Archive for March, 2010

Sunset over the Humber, originally uploaded by Ronnie19.

I took this image at sunset, on Friday, 5th March, just before breaking my Baha’i Fast.

It was a glorious sunset on the river Humber, Yorkshire. View it large on black here to get the full detail and colouring!


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Hello readers.

This is the first in a long line of entries containing mini music reviews of artists I’m listening to at the moment. Whilst I know that you all have a diverse range of taste in ear candy, I’m sure there is something I could recommend to you for your aural pleasure.

To tell you the truth, I’m surprised that I’m not blogging more about music, I used to deejay (and still do occasionally), have a pretty sizeable music collection and occasionally play bass and acoustic guitar (in a band and solo)…

So, without further ado, here is my current selection of album reviews in no particular order:

1. Soldier of Love– Sade (Neo Soul)

After a long hiatus of about 10 years, Sade is back and topping the U.S. album charts for the third week running. This long awaited album seems a little more melancholic than previous  Sade releases but is still pretty much in classic Sade territory with no ground breakingly different styles, except perhaps the title track:  ‘Soldier of Love’ which has a trip hop Tricky-esque beat to it. Other than the standout tracks, most tracks, I feel, are quite flat and appear almost as filler, however if you are a Sade fan you must get this album since there is enough material to keep you going….though I doubt for another 10 years…

Stand out tracks in my opinion are  ‘Soldier of Love,’ ‘Babyfather’ and ‘Skin.’

Rating 3.5/5

2. Blackmagic-José James (Soul/Jazz/Hip Hop)

After being introduced to  José James via Brownswood record label in London, 2 years ago. I was instantly hooked onto the  unique style and voice of José James, who describes himself as a ‘world citizen’ from Brooklyn on his myspace site. His first album ‘The Dreamer’ was an instant classic, with no filler, and music to evoke moods from a smoky jazz club to romance induced ballads to kick back sunday morning beats, my favourite being the Freestyle Fellowship cover of ‘Park Bench People.’ If you click the link on the left, it takes you to an awesome live rendition of the song, with ‘Soil & Pimp Sessions’ performing the jazz classic ‘Red Clay’ as the music. Make sure you check it out, as Jose flips from jazz singing to a ‘scat battle’ with the saxophonist.’

Now, that enough about ‘The Dreamer’ album, this review is all about his NEW album; ‘Blackmagic.’ Well all I can say is wow! The first three tracks on this album, are all amazing, with the rest being silky smooth and seductive. Its hard to pick Blackmagic apart other than to say that it evokes thoughts of Marvin Gaye, Billie Holiday, Terry Callier and Gil-Scott Heron.

Having seen José perform live at the Jazz Cafe in London last year (he is also playing this month), his live entourage, a full fledged Jazz/Soul quartet did not disappoint. Not only did Jose tear the roof off with his vocals ranging from soul to scat, the band had more soul than a Motown New Years party. As with most music today, some of the lyrics are a little ‘steamy’ but tame in comparison to chart music.

Standout tracks? ALL OF THEM!

Rating: 4/5

3.  Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura – New Cuba Sound

This double CD compilation, put together by Radio 1 D.J. and eclectic musical guru Gilles Peterson after a trip to Cuba is one definitely for speakers to pump loud and proud. It features a hand picked selection from Havana’s music scene, last made famous by the Buena Vista Social Club. The first album/cd is performed by a band Gilles Peterson himself has produced himself, led by Roberto Fonesca (piano) and is as good as cuban jazz gets.  You’ll be finding it hard to sit still while this is on.

The second album is Giles  selection of his favourite Cuban tunes by current Cuban artists spanning many genres ranging from hip hop, pop, salsa and reggaeton . There is no doubt that the jazzy rhythms on this double CD leave you wanting more and tempt you to be more adventurous with your next foray into this vibrant musical scene..  before you know it, you’ll be booking that flight to Cuba, shaking the maracas all the way through check in (or maybe not, based on current tensions).

Again, like Jose James’ album, this album is packed to the brim with great tracks, but the Jay Dilla/Jay Dee cover ‘Think Twice’ by Danay & Obsesión is head and shoulder above all of them, worth getting the album just for that track alone!

Rating: 4.5/5

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