Here is the selection of The Wicked Sound favorite compilation albums of 2020:
01. VA Blue Note Reimagined (Blue Note)
Blue Note Re:imagined presents classic Blue Note tracks, including compositions by Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutcherson, Andrew Hill, Donald Byrd, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson and more, reworked and newly recorded by a selection of the UK scene’s most exciting young talents today. Representing a bridge between the ground-breaking label’s past and future, the project will feature contributions from a rollcall of internationally acclaimed jazz, soul and R&B acts – Shabaka Hutchings, Ezra Collective, Nubya Garcia, Mr Jukes, Steam Down, Skinny Pelembe, Emma-Jean Thackray, Poppy Ajudha, Jordan Rakei, Fieh, Ishmael Ensemble, Blue Lab Beats, Melt Yourself Down, Yazmin Lacey, and Alfa Mist.
02. VA Jazz Is Dead (Jazz Is Dead)
Over the last year, Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (of A Tribe Called Quest) have been making music with the masters. Every week something special was recorded at Younge’s all-analog Linear Labs recording studio in Los Angeles. The producing duo of Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad were composing and producing brand new albums with their heroes, they both also play multiple instruments during the sessions. This album is the first presentation of work that has come out of these sessions, features legendary artists Roy Ayers, Gary Bartz, Marcos Valle, Azymuth, Doug Carn, Joao Donato, and Brian Jackson, who will each have their own individual release.
03. VA Modern Jazz Dance Classics (Staubgold)
Following on from the acclaimed Modern Jazz Dance Classics Volume One compilation, Jeff The Fish delivered the second volume of contemporary club jazz which will inject new music into the jazz dance scene. For some time now on the continual hunt for new DJ material to play in the jazz scene, Jeff has been coming across great tracks by current artists that are often only available on digital or CD format, and compile and press this music onto vinyl so that DJs can play them in jazz sessions. The collection is eclectic and includes artists from the world over, from the Netherlands (Marutyri), France (Electrophazz and Pj5), UK (Wild Card), Catalonia (Carxofa), Japan (Fox Capture Plan and Yusuke Shima), USA (Niki Haris, Brian Charette, Mario Cruz and Nicole Banks), Germany (Markpaulnorton), Finland (Nina May) and Azerbaijan (Shahin Novrasli).
04. VA Colin Curtis Presents Jazz Dance Fusion’ Vol. 2 (Z Records)
Colin Curtis, legendary deejay released the second instalment of his Jazz Dance Fusion compilation series for Joey Negro’s Z Records. Again he look back into the story & history of the UK jazz dance and jazz music scene; a movement that started for me back in the 70's. The sounds of funk & soul mixed with jazz, influences from Brazil, Africa, Europe and all over the globe, textures of instrumental sounds & voices, fuse to create the much-loved ‘jazz fusion’ sound that we love. The track listing covers all aspects of dance-floor jazz, from vocal and percussive jazz, with Latin-flavored elements, most of the tracks released for the first time ever on vinyl and CD.
05. VA WAMONO A to Z Vol. I: Japanese Jazz Funk & Rare Groove 1968-1980 (Wamono A to Z)
Wamono sound is the cream of the Japanese funk, soul, rare groove and disco music developed throughout the years since the end of the sixties in Japan. DJ Yoshizawa Dynamite is also a renowned remixer, compiler, producer, and active as a professional DJ in Japan since the late eighties. DJ Chintam is a record collector and a record store owner, and a specialist of soul, funk, rare groove and disco music. They published together the Wamono A to Z records guide book in 2015 which instantly sold-out. The book unveiled a myriad of beautiful and rare records from a highly prolific, but still then unknown, Japanese groove scene. This compilation features some of the best and rarest jazz funk and rare groove tunes produced in Japan between 1968 and 1980. Fully licensed Nippon Columbia and Victor Japan masters available for the first time outside of Japan, featuring Akira Ishikawa, Jiro Inagaki, Chikara Ueda, Kifu Mitsuhashi, Toshiko Yonekawa and more.
06. VA Gilles Peterson Presents: MV4 (Brownswood)
Gilles Peterson presents a time capsule of musical magic on this exclusive. Taken from a day of live sessions in London’s legendary Maida Vale Studios - studio MV4 to be exact, it was originally intended just for Peterson’s BBC radio show. Struck by what a special moment the sessions captured, Peterson has decided to mark the results with a release proper on his Brownswood imprint. Several of the tracks backed by the group of Brownswood signee, Joe Armon-Jones (Ezra Collective). Featuring Dylan Jones (Pyjaen), James Mollison (Ezra Collective), Mutale Chashi (Kokoroko), and Marijus Aleksa as well as guest turns from Fatima, Asheber, Nubya Garcia, Hak Baker, andOscar Jerome, plus a double-track special from Bristol-based collective, Ishmael Ensemble.
07. VA Seven Wonders (Plug Seven Records)
Seven Wonders, a new compilation by Plug Seven Records and Wondercore Island captures Australia’s groove-led music scene. The compilation is testament to Wondercore’s relentless support of Australia’s forward-thinking beat makers and neo-soul bands; and to Plug Seven’s commitment to the magic of analogue music, as seen at its Melbourne record store and nearby studio. There’s an antipodean take on P-Funk from Laneous, characteristically enigmatic vocals from soul singer Allysha Joy, and one from her phenomenal band 30/70 Collective, a free-flowing instrumental from Sampa the Great collaborator Dave Rodriguez, aka GODTET. Several tracks include production and background instrumentation from Hiatus Kaiyote’s rhythm section Perrin Moss and Paul Bender.
08. VA Jazzvolution Chapter 3 (HHV/TheFind)
Jazzvolution is a progressive instrumental compilation series exploring the connection between Jazz & Hip Hop. This time the compilation features a well-selected cast of talents like Dexter, Dr. Dundiff, Marcus D, BudaMunk, A Cat Called Fritz, Nautilus, The Natural Yogurt Band, and others on the boards. The final installment in the trilogy of Jazzvolution, a series exploring the connection between beat-making and jazz, in collaboration with The Find website. The aim is to explore the boundaries of hip-hop beats, to showcase the idea that beat-making is an evolution of jazz foundations. This release also celebrates the launch of The Find's new website and all-new label, Rucksack Records.
09. VA New Horizons A Bristol Jazz Sound (Worm Discs)
Bristolian collective, Worm Disco Club their label Worm Discs, recruit some of Bristol’s most notable emerging talent for an exploration into the new wave of Jazz emanating from the city. Featuring Waldo’s Gift, Snazzback, Run Logan Run (Montreux Jazz Talent Award winners), Ishmael Ensemble, China Bowls, BaDaBooM!, Lyrebird and Alun Elliott-Williams. New Horizons channels the seismic energy of the sonically rich landscape into 11 progressive, psychedelic, impeccably crafted tracks. “Bristol has always had its own sound, but there’s been a new crop of young players come through over the past five years that’s revitalised the scene and expanded its expectations about what jazz music means.”
10. VA Spiritual Jazz 12 Impulse (Jazzman)
In the latest chapter of the Spiritual Jazz series, Jazzman dive into the catalog of legendary label, Impulse! and the monumental influence of its most prominent artist, John Coltrane. Impulse! was the most important and forward-thinking jazz label of the 1960s, they released albums by John and Alice Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders, Yusef Lateef, McCoy Tyner, and countless other musical pioneers. On this album, we have some celebrated masterpieces from Alice Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders into the arena, together with lesser-known cuts from Phil Woods and John Klemmer as well as straight-up classics such as Yusef Lateef and Elvin Jones.
10. VA Soul Love Now: The Black Fire Records Story 1975-1993 (Strut)
Strut presents the first-ever compilation bringing together classics and rarities from the seminal spiritual jazz and conscious soul label Black Fire, spanning 1975 to 1993. Formed by DJ and record producer Jimmy Gray in Richmond, Virginia, and following in the footsteps of other influential black-owned independent labels like Strata-East and Tribe, the foundation of Black Fire coincided with saxophonist James “Plunky” Branch returning to Richmond from New York to form Oneness Of Juju. Soul Love Now brings together some of the many highlights from the label, like soul man Wayne Davis, early go go pioneers Experience Unlimited, Ghanaian master percussionist Okyerema Asante, onto one essential compilation.
Various Artists, Color De Trópico: Compiled By El Dragón Criollo & El Palmas (El Palmas Music)
Various Artists, No Funk No Chop (Underground African Funk) (African RoadTrip)
Various Artists, Craig Charles Trunk of Funk (Soul Bank Music/K7)
Various Artists, Kaleidoscope (Soul Jazz )