Chris May at The Vinyl Factory has done a great job making choices for introducing their vinyl junkie readership to the best of Ethiopian jazz from the 1960s onward. Special thanks to Al Clark for pointing this wonderful link out to me.
People today are rightfully grieving the loss of Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries, who died far too early at the age of 46, but we lost another luminary as well. Edwin Hawkins passed away today due to complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 74, and he left one of the most joyous songs to ever get radio airplay.
We send a mountain of respect to Charif Megarbane, head honcho of the Cosmic Analog Ensemble, for producing an album that combines the best of jazz, funk, noir, soundtrack music and deep groove. We’re looking forward to more from him!
Sudan Archives is a vocalist and violinist who hails originally from Cincinnati, Ohio (what a shame she wasn’t directly from Khartoum with a band name like that, alas), and who is working out of Los Angeles, California, making her a local to me. Her Soundcloud page is active with some extremely interesting cuts which straddle the like of hip-hop (the good kind which actually sounds like art), electronic music, world music and R&B. I can’t wait to hear more from this talented artist.
Girma Bèyènè was one of the leading lights of Ethio-jazz during the 1960s and 1970s, before the rotten Deng ruined music for decades. He moved on to Washington D.C. and continued to make music with fellow Ethiopian ex-pats. He ended up getting asked by French band Akalé Wubé to come out of retirement and sing, and this groovy cut is but one of the tracks they paired up with. Their collaboration album is available on Bandcamp.
From Daptone Records, the same company who brought you Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, comes another neo-soul combo, The Jay Vons. The feature members of Reigning Sound, Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens, and Robbers on High Street.
This is easily the funkiest take on a jazz standard I’ve ever heard. Apparently, the Kashmere Stage Band were famous for making funky sounds which were the equivalent of the JB’s and the Bar-Kays during their peak in the 1960s. Really amazing stuff.