Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Music - some tips

What value does the best speaker have without the right music to be played through it?

I am no music expert by any means, but I listen to a lot of different music and I sometimes find interesting artists that are not known that much, but might be interesting for others too.
It is a sad fact that the best artists are rather kept secretly in the background while shit-music is commercially promoted and pushed through media and radio stations...

Here I would like to present some recent albums from this and last year that I think are really worth to be listened to. The style is my own preferred music style, which lies somewhere between Jazz/Funk/Electronica/Groove whatever.

First comes a very fresh release, just released this week: "Resolution 88"!
Tom O'Grady's jazz funk band sounds as if the original Herbie Hancock Headhunters band had rejoined together to record another album. The sound is very retro 70s sounding, but with modern mastering and a very thick bass heavy mix done by another Rhodes-wiz Dan Goldman aka "JD73", who will hopefully also be releasing his new album soon (if you don't know him yet, you have to check out his previous 2 albums).
If you like the old 70s Herbie Hancock fusion sound, you will definitely love Resolution 88.

Another pretty inspiring artist (and British as well) is Carl Hudson with his album "Zoology for Martians". The album is very Fusion-Jazz/Funk oriented too, but with more of a spacy atmospheric sound. Carl Hudson uses vintage keyboard sounds as well as some vocoder effects which makes it also quite reminiscent of Herbie Hancock's own experiments from the late 70s. The drums on this album are played by ex-Jamiroquai member Nick Van Gelder. If you liked the spacy sound of Lonnie Liston Smith or Christian Bruhn's soundtrack for the 80s TV-Cartoon "Captain Future" you will love Carl Hudson, but with a more groovy and more sophisticated sound.

If you are into Brazilian jazz and funk with acts like Azymuth or Marcos Valle, you should have a listen to Lucas Arruda's masterpiece "Sambadi", which is a mix of modern Brazil-grooves, with electronic acid jazz elements. Lucas Arruda played all the instruments by himself which proves him to be one exceptional artist!

This is the first real solo album of Jean Paul Maunick aka "Bluey", the mastermind behind the legendary Acid Jazz/Nu Soul band "Incognito". Leap of Faith is a pretty straight forward Nu Soul, R'n'B album where you can still hear some Incognito elements, but with all vocals parts sung exclusively by Bluey. Some tracks have an 80s vibe to them, while others remind me a bit of 90s Massive Attack. My favorite is "Why did I let you go", a kind of house-track bearing Simon Grey's signature.
Overall a bit short for a full-length album, but definitely worth listening to!

Jeff Lorber started to add "Fusion" to his band name recently like he originally did in the 70s. Jeff Lorber Fusion sound is indeed more groovy and jazzy than some of his previous smoothjazz albums, nevertheless there is still some easy smoothjazz-vibe floating around here and there.
The highlight is definitely the cover version of Frank Zappa's original "King Kong" that was originally played by Jean Luc Ponty who also plays the lead violin part here.

After all those hot and groovy albums, now something to float and chill. Aandra aka Alexandra Hampton shows how sophisticated chill-out and lounge music should sound like. The vibe is soft and a bit jazzy with nice laid back grooves sounding a bit like Naoki Kenji. I am already looking forward to her upcoming release that should be out any minute according to her website.

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