Michael Naura found international fame as an ECM-label fusionist, but the German pianist/keyboardist was a kingpin on his country's emerging modern jazz scene as far back as 1955, when he formed the Michael Naura Quintet with his vibraphonist sidekick Wolfgang Schlüter , featuring the driving Joe Nay on drums.
Their hard-swinging 1963 debut for Brunswick European Jazz Sounds has just been stylishly reissued by the Japanese Atelier Sawano label, which has done a magnificent mastering job. Schlüter's mallet work on Gruga Mood is awesome, but you really need to hear the band's Tubby-topping rip through Down In The Village. Sweet.
And while we're on the topic of limited-run Japanese reissues of Euro jazz classics, the SABA-label classic Ensadinado by Belgian vibes boss Fats Sadi and His Friends (namely Kenny Clarke , Francy Boland and Jimmy Woode !) sounds incredible on this new 24-bit mini-LP-style version put out by Universal Japan. Both well worth tracking down.
In the days of the free download, labels can no longer simply repackage previously released material and expect it to sell. So, wisely, Kent/Ace vault-digging vets have packed the third volume in their Hotlanta soul series, Holding The Losing Hand, with a wealth of solid unreleased 70s Southern-style adult deepness written and/or produced by the everything man, Sam Dees . And if you thought his backstreet cheatin' songs were special, wait till you hear the fire-breathing Dees get down and testify on his own version of Claim Jumping. That's the heat right there, but there's also great stuff from King Hannibal , Bill Brandon , Roszetta Johnson , Peggy Scott , Jimmy Lewis , CL Blast and others.
The pleasant consequence of the Impressed With Gilles Peterson British jazz reissue series is that a number of exciting and historically important recordings from the 60s and early 70s are finally being recirculated. One genuine surprise, though, was the uncovering of a little-known 1974 Lansdowne session that Goan guitar great Amancio D'Silva cut with heavyweights Don Rendell , Alan Branscombe and Stan Tracey that has just surfaced as Konkan Dance (Vocalion), and I'm happy to report that it's a killer. While more conservative jazz heads may be troubled by his experimentation with overdriven guitar distortion on the title track, D'Silva's uncharacteristically nasty attack is a scorching delight. If there's any more wherever that came from, bring it on!