KFJC 89.7FM

Tuba Skinny – “Some Kind-A-Shake” – [Self Release]

aarbor   9/21/2022   12-inch, Jazz

Tuba Skinny is a jazz band from New Orleans. For over 10 years the band has evolved from a loose collection of street musicians into an ensemble of excellent players dedicated to bringing the traditional New Orleans sound to audiences around the world. Their range of musical influences is from spirituals to Depression-era blues, from ragtime to traditional jazz. Their sound evokes the musical heritage of New Orleans. Their loyal following likes their distinctive sound, their commitment to reviving long-lost songs, and their live performances. This release is from 2019 and is primarily ragtime and traditional jazz. Instruments: sousaphone, trombone, clarinet, cornet, alto sax, banjo, guitar, percussion. Some of their other recordings include a washboard (frottoir). AArbor

Mori, Ikue – “Tracing the Magic” – [Tzadik]

aarbor   9/21/2022   A Library, CD

Ikue Mori was born and raised in Japan. She says she had little interest in music before hearing punk rock. In 1977, she went to New York, initially for a visit, but she became involved in the music scene, and stayed. Her first musical experience was as the drummer for the no wave band DNA. Though she had little prior musical experience (and had never played drums), Mori quickly developed a distinctive style: One critic describes her as “a tireless master of shifting asymmetrical rhythm”. This is her latest release on the Tzadik label. There are 7 tracks, each paying tribute to a woman who has inspired her. Mori’s notes give you a sense of each woman. Each track is quite different with somewhat different instrumentation although all include digital electronics. Of note are: track 2 which includes traditional Japanese instruments and sounds as well as prepared piano, and track 7 which includes bagpipes. AArbor

Tabaamrant, Rayssa Fatima – “Tyaghlaghalt Ou L’Echo De L’Atlas” – [Harmonia Mundi France]

aarbor   9/7/2022   CD, International

This is Rwais music. It’s similar to the itinerant troubadors of the European Middle Ages, but more like the West African Griot tradition. Rwais are Berbers from South Morocco. Like the Griots they are the guardians of oral tradition, poems, songs, stories. Their songs tell of the evolution of Moroccan society. Rwais performances are about show and entertainment – they are considered professional musicians. Fatima Tabaamrant grew up as an orphan, never attended school, lived in a rural environment. This most likely informs her poetry/songs. She is the first woman to lead her own troupe and sing her own poems. Her subject matter is cultural, social or moral order. The 7 tracks here follow a Rwai performance with an opening instrumental, Salutations, 4 tracks of songs and a farewell instrumental. AArbor

Nouri & Le Groupe Traditionnel Gnaoua – “Dalali” – [Culture Press]

aarbor   9/7/2022   CD, International

An excellent album from Nouri and the Gnawa (traditional) group. They are from North Africa. The Gnawa are an ethnic group who were brought to Morocco as slaves, their ancestry is traced to sub-Saharan West Africa. Gnawa music mixes classical Islamic Sufism with pre-Islamic African traditions, whether local or sub-Saharan. Gnawa musicians also practice healing rituals, with apparent ties to pre-Islamic African animism rites. In Moroccan popular culture, Gnawas, through their ceremonies, are considered to be experts in the magical treatment of scorpion stings and psychic disorders. They heal diseases by the use of colors, condensed cultural imagery, perfumes and fright. The 7 tracks here which were released in 2000 are traditional but sit well in modern ears. Don’t Miss! AArbor

Sangare, Oumou – “Timbuktu” – [World Circuit]

aarbor   9/7/2022   12-inch, International

Oumou Sangare is from Mali and well known for her feminist views. This is her latest release (2022). She visited the U.S. in 2020 and got caught in the COVID lockdown. She decided to stay in Balitmore, bought a house and started writing and recording songs for this album. From the U.S. Sagare sings words of praise and caution to the folks back home in Mali, especially its women. Sangare has been rising above setbacks for most of her life. To help her single mother – abandoned by her father – to make ends meet, she sang in the street to raise cash at the age of 5. Sangare went on to win a pre-Kindergarten singing competition and embarked on a career that saw her touring the world. Now she is an iconic performer and successful businesswoman who owns hotels, businesses and a car company in Mali. Accompanied by a chorus of vocals and traditional African instrumentation. Sangare creates a sound that sounds ancient but lives comfortably today. AArbor

Os Paralamas Do Sucesso – “Severino” – [EMI Records Ltd.]

aarbor   8/31/2022   CD, International

This is Os Paralamas Do Sucesso’s 7th album from 1994 produced by Phil Manzanera – it is considered to be their most experimental album. Os Paralamas is a 3-piece Brazilian rock band. As you listen to the songs you’ll notice that the introduction to each track is different than then rest of the track.

Queen guitarist Brian May makes a special appearance on this album, providing guitars for track 6. Other musicians of interest include Linton Kwesi Johnson (dub poet of Windrush generation – London is the Place for Me) and Tom Ze [track 7]. The album’s cover was drawn by a famous schizophrenic artist from Northeast Brazil: Arthur Bispo do Rosário. AArbor

Kasirossafar, Mohsen / Mitev, Veselin – “Ditirambi” – [Hermes Records]

aarbor   8/31/2022   CD, International

Mohsen Karossafar is Iranian and is the percussionist here. He lives in Rome and works with many known musicians and composers including Ennio Morricone. Veselin Mitev is from Bulgaria. Here he sings the vocals, plays the gaida (Bulgarian bagpipes), and the kaval (Bulgarian flute). This is modern music which melds ancient Indo-European musical cultures creating atmospheres informed by legend. AArbor

United Vibrations – “The Myth of the Golden Ratio” – [Ubiquity Recordings]

aarbor   8/24/2022   A Library, CD

United Vibrations are from London, UK. They are 3 brothers: Ahmad, Kareem, and Yussef Dayes – and close friend Wayne Francis II. They channel their ideas into soundscapes. While their early material was developed by busking and each song created separately, on The Myth Of The Golden Ratio they fused the process for writing and recording. Since they have access to more instruments in the studio, the band has felt even more creative freedom to enhance their sound. The bulk of the album was written over six months, while two older tracks (“Far Far Away” and “Grow”) were treated with new arrangements for this project.

“The Myth Of The Golden Ratio is a story that tells the tale of us and our journey in this world. It has been written for children and anyone with children or a childlike mind. We are inviting people to join us in the search for the Golden Ratio.” Music with a message that defies genre classification. AArbor

Sly 5th Ave – “The Invisible Man: An Orchestral Tribute to Dr Dre” – [Tru Thoughts]

aarbor   8/24/2022   CD, Soul

Sylvester Onyejiaka is Sly 5th Ave. He’s from Austin, TX, a multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger, session musician and this release is what put him on the map. He toured a a session musician for Prince in his 20’s, and “had the privilege of directing Bernie Worrell before he passed. The last thing Worrell said to Sly after the show was “Beautiful, you’ve got it man. Now… it’s on you.” Essentially he made orchestral arrangements of Dr. Dre’s work. I hear a bit of Herbie Hancock, a bit of Funkadelic, some beats, some jazz. It’s orchestral hip hop. I have to mention that it’s on the Tru Thoughts label which is always a plus for me. The album is dedicated to all the marginalized people in America. AArbor

Deep Street Soul – “Deep Street Soul” – [Freestyle Records]

aarbor   8/3/2022   CD, Soul

Deep Street Soul are a soul/funk band from Melbourne, Australia. This is their first release from 2009. They are known for their delivery of hard-hitting gritty funk. Formed in 2006 as a Hammond-led instrumental four piece, they honed their sound in the Melbourne soul scene paying homage to their heroes from the late 60’s, in particular the sounds of the Meters and Booker T & the MGs. AArbor

Lightning Over the River [coll] – [Music Collection International Ltd.]

aarbor   8/3/2022   CD, International

This is a collection of Congolese Soukous Guitar style music. Soukous comes from the French word ‘secouer’ which means – to shake – as in shake your bootie.This is definitely music that makes you want to dance. Soukous came from the Cuban rumba – a creation of African slaves who mixed their own traditions into the music of their Spanish overlords. By the mid 20th century the rumba returned to Africa where various cultures used it to create colorful local varieties. Note that the opening passage can include a workout for the singer(s), and in the middle there is often and upbeat section called a sebene where the featured guitarist gets to show off their playing. Here are 10 tracks showcasing a variety of musicians and styles. Enjoy! AArbor

Taha, Rachid – “Diwan 2” – [Wrasse Records]

aarbor   7/27/2022   CD, International

Rachid Taha’s work has been in our library for 30 years. Diwan 2 from 2006 has Taha singing with an all-star lineup of musicians. The song lyrics are in French or in Arabic. He’s Algerian and grew up in France. His musical style has been called “Rock and Rai”. He wanted to sing the songs that influenced him and pay homage to his culture. On Diwan 2 the first two songs are from Blaoui Houari [2], a major star in Algeria in the 1950s, and Mohamed Mazouni [1], whose Ecoute Moi Camarade was discovered by Taha in his parents’ attic. They are updated with classy, rhythmic production work from Steve Hillage, making use of anything from hand drums to sweeping strings. Taha proves that he can handle slinky, declamatory songs and ballads. The best tracks are the two written by him and Hillage, [5,7] with the reed flute and percussion driving on his urgent vocals. AArbor

Morgan, Sally Anne – “Cups” – [Thrill Jockey Records]

aarbor   7/27/2022   A Library, CD

North Carolina multi-instrumentalist Sally Anne Morgan tills the soil of old timey music, folk practices old and new, and psychedelia to create music that reaches out beyond its roots. Cups dives headfirst into the waters of the Morgan’s unconscious mind and plumbs those depths for swells of fertile brilliance and awe. Cups includes both improvised and composed pieces. There’s pensive, looped fiddle, tiptoed banjo, sunny parlor guitar arpeggios, droning dulcimer and percussive ripples.
The pieces push outside the rigid bounds of the fiddle tunes that Morgan was raised on, and embrace the inspiration of a moment. Morgan’s composing and recording process was less centered on capturing the perfect take but on finding unique moments and combinations of sounds that reflect back distinct parts of herself. The steady strums of banjo and flutters of fiddle on “Prune” [2} were initially laid atop tambura which was subsequently removed from the piece to give a stronger sense of space and slower pace. Scattered glockenspiels speckle “Night Window” [1] as fiddle loops compound and the evening air spills through open cabin windows. “Through the Threshold” [6] recalls the fiddle tune “Sugar in the Gourd”. Cups, which is named for the tarot card of the same name, is a set of casual yet graceful pieces – devotionals to the mundane and everyday. Simple pleasures like home cooked soup after time spent away which becomes a joyful, sprawling dance of melodies [7]. Pythagoras [4] is about the dilemmas of pastoral life and the impending slaughter of her first ram. “Everything about these songs is deeply intuitive, from the gut, trying to not think about it with my conscious mind,” she says. “In many ways my path as a musician has been a slow lesson of turning off my thinking rational mind and learning to trust my body and subconscious.” AArbor,

Tholfsen, David – “Walk With Me” – [Spoor LLC]

aarbor   7/20/2022   12-inch, A Library

David Tholfsen is from San Leandro and is definitely a KFJC listener. He says “The majority of these songs are conjured up while walking or hiking. The songs come home and three to 6 voices are multi tracked and mixed together. There are chants and rhythms that move your feet, climb that hill, cross that street. Pick out a song, set it on loop and walk for miles.” I suppose he’s attempting to inspire the listener to exercise – at least that’s what it says on the record jacket. It’s fun to hear his voice as multiple voices. There are 22 short tracks here. AArbor

Skank – “radiola” – [Sony Music Distribution]

aarbor   7/20/2022   CD, International

Skank are white boys from Belo Horizonte, Brazil who’ve been recording and playing together since the early 1990’s. Radiola from 2004 was their first compilation album. It includes only four new songs, including the Gilberto Gil cover “Vamos Fugir”. There’s also a Bob Dylan cover “I Want You”. The cover artwork is a painting by the Los Angeles artists the Clayton Brothers. Skank started out intending to mix dancehall with traditional Brazilian styles, but what you’ll hear on this release is closer to Britpop and the local style called Clube da Esquina. AArbor

Camelspotting [coll] – [EMI Hemisphere]

aarbor   7/20/2022   CD, International

A lovely collection of music from all over the Middle East: Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen… all tracks have vocals. The music is by newer artists in a traditional style. Very danceable – you’ll find this album in my playlists for the bellydance segment of my show for the last 20 years. AArbor

JeConte and Mali Allstars, The – “Mali Blues” – [Soulnow Records]

aarbor   6/22/2022   CD, International

They met at the Festival in the Desert: American JeConte (vocals and harmonica), harmonica player and rhythm guitarist Boubacar Sidibe, n’goni player and electric guitarist Adama Drame, percussionist and calabash player Mahamadou Kone and bassist Sekou Bah. This release was recorded in 2012 in Bamako, Mali during a coup d’etat. The intent is to preserve the music and culture of the people of Mali and to raise money to support them during a difficult time. The musicians are heavy hitters, the music is lovely but it’s a bit too shiny/overproduced and missing the grit of an authentic African recording. Some tracks sound bluesy but others are sound more like Afropop. AArbor

Sunny Side Up [coll] – [Brownswood Recordings]

aarbor   6/22/2022   A Library, CD

On Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings label from the UK is this interesting collection of music from Australian/New Zealander artists which was released in 2019. Though not all of these musicians are from Melbourne, the scene they are a part of is centered there. The sound is at the intersection of jazz, soul and club beats. You’ll hear splashes of deep house, cha cha, samba, p-funk and soul with a jazz mindset as the common denominator. AArbor

Flock – “Flock” – [Strut]

aarbor   6/7/2022   A Library, CD

Flock is a brand new collaboration between five leading musicians from London’s open-minded jazz and experimental scenes: Bex Burch , Sarathy Korwar, Dan “Danalogue” Leavers , Al MacSween and Tamar Osborn. Each performer plays a variety of instruments here. They gathered in London during the Summer of 2020, with the intention of trying something fresh. Some of the band had never met in person before the session. Burch wrote texts as scores for the session and the emphasis was on breathing and listening to each other. The music was freely improvised. Sometimes they chose to stay on form and rhythm, repeating melodies and groove. Each track has its own sound even though the instrumentation is consistent. The playing is outstanding. Probably the best new jazz release I’ve heard this year. AArbor

DakhaBrakha – “Na Mezhi” – [Self-release]

aarbor   6/7/2022   CD, International

DakhaBrakha is a Ukrainian folk quartet which combines the musical styles of several ethnic groups.
Created at DAKh Center for Contemporary Art, DakhaBrakha is led by Vladyslav Troitskyi . It was born as a live theater music crew. Members of DakhaBrakha participate in the Centre’s other projects, notably in the all-female cabaret project Dakh Daughters. You’ll hear driving drum rhythms, cello and accordians played for rhythm and to create atmosphere. Their voices are lovely and haunting both in singing and building the mood of the music. Almost reminiscent of Les Mysteres des Voix Bulgares but more haunting in a very Slavic way. AArbor

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