Paris DJs' second playlist of the summer is all about some recent Afro & Latin releases and reissues from Brazil, Puerto Rico, Nigeria, USA, France and many other countries, with some detours through 70s Jazz from Germany, Parisian Pop & Soul from the Jî Dru & Sandra Nkaké collaborations and the new Tru Thoughts compilation coming straight from Brighton.

Thanks to Maurico @ Bixiga 70, Simon @ Accent-Presse, Kuku, Jî Dru & Sandra Nkaké, Thomas Berghaus @ Büro.9, Marlysse @ Bio Ritmo, Yannis Ruel, Tobias @ Tramp Records & Rosie @ Tru-Thoughts Recordings… and of course Grant Phabao, Ben Hito and all the artists participating in our compilations!

Paris DJs Playlist July 2013

The July 2013 Paris DJs Playlist :


01. Bixiga 70 - Bixiga 70
(CD/LP, Agua Forte / 2011) info | buy

Our first record of this summer's playlist was released already 2 years ago in Brazil but since we had the chance to quickly hook up with the band's leader Mauricio Fleury on a trip to Paris this month, and since we picked their superb 'Luz Vermelha' track for the 'Rise Of The Troubadour Warriors' compilation, it was high time we talked about Bixiga 70's first selft-titled album! Released on glorious vinyl that you'll find at Betino's or the Superfly Records stores in Paris, this brilliant LP was mixed by dub alumni Victor Rice in Sao Paulo and fully delivers a Brazilian/Nigerian crossover vibe that's still 100% Afrobeat. Since its release, the band has shared stages with Antibalas, Oghene Kologbo, Tony Allen and Seun Kuti, and we're eagerly waiting for the 2nd album to happen!

02. BLO - Chapter One
(1973, CD/LP reissue, Mr Bongo / 2013) info | buy

BLO was one of the great Nigerian bands of the 70s. Our first introduction to their sound happened in 2001 thanks to the Strut Records compilation 'Phases 1972-1982', which featured 2 out of 8 tracks from their 1972 first album 'Chapter One', now reissued on CD and vinyl by Mr Bongo. Before recording this 1st LP, BLO had been playing with Cream drummer Ginger Baker and subsequently toured Europe. Back in Lagos, they recorded this gem of Afro-Rock, blending highlife and psychedelic rock, with a dubby mix of heavy drum and bass for people to relate to something to dance to. What if Grant Funk Railroad and The Isley Brothers had recorded intrumental psychedelia in Nigeria in the 70s? Well here's the answer!

03. Kuku - Soldier Of Peace
(CD, self-released / 2012) info | buy

Kuku was born and raised in Nigeria, then went living in the US for a number of years and is now living in Europe. He gave us a copy of his recently released 5th album, 'Soldier Of Peace', when he came to Paris DJs to mix some new tracks with Grant Phabao. Kuku plays stripped down acoustic Soul, and this is is first Yoruba record (despite some English content), in the vein of Michael Kiwanuka, or a more cultural, original, Nigerian version of Bil Withers. If 'Black Man' or 'The Cure' stand out as singles, the full record is delicious for a summer afternoon chillout vibe…

04. Paris DJs Soundsystem - Rise Of The Troubadour Warriors - Tropical Grooves & Afrofunk International Vol.3
(Digital album, Paris DJs / 2013) info | buy

Paris DJs and Elvis Martinez Smith team up for 'Rise Of The Troubadour Warriors - Tropical Grooves & Afrofunk International Vol.3' - taking up where the second volume left off with another a fully-licensed compilation of Afrofunk, Afrobeat, Latin or Brazilian Funk & Ethio-Jazz from the 21st century. The music abounds with psychedelic influences and a heavy dose of soul, including a slew of brand new unreleased tracks from Brownout, The Funk Ark (both produced by Adrian Quesada) and Hard Proof from Austin, Texas; Foreign Key and Todd Simon's Ethio-Cali Ensemble from Los Angeles, USA; the Grant Phabao Afrofunk Arkestra or Osemako from Paris and Nîmes, France; Papa Chango from Melbourne, Australia; and the International Ducks from Berlin, Germany!! All of the tracks were re-mastered by Grant Phabao at Paris DJs studios, giving the music on 'Rise Of The Troubadour Warriors' a sound quality sometimes previously unavailable. Quite simply, the music has never sounded this good. With an intemporal Ben Hito artwork as a source of inspiration to submit tracks, this is truly epic music and is perhaps even more relevant to the funkier influences within the contemporary Afro musical spectrum.


05. Africando - Viva Africando
(CD, Sterns Music / 2013) info

Many of you readers should remember Africando - the international Salsa big band has been around for two decades and this is their 8th studio album already! Still led by producer Ibrahima Sylla and arranger Boncana Maïga, Africando keep on diggin' the same transatlantic 'Salsa Dura sung in African languages' path they've been on for so long. Guest vocal stars on this album include Amadou Ballake from Burkina Faso, Bassirou Sarr from the Dieuf-Dieul band and James Gadiaga from Royal Band de Thiès, both from Senegal, Sékouba Bambino from Guinea’s Bembeya Jazz National, Jos Spinto from Benin, Shoubou aka Roger Eugène from maybe the most famous Haitian bands, Tabou Combo, Lokombe from Congo's 70s group Les Grands Maquisards, Pascal Dieng from the Super Cayor de Dakar, Rene Cabral from the Cape Verde Show, the late Raymond Fernandes, born in Dakar of Cape Verdean origin, Medoune Diallo, a veteran Africando singer from Senegal and, finally, Ray De La Paz, lead singer of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, one of our favorite Salsa groups of today, featured in a bonus track they play as a tribute to Africando! Recorded between Dakar, Bamako, New York and Paris, this is white-hot Panafrican Salsa with the cream of NY's Latino-American players.

06. Batida de Colónia - Batida de Colónia
(CD, Büro.9 / 2013) info | buy

Batida de Colónia is a Samba, Bossa Nova & Mambo band led by producer Thomas Berghaus aka Shareholder Tom and guitarist/singer Anna Gaden, with the cream of Cologne and Munich's Jazz scene in Germany. Deeply rooted in the past (from the 50s to the 70s), this album is a very pleasant surprise, especially for the masterful choice of covers: a cool samba version of The Cure's 'Friday I'm In Love', German rock band Element of Crime's 'Delmenhorst' from 2005 dressed in a relaxed carnaval mode, a seducing bossa take on The Jam's maybe most addictive song, 'That's Entertainment', and a beautiful 60s pop arrangement of The Smiths' 'Panic'!! Add to those half a dozen originals and a beautiful lavish packaging and you got yourself one the freshest record of the summer!

07. Bio Ritmo - Picaresca
(Digital Single, Paris DJs / 2013) info | buy

The enfants terribles of salsa are back! For more than two decades Bio Ritmo has been reviving the style and elegance of the great 70s Salsa. As a foretaste of their new album expected for the end of the year, Bio Ritmo cranks up the summer heat on this first instrumental single, 'Picaresca', a high voltage descarga combining the best spirit of tradition between Salsa and Latin jazz, with these funky spices, trademark of the band. Led by a pyrotechnical horn section, the track is a party anthem bouncing like a cartoon character between lead trumpet parts (Mark Ingraham), timbales (Giustino Riccio) and trombone (Toby Whitaker), galvanized by Marlysse Simmons' groove that climbs back and forth between piano and Farfisa. Also, check out the band's summer Paris DJS mix available here!

08. Various - Saoco 2! - Bomba, Plena & The Roots of Salsa in Puerto Rico 1955-1967
(CD/LP, Vampisoul / 2013) info | buy

There's Dance Music, usually understood as the most commercial kind of… well at Paris DJs we mainly call 'dance music' the irresistible kind that certainly makes you want to get on your feet and groove. It can be binary - take deep soulful house for example - and plenty of it is syncopated, rooted in the old school traditions. This new volume of the 'Saoco!' series cooked up by compiler Yannis Ruel stands out as one of the great dance music compilations of the summer. Still exploring oldies from Puerto Rico from the 50s and 60s, before Salsa became worldwide, the selection doesn't stop at Bomba and Plena rhythms or rural Puerto Rico 'Música Campesina this time, but also find orchestras dispaying amazing skills at playing Cuban Mambo, Rumba and Guaracha, or Haitian-Dominican Merengue… Outstanding dance music from 60 years ago, when Puerto Rican combos would gather the ingredients today called Salsa Dura, the diversity of the music making it even more essential than the first volume!


09. Herb Geller feat. Mark Murphy & Earl Jordan - An American In Hamburg - The View From There
(2LP/CD, Tramp Records / 2013) info | buy

Herb Geller is a famous American jazz saxophonist, composer and arranger, who arrived in Europe at the beginning of the 60s and soon made Hamburg is home. In january 1975 he recorded at Windrose Studio a killer vocal jazz dance LP, featuring singers Mark Murphy on three lengthy compositions, Earl Jordan (of Les Humphries Singers fame) on one, and five instrumentals. This is one of the best german 70s Jazz records, with the incredible 'Space A La Mode', starting with a spacey intro asking to be sampled, before launching into a slightly electric (but not fusion) uptempo part… really epic & beautiful music! Note that the deluxe double-vinyl LP reissue is limited to 555 copies only and you sure won't find an original easily!

10. Jî Mob - Bankrobber
(CD, La Mais°n / 2013) info | buy

Jérôme 'Jî' Dru is a Paris-based French singer and flute player hard to pigeonhole. We got introduced to him through his many featurings on various Doctor L projects along the years, and saw him do the job with class on stage along Push Up, Sandra Nkaké, Chateau Flight, Mike Ladd and many others. We recently connected to collaborate on future Afrofunk or Dub projects to be released on Paris DJs and had the chance to grab a copy of his third Jî Mob album, a project he's been leading since 2006. That man is full of surprises, and the album is a glorious film noir soundtrack blending pop, jazz & soul with nods to The B-52's and the p-funk sound of George Clinton. Unclassifiable stuff.

11. Sandra Nkaké - Nothing For Granted
(CD, Jazz Village / 2012) info | buy

Anyone who has seen Franco-Cameroonian singer Sandra Nkaké on stage knows the lady is a star, combining an amazing stage presence with a powerful voice, both sensual and theatrical. 'Nothing For Granted' is her second album, released on newly-launched label Jazz Village. We celebrated this record a bit more than a year ago with an exclusive 'Inspirations' mix, cooked by Sandra with her friend flutist/producer Jî Dru who wrote and composed the album with her. We finally got our hands on the CD, hence the late review, but it was damn well worth the wait! The singer blends everything here, pop/rock, funk, gospel, jazz, even reggae, with an insatiable musical appetite and the help of Julien Tekeyan (drums), the mighty Christophe 'Disko' Minck (bass), Matthieu Ouaki (guitar), Jérôme Drû (flute) and Antoine Berjeaut (trumpet, bugle). This is a deep cultural journey, with a vibrant soul vibe, and some addictive hooks. No guessing why it won so many prizes…

12. Various - Shapes: Circles
(2CD/2LP, Tru Thoughts, 2013) info | buy

Tru Thoughts Recordings in Brighton is still ruling on the UK soulful club scene after all these years, and the best way to kept in the loop of what's going on on the United Kingdom islands is to check the label's annual (sometimes bi-annual) 'Shapes' compilation. As usual, the selection is available on a cheaply-priced double CD, or as a limited double LP including the 2 CDs, and as every year, it's a heavily recommended compilation from the most consistent leftfield label out there, with the best of the current sound of the imprint, some remixes and a few exclusives. Favorites include the deep electronic gospel of Natural Self's cover of Electrolane 'The Valleys'; the superb 21st soul of Harleighblu's 'Let Me Be'; a brand new signing with an album on its way, an intensely beautiful ballad taken from Alice Russell's latest album, the Hip Hop neo-classic 'Like You Never' by Ty, 'We Renegades', a marching soul anthem from Mark de Clive-Lowe; the just fantastic cover of 'Ghost Town' (The Specials) by the mighty Hot 8 Brass Band; 'The Chosen', quality soulful spiritual jazz from Menagerie; the amazingly different from the norm cumbia cover of Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth by Quantic Y Su Conjunto Los Miticos Del Ritmo; 'Jump + Move + Rock', a loveable party reggae/rub-a-dub tune by Wrongtom & Deemas J; the 'Live Up' reggae/hip hop anthem that's gonna get played for many years by Rodney P; 'Dub Is For Real', a cool wobbly thing by Maddslinky & Mr Scruff and more dancefloor action from Drumagick, Hint and others, including some addictive Mr Oizo destructured kind of groove by Zed Bias. For something like 6/8€, it's a bargain!

Contact us to be featured in this monthly playlist or send us records at :
Julien Lakshmanan / Paris DJs
240 rue de Belleville
(gardien au 55 rue du Telegraphe)
75020 Paris, France

Bonus !! The companion Soundcloud set for this month and last month's playlists :

Original post on Paris DJs