Here are my favorite records of 2015 — those which I consider to be the best albums in terms of funky, soulful, distinctive music of various styles & genres.
The criteria is that it must be made with heart & soul. It’s got to have a dope groove throughout. The music must have syncopation, be melodic, harmonious & poly-rhythmic.
I love music when it’s got many layers of instrumentation — drums in the pocket, perfectly executed deep bass, scratchy guitar, powerful percussion, horny horns, swirling organs — all in service to the almighty groove.
I prefer funky instrumental music, so this list is comprised of mostly instrumental albums. For the records that have singing, the criteria is that the lyrics tell a good story, get the party started, be joyful, clever, fun, metaphoric, and intelligent…not cynical, cliche, neurotic & stupid (like most lyrics of popular music).
I like music that builds on the foundations of the great Funk, Soul, Jazz, Reggae, Latin and African music of the past…and still manages to update it for today, giving it new energy, style & personality.
My intention with Funkish is to compile & curate funky music from around the world, of a variety of different genres rooted in the African diaspora, as well as their magnificent hybrids.
These records represent my mission with Funkish — to highlight funky, percussive, syncopated, joyful, organic grooves spanning the globe. Not always pure funk music exactly, but funky in their own sort of way — that’s why I say funkish.
I want to hear music that makes me feel good, groovy, happy, and vibes with the resonance of my soul. So, this list is dedicated to musicians that love their craft, and make the world a better place by creating beautiful soulful sounds to funkify your life…
Top 25 Albums Of 2015
Anyway, enjoy these awesome albums! I started with a Top 10 list, and just couldn’t leave out the rest of these exceptional records.
Maybe you’ve heard them already, maybe I can introduce you to something new that you haven’t heard & will surely love. I include links to their websites, or record labels so you can learn more about these amazing artists.
All of these records are worth adding to your vinyl collection, as well, in order to hear them in their most optimal listening format.
Follow this Spotify playlist that has them all together.
Bookmark this page so you can come back to it when you want to just turn on astounding music for a few hours & listen to the year’s best albums without having to think about it or look for them. Then, buy the vinyl to impress your friends & your ears.
And, now you can see the 2016 Best Albums list at http://www.funkish.audio/best-albums-of-2016/.
Listen to the playlist here
(with extra “honorable mention” albums)…
While you keep reading…
1. Bixiga 70 — III (Glitterbeat Records)
This is my #1 favorite record of 2015. After this the order of greatness isn’t so strict.
Bixiga 70 is a 10-piece collective from the Sao Paulo neighborhood of Bixiga. I love that they have released 3 amazing albums in four years because I can’t get enough of these guys. They were in the Best Albums of 2014 too, with Ocupai.
III is their best record yet!
It’s all high-energy, and full of propulsive percussion & giant horn stabs. They perfectly adhere to the above criteria for the ideal joyful, energetic, tight instrumental music described above…because they basically set the standard.
Bixiga 70 masterfully mixes African rhythms, Brazilian beats, Funk, Jazz, and Rock to create a one-of-a-kind style & sound. They even blend in some elements of Dub & a little spacey synth to keep you on your toes, always melding genres to create something at once solid and approachable, while still being innovative.
They get lumped in with the Afrobeat Revival too often, but they are far more imaginative than the bands sticking strictly to the typical Afrobeat rhythm. Bixiga 70 uses the Nigerian sound as a launch pad to make their always dynamic music take off. This is brilliant modern Brazilian music more than anything.
All 9 songs on the album are strong. “Martelo” is my favorite because it’s the funkiest. “Mil Vidas” is equally awesome for its extended, funky Pernambuco mash up.
Each track stands firm on its own. Every song is distinctive & ingenious in its composition & the layering of sonic textures.
Bixiga 70’s III is a visionary record, and the smartest, dopest, most distinctive dance music on the planet. They exemplify the Brazilian creative spirit, and represent the best contemporary Brazilian music.
I’m really stoked for these guys & happy to see their recent successes — touring all over Brazil & blowing people away in New York City in 2015.
Watch this video to share in their achievements…
I was a little nervous about this year’s crop of new music in June. Then, the day I sent out an email blast with the best albums of the first half of 2015, this album got released & made it as a last minute addition. It immediately became the year’s best record to that point, and renewed my faith that 2015 would be a great year for funky music.
Now at the end of 2015, it’s easily in the top 3. This is the first album from The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, and I hope they become a reliably prolific purveyor of jazzy, funky, soulful sounds for years to come.
There’s a lot of diversity to this album — from classically funky numbers like “Sweltering Heights” to Ethio-Jazz inspired “Lane Changin'” — these guys always get creative, and skillfully work a great groove.
All 12 tracks are tremendous. Each one has its own personality. The theme across the board is that this music makes you feel awesome when you hear it — the horns carry you away, surfing a wave of driving rhythms, struttin’ percussion, lilting guitars, and breezy funky flutes.
This dexterous San Diego band always innovates from the foundation of crafty Soul-Jazz Funk sounds, and never sounds derivative. I look forward to a lot more great records from these resourceful SoCal musicians because they always hit the perfect groove & come up with original, dope music.
Check out The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble doing its thing live here…
3. Quantic & The Western Transient — A New Constellation (Tru Thoughts Records)
The great multi-instrumentalist, producer, DJ & visionary — Quantic, aka Will Holland — gives us a gorgeous, fanciful, and inspired experimental Jazz album. A New Constellation is a dreamy, original record, unlike anything else out there.
It’s always a joy to listen to over & over because it just makes you feel good when you hear it. There’s a lot going on — optimal use of steel drums, muted trumpets, fantastic flutes, crisp relaxed drumming, and laid-back soulful guitars. Its mellow groove and inventive compositions subtly suck you into a unique magic world.
Check out a soulful new vocal version for the track, “Creation East L.A.”
Although this is purely a studio band & record, Quantic is excellent live with his various bands.
Watch him here highlighting his Colombian influences…
4. The New Mastersounds — Made For Pleasure (One Note Records)
These guys have become everybody’s favorite funky, Soul-Jazz band the last few years because they’re always on tour & are remarkably productive in the studio. Not to mention being one of the most skilled & innovative instrumental Funk bands in the world. Made For Pleasure might just be their best record to date, and is easily their best since 2009’s, Ten Years On.
Recorded in New Orleans, you can hear that Big Easy funky soul coming through, specifically on the title track. They mostly play instrumentals, and yet, they introduce singer Charly Lowry for the first time on Made For Pleasure. Her bright soul singing is a welcome addition, especially on the funky, feel-good, “Joy.”
The New Mastersounds are clearly one of the tightest bands out there nowadays. They can deftly lay down a mean groove like nobody else.
Listen to them at their most high energy on “High & Wide.” And, hear them chill out with the extended mellow jam, “Cigar Time.”
All the players shine on this record, without any one standing out. They know each other so well, and always fit together so harmoniously that each composition pays homage to the all mighty groove, as each member compliments the other to make for 11 superbly soulful songs.
Watch The New Mastersounds, behind the scenes in New Orleans…
5. Galactic — Into The Deep (Mascot Label Group)
Galactic, one of the leading modern Funk bands of the past 20 years, does it again with their first album in 3 years. Into The Deep might be their best one since the early, all-instrumental records.
Their guest vocalists are stellar! Macy Gray delivers the super soulful title tune, and it’s her best song in years too.
The legendary Mavis Staples gives us an uplifting number, “Does It Really Make A Difference.”
Ryan Montbleau provides the best track, “Domino,” a funky, mellow groove with smart lyrics & a fun chorus that sticks in your head in a wonderful way.
“Long Live The Borgne” is a dope, organ fueled instrumental on which we also hear America’s dopest drummer, Stanton Moore, deep in the pocket, while the guitar gets heavy.
This is a tremendous & timeless party album from one of New Orleans’ best party bands. How could we expect anything else?
Check out Galactic & Macy Gray Live on KEXP…
I love the Polyrhythmics! This eclectic, funky, Seattle band makes distinctive instrumental grooves that are dope & danceable. Like they say on their website, “the collective continues to evolve and mature into a muscular live unit apt to painting vivid instrumental imagery using complex rhythms and a unique precision that is redefining the term “funk” for 21st century audiences.”
Octagon is dope, dark, funky, fun, and of course poly-rhythmic. All the songs follow the George Clinton maxim, “Free Your Mind & Your Ass Will Follow.”
Even when they get a little dark & ‘heady’ like on “Octagon,” “Shadow Lines” or “Fairweather Fiends,” they inevitably get back to the groove. No so matter what they play…it makes you feel funky!
If they get a little far out, they bounce back and make you move your booty. “Le Hustle,” “The Itis,” “Maruken,” and “El Fuego” funk it up and make you wish you were grooving with them live at some sweaty bar. Give it a listen.
And, Polyrhythmics album, Caldera, finished strong in the Best Albums of 2017!
Watch Polyrhythmics bring the heat here…
7. Caboose — Coupe (Old Kings Records)
This is one of the tightest, modern funk outfits you’ll hear these days. Coupe is a high energy masterpiece of organ driven funky music. Raw guitars, deep bass, and dope drums keep your body moving.
Every one of these 14 tracks is superb. None of them stand out as being much better than any other, just like the four amazing musicians. These dudes harmonize & jam together, sucking you into each song. They enthrall you with changes in direction, short solos, and then get back hard into the groove.
Read more about them at Funkatopia.
8. Dexter Story — Wondem (Soundway Records)
Heavily influenced by Ethiopian music, and yet Pan-African, genre-bending, fresh, modern, and distinctive — Wondem is a masterful mix of energetic instrumentals, and songs with fun/smart, uplifting lyrics.
Songs like “Xamar,” hit a gorgeous groove, and seduce you with laconic sunny guitars, as the horn section lifts you to the highest heights & precise percussion pushes it all along. “Sidet Eskemeche” is a funky Ethio-Jazz throwback that makes you feel like you’re inside an Addis Ababa club circa 1971.
Learn more about multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist, Dexter Story, here…
9. The California Honeydrops — A River’s Invitation (Lefse Records)
Singer & lyricist, Lech Wierzynkski, writes & sings fun, funky soulful tunes. I’ve never seen them live, but you can just sense from listening to their records that it’s all about the live show.
The California Honeydrops are a smart person’s party band. The lyrics are cool & clever, never cliche. The songs are joyful, tell entertaining stories and make you feel great. “Crazy Girls” is an especially sly, provocative & humorous tale. “Jolie” is another stand out track that takes them on a modern soulful Reggae trip.
The band is tight as a drum too. They expertly evoke the Motown sound, while never sounding cliche or derivative. The instrumentation is always absorbing, compelling, and stimulating.
Watch them do their thing live at JamBase studios…
10. Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band (Strut Records)
Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band present one of the year’s most exciting & soulful records.
This is old school Ghanaian Highlife music played by a terrifically tight band of masterful musicians. Tony Allen plays drums on some tracks, and Ebo Taylor arranged the horns. Pat Thomas himself is a star in Ghana from the 70s Highlife scene.
He has a stirring, soulful voice. All the songs sound joyful. The whole album is lively & moving.
It’s got lots of groovy, sunny guitars. I don’t know how else to describe the happy African rhythm guitar style played in the higher ranges.
The bass & drums are always deep in the groove. Cheerful horns compliment Pat Thomas’ magnificent voice throughout. And, no cheesy synth lines that ruin so much African music for me.
As soon as you hear this, you’ll want to move your body for sure, even if you can’t understand the lyrics.
Watch Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band play their funky African music live in Accra…
11. Various Artists — Black Feeling Vol. 3 (Freestyle Records)
The jig is up! Presented as an old school collection of obscure cover versions of Funk, Jazz & Latin music classics by unheard of bands are in reality brand new re-interpretations by Lance Ferguson — the Australian musical phenomen behind The Bamboos, Cookin’ On’ 3 Burners and Lanu.
You won’t be able to sit still when you play this one. Venerable taste maker Craig Charles even picked it as his favorite record of the year.
There is a diverse mix of distinctive, fun & funky tropical sounds throughout. Vol. 3 in the Black Feeling series gives us some stellar, obscure covers too.
The version of “Brothers On The Slide” by Cymande is easily one of the year’s best cover tunes…
Bosq, the Boston based DJ, producer & multi-instrumentalist, had a very productive 2015. He release his second long play record on Ubiquity, and an excellent EP on Soul Clap Records.
I’m putting them together here as if they are one, because they could be. Both have an engrossing amalgamation of musical styles throughout the album.
Each one infuses Latin & African rhythms into a modern music hybrid. There is a soulful house music vibe, some “Cumbia En Bahia,” a poignant Afro-Beat “Take Over,” and funky songs about “Change.”
Nicole Willis sings the superbly soulful, “Bad For Me,” one of the year’s best funky, laid-back dance tunes.
My favorite track is “Ella” from Celestial Strut. It’s a modern Salsa tune with a Fania 70s spirit. No one can resist its captivating rhythm & pull to the dance floor. If you have two left feet — this is your Salsa tune (DJs take note).
And, from what I’ve read, we can expect another exciting project from Bosq to be released in 2016.
Dig the kinetic, “Cumbia En Bahia,” here…
13. Analog Son — Stomp & Shout
Stomp and Shout bestows us with tons of deep funk laden bass-lines, roaring keys, and powerful horns. The record fuses vintage tones with modern production and musicianship.
Jordan Linit and Josh Fairman, Denver music scene funkateers extraordinaire, called upon their funkiest friends to create music together on the spot in the studio that reflected all of the individuals at the session. They got guys from The New Mastersounds, The Motet, & Lettuce among others to create lively, captivating pure funk.
The vocalist is outstanding too, and she delivers some delightfully soulful grooves. The title track is a perfect party anthem with rousing lyrics.
They shine on the instrumentals and create lots of inventive grooves. This is skillful funk across the board. Be sure to get into Analog Son!
Watch them gettin’ down in Denver…
14. Magic In 3s — Return of Magic In 3s (G.E.D. Soul Records)
Magic In 3s is a super soulful, extremely cool Nashville band. They play enticing, eclectic instrumental Funk, and always come up with some sly & subtle grooves.
The engrossing album Return of Magic In 3s, gives us all a chance to relax & enjoy their cheerful grooves once again. There’s a lot of diversity here.
“Chupacabra” starts it off upbeat, and a cool cuica contributes a sublime & exotic special sauce. And then they don’t let up. They stay skillfully mellow, and furnish feel-good funky music for 30 minutes.
See what the dudes from Magic In 3s are really like…
15. The Word — Soul Food (Vanguard Records)
Big, bold, bluesy, and bubbling over with soul — The Word’s second album, Soul Food is one of a kind. Comprised of Robert Randolph on pedal steel guitar, John Medeski on organ, and Cody & Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi All-Stars — this super group will make you see God on Soul Food.
It’s a heavy dose of American roots music — Blues, Rock, Gospel, Soul & Jazz — delivered in a modern, high-intensity way. There are light & beautiful moments (“Soul Food I”) & extreme bits when you think the speakers could explode (“Soul Food II”)…and it soon all comes together perfectly focused.
These guys are all masters of their craft. It’s truly a joy to hear them having so much fun together, experimenting, jamming, and giving it all up to God (you gotta watch the video).
Get the feeling…
Watch & listen to The Word live at Guitar Center Hollywood…
16. Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba — Ba Power (Glitterbeat Records)
This is some exotic, soulful groove — enchanting, fascinating, and accessible Malian music you can’t resist!
A ngoni is like a West African banjo. Bassekou Kouyate plugs his in, and electrifies it with wah-wah & other electric guitar effects to give it a distinctive, dynamic sound. This isn’t exactly folkloric music.
These songs are energetic and the rousing musicianship & instruments unfamiliar to Western ears are exciting. His wife’s vocals, though thoroughly foreign, captivate and put you in a trance-like vibe.
When you want to hear something awesome, unusual, and thoroughly entertaining give this a listen.
Watch an amazing full performance by Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, showing off all of their exotic instruments (and having a lot of fun!)…
17. Mad Professor & Prince Fatty — The Clone Theory (Evergreen Recordings)
Each dub master mixes five tracks each and the result is a soulful and warm dub album complete with blazing horns, rolling drums and pulsating bass lines. This is classic 70s style dub at its best!
Mad Professor unearths original masters from the late 70s to create something wholly new & modern from them. And of course, the Prince Fatty tunes boast his inventive style — enthralling, stirring & impressive — of throwback dubs with 21st century precision.
This is some of the best modern dub out there. All the songs are excellent, and “Marijuana Dub” is modern ganja smoking Reggae classic.
Check out Mad Professor dropping dub science on Prince Fatty TV…
18. The Lions — Soul Riot (Stones Throw Records)
Remarkable Rub-A-Dub styley for the 21st Century — Soul Riot pays homage to the Reggae greats of the early 70s…and still manages to create a record that’s wholly new, original, and modern.
The Lions, led by eclectic music-maker Connie Price, say their “music reflects our melting pot of tastes. And it’s all served up on a bed of Jamaican inspired rhythms.”
The band draws together a dozen or so of Los Angeles Reggae and Soul forerunners who loosely coalesced as The Lions in 2007. Members of the legendary ska band Hepcat, Deston Berry and Alex Désert, form half of the vocal team. The other half is the sweet falsetto of Malik Moore and DJ stylings of Black Shakespeare, the charismatic cousin of Robbie Shakespeare (of Sly & Robbie fame).
Fun, party tracks like “Run Along” & “Feels Good” make for a beautiful sunny day high-energy vibe.
Songs like “Rhythm Rock” incorporate underground hip-hop & dancehall delivery in a smart & compelling way (one wouldn’t expect anything less from Stones Throw).
My favorite song here is “Will You Be My Girl,” sung by the golden-voiced Myron Glasper. It’s a seductive Reggae Soul/Lovers’ Rock groover — super smooth & irresistible, never cheesy.
See The Lions pay tribute to The Clash with their updated version of “The Magnificent Dance.” Watch this incredible video here…
19. Pimps of Joytime — Jukestone Paradise (Write Home Records)
One of the hardest working bands in show business, The Pimps of Joytime are always on the road, honing their funky craft & exciting live performances. They exemplify contemporary Funk & Soul music.
Jukestone Paradise has some great new party tunes that shine live. “Cut Off” is a lively song about lost love & an obvious hot one in their live shows. “The Jump” is a really smoking song that fuses Blues, Rock, Funk & weaves them with electronic elements for another show stopper.
Soulful, funky, and original…these are 10 tunes to add to their increasingly dynamic concerts.
Dig the PJTs on Jam In The Van (this live version is far superior to the album’s “Freedom Dancer”)…
Another perpetually touring live performance powerhouse, Orgone knows how to provide funky soul time for fans worldwide.
Orgone’s innovative approach to funk & soul music make them one of the most popular on the current funky music & festival scene. Their stellar instrumentals always captivate. “Meat Machine” is the only one here, and it’s a scorcher.
And yet, the current sexy songstress — funky diva, Adryon de León — is the star of Beyond The Sun. When you hear tracks like “Take You Higher,” you’ll wish she were singing to you. And the uplifting, “People Beyond The Sun” is a dope disco-funk tune celebrating those of us who just love to get down.
See them do their funky thing live, here…
21. Lettuce — Crush (Lettuce Records)
Crush, the long overdue album from Lettuce was worth the wait (especially if you got to see them live in the meantime).
Lettuce stays firmly funky on some of the more old-school instrumental tracks, especially “Get Greasy” & “Chief.” And, at the same time we hear them going in a heavier, spacier direction on other songs.
“Sounds Like A Party” is a future funk classic and will surely get your night started right. “He Made A Woman Out Of Me” is a marvelous soul song with tremendous vocals.
Watch Lettuce do what they do best — play awesome, high-intensity live shows…
22. The Soul Surfers — Soul Rock (Ubiquity Records)
Cold, heavy Russia…an unlikely place to produce a band that created one of 2015’s best funk records. And yet, this is the case with The Soul Surfers. In addition, it’s from Ubiquity so you know it’s got soul.
Myron & E make a guest vocal appearance on “You Can Run…” lending their superbly soulful stylings to a Rock-Funk scorcher. “Straight Up,” sung by John Turrell, is a modern soul tune rooted in the Motown foundation. There are no Russian vocals on this album.
Shawn Lee collaborates, as does JJ Whitefield, to add to the album’s high level of diversity & inventiveness. Several super funky instrumentals solidify The Soul Surfers’ reputation as an up & coming global funk band & show off their impressive chops. Lots of wah-wah, raw fuzz guitar, tight drumming, sweet piano grooves, dope bass lines & big horns make this an exhilarating record from start to finish.
Watch them & hear their little sales pitch (in Russian) for Soul Rock…
23. Ernest Ranglin — Ernest Ranglin At Side Door Records (Ernest Ranglin / Side Door Records)
This is the 31st solo album from the legendary Ernest Ranglin. A working musician since 1947, he has worked with many of Reggae’s greats, including Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Prince Buster, Lee Perry, The Skatalites, and Monty Alexander. He was also a regular session guitarist and music director at Studio One and Island Records in Jamaica.
Jamaican-born Everton Paul, owner of Side Door Records, is a veteran drummer and music producer on the Toronto soul, funk and Reggae scene. The two friends finally got the chance to make this album, the of Ranglin’s to be recorded in Toronto.
It has an all-star cast of Toronto’s best Jazz players from Bill King’s Rhythm Express, and of course, stars the man himself & his glorious guitar. This is instrumental Reggae at its best — marvelously melodious & mellow.
A happy horn section keeps it all upbeat, as the tight rhythm section moves the music along to a Caribbean groove. Piano & organ complement the vibe, and give it that rounded Reggae-Soul feeling. Ernest Ranglin’s joyful guitar style sings on top in gorgeous fills & solos, as well as following the remarkable rhythm this delightful, lively band provides.
Watch this remarkable, 83 years young living legend getting down (playing music keeps you fit!)…
24. Kerbside Collection — Trash Or Treasure (Legere Recordings)
Kerbside Collection are an all instrumental Jazz Funk and rare groove ensemble from Brisbane, Australia. They furnish the funk via a gritty rhythm section of old school drums and fender or upright bass, alongside funky hammond and Rhodes, with some sweet George Benson-ish jazz guitar licks on top.
The sound harks back to the 60’s and 70’s Californian West Coast jazz funk flavors. The music on Trash or Treasure explores wilder textures and tones interspersed with ‘jazzier’ inventiveness alongside their gritty sidewalk rare groove.
Some surprise vibraphone pops up in some tracks to great delight. There are sweet sounding funky flutes sprinkled throughout — an especially juicy one on the title track. Plenty of cinematic funk, reverb guitars, and sly stylings give Trash or Treasure a distinctive character that’s hard to categorize (and that’s why I dig it so much).
Their cover version of Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay” is innovative & modern. Listen to it here…
25. Christian McBride Trio — Live At The Village Vanguard (Mack Avenue Records)
Several excellent Jazz albums came out in 2015, and this one is my favorite. Stand up bass player extraordinaire, Christian McBride, is one of the busiest guys in Jazz. Live At The Village Vanguard captures his trio during their annual December run at the legendary Greenwich Village Jazz club.
Nine solid songs make this a well-rounded record. You can hear the guys & the crowd totally getting into it.
This is absorbing, exhilarating, joyful Jazz. Standouts include their rousing version of splendid Jazz standard, “Cherokee.” And, the funky-Jazz cover of “Car Wash” that brings the house down, showing that Christian McBride is one of the best Funk bass players too.
Watch the Christian McBride Trio play the album’s impressive opener, “Fried Pies”…
Best Singles Of 2015
“Re-Run Home” by Kamasi Washington
Kamasi Washington’s album, The Epic, topped many lists as best record of 2015. For me personally, he pushed the envelope a little too far into the avant-garde for my tastes. But, “Re-Run Home” is the epitome of epic on The Epic!
I love this soulful, Jazz-Funk tune. For 14 minutes, Washington & his ingenious band mates, get out on the edges, while never getting weird. The star of the track for me is the tight, diligent rhythm guitar player & his wah-wah sound effects.
They keep to their sublime groove, that’s always captivating & resplendent. Harmonizing, vibing, and vamping…they pick it up, lay it in the cut and keep you there — engrossed & enchanted by this mighty, all-time, epic groove monster.
Watch them play it live here (and with the vocal intro)…
“Uptown Funk” by Sly 5th Ave. & & The Clubcasa Chamber Orchestra
These guys remake one of 2015’s biggest hits into one of its best cover songs. This funkier, brassier, all instrumental, and ready made for clever house DJs is smarter, cooler, and more original than the original.
“Mary Jane/The Horseman” by Breakdown Brass
The other best cover song of 2015 is Breakdown Brass’ version of Rick James’ “Mary Jane.” It’s a bold, brassy, irresistible funky instrumental. Their original, “The Horseman” on the B-Side is just bad-ass brass band funk at its finest.
Check out its hilarious video here…
“Big Sir” by Zongo Junction
Our third Brooklyn band, Zongo Junction, is one of the stars of the current Afrobeat revival. “Big Sir” is a high energy, psychedelic Afrobeat jam that’s not to be missed. I hope they follow with a full album in 2016.
Watch them live in NYC…
“Don’t Know What It Means” by Tedeschi Trucks Band
This Blues Rock band knows how to get a little funky too. They always keep their Rock & Roll soulful, and the single “Don’t Know What It Means” rips with a fantastic, feel-good flavor.
Watch them play live here…
Best Reissue 0f 2015
Nu Yorica : Culture Clash In New York City – Experiments in Latin Music 1970-77
This is the 20th anniversary 2015 expanded edition of one of Soul Jazz Records earliest definitive releases. A stunning and ground-breaking collection of music bringing together Latin, Soul, Jazz, Funk and more from the melting pot of New York City in the 1970s.
Out-of-print for more than ten years this new edition has been fully digitally remastered with new tracks, additional photography and is released as a deluxe 2CD pack + large outsize booklet, as well as a new edition of two super-loud super-heavy separate volumes of double vinyl.
Nu Yorica! is one of Soul Jazz Records most critically acclaimed albums of all time, and features seminal Latin artists such as Eddie Palmieri, Joe Bataan, Machito, Ocho, Grupo Folklorico, Cortijo, Ricardo Marrero, Cachao and many more.
Several other remarkable re-issues were released in 2015, like African Party by Ginger Johnson & His African Messengers on Freestyle Records.
Click here to listen to my favorite reissues of 2015 in Spotify.
Then, you can go here to a list I made on Amazon of almost all these Top 25 Albums of 2015. I added the vinyl edition for your convenience when it’s available to buy there. In case it isn’t available at Amazon, you can probably find it at http://www.discogs.com/.
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I’m always scouring the internet looking for diverse music that I’ll love because I enjoy doing it, and love the way I feel upon finding a marvelous musical gem.
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