Thievery Corporation's Eric Hilton and Rob Garza have always treated the line between acoustic and electronic music as a drunken sailor might, unpredictably falling on one side or the other with equal frequency. By this measure, The Richest Man in Babylon is their soberest effort to date, striding confidently into jazz, soul, world beat, and other styles with a direct, reverential approach. The band's last record, Sounds from the Verve Hi-Fi, featured a set of classic jazz tunes unadorned with remixes or reinterpretation. But the songs on Babylon are originals, incorporating not just jazz but Afro-beat, Brazilian dance, Persian and Indian music, reggae, and psychedelia, all while making expert use of new and old collaborators like Sleepy Wonder, Lou Lou, and Shinehead. Icelandic singer Emiliana Torrini makes an instant impression on the first track, "Heaven's Gonna Burn Your Eyes," her voice freeing the song's melody and structure with just a few hypnotic bars. It's hard to call this an electronic record at all; even their dub-influenced tracks miss a certain studio sheen, as if Hilton and Garza simply waded into a sweltering Jamaican beach party and hit record. But while it misses the ambient, ethereal edge that made The Mirror Conspiracy a downtempo classic, Babylon satisfies with organic energy and tasteful eclecticism.
Warren Haynes has been almost ubiquitous since he joined the Allman Brothers Band, and formed Gov't Mule with Allen Woody and Matt Abts. He's played and collaborated with everyone from the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan to Little Milton and Taj Mahal. Fans might be surprised to learn that Southern soul was an early love. But they shouldn't be. Man in Motion is Haynes' first conscious effort and to fully indulge his love for this music, and his first solo record with backing musicians since 1993. Co-produced with Gordie Johnson, Man in Motion boasts a stellar cast: George Porter, Jr. on bass, Ivan Neville on organ, clavinet, and backing vocals, Ian McLagan on Wurlitzer and piano, drummer Raymond Weber, tenor saxophonist Ron Holloway, and backing vocalist Ruthie Foster.
In 2014 Esoteric Records released a completely remastered issue of All's Well That Ends Well. It is the original album release remastered from the original 24-track tapes and select recordings of the shows from the 10 and 11 December 1976 of the three night stint at the Roundhouse. The recordings are a mix of the in-house recordings done by the Roundhouse sound team and the Manor Mobile recordings who also did the gig. This was the last line up until the band reformed in 1984, and captures most of the consistent members who played in Man, other than Micky Jones who never left it.
In a sense, Belinda Carlisle's A Woman & a Man is a companion record to her first solo album. It arrived in 1996, ten years after Belinda, and it also functioned as something of a break from the Go-Go's, as it was her first album after the group's mid-'90s reunion. That's not where the similarities end: the title track has some Motown propulsion, Charlotte Caffey comes in to co-write "Kneel at Your Feet," and instead of Tim, Carlisle covers Neil Finn. All these echoes are somewhat buried underneath the studio gloss created by producer David Tickle, a veneer that can get too thick on the ballads but nevertheless is often pleasingly expensive. This is a big-budget studio album from an era when they were common and, in retrospect, its overblown adult contemporary has its charms…
Drummer Alphonse Mouzon's fourth solo album, The Man Incognito, was recorded in Los Angeles in late 1975 and released in 1976. Mouzon is surrounded on these nine original songs by a large and impressive group of musicians and backing vocalists including Tom Scott on saxophones, Lee Ritenour on guitar and keyboardists Dave Grusin, David Benoit and George Duke (billed here as Dawilli Gonga).
Expectations for a project featuring members of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, the Kills, and Queens of the Stone Age would almost have to run high. After all, these are all bands that find ways to draw on the classic tenets of rock without sounding completely indebted to the past. Yet the Dead Weather – which combines the talents of Jack White, Jack Lawrence, Alison Mosshart, and Dean Fertita – aren't so much concerned with living up to expectations as they are about defying them. There's a different kind of alchemy on Horehound than on any of the bandmembers' other projects. Not only does White returns to his first instrument, the drums, he also trades in the high-pitched yelp he uses with the Stripes and Raconteurs for a deeper, at-times unrecognizable, voice on "I Cut Like a Buffalo," the lone Horehound track he wrote by himself.
In 1972, two years after the release of Robin Kenyatta's seminal Girl from Martinique outing for ECM, he signed to Atlantic and released another seminal bit of classy jazz-funk. Gypsy Man, produced by Michael Cuscuna, has a who's-who lineup of players who would be synonymous with the newly emerging subgenre of jazz: drummer Billy Cobham (still a member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra at the time), percussionist Ralph MacDonald, session drummer Rick Marotta, guitarists Keith Loving and David Spinozza, pianist Larry Willis on Fender Rhodes, bassist Stanley Clarke (who released his own classic debut Children of Forever the same year and played on two of Norman Connors now legendary dates from the period, Dance of Magic and Dark of Light), and more.