Ethiopian jazz joint
So your mom won't loan you $600 to blow on an original copy of Mulatu Astatke's funky Ethiojazz cooker Mulatu Of Ethiopia LP? Why not grab the cheap reissue currently making the rounds. It looks identical to the Worthy label pressing - it actually sounds better than the one I once passed on - and you can use the $572 you save to buy a swank turntable to play it on.
Not being a big fan of schlocky R&B, I can't say that I was overly impressed by Sunshine Anderson's Your Woman disc, although admittedly her Heard It All Before single was catchy. Evidently, Will Holland, aka Quantic, felt the same way and decided to salvage Anderson's vocals in transforming the track into a dance-floor-destroying funk workout. The Rebutz Presents white label 12-inch features Quantic's fab QSO reinvention of Heard It All Before, plus three boring mixes of other tunes you don't need.
Too many of the recent reissues of vintage West African funk have focused on the pale imitations of Fela Kuti's Afrobeat bump when there are loads of amazing grooves waiting to be rediscovered. The excellent Booniay!! (Afrodisc) disc is really the first such comp to dig into the Moog-backed fusionary jams being released from the early 70s right through the disco era by the likes of Gyedu Blay-Ambolley, Brigth Engelberts and Atomic Bomb Zigoto. Unfortunately, there are no accompanying notes, and the tracks are obviously dubbed from scratchy vinyl, but Booniay!! is still worth seeking out.
East meets West
It's about time that Fantasy got around to reissuing jazz oud maestro Ahmed Abdul-Malik's two adventurous East-meets-West sessions for New Jazz, The Music Of Ahmed Abdul-Malik and Sounds Of Africa. They've done the right thing by putting them both on the same entrancing disc, Jazz Sounds Of Africa (Fantasy). While the songs from Abdul-Malik's first were essentially just Eastern-flavoured oud and clarinet jazz runs over conventional jazz changes, the second disc explores the rhythms and colours of the African diaspora to stunning effect, predating the world music boom by 20 years.