Photo by Farah Sosa/FaraStop
We’ve only gone and got ourselves another premium level musician to share some of the music they love with us in the shape of Los Angeles based trumpeter/arranger/multi-instrumentalist Todd M. Simon!
I first knowingly came across Todd when I picked up a great version of the Jorge Ben standard ‘Mas Que Nada’ by his band The Angel City All-Star Brass Band. Only then did I start to notice his name appearing on the credits of loads of records I already owned! For non-crate-diggers, names and dates on the back of records hint at (and sometimes rubberstamp) the quality inside the grooves and Todd was one of those names that guaranteed a top class record. His list of collaborations as a player, arranger or bandleader is pretty extraordinary. Originally a member of Breakestra, Todd currently leads the aforementioned All City All Star Brass Band and African-jazz ensemble Ethio Cali (members include Kamasi Washington, Dexter Story & Mark de Clive-Lowe for Christ's sake!). Todd has arranged for production kings Madlib, Adrian Younge, David Holmes and Ubiquity Records amongst many, had his sounds sampled by hip hop royalty Ghostface Killah and DJ Premier, worked closely with Quantic and the Daptone stable and as a performer backed up Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake, Kelis, Nas, Mulatu Astatke and Arthur Verocai (the last two as part of the sublime Mochilla Timeless series). And there's so much more which we can't fit here right now...
Somehow, Todd has managed to find the time to throw together some of his favourite new tracks for us to check out and we are most grateful...Over to you Todd for a definite spring like selection……..
I'm usually known for citing songs from the heyday of recorded music. But I'd like to share 10 (in no preferential order) recent recordings that have hit me hard...
I am loving songs with a softer touch. Sometimes it's the delicate that hits us harder. Reminds me of what Miles Davis once said that pianist Bill Evans played with a quiet fire...
Can't deny the solid grooves coming from Mndsgn. Reminiscent of some early Sa-Ra vibes.
Ahmed Gallab's project Sinkane has propelled into a powerhouse of Sudanese, Hippy, Reggae, Soul love! I've had the pleasure of working with Ahmed in the Atomic Bomb/William Onyeabor tribute and am really digging the new Sinkane recordings. This one is incredible:
I've been having fun spinning this one out (a beautiful sea green vinyl) and playing more horn over this brilliant edit of Al Green.
I don't know much about The Maria's but I am sure loving the vibe on this one.
(Shameless plug) A passion project of mine has finally been released featuring the ever-talented Liza Colby. We teamed up with Richard Rudolph, Adam Berg and Godfrey at Large on this sexy slow burner. Here's a lyric video created by a fan with some wrong lyrics, lol.
Another track with the soft touch, White Gloves is absolutely perfect! I highly recommend checking Khruangbin live. I caught their first show in LA and it was incredibly special.
So spiritually on! (Truth & Lies recommend buying everything on Philophon, brilliant label!)
I don't know much about this British producer. But this track is pure bliss... (Susso is actually double bassist/producer Huw Bennett, who made this album using field recordings he recorded in the Gambia)
Freshly released is the LA beatsmith Elusive's new LP titled Fusion Swing. This album features some of LA's luminaries: guitarist Emile Poree and my Ethio Cali horn bro Randal Fisher. Painting Pictures features myself playing trumpet through the Wah-Wah pedal.
Many thanks to Todd for choosing his selection for us, a proper kick back and wish the weather here was as good as it in LA selection!
Words by Ex-Friendly