Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Phil Dawson ٤-tet ‎– I'ts Time (2020)

Genre: Electronic, Rock, Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD, FLAC
Label: Kudos records

1.   It's Time (Radio Edit) 06:46
2.   Gnostic Hilife (Nag Hammadi re-edit)
3.   It's Time A.K.A. Ouaga Mama
4.   Gnostic Hilife (Flute Edit) feat. Rowland Sutherland
5.   It's Time (Fully Spoken) 
6.   Gnostic Hilife (Original Edit) 

Matheus Nova - Bass
Lekan Babalola - Percussion 
Khadijatou Doyneh - Spoken Word
Rowland Sutherland - Concert and Bass Flute
Gaspar Sena, Marius Rodrigues - Drums, Percussion
Phil Dawson - Guitar, Bass, Fender Rhodes piano, arrangement/production

6-track mini album from a musician with a long list of credits including South African trumpet legend Hugh Masekela, afrobeat co-creator Tony Allen and Ethiopian jazz originator Mulatu Astatke as well as many Brit-jazz and other international roots artists. “It’s Time” blends Afro-jazz groove, free improv, spoken poetry and other-worldly atmosphere, with lyrics and titles hinting at unorthodox takes on reality and the times we live in.

'This is great' - Gilles Peterson, BBC Radio 6 Music 

'Amazing' - Chris Phillips, Jazz FM

'A truly intriguing release from Phil Dawson and his incredibly funky friends... he has history, and the proof is in the pounding sound heard here' -   

"Buoyed by flute, bass and percussion, It's Time is a six-track brew combining free improv and spoken word with Afro-spiritual groove and a far-out esotericism befitting these strangest of times. Opener ‘It's Time (Radio Edit)’ is a psychedelic romp through a beneficent cosmos where ringing chords and woodwind trills underpin Khaditjatou Doyneh's pathos-laden musings on love and the universe and one of three variations on a theme. Over three minutes longer at 9:34, ‘It's Time (aka Ouaga Mama)’ is a freewheeling instrumental made dazzling by Dawson's silver-fingered guitar work; Doyneh resumes her pronouncing on the more dissonant but equally mind expanding ‘It's Time (Fully Spoken)’. Then there's ‘Gnostic Hilife’, whose three interpretations each juxtapose the structures of this West African lingua franca in ways tight, spacious and inventive." - Jane Cornwell, Jazzwise Magazine

"absolutely wonderful" - Katrine Ring, P8 Jazz Radio, Denmark

Nubiyan Twist ‎– Freedom Fables (2021)

Genre: Jazz, Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl, FLAC
Label: Strut

1.   Morning Light
2.   Tittle Tattle
3.   Buckle Up
4.   Keeper
5.   Ma Wonka
6.   Flow
7.   24-7
8.   If I Know
9.   Wipe Away Tears

Band Leader/ Guitar/ Percussion: Tom Excell
Drums: Finn Booth
Percussion/ Vocals: Pilo Adami
Bass: Luke Wynter
Keys: Oliver Cadman
Baritone Sax / Dubs: Joe Hewood
Tenor Sax: Denis Scully
Alto Sax/ Vocals: Nick Richards
Trumpet: Jonny Enser

Nubiyan Twist take a leap out of the densely packed crowd of UK jazz, soul and folk music collectives with Freedom Fables, a summation of the group’s talent that sees them elevated into the highest tier of their cohort. 

The Leeds-conceived, London-based project’s third album traverses musical and social histories with lightness and dexterity, weaving nine tales of personal memoir into one long call for unity. ‘Buckle Up’ sees Soweto Kinch, the UK sax player and rapper, and Nubiyan’s resident vocalist Nick Richards communicate the importance of looking inwards to find the answers you need, while Kinch’s alto noodles rather than parps, as if rifling through his subconscious while millions of memories flash by at a speed too fast for his mind’s eye to keep pace with.

Just as easily, Nubiyan turn their hand to hip-swivelling Brazilian rhythms on ‘Keeper’, where regular collaborator Cherise’s hollers of “We fight the keeper of the keys” come off like a global call to arms, while ‘Ma Wonka’ features a guest turn from Ebo Taylor protégé Pat Thomas on vocals (the man often referred to as The Golden Voice of Africa) on a highlife track that could pass as the greatest dusty bargain bin discovery of your life.

The stylistic shifts don’t end there: ‘Flow’ is a tale of anxiety told with a jerky jazz-cum-R&B forward motion that calls to mind Esperanza Spalding and is the sort of track that could easily see Nubiyan reach new audiences with its more accessible arrangement, as does ‘24-7’, a smooth, smoky number with vocals from Ego Ella May that recently found itself making national radio playlists. 

Album standout ‘Tittle Tattle’ is an attack on the crawling, pernicious power that gossip continues to cast over us, its soukous rhythms clashing with UK garage-like beats before it bursts into a spider-dancing sax funk breakdown. There is no suggestion that the group have softened their edges or muted their ambitions; on the contrary, this would seem to be the record that has unlocked their most potent weapon, which is storytelling.
Max Pilley / Loud And Quiet