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Heavenly Sweetness - Label Compilation #1

Heavenly Sweetness Label Compilation
Various - Heavenly Sweetness - Label Compilation #1
(2xCD/12"/Download) Heavenly Sweetness, 2010-03-15

Heavenly Sweetness is THE French JAzz label today. It's quite easy since there isn't much competition... but praise should be given anyway to Antoine Rajon and Franck Descollonges for an incredible series of releases and reissues during the recent years, among which were shining the John Betsch Society and the Anthony Joseph and the Spasm Band LPs.

Along the way of releasing fantastic albums and re-releasing superb jazz LPs, they've also regularly fed Parisian record dealers of all sorts with limited edition 45s, 10 inches and free MP3s... all collected here in this double compilation, along with many tasteful spiritual Jazz, Afro, and even Reggae pieces. I couldn't recommend a better introduction to this Jazz label.

Heavenly Sweetness Label Compilation
Various - Heavenly Sweetness - Label Compilation #1
(2xCD/12"/Download) Heavenly Sweetness, 2010-03-15

Tracklisting CD1 :
01. Thunderbird Service - The Creator Has A Masterplan
02. The John Betsch Society - Ode To Ethiopia
03. The Rongetz Foundation - Antoines
04. Byard Lancaster - Blue Train
05. Robert Aaron - Trouble Man
06. Doug Hammond - We People
07. Anne Wirz - Guerrière
08. Don Cherry & Latif Kahn - Airmail
09. Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band - Vero (edit)
10. Abdul Rahim Ibrahim (Doug Carn) - Tropic Sons
11. Monnette Sudler - Infant Eyes Ou Don't Stress Me Out
12. Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band - Spirit Lash
13. Sunil Dev - Improvisation 1

Tracklisting CD2 :
01. Byard Lancaster Vs Professeur Inlassable - Saint John Coltrane
02. Anne Wirz - Guerrière (Four Tet Remix)
03. The John Betsch Society - Earth Blossom (Carlos Niño Remix)
04. Doug Hammond - Dope Of Power (Four Tet Remix)
05. Abdul Rahim Ibrahim (Doug Carn) - Suratal Ihklas (Fulgeance Remix)
06. Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band - The Bamboo Saxophone (Kidkanevil Remix)
07. Don Cherry & Latif Khan - Airmail (Chin Chin Cover)
08. Monnette Sudler - Baby Erik (Blackjoy Remix)
09. The Rongetz Foundation - East (Patchworks Remix)
10. Blundetto - Nautilus
11. Chickwing Productions - Celestial Blues
12. Chickwing Productions - Celestial Dub Craig

Tracklisting 12 inch :
A1. Monnette Sudler - Baby Erik (Blackjoy Remix)
A2. Don Cherry & Latif Khan - Airmail (Chin Chin Cover)
B1. Blundetto - Nautilus
B2. Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band - The Bamboo Saxophone

Links :

Press Release :
Setting up a jazz label with the record industry in its current parlous state could be seen as either a madcap enterprise or a sweet folly. Yet it is precisely this lack of calculation and above all our unstinting passion for music that has guided Antoine Rajon and myself in our endeavours to bring you the album you are holding in your hands or enjoying with your ears.

Our adventure so far has been profoundly human with its fair share of joy and disappointment, but what drives us most are the friendships we have forged with musicians who are as passionate as we are about every kind of music, refusing categorisation, spiritual and free. These men and women, both professional and amateur musicians, have often led extraordinary musical careers, and for them music is the very essence of existence.

These many encounters – in which chance has played little part - have combined to form the musical family that is Heavenly Sweetness, which is made up of both unjustly neglected artists (Monnette Sudler, Doug Hammond, Doug Carn, Byard Lancaster) and fresh talents who are at the beginning of their careers (Anne Wirz, Anthony Joseph, Stéphane Rongetz/ Rongetz Foundation).

At a time when music is dominated by technology, we have decided for artistic reasons to return to the conditions in which music was recorded in the Sixties, which means recording a track in a single take without any overdubs (or almost). This is not out of nostalgia but rather to preserve the intensity and authenticity of a track when it is played for the first time. The first take is synonymous with music that is rough, candid and honest, the flaws only adding to its emotional impact, but it offers complete freedom of expression to the musicians. This vision was adopted by legendary producers such as Charles Stepney (Cadet Records) and can be compared to Lars von Trier's dogma for the cinema.

This compilation is the opportunity to bring together tracks that have been released on various different media – on vinyl, CD and digital, some of which are no longer in circulation. We have used the same concept as for our famous 45 rpm singles with one side containing jazz tracks from albums and singles by the label's artists (CD1) and the other with remixes and covers, for which we have asked other artists to play new versions of tracks from our catalogue (CD2). The two CDs are very different from each other, but they share a common spirit, a musical quality that we hope will give you the same pleasure as we had recording them.

Franck Descollonges

Track by track

Thunderbird Service - 'The Creator Has A Masterplan'
(Leon Thomas / Pharoah Sanders) from the 12" 'Spirit Jazz' ref HS01

This cover of Pharaoh Sander's classic, recorded in Philadelphia in 2005, is taken from the first album ever produced by Heavenly Sweetness.
Byard 'Thunderbird' Lancaster, the label's patron, fronts a collective that includes the cult vibraphone player Khan Jamal, Keno Spelleret, the percussionist from Lafayette Afro-Rock Band, and the pianist and musical director of the greatly missed Teddy Pendergrass, Alfie Pollitt.

John Betsch - 'Ode to Ethiopia'
(Robert L Holmes) from the album 'Earth blossom' ref HS005CD/LP

The American drummer John Betsch, who has lived in Paris for the last 30 years, is a close friend of the label and has played on several albums produced by Heavenly Sweetness. 'Ode to Ethiopia', a lyrical, afro-centric composition, is taken from his only album as bandleader, which he produced himself while living in Nashville in 1974 and released on the cult label Strata East.

The Rongetz Foundation - 'Antoines'
(Stéphane Ronget) from the album 'One leg dancer' ref HS004CD

The Rongetz Foundation brought together several young musicians from Lyons and a deluxe Paris rhythm section of John Betsch and Peter Giron around the composer and trumpet player Stéphane Ronget. A follow-up to Ronget's first album as bandleader since he left the electro-jazz combo Metropolitan Jazz Affair is due to be released soon. The Foundation has a new line-up and the new album was recorded near New York, where the trumpet player now lives.

Byard Lancaster – 'Blue Train'
(John Coltrane) from the 7" 'Blue Train' ref HS013VL

Byard Lancaster has featured on albums by Larry Young, Jef Gilson, Sly & Robbie and Sunny Murray over the last 40 years and here he pays tribute to his mentor John Coltrane, whom he was lucky enough to play with in the mid-Sixties. This version of 'Blue Train' was recorded in the Professeur inlassable's Parisian flat with Arthur Simonini and Arnaud Biscay, who play with the band Bibi Tanga & The Selenites.

Robert Aaron – 'Trouble Man'
(Marvin Gay) from the forthcoming CD album "Trouble man" to be release April 2010

Doug Hammond – 'We People'
(Doug Hammond) from the album 'Real Deal' ref HS001CD

'We People' is taken from drummer Doug Hammond's first solo album for which he played a new version of a track he had first recorded in the Eighties in Detroit. Doug Hammond is an American jazz legend, famous mainly for being part of the Detroit Tribe collective, for playing with Charlie Mingus and for his strong influence as mentor on Steve Coleman's musical theories.

Anne Wirz – 'Guerrière'
(Anne Wirz) from the album 'Infini' ref HS003CD

Anne Wirz is a Parisian singer who learnt her craft with Jef Gilson and whose first recordings were with the house music maestro Osunlade and Byard Lancaster. She recorded 'Guerrière' with the harpist Isabelle Olivier for her first album 'Infini', which also features John Betsch and the pianist Georges Edouard Nouel. This track is an illustration of her lyrical and poetical vision, which bears the spiritual hallmark of jazz mixed with pop and folk.

Don Cherry & Latif Khan – 'Airmail'
(Don Cherry) from the album 'Music Sangam' ref HS015CD/LP

'Musci Sangam' was definitely the most unjustly neglected of all Don Cherry's albums before we re-released it. Recorded without Abdullah Ibrahim who didn't show up to the session, this album is one of the finest examples of multi-cultural music-making, an encounter between the trumpet player's favourite musical styles and completely unlike the sterile jazz-rock fusions of earlier times.

Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band – 'Vero (edit)'
(A Joseph / P.Brett-P.Zimmerman-C.Webster-A.John-A.Joseph) from the album 'Bird Head Son' ref HS014VL

The London-based Trinidadian poet Anthony Joseph formed his Spasm band in the early 2000s to put his poetic visions, with their interwoven strands of science fiction and transcendent autobiography, to music. 'Vero' is a perfect distillation of his highly charged 'Great Black Music'.

Abdul Rahim Ibrahim (aka Doug Carn) – 'Tropic Sons'
(Doug Carn) from the album 'Al Rahman' ref HS008CD/LP

Doug Carn, whose funky, spiritual albums for Black Jazz had a great influence on the acid-jazz scene and the artists of the Talkin' Loud label, self-produced a spiritual disco album back in 1977. On it he sings of his Muslim faith and his spiritual vision of life to music that is inspired as much by Earth, Wind and Fire (with whom he has recorded in the past) as by Coltrane's musical mysticism. The poignant soul track 'Tropic Sons' is taken from that album.

Monnette Sudler – 'Don't Stress Me Out'
(Monnette Sudler) from the cd 'where have all the legends gone' ref HS018CD

Monnette was probably the first female guitarist to record a jazz album as bandleader back in the Seventies. She has explored all the different shades of black music, from free jazz to bop and funk. Her latest album, 'Where Have All The Legends Gone', showcases her eclectic tastes and she sings her own versions of the great Stanley Cowell's sensitive soul classics such as 'Don't Stress Me Out'.

Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band – 'Bo Nuggy'
(A Joseph / P.Zimmerman-C.Webster-A.John-A.Joseph) from the 12" 'Spirit Lash' ref HS04

'Bo Nuggy' is a track that has never previously been released on CD and is taken from the band's very first recording, which Heavenly Sweetness brought out as an EP. The lyrics are from Anthony Joseph's poetic afro science fiction novel, 'The African Origins of UFOs'.

Sunil Dev – 'Improvisation 4'
(Sunil Dev) from the album 'The music of' ref HS010CD

Sunil Dev is a Nepalese flautist from Bakhtapur, who was discovered by the producer Martin Meissonnier while he was in the region to make a film about Buddha. His music - a mixture of the great Indian artistic tradition (he is a pupil of the great Chaurasia) and the popular and shamanic music of his native country - will send you into a deep and salutary trance.

Byard Lancaster vs Le Professeur Inlassable - 'Saint John Coltrane'
(Byard Lancaster / Le Professeur Inlassable) from the 7" 'Blue Train' ref HS013VL

Le Professeur Inlassable, a Parisian sound wizard and producer of the band Bibi Tanga & The Selenites, has remixed Byard Lancaster's vocal version of 'Blue Train', transforming it into an ambient ode to the prophet of cosmic jazz, Saint John Coltrane.

Anne Wirz – 'Guerrière' (Four Tet remix)
(Anne Wirz) From the 12" Guerrière ref HS 02

Along with Joseph Ghosn, Antoine was largely responsible for the musical encounters between Four Tet and Steve Reid because he released a Four Tet remix on his former label, Isma'a. So it was completely natural that he suggested to his friend that they make their label's first remix, a psychedelic excursion that shows the English producer's love of free jazz and sharp rhythms.

John Betsch – 'Earth Blossom' (Carlos Niño remix)
(Robert L Holmes) from the 7" 'Ode to ethiopia' ref HS006VL

Carlos Niño is an important figure on the new Los Angeles electro scene. He's the brains behind the superb Build An Ark collective, and his music explores the same musical sources as the label's recordings – the cosmic, spiritual jazz of the Seventies. He is perhaps the only musician who could have taken on John Betsch's cult album (which was released on Strata East, the stand-out mystic jazz label) to create a modern, electro-tinged track that preserves its free jazz spirit.

Doug Hammond – 'Dope of Power' (Four Tet remix)
(Doug Hammond) from the 7" 'A tear' ref HS002VL

The label's second remix and it's Four Tet again! This time though, they were given a more specific task, the idea being that Four Tet wouldn't do their own version but process the tracks to make the drumming a little more electronic and then do one improvised take of the new version. The result is the most frequently played and bestselling single on the album.

Doug Carn – 'Suratal Ihklas' (Fulgeance remix)
(Doug Carn) from the 7" 'Tropic son' ref HS012VL

When it takes a Scottish journalist to bring Musique Large (a label whose offices are only 500m from our own) to our attention, we realise we're just not inquisitive enough. Fulgeance's tormented, funky beats bring Doug Carn to the dance floor – and we can only applaud, nod our heads and tap our feet. Headbanging, smartbanging, whatever...

Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band – 'The Bamboo Saxophone' (Kidkanevil remix)
(Anthony Joseph / Keziah Jones) EXCLUSIVE!

This young English producer from Leeds has given a radical makeover to Anthony Joseph and Keziah Jones' duet from the album 'Bird's Head Son', leaving out the guitar and creating an abstract, hyper-energetic hip-hop track with an African feel to it.

Don Cherry & Latif Khan – 'Air Mail' (Chin Chin cover)
(Don Cherry) EXCLUSIVE!

Chin Chin are a fantastic New York soul and disco band whose members also play jazz and improvised music. So we asked them to do a cover version of one of the main songs off Don Cherry's forgotten album 'Music/Sangam'. It respects the sound of the original, but Chin Chin give it some of their funky New York groove.

Monnette Sudler – 'Baby Erik' (Blackjoy remix)
(Monnette Sudler) EXCLUSIVE!

Someone as nice as Blackjoy could only make beautiful music full of good vibes. This time, Monnette Sudler's sanza sets off from Philadelphia on a journey to the Caribbean. A hypnotic and languid groove that's deep - very deep.

The Rongetz Foundation – 'East' (Patchworks remix)
(Tyrone Brown) from the 10" ref HS007VL

The composer and trumpet player Stéphane Rongetz began his musical career with the Metropolitan Jazz Affair, whose beat-maker and musical maestro was Patchworks. So we asked the producer of Dynamics and Uptown Funk Empire to give us his version of the underground classic 'East' made popular by Billy Paul.
Blundetto – 'Nautilus'
(Bob James) from the forthcoming Blundetto album. To be release May 2010

Chickenwing All Stars – 'Celestial Blues' and 'Dub Version'
(Gary Bartz) from the 7" ref HS020VL

Chickenwing All Stars are a south London reggae and dub collective headed by bassist Mark Anderson and Craig Tamlin, the percussion player in Anthony Joseph's Spasm Band. We present you two versions of saxophonist Gary Bartz's classic track 'Celestial Blues' sung by Andy Bey, a Nyabinghi-influenced cover on which fantastic musicianship by the Heliocentrics' and Speech Debelle's saxophonist is underlain with hypnotic percussions, and a dub version that is more classical but just as delicious.


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