Veteran Brit music man CHRIS BANGS was very busy last year. He released an acclaimed collaboration album with Mick Talbot (see . Then, before the plaudits had the chance to die down “Bangsy” got stuck into a new project – an album of music which, using his  DJ-ing craft, guile and experience, would, he said, be  reminiscent of the classic ‘80s era on the UK dance scene.

This new project was flagged up in October with a lovely single – a pairing of a cover of vibraphonist Cal Tjader’s  1967 ‘Samba Do Sueno’ and ‘Soccer Samba’ –  a hugely percussive samba school romp.

The parent album, ‘Firebird’ is now almost good to go. It’s officially released on January 27th and early previews reveal that the ten tracker lives up to the promise and vibrancy of that autumn single.

‘Samba Do Sueno’ kicks off proceedings and it still sounds good – a 21st century gloss on a classic Latino, retro sound. Oddly, maybe, ‘Soccer Samba’ isn’t featured on the long player. But have no fear, there are plenty more cuts that offer the same breath-taking, samba school energy . For starters, there’s the album’s title track, there’s ‘Ritmo Picante which features some bonkers Herbie Mann style flute, there’s the wild ‘Sambara’ and don’t pass on a version of Brazilian drummer Dom Um Romao’s ‘Kitchen – Cosina’ named, I’m guessing, ‘cause it’s meant to have everything thrown into the mix. Chris does just that!

For something a little different try ‘Circuit Break’ where the guitar/Hammond interplay and the horns hark back to the great days of Soul-Jazz. Then there’s the tight, soulful, brassy beater, ‘East Coast’, guaranteed  to set feet tapping and heads a-nodding. Yes, plenty here for lovers of the deep groove.

Helping Mr B deliver his ideas are a team of sessioneers of Premier League proportions… people like jazz guitarist Nigel Price (Van Morrison, David Axelrod, JTQ), jazz piano stylist Janette Mason (Seal, KD Lang, Robert Wyatt), trumpeter Dave Priseman (the late Jeff Beck, Imelda May), saxophonist Simon Bates (Elvis Costello, Chaka Khan, Carleen Anderson), UK vibesman Roger Beaujolais (Robert Plant, Tony Allen, (Neneh Cherry), and bassist Ernie Mckone (Boogie Back), fresh from his remix duties for Paul Weller. The occasional Flora Purim-esque vocals come courtesy of Mary Carewe. Between them, that team, helmed by mixer-in-chief Chris, deliver a heady cocktail of Latin music that is thoroughly contemporary (witness the update of ‘Samba Do Sueno’)  yes has its roots in that genre’s and the 80s UK dance scene’s vibrant heritage.

Chris Bangs ‘Firebird’ is released on January 27th via Acid Jazz . Learn more about Chris, his music and his influences @