Every spring for the past eight years, I’ve been sharing a mix series dedicated to spring and the universal feeling of gratitude and rejuvenation — a timeless theme that can be found in music of all cultures, eras, genres.
I select about 30 to 40 records that have a spiritual quality without necessarily being religious in nature. It’s a nice theme to explore; since there’s no such thing as “spring records,” the selections are very personal and purely based on emotional and visual qualities. I also enjoy putting together the cover art for the mix series, and this year it features a watercolor from my father of a Montreal alleyway in springtime.
To highlight this year’s edition (listen here), Discogs invited me to select 10 records taken from previous editions of the mix. You can also check out this year’s mix above. I hope you discover a few records that are perfect for a spring day, wherever that may be!
Wishing you all a lovely spring.
Nate Morgan – “Mrafu”
Journey Into Nigritia (1983)
Great spiritual jazz records and a beautiful spring day go hand in hand. You really can’t go wrong with most of the Nimbus West catalog but pianist Nate Morgan’s deep debut as a bandleader is one of my favorites. McCoy Tyner-influenced record with dedications to Cecil Taylor and Coltrane, this is a record that covers the whole range of moods I love to experience on a spring day.
Georgia Anne Muldrow – “Best Love”
Georgia Anne Muldrow is an underrated genius! So unique, daring, and prolific. I always track down her projects, all of which have a spiritual, uplifting quality to them. She self-produces a ton of her records but this one is produced by some guy named Otis Jackson, Jr.
Collage – “Collage”
I recently spent 3 months in Estonia and discovered so much incredible music from out there. Collage’s blend of jazz-soul-pop with slightly experimental folk is hard to describe but is really quite touching and absolutely sounds like a beautiful spring day. You’ll love this if you are a fan of vocal jazz pop groups from the 60-70’s like the Novi Singers from Poland, or jazz-soul singers like Judy Roberts, Karin Krog or even Stereolab
Annette Brisette – “Jumping Up And Down”
Love Power (1983)
Spring air is perfect for some Lovers Rock tunes. Here is a classic record with that early ’80s Wackie’s signature sound, but the choice cut is definitely “Jumping Up And Down,” although this tune needs the right system to do it justice! Also, check for the killer dub version listed as “Jamaica Dub” on the Jamaica Super Dub album which also came out in 1983.
Wally Badarou – “Keep On Trying”
This CD-only forgotten treasure is a conceptual Yoga record by none other than Wally Badarou (hopefully you know him, the man’s resume is far too long to list!). Given the resurgence of new age influence in electronic music, I suspect this will be given the reissue treatment soon. Blissful boogie.
Joy – “Time Is Right”
Time Is Right (1983)
Gospel modern soul gems are another go-to genre for my spring mixes over the past years, and this might just be my favorite. My good friend Aki from Cosmos Records put me on to this one a few years back and I have been hunting it ever since with no luck. It’s still on my never-ending wishlist, but thankfully, it was given the primo reissue treatment last year.
Those Guys – “Love Love Love”
Love Love Love (1996)
Basement Boys Records
Every year, I squeeze in a few deep house records that have a spiritual soulful quality. There are plenty of classics, but one that comes to mind is Basement Boys’ revision of the Jean-Luc Ponty cosmic computer jazz anthem “Computer Incantations for World Peace.” A few other recent house records I also love for a spring day: Soul Saver (aka Los Hermanos Detroit) “Another Day” or Theo Parrish’s “This Is For You,” to name just a few.
Valerie Carter – “Da Doo Rendez-Vous”
Wild Child (1978)
You also gotta love some folky/soul/AOR (albumn-oriented rock) vibes on a spring day. Many classics and lesser-known gems in that lane, but this might be my favorite. Spring romance!
Weekend – “A View From Her Room”
A View from Her Room (1982)
I’m a sucker for anything ’80s new wave/pop meets bossa nova, like Kalima, Everything but the Girl, Antena, etc. This tune is perfection — contemplative mood in the first part and then that surprise change into a faster pace batucada halfway into the song. Only on the extended version!
Lo Village – “Out The Window”
Lost in America (2021)
For my final pick, how about a selection that isn’t on Discogs yet?! Definitely one of the highlights of the spring mix this year — a few people have been asking for the info on this one. Lo Village is an up-and-coming group out of Maryland that blends soul and conscious rap (also check out Liv.e and Bless the Mad for more). I guess this is my chance to suggest that the group should press this fantastic EP on wax!