What was once a space rock side project has now become something much tauter. The Chicago quintet Cave have channelled the syncopated sounds of jazz, jazz funk and afrobeat to create ‘San’ Yago’. It features on the new album Allways.
Evening folks. It’s late and the time is ripe for Kokoroko. The London-based Afrobeat band is led by trumpet player Sheila Maurice-Grey. The sublime sound that is ‘Abusey Junction’ is clearly inspired by Fela Kuti, but with a smoothy smooth thing applied. The track features at the end of the We Out Here released by Brownswood Recordings earlier this year.
St Germain is the stage name of Ludovic Navarre, one of the leading purveyors of the “French Touch”, the wave of French filter house of the late 1990s. His style has a mixed up deep house, jazz and lounge. With its understated Marlena Shaw sample, ‘Rose Rouge’ is the opening track off his 2000 album Tourist. “I want you to get together/put your hands together one time.” Have a great weekend.
‘Nature Boy’ was first recorded by Nat King Cole. Released as a single by Capitol Records in 1948, it is one of the earliest pop songs to feature on this blog. It was written by Eden Ahbez, an unusual chap by any measure. A beatnik poet and proto-hippie, Ahbez chose to wear long hair and Jesus kit. When Capitol Records sought Ahbez and the publishing rights, a deal was far from straightforward. Eventually they located him camping out beneath the first L in the “Hollywood” sign. The back story seems at odds with one of the smoothest sounds in the pop canon. Have a great weekend.
“Hey you! You’re losing your Vitamin C”. Despite the quirky lyrics, Can’s 1972 song ‘Vitamin C’ is best known for its kick-ass bass line and the precise drumming of Jaki Liebezeit, co-founder of the krautrock pioneers. The track featured on their 1972 album Ege Bamyasi and has been a staple sample since the era of block parties.
Samuelsounds begins a short hiatus this festive season. I leave you with my favourite sounds of 2017 in no particular order. See you in the new year.
Honourable mentions also go to: Jordan Rakei for ‘Hiding Place‘; Future Islands for ‘Ran‘; Bicep for ‘Glue‘; Dornik for ‘God Knows‘; Real Estate for ‘Darling‘; Foxygen for ‘On Lankershim‘; Mac DeMarco for ‘This Old Dog‘; John Mayer for ‘Moving On and Getting Over‘; Big Thief for ‘Shark Smile‘; Kevin Morby for ‘Come To Me Now‘; St. Vincent for ‘New York‘; Rex Orange County for ‘Edition‘; Public Service Broadcasting for ‘Progress‘; Lorde for ‘Green Light‘; The National for ‘The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness‘; and alt- J for’3WW‘.
To some, Wood, Brass & Steel’s ‘Funkanova’ is an archetypal jazz funk track. To others, it’s simply a disco instrumental. To the clubbers that continued to dance to its tune many years after the band disappeared, it is verging on proto deep house. In 19767, the band recorded one album, self-titled its release on the Turbo label, and then promptly broke up. Have a good weekend.
Back to 1983, before I forget to say…”I’ll be your lollipop/You can lick me everywhere.” James Mtume was part of Miles Davis’s band, full of avant-garde, obscure fusion jazz. But the ’80s came along and he and his band started creating a far more commercial soul sound. I stumbled across ‘Juicy Fruit’ years after its release, via one of the Classic Mastercuts compilations that I came to love in the early ’90s. Then, when it was famously sampled by Biggie Smalls for his debut single, the song evolved from a certified slow jam groove into something far more juicaaay. Have a relaxing Easter break.
It’s a buttery start to the week for I’ve just learned that Al Jarreau died yesterday. His canon of work that so seamlessly bridged pop, jazz funk and R&B, is largely lost on me; mainly because it so seamlessly bridged pop, jazz funk and R&B. However, after much of his most celebrated recordings has passed, he wrote and recorded this Nile Rodgers-produced tune for a TV series that left an indelible feelgood mark on my memory. R.I.P.