Just weeks after DJ John Kong launched his Do Right! label with Keb Darge's excellent contemporary funk compilation disc, Funk For The 21st Century, the low-profile member of Toronto's Movement collective is back with his own club-tested selection of Latin- and Brazilian-flavoured nu-jazz, On The Right Track.
Like Funk For The 21st Century, the insightfully compiled On The Right Track disc doubles as an informative primer and a state-0f-the-genre sampler with global reach.
Nicola Conte's Milano tweak of the swinging Meu Samba by Brazil's Eli Goulart e Banda Do Mato segues neatly into the Finnish goth folk of Kuusumun Profeetta's Kovin Lentäen Kotiin Kaipaan, while the charging cover of Airto's Tombo in 7/4 from Sweden's A Bossa Eletrica fits comfortably between the taut take of Casa Forte by London's R.E.Q. and Another Spring from the Hand Polished project of Scarborough's own Ray Kong.
"When I was thinking about starting a label," explains Kong, "it wasn't part of the plan to begin with compilations of current club funk and jazz music. Originally, I wanted to do a collection of obscure 70s soul with Keb Darge, but I found it was really difficult getting the licensing rights to the tracks we wanted to use -- almost impossible -- so instead we started with a contemporary funk comp, Funk For The 21st Century.
"The response was so positive -- a Japanese distributor bought most of the first pressing -- that I thought maybe I could do a compilation of jazzy bossa fusion music that I like to listen to. Most of the artists involved are people I've met through DJing, and they know I'm working on a really tight budget, so they gave me their tracks at a very reasonable rate. That's really what made the whole thing possible."
When influential Jazz Rooms DJ Russ Dewbury found out his label wasn't keen on handing over a tune from the forthcoming album by his new studio project with Mr. Hermano's Ben Mitchell, Dewbury kindly passed Kong a bangin' new joint, Jazz Is Your Life, which is one of the comp's four enticing exclusive tracks.
"Actually, I like the new track Russ gave us more than the one we were going to use, and it fits better with the rest of the music on the CD, so it all worked out for the best."
As Kong quickly discovered, there are some universal laws governing the assembly of various artist compilation discs, namely that they always take longer to complete than expected, the liner notes are never ready on time and the song you want most will prove to be unavailable.
"I'm a big fan of jazz singer Carmen Lundy, and I paid way too much money for a copy of her Good Morning Kiss debut album, which Justin Time recently reissued. So I thought it would be great to have a track from her latest album on the compilation, but she turned me down flat. Of course, Do Right! is an independent label and it's not really established yet, so I can understand her concern, but it was still a disappointment."
ON THE RIGHT TRACK CD Release Party with JOHN KONG, DEE JAY Nav and Felix & Gani at Roxy Blu (12 Brant), Friday (December 6), $10. www.dorightmusic.com.