Category Archives: Soul

THE MILLION DOLLAR ORCHESTRA – BETTER DAYS (Soul/Funk/Disco – US)

The Million Dollar Orchestra

The Million Dollar Orchestra is the crazy project of Al Kent, an avid record collector and self-confessed disco geek. It all started sometime in 2005 when Al, bored with chopping up disco loops to bosh over house drums, and even more bored with the deluge of pointless disco re-edits flooding the shops, decided to take things a step further and create something that sounded like the music he loved, something authentically disco.

So he knocked up some rhythm tracks using drums and percussion sampled from some old disco records and set about looking for musicians to jazz things up a bit… After recruiting Charlie Milne (keys), Stephen Westwater (bass), Kev McShane (guitar), Colin and Alan Train (sax), Gary Kainth and Ryan Buchanan (percussion), Jim Gash (drums), Douglas West (trumpet) and a few guest vocalists, the band played their first triumphal gig at the Glasgow Jazz Festival. The Million Dollar Orchestra was now officially complete! They all headed towards the studio a set out to record what would become a cult album: Better Days.

The Million Dollar Orchestra - Don't Cha Wanna Get Down     

Recorded in the most traditional way, mostly one take, in an all-analogue studio, the album recreates the sound of the 70s with amazing authenticity. The sound is rich, lush, string laden, beautiful disco music, full of joy with phenomenal musicianship. It is Al Kent’s biography told in Music. Soulful, funky and totally ready for the dancefloor, the CD and the limited edition double vinyl in gatefold sleeve were well received by disco heads and music reviewers alike.

Fans will be pleased to know the follow up is currently being written, and Al’s building up the strength to start the recording process again. Find more info on The Million Dollar Orchestra and the Million Dollar Disco parties on the official site and sample a few tracks on Soundcloud. You can buy Better Days from BBE’s online store or download it from

JESSE BOYKINS III – WAY OF A WAYFARER (Soul/Pop – US)

Jesse Boykins III was born in Chicago, grew up between Kingston (Jamaica) and Miami and is currently based in Brooklyn. His interest in music started from an early age, already at the age of 9 he joined his local school choir and soon began auditioning around Miami and performing with local artists. In High School Jesse was invited to perform in the Grammy Jazz Ensemble and recorded a full length album with them. After graduating, he joined the New School University in New York City, where he refined his skills as a writer, performer, arranger, producer and, last but not least, as a vocalist.

Jesse Boykins III’s first EP, Dopamine: My Life On My Back, was released in February 2008 and his debut album, The Beauty Created, was released in November 2008 through NomaDic MuSic. Three years and a handful of EP’s later, Jesse is back with a new project the Way of the Wayfarer EP and the first audio taste from this EP is “Back Home (Mermaids & Dragons)” produced by Gold Panda (it also appears as an instrumental on Gold Panda’s album Lucky Shiner).

Jesse Boykins III - Back Home (Mermaids & Dragons)     

JBIII is definitely exploring new territory with Way of a Wayfarer, showing us a more electro-tinged and heavily processed brand of soul. Jesse’s perfectly controlled smooth tenor adds a touch of emotion to these five slightly experimental synthesized tunes.

Jesse Boykins III - Light To Dark     

Check out more music on MySpace or visit Jesse Boykins III’s official site. Buy his music on Jesse Boykins III

JAMES BLAKE – LIMIT TO YOUR LOVE (Electro/Dubstep – UK)

James Blake

In the past few months, there has been a lot of fuss around James Blake previous to the release of his highly anticipated debut album, due out in February 2011 on Atlas Records, a subsidiary of Polydor. So far 2010 has been a stellar year for James Blake! He first released the critically acclaimed Bells Sketch EP and the huge underground smash “CMYK”, both of which quickly turned him into one of the brightest new names to watch in British music today.

James - CMYK     

In September the brilliant Klavierwerke EP was released on R & S Records and immediately set about defining Blake’s emotional electronic production style. Off the back of this EP, some bloggers claimed to have been reduced to tears by the simplicity and beauty of the sounds the young artist teases from his home studio.

His synth lines squeal and convulse, his beats lurch behind every corner of his tension-filled compositions. Despite their electronic essence, Blake’s productions feel raw and almost brutal, with their massive synths and fragmented beats.

James Blake - Limit To Your Love     

The first single, which has been doing the viral rounds on YouTube for quite sometime is Blake’s epic cover of the timeless Feist and Gonzalez track “Limit To Your Love”. Re-worked, recorded and produced by Blake alone in his studio, this cover gives the first time listener a chance to hear James’ incredibly soulful voice, nestled in wooly electronics. The album is following in similar suite, with less urban post-dubstep grooves (Blake has often been associated with the emerging post-dubstep sound of Mount Kimbie and others) and more of a singer/songwriter feel.

Check out his MySpace and buy James Blake’s music on