Words: Gavin Kendrick.
Artist: Fela Kuti
Title: The Best of the Black President 2
Label: Knitting Factory Records
Release date: Monday 4th March, 2013
Buy: Knitting Factory Records
More info: It’s been fifteen years since Nigerian icon and Afrobeat originator Fela Kuti passed away, but to this day his legacy lives on across the globe with his ever-relevant music and forthright political views. The complete works of Fela, consisting of almost 50 albums, are now being re-packaged with in-depth track commentaries written by Afrobeat historian Chris May, and prepared for a three-batch re-launch between March and September 2013.
The re-release programme begins with The Best Of The Black President 2, a double-CD collection containing twelve tracks. This compilation is an essential purchase for all Afro-beat collectors as it contains a previously unreleased version of ‘Sorrow Tears and Blood,’ the Fela classic, inspired by the South African apartheid regime’s crushing of the Soweto uprising in 1976. This version is restored to its original and complete running time, following the recent rediscovery of the six-minute instrumental section preceding the entrance of Fela’s vocals. A special deluxe edition of this package includes a DVD of Fela’s magnificent 1984 Glastonbury appearance. To experience one of the greatest performers who has ever lived, check out this previously unseen, captivating footage from Paris in 1984.
Title: Experience EP
Label: Underground Collective
Release date: Tuesday 19th March, 2013
More info: Formed a decade ago, the Underground Collective have thrown some great parties in NYC, including events with house music royalty Little Louie Vega, David Morales and Jellybean Benitez at the helm. Alix Alvarez’s remix of ‘The UC Anthem‘ is one of a handful of house records I carry to every gig, and it’s pleasing to see the Souldynamic duo join these esteemed ranks with their forthcoming ‘Experience EP.’ Four tracks of deep and soulful house are on the way: 90s ravers will enjoy the fresh twist on the familiar sample used in ‘NJ Attitude,’ and those who swim in deeper waters will go for ‘Suncé,’ a tribute to the Croatian festival, featured on this month’s Southport Weekender radio show.
Artist: Milt Jackson
Title: Milt Jackson Sings with the Enrico Intra Group
Release date: Tuesday 5th March, 2013
Listen: Juno Player
Buy vinyl: Juno
More info: From house to jazz, the Italian aficionados are firing from all cylinders this week. This is one album I’m delighted to share. Originally released in 1964 on the Derby label, it came about following a meeting in a Milanese nightclub between US vibes master Milt Jackson and Italian Franco Cerri, described by Jackson as one of the most brilliant guitarists he’d ever heard. One night at Enrico Intra’s Derby Club in Milan, Cerri asked Jackson to sing. The reaction in the club from both the audience and the musicians was so overwhelming that Jackson was invited to join Intra’s quartet and cut a record as lead vocalist. Jackson readily agreed and the result was a collection of covers and original numbers, capturing the incredible vibe of that night at the Derby Club. The recording session at C.G.D. Studios in Milan was also attended by Gian Battista Colombo, also known as Giancolombo. Considered one of the greatest photojournalists in Italy, Giancolombo captured musicians in their element, looking sharp and sounding cool. Thanks to the generosity of the Archivio Giancolombo in Milan, this first time reissue includes previously unpublished photos from this forgotten recording session.
We have Enzo Zangaglia to thank for this project – his vision and passion is inspiring, and I look forward to future releases from the camp:
“My job is to restore both sound and image, using completely analog methods. The cover is restored in a specialised laboratory and each sleevee is assembled by hand in a book-binding workshop where everything is still done as it was in the ’50s and ’60s. The sound is not remastered, but cleaned in an analog manner, preserving the merits and ‘defects’ of the original recording. It is then pressed on virgin vinyl using old but reliable machines. The same care is given to packaging, covered with dust-proof enclosures in PVC. Everything is made in Italy, a mark of quality, synonymous with good craftsmanship that has always represented excellence of experience and attention to detail.”
Title: Ibiranu (Roman Rauch Remix)
Release date: Friday 1st March, 2013
More info: To follow up the release of his debut album on German imprint spontanMusik, Mainz-based producer Tilman Schwarz roped in some peers to rerub a number of his beats. Roman Rauch is your man here, his zealous version of ‘Ibiranu’ the pick of the bunch. Don’t skim through this one or you might miss the bassline that smacks four minutes in.
Artist: Bomba Estereo
Title: Elegancia Tropical
Release date: Monday 4th March, 2013
More info: Bomba Estereo hail from Barranquilla, an industrial port city on the Caribbean coast of Columbia. The band explain how the “music made by old people on this coast connects Colombia to Africa very deeply. We try to rescue that music and take it to another level.” Channeling these rhythms through contemporary electronica, the result is immediate and powerful. It’s ‘Bosque’ and ‘Pa Respirar,’ the album’s opening and closing tracks, that cause the most damage here: the former is a dubwise stepper infused with the tempting vocals of Li Saumet, and the latter an intense and psychedelic brooder that concludes with delirious, distorted guitar.