Polyrythmics - Caldera
Rich with bold brass and hypnotic percussion, Polyrhythmics’ latest album, Caldera, showcases the instrumental eight-piece’s impossibly tight grooves and virtuosic musicianship as they tear through a singular blend of funk, soul, psychedelic rock, R&B, progressive jazz, and Afrobeat. Calling to mind everything from Antibalas and the Dap-Kings to The Meters and Fela Kuti, it’s without a doubt their strongest work to date, merging the infectious power of their live show with a sleek and nuanced studio sophistication.Named for the smoldering crater left after a volcanic eruption, Caldera was written during a band retreat to rural Oregon, where Polyrhythmics embraced truly collaborative songwriting for the first time during a marathon session in the shadow of Mt. Hood (itself an active volcano). The resulting album is a blistering declaration from a band that’s progressed beyond the sum of its influences to come fully into its own. From the downtempo, Afrobeat trance of “Stargazer” to the triumphantly anthemic, high-octane pump-up funk of “Marshmallow Man,” Caldera is instrumental music at its best: emotional, evocative, mesmerizing. On “Cactus Blossoms,” Polyrhythmics craft an eerie, retro gem straight out of a 70’s film score, while the trippy effects and wah-wah guitar of “Goldie’s Road” suggest a psychedelic journey (or perhaps a bad trip), and the shuffling “Vodka For My Goat” draws on Stax soul while hinting at BB King’s merger of the blues and jazz. It’s an eclectic collection, tied together by the melding of eight distinct musical voices coming together as a cohesive whole.
The record follows the Seattle band’s stellar third album, Octagon, which earned them tour dates around the country along with plenty of critical acclaim. The Stranger dubbed Polyrhythmics a group to watch, hailing their “sophisticated slinkiness and expressive brassiness,” while WNCW praised their “modern afro-psycho-beat blend,” and the Seattle Times dubbed them “funk maestros.” The band was invited to perform live on influential Seattle NPR station KEXP, shared bills with everyone from Snarky Puppy to Booker T, and played massive festival stages including Bumbershoot, High Sierra, and Vancouver International Jazz Fest.
Various Artists - Jukebox Mambo Vol. 3
Rumba & Afro-Latin Accented Rhythm & Blues - DJ Liam Large digs even deeper to put together a diverse set of dynamite R&B sides, all built around Afro-Cuban, Latin and Caribbean rhythms.
In a congested field of R&B comps, Jukebox Mambo stands out uniquely in shedding light on the era of Latin American and Caribbean influence, a sensual rhythmic shift which continues to be felt in modern music today.
Opener, The Emperor's 'Tough De Times (Things Getting Tough)' is a classic example of Large and Jazzman's idiosyncratic capacity to bring striking singularities to light, a beguiling and seductive blend of jazz, blues and Trinidadian calypso. Other highlights include the slinky rumba-blues of Percy Mayfield's lustful 'Loose Lips', the only known recording by female blues shouter Ethel Boswell on the track 'No More For You', and Chuz Alfred's powerful rendition of the Duke Ellington standard 'Caravan'. Elsewhere, Jukebox Mambo 3 is dominated by virtuosic performances, from the smooth tenor vocals of Roy Gaines to the polyrhythmic swing of the Monogram Caribbean Orchestra, and the Syrian-American jazz stylings of Eddie Kochak.
The compilation comes with in-depth track notes and photographs, is available as a deluxe double vinyl tip on gatefold as well as a super limited edition vintage style 6 x 10 book set - with unique artwork and four exclusive bonus tracks.
Lovingly compiled, artfully arranged and expertly annotated, Jukebox Mambo Volume 3 is another immersive gaze into an era of musical history that still carries a unique influence today. This one is for the crate diggers and music lovers alike!
released October 20, 2017
The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club, Vol. 5
Set up in 2003, Freestyle Records has spearheaded the resurgence in funk, jazz, soul, latin, reggae and most other forms of black roots music, and proved to be one of the most prolific and well respected record labels of the last decade.
As this volume is something of a milestone - I have gone all out to bring together the baddest, most boom bap beats, the deepest funk, the sassiest soul and gorgeous grooves to put a shake in your shimmy and a wiggle in your walk. So let me take you through just some of the highlights in my latest trunk of funk.
The Andy Tolman Cartel can make musical time travel a reality - because when I'm listening to You What! I am transported back to the early 70's and running down alleyways and chasing crooks because I'm in a TV cop show! Like a modern day Lalo Schiffrin or Quincy Jones - Andy Tolman writes and arranges this big band funk anthem and it a complete monster - wait for that final chord and you, like me will see "..to be continued..' in your minds eye..double groovy.
Dear sweet, enchanting Charles Bradley - The screaming eagle of soul. A man who had it tougher than most. He spent decades as James Brown impersonator, a homeless person on the unforgiving streets of New York City. Throughout his 30's & 40's it looked like Charles wasn't going to get to take a bite out of the Big Apple, and then along came Daptone Records and righted what would have been a far too serious wrong, and he got to release his debut album at the age of 62. . I have included his beautiful track Change For The World as my tribute to him.
If you have ever got down to the sounds of The Sugarman 3 as well as Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, then you have already been moved by the sound of Adam Scone. His own group The Scone Cash Players are an old school Hammond organ soul-jazz outfit and here he is with Year of the Rooster Pt 1 - his own classic organ groove which features saxman Ian Hendrickson-Smith from The Roots - this is bountiful boogaloo beats for the 21st century and I love it.
Deep in the darkest corner of my sack full of soul, I have pulled out from the archives two old school zingers - the first is a track so rare that for many years its very existence was questioned by afro-funk specialists & record collecting crate diggers - but we have found it for you! Ginger Johnson & His African Messengers long lost Nawa which hasn't been heard for well over 40 years!
Brian Auger is the greatest musical talent to ever emerge from Shepherds Bush, West London, and has been making music professionally since the early 1960's - as an award winning jazz pianist, then a chart topping Hammond organ grinder! Here is his 1973 version of Marvin Gayes' Inner City Blues from Brians' most acclaimed album 'Closer To It' - a mixed up, musical potpourri so spectacularly well blended that upon it's release it entered the Billboard Jazz, R&B and rock charts simultaneously - the very first time that had happened. Brian is legend - praise him!
We come right up to date with Lack Of Afros' Back In Business! Teaming up again with rapping siblings Wax & Herbal T, this brilliantly banging and botty kicking tunage really proves that Adam & the boys are back in business - and then some Thats' it - my gift to you - The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club Volume 5 - and here's to volume 6!
released December 8, 2017