Playlist – 04 February 2015: a Brazilian rare groove classic

Click the MixCloud tab this week to hear two jazz contributions from Scotland; the wonderful trumpeter Colin Steele and a new sound from Circus FM with excellent vocalist Flora Munro.

From France, via Steve’s Jazz Sounds, came the excellent Florian Pellisier Quintet, sounding a bit like the Cosmic Jazz favourite Matthew Halsall and with an album called Biches Bleues. Where did they get that from I wonder? Also from Steve was another excellent, contemporary-sounding trio led by Michal Tokaj.

If there is one tune this programme that you must have it is Aldeia de Ogum  from Brazilian singer/musician and songwriter Joyce.  When I first heard this I went searching in a London record shop and paid a lot of money for a vinyl copy of the album Feminina. The whole album is much treasured but this tune is simply sublime and is now available on CD compilations.

I heard Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics recently and realised that, quite wrongly, I had neglected their album. It is simply deep, engrossing and captivating music. As is Sun Ra whose selection was inspired by the reference to ‘space’ in Jarrod Lawson’s Music and its Magical Way. Come to think of it, Sun Ra might have liked that title too!  Jarrod Lawson straddles soul/R’n’B/gospel/jazz and he is a quality act.

I am not forgetting Carmen Lundy and Esperanza Spalding, but if you follow Cosmic Jazz you will know all about them.

joyce femininaNeil notes: Ah – Joyce and Feminina! When Derek and I first met, we discovered (at least) two specific shared musical experiences. The first was the rare appearance of Fela Kuti in a freezing Brixton venue in the 1983 for an epic concert featuring both a tongue-slashing witch doctor and guest appearances from 24 of his recently married wives. The second was the event referred to above – a specific visit in 1989 to Mr Bongo’s basement record shop in Berwick Street, Soho to get one of the few UK copies of Joyce’s seminal Feminina album – on vinyl of course. Prior to this, rare Brazilian originals were changing hands for well over £100.  Aldeia de Ogum is well chosen: this was the track that would pack the dancefloor at Dingwalls in Camden Town when young DJ Gilles Peterson was on the decks.

Over a forty year recording career, Joyce’s music has spannedjoyce essential musical and cultural divides, from 60s psychedelia to Brazilian dance floor jazz and Joni Mitchell style folk through to anti-government revolutionary political songs. Brazil’s 1970s military dictatorship persecuted many artists, and ensured that their music was censored and often banned. A few years ago, Mr Bongo released The Essential Joyce 1970-1996, currently the only available survey of her full musical career. It’s highly recommended as an overview, but for the real deal buy a CD or vinyl reissue of Feminina, first released in 1980 and revel in the magic of Joyce’s music.

  1. Florian Pellisier Quintet – Valse Pour Helene from Biches Bleues
  2. Michal Tokaj Trio – The Sign from The Sign
  3. Jarrod Lawson – Music and its Magical Way from Jarrod Lawson
  4. Sun Ra – Kingdom of Not from Space Odyssey
  5. Carmen Lundy – Sandegna  from Soul to Soul
  6. Joyce – Aldeia de Ogum from Feminina
  7. Circus FM – It’s All Good from Circus FM EP
  8. Esperanza Spalding – Black Gold from Radio Music Society
  9. Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics – Anglo-Ethio Suite  from Inspiration Information
  10. Colin Steele – The Journey Home from The Journey Home

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