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by Chris May
Straddling jazz, Afrobeat, conscious reggae and dub, South London's Soothsayers is among the top ten must-see attractions on Britain's club circuit (on hold for the duration). Soothsayers can make the lame not merely walk, but dance. We Are Many is the band's ninth studio album and it is a superbly well-realized production, up there with an earlier landmark, Tangled Roots (Red Earth, 2009). The lineup on We Are Many is led, as always, by Soothsayers' founders and ...read more
by Gareth Thompson
The titling of instrumental pieces might take any number of courses. Musicians can make them super deep, or use super obscure references. Dedications to a specific place or person are common, as is the use of instruments or genres. Many titles are just left open to the listener's interpretation. Tel Aviv band Time Grove offers all the above options on their debut record More Than One Thing. Based around the work of acclaimed pianist Nitai Hershkovits, the group ...read more
by Chris May
To describe London's Soothsayers as a group of jazz musicians who get together to play a blend of roots reggae and Afrobeat is true--but potentially misleading. It could suggest that the musicians are taking time out from serious music-making to engage in something more ephemeral, of lesser importance. The truth is contrariwise. First off, roots reggae and Afrobeat are as intrinsically profound as jazz. Second, although Soothsayers have a lot of fun doing what they do--along with their audiences, for ...read more
by Robert Spencer
An eclectic lineup of heavyweights makes this Christmas collection worth more than passing notice: Louis Armstrong, Mel Torme, Kenny Burrell, Lionel Hampton, Ahmad Jamal, Gene Ammons...let's hear a nice round of applause also for Al Hibbler, Ramsey Lewis, Les Brown, Peggy Lee, and Soulful Strings. Everyone sounds just fine enough on this CD to make great background music for the holidays; at the same time, there are a few standouts.
Pops, for one, is tops. Christmas in New Orleans" and ...read more