Album Reviews: Two Pristine Reissues Close Out Jazz Dispensary’s 2017 Top Shelf Series

Talk about ending your year with a bang! The popular Jazz Dispensary Top Shelf Series unleashes a double shot of 180-Gram vinyl fireworks to ignite at least a couple of New Year’s Eves!

Jungle Fire! (Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers’):
This 1969 release wasn’t just incendiary, it’s a 5-alarm Latino funk fire finally getting the reissue it deserves. Sure, when glancing at the back you may only see five tracks but each of them lives up the album’s name by turning up the heat. Henry “Pucho” Brown is a master of mixing different styles of beats into his signature sound and this release showcases that like no other. You got, of course, the Latin vibes but there’s soul, funk and jazz and it’s all danceable! You can see this album’s influence by shooting forward all the way to the Chemical Brother’s 1997 hit “Block Rockin’ Beats” which used the dream break from “Got Myself a Good Man”. A standout is the group’s adding of their own flavour to the Temptation’s “Could 9”.  

This album still remains one of the most sought-after by collectors and now you can spin it on a 180-gram remaster.

Jungle Fire! (Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers’)
A1 Friendship Train
A2 Got Myself A Good Man
A3 The Spokerman
B1 Cloud 9
B2 Jamilah

Bridge Into The New Age (Azar Lawrence):
For the first time in over three decades we’re seeing a vinyl reissue of Azar Lawrence material. That's got to be enough to send jazz aficionados into convulsions! If the name isn’t igniting a tenor sax in your head right now you have to know that the man started to hone his craft early, working among musicians like Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Elvin Jones. That’s some pretty sweet company considering Azar was playing with legends while only still a teen. Though young, he released Bridge Into The New Age (1974), an album many consider a masterwork of jazz with a lineup to match his wide vision. Playing on the album were Julian Priester (tb), Woody Shaw (trumpet), Ray Straughter and Hadley Caliman (flute), Arthur Blythe (alto sax), Joe Bonner (piano), Clint Houston and John Heard (bass), Billy Hart (drums), Leon "Ndugu" Chancler, Mtume, Guillerme Franco, and Kenneth Nash (percussion), Woody Murray (vibraphone), and Jean Carn (vocals). Long out of print, the album features the ethereal flow of “The Beautiful and Omnipresent Love” and the funky “Forces of Nature”. For more of the same give “Warriors of Peace” a spin!

Find out now why this just wasn’t an album, it was a statement!

Bridge Into The New Age (Azar Lawrence)
A1 Bridge Into The New Age
A2 Fatisha
A3 Warriors Of Peace
B1 Forces Of Nature
B2 The Beautiful And Omnipresent Love