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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Kokoroko: Kokoroko

Read "Kokoroko" reviewed by Chris May

If you ask an Afrobeat fan to name their favourite bands--excluding lineups led by Fela Kuti during his lifetime--the probability is that their top five choices will include Seun Kuti's Egypt 80 and Femi Kuti's Positive Force, both based in Lagos, along with Dele Sosimi's Afrobeat Orchestra, based in London. Other credible outfits have emerged, but ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Zara McFarlane: East Of The River Nile

Read "East Of The River Nile" reviewed by Chris May

As a teaser for her upcoming album, the divine Zara McFarlane has released a 4-track EP revisiting Jamaican dub and rockers wizard Augustus Pablo's canonical 1977 single “East Of The River Nile." McFarlane's disc, on which her wordless vocals stay close to Pablo's original melodica topline, showcases her signature blend of jazz and Caribbean music to ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Maisha: There Is A Place

Read "There Is A Place" reviewed by Chris May

The London jazz scene, which is in 2018 more active and characterful than it has been since the jazz-dance movement of the 1980s, offers up another jewel with this debut physical-release by spiritual-jazz septet Maisha. The band, led by drummer Jake Long, surfaced in 2016 with the download-only live album Welcome To A New Welcome (Jazz ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Zara McFarlane: Arise!

Read "Arise!" reviewed by Chris May

Zara McFarlane is a London-based singer and composer with a voice like an angel and a style that reflects her cultural roots in the Caribbean and in the mash-up that is modern metropolitan Britain, where jazz, grime, hip hop, reggae and other musics of black origin are hybridising and shape-shifting with joyful abandon. She is an ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Joe Armon-Jones: Starting Today

Read "Starting Today" reviewed by Chris May

Something exceptional is happening in London in spring 2018. A succession of albums, recorded by an intimately connected community of around 60 young musicians, is taking jazz in ear-opening new directions. Hybridisation and genretic modification are the names of the game, but the scene also reaffirms the music's traditional building-blocks, among them the creativity of black ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Toshio Matsuura Group: Loveplaydance: 8 Scenes From The Floor

Read "Loveplaydance: 8 Scenes From The Floor" reviewed by Chris May

Loveplaydance is the latest chapter in a collaboration which started over 25 years ago between Tokyo DJ Toshio Matsuura and London DJ Gilles Peterson. At the time, Matsuura was a member of the mutant jazz and funk collective United Future Organization (U.F.O), and Peterson was running the post-acid jazz Talkin' Loud label, whose name was derived ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Various Artists: We Out Here

Read "We Out Here" reviewed by Chris May

This vivid snapshot of young London's jazz scene, featuring nine bands and a collective pool of 35 musicians, contains close to an hour of daring and uplifting music--from rebooted spiritual-jazz through abstract experimentation to Afrobeat-flavoured dancefloor urgency, a rich mix further enlivened by shots of grime, hip hop and funk. It was recorded over three days ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Daymé Arocena: Cubafonía

Read "Cubafonía" reviewed by Matt Hooke

Dayme Arocena's Cubafonia is a triumph for the 25 year old Afro-Cuban singer. Arocena cements her status as one of the best young talents from Cuba, with a diverse set of songs that combine Cuban rhythms with jazz, neo- soul, and Latin pop.

The opening track, “Eleggua," is an exciting cut. The song is ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Zara McFarlane: Arise

Read "Arise" reviewed by Phil Barnes

Zara McFarlane's If You Knew Her from 2014 promised much, being a wonderful, individual, mixture of jazz, reggae and soul that viewed the singer's Jamaican roots through the prism of her UK birth and London upbringing. It was an original blend that signaled the arrival of a major talent on the UK scene, setting a path ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Yussef Kamaal: Black Focus

Read "Black Focus" reviewed by Rokas Kucinskas

If people still think that the capital of jazz is New York, surely they've never been to London or listened to anything that comes from the British capital these days. Just like New York, London is a melting pot. Because you can find musicians from any part of the world, the produced outcome is extremely cosmopolitan. ...