Close matches86
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Freda PayneContact (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $13.99
A totally great album from Freda Payne – a set that moves strongly past her initial early hits for the Holland Dozier Holland team, into a realm that's even more sophisticated overall! There's a full approach here that's really wonderful – almost a higher-concept version of soul music, yet still with all the punch that Payne packed on her key singles from the first album! Strings and larger arrangements really round out the sound in a very unique way – but the whole thing's still plenty soulful all the way through, with a righteous undercurrent that definitely lives up to the HDH legacy – thanks to arrangements from McKinley Jackson and HB Barnum. Freda's vocals are wonderful – even more powerful than before – and titles include "I'm Not Getting Any Better", "The Road We Didn't Take", "Odds & Ends", "I Shall Not Be Moved", "Mama's Gone", "Suddenly It's Yesterday", "You Brought The Joy", and "You've Got To Love Somebody (Let It Be Me)". CD features lots of bonus tracks – including "He's In My Life", "You Brought The Joy (single version)", "Just A Woman", "Come Back", "Band Of Gold (alt)", "Deeper & Deeper (single version)", "You're The Only Bargain I've Got", and "How Can I Live Without My Life". CD

Close matches87
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✨✧ Pat PetersonIntroducing Pat Peterson ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1982. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
The first album from vocalist Pat Peterson – sister to trumpeter Marvin Hannibal Peterson, and best known for her work as a member of Ray Charles' Raelettes backing group! The sound of the set is miles away from Pat's work with Ray – open, soulful, and done in a sophisticated jazzy mode that's got traces of some of the other more soulful jazz vocalists from the era. The production is surprisingly laidback for the time of the session – and Pat's backed on the record by a small combo that features John Scofield on guitar, David Fathead Newman on tenor sax, and Billy Hart on drums. Tracks are all originals, stretched out a nice longer-than-usual pace – and titles include "I'm In Love With Love", "Without You", "Do It Now", "Satisfied", and "No Beginning No End". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches88
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PowerPower (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1982. New Copy ... $9.99
An overlooked gem from the early 80s Malaco catalog – a set that's got more of a mid 70s funky soul feel overall, with just the right mix of upbeat cuts and ballads! These guys can actually harmonize wonderfully on the mellow numbers – with a compelling approach that's right up there with the best male groups of a few years before – but they're also tight enough to step out strongly on the groovers, all without losing their sharpness on the vocal tip – with a warm feel that's more indie club from the 70s than you'd guess from the label or the date. Titles include "Hott", "Groovin", "Old Fashioned Girl", "Betcha Didn't Know That", "I Can't Stop", and "My World". CD features two bonus tracks – DJ and instrumental versions of "Play It Again Sam". CD
(Part of the Malaco Definitive Collection, The Truth Of Southern Soul Series!)

Close matches89
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Sun RaLive at Montreux ... CD
Inner City/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. Used 2CD ... $19.99
One of Sun Ra's best non-Saturn live sets of the 70s – a nice little record that shows the group mixing it up with equal parts avant garde and straight ahead jazz, all handled in that ever-growing large group style that made them a real force to be reckoned with in a concert setting! The album was recorded during the 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival, and has a bit more focus and polish than some of the other Arkestra live material from the time – a mature, coherent sound that almost points the way towards some of their work to come in the 80s – when Ra and the group were finally reaching the wider audience they deserved. The set's a double-length one, and features players who include John Gilmore on tenor, Marshall Allen and Danny Davis on alto and flute, Pat Patrick on baritone, Ahmed Abdullah on trumpet, Craig Harris on trombone, and James Jackson on Ancient Egyptian Infinity drum – which is always a treat. Ra plays solar organ and moog, as well as piano – and titles include "Of The Other Tomorrow", "On Sound Infinity Spheres", "El Is The Sound Of Joy", "Gods Of The Thunder Realm", "Gods Of A Thunder Realm", "The House Of Eternal Being", and "Lights On a Satellite". CD
(2018 pressing on Solid/Ultra-Vybe, includes obi.)

Close matches90
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Dannie RichmondDannie Richmond Plays Charles Mingus ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. Used ... $9.99
The music of Charles Mingus – played by a great small combo headed up by Dannie Richmond, Mingus' drummer for over 20 years! The group on the set features members from Charles' last band – and is a quintet with Ricky Ford on tenor, Jack Walrath on trumpet, Bob Neloms on piano, and Cameron Brown on bass. Tunes are taken in a gentler, and more open-handed version than used on the original recordings – a style that's a nice contrast to that of Mingus, replacing the strength of his vision with a warmth and sensitivity that makes the tunes sparkle nicely. Titles include "Fables Of Faubus", "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", "Nostalgia In Times Square", and "Duke Ellington Sound Of Love". CD
(Includes obi.)

Close matches91
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Sharon RidleyFull Moon (with bonus track) ... CD
Tabu/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $13.99
One of the few full albums ever cut by the great Sharon Ridley – a hell of a great singer from the east coast scene, and one with the fullness of the best club divas of the time – but an approach that goes way way deeper overall! There's a sexy slink to the album that echoes Ridley's previous gem for Sussex – but the style's a bit more modern soul, with some sweet arrangements co-penned by Jerry Peters – who works with Sharon here to really push the envelope of her sound! Sharon sings with a bit of jazz at times – in ways that almost echo the best work of Marlena Shaw – and the set really shows a presence that goes way beyond most of Ridley's contemporaries. Titles include "Changin", "Just You and Me", "Full Moon", "Guess I'm Gonna Have to Say Goodbye", and "Nothing Else Means More To Me Than Our Love" – and a remake of "You Beat Me To The Punch". CD features a bonus track – "Changin (single version)". CD

Close matches92
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RoarRoar (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Tabu/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1985. New Copy ... $13.99
An obscure funky soul combo from the 80s – but one that includes key work from some older funky talents as well! ROAR gets lead vocal support from Alex Ligertwood, but really takes its strength from the instrumentation – which includes lots of keyboards from Chester Thompson, who you might know from his classic album on Black Jazz – and percussion from the great Armando Peraza, who appeared on countless Latin and jazz sides in the 60s and 70s! The approach is a lot more electric than either player might have used in the past, very much in that beat-heavy style of Tabu Records at the time – but the musicianship is maybe a cut above most of the label's releases, and really helps set fire to the tunes even before the lyrics come into the mix. Titles include "Superior", "We Gotta Do It", "Hungry For Love", "Can't You Feel It", "Do You Love Like You Dance", "Smack Dab In The Middle", and "Oye Mi Gente". CD features bonus tracks – Jam & Lewis remixes – "We Gotta Do It (12" ext)" and "We Gotta Do It (single)". CD

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✨✧ Howard RobertsMagic Band 2 ... CD
VSOP/Solid/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1968. Used ... Just Sold Out!
A second great chapter of live work by guitarist Howard Roberts – long and open-ended groovers recorded at Donte's nightclub in the 60s! The sound here is really great – tight and close enough to capture that magical Roberts tone on the hollow-body perfectly, but with just enough "room" to also showcase the spontaneity of the players on the set. And given that the group includes Dave Grusin and Tom Scott – who, like Roberts, were probably better known for their more staid studio selves, it's really great to hear such technically excellent players jamming together in a looser, freer mode. Pete Christlieb and John Gross also play a bit of tenor on the record, and tunes include "Milestones", "Giant Steps", "Dolphin Dance", "Alone Together", "On A Clear Day", and "One Note Samba" – all done in nice long versions. CD
(2017 pressing, includes obi.)

Close matches94
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Teru SakamotoTeru Sakamoto Trio Live At Rikuzen Johnny ... CD
Johnny's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $22.99
A tremendous live set from pianist Teru Sakamoto – a session that soars with all of the life, soul, and imagination of McCoy Tyner at his 70s best! The record's got a feel that's quite open – long tracks, with plenty of solo space for Sakamoto on the piano – but the sound is always inside, rhythmic, and focused – never too out or too experimental, just soaring up to the skies with a brilliant sense of expression. The trio features Takao Neichi on bass and Takeshi Watanabe on drums – and titles include a great modal take on "My Favorite Things", plus "Left Alone", "Yuyake Koyake", and "Autumn Leaves". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches95
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Agostinho Dos SantosMusica Nossa ... CD
Ritmos Codil/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1967. New Copy ... $9.99
A really great 60s record from Brazilian singer Agostinho Dos Santos – an artist who has part of the class of the bossa generation, and part of the depth of the samba soul singers to come – a very unique approach that nicely puts this rare album at the crossroads of Brazilian music! The production is nice and lean – even when things get somewhat full in the arrangements – a kind of stark, dramatic approach that really suits Agostinho's vocals. The record is quite obscure – issued by the tiny Codil label – and titles include "Travessia", "O Cantador", "Eu E A Brisa", "Maria Minha Fe", "Carolina", "Bom Dia", "Sim Pelo Nao", and a great version of "Ponteio", done as a duet with a female singer! CD
(Part of the Brasilian Music Love Affair series!)

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Shungo Sawada & Kayo IshuLiving Bossa – Neo Standards ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1968/1974. New Copy ... $22.99
Sweet bossa grooves from the Japanese easy scene – a great reissue that brings together a rare 1968 album by guitarist Shungo Sawada and singer Kayo Ishu, as well as some later work from the 70s! The tunes all have a pretty cool approach – mixing jazzy bossa rhythms with light easy arrangements – in a style that's more bossa jazz than anything else, but which also has some nice 60s American groovy touches. Instrumentation includes guitar, percussion, piano, and flute – and a number of tracks have light and breezy vocals with a sweet scatting approach that we really really love! Titles include "13 Jours En France", "A Man & A Woman", "Girl From Ipanema", "Fly Me To The Moon", "Jazz N Samba", "Bim Bom", "Cinnamon & Clove", "Mas Que Nada", "Manha De Carnaval", and "Agua De Beber". Not authentic bossa – but a great take on the genre! CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

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✨✧ Woody ShawLotus Flower ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1982. New Copy ... $14.99
Beautiful later work from Woody Shaw – perfectly honed, in the soaring, stretching, soulful exploratory style of his best work in the 70s! The group's a quartet with Mulgrew Miller on piano, Stafford James on bass, Tony Reedus on drums, and Steve Turre joining Woody in the frontline – and the excellent work of the rhythm section provides a lively forum for the soloists to stretch out wonderfully, without going too far, or getting overindulgent and trapped in designs of their own making. The set sparkles with 5 original tunes – Turre's "Lotus Flower", James' "Game", Miller's "Eastern Joy Dance", and "Song Of Songs" and "Rahsaan's Run", both by Shaw. CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

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Sho NuffTonite ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $22.99
A southern funky nugget from Sho-Nuff – issued at an early 80s point when the Malaco label was open to other modes besides just blues and deep soul! The record's got a tight clubby crackle that feels like something from the New York indie scene of the time – a lean groove that's very post-disco – and which has snapping basslines and keyboard bits mixing well with the group's use of two different lead singers, each with a different range! These two voices rise together in a great way, then trade off too – which creates a playful lyrical vibe that really matches the upbeat spirit of the music. Titles include "Tonite", "It's Alright", "Smile", "Let's Love", "What Am I Gonna Do", and "Dancin Funn". CD
(Part of the "Malaco – The Truth Of Southern Soul Definitive Collection" series!)

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Sho-NuffStand Up For Love ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1982. New Copy ... $22.99
Sho-Nuff deepens their sound nicely for this second set for Malaco Records – still sticking in the lean club funk sound of their debut for the label – but also reaching a bit more on the lyrics and vocals too! Ballads show up a bit more than before, and almost evoke an old school group soul approach that's quite a surprise – especially when the higher-voiced lead mixes in with the deeper harmonies – creating some nice mellow moments that really stand out! There's still plenty of groovers – the kind of dancefloor numbers the group first started cutting for Stax in the 70s – and titles include "You Got Me Workin", "Queen Of The Night", "Don't Be Lonely", "Don't Use Me Up", "Sho-Nuff Groove", and "Choosin You". CD
(Part of the "Malaco – The Truth Of Southern Soul Definitive Collection" series!)

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✨✧ Lonnie Liston SmithReflections Of A Golden Dream ... CD
Flying Dutchman/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. Used ... $14.99
Lonnie Liston Smith grooves it hard here with his Cosmic Echoes group – mixing in a stronger dose of soul than ever before, yet still giving tracks a righteous feel overall! The approach here is a bit like that of Roy Ayers work from the 70s – still jazzy at its core and conception, but often featuring vocals to deliver a wider message for the tunes – plus some nicely snapping rhythms that are enough to get a fe cuts good play on the dancefloor! The record's still got plenty of great mellow tracks too, though – the kind of floating spacey numbers that Smith virtually invented during the 70s, and which stand here as a more strongly jazz-voiced contrast to some of the soul tunes in the set. Donald Smith and Dave Hubbard are still working here with Lonnie to give the work a really solid sound, and tracks include groovers like "Get Down Everybody", "Peace & Love", and "Beautiful Woman" – mixed with spacier fusion numbers like "Quiet Dawn", "Golden Dreams", and "Goddess Of Love". CD
(Includes obi.)
 
 
 



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