"Until he was about 20, Texas-born Melvin Sparks was a rhythm & blues guitarist, backing Jackie Wilson, Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye as a member of The Upsetters. But Sparks gave up his seat on The Upsetters' bus in New York City, where a chance introduction to George Benson led him to a place in soul jazz history. Melvin played and recorded with Lou Donaldson, Leon Spencer, Bernard Purdie, Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff, Idris Muhammad, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Charles Earland, Grover Washington Jr., Reuben Wilson and so many more. Even during the quietest years of soul-jazz Melvin stayed relevant through hip-hop and r&b; a quick search at WhoSampled turns up more than 150 samples of his funky chicken scratch. And Melvin's legacy is heard in contemporary soul/funk bands like The New Mastersounds, Soulive and The Greyboy Allstars, all of whom he also guested with several times before his early departure from this realm in 2011.
This release documents Melvin's final band just months before his death. Organist Beau Sasser and drummer Bill Carbone had been working with Sparks for several years, and, despite the power dynamic - they were in their early 30s, Melvin an elder-statesmen of the genre - the unit was sharp, relaxed and performed Melvin's music with a jovial spirit. The trio played the Burlington, VT club Nectar's regularly, but this night featured two "onlys." Per the recommendation of Nectar's agent they used the "Grippo Horns," the only time Sparks used a horn section in the last several years of his life, and they allowed a multitrack recording of the show. Both were strong decisions.
The tracks on this album, lovingly mixed by guitarist, producer and Melvin Sparks fan Eddie Roberts, demonstrate that Melvin played as well in the final months of his life as at any time. Sparks counts "Whip! Whop!" off at what he said The Upsetters called a "showtime tempo," and peppers it, as well as most of the album, with quotes from jazz standards, pop songs and cartoon themes, all woven effortlessly into the bebop-funk dialect he helped create. He unfolds amiable melodies, patiently and methodically, through his several-minute lead on "Breezin'." And Sparks is audibly uplifted by the Grippo Horns helping him perform his 1973 arrangement of "Ain't No Woman" for the first time in decades."
However, I have what may be a better episode for this week of tributes to Tony D. This episode is from February 8, 1990. Easy M was off DJing a party somewhere in Jersey, so his partner from “Too Smooth” (later “Sounds from the Underground”) Fresh J filled in as a co-host. Easy’s absence meant that Tone was given a full two hours on the wheels. And, man, was Tone in full promotion mode. Tons of great Trenton acts, special announcements about groups that were to become legendary, and even some MC Serch references. This really is a classic episode." - Normal Bias
Enjoy this classic Hip Hop flashback and get your copy of TONY D presents BLACK PRINCE/AZIATIC Roger Gardens EP 1993, released in 2016 on limited-edition vinyl here at Juno Records.
"I've always been a HUGE fan of 1970's movies, & the soundtracks that accompanied these movies! Most of all, the classic Blaxploitation movies, so it was only right that I started a mix series dedicated to this genre! "ScreenShots: Soul Cinema: V.1" is the first edition of many, & it will take you on a journey through the world of #Blaxploitation score music in it's golden age, where some of the funkiest, most revolutionary, & most soulful music to ever be made originated from!!! The mix was made using strictly vinyl, along with choice movie clip dialogue to tie it all together. The artwork was done by my bro, the super talented Emagn1, & the mix was mastered with the helpful ear of Pete Rodriguez @Soundcap Audio!!! I hope you enjoy, & stay tuned for future volumes!!! - DJ Epik"
Absorb the great wisdom of Hip Hop Artist Common and author Nelson George with parts from their "Tribeca Talks" lecture during Tribeca Film Festival 2017. They talk about what Hip Hop was about in the Late 1980's Early 1990's, Black Empowerment, Love, Cultural Movement, J Dilla and More!
FRANK N DANK & JAY DEE's "The Jay Dee Tapes" (Colored Vinyl) 12" now available here at Turntable Lab.
Known for a sound of Hip Hop that's dangerous enough to pop ya top like a champagne cork, Blacastan & Stu Bangas are out for the money and the props on the first leak from the upcoming album 'The Uncanny Adventures of Watson & Holmes', dropping June 9th on Brick Records.
"For decades the mysterious Hiroshi & Claudia LP has been an elusive jewel amongst the curious world of Australian private press LPs. With nothing more than cryptic broken-English album sleeve notes to reference, the mythical Six To Six LP is a bewildering and intriguing jazz oddity. With prices of the rare original record hitting three figures, collectors began demanding to know who was ‘Hiroshi’, who was ‘Claudia’ and why did a group of unknown Japanese musicians record an album in Australia in the late 1970s only to issue it in micro-quantities, then seemingly disappear back into obscurity. For years no trace of whom they were nor any clue as to the origins of their peculiar yet entrancing music had surfaced. Until now….
Welcome to the brainchild of Gilles Germain and Carmen Fabro, a French/Italian husband and wife team of restaurateurs and film producers operating in Sydney during the 1970s. Establishing the custom record label ‘Atom’, the duo released a handful of highly obscure vanity jazz LPs and promotional horse racing 45s. (Yes it’s all very strange…) The highlight undoubtedly being the album Six To Six, a session recorded in Sydney in 1979 by a group of touring Japanese jazz musicians led by guitarist Hiroshi Yasukawa, and a forgotten and still undocumented Mauritian cabaret singer performing under the alias ‘Claudia’. Sitting somewhere between spacey Balearic disco, haunting soul and hectic funk reminiscent of electric Miles Davis, the Six To Six LP is a curious beast to say the least. "
The brand new reissue is now available courtesy of Northside Records & Roundtable.
Hiroshi (electric & acoustic guitar)
Nobou (synthesizer & keyboards)
Toki (alto sax)
Kenji (trumpet & frugel horn)
"Favorite Recordings and Charles Maurice proudly present the 3rd edition of their acclaimed AOR Global Sounds compilations series. Another brilliant selection of 14 rare and hidden tracks, produced between 1976 and 1985 in various parts of the world.
On AOR Global Sounds Vol.3, DJ and producer Charles Maurice delivers again a fine overview of the AOR and WestCoast influences for many artists in the late 70s and early 80s. Even more than on previous volumes, he selected highly forgotten productions, deeply infused with Disco and Soul flavors."
"Many of these great gems were naturally produced through all the USA, often made by artists with a very short career and as private press. For example, Jeff Silna only recorded this amazing song after winning the competition of a long gone Miami radio station, the Stratus project started around 1974 in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and was a band led by Bob Ackley who only released this 7” single in 1976 after recording a full album and doing a few gigs around Michigan, John Kontol (Jon Konteau), however having credits for a few productions and appearances and still acting as a musician, never released another LP after his heartbreaking experience with Erect Records, that never rewarded him for his work and even change his name against his consent, as for “Dirt (In The Sky” by 7 Days Unlimited, whose both members were from Pittsburgh area, where a lot of dirt was literally flying in the air, the song was released in 1980 on a very limited 500 copies 7” single.
But this kind of stories and waste of talent is not solely and American privilege, from Willy Santana (member of Placa Luminosa) in Brazil, and Funky Team in Sweden, to Stacey and Out Of The Fog in Canada, this 3rd edition proves again if necessary the international scope and fervor of this music scene, and the surprising amount of great music that go unnoticed at that time.
Fully remastered from originals, with great attention to sound quality as always, AOR Global Sounds Vol.3 (1976-1985, selected by Charles Maurice) is presented by Favorite Recordings in a gatefold vinyl double LP and as CD." - Favorite Recordings
A cool reminisce song amongst many for the Hip Hop books by Fat Nice who brings just the right ingredients to set the tone for you to reflect on good times. Driven by the pleasant sound of a Fender Rhodes piano loop combined with boom-bap drums and a slick scratch chorus, this fat rhyme technician brings something flavorful to the ear of those who light up upon the arrival of authentic Hip Hop style.
Nod your head to the sound of Motor City Detroit as Ma Dukes curates a set of rare Dilla beats for Record Store Day 2017. If your a die-hard Jay Dee head, you may remember some of these beats from his volumes of beat compilations which have circulated online after his passing. Now thanks to his proud mother and Vintage Vibes records, this great music has been pressed to wax as a collectors item on the"Motor City" LP.
Get the "Motor City" vinyl LP packaged in a limited edition mailing envelope by J Dilla here at Turntable Lab.
"Singer, Songwriter, Entrepreneur, & Social Activist, Shelby Johnson or as Prince would say, "ShelbyJ." is a native of Greensboro, NC.
She is CEO of Blackgypsy Enterprises. Her company specializes in Spreading Positive messages, Light & Love through recorded Music, Books,Art & live performance.
Shelby has toured Nationally & Internationally with her band Blackgypsy, Groove Theory, Mary J. Blige, Anthony Hamilton, D'Angelo, Martin Luther, Chante Savage, Santana, Larry Graham & her current band leader,mentor and "co-star" for the 2007 History making Superbowl Halftime Performance... PRINCE!"
"We wanted to make a fresh new sound . fusing my new york / cuban background, with axel's afro cuban background along with all the other sounds we loved listening to like hip hop, rnb, soul, blues, eletronica, weird beat music, rock, jazz, soul, & funk. we wanted to do something with cuban music that's never been done before. as micheal, chris and max came in to the mix things began to change and open up.
Each member is is a musical puzzle piece, they each bring their sound, and life experiences to the table. we have a unlikely unorthodox collaboration, we've broken the rules of what a typical band is supposed be. in fact we stop being a "band" a really long time ago. (u)nity is a movement. a collation of like minded artists. we pay homage to the past. we respect and know the history. but we're not held back by it."- Amaury Acosta
Enjoy the progressive fusion of (U)nity as they pay tribute to a musical style known as "guarapachangeo" - the most advanced form of Cuban rumba, heavily improvisational and based on very complex rhythms and melodies.
This remix single featuring production by A Nicholson Miquifaye and Bae Bro is now available here at Juno Records. The New York-based (U)nity is made up of Michael Valeanu, Axel Tosca Laugart, Chris Smith, Max Cudworth and Amaury Acosta. They formed the band in 2006 as a project to explore Afro-Cuban jazz, funk, soul and contemporary electronica.
One of Hip Hop's new favorite backing bands The Soul Rebels do a great job in adding a new dimension of power and Soul to the music of Nas in a medley of his all-time classics. Live at Byron Bay Bluesfest, Australia, April 13, 2017.