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Exclusive First Look: ESSA – ‘Easy’ Live @ The Jazz Cafe, London

This is me when I turn/ 33 and a third…

Groovement is proud to present a first look at Essa live at the Jazz Cafe, taken from his album launch on 23rd April 2014.

Easy is from Essa’s new album, The Misadventures Of A Middle Man. It’s a triumph of a release, Essa’s intelligence and observational lyricism shining through.

This one ‘is about juggling two jobs at the same time’ – easy…

Download The Misadventures Of A Middle Man

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 18.13.44 The Jazz Cafe played host to the album launch – the video was filmed and edited by Ricky Kershaw; No Sleep Nigel’s on the audio recording and mix.

The band….

Backing Vocals: D.Ablo

Drums – Jack Backer

Keys – Johnny Tomlinson

Bass – Chris “Fatty” Hargreaves

Guitar – Phil Stevenson

Turntables – DJ Mr. Thing

Backing Raps – Devise

T: The Tall Black Guy remix of The Middle Man is out on 7″ vinyl now.

Find out a little more about Nick Essa in an interview with Manchester’s Heather Wall on her blog.

Don’t forget about Yungun and Mr Thing’s 2006 opus Grown Man Business! Download that here. 

Album press release:

First Word Records proudly presents ‘The Misadventures Of A Middle Man’, the new album from Essa. Despite being a firm fixture in UK rap for over a decade, this will be Essa’s first full-length since 2006′s ‘Grown Man Business’ with DJ Mr Thing.

Early releases ‘Liquid Love’, ‘City Breaks’ and ‘Dancing Shoes’ (under former name Yungun) established him as one of the UK’s most insightful MCs. Collabs with Guru (Gang Starr/Jazzmatazz) and praise from Nas and Mark Ronson followed. All of this whilst pursuing a parallel career as an entertainment lawyer.

The collision of these two worlds, plus his mixed race heritage, are the inspiration for the new album, as Essa explains: “I’ve always been a middle man – walking within widely different circles (racial, social, cultural, musical) but never quite feeling like I belong in any one of them. That’s a gift and a curse – I’ve written about both”. Few MCs can convincingly tackle such weighty topics – ‘The Middle Man’ is a strikingly honest examination of mixed-race identity; ‘Prayers of a Non-Believer asks what belief means to those without religion; ‘Well Spoken’ is a witty take on the class system – but Essa’s laid-back charm and effortlessly smooth flow keep the tone light and entertaining. Not political, but personal. Not preachy, but perceptive.

With an enviable roster of producers including Waajeed, Eric Lau, Tall Black Guy, Ta-Ku, Budgie and Flako, the musical backdrop reflects Essa’s broad outlook, with elements of neo-soul, latin, afro-beat, electronica, spoken word and of course hip-hop. Essa sums it up neatly on key track ‘The Middle Man’: “When you stand in the middle there’s a hell of a view, and all I want to do is share it with you”

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Download: Amerigo Gazaway’s Yasiin Gaye – The Return


coverAmerigo Gazaway drops the second part of his Yasiin Bey and Marvin Gaye never-happened collaboration for free download today on Bandcamp.

Fans of A Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde, Fela… grab his other releases here.


Press release:

Watch the teaser video here:


Shifting focus for the second installment of “Yasiin Gaye”, Amerigo aimed to highlight the often overlooked accomplishments of Marvin Gaye’s role as the producer. 

“I wanted to build this side from more of Marvin’s original production work. He was doing a lot of what we do now, in terms of looping and pulling samples from other pre-recorded sessions decades before hip-hop made it common practice to do so. This also gave me the room to feature other artist [Chuck Berry, The Temptations, Talib, etc.] and re-present those classic Mos [Def] versus in a new context.” 

Soul Mates Series: 

Amerigo Gazaway’s *Soul Mates* series continues the theme of his previous work in creating collaborations that never were. On the series’ latest installment, Amerigo unites Brooklyn rapper Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) and soul legend Marvin Gaye for a dream collaboration aptly titled “Yasiin Gaye”. Building the album’s foundation from deconstructed samples of Gaye’s Motown classics, Gazaway re-purposes the instrumentation into new productions within a similar framework. Carefully weaving Bey’s tangled raps and Gaye’s soulful vocals over his new arrangements, the producer delivers a quality much closer to an authentic collaboration than a lukewarm “mashup” album.


Matthew Halsall, GoGo Penguin & Mammal Hands live in June, Band on the Wall



Fresh from a guest appearance on Mr Scruff’s new long player Friendly Bacteria, Matthew Halsall is prepping the release of new album When The World Was One on 16th June. Released on his own Gondwana Records label and with ongoing and dedicated support from the likes of Gilles Peterson, Matthew continues to mature into one of the country’s finest and most well respected jazz musicians.

This date will see him accompanied by the Gondwana Orchestra, consisting of Matt on trumpet, Jordan Smart on saxophones, Lisa Mallett on flute, Rachel Gladwin on harp, Taz Modi on keys, Gavin Barras on double bass and Luke Flowers on drums.

The night before will see the mighty Go Go Penguin take to the stage, with the newest Gondwana signing Mammal Hands in support.

Buy tickets for both events at the Band on the Wall at their website on the below links.

Have a listen to Matt’s ongoing DJ mix selections on his Soundcloud!

Matthew Halsall album launch

GoGo Penguin and Mammal Hands

Read reviews of When The World Was One at The Guardian, All About Jazz, Marlbank and The Times.

Keep an eye out for upcoming events and news

Further ahead, you can catch Gondwana brethren Nat Birchall at BOTW in July as part of Manchester Jazz Festival.

Listen to and purchase Gondwana music at the Bandcamp.


Preview: All-star funk band The Beta Club release ridiculous 7″ Brassa Nova


Buy the single

Ridiculously laid-back, spookily-organed, forebodingly-guitared, soulfully-percussioned, lamentigly-horned  and funky as hell – Brassa Nova is the first single from funk supergroup The Beta Club. It’s the soundtrack to your secret life as informant: stealth-walk to the shops with digital in your headphones, ducking behind corners, or do the same in the house with the more dynamic tones of the 45.

Freak Beat on the B is playfully ominous, a swell of percussion and brass equalling the soundtrack for a made-up film weightiness of the A side.

Art: Ben Hito
Art: Ben Hito

The personnel is:

Shaun Stenton keys
Carl Platt
Matty Thompson
Steve Haney (Jungle Fire) percussion
Ben Greenslade-Stanton (Mighty Mocambos, The Getup) horns
Shawn Lee (Shawn Lee) geetars
Nick Rufalo & Michael Rufalo (The Brothers Nylon) strings
Nick Rawe (Jopsons Mecury)
Andy Black Rose drums
Djouls, Grant Phabao & Ben Hito (Paris DJs)

The single’s out now on 7″ vinyl and digital, released jointly by Cartel Records and Paris DJs.

Official website 



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Preview: Marc Rapson’s Dark vs Light EP on Expansions Collective



Release: 27 June 2014

12″ and digital pre-orders at Expansions Collective Bandcamp

Marc Rapson returns, and I can’t add much more to the press blurb below, apart from get this pre-ordered! I love this Grapevine re-edit from a few years back.

Expansions have streamlined their past releases, including those under their former name of Freeform – there’s amazing stuff to download in there. Get on it.




Press release:

Pianist, Hip Hop producer, Remix artist for the likes of Atjazz & Scrimshire: Marc Rapson is a man of many dimensions. From rocking BBC’s Maida Vaile and Later with Jools Holland as part of Ben Westbeech’s touring band, to releasing stellar re-edits of Marvin Gaye and Sarah Vaughan to the acclaim of Gilles Peterson: Marc has spent the last decade quietly building a following amongst those in the know. 

Dark vs Light seamlessly blends crunchy, low swung Hip Hop beats with Marc’s jazz inflected Fender Rhodes and synth sounds. Not one to be confined to a singular style, Marc also fires up the sampler for tracks such as ‘Click Loud’, combining surgicial chop skills with live instrumentation. Dark vs Light is the product of a mind that grew up on Ahmad Jamal as much as A Tribe Called Quest: the jazz pianist with a passion for raw beats. It’s a duality that should resonate with Hip Hop classicists and beat fans alike. 

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Daptone colour vinyl countdown to 100th 45 release

100As I’m writing this, the first in Daptone’s series of coloured 45 releases, celebrating 100 7″ releases, has just sold out. It’s Charles Bradley & LaRose Jackson with Luv Jones. The hot pink has gone, but standard black vinyl is still in the shop.

DAP1080 vinyl pic sm-500x500

The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that this is DUN-117 – this makes it the 17th release on Daptone little-sister label, but the release also goes by DAP-1080 aka Daptone’s 80th 45 release.

Listen to a preview of both sides here.

Don’t go missing out on the next ones… sign up to the Daptone newsletter at the website.

Press release:

Out June 17th – Ships week of June 9th.

It was the annual Charles Bradley memorial day BBQ throw down, when Charles finally introduced LaRose Jackson to Tommy. “Tommeyy! This is the lady I was telling you about. You gotta hear her sang!” To which LaRose said, “This is the guy you were talking about? He don’t look like no funky producer to me. He look like one of them rock & rollers.” Well, our friend TNT invited LaRose and CB back to the old Dunham Sound Studio and set out to prove just how funky he could be. “What if I told you that curly haired dude over there was the baddest dr ummer you ever heard?” asked TNT to Rose. “Him? You guys are weird.” The duets that unfolded that night are on this seven-inch piece of wax: Two instant funky pizza party classics. Dig it. #pizzapartyfaceplant


Event: Mecca:83 @ Endless City Thursday 5th June


Mecca:83′s soul-filled beats remain music that I can always rely on for a bit of escapism. Seeing him condense all that in to a live show is always a bit special.

Endless City’s final night before the summer break for Manchester students sees Mecca play Kraak, together with Joe from  Manc upstart collective Mind On Fire.


Buy tickets at Skiddle

Doors Open At 10 with the event running until late.

hip hop & beats & soul // Manchester and beyond