MR. BONGO SESSION featuring DJ GAVIN SMITH with MOVEMENT at Roxy Blu (12 Brant), Friday (September 28). $10 advance, $15 door. na email@example.com Rating: NNNNN
Since former Virgin A&R rep Gavin Smith gave up chasing the next big thing and got back into the Brazilian and jazz grooves he loves best, the record label he helped build out of the Mr. Bongo record shop has quickly grown into a serious dance-floor threat.
Under Smith's guidance, the reissue operation that began by recirculating pricey club classics by Os Ipanemas and Waltel Branco expanded its reach. In the popular Brazilian Beats series, Smith drops funky, obscure old-school joints alongside contemporary scorchers. The amazing Alive recording by Chicago soul-folk great Terry Callier indicates that Smith is about to take Mr. Bongo to the next level.
"I'd like to think that with each couple of releases we're moving up a notch and attaining a broader appeal," says Smith from his London pad. "And that will naturally lead to working with more exciting people as we progress.
"Right now we're halfway through Terry Callier's new studio album, and it's already sounding incredible. We're trying for a bit more contemporary sound. I didn't feel that Terry's last couple of releases took him where he could've gone, so we've put him together with people who are massive fans of his Cadet-era work, who can bring out that soul feeling he had on those recordings.
"The three tracks produced by 4Hero are absolutely amazing. John Leckie (see Radiohead) is going to be doing a few tracks, and then there'll be some guest spots from Paul Weller, Nitin Sawhney and Zero7."
With the first singles from the Callier project due in November and the album set for release next May, the more pressing concern is whether Smith will come across with the vintage goods when he returns Friday (September 28) as part of the Movement party.
"Well, I've got a load of great new stuff I want to play, but I know from the last time I was in Toronto that the people who come to the Movement nights are up for the older things. So I'd better start dusting off a few choice pieces right now."TIM PERLICH