Donald Byrd & The Blackbyrds – The Jazz Funk Collection – Robinsongs

Listening to Donald Byrd play Trumpet leaves you with the impression that nothing else in life matters quite as much. In a class of his own, whether composing, playing or even singing there is a quality unique to the individual that celebrates the high and lows of daily existence. Remarkable given the longevity of his career which started out recording for the Transition label in the mid-fifties, before arriving at the evolving styles which decorate this newly available digital compilation which span three discs of equal beauty. The title refers to the genre that appeared by the early 1970’s and Donald Byrd was undoubtedly one of its finest components. Sometimes the Funk was more apparent than Jazz, at others the opposite was the case and for me that’s where all the magic is. The big hitting numbers such as Dominoes, Walking In Rhythm and of course Love Has Come Around are all present, sounding as resonate then as now. You will also discover the likes of Change (Makes You Want Hustle), Happy Music through to the later compositions captured here such as 1982’s Star Trippin’. Plus, there is a fascinating set of sleeve notes by Charles Waring explaining the background in detail to all the genius. Priceless.

Release: April 17

M.F.S.B. – The Definitive Collection – Robinsongs

M.F.S.B. will always be synonymous with some of the most transcendent moments Disco ever reached. Truly cherished records like T.S.O.P (The Sound Of Philadelphia) featuring the wonderful Three Degrees typified the breezy yet hard-hitting productions which they became most celebrated for. While perhaps the era’s most defining break, care of, Love Is The Message rightly secures their place in all-time history. The instrumentals they created are second to none and as musicians their like are sorely missed. Jazzy, soulful, rhythm and blues evolved into part of the first wave of ‘Disco’ in the 1970’s yet they were not averse to getting down, hard and funky on the likes of the joyous Sexy alongside K-Jee either. They also provided the backing to other releases on the famed label: Philadelphia International Records and the driving licks that drove the fevered Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto by 1977 pushed the music into socially conscious directions. It’s also interesting note how sounds and moods altered by the close of the decade with the jazz-funk strains espoused by the seminal Mysteries Of The World. A great selection of words from MOJO/ Record Collector scribe Charles Waring accompanies too. An essential addition to your collection.

Release: March 9


grover-washington-jr-600x594Grover Washington JR.
The Definitive Collection: Deluxe Edition

I was introduced to Grover Washington JR. like many I suspect from my generation who first heard the classic break from the equally classic Mister Magic, albeit sampled on a Hip-Hop record. Some years later and this excellent compilation of the range and diversity that the artist has to offer becomes all the more apparent. Opening this double CD selection is his fiery cover of Inner City Blues – perhaps all the more incendiary, even minus the vocal. The music then blows between the smoother more melodic sounds of No Tears In The End through to the tougher street funk of Knucklehead. Also included are ‘featured on’ tracks such as Idris Muhammad’s beautiful Loran’s Dance, as well as Bill Withers ‘Just The Two Of Us’, plus the sublime Asphalt Canyon Blues recorded with Kenny Burrell for Blue Note. Do read Charles Waring’s sleeve notes too and you won’t miss a beat.