May 8, 2013
Much love and respect to the great Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks who passed away earlier this month, but will live on forever through the incredible music he created. Jah bless!
Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks’ is arguably the most innovative saxophone players in all of Reggae music. His stunning fusion of Jazz, Afro-beat, Funk and Latin with Reggae sets him apart as a true pioneer, radically altering the limits and expectations of what Reggae music could sound like. Born in Jamaica, Cedric Brooks toured Caribbean hotels and clubs with various big bands and combos in the 1960s.
All the time, however, his own musical horizons – especially the breakthrough of new jazz – grew increasingly distant from the constrained, commercial music he had to play.
So when the chance came to visit America, Brooks eagerly accepted the opportunity. It was there that he became awe-struck by the music and vibes of jazz legend Sun Ra and Sonny Rollins. He was on the point of joining Sun Ra when the birth of his second daughter necessitated his return to Jamaica. Despite reggae being in full swing on the island, Cedric took up Sun Ra’s challenge by moving beyond reggae’s rocksteady beat by experimenting with free jazz and poetry, African robes and dancers. And so he formed his group The Light of Saba, taking leads from Hugh Masekela and Fela Kuti creating a multi-cultural ‘world music’ way ahead of its time.
The Light of Saba collects 18 of Cedric Brooks’ most exhilarating tracks blending African and US, Cuban and other West Indian influences – calypso and funk, rhumba, jazz bebop, nyabinghi and even ’70s disco – on top of a foundation of sunny, warm reggae music. All the originals go for big bucks & are impossible to find. If you’ve never heard of Cedric Brooks before, then get ready to experience reggae in ways you never thought possible. Simply brilliant!
“A bewitchingly beautiful blend of earthy roots, liquid jazz, sweet soul and playful Afro-beat…an extraordinarily uplifting retrospective…pure bliss for headspace wanderers.“
Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks and The Light of Saba – Self-Titled; Honest Jon’s, 2003
Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks – Flash Forward; Studio One, 1977
Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks and The Divine Light – From Mento to Reggae to Third World Music; 17 North Parade, 2008
May 5, 2013
Just watched the trailer for I Am The Gorgon – Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee and the Roots of Reggae, a feature length documentary film to be released in late 2013, and my jaw dropped! Highly anticipating this one!
The film was directed by Diggory Kenrick and animated by James Stirzaker. Narration is provided by Dennis Alcapone and the film includes interviews with U Roy, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Sly and Robbie, Johnny Clarke, John Holt, Ken Boothe, Horace Andy, Cornell Campbell, Linval Thompson, Niney The Observer, Dillinger, Tappa Zukie, Prince Jazzbo, Derrick Morgan, King Jammy, Scientist and many many more…!
May 2, 2013
In 2009, Big Mean Sound Machine formed in Ithaca, New York with one goal: to create music that stimulates both body and brain. The result is a fiery exhibition of artfully conceived dance music that truly is ‘Big and Mean’.
Today, Big Mean Sound Machine comprises a collective of over 15 analog artists spread out over the Northeastern United States, who strive day in and day out to reanimate and reinterpret Afrobeat, Funk, Jazz, Fusion and just about everything else, all through a postmodern lens. Anyone who has witnessed The Machine live in action knows that their performances are among the heaviest and the sweatiest. Anyone who has heard their studio releases also knows that they can refine this complex sonic force with maturity and clarity that allows each composition to blossom to its fullest.
In 2011, the band debuted with the Ouroboros LP followed by 2012′s Marauders LP as well as a collaboration on a full-length with J-San and a remix from Grant Phabao in the same year. This year, the band has released a live DVD and anticipates another collaborative effort on an album with Ghana vocalist Yao Foli “Cha Cha” Augustine.
Check the fantastic sounds of the mighty Big Mean Sound Machine. Definitely won’t disappoint!
Big Mean Sound Machine – Ouroboros; Sound Machine Collective, 2011
Big Mean Sound Machine – Marauders; Sound Machine Collective, 2012
J-San & the Big Mean – Warrior; Sound Machine Collective, 2012
J-San & the Big Mean – “Moving Too Fast” (Grant Phabao Remix); Paris DJs, 2012
April 30, 2013
Six platters of absolute Doo-Wop gold. Classic tunes from an era long gone by. While I had a handful of the cuts already, there were plenty of others in there that I’d never had the pleasure of hearing such as the superb “Penalty of Love” by the Velvetones among others. Highly recommend!
Various Artists – Doo-Wop Doo-Wop Collection; Tracklists
Vol.1, Vol.2, Vol.3, Vol.4, Vol.5, Vol.6
April 26, 2013
Prior to getting my hands on this set, I only had a handful of tunes from Bobby Kalphat, under-recognized piano, keyboard, melodica legend from JA, on the Phil Pratt Thing and the Psalms of Drums compilations. Mighty vibes that I’ve dropped the needle on countless times over. Sensational melodica vibrations on par with the great Augustus Pablo’s work!
Thrilled to add a host of other sides to my crates from this release which includes the legendary album Zion Hill Dub, originally out on pre-release only on Phil Pratt’s Terminal imprint in 1977 and never re-issued until now, as well as a collection of a few 45s bearing Kalphat’s name as an artist plus a number of other 45s where he was featured as the main player, either on keys or melodica. Quality grooves as I would say!
Bobby Kalphat and the Sunshot All Stars – Zion Hill; Pressure Sounds, 2013
April 23, 2013
Funky. Soulful. Jazzy. Dirty. That’s what this dope mixtape from Question and Kidragon is all about. Ill from start to finish. This one’s been on the hi-fi for months. Get on it!
Question and Kidragon – Dirty Jazz; No Label, 2012
April 21, 2013
Inna Ruminations Stylee has been a long time comin’ since the last one (9 months to be exact and 8 months before that one). Minimal time gets spent on the Web clicking away reading/watching/listening to this, that and the other; however, here are a variety of things I bookmarked on random occasions since mid-2012.
Dust & Grooves = Awesome! The brainchild of Brooklyn-based Eilon Paz, the site is a photography and interview project documenting vinyl collectors in their most natural and intimate environment: the record room.
Looking forward to the book coming out at the end of the summer and hoping I’ll be able to get my hands on it. Check the site if you never have and make a contribution to their book project if you’d like via Kickstarter!
Eilon Paz, from Dust & Grooves (above), was recently featured in PBS’ Off Book (an excellent series) episode titled “We Love Retro Media: Vinyl, VHS, Tapes & Film“. Good stuff!
Landfill Harmonic is a heartfelt & moving story of how instruments made from recycled trash bring hope to children whose future is otherwise spiritless. Wonderful!
Watched Wattstax recently. Here’s The Crown Prince of Dance, Rufus Thomas, killin’ it back in ’72. Looks like a helluva party!
Check out the “Rap Quotes” street art project by Jay Shells. Brilliant!
Volker Schaner spent 13 years to create Vision of Paradise. It’s billed as “the unique, poetic, humorous and “prophetic” adventure with the legendary Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, the one movie that explains it all…” Highly anticipating this one!
“Straight from the Horse’s Mouth” is a series of shorts featured on Groundation’s website from Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace, legendary Jamaican drummer and also member of Rockamovya along with the Groundation crew and others. Excellent content!
Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace presents Straight from the Horse’s Mouth
Speaking of Groundation, I had their live version of “We Free Again” on loop for weeks earlier this year. The percussion laid down is wickedly on point. Powerful!
Listening to the massive sounds of “Give Thanks and Praise” by Yabby U & The Prophets while writing this post. Nice it up!
Never knew that Ernest Ranglin, Monty Alexander, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare joined together for the Jamaican Legends concerts in various spots held throughout last year. Thrilled to see these masters of their instruments together and to serve up some classics. Below are “Surfin’” and “Ram Jam” from Blue Note, Tokyo. Click here to see a full concert at the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland which features Tyrone Downie on the keys. Niceness!
Al Newman aka Al Fingers, who assembled the Greensleeves: First 100 Covers book a few years back, has delivered another book, Clarks in Jamaica, which focuses on the popularity of Clarks shoes in Jamaica. Looks interesting! Great to see this 2011 photograph of one of my deejay heroes, Jah Stitch. No Dread Can Dead!
Wanted to show my love and respect to Ossie Hibbert who moved on to a higher place in July 2012. The legendary keyboardist, pianist, arranger, composer and engineer played on countless tunes while with the following groups: The Aggrovators, Joe Gibbs and the Professionals, The Revolutionaries and Soul Syndicate. The cream of the crop in Jamaican music.
Take a listen to one of my favorites attributed directly to him as Ossie Hibbert & The Revolutionaries. The thunderous “War of the Stars” which is a dub version of Gregory Isaacs “Mr. Know It All”. Jah bless!
Been wanting to check out Last Shop Standing for a while now, but can’t seem to hunt it down. Send it my way if you have it!
The Lions dropped another platter recently and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to toss it on the turntable. Jungle Struttin’, recorded in an impromptu session over a few days mind you, was choice from start to finish and has been a favorite for years. This Generation follows suit with more boss vibrations and the notable difference being the inclusion of more vocal cuts. Favorite tracks that I keep dropping the needle on are “Revelations” and “Let’s Go Out Tonight”. Strictly boss sounds in my book!
Darryl Reeves, saxophonist and fellow ATLien, delivered The Dillaquarium Mixtape back in February to honor the late J Dilla. Stream it here or download it here.
Say what? New Lord Quas vibes droppin’ soon via the Yessir Whatever LP which showcases some tunes that were released on rare and out-of-print vinyl as well as others that were previously unreleased and have been mixed and mastered for the first time. Yessir!
Haven’t followed the NBA season in the least bit this year. No TV. Limited highlights. However, DeAndre Jordan’s monstrous jam didn’t slip past my radar. Nasty!
Always been a huge fan of of non-verbal films and time-lapse cinema. LovetheFrame delivers a stunning time-lapse short titled Desolation.
That’s about all I got for now. Hope all is well wherever you are! Guidance and blessings from Lamai, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, Thailand.
April 18, 2013
On the Spot Trio, from Santa Cruz, California, USA, cranks out pure Funky Soul-Jazz goodness on their debut set recorded at Playonbrother Studios by Alan Evans (Soulive) who just happens to guest on the album too. Give the video below a view and, if you’re like me, you’ll be hooked from the get-go!
Gotta love that their LP, Straight Out the Garden, is available via Bandcamp with a price tag that is up to you! That’s right, you name the price and you get the tunes. No reason to hesitate!
On the Spot Trio – Straight Out the Garden; Self-Released, 2010
April 12, 2013
Ikebe Shakedown are back with a brand new bag of hard-hitting tunes recorded at Dunham Studios. This limited single is a precursor to their much anticipated sophomore full-length album due out this summer.
“The Beast” finds the band in fine form, with their signature multi-layered horns featured front and center on top of an underlying slow-burning groove. “Road Song” is a slight departure from their sound with a haunting piano melody in place of the horns, floating over a sinister bassline driven by tight drumming throughout. This version of the song is exclusive to this 7-inch single.
Ikebe Shakedown – “The Beast” b/w “Road Song” 7″; Ubiquity, 2013
In case you’ve been sleeping on some of the illest vibes around, you can check their debut EP and LP below. Hella nasty! Can’t wait to hear how great the next batch of tunes are going to sound!
Ikebe Shakedown - Hard Steppin’ EP; Colemine, 2009
Ikebe Shakedown - Ikebe Shakedown; Ubiquity, 2011
March 22, 2013
This one’s been a favorite for years and years. Dubwise gold that never gets old. The Upsetters in fine form. Essential chunes fi di crates!
The Upsetters – Kung Fu Meets The Dragon; DIP, 1975
March 16, 2013
This record has been in steady rotation on the turntable for a few weeks. Soldiers of Jah Army (SOJA) has dropped impressive sets for years now and this one is no exception. Possibly my favorite of theirs. Can’t wait to hear what’s next! Check it if ya haven’t!
SOJA – Strength to Survive; ATO Records, 2012
March 14, 2013
Just picked this one up at the record shop. Tonight, I see visions of Heliocentrics, headphones, herb and head-noddin! One of the illest outfits around and couldn’t be more thrilled to give their sophomore dish a listen. Scour the Web and see if you can’t add this to your crates too.
The Heliocentrics – 13 Degrees of Reality; Now-Again, 2013
February 7, 2013
The Upsetter still has gold that hasn’t been unearthed (or at least distributed in a fine collection such as this) to this day! Pressure Sounds dropped this gem a few months back, but it sat idly by in my record stacks until last evening when I tossed it on the turntable. Exceptional tunes!
Tony Fearon’s (aka Clinton Fearon of Gladiators fame) “Message to the Nation” dropped me to my knees. Incredibly powerful vibrations and a shining example of why I still dig for records. There’s always an unheard record out there waiting to be listened and to deliver the shot to the head that makes you think “Damn! How’d I go this long without hearing this?!” That was the case with this 45! With a dubwise version on the flip to boot, I was left shakin’ my head. Wicked!
Lee Perry – The Sound Doctor: Black Ark Singles and Dubplates 1972-78; Pressure Sounds, 2012
February 4, 2013
The posts have been infrequent in the last month or so. Hella busy in recent months and just haven’t gotten around to adding content. Anyway, thought it’d be best to get the posts going again with a recent favorite.
It’s the ‘Song of the Day’ project from Tim Timebomb (aka Lint aka Tim Armstrong of Rancid) and Friends. Naturally, a new track is delivered each day via their website. With a mix of covers and originals performed in various styles, these daily doses showcase the genius of Tim’s musical mind as well as the talent of the Bivona brothers and others. Incredible tunes! Hope that somehow this project never ends!
Tim Timebomb and Friends – Song of the Day Project 2012-13
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