Although the title of the new recording from impromptu trio Jeff Lorber, Chuck Loeb and Everette Harp is ‘Jazz Funk Soul’, what it actually provides is top-notch jazz-fusion of the sort that aficionados had despaired of ever experiencing again. Make no mistake this is contemporary jazz of the highest order and certainly the most interesting release of the year so far. However, considering the pedigree of those involved this is hardly surprising.
This title of this generous two-CD anthology is a bit of a misnomer: While it includes several blaxploitation film themes, it is much more than just a strict genre compilation. Although there are the expected soundtrack picks like "Shaft" by Isaac Hayes and "Superfly" by Curtis Mayfield, this album also includes plenty of non-soundtrack items to create a convincing urban atmosphere. The producers wisely layer in some interesting obscurities along with the obvious choices, and this helps to keep things fresh and interesting.
Last summer we enjoyed the first fruits of a UK soul "supergoup" – The British Collective; a team that consisted of star vocalists Don E, Junior Giscombe, Leee John, Noel McKoy and Omar. Now as we enter a new year, another UK "supergroup" arrives to treat us to some fine music. The Brit Funk Association is made up of former members of Beggar and Co, Hi Tension, Central Line and Light of the World and though the various members have known each other for a long, long time it was in the autumn of 2016 that they decided to get together…
Australia is not the first place you think of as a crate-digger's paradise. But these 20 slices from the country's early-Seventies season in commercial R&B and pop-jazz fusion are a lively lesson in the ingenious adaption of imported trends over an extreme distance. This is overwhelmingly white funk: "Back on the Street Again," an Etta James cover by Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, and the ID's "Feel Awlright" are examples of hot shots from Australia's Sixties-beat and heavy-rock scenes finding their dance-floor feet; a track by the progressive-rock band Tamam Shud comes from the soundtrack to a 1971 surfing documentary. But it is all robust fun with intriguing sampling prospects.