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Close matches: 317
Close matches1
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Nat AdderleyGood Company ... CD
Challenge/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1994. New Copy ... $16.99
The legendary Nat Adderley is definitely in good company here – a group with excellent work on alto from Antonio Hart – a player who comes off in a very different way than the famous alto of Nat's late brother, Cannonball! Antonio seems to open up some nicely dark currents in Adderley's music – underscored by the piano work of Rob Bargard, who can do a great job of shading things in from below – while the whole group moves with great rhythm work from the team of Walter Booker on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums. Tunes include two great Bargard originals – "Rob's New Tune" and "War Zone" – plus versions of "Rwanda", "Sermonette", "Corcovado", and "Unit Seven". CD
(Part of the "Timeless Jazz Syndicate" series!)

Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Shoji AketagawaAt The Babel ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1985. New Copy ... $18.99
Two beautiful long tracks from Japanese pianist Shoji Aketagawa – recording here with just he bass of Hiroshi Yoshino for accompaniment – in a style that mixes some of the deeper tones of Shoji's straighter records with an approach that's maybe looser and more improvised overall! Parts of the album almost feel as if Cecil Taylor were trying to step into Erroll Garner territory – hitting moody ballads, but breaking out with freer moments on the keys – while others are maybe a bit warmer, and have some of that unusual full piano resonance that always makes these Aketa's Disk recordings by Aketagawa sound so different than most other Japanese piano recordings of the period. The set features two long tracks, both nice and open! CD

Close matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Shoji AketagawaFly Me To The Moon ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Mid 70s. New Copy ... $18.99
An indie piano jazz treasure from the Japanese scene of the 70s – originally issued on the Aketa's Disk record, and with a sound that's a bit different than some of the bigger-label piano trio albums of the time! There's a real edge here – a harder sound on Aketagawa's keys than some of his contemporaries, even though things are relatively straight and swinging – as if Shoji knows the farther reaches of the avant spectrum, and manages to fold them into long, open groovers with the help of a trio that features Koichi Yamazaki on bass and Takashi Miyasaka on drums! Shoji also vocalizes a bit behind his piano – not singing, but kind of the energetic sounds that you'd hear from better-known pianists, like Erroll Garner or Keith Jarrett – in a similar tradition of enthusiasm along with their work on the keys. Titles include "Aketa's Blues", "Fly Me To The Moon", "There Is No Greater Love", and "Obachama Ote O Douzo". CD

Close matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Shoji AketagawaSoto Ha Ii Tenki ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $18.99
A rare treasure from the Aketa's Disk label – one of the hipper Japanese jazz imprints of the 70s, and a great showcase here for the mighty piano talents of Shoji Aketagawa! There's something very unusual about the piano that Shoji is playing here – as it's got a tonal quality that almost feels like an old upright, but a wider scope of sound that you'd here from a grand piano – a very resonant vibe that seems to encompass many different strands of jazz at once, both older and modern, with a flair that maybe evokes the similar spirit of Jaki Byard – but which, in Aketagawa's hands, comes across with very personal results. CD

Close matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Shoji AketagawaYamazaki Blues ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $18.99
A slightly different album than usual from pianist Shoji Aketagawa, but one that still follows strongly in the best tradition of his offbeat gems for the Aketa's Disk label! This set has Shoji co-credited on piano and vocals – the latter of which aren't really sung lyrics, but maybe more sub-verbal expressions done alongside his bold work on the piano – almost an expansion of the kind of grunts you'd hear on older recordings by Erroll Garner, but taken into an even more pronounced position – so that they're often strong enough to become part of the melodic makeup of the tune! The group also features bass from Koichi Yamazaki, and drums from Takashi Miyasaka and Kenichi Kameyama – on titles that include "African Dream", "Footprints", "Yamazaki Blues", "Kameyama Blues", and "Dear Old Stockholm". CD

Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Lorez AlexandriaFrom Broadway To Hollywood ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $22.99
An ultra-hip record from Lorez Alexandria – one of her grooviest albums ever, and a set that was only ever issued in Japan! The set features Lorez hitting some of the hippest, most rhythmic modes of her career – working with jazzy backing arranged by Gildo Mahones and Art Hillery, filled with soul and spirit, and really inspiring Lorez to hit those snapping sort of grooves that make her best tracks so great! Titles include her classic take on "Send In The Clowns" – a real jazz dance classic that goes far beyond its roots – plus the titles "Maybe This Time", "Where Is Love", "Change Partners", "One", "Come Sunday", "Bright Lights & You", and "You Leave Me Breathless". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches7
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 matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Benny Aronov with Bob Brookmeyer & Tom HarrellShadow Box (with bonus track) ... CD
Choice/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $13.99
A beautiful pairing of horns – the compressed trombone and trumpet sounds of Bob Brookmeyer and Tom Harrell – coming together here in a record that's one of the real standouts from Brookmeyer's 70s years, and a key demonstration of the young powers that would really make Harrell shine in later decades! The players have a way of blowing that's almost a great 70s update of 50s modern modes – a clear thought to the way they'd work together, but with a more fluid, soulful energy too. Rhythm is just the right kind of easygoing to make the whole thing gel wonderfully – thanks to strong leadership from pianist Benny Aronov – and titles include "Shadow Box", "Marchons", "On A Theme Of Debussy", "Water's Edge", "Upper Manhattan Medical Group", and "Passages". CD features a bonus alternate take of "I Have A Dream". CD

Close matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Donald BaileySo In Love ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $22.99
A fantastic record from jazz harmonica player Donald Bailey – maybe one of the few we've ever seen with his name in the lead, and a set that shows that he can easily rival some of the greats on his instrument at the time! The vibe of the set is a bit like some of the best jazz dates from Toots Thielemans – mellow accompaniment from a Japanese group that features Hideo Ichikawa on piano, Yoshio Ikeda on bass, and Takaki Nishikawa on drums – plus guest tenor from Hideyuki Kikuchi on two tracks! Yet throughout it all, the round, robust sound of Bailey on the harmonica is in the lead – blowing with a strong sense of tone, and an imaginative power that shows how he, like Toots, can really match the energy of a saxophonist in sense of solo and rhythm. Titles include "Half Nelson", "The Lady Is A Tramp", "Invitation", "So In Love", and "Alone Together". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

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

Close matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Beginning Of The EndBeginning Of The End (with bonus track) ... CD
Alston/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $9.99
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
✨✧ Richie BeirachElegy For Bill Evans ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1981. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
Superb work from pianist Richie Beirach – a set that's dedicated to Bill Evans, and which certainly embraces some of the key numbers in his songbook – but which also has that even more spacious sound that Beirach was bringing to his trio dates in the 70s! Richie's sense of timing and tone are fantastic – doing so much with so little, that Evans would have been pleased – although again, Beirach is hardly borrowing straight from Bill's style. Also fantastic is bassist George Mraz, whose way of inflecting notes and measuring color and mood almost rival the role of Eddie Gomez when playing with Evans – all balanced nicely by the work of Al Foster on drums, who's at his most subtle here. Titles include "Blue In Green", "Nardis", "Peace Pipe", "Spring Is Here", "Solar", and "In Your Own Sweet Way". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Jo BissoLove Somebody ... CD
Marlin/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $22.99
Disco grooves, but with a definite difference – given that Jo Bisso had previously worked on the Parisian club scene, and brings a special flourish to this American album from the late 70s! Jo sings lead vocals on the side-long "Love Somebody" – a tune that builds strongly as Bisso gets answered by a trio of lovely ladies who really brighten up the sound – and who then seem to take over even more on the flipside working with singer Claudia Ferrari. This second side is even better than the first – as things get a bit more spare and stripped-down – snaking out on the smooth stepper "Your Love", getting some funky moogy touches on the P&P-like "Let's Keep It Together", and warming up on the mellow disco number "Thank You Baby". Special bonus – CD features a fifth track – not titled or credited at all! CD

Close matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
BlowflyButterfly ... CD
Weird World/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Mid 70s. New Copy ... $11.99
The raunchy one is at it again – serving up funky, filthy, and funny parodies of 70s soul and pop songs with more than enough bad language to make even the most street hip hopper turn red! The band is nice and tight on most of the tracks, grooving hard with a funky wah-wah sound underneath Blow's freaky comedy bits – and providing the funk that really makes the album work, because we'd hate to imagine it without the music! Titles include "Suck Train", "Rap Dirty", "Juice It Up", "Niggaz Ain't Sh*t", "Neither One Of Us", and "Easter Bunny". CD
(Part of the Miami Sound – Original Soul/Funk/Disco Collection series!)

Close matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Hamilton BohannonBrunswick Complete Singles Collection ... CD
Brunswick/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Early 70s. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
Killer cuts from the legendary Hamilton Bohannon – an artist who first broke big on the Brunswick label with a really unique approach to a groove! Bohannon's cuts were always funky, but never straight funk – and instead, he had this minimalist way of layering together elements that was definitely a huge influence on later disco and club – but heard here in a style that's much more raw and down to earth! The package offers up 23 tracks that come from 45s that Bohannon did for the Brunswick label – some of which have different mixes, and all of which are razor-sharp groovers that are sure to please any fan of funk. Titles include "Run It On Down Mr DJ (parts 1 & 2)", "Come Winter", "Happy Feeling", "Gittin Off", "Have A Good Day", "Bohannon's Beat", "East Coast Groove", "The Fat Man", "Red Bone", "Truck Stop", "Stop & Go", "Save Their Souls", and "The Pimp Walk". CD

Close matches17
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Dollar BrandAfrican Sketchbook ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1969. New Copy ... $16.99
Spare, solo, and incredibly haunting work from Dollar Brand – recorded in Germany in 1969, and featuring Brand on both flute and piano, playing a set of 14 original compositions designed to provide small sketches of his African homeland. The mood of the work is less sprightly than some of his compositions for larger groups, and carries with it the tone of exile, an extra layer of sadness that gives a real emotional depth to the music. Titles include "Salaam – Peace – Hamba Khale", "Slave Bell", "The Stride", "Tokai", "The Dream", and "The Aloe & The Wildrose". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

Close matches18
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Dollar Brand/Don Cherry/Carlos WardThird World – Underground ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $22.99
A stunning little session – and every bit as wonderful as you'd expect from a lineup that includes Dollar Brand, Don Cherry, and Carlos Ward! The three players work together here in open, spiritual styles – with really long-flowing lines from Brand on piano, in a more modal style that's different from some of his other records – balanced out with bold trumpet lines from Cherry, and soaring alto sax from Ward – a player who doesn't always get the chance to step out this much! All three players vocalize a bit, but more in some sort of rootsy way that echoes the music – and the album's a really unique outing from all three players – and a set we'd rank with their best from the time. Titles include "Don's Song", "Cherry", "Bra Joe From Kilimanjaro", "Swazi", and "Jabulani Easter Joy". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches19
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 matches20
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
California Three (Dwight Dickerson)Windows ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $22.99
A really great group – one that we've never seen under this name before, but which features familiar names Dwight Dickerson on piano and Donald Bailey on drums, plus bass from Harvey Newmark! The album's got all the lyrical charm and sparkle of Dickerson's best from the time – a really soulful, fluid record that certainly shows the growing changes in west coast modes – maybe hence the group's name – with that subtle spirit that really marked some of Dwight's key contributions during the 70s. Titles include "Windows", "Solar", "Yesterdays", "Body & Soul", "Blue Monk", and "Freedom Jazz Dance". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches21
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Otis ClayTrying To Live My Life Without You ... CD
Hi Records/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $13.99
Quite possibly the most successful record Otis Clay ever cut – and a wonderful little set that recasts his bluesy Chicago vocals with a sweeter Memphis soul approach! Willie Mitchell is very firmly in the house for the record – and the approach he uses here with Otis is similar to that he used with Al Green on his biggest hits – slow-burning, slinkily soulful – in a way that infuses older modes of singing with a new level of sophistication and adult appeal! Backing is by the Memphis Horns – shimmering nicely in a trademark Hi sort of way – and titles include the classic "Trying To Live My Life Without You", plus "I Love You, I Need You", "Holding Onto A Dying Love", "I Die A Little Each Day", and "That's How It Is". CD

Close matches22
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
CollageGet In Touch (with bonus track) ... CD
Solar/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $14.99
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 matches23
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
CollageShine The Light (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Constellation/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1985. New Copy ... $14.99
Fantastic funky soul from the prime years of the jheri curl scene on the west coast – served up by a group who are maybe a more electro-styled combo than their labelmates The Whispers and Lakeside! Collage are even heavier on the basslines and keyboards than on the previous record – really going for that special Cali take on street soul modes that were first bubbling up on the east coast – maybe classing things up a bit, especially with the kind of strengths the Solar/Constellation label brings to the table! Titles include their classic "Romeo Where's Juliet" – plus "Kickin It", "Winners & Losers", "Shine The Light", "In the Mix", and "Here & Now". CD features bonus tracks – "Romeo Where's Juliet (12" radio)", "Romeo Where's Juliet (12" dub)", and "Winners & Losers (single)". CD
(Part of the Solar Records Original Master Collection series!)

Close matches24
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Ted CursonFireball (aka Trio) ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $22.99
A fantastic, freewheeling session from trumpeter Ted Curson – one that we'd rank right up there with his seminal sides for the French Futura label! Like those, this album really features Ted stretching things out – working in very loose trio formation, with just Ray Drummond on bass and Roy Haynes on drums – on these open-ended tunes that still swing with plenty of soul, even without any other instrumentation. Curson's horn is great – blown beautifully, and filled with spirit – and some numbers have him really reaching out with his sound, in ways that may well make the date one of Ted's most adventurous since the 60s! Titles include classic Curson tunes "Quicksand" and "Straight Ice" – plus "Round Midnight", "Snake Johnson", "Pent Up House", and "Wave". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches25
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Buddy Defranco featuring Gordie FlemingWaterbed ... CD
Choice/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $13.99
A really cool 70s album from reedman Buddy DeFranco – and one that resonates strongly with some of his groovy 60s work with Gumina! As with those records, this one features both clarinet and accordion – the former by Buddy, the latter by Gordie Fleming – used here in a match that's surprisingly strong all the way through, with this great blend of sharper tones and warmer colors – augmented by electric bass work from Michel Donato, and work on drums by Peter Magadini! The accordion has all these cool chromatic elements – similar to the way the instrument could be recorded at its best by the MPS label – and titles include "The Dreaded Lergy", "Uncle Horsley Writhes Again", "Waterbed", "Sunnyside Beach", and "Lush Life". CD

Close matches26
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Jack DeJohnetteJackeyboard ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $22.99
Jack DeJohnette is a hell of a drummer, and he's also a hell of a pianist too – a side of Jack's talents that isn't always shown on record, and which has maybe never been as well-recorded as on this fantastic Japanese session from the 70s! DeJohnette has a spiritual, long-building approach to the piano here – almost like Stanley Cowell on Strata East, but with his own flavors too – and the final track of the album features Jack on melodica, an instrument he handles in a different way, but with an equally compelling approach. The trio here features George Ohtsuka on the drum kit and Mitsukaki Furuno on bass – on four long tracks, "McCoy's Tune", "Fun Calypso", "Jack's Blues", and "Minority Blues". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches27
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
8th Day8th Day (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $9.99
The first album by 8th Day – a record with a bit of a complicated pedigree, but a massive amount of 70s Detroit soul as well! The set was supposedly compiled to cash in on the group's hit single "She's Not Just Another Woman" – reportedly recorded by 100 Proof Aged In Soul, but issued under the name 8th Day, so that it wouldn't compete with the group's other hits on the charts! But after that cut took off, Holland-Dozier-Holland needed a group to back it up, so they assembled some lesser-known, but strong, Detroit soul talents to record this album. Unlike the group's second album, which is a much funkier affair overall, this one sounds a lot like 100 Proof – with a raspy southern-tinged soul approach, filtered through some tighter, more full-on HDH arrangements that really give the whole thing a great sort of punch! A great album if you dig the Invictus/Hot Wax soul sound – and titles include "I'm Worried", "Enny Meeny Miny Mo", "You've Got To Crawl Before You Walk", "Just As Long", and "She's Not Just Another Woman". Features the bonus tracks "She's Not Just Another Woman (single)", "Eeny Meeny Miny Mo (inst)", "If I Could See The Light In The Window", and "If I Could See The Light In The Window (inst)". CD
Also available
8th Day ... LP 14.99
8th Day (180 gram pressing) ... LP 16.99

Close matches28
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Electro Keyboard OrchestraElectro Keyboard Orchestra ... CD
Columbia/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $14.99
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 matches29
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Eli's Second ComingEli's Second Coming ... CD
Silver Blue/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $22.99
A great little set of 70s soul – and one of the more obscure groups to ever record for the TK Records family of labels! Not to be confused with the Laura Nyro hit "Eli's Coming", this group's one that's headed up by Philly Soul maestro Bobby Eli – composer of, producer for, and guitarist on countless 70s soul hits! The group's Bobby's own, and has a sound that's very much in keeping with the best Philly disco of the period – with likely suspect players that include Ron Kersey on keyboards, Vince Montana on vibes, and Larry Washington on congas. Most tunes feature a 3-woman vocal chorus singing the lyrics – very much in the classic Philly female disco group mode – and titles include "Heavenly", "Foxfire, "Lickety Split", "Love Chant", "Why Don'cha", "Hop Scotch", and oh, a version of "Eli's Coming"! CD
(Part of the Miami Sound – Original Soul/Funk/Disco Collection series!)

Close matches30
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Booker ErvinLament For Booker Ervin ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1965/1975. New Copy ... $16.99
A compelling split album – both a performance by and a tribute to the legendary tenorist Booker Ervin – issued after his death, but also featuring a rare European performance from the 60s as well! The album features one long track by Booker – "Blues For You" – recorded in 1965 at the Berlin Jazz Festival, with a quartet that includes Kenny Drew on piano, NIels Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass, and Alan Dawson on drums – and the piece spans both sides of the LP, and is much more open-ended than any of Booker's studio recordings from the time – which has him hitting a free intensity of tone that's similar to some of the live sides he clocked with Charles Mingus. The album also features the tune "Lament For Booker", a haunting piano piece played by Horace Parlan, recorded in 1975 – dedicated to Ervin, who's passed at an early age by the time of the recording. CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

Close matches31
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
FantasiaSweet Sweet City Rhythm ... CD
Amazon/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $14.99
A 70s album on Miami's powerhouse TK Records – but a set that's got a real northeast pedigree, given that arrangements were handled by John Davis, and the whole thing was recorded at the New York branch of Sigma Sound! Peggy Santiglia handles the lead vocals, but many of the tracks are long-spun numbers in the best disco-suite mode – almost a record of 12" single cuts, but maybe a bit more concise! Davis is in prime form throughout – with modes that sometimes get a big funky in the best late 70s club tradition – and titles include "Fantasia/Carnival", "Sweet Sweet City Rhythm", "Go On And Dance To The Music", and "Alice Street". CD
(Part of the Miami Sound – Original Soul/Funk/Disco Collection series!)

Close matches32
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Tommy Flanagan/Red Mitchell/Elvin JonesSuper Session ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Germany), 1980. New Copy ... $16.99
A well-titled super session from pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Red Mitchell, and drummer Elvin Jones – and one with a bit more sense of surprise than similar all-star trio outings from the 80s! There's a looseness here that's a good antidote to some of the more tightly-produced Japanese trio sessions – by the Great Jazz Trio, Super Jazz Trio, and other groupings of American players – and Flanagan's touch on the keys is especially nice here, almost a bit more "human" than on other records – with an odd sense of tone and phrasing that keeps our interest throughout. Titles include "Too Late Now", "Minor Perhaps", "Rachel's Rondo", "Things Ain't What They Used To Be", and "Django". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

Close matches33
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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!)
Also available Loud Minority ... CD 8.99

Close matches34
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FoxyHot Numbers (with bonus track) ... CD
Dash/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $9.99
Way more than disco, a bit different than funk, and a lot cooler than you might guess from the image on the cover – a stone classic from Miami groovers Foxy, and easily one of their best records ever! The set's nice and tight right from the start – not really disco, but more of a compressed approach to funk, with some surprising Latin touches too – especially in some of the percussion moments that really open up, creating a nice sense of energy to the record! The group have more than enough tightness to cross over to the AOR crowd, but they still keep things sharp on most tracks – and make the album real TK standard from the glory days. Titles include "Devil Boogie", "Hot Number", "Chicapbon Chicapbon", "Headhunter", "Lady", "Give Me That Groove", "Lady Of The Streets", and "Give Me A Break". CD features the bonus track "Call It Love". CD

Close matches35
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Ryo FukuiMellow Dream ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $18.99
A well-titled album from Japanese pianist Ryo Fukui – one that's got a warm sense of flow that takes it well past conventional piano trio work! The group here features Fukui on piano, Satoshi Denpo on bass, and Yoshinori Fukui on drums – all working together beautifully as a unit – with a vibe set fire by Ryo's work on the keys, and a sense of imagination that makes even familiar tunes sound completely fresh. The whole thing's in the best Japanese piano tradition of the 70s – that wonderful new territory explored by key pianists like Fukui – with a sound that's open and free, but never avant either. Titles include "Mellow Dream", "Baron Potato Blues", "Horizon", "What's New", and "My Funny Valentine". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches36
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Glass HouseInside The Glass House (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $9.99
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

Close matches37
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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 matches38
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Nobuo Hara with Sharps & FlatsSoul Modern Jazz 3 – Members ... CD
Columbia/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1960. New Copy ... $14.99
Hard driving jazz from the Japanese scene of the 50s! The album's one of the best recorded by Nobu Hara and the legendary Sharpes & Flats group – a really swinging set of big band jazz that drives with the power of some of the 60s recordings by the Clarke-Boland Big Band, and which offers plenty of space for the soloists to swing out during the set with really dynamic energy – especially as the saxes and trumpets break from the group to start their own sort of presence in the music! Unfortunately, all the notes are in Japanese – so we can't tell you the exact lineup or the song titles – but the album's a strong one, and a perfect example of the strength of the Japanese scene in the postwar years! CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches39
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Johnny HartmanLive At Sometime ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $22.99
A rare 70s album from the legendary Johnny Hartman – a singer who recorded famously on our shores during the 60s, then had a much more obscure run of records in the following decade! The performance is live, a really intimate set that features Rolland Hanna on piano and George Mraz on bass – both wonderfully sensitive accompanists to the maturing style of Hartman's vocals – maybe even more expressive than on his famous records, but at a level that's more sophisticated too! The tunes are handled with great care, and the lack of any drums really allows a strong focus on Johnny's voice – on titles that include "Summertime", "On A Clear Day", "The Way We Were", "Little Girl Blue", "Sometimes I'm Happy", and "Send In The Clowns". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches40
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Steve HobbsCultural Diversity ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1991. New Copy ... $14.99
Great vibes from Steve Hobbs – a player who doesn't always get as much due as some of his vibraphone contemporaries, but who always does a great job of delivering rock-solid records like this! Hobbs has this upbeat flow in his instrument – a way of never showing off too much, but instead pulsing forward with the rhythms effortlessly – here leaping into the fray with help from Bob Sheppard on tenor and soprano sax, Alan Broadbent on piano, John Patitucci on bass, Joe LaBarbera on drums, and Luis Conte on percussion – on a set in which some of the best tunes are the originals by Steve. Titles include "Jane", "The DA", "On The Run", "Missing Carolina", "Bernie's Tune", and "Astrud". CD
(Part of the "Timeless Jazz Syndicate" series!)

Close matches41
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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 matches42
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Honey ConeSoulful Tapestry (with bonus track) ... CD
Hot Wax/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $13.99
Definitely a soulful tapestry here – as the trio of Edna Wright, Shellie Clark, and Carolyn Willis are at the height of their 70s powers – soaring forth in a massive trio mode, and one that really rewrites the sound of girl group soul for the 70s! There's a bouncy, upbeat groove to the record – kind of a pre-disco approach, but one that's still strongly rooted in the best Detroit soul mode of the Holland-Dozier-Holland team too – balanced with just the right sort of force that makes the trio sound great, and all without any of the cliches that this sort of group might hit a few years later! Titles include the Honey Cone classics "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show (parts 1 & 2)" and "Want Ads", plus the tracks "VIP", "The Day I Found Myself", "Stick Up", "Don't Count Your Chickens", "All the Kings Horses", and "How Does It Feel". CD features the bonus track "We Belong Together (single version)". CD

Close matches43
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Bobbi HumphreyCity Beat ... CD
Malaco/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1988. New Copy ... $14.99
An under-discovered batch of jazzy soul from Bobbi Humphrey – an artist we love for her 70s work on Blue Note and Epic, still sounding pretty great here in the late 80s! The overall style of the album's a bit different than Bobbi's 70s work – more in a Patrice Rushen blend of 80s groove R&B styles and jazzy flourishes – and the whole set was done in collaboration with arranger Tommy James, who also plays a lot of keyboards on the set. Bobbi's flute work is as sweet as ever – especially on the mellower, more laidback tracks – and even her occasional vocals still sound pretty nice too! Titles include "Tropical Voyage", "Loop 12", "Come Get To This", "Days Of You & Me", "What The Heart Needs", and "City Beat". CD
(Part of the "Malaco – The Truth Of Southern Soul Definitive Collection" series!)

Close matches44
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Kayo IshuLiving Scat – Neo Standards ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1960s/1970s. New Copy ... $13.99
Breezy and easy vocals from Japan – a collection of recordings made by singer Kayo Ishu from the late 60s and 1970s – not really "scat" in a conventional style, but cool wordless vocals with a sweet jazzy feel! The 19 track set brings together tunes from a variety of different Japanese albums – some of them faceless easy listening sessions – and the tunes feature Kayo singing in a mode that's dreamy, floating, and free – a bit like Barbara Moore's recordings from the time, but somewhat gentler and with a lighter touch! Titles include "Cold Road", "Dedicated To Byrd", "You Belong To Me", "Summer Samba", "Again", "Five Minutes More", "Route 66", "Awakening", "Strangers In The Night", "My Pure Lady", "One Rainy Night In Tokyo", and "Ken & Merry". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

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

Close matches46
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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 matches47
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Fumio ItabashiLife & Live – Watarase ... DVD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 2011. New Copy ... $4.99
A really unusual performance from Japanese pianist Fumio Itabashi – who returns here to Watarase, a site that inspired his most famous album in the 70s! Itabashi plays here outdoors – a really amazing setting for a grand piano – yet his work on the instrument is ever bit as bold and powerful as when it's captured in the closeness of the studio – although maybe taking off with even more inspiration from nature, which is always something that Fumio brings to his unique combination of lyrical lines and magical flow! The performance runs for approximately 63 minutes, and all other notes are in Japanese, or else we'd tell you more. DVD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series! DVD is NTSC – All Region.)

Close matches48
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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 matches49
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Regina JamesDancin' In The Flames Of Love ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $22.99
A really unusual album from the TK Records Miami Soul empire – a set that feels like that label's attempt to go head to head with the sound of Sylvia Robinson! Like Sylvia, Regina James is a singer with a very sexy approach to 70s soul – not afraid to let her desire ooze out into the grooves, which are a really well-crafted batch of Miami rhythms handled by Clarence Reid – who also produced and wrote most of the songs in the set. And also like Sylvia, Regina may not be the best soul singer in the world, but she more than makes up for that with her personality – which comes through loud and clear in the album's very unique "Kitty Kat Pussy Cat Medley" – and on other tunes that include "Alfie", "Tribute To Music", "Primitive", and "Dancin In The Flames Of Love". CD

Close matches50
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Maria Joao & Aki TakaseAlice ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Germany), 1990. New Copy ... $16.99
The voice of Maria Joao is one of the most unique of her generation – partly trained in the fluid styles of Brazilian jazz singers of the 70s, but also open to some of the more creative expressions of the European scene too – a balance that's executed here perfectly in the company of pianist Aki Takase! The album's actually a trio date – with bassist Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen in the lineup – and that instrument provides a great bridge between the other two freely flowing elements – sometimes with Maria in the lead, sometimes Aki – all on the sorts of material that makes some of Joao's best recordings (of which this is one) such real standouts. Titles include "Yoridori Midori", "Mae Dou Iho Nao", "Dr Beat", "Presto VH", and "Old Folks". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

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

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Lamont JohnsonMusic Of The Sun (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Tabu/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $13.99
A soaring solo moment for Lamont Johnson – the bassist whose work was a big part of the Brainstorm ensemble at their start – and who really makes some great magic here on his own! It's clear from the set that Johnson was one of the more spiritual members of Brainstorm – as the approach here, while still heavy on funk and soul, also has some deeper touches too – core ideas from Johnson that are expanded strongly by arranger Jerry Peters, whose direction of the project stands as one of his best studio moments of the time! The team of Peters and Johnson really come up with a set that pushes past the usual grooves of the time – with some elements that recall the jazzier spiritual elements from folks like Eddie Russ or Lonnie Liston Smith, mixed with more of the focus on the groove that Johnson's bass brought to Brainstorm. There's lots of great guests on the record, too – including Norma Jean Bell on saxes, Renae Williams on vocals, Ronnie Foster on keyboards, Lee Ritenour on guitar, and Randall Jacobs on the mighty cool Roland Space Echoplex guitar. Titles include "Sister Fine", "Hey Girl", "Music Of The Sun", "This Must Be Heaven", and "Yours Truly Discreetly". CD features bonus tracks that include "Sister Fine (12" mix)", "Rhunba", "Masta Luva", and "Hey Girl (7" edit)". CD

Close matches53
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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!)

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Elvin JonesLive At The Village Vanguard ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1968. New Copy ... $16.99
Prime post-Coltrane material from Elvin Jones – featuring his "power trio" style of operation, with one great sax player out front, and Jones kicking it in the back with the bass player! In this case, the sax player is George Coleman – who's really finding a voice of his own in these late 60s years, and really makes the most of the extended space of the album to stretch out, soar, and show off his ever-growing talent for a powerful solo! Wilbur Little is on bass, playing nice round warm notes to offset Jones' edgey playing – and the group's joined by trumpeter Hannibal Marvin Peterson on one track – who brings in a soulful edge that's mighty nice. All tracks are nice and long – and titles include "Laura", "Mister Jones", and "By George". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)
Also available Live At The Village Vanguard ... LP 19.99

Close matches55
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✨✧ So KaburagiHangyaku No Tabi/Korosu Made Oe Shinjuku 25 ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1969/1976/1978. Used ... Just Sold Out!
Incredible Japanese soundtrack recordings – music that's as dramatic as you might expect from the image on the cover! Most of these tunes have a cool jazzy feel at the core – but one that's also inflected by some of the mod elements that you might find in a hip late 60s Italian soundtrack – some romping drums, electric harpsichord, and snakey woodwind parts – all of which change things up nicely, and provide a really groovy feel overall! As with other reissues in this series, the notes and titles are all in Japanese, so we can't tell you that much about the details – but as the set moves on, some of the later 70s tracks have a bit more moog and keyboards in the mix, which makes for an even cooler sound. Really tremendous work all the way through – haunting, enigmatic, and music we'd stand right next to our favorite Italian or French soundtrack work of the same generation! CD
(Out of print, includes obi.)

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Fumio KarashimaHot Islands (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
King/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. Used ... Just Sold Out!
A more electric album than usual from pianist Fumio Karashima – but in a great way too! The album has Karashima playing Fender Rhodes, mini-moog, and other keys – in addition to his usual acoustic piano – in a driving quartet lineup with bass from Miroslav Vitous and saxes from Mabumi Yamaguchi! The sound is different than Karashima's acoustic work – a bit bolder and sometimes more spacey – but the record still strongly displays his warmth and imagination, especially on original compositions – and although in a common fusion mode of the time, there's a sense of subtlety here that we can really appreciate. A few tracks get a bit funky at the bottom, and titles include "Breeze", "American Tango", "By Road", "Hot Islands", "Chardin Square", and "Merry Go Round". CD
(Includes obi!)

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Kat ManduKat Mandu ... CD
Marlin/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $22.99
Maybe one of the greatest albums to come from the Montreal club scene of the late 70s – a set that revels in the no-holds-barred approach that usually had Canadian disco records stretching out with really long tracks, and plenty of great instrumentation in the mix! This set's a monster of live percussion and electric elements – fast-snapping drums, congas, and bongos – mixed with great keyboards, riffing guitar, and some nice moogy moments too – all with just a touch of vocals from time to time, but mostly a very key focus on the instrumental interplay! Titles include the seminal "The Break", "Djaga Boogie Woogie", "Don't Stop Keep On", "There's Only Been A Few", and "Mi Corazon". CD

Close matches58
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Iinkai Seikatsu KoujouLive In Masuda ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $24.99
Three long tracks from a great Japanese group – one who recorded famously with William Parker a few years before, but who maybe sound even more amazing here on their own – in a live session that's filled with free-flowing spiritual energy! The lineup features Koichi Matsukaze on alto – a player who can blow both straight and free – alongside Shoji Aketagawa on piano, Koichi Yamazaki on bass, and Takashi Miyasaka on drums. The set begins with a long-spun take on "Impressions" that's really wonderful, then slides into a very avant take on "I Love You", before hitting a nice mix of edgey, soulful modes on "Imba". CD

Close matches59
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Yasuhiro KounoPeace ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $23.99
An early 80s piano trio classic from Japan – one that features a group led by keyboardist Yasuhiro Kohno, and which also features a "plus one" vocalist on the final track! The style here is very much in the best Japanese mode of the 70s and early 80s – free-flowing lines on the keys that really take off with a great sense of freedom, yet never go outside, nor get too modern in their conception. There's a strong influence here from McCoy Tyner on most numbers – hinted at strongly by Kohno's original composition "Like McCoy" – which sits nicely alongside other originals "JC Blues", "Dancing Dolls", "Good Friday Blues", and "Fuji". Mami Mishina joins in on vocals for a version of Horace Silver's "Peace". CD

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

Close matches61
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Irene KralWhere Is Love? ... CD
Choice/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $13.99
Mid 70s magic from vocalist Irene Kral – one of a handful of albums that really had Kral setting herself apart from most other jazz vocal contemporaries! The approach here is very simple – just Irene's voice and piano backing from Alan Broadbent – but a hell of a lot goes on in the spare space, thanks to subtly expressive vocals from Kral – never too overdone, yet filled with a mature sophistication that's wonderful – almost conversational at points, yet always with a soft swing that reminds us that she's a jazz singer at heart. Titles include "Love Came On Stealthy Fingers", "I Like You You're Nice", "When I Look In Your Eyes", "A Time For Love/Small World", "Never Let Me Go", "Lucky To Be Me/Some Other Time", "Don't Look Back", and "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most". CD
Also available Where Is Love? ... LP 4.99

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Eloise LawsAin't It Good Feeling Good (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $13.99
A classic deep soul set from Eloise Laws – an early album recorded for Invictus Records, and done with stellar production from Brian Holland! The title cut's a monster, one of the best tracks on the label from the 70s – with some wonderfully spacey keyboards, funky drums and bass grooving! But there's loads of other strong cuts too – all with that great Invictus blend of masterfully produced, tight dancefloor soul – yet also served up with more than enough grit in the grooves to make the album a great one for funk fans too! Tracks include "Ain't It Good Feeling Good", "Where Did We Go Wrong", "I Believe In You Baby", "Love Goes Deeper Than That", "Put A Little Love Into It", "Camouflage", and "Make It Last Forever". CD features lots of bonus tracks – including "Love Factory", "You Made Me An Offer I Can't Refuse", "Tighten Him Up", "Touch Me", "Stay With Me", "Love Goes Deeper Than That (12" version)", and "Put A Little Love Into It (12" version)". CD
Also available Ain't It Good Feeling Good (180 gram pressing) ... LP 26.99

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David LiebmanSolo – Memories Dreams & Reflections ... CD
PM/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1981. New Copy ... $9.99
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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Abbey LincolnAbbey Sings Billie – Live At The UJC Vol 2 ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1987. New Copy ... $16.99
Abbey Lincoln takes on the legacy of Billie Holiday – in a strong live set recorded with a small group at the end of the 80s! The setting's a bit more relaxed here than on some of Abbey's other albums of the period – a bit looser and sometimes more languid, but only in the best sort of ways to get at the moodiness of Billie Holiday's approach to the tunes. A few numbers seem to bristle with a bit more of that Abbey Lincoln sense of pride – that righteous legacy that runs straight from Billie's classic "Strange Fruit" – but overall, the spirit of Holiday's more traditional approach definitely guides the performance. The group's a quartet – with Harold Vick on tenor – and titles on this second volume include "For All We Know", "No More", "Gimme A Pigfoot", "God Bless The Child", "For Heaven's Sake", and "Don't Explain". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

Close matches65
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Little BeaverJoey ... CD
Cat/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $13.99
An excellent early album from the amazing Little Beaver – a set that's also probably one of his best ever – served up with some extra-dope guitar, and nice deep Miami soul production by Steve Alaimo! Beaver handled all the arrangements – which means that there's plenty of room for his great guitar to come to the forefront – and this album also features some of his great vocal work, set in a style that's a lot rawer than later releases – rooted a bit more in deep soul and blues, which fits nicely with the guitar. Titles include the single "Joey", plus the long "Katie Pearl", and a nice cover of "Two Steps from the Blues", which features his funky soul guitar on a nice solo – plus the tracks "What The Blues Is", "That's How It Is", "I'm Losin the Feelin", and "Give A Helping Hand". CD

Close matches66
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Norio Maeda & PlayboysEnraku's Playboy Seminar No 12 – The Playboy Manual ... CD
Ultra Vybe/Takt (Japan), 1969. New Copy ... $13.99
The album's got a sexy little cover – but that's no surprise, considering that the record's a late 60s "Playboy Manual" from Japan! The format is quite weird – as each track begins with some Japanese spoken bits from Norio Maeda, possibly on the art of seduction – and things then give way to some very groovy instrumental music, all in a hiply swinging blend of jazz and easy modes! The style's quite like some of Maeda's other work of the time – but even groovier – and the instrumental tunes alone are great – with romping piano, blasting horns, and some very tight, mod rhythms. Includes versions of "Sunny", "Mustang Sally", "More", "The In Crowd", "Yesterday", "Sound Of Silence", and "Girl From Ipanema". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches67
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Albert Mangelsdorff & Lee KonitzArt Of The Duo ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $16.99
A fantastic showcase for these two modern jazz giants – sublime trombone sounds from Albert Mangelsdorff, perfectly paired with the alto sax of Lee Konitz – all at a level that makes the album one of the best from both players at the time! The session was actually a late MPS effort, but issued on Enja – and it vaguely recalls some of the Mangelsdorff MPS duos from a decade before – but maybe more rhythmic and swinging overall – never totally free jazz, and clearly improvised – but with an inherent rhythmic core that's also very much appreciated, especially as both players throw out some very creative sounds. Titles include "Hot Hut", "Inclination", "A Minor Blues In F", "En Passant", "Bloas", and "Matti's Matter". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

Close matches68
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Charlie MarianoAmerican In Italy ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1996. New Copy ... $16.99
Warm and mellow later work from Charlie Mariano – the better side of his time in Europe, as the later years saw Charlie relaxing a bit, and going for a sound that was more traditional than his fusion of the 70s – yet still informed by some of the freedoms learned in his years away from the US. The group working with Mariano is a trio – with Andrea Pozza on piano, Ares Tavolazzi on bass, and Fabio Grandi on drums – and the tunes a mixture of Italian-themed numbers and works from Italian soundtracks, with titles that include "Il Ferroviere", "Gelsomina", "La Ragazza Di Bubue", "Sinfonia No 5", "Sinno Me Moro", and "More". CD
(Part of the "Timeless Jazz Syndicate" series!)

Close matches69
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Shigeo MaruyamaYu Yu ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1987. New Copy ... $13.99
A really great jazz singer from Japan – and one who works here in a style that seems to owe very little to anyone else – a mode that pushes the jazz vocal tradition as far forward as some of the hipper European singers of the 70s, even though the approach used here is Shigeo Maruyama's own! A number of the songs are originals, with lyrics in English – but with rhythms and inflections that are quite different than American jazz – and backing is by a small combo, but with lively touches on percussion, flute, and guitar – elements used to shade in all the unusual corners of Shigeo's vocal inflections! Titles include "Rio Samba", "Tackle", "Ya Ya", "Potato Vendor", and a version of "Straight No Chaser". CD

Close matches70
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George McCraeDiamond Touch ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $14.99
The Diamond Touch here is from Gregg Diamond – who brings a real Bionic Boogie feel to this album for George McCrae – a sound that shifts slightly from the Miami soul approach of earlier records, moving George up to New York for the session, and coming up with a strong disco groove overall! The approach is a bit smoother and more polished than some of McCrae's earlier work, but still manages to keep a similar rhythmic focus – and although George never steps out too strongly on any tracks, the Diamond Touch keeps the overall sound pretty strong throughout. Titles include "Givin Back The Feeling", "Nothing But Love", "Love In Motion", "Loved & Lost", "Dance In A Circle", "Cut The Rug", and "Dancin Through The Storm". CD
(Part of the Miami Sound – Original Soul/Funk/Disco Collection series!)

Close matches71
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Helen MerrillChasin The Bird ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $13.99
A nice late 70s set from Helen Merrill, with wonderfully spare accompaniment that really puts her vocals center stage – almost a return to the best mode of the landmark 50s recordings that first got her noticed! The group features some standout work from jazz musicians who include Dick Katz on piano, Joe Puma on guitar, and Pepper Adams on baritone sax – and Helen's still sounding great at this later point in her career, with her relaxed, coolly delivered vocals floating nicely above the group's crisp backing. Titles include "It Ain't Necessarily So", "Embraceable You", "I Can't Be Bothered Now", 'Summertime", "I Got Rhythm", "I Loves You Porgy", "My One And Only", and "Someone To Watch Over Me". CD

Close matches72
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Helen Merrill & John LewisDjango ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $13.99
A wonderfully moody album from singer Helen Merrill – recorded with backing by pianist John Lewis, in an overall feel that's got some of the styles that Lewis forged with the Modern Jazz Quartet! The tunes are familiar ones, mostly, but arranged in a style that's got wonderfully sad and somber touches – really bringing out the best of the dark qualities in Merrill's vocals. Backing is by a quartet with Lewis, Richard Davis, Hubert Laws, and Connie Kay – and titles include "Close Your Eyes", "I Didn't Know What Time It Was", "The Singer", "Yesterdays", "How Long Has This Been Going On", "Mad About The Boy", and "Django". CD

Close matches73
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Blue MitchellGraffiti Blues ... CD
Mainstream/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. Used ... $11.99
One of Blue Mitchell's hippest funky sets of the 70s – an unusual little record that mixes a bit of funky harmonica with his own soulful trumpet! The approach definitely echoes a bit of the "blues" in the title – but the groove is much more straightforward and funky – that hard-edged approach that shows up on the best electric Mainstream sessions of the time, with a bad-stepping bottom that moves along nicely throughout! Harmonica's handled by Don Bailey, and other players include Joe Sample on keyboards, Herman Riley on tenor, Freddie Robinson on guitar, and Ray Pounds on drums. Cuts are all nice and long, quite open overall, and almost more relaxed than some of Blue's other Mainstream sessions – and titles include "Graffiti Blues", "Yeah Ya Right", "Express", "Asso Kam", and "Dorado". CD
(2017 pressing, includes obi.)

Close matches74
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Alexander O'NealAll Mixed Up (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Tabu/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1989. New Copy ... $9.99
A sweet set of remix tracks from Alexander O'Neal – and a package that takes the already-great soul vibe of his Hearsay album, and helps give it some deep new energy for the dancefloor! The album's different than the US version of All Mixed Up – with a different cover, title, and track list – and an overall approach that may well even be tighter than the domestic release, in that key way that the Brits had of putting just the right moves on a remix at the end of the 80s! Titles include "Fake 88 (house mix)", "What Can I Say To Make You Love Me (hateful club mix)", "Never Knew Love Like This (ext version)", "Criticize (Ben Liebrand rmx)", "The Lovers (ext mix)", "Criticize (rmx)", "What Can I Say To Make You Love Me (Ben Liebrand rmx)", and "Fake (ext rmx)". CD features 4 bonus tracks that includes "You Were Meant To Be My Lady (88 Keith Cohen ext rmx)", "Innocent (88 Keith Cohen house mix)", "Fake (hop mix)", and "Hearsay 89 (dub mix)". CD

Close matches75
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Alexander O'NealAll True Man (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Tabu/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1991. New Copy ... $9.99
A classic set from all-true Alexander O'Neal – and maybe one of his last great records for the Tabu label! The set's got a nice balance of groovers and mellower moments – really showing the growing diversity of O'Neal as an artist, as he tries to move away from some of his bigger ballads. The rhythms are often handled by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis – who themselves are going for a leaner style than in the 80s, yet still have that undeniable funky punch in the mix! At tines, Alexander's not leading the songs so much as stepping into the grooves – but at other times, he comes as the strong singer that first emerged in the mid 80s. Titles include "What Is This Thing Called Love", "The Yoke", "Time Is Running Out", "All True Man", "Midnight Run", "Used", "Shame On Me", and "The Morning After". Bonus tracks include "All True Man (classic club mix)" and "Sentimental (edit)". CD

Close matches76
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✨✧ Anita O'DayAnita O'Day 1975 – Gone With The Wind ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
An overlooked treasure from Anita O'Day – easily one of her best records of the 70s, and a record that seems to bring together both of the best aspects of her sound! At one level, there's a tightly swinging groove to the set – that great small combo jazz approach that seemed to work best for Anita back in the 50s – but at another level, there's also that more mature, slightly world-weary quality that really helped deepen her sound in later years – giving O'Day's vocals a fleshed-out feeling that she never would have hit back in the day! There's a richness to the record right from the start – and titles include "Opus One", "Gone With The Wind", "It Had To Be You", "When Sunny Gets Blue", "Exactly Like You", and "A Song For You". CD

Close matches77
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Anita O'DayLive At Mingos ... CD
Emily/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $13.99
This is the sort of work we love the most from Anita O'Day – not her big band years, or her tight 50s albums on Verve – but instead the intimate small club recordings that dominated her later career, which showcase a singer with more craft, more maturity than ever before! Anita had some fiercely dedicated fans during this time – and hearing the record, it's easy to tell why – because although subtle, she works this fantastic magic with familiar songs – often set to spare, unassuming backings, but in a way that opens the door for all sorts of beautiful inflections and expressions throughout. Titles include "The Very Thought Of You", "I Didn't Know What Time It Was", "Anita's Blues 76", "I Hear Music", "I Could Write A Book", and "The Way You Look Tonight". CD
Also available Live At Mingos ... LP 16.99

Close matches78
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Anita O'DayMisty – Anita O' Day With Don Abney (plus Angel Eyes) ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Late 70s/Early 80s. New Copy ... $13.99
Great later work from Anita O'Day – a set that really focuses in on the mature style of vocals she hit during the 70s – a mode that's quite different from some of the sometimes too-bright styles of her early years, and really lets her find some new feeling in her music! The first half of the set here features Anita in a live trio, with Don Abney on piano – working with just a bit of bass for backup, in a relatively spare setting that really puts the vocals center stage – never too fast or too swinging, which O'Day could sometimes do back in the 50s – and always taking the tunes at just the right pace to make them personally emotive. The second half of the set just features piano from Abney – and the CD seems to feature both the Misty and Angel Eyes albums together. Titles include "When Sunny Gets Blue", "Angel Eyes", "Am I Blue", "Afternoon In Paris", "Bluesette", "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To", and "Black Coffee". CD

Close matches79
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✨✧ Anita O'DayMy Ship ... CD
Emily/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
Great small combo work from Anita O'Day – done at a time when the singer had maybe faded from the American limelight a bit, but continued to do some really exceptional work for a variety of smaller labels! In fact, we might even say that Anita during this stretch was even hipper than before – as even on some of her classic 50s albums, she maybe still had a bit of the hoke from the big band years – whereas the O'Day on this album is older, mature, and really wonderfully suited to bring the most out of the tunes – all familiar, but handled with spare backings that really let the lady remind us why jazz vocals, when done right, are such a wonderful art! Titles include "After You've Gone", "The Man I Love", "Penthouse Serenade", "My Ship", and "Mean To Me". CD

Close matches80
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Hiroshi OkazakiLiving Jazz – Neo Standards ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $22.99
A sweet Japanese take on American easy grooves – an album originally issued in 1971 under the title Easy Listening Special, and featuring the vocals of Hiroshi Okazaki! Hiroshi sings in English, with a warm, mellow, and round sort of tone – not exactly soulful, but cool and almost breezy – perfect for the album's light instrumentation and catchy bossa-styled rhythms. There's some great piano on the set – tinkling away over slightly funky bass and drum bits – almost in the mode of some of the sweeter work by the Young-Holt combo – with the addition of vocals, of course! Titles include "Spinning Wheel", "Girl Talk", "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head", "Here There & Everywhere", "Maybe September", and "Didn't We". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches81
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Hiroshi OkazakiLiving Voices – Neo Standards ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $13.99
A great lost slice of easy from Japan – sweet vocal tracks that are sort of a groovy take on the Hawaiian sound of the 60s! The tracks include a lot of Hawaiian standards, sung by the Living Voices in a mode that's occasionally gentle and dreamy, but which at other times has a surprising groove underneath – not the sleepy Hawaiian music records you'd know from the American scene of the 50s and 60s, but a groovier style that shows the way that the Japanese market continued to explore the genre,a nd really make something different! The set brings together titles from 1970 and 1974 albums, and titles include "Beyond The Reef", "To You Sweetheart Aloha", "Mapuana", "Blue Hawaii", "Lovely Hula Hands", and "Around The World". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches82
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Marialy PachecoDestinos ... CD
Timeless/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 2008. New Copy ... $16.99
A really rhythmic set from pianist Marialy Pacheco – a player who has this great way of leaping across the keys, grabbing up clusters of notes, and throwing them out in strong synchronization with the work of bassist David Jehn and drummer Eddie Fillip! We really don't know much about Pacheco, but this album's a great little calling card – filled with tunes that should have us looking out for more of her work in the future – on titles that include "Guajira Para Tulio", "Espiritus De Mi Tierra", "My Blue", "Destinos", and "His/Her Future Lullaby". CD
(Part of the "Timeless Jazz Syndicate" series!)

Close matches83
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Junior ParkerLove Ain't Nothin' But A Business Goin' On (aka Outside Man) ... CD
Groove Merchant/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... $16.99
One of the funkiest albums ever from Junior Parker – a great little set that shows he had a lot more to offer than just the average bluesman! The album's got a nice little soul sound in the backings – tight rhythms from Horace Ott, who nicely avoids a lot of the cliches that the blues business was hitting at the time – in order to keep Junior in hip territory that's filled with breaking drums and heavy basslines! There's a few key crossover tracks here, plus some surprisingly sweeter numbers – and the album's a gem through and through – well-appreciated by new generations over the years, thanks to its diversity of tracks! Titles include a great break version of "Taxman" – plus two more Beatles numbers, "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "Lady Madonna" – and the tracks "Outside Man", "Darling Depend On Me", "You Know I Love You", "River's Invitation", and "Just To Hold My Hand". CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo Groovy Collection!)

Close matches84
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Freda PayneReaching Out ... CD
Invictus/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1973. New Copy ... $13.99
It's a few years after Freda's big hit "Band of Gold", and she's recording here in a very different mode! The record is produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland, with arrangements by a number of different talents, like McKinley Jackson, Tony Camillo, and Michael Smith – and the overall sound is much more sophisticated than on some of Freda's earlier work. The vocals are especially sharp – quite mature, and almost in a mode that points towards later work by singers like Jean Carn or Marlena Shaw during the late 70s. Includes the nice midtempo groover "We've Gotta Find A Way Back To Love", worth the price of the album alone – plus "Mood For Love", "Reaching Out", "Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right", "Mother Misery's Favorite Child", and "Right Back Where I Started From". CD
Also available Reaching Out (180 gram pressing) ... LP 16.99

Close matches85
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Hannibal Marvin PetersonHannibal In Antibes ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $9.99
A classic live set from trumpeter Marvin Hannibal Peterson – done with two side-long tracks that really let the group stretch out in a very spiritual way! The performance was captured at the Antibes festival in 1977 – and Hannibal's leading a relatively stripped-down group – with George Adams on flute and tenor, Diedre Murray on cello, Steve Neil on bass, and Mkaya Ntshoko on drums. The mixture of cello and bass, without any piano, echoes some of Peterson's larger ensemble work – but the feel here is much more lively and improvised – a mixture of his freer energies and deeper concepts, which makes for one of his most dynamic records ever. Titles include "Ro", and a surprisingly great take on "Swing Low Sweet Chariot". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches86
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Marvin Hannibal PetersonAngels Of Atlanta ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1981. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
One of the most ambitious works ever by Marvin Hannibal Peterson – a larger work dedicated to the 20 African-American children murdered by a serial killer in Atlanta, performed here with a mix of choral voices and jazz instrumentation! The piece follows strongly in a legacy of that format started by Max Roach and continued by Billy Harper – and Peterson works here with players that include George Adams on tenor, Kenny Barron on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, and Dierde Murray on cello – plus the voices of The Harlem Boys Choir, and lead vocals by Pat Peterson. The whole thing's wonderful – soaring and spiritual without sounding hokey at all – and titles include "The Angels Of Atlanta", "The Story Teller", "The Inner Voice", "Mothers Land", and "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

Close matches87
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Flip PhillipsPhillips' Head (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Choice/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $13.99
Tenorist Flip Phillips was one of the leading lights of the early days of Verve Records – a key player in the JATP, and an artist who also got to record a fair bit as a leader, too – and although other record companies didn't record Flip as often in the 60s and 70s, it's clear from a set like this that he really continued to stay at the top of his game! Some of Phillips' other albums maybe are in a straighter, swing based mode – but this set is more open and creative, and not only has Flip on tenor, but a bit of bass clarinet too – the latter of which he blows with a hell of a lot of care and charm. The rest of the group features Mickey Crane on piano, Milt Hinton on bass, and Mousey Alexander on drums – and titles include "Fat Tessie's Ass", "Nature Boy", "Love Story", "Jeannie", "Nancy", and "This Is All I Ask". CD features three bonus alternate takes, too! CD

Close matches88
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Jimmy PonderAll Things Beautiful ... CD
LC/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $16.99
Sweet soulful lines from guitarist Jimmy Ponder – working here in a warm set of bigger backings that almost give the record the same feel as classic late 60s outings from Wes Montgomery, or some of the CTI work by George Benson! Backings are put together by Brad Baker – in that same great mix of jazz and soul he used with his B Baker Chocolate Company material – and although there's a bit of chorus vocals on the album (sung by a group that includes Gwen Guthrie and Jocelyn Brown), the main focus is on the soulful, chromatic lines of Ponder's guitar – which have a poise and focus here that really tops some of his earlier work. The groove is pretty super-dope throughout – that great late Groove Merchant approach to funky jazz – and titles include "Love Me Right", "Chasing That Face", "A Trip To The Stars", "A Clue", and "Turn". CD
(Part of the Groove Merchant Mo' Groovy Collection!)

Close matches89
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Prince LashaInside Story ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1965. New Copy ... $14.99
A rare treasure from spiritual reedman Prince Lasha – a session recorded in 1965 in New York, but one that wasn't issued until many years later by the Enja label in Germany! The album is a real revelation – and clearly marks Lasha as one of the key artists unlocking the more spiritual sounds in jazz at the time – taking off nicely from the later work of Eric Dolphy, and dovetailing with some of the best experiments of John Coltrane – but at a level that maybe even leapfrogs into more 70s modes as well! The group here is great – a quartet with Herbie Hancock on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, and Jimmy Lovelace on drums – and Lasha plays both alto and flute, in modes that echo his best work with Sonny Simmons, and on his later solo albums too. Titles include "Ethereal", "Flight", "Kwadwo Safari", "Mary", and "Inside Story". CD
(Part of the Enja Real Jazz Classics series!)

Close matches90
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Asha PuthliL'Indiana ... CD
Dash/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $22.99
The only album ever issued in the US by European soul singer Asha Pulthi – an artist who was doing some great spacey funk in the mid 70s, then made a strong shift into tighter grooves in the disco years! This album's a great blend of Asha's earlier vocal style and some of the newer clubby sounds from Euro clubs – kind of a mix of porno sleaze and Munich soul – and the arrangements have enough of a funky kick in them to keep things interesting – and a vibe that really warrants the record coming out on TK over here in the US! Titles include "Mr Moonlight", "Music Machine", "There Is A Party Tonight", "Legend Of Thais", and "I'll See You Around". CD

Close matches91
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Quest (Dave Liebman, Richard Beirach, et al)Quest ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1981. New Copy ... $14.99
The fantastic first set from this amazing group – a quartet that found an especially great place for expression for all four of its members – coming together with a bold sound that really made Quest a well-remembered act from the time! The lineup features Dave Liebman on soprano, alto, and flute – plus Richie Beirach on piano, George Mraz on bass, and Al Foster on drums – all players who balance darker ideas with a personal sense of warmth – a mode that's maybe a bit hard to put in words, but which comes through instantly on record – and which especially illustrates how great the setting was for Beirach and Liebman. Titles include "Lonely Woman", "Elm", "Wisteria", and "Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

Close matches92
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Sun Ra & His Omniverse ArkestraDestination Unknown ... CD
Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1992. New Copy ... $16.99
One of Ra's last recordings – and a great one – caught live at a festival in Germany, with a group that includes Marshall Allen, Ahmed Abdullah, Jothan Callins, Tyrone Hill, Stanley Morgan, and Michael Ray. The set has that Ellingtonish flourish that crept into much of Ra's work after the mid 80s – handled with an edge that still keeps the sound all his own, but which shows an increasing preoccupation for straighter jazz expression, and well crafted large group arrangements – peppered with a few numbers that are more in the older space-spirit of the group. Ray sings vocals on a few numbers with Abdullah and Allen, and titles include "Satellites Are Scanning", "Calling Planet Earth", "Theme Of The Stargazers", "We Travel The Spaceways", and "Carefree". CD
(Part of the "Enja – Real Jazz Classics" series!)

Close matches93
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Sharon RidleyFull Moon (with bonus track) ... CD
Tabu/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $13.99
One of the few full albums ever cut by the great Sharon Ridley – a hell of a great singer from the east coast scene, and one with the fullness of the best club divas of the time – but an approach that goes way way deeper overall! There's a sexy slink to the album that echoes Ridley's previous gem for Sussex – but the style's a bit more modern soul, with some sweet arrangements co-penned by Jerry Peters – who works with Sharon here to really push the envelope of her sound! Sharon sings with a bit of jazz at times – in ways that almost echo the best work of Marlena Shaw – and the set really shows a presence that goes way beyond most of Ridley's contemporaries. Titles include "Changin", "Just You and Me", "Full Moon", "Guess I'm Gonna Have to Say Goodbye", and "Nothing Else Means More To Me Than Our Love" – and a remake of "You Beat Me To The Punch". CD features a bonus track – "Changin (single version)". CD

Close matches94
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JP RobinsonJP Robinson Story ... CD
TK/Ultra Vybe (Japan), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy ... $28.99
Lost southern soul gems from JP Robinson – a Miami singer who was one of the first to record for the TK Records empire at the start of the 70s – and works here in that beautiful blend of deep soul and funk that made the Miami scene such a crucial force after Memphis and Muscle Shoals! Willie Clark and Clarence Reid had a hand in many of these cuts – and you can definitely hear their way with a strong groove in the work – that quality that can even make a mellow cut feel funky, thanks to a strong bassline and a nice sense of space! Yet it's also clear that JP's the star of the show here – as Robinson's got a voice that's quite compelling – still in the deep soul mode you might expect, but with this slightly fragile quality that comes through especially when he's trying to hold a note or emotion – a really great aspect that almost makes you feel like JP's going to break down right in the course of a tune, even when he's getting a bit of support from female backup singers! CD features 16 tracks in all – titles originally issued on Alston and Blue Candle – with titles that include "Only Be True To Me", "Can't Find Happiness", "Hot Love", "Say It", "Please Accept My Call", "Keep Me Satisfied", "Don't Take My Sunshine", "If It Wasn't For Tomorrow", "You Got Your Thing On A String", "Love Is Not A Stranger", "Doggone", and "Our Day is Here". CD

Close matches95
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Jimmie RowlesPaws That Refresh (with bonus track) ... CD
Choice/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $13.99
Great work from Jimmy Rowles – a pianist that really hit new levels of creative activity in the 70s, and who maybe sounds different here than on most of his other recordings from the time! Jimmy still has some of that world-weary, old man sort of quality – especially when he sings – but his attack on the piano can be pretty darn fierce at points, spurred on by a really strong trio that features Buster Williams on bass and Billy Hart on drums – not likely matches for Rowles, at least if you know his earlier records – but both players who really make this record crackle! Titles include "Duke's Dooji", "Pretty Eyes", "Skeleton In The Closet", and "Chess Players". CD features a bonus alternate take of "Dukes Dooji". CD

Close matches96
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Teru SakamotoTeru Sakamoto Trio Live At Rikuzen Johnny ... CD
Johnny's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $23.99
A tremendous live set from pianist Teru Sakamoto – a session that soars with all of the life, soul, and imagination of McCoy Tyner at his 70s best! The record's got a feel that's quite open – long tracks, with plenty of solo space for Sakamoto on the piano – but the sound is always inside, rhythmic, and focused – never too out or too experimental, just soaring up to the skies with a brilliant sense of expression. The trio features Takao Neichi on bass and Takeshi Watanabe on drums – and titles include a great modal take on "My Favorite Things", plus "Left Alone", "Yuyake Koyake", and "Autumn Leaves". CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

Close matches97
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Shungo Sawada & Kayo IshuLiving Bossa – Neo Standards ... CD
Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1968/1974. New Copy ... $13.99
Sweet bossa grooves from the Japanese easy scene – a great reissue that brings together a rare 1968 album by guitarist Shungo Sawada and singer Kayo Ishu, as well as some later work from the 70s! The tunes all have a pretty cool approach – mixing jazzy bossa rhythms with light easy arrangements – in a style that's more bossa jazz than anything else, but which also has some nice 60s American groovy touches. Instrumentation includes guitar, percussion, piano, and flute – and a number of tracks have light and breezy vocals with a sweet scatting approach that we really really love! Titles include "13 Jours En France", "A Man & A Woman", "Girl From Ipanema", "Fly Me To The Moon", "Jazz N Samba", "Bim Bom", "Cinnamon & Clove", "Mas Que Nada", "Manha De Carnaval", and "Agua De Beber". Not authentic bossa – but a great take on the genre! CD
(Part of the "Nippon Jazz Spirits 48" series!)

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John ScofieldJohn Scofield ... CD
Trio/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $22.99
A pretty rare set from guitarist John Scofield – and a pretty great one too! The album was originally issued only in Japan, and it features Scofield playing with a quartet that includes Clint Houston on electric and acoustic bass, Motohiko Hino on drums, and Terumasa Hino on trumpet on a few tracks – a really nice lineup that gives the record a very different flavor than some of John's other early sessions! Scofield's in prime groove territory on the track "Public Domain" – which is a long and tight little number – and other tracks have a more open-ended feel, but are still quite strong, with a lot less of the airy quality that can sometimes characterize Scofield's other work of the time. Titles include "Ida Lupino", "Un Toco Loco Ballet", "Blues For Okinawa", and "Amy (Who Else?)". CD
(Part of the Jazz Legends In Japan series!)

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Seven SeasMiami Sound ... CD
Glades/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $22.99
Back in the mid 70s, The Miami Sound was a great one – a sweet southern Florida mix of New York disco with some warmer funk touches – made very big by the growing soul empire of TK Records, but maybe done best when served up by one of the more obscure groups on the label! That's definitely the case here – as the record's the only one we've ever seen by the Seven Seas, but has a sharp, tight vibe that really gets at the core of the TK sound – snapping, syncopated rhythms that almost point the way towards 80s club – mixed with a warm mix of acoustic and electric elements that really come together with plenty of funky power. Arrangements are by Mike Lewis – and titles include covers of "Do It (Til You're Satisfied)", "Bad Luck", "Fight The Power", and "Swearin To God" – plus the funky original "Super Jaws". CD

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Takeshi ShibuyaShibuyan ... CD
Aketa's Disk/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1983. New Copy ... $14.99
Fantastic solo piano from Takeshi Shibuya – a player who seems to bridge the older world of jazz piano lyricism with some of the freer flows of the Keith Jarrett generation – all while coming up with a style that's very much his own! The album's a mix of originals and standards, and Takeshi always seems to have this special flow on the keys – a mode that partly echoes the Japanese trio groups of the 70s, but which is often a bit looser and more introspective – in part, of course, because there's no bass or drums on the record at all. His ear for an unusual phrase is really great – and titles include "Runagirio", "Estrellita", "Old Folks", "Misterioso", "Gipsy Love Song", and "Tarirari Blues". CD
 
 
 



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