• Music

    Various Artists – Funk Tide – Tokyo Jazz-Funk From Electric Bird 1978-87

    From our incredible friends at Wewantsounds, we have another scorching compilation of Japanese jazz-funk.  From the label’s Bandcamp site: “Following the success of the ‘Tokyo Glow’ compilation, Wewantsounds once again teams up with Japanese Tokyo-based DJ Notoya to dig the rich Electric Bird catalogue and come with a versatile selection of sunny Jazz-Funk gems recorded between 1978 and 1987 for the label. A tasty selection featuring Yasuaki Shimizu, Toshiyuki Honda and Mikio Masuda, together with a few American musicians such as Ronnie Foster and Bobby Lyle. Most tracks make their debut outside of Japan and the album has been designed…

  • Music

    Kuba Płużek Quartet – Froots

    My first morning in Beijing gets its soundtrack thank to my friend Slava in Kazakhstan, who shared this slightly haunting bit of jazz fusion by polish bandleader Kuba Plużek. The swing on this album is dark but hip, and reminds me of the bands of his countryman, the long-departed Krzysztof Komeda.

  • Music

    Azymuth – Carnival

    We received news from friends and from Far Out Records‘ press release that legendary drummer and a founding member of jazz-rock icons Azymuth, Ivan “Mamão” Conti, passed away yesterday at 76.  He had been prolific over the past few years, and his passing comes as quite a shock.  In honor of his passing, we bring you Azymuth at their finest.  Rest in peace, Mamão.

  • Music

    Grupo Um – Starting Point

    This release is an absolute mindblower of an album, documenting the debut of Grupo Um, one of Brazil’s most adventurous fusion bands.  From their Bandcamp site: “Starting Point was to mark the inception of one of Brazil’s most daring instrumental groups. Their debut now sits in the lofty echelon of otherworldly 70s Brazilian music, alongside the likes of Marcos Resende & Index’s self-titled debut, Cesar Mariano & Cia’s Sao Paulo Brasil, Azymuth’s debut and indeed Hermeto Pascoal’s Viajando Com O Som. But just like all of those titles, which were either shelved or largely ignored at the time, Grupo Um…

  • Music

    Hermeto Pascoal – Hermeto

    Our dear friends at Far Our Recordings deliver the first solo album of Brazilian jazz legend Hermeto Pascoal.  From the label’s Bandcamp site: “Far Out Recordings proudly presents Hermeto Pascoal’s remarkable self-titled debut album. Recorded in 1970 at A&R studios in New York, the album features certified North American titans including Ron Carter, Hubert Laws, Joe Farrel and Googie Coppola, and Brazilian stars Airto Moreira and Flora Purim (who also produced the album). While it was Hermeto’s first album released under his own name, he had spent the decade or so prior making a name for himself in Brazil and…

  • Music

    Mariana Ingold – Cara A Cara

    Uruguayan vocalist and musician Mariana Ingold has a storied reputation for her albums of children’s songs, environmental work and collaborations with the indigenous communities of her native country, but in 1986, she started recording some rather fine pop music as well.  She mixed candombe music with synthesizers to make a fusion which caught on in the country’s capital, Montevideo.  She is still quite active as a performer, but it’s quite a treat to see some of these recordings see the light of day after several decades of being out-of-print.

  • Music - Qobuz

    Pekka Pohloja – Jokamies (Everyman)

     Jokamies (‘Everyman’ in Finnish) is a collection of tracks for a television series of the same name composed by the Finnish bassist Pekka Pohjola.  After his work with the hard-rock/progressive outfit Wigwam, he ventured into jazz fusion (perhaps New Age as well) and made some of the most impressive albums in the genre during the 1970s and 1980s, culminating, in my estimation, in this album.

  • Music

    Soyuz (Союз) – Force of the Wind (​С​и​л​а в​е​т​р​а​)

    Belarus is not what one would think of as a Brazilian music hotspot, though, if my friends in the country could enlighten me to the local music scene, I would really appreciate it.  Still, Soyuz, led by singer Alex Chumak blend a Brazil-meets-Santana-meets-funk beat and this album engages you quickly, making the listener want to sway with the rhythm. From their Bandcamp site: “SOYUZ (which translates as ‘union’) is a creative collective from Minsk, Belarus, led by composer, arranger, and singer, Alex Chumak, multi-instrumentalist, Mikita Arlou, and drummer, Anton Nemahai. SOYUZ’s previous albums explored and reimagined the legacy of jazz-oriented,…