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9 Aug 2017

Oneness Of Juju "Space Jungle Luv" 1976 US Fusion Jazz Funk,Spiritual Soul Jazz

Oneness Of Juju "Space Jungle Luv" 1976  US killer..  Fusion Jazz Funk,Spiritual Soul Jazz...recommended..!


A fantastic record from one of the greatest underground jazz groups of the 70s! Oneness of Juju are perhaps best known for the heavy funk of their first album, African Rhythms – but we're actually partial to this second album – a warmly spiritual batch of soul jazz tracks, and a set that's filled with life, emotion, and wonderful instrumentation throughout! The group are a bit more relaxed overall – easing into things, but in a way that really builds up as the album moves on – as they layer together heavy percussion, sweet keyboards, and lots of great sax solos from Plunky Nakabinde – plus wonderfully warm vocals that add a soulful edge the group never had before, but which still is very jazzy – and not like the funky club of later years. The whole thing's wonderfully cohesive, and a treasure throughout – and titles include the warm vocal number "River Luvrite", to the harder hitting "Space Jungle Funk", and other gems like "Soul Love Now", "Follow Me", "The Connection", and "Love's Messenger".

Amazing sought-after record from the brainchild of one J. Pluncky Branch and one of the greatest underground jazz groups. Space Jungle Luv goes on a slightly different tangent from African Rhythms (1975) heavy funk, to a more spiritual soul jazz (and soul vocals provided by Eke-Eta Jackie Lewis), technical playing, mixing fusion, funk and Coltrane's modal style - expanding styles. Check out "River Luvrite", "Space Jungle Funk", "Soul Love Now", but all the tracks are killer!...

Formed in 1971 (and still going strong) Oneness of JuJu was the brainchild of saxophonist J. Plunky Branch. Like many others on the legendary Strata East label, Oneness mixed R&B, free jazz, afro-Brazilian percussion and down-home funk with an upbeat spiritual message, earning them a place in many a DJ'sbig metalbox in the process. 
Space Jungle Luv emerged in 1976 (a year after the classic African Rhythms set) and marked a distinct change of direction for Plunky and co. Their feet were still in the ghetto, but this time they were looking at the stars; headed up by the strong, sweet vocal stylings of Jacqueline Holman (aka Lady Eka-Ete) and Branch's often effects drenched saxophones, this is cosmic dancefloor jazz of the first water. 
Space Jungle Luv opens with the loose limbed latin drift of "River Luv Rite", and moves through the deep, soulful funk of "Follow Me" to the Pharoah Sanders-esque "Soul Love Now" (pianist Joe Bonner was a member of Oneness for this set, and Branch had appeared on Pharoah's Wisdom of Music album). 
"Space Jungle Funk" does what it says on the tin; Branch's heavily processed tenor snakes, squelches and squeals its way through a zero gravity slice of flanged ambient jazz funk. "The Connection" offers more earthbound grooves; here Branch's tenor is electronically ghosted into a bass clarinet and moog synth orchestra over Ronnie Toler's pushy funk drums and guitarist Melvin Glover's muted wah chords. Glover shines on the beautiful "Love's Messenger" with a sweet toned, thoughtful solo, while "Bootsie's Lament" showcases Holman's sublime vocal over rainforest flutes and afro percussion stylings. 
The missing link between Kool and the Gang (70s vintage) and the deep jazz of Sanders, Gary Bartz and the like, this is a must for any self respecting collection - Branch out ! Marsh ...BBC review...

The message was enormously positive on the debut Oneness of Juju record, and for the follow-up, bandleader Plunky Branch developed a lighter, more free sound to parallel the consciousness-raising themes. Make no mistake: the group plays just as tight as on African Rhythms, but here the emphasis is on creating an atmosphere instead of approximating a religious ritual. As on the first record, the opener is the hands-down highlight; Plunky latches onto a short, playful theme, stretches it out into a vibrant solo, and returns to it often over the course of eight minutes (even switching from tenor to alto after a few minutes). Pianist Joe Bonner also contributes a solid solo, and vocalist Eka-Ete Jackie Lewis sounds powerful but very calm and controlled, wordlessly vocalizing her own solo underneath Bonner and Plunky. Quieter numbers like "Soul Love Now" and "Love's Messenger" rely more on exploratory percussion than a steady rock backbeat, but "Space Jungle Funk" and "Got to Be Right on It" are two of the heaviest tracks the band had cut up to that point. As on the first, great playing from a tuned-in band carries the day over an occasional lack of innovation or imagination. [The 2002 reissue on Strut added the previously unreleased track "F#" to the program.].... by John Bush .

Oneness of Juju have quite a following on the other side of the pond and it has been quite refreshing to see some of their classic stuff being reissued. Space Jungle Luv is a real gem of an album and features some absolutely stunning vocals from Eka Ete on River Luv Rite and the absolutely mesmeric Love's Messenger. 
Love's messenger is more akin to Soul/Jazz and you could even imagine Minnie singing along to it. To top it there is also an instrumental version. Echoes of George Clinton, EWF, Mandrill and all things funky but certainly with a difference. My daughter even got quite taken aback by River Luv Rite which is saying something as she tends to refer to this as screechy waily music. Overall an excellent album, well produced and funky with just the right amount of jazz for the jazzier amongst us.

Lock in the headphones, load in Oneness of Juju's Space Jungle Luv, and take a trip to the 70's and beyond. This is remastered release of the 1976 album fuses funk and R&B laid down to African percussion. The first track, 'River Luv Rite', plays on this theme thoroughly along with a catchy riff. It doesn't stop there. 'River Luv Rite' contains a hint of what is to come. 

This is not your typical head-bopping funk album. There is another element that keeps this apart from the others. Oneness of Juju's frontman, James 'Plunky' Branch, previous endeavors include stints in New York's avante-garde jazz scene in the early 70's. Sun Ra's avante-garde/cosmic modal jazz comes to mind when listening Space Jungle Luv (not that the name of the album gave it away). These jazz tangents play an integral part to the unique etherealness of the album. This play between the funk and jazz keeps the music active while it transports you to the here and now to the wherever and whenever and back again (see 'Space Jungle Funk'). 

Space Jungle Luv also introduces the vocals of Lady Eka Ete (Jacqueline Holoman). Her strong, soulful voice is a beautiful accompaniment to Plunky' s Oneness. She acts as another instrument in this musical cocktail, as in 'Follow Me' and 'River Luv Rite'. Although, I think her role should have remained just that - an accompaniment. 'Love's Messenger' displays her vocal wares to the forefront, but the sugary sweet lyrics just exaggerates what the music is already conveying. Thankfully, they included an instrumental version of 'Love's Messenger'. 

Space Jungle Luv still contains plenty of Bootsy-esque funk to please the true junkie such as 'Got to Be Right On It'. 'African Rhythms Chant' plays out like a Starsky and Hutch chase scene. And who doesn't love that? .....-Edward Jose, August 27, 2002..

Plunky Nkabinde (tenor, soprano sax, electric-maestro-bi-phased sax, flute, percussion, vocals) Melvin "Slyp" Glover (lead guitar, rhythm guitar) Muzi Nkabinde (Fender bass, percussion) Ronnie Toler (drums) Rafael Solano (congas) Richard "Dick" Watkins (congas, percussion) Alfredo Mojica (timbales) Eka-Ete (lead vocals, backing vocals) with Lon Moshe (marimba -3) Joe Bonner (piano -1,4) Al Hammel Rasul (piano, vocals -3) Babatunde (drums, vocals -3)

The Oneness Of Juju album came out a few years before their dance hit 'Everyway But Loose'. It was, originally, recorded and released in 1976 on the Black Fire label. It was re-released a few years ago, which is when I picked it up after hearing it being played in Soul Jazz's store here in London. The track that was on the decks was 'Love's Messenger', which is sung quite beautifully by a female lead over a gentle swaying jazz backing. Only complaint is the track is under 3 minutes in length. Really nice tune.

A1 River Luv Rite
A2 Follow Me
A3 Soul Love Now
B1 Space Jungle Funk
B2 The Connection
B3 Love's Messenger
B4 Love's Messenger (Instrumental)
C1 F# (Previously Unreleased)
C2 Bootsie's Lament
D1 African Rhythem's Chant
D2 Got To Be Right On It


Oneness Of Juju “African Rhythms” 1975 US Funk, Soul, Afrobeat, Afro-Cuban Jazz..Afro funk

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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