Mixtape
February 2022
COSMIC JAZZ / ROCK / INSTRUMENTAL
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Monthly mixtape artwork collage cover.
Mixtape
February 2022
COSMIC JAZZ / ROCK / INSTRUMENTAL

A bit about last month.

That was the personal update. On to the music.

Mainly featuring songs from the 70s and 80s, The February 2022 mixtape takes us back to one of the most prosperous decades in music history.

It’s light, colorful, and easy-going.

Recommended Setting

Recommended setting: for pleasant exhaustion after a productive week. It's Friday evening, you decide to stay in and have a night to yourself. You open a bottle of wine to wind down, you write, read. Maybe you dance a bit.

CHAPTER 1

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Joyful Grass and Grape - Dorothy Ashby
1970

Along with Alice Coltrane, Dorothy Ashby popularized the use of the harp in jazz, proving that it could be as suitable for bebop as the saxophone. The mixtape intro is a fascinating glimpse into the use of this instrument on a spiritual track taken from one of her greatest albums, The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby. Ashby dedicated it to the writings of Omar Khayyam, and she not only plays her usual jazz harp on it but koto too. She even sings a bit.

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Galatea's Guitar - Gábor Szabó
1968

Mellow vibes and gypsy-inspired jazz guitar soloing on this track by Hungarian guitarist Gábor Szabó. The arrangements are at the top of their game, and the guitar flows with it all quite nicely. A very pleasant listen.

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Mystic Voyage - Roy Ayers Ubiquity
1975

You might recognize Roy Ayers Ubiquity for his 1976 hit 'Everybody Loves The Sunshine'. A key figure in the acid jazz movement, the American funk, soul, and jazz composer helped pioneer jazz-funk music and released Mystique Voyage in 1975. This transitional album became a highlight of his catalog. Expounding on his flirtation with R&B, dance and funk leanings, it showcased his refined approach and ended up being sampled countless times in Hip Hop over the years. The album had nothing to do with jazz besides its laid-back pop-jazz instrumental title track. A percussion treat.

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Weekend Wind - Woods
2020

Warm, melodic, and comforting psychedelic folk by New York band Woods. The album-closing 'Weekend Wind' smoothly unfolds in layers of trumpet, vibraphone, ambient guitars, and stereoscopic percussion.

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I'm Tired (Where Am I) - Savoy Brown
1969

Savoy Brown were the force of the 1960s and 1970s blues-rock movement. Formed in 1965 in the UK, they developed a loyal core following in the US and mainly achieved success there through non-stop touring. 'I'm Tired' is a song about discovering how to be your own person and not conforming to others' ideas of who they think you should be. It's a single from their fourth album A Step Further, and was their most successful hit.

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Nothing Matters But The Fevers - Sea Level
1977

If you listened to the January 2022 mixtape, you might remember the funky grooves of this killer quartet. Drawing from jazz, blues, rock, soul, and funk, this track (taken from their 1977 debut album Sea Level) features wah-wah slide guitars and fine vocals; but it's the woozy, disorienting effects on the piano that bring that special extra notch for me.

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Raga Rock - The Braz Gonsalves 7
1970

Braz Gonsalves is considered one of India's greatest saxophonists and an outstanding contemporary jazz musician in Goa. 'Raga Rock' is the title song of a 3-track EP he released in Calcutta with his band back in 1970. The rare record presents a glimpse of the dynamism and originality that characterized the Indian jazz scene of that time. Because India's recording industry was focused on film music, very little of Gonsalves's work was actually preserved on wax. Luckily, it was re-issued on Jazzman's 2014 compilation Spiritual Jazz 5: The World, a highly recommended collection of jazz rarities from all corners of the world.

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Nuclear War (Single Version) - Sun Ra & His Arkestra
1984

With the horrible situation currently unfolding in Ukraine, this 1984 emblematic Cold War song by Sun Ra is a bleak reminder of humanity's failure to learn from past mistakes and the deathly horror of nuclear weapons.

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Black Is Beautiful - Roy Budd
1973

Roy Budd was a British jazz pianist and composer known for his film scores, and The Stone Killer is his holy grail soundtrack. In this 1973 American action neo-noir thriller, he employs spooky synthesizers, treated electric piano, and strange lounge sounds to create cinematic jazz/soul moods. This is perhaps less apparent on the track chosen for this mixtape, but for a taste of that, give 'The Stone Killer Main Titles' a listen.

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Long Song For Zelda - Dashiell Hedayat
1971

This is a masterpiece from Dashiell Hedayat's cult 4-song release Obsolescent. A forgotten token of a lost era, the psychedelic and surreal album was recorded in 1971, at Michel Magne's Château d'Hérouville, with Gong's musicians as a backing band at the height of their creative madness. On this track, counter-culture activist Hedayat is joined by Beat poet William Burroughs. A little gem, especially for all of you French speakers. PS: The back cover of the LP states, "Warning: This record must be played as loud as possible, must be heard as stoned as impossible, and thank-you everybody."

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Ile Ye - Àbáse, Jadson Xabla, Gabriel Santana
2021

Àbáse stands for 'collaboration' in the West African Yoruba language. It is also the solo project of Hungarian producer and multi-instrumentalist Szabolcs Bognár. The trained keyboard player is interested in the intersection of afrobeat, hip hop, jazz, and electronica. His music often relies on heavyweight international rhythms brought by guests from Brazil, Africa, and its diaspora. In November 2021, he released Laroyê, his debut album written and recorded during his travels in Brazil, featuring young musicians from the contemporary scene of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador da Bahia.

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Kindness - Tony Allen
2002

Hailed as one of the best drummers of all time, Afrobeat powerhouse Tony Allen (July 2021 mixtape) pushed the genre in many directions, creating some of the most dynamic and visionary rhythms of the 20th century. On 'Kindness' (taken from his 2002 album HomeCooking), the Nigerian drummer blends hip-hop with powerful percussions to remind us not to take advantage of other people's kindness.

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Also Sprach Zarathustra - Deodato
1973

We return to Brazilian sounds with a fantastic funk-influenced rendition of Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra by Brazilian pianist Eumir Deodato. The song served as the musical motif in Stanley Kubrick's 2001 Space Odyssey and features a kick-ass arrangement of horns, bass, keyboard, drum, and guitar from a genius composer, way ahead of this time. A firework display of vibrations!

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Maria - Orange Blossom
2014

Next is a soul-stirring song from the French group Orange Blossom. With its incredible mix of cultures, ethnic rock, and symphonies propelled by Leïla Bounous' majestic voice, this is music that transports, intoxicates, and moves. It tells our souls a beautiful story - one of humanity, loving, and sharing. Let yourself be carried away by the bewitching sounds, and you'll go far.

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The Moving Finger - Dorothy Ashby
1970

We continue with another one from Dorothy Ashby’s The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby. My love for this woman is beyond words. She was on another level, and the album closing track is the epitome of jazz fusion. How can someone even come up with something like this? Can you imagine what it must have been to sit in that recording room and witness this glorious jam? Organic psychedelia and groovy harmonies that hit the spot.

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Sleeping Pill - Luna
1994

Simple, quiet and floaty sounds on this track by alternative rock band Luna, taken from Bewitched, their most delicate and dreamy album. There's a comforting warmth I feel listening to this one. Whether it's Dean Wareham's voice, the chiming keys, or the soft layered arrangements, it sounds pure and effortless. A great ending for the mixtape, I thought.

CHAPTER 2

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Happy listening

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