Its almost always a good thing when you get two masters of their crafts together to put together an album (or nearly any artistic endeavor). Its certainly a good thing with legendary deejays and tastemakers, Rich Medina and Bobbito Garcia dropping their 2 CD compilation, The Connection Volume One – Modern Explorations in Afro-Beat and Afro-Latin on R2 Records. Street release date is set for April 14.

For those who don’t know these cats be sure to look them up..From their legendary residencies and parties (Jump-N-Funk, Wonder-full, Happy Feet, Vinyl Is Forever, and others), to producing, writing books, charity work, and well, I could spend this whole piece writing on all of the things that these guys have done over the years, so be sure to check out the links above and check for links on those pages as well.

An inspired competition exists between them to outdo the other by introducing underexposed tunes. The Connection allows for others to share that joy that goes on in their DJ booth , as quoted from their press sheet, this best describes the tone of this compilation. A dual disc with Medina fully representing the Afro-Beats on disc one, and Kool Bob Love digging up the Afro-Latin grooves on disc two, this joint is everything from lounge to straight up raw funk and dancefloor smashers all rolled into exceptional balance between classic and vintage rhythms and Afro-futuristic production.

When I read the tracklisting, being a selector, I was happy to see that I was familiar with some of the tracks and artists, but after hearing them all mashed together one after the other, they all sounded individually and collectively as fresh as ever, as if I was right there at one of their sets. Best believe you’ll hear some of them when I’m spinning..

Standout tracks for me on disc one are: Raw Artistic Soul’s Oya O featuring Nigerian progressive house queen, Wunmi, The river-like flow of Cameroon’s Franck Biyong’s We Shall Overcome, and the trance-like saxophones and chants of Do Lelezi Ekassa 22 from Nigerian legend, Victor Uwaifo. Favs on disc two include, the organic polyrhythmic percussion of Rumba Cultura by Totin, The UK’s Reel People with the Michael Jackson (Off The Wall era) vibe of Second Guess (Da Lata Remix), and Salsa Scratch by none other than ex-X-Ecutioner Rob Swift featuring the legendary Bob James and D-Styles (Beat Junkies,Low End Theory).

The Connection Volume 1 is a sophisticated and colorful collection of tracks from two well trusted deejays, that I highly recommend to the Bamalovesoul massive especially if you dig Afro-Beat and Afro-Latin music. Pick this one up directly from the R2 Records label (UK), Itunes, Amazon, etc. Links to purchase the album in the U.S. will be posted here soon.

Junior Star gives The Connection Volume 1 – 6.5 out of 7 head nods.

* Head Nod Scale

1=Don’t waste your time like I did mine.

2=Waste your time like I did mine but I dare you to disagree.

3=Well, there was the single.

4=If it were a hand in spades there’s “two and a possible”.

5=It’s a “good” album. Meaning at least 3 or 4 solid songs.

6=Really Good Project. Has the “Rewind Factor” more than once.

7=The number of completion. Great Album. Instant Classic.


and..if you’re in London be sure to catch their album launch boat party on Sunday April 12!