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From the USA comes the self-titled debut album from a band with an incredible pedigree: The 7 Day Weekend are acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and producer Alan Evans (co-founder and drummer of soul-funk legends Soulive), and in-demand keyboard player Kris Yunker (Alan Evans Trio/Jen Dunkin & The Business).
The 7 Day Weekend is born from and influenced by the sounds and compositions of 60s and 70s film scores. Evans & Yunker combine their songwriting and production aesthetic to create what they describe as “electrorganic music”. Blending evocative ambient soundscapes with impeccable funk & hip hop-influenced grooves, the duo have put together a luscious collection of instrumentals for their self-titled debut. 
From boogie, to jazz-funk, to sultry cinematic sounds, "The 7 Day Weekend"is an album that draws equally from the sonic landscapes of Galt McDermot as it does from those of J-Dilla, conjuring laid back summer grooves and transporting the listener to the weekend no matter what day of the week it is.

BT ALC Big Band is excited to release new single "The Iguana", recorded remotely during the Covid19 pandemic and featuring a who's who of funk royalty, including legendary flutist/tenor saxophonist Karl Denson (Greyboy Allstars /Rolling Stones), award-winning guitarist Eric Krasno (Soulive / Lettuce) and renowned bassist Nate Edgar (Nth Power / John Brown’s Body). This single is the second collaboration between BT ALC Big Band and Vintage League Music, following up on the success and glowing reviews from their May 2020 release "Bring Forth Change".
Once again, the song-writing process began by getting VLM co-founder and Soulive drummer Alan Evans together with organist Darby Wolf at Iron Wax Studios to lay down the initial track for the rest of the band to work off of and invite friends to join in. Inspired by the uptempo grooves on Grant Green’s classic album "Live At The Lighthouse" recorded in 1972, "The Iguana" is similarly fast-paced, extremely groovy, and absolutely infectious!

On The Spot (OTS) Trio are back with their second single of 2020 "Soquel", a mesmerizing slice of afro-tinged psychedelic jazz-funk that follows up on the success of first single "Hefe" released in April. Recorded at Soulive drummerAlan Evans’ Iron Wax Studio, "Soquel" sees OTS founding members Danny Mayer (Star Kitchen / Eric Krasno Band) and Kris Yunker (Alan Evans Trio / Jen Durkin & The Business) once again team up with Turkuaz drummer Michelangelo Carubba to deliver another sizzling sonic treat!
In "Soquel" drummer Carubba provides the rhythmic backbone for Yunker's bass and organ to build a scorching afrobeat groove on which Mayer's distorted guitar designs psychedelic soundscapes. Clocking in at over 5 minutes, "Soquel"is a hypnotic number that feels loose and spontaneous while also displaying the tight musicianship of the band members.

It's been a long time coming but The Allergies have finally released their fourth studio album, 'Say The Word'.

Comprising of thirteen party-starting bangers ready to become YOURsummer soundtrack, the album features hit-single and 6 Music A-Lister 'Felony', the airwave favourites that are 'Every Trick In The Book' and 'Let Them Know (feat. The Cuban Brothers) and a series of collaborations with the likes of Andy Cooper (Ugly Duckling), Marietta Smith and Mr Woodnote. Further ammunition is supplied from none other than Dynamite MC, Dr Syntax and Skunkadelic and together they ensure that this LP is jam-packed with future classics and foot stompers as funk, soul and hip-hop flow throughout every ounce of this release. What's not to love?

Crushed Velvet & the Velveteers is the alter ego of US multi-instrumentalist and producer Alan Evans (Soulive / Ae3) who is back with another taste from his upcoming full-length on Vintage League Music with new single "As Far As We Know feat. Brother GoodLove". The track is a soul song dripping with emotion and power on which Evans plays bass, drums and guitar.
Born in Montreal to Cameroonian parents, Brother GoodLove was raised in a multicultural household and community where music featured prominently. Now residing in Washington D.C, he draws from a wide palette of musical traditions, from African-American to African, Caribbean, Latin American and European. His music is an exploration of his identity and sense of self, an expression of his personal views, a reflection on the world around him and a contribution to the future he believes in.  "As Far As We Know feat. Brother GoodLove" follows up from first single "Good Thang feat. Kim Dawson" released in June and anticipates the upcoming Crushed Velvet & The Velveteers album.

After an endless time of silence around German nu-jazz outfit Bahama Soul Club, they're finally back with "Bohemia After Dawn", the soundtrack of a lifestyle compiled in 12 sunsoaked songs. ! Laid back and lovely, matured and mellow to spoil us with their uber-cool vibe coming directly from the breezy Algarve. Bahama Soul Club’s 5th album draws deep inspiration from the multicultural verve of young worldly folk drawn to the Bohemian coasts, where hippiesque hedonism, infinite musical diversity, and offbeat enchanted lifestyles fuel the scene. 
From securing the rights to use vocal extracts by John Lee Hooker, Billie Holiday and Sister Wynona Carr, to discovering a host of local talent such as singers Josephine Nightingale and Taly Minkov-Louzeiro and last but not least, collaborating once again with one of the most exciting voices in the Bahama Soul Club family so far... Cuban artist Arema Arega, this album has all the ingredients to be the soundtrack of the summer. Add two cool remixes from the masters of the scene: Mighty Club des Belugas and SMOOVE himself to the pot and something is definitely cookin' in the kitchen!

Vintage League Music proudly presents new limited edition 7inch doubler A-sider "Black Rider"/ "Express 76", respectively by US jazz-funk band Ae3(aka Alan Evans Trio featuring Alan Evans of Soulive) and UK funk stalwarts Crowd Company.
"Black Rider" is a lowdown funk number with psychedelic flavours and a dirty midtempo groove that was the lead single from Ae3's 2019 album "The Wild Root", while "Express 76" is a breakneck funk / soul dancefloor classic, featuring Ryan Zoidis & Eric Bloom, the horn section from Grammy nominated US band Lettuce, and was the first single off of Crowd Company's album "Lowdown" released early in 2020. Both tracks proved be fan favorites and went on to enjoy hundreds of thousands of plays and 5 star reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. Fans of the bands have been clamouring for a 7 inch vinyl release and so here it is in all its glory!

 20 Questions You Didn’t Know You Wanted To Ask... Mark Norton


How would you best describe what you do to the uninitiated?
 I’m a funk, soul, R&B sax and flute player, who dabbles in jazz.
 Where would you say you are with regard to your career right now?
 This question is the real reason it has taken me so long to finally
 complete this interview, because the answer kept changing.
 I moved to Hamburg in Germany in November 2018, having lived and worked in London all of my adult life. I was gigging quite a bit in the UK, on a semi-professional basis, mostly with my own bands, The Gene Drayton Unit and The Fantastics, but also freelancing, including gigs with Rhoda Dakar, The Getup and Crowd Company. 
2019 was a tough year for me, Hamburg is a music city, but it’s full of shit-hot saxophone players, all of whom are competing for the same gigs. And I’m new in town, with no opportunity to be heard. So I focused on building a studio at home, to concentrate on writing and production, so that I could get my music heard that way. I have appeared on four records already released in 2020. I released a track on Bandcamp under the name The Towerlane Orchestra a few weeks ago. Initially, I was going to call it “Theme from ‘The Virus’”, but I thought that was a bit negative, so I retitled it “Mission To Vega”, because being able to see the stars is one of the positive things to come out of the Corona situation.
My first record EVER under my own name (“LISBON” by markpaulnorton) was released on 12 June on MJDC Records..
The Fantastics album, “TAKE A SHOT” is scheduled for release on BBE Records later this year, with some singles being released from it before that and another label has asked me to do a solo album. I am also developing material with a guitarist here in Hamburg, so I’m very busy. If it wasn’t for the Corona pandemic, I would have said that 2020 is shaping up to be one of the best years ever for me, musically.
 
 Who would you say has been your biggest inspiration (musically or
 otherwise)?
 There’s a list of people that have inspired me, in various ways:
 My Dad, Stan, was a passionate music fan and record collector and my earliest memories are of being a toddler, surrounded by his records, playing them on an old auto-change turntable.
 
Bill Richardson was the head of music at my secondary school and he encouraged me to focus on my instrument, when I really wanted to do sport and hang out with girls rather than practice the clarinet. Joining the school big band meant that I got to play saxophone AND hang out with girls, so it was a win-win in the end! John Stevenson was his successor, a much younger man, with a passion for soul and jazz-rock, who played Hammond organ. It’s his fault I’m hooked on the sound of the Hammond. I did my first proper gigs with him, his mates were the rhythm section and me and some other kids from school were the horn section. Great experience for us all. Andy Mackay of Roxy Music and Roy Wood were the players that made me decide I wanted to be a sax player.
 King Curtis and Gerry Mulligan are my sax heroes, but I also love
 Stanley Turrentine, Junior Walker and Grover Washington Jr.


 Is there anyone amongst your influences that you think would
 surprise people and why?
 I imagine that seeing Andy Mackay and Roy Wood in my list would
 surprise people as I’m largely perceived as a black music enthusiast.

 What are you most proud of?
 That’s a tough one. The fact that I’m having any sort of success at this stage of my life is probably the best answer.
 I’m proud of all of the work that I’ve done with The GDU and The
 Fantastics and it still totally fills me with joy whenever I hear a track that I’ve written played on the radio.
 
 In the quest to get the music ‘out there’ have you ever done or
 agreed to anything you’ve later regretted?

 Apparently, I had a reputation as a bit of a tough person to deal with when I was in charge of getting gigs for the GDU; its fair to say that I’ve never had cause to regret any of the decisions I made.

 What’s the most ridiculous request that’s been asked of you/the
 band?
 Sadly, the most ridiculous request continues to come up: can the band do a gig for 250 quid? Or worse: “We can’t offer any cash, but think of the exposure”.
Oh, one night, I was playing with a ten-piece soul band, you know, Hammond organ, 4 piece horn section etc. A bloke came up and asked the singer if we knew anything from “Grease”.

 What do you think is the secret to a good working relationship
 amongst musicians?
 It boils down to one thing: respect. Whether that’s recognising the
 contribution that somebody makes musically, or the fact that he always gives you a lift home after the gig, or being aware that somebody isn’t well. It’s like any relationship, except that you potentially have to sustain 3 or four or seven or ten relationships simultaneously.

 How do you make the balance between music and personal
 responsibilities?
 I’ve missed a few family events in the past because I had gigs
 (weddings etc), but I have been very fortunate in that my girlfriend and the rest of my family are all very understanding of what I do. I have always been a musician, and everybody in my life knows the importance of music in my life, so for the greater part, they let me get on with it.

 In light of the internet and downloading do you feel that fans are
 missing out on the record buying discovery/experience?
 As well as being a musician, I am a passionate music collector and DJ, a dyed-in-the-wool vinyl man, so I do think people are missing out. The abiding culture in the 21st century is moving away from ownership of things, but I’m a collector, hoarder, call it what you will: I like stuff!
 That said, I have moved a house a few times in the last few years and all that “stuff” has made it quite exhausting and expensive!

 Do you think that success is your motivation and do you have a
 preset gameplan for your music/the band?
 I guess if success was my only motivation, I’d have given up a long time ago, but of course, that depends on your measurement of success. Music hasn’t made me wealthy, but it has enriched my life and the music I make has enriched other people’s lives, and that is my primary motivation - to make people happy and to make the world a nicer place to live in.

 DJ’s are now as famous as a lot of the bands they play, what are
 your views on this and do you think it’s deserved?
 As a DJ myself, I appreciate the craft that goes into the job, but I’m sure that most DJs would admit that if they could play an instrument live and get the same reaction that they do from playing records, they’d rather do that.

 To date, what has been your most memorable gig (either as a
 performer or as a fan)?
 The gig that immediately springs to mind is the Gene Drayton Unit’s performance at the Rhythms of the World Festival, in Hitchin, back in 2007. It’s the biggest crowd we ever played to. Two weeks before the gig, I broke my finger in a zipline accident and I was told that I might never play again. Thanks to a good surgeon, some very strong painkillers and a comprehensive adjustment in my playing technique (i.e. not using the broken finger!), I got through the show without a hitch, and when the 30,000 strong crowd sang along with our tune “Cake
 Shop”, I literally cried. Playing with the legendary Reuben Wilson at St Paul Soul Jazz Festival in 2012 was pretty special too. It’s my favourite festival anyway and to be in his band for that show was a dream come true.

 How do you overcome pre-gig nerves (if you get them)?
 I do get a bit jittery before a gig and the only way to deal with it is to get on stage and play. I’m usually okay by the end of the first song, once I know how it sounds and what sort of audience we are playing to. The reaction of the audience is hugely important to me as a performer, there is nothing worse than playing to a crowd that doesn’t look like they’re enjoying themselves.

 When did you last write something?
 I write every day. I am very lucky that music is now my job as well as my passion.

 Have you ever reached a point where you’ve thought about
 throwing the towel in and walking away (and if so, what persuaded
 you otherwise)?
 I think giving up music is the last thing I would ever do. I thought about selling my records at one time (dark and desperate times they were, believe me), but I’d never give up playing my instruments.

 What are your views on electronics muscling in and replacing live
 instuments during recording?
 I’m extremely grateful that I have pretty much every instrument you can think of at my fingertips, in my own little studio. I can’t play the guitar, but I do have good piano keyboard skills and also have a wind controller, (like an electronic sax) that can trigger all the digital sounds. It’s always better if I can get other people to play the instruments that I can’t, of course. On my single, I wrote and arranged the track, then sent it off to the bass player (Raydn Hunter from The Fantastics! and GDU) and the drummer/percussionist (Mark Claydon of the Getup and GDU)
 to record their parts. Electronics in music is totally acceptable, these days. I wouldn’t have said that in the Eighties though. Technology has come a long way!

 Lastly, thank you for your time. What made you agree to answer
 these questions
 I was very flattered to be asked. The delay wasn’t reluctance, I promise!
 

Bristol-based soul hurricane Hannah Williams & The Affirmations unleash a cover of Nirvana’s renowned track “Heart-Shaped Box”, out now on all digital platforms.

Hannah and the band have been enjoying connecting with their fans and followers in a whole new way during the past few months of lockdown. Putting musical direction in the hands of their loyal following for the first time, a cover song choice was put to the vote and as a result they were set the challenge of covering a truly classic/significant track. Originally released in 1993, “Heart-Shaped Box” became a hugely popular and life-changing release for Nirvana as well as the many millions of fans who fell in love with it.

In this new recording, Hannah and the band put their own musical spin on this cult classic highlighting how fundamentally any great composition can translate across different genres if embraced and adapted with care. Through countless back and forths with their mixing engineer, and rapid advancements to each of their remote recording setups; the band managed to sculpt this recording, despite lockdown restrictions. The song itself shines the light once again on the state of society and its turmoils; coincidentally more relevant than ever to all of us today, making this release far more poignant than the band ever envisaged.

“This release is an ode to the world and its struggles” the band says, “a nod to the past but also a move into the future, and most of all a tribute to all the amazing people who continue to not only support our band but also all the important messaging and movements we try to encourage through our art and influence”.

Born in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, Williams' father was a musically gifted minister, and her mother let her join the church choir at the age of six. Hannah could read music before she could properly read words, and when she discovered soul by listening with her mum to Motown and Bill Withers, there was no turning back. Hannah Williams & The Affirmations turned heads worldwide when the hip-hop superstar Jay-Z sampled her heart-stopping vocals on “Late Nights & Heartbreak” for the title track, “4:44” on his 2017 album. With the new album “50 Foot Woman”, released last October 18th on the Milan based imprint Record Kicks, Hannah and her exemplary, Bristol-based band the Affirmations have delivered a definitive career statement.

"After loads of research and rights clearance, we were absolutely stoked to find Billie's "Ain't Nobody's Business"". A beautiful composition by Everett Robbins / Porter Grainger. Legend Bessie Smith recorded it in the 20s, Jimmy Witherspoon in the 40s, and Billie made her amazing version 1949... Now, 70 years later, Billie's sound makes love with the contemporary Latin Nu-Jazz of the Bahama Soul Club.
For now the wait for more tunes from the German Soul-Jazz crew around Oliver Belz is over. They're back to spoil us with their laid back and uber-cool vibe. Supported by finest Algarvian vinhos, The BSC are working on their new album. A lot of relaxed inspiration to be found in the tranquillo environment of their new Portuguese recording studio, located in an idyllic countryside setting between Lagos and Sagres. The first song was "Never Roam No More" with John Lee Hooker. The second track is "Ain't Nobody's Business" with Billie Holiday.

Recorded by Lucky to 4-track cassette at Bob Heinemann’s Bomb Shelter studio and then transferred, overdubbed and mixed by Lucky and Jason Gray, this deluxe 10-inch ’found acetate’ project, the final chapter of the Tramp Tapes imprint series, represents another beloved Brown & Gray production. As a very special bonus, this release includes the brutal rehearsal version for "Bout To Blow", and on the flip, you’ll find a living, breathing rough-funk jam in its entirety,"Scavenge Patch Blues" .
Lucky Brown’s composition Pecan Trees Speak To Each Other was inspired by the summer sounds of the rustling pecan groves of San Marcos, Texas, where he composed his Mesquite Suite [TRLP-9074]. Inspiration for the title was found in the writings of Robin Wall Kimmerer in her book, Braiding Sweetgrass, and in southwest poet Wendy Burk’s book, Tree Talks. With this, our humble offering, we send our aspiration to exist in harmony with all the inhabitants of this planet, we are singing, we are playing, we are harmonizing, we are becoming attuned to each other and to the healing vibrations of the universe.

You might know him as a founding member of Soulive, as 1/3 of the Alan Evans Trio, as half of The 7 Day Weekend or just as Alan Evans, but when this multi-instrumentalist/songwriter/studio engineer & producer lets the guitar player in him take the lead, his alter ego is Crushed Velvet & the Velveteers and he’s back with new single “Good Thang feat. Kim Dawson” on VLM.
"Good Thang" is a 3 minute head bopping funk cut that will definitely get you on the dance floor wherever you are!!The single features vocal powerhouse Kim Dawson (known for her work with bands such as Matador Soul Sounds and Pimps of Joytime) and Alan Evans on bass, drums & guitar. Additional instruments are played by Evans’ musical cohorts, Darby Wolf on organ, Pete Aleksi playing 2nd guitar, Brian “BT” Thomas on trombone, Alex Lee-Clarkon trumpet, Tucker Antell on alto and tenor saxophone and Jared Sims on baritone saxophone. This new single is being pressed up as a 7” vinyl and anticipates a full-length Crushed Velvet & the Velveteers album on the way!

It is our distinct pleasure to present "Chito's Song", the latest single from Daptone's Electro-Sax Space warrior, Cochemea Gastelum. Expanding on the themes explored on his debut album "All My Relations" - a reference to the cosmic, spiritual, and familial connections we share within nature and amongst our fellow man - the song is a tribute to his Uncle, a free spirit who nourished Cochemea's love and appreciation for their kindred music, proving a roadmap for his own musical and ancestral journey: an exploration into the bonds we have with our past, present, and future. The hypnotic, percussive groove grabs you from the start, giving Cheme a solid foundation to lay down a silky, soulful melody with his electrified, wah-wah-kissed Alto Saxophone. A touching homage to an extraordinarily, influential spirit. 

Smoove & Turrell are a breath of fresh air in the world of soul bands. The boys make no attempt to sound or look like anyone else. 2020 sees the release of their 6thstudio album "Stratos Bleu"– a slightly different direction for the boys as they take influences from their infamous DJ sets where they fuse northern soul with funk and electronica. The production is a marriage of everything that they grew up on fused with elements of modern music but with the distinctive drum heavy dancefloor production Smoove is famous for.
The challenge for both was about finding the right balance between the Smoove &Turrell sound that has brought them such a fanatical following and the raw dance music they grew up on, while always striving to be original. The tougher electronic sound will be a surprise to some but those denizens of the night who have seen these guys work a crowd from the DJ booth will know what to expect – extraordinary lyricism and tight beats.