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Les Yper Sound – “Explorations In Drums and Sax” – [Figure & Ground]

aarbor   6/3/2020   12-inch, A Library

Originally Les Yper-Sound (also sometimes called Les Hyper-Sound) was a fake band consisting of Michel Colombier and Pierre Henry. On this recording  (which was released in 2016) there are 5 tracks written by the originals and 10 written by Jas Walton [sax] and Miles Arntzen [drums] who are the current version of Les Yper-Sound. The “remarks” on each track will tell you everything you need to know. My favorite remark is “about the track Potato Brain: “Moroccan Qarkabeb. Dramatic. Lights off.” It’s playful, tongue-in-check and lot of fun, after all it’s on clear vinyl – do not miss this one!

AArbor

JAMBU E OS MITICO SONS DA AMAZONIA 1974-1986 [coll.] – [Analog Africa]

aarbor   6/3/2020   A Library

Jambu and the mythical sounds of the Amazon. Jambu, it turns out, is an appetite stimulating plant which is used in the cuisine of Belem in the Brazilian state of Para (Northeast Brazil) the gateway to the Amazon. This collection is a well-researched guide to the music of this region by the folks at Analog Africa. A range of styles and music which reflect the local culture as well as influences from the Caribbean and Africa.

AArbor

String of Pearls – International 78s [coll] – [Mississippi Records]

aarbor   5/20/2020   12-inch, International

The first release on Canary Records, a sub-label of Mississippi Records. Each track is an old 78 recording from a different country, social, religious, or ethnic group. The performers came from every economic class. Their people were oppressed or oppressors. They barely survived the upheavals of their times or floated above them. They were recognized for their musical gifts and were showered with love for it, or they made a living, made some music and that was that. “They were trained virtuosi performing for people in the know or played in funky dives, or they sang when the occasion called for it – or all of the above. Their influence lives on today, or their names are forgotten. They played something novel and forward thinking, or something comfortable and familiar, or something popular in its time and since lost, or something nostalgic and anachronistic even in their own day. A very mixed bag of performers and performances in an attempt to retell worthy stories. Should be an amazing label. AArbor

King Sunny Ade & His African Beats – “Bobby” – [Sunny Alade Recordings]

aarbor   5/20/2020   12-inch, International

King Sunny Ade was born into a Nigerian royal family. In his musical evolution he started playing in a highlife band then formed his own band, which has changed names several times over the years. This album is from 1983 when his band was called the African Beats. Bobby is “Bobby” Benson another Nigerian musician who died in May of 1983, to whom King Sunny is paying tribute with the suite on the B side of this record. Benson’s music was African melody with a Latin beat. But that sound is not reflected in the music here. Ade’s sound is a gentle griot style with modern instruments including pedal steel guitar, synthesizers, keyboards etc.  AArbor    

Armon-Jones, Joe – “Turn To Clear View” – [Brownswood Recordings]

aarbor   5/6/2020   A Library

Joe Armon-Jones is kind of the MVP of the new London Jazz scene. He seems to play and record with everyone in that scene. He’s a graduate of Tomorrow’s Warriors – the primary training venue for most of the players in this scene. Armon-Jones is a keyboard player whose musical influences include: heavy dub, club culture, R&B, hip hop and even Afrobeat. His bandmates include: Oscar Jerome, Moses Boyd and Nubya Garcia. Nubya appears prominently on track 7 which is well worth a play, as are tracks 1, 4, 5 and 8. AArbor  

Parliaments, The – “Baby I Owe You Something Good” – [Revilot]

aarbor   5/6/2020   A Library

Released for Record Store Day 2019 this is an early recording by the Parliaments (with an ‘s’). It’s a period piece from 1967-68 – although not in league with the more popular music of the time. Sadly it lacks the energy and flourish of their later work but it gives the listener a sense of where they came from. Funkadelic later released a song with the same name – quite different. I liked the instrumentals (B side).  AArbor

Gaye, Marvin – You’re The Man – [Universal Music Enterprises]

aarbor   5/6/2020   12-inch, Soul

From 1972 when George McGovern ran against Nixon in the presidential race and a lost year in the life of Marvin Gaye. The title track like its predecessor “What’s Going On” is clearly political but nowhere near as powerful. The issues may be different today but the message is still relevant.    I liked the B sides of both of the records. Apparently Stevie Wonder gave Marvin Gaye a brand new Moog (which had just come out) it appears on the instrumental Christmas in the City and is cool. AArbor

McCRAVEN, MAKAYA – Where We Came From (Chicago – London Mixtape)

aarbor   4/8/2020   A Library

Chicago drummer Makaya McCraven jams and mixes with 4 of the stars of the New London jazz scene: Theon Cross (tuba), Nubya Garcia (tenor sax) and Joe Armon-Jones and Kamaal Williams (keyboards); as well as the more established Soweto Kinch (alto sax), at London’s Total Refreshment Centre in 2017. The players bring dancehall, grime, garage and hip hop into their auditory “vision” of jazz and the remixers take it the next step. Beauty! AArbor

SHABAKA AND THE ANCESTORS – Wisdom of the Elders

aarbor   4/8/2020   A Library

Shabaka Hutchings is the best known and perhaps the most prolific musician from the new London Jazz scene. This is one of at least 3 of his projects. Recorded in South Africa Shabaka Hutchings plays with an otherwise entirely African group of musicians paying tribute to their musical and familial ancestors. AArbor  

LAGOS CHOP UP [coll.]

aarbor   4/8/2020   A Library

From 2005, another fine collection from Honest Jons that dances its way through urban Nigerian social music of the of the late 1960’s through the ‘80s. Some say that the 1970s were the golden age of West African dance music before it integrated with Western Pop and became more global. Dig in, dance and enjoy! AArbor

ANTIBALAS – Fu Chronicles

aarbor   4/8/2020   A Library

Afrobeat meets Kung Fu – and it works! In this latest album from Antibalas they return to pre-gentrified Williamsburg (Brooklyn) when both Antibalas and Daptone Records were spawned out of lead singer Duke Amayo‘s kung fu dojo. After 20 years Antibalas are still fresh. AArbor

SUN HOP FAT – “Sun Hop Fat” – [Self Released]

aarbor   3/11/2020   A Library

Sun Hop Fat are Oakland’s own Ethiojazz outfit and this CD is almost as good as attending one of their live shows.  Tracks 5,8, and 9 are traditional Ethiopian favorites beautifully done, and the rest are their own high energy honky, squonky sax driven tunes. Don’t miss Spackelface [6] and Yum Yum [4] AArbor

POP MAKOSSA: The Invasive Dance Beat of Cameroon 1976-1984 [coll.] – [Analog Africa]

aarbor   3/11/2020   A Library

Once again Analog Africa succeeds in unearthing beautiful and obscure tracks of ‘Makossa’ a kind of dance music from Cameroon. Makossa bridges traditional African music to the funk, disco and soul of the US in the 1970s and ‘80s. Vocals by Donna Summer or even James Brown could work on some of these tracks. An extremely well curated collection that was 7 years in the making. AArbor

Jain, Sunny – Wild Wild East – [Smithsonian Folkways]

aarbor   3/11/2020   CD, International

Sunny Jain is the leader of Red Baraat a Brooklyn-based Indian-style street band and an up and coming player in the NYC music scene. When I read that he had a new release on Smithsonian Folkways I was curious, and after listening to the first few tracks and reading the liner notes, I was completely hooked by the passion of this release: it’s very personal- it tells about his life [don’t miss the family pictures in the liner notes]. Jain grew up in Rochester, NY as the child of East Indian immigrant parents. He writes in the liner notes about his confusion in 1st grade when learning about the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and the “Indians”, and the numerous Cowboys and “Indians” stories. Here he plays with these themes: The “Indian” on Western terrain, Cowboys and Immigrants [2]. Morricone and Bollywood [5,6,9], South Asian rebels [7], Spirituality [10], his childhood [8] and other musics which influenced him (jazz, surf, post-punk) [1,3,12] He wonders which side is he on? [4]The music plays with Indian words and instruments mixed into Western songs. On track 4 a Muslim rapper decries the way he’s treated in post-911 America. This is an album that brings tears to my eyes as the child of immigrant parents in 21st century America. Even though my family comes from a different continent, I’ve felt those feelings too. – AArbor  

KUTI, FELA RANSOME & HIS KOOLA LOBITOS – “Highlife Jazz and Afro-Soul” – [Knitting Factory Records]

aarbor   3/4/2020   A Library

Fela’s first (pre-Afrobeat) band was the Koola Lobitos and this is 3 CDs full of their music. Before he went to England he was the vocalist for Victor Olaiya’s All Stars. He returned to Nigeria from Trinity College of Music in London to find Highlife being thrashed by pop music and he responded by creating a new style that you can hear on this album. It brings together Highlife and Jazz – African rhythms and elements of the Jazz he must have heard in London. This is truly the “roots” of Afrobeat. AArbor

DE TRIANA, CHININ – “Cante Jondo” – [Folkway Records]

aarbor   3/4/2020   A Library

Chinin De Triana (1927-2006) was the stage name of Vicente Garcia Valganon, a popular flamenco singer in Spain. On this 1963 recording on Folkways Records, De Triana is accompanied on guitar by Emilio Bonet. Flamenco music (usually associated with Andalusian gypsies) has strict and complex forms, with occasional improvisations in the lyrics. This is classic flamenco. AArbor

Da Damn Phreak Noize Phunk – “Electric Crate Digger” – [!K7 Records]

aarbor   3/4/2020   12-inch, A Library

Da Damn Phreak Noize Phunk is Oliver Bondzio and Ramon Zenker. They also release music as Hardfloor with more of an acid sound. Both have collaborated with numerous others. Released in the UK in April of 1999  Electric Crate Digger is their very first release as Da Damn Phreak Noize Phunk. Driving rhythms, wah wah guitars, break beats, trip hop and an appealing dancey vibe. – AArbor  

TAMBURO, MIKE – Way To Be Free, The – [Sounds Eternal Music]

aarbor   2/26/2020   A Library

Mike Tamburo is an independent musician, sound explorer, music educator, filmmaker, musical instrument builder, interdisciplinary sound artist, gong enthusiast, storyteller, writer, meditation teacher, installation artist, painter, who lives in Soquel, CA. He is a well known multi-instrumentalist and plays the hammered dulcimer, gong, shahi baaja, swarmandal, autoharp, the crowned eternal (an instrument he built out of a headboard), tuning forks, guitar, percussion, electronic instruments, bulbul tarang, bass gopichand, gulbulgar, singing bowls, bells and clarinet. He runs 2 small labels called: New American Folk Hero and Sounds Eternal. He teaches Kundalini yoga, Nāda yoga, sound therapy and Experimental Instrument Building. Early in his career he gained notoriety for his string playing (hammered dulcimer, guitar and shahi baaja). This release is 4 tracks: 1 short and 3 long. The short track includes a Mellotron. The tracks verge on trancey in an East Indian way but are enjoyable listening. AArbor

SHANTEL – Oh So Lovely/Remixes – [!K7 Records]

aarbor   2/26/2020   A Library

Shantel is German DJ/producer Stefan Hantel whose ancestry goes back to Bosia, Serbia and the Romanian part of Bukovina than is now part of the Ukraine. This explains his music which mixes gypsy brass orchestras, and traditional Balkan music with electronic beats. You’ve heard his music on the Electric Gypsyland compilations.   This release is from 1998, it is Eliza Doolittle’s song “All I Want is a Room Somewhere” as remixed by Serious Dropout, Shantel himself, and Mr. Scruff. AArbor

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