Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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BRINGING YOU THE STORIES BEHIND MUSIC + ESSENTIAL NEWS, REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS...

Column

THE SNOWBOY COLUMN

Snowboy @B&S
Snowboy @B&S Brecon Jazz Festival - Under threat. Madeleine Peyroux at the Barbican Rokia Traore at the Barbican Laura Vane Laura Vane & The Vipertones: Steam M-Swift Presents 24 Carat (Jazzmin) Socialized Jazz Beats: Vol 2 (Social Beats) Azymuth â Butterfly (Far Out) David Benoit â Jazz For Peanuts (Universal) Freddie V - Easier Than It Looks (Watersign) Soopasoul â Twin Stix (Jalapeno) Melody Gardot: My One and Only Thrill (Verve) Imelda May: Love Tattoo (Universal)

Well, weâre fast approaching festival time. The line-ups are being (or have been) finalized, and as promoters tell me of them Iâll be letting you, the reader, know. I heard the disturbing news that Brecon Jazz Festival in Wales has gone bankrupt. This is my all-time favourite jazz festival in the world and Iâve enjoyed playing that international festival many times (and WHAT a beautiful location!). I hear that the event is going ahead but I doubt youâll see it on again next year (but I keep my fingers crossed).

Jazz at the Barbican

Thereâs some very exciting things on at The Barbican this spring. Hereâs some dates for your diary:

Jerry Dammersâ SPATIAL A.K.A. ORCHESTRA present âCosmic Engineeringâ â a Tribute to Sun Ra and other musical mavericks

Tuesday the 10th of March
The press-release says: âThe spirit of intergalactic jazz-traveller Sun Ra watches over the latest project from the Specials and 2-Tone founding father Jerry Dammers: a hypnotically grooving, 19 member cosmic funk ensemble. With blistering arrangements that conjure up the outer-spatial sounds of the âArkestraâ and fellow interplanetarians like Alice Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders, the Spatial AKA Orchestra combines an unstoppable rhythm section with rap vocals and mystic incantations from Anthony Joseph and Francine Luce, aided and abetted by superlative jazzers including Larry Stabbins, Jason Yarde, Denys Baptiste and Finn Peters. Itâs visually stunning, too, the musicians performing swathed in glittering robes. This concert opens up a new dimension in sound - the majestic space where Astral jazz meets Exotica and Funkadelic jam with King Tubby at the controls.â

MADELEINE PEYROUX

Monday the 27th of April
Performing songs from her Bare Bones CD. Her intimate readings of original and contemporary love songs evoke emotions laid bare; her band evokes the sound of jazz nightclubs past, present and future.

ROKIA TRAORE

Friday the 29th of May
Maliâs critically acclaimed singer/guitarist returns with guitar-driven blues- and jazz-influenced songs from her latest release âTchamantchéâ. Rokiaâs music is contemporary and eclectic, but has its distinctively African perspective.

The Barbican Centre Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS.
Box Office: 0845 120 7550

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SPANISH HARLEM!
NEW club night in Leeds

Legendary Leeds DJ and Salsa journalist Lubi Jovanovic launches an exciting new weekly club night every Saturday from 7th February. It takes place at the very posh new venue âFloriditoâ. It features top live soul/funk/fusion bands plus international DJs playing Funk, Soul, Latin & Afro-beats. This will quickly (and rightly) become one of the top nights for this style in the north of England. Just look at what exciting events he has lined up:

LAUNCH PARTY
Saturday February the 7th:
With CHUNKY BUTT FUNKY - This is the new band from former âNew Mastersoundsâ vocalist Reverend Cleve Freckleton. Lubi is the DJ all night.

VALENTINE'S NIGHT SPECIAL
Saturday February the14th:
With BROTHERS ON THE SLIDE and the legendary DJ Mike Chadwick from Jazz FM.

Saturday February the 21st:
JACUZZI 500 playing Funk Jazz Fusion, with Lubi deejaying.

SAT 28th :
BUGALU FOUNDATION & very special guest DJ Gip Dammone of the DIG! FAMILY. Percussionist Sam Bell (Haggis Horns/New Mastersounds) reforms his very excellent Latin Funk/Barrio Soul group.

Floridita is at 174-178 Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6LY
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REVIEWS

I was moaning to Blues And Soul Editor, Lee Tyler, that there was not enough CDâs and vinyl to review (Editor: Careful what you wish for Snowboy!) and all of a sudden I have so much stuff thatâll some will have to wait until next month! Here we go:

Laura Vane And The Vipertones â Steam (Unique)

A great 45 out of the consistent Dutch label. This features great, authentic Funk vocals from Laura Vane from Brighton and features musicians from all over Europe. I may be wrong but I think itâs produced by the mighty and consistent Diesler, who canât put a foot wrong. This A-side of the 45 is going to remain in many DJ boxes all year. Itâs great, fast (but not too fast) and very authentic Funk. Itâs a must have.

M-Swift Presents 24 Carat (Jazzmin)

A very tasty 4 track 12â single here from Shouhei Matsushita â the man behind M-Swift. This is his Jazz project and it is absolutely firing on all cylinders. It is honestly crammed full of Jazz Dance winners. I, for one, am very excited about this project. The four tracks cover up-tempo Samba Fusion to Afro 6/8 to Funky Fusion and are done in an emphatic and honest way and feature superb Japanese musicianship. Iâm not going to highlight any track in particular because itâs all so great. If this style of Jazz Dance is your thing, you CANNOT afford to miss it.

Socialized Jazz Beats 2 (Social Beats)

Although this title is not on the sleeve of the CD, my I-Tunes reads the disc as being called âJazz And Beyondâ and itâs an apt title (and obviously itâs original title). It is a compilation of original versions and remixes of bands on Social Beats in Holland in the Nu-Jazz style. I donât like all of the tracks here as I tend to feel that Iâve heard the âjazz quartet with a 4x4 bass drumâ or âbig band with a 4x4 bass drumâ formula so many times now: first with Italyâs Nicola Conte (who, letâs face it, totally over did it) and followed by Finlandâs âRicky Tickâ label. Itâs a sound that works but Iâm a little tired of it. Itâs like saying one canât dance to jazz without a metronomic bass drum pinning it down. That said, as always, Social Beats are a very classy label and there are some fantastic moments here, particularly âDamn The Beatâ by DJ Maestro and Sven Vigee, âSpyâs Metaphorâ by Monsieur Dubois and the Houdinis âCatch 22 â Jazz Invaders remixâ amongst others, which will grace the finest of left-field dancefloors the world over.

David Benoit â Jazz For Peanuts (Universal)

Independent labels really take care about getting reviews for their CDâs with lots of information (normally too much information actually). The record label, Universal, have given me none about this and so why should I (this humble scribe) review this? Itâs bloody fantastic is âwhyâ.

These are all new readings of classic themes from the classic âCharlie Brownâ (Peanuts) cartoons that some of us of a (ahem) certain age will remember dearly. I do. The CD appears to feature Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubeck and (unfortunately) Kenny G. There are great swingers on here and some on the slightly âfunkyâ side and theyâre all done with a lot of care and consideration. I do love this album to be honest. The CD finishes with the song âLinus And Lucyâ by Vince Guaraldi and I THINK that this is the original recording (from the 60âs?). You may not know the title but itâs THE song that all of you remember from that series. Listening to this makes you realize that it doesnât get any better than that song and recording, making me think that âWas this CD needed?â Itâs a great listen anyway (and a great buy). âUniversalâ please note: More info needed next time!

Azymuth â Butterfly (Far Out)

This review will be short and sweet. This album goes back to their classic sound of 1980 â the sound that made them famous outside of Brazil. Itâs by far the best album theyâve released since then (and letâs face it, theyâre all great). Itâs a no-brainer. Purchase this immediately.

Freddie V - Easier Than It Looks (Watersign)

Thereâs (again) no information here. Itâs definitely from the US and perhaps he plays tenor saxophone with âThe Average White Bandâ (perhaps not. I seem to remember their saxophonist sounding exactly like Maceo Parker and playing alto sax). Anyway, it sounds like this CD is intended for the smooth jazz market but it has more integrity than that, to be frank. Mr. V (Vigdor) is a very soulful and funky player and has given us a great CD of varying R&B styles. The actually rhythm section playing, although played incredibly well by rated and known players, sounds very un-hip though compared to the amount of true Funk specialist musicians around at the moment who are dedicated to the authentic style. Nevertheless, a worthy purchase.

Soopasoul â Twin Stix (Jalapeno)

Itâs a funny one this: I really like this album - Itâs full of classic breaks and great playing, it has some great singing on it and great grooves but, to be honest, Iâm not sure where the market is. On the whole, it doesnât sound live and raw enough for the Funk purist crowd and is maybe too sophisticated for the break-beat crowd (who like it slamming). The producer, Danny Hybrid, knows his stuff though without a doubt. I think itâs best that you check it out where you can. I will say one thing though: the female-vocal track âDo Me Wrongâ IS an absolute winner and should be hammered by Funk DJâs all over the world. If Jalapeno donât release this as a 45 I am going to have to resort to getting a one-off 45 cut of it for my DJ box. Theyâre sitting on dynamite there!

Melody Gardot â My One and Only Thrill (Verve)

Here we go - the usual major-label press release: Apparently this highly-attractive Philadelphia-born singer/songwriter has a voice that âtouches the soulâ (she actually has a very annoying vibrato to her voice) and this CD is âan intensely creative milestone, transcending genre distinctionsâ blah blah blah. Actually, to be fair, the songs here are very well written and executed, and the CD has great sparse acoustic production. Thereâs a classic jazz standard that you all know that sums it all up nicely - âSo What?â

Imelda May â Love Tattoo (Universal)

I was talking about Imelda in last months column. She is one of the artists from the Rhythm And Blues/Rock And Roll scene crossing over in to so many other scenes (and most importantly, the mainstream). She recently put all other artists to shame on BBCâs highly-rated Jools Holland show with a powerful performance and this CD had sold an unbelievable 30,000 on her own label before even getting picked up by a major label. It feels odd being sent this by Universal Records now when Iâve already had it almost a year! The album is self-penned and such is the strength of song-writing many songs sound like they are covers of âclassicsâ. Musically, the album is very Jazzy and ârockingâ and has sensitive ballads in equal measures. The band are also incredible, versatile craftsmen (led by Imeldaâs husband Darrel Higham â the UKâs number 1 Rockabilly artist), so all in all, all that remains to be said is: âLight blue touch paper and stand well backâ Imelda Mayâs career is about to explode. Pow!!!!!

Feel free to contact SNOWBOY at B&S with any Jazz news that you feel would benefit others. Cheers!

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