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Exact matches: 3
Exact matches1
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
VariousGratitude – Suburbia Meets Ultra Vybe Free Soul Treasure (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970s. New Copy ... $24.99 32.99
A really great return to form for the Free Soul series – one that mixed together key tracks from a variety of hip 70s soul and jazz labels – including Flying Dutchman, Brunswick, and TK – all with an assortment of grooves that really work well together! As with the classic Free Soul sets, all the titles here were chosen by Toru Hashimoto – a man who's taught us plenty about music over the decades – and the long package runs for over 80 minutes, with a sublime assortment of cuts that include "Girl Overboard" by Dorothy Moore, "Misdemeanor" by Foster Sylvers, "Am I The Same Girl" by Barbara Acklin, "What Am I Going To Do" by Reid Inc, "My Baby's Got ESP" by Four Below Zero, "You Light Up My Life" by Judy Roberts, "You Got To Be The One" by Marilyn Farra & Satin Soul, "My Baby Just Cares For Me" by Nina Simone, "Love Land" by The Lost Generation, "Jolie" by Latimore, "I Think I'll Call It Morning" by Gil Scott Heron, "We've Only Just Begun" by Lynn Marion with Frank Cunimundo Trio, "Don't You Care" by Alice Clarke, "Let Your Love Rain Down On Me" by Jewel Bass, "Changin" by Sharon Ridley, and "Love Each Other" by Leon Thomas. CD

Exact matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ VariousGratitude – Suburbia Meets Ultra Vybe – Free Soul Treasure 1 ... LP
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970s. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Classic soul, with a slight touch of funk – all served up in a limited vinyl-only package that really does justice to the longstanding legacy of the Free Soul series from Japan! The tunes here are upbeat, soaring, and very much on the positive side of soul music from back in the day – and although most of these tracks are more obscure than the big hits of the 70s, they've achieved greater fame over the decades – thanks in part to use as samples, and through great collections like this one! Titles on this volume include "We've Only Just Begun" by Frank Cunimondo Trio with Lynn Marino, "Don't You Care" by Alice Clarke, "Misdemeanor" by Foster Sylvers, "We've Gotta Find A Way Back To Love" by Freda Payne, "What Am I Gonna Do" by Reid Inc, "You Light Up My Life" by Judy Roberts, "I Think I'll Call It Morning" by Gil Scott Heron, "Girl Overboard" by Dorothy Moore, "Love Each Other" by Leon Thomas, "Run Away" by Salsoul Orchestra with Loleatta Holloway, and "Am I The Same Girl" by Barbara Acklin. LP, Vinyl record album

Exact matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ VariousGratitude – Suburbia Meets Ultra Vybe – Free Soul Treasure 2 ... LP
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970s. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Classic soul, with a slight touch of funk – all served up in a limited vinyl-only package that really does justice to the longstanding legacy of the Free Soul series from Japan! The tunes here are upbeat, soaring, and very much on the positive side of soul music from back in the day – and although most of these tracks are more obscure than the big hits of the 70s, they've achieved greater fame over the decades – thanks in part to use as samples, and through great collections like this one! Titles on this second volume include "My Baby's Got ESP" by Four Below Zero, "Jolie" by Latimore, "Ain't It Good Feeling Good" by Eloise Laws, "Changin" by Sharon Ridley, "Let Your Love Rain Down On Me" by Jewell Bass, "Queen Of My Soul" by Average White Band, "Party Down (part 1)" by Little Beaver, "You've Got To Be The One" by Maryann Farra & Satin Soul, "Love Land" by The Lost Generation, and "My Baby Just Cares For Me" by Nina Simone. LP, Vinyl record album
 
Close matches: 392
Close matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Rob AgerbeekMiss Dee/Second Opinion/Lock Stock & Barrel (3CD set) ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980/1992/2022. New Copy 3CDs ... $18.99 24.99
Three full albums from this great Dutch pianist! Miss Dee is a heck of a set from Dutch pianist Rob Agerbeek – easily one of the most soulful European pianists of the 70s, even in an acoustic setting like this! Rob's got a bite on the keys that reminds us a lot more of American players from the 60s – not a straight soul jazz groove, but a style that definitely draws from that mode – then opens up into some more lyrical elements that are more in keeping with overseas expression in the 70s. The trio matches his energy nicely – especially on the upbeat numbers that rule the set – with bass from Harry Emmery and drums from Eric Ineke – on titles that include "Little Miss Dee", "Cup Bearers", "Birk's Works", "Caravan", and "Out Of This World". Second Opinion is a trio set from the great Rob Agerbeek – one that lets him open up on familiar tunes, but with a sense of imagination that really packs a lot into a small space! The lineup features Paul Berner on bass and Ben Schroeder on drums – and titles include "Summertime", "East Of The Sun", "Lover Man", "Besame Mucho", "Mad About The Boy", "Girl Talk", "As Time Goes By", and "Things Ain't What They Used To Be". Lock Stock & Barrell is a relatively recent set from Dutch piano Rob Agerbeek – who locks it up nicely, in a trio with Erik Albjerg on bass and Tjeerd Klapwijk on drums! Titles include "Lock Stock & Barrel", "A Child Is Born", "Round Midnight", "O Morro Nao Tem Vez", "Thora's Dance", "Cubano Chant", "Nearest & Dearest", and "Footprints". CD

Close matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
American-Dutch All StarsFor All We Know ... CD
Blue Jack Jazz/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 2003. Used ... $11.99
A tight, old school set of jazz from the Dutch American All Stars – a group that features trumpeter John Marshall, pianist Hod O'Brien, bassist Jacques Schols, and drummer Peter Ypma – all playing here in very relaxed, familiar company! There's nothing too fancy or overdone with these tunes – and they spin out with that easygoing feel we love in any album that has O'Brien on piano – a mature mode of jazz that never tries too hard to overstate its case, but gets plenty of greatness done along the way. Marshall's horn has all the sparkling tones we love in other Blue Jack Jazz recordings, and the basswork from Schols really adds a nice undercurrent of soul to the set. Titles include "Joop's Lope", "Forecast", "Quasimodo", "Frisky", "Milestones", and "Zanzibar". CD
(2021 Japanese pressing – includes obi!)

Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Average White BandAverage White Band (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Atlantic/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
AWB's first for Atlantic – and a nice slice of funk that proves that they can mix it up with the best groups of the 70s! The record's got plenty of sweet electric keyboards over smooth funky basslines – and as the years go by, the band's white boy vocals don't sound nearly as bad as we remember them. And besides, when they play their instruments so nicely – how can you hold the singing against them? Includes the killer classic "Pick Up The Pieces", sampled more times than we can remember – plus "You Got It", "Just Wanna Love You Tonight", "Person To Person", and a nice remake of the Isley Brothers' "Work To Do". CD features lots of bonus tracks – different mixes of tracks on the album, plus "McEwan's Export". CD

Close matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Average White BandCut The Cake (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Atlantic/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
If you need to own one album by Average White Band, this is it! The album features the band at their funky best – playing hard and chopping away with a strong crossover sound that put them firmly on the map during the early 70s. Loads of tight rolling basslines and hard drums – all produced with that polished funky sound that was the band's stock-in-trade during the big chart years! The record includes their funky classic "School Boy Crush", still a sampling favorite – plus loads of other nice moments, like "If I Ever Lose This Heaven", "Cloudy", "High Flyin Woman", and the hit title cut "Cut The Cake". CD features bonus single mixes of "If I Ever Lose This Heaven" and "How Sweet Can You Get". CD

Close matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Gene Barge, David Matthews, & Andre DavisStony Island – Original Soundtrack ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $12.99 15.99
A sweet set of soundtrack funk – from a film named after one of our favorite streets in Chicago! Although the record's got an approach that's perhaps a bit tighter and smoother than anything going down on Stony in the late 70s, it does manage to share a good deal of styles with the Chi-soul scene of the time – thanks to work on the record from Chicagoans Gene Barge, Sonny Seals, and Tennyson Stephens! Many of the tracks on the set have a bad-walking soul approach – one that's kind of a mixture of funky and bluesy – and these are laid out next to some jazzier instrumentals that we like most of all – tunes that have a great funky soundtrack feel, but with a bit more fusion touches than usual, probably because of the work of David Matthews. Titles include "Percy Fired", "Party Lights", "High Speed Posters", "Back To Business", "Chase The Train", "Gangster City", "Dream Ride", and "Peace Of Mind". CD

Close matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Barrino BrothersLivin' High Off The Goodness Of Your Love (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
The only album ever by The Barrino Brothers – a stellar early 70s harmony group, and one who could sing with the best of the east coast scene of the time! The whole set's got a feel that's very much in the best mode of groups like The Modulations, Soul Generation, and even The O'Jays – as the group's got a deeper, more solid sound than some of the more fragile outfits of their era. Production is very strong – thanks to the Holland-Dozier-Holland powerhouse sound of the time – and the group's vocals are supported on a full groove that really helps send the whole thing over the top! The title cut "Livin High Off The Goodness Of Your Love" is a stone classic – and other nice tracks include "Rain", "I Had it All", and "It Doesn't Have to Be That Way". Loads of bonus tracks too – including "Trapped In A Love", "I Had It All (single)", "I Shall Not Be Moved", "Livin High Off The Goodness Of Your Love (inst)", "Livin High Off The Goodness Of Your Love (single)", "Born On The Wild (voc)", and "Born On The Wild (inst)". CD

Close matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Celi BeeAlternating Currents (with bonus tracks) ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Late 70s. New Copy ... $7.99 15.99
Sweetly soaring disco from the legendary Celi Bee – easily one of our favorite disco divas of the late 70s! This album's got a slightly lighter feel than some of Celi's other work – a bit less drama at times, but still plenty of full-on clubby rhythms – thanks to arrangements from Hector Garrido, and some relatively full orchestrations overall. There's a definite New York groove to most of the numbers, but also a bit of a Miami vibe too – and titles include "Together", "Macho", "Hold Your Horses Babe", "Comin Up Strong", "Disposable Love", and "Lost In Love". CD features the bonus tracks "Macho (7 inch mix)" and "Hold Your Horses (UK 12" mix)". CD

Close matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Sathima Bea BenjaminMorning In Paris/Lovelight/Southern Touch (3CD set) ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1963/1988/1989. New Copy 3CDs ... $18.99 23.99
Three full albums from this tremendous singer – all in a single set! Morning In Paris is very early work from South African singer Sathima Bea Benjamin – recorded in Paris in 1963, with backing by longtime partner Abdullah Ibrahim, plus additional piano and production by Duke Ellington! The album was cut around the same time as Ibrahim (Dollar Brand) did his famous Reprise album in Paris with Ellington – and it's got a similar mix of modern and moody styles – with Sathima singing in a mellower tone than we're used to from her later records, over extremely spare backing that often has the piano barely stepping in, and which also features some nice plucked violin work from Svend Asmussen – acting almost as the bass on a few tracks! Billy Strayhorn also sits in on this extremely unusual session – and titles include "The Man I Love", "Soon", "Lover Man", "I Should Care", "I Could Write A Book", and "Darn That Dream". Lovelight is always-great work from Sathima Bea Benjamin – one of the hippest jazz vocalists of the 80s, working here in a highly spiritual mode that sounds a lot more like records from many years past! There's a warmly gentle glow to the whole set – thanks to instrumentation from Larry Willis on piano, Buster Williams on bass, Billy Higgins on percussion, and Ricky Ford on tenor sax – all coming together in ways that are filled with unusual rhythms, odd turns of phrases, and just the right sort of unconventional accompaniment to fit the Africanist themes of Sathima's music at its best. A few numbers are more traditional, but even these have a nicely sensitive feel – and offer plenty of room for Willis to solo. Titles include "Winne Mandela Beloved Heroine", "African Songbird", "Gift Of Love – For Duke", "Music", and "You Are My Heart's Delight". Southern Touch is a set that's maybe a bit more of a straight jazz vocal record than some of Sathima Bea Benjamin's earlier material – but that might also be because the great Kenny Barron is part of the group on piano – supporting Sathima's great voice with the help of Buster Williams on bass and Billy Higgins on drums! Tunes are mostly standards, but it's great to hear them opened up with Benjamin's unique phrasing – that voice that was raised up on more righteous material in earlier years, and which still seems to bring some of that power to tunes that include "Street Of Dreams", "Lush Life", "One Alone", "I'm Glad There Is You", and "I've Heard That Song Before". CD

Close matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Billion Dollar BandBillion Dollar Band ... CD
Good Sounds/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $12.99 15.99
One of the coolest records to come from the TK Records Miami soul empire of the 70s – and one of the few that was ever issued on their tiny Good Sounds subsidiary! We know little about the group, but the approach here is great – kind of all the strengths of the usual TK/Criteria Studios groove, but taken to a sharper, tighter edge – with maybe less of the obvious try for commercial crossover that some of the label's other material might have. The tunes are a mix of uptempo grooves and mellower soul, and mostly avoid the more standard disco approaches of the time – which leaves these guys to stand out almost like they've emerged from the funky 45 scene with a bunch of great tracks, only to disappear in the shifting sands of time! Titles include "Get In The Groove", "I Like Whatcha' Doin", "Our Love", "Money Don't Grow On Trees", and "Love's Sweet Notions". CD

Close matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Jo BissoLove Somebody ... CD
Marlin/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $12.99 15.99
Disco grooves, but with a definite difference – given that Jo Bisso had previously worked on the Parisian club scene, and brings a special flourish to this American album from the late 70s! Jo sings lead vocals on the side-long "Love Somebody" – a tune that builds strongly as Bisso gets answered by a trio of lovely ladies who really brighten up the sound – and who then seem to take over even more on the flipside working with singer Claudia Ferrari. This second side is even better than the first – as things get a bit more spare and stripped-down – snaking out on the smooth stepper "Your Love", getting some funky moogy touches on the P&P-like "Let's Keep It Together", and warming up on the mellow disco number "Thank You Baby". Special bonus – CD features a fifth track – not titled or credited at all! CD

Close matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Eddie BoHole In It ... CD
Soulciety/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Mid 90s. New Copy ... $14.99 19.99
A funky update from New Orleans soul legend Eddie Bo – a set recorded during a brief by great period of funk revival albums by the Soulciety label in Germany – the same imprint who brought back Fred Wesley and Bobby Byrd for some excellent records at the same time! There's a bit less grit in the grooves than some of Eddie's funky 45s of the 60s, but the style's definitely more funk-based than his more bluesy material from the 80s – set loose with tight drums and nice combo backings, and plenty of piano, Rhodes, and vocals from Eddie himself! Titles include "Back Up This Train", "Sister Lucie", "You Got A Hole In It", "It Must Be Love", "Louberta", and "Blackbird". CD

Close matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Eddie BoShoot From The Root ... CD
Soulciety/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1996. New Copy ... $14.99 19.99
Eddie Bo cut plenty of classic funk on the New Orleans scene, back in the day – and this set has Eddie returning to some of the glories of those years – thanks to help from the Soulciety label, at a time when they were doing plenty to revive older soul styles of the 60s and 70s! The record's got a fuller, funkier vibe than some of Bo's work of the previous decade – and the overall production and larger arrangements support his vocals, piano, and organ in a great way – with larger horns on many tracks that provide plenty of punch! The set features guest work from Bo Dollis, Johnny Adams, and Earl King – and titles include "The Anchor", "Old Fashioned Sookie", "Every Dog's Got A Day", "O'Lady", "Kick It On Back", "Shoot From The Root", and "Groove In My Soul". CD

Close matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
James BrownFamily Affair ... CD
Brownstone/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Early 90s. New Copy ... $16.99 19.99
A rare chapter of James Brown's career – material recorded for producer Henry Stone in the early 90s – at a time when James himself was without a major record contract! Most of these tracks were recorded by Stone, but unissued for years – which is a bit of a surprise, as the overall quality is quite good – very much in the modern funk mode that Brown was forging back in the 80s! And sure, the work here isn't in the same mode as Brown's classics on King or Polydor, but the sound is still pretty great – with beats and instrumentation that are relatively modern, but an overall groove that's quite tight and right, and plenty of room for James' incredible vocals in the lead! Most tracks feature Brown as the lead singer, but there's also a few with vocals by Venisha Brown or Yamma Brown – and one track has James singing a duet with Bobby Byrd! Titles include "Becha Bottom Dollar", "Funk On Ahh Roll", "Respect Me", "God Is Good", "Peace In The World", "I Wanna Be Loved On The 1", "Motivation (rmx)", "Say It Again", and "I Got To Feel It". CD

Close matches17
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
James BrownSoul Syndrome ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. Used ... $9.99
A rare TK Records effort from James Brown – very much in the best uptempo funk mode of the later Polydor years! The groove here is quite similar to those better-known efforts – grooves that are a bit quicker than a few years before, but still played in a core JB funky style – live and lively, with plenty of emphasis on the rhythms! Brown often referred to his style here as disco, but it's a lot more like some of the P-Funk progressions of the period – a mode that's more polished than a grittier funky generation, yet far from smooth club or disco overall. There's plenty of choppy little groovers that make the record great – and titles include the long cut "Rapp Payback", plus "Funky Men", "Smokin & Drinkin", "Stay With Me", and "Mashed Potatoes". CD
(Includes obi.)
Also available Soul Syndrome ... CD 12.99

Close matches18
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
James BrownSoul Syndrome ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $12.99 15.99
A rare TK Records effort from James Brown – very much in the best uptempo funk mode of the later Polydor years! The groove here is quite similar to those better-known efforts – grooves that are a bit quicker than a few years before, but still played in a core JB funky style – live and lively, with plenty of emphasis on the rhythms! Brown often referred to his style here as disco, but it's a lot more like some of the P-Funk progressions of the period – a mode that's more polished than a grittier funky generation, yet far from smooth club or disco overall. There's plenty of choppy little groovers that make the record great – and titles include the long cut "Rapp Payback", plus "Funky Men", "Smokin & Drinkin", "Stay With Me", and "Mashed Potatoes". CD
Also available Soul Syndrome ... CD 9.99

Close matches19
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
James Brown & OthersNever Get Enough – Compiled By Kiyoshi Sato ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), Early 60s/Late 70s. New Copy ... $18.99 22.99
An unusual slice of work from the James Brown Family – material from three different periods – early 60s cuts for Dade Records, early 70s material for Brownstone, and late 70s tracks for TK Records! The collection features some especially rare Dade material – tracks from artists that were working with James Brown, recording off for Henry Stone in a raw early 60s mode with James helping out in the studio – killer cuts that include "I Need Love" by The Baby, "Someone Up & Told Me" by Sonny Till, and "Do The Mashed Potatoes (parts 1 & 2)" by Nat Kendrick & The Swans. The set then features some early 70s cuts that were contemporaneous with the big burst of activity at People Records, but issued on Brownstone – tracks that include "Never Get Enough" and "I Need Help" by Bobby Byrd, "In The Land Of Milk & Honey" by Vicki Anderson, "You've Got To Change Your Mind" by Bobby Byrd, and "Nature (parts 1 & 2)" by The JBs International. The set also has some TK Records cuts – "You & Me Together" by Vicki Anderson, and "Mashed Potatoes" and "Rapp Payback" by James Brown – then also includes more rare cuts, including "Wichita Lineman" by Dee Felice Trio, "I Loves You Porgy" by James Brown & The Famous Flames, and "Win Your Love For Me" by Johnny The Man. CD
Also available Never Get Enough – Compiled By Kiyoshi Sato ... CD 12.99

Close matches20
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ James Brown & OthersSounds Funky – James Brown 45s Collection From TK ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Early 70s. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
A real lost chapter in the James Brown legacy of soul – tracks that The Godfather issued on a branch of TK Records, right during the same time he was cutting some familiar funk classics on the Polydor and People Records labels! The music here is an offshoot of the Funky People universe that James was serving up on People – in that much of the material here was by members of the James Brown stage show, given their own chance in the spotlight – but with Brown himself handling most of the work on the record. So the tracks are like James Brown gems, but with other singers in front – served up here in a massive set that features 21 funky nuggets in all – titles that include "Screwdriver" and "Put Something On Your Mind" by Lee Austin, "Bessie (parts 1 & 2)" by JBs Wedge, "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Johnny The Man, "Nature (parts 1 & 2)" by JBs International, and "Across The Track (parts 1 & 2)" by The Believers – plus Vicki Anderson cuts "I'm Too Tough For Mr Big Stuff", "Sounds Funky", "Don't Throw Your Love In The Garbage Can", and "In The Land Of Milk & Honey" – and Bobby Byrd gems that include "Hang It Up", "Never Get Enough", "Keep On Doin What You're Doin", "Hot Pants I'm Coming", "Signed Sealed & Delivered", "I Need Help", "Back From The Dead", "Headquarters", "Sayin It & Doin It Are Two Different Things", "Keep On Doin What You're Doin", and "The Way To Get Down". CD

Close matches21
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Billy Butler & InfinityHung Up On You ... CD
Pride/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
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 matches22
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bobby ByrdBack From The Dead ... CD
Henry Stone/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970s. New Copy ... $16.99 19.99
Rare 70s work by Bobby Byrd – sides done for the Brownstone and International label, most of which feature work by members of the James Brown universe, and some production by James Brown himself! The best tracks on the set are from the early 70s – and feature Bobby working in that incredibly tight, incredibly fast-grooving mode he first forged with James – heard to best effect on some key live recordings, and served up here in some equally great studio sides that feature help from Fred Wesley and Brown. A few other cuts keep the funky fire burning with some surprisingly nice Miami touches – with Clarence Reid on production, but Bobby more than strongly in the mix on some great vocals. There also appears to be a few tracks from later years – featuring Byrd with singers Vicki Anderson and Martha High, plus a group that also includes Bootsy Collins and Fred Wesley – and 2 more that are later live numbers. The set features 11 tracks in all, and is a great counterpart to Bobby's one and only album for the King label – with tracks that include "Never Get Enough", "Hang It Up", "Back From The Dead", "The Way To Get Down", "Feel Good Friday", "Sayin It & Doin It Are Two Different Things", "Let Me Know", and "Tell Me What's On Your Mind". CD

Close matches23
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bobby ByrdOn The Move ... CD
Soulciety/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1994. New Copy ... $14.99 19.99
Bobby Byrd recorded some killer work with James Brown back at the end of the 60s, but hardly got the chance to record much once the 70s moved on – until this killer full length set that has Bobby's vocals backed by the genius of the Soul Society combo! There's a really old school vibe to the whole set – strongly inspired by the James Brown sound of the late 60s, but also filtered through the new changes that the UK scene was bringing in during the generation of Brand New Heavies – a plenty that's great for Bobby, and has a whole back to basics vibe that really sounds wonderful, and reminds us that old funky legends never die – they just don't get the attention they deserve! The set features guest vocals from Vicki Anderson and Carleen Anderson – two generations of female funk – and titles include "Back From The Dead", "Never Get Enough", "I'm On The Move", "Sayin It & Doin It Is Two Different Things", "The Way To Get Down", and "Sunshine". CD

Close matches24
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Jimmy CastorLet It Out ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $12.99 15.99
Jimmy Castor's a cat who's tried many styles in music – and handled them all surprisingly well – from sweet soul to heavy funk, to Latin grooves, and even the funky club style of this late 70s album for TK Records! The set has Jimmy giving a nod to the disco generation – no surprise, given that TK was a disco powerhouse – but the overall approach is maybe tied more to his mid 70s records for Atlantic – with all the warm humor and funk of those albums! On some tracks, it almost feels like Castor's trying to be a one man answer to the P-Funk army – but other tracks are more personal overall. Titles include "Time", "The Mystery Of Me", "Sweetooth", "The Real McCoy", "Future Place", "Let It Out", and "Bertha Butt Encounters Vadar". CD

Close matches25
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Celi Bee & The Buzzy BunchCeli Bee & The Buzzy Bunch (with bonus tracks) ... CD
APA/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $8.99 15.99
A sweet campy disco classic – and a record that's been close to our hearts for years! Celi Bee may have had white hair and a hokey kind of look, but she won us forever with her incredible "Superman" – a five minute homage to the man in red and blue, and the leadoff track on this debut set! "Superman" is a sweet disco number with lots of strings, heavy rhythms at the bottom, and an erotic vocal that seems to offer the big guy more action than Lois Lane ever did. The rest of the tracks follow in a similar sleaze disco mode, and titles include "Smile", "It's Sad", "Hurt Me Hurt Me", "One Love", and "Closer Closer". CD features lots of bonus tracks – "Smile (alt mix)", "Hurt Me Hurt Me (alt mix)", "It's Sad (alt mix)", and 7" mixes of "Superman" and "One Love". CD

Close matches26
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
CollageDo You Like Our Music? (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Solar/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1981. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
One of the less-remembered acts of the Solar Records west coast soul scene – but a great one too – and a group who step out beautifully on this killer set, thanks to great production help from The Whispers! Collage themselves have a tight, funky approach – heavy on basslines and keyboards, and almost setting the stage for Midnight Star – but they also have a nice sense of soul that The Whispers really bring out, especially on the mellower cuts, which may well be our favorites on the record. Titles include the wonderful slow stepper "Feelings" – a complete transformation of the hit to a slow jam soul classic – plus "Money In Your Pocket", "When You Smile", "Special Occasion", "Do You Like Our Music", and their cover of "Groovin". CD features bonus tracks "Groovin (single version)" and "Money In Your Pocket (single)". CD

Close matches27
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Tyrone DavisI Had It All The Time ... CD
Dakar/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $10.99 1400.00
The title's a great one – as Tyrone Davis has always had it, and has never lost it – but he sounds especially wonderful here during his legendary run for the Dakar/Brunswick label, where he was really able to forge a unique groove! Davis' vocals are wonderful – proud and powerful, but with this little rasp that brings in a great sense of humanity – and the backings are soaring in a Chicago soul style, but have a few bluesy undercurrents that really show off the west side roots of Davis. Arrangements are by Gene Barge, Tom Tom Washington, and Jerry Long – and titles include "I Had It All The Time", "Your Love Keeps Haunting Me", "After All This Time", and "Was I Just a Fool" – all great songs about love lost and love's worries! CD

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Rein De Graaff QuintetNew York Jazz ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe, 1979. Used ... $18.99
A great small group session – with the leader on piano, plus Tom Harrell on trumpet and flugelhorn, Ronnie Cuber on baritone, Sam Jones on bass, and Louis Hayes on drums! CD
(Out of print, 2015 Japanese pressing with original LP cover art.)
Also available New York Jazz ... LP 9.99

Close matches29
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Walt DickersonWalt Dickerson 1976 ... CD
Why Not/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $18.99 24.99
A rare set from vibist Walt Dickerson – one of the most compelling jazz musicians to ever lay hold of a set of vibes! The album was originally issued as a Japanese-only session by the Why Not label in the mid 70s, and it features Dickerson playing on 5 tunes that have a slightly different feel than a lot of his other work from the time. First up is "Sky", which features some electric bass work by Jamaaladeen Tacuma, which makes for a more full-on sound than you usually get with Dickerson. Next up is "Awareness", an extremely haunting solo track that features this incredible tone on the vibes. The last three tunes feature a trio with Wilbur Ware on bass and Edgar Leon Bateman on drums – and Ware's bass work brings out a swing in Dickerson's vibes that we rarely ever hear. Titles include "Key Of Wisdom", "Yesterdays", and "I Love You". Essential work for any fan of this enigmatic vibist – and great to have back out again! CD

Close matches30
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Kenny DrewEvergreen ... CD
Alfa/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1991. New Copy ... $17.99 22.99
Pure lyrical genius from pianist Kenny Drew – working here in a superb trio that features Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass and the great Alvin Queen on drums! There's a special quality to the recording that seems to make each element in the music resonate in fantastic ways – especially the bass of Niels', who at times almost feels like as much the star of the set as Kenny! Titles include "Greensleeves", "Angel Eyes", "Eco Trip", "Nature Boy", "Sunset", "Blues In Green", and "Song Of The Birds". CD

Close matches31
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Kenny Drew TrioImpressions ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1988. New Copy ... $18.99 22.99
A beautiful album that definitely lives up to its title – and delivers some of the wonderfully impressionistic piano work that Kenny Drew was recording in the 80s – music that's very different than both his early American albums in the 50s, and some of the key accompaniment he'd provide on European dates with tenor players in the 70s! Here, Kenny's very open and fluid, sometimes almost painterly in his approach to sound – yet still able to swing, too, thanks to accompaniment from Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass and Alvin Queen on drums. The set features a killer version of "Last Tango In Paris" – plus "Cafe Flore", "Evening In The Park", "My Ship", "Morning Mist", and "Rouge Blues". CD

Close matches32
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DuncansGonna Stay In Love ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1981. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
A real charmer from The Duncan Sisters – a set that's got a cool, classy vibe right from the start – and this great mode that mixes some older female harmony styles with more contemporary grooves – creating a nice sense of balance throughout! Our favorite cuts are the mellow numbers – which have the duo hit this kind of glow as they come together over gentle grooves – but their style seems equally well suited to the album's more upbeat cuts, too – which still echo some of the best female disco styles of the 70s. Production is tight, but never in a commercial way – and the album's a bit different than the usual Malaco outing of the time – but in a good way. Titles include "Gonna Stay In Love", "Let Me Be", "Communication", "Take The Heat", "If This Ain't Love", and "Lovin You Baby". CD

Close matches33
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Facts Of LifeMatter Of Fact ... CD
Kayvette/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $8.99 15.99
A killer album of southern soul harmony from The Facts Of Life – a trio with one female singer, two guys, and a great sound overall! The album's actually produced by Millie Jackson – and has that great blend of modern and southern modes that she was hitting in her best mid 70s years. The sense of interplay and harmony between the singers is a bit like Soul Children at their height – and the album's also got some warm Muscle Shoals backing that really makes the whole thing come off right! Titles include "Did He Make Love To You", "We Can't Hide It Anymore", "I'm Way Ahead Of You", "This Ain't No Time To Sleep Apart", and "It's Only A Matter Of Time". CD

Close matches34
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Faith Hope & CharityHeavy Love ... CD
Sussex/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
A mighty nice soul group from the 70s – one that features early work from Zulema before she went solo, and who come across here with a slightly righteous style that you might guess from the cover! Vocals soar at all the right moments, and there's some hipper-than-usual production that's very much in keeping with the Sussex label at the time – different than some of the more polished chart-styled work that similar groups were doing at the time, and which often helps underscore some gospel-influence righteousness in the way the vocals come across! In fact, there's points where the vocals sound much more like those coming from a larger group than a trio – a great testament to the power of the lineup – and titles include "God Bless The World", "I Worship The Very Ground You Walk On", "Heavy Love", "I Was There", and "We Can Change The World". CD

Close matches35
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FireFire ... CD
Sunshine Sound/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $12.99 15.99
Funky soul from this fantastic female duo – a pair who work here with plenty of help from Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch of KC & The Sunshine Band – and who get plenty of that group's elements in their rhythms! One way to think of this set is as the best funk from KC and crew, topped with two female vocalists who are recorded together with a production mode that then stretches out the vocals – creating the same spacey touches as KC's songs, but with a touch of female disco energy too – yet one that's very different than some of the weaker trio gals who just sing along with fuller backings. The whole thing's a real lost gem from the key years of Miami soul – and titles include "Let's Make It Last", "Wrap Your Arms Around Me", "It's Been So Long", "C'Mon Let's Do It", "Deeper In Love", "You Don't Know", and "I Can't Leave You Again". CD

Close matches36
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Chico FreemanMorning Prayer (with bonus track) ... CD
Why Not/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $18.99 24.99
Quite possibly our favorite album ever from Chico Freeman – a beautiful set that was originally issued only in Japan, and which has Chico hitting some of his strongest, most spiritual modes on record! The album features Freeman's reeds in the company of other Chicagoans – AACM players who include Henry Threadgill on saxes, Muhal Richard Abrams on piano, and Steve McCall on percussion – plus added work from Cecil McBee on bass and Ben Montgomery on drums – both players who round out the group with a very solid rhythmic focus. There's a bold sense of direction to this record that you don't always get in other work from Chico – a sound that's almost more Strata East at points, and which serves to bring the AACM players into sharp formation, and a strongly rhythmic orientation at times. The whole thing's wonderful – very well-crafted, and filled with spirit and soul – and titles include "The In Between", "Like The Kind Of Peace It Is", "Morning Prayer", "Pepe's Samba", and "Conversations". CD also features a bonus 19 minute version of "Pepe's Samba". CD

Close matches37
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George FreemanNew Improved Funk ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
The title certainly gets it right – as the album's one of the funkiest ever from guitarist George Freeman, and one of the few to really hit that messed-up groove he was working in the clubs before his mid 70s retreat to Chicago! The style here is often all over the map – a mix of soul jazz and funkier numbers, but often served up with less of the direction than you'd get on Prestige, and even less of that on Groove Merchant – more in a raw small combo mode, with Freeman's guitar hitting plenty of raspy notes and weird solo excursions that keep even the mellower tunes exciting! The record features 2 different groups – one with John Young on piano, the other with Bobby Blevins on organ – and brother Von Freeman plays tenor sax on the whole set, although not nearly in the spotlight as George! (Definitely in keeping with something that Von told George many years back – quoted to us by George – "When you've got your own album, make sure that people know that you're the star!") Titles include "New Improved Funk", "Daffy", "Happy Fingers", "Confirmed Truth", "Guitar Lover Man", and "Big Finish". CD

Close matches38
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Joki FreundYogi Jazz ... CD
CBS/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1963. New Copy ... $14.99 19.99
Tremendous early work from German saxophonist Joki Freund – a player who would go onto much greater fame in the progressive years at the end of the 60s, but who already sounds plenty darn great on this early combo side from 1963! The style of the work is incredibly hip – with a definite John Coltrane modal groove in place, but also a sense of globally conscious jazz that's very much in the spirit of classic Saba/MPS work, but which predates most of that by a number of years! Freund plays tenor and soprano sax here – in a sextet with Wolfgang Dauner on piano, Emil Mangelsdorff on flute and alto, Eberhard Weber on bass, Karl Theodor Geier on bass, and Peter Baumeister on drums – and the record is overflowing with great tunes that more than live up to the compelling title and cover image! Lots of "Eastern" styled numbers – and titles include "Aisha", "Carribean Ringo", "Yogiana", "HL 20", and "Killer Joe". CD
(Part of the "L+R – Jazz True Colors" series!)

Close matches39
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GastonMy Queen ... CD
Hotlanta/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. Used ... $18.99
An incredible record from the southern scene of the 70s – a really unique set that's filled with righteous soul touches, and which really stands out from most other southern soul of the time! The feel here is often in a cosmic mode with plenty of jazz at the bottom – a sound that's influenced by Earth Wind & Fire, but which is also carried off here in a more laidback mode that seems to get equal inspiration from soulful fusion of the mid 70s. The group has both male and female singers trading things back and forth nicely and sometimes coming together on the choruses – creating an overall feel that's almost like Roy Ayers at times. And as with Ayers' best work, there's a tightness and focus to the whole record that's really wonderful – a cohesive groove that's way more than just a few ensemble funk tracks cut in the studio, and which really displays a wide musical vision! Titles include "My Queen", "Clock In", "Fantasy Garden", "Clap Song", "Love & Affection", "My Dreams", and "Magnificent Choo Choo". CD

Close matches40
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✨✧ Joey GilmoreJoey Gilmore ... CD
Blue Candle/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Late 70s. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
An overlooked gem from the glory days of the TK soul empire – a mix of sweet soul steppers and more upbeat groovers – all set to tight arrangements from Snoopy Dean! There's a great Miami groove to most numbers – especially that modern soul style that started coming in during the Lew Kirton generation – almost more of a Philly sense of sophistication at times, which comes through especially well on the midtempo numbers! Joey's vocals have a nice sort of rasp to them – a bit less polished than the arrangements, which makes for a nice sense of balance – and titles incude "Let's Boogie On Down", "Get All You Want", "Give Me Your Love", "Rhythm In My Bone", "It's Here", and "Funny Feeling". CD

Close matches41
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Dusko GoykovichPortrait/Swinging Macedonia/Brandenburg Concert (3CD set) ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1966/2001/2013. New Copy ... $18.99 24.99
A trio of albums from one of our favorite trumpeters on the European scene! First up is Portrait – a set that stands as a tribute to trumpeter Dusko Goykovich's 70 years on this planet – and a record that features him in a variety of settings too! Other players include Ferdinand Povel on flute and tenor, Tony Lakatos on tenor, Steve Gut on trumpet, Isla Eckinger and Ray Drummond on basses, Abraham Burton on alto, and Kenny Barron and Tommy Flanagan on pianos – on titles that include "Recado Bossa Nova", "Balkan Blue", "Adriatica", "One For Klook", and "Inga". Next is Swinging Macedonia – a legendary German session from the 60s – and a record that really showcases the unusual criss-crossing of modes that was going on in the European scene at the time! There's a very strong MPS vibe here – as trumpeter Dusko Goykovich leads a swinging sextet that includes Nathan Davis on flute, soprano, and tenor – blowing some tremendously soulful reed lines – plus incredible rhythms from Mal Waldron on piano, Peter Trunk on bass, and Cees See on drums. The record's an attempt to bring traditional Macedonian rhythms into a jazz perspective – but with players like these, it swings in a way any Macedonian album never could – damn soulful, and with a great exotic vibe. Davis is especially great, and plays in a soaring modal vein that's similar to his work on his classic MPS sides, and on the records he cut in America in the early 70s. The album's a beautiful session that often get's overlooked because it blends it with the Enja catalog – but it's really more of a record that belongs in an MPS reissue series, and is a great lost groover that's waiting to be rediscovered by the Dusty Groove crowd. Titles include "Macedonia", "Old Fisherman's Daughter", "Jumbo Uganda", "Bem Basha", "Saga Se karame", and "The Nights Of Skopje". Brandenberg Concert features one of the greatest trumpeters on the European scene of the past few decades – heard here in a completely sublime setting! Dusko Goykovich has played in many styles and many ways, but hasn't ever done a date with full strings before – a long-overdue placement for his wonderful tone on trumpet – shimmering out front of a larger ensemble, in the manner of classic "with strings" dates by Dizzy Gillespie or Art Farmer! Altoist Peter King arranged the album – and titles are all originals by Dusko, some of which you might know from earlier records – reworked here beautifully for the new setting. King also solos on a handful of tracks too – a rich voice that provides a nice balance with Dusko's trumpet. Strings are never overdone, and the album's always got a nice swing from a core rhythm trio that features Renato Chicco on piano. Titles include "Good Old Days", "Handful O Soul", "Danca Comigo", "St Germain Des Pres", "Adriatica", "In My Dreams", and "I Miss You So". CD

Close matches42
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Gypsy LanePredictions ... CD
Drive/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $12.99 15.99
Gypsy Lane were produced here by Jacques Morali, of Village People fame – but don't hold that against them, as the set's got a deeper vibe than you might expect! The group seem pretty tight on their own already – and work more as a tight ensemble funk group than the kind of disco studio creations Morali was more tied to – grooving at a level that seems informed by the best mid 70s advances of Earth Wind & Fire, which includes some warmer moments next to the uptempo cuts. Lead vocals are by Alfonso Carey, but other members of the group often harmonize alongside – and titles include "Show Me How To Groove", "We'll Have Love", "Hey Sister", and "I Could Use Some Loving". CD

Close matches43
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Nobuo Hara & Sharpes & FlatsSeeking For Soul ... CD
Ultra Vybe/Takt (Japan), 1959. Used ... $24.99
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. 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
(Includes obi!)

Close matches44
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Tubby HayesIn Scandinavia ... CD
Storyville/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. Used ... $16.99
Rare live work from Tubby Hayes – recorded for Swedish Radio in one of the last years of his life, and a really rock-solid set! Given the professional recording of the performance, the set's quite different than some of the more dodgy Hayes live dates – and given Tubby's disappearance from the studio during these later years, the record may well stand as one of the few good documents of his talents at the time! Backing is by a hip trio that features Staffan Abeleen on piano, Niels Henning Ordsted Pedersen on bass, and Alex Riel on drums – and all tracks are quite long, with beautifully-crafted solos that spin out nicely – all in ways that are a bit looser and more free than some of Tubby's 60s work. Titles include "C Minor Bird", "Off The Wagon", "Vierd Blues", "I Thought About You", and "Without A Song". CD
(Out of print, includes obi.)

Close matches45
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Richard Groove HolmesNight Glider ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
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

Close matches46
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Jimmy Bo HorneGoin Home For Love ... CD
Sunshine Sound/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $11.99 15.99
A wicked set of groovers from Jimmy Bo Horne – produced with a snapping KC & The Sunshine Band groove, and proof that the Miami sound could still burn strong at the end of the 70s! The tunes are a mix of mellow numbers and funkier tracks that have a snapping "spank" sort of rhythm – that percolated approach to rhythm that TK first started laying down in the mid 70s, but which was given a bit more of an open-ended sound here. Jimmy's vocals are much better than the usual singer for this sort of set – sweetly crackling on the mellow tunes, but hitting with a deeper soul on the groovers. Titles include a long remake of "I Get Lifted", "You Get Me Hot", "Goin Home For Love", "Spank", and "Without You". CD

Close matches47
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Hot BushHot Bush ... CD
APA/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $14.99 19.99
One of the more obscure stars in the TK Records constellation – a one-off club project, featuring the writing and production talents of Oscar Llord, and the vocals of Bobby Bushe – hence the title! The set's got a rough take on the Miami disco style of the time – a bit less polished than the usual TK record, with some earnest instrumentation and vocals that falter a bit at times, but which are all that much better because of that fact. In other words, the rougher edges make this one great – and a lot better than some of the too-smooth club of the time! Titles include "Rock Steady", "Get On Up", "Love Fuse", "Tell Me That You Will", "Get In The Groove", and "Flight 69". CD

Close matches48
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Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand)Mindif/African River/Yarona (3CD set) ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1985/1988/1989. New Copy 3CDs ... $18.99 23.99
A trio of later gems from this legendary South African pianist! Mindif is a great set that features Abdullah Ibrahim's soundtrack music for the 1988 Clair Denis film Chocolat – some of his best group recordings of the 80s! The feel here is a bit more African-styled than usual – even for Ibrahim – with strong use of reeds to inflect the tunes with the right degree of color and tone for their use in the film. The ensemble on the record features Ricky Ford on tenor and soprano, Craig Handy on flute and tenor, Benny Powell on trombone, David Williams on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums – and the tracks have a languid groove that recalls some of Dollar Brand's best South African recordings with Kippie Moketsie. Titles include "Earth Bird", "African Market", "Pule", "Star Dance", and "Serenity". African River is one of the great larger group recordings that pianist Abdullah Ibrahim gave us in the 80s – from a moment when he was able to use added horns to really expand that amazing sense of color and rhythm he'd brought to his music on earlier trio recordings! There's a sense of musical vision here that really lives up to Abdullah's majestic look on the cover – a fantastic merging of flute and tenor from John Stubblefield, soprano and alto from Horace Alexander Young, tuba and baritone from Howard Johnson, and trombone from Robin Eubanks – all vibrant horn players who seem to have just about every tone and mood covered with their horns – given this wonderfully warm support from Buster Williams on bass, and Brian Adams on drums. All titles are originals by the leader – and tunes include "Chisa", "Sweet Samba", "Duke 88", "The Wedding", and "Joan Capetown Flower". Yarona is a beautifully sensitive set from Abdullah Ibrahim – recorded live at the Village Vanguard, and with an open, lyrical sound that almost seems to recall some of Bill Evans' magical moments in the venue! Ibrahim's quite a different player, of course – but there's an open, exploratory quality to his music that's a bit unusual here – maybe not as rhythmically based as it is balanced between sound and silence – given very respectful company in the bass of Marcus McLaurine and drums of George Johnson. Titles include "Cherry/Mannenberg", "Duke 88", "African River", "Stardance", "Tuang Guru", "Tintinyana", and "African Marketplace". CD

Close matches49
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Masaru ImadaBlue Eyes ... CD
Yupiteru/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $24.99 28.99
Warm, well-rounded piano work from the great Masaru Imada – an 80s set, but one that resonates strongly with his classic work for the Three Blind Mice label of the 70s – thanks in part to some superb work on bass from Isoo Fukui – a player whose tones and timing really shape the sound of the album! The recording quality is excellent, and Fukui comes through with this raspy edge at times, and a depth that balances Imada's sparkling work on the keys of the piano – all held in place by nicely subtle work on drums from Tatsujiro Obara. Titles include "Blue Eyes", "Samba Domingo", "Round Midnight", "Stella By Starlight", and "Poppy". CD

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Masaru ImadaMint Breeze ... CD
Polydor/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1984. New Copy ... $24.99 28.99
Pianist Masaru Imada picks up some keyboards for this sweet 80s set – still keeping things in that warmly soulful style of some of his previous albums, but also opening up the groove too – thanks to some excellent guest work from Japanese jazz heavyweights Kazumi Watanabe on guitar and Toshiyuki Honda on alto, soprano sax, and flute! The set's got more of a fusion vibe than some of Masaru's 70s material, but still also has an acoustic ear at the heart – a sense of warmth and lyricism that holds strong throughout, on titles that include "On The Waves", "Sunshine Blvd", "Marine Diving", "Mad Riding", and "Pretty Skip". CD

Close matches51
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Masaru ImadaPiko ... CD
Full House/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $24.99 28.99
A sublime solo set from pianist Masaru Imada – one that really opens up with the kind of warm, spacious approach to jazz that he showcased on his famous albums for the Three Blind Mice label! Imada's got a completely captivating sound here – really bringing us in with a personal approach, but one that's never too easygoing to be casual either – graced with an understanding of just the right touch on the keys and timing of the groove and resonating with a really great sound throughout! Titles include "Menina Moca", "Pico", "Sometime Ago", "Little Blue", "Spring March", "I Thought About You", and "3 x 3 Steps". CD

Close matches52
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Masaru ImadaSeeking Blue ... CD
Yupiteru/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $24.99 28.99
A nicely bold record from pianist Masaru Imada – one of his most strongly-grooving records of the 70s, and a set that features some great hork work as well! The core trio features Kunimitsu Inaba on bass and Fumio Watanabe on drums – both of whom bring out a more soulful groove than on some of Imada's other albums of the time – which then gets really expanded by some excellent work from Seiichi Nakamura on tenor and Shigeharu Mukai on trombone – both very welcome players here, who really make the album shine! Titles include "Seeking Blue", "Piko", "Wake Up", and "Morning Sunrise". CD

Close matches53
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IndependentsIndependents – Chuck, Helen, Eric, Maurice (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Wand/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
One gal, three guys, and a sublime album of harmony soul – one of those fantastic early 70s sets from the Independents – a Chicago group we'd stack right up there next to the best from the east coast! Maurice in the title is Maurice Jackson – who'd earlier recorded the track "Lucky Fellow" – later done by Leroy Hutson, and recorded here by the group in a fantastic version too! Chuck in the title is Chuck Jackson, who co-produced the set with Marvin Yancey – an early effort from the soul production duo who'd later help Natalie Cole and others hit great fame – working here at the start of his career, to guide singers Helen Curry and Eric Thomas to great heights. The whole record is wonderful – a definite "cut above" harmony soul set with all the sophisticated styles that the Chicago scene had to offer at the start of the 70s – thanks also to arranging genius on the set from Richard Evans, Tom Tom Washington, and Floyd Morris. In addition to "Lucky Fellow", other titles include "It's All Over", "No Wind No Rain", "I Found Love On A Rainy Day", "The Same Old Way", "It's All Over", and "In The Valley Of My World". CD features three bonus tracks – "Let This Be A Lesson To You", and two versions of "Arise & Shine". CD

Close matches54
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Eric InekeCruising ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 2014. Used ... $12.99
A later date from Dutch drummer Eric Ineke, but one that maybe burns with even more fire than some of his earlier albums – thanks to the work of some great musicians in the quintet! At some points, the group takes off in strongly soulful hardbop formation – but at others, they can equally slide into a slightly modern mode, but all without losing their swing at all – a performance that's given plenty of focus from Ineke's drumming, and topped with these warmly lyrical piano lines from Rob Van Bavel, plus trumpet from Rik Mol, tenor and bass clarinet from Sjoerd Dijkhuizen, and bass from Marius Beets. Titles include "Oak City", "When We Were One", "Just A Tune For You", "What Is This", "Cruising", and "Seven On The Richter Scale". CD
(Includes obi.)

Close matches55
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Eric InekeDexterity/Meets The Tenor Players/Cruisin (3CD set) ... CD
Challenge/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 2014/2016. New Copy 3CDs ... $18.99 23.99
Three albums from Dutch drummer Eric Ineke – served up in a single set! Dexternity is a tribute to the music of Dexter Gordon, one that's led by drummer Eric Ineke, and which features the reed talents of Sjoerd Dijkhuizen on Dexter's role – blowing both tenor and a bit of soprano sax! The rest of the group features Rik Mol on trumpet, Rob Van Bavel on piano, and Marius Beets on bass – and titles include "The Panther", "Body And Soul", "Soy Califa", "Cheese Cake", "Boston Bernie", and "Fried Bananas". Meets The Tenor Players is a selection of tracks from different sessions, all of which feature drummer Eric Ineke interacting with a range of famous tenorists – including some key American players recording overseas! The set features work from Dexter Gordon, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Clifford Jordan, Johnny Griffin, Lucky Thompson, Goerge Coleman, and Grant Stewart – each of whom play on their own tracks – with piano work from players who include Rein De Graaff, Rob Agerbeek, and Rob Madna. Titles include "Let There Be Life Love & Laughter", "Prayer To The People", "Walkin", "Lady Bird", "Stablemates", and "Wee". Cruisin is a later date from Dutch drummer Eric Ineke, but one that maybe burns with even more fire than some of his earlier albums – thanks to the work of some great musicians in the quintet! At some points, the group takes off in strongly soulful hardbop formation – but at others, they can equally slide into a slightly modern mode, but all without losing their swing at all – a performance that's given plenty of focus from Ineke's drumming, and topped with these warmly lyrical piano lines from Rob Van Bavel, plus trumpet from Rik Mol, tenor and bass clarinet from Sjoerd Dijkhuizen, and bass from Marius Beets. Titles include "Oak City", "When We Were One", "Just A Tune For You", "What Is This", "Cruising", and "Seven On The Richter Scale". CD

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Inner LifeInner Life (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Salsoul/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1981. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
The second album by Inner Life, and the group's first for Salsoul – an instant club classic, thanks to some supremely soulful vocals by Jocelyn Brown, and excellent arrangements by Greg Carmichael and Patrick Adams! The album starts out with the slow-building track "It's You", but then moves quickly into uptempo club territory – letting Brown really open up on tracks that include the amazing remake of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", plus "Pay Girl", "Live it Up", "Make It Last Forever", and the classic "(Knock Out) Let's Go Another Round"! CD features long bonus tracks too – including "Make It Last Forever (unreleased Larry Levan rmx)", "Let's Go Another Round (orig Tee Scott 12" mix)", "Ain't No Mountain High Enough (orig Larry Levan The Garage 12")", and the unreleased track "Let's Get This Thing Together". CD

Close matches57
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Regina JamesDancin' In The Flames Of Love ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $8.99 15.99
A really unusual album from the TK Records Miami Soul empire – a set that feels like that label's attempt to go head to head with the sound of Sylvia Robinson! Like Sylvia, Regina James is a singer with a very sexy approach to 70s soul – not afraid to let her desire ooze out into the grooves, which are a really well-crafted batch of Miami rhythms handled by Clarence Reid – who also produced and wrote most of the songs in the set. And also like Sylvia, Regina may not be the best soul singer in the world, but she more than makes up for that with her personality – which comes through loud and clear in the album's very unique "Kitty Kat Pussy Cat Medley" – and on other tunes that include "Alfie", "Tribute To Music", "Primitive", and "Dancin In The Flames Of Love". CD

Close matches58
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Mitsuaki KatayamaFirst Flight ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $13.99 24.99
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 series!)

Close matches59
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King FloydWell Done ... CD
Chimneyville/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
Wonderful work from King Floyd – post-Stax, post-Atlantic, but still sounding great here – with that undeniable charm that always makes his records sound so great! Floyd's got a way of singing that's deep, but also a bit effervescent too – this crackling sort of energy in the way he puts over a lyric, even bluer one – which really gets some great support here from a small backing combo at Malaco, who can really hit the right sort of "Groove Me" mode at times! The set's a great example of the way that Malaco easily picked up the torch when those other two labels were starting to lose their coverage of the south – and King's very much at home on a sweet set of tunes that include "I'm Gonna Fall In Love With You", "I Don't Think I Could Face It", "I Feel Like Dynamite", "Movin' On Strong", "So True", "Can't Give It Up", and "Try Me". Nice photo of some ribs on the cover, too! CD

Close matches60
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Fern KinneyGroove Me (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
A standout classic from Fern Kinney – and a set that not only marked a big moment of evolution for southern soul, but also for the Mississippi scene as well! The set was recorded at the Malaco studios in Jackson, but has a vibe that's much closer to some of the TK Records material from Miami – that maturation of southern soul during the disco era – as warmer, more modern touches came into play with rootsier styles of vocals! Mike Lewis handled the string arrangements – giving the record the same disco vibe as some of his other work of the time, including Anita Ward's big debut – and Fern's vocals have this higher range than usual for a southern singer – almost more innately tuned towards clubby rhythms. Titles include a big hit remake of King Floyd's "Groove Me" – really marking the change from the original version – plus "Baby Let Me Kiss You", "Pillow Talk", "Sun Moon Rain", "Angel On The Ground", and "Under Fire". CD
Also available Groove Me ... LP 14.99

Close matches61
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KrackerHot ... CD
Dash/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $14.99 19.99
An unusual set from Kracker – a record that's possibly more rock/pop at the core, but one that definitely shares some of the soulful touches of other albums on the Dash label too! The group dress like a funk band on the album's flipside photo – and they've got vocal interplay that's not unlike some of the blue eyed soul groups on the east coast – set to rhythms here that are sometimes disco, sometimes a bit more flamboyant pop – and titles include "Woman", "Lucky Are Those", "Lady Of My Life", "Alarm Clock Blues", "Back In My Arms Again", and "Gentleman Of Men". CD

Close matches62
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LatimoreDig A Little Deeper ... CD
Glades/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $18.99 23.99
Latimore's digging deeper, and sounding greater than ever – working at Muscle Shoals with some great Miami production from Steve Alaimo – and coming across with a sound that's even warmer and more sophisticated than before – yet still very true to its deep soul roots too! At a time when some of Latimore's contemporaries might have been heading for the disco, he keeps it real and focuses on the best mellow modes that always made him so great – particularly those which use keyboards next to his unique vocal approach. Heck, even the album's odd cover of "Tonight's The Night" sounds pretty darn great – although we're even more partial to the original tracks like "Out To Get Cha", "We Got To Hit It Off", and "Dig A Little Deeper" – as well as his sweet version of George Jackson's "Ain't Nothing Like A Sweet Woman's Love". CD

Close matches63
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LatimoreGetting Down To Brass Tacks ... CD
Glades/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $18.99 24.99
Sweet late 70s grooves from Latimore – a bit less bluesy than at the start of the decade, but in a mighty nice way! The set's got loads of warm undercurrents – and shows Latimore pushing his southern soul roots into a modern soul mode – with surprisingly great results – a style that really lifts him up from before, and avoids any of the bluesy cliches he might hit in later years! In fact, the record's a really unique moment from Latimore – and one we wish he would have stayed in longer – a nicely mature set that really helps focus all the sensual energy of the previous albums – and give it a whole new place to go. Titles include "Life Of The Party", "Ain't No Comin Back", "Take It All", "Yes We Can", "You", "Do It Now", and "Discoed To Death". CD

Close matches64
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Gunter Lenz SpringtimeRoaring Plenties ... CD
L+R Records/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $9.99 19.99
Fantastic work from bassist Gunter Lenz – a set with maybe a jokey title, but a heck of a lot of power underneath – one of those overlooked German jazz gems from a very special time in the scene! The players here are aware of the farther reaches of jazz, yet work together with more inside stile – yet always with a sensibility that there's a much broader frontier that informs their music! The lineup features Frank St Peter on alto and flute, Lesek Zadlo on tenor and soprano, Johannes Faber on trumpet, Bob Degen on piano, and the great Joe Nay on drums – and titles include "Speed Freak", "Children Of The Night", "The Bear Is Gone", and "Do Not Tear The Posters Down". CD
(Part of the "L+R – Jazz True Colours" series!)

Close matches65
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O'Donel LevyDawn Of A New Day ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
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

Close matches66
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✨✧ O'Donel LevyEverything I Do Gonna Be Funky ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
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

Close matches67
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O'Donel LevyTime Has Changed ... CD
Lester Radio Corporation/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
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

Close matches68
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O'Donel LevyWindows ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
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

Close matches69
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Little MiltonFriend Of Mine ... CD
Glades/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $18.99 23.99
Tight and soulful blues from Little Milton – just the sort of record that helped him cross over to bigger audiences back in the day, and a set that still sounds plenty great all these many years later! The set was done in Chicago – arranged by James Mack, with backing vocals from Kitty & The Haywoods – and the sound is a sweet west side mix of rootsy and soulful elements – a blend that shows the same growing sophistication of the Malaco scene at the time, at a level that moves nicely away from college circuit blues cliches of the 70s. Milton's vocals are wonderful – raspy and appealing with a Tyrone Davis-like charm – and titles include "Friend Of Mine", "Don't Turn Away", "You're Gonna Make Me Cry", "It's All Bad News", "Sundown", "Bring It On Back", and "Baby It Ain't No Way". CD

Close matches70
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Little MiltonMe For You – You For Me ... CD
Glades/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $18.99 23.99
Little Milton's always been as much of a soul singer as a bluesman – and this overlooked gem from the 70s has him hitting equally well on both fronts! The set's a great precursor to Milton's 80s revival on Malaco – but has the singer working in Chicago, with these deep soul arrangements by James Mack – who also brings in the excellent Kitty & The Haywoods for backing vocals! Little Milton's not trying too hard to overstate himself – and some cuts have this laidback, slow-burning feel that's nicely southern soul – mixed with a few funky moments that are equally nice. Titles include "Just One Step", "Me For You You For Me", "Loving You (Is The Best Thing To Happen To Me)", and "My Thing Is You". CD

Close matches71
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Michael Longo900 Shares Of The Blues ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
A killer electric piano jam from the great Mike Longo – stone funky, and one of his best albums ever! The whole thing's done in a really laidback style that's simply amazing – a lot like the best CTI work of the time, but somehow rougher, and with a darker edge. Longo riffs out on the keys over rhythm by Ron Carter, Mickey Roker, and Ralph MacDonald – and Joe Farrell and Randy Brecker add in some great horn work that fleshes out the tunes with a deeply soulful jazzy feel. The whole album's great, with a range of moods, emotions, and grooves that Longo hardly ever hit again – and titles include "Summers Gone", "El Moodo Grande", "Like a Thief In the Night", "Ocean Of His Might", and "Magic Number". CD

Close matches72
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Michael LongoFunkia ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
Quite possibly the greatest record ever by Mike Longo – a wicked batch of electric funky piano tunes, recorded with a sublime 70s feel! The set's got a really stripped down group – with Ron Carter on bass, Mickey Roker on drums, and Patato Valdez on percussion – all grooving behind Longo's work on electric and acoustic piano, creating some magical rhythms that snap a groove out of just about every single tune! The whole set's great – not just a "one number" funky jazz set – and titles include versions of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On", Dizzy Gillespie's "Ole' For the Gypsies", Les McCann's "Samia", and Longo's own "Southern Soul" and "Funkia". CD

Close matches73
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Carrie LucasSimply Carrie (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Soul Train/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
A huge crossover album from Carrie Lucas – maybe not the most soulful singer of the disco scene of the 70s, but one who really does a great job of putting over the music here! At times, Carrie's got this breathy style that's quite compelling – a more personal quality that's different than someone trying to fake a bit of soul – all handled perfectly by Dick Griffey – the Solar Records genius who produced the album! Also, the record's also got some good arrangements by Jerry Peters, who always knows how to give a soul track a different sort of edge – one of the overlooked geniuses of his generation. The best cuts have a strong "free soul" pop groove – and tracks include "Me For You", "I Gotta Keep Dancin", "Tender", "Jammin Tenderly", "I'll Close Loves Door", and "What's The Question". CD features bonus tracks – "Keep Smilin (orig 12" Rick Gianatos rmx)" plus original single versions of "I Gotta Keep Dancin" and "I Gotta Get Away From Your Love". CD

Close matches74
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Junior ManceLive At Good Day Club ... CD
All Art/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1989. New Copy ... $18.99 24.99
A Japanese live date from pianist Junior Mance – and a record that's an overlooked gem in his catalog from the 80s! The set was recorded in a small club in Tokyo, and there's this great groove to the whole thing – almost more back in the soul jazz roots in which Mance was launched in the 60s, but with longer cuts that show some of the increasing sophistication in his style, but all without ever losing the groove! A good part of that is the rhythm team here – superb work from bassist Martin Rivera, next to the drums of Rudy Lawless – on titles that include "Something", "Smokey Blues", "Small Fry", "Emily", "No Greater Love", and "Summertime". CD

Close matches75
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Emil MangelsdorffMeditation ... CD
L+R Records/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1986/1994. New Copy ... $16.99 19.99
Beautifully introspective work from reedman Emil Mangelsdorff – material that's very different than the sounds he was bringing to the German jazz scene in his youth, and which showcase the mature command he developed over his instruments during the passage of time! The record features material recorded almost a decade apart, but still with a nicely unified vibe – four later tracks that have Mangelsdorff soloing in these tracks that really demonstrate his growing sense of tone – balanced with earlier material that features some slightly different smaller groupings – three trio numbers with Jo Flinner on piano and Gerhard Bitter on bass, and four more with the great Attila Zoller on guitar. Mangelsdorff blows soprano, alto, and flute – and titles include "Phrygian Summer", "Corrina", "Joanne", "After The Snow", "Mezzanine Floor", "Stiner", "Ember", and "Songe Ma Belle". CD
(Part of the "L+R – Jazz True Colours" series!)

Close matches76
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George & Gwen McCraeTogether ... CD
Cat/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $16.99 19.99
A Miami soul classic from the 70s – and a legendary pairing of George and Gwen McCrae – with results that soar past the individual work by the pair! Gwen's vocals are killer – deep, soulful, and still with the bite of her own TK albums – and the grooves here echo a bit more of George's world, but in a way that really makes for great interplay between the two singers – a back/forth sort of energy that pushes things away from any sleepy moments and throwaway tracks – and which also offers up a great 70s Miami take on the soul duo mode of the 60s. The record includes the wonderful "I'll Do The Rocking", plus "Mechanical Body", "Winners Together Or Losers Apart", "The Rub", "You And I Were Made For Each Other", "Let Your Love Do The Talking", and "I'm Coming At You". CD

Close matches77
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Jimmy McGriffGroove Grease ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
A nice bit of funky organ work from Jimmy McGriff – a set that's got his famous talents on the Hammond out front of a larger ensemble – but in a way that's very different than some of his albums of that type from the 70s! There's lots of electricity in the mix – electric piano from Horace Ott, bass from Richard Evans, and guitar from Wayne Bennett – mixed with sharp work on horns from Cliff Davis on tenor and flute, Murray Watson on trumpet, and Johnny Beard on baritone – three players who really flesh out the sound! The album's got some excellent stone funky classics – like "The Bird", "Groove Grease", and "Plain Brown Bag" – plus some surprisingly funky readings of standards like "Canadian Sunset" and "Mr Lucky", both made to sound super-nice, thanks to excellent work on bass and drums! CD

Close matches78
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Jimmy McGriffLet's Stay Together ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1966/1972. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
An early 70s gem from Jimmy McGriff! Jimmy's grooving with a larger group here – but in a funky 70s mode that makes for a great update of the rawer sound he laid out on some of his Sue sides in the 60s. The best tracks are the covers of 70s soul material – like "Shaft", "What's Going On", and "Let's Stay Together" – hewn in the organ funk mode that Jimmy pioneered and honed with his trademark expertise. Another highlight of the record is an original called "Tiki", that has a slight exotica feel to it, coming off very nice with Jimmy's organ work! Other tracks include "Georgia On My Mind" and "April In Paris". CD

Close matches79
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Jimmy McGriffRed Beans ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
Jimmy McGriff picks up a few more keyboards than straight Hammond organ – but that's ok with us, given the great results of the set! The album's got McGriff working on electric piano and clavinet alongside the organ – plus supporting arrangements from Brad Baker, in that fuller, Kudu-styled approach to jazz funk that Groove Merchant used strongly in the mid 70s – a slightly smoother sound than before, but still plenty darn great, and definitely filled with more than enough jazz to keep things real! Pat Rebillot plays some additional keyboards on the album – in that funky style he used well at the time – and there's almost a spacey Fantasy Records quality to some of the best numbers here! Titles include the incredible tripped out break cut "Space Cadet", plus "Love Is My Life", "Sweet Love", "Big Booty Bounce", "Red Beans", and "Cakes Alive". CD

Close matches80
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Jimmy McGriff & Junior ParkerGood Things Don't Happen Every Day (aka Dudes Doin Business) ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
Sweet funky blues from the team of Junior Parker and Jimmy McGriff – coming together here in a way that's even groovier than some of their previous work! Junior's got a sweet approach to the lyrics that grooves nicely with Jimmy's Hammond – and the set's got some full and soulful arrangements by Horace Ott that really tighten things up nicely – getting past any of the blues cliches that might ruin things, and instead going for that lean groove that McGriff was really hitting at the end of the 60s! There's more of a soul vibe than a blues one going on most of the time – and titles include "Workin", "Inner Light", "Losing Battle", "Drownin On Dry Land", and "It Ain't What'cha Got". CD

Close matches81
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Midnight StarHeadlines (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Solar/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1986. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
Sweet beats and plenty of grooves – an 80s funk classic from Midnight Star, and one that seems to have the group picking up a bit of energy from the hip hop scene as well! The album's still got the electro soul vibe of previous records, but maybe is even beat-heavier overall – almost showcasing a style that would later emerge as new jack in the hands of some younger artists within the next few years – but still perfect for the kind of playful interplay that made the Midnight groove so great! Titles include "Midas Touch", "Stay Here By My Side", "Close To Midnight", "Searching For Love", "Close Encounter", "Dead End", "Get Dressed", "Engine No 9", and "Headlines". CD

Close matches82
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Junko Mine with Lou LevyYou're The Top – Junko Mine Sings Cole Porter ... CD
All Art/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $12.99 24.99
Japanese jazz vocalist Junko Mine made a great trip to LA for this album – working here under the leadership of pianist Lou Levy, with a group that includes some of the best west coast jazz players of the 50s! At the time, American labels were often ignoring the talent that was still flourishing strongly in the city of angels – and it was up to Japanese labels like this to give them a chance to shine on record – which they do wonderfully, in a group that features Levy on piano, Bill Perkins on tenor and flute, Conte Candoli on trumpet, Red Mitchell on bass, and Mundell Lowe on drums. Junko handles vocals, but also knows when to step aside for an instrumentalist to solo – and titles include "Easy To Love", "You're The Top", "I Concentrate On You", "In The Still Of The Night", "You Do Something To Me", and "I Get A Kick Out Of You". CD

Close matches83
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David MurrayMing/Sacred Ground/Lucky Four (3CD set) ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980/1988/2007. New Copy ... $18.99 24.99
A trio of albums from the great David Murray! Ming is beautifully arranged work from David Murray – an important early large group recording, one that really helped point the way to some of his later genius! The session features Murray leading an all-star octet that includes Henry Threadgill on alto, Olu Dara on trumpet, Butch Morris on cornet, George Lewis on trombone, Anthony Davis on piano, Wilbur Morris on bass, and Steve McCall on percussion. Tracks are a very hip set of original compositions that display an incredible range of soulful feeling and expression – and which open a door to a whole new chapter of Murray's career. Titles include "Ming", "Dewey's Circle", "Jasvan", "The Fast Life", and "The Hill". Sacred Ground is a beautifully spiritual set that really reminds us of the promise we first heard in his music decades ago! Murray's working here with a lean, soulful ensemble that includes Lafayette Gilchrist on piano, Ray Drummond on bass, and Andrew Cyrille on drums – all in a groove that has plenty of sharp edges, but which is also nicely inside – very focused, and with a sense of depth that's really wonderful! All tracks are originals by Murray – penned with the sensitivity of an older soul jazz recording – and two numbers feature lyrics by Ishmael Reed, sung by Cassandra Wilson on guest vocals. Titles include "Sacred Ground", "Transitions", "Family Reunion", "The Prophet Of Doom", "Believe In Love", and "Banished". Lucky Four is a gentler set than some of David Murray's other US dates from the time – but in a really great way that nicely gets at the more sensitive side of his work on tenor and bass clarinet! There's a bit of a hardbop groove to the album, but also a bit more freedom too – a style that never goes that far out, but which reminds us through subtle cues that most of these players have a longer legacy in more avant-oriented work. The group features Dave Burrell on piano, Wilbur Morris on bass, and Victor Lewis on drums – and Burrell especially echoes a range of influences here – almost pulling from older eras of jazz in the way that Jaki Byard used to – an approach that's often echoed by Murray in his horn. Titles include "Valley Talk", "Chazz", "As I Woke", "Abel's Blissed Out Blues", "Sharing", and "As I Woke". CD

Close matches84
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100 Proof Aged In Soul100 Proof Aged In Soul (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Hot Wax/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
A stone burner from 100 Proof Aged In Soul – a group who really take off with this tight second record! The album's a classic from the days when soul music ruled AM radio on both sides of the tracks – and the rest of the album is equally great – packing that tight post-Motown punch that made the Hot Wax label one of the best proponents of Detroit soul in the 70s! Arrangements are by a huge amount of early 70s heavyweights – McKinley Jackson, Paul Riser, and HB Barnum – and the set was produced by General Johnson and Greg Perry, in a style that soars along with the Chairmen Of The Board albums of the time. Titles include "Words", "I Don't Care If I Never Get Over You", "Everything Good Is Bad", "Ghetto Girl", "Nothing Sweeter Than Love", and "Don't You Wake Me". CD features lots of bonus tracks – "I'd Rather Fight Than Switch", "If I Could See The Light In The Window (version 2)", "My Piece Of The Rock (vocal)", "My Piece Of The Rock (inst)", and "I'm Mad As Hell (parts 1 & 2)". CD

Close matches85
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100 Proof Aged In SoulSomebody's Been Sleeping In My Bed (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Hot Wax/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
One of the best-remembered groups from the Detroit scene of the early 70s – thanks to the massive title track on this album, and a whole host of other wonderful cuts as well! The group features the great Steve Marcus on vocals – an artist who'd cut some key Northern soul singles for smaller labels in the 60s – but who really bursts out of the box here with great presentation from the Holland Dozier Holland empire! The record features some great songs by General Johnson and Greg Perry – and Perry also handled some of the production work for the record – really pushing the group with the sort of full, rich sound the Chairmen Of The Board brought to their own work. Titles include "Somebody's Been Sleeping", "Too Many Cooks (Spoil The Soup)", "One Man's Leftovers", "Love is Sweeter", "Age Ain't Nothin' But a Number", and "Back Track". CD features five bonus tracks – "90 Days Freeze", "Somebody's Been Sleeping (UK single edit)", "If I Could See The Light In The Window (version 1)", "Driveway", and "Somebody's Been Sleeping (US single)". CD

Close matches86
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OsirisO-Zone ... CD
Marlin/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $12.99 15.99
Lost soulful sounds from Osiris – one of the many high-concept funk ensembles to spring up in the wake of Earth Wind & Fire – and one of the better ones too! The combo's got some mighty tight grounding in the bass work of Tyrone Brunson – stepping out here in an early role to really help forge the group's groove from the bottom up – basslines with percussion, then jazzier elements on the top – including some wicked work by Fred Wesley & The Horny Horns! Those added horns really pack a lot of punch on the record – working perfectly with the group vocals that step out on most of the numbers – maybe not in ways that are as righteous as you'd guess from the title or the cover, but plenty darn groovy overall. Titles include "You & I", "Love In Your Heart", "I'll Never Let You Go", "Fantality", "Say You Will", and the jazzy stepper "Travelin Salesman". CD

Close matches87
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PartnersLast Disco In Paris (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Marlin/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $12.99 15.99
A sweet disco set from the late 70s – the only one we've ever seen by the Partners, who we're guessing were some sort of European studio combo! The sound is mighty nice – exactly what you'd guess from the title – the best sort of funky Euro disco style of the time, with some sweet harmony vocals that almost have a Bee Gees vibe – yet never nearly as poppy as their disco tunes! There's a warmth here that marks the Paris in contrast to other European club sounds of the time – and attention to lyrics that goes way past the usual "let's throw a singer at some grooves" – especially on the album's mellower cuts. Titles include "Partners", "Friday", "Dance", "Green Eyes", and "Love Meant To Be". CD

Close matches88
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Phase 7Playtime ... CD
Broad/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
A great bit of Aloha Soul from Phase 7 – a Hawaiian group who are right on the money from the very first note, and continue throughout with a wonderfully warm sound! The record's a bit upbeat, but not really clubby – more in the kind of sunny free soul vibe that we love from some of the best island soul groups of the time – delivered with a style that's upfront and unadorned, maybe a more honest take on some of the Cali soul that was coming out of the bigger studios on the west coast in the late 70s. The album's rock-solid throughout – crafted more as a whole set than going for a few singles – and titles include "Could It Be Love", "Chotto Matte Kudasai", "Playtime", "Slip Away", "You & Me", "So Good To Be In Love", and "Love Lifted Me". CD

Close matches89
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Enrico PieranunziNew Lands/Daedalus' Wings/Improvised Forms For Trio (3CD set) ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1984/1999/2000. New Copy ... $18.99 24.99
The great Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi is featured here in three great records! First up is New Lands – a warmly-crafted trio set from Enrio Pieranunzi – a set that still shows his modern tones on the piano, but which also has a sensitivity that really makes things open up overall! The group is a trio – with Marc Johnson on bass and Joey Baron on drums – both subtle players who really let the piano take the lead at times, as Enrico stretches out on long tracks that include "New Lands", "A Child Is Born", "The Mood Is Good", and "If There Is Someone Lovelier Than You". Daedalus Wings is an unusual record, and one that features twin piano work from Bert Van Den Brink and Enrico Pieranunzi – not on long, free tracks, but on these beautiful shorter numbers that really seem to resonate strongly with the voices of each player! Titles include "Daedalus Suite", "Si Peu De Temps", "Pour Claude", "Guitar Blues", "Woods", and "O Toi Desir" – plus two solo takes by each player on "I Can't Get Started". Improvised Forms For Trio is a really different album from pianist Enrico Pieranunzi – and one that really lives up to its title! Rather than being song-based – featuring compositions by Enrico or some of his contemporaries – the record features the trio improvising, but never in a free jazz way – always with a groove, and a strong sense of rhythmic cohesion – but clearly improvising their way through the 18 short numbers that make up the set! The energy is great – in ways that maybe make the record one of Pieranunzi's most compelling records – and the rest of the group features Hein Van De Geyn on bass and Hans Van Oosterhout on drums. Titles include "Forms" 1 through 18. CD

Close matches90
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Enrico Pieranunzi & Bert Van Den BrinkDaedalus Wings ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe/Solid (Japan), 1999. Used ... $9.99
Enrico Pieranunzi and Bert Van Den Brink on piano. CD
(Out of print.)

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PoliticiansPoliticians Featuring McKinley Jackson (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Hot Wax/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
Incredibly messed-up funk – a 70s instrumental classic that's delighted our ears for years! The set's got a cosmic sound that mixes together conventional guitar-based funky with some weird electronic touches at times – going for a fuzzed-out moogy quality that really deepens the groove – and which goes even further on those tunes that push the basslines all the way into the red! The group's headed by McKinley Jackson, and features some ex-members of Parliament – all coming together in a full, rich sound that almost has traces of soundtrack sophistication at times – yet which manages to come across with the burning energy of a funky 45! The album includes the classics "Funky Toes" and "Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic" – plus the group's legendary take on "Free Your Mind", a sample classic from years back! Great stuff if you dig a fuzzy Westbound sort of funk groove – and other tracks include "Church", "The World We Live In", "Everything Good Is Bad", "Speak On It", and "Politician's Theme". Features bonus tracks "Love Machine (parts 1 & 2)". CD

Close matches92
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Ferdinand PovelBeboppin/Some Other Blues/Good Bait (3CD set) ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983/1988/2011. New Copy ... $18.99 24.99
A trio of albums from this great tenorist! First up is Beboppin, from Ferdinand Povel – a tenorist who may not be one of the bigger stars on the European scene, but one who always finds a way to serve up something special! Povel's got a nice edge in his horn at times – a mode that's always inside, but often sharply spoken – even when he's going for some mellower moments too – a bit of old school bite in the way he approaches the reed, maybe – and a definite sense of attack that really comes on when he's in a more swinging mode! The group here has some great guitar from Wim Overgaauw, whose ringing tones bring a bright balance between Povel's horn and the piano of Frans Elsen – and the rest of the group features Victor Kaihatu on bass and Ruud Pronk on drums. Titles include "Off Minor", "I'm Old Fashioned", "Beboppin", "Deception", "Nobody Else But Me", and "I Fall In Love Too Easily". Some Other Blues features great work as a leader from reedman Ferdinand Povel – a player who's sparked up some great moments on albums by other players over the years, but who hardly ever records as a boss on his own! This set's a "forgotten tape" – recorded in the late 80s, but only issued recently – and it features Povel both on tenor and soprano sax, playing with an angularly expressive tone that even makes familiar standards sound fresh – working with players who include Wim Overgaauw on guitar, Rob Langereis on bass, and John Engels on drums. The mix of guitar and saxophone is pretty lively on the upbeat numbers – especially in the way that Wim uses these sustained notes that almost ring out like an organ – and titles on the set include "Workout", "Some Other blues", "Mr Syms", "Old Folks", "UMMG", and "Waltz New". Good Bait is a live album, and one that features the twin-tenor leadership of Ferdinand Povel and Pete Christlieb – both excellent soloists who get plenty of room here to really stretch out and soar! Other players include Rein DeGraaf on piano, Marius Beets on bass, and Eric Ineke on drums – and titles include long takes on "Milestones #1", "Good Bait", "All The Things You Are", and "Parker 51". CD

Close matches93
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Asha PuthliL'Indiana ... CD
Dash/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $12.99 15.99
The only album ever issued in the US by European soul singer Asha Puthli – an artist who was doing some great spacey funk in the mid 70s, then made a strong shift into tighter grooves in the disco years! This album's a great blend of Asha's earlier vocal style and some of the newer clubby sounds from Euro clubs – kind of a mix of porno sleaze and Munich soul – and the arrangements have enough of a funky kick in them to keep things interesting – and a vibe that really warrants the record coming out on TK over here in the US! Titles include "Mr Moonlight", "Music Machine", "There Is A Party Tonight", "Legend Of Thais", and "I'll See You Around". CD

Close matches94
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Sidney Joe QuallsI Enjoy Loving You ... CD
Dakar/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
Classic work from this massively overlooked 70s soul singer! The set's one of a rare few albums cut by Sidney Joe Qualls – a fantastic talent who's probably better known for his work behind the scenes, and as a songwriter, than he is as a voice on his own. The session is produced with a style that kind of mixes Brunswick Chicago soul with rootsier southern elements – stepping proud in the 70s territory of Johnnie Taylor or Tyrone Davis, but sounding way way better here, and with a much more independent vibe. Plus, the album boasts some incredible material – original tunes written by the likes of Sam Dees, Clifford Davis, George Davis, and others. Titles include "Shut Your Mouth", "Run To Me", "I Enjoy Loving You", "Please Help Me", "Can't Get Enough of Your Love", and "The Next Time I Fall in Love". CD

Close matches95
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Paulette ReavesAll About Love (with bonus track) ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $12.99 15.99
A killer album from Paulette Reaves – a hip singer from the TK Records scene of the 70s, but one who never fully got her due at the time! Paulette's got a really wonderful style here that's partly deep soul, partly jazz-inflected – an approach that almost has more of the sophistication of 70s Philly sessions, especially given the mix of mature modes that come across in both the vocals and some of the instrumentation. Production is by Clarence Reid, Snoopy Dean, and Chocolate Perry – all of whom polish things enough to match the maturity in Reaves' vocals, yet never take the record into too-commercial territory – including the other styles you might find at TK. Titles include the sublime "Jazz Freak" – a classic stepper that has Paulette running down a list of her favorite artists in the lyrics – and other tracks include "You Are My Star", "We'll Try It Again", "I Forgot To Be Your Lover", "Flesh", and "Sweet Bitter Love". CD features the bonus track "Man Enough For Two". CD

Close matches96
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✨✧ Ritchie FamilyAmerican Generation (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Marlin/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
Tight work from this famous disco trio – a set recorded at Sigma Sound in NYC with lots of soaring strings, thanks to the disco perfection of producer Jacques Morali – who really found a great outlet for his talents with the group! And the album's also got some surprisingly soulful currents in the mix too – with added arrangements from Horace Ott, and vocal arrangements from Philly soul genius Phil Hurtt – both of whom really help the set hit a cut above the usual girls-with-disco sort of set! Titles include "Music Man", "Good In Love", "American Generation", "I Feel Disco Good", and a surprisingly strong cover of "Big Spender". CD features bonus tracks – 7" and 12" mixes of "American Generation" – plus 7" mixes of "Music Man", "Good In Love", and "I Feel Disco Good". CD

Close matches97
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Akira Sakata TrioDance ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1981. New Copy ... $14.99 19.99
A great setting for the reed talents of the legendary Akira Sakata – one that's nicely different than his work with Yosuke Yamashita, as the group is a trio – with Sakata on alto and alto clarinet, Hiroshi Yoshino on bass, and Nobuo Fuji on drums! The songs are long, lean, and open – with Akira blowing these tremendous lines – of the sort that makes his music like this every bit the match of some of the best European improvisers of the time, thanks to the inherent soulfulness that Sakata brings to his horns, which has every minute overflowing with meaning. Titles include a great version of "Comme A La Radio" – the song originally done by Brigitte Fontaine & Art Ensemble Of Chicago – plus "Inanaki 2nd", "Right Frankenstein In Saigne Legier", and "Strange Island". CD
(Part of the Enja 50th Anniversary Campaign!)

Close matches98
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Satisfaction UnlimitedThink Of The Children ... CD
Hot Wax/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
A really compelling little set from Satisfaction Unlimited – a group we only know from this one corker of a record on the Hot Wax label! The style's a bit in some of the harmony modes of the east coast scene of the time – yet like most Hot Wax/Invictus work, there's also a bit of an odd twist too – a quality that's hard to peg in words, but which is sometimes slightly trippy, other times warmly soulful – almost a Cali indie sort of vibe – with a bit of sunshine that breaks through amidst some of the darker, heavier themes of the record. There's plenty of great numbers with a catchy vibe that could have almost gotten these guys the radio play of some of the RCA groups of the time – and titles include "Time For Us", "Think of The Children", "Bright City Lights", "Let's Change The Subject", "Come On Back", and "Why". CD

Close matches99
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ShalamarFriends (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Solar/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1982. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
A key album in the legendary 80s run of Shalamar – and a set that gets a tremendous amount out of a very stripped-down sound! The sound of Shalamar builds from a bit of bass, some snapping drums, waves of keyboards, and especially great vocals – warm and sweet, but never too commercial – despite the hit status of an album like this. If anything, the group have a style that's a bit more relaxed and personal than some of their contemporaries on the Solar Records scene at the time – one that matches the friendly title, and unassuming cover image of the set. Titles include "A Night To Remember", "Playing To Win", "Friends", "On Top Of The World", "Help Me", "There It Is", "I Can Make You Feel Good", and "I Don't Wanna Be The Last To Know". CD features 5 bonus tracks – "Night To Remember (UK 12")", "There It Is (UK 12" ext rmx)", "Friends (UK 12" ext)", "Night To Remember (M&M mix)", and "Night To Remember (M&M inst)". CD

Close matches100
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Sho NuffTonite ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $10.99 14.99
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
 
 
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