Ezra Collective – Juan Pablo: The Philosopher

Having already broken into the local jazz consciousness with last year’s Chapter 7 EP and the Sun-Ra informed Space Is the Place single, London five-piece Ezra Collective have dropped their anticipated Juan Pablo: The Philosopher EP, a heady collection of new wave jazz tunes.

Ezra Collective are a good emblem for the revitalised London jazz scene that has become highly conscious of the interplay between the roots that soul and hip-hop have in jazz, including the late 2000s broken beat scene and the rediscovered (for the second time since the early 2000s) West African funky heritage.

The EP opens with a sunny, psychedelic keyboard trill that composes itself and morphs into the afrobeat-style brass refrain that forms the centrepiece of opening track ‘Juan Pablo’. It continues throughout its blissful 23 minutes with a full-throttled dissemination of funk, atmospheric disco-esque rhythm and late night post-bop.

The dynamism and craftsmanship on display here speak for an inner love of rhythm and jazz that’s been lacking in a scene saturated by real book purists and faux-pas cocktail bars. Juan Pablo: The Philosopher is bold, colourful and, dare I say, breakthrough: it’s something to get excited about. Ezra Collective are sure to be a solid reference point in UK jazz for the years to come.

You can get Juan Pablo: The Philosopher on Bandcamp. 45turns tip: keep an eye out for a repress before the end of the year. 


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Les Yeux Orange – Togosava (Good Plus)

The two releases so far on Les Yeux Orange’s Good Plus imprint have proved as evasive as they are killer. This month, Good Plus have resurfaced for the second time this year with ‘Togosava’, three characteristically killer afrodisco edits.

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‘Avidio’, spanning the entire A-side, is an atmospheric mid-tempo disco chugger with a swinging groove. It’s really nice, but the flip side is where the action is.

‘Yanga Mbiwaa’ is a lurching afrodisco monster that rises up with West African chants and juicy bass before throwing you off the trail with dissonant guitar, double-stops and key changes, making it all the sweeter when it does lock in to the groove.

‘Autoradio’, spins you around the eternal ephemeral, a hurricane of formalities, where bright alto sax ponders the point of going, moving, introducing and asking..It’s dark, decadent and bouncy, and the 45turns favourite. Listen to it below.

You might be able to buy Togosava on Les Yeux Orange’s Bandcamp page, if you keep your eyes peeled.

Letta Mbulu – In The Music… The Village Never Ends [Be With Records]

Letta Mbulu’s seminal 1983 effort is a landmark in South African musical development, and the kind of record you would pass over in a bargain bin.

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The first run of Be With Record’s reissue of this synth-funk classic in 2015 ran like water, and it wasn’t long before the Discogs stock exchange inflated with prices of the reissue resembling the original 1983 press. This September, Be With Records, in their great wisdom, have repressed the reissue of the original and you can buy it now. Lost? Then just listen.

The South African pop prodigy straddles the 45turns spectrum, from cosmic soliloquies echoing British New Wave (the oft-sampled ’Normalizo’) to hard disco boogie (’The Village’) and balearic odes (‘Down By The River’). Mbulu does all this without falling astray of her distinctly South African milieu: songs like the opener, ‘Juju’, with its chant-led energy and distinct bass guitar style. look forward to Paul Simon’s 1986 Southern African expedition, ‘Graceland’, released three years after ‘In The Music…’.

 

An extremely rare South African LP, ingeniously ahead of its time, once again available on vinyl and sounding as fresh as ever.

The reissue of ‘In The Music The Village Never Ends’ is available for a short time at Be With Records. If you’re strictly Discogs, skip the pirates and get it from disque72.

Lordamercy & Dego – Green Woods (2000Black)

2000Black is an acclaimed London imprint that has built a reputation for putting out records that explore the electronic side of funk, soul and jazz. Lordamercy & Dego comprise part of the production team behind the label, and they’ve just put out one of September’s most impressive discs.

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Green House is the first track up and the 45 Turns highlight. Sparse kicks, crisp claps and meandering keys provide the current for this jazzy, tropical-feel gem. What should be a mismatch of West African, Brazilian and UK broken beat influences comes together finely to make this a killer cut.

 

B2, What Does It Take To Come In First, is the other favourite. Its laid-back boogie attitude feels less outspoken than the rest of the 12″, partly because the rhythm section draws the track together coolly for a serious disco work-out. It sounds like an expertly trimmed edit but this is actually an original disco cut, and a sleek one at that.

 

Green Woods is released on the 8th Sept 17 on 2000Black. Get it from the source at 2000Black’s bandcamp page or from any tasteful dealer.