Brian Hurst is a lifelong, passionate supporter of all things soulful and jazzy and via his excellent promotion company – www.soulandjazz.com (no relation) – he works tirelessly to promote the cause. Through podcasts, internet radio and his writing the good Mr. H has brought new and exciting music to countless ears jaded with the same old same old and here with his second compilation album, he continues his crusade.
The 12 tracker offers the very best of indie soul and jazz from the past 18 months and kicks off in the finest style with a fabulous remix of one of the period’s biggest tunes – Gregory Porter’s ‘1960 What?’ It’s presented here in an epic 10 minute remix from Gerardo Frisina. Dubbed “The Cuban Soul Mix”, it really does embody the irresistible qualities and rhythmic magic of the island. The tune was always a good ‘un; now it’s even better. Another immediate grabber offers a different take on soul. Michon Young’s ‘I’m Waiting On You’ is a smouldering gospel ballad that, if you’re in tune with your emotions, should make those neck hairs bristle… yes, it is that good.
Porter and Young hail from soul’s heartland, of course, but Hurst casts his compiler’s net far and wide. So the album’s two big jazz instrumentals are of Japanese origin – Room 56’s ‘Hit The Devil’ and the Jazz Collective’s ‘Renovation’. Australia is the source of Milan Ring’s laid back ‘Pay Day’ while Sicilian Gabriele Poso mines a gentle Latin grove.
Elsewhere there’s music from the likes of New Orleans’ Boukou Groove (a great falsetto vocal on ‘I’ll Take You There’), Farnell Newton (the laconic ‘Everything Is Clear’) and the ever dependable Ananda Project (‘Two Hearts’ with vocals from Alex Latimore). They all add up to a great, truly modern soul and jazz compilation with not one retro pastiche masquerading as “modern” on offer. Well done Brian Hurst! One small criticism, though. Using white print on an orange background for the liner notes makes it impossible to read those notes and credits… but that’s no reflection on the excellent music.