1. Randy Weston African Rhythms (Comet)
Inspired by his experiences in Morocco, jazz piano master Randy Weston recorded two percussion-heavy small-group sessions in Paris for Polydor in the early 70s, released only in France as African Cookbook and Niles Little Big. Comet has thoughtfully reissued them as one amazing single disc. And to think Verve dropped him.
2. LITTLE JIMMY SCOTT Falling In Love Is Wonderful (Rhino Handmade)
Back in 1963, Ray Charles hired arrangers Gerald Wilson and Marty Paich and produced the finest Little Jimmy Scott album of the singer's career, then shelved it under threat of a lawsuit. Thanks to Rhino Handmade, this jazz vocal masterpiece is finally available. www.rhinohandmade.com
3. TEXAS FUNK (Jazzman)
Taking a tip from the standard-raising Funky 16 Corners comp, Gerald "Jazzman" Short and Malcolm Catto come correct with well-package legitimate collection of the hardest and rawest funk singles released in Texas during the 70s. This is the shit.
4. SUN RA Nuclear War (Atavistic)
An explosive mid-80s Space Is The Place that's even more relevant now than when it first dropped.
5. TOWNES VAN ZANDT Live At The Old Quarter, Houston, Texas (Tomato)
The studio recordings of Townes Van Zandt are only a small part of the story. This engrossing live document captures the archetypal Texas singer/ songwriter at his peak in 73 on his home turf - the stuff of which his legend is based.
6. Ghana SounDZ (Soundsway)
To top last year's excellent Afro-Rock collection of vintage funk African rarities, digger deluxe Miles Cleret uncovers even more obscure killer 70s Afrobeat and funk you never knew existed.
7. THE GO-BETWEENS Spring Hill Fair (Circus/Jetset)
Just part of the Go-Betweens string of 80s alt-pop classics, Spring Hill Fair stands as their best-realized studio work of the decade, and the bonus disc of b-sides and unreleased tracks improves on an unjustly overlooked album.
8. AFRIKA UNDERGROUD Jazz, Funk & Fusion Under Apartheid (Counterpoint)
Good times on the South African dance floor in the bleakest possible of times, courtesy of Harari, Jabula, Dick Khoza and others.
9. James Carr Live And Living (Coldwax)
A vinyl-only release of questionable legality, Live And Living puts a lie to the commonly held belief that Southern soul great James Carr's tour of Japan in 78 was a complete washout. These impassioned takes of Love Attack, To Love Somebody and Dark End Of The Street prove otherwise.
10. Caetano Veloso & Gal Costa Domingo (Philips)
Two of the giants of Brazil together for a set of lighter-than-air bossa beats. Delightful.