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Mitchell & Dewbury Band - Beyond The Rains (Mr. Bongo) 
The production duo of Ben Mitchell (Mr. Hermano, DJ extraordinaire) and Russ Dewbury (renowned compiler of global grooves and host of Brighton Jazz Room) bring a multitude of influences with them for their sophomore disc, Beyond The Rains.  With a classic feel drenched in jazz, funk, and soul, Beyond is an exploration of the more soulful developments of jazz culture since the 70s.   

Astute listeners will recognize that several cuts are repeated from 2003's Rapping With the Gods, but they have been given subtle changes. Not that the originals were bad, but the updated production does bring "Spaces and Places" and "Rapping With The Gods" a higher level of enjoyablity. "My Words" actually dates back to 2003 but has not aged one bit, with Mark Frank's scatting providing flashbacks of Leon Thomas. 

Of the original songs, virtually any of them could make Gilles Peterson's list of Worldwide Winners. The uplifting "Love Is Flowing To Love" features Billie Godfrey's soaring vocals on a a funky broken cut. On the other side of the spectrum, "Kaleidoscope" is a straight jazz tune with Lizzie Rindell commanding your attention with her beautiful performance. These songs are enhanced by the live instrumentation that brings the soulfulness of the compositions to the forefront. 

The album closes with a flurry of funk, as if they were determined to leave you completely satiated.  "Globetrotter" is a slice of JBs style funk and Mitchell associate (and former Fela musician) Bukky Leo lends authenticity to the afro-esque "Living...Am I Living." "Jazz Is Your Life" is a pure jazz dancer of the first order, the kind of tune you might hear on Dewbury's show.  

A tour de force sure to stand atop many "best of" lists, Beyond The Rains, demonstrates why Mitchell and Dewbury are some of the most revered figures on the jazz dance circuit.  

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