This fall, trumpeter and composer Josef Leimberg will launch his debut full-length Astral Progressions. Hitting vinyl prints and digital formats with the Alpha Pup Records jazz imprint World Galaxy, Astral Progressions is a powerful record in the canon of 21st century music. It also continues the momentum Leimberg achieved on the Kendrick Lamar Grammy Award winning album To Pimp A Butterfly. A hybrid state of jazz fusion, world music, R&B and golden era hip hop instrumentalism. Josef Leimberg has created a rich tapestry of sound that fits right in with the resurgence of progressive music in the 2010’s, launching out on his own terms after an impressive career of guest work.
Now that the whole Return to Forever reunion experience is in his rearview mirror (and unlikely to be repeated ever again), guitar star Al Di Meola is pursuing his own musical vision with newfound conviction via his World Sinfonia. Essentially an acoustic ensemble featuring Fausto Beccalossi on accordion and Di Meola’s longtime collaborator Gumbi Ortiz on cajon and assorted hand percussion, along with second guitarist Peo Alfonsi, bassist Victor Miranda and drummer Peter Kaszas, this edition of the World Sinfonia has developed a tightly knit chemistry through frequent touring. This limited-edition release, the first in a series of live recordings being sold initially at World Sinfonia gigs, documents their easy rapport in concerts held in Seattle, San Francisco and Istanbul.
When South Africa was still suffering under the apartheid system in the 1980s, Johnny Clegg & Savuka was the last thing apartheid supporters wanted in a pop group. Their lyrics were often vehemently anti-apartheid, and apartheid supporters hated the fact that a half-black, half-white outfit out of South Africa was integrated and proud of it. Released in the U.S. at the end of the 1980s, Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World is among the many rewarding albums the band has recorded. Sting and the Police are a definite influence on Clegg & Savuka, who have absorbed everything from various African pop styles to Western pop, funk, rock, and reggae. The lyrics are consistently substantial and frequently sociopolitical – "Bombs Away" addresses the violence of the apartheid regime, while "Warsaw 1943" reflects on the horrors Eastern Europe experienced at the hands of both communists and fascists during World War II. Clegg and company enjoyed a passionate following at the time, and this fine CD proves that it was well deserved.
The Arab Orchestra of Barcelona was born in the late twentieth century in Barcelona and up musicians from different backgrounds, such Chefchaoen, Tangiers or Thessaloniki. Its founding members are Mohamed Soulimane (director and violin) and Mohamed Ayoub Bout (voice).
Buena Vista Social Club bassist Orlando Cachaito Lopez busts out of the senior activity center with an out-there release worthy of a youngster that draws on five decades of professional cool. Instead of trying to compress the history of Cuban dance music, Cachaito elongates it into a shape-shifting amoeba that can swallow and absorb almost any influence. On "Redencion," reggae-inflected electric organ jabs throw open the door to dub effects. Massed charanga violins stutter and echo as the bottom drops in and out of the mix. The project gets a jolt from figures not usually associated with Cuban music, like Jamaican organist Bigga Morrison, French DJ Dee Nasty, South African flugelhornist Hugh Masekela, and saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis of James Brown Revue fame.
On March 3, 2017, Grammy Award winning composer, producer, singer and drummer Ronald Bruner Jr. will present the megalithic debut album Triumph. Eleven cuts of deep fusion, soul, R&B, jazz and pop, Triumph was put together with Ronald’s brothers Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner and Jameel Bruner of The Internet. It was captured during the infamous KSL Sessions that produced Kamasi Washington’s The Epic and many other West Coast Get Down recordings.