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Thursday, 10 July 2014 10:56 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF



Earlier this year, New York-based Japanese trumpeter TAKUYA KURODA turned heads with 'Rising Son,' his debut long player - helmed by singer José James - for the iconic US jazz label, Blue Note. With its refreshing amalgam of funky soul-jazz grooves, percolating Afrobeat-infused rhythms and elegant post-bop horn lines, 'Rising Son' witnessed the Kobe City native stepping out from the shadow of singer José James, with whom he has been recording and touring for the last three years.

But Kuroda isn't an overnight sensation. Like his mentor, James, he's a graduate of New York's renowned New School For Jazz & Contemporary Music and has been toiling in the Big Apple for a decade playing all kinds of gigs to pay the bills. After coming to the attention of James and appearing on the singer's second album, 'Blackmagic,' in 2010, the trumpeter began making his own recordings which resulted in two self-produced, independently-released albums in 2012, 'Six Aces' and 'Bitter & High.'

Kuroda was recently in the UK as sideman for label-mate James but also played some gigs of his own, one of which was at last weekend's prestigious Love Supreme jazz festival near Brighton. The amiable and very talented horn man took time out to talk to SJF's Charles Waring about his music, background and ambitions...


Last Updated on Friday, 11 July 2014 06:55



Wednesday, 09 July 2014 10:42 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

MamasGun_A04UK band MAMAS GUN are set to release their third album – 'Cheap Hotel' - on September 15th. In the meantime the long player is heralded by an infectious summer single, 'Red Cassette' which continues to deliver the quality blue-eyed soul promise of their first two albums. The song is a paean to nostalgia.... recalling the days of making your own mix tapes and even recording your own radio shows... all wrapped up in an uplifting soundscape.

The five piece, fronted by emotive singer Andy Platts, debuted with 'Routes To Riches' from which the lovely 'Pots of Gold' won the hearts of soul fans world-wide and particularly in Japan where the LP went top 3! Their second LP, 'The Life And Soul', was equally well accepted and since then the band have toured all over the place, even landing a support slot on Stevie Wonder's tour of Indonesia. With a new bass player on the team, MAMAS GUN are all set to move up to another level – a fact justified by their recently announced support slot on Lisa Stansfield's upcoming UK Autumn tour.

RED CASSETTE by MAMAS GUN will be available from 17th August

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 July 2014 09:09



Wednesday, 09 July 2014 10:40 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

THNorthern Soul refuses to go away. BBC's Culture Show recently focused on the music and had top economics journalist Paul Mason analyse the whole thing. Then, of course, there's the soon-to-be-released Northern Soul movie starring Lisa Stansfield, Steve Coogan, Christian McKay and Ricky Tomlinson while the genre's aficionados still keep uncovering long-lost gems.

Those aficionados, of course, will need no introduction to Northern legend TOMMY HUNT. .. one of those great old school soul singers who never quite made the major musical league in the States, but who, when their old 60s stuff was "discovered", became canonized wherever Northern soul was the religion.

After the ex-Flamingo and Scepter recording artist was "discovered" in the UK he relocated there in 1968 and was signed to Spark Records. There he recorded the custom-made Northern set 'A Sign Of The Times' along with a live album at the legendary Wigan Casino. Both those long-deleted sets were reissued on Shout Records last year and on the back of the recent upsurge of interest in all things Northern, Shout and Cherry Red (its partner label) are re-promoting album.... 'A Sign Of The Times... The Spark Recordings' is available now on Shout Records.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 July 2014 10:51



Tuesday, 08 July 2014 18:39 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

James_Rick_completeTen years after his premature death at the age of 56, the extraordinary larger-than-life wild man of soul and funk, RICK JAMES, is honoured by Motown - the label he was with from 1978-1986 - via the digital release of his complete back catalogue for the company. Available from today, July 8th, the flagship download release is a digital collection titled 'The Complete Motown Albums,' a mammoth 109-track set that features nine complete albums (beginning with 1978's 'Come Get It' and ending with '86's 'The Flag') and which is bolstered with a raft of exclusive bonus tracks. These include collectable 12-inch mixes as well as the three albums that James helmed for the Stone City Band, plus an album each from his protégés Bobby M and Val Young. Also appended to the set is the very rare eponymous debut LP by White Cane, a band that James led prior to his Motown success in the early '70s.

Five of James' nine Motown albums are also available separately in digital form with bonus material - among them the '80s long players 'Cold Blooded' and 'The Glow,' which have never been reissued before.

Rhino has also announced that they will be reissuing James' 1988 Reprise album, 'Wonderful,' as well as releasing for the first time its follow-up, a lost LP called 'Kickin',' which was recorded in 1989 but later canned.


The revival of James' back catalogue in the USA coincides with 'Glow,' a new autobiography from acclaimed writer, David Ritz, which will available on July 18th via Atria Books/Simon & Schuster.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 July 2014 18:56



Saturday, 05 July 2014 14:36 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

raphaelModern day soul hero, RAPHAEL SAADIQ has just recorded a tribute to one of soul's all-time heroes - the late, great BOBBY WOMACK. The song is a moving ballad called 'Gonna Miss U' and the ex Tonis man has posted the song on Sound Cloud.

The posting also contains the following message from Saadiq: "Bobby Womack is one of my musical soul International known Heroes, Never had to chance to work with him, or even talk to him, But I did get a chance to shake his hand and say hello, although he didn't know when I spoke to him, if felt like I knew him for a very long time, my parents would always play Bobby Womack Records in the house, and I continued to listen to them, So, much love to Bobby Womack and his Family, Here's Toast to Bobby, a song I finish last night after I heard the news"




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