With this ’best of’ collection, the stark beauty of the Boston three-piece’s melodic and melancholic rock becomes painfully eVident, from early heartbreaker ’Taillights Fade' to feelgood anthem ’Velvet Roof', and all the way through to the recent disturbing commentary of ’Rachael’.
Basrcally, Asides From . . . is a damn fine collection of realistic and heartfelt laments and celebrations. What's more it’s a life-affirming and affecting glimpse into an honest band's beautiful yet flawed soul. (Doug Johnstone)
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Four CD Box (MCA/Experience Hendrix) w a
From the first Experience concert in Paris in October I966, through unreleased studio takes to his last live UK show, Isle Of Wight 1970, over half this set is new material, such as the raw, hard-hitting first track, a previously unreleased alternate take of ’Purple Haze’. The band’s sheer JoyOus exuberance is proof that in I967 they thought anything was possible. Sadly though, there's still too much stuff here that’s been out before, some consolation being the accompanying full-colour 80-page booklet detailing each track and featuring previoust unseen pix from his brilliant career. (Gabe Stewart)
Relax With The Mekon (Wall Of Sound)
John Gosling’s last album featured Schooly D and this one boasts the collected talents of hip hop queen Roxanne Shante, Marc Almond, Alex Gifford and Les Rythmes Digitales' Jacques Lu Cont. Sure-footed yet grossly eclectic, this delights and disappomts by turns. The album’s opener is a blinder With its thick beats and delicious vocals from Shawn Lee. What follows though are a few lacklustre genre stabs (80s girly rap, camp molo R&Bl and things don't really get back on track until ’Calm Gunshot', a dark piece touched by the hand of Lord Barry Adamson. From here on in the album is abSUrd giddy fun. (Paul Dale)
Phuture Soul (Solemusic)
This is very much the music for putting up your feet in the shade as the sun beats around you -» which makes its release at this time of year pretty bloody priceless. Jazzy sOuI slides into energetic house With some finesse, however, and this eclectic collection certainly has its electric moments Graham Jerimia has a rummage in his record bag to emerge With some Wicked bass breaks and danCing guitar shapes, but much of this collection is a bit too coffee table, airbrushing may be fine fOr magazme covers, but doesn’t quite work on a dance compilation One for a sunny day. (James Smart)
Various Artists Curtis Sound Machine (Pace) - Parisian suburbanite Curtis hasn’t got
much fromage in his kitchen. What he does cook up is deep-fried house of the bass-driven variety. It's palatable enough Without being truly spectacular, ranging from DaVid Holder’s roughed up ’Lrvrng In The Proiect’ through a selection of unexceptional fillers to the South American swrng of Isolee’s ’Beau Mot Plage' and Eddie Matos’s funky 'Listen To The Music’. A regular diet of Curtis’s cuts might get a little bland (he’s got a new one out in spring), but if you’re into your house you could certainly do worse than this set menu.
Matt 'Jam’ Lamont: The Jam Experience (React) «‘v w x it
Long before UK Garage went ballistic, Matt ’Jam’ Lamont was spinning the speed garage flavas down at the original South London venue, The Frog & Nightgown. Together With his long time partner in crime Karl ’Tuff Enuff’ Brown, Lamont has played an integral part in pioneering the scene and this experience screams at high volume from this, his debut solo compilation. Encompassing the relatively diverse garage sounds of breakbeat, two step and classic anthems, it’s all here on two CDs that friskin pump out 36 non-stop garage flavas from the likes of Mike Dunn, Richie Dan, Azzido Da Bass, Artful Dodger and of course Craig DaVid. ’Boombastic, fantastic etc .’ (Catherine Brornley)
Good Times with Joey and Norman Jay (Nuphonic)
This funky cabaret isn't exactly cutting edge, unless yOu’ve genuiner never enc0untered the likes of ’Rebel Without A Pause' or ’Funky Nassau’ before, and hasn’t even been mixed. Luckily, it has got more style than you can shake your ass at. On paper the brothers Jay’s mix of riotous hip-hop polemic (think KRS-l’s ’Sound Of Da Police) and high-octane disco shouldn’t work alongside some of the more laid-back funk and s0u| grooves on offer. On record they certainly do. It may am0unt to little more than a party compilation, but this party has James Brown on the door and Stevre Wonder dorng a stand-up set in the back room. Arrive early. (James Smart)
SOUL Various Artists
Version Excursion (Harmless) :r I. A collection of strange, brilliant covers.
Two thirds of this compilation is superb and then it all goes a bit pants. Here’s why: we start off With Driscoll’s ’Light My Fire’ class, things jUSI keep getting better, Barretto’s version of ’Pastime Paradise’, Buddy Rich, Lou Donaldson does Curtis and you’re in seventh heaven. Then you hit Dick Hyman’s ’Give It Up And Turn It Loose’ not a great cover but OK, this is followed by the James Brown’s Hot Pants, covered by The St. Vincent Latinaires, legends, yes but not for this! Things are getting a bit too cutesy and cheesy. But the real clinker is Hayes' ’Walk On By’, great tune certainly, but totally out of place here, like play'ng a funeral dirge at a Kiddies party. C0uld have been a contender. (Paul Dale)
New Orleans Funk (Soul Jazz) 1? 7% W air
Not only can New Orleans calmly lay claim to inventing Jazz, but it also Witnessed a quite unprecedented period of polyrhythmic cross fertilisation between West African, Latin and Black American rhythms in the early 70s which reached its most popular expression in the work of a certain Dr John. In fact much of New Orleans Funk predates that period and is therefore arguably not funk at all but particularly spiritual sOul and sparse R&B in which a funky signature bassline is only beginning to reveal itself. Of course that’s Just an anally retentive muso qUibee because any compilation which features both The Meters 'Hand Clapping Song’ and Aaron NeVille’s classic ’Hercules’ is worth yOUr immediate attention. (Tim Abrahams)
Ruben Gonzalez Chanchullo (World Circuit) :2. a: a:
Gonzalez is one of the Cuban musical legends who found international fame in his tWiIight years followmg the release of the Ry Cooder-produced album, Buena Vista Social Club. Incredibly, Gonzalez overcame arthritis in both hands to play piano again on that Grammy-Winning album. He then went on to record his debut disc, Introducing . . ., and now the octogenarian is back With another ten-finger feast draWing on a muSical past that includes danzOn, son montuno, cha cha cha, guaiira and descarga.
A personal fav0urite track is ’QUizas, Quizas’, made famous by Nat King Cole back in the 60s. And on ’Choco’s Guaiira’ the ’Cuban Nat King Cole’, Ibrahim Ferrer guests With his fellow Buena Vista star. The rest of the session musiCians hold their own With Gonzalez — they’ve been touring With him for the past two years. Gonzalez’s touch is still light and Sure, that you can hear from the opening notes of the title track. (Miles Fielder)
record reviews MUSIC
Matt Jam Lamont proves he is experienced
Coruscating (ECM Records) * 'k i at John Surman's often hauntingly beautiful compositions on Coruscating reflect the very English pastoral feel which permeates much of his music. They are written for Surman’s u5ua| horns (soprano and baritone saxes, bass and contrabass clarinets) and a string ensemble which features Jazz- rooted improwsations from master bassist Chris Laurence, and more conventional playing from a quartet of orchestral players. The atmospheric moods are eVident in evocative titles like 'At Dusk’ or 'Moonless Midnight’, while ’Stone Flower’ is a tribute to Ellington’s great baritone saxman Harry Carney, and the more kinetic ’An Illusive Shadow' has its origins in a ballet commission. Not really jazz in a conventional sense, but some lovely music, and some top-drawer improwsation into the bargain.
Melaza (Columbia) 1': it * Saxophonist Davrd Sanchez continues his exploration of the connections between Jazz and the roots and rhythms of his native Puerto Rico.
' Melaza (it means molasses) is
dedicated to celebrating the ’sweet and rich culture which arose out of suffering in the African diaspora’ but there is little hint of sweat or torment in the polished and vibrant mu5ic which Sanchez and his band produce. The saxophonist is joined once again by the exoting pianist Edsel Gomez, but has a new bass player With the distinctly un-Puerto Rican name of Hans Glawischnig, provmg that rhythm IS universal. Miguel Zenon contributes on alto sax, there is a shifting cast of drummers and percussionists, and Branford Marsalis guests on a couple of tracks. (Kenny Mathieson)
STAR RATINGS 5: it 1 1r t t Unmissable . i. t is 1? Very ood . s a t Wort a shot * a Below average 5 * You’ve been warned
5—19 Oct 2000 THE lIST 51