Fanfare Ciocărlia - Queens and Kings (2007)

«Following the release of Gili Garabdi in spring 2005, which promptly landed at number 1 in the WMCE Top 10, Fanfare Ciocarlia travelled throughout Europe to record with musicians from the continent’s extended Romany community. Overcoming borders and visas, foreign tongues and rhythms, more than two dozen musicians from France to Bulgaria came together to create Queens and Kings an extraordinary celebration of Gypsy songs. Casual observers may wonder how Fanfare Ciocărlia’s roaring Balkan funk could possibly fuse with the flamenco guitars of French Gitans Kaloome or Macedonian legend Esma Redzepova’s accordion driven music? Zece Prajini’s musical magicians shrug off such concerns, noting that they share elements of language, experience, and an almost indescribable yet very Gypsy musical synergy with their guests. Hungarian music has permeated northern Romania for centuries, while Yugoslav and Bulgarian music came from encounters with travelling Gypsy communities or on pirate cassettes. Spain and France existed in pre-war memories, lost yet not forgotten Latin connections; as did jazz and pop flavours long filtered through closed borders. From these sources and their own ancient Gypsy roots, Zece Prajini’s musicians built Fanfare Ciocărlia. Here, accompanied by some of Europe’s finest singers, Romania’s brass dervishes share tales of life, love and loss. Queens and Kings celebrates unity in diversity while standing as a testament to the vision of Ioan Ivancea, Fanfare Ciocărlia’s clarinet-playing patriarch, who died in October 2006. To Ioan then, a true Gypsy King, this album is dedicated.» (Asphalt-Tango)

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Nilo Espinosa - Shaken, Not Stirred (2007)

«Nilo Espinosa may not be the best-known player in jazz circles – or bossa nova, disco, funk, Latin soul, boogaloo, and rhumba – though he is one of the best at playing all of them (often in the same ensemble). Espinosa is a Peruvian sax and flute-playing legend who has been hard at it since 1959, when he was getting a conservatory education. In 1962 he made his debut with the Neptuno Orquesta, who played in a club underneath a movie theater in Lima. Not exactly an auspicious beginning, perhaps, but it was enough and he was able to do correspondence studies at the Berklee School of Music in Boston. From 1963 to 1965 he played in an established jazz group at the Astoria in Lima and began to formulate his own ideas for creating jazz ensembles to fit his mood and method. This 18-cut disc issued on the Vampisoul imprint (a label well-known for brilliant reissues and compilations of Latin jazz, Pachuco soul, bossa, funk, and lots of other stuff, including rock & roll, on vinyl and CD) is a fantastic overview of Espinosa's work with five of his own ensembles – Nil's Jazz Ensemble, Bossa 70, Los Hilton's, Los 007, Nilo Espinosa y Orquesta – and some guest spots. Most of the tunes here are from the 1970s, though there are a few from the late '60s, and given the technology of the time, the sound is not exactly modern digital. (But it will more than do.) The jazz-funk in the opener, "Reflexiones," is just killer with breakbeats, electric keyboards, and taut popping (fretted) electric basslines, all backing Espinosa's wide-open soprano saxophone work. The groove is deep, laid-back, funky, and in the pocket – 18 tracks of this stuff would have been just fine, but man, there is so much more.» (AMGread more)

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Trilok Gurtu - Broken Rhythms (2004)

«A world class, virtuoso percussionist, now in his mid fifties, Trilok has attracted a world class set of collaborators over a long career; these started with John McLaughlin in whose trio, Trilok flourished as the featured soloist for 4 years, other jazz greats continued this path – Joe Zawinul, Jan Garbarek, Don Cherry, Bill Evans, Pharoah Sanders, Dave Holland were all attracted to Trilok’s burning sense of rhythm. Of course he is deeply rooted in the Indian tradition, so it is no surprise to see that collaborations also took place with the glitterati of Indian musical society – his mother, Shobha Gurtu, Zakir Hussain, L. Shankar, Shankar Mahadevan, Hariprasad Chaurasia, The Misra Brothers and Sultan Khan. World music has become an established genre in which Trilok has further “ploughed his own furrow” with his own group, to great effect, performing and recording with Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare, Angelique Kidjo, Neneh Cherry, Omara Portuondo, Tuvan throat singers, Huun Huur Tu, to such effect that . Rita Ray of BBC Radio described him as “a serial collaborator”. […]

Trilok started 2004 with a 10-date tour of Norway in February followed by an extensive tour of 25 concerts in France to announce the release of his eleventh cd “Broken Rhythms”. As with all Trilok records, the accent was on rhythm and drumming – but this one more so. Featured collaborations with the Tuvan Throat Singers Huun Huur Tu, the Arké String Quartet and an outstanding screaming guitar part from Gary Moore bring a heady mix of bright and fast with gentle and peaceful. The album was released in France in March 2004 and received all 4**** reviews.» (trilokgurtu.net)

«This recording completes a four album musical journey which began with Africn Fantasy, prceeded through Beat of Love and Remembrance and comes to a beautifully composed conclusion on Broken Rhythms. Every element in Trilok's musical palate is used, from percussive experiments to rockier pieces to orchestrated arrangements that would satisfy many an old Mahavishnu fan. And the ensemble of musicians which he has chosent o accompany him and perform these songs are some of the finest in the world of Indian music and World music today. I am at a loss to imagine what he will do to "top" this release. If you have ANY of his earlier recordings, this one will have a certain logical sense and feel to it that you will really enjoy. This is the artist at his most mature to date.» (Amazon)

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Antonio Carlos Jobim's Finest Hour (2000)

«While Antonio Carlos Jobim is an essential figure in the music of Brazil, he also created a significant place for himself in American music as a great songwriter and a key figure in the tremendous popularity of bossa nova. Apart from his unique melodic gift, what makes Jobim’s work memorable is the complexity of mood he could evoke - the touch of sadness that colors the brightest bossa nova, the irony in the midst of joy, and the mixture of delicacy and resilience in his voice and piano. He was an artist who worked primarily in pastels, but it was his sense of shadows that gave his work its most enduring qualities. Including his most famous tunes and collaborators – like “The Girl from Ipanema” with Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto – Jobim’s Finest Hour catches it all, from the standard-bearers to such gems as the playful “Aguas de Março”.» (Stuart Broomer, Amazon)

«Verve continues their Finest Hour series with Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Finest Hour, a 17-song collection highlighting the bossa nova pioneer’s singing and songwriting. “Insensatez”, “Corcovado”, “The Girl From Ipanema”, “Desafinado”, and other definitive tracks make this set entertaining, if not comprehensive.» (AMG)

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