New ‘Original Masters’ Full-Album Re-Issue Series Kicks Off With A Lost Nigerian Disco Funk Classic

This year sees an exciting new undertaking from the Strut camp. We’re launching ‘Original Masters,’ a series of essential original LP reissues exploring rare and under-rated African, Latin and Caribbean music classics, curated by leading collector and DJ, Duncan Brooker.

If that right there is enough to let you know that you’ll be needing each of these classic LPs, we’re offering a subscription option which guarantees a copy of each of the four 1LP Original Masters releases we have planned for 2017. Each one is a new pressing of an extremely rare crate essential, so a subscription means you’ll have some great music to look forward to!
*Note, if you’ve already pre-ordered the Joe King Kologbo album and would like to subscribe to the full series, please email bandcamp@k7.com

The first release in the Original Masters series arrives February 10th 2017, in the form of an experimental highlife / disco outing by Nigerian highlife guitarist Joe King Kologbo.

Forced to flee Nigeria when the Biafran War broke out in 1967, Kologbo spent the late 60s performing with various outfits in Ghana before returning to Lagos in 1971 and playing with Fela Kuti’s Africa 70 and Fela’s wider circle of musicians. By the time he recorded the ‘Sugar Daddy’ LP for the tiny Electromat label in 1980, he was one of the older musicians on the circuit.

“Since he was based in the East during his early days, he was not as well known nationally as some of the other highlife players of the time,” says Oghene Kologbo, “so it’s nice that this album is coming out again. It brings back good memories. That Range Rover on the cover – that is Fela’s!”

Joe King Kologbo’s Sugar Daddy is released 10th February 2017 in its original artwork and features new interviews with Oghene Kologbo and Sonny Akpan of The Funkees. Pre-orders are available now. An edited version of the 15-minute title track is streaming below.

New African Label ‘Odion Livingstone’ From Legendary Nigerian Producer Odion Iruoje And Collector Temi Kogbe

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Legendary EMI Nigeria producer Odion Iruoje and rare African music collector Temi Kogbe have launched a new label called Odion Livingstone, a brand new venture out of Lagos, Nigeria in association with Strut Records. The label is one of the only imprints based in Nigeria to specialize in new and back catalogue releases from across Africa, bringing a fresh African perspective.

The debut release in January 2017 will be an official reissue of the much in-demand 1983 LP ‘Friday Night’ by Livy Ekemezie, a brilliant one-off independently released disco / funk album originally pressed at William Onyeabor’s pressing plant in Enugu. Further releases will explore a wide variety of Africa’s lost back catalogue gems through original LP reissues and compilations alongside selected new artist recordings.

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Spiritual Jazz Legend Idris Ackamoor Returns With The Pyramids

Pyramids_1974_squareStrut are proud to present the brand new studio album from West Coast jazz mavericks, The Pyramids, led by their inspirational bandleader, Idris Ackamoor.

Alto saxophonist Ackamoor first met Margo Simmons (flute) and Kimathi Asante (electric bass) whilst students together at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio where one of their teachers was renowned pianist, Cecil Taylor. After founding the band in Paris in 1972, performing in Holland and embarking on a “cultural odyssey” across Africa, the group recorded three independent albums (Lalibela in 1973, King Of Kings in 1974 and Birth / Speed / Merging in 1976) and became renowned for their striking live shows, mixing percussive, spiritual and space-age jazz with performance, theatre, and dance. After migrating to San Francisco to perform on the Bay Area arts scene, they disbanded in 1977 after a
final show at the UC Berkeley Jazz Festival.

Almost 30 years later, The Pyramids reunited unexpectedly following growing demand for their music from vinyl collectors and jazz fans and embarked on the first of many European tours featuring original members, as well as a fresh line-up including renowned percussionist Kenneth Nash. In 2012 the group signed to German label Disko B who released a new album, the freeform Otherworldly and all three albums from their rare back catalogue. Idris was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by DJ Gilles Peterson at his Worldwide Awards and The Pyramids were back, gaining a whole new legion of fans.

For their new album, We Be All Africans, the group traveled to Berlin to hunker down in Max Weissenfeldt’s analogue Philophon studio. The result is a sparkling set of Afro- jazz-funk fusions, from the infectious chants of the title track to the reflective “Epiphany” and the yearning, mournful future single, “Silent Days” featuring the brilliant vocals of Bajka. Weissenfeldt released the first fruits from the sessions, ‘Rhapsody In Berlin’ as a limited 45 during 2015 and the album features the full unedited version.

We Be All Africans will be released May 27th on CD, LP (w. CD included), digital and streaming and features superb illustrated artwork by Lewis Heriz. The album will be promoted in conjunction with Idris Ackamoor with a full touring programme via Planet Rock booking agency from Summer 2016. Pre-orders for We Be All Africans are available now.

‘We Be All Africans’ is a message of survival. A message of renewal. A message that we are all brothers and sisters. We are all one family, the human family and we need one another in order to survive on this planet that we all share.

– Idris Ackamoor

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Roger Bong’s ‘Aloha Got Soul’ Preview Mix

Aloha Got Soul final front coverRoger Bong’s ‘Aloha Got Soul’ blog, label and brand has been a driving force behind the newfound recognition for Hawaii’s incredible sun-drenched funk, disco, soul, and rock of the 1970s and 80s. Roger’s efforts to unearth and present underheard sounds from the islands have resulted in some incredible music receiving national attention for the first time.

With his expertly-curated Aloha Got Soul collection out this Friday, Roger has assembled a short DJ mix to give a taste of some of the sounds you’ve been missing out on. It’s not quite a ticket to Hawaii in the 1970’s, but it’s the next best thing.

Aloha Got Soul is available 18th March on CD, 2xLP (w. CD included) and digital formats.

Download A Frankie Francis Edit Of Claudio’s “Bonom Chinois” from Soul Sok Sega

sofritoFrankie Francis and Hugo Mendes of Sofrito are connoisseurs of vintage tropical dance sounds. The Mauritian séga genre explored on our Soul Sok Sega is a perfect match for their dusty, sun-drenched aesthetic, so we were thrilled when Francis, who also runs the vinyl dubplate and mastering facility The Carvery, offered to create a custom edit of one of our favorite tracks from the collection. His floor-friendly cut of Claudio’s “Bonom Chinois” is available for free download via our BandcampSoul Sok Sega is available now on 2LP, CD & digital formats.

Percy Yip Tong & Menwar Teach The Fundamentals Of Mauritian Sega Music

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 12.18.24 PMOutside of a small set of savvy listeners and Mauritian locals, traditional sega music (sometimes called “the blues of the Indian Ocean”) is a relatively new discovery. Our Soul Sok Sega collection provides an overview of one of the peak creative eras for the music in the 1970s. For further context, producer Percy Yip Tong and musician Menwar have graciously run through a brief history of the music as well as the instruments and rhythms that make up the foundation of the style. Menwar also performs an exclusive acoustic version of his ’70s rarity ‘Sega Lenoir’ recorded as Les Stardust.

Soul Sok Sega is available now on CD, 2xLP, & digital formats.

Hear The Laid-Back Funk Monster “Kona Winds” From Aloha Got Soul

Aloha Got Soul final front coverFunkier than most yacht-rock, and beachier than most funk, “Kona Winds” is three and a half perfect minutes of aural relaxation. The track originally appeared on the “Homegrown” compilation series in 1978, showcasing local Hawaiian artists. Today, the track fits comfortably in Balearic DJ sets and left-field funk mixes.

“I was out in Venice with DJ Harvey,” says Mark Barrott, “and “Kona Winds” came on the radio whilst we were sat by the beach having breakfast, looking at the early-morning surfers. I actually rang US directory assistance for the first and last time in my life to get the number of the station to get a track ID. I NEVER get bored of the spoken intro; last summer I was a little worse for wear in the middle of a DJ set by Es Vedra and I just looped the spoken intro and left it running for 30 mins… it sounded fine to me.”

“Kona Winds” appears on Aloha Got Soul, a new compilation assembled by Roger Bong, documenting the vibrant soul, AOR, jazz funk and disco scene across Hawaii in 1979-1985. Aloha Got Soul is released 18th February on CD, 2xLP & digital formats. Pre-orders are available now.

Gilles Peterson Compiles An Epic New Sun Ra Collection

GP Sun Ra final hi res coverFollowing up on last year’s collection In The Orbit Of Ra we’re diving headfirst back into the vast universe of Sun Ra with a a newly curated set from the Ra’s immense 125 LP back catalog, compiled by Gilles Peterson. The BBC 6Music / Worldwide DJ is a long-time champion of Ra’s music and the UK’s leading tastemaker for jazz-based sounds. It serves as perhaps the best introduction yet to the music of Sun Ra for a whole new generation of converts.

For the CD version, Peterson picks personal favourites, classics and unreleased tracks and weaves them into a flowing piece across 2CDs, showcasing the incredible variety of Ra’s work. The 2LP version features full-length versions of selected tracks from the mix (and also includes the full CD mixed version), while the digital version features a full unmixed selection with Peterson’s mix available within the album bundle. Sleeve notes on physical formats come from Gilles Peterson with a full Ra career biography by author Robert L. Campbell. The album also features previously unseen photos from the archives of Val Wilmer alongside full musician line-ups and session details.

To Those Of Earth… And Other Worlds is available for pre-order now on the Strut Store and on iTunes. Also available is a limited-time bundle featuring all three Sun Ra releases on Strut (In The Orbit Of Ra, Planets Of Life Or Death, and To Those Of Earth…), on either CD or vinyl.

Tracklisting:

CD 1
1. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – CALLING PLANET EARTH
2. SUN RA – SUN SONG
3. THE COSMIC RAYS WITH SUN RA AND THE ARKESTRA – DREAMING
4. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – INDIA
5. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – SPACE LONELINESS
6. SUN RA AND HIS INTERGALACTIC INFINITY ARKESTRA – LOVE IN OUTER SPACE (Vocal)
7. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – ADVENTURE-EQUATION
8. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – SPONTANEOUS SIMPLICITY (Stereo version)*
9. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – BRAZILIAN SUN
10. SUN RA QUARTET FEATURING JOHN GILMORE – WHEN THERE IS NO SUN
11. SUN RA AND HIS ASTRO INFINITY ARKESTRA – MY BROTHER THE WIND
12. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – MYSTERY, MR. RA*
13. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – BLACK SKY AND BLUE MOON
14. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – WATUSA
15. THE SUN RA ARKESTRA – THE WORLD OF AFRICA
16. SUN RA AND HIS SOLAR ARKESTRA – CLUSTER OF GALAXIES
17. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – STRANGE WORLDS (Live In France)**
18. SUN RA AND HIS BLUE UNIVERSE ARKESTRA – BLACKMAN

CD 2

1. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – TWILIGHT
2. SUN RA AND HIS INTERGALACTIC MYTH SCIENCE SOLAR ARKESTRA – SLEEPING BEAUTY
3. SUN RA – MOOG SOLO (Live In France)**
4. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – THEY PLAN TO LEAVE
5. SUN RA AND HIS SOLAR ARKESTRA – REFLECTS MOTION (Part 1)
6. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – CHILDREN OF THE SUN
7. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – WE TRAVEL THE SPACEWAYS
8. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – ASTRO BLACK (Live In Zurich)**
9. SUN RA AND HIS MYTHIC SCIENCE ARKESTRA – SOMEBODY ELSE’S IDEA (Live In Paris)
10. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – I ROAM THE COSMOS
11. SUN RA AND HIS SOLAR ARKESTRA – ON JUPITER
12. SUN RA – THERE ARE OTHER WORLDS (THEY HAVE NOT TOLD YOU OF)
13. SUN RA AND HIS INTERGALACTIC INFINITY ARKESTRA – THE ALL OF EVERYTHING
14. SUN RA – ENLIGHTENMENT
15. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – MAKE ANOTHER MISTAKE
16. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – SPACE IS THE PLACE (Live In France)**

* Previously unreleased on CD
** Previously unreleased
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LP

A1 SUN RA AND HIS INTERGALACTIC INFINITY ARKESTRA – LOVE IN OUTER SPACE (Vocal) 3.50
A2 SUN RA AND HIS SOLAR ARKESTRA – ON JUPITER 4.02
A3 SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – SPONTANEOUS SIMPLICITY (Stereo version)* 3.01
A4 THE COSMIC RAYS WITH SUN RA AND THE ARKESTRA – DREAMING 2.46
A5 SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – BLACK SKY AND BLUE MOON 3.02

B1 SUN RA – ENLIGHTENMENT 2.57
B2 THE SUN RA ARKESTRA – THE WORLD OF AFRICA 3.00
B3 SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – THEY PLAN TO LEAVE 6.08
B4 SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – CHILDREN OF THE SUN 4.28

C1 SUN RA AND HIS BLUE UNIVERSE ARKESTRA – BLACKMAN 7.44
C2 SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – INDIA 4.50
C3 SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – MYSTERY, MR. RA 3.07
C4 SUN RA AND HIS INTERGALACTIC INFINITY ARKESTRA – THE ALL OF EVERYTHING 4.23
D1 SUN RA QUARTET FEATURING JOHN GILMORE – WHEN THERE IS NO SUN 4.35
D2 SUN RA AND HIS INTERGALACTIC MYTH SCIENCE SOLAR ARKESTRA – SLEEPING BEAUTY 11.51
D3 SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – WE TRAVEL THE SPACEWAYS 3.27

The Souljazz Orchestra Returns With New Album ‘Resistance’ September 2015

The_Souljazz_Orchestra_Resistance_front_coverCanada’s powerhouse Afro / Latin / Tropical collective, The Souljazz Orchestra, return in September 2015 with a powerhouse new album that sees the ensemble exploring some new sonic territory.

“We approached this album with a fresh ear,” explains bandleader Pierre Chrétien. “We were keen to build on the band’s sound and message, bringing in some of the French Caribbean and Francophone West African influences that we’ve loved since our youth, so the new album brings in French language tracks and elements of coupé-décalé, zouk and cadence to the overall mix.”

The Souljazz Orchestra remain one of the most solid units in their scene, retaining their original line-up since they were first formed back in 2002. On Resistance, they showcase their continuing versatility with saxman Ray Murray, percussionist Marielle Rivard, drummer Philippe Lafrenière and keyboardist Pierre Chrétien all taking on lead vocal duties on different tracks.

Resistance is released on 8th September on CD, LP & digital formats, and the band embark on a major new international tour, hitting up Europe during September and October 2015, followed by a Canadian run in November 2015.

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Strut Comes To Bandcamp

StrutBandcampWe’ve been fans of Bandcamp for years now. It’s a great place to discover new music and to directly support artists. When the service announced that they would be adding label profiles, we knew we wanted to get on board. Starting this week, every Strut release will be available digitally at https://strut.bandcamp.com/. Stop in, take a look around, and give us a follow for updates on new releases and special promotions.

As a special welcome gift, we’re offering a free download of the summery Highlife anthem “Me Ho Asem” from Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band, out this week. Head to the release page for your free track. You can also hear an interview with Strut’s own Quinton Scott on Bandcamp Weekly podcast.

Vinyl & CDs will still be available directly via the Strut Store.