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Albums of the year – 2015

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2015 treated us to some defining moments in soul music with some great new names coming to the fore. The super talented Tahirah Memory (who also provided vocals for Jarrod Lawson) delivered her superb debut set ‘Pride’ that shone a light on her abilities as a singer/songwriter.

Diane Shaw brought the late 60s back with a much lauded, big sounding soul album ‘Love, Life and strings’, while Daptone backing singers Saun & Starr also forged ahead with their stunning debut ‘Closer’ that put them in the spotlight. Nicole Willis dropped what is considered her best album yet with ‘Happiness In Every Style’, Rhonda Thomas’ ‘Vinyl Daze’ was widely praised and Mad Satta brought something a little different from NYC. Home grown act the Soulutions produced a really solid modern soul debut, Rasheed Ali’s 1968: Soul Power took us back to the future and there were great releases from favourites Bluey, Cool Million and D’Angelo. Click the header below to explore the Best new Soul Albums of 2015 in full.



In the Jazz spectrum Kamasi Washington’s first proper release (10 years after his “Live At 5th Street Dick’s” CDR release) was fittingly titled ‘The Epic’: a 32 piece orchestra and 20 voice choir combined to produce this monumental Jazz journey!

Manchester’s Matthew Halsall scored yet again with his sublime “Into Forever” while new name Joyce Elaine Yuille was joined by Timo Lassy’s band to produce a gorgeous old school feel on her debut “Welcome To My World”. So many great new Jazz albums were released in 2015 –  Click the header below to explore the Best new Jazz Albums of 2015 in full.



Smooth Jazz fans were treated to the return of some popular names. Four80East continued to plough their familiar vein of funky smooth while legends Fourplay were back with their latest offering ‘Silver’ coming 25 years after their debut with Bob James, Harvey Mason and Nathan East all figuring in the line up.


Smooth keyboardist Jonathan Fritzen’s ‘Fritzenised’ was a typically upbeat and optimistic set, Boney James came back with an excellent set of classy and smooth grooves and Jessy J proved that she is still the heir apparent to the likes of Grover Washington or Boney James with her “My One And Only”.

With strong new albums from Jeff Lorber, Nils, Najee and Pieces of A Dream among others, smooth jazz fans were well served in 2015! Click the header below to explore the Best Smooth Jazz Albums of 2015 in full.




There were significantly less Reissue albums this year but there were some real classics. Sandra Wright’s incredible ‘Wounded Woman’ being the best, followed by unissued tracks by Sam Dees, the incredible voice of Linda Jones, Milton Wright’s unissued and far superior version of ‘Friends and Buddies’, a great Gospel/Soul discovery from Supreme Jubilees and classics from Ashford and Simpson, Leon Ware and a funky 2 on 1 from Mandrill. Click the header below to explore the Best Soul Reissues of 2015 in full.




There were some great Jazz reissues, Jazz-Funk and Fusion classics from Johnny Hammond, Idris Muhammad, Lonnie Liston Smith, Carlos Garnett and Azymuth, discoveries from Sadaka and Sam Saunders and a rare British Jazz classic from Joe Harriot. Alan Lee’s ‘Australian Jazz Anthology’ provided a glimpse into the sound of Jazz from down under,  Sun Ra’s Epic “To Those Of Earth And Other Planets” was a must a for fans out there Jazz while the Brian Auger’s anthology is a welcome addition to his repertoire. Click the header below to explore the Best Jazz reissues of 2015 in full.




Tony Minvielle’s Into Something just pipped ‘Bespeak Love’ to the top spot this year while Expansion were busy as ever giving us a great hat-trick of compilations in the form of ‘Soul Shine’,’Soul Life’ and Soul Togetherness 2015. Daptone Gold II was just that: 21 tracks of magic from the hardest working indie in the business while Black Feeling 3 continued the series apace with another 12 fresh funk and afro jazz cuts. Click the header below to explore the Best New Soul and Funk Compilations of 2015 in full.




Soulful House was well represented in 2015 with some great albums and compilations being produced in the past 12 months. Vick Lavender’s outstanding ‘Architect’ show different shades of Vick’s music, but all have that feel good vibe. The uptempo house tracks ‘Thanks I Get’, ‘It’s the real thing’ have funky grooves and feature vocalist R J Green. Who also sings on the slinky mid tempo soul cut ‘Magic’. Sheila Ford’s’Here You Are’ features the production work of Louie Vega, Kenny Dope, Atjazz, DJ Spen, Dimitri From Paris, John Morales and Joey Negro among others. Click the header below to explore the Best Soulful House Albums and Compilations of 2015 in full.




There were also some really great compilations in 2015, Masterpieces of Modern Soul Vol 4, Ian Levine’s Solid Stax Sensations, Soul on the Real Side Vol 4, Soul Emissaries and Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Vol 5 were the best for 70’s Soul. Sam Records anthology for 80’s club soul, and Nu Yorica and Streetsounds Jazz-Funk classics for the Jazzier side. Click the header below to explore the Best Soul, Funk and Jazz Compilations of 2015 in full.




The 45’s world went crazy with loads of superb new and reissue singles, some selling out in days. We put out a number of 45s in 2015 including Linda Jones’ awesome two-sider ‘Just Can’t Live My Life’/’My Heart Needs A Break’, Betty Wright’s sublime ‘Man Of Mine’ and Natural High’s rare groove ‘I Think I’m Falling IN Love With You’ while new boys Athens Of The North curated some amazing super-rarities like Second Ressurections’s massive ‘You Done Let The Daylight…’ Reality Band And Show’s ‘Gangster Boy’ and Homegrown Syndrome’s stunning ‘Confrontation’ among many others. Soul Junction continued to issue more unreleased goodies and rare gems like Dee Dee Warwick’s amazing ‘You Tore Down My Wall’ and JB Bingham’s ‘Fella’s Don’t Let The Girls Take Over’. Zaf again selected a rare gem for a 12″ reissue with the super in-demand Martin Dumas 12″ while Floating Points chose West Coast rarity Taxie for a 12″ waxing. Click the header below to explore the Best 7″ and 12″ Singles of 2015 in full.


Best 7″ and 12″ Singles of 2015


2015 saw the demand for Vinyl accelerate with many great New titles and Reissues on the format including two of last years best Cds Carmen Lundy’s ‘Soul to Soul’ and the great ‘Step inside My Soul’ comp being issued on 180gm Double’s. Click the header below to explore the Best New And Clasic Soul And Jazz Vinyl of 2015 in full.