CALLING ON YOU

francis bebey – sanza nocturne
sun ra – india
dj shadow – in/flux
khruangbin – summer madness
herbie hancock – death wish
helado negro – sound & vision
the so ons – tej
the doobie brothers – you belong to me
merging traffic – mr magic
grover washington jr. – mr magic
the stance brothers – on top (guitar & flute)
the talking heads – burning down the house (lntg acid remix)
soundforce – american lover (diesel edit)
lonnie liston smith – spirits free
izy – frantic
gary bartz – music is my sanctuary’
bobby hutcherson – yuyo
s.fidelity feat bluestaeb & melodiesinfonie – love international inc
bokani dyer – ke nako
atomga – lucidity
soul supreme – umi says
station 17 + kalabrese – jabaluu
john carroll kirby – sensing not seeing
gil scott-heron – 17th street (live)
the beastie boys – song for junior
stereolab – come play in the milky night

 


MIX NOTES

Sanza Nocturne – Cameroon-born Parisian author, playwright, musician, and sculptor Francis Bebey released albums for over 30 years, beginning in 1968. His early stuff was often guitar-based, but he branched out into synths and traditional African instruments as the years wore on. He’s credited with helping launch Manu Dibango’s career in France, and for popularizing the Cameroonian Makossa rhythm.

India – This slow bit of weirdness opens up Sun Ra’s 1957 “Super-Sonic Jazz” LP, released on his own label, Saturn – one of the first artist-owned, Black-owned labels of its kind. The Arkestra in those days was an an octet, and they had yet to really embrace the freaky-deeky costumes and free-form poetry that defined their legacy. But lucky for us, the music had already left the stratosphere. Some people in the 50s and 60s used to call music like this, with clear Eastern & Western fusion, “Exotica”.

In/Flux – I think this is from DJ Shadow’s very first 12” on James Lavelle’s London label, Mo Wax, under the name DJ Shadow and The Groove Robbers. Three years before his 1996 landmark LP Entroducing came out, he was already really adept at crafting weird, moody soundscapes that were above and beyond a lot of the basic Hip Hop beat makers running around at the time. Turntablist records rarely held my interest for very long, but Shadow remains and exception to that rule.

Summer Madness – Yes, Khruangbin songs all have the exact same sound and reverby mix, but when it works, it really works, and Kool & The Gang’s “Summer Madness” is a slice of schmoove I will never tire of.

Death Wish – Mr Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters in stellar form for the soundtrack of Dino De Laurentis’ 1974 white rage opus, Death Wish. The movies freaked me out as a kid, mostly because the director seemed to have a rape fetish, and Charles Bronson isn’t exactly likable in them. He’s a psycho. The music, however, is uncut DOPE.

Sound & Vision – a dreamy, almost lullaby version of the David Bowie classic from Brooklyn based musician Helado Negro aka Roberto Carlos Lange. This was the first single released for the Bowie tribute album “Modern Love”, released last month on BBE.

Tej – Southern Cali instrumentalists The So Ons blend Afrobeat and Afro-psych with Ethiopian Jazz and come up with a sound that feels like it was made just for me. This recording came out on a 45 in 2018 and includes members of Antibalas and the Charles Bradley band.

You Belong To Me – Having grown up on Yacht Rock before stupid, ironic hipsters had named it so, this era of Doobie Brothers is just simply good music to me. Michael McDonald co-wrote it with Carly Simon, who had a much bigger hit and Grammy nomination with it the following year, 1978.

Mr Magic – Keith Rowe of Rocksteady duo Keith & Tex produced this cover in Brooklyn in 1975, under the name Merging Traffic. It was one of only 3 releases on Midwood Records. The B-side is a killer 70s dub of Keith & Tex’s 1967 Rocksteady classic, “Tonight”.

Mr Magic – I suspect smooth Jazz radio kinda ruined this Grover Washington Jr. song for a lot of ears, but it still bumps for me.

On Top (Guitar & Flute) – Some instrumentalist, left-field Jazz Funk from Finnish producer/drummer Teppo Mäkynen, who goes by the alias The Stance Brothers. It’s very reminiscent of Lou Donaldson’s “Pot Belly”. Timo Lassy on flute. Kind of a head-nodder. Came out in November on WeJazz Records.

Burning Down The House (LNTG acid remix) – This song was way way WAY overplayed in my high school, but I have learned to let go of many such childhood musical judgments, and live in the moment. This remix cleverly weaves some 303 Acid basslines into the groove and it works surprisingly well. Late Night Tuff Guy puts his usual thump and compression into it, making it a big heavier to suit my current levels of judgement.

American Lover (Diesel EDIT) – A relatively obscure mid-tempo post-disco number from Soundforce, an early 80s French studio project from Gaya Bécaud, son of famous French singer, composer and actor, Gilbert Bécaud.

Spirits Free – 1969 Keyboard funkiness from Lonnie Smith, the 70s organ wizard guy in the turban, not the 70s organ wizard guy in the kufi (Lonnie Liston Smith).

Frantic – Some legit brand new funk from Izy (pronounced Eye-Zee) – a very young band from Cairns, Australia, of all places, which is way way up north in Queensland, on the Great Barrier Reef. I’ve got a few stories of my own from that part of the world, but I sure as hell never heard a band like this over there. It’s from their first album, “Irene”, released in March of this year. The whole record is solid.

Music Is My Sanctuary – A staple of rare groove sets in the 90s, this is the title track from Gary Bartz’s 1977 album. The term “rare groove” has thankfully been rendered meaningless in the digital age, but back then, it was essentially a word-of-mouth network of DJs sharing rare or often simply slept-on tunes they discovered while digging. The best part was when you realized you already had the record (!).

Yuyo – Crazy energy in this Bobby Hutcherson track from his 1975 Montara LP on Blue Note. A master of the marimba and vibraphone, Bobby Hutcherson grew up in LA, listing to early jazz records with his friend Dexter Gordon. His older sister sang with The Gerald Wilson Orchestra and introduced him to that whole Pacific Jazz scene. He started gigging at Pandora’s Box on Sunset Strip in the late 50s, while still just a teenager, and quickly became tight with so many of the players that would fill the Blue Note roster for the next two decades.

Love International Inc – Producer and DJ S. Fidelity was born in Switzerland and currently splits time between Berlin and London. He’s been releasing dope music since 2014. His joints display an eclectic love of worldly sounds and all kinds of rhythms that I can vibe with. He’s down with a whole crew of producers and MCs you might know like Suff Daddy, K, Le Maestro, and Bluestaeb and Melodiesinfonie, who collaborated on this track. This is from his first full length album, released in April of this year.

Ke Nako – Back in January of this year Brownswood released the “Indaba Is” compilation – a collaboration with pianist/songwriter Thandi Nthuli and Siyabonga Mthembu (from The Brother Moves On) to highlight current Jazz goings on in South Africa. This Bokani Dyer track jumped out at me, bumping along with a rhythm and cadence somewhat reminiscent of D’angelo’s “Spanish Joint”, but with a bunch of weird time-changes and some great solos thrown in.

Lucidity – I just recently discovered this Denver-based Afrobeat band Atomga, that has been around for 10 years already. Anybody that waves the flag for Fela is fam to me, so I was thrilled to hear this for the first time. They’re doing it right in every way.

Umi Says – Love this dreamy instrumental version that Swedish DJ and producer David Åström aka Soul Supreme released on 45 back in 2009. He also releases electro house tracks under the name Kocky.

Jabaluu – I found this quirky-ass tune a few months ago on a vinyl bootleg of Chez Damier edits. Station 17 is Hamburg musician collective started in the late 80s, with the intention of mixing players with and without physical disabilities. They mix up jazz and disco and krautrock and noise and seem to have a lot of fun doing it. The gobbledygook vocals on this track are provided by a guy named Kalabrese, a eccentric nightclub owner and promoter from Zurich who’s reputation throughout Germany seems to precede him.

Sensing Not Seeing – Despite looking like a cross between Kenny G and that sweaty saxophonist in The Lost Boys, LA pianist/experimental musician John Carroll Kirby has been steadily building his rep as a sideman and stellar producer, working with everybody from Solange to Shabazz Palaces to Blood Orange to Frank Ocean. This is from his latest album of loose jam sessions with his go-to band of music makers, released just last week on Stones Throw.

17th Street (Live) – The live Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson album this comes from, “It’s Your World” (1976), has a special place in my soul. When I was 19 and secretly raiding my college radio station’s crates for forgotten music, I found a scratched up copy of both pieces of the double vinyl album, with no sleeve. No liner notes. No nothing. And for a few years that was the only copy I had seen, so I just had to accept the music for what it was with no visuals or information whatsoever, other than the titles. And at that time, no real understanding of Gil Scott Heron’s place in the pantheon of Hip Hop and Jazz Funk and House and Black Liberation. The mystery of it all, and probably the fact that I literally stole the record at the risk of expulsion, made me value it way more than simply buying it a store. This is the first track on Side B, recorded live at Paul’s Mall in Boston, Massachusetts, and captures Gil’s spirit to perfection.

Song For Junior – A song I completely slept on, from the Beastie Boys’ 1998 Hello Nasty LP. With Eric Bobo from the Beastie’s touring band on percussion. Sounds a lot like it was inspired by El Chicano’s cover of Gerald Wilson’s “Viva Torado”, but who can say? The Beastie Boys have always displayed a deep love of all kinds of music, so it’s only fitting they got to stretch into some Latin grooves every now and then. Their “In Sound From Way Out” LP is a great collection of their instrumental excursions and a must have for catalogue completists.

Come Play In The Milky Night – If you’ve never heard this song but the melody sounds familiar, it may be because J Dilla lifted it and slowed it way down for Jaylib’s “The Message” and Robert Glasper often works it into his live sets with MCs and singers. The song appeared on Stereolab’s 1998 LP “Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night”. I never really got totally into these guys, but I do occasionally like to groove to their weird, French cocktail Jazz meets 60s Idlewild Airport lounge vibe. Dassit for now, famz.


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