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Close matches: 295
Close matches1
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Shoji AketagawaAt The Babel ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1985. New Copy ... $24.99
Two beautiful long tracks from Japanese pianist Shoji Aketagawa – recording here with just he bass of Hiroshi Yoshino for accompaniment – in a style that mixes some of the deeper tones of Shoji's straighter records with an approach that's maybe looser and more improvised overall! Parts of the album almost feel as if Cecil Taylor were trying to step into Erroll Garner territory – hitting moody ballads, but breaking out with freer moments on the keys – while others are maybe a bit warmer, and have some of that unusual full piano resonance that always makes these Aketa's Disk recordings by Aketagawa sound so different than most other Japanese piano recordings of the period. The set features two long tracks, both nice and open! CD

Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Shoji AketagawaFly Me To The Moon ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Mid 70s. New Copy ... $24.99
An indie piano jazz treasure from the Japanese scene of the 70s – originally issued on the Aketa's Disk record, and with a sound that's a bit different than some of the bigger-label piano trio albums of the time! There's a real edge here – a harder sound on Aketagawa's keys than some of his contemporaries, even though things are relatively straight and swinging – as if Shoji knows the farther reaches of the avant spectrum, and manages to fold them into long, open groovers with the help of a trio that features Koichi Yamazaki on bass and Takashi Miyasaka on drums! Shoji also vocalizes a bit behind his piano – not singing, but kind of the energetic sounds that you'd hear from better-known pianists, like Erroll Garner or Keith Jarrett – in a similar tradition of enthusiasm along with their work on the keys. Titles include "Aketa's Blues", "Fly Me To The Moon", "There Is No Greater Love", and "Obachama Ote O Douzo". CD

Close matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Shoji AketagawaSoto Ha Ii Tenki ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $24.99
A rare treasure from the Aketa's Disk label – one of the hipper Japanese jazz imprints of the 70s, and a great showcase here for the mighty piano talents of Shoji Aketagawa! There's something very unusual about the piano that Shoji is playing here – as it's got a tonal quality that almost feels like an old upright, but a wider scope of sound that you'd here from a grand piano – a very resonant vibe that seems to encompass many different strands of jazz at once, both older and modern, with a flair that maybe evokes the similar spirit of Jaki Byard – but which, in Aketagawa's hands, comes across with very personal results. CD

Close matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Shoji AketagawaYamazaki Blues ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $24.99
A slightly different album than usual from pianist Shoji Aketagawa, but one that still follows strongly in the best tradition of his offbeat gems for the Aketa's Disk label! This set has Shoji co-credited on piano and vocals – the latter of which aren't really sung lyrics, but maybe more sub-verbal expressions done alongside his bold work on the piano – almost an expansion of the kind of grunts you'd hear on older recordings by Erroll Garner, but taken into an even more pronounced position – so that they're often strong enough to become part of the melodic makeup of the tune! The group also features bass from Koichi Yamazaki, and drums from Takashi Miyasaka and Kenichi Kameyama – on titles that include "African Dream", "Footprints", "Yamazaki Blues", "Kameyama Blues", and "Dear Old Stockholm". CD

Close matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Harold AlexanderSunshine Man ... CD
Flying Dutchman/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $13.99
A wicked bit of funky jazz from reedman Harold Alexander – and a set that's much sharper and harder-edged than some of his later work! There's maybe a bit of freedom in the mix, here too – some post-Coltrane spiritualism that mixes with some of the more funk-based currents – which include excellent electric piano by Neal Creque, and tight funky drums by Pretty Purdie! The tracks are all nice and long, but have a completely different approach than you'd find on labels like CTI or Prestige at the same time – both more complex, but maybe also more spontaneous too – in ways that really make the album a treasure all the way through, and has us wishing that Harold gave us a lot more like this. Titles include the classic "Sunshine Man", plus "Tite Rope", "Quick City", and "Mama Soul". CD

Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Gene AmmonsGene Ammons In Sweden ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $14.99
An album issued after the untimely early death of tenorist Gene Ammons, but one that features the player working in a nicely relaxed live setting – one that really shows the transformation of his instrument since his famous late 50s/early 60s records on Prestige! Gene's horn here seems to have more of an edge, more of a bite, even on the mellower numbers – which open up in this slow-building formation that's very much in the best Chicago tenor legacy, and which maybe ties Ammons a lot more closely to contemporary Von Freeman than some of the more tightly-produced that were issued in the US during his final years. The mighty Horace Parlan is in the quartet, and gets plenty of space too – alongside Red Mitchell on bass and Ed Jones on drums –on titles that include "Ahus Jazz", "Lover Man", "There Is No Greater Love", and "Billie's Bounce". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Jon AppletonAppleton Syntonic Menagerie ... CD
Flying Dutchman/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1969. Used ... $11.99
An incredible record from the glory days of Flying Dutchman! The session's one of a rare few cut by electronic musician Jon Appleton, and it's a stunning blend of analogue electronics and sonic cut up material – a record of musique concrete compositions to rival the greatest work coming out of France in the late 50s and early 60s! Appleton's approach to the material is at some level like that of Pierre Henry, but at another level, he's also using some bits of late 60s Americana – such as a Chef Boyardee commercial, or snippets of interviews done in an airport – and it's elements like these that give the set a darkness that makes it even more compelling. Titles include "Chef D'Oeuvre", "Newark Airport Rock", "Times Square Times Ten", "Second Scene Unobserved", "Nyckelharpan", and "The Visitation". CD
(Includes obi.)

Close matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Average White BandRare Tracks Vol 1 – Clover Sessions & More ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), Early 70s. New Copy ... $13.99
Fantastic early music from Average White Band – lots of 1973 recordings from their famous Clover Sessions, plus a handful of other very early tracks too! The group at this point are perfect – actually, they're often pretty darn perfect, but also have an edge here that really keeps things interesting – with a sound that's undeniably soulful, very funky at the core, and touched with just the right amount of warmth in the instrumentation without ever sounding slick or commercial. These aren't rough demos or throwaway tracks – and instead, the set is filled with killer gems from this wonderful group – 21 titles that include "Back In 67 (first version)", "McEwan's Export", "Person To Person", "There's Always Someone Waiting", "Reach Out (first version)", "It Didn't Take A Minute", "The Jugglers (first version)", "In The Beginning", and "White Water Dreams". CD

Close matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Gene Barge, David Matthews, & Andre DavisStony Island – Original Soundtrack ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $13.99
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 matches10
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 ... $13.99
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
Also available
Livin' High Off The Goodness Of Your Love ... LP 68.99
Livin' High Off The Goodness Of Your Love (180 gram pressing) ... LP 28.99

Close matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Beginning Of The EndBeginning Of The End (with bonus track) ... CD
Alston/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $13.99
One of the rarest funky records of all time – the hard-to-find second album by Beginning Of The End! This West Indian combo hit it big with their first album on Alston, but this second set, for some strange reason, never really got distributed – which is a damn shame, because it's every bit as funky as their first! The uniquely choppy rhythms of the group's first album are every bit as great here as on the first set – and if anything, the band's instrumentation is even better, especially on the guitar, which is wickedly tight, and played with a super-dope flanged-out approach on the solos. Vocals are great too, maybe even more soulful than before, especially on the album's few midtempo cuts – and the album's a must-have for any fan of the group's funky sound! Titles include "That's What I Get", "Super Woman", "Bluestrain", "Jump In The Water", "Falling Apart At The Seams", and "Trip To Nowhere". CD also features their Holiday track – the very groovy "Gee Whiz It's Christmas". CD

Close matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Richard Beirach with Terumasa Hino & Yoshiaki MasuoZal – In Duet With Terumasa Hino & Yoshiaki Masuo ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $22.99
One of the most beautiful albums of the 70s from pianist Richie Beirach – and in saying that, we don't mean to insult the rest of his other great American work! This set was done in Japan, and it's maybe one of Beirach's most obscure of the decade – but it's also a really special session that features the pianist in combination with two different musicians – guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo on side one, and trumpeter Terumasa Hino on side two – each artists whose contributions bring out a slightly different side of Beirach's sound! The guitar on side one highlights some of those spacious, airy notes that Richie brought to his beautiful ECM sides of the period – while Hino's use of both trumpet and flugelhorn emphasizes some of the darker tones of the piano, but in ways that are completely different than Beirach's work with Dave Liebman. One title is also just solo piano – and titles include "Yesterdays", "Mavrodaphne", "Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair", "Zal", and "What Is This Thing Called Love". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
BlowflyButterfly ... CD
Weird World/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Mid 70s. New Copy ... $22.99
The raunchy one is at it again – serving up funky, filthy, and funny parodies of 70s soul and pop songs with more than enough bad language to make even the most street hip hopper turn red! The band is nice and tight on most of the tracks, grooving hard with a funky wah-wah sound underneath Blow's freaky comedy bits – and providing the funk that really makes the album work, because we'd hate to imagine it without the music! Titles include "Suck Train", "Rap Dirty", "Juice It Up", "Niggaz Ain't Sh*t", "Neither One Of Us", and "Easter Bunny". CD
(Part of the Miami Sound – Original Soul/Funk/Disco Collection series!)

Close matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
BrainstormStormin (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Tabu/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $13.99
A set that definitely lives up to its title – a stone stormer from Brainstorm – one of the tightest funky ensembles of their generation, and one of the few who could go deep while still laying down a groove! The set's got a perfect balance of modes – enough of the appeal of bigger mainstream funk acts of the time, but also some righteous undercurrents that really show the group's roots – both in the approach of the lyrics, and in the jazzy instrumentation of the backings – which often show a righteous side of the group that's mighty surprising! The record's one that just grows and grows with each new listening, and is put together with some great sharp-edged production by Jerry Peters – who has a way of showcasing all the most interesting elements, while still keeping things focused too. Titles include the classic "Wake Up & Be Somebody" and "Loving You Is Really My Game" – plus "Waiting For Someone", "We Know A Place", "Hangin' On", "Easy Thangs", and "This Must Be Heaven". CD bonus tracks include "Wake Up & Be Somebody (long ver)" and "Lovin Is Really My Game (parts 1 & 2)". CD
Also available Stormin' ... LP 4.99

Close matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Dollar Brand/Johnny DyaniGood News From Africa ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $14.99
Beautiful duets between pianist Dollar Brand and legendary bassist/Blue Notes member Johnny Dyani – two great South African jazz musicians who should have recorded more together in a format like this! Brand's open-ended rolling piano lines bring out the best in Dyani's bass – which at this point in his career, was not often heard in such an intimate setting, and was instead often hidden amidst larger more bombastic groupings of avant players – a shift in setting that really brings out some of the more spiritual currents in his music. The record features a version of Brand's excellent "The Pilgrim", plus the tracks "Msunduza", "Ntsikana's Bell", "Good News", and "Moniebah". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
BrandyeCrossover To Brandye ... CD
Kayvette/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $13.99
A killer bit of female soul by a very short-lived group – one with a great sound that comes out of some real criss-crossing of styles – some deep soul currents, but some hipper modern soul touches at the top! The set was produced by Brad Shapiro, and has a good blend of his modern and southern styles of the mid 70s – similar to his work with Candi Staton – but it also features some impeccable arrangements from David Van DePitte, who gives the record a sweeping, swaying feel that buoys the vocals up on some really soulful backings. Titles include a great version of "How Long", plus the tracks "Mr Mystery", "You Accuse Me", "Rhythm Of Love", "One Woman's Trash", and "I Can't Weigh My Love". CD

Close matches17
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Funky BrownThese Songs Will Last Forever ... CD
Glades/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $13.99
Sweet grooves from Funky Brown – an artist who's more soul-based than you'd guess from his name, and who works here in the hippest Miami modes of the mid 70s! The album's got this warm glow that's mighty nice – even smoother and more mature than some of the Timmy Thomas work of the time – with plenty of keyboards from Harold Butler alongside Brown's sweet vocals – in ways that mix together bits of Miami soul with currents from bigger 70s names on the Philly scene, and maybe even a bit of Barry White! Paul Khouri arranged and produced, and definitely has a way with a midtempo groove – and titles include "Nice & Slow", "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine", "Let's Make A Baby", "Sharing The Night Together", "For The Love Of You", and "Kiss & Say Goodbye". CD

Close matches18
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
James BrownSoul Syndrome ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $22.99
A rare TK Records effort from James Brown – very much in the best uptempo funk mode of the later Polydor years! The groove here is quite similar to those better-known efforts – grooves that are a bit quicker than a few years before, but still played in a core JB funky style – live and lively, with plenty of emphasis on the rhythms! Brown often referred to his style here as disco, but it's a lot more like some of the P-Funk progressions of the period – a mode that's more polished than a grittier funky generation, yet far from smooth club or disco overall. There's plenty of choppy little groovers that make the record great – and titles include the long cut "Rapp Payback", plus "Funky Men", "Smokin & Drinkin", "Stay With Me", and "Mashed Potatoes". CD
(Part of the Miami Sound – Original Soul/Funk/Disco Collection series!)

Close matches19
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Milt BucknerMilt Buckner, Illinois Jacquet, Buddy Tate, Sonny Payne, Joop Scholten ... CD
Progressive/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. Used ... $14.99
... CD
(Japanese pressing, with obi.)

Close matches20
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Dave BurrellOnly Me ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $22.99
Some of the most beautiful work ever recorded by pianist Dave Burrell – a solo session issued only in Japan, featuring Burrell on a Steinway recorded in the wide open space of a performance hall in Tokyo! There's a photo on the back cover that has a pair of suitcases behind Burrell at the piano – and we like to think that he showed up in the space, dropped the bags, and ran over to the piano to let loose with the kind of inspired imagination he really brings to the set – as the long tracks have this boundless sense of creativity that marks the record as one of the strongest statements of Burrell's genius on record! Some moments are rhythmic, others are freer yet still have a sense of cohesion – and there's a balance here between structure and space that's really wonderful. All tracks are nice and long – and titles include "Margy Pargy", "8th Ave Rendez Vouz Blues", and "Lush Life". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches21
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Don Burrows QuartetAt The Sydney Opera House ... CD
Mainstream/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. Used ... Just Sold Out!
A record that really shows off the strengths of the Australian jazz scene in the 70s – so much so, it was one of that nation's biggest jazz records of the decade, and also got a fair bit of global circulation too! The album's billed to reedman Don Burrows – who's a bit like his nation's Stan Getz at times, but also can handle flute and clarinet as well – with currents that seem to rival the best of Herbie Mann, Paul Horn, or Jimmy Giuffre, depending on the setting. But the album's also got some equally important work on guitar from George Golla – Don's key partner for many years, and a player who can work these open colors on his instrument that sometimes rival Wes Montgomery, but also get a bit funkier too – all modes that he gets to show off here on the album's range of long tracks. The quartet also features Ed Gason on bass and Laurie Thompson on drums – and titles include "Yesterdays", "Sweet Emma", "The Gentle Rain", "Velhos Tempos", and "Maybe Today". CD
(Includes obi.)

Close matches22
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Billy Butler & InfinityHung Up On You ... CD
Pride/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $13.99
A gem of a record from the great Billy Butler – brother of better-known Jerry from the Chicago scene, and maybe best known for his northern soul work of the 60s – but a hell of a great artist here in a rare group soul date from the 70s! Billy's lead vocals are supported by the Infinity trio of Phyllis Knox, Errol Batts, and Larry Wade – who glide and soar wonderfully alongside Butler – with a style that's got all the best charms of group soul work from Philly or New Jersey at the time, but an approach that's maybe even deeper and more righteous too – with arrangements from Jerry Long, and tracks produced in both Memphis and Chicago. A record we love to death, and have treasured for years – with tracks that include "I'm So Hung Up On You", "Storm", "Free Yourself", "When Your Baby's Gone", and "You Can't Always Tell". CD

Close matches23
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Jerry Butler/Jerry PetersMelinda – Original Soundtrack (with bonus track) ... CD
Pride/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $13.99
One of Jerry Butler's funkiest moments of the 70s – served up in a fantastic soundtrack co-penned and arranged by the great Jerry Peters! Peters is best known for his hip work with a variety of soul acts in the studio, but he really steps out here for the score to Melinda – a lesser-known blacksploitation film from the early 70s, but one that boasts a heck of a great soundtrack! Peters approach here is a bit more baroque than some of his contemporaries – and he uses stepping strings equally alongside funky rhythms – creating a groove that's complicated, yet still plenty darn funky – and a sound that's as soulful on the mellower tunes as it is on the standout uptempo ones. Jerry Butler sings vocals on "Speak Truth To The People", "Tank's Theme", "Love is", and "Melinda Reprise" – but the instrumental tracks are even better, and include the clavinet groover "Part III", the sitar-styled "Melinda Latino", and the cuts "Music For Tank's Boat", "The Blues (Dope Pusher's Theme)", and "I Can't Let You Go" – plus the bonus track "A Prayer". CD

Close matches24
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
GC CameronGive Me Your Love ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $9.99
A wonderful later album from GC Cameron – a singer you might know best as the early lead in The Spinners – sounding quite different here in a Malaco Records setting! The album's got Cameron slow-stepping through some great mellow soul cuts – warm, sensuous tunes that work perfectly with his vocal approach – produced with just a few southern soul inflections by the team of Tommy Couch and Wolf Stevenson. The overall approach is light years from Detroit – and titles include "Let's Share", "Hearts & Flowers", "Give Me Your Love", "No Lovin Til Friday", "Love Trap", and "Night Like This In Georgia". CD
(Part of the Malaco Definitive Collection, The Truth Of Southern Soul Series!)

Close matches25
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
CheeseCheese ... CD
Good Sounds/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $22.99
Nothing cheesy about this sweet little set – a warmly soulful batch of tunes from this lesser-light of the TK Records universe in the 70s – a great group with a beautiful way of mixing compressed rock and tight soulful undercurrents! The approach has echoes of more commercial work of the time – but all the charm of a more heartfelt indie – the kind of obscure record that still holds onto an AOR vibe, yet really shows us all the best potential of that genre when it's not being pointed to strongly towards the charts! Backings have some nice jazzy inflections, and the vocals are recorded in this way that slides them right down with the grooves – on titles that include "I Got Love", "Sweet Harmony", "Man In Love", "City Life", "Time Is An Arrow", and "Lady Of The Night". CD
(Part of the Miami Sound – Original Soul/Funk/Disco Collection series!)

Close matches26
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
CollageGet In Touch (with bonus track) ... CD
Solar/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $22.99
Collage may not have been the biggest group during the legendary early run of Solar Records – but they were certainly one of the tightest – as you'll hear on this classic album of 80s groove! Collage boast a lot more members than their contemporaries – a total of 10 guys are pictured on the back cover – but they've got a tightness to match all the leaner west coast funk acts of the time – with some nice electro touches in the beats, and lots of sweet basslines and keys around the vocals! Cuts include "Get In Touch With Me", "Young Girls", "Move In Time", "Near To Me", "Simple", and "Love Is For Everyone". CD features the bonus track "Get In Touch With Me (single version)". CD
(Part of the Solar Records Original Masters Collection!)

Close matches27
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
CollageShine The Light (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Constellation/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1985. New Copy ... $22.99
Fantastic funky soul from the prime years of the jheri curl scene on the west coast – served up by a group who are maybe a more electro-styled combo than their labelmates The Whispers and Lakeside! Collage are even heavier on the basslines and keyboards than on the previous record – really going for that special Cali take on street soul modes that were first bubbling up on the east coast – maybe classing things up a bit, especially with the kind of strengths the Solar/Constellation label brings to the table! Titles include their classic "Romeo Where's Juliet" – plus "Kickin It", "Winners & Losers", "Shine The Light", "In the Mix", and "Here & Now". CD features bonus tracks – "Romeo Where's Juliet (12" radio)", "Romeo Where's Juliet (12" dub)", and "Winners & Losers (single)". CD
(Part of the Solar Records Original Master Collection series!)

Close matches28
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Stanley Cowell & Dave BurrellQuestions/Answers ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $22.99
Amazing duo improvisations from two of the hippest pianists of the early 70s – Stanley Cowell and Dave Burrell, coming together here on a rare Japanese-only album – one that features two long tracks that each take up a side of the disc! The vibe is maybe a bit more avant at times than some of Stanley's work on Strata East, but there's also a great balance between the voices of the two players too – and the sense of spontaneous creation is wonderful throughout, and always balances individual expressions with deeper ideas – ringing out in the loud, lively space of Ino Hall in Tokyo. The record contains two long tracks – "Questions" and "Answers" – both long improvisations by the pair. CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches29
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Eric DolphyBerlin Concerts ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1961. New Copy ... $14.99
Wonderful work by Dolphy – as essential to his catalog as any of his albums on Prestige from the same time! Although Dolphy broke plenty of musical barriers in the studio, to our ears, it was always in a live setting that he sounded best – freely exploring the kind of space his playing opened up, hitting notes that were more soulful and spiritual than many that he ever recorded on his studio sides. This set is a perfect example of that trend – as Dolphy's working here with a strong straight jazz combo, one that includes the great Benny Bailey on trumpet, in a set that features familiar tunes, turned into haunting explorations of Dolphy's new jazz idiom. One of the highlights is an incredible 15 minute version of Randy Weston's "Hi Fly", with Dolphy doing great work on flute – and other tunes include "Hot House", "Geewee", "When Lights Are Low", "I'll Remember April", and "The Meeting". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches30
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Lamont DozierLove & Beauty (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... $13.99
A massive album by Lamont Dozier – probably his best ever! Every cut's a winner, and the LP shines with a sharpness and tightness that's missing from some of Lamont's other LPs from the 70s. The songwriting is impeccable – and as the album progresses, you get that eerie "deja vu" feeling you can have when discovering a landmark work for the first time. There's a hint of funk in the mix, but the strongest point is the production – which bowls over the top with a mix of strings, piano, and Lamont's wonderfully honest vocals. Includes the wonderful soul anthem "Don't Leave Me", which comes up again in a very tight instrumental version – plus the tracks "The Picture Will Never Change", "Why Can't We Be Lovers", and "Slipping Away". Great all the way through, and a stunning bit of seventies soul that will have you returning again and again! CD features a massive 10 bonus tracks too – including "Superwoman", "Lady By Day", "I'm Gonna Hijack Ya", "Don't Leave Me Starvin For Your Love (parts 1 & 2)", "Why Can't We Be Lovers (single)", "Let's Get Together", "I'm So Glad (parts 1 & 2)", and "You Took Me From A World Outside". CD
Also available Love & Beauty (180 gram pressing) ... LP 26.99

Close matches31
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
8th Day8th Day (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $13.99
The first album by 8th Day – a record with a bit of a complicated pedigree, but a massive amount of 70s Detroit soul as well! The set was supposedly compiled to cash in on the group's hit single "She's Not Just Another Woman" – reportedly recorded by 100 Proof Aged In Soul, but issued under the name 8th Day, so that it wouldn't compete with the group's other hits on the charts! But after that cut took off, Holland-Dozier-Holland needed a group to back it up, so they assembled some lesser-known, but strong, Detroit soul talents to record this album. Unlike the group's second album, which is a much funkier affair overall, this one sounds a lot like 100 Proof – with a raspy southern-tinged soul approach, filtered through some tighter, more full-on HDH arrangements that really give the whole thing a great sort of punch! A great album if you dig the Invictus/Hot Wax soul sound – and titles include "I'm Worried", "Enny Meeny Miny Mo", "You've Got To Crawl Before You Walk", "Just As Long", and "She's Not Just Another Woman". Features the bonus tracks "She's Not Just Another Woman (single)", "Eeny Meeny Miny Mo (inst)", "If I Could See The Light In The Window", and "If I Could See The Light In The Window (inst)". CD
Also available
8th Day ... LP 19.99
8th Day (180 gram pressing) ... LP 28.99

Close matches32
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Electro Keyboard OrchestraElectro Keyboard Orchestra ... CD
Columbia/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $22.99
Electric keyboards galore – and a sweet 70s album from Japan! The set features a large group of Japanese keyboard players – all playing Korg synthesizers, in styles that range from laidback and mellow to upbeat and funky! The group's got core backing by a tight rhythm combo – electric guitar, bass, and drums setting up the pace on some of the most driving numbers – but overall, most of the sound is from the electric keys – making for a really groovy little record that's got lots of cool 70s soundtrack touches, and plenty of tracks that sound like they were lifted off of American cop or crime scores of the time! Titles include "The Fire Dance", "Mother Of The Future", "Mayflower", "Ironsides", "Heated Point", "Soaring Seagull", and "The African Dawn". Great break on "The Heated Point" too! CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches33
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Europe Jazz All Stars (Surman/Humair/Mangelsdorff/Louiss/Pedersen)Room 1220 ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $22.99
An overlooked performance by a quintet of avant jazz masters from the European scene at the start of the 70s – one that was recorded and issued only over in Japan, but which bristles with the energy of some of the best French and German avant albums of the time! The tracks are long, and relatively free – and feature this incredible lineup of John Surman on baritone, Albert Mangelsdorff on trombone, Eddie Louiss on piano and organ, Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass, and Daniel Humair on drums – players who come together here with the kind of boundless surprises you'd imagine from their European recordings of the time – save maybe for Pedersen, who is surprisingly at home in this improvised setting! The cover makes the record feel like some lost gem on MPS – and the vibe is very much like the cream of that label's free jazz records of the time – with titles that include "Room 1220", "Triplet Circle", and "My Kind Of Beauty". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches34
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FireFire ... CD
Sunshine Sound/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $22.99
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
(Part of the Miami Sound – Original Soul/Funk/Disco Collection series!)

Close matches35
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Tommy FlanaganEclypso ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $14.99
A sweetly swinging seventies set from pianist Tommy Flanagan – one of those records that's a perfect balance between the bop-inspired dexterity of his work on the keyboard, and that undeniable warmth he always brought to his best recordings! Tommy's got maybe a bit more bite on the keys, especially when moving at a quicker pace – and backing is by George Mraz on bass, whose round tones emphasize the warmer elements, and Elvin Jones on drums – who may well be part of the reason for the bite! The set features a number of bop classic tunes – like "Oleo", "Confirmation", and "Relaxin At Camarillo" – plus the great title cut "Eclypso", and a moody reading of Tom McIntosh's excellent "The Cup Bearers". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches36
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Frank FosterLoud Minority ... CD
Mainstream/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $13.99
One of the most amazing albums ever from Frank Foster – a totally righteous set that's light years ahead of his earlier work with the Basie Band! The format here is right up there with the best on Strata East at the time – a large-group session that's filled with some of the hippest players of the early 70s – all coming together with a joyous, spiritual sense of power! Foster's in the lead on tenor and soprano sax, but other players include Cecil Bridgewater and Hannibal Marvin Peterson on trumpets, Harold Mabern on keyboards, Elvin Jones on drums, Dick Griffin on trombone, Stanley Clarke on bass, Airto on percussion, and even Dee Dee Bridgewater on vocals! Tracks are all quite long and flowing – spiritual expressions of jazz that rival the greatness of anything recorded for Impulse – and titles include "The Loud Minority", "Requiem For Dusty", "JP's Thing", and "EW – Beautiful People". CD
(Part of the Mainstream Records Master Collection!)

Close matches37
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FoxyHot Numbers (with bonus track) ... CD
Dash/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $13.99
Way more than disco, a bit different than funk, and a lot cooler than you might guess from the image on the cover – a stone classic from Miami groovers Foxy, and easily one of their best records ever! The set's nice and tight right from the start – not really disco, but more of a compressed approach to funk, with some surprising Latin touches too – especially in some of the percussion moments that really open up, creating a nice sense of energy to the record! The group have more than enough tightness to cross over to the AOR crowd, but they still keep things sharp on most tracks – and make the album real TK standard from the glory days. Titles include "Devil Boogie", "Hot Number", "Chicapbon Chicapbon", "Headhunter", "Lady", "Give Me That Groove", "Lady Of The Streets", and "Give Me A Break". CD features the bonus track "Call It Love". CD

Close matches38
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FreedomFarther Than Imagination ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $22.99
An amazing, unjustly obscure bit of southern funky soul – played with kind of a club oriented groove, and a strong nod towards middle-period Earth, Wind, & Fire – a far different vibe than a lot of the southern soul on the Malaco label! The band has some nice harmony vocals over a jazzy bass-heavy style – and the record mixes uptempo funky tracks with smoother mellower ones. Includes the dancefloor cuts "Dance Sing Along" and "Get Up And Dance" – plus great mellow numbers like "Summer Memory" and "Wake Up Your Mind". Other titles include "Farther Than Imagination", "Know You Better" and "You've Just Got To Be The One". CD
(Part of the "Malaco – The Truth Of Southern Soul Definitive Collection" series!)

Close matches39
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George FreemanNew Improved Funk ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $16.99
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
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo' Groovy Collection!)

Close matches40
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Ryo FukuiMellow Dream ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $24.99
A well-titled album from Japanese pianist Ryo Fukui – one that's got a warm sense of flow that takes it well past conventional piano trio work! The group here features Fukui on piano, Satoshi Denpo on bass, and Yoshinori Fukui on drums – all working together beautifully as a unit – with a vibe set fire by Ryo's work on the keys, and a sense of imagination that makes even familiar tunes sound completely fresh. The whole thing's in the best Japanese piano tradition of the 70s – that wonderful new territory explored by key pianists like Fukui – with a sound that's open and free, but never avant either. Titles include "Mellow Dream", "Baron Potato Blues", "Horizon", "What's New", and "My Funny Valentine". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches41
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Ryo FukuiScenery (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $22.99
Lyrical magic from pianist Ryo Fukui – a lost gem from the Japanese scene of the 70s, and a beautifully flowing album throughout! Fukui's got a wide-open touch to the piano that we totally love – and is easily one of the best of his contemporaries on the Japanese trio scene of the time – working in the open-ended mode that was allowed by labels in Tokyo during the 70s, a style that was never too far outside, but which really allowed the pianist to soar with a driving, rhythmic intensity. There's a bit of a modal groove to some of the tracks on the album, but more than that, there's just a beautiful sense of freedom – a love of sound and texture that's never reduced to mere experimentation, and which has Ryo taking full command of the keys to soar to the skies on waves of acoustic soul. The group on the set features Yoshinori Fukui on drums and Satoshi Denpo on bass – and tracks include "I Want To Talk About You", "Scenery", "Autumn Leaves", "Early Summer", and "It Could Happen To You" – plus 2 bonus tracks, "Mellow Dream" and "Horizon", both original compositions! CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches42
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General CaineDangerous (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Ultra Vybe/Tabu (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $13.99
General Caine's plenty dangerous here – so much so, they found a way to fuse an electric socket to the midsection of the model on the cover! That joke aside, though, the album's got the same tight approach to funk of the group's previous records – made maybe even tighter here by great production from the team of Leon Chancler and Reggie Andrews – two super-maestros of 80s funk who know how to really bring up the beats and bass from the bottom, but without losing the soul of the songs! Vocals snap along strongly with the electro elements in the rhythms – and a few mellower numbers round things out nicely, and give the album an unexpected sort of depth. Titles include "Upside Down", "Ooh Aah", "The Bus", "Get Closer", "True Love", "Bomb Body", and "By My Side". CD features four bonus tracks – including "Bomb Body (single)", "Ooh Ah (single)", "Ooh Ahh (ext version)", and "Ooh Aah (inst)". CD

Close matches43
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Glass HouseInside The Glass House (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $13.99
A great album by one of lost groups on the Invictus label! Glass House were a stellar male/female vocal group with a good deep soul sound – very much in the spirit of other Invictus albums of the era, with a tremendous feel for down home, gritty soul but executed with the smooth HDH vibe – a really wonderful blend that's slightly different than other Holland-Dozier-Holland productions of the time – making The Glass House a real standout in 70s soul! Ronald Dunbar handled all of the production for Holland-Dozier-Holland, and he also wrote most of the tracks – and titles include "You Ain't Livin' Unless You're Lovin", "Crumbs Off The Table", "Heaven Is There To Guide Us", and "I Surrendered". CD features three bonus tracks too – "Bad Bill Of Goods", "He's In My Life", and "I Can't Be You". CD
Also available Inside The Glass House (180 gram pressing) ... LP 24.99

Close matches44
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Eddie GomezDown Stretch ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $22.99
Bassist Eddie Gomez hardly ever has a down stretch – especially given all the creative combinations he's worked in over the years – and this rare 70s album from Japan is more of a high point than anything "down" at all! The record's a trio date, with killer work on Fender Rhodes and piano from Takehiro Honda – who's easily one of our favorite Japanese pianists of the time, and a musician who really brings a different sort of energy to the record than some of Gomez's other sessions with piano players, especially Bill Evans. Drummer Elliot Zigmund is also nicely creative, too – really working the kit in unusual ways, and often staying back a bit so that Eddie can get some wonderful space in the lead, especially at the start of some of the songs. The whole thing's great – an overlooked moment of genius from Gomez – and titles include "Caprice", "Half Life", "Blues E", "Dream Passage", and "Down Stretch". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches45
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Al GreenTokyo Live ... CD
Cream/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $13.99
A tasty double-live set from Al Green – one that has him working through longer versions of tunes than you'd hear on his studio albums, and really doing great in front of an appreciative Japanese crowd! The overall approach here is a bit more modern than on some of his older Hi albums – as the band uses the extra space to make things a bit more uptempo and really push the groove – but Al's vocals still hold the whole set together nicely, especially on the numbers where he lets loose a bit more. Linda Jones is one of the backup singers on the set – and titles include "Belle", "Let's Get Married", "Love & Happiness", "I Feel Good", "Dream", "God Blessed Our Love", "You Ought To Be With Me", and "Tired Of Being Alone". CD

Close matches46
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Greens IIIRazor ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1984. New Copy ... $9.99
Three gals – all named Greene – coming together in a sweet 80s update of girl group modes! There's a style here that's definitely in the same territory as the Mary Jane Girls – lots of catchy lyrics and sweet bubbling electro rhythms – but the girls also have this really stripped-down style that's very much their own – and which makes the whole album feel like finding a batch of obscure indie soul 45s from the period – filled with tunes that might have made the big time, had they gotten a little more push and polish. Yet it's that lack of polish we like the best about the record, and which sets it apart from the mainstream pack – and titles include "Be Mine", "You Want My Body", "3D", "Falling In Love", and "Burn This Place". CD
(Part of the Malaco Definitive Collection, The Truth Of Southern Soul Series!)

Close matches47
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Sadik HakimLazy Bird ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $22.99
There's nothing lazy about the piano of Sadik Hakim here – as the album's a superb live trio date, issued only in Japan – and a record that stands with the handful of gems Hakim gave us at the time! The trio's got a very particular flavor – in part because the deep tones of Errol Waters on bass provide a nice contrast to the more pointed work of Sadik on the keys – given a gentle swing by the drums of Clifford Barbaro, but in ways that always seem to still have the pianist guiding the proceedings with his boundless sense of imagination! Titles include "Lazy Bird", "Idling", "I'll Remember April", "Yardbird Suite", "49th Street", and "Stella By Starlight". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches48
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Chico HamiltonEl Exigente ... CD
Flying Dutchman/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $13.99
Great work from a fantastic period of drummer Chico Hamilton – a time when he'd moved way past the chamber jazz of his 50s years, and even some of his more freewheeling 60s modes on Impulse Records! Here, Chico seems really obsessed with rhythm – to a level where he's not afraid to complicate things, even in search of a groove – working with odd timings and changes that are still pretty groundbreaking, even all these many years later! As with previous records, Hamilton shows a great ear for picking unusual and inventive players – as the set includes Arnie Lawrence doing some incredible work on electric alto sax, and Bob Mann adding in trippy guitar fills that give the tracks a wild stoner feel. Chico's drums are freer than ever – and the album's a real lost gem in the Flying Dutchman mode – with titles that include "Volvos", "Up Front What Counts", "Swingin On A Sitar", "How 'Bout Bobby", "As I Open My Eyes", and "Gonna Get Some Right Now". CD
(Part of the Flying Dutchman 1000 Master Collection!)
Also available El Exigente ... LP 7.99

Close matches49
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Roland HannaGlove ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $22.99
Exactly the kind of session that lets pianist Roland Hanna shine the most – a trio set recorded in Japan with an open, flowing sort of vibe – one that comes not just from Hanna's impeccable work on the keys, but also from the trio accompaniment by George Mraz on bass and Motohiko Hino on drums! The album's got an incredible amount of warmth, but never in a way that's too easygoing or familiar – as Hanna really opens up the most lyrical side of his spectrum, and is very careful with the personal colors and tones he choses on the keys. The title of the set is Glove, but most of the tracks have "love" in their name – "Lover", "My One & Only Love", "I Love You", "Love Walked In", and "There Is No Greater Love". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches50
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Nobuo Hara with Sharps & FlatsSoul Modern Jazz 3 – Members ... CD
Columbia/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1960. New Copy ... $22.99
Hard driving jazz from the Japanese scene of the 50s! The album's one of the best recorded by Nobu Hara and the legendary Sharpes & Flats group – a really swinging set of big band jazz that drives with the power of some of the 60s recordings by the Clarke-Boland Big Band, and which offers plenty of space for the soloists to swing out during the set with really dynamic energy – especially as the saxes and trumpets break from the group to start their own sort of presence in the music! Unfortunately, all the notes are in Japanese – so we can't tell you the exact lineup or the song titles – but the album's a strong one, and a perfect example of the strength of the Japanese scene in the postwar years! CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches51
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Jon HendricksCloudburst ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1982. New Copy ... $14.99
A mixed bag of tracks from Jon Hendricks – but with some really great moments! The set was recorded in Germany in 1982, and it features Jon running through a variety of styles to please the crowd – some of them blusey, some of them straight readings of older numbers – but on a few of the album's best tracks he really opens up, hitting that uniquely soulful vocal style that's made him a favorite for years with the jazz groove scene. The best tunes include "No More", a vocal remake of Hubert Laws tune, done with a really great hook – and a sublime 8 minute take on Edu Lobo's "Arrasto", swung here with a soaring glowing groove. Other tracks include "Jon's Mumbles", "Watermelon Man", "Gimme That Wine", "Cloudburst", and "It Was A Dream". CD features the bonus track "Reza". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches52
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Johnny Hodges3 Shades Of Blue ... CD
Flying Dutchman/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $13.99
An excellent late Johnny Hodges album that mixes his supreme talents with two of the other big stars of the Flying Dutchman label – Oliver Nelson and Leon Thomas – both of whom contribute wonderfully to the set! Nelson arranged the whole album, and gives it the groovy feel of some of his best orchestrations from the late 60s – nicely swinging throughout, but also awash in sophisticated colors and tones at the bottom! Leon Thomas sings vocals on a few cuts, and although he's a little straighter than on his own recordings, or the records he did with Pharoah Sanders, he still gives the set a hip sound that's a great change from the usual Johnny Hodges record – especially some of his 60s sessions with Wild Bill Davis. Hodges is great throughout, and the best tracks include "Yearning", "Welcome To New York", "Disillusion Blues", and Nelson's great "Black, Brown, & Beautiful" – plus a hip vocal take on "Dukes Place". CD
(Part of the Flying Dutchman 1000 Master Collection!)

Close matches53
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Richard Groove HolmesI'm In The Mood For Love ... CD
Flying Dutchman/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. Used ... $11.99
Quite a different album than you might expect from the title and cover – which seem to imply a set of late nite ballads! Instead, the album's got fuller arrangements and a more upbeat groove – that larger ensemble mode that some organists were using in the mid 70s – as on the later Prestige jazz/funk years, or even some of the work on the Groove Merchant label! Groove Holmes here still gets plenty of space to solo, even though the arrangements feature some additional keyboards from time to time – and Horace Ott handles the backings with a nicely soulful vibe. There's also some vocal chorus presence on the record – handled by The Breathless group, who work in a way that just echoes the instrumentation – and titles include "Morning Children", "I'm In The Mood For Love", "I've Got A Love For You", and "This Is The Me Me" – plus the laidback "Non Kulu Leku", which has a very mellow CTI/Kudu feel. CD
(Includes obi.)

Close matches54
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Richard Groove HolmesNew Groove ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... $13.99
Funky funky Groove Holmes – one of his tightest albums ever! The set's a monumental batch of organ jazz groovers – recorded with some larger backings from Manny Albam, and a super-dope, super-funk sort of 70s feel that's really outta site! The tracks are lean and very rhythmically oriented – all instruments grooving very strictly on the beat, except for Groove's wailing Hammond – which takes off over the top in some fierce musical flights! Bernard Purdie chops up some wicked drums on the set, and titles include "Red Onion", "Meditation", "Good Vibrations", "Chu Chu", and the solid groover "You've Got it Bad". CD

Close matches55
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Takehiro HondaI Love You ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $22.99
Straight trio grooving from Takehiro Honda – but pretty darn great work nonetheless! The album's a nice bridge between the harder, more rhythmic pulse of his early soul jazz sessions, and the later, freer sound of his more lyrical trio sides – and the whole album shows Honda opening up with a new sense of freedom, really taking off on the keys of the piano, while still keeping a nicely understated groove going at the bottom. The rest of the trio includes Yoshio Suzuki on bass and Kan Murakami on drums – and titles include "Sunny", "I Love You", "Autumn Leaves", "Willow Weep For Me", and "Here's That Rainy Day". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches56
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Takehiro HondaJodo – Pure Land ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $24.99
A great trio date that has Takehiro Honda working with Reggie Workman on bass and Motohiko Hino on drums – an extremely great group that really takes off in this setting! The record is one of the freer sides from Honda at the time – done in the more open, lyrical modes that were coming into prominence in Japan at the time – although still with a strong sense of rhythm, as was common in all of his work. One track features Honda on electric piano – but we're actually more partial to the acoustic numbers, as they burst out with a proud, righteous energy that's really great! Titles include "Jodo", "Lazy Dream", "The Way To Brooklyn", and "Second Country". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches57
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Takehiro HondaTakehiro Honda Trio ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $22.99
Some of the earliest work we've ever seen from Japanese keyboard legend Takehiro Honda – a great batch of trio tracks, recorded with an open spirit and freely soaring vibe! Honda's playing acoustic piano throughout – working in a trio with Yoshio Suzuki and Fumio Watanabe – and his style here is often heavier on the left hand than in later work – clearly influenced by American soul jazz players of the 60s, and carried off with the skill to match! There's some great bluesy undercurrents on the best numbers – but still played with some of the greater freedoms of the Japanese trio style – and titles include "Emergency", "CMT & T", "This Guy's In Love With You", and "Hakai To Jojyo". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches58
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Takehiro HondaThis Is Honda ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $22.99
A great early album from Japanese pianist Takehiro Honda – one of the key jazz talents of Japan in the 70s, and a wonderfully lyrical keyboardist with a style that's right up there with the best American players of the 60s. Unlike later albums, which have Honda grooving with a bit more of an electric vibe, this one's a straight acoustic session – with Honda magically soloing out on relaxed versions of standards like "Round Midnight", "When Sunny Gets Blue", "Secret Love", and "Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise". The album's arranged with that wonderful spacey feel you get on some of these classic Japanese trio sets from the 70s – with impeccable sound throughout! CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches59
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Takehiro HondaWhat's Going On ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $24.99
Early soul jazz piano work from Takehiro Honda – recorded in a style that's quite different than most of his later albums! The sound here is full and rich – with Honda's work on the keys augmented by fuller backings arranged by Teddy Adams – all recorded in the US (we think), with a quality that's a fair bit like some of the best soul jazz coming out of LA at the end of the 60s! Honda plays both acoustic and electric piano – and the groove has a hiply vamping style that's always verging on funky, but which is a bit more laidback overall. The record echoes with plenty of the best influences from Les McCann, The Crusaders, Gerald Wilson, and other west coast soul jazz figures – and titles include "Greasy Spoon", "Sham Time", "Ain't Tell You A Good Way But", "Ain't It Funky Now", "What's Going On", and "Check Out Your Mind" CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches60
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Takehiro Honda & Mama TMisty ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $22.99
A rare vocal session from pianist Takehiro Honda – one recorded with Japanese singer Mama T, who sings here in English throughout! Mama's name is one that might make you think she's a blues singer – but her approach is mostly that of a 60s soul jazz vocalist – jazz at the core, but with some more soulful inflections at times, in a way that really takes the tunes and makes them her own! Honda's playing acoustic piano, using lots of bluesy undercurrents – and titles include "Misty", "Bell", "Stormy Monday", "For Once In My Life", and "I Love You More Today Than Yesterday". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches61
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Takehiro Honda with Sadao WatanabeTakehiro Honda Meets Rhythm Section Featuring Sadao Watanabe ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1969. New Copy ... $22.99
A fantastic pairing of two key Japanese talents of the late 60s – pianist Takehiro Honda and reedman Sadao Watanabe – both of whom come together here on a record that's one of their most soulful of the time! Honda's clearly drinking deep from the soul jazz modes of Ramsey Lewis, Les McCann, and Ray Bryant – and really makes the tunes move with a strongly rhythmic vibe on his left hand, which is amplified by the round basslines and tight drums in the combo – working with a well-crafted groove that would be right at home on an American label like Chess or Prestige at the time. Watanabe blows with a very soulful vibe, too – even more than on his own records on Takt – and while he's not on every track, his presence here is really wonderful. Titles include "Quiet Sea", "Stella By Starlight", "Minton Blues", "Hey Jude", and "Ain't Tell You A Good Way But". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

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Honey ConeSweet Replies (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Hot Wax/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $13.99
The second album by Honey Cone – and the one that really broke them out of the box! The record's got a groove that gets going right from the start – a sense of upbeat, soulful energy that really shows why the Honey Cone approach was so different than most of the girl groups who came before them – a groovier, more righteous style that shows that the ladies are very much in charge – and able to send things over the top with their unified energy! Production is great – very rumbling and bold, which further helps the groove – and titles include the huge hit "Want Ads" – a pre-disco cut that pointed the way towards future female soul groups of the mid 70s – plus "Deaf Blind Paralyzed", "Sunday Morning People", "My Mind's On Leaving", "We Belong Together", and "Blessed Be Our Love". CD features two bonus tracks – "Want Ads (unedited version)", and "The Day I Found Myself (single version)". CD

Close matches63
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Bobbi HumphreyCity Beat ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1988. New Copy ... $22.99
An under-discovered batch of jazzy soul from Bobbi Humphrey – an artist we love for her 70s work on Blue Note and Epic, still sounding pretty great here in the late 80s! The overall style of the album's a bit different than Bobbi's 70s work – more in a Patrice Rushen blend of 80s groove R&B styles and jazzy flourishes – and the whole set was done in collaboration with arranger Tommy James, who also plays a lot of keyboards on the set. Bobbi's flute work is as sweet as ever – especially on the mellower, more laidback tracks – and even her occasional vocals still sound pretty nice too! Titles include "Tropical Voyage", "Loop 12", "Come Get To This", "Days Of You & Me", "What The Heart Needs", and "City Beat". CD
(Part of the "Malaco – The Truth Of Southern Soul Definitive Collection" series!)

Close matches64
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Kayo IshuLiving Scat – Neo Standards ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1960s/1970s. New Copy ... $22.99
Breezy and easy vocals from Japan – a collection of recordings made by singer Kayo Ishu from the late 60s and 1970s – not really "scat" in a conventional style, but cool wordless vocals with a sweet jazzy feel! The 19 track set brings together tunes from a variety of different Japanese albums – some of them faceless easy listening sessions – and the tunes feature Kayo singing in a mode that's dreamy, floating, and free – a bit like Barbara Moore's recordings from the time, but somewhat gentler and with a lighter touch! Titles include "Cold Road", "Dedicated To Byrd", "You Belong To Me", "Summer Samba", "Again", "Five Minutes More", "Route 66", "Awakening", "Strangers In The Night", "My Pure Lady", "One Rainy Night In Tokyo", and "Ken & Merry". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches65
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Kayo IshuLiving Scat Elegance ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1969/1971. New Copy ... $22.99
A beautiful little CD – especially if you like dreamy French soundtrack work from the 60s! Kayo Ishu sings a variety of tunes from famous 60s soundtracks, but about a quarter of the set is work by the mighty Francis Lai – done in a moody, mellow style that's right in keeping with his original work – and which features floating wordless vocals on nearly every track! The CD brings together tunes from 2 albums by Kayo – both of them in a similar mode, floating along in soundtracky magicalness! Titles include "13 Jours En France", "Rargo", "Vivre La Nuit", "Twenty Ten", "La Rein De Saba", "Le Passager De Pluie", "The Red Tent", "Du Soleil Plein Les Yeux", "The April Fools", and "La Lecon Particulier". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches66
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Fumio ItabashiImpact ... CD
Paddle Wheel/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1984. New Copy ... $22.99
Pianist Fumio Itabashi's definitely making an impact with this record – pushing his music even farther than before with some inventive, creative arrangements that make strong use of trumpet, trombone, and tenor sax! Itabashi's piano is at the core of the record, but he's moving in ways that are quite different than previous albums – almost avant at points, yet never too far out – just angular and exploratory, in ways that really seem to bring out some bold voicings in the horns! Players are all in Japanese, so we can't tell you their names – and although the cut "Little Mayu" is a bit straight, it's more than made up for by the cuts "Tokyo Blues", "F1", "Last Summer", and "All The Things You Are". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches67
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Fumio ItabashiLife & Live – Watarase ... DVD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 2011. New Copy ... $16.99
A really unusual performance from Japanese pianist Fumio Itabashi – who returns here to Watarase, a site that inspired his most famous album in the 70s! Itabashi plays here outdoors – a really amazing setting for a grand piano – yet his work on the instrument is ever bit as bold and powerful as when it's captured in the closeness of the studio – although maybe taking off with even more inspiration from nature, which is always something that Fumio brings to his unique combination of lyrical lines and magical flow! The performance runs for approximately 63 minutes, and all other notes are in Japanese, or else we'd tell you more. DVD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series! DVD is NTSC – All Region.)

Close matches68
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Fumio ItabashiRed Apple ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1986. New Copy ... $22.99
A nicely biting session from Japanese pianist Fumio Itabashi – a set that rounds out his trio with guest alto sax and guitar on a few of the cuts, which makes for a fuller, more driven sound overall! There's definitely a soulful groove to the set – kind of an 80s soulbop mode overall – and Itabashi's piano is recorded with a bright tone that sets the record apart from American efforts of the time, a slightly different feel than his 70s material at points, although some of the best numbers still have those comping lines we love so much in his music. Titles include "Don't Say Goodbye", "I'm Gone", "Mina", "Alicante", "Red Apple", and "Beatrice". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches69
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Fumio ItabashiRise & Shine – Live At The Aketa's ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $22.99
A soaring live set from Fumio Itabashi – one of our favorite Japanese pianists of the 70s, and a tremendous player with a strong McCoy Tyner-like sound! The session features Fumio stretching out on 3 long tracks in trio mode – only bass and drums to back him up, and plenty of space to take off on long-spiraling lines on the keys! There's a pulsating groove to the first track in the set – the 20 minute long "Jumping Board", which dips, turns, and flies with the right kind of energy you'd expect from the title. That's followed by a mellower reading of "My Funny Valentine" – but one that's still quite long, and really builds nicely through the set. And last up is another Itabashi original – "Rise & Shine" – presented here in the full 17 minute version, which layers sound upon sound as the tune builds on – really cascading beautifully along! CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches70
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Fumio ItabashiWatarase At Watarase ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 2011. New Copy ... $22.99
A really wonderful live set from Japanese piano legend Fumio Itabashi – a player who exploded in the 70s with a style that was free-flowing yet very rhythmic – one of the best illustrations of the new lyrical heights of the Japanese piano scene – still sounding pretty darn wonderful here after the passage of decades! Fumio immediately takes off on the tunes – building up a sound in a mode that's maybe a bit inspired by the directions that McCoy Tyner opened up on the piano, but which also has more soul jazz currents at times too – blended together in this effortless sense of rhythm and melody that make Itabashi's command of the piano completely breathtaking, and very different than just about any other solo artist on the instrument that we can think of. The CD features six long tracks – all with titles in Japanese. CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches71
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Maria Joao & Aki TakaseLooking For Love ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Germany), 1987. New Copy ... $14.99
Maria Joao is one of the most unique vocal talents in jazz – a singer who's partly inspired by the new freedoms of the more experimental female jazz vocalists of the 70s, but one who also draws a lot from the hippest Brazilian singers too! There's an approach here that mixes together Sheila Jordan with Joyce, Nana Caymmi with Karin Krog – but all at a level that also explodes with new imagination too, especially when paired with the very dynamic piano of Aki Takase! The set's got plenty of sharp edges and vocal/piano experiments, but also never fails to find a way to swing – on titles that include "Mae Dou Iho Nao", "My Favorite Things", "Estranha Forma De Vida", "Watashi No Obakasan", "Don't Shout At Me/Amanojaku", and "Confirmation/Donna Lee/Au Privave". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches72
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Bobby JonesHill Country Suite ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... $14.99
Reedman Bobby Jones is a player who hardly ever got to record as a leader – but one who always managed to really move our soul when he did! This album may well be Bobby's masterpiece – a record that features his tenor, plus a bit of clarinet, in an open trio setting with Freddie Waits on drums and George Mraz on bass – both excellent players who help things hit a soulful swing, even when the format is loose – in this beautiful balance of sharp edges and the inherently rhythmic modes of Jones' horn. Tenor dominates, and all tracks are originals – with the long "Hill Country Suite" on side one, plus "Lady Love", "Only Blue", and "Gospel Truth" on side two. CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches73
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Elvin JonesVery RARE ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $22.99
Very rare indeed – and one of the best 70s albums from Elvin Jones – thanks to a tight quartet lineup who follow his every move with tremendous energy! The style's not as all-out bombastic as Jones could sometimes be in these days – and with a group that includes Roland Hanna on piano, Art Pepper on sax, and Richard Davis on bass, Elvin's in company that allows him to be strongly expressive on both sides of the spectrum! Sure, there's a few searching, soaring numbers that show Elvin's Coltrane roots – but there's also some gentler more introspective moments too, ones that provide great space for solos from Hanna and Pepper. Titles include "Witching Hour", "Pitter Pat", "Tin Tin Deo", "Zange", "Sweet Mama", and "Passion Flower". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)
Also available Very RARE ... CD 18.99

Close matches74
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Mitsaki KatayamaFirst Flight ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $22.99
Exactly the kind of record that's got us digging Japanese trio sessions from the 70s so much – a set that's filled with lots of warm, soulful sounds, creatively compelling changes, and fresh rhythms that really keep the tunes interesting! There's a slight undercurrent of funk on most numbers, but never too much – as the set still preserves all the best lyrical lines of pianist Kichiro Sugino, who steps beautifully around the bass of Kishio Kitahara and drums of Mitsaki Katayama – a perfectly-hinged trio who soar plenty on the record – more than enough to earn the "flight" in the title! This one's really a cut above – filled with wonderful energy, and never a dull moment throughout – a real gem that's waiting to be re-discovered by the 21st Century generation. Titles include "Unknown Point", "Arizona High Way", "It's Over", "Louis", and "First Flight". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches75
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Barney KesselBarney Kessel Live At Sometime ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $22.99
A beautiful Japanese-only album from guitarist Barney Kessel – one that captures the giant in a trio setting that's awash in wonderful colors and tones! Kessel's playing live – with Kunimitsu Inaba on bass and Tetsujiroh Obara on drums – and the trio has this very open, gently swinging style that allows for plenty of room for Barney to move up and down the strings of the guitar, casting out chromatic waves with effortless ease – in a way that almost links the vibe of the record to some of the great Italian-only sets he'd done a few years before! Most tunes are familiar, but have a very personal vibe – and titles include "Girl From Ipanema", "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise", "Barniana", and "Stella By Starlight". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches76
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Yasuhiro KounoRoma In The Rain ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1984. New Copy ... $24.99
Pianist Yasuhiro Kouno has a really special guest on this record – vibist Masahiro Kanno, who's presence on the record makes the whole thing ring out with a really fantastic sense of joy and life! The vibes often lead the tunes, ringing out strongly next to the piano – and with a lyrical, soulful vibe that's a lot more like the combination of Jack Wilson and Roy Ayers than some of the sleeper vibes/piano modes inspired by Milt Jackson and John Lewis – a quality that's also echoed by the rhythms of the record, which flow nicely from the bass of Terumichi Yamada and drums of Hironobu Fujisawa. All tracks are original, and filled with beautiful tones – titles that include "For B's Smile", "Waltz For Baby", "Roma In The Rain", and "Dancing Dolls". CD

Close matches77
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Guy Lafitte & Wild Bill DavisLotus Blossom ... CD
Black & Blue/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $16.99
One of the best 80s recordings from French saxophone legend Guy Lafitte – a set that's equally great for the presence of organist Wild Bill Davis – who's also at his best on the album! The tunes have a really timeless quality – lots of long, lean tenor solos from Lafitte – done with that raspy style that made him one of the most soulful players on the French scene in the postwar years – a great balance to the gentler waves of sound that flow effortlessly from Davis' Hammond, with just some light accompaniment on drums from Clyde Lucas. As with a classic Prestige Records session of this nature, most of the tunes are familiar, but handled with a very special, personal vibe – on tracks that include "Lotus Blossom", "Stuffy", "Come Sunday", "A Child Is Born", "Samba De Orfeo", "Nature Boy", and "Colline". CD
(Part of the Black & Blue Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches78
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Denise LaSalleRight Place, Right Time ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1984. New Copy ... $9.99
A really great back to basics set from Denise LaSalle – returning to her deep soul roots after some bigger, clubbier records for major labels! There's a nicely down-home vibe to the record – the start of LaSalle's presence on the bluesier underground of the aging chitlin circuit – but still not as fully bluesy as she's be a few years later. The album draws a bit from Miami soul modes of the previous decade, but also really lets that Malaco approach grow into its own with a strong singer like Denise – finding new confidence as the label was fast becoming one of the last soul labels left in America! Latimore does a great guest appearance on the title cut "Right Place Right Time" – and other tracks include "Bump & Grind", "Good Man Gone Bad", "He's Not Available", "Why Does It Feel So Right", "Love School", and "Your Husband Is Cheating On Us". CD
(Part of the Malaco Definitive Collection, The Truth Of Southern Soul Series!)

Close matches79
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Uli Lenz/Cecil McBee/Joe ChambersLive At Sweet Basil ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1988. New Copy ... $14.99
Pianist Uli Lenz really sparkles here – in the company of the tremendous rhythm duo of Cecil McBee on bass and Joe Chambers on drums! The recording's a live one – as you'll know from the title – and the tracks are long, open, and very fluid – balancing some of the modern elements in Uli's piano with the strong, soulful currents that both the bass and drums bring to the music – modes that are especially strong on the original tunes on the album by Lenz, but which really transform the few familiar numbers too. Chambers is a complete delight – and the album's a great reminder of all the wonderful elements he brought to jazz in his early years – on titles that include "Don't Trust The Mirror", "Midnight Candy", "Five For Bob", "Inner Urge", "Sophisticated Lady", and "Freedom Jazz Dance". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

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

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O'Donel LevyBreeding Of Mind ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $16.99
Wonderfully baroque funk from the great O'Donel Levy! The album's got some very cool arrangements by Manny Albam that mix together strings and funk – in a super-dope way that sounds a lot like the work coming out of Cadet during the late 60s – and the rest of the set features Levy playing with a smaller group, one that includes Chester Thompson on drums and Charles Covington on organ. The approach is great on both types of sets – complicatedly funky, in a way that's held up incredibly well over the years – and which warrants greater discovery of Levy's work from the time. The album's got covers of "We've Only Just Begun", "Let's Stay Together" and "It's Too Late" – plus some groovy originals like "Cherries", "The Chocolate Horse", "Ideal", and "Breeding of Mind". CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo' Groovy Collection!)

Close matches82
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O'Donel LevyDawn Of A New Day ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $16.99
Totally wicked guitar work from the mighty O'Donel Levy – easily one of the hippest talents to ever work for the Groove Merchant label! Levy's got a sound here that's a bit like Wes Montgomery on some of his late 60s sides, but also a fair bit funkier overall – a style that's steeped in soul and schooled on advancements in the 70s generation of funk fusion and blacksploitation soundtracks. Backings are relatively large – arranged by Manny Album, with players who include Charles Covington on organ and electric piano and Cecil Bridgewater on trumpet. Tracks include covers like "I Wanna Be Where You Are", "People Make the World Go Round", and "Maiden Voyage" – plus some nice originals, like "Dawn Of A New Day" and "Baa Waa". CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo' Groovy Collection!)

Close matches83
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O'Donel LevyEverything I Do Gonna Be Funky ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... $16.99
The butt-squeezing cover should be enough to let you know that this is one funky album – but if that doesn't get the message across, the grooves certainly do! O'Donel Levy plays tight and funky guitar, and also sings a bit on the set – working with a tight combo that features Charles Covington on keyboards, and some great electric funk arrangements by Dave Matthews! The album's got a more full-on funk approach than some of Levy's more laidback efforts from the time – and the instrumentation's all very hard-grooving, with lots of sweet electric touches! Tracks include "Living For The City", "Sideshow", "Hey, Love", "Are You Foolin' Me", and "Marbles". CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo' Groovy Collection!)

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

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

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

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

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Norio Maeda & PlayboysEnraku's Playboy Seminar No 12 – The Playboy Manual ... CD
Ultra Vybe/Takt (Japan), 1969. New Copy ... $22.99
The album's got a sexy little cover – but that's no surprise, considering that the record's a late 60s "Playboy Manual" from Japan! The format is quite weird – as each track begins with some Japanese spoken bits from Norio Maeda, possibly on the art of seduction – and things then give way to some very groovy instrumental music, all in a hiply swinging blend of jazz and easy modes! The style's quite like some of Maeda's other work of the time – but even groovier – and the instrumental tunes alone are great – with romping piano, blasting horns, and some very tight, mod rhythms. Includes versions of "Sunny", "Mustang Sally", "More", "The In Crowd", "Yesterday", "Sound Of Silence", and "Girl From Ipanema". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

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Shigeo MaruyamaYoung Father's Song – 20 Musicians For A Singer ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1981. New Copy ... $22.99
A very cool set of vocal jazz from early 80s Japan – done in a mode that borrows heavily from the Mark Murphy sound of the Muse years, and which like that work, effortlessly mixes together straight, soulful, and Brazilian-tinged jazz modes! We'll be honest in saying that we didn't know Shigeo at all before hearing this record – and he's not only a great singer with a hip 70s sort of approach, but also quite a great songwriter as well, responsible for all the best breezy tunes on this set! Backing is live by a small combo that's occasionally augmented by horns – and lyrics are in English, and often augmented by some warmly scatting riffs that are especially great. Titles include "I Sing Samba", "A Young Father's Song/Song For My Two Sons", "Spring Bargain", "Malaika", and "Taro The Cat". CD

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Shigeo MaruyamaYu Yu ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1987. New Copy ... $22.99
A really great jazz singer from Japan – and one who works here in a style that seems to owe very little to anyone else – a mode that pushes the jazz vocal tradition as far forward as some of the hipper European singers of the 70s, even though the approach used here is Shigeo Maruyama's own! A number of the songs are originals, with lyrics in English – but with rhythms and inflections that are quite different than American jazz – and backing is by a small combo, but with lively touches on percussion, flute, and guitar – elements used to shade in all the unusual corners of Shigeo's vocal inflections! Titles include "Rio Samba", "Tackle", "Ya Ya", "Potato Vendor", and a version of "Straight No Chaser". CD
(A)

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George McCraeDiamond Touch ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $22.99
The Diamond Touch here is from Gregg Diamond – who brings a real Bionic Boogie feel to this album for George McCrae – a sound that shifts slightly from the Miami soul approach of earlier records, moving George up to New York for the session, and coming up with a strong disco groove overall! The approach is a bit smoother and more polished than some of McCrae's earlier work, but still manages to keep a similar rhythmic focus – and although George never steps out too strongly on any tracks, the Diamond Touch keeps the overall sound pretty strong throughout. Titles include "Givin Back The Feeling", "Nothing But Love", "Love In Motion", "Loved & Lost", "Dance In A Circle", "Cut The Rug", and "Dancin Through The Storm". CD
(Part of the Miami Sound – Original Soul/Funk/Disco Collection series!)

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

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

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Jimmy McGriffMain Squeeze ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1974. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
One of the grooviest albums ever from Jimmy McGriff – a hard-wailing session that's filled with plenty of cooking lines on the organ, and a few especially funky tracks! The groove here is tight, short, and very sharp – strongly in the mode of other post-Sue sessions by McGriff – like The Worm or other Groove Merchant sides – with a style that's often much more focused than Jimmy's earlier years, and strongly turned towards the rhythms of the tunes! A few numbers are more familiar soul jazz, but these are nicely offset by the harder funk numbers of the record – like the romping, stomping break classic "The Main Squeeze", the totally groovy "The Worm Turns", and the fast-vamping "GMI". The group features Jimmy Ponder on guitar and Connie Lester on alto sax – and other titles include "The Sermon", "Stella By Starlight", and "The Blues Train To Georgia". CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo' Groovy Collection!)
Also available Main Squeeze ... CD 9.99

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

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✨✧ Charles McPhersonCharles McPherson ... CD
Mainstream/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. Used ... $11.99
Charles McPherson in the 70s – really hitting a great groove for the new decade – and finding a way to set himself apart from the style of his earlier work! McPherson first rose as a sharp bopper, with an alto style that was in a Charlie Parker mode – but by the end of the 60s, he'd already started experimenting in a great way with color and tone – including mixing his instrument with guitar or electric elements, which he does beautifully here! The group features Charles Lynch and Gene Bertoncini on electric guitars – the latter of whom has an especially great tone that rings out and seems to wrap up the alto, then set Charles loose to soar on really great solos. Also great is trumpeter Lonnie Hilliard – heard on earlier McPherson albums, but maybe finding his strongest voice here – with this rough edge that makes his solos one of the real highlights of the record. Barry Harris plays piano, and Nico Bunik hits the keys too – and the rest of the group features Ron Carter on bass and Leroy Williams on drums. Titles include a nice slightly funky cover of "What's Going On", the spiritual "Serenity", plus "My Funny Valentine", Bird Feathers", and "Another Kind Of Blues". CD
(Includes obi.)

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Helen MerrillLove In Song ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $22.99
A great little album by Helen Merrill – one of her hippest of the 70s! The icy cool vocalist runs through a moody set of tracks with backing by a Japanese trio that includes Masahiko Sato on keyboards and Motohiko Hino on drums. The whole thing's got a great late-night feel, and the best cuts have a soulful groove that you might not hear on some of Merrill's other records. The highlight of the album is a great version of "Maiden Voyage", and other tracks include "Black Coffee", "Season Of Our Love", "I Remember Clifford", and "Waltz For Debby". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

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

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

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



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