Saturday, 18 November 2017 11:20 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF


Blessed with a big, booming, old school soul voice - think Mavis Staples meets Koko Taylor with a hint of Macy Gray's husky rasp - Brooklyn singer BETTE SMITH is set to release her much-anticipated debut album, 'Jetlagger,' in the UK on February 7th 2018 via Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum. Already available in the US, it has garnered a raft of rave reviews praising Smith's magnetic performances and ability to create a unique sound and larger-than-life persona in an age when mass-produced, identikit pseudo-soul vocalists proliferate.

'Jetlagger'  was helmed by ex-Buddy Guy sideman, Jimbo Mathus, down in deepest Mississippi, which probably accounts for the palpable blues-rock feel that infuses the album,  whose material ranges from trippy psych-soul soundscapes and gospel-drenched hymnals to rollicking R&B rave-ups and Stax-style horn-laced groovers.

Bette Smith is due to tour Europe early in the New Year, with a UK concert slated for February 27th at London's Borderline  (see details below)


Feb 27         London Borderline   Tickets
March 1        Paris Sunset-Sunside Jazz Club 
March 2        Amsterdam Paradiso   Tickets
March 4        Cologne YUCA (Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld)
March 5        Berlin Quasimodo

Look for out for an interview with Bette and a full review of 'Jetlagger' at SJF early in the New Year

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 December 2017 11:47



Friday, 17 November 2017 12:57 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altFor those of you who like to swing (we do mean in the strict musical sense!) at Christmas may we point you to an upcoming album from UK label Silva Screen Records? 'A SWINGING BIG BAND CHRISTMAS' is a 12 track, various artists affair that offers new looks at traditional favourites like 'Let It Snow', 'Jingle Bells', 'Sleigh Ride' and 'Winter Wonderland'.

Amongst the performers are British jazz veteran Liane Carroll, the acclaimed Joe Stilgoe, Ronnie Scott orchestra frontman Shane Hampsheir and Keith Ferreira – the "singing accountant" who does a great "Bing job" on 'White Christmas'. Another highlight is the slinky take on 'Santa Baby', fronted by Ms Carroll while the whole team get together for the rousing final offering – 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas'.

The London Music Works Band swings superbly throughout and the arrangements come courtesy of Evan Jolly and Callum Au while the producers are Jolly and colleague Rick Clarke.

A SWINGING BIG BAND CHRISTMAS is released on Silva Screen records on November 27th

Last Updated on Friday, 17 November 2017 13:05



Friday, 17 November 2017 11:37 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThe latest single from the Los Charly's collective (essentially, Juan Laya and Jorge Montiel), is a lovely, light retro soul groove, 'The Message'. Credited to THE ANDRÉ ESPEUT QUINTET (André is the go-to vocalist for the Charlys team), the tune will remind you of all kinds of classics – most notably Marvin's 'What's Going On'. Not only does it boast the same intriguing, easy on the ear, multi-layered ambience, the lyrics, too, speaks to our community and "how we could pull together as people letting go of judgment and self-importance".

'The Message' – André Espeut Quintet – released on Imagenes recordings on 1st December

Last Updated on Friday, 17 November 2017 11:41



Friday, 17 November 2017 11:32 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF


Just announced is a digital licensing agreement between Universal and the legendary German jazz label, ECM, which will make the Munich-based company's entire repertoire available for the first time ever to stream across all digital platforms.  This means that from today, Friday November 17th 2017, listeners all across the world will be able to access the label's catalogue of over 1,600 albums via Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Deezer, Tidal, and, for the audiophiles out there that crave hi-res sound quality, Quboz.

ECM(which stands for Edition of Contemporary Music) was founded 48 years ago in 1969 by jazz bassist-turned-producer, Manfred Eicher, now 74, together with Manfred Scheffner and Karl Egger, who watched the company flourish from the 1970s onwards with the acquisition of star American performers such as pianist Keith Jarrett - who's still with the label today 46 years after his first recording for them - vibraphonist, Gary Burton, guitarist Pat Metheny, and drummer Jack DeJohnette.

Perhaps more importantly, the label - whose distinctive, high quality artwork was as much an important component of its identity as its sound - also nurtured and showcased a wealth of European jazz talent, including such noted musicians as Jan Garbarek, Eberhard Weber, Paulo Fresu, Ketil Bjørnstad, Arve Henriksen, Tore Brunborg, Eivind Aarset, Steffano Bollani, and Erik Honoré. The label also presents classical music and the works of contemporary composers via its New Series imprint.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 November 2017 12:22



Friday, 17 November 2017 10:31 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altIf you like your music a little more adventurous and (dare we say it?) cerebral then you could do worse than check out the album 'Siren' from Robb Scott. Scott is a London-based a musician, singer, songwriter, composer, arranger and producer with several albums under his belt. Robb has also worked in a number of bands as well as composing for film, promos and commercials. 'Siren', though, I'd venture to suggest, is his most ambitious project yet.

For starters it's an epic 18 tracker that touches all kinds of musical, bases and with song titles like 'Venus In Virgo (A Perfume Tone)' you know you're not in for an easy musical ride, especially when you see that the "Overture" is the penultimate track, followed by what Robb calls the "Postlude" – 'You Ought To Go With Me'.

So what's the overall 'Siren' soundscape? Well... impossible to say; there's all kinds of everything here - all tied together with a commitment to serious soul and jazz. To try to give context, try to imagine Rotary Connection meeting up with Donald Byrd in the Cafe Del Mar then getting Charles Stepney in on the act! Bizarre, yes, but even that doesn't really tell you what 'Siren' sounds like. In places it's ethereal and atmospheric; elsewhere robust and brash but it always intriguing.

Most accessible tune is the bold, brass-laden groove that is 'Neptune Atmosphere (You Didn't Feel My Love)'. Here the soulful vocal come courtesy of Gina Foster (other featured vocalists include Sylvia Mason James, Elizabeth Troy, Sandra St Victor and Julia and Maxine Waters). Then there's the lengthy 'California Suite Revue' which, in places, reminds me of something else... could it be Light Of The World's 'Bahia'?

Complex or not, 'Sirens' has clearly struck a chord; it now features on several credible soul album charts and its available now on Rotary End Records.



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