Oct 8, 2010

Yoshinori Sunahara - Take Off and Landing

barabara sounds sez:
I'm going to be traveling some more over the next couple of weeks. So before I clamber into my big old jet airliner, here's Yoshinori Sunahara with his retro-futuristic vision — space-flights out of Shinjuku Underground Airport, with Paris just 80 minutes away, Vancouver 90 minutes and less than 2 hours to reach Sydney.

Back in 1998, The Times gave it a very generous 9/10. Now, the concept and music definitely feel dated — but there are some fine moments. And the artwork is brilliant (scans included). So fasten your seat belt, sit back and let the plane take the strain…

The Times (RC) sed:
When a dance album features steel drums and the lyrics of Sammy Cahn, one can safely assume it's going to be an interesting 70 minutes. Take Off and Landing is an elegant and expansive affair based on the theme of a fictional Tokyo underground airport. A virtual reality album that relies on your imagination, not headsets.

On Life and Space, the disembodied voice of a BBC-style continuity announcer intones over a backing track reminiscent of Brian Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain. There's a nod to the Art of Noise on No Sun, while a Minnie Ripperton [sic] melody line floats through Sony Romantic Electro Wave. On the concluding track, Welcome to Japan, Yoshinori appears to have time-stretched the opening bars of Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World into an infinite symphony. It is as beautiful as it sounds.

Oct 7, 2010

Snowboy presents... Essential Cuban, Brazilian Hard Bop + Fusion

barabarasounds sez:

Folks over in the UK will know a lot more than me about Snowboy and this album. What I do know is that when he came through Tokyo — it was around the time this album came out — he destroyed the dance floor. The title says it all: a seamless blend of classic and contemporary, jazz and cubano and latin jazz, the insistent rhythms of Rio and Bahia, and even some afrobeat. Needless to say, it's a banger from start to finish!

As a DJ and percussionist, Snowboy's jazz-dance nights in the nineties and noughties are now legendary — as documented in his 2009 book, "From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz: The History Of The UK Jazz Dance Scene" — available here...

an amazon reviewer sez:

I bought this album on a whim,within 20 minutes I was hooked.The brilliant Snowboy has compiled a real foot tapping,hip swinging,sounds of sunny days in Havana type piece. From the flute, bass and piano-driven "(Used to be a) Cha-Cha" to the big-band0era feel of "La Habana Sol"… superb jazz for the soul!!

discogs sez:

As DJ, producer, percussionist and band leader (The Latin Seeds), Snowboy has been spreading the word of Afro-Cuban Jazz for over three decades… He began as a DJ in the 1970's, also learning percussion… He also ran the Hi-Hat Jazz-Dance Club at the Jazz Cafe in Camden Town, London, which has been a cornerstone of the jazz dance scene surviving all other club fads... Considered as one of the most knowledgeable jazz dance DJ's worldwide, he has even showcased UK jazz dance music and dancing, with a troupe of dancers, at Yale University in the USA in 2009.

NME sed (6/30/01):

"...This is mad, effervescent Latin jazz fusion to dance to... filling a tiny weird niche brilliantly…"

There's a good review of Snowboy's book here in Mondomix

And plenty more on his own web site...

Oct 5, 2010

Malik Yaqub - Yaqub Speaks, Vol. 1

barabara sounds sez:
I've been away recently (and will be again shortly) — but I don't need to be posting much at the moment, there's so much other good stuff out there.

Currently I'm grooving on the most incredible track by Malik Yaqub, a clip posted by cinemafunk. If you read Spanish (I don't — but google translate will give you the gist) you can find all about Yaqub and his outside life around Europe. If you don't, then just scroll down to the two clips at the bottom. One is a live snippet from the 6th Jazz in Tangier Festival (2005), featuring the legendary Salah Ragab & his Cairo Jazz Band.

But it's the other clip that transports me. I'm not sure of the track name, but It seems to have a radio introduction, suggesting it was recorded off the air.

Wait, there's more — thanks to a couple of my favourite regular haunts in the blogosphere...
Get yourself over to the mighty El Reza and to Katonah's Private Press, and you'll find a couple more tracks from Yaqub's ultra-rare album...