Dusseldorf's new Sonorama label makes a splashy launch with an Elsie Bianchi Trio 7-inch boasting a hard-swinging live version of Russ Freeman 's Happy Little Sunbeam from a show at Atlanta's Chateau Fleur de Lys in 1968. On the flip there's a lame-ass remix attempt by former Corduroy singer/drummer Ben "Human" Addison , but don't let that dissuade you from enjoying the topside heat from Elsie and her badass boys. Rare-groove fiends will be delighted to know that Sonorama's following it up with a re-release of Greetje Kauffeld 's sought-after Polydor album And Let The Music Play from 74, with beats from Sabu Martinez . www.sonorama.de.
By the late 60s, France was already in the midst of a jazz-rock revolution. As the early 70s arrived, fusion wasn't a dirty word - it was the only way to fly. Naturally, Herbie Hancock 's experiments didn't go unnoticed by Parisian sound library technicians like Jean-Claude Pierric and François Rolland , who began adding some cool ring modulator squelch to the usual horn-backed Rhodes jams on their Harlem Pop Trotters projects. As serious beat diggers and club selectors already know, the Trotters' 1975 session for Les Tréteaux is the break-loaded golden grail, and that's why crackly original copies will set you back a deuce on a good day. So thank the kindhearted souls at Kif/Melodie En Sous Sol for making a limited edition available on vinyl and disc. www.acuterecords.com.
The UK Soul Jazz label has been spending so much time turning over rocks to find more material for their excellent Studio One excavation that it seemed like they'd all but closed shop on their Universal Sound subsidiary, set up to document U.S. left-field jazz from the 60s and 70s. Happily, they're back in action with Marcus Belgrave 's brilliantly avant Gemini set recorded for Tribe in 74 - from which Carl Craig copped Space Odyssey for his Detroit Experiment ( Ropeadope ) project - and another amazing Steve Reid album, 76's Rhythmatism, from his own Mustevic label. After some session work at Motown, gigs with James Brown , Fela Kuti and Sun Ra's Arkestra , Reid called in some pals like Arthur Blythe , Charles Tyler , Melvin Smith and Les Walker to put his accumulated knowledge of the good groove to work. The hard-charging Centre Of The Earth and trance-inducing epic Kai are two good reasons to grab this reissue.
Re-releasing some of the funky dance-floor reggae jams cut at Kingston's legendary Randy's Studio during the mid-70s peak years seems like a smashing idea that's confirmed by the fab Stepping Up ( Motion ) EP, the first of three four-track 10-inch samplers from the Motion label's forthcoming Out On A Funky Trip - Funk & Soul From Randy's 1970-75 disc. Along with Lyn Taitt 's head-nodding title track (the b-side of his Out On A Funky Trip single), you get Jimmy London 's charming stab at the Everlys ' Cathy's Clown, but the big winner is Jablonski 's nutty revision of Manu Dibango 's Soul Makossa, which easily tops the other reggae-ized versions by Byron Lee and Brent Dowe . Bring on volumes 2 and 3! www.motionrecords.com.