Various Tribes of da Underground Vol. 5: The Vocals and Instrumentals

Series selector Michael Rütten (aka Mr. Soulpatrol) knows where it's at. The German journalist, radio and club DJ has been a key player in the development and promotion of new German and European jazz sounds, and just when I thought the Tribes... compilations couldn't get any stronger, he turns this one out. This is new jazz at its best - living, breathing, proof positive that goals for contemporary, studio-based creators should include more collaboration with live vocalists and musicians. Catalyst kick it off with the stunning "Silly Games Pt. 1." Featuring a bass line reminiscent of "A Few Of Our Favourite Things" and a female vocalist who glides between singing and scatting, this playfully abstract gem sets the standard. The Amalgamation of Sounds more than rise to the occasion, with their "Enchant Me" doing just that; the vocals, subtleties in instrumentation (acoustic bass, brushed beats, Fender and guitar) and rich, bossa feel make this song an instant classic. German keyboardist and producer extraordinaire Meitz builds a world of organs, shakers and smooth-as-silk bass around South African vocalist Vido Jilashe for the body moving slice of Afro-funk that is "Mayibuye I-Africa." Freeform Arkestra and the Cinematic Orchestra lend more of a contemporary, live, space-jazz feel with their instrumental contributions; Beanfield's stunningly sophisticated "The Season" is a new milestone; and Jazzanova's remix of King Britt and Ursula Rucker's "Circe" finds a happy home here. Garage house is the inspiration for the comp's two closers, Taxi's "Living On the Wire" and Lenny Fontana's "Spread Love." The former dives in with a rich vocal a cappella, adds a naked bass, kicks in the drums and never looks back; vocals grow increasingly raw, music builds, breaks and absolutely smashes it up with syncopated beats that smoooth into house. Astounding, as is Fontana's slow cooker that absolutely can. (INFRACom!)