Four for Jazz - Power of Nature, 1971 Spiegelei
Top notch German jazz from Peter Giger and mates. On the always cool Spiegelei label. Spiritual jazz with a touch of that Euro sound. ‘For John Coltrane’ with it’s almost heavy samba approach and ‘Mademoiselle Martine’ on the funky tip, are the cuts here.
Osamu Kitajima - Benzaiten, 1975 Antilles
Early brilliance from this Japanese artist. An intriguing mix of prog, funk, and traditional Japanese folk sounds. Osamu brings forth an array of exotic instruments like the sho, a free-reed mouth organ. The biwa, and the tsuzumi amongst others. Released on the reliable Antilles label.
Steven Halpern & Dallas Smith - 1984 Newsound, 1983/1984 Halpern Sounds
"While George Orwell might have predicted a bleak and loveless future, Steven Halpern and Dallas Smith have created their own bright image of 1984", says the liner notes of this new age gem that evokes some of the best Italian cosmic disco and modern soul all wrapped up in a celestial blend of sounds that ring out with plenty of spiritual energy! Inspiration+science+man=1984…Newsound.
Abdo - Salma, 1974 Odeon/EMI Sweden
A collaborative LP of sorts by Egyptian composer Abdelrahman Elkhatib that features Swedish jazz-funk group Solar Plexus and Abdo student and flautist Bjorn Jason Lindh from fusion group Abullition. The sounds are primarily Eastern with heavy use of the choir Ah Ya Zen augmented by the tune with Solar Plexus of the same name. A great and little known gem.
Ethos - Open Up, 1977 Capitol Records, U.S.
The second and final album from these American King Krimson/Yes clones , opening up with the glam titled ‘Pimp City’. Total KC worship, with some heavenly pastoral Mellotron passages. It’s that instrument and the beautiful closer ‘Open Your Eyes’ that will have you revisiting this gem over and over again. Excellent American prog.
Franco Micalizzi - Violence! 1977 Cometa Edizioni Musicali Italy
Quintessential crime-funk OST for a sleazy Italian crime film. Everything you could hope for in such a record. Heavy breaks, tense atmospheres, wah-wah guitars, and muscular bass lines. Funky as you’d like, and not to mention the absolutely mental cover art. Add it all up.
Wojciech Karolak - Easy! Muza 1975, Poland
A killer piece of Polish jazz-funk/fusion reminiscent of Placebo, Cortex and other European rare-groove outfits. Fender Rhodes, wordless scat vocals, a dash of Brazilian flavor, subtle electronics and a few open breaks to round out this set. A high point in the Polish Jazz series.
Sunbirds - S/T 1971 BASF, Germany
The debut album from the Munich based international fusion supergroup featuring German drummer Klaus Weiss and Belgian guitarist Phillip Catherine (Placebo fame) amongst others. Sought after by rare-groove, prog, jazz-funk and krautrock collectors alike. The album’s centerpiece is ‘Spanish Sun’. Clocking in at over twelve minutes the group lock into one of the most ominous grooves to ever come out of the fusion cannon with Catherine providing subtle yet extremely sinister guitar noodlings and Weiss swinging perfectly here as well as Jimmy Woode doing work on bass. An album for your head and your feet. Warmly recommended.
Eric Ghost - Secret Sauce 1974 (private press) Award Records Vancouver B.C.
A privately pressed and sought after jazz-flute gem from Vancouver British Columbia, and a solid session ranging from playfully funky to more Eastern and free. Eric Ghost on flute with support from four other players working in a mostly stripped down mode of percussion, piano, and bass respectively.
J.O.B. Orchestra - Open The Doors To Your Heart 1978 Govinda Records
A largely under the radar Hare-Krishna spiritual-disco/rare groove album masterminded by Jorge Barreiro hence the initials. This record opens with one of the most sublime and blissed out Fender Rhodes intros I’ve ever heard, and closes with the amazing chill out tune ‘Govinda’, that was sampled by J Cole. Only a handful of albums were released on this label, with this being the best session.
Human Egg - S/T 1978 Lizard Records, France
A late 70s oddity from Jean-Pierre Massiera and Torelli Bernard in a very quirky and playful blend of prog, space rock, electronics and even glam. It contains the gorgeous rare-groove/cosmic disco cut ‘Love Like This’ that Madlib used on one of his Medicine Show mixes.
Duke Ellington - The Afro Eurasian Eclipse, 1975 Fantasy
In 1971, Duke was jazz’s eldest statesman, but rather than rest on any laurels in the later stage of his career, he steps out with his most devastatingly swinging set ever. The Afro Eurasian Eclipse sees Duke reaching far out in a uncharacteristically avant-garde, and at times even funky manner, yet still being a big-band affair with lots of African and Asian influences as you would imagine. Largely considered to be one of his most important statements.