Rainer Truby, through his own Trio and as producer and DJ, is a major player on the European dancefloor jazz scene. We know what to expect from him or from any compilation chosen by him, as this, the fourth in a consistent series, is Fusion flavours, Brazilian beats, jazz-house, new jazz-funk and the odd rarity we think we must know but don’t—all are here and nearly all hit the spot.
The sounds of Brazil dominate. Minus 8 kick off proceedings with the ambient but never soporific “Elysian Fields” and then the Mendesque bossa of Ready Made’s “Transcontinental” really sets the tone for the album. Smooth, stylish, slightly-retro—a little too cocktail bar for true jazz-heads—but just funky enough for these ears—this is easy listening in the best sense. From then on the album varies in tempo but not in essential mood. Whether the artists are Japanese (Kyoto Jazz Massive, Himiko Kikuchi), German (Supersemft and Trainer himself) English or Brazilian, the emphasis is on laid-back latin grooves re-worked by the leaders of the club jazz scene.
Unlike many of these collections, four tracks are exclusive to the album but the highlights for me are the rediscovered ‘70s Madeline Bell track “That’s What Friends Are For” (a modern soul gem just this side of tweeness) and David Matthews “Sambafrique”, a feature of many compilations but never sounding better than in the company of the likes of Buscemi and Mark De Clive Lowe.
There is little here that is experimental or innovative but if you want to know what happened to jazz-funk you could do a lot worse than sample the mellow world of the clubjazz underground as gathered together by Rainer Truby.
One worry though—do these people know that Compost is not the happiest choice for a record label name. Perhaps it sounds better in German.