There’s not much info about Geza Vegh nor his musicians, but we know that he did at least this one album, Jazzbalettrytmer (jazz ballet rhythms). It’s one of the several jazz ballet albums released in Sweden during the 1970s and 1980s. Since it’s strictly intended for jazz ballet, all the tracks are very danceable although they vary in pace. And they’re danceable not only in jazz ballet studios, but in bboy cyphers too. The monotonic tracks are great in rhythm although they mostly lack all the melodies and horn stabs that the regular funk music have.
Side a starts with a midtempo latin track and is followed by an uptempo drum frenzy one. Next up is two midtempo drum tracks, first jazzy one, then more funky with a good breakbeat and some piano works and then another jazzy one. Then comes a downtempo song before the last track on side a, which is another uptempo breakbeat drum frenzy. Side b opens with clearly the best track on the album. A strong bboy breakbeat track that actually is just one long three and half minute break. It’s followed by another mellow piano driven track and a latin flavored downtempo track. next is another long four minute midtempo drumbreak. then comes yet another piano track before the last track, a two minute jazzy one. There is no track names and it’s also hard to figure out the sides since Jazzbaletrytmer is a whitelabel. There’s BB and CC scratched on the dead wax and that’s how I choose what’s side a and what’s side b. Jazzbaletrytmer is an interesting album and pops up quite scarcely. Pick it up if you can.
1934 born Raul De Souza - actually his real name is João José Pereira De Souza - is a well known trombonist from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. He started his career in the mid 1950s and has played with many of the key figures in the Brazilian music scene. In the mid 1960s he released his first solo album - using his pseudonym Raulzinho (little Raul) and the second album with his group Impacto 8 was released in 1968. Within his career, Raul De Souza has played with Sergio Mendez, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, Milton Nascimento, Sonny Rollins, Cal Tjader among countless others. After spending great share of his career in United States he has returned to his home country Brazil. Not to rest though, as he’s still active composer and trombonist today.
The album starts and ends with the same song, a heavy latin take of Herb Alpert’s “Treasure of San Miguel” here named “Teasuro de Sao Miguel”. It’s very dancefloor friendly with banging breakbeat drums and catchy horns that follow quite strictly the original. The only minus is the length, it’s only one minute and fortyfive seconds long. The second song on side a is a heavy Portuguese version of “Spinning wheel” with nice organ work. Originally recorded by Blood, Sweat & Tears, it’s somehow similar to Doors hit “Light my fire”, almost all the versions are good. Then comes a funky uptempo boogaloo track called “Boogaloo Bill no. 2″ with two very short but really banging breaks that somehow remainds me of the legendary “Amen” break of The Winstons. Next up is the uptempo latin track “Two beat manchild” followed by uptempo breakbeat latin jazz take “Fried bananas” and a nice version of Brenda Holloway’s “You’ve made me so very happy”. B-side opens with heavy organ driven midtempo soul jazz version of Marvin Gaye hit “Mercy Mercy”. It’s followed by a mellow groover “Hello Monalisa”. Next is a heavy downtempo take of Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe island”. Then comes another highlight of the album, an uptempo and funky take of “I’ve got the feelin’” with raw vocals of Raul De Souza. Needless to say it’s a very dancefloor friendly with tight breakbeats and catchy horn stabs. Finally comes uptempo “slick” before the replay of “Teasuro de Sao Miguel” ends the album.
Joseph Van Het Groenewoud was born in Amsterdam in the mid 1920s. In 1947, in the aftermath of the World War II he moved to Belgium to avoid the military service in Dutch East Indies (nowadays Indonesia). He had already started to play violin and bass during his time in Amsterdam and his musical career started in Brussels ballroom orchestra almost immediately after he moved to Belgium. He also changed his name to Nico Ooms, Propably to confuse the Dutch authorities or something. In the late 1950s he was also involved with the forming of the famous Belgian latin influenced group The Chakachas. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s Ooms was quite active in the latin music scene of Belgium. At some point - possibly in the late 1960s - he changed his name again, this time to Nico Gomez. And that name he bore till his death in 1992. At that time he also started to record albums with his own bands. In 1971 he released an album with his new group, The Afro Percussion Inc. The album was called Ritual. In the late 1960s and early 1970s there were only very few studios in Brussels, so it was obvious that the same studio musicians were used in different projects. The same musicians that were involved with Ritual, were also responsible for most of the other funky releases that came out from Belgium in the 1970s - El Chicles, Chakachas, Chicken Curry, Super Funky Discotheque, SSO, Black Blood, The Sumos etc. The list is very long and it explains the quality of certain recordings from Belgium that time.
What comes to the music, Ritual is quite different compared to his previous albums. While the previous recordings were more or less big band performed latin music with an easy listening feel, Ritual has some serious funk, afro-cuban and even chicano rock influences. The album starts wth the raw latin funk take of Perez Prado song “Caballo negro”. It’s an uptempo, a little messy but really funky song with a short break in the end. Next one is a midtempo latin track “Naci para bailar”, which is really groovy but a little lazy. There’s also some nice organ work. Then comes “Cuba libre”, again a very funky latin groover with a very dominating guitar sound and a catchy hook “te quiero, cuba libre..”. After that comes a very groovy version of “Samba de una note so” (better known as “One note samba”) followed by another banging uptempo latin funker “Baila chibiquiban”, with a nice break in the middle. Then comes a song that always reminds of a certain local beer comercial no matter who’s version it is that I hear. Nico Gomez‘ version of “El condor pasa” with a quite heavy downtempo beats is however one of the best I’ve heard so far. Next up is the first standout track of this overall great album called “Lupita”, originally by the king of mambo Perez Prado. With funky and banging latin beats and a quite massive and long break makes it a bboy friendly banger. It’s followed by another heavy downtempo latin funk track “Pa! pa! pa! pa!”. Then comes another bboy friendly standout track, “Ritual”, with banging breakbeat drums, nice breaks and som fuzz guitar works. Last track of the album is mellow but heavy and banging version “Eso es el amor” (the original was Belgian #1 hit in 1958 as performed by The Chakachas), that is mostly quite downtempo but fastens the pace every now and then. The original pressing of this album is really rare and pricy - last time I saw it, was at Utrecht record fair few years ago, and it was 800 euros. Well 800 is way too much in any circumstances, but one can always ask… There’s however few different later pressings around, although they seem to be quite scarce too.
Armando Peraza was born in Havana, Cuba, ca. 1924 (due to the circumstances in 1920s Cuba, the birth date is uncertain). He was orphaned by the age of 7 and lived most of his childhood on the streets. As a natural musician, it didn’t take long until he was playing with all the famous conjuntos (small bands) in Havana. In 1948 Peraza left Cuba to join his friend Mongo Santamaria in Mexico. They arrived in New York 1949 and immediately found themselves playing with the famous latin jazz musician Machito. After a while Charlie Parker asked Peraza to join in to a recording session with him, Buddy Rich and some others. After moving to San Francisco in the early 1950s Peraza worked with with Perez Prado, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus and Dexter Gordon to name a few. In 1954 he met Cal Tjader and years later joined his band for six years. Throughout the 1960s Peraza played with various jazz and latin artists before joining the Carlos Santana’s band in 1972. He was a key player for 18 years before retiring from the band at the age of 66. During that period he was playing around the world partnering with other top class percussionists like José Chepito Areas, Mingo Lewis, Raul Rekow and Orestes Vilató.
Although Peraza never wanted to be a bandleader, preferring to be recognized as a featured musician, he released a solo album in 1968. This album, Wild Thing, was released on small Skye label that was co-owned by Cal Tjader, Gary McFarland and Gábor Szabó. Skye was active only few years releasing 21 studio albums before filing a bankcruptcy in 1970. Due to his connections, Peraza got a quite interesting set of musicians to his album. Pianist Chick Corea, flautist Johnny Pacheco, bassist Chuck Rainey, percussionists Cal Tjader and Tommy Lopez, drummer Donald McDonald and saxophonist Sadao Watanabe among some others joined him on this session.
Many of the tracks on this one are covers. First up is a nice latin groove cover of “Wild thing”, originally recorded by a New York band The Wild Ones and later made famous by the UK band The Troggs. In a weird way it reminds me more of “La bamba” than the original. Next one is a midtempo version of “Mony Mony”, originally by Tommy James & the Shondells and later covered by Billy Idol and several others. Another much covered song here is “Funky Broadway”, originally by Dyke & the Blazers. It turns out to be a great midtempo latin funk track. The last song, “Granny’s samba” - originally by Gary McFarland - is a heavy latin jam with a really long tight break in the middle. There’s also original compositions like “Red onions”, which is a really good one. As expected, this album is really percussion heavy with occasional breaks on almost every song and continuous rhythm grooviness throughout the album.
Join the adventure of Tobbi, a small boy and Robbi, the robot in their Fliewatüüt on the ground, in the water and in the air. Together they built a vehicle which can swim, fly and drive and takes them on their journey. In 1972 the producers of the series used a break-through filming technique: A combination of back projection and puppet acting. Today this series is regarded as a true classic of German TV-history. (Diggler)
Robbi, Tobbi und das Fliewatüüt is a German children’s book written by Boy Lornsen that was released in 1967. It spawned a film adaptation of 11 episodes in 1972. Besides being a children’s series with groundbreaking techniques, the music is also top class. Composer Ingfried Hoffmann, undoubtedly the best organ player in 1970s Germany, used contemporary sounds like funk, jazz, beat and bossa nova to create this extraordinary soundtrack that remained unreleased for 30 years. This Poland born organist, pianist, trumpeter, composer and arranger was also known for his projects under a pseudonym Memphis Black and for playing with Klaus Doldinger, Klaus Kühn, Peter Nero and Peter Thomas. He did several other soundtrack recordings too during the 1960s and 1970s.
This release by Diggler includes the complete original music from the Robbi, Tobbi und das Fliewatüüt series, selected dialogues of the characters and as a bonus track, a remix of the title track by The Frank Popp ensemble. The title theme “Robbi, Tobbi und das Fliewatüüt” starts the album with a rumble. It’s a groovy and funky uptempo track with a slight easy listening feel. It sounds like it suits for any tight early 1970s action movie. Sounds even a little Bond-esque to me. The Frank Popp ensemble’s remix of the title track is really a magnificent one too. It has strong acid jazz feeling but it’s also as much banging as the original, or even more. “Himbeersaft” (raspberry juice) is kind of a downtempo version of the title theme that repeats the melodies slowly with certain grimness. “Nordpol” (north pole) and “Kartoffelschälmusik” (potato peeling music) are both uptempo early 1970s style easy listening soundtrack tracks, latter being the better one but only 36 seconds long. Another great but short track is the breakbeat one “Nessie”. Along the title track, the best one here is “Guten flug! (orgel)” (good flight! (organ)), that is a repeat of the “Guten flug!” track but with whistling replaced by organ sounds. With it’s happy feeling and uptempo beat it just won’t leave anybody untouched. Overall the album is a mixture of early 1970s movie/tv sounds, library music and beat grooviness. Big respect to Diggler for bringing this up.
Guten flug! (orgel)
Robbi, Tobbi und das Fliewatüüt
Robbi, Tobbi und das Fliewatüüt (Frank Popp ensemble remix)
Power was supposingly the only album by this obscure funk outfit that hailed from Sweden but consisted of one Swede, one Englishman and four Mexicans. And it’s not to be confused with the Danish group with the same name that was also active during the mid 1970s. Very little is known of these guys, except that guitarist Jörgen Höglund did a solo album in 1980 and some of the Mexican guys are still playing today. Along Höglund the other funky cats here are Rafael “Chatcho” Sida (percussion), José “Pepe” Ballote (saxophone, flute and bass), Jesus “Chuie” Sida (trumpet and percussion), Renato Lopez (bass, guitar and percussion) and Sam Mardsen (keyboards). They are all on vocals too.
The music on Power varies from downtempo funky soul like “Gotta find a way” to uptempo funk like “Someone to love”. The latter being definitely the best track here. Latin influenced jam “Amigo mio” is also worth to mention with it’s nice flute work and funky latin rhythms as well as the caribbean flavored “Cozumel”, that also has a small break in the middle. Then there’s “Smog city” with a hint of rock feeling and the midtempo instrumental funk track “Soraya”, that starts with a break and continues as a hypnotic funk jam. Overall this is a very funky little obscurity from the land of the elks.
It’s almost impossible to find any reasonable info of this mysterious Peruvian bandleader Enrique Lynch, who was apparently quite famous in his own country however. And he was really productive too. Huge number different releases pop up every here and there when trying to find anything of him. Seems that he did a lot of local music and a lot of international covers. And (too) many of the songs he released were medleys. Seems also that Peru was very innovative place for music throughout the 1970s. This album was pointed out to me by my friend Dj Dee from the Redhill Records store and I ended up buying this from him. And I haven’t regretted it.
I don’t have that much knowledge on different musical styles of the Latin America or the Caribbean, but seems that this music Lynch was playing o this album is called either salsa, guaguancó or cumbia in different occasions. The album title Bomba tropical instead is clearly referring to one of the folk music styles of Puerto Rico. For me however, there’s only one song that’s over the top. Or should I say one medley of two songs. The last track, “Safari salvaje / K-jee” is a cover of two pretty well known songs. “Safari salvaje” or as we know it better “Wild safari”, was an international hit of the Spanish latin rock group Barrabas written by their drummer/bandleader Fernando Arbex. It was released in 1971 as a single and an album of the same name. “K-Jee” was a major hit by the US instrumental funk group The Nite-liters that was first released as a b-side cut of their single “Tanga boo gonk”. Besides this one great track, the cover of Bomba tropical is one of the greatest covers I’ve ever seen coming from Latin America.
Thomas “Coke” Escovedo was an Oakland born percussionist who became known playing in Carlos Santana’s band. Later he went on his own and formed the latin rock group Azteca with his brother Pete Escovedo. Coke started his solo career in 1975 and released three albums. This second one, Comin’ at ya! was propably the best result. It was meant to be an attempt to please the ever-growing disco demand, and he succeeded pretty well. Glenn Symmonds on drums, Frank Mercurio on keyboards and synthesizers, Abel Zarate on guitar, Mark Phillips on bass and Coke himself on percussion form a tight combination. There’s also featuring artists Gabor Szabo playing guitar on one song and Joe Henderson playing tenor sax on three songs.
The songs on this albums are a mix between latin percussion driven mid 1970s uptempo disco and latin jazzrock fusion. “Diamond Dust / Vida” with Gabor Szabo’s guitar work is a good example of that latin fusion with a lot of percussion while “The breeze and I” instead is a cool disco track. “Runaway” is a midtempo track that starts with a nice break and continues as a vocal discofunk number. Best track no doubt is the uptempo dancefloor filler “I wouldn’t change a thing” that starts with a tight bboy break and goes on and on with really nice percussion driven beat and catchy vocals. Both “Runaway” and “I wouldn’t change a thing” were featured on the notorious Ultimate Breaks & Beats series.