Greg Foat, Sokratis Votskos, Warren Hampshire & Ayo Salawu :: Live at Villa Maximus, Mykonos

On his second live release this year, Villa Maximus sends jazz pianist and synthesizer maven Greg Foat to Mykonos with his frequent collaborators guitarist Warren Hampshire of the Bees and drummer Ayo Salawu of Kokoroko. But the real wild card here is stellar Greek reedman Sokratis Votskos, who adds flute and bass clarinet to this already formidable unit. The thrilling results range from deep space ambient jazz exploration to funky krautrock blowouts.

Greg Foat & Ayo Salawu :: Interstellar Fantasy

Like his American counterpart John Carroll Kirby, Foat stands at the vanguard of what we might call pulp jazz, a sound comprised of softcore jazz-funk and B-movie library music grooves, heady prog interludes and new age zone-outs—but designed, above all, for pleasure. This isn’t the insurrectionary transcendentalism of spiritual jazz. It is erogenous music, intended to move human bodies. Here, Foat and Salawu take what might have been a paperback sci-fi goof and come up with an album of simmering come-ons. That they happen to be floating in space doesn’t make them any less corporeal.

The Greg Foat Group :: The Blue Lotus

Greg Foat’s latest, Blue Lotus, is as good an entry point as any. Credited to the Greg Foat Group, his longstanding ensemble with Rob Mach, Trevor Walker, Phil Achille and Eric Young, Blue Lotus also features veteran UK soprano saxophonist Art Themen and the ferocious drummer Morgan Simpson of the shit-hot UK avant-rock band black midi. Foat himself, of course, mans a formidable Wakeman-esque bank of electric piano, vintage synthesizers, ring modulators and space echo units.