Ubiquity Records: Keepin' It Real After Ten Years
No Categories 3 is the third and most recent edition of the annual cross-label compilation from the Ubiquity family. The two CD set presents a range of styles that truly defies description. Luv N' Haight contributes two earnest slices of 70s soul"Operation Feed Yourself" from the Sons and Daughters, and The Turner Bros.' "Cause I Love You"plus a wicked slice of saxophone funk from Byard Lancaster that makes great use of the hook from "Licking Stick-Licking Stick," previously available only as a French import.
Unlike the re-mining of classic soul, funk and jazz licks on Cookin', most of No Categories blasts into the modern inner / outer space of hip-hop, trip-hop and trance. Dark Leaf's "Citizens" brings the strongest hip-hop. Puracane's trippy "Things You Should Leave Alone" chills with the icy cool, "no exit" feeling of Portishead. Electronic and ambient trancewaves rule "Green Means" by Nobody and the spacey "Emoto" from Future Life, as well as the previously unreleased "Crossing (Evacuation of Form)" by P'taah, a project directed by Atlanta composer/DJ Chris Brann. P'taah's remix of "Take The High Road" by Longineu Parsons sounds mightily like a saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders orchestrating a 21st century jungle music jam.
Each disc of 3 ends with a spicy dash of CuBop, the first disc with a track from trombonist Vazquez and the second from conguero Francisco Aguabella, a member of the pioneering '70s Latin group Malo. 3 also includes the first CD release of British DJ / conguero / composer Snowboy's '99 club hit "Casa Forte."
Snowboy springs from the heart and mind of Mark Cotgrove. Cotgrove can rock the house hard and fiercehe owns the Hi-Hat Club in North London, where his incendiary DJ sets have become legendary among Latin Jazz fans who love to freestyle dance. He also performs and records with The Latin Section, his bandmates on his June 6 release, Afro-Cuban Jazz, Snowboy's second release for CuBop and ninth album overall. (For DJs, Afro-Cuban Jazz is also available on a limited two-record vinyl set.)
Afro-Cuban Jazz is the most recent addition to the long list of quality Latin music released this year. "Where me and my band are at, at the moment," Snowboy writes in the liner notes, "is trying to continue with the kind of fertile experimentation that was achieved in Afro-Latin music in the early 1970s. Utilizing electronic keyboards (organ, Fender Rhodes), undiluted rhythms, folkloric songs, HEAVY reverb, echo, jazz solos alongside the Son."
It's hard to imagine an Afro-Cuban album with a more authentic sound or feel. In "Straight From The Gate," the band struts in unison to a saucy rhythm as the horn section resurrects the sound of classic Havana ?50s dance orchestras. Neil Angilley's keyboards contribute mightily to the "sound of the 70s" in "Descarga Angixi" and "El Campeon Del Mambo," a free-wheeling Latin exploration. Trumpet player Sid Gauld crafts a beautiful introduction and blistering solo to "Aguacero," which climaxes in a percussion jazz jam as explosive as any Fourth of July fireworks celebration!