The Zuzu Club Picks for February 2017


The Zuzu Clubs favourite Albums for 2016

The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble - Out on the Coast (2016) Colemine Records

The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble is a heavy, original, instrumental soul band based in San Diego. They draw influence from themasters of the style from the past and modern day, including: Quincy Jones, Jimmy McGriff, Mulatu Astatke, Isaac Hayes, and The Poets of Rhythm. San Diego's own The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble is back with their sophomore LP on Colemine Records! Cinematic soul is the order of the day from this west coast group. Covering a lot of soulful territory here: deep funk, soul jazz, breakbeats, and more

Soul Scratch-Pushing fire (2017)Colemine Records

Los Angeles band Soul Scratch truly do live up to their name. The six-piece band lays down thick funky grooves and the kind of retro soul sounds being done by East Coast labels like Daptone. Vocalist Dale Spollett is a powerhouse, bringing to mind peers like St. Paul and the Broken Bones’ Paul Janeway and legends like Syl Johnson. The musicians in the band are no slouches either, and they’ll often rip into down and dirty instrumentals strictly meant to get you dancing.

From the first few notes, this record grabs you. It’s raw soul and funk music crafted to perfection. Wailing vocals, soaring horns, and a super tight rhythm section. With a dirty production style, Soul Scratch serves up something that’s familiar, fresh, and never more relevant. he album kicks off with the brassy burst of “Pacified” and keeps the funky grooves on high until the final organ-soaked notes of the appropriately named closer “Thank You”. This is as much a party record as it is a preaching record, and as we embark on a future that’s anything but certain, we desperately need both of those things.

The Echocentrics - Echo Hotel (2016) 
features members of White Denim, the Black Angels -

Adrian Quesada, the Austin-based producer at the heart of the Echocentrics, returns for a second round of retro Latin funk and pastoral psych-rock. Quesada's history as a member of big Latin funk ensembles like the Grammy-winning Grupo Fantasma and the Black Sabbath-covering Brownout certainly informs this solo venture, but the two records he's released under the Echocentrics moniker are far more cinematic and textural in nature. Like 2011's Sunshadows, Echo Hotel combines groovy instrumental vignettes with tracks featuring various guest vocalists. While his debut played out like a soulful love letter to late-'60s tropicalia with South American collaborators Natalia Clavier and Tita Lima handling the vocals, Echo Hotel is more of a local affair with a surrealist Southwestern feel. Clavier and Lima do make appearances here, the former on a pair of dreamy and darkly grooved cuts and the latter on a beguiling slice of midtempo funk called "O Sol." It's Quesada's new crew of accomplices, however, that gives the album its distinctive desert head-trip flavor. Snaky organs and shimmering slide and tremolo guitars give more of a West Coast psych vibe to "Canyon" and "Death of a Rockstar," both of which feature Black Angels frontman Alex Maas on vocals. The same goes for the trippy electric sitar-laden lead single "Staring at the Ceiling," over which White Denim/Bop English honcho James Petralli delivers one of the album's strongest vocal turns. Bill Callahan even lends his baritone drawl to the laid-back space trip "Gettin' Away with Your Gal." As for Quesada's instrumental cuts, there's plenty to enjoy in his lovingly assembled tone trips, which feel like vivid micro-soundtracks plucked out of the ether of another era. Sonically detailed but heavy on groove and feel, the Echocentrics deliver another solid outing.

The Echocentrics is what Quesada considers to be the closest thing to his solo project. He explains, "I write songs and record them on every free day I have, I have 4­-5 albums worth...and send them to some of my favorite singers." Echo Hotel features a few of the same artists from the first Echocentrics album including Natalia Clavier (Thievery Corporation) and Tita Lima (daughter of Os Mutantes’ bassist Lihminia) as well as Alex Maas (Black Angels), Austin songbird Jazz Mills, James Petralli of White Denim and singer-songwriter Bill Callahan (Smog).

The Olympians - The Olympians (2016)Daptone Records

After repeatedly being visited by a strange messenger in his dreams while on tour in the islands of Greece, Toby Pazner became consumed with a vision to tell the stories of The Olympians through music. Chosen by the gods as a messenger for not only his musical gifts, but for his unique position at the center of the Daptone family, Toby built a home studio from scratch and employed some of the top soul musicians in the world to help him breath life into this album. The result is a dramatic and cinematic journey to the outer limits of instrumental soul music, built on a foundation laid by the same craftsmen whose bricks built the legacies of Sharon Jones, Lee Fields, Charles Bradley, The Budos Band, and Menahan Street Band, and painted with lush strings, harpsichord, harp, and horns. The Olympians is destined to be the instrumental gem of the year. Includes download card.

Camaro 67 - Burn Rubber, Not Your Soul (2016)

Camaro 67 brings together classic Afrobeat influences (Fela Kuti, Tony Allen), and modern Afrofunk / Groove sounds (Antibalas, Budos Band, The Herbaliser) to produce a propulsive, high-energy, made-in-Vancouver heavy funk experience. This explosive 10-piece instrumental group debuted in the fall of 2015, picking up from where Miami Device (BC’s premier Afrobeat orchestra since 2007) left off. In their first year as a band, Camaro 67 released their 9-track debut album “Burn Rubber, Not Your Soul”. 

“Vancouver’s groove music scene is putting out solid bands these days … 

Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno - 1000 Watts (2016)

The third album from the tropical dub-infused Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno project, ‘1000 Watts’ sees musical explorer Will “Quantic” Holland making a more concerted foray into pure reggae-roots territory. Recorded direct to tape, the LP draws together a set of classic style rhythms for the dancefloor, and for this outing Holland enlisted the most prestigious roll-call of guest performers yet. Alongside U-Roy and Alice Russell, the featured artists include popular reggae singers Hollie Cook and Christopher Ellis; the late, great keyboard maestro Ikey Owens (whose tragic 2014 passing followed a career working with everyone from Run The Jewels to The Mars Volta to Jack White); and legendary Jamaican drummer Santa Davis, known for his work with the likes of Bob Marley and The Aggravators.
(Jazz sensibility with future dancefloor orientated grooves, deep funk, tough drums and tropical rhythms. 
Will Holland is one of the most talented and prolific artists in the world of alternative dance music today. Recording under various guises, Will first found acclaim as Quantic.)

Lee Fields And The Expressions - Special Night - (2016) Big Crown Records

Today, with classic 1960s and '70s soul music now the focus of a second wave of revivalists—and even parody, in films like "Black Dynamite"—there are still soul veterans out there doing what they do best: Make wonderfully suggestive romance music in the style of Motown, Philly and Memphis.
Lee Fields' new album, Special Night, could have come out in 1970 and been a huge hit. And Fields would know, since he was there, recording and touring, even earning the nickname "Little J.B." for the debt his singing style owed to James Brown.
Now in his mid-60s, having outlasted most of the small independent soul labels he cut sides for—and even having outlasted the neo-soul movement of the 1990s and '00s—Fields hasn't changed all that much: He is who he is, and like Count Basie in the early 1980s, Fields is an artist wholly comfortable with his identity, at the peak of his creativity and technique, a master with his full palette at his disposal. Fields and his fellow musicians have created a collection of classic soul that is so good it would have passed muster in the 1970s, but avoid any hint of archival museum-exhibit staleness. It is living, breathing, vital soul music. 

Much like the recently departed Sharon Jones (whose Dap Kings backing band he has also recorded with in the past), Fields keeps the flame of classic soul burning -no matter what pop culture thinks.

Orgone - Beyond The Sun (2016) Colemine Records

Orgone is one of the most exciting bands in the new generation of funk bands; led by the powerhouse vocals of Adryon de Leon, Orgone recalls such legendary groups as Rufus and Sly & The Family Stone at their best! The band has backed Alicia Keys on her As I Am album and Cee Lo Green on his Grammy-winning track Fool for You.
Beyond The Sun is the most complete fulfillment of Orgone s full spectrum of sound, ranging from the in the pocket funk of Don’t Push Your Luck to the evocative balladry of No Pain to the clubby-jam of the title track and the scorching instrumental workouts on Meat Machine and Sabi. A highlight is a hot version of Rufus - I'm A Woman (I'm A Backbone).

Hidden Jazz Quartett - Raw and Cooked (2016) Agogo Records

The debut album by the Hidden Jazz Quartett is bringing on something special. „Coming with a strong flow, and continue to grow,“ Gang Starr said in „Jazz Thing“, and that’s exactly what „Raw and Cooked“ is about. Here we have it: A group of fantastic players, a strong idea of what the music should sound like and a sense of togetherness. „Raw and Cooked“ is past, present and future combined. There is all you need in “Raw & Cooked”: expert musicianship, an honest message of peace & love and a great spirit. Get on down with the Hidden Jazz Quartett.

Marta Ren & The Groovelvets Stop Look Listen (2016) Record Kicks

Anticipated from the first single I'm Not A Regular Woman, which is getting airwaves all over Europe (including BBC 6, Rai Radio 1, LeMouv / Radio France), produced and recorded on an Ampex eight-track tape machine by New Max from Portuguese funk combo Expensive Soul and mastered in NYC by Andy Vandette, Stop Look Listen is pure dynamite and follows the best tradition of the Soul Sisters of the 60s.
Marta Ren is not a newcomer as she has been around in the Portuguese scene since the mid 90s lending her deep and powerful voice, amongst others, to break-beat outfit The Bombazines, recording two albums and establishing her unique talent at clubs and festivals all around Portugal. But Marta's passion has always been for the deepest funk and rawest soul of the sixties, and now the time has come for her to show the world her immense talent. With a powerful voice that would make the founding soul sisters proud, Marta Ren is looking to rule the world and make herself a household name. Fans of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings get on it!

The Soul Snatchers - Where Y'At (2016)

You don’t often see a lot of funk bands com out of the Netherlands, but enter The Soul Snatchers who put together a smooth funk and soul album that has tastes of New Orleans and gumbo, but somehow compiled from the complete opposite side of the planet.
With soulful vocals, slick horn sections and cool blue vibes, they created a funky swayful album that will have your head bobbing and feet tapping. The Soul Snatchers create a dirty soul sound that harkens back to 60’s soul, but still keeps it new and fresh.

Charles Bradley - Changes 2016 Daptone records

It’s easy to root for Charles Bradley, the 67-year-old soul singer who has spent the last few years enjoying a breakout career on Daptone Records. Bradley’s underdog narrative has remained as genuinely endearing as it has perpetually marketable, and Changes, his third album, feels like his straightforward best to date, the result of an improved dynamic between the singer and his band. If he ever sounded awkwardly patched in on previous recordings, Bradley now seems to command ownership of his songs like never before. It’s an accomplished skill in the world of retro-soul, and Bradley sounds vital instead of nostalgic because of it.
Musically, Changes fits squarely into the Daptone house sound, but the session players—primarily from Menahan Street Band but also Bradley’s touring group The Extraordinaries—are more restrained here to make room for Bradley's big presence and even bigger voice. But the album is nonetheless inflected with the referential post-funk and hip-hop drum sounds of label guitarist Thomas Brenneck and company.

The Cosmic Surf Club - Cal Massey Songbook (2016) chinchin Records

The Cosmic Surf Club (aka Gentlemens Club) teamed up when they embarked on their first project 'the Cal Massey Songbook'.The legendary American jazz trumpeter and composer Cal Massey (1928-1972) composed, worked and performed with artists like John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday.
He left an amazing collection of jazz compositions, including the great album 'Blues to Coltrane' (1961).After 45 years The Cosmic Surf Club (also featuring his son Zane Wayne Massey, New York-Rotterdam)keeps the Massey spirit and legacy alive and emphasises the music's tendency to travel 
from one cosmic place to another.

Outer Space - Chase Across Orion (2016)Tucxone Records
Outer Space is a Catalan septet formed in Barcelona in 2014. A project born fruit of a mixture Personnel between African styles like Afrobeat, the Afrosoul or EthioJazz, and funk rhythms standard rhythms of the sixties. An explosive cocktail that will be invited to travel with the mind and delve into outer space through a repertoire of original instrumentals with an obvious mantra approach that puts outer space near the orbit of Fela Kuti, the Budos Band or Mulatu Astatke.
Chase Across Orion is Outer Space's first full length album. Recorded, mixed and mastered on June 2015, in Madrid, at Tucxone Records.Album released on February 4th of 2016 on and all digital platforms. Follow this new exciting adventure into the realms of Afro Soul by Tucxone Records.

Dalindèo - Kallio (2015) bbe Records

Dalindèo is a Finnish jazz-sextet founded and led by composer/ guitarist Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen in 2003. Their music is a cinematic jazz creation reminiscient of the ambience of movies by Finnish great Aki Kaurismäki mixed with a Tarantinoesque vibe of danger and suspense. With musical influences ranging from Duke Ellington's swing jazz to surf-guitars à la Dick Dale, all in a setting inspired by Finnish popular music from the 1950's, Dalindèo have created a contemporary Finnish jazz-style of their own. 
In 2013 Dalindèo released their third album Kallio in Finland on the 
Suomen Musiikki-label. The album won the prize of "Best Jazz Album of 2013" at the Emma-Awards, the Finnish Grammys. A musical hommage to the Kallio-district in Helsinki, it debuted on the Finnish album-chart at number 13, one of the highest ranking jazz albums of all time and stayed on the chart for 6 weeks. 
BBE presents Kallio to a wider, international audience and so we decided to include this album to one of our favourites for 2016 when we discovered it. 

Lack of Afro - Hello Baby 2016 LOA Records

Multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and DJ, Adam Gibbons (aka Lack of Afro) is back in considerable style with 'Hello Baby' - his fifth studio record and the first Lack of Afro album to be released on his own LOA Records imprint. Described as ‘always having a knack for finding great vocal collaborations’, he has raised the bar again here! Featuring a stellar cast of guest vocalists including Grammy-award winner Joss Stone, steam-punk legend Professor Elemental & arguably the most talented young soul singer in the UK today in Elliott Cole, 'Hello Baby' is a genre-bending colossus of an album that is packed full of Adam's trademark multi-instrumental goodness, heavy drums, percussion-packed production, and ear for a good tune. 
Also featured on the record is soul singer Juliette Ashby (who featured heavily in the recent Oscar-winning ‘Amy’ documentary) - Californian rapper, regular Lack of Afro collaborator (and one half of The Damn Straights) Herbal T, and rising star of the northern soul / mod scene, dancer, model & vocalist Emma Noble.

Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band - 55 (2016) Big Crown Records

Shrouded in mystery, hailing from Hamburg, Germany, Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band (BRSB) releases their long awaited debut “55” on Brooklyn’s own Big Crown Records. Long time multi instrumentalist and band leader Bjorn Wagner spent a few months in Trinidad & Tobago where he became fascinated with Steel Drums. His initial intrigue with local steel pan music culture led him to learning the instrument both through help of local players and on his own. After he became proficient on the pans Bjorn had his own instrument built from a used oil barrel by legendary pan man Louis C. Smith. Upon returning home to Germany, Bjorn set out to blend the Tropical Steel into his already sharply honed Funk, Soul, and Hip Hop sensibilities. The outcome is an updated take on a classic format, a truly unique sound. Their first two recordings were covers of The Meters “Look A-Py-Py” & “Ease Back” which they self released on a 45. Looking back on these two sides you can tell they were just getting their chops up for what was to come next. This is evidenced by how all hell broke loose when they went on to cover 50 Cent’s hit “PIMP” taking the DJ and vinyl collecting communities by storm. Many people thought the recording was the original sample and probably still do to this day when it is played. The original Mocambo pressing sold out quickly and is now a collector’s item fetching heavy prices when it changes hands. It was this tune that made the introduction between Bjorn and Danny Akalepse of Big Crown. They immediately hit it off and starting making plans to do a full length project with the band.

Renegades Of Jazz - Moyo Wangu 2016 Agogo Records

It's the year 2016 and David Hanke, widely recognized under his moniker Renegades Of Jazz, is back with his third full-on longplay effort entitled 'Moyo Wangu'. After his conceptual and darker approach to his last album 'Paradise Lost' released in 2015, we see Renegades Of Jazz explore the world of Afrofunk here, a world David Hanke is deeply linked to since he spent an influential part of his childhood in Arusha/Tanzania in the early 1980s. 
Due to being exposed to the sound of this East African metropolis throughout his early childhood days the love for any kind of African rhythm signatures and vibes has stuck to this day and is now reflected in the twelve tracks on the album 'Moyo Wangu' - a Swahili expression that translates as 'My heart' and perfectly describes where his heart is at.
Already having introduced the audience to his love of all things Afro with the exclusive non-album track 'Tempo Tempo' that was featured on the 'Hits Agogo One' compilation earlier this year as well as with the first single release of the album 'Afro Cookie', a modern Afrofunk anthem with a distinctive twist that does not only refer to David Hanke's personal linkage to Africa but also can be seen as the origin and starting point of the musical journey we're about to experience here. 
'Moto Moto' musically depicts the hot, vibrant feel of a jam-packed dancefloor throughout an amazing night out, 'Beneath This African Blue' brings on sweet midtempo grooves and the captivating 'Harambee' (Let's work together) reflects the rhythm and reiterativeness of working together featuring the brass section of the Los Angeles-based Jungle Fire outfit who add their special heat. The albums title track 'Moyo Wangu' caters uplifting Afrofunk at its best and sees Marseille-based producer and multi-instrumentalist Hugo Kant delivering some thrilling flute action with a Jazz-infused twist whilst 'Them Who Walk Slow' is on a more laid back and tropical tip.

he Tibbs - Takin' Over Reckord Kicks

Record Kicks is extremely proud to present one of the hottest new names on the retro Soul scene; The Tibbs! Anticipated by the single 'Next Time', already on rotation on BB6 Music, Radio France, NPO Radio 2 and Radio Rai 1, The Tibbs' debut album 'Takin' Over' will hit the streets on May 20. Produced by Paul Willemsen (Zuco 103 / Lefties Soul Connection), recorded at the Electric Monkey Studio in Amsterdam using only vintage gear and mastered in Nashville by soul veteran Bob Ohlsson (the guy who took care of mastering for many Motown hits), 'Takin' Over' is indeed a breath of fresh air! Based around Amsterdam and founded by a bunch of northern-soul and funk disciples, The Tibbs started in 2012 taking inspiration from the golden age of Soul Music. In 2014 they self-released a demo EP and they also released a 45 vinyl on German funk label Tramp Records. Now, after a few exciting years turning heads and spreading soul tunes all around the country - including appearances at the legendary North Sea Jazz Club and a live performances at national Radio 6 - The Tibbs are finally ready to make their official debut on Record Kicks. Take notice, because The Tibbs are the new name to watch!

Men of North Country - This City (2016) Acid jazz Records

Men of North Country (MONC) is a soul band from Tel Aviv, signed to Acid Jazz Records. The band formed in 2008 and comprise lead singer Yashiv Cohen, drummer/producer Boaz Wolf, guitarist Doron Farhi, bassist Jonathan Ydov and a three-piece brass section comprising Ido Kretchmer (trombone) and siblings Sefi Sizzling (trumpet) and Ongy Sizzling (saxophone). Men of North Country currently have two studio albums released on Acid Jazz Records “The North”(2012), "This City"

The Allergies - As We Do Our Thing (2016) Jalapeno records

The Allergies is the production/DJ outfit from heavyweight disc jocks Rackabeat (Chai Wallahs) and DJ Moneyshot (SolidSteel).Drawing on such influences as Boca 45, DJ Format, Gramatik and RJD2, the pair aim to bring that vintage sound of sampled funk, beats and breaks back to the forefront of club music.From the opening bars of this debut album you instantly just know it's going to deliver the tunes, and it doesn't let up until the last note. The Allergies' modus operandi is taking vintage sounds and reshaping them for modern dance floors, and they go about it with style.

Greyhounds - Change of Pace (2016) Ardent Music. 

Change of Pace is an accurate title for the third album by Austin-based retro duo the Greyhounds. While Anthony Farrell and Andrew Trube haven't thrown in the towel on their '60s infatuation, they have indeed dialed back the noisier, bluesier elements of their music -- the very things that made them seem like cousins to the Black Keys. In their place is an elastic groove that is sometimes underpinned by circular drum loops, bringing this within the vicinity of G. Love & Special Sauce. Ultimately existing in a realm far away from those blues bros, the Greyhounds love both the sound and songs of classic soul, so Change of Pace winds up as a salute to both the feel and the form. Occasionally, mood may trump melody but that's more a feature than a bug -- that tendency helps give Change of Pace a warm, weathered coziness that's catnip to anybody who loves classic Memphis soul and Southern rock as much as this duo.

hmed Malek - Musique Originale De Films (2016) reissue by habibi funk

Ahmed Malek was born on March, 6th 1932 at Bordj El Kiffan, Algiers. He was the oldest son of a family of 3 brothers and one sister. He went to work at a young age in factories to help his father to raise the family. His mother died when he was 12. It was then that decided he wanted to become a musician, and after graduating school he studied at the Algerian Conservatory. He gained recognition for his craft from an early stage and won several prizes and medals nationally and internationally (The "Premier grand prix des arts et des lettres de la composition" in 1972, the golden medal at the "Panafrican Festival" in 1976, and the "Prix du mérite national pour la composition musicale" in 1987). He was the conductor of the "Algerian Television Orchestra“ for many decades and represented his country at international events such as the Expo In Japan, Canada, Cuba and Spain. During his time as an active composer he wrote the music for dozens of movies, television shows and documentaries. Then, in the late 90’s, his health deteriorated. He passed on the 24th of July, 2008, at his home in El Mouradio, Algiers.
Melancholic and reflective, emotional and touching, but never depressing. Even without having seen any of the pictures created for this, it immediately brings visuals to one’s imagination.

Hernan Cortes - Kumbia Boruka (2016) BOA VIAGEM music

Hernan Cortes creates Kumbia Boruka. He and Celso Piña are both from Monterrey, the cradle of Mexican Cumbia style. Hernan is now the leader of his own band, singing and playing the accordion, accompanied by the singer Bob Sikou.
The songs of Kumbia Boruka reflect a great mixture of compositions and old time classics of the Colombian cumbia. The one which was playing in the popular neighbourhoods of Monterrey, the Mexican megalopolis where Hernan grew up. Put a little touch of reggae music and rock and you will have an idea of the sound of Boruka. Their meeting with the producer Bruno « Patchworks » Hovart gave them the frame of their hybrid and modern Cumbia.
All the musicians of Kumbia Boruka come from the musical area of Cumbia : the modern and singular sound of the Colombian guitarist Andres Segura, the groovy bass of the Chilean Rodriguo Bastidas Nunez, the crazy drum of Hadrien Santos Da Silva whom grew up with this music in South-America mixed with the congas of James Stewart, the guïro of Tadeo Cortes (Hernan’s brother) and a great horn section (Florian Tillard & Thomas Caharel ) provide a solid backing band for Hernan Cortes and Bob Sikou. Their first album is now ready and will give a big new breath to the Mexican Cumbia!


Mexrrissey have become a global phenomenon thanks to their Spanish-language reworkings of Morrissey songs. They have toured the UK, US and Australia, helped by continuing speculation as to why Mexicans so adore his melancholia. Now comes their debut album, which is delightful and frustrating.
This is not the usual tribute band but a group of leading musicians led by Camilo Lara and Sergio Mendoza, whose bold Latin arrangements bring a mariachi brass treatment to First of the Gang to Die, and a cha-cha makeover to We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful.

ichael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate (2016)

On his ambitious sophomore set, London native Michael Kiwanuka expands outward from the warm retro-soul of 2012 debut, Home Again. With its trio of producers and transatlantic recording locales, Love & Hate arrives with the weight of high expectations. Announcing his intentions from the start, Kiwanuka challenges listeners with "Cold Little Heart," an exquisitely arranged, ten-minute opus of lush strings and elegant backing vocals whose first line doesn't arrive until the halfway point. It's a Homeric bit of heartbroken prog-soul that shows off its creator's lead guitar chops as much as his rich, sandy voice. Co-produced by Danger Mouse and Inflo, it also introduces the heavy tonal palette that runs through the remainder of the album's ten tracks, even those produced by Kiwanuka's longtime collaborator, Paul Butler. Where Home Again was ultimately an intimate and gentler affair, Love & Hate puts some distance between singer and audience as he offers his worldweary introspections against the framework of '70s R&B, funk, and spaced-out rock.

he Frightnrs -Nothing More to Say (2016) Daptone Records

The Frightnrs escort Daptone Records into the world of long-playing reggae with both the sweetest and the roughest record of the decade.
Crafted under the meticulous eye of black-belt reggae mastermind/producer Victor Axelrod (AKA Ticklah), Nothing More to Say is a rocksteady masterpiece the likes of which has not reared it’s head since the golden era of Studio One. However, you’ll find no imitation here - none of the faux-jamaican cliches of lesser reggae bands. Like all things Daptone, this record is above all soulful and honest. With the exception of two soul covers (both from the Daptone catalog: Bob & Gene’s "Gotta Find a Way” and Saun and Starr’s “Gonna Make Time”,) the record is populated by original compositions of the highest order. They are simply great songs, and though their treatment here is masterful, each one of them has the melodic and lyrical substance to hold it’s own in any genre.
"From the start, both the band’s sound and presentation stood out from common Caribbean interpretations by other young American bands...favoring instead earnest ballads with a deep soul groove." Jim Farber, The New York Times

he James Hunter Six - Hold On! (2016) Daptone Records

This may be James Hunter’s fourth album, but it is his first Daptone record. Produced by Daptone’s own Bosco Mann (Gabriel Roth) at Penrose Recorders (Daptone West) near his home in Riverside, California, ‘Hold On!’ is a perfect portrait of an artist at the top of his game. James Hunter has been on the scene for enough years to acquire plenty of feathers in his cap. Billboard charts, Grammy nominations, and Van Morrison collaborations aside, he has earned an international reputation as a Rhythm and Blues troubadour for his command of the microphone both on stage and in studio. This album, however, is something far deeper than just another notch in his belt.Hold On! was recorded live in the studio, but Roth and Hunter decided on mono to best capture the immediacy of the performances. The songwriter has recorded only original material since 2006, and these ten tracks are no exception. What separates this date from previous outings -- excellent though they all were -- isn't the mono production, but the diversity in songwriting, rhythmic invention, and arranging. It is truly an artist’s vision come to fruition.

Nick Waterhouse - Never Twice (2016) Innovative Leisure

Nick’s latest Never Twice is a culmination, intensification, and realization of everything he’s been developing throughout this prolific frenzy. Catchier and loaded with more hits than its predecessors, Nick’s new LP is at the same time harder hitting, more rhythmic, more harmonic, more diverse, and more adventurous than any of the excellent work that already separated him from the pack. A cool and elegant post-post-modern cocktail of 1950s r&b and club jazz, mixed with 1960s soul and boogaloo, and shaken with a minimal contemporary sensibility, Never Twice finds the artist taking his time, refining his vision, and speaking with new authority. In five short years Nick Waterhouse has come a long way and it looks like he may have just painted his masterpiece.

lub Des Belugas - Nine (2016) Chichin Records

Club des Belugas' 9th studio album, which is simply called "NINE
The Belugas come from Wuppertal, are in the core a gentleman (who calls himself Maxim Illion) together with lady, who introduces us as Kitty The Bill. Together they have inter alia. Her predilection for jazz-infected Styles & Rhymes, whose sources are located somewhere in the fifties of the last century. On this basis, the duo has been building a party mile since 2003, which does not stop before any dance track. Swing me electro-beats, soul with pop, jazz with funk - and vice versa and always best for the next dance floor pressed and bolted. Good mood, also in the case of outsiders and accidental events, guaranteed. It is therefore no wonder that the band, which, of course, can expand to the size of an 11-musician music box depending on the requirements and is always accompanied by a series of well-established vocal parts, can enjoy a great popularity. Now, the ending is to be fun - with the "Nine" the farewell round is to be ushered, including the tour and this comprehensive workshow of 30 tracks (old and new, remixed and remodelt) on 2 CDs. If you have party sound without a hangover mood, you can not miss this.

Bebo Best & The Super Lounge Orchestra - JazzMamba (2016)Chinchin Records

7 is a magic number, and the seventh album of Bebo Best & The Super Lounge Orchestra for the prestigious international label Chinchin Records complies fully with the magic of this number.The new album "JazzMamba" is a Latin jazz funk workout that is proudly retro and vibrantly Soul-house alive.The sounds of the successful 2nd album "D'Jazzonga" is back! Where Bossa Nu-funk meets Jazz and Soul, enriched this time by a dance house touch, thanks to the new collaboration with the Top Charts producer P. Visnadi (who was on the UK, US, AUSTRALIA top ten with projects like Livin' Joy, Alex Party), and with the DJ Robert Passera, who had huge success with "I Was a yeye girl", by Doing Time.Especially on the final remixes section you can appreciate the Soul-Funk-House component, while the album is full of references to Latin-swing music, like in the title track JazzMamba, a retro '60' feel as in the Heroes cover, which challenges anyone to hold the foot on the floor!They do not lack elements of Jazz, as in "Blues Vibe", dedicated to Brenda Boykin, who Bebo produced her previous album "All the time in the world" featuring James Taylor on Hammond organ.
"Ocean 14", well that could come straight from a Soderbergh film, and the slow "the Cuban Jazz Song" has the influence of Cuban, African, Nu-Jazz music.
In the end, the explosive remix of Heroes by P. Visnadi, is a real bomb !!
Rather than faking it with pseudo-funky or just half-sampled computerized beats, Bebo Best & S.L.O. plays real instruments too. Drums, bass, Hammond, sax, trumpet and electric guitar serves up rich, authentic rhythms and solos. Bebo Best & S.L.O. knows how to work tight riffs and melodies that are taut groovy, warm and deep.
With Bebo Best & the Super Lounge Orchestra the music is as sophisticated as it is great fun. The long awaited album will be released in September 2016.

Bahama Soul Club - Havana58

HAVANA ’58,the decadent jet-set heaven when Cuba was a tropical playground. A pleasure dome of sensual overloadand rum-fuelled abandon, where shows and showgirls were dazzling, gambling was high-stakes, and revellers includedMarlon Brando, Ernest Hemingway, Frank Sinatra and J.F.K., to name a few. Mojitos, Mobsters, Mambos & Muchachas. Aforbidden, hedonistic world of Rum, Rumba and Roulette. The full range of Sexual freedom, official corruption, and Mafia
control ignited the rampant party - until Sylvester 1958 when Fidel Castro’s revolutionaries took the floor.Bahama Soul Club’s 4th album presents a very personal soundtrack, a musical homage, inspired by a vibrant verve thatnever came back. We encounter a heady blend of glittering nightclubs, outrageous cabarets, fashionable hotels and lookdeep into backstreet brothels, empty wallets and bemusing décolletages. Rumba is everywhere.

Mimi Maura & Los Aggrotones - Stormy (2016)
Mimi Maura & Los Aggrotones - Stormy, 60's soul tunes inna reggae style
Ciudad Autónoma De Buenos Aires, Argentina

Money Chicha - Echo en Mexico 2016 

In April members of Grupo Fantasma, the Grammy winning, nine-piece Latin rock band from Austin, were in Pakistan, playing shows on behalf of the U.S. State Department. One night, around 2 a.m., their phones started blowing up. People were spreading the word about the death of one of the group’s musical idols. Greg Gonzalez—the bass player and one of the group’s co-founders along with guitarists and fellow Laredo natives Adrian Quesada and Beto Martinez—remembered bawling after he’d heard the news. Not only had Gonzalez met this musician and shaken his hand, Gonzalez had had a conversation with him and they’d even jammed together. 
Since forming Grupo Fantasma in 2000, Gonzalez, Quesada, and Martinez have helped hatch two subsequent bands in their relentless pursuit of an authentic Mexican-American spin on Latin music. The first, Brownout, which started around 2008, set out to play the funky break-beat songs that hip-hop acts like Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan, and the Beastie Boys were cutting and pasting into their music. Since then, Brownout has evolved into something completely different: a Black Sabbath cover band
The second one, Money Chicha, formed around 2010 expressly to play chicha music. The style is derived mainly from Peru, but also Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, and Columbia, when musicians there in the sixties and seventies—such as Los Destellos, Los Ilusionistas, and Los Mirlos—were incorporating Americanized surf-rock guitars and psychedelia into their native sounds. The result was cumbia music, or dance music, built on hypnotic, trippy grooves. The discovery of chicha music was a great influence on Grupo Fantasma. 
this past July that Money Chicha released its debut full-length album, Echo in Mexico. For the first three years of existence, it was more like a novelty act, with very infrequent shows and mostly cover songs. For the next three years band members had to find free time to write songs and record in between their duties with Grupo Fantasma and Brownout. Money Chicha will celebrate its long road to independence this weekend with three Texas shows, billed as a “Chicha Summit,” with Chicago chicha band Dos Santos: Anti-Beat Orquesta. On Thursday they will play at Swan Dive, in Austin; on Saturday, at the Squeezebox in San Antonio; and on Sunday, at the Continental Club in Houston. Money Chicha includes Gonzalez on electric bass and accordion; Martinez on electric guitar; Leo Gauna on organ, guiro, and trombone; Matthew “Sweet Lou” Holmes on congas and bongos; and John Speice on timbales and other percussion. (Quesada left the band before the album was completed, in order to focus on personal projects.)Those familiar with Grupo Fantasma’s music might have noticed the mounting presence of chicha in the 2010 album El Existential and the 2016 album Problemas, for which the band received the Grammy for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album. The guitars were a bit countrified and twangy in parts and the electric bass and drum set were utilized in expanded ways. Grupo Fantasma’s horns and vocalist tend to get a lot of the attention, but it had become apparent how critical the rhythm section was for compelling crowds of people to dance. Money Chicha would become a vessel for Grupo Fantasma to showcase this particular component of the band.