Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Steve Coleman - Myths, Modes and Means

One of a trio of RCA CDs taken from altoist Steve Coleman's week at Paris's Hot Brass Club, three of the six performances on this set ("Finger of God," "Song of the Beginnings" and "Transits") are over 19 minutes long, and, with the exception of a rap on "The Initiate" and one during the last part of "Song of the Beginnings," this is a jazz set. On "Finger of God," Yassir Chadly's spiritual chant is followed by some intense Coleman alto over a drone by the keyboards. Other selections feature passionate free funk with plenty of Coleman alto and Ralph Alessi trumpet solos; Vijay Iyer's spooky keyboards and Miya Masaoka's koto are assets in the ensembles. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Steve Coleman and the Mystic Rhythm Society
Album: Myths, Modes And Means
Year: 1995
Label: RCA Records
Runtime: 75:40

Tracks:
1.  Mystic Dub 2:06
2.  Finger of God 24:37
3.  The Initiate 3:50
4.  Madras 3:43
5.  Song of the Beginnings 19:16
6.  Numerology 1:42
7.  Transits 20:23
All compositions by Steve Coleman

Personnel:
Steve Coleman (Alto Saxophone)
Ralph Alessi (Trumpet)
Andy Milne (Piano and Keyboards)
Reggie Washington (Bass)
Gene Lake (Drums)
Vijay Iyer (Keyboards)
Miya Masaoka (Koto)
Josh Jones (Percussion)
Ramesh Shotham (Percussion)
Yassir Chadly (Vocals and Percussion)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Roy Rogers & Shana Morrison - Everybody's Angel

Here is a surprise pairing: Roy Rogers, one of the greatest slide guitarists in the world, John Lee Hooker producer and sometime band member, and Shana Morrison, Van Morrison's daughter and new emerging songwriter talent. Together they have released an excellent album. Sassy-voiced Shana's jazzy blues delivery and Roy's country-edged vocals work warmly together - and those arrangement, Wow! The darkly laid-back opening track 'Molly O & Dog Boy' with it's steel guitar touches and acoustic percussion leads you into an album which demonstrates the incredible versatility of Rogers' guitar and confirm what many know - that Roy is a superb producer. Previous albums from Roy can flay you alive with their slide riffs. Here he is never bludgeoning, never subservient, just scarily perfect in his discretion and appropriateness. Tight musicianship: drums and percussion from Jimmy Sanchez, accordion and keyboards from Phil Aalberg, bass from Scoop McGuire, Dana Pandey's tabla and Robert Powell's pedal steel, underpin a great collection of songs and a must-have album. What can I say? It's so good I bought it twice.- by NetRhythms, Amazon.com

Artist: Roy Rogers & Shana Morrison
Album: Everybody's Angel
Year: 1999
Label: Roshan Records
Runtime: 50:48

Tracks:
1.  Molly O & Dog Boy (David Gionfriddo / Steve Gordon / Shana Morrison / Roy Rogers) 4:32
2.  Joey (Roy Rogers / Shana Morrison) 2:57
3.  You Choose (Roy Rogers / Shana Morrison) 3:58
4.  Nothing Left to Lose (Roy Rogers / Shana Morrison) 4:54
5.  Here We Go (Shana Morrison) 3:43
6.  Mate of Fate (Roy Rogers / Shana Morrison) 3:44
7.  Hello Stranger (Barbara Lewis) 4:02
8.  Therapy (Shana Morrison) 3:50
9.  Amy Sky (David Gionfriddo / Steve Gordon / Roy Rogers) 3:57
10.  Playin' the Feel (Roy Rogers / Shana Morrison) 4:48
11.  Lover's Moon (Roy Rogers) 4:51
12.  Everybody's Angel (David Gionfriddo / Steve Gordon / Shana Morrison / Roy Rogers) 5:27

Personnel:
Shana Morrison (Vocals)
Roy Rogers (Vocals, Guitar, Slide Guitar, Percussion)
Scoop McGuire (Bass Guitar)
Jimmy Sanchez (Drums, Percussion)
Phil Aaberg (Keyboards, Accordion)
Dana Pandey (Tabla)
Robert Powell (Pedal Steel Guitar)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Quincy Jones - Songs for Pussycats + Quincy in Rio

An impresario in the broadest and most creative sense of the word, Quincy Jones’ career has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record company executive, magazine founder, multi-media entrepreneur and humanitarian. As a master inventor of musical hybrids, he has shuffled pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African and Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions, traversing virtually every medium, including records, live performance, movies and television.

Artist: Quincy Jones
Album: Songs for Pussycats - Quincy in Rio
Year: 1962 - 1965 (Mercury Records)
Label: Verve (2012)
Runtime: 66:22

Tracks: 
1.  What's New Pussycat? (Burt Bacharach / Hal David) 2:44
2.  A Taste Of Honey (Bobby Scott / Ric Marlow) 2:36
3.  Sermonette (Nat Adderley) 2:51
4.  A Walk In The Black Forest (Horst Jankowski) 2:52
5.  Mack The Knife (Kurt Weil / Berthold Brecht) 2:33
6.  Moon River (Henry Mancini / Johnny Mercer) 2:34
7.  Take Five (Paul Desmond) 3:31
8.  Gravy Waltz (Ray Brown / Steve Allen) 2:43
9.  I Hear A Symphony (Brian Holland / Lamont Dozier / Eddie Holland) 3:08
10.  Mr. Lucky (Henry Mancini / Jay Livingston / Ray Evans) 2:26
11.  Cast Your Fate To The Wind (Vince Guaraldi) 2:46
12.  Manha De Carnaval (Luiz Bonfa)  2:55
13.  Samba De Una Nota So (One Note Samba) (Antonio Carlos Jobim / Newton Mendonca) 2:01
14.  Desafinado (Antonio Carlos Jobim / Newton Mendonca) 2:54
15.  Bossa Nova U.S.A. (Dave Brubeck) 3:13
16.  Se E Tarde Me Pardoa (Pardon Me If I'm Late) (Carlos Lyra / Ronaldo Boscoli) 4:23
17.  (I Love You) And Don't You Forget It (Henry Mancini / Al Stillman) 2:53
18.  Non-Stop To Brazil (Luiz Bonfa / Matt Dubey / Norman Gimbel) 2:41
19.  The Gentle Rain (Luiz Bonfa / Matt Dubey) 2:18
20.  Baia (Ary Barroso) 3:57
21.  Jive Samba (Nat Adderley) 2:43
22.  Chega De Saudade (No More Blues) (Antonio Carlos Jobim / Vinicius de Moraes) 5:31

Personnel:
Quincy Jones (Arranger, Conductor)
Snooky Young (Trumpet)
Thad Jones (Trumpet)
Joe Newman (Trumpet)
Ernie Royal (Trumpet)
Melba Liston (Trombone)
Curtis Fuller (Trombone)
Billy Byers (Trombone)
Jimmy Cleveland (Trombone)
Kai Winding (Trombone)
Urbie Green (Trombone)
Julius Watkins (Flugelhorn)
Phil Woods (Alto Saxophone)
Oliver Nelson (Tenor Saxophone)
Zoot Sims (Tenor Saxophone)
Roland Kirk (Tenor Saxophone)
Jerome Richardson (Baritone Saxophone, Flute)
Patti Brown (Piano)
Lalo Schifrin (Piano)
Gary Burton (Vibraphone)
Jim Hall (Guitar)
Kenny Burrell (Guitar)
Toots Thielemans (Harmonica)
Milt Hinton (Double Bass)
Chris White (Drums)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Thierry 'Titi' Robin & Gulabi Sepera - Rakhi

Thierry "Titi" Robin is an exceptional artist both for his personality and his artistic sensitivity. His previous musical achievements were characterised by a coherence of style, derived from his still deepening interest in Gypsy culture, which for him is an inexhaustible source of inspiration and the basis for colourful artistic marriages with Roma artists from all over the world. His first encounters with traditional Gypsy music (as well as Arabian music, which also has had an enormous influence on his artistic development) started when as a teenager he moved from the village of Rochefort Sur
Loire in the east of France, to Angers, a city crowded with immigrants, mainly Arabs and Gypsies. It was there, during his first playing sessions with peers of different cultural background, that his musical sensitivity was formed. It allowed him to treat those musical traditions as his own. In the early 80s he initiated his co-operation with Hameed Khan, a tabla player from Rajasthan, who has accompanied him for many years. His project with Breton vocalist Erik Marchand is also worth mentioning. As a trio they explored the themes of both central Brittany and the Orient. But the recording that was received with greatest acclaim from the critics and listeners was not released until 1993. On Gitans, Robin and Khan were joined by Roma musicians from Spain to Rajasthan, including 'The Gypsy Queen of Rajasthan,' Gulabi Sapera, a vocalist of unique voice timbre, who enriched this project with warmth and tenderness. His friendship with Sapera has led to their co-operations on numerous occasions, resulting in Rakhi. The opening track, "Holi Yaad," introduces the listener to the unique atmosphere of the album. Gulabi's singing is calm and nostalgic; the minimalist but balanced rhythm section and the delicate sound of Robin's guitar immerse the listener in a pleasant swing. The following tracks intensify this feeling. As it progresses, a reggae vibe appears and becomes a pervasive element of some of the tracks to follow. Gulabi's voice often converses with male voices (Bruno El Gitano, Farid, Roberto Saadna 'Yakeen,' Saway Nath 'Neem,' and 'Rumba de India'), making the music more complete. Tensions subtlely rise and fall down. Paradoxically the most ascetic track 'Bichu Rap' draws the greatest attention. It is a kind of a dialogue between a woman and a man or even a quarrel. It is overflowing with emotions: joy, anger, grief are expressed in a theatrical way, to leave no one indifferent to what is being sung. "Shadi ke badh" comes back to the mood of some previous tracks. Robin's first solo reminds us that it is their common achievement, even as he devotes it almost entirely to Sapera. In his previous work the instruments he played - oud, bouzouki or guitar - were always in the forefront. This time is different; his instrument is still important but is played consciously in the background to expose what is most valuable in this project, Gulabi Sapera's voice. Rakhi is not so directly appealing as Gitans or other earlier works. But it is uniquely successful, fully linked to the previous achievements of the artist and a continuation of his chosen path. The sense of artistry and authenticity makes the album undoubtedly worth listening. - by Piotr Pucylo, Rootsworld.com

Artist: Thierry 'Titi' Robin & Gulabi Sapera
Album: Rakhi
Year: 2002
Label: Naive Records
Runtime: 54:10

Tracks:
1.  Holi Yaad (Traditional) 3:45
2.  Yakeen (Gulabi Sapera / Thierry Robin) 4:16
3.  Chirmi Mala (Traditional) 4:09
4.  Chundri (Traditional) 3:09
5.  Neem (Traditional) 3:58
6.  Agni Sha Kshi (Traditional) 3:45
7.  Dhora (Traditional) 3:45
8.  Bichu Rap (Gulabi Sapera / Banwari Sapera / Thierry Robin) 4:35
9.  Shadi Ke Badh (Traditional) 3:54
10.  Pyari Pankaru (Traditional) 4:49
11.  Reggae Rajasthani (Gulabi Sapera / Thierry Robin) 3:21
12.  Judai (Traditional) 2:48
13.  Rumba De India (Thierry Robin) 4:07
14.  Rumal (Traditional) 3:49

Personnel:
Thierry "Titi" Robin (Guitar, Drum Programming, Lute)
Renaud Pion (Baritone Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Cor Anglais)
Gulabi Sapera (Vocals)
Pascal Stalin (Bass)
Francois Laizeau (Drums)
Jorge "Negrito" Trasante (Drums)
Amar Saadna (Rhythm Guitar, Handclaps, Vocals)
Farid Saadna (Rhythm Guitar, Handclaps, Vocals)
Saway Nath (Harmonium, Vocals)
Gabriel Levasseur (Keyboards, Accordion)
Bijan Chemirani (Daf, Cajon)
Sarwan Nath (Daf)
Banwari Nath (Daf, Dafil, Dholak)
Kishan Lal Rana (Dhol, Percussion) - 1,2,4-14
Ram Swarup (Dhol, Percussion) - 3
Banwari Sepera (Vocals) - 8

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Lee Ritenour & Larry Carlton - Larry & Lee

Larry Carlton and Lee Ritenour have had parallel careers, but this CD is their first joint meeting on record. The two guitarists complement each other well and there are hints of Wes Montgomery along with a tribute to Joe Pass ("Remembering J.P."), but the songs (all of them their originals) are little more than rhythmic grooves most of the time with the usual fadeouts. The consistently lightweight music is reasonably pleasing but never too stimulating. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

There is something special about two guitarists trading licks back and forth. Funny how four years after this album Larry Carlton would end up replacing Lee Ritenour in the group Foreplay. This album will not disappoint you if you're a fan of either guitarist. Both men are incredibly talented with the guitar, and play with real drive and emotion. The album starts out with a great tune in "Crosstown Kids", which prepares you for what's to come. "L.A. Underground" really steps it up with Ritenour leading the way, breaking in several places to give Carlton a place to play. On the cut, "After the Rain" they lay back and play a very smooth piece before turning it up again on "Remembering". Throughout the album, these guitarists use each other to springboard to new levels of playing. They take turns expanding on an idea, combining their styles to really bring out some fun music. There is some very good stuff on this album. Ritenour's smooth playing is counterbalanced by the bluesy edge of Carlton's. The complement is enjoyable, and it gives quite a coloring to the music. Guitar fans should find this album very impressive. It is one that I keep revisiting. - by Russell Diederich, Amazon.com

Artist: Lee Ritenour & Larry Carlton
Album: Larry & Lee
Year: 1995
Label: GRP Records
Runtime: 60:19

Tracks:
1.  Crosstown Kids (Lee Ritenour) 5:01
2.  Low Steppin' (Lee Ritenour & Larry Carlton)  6:25
3.  L.A. Underground (Lee Ritenour) 5:46
4.  Closed Door Jam (Lee Ritenour & Lee Carlton) 4:59
5.  After the Rain (Lee Ritenour) 4:44
6.  Remembering J.P. (Larry Carlton) 4:48
7.  Fun in the Dark (Lee Ritenour) 5:25
8.  Lots About Nothin' (Larry Carlton) 6:15
9.  Take That (Lee Ritenour) 4:53
10.  Up and Adam (Lee Ritenour & Lee Carlton) 6:11
11.  Reflection of a Guitar Player (Lee Ritenour & Lee Carlton) 5:52

Personnel:
Lee Ritenour (Guitar, Synthesizer, Sampling, Drum Programming)
Larry Carlton (Guitar, Keyboards)
Omar Hakim (Drums) - 1,4,6-9,11
Larry Williams (Synthesizer, Tenor Saxophone) - 1-3,7,9
Melvin Davis (Bass Guitar) - 1-4,6-11
Dave Witham (Keyboards) - 1-3,5,7,10
Jerry Hey (Trumpet, Flugelhorn) - 1,3,5,7,9
Gary Grant (Trumpet, Flugelhorn) - 1,3,5,7,9
Bill Reichenbach (Trombone) - 1,3,5,7,9
Greg Phillinganes (Keyboards) - 1,7,9,11
Harvey Mason (Drums) - 2,3,5,10
Cassio Duarte (Percussion) - 1-3,7
Rick Jackson (Keyboards) - 4,6,8

Monday, November 28, 2016

Gandalf - Frame By Frame

Special Soundtrack Album – A collection of picturesque pieces written and produced by Gandalf in 2013 as the music-score for various projects, mostly for the TV-documentary “Das Steinzeiträtsel” (The Stone Age Enigma) by Ronald & Roswitha Vaughan. - Gandalf.at

As a painter of musical landscapes whose music is largely inspired by the beauty of nature as well as by the art and mythology of different cultures, Gandalf finds himself at Prudence among souls of souls. As one of the masters of his genre, the versatile musician, composer and producer has created his unique personal music style. It combines a variety of acoustic instruments (guitars, sitar, saz, charango, bouzuki, piano, balaphone, bells and percussion) with spherical keyboard sounds. It interweaves folkloric melodic arches with powerful orchestral arrangements. Gandalf is a "Magician of the Soul Sounds", his multi-colored compositions emanate peace and harmony and are balm for the soul. Many people exhausted by the hustle and bustle of modern everyday life find consolation and healing. The artist's vision of breaking the boundaries between musical categories and styles and developing a music that appeals to people regardless of mother tongue or skin color has made him one of the most successful Austrian musicians of our time. In addition to numerous CD releases, Gandalf also composed music for theater and film, worked with symphonic orchestras ( "Symphonic Landscapes", 1990) and played with international artists such as the legendary ex-genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. His CDs are played by radio stations around the planet, in the USA his music has been called "classical music of the 21st century".

Artist: Gandalf (Heinz Strobl)
Album: Frame By Frame
Year: 2013
Label: Prudence Records
Runtime: 63:40

Tracks:
1.  Ancient Wisdom Recalled 3:40
2.  Love Will Last 4:59
3.  Amongst Green Fields 7:42
4.  Sleeping Giants of Stone 6:21
5.  The House by the River 6:30
6.  Echoes from the Past 4:44
7.  Enchanted Garden 7:27
8.  Ancient Wisdom Recalled II 1:24
9.  March of No return 5:18
10.  Heartbridges 4:13
11.  Sea of Sorrow 2:11
12.  Beyond Fear 4:04
13.  Sea of Sorrow II 1:33
14.  Rainbow Sky 3:27
All compositions by Heinz Strobl

Personnel:
Heinz Strobl (aka Gandalf) (Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Percussion)
Merike Hilmar (Cello)
Karin Leitner (Flute, Whistle)
Nicky Eggl (Whistle, Bodhran)
Monika Stadler (Harp)
Vasilie Marian (Oboe, English Horn)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Joshua Redman - Beyond

In his short career, Joshua Redman has been praised for his technical abilities and criticized for his lack of innovation -- not surprising responses to the work of a talented young artist. On Beyond, his seventh album which was recorded a few months after his 30th birthday, he attempts, as the title suggests, to try some new things. Employing an all new group consisting of pianist Aaron Goldberg, bass player Reuben Rogers, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson, he presents an album of original tunes to follow Timeless Tales (For Changing Times), an album of cover material. Eschewing the pat jazz formula of a head followed by improvisations, he adopts a more free-flowing structure for his compositions in which anyone can start and the tune can develop in an open-ended fashion. He also experiments with time signatures: "A Life?," the closing track, is in 5/4 time; "Stoic Revolutions" is in 6/4; "Belonging (Lopsided Lullaby)" is in 9/4; "Suspended Emanations" is in 10/4; and the lead-off track, "Courage (Asymmetric Aria)," is in 13/4. While no doubt hard to play, the tunes don' t sound all that complicated, perhaps because Redman's saxophone floats over the rhythm section, taking its time to make its statements. As the song titles imply, this is a contemplative album full of small, introspective pleasures, such as the exploratory "Leap of Faith," on which Redman and Mark Turner engage in a tenor conversation. It's not clear that the technical challenges Redman presents himself and his sidemen with ultimately force them to do anything new, but Beyond represents a gifted musician tinkering with his musical approach with often satisfying results. - by William Ruhlmann, AMG

Artist: Joshua Redman
Album: Beyond
Year: 2000
Label: Warner Bros.
Runtime: 73:18

Tracks:
1.  Courage (Asymmetric Aria) 7:32
2.  Belonging (Lopsided Lullaby) 5:48
3.  Neverend 4:26
4.  Leap Of Faith 9:03
5.  Balance 9:05
6.  Twilight ... And Beyond 11:00
7.  Stoic Revolutions 6:11
8.  Suspended Emanations 6:18
9.  Last Rites Of Rock 'N' Roll 7:03
10.  A Life? 6:52
All music written by Joshua Redman

Personnel:
Joshua Redman (Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone)
Reuben Rogers (Double Bass)
Gregory Hutchinson (Drums)
Aaron Goldberg (Piano)
Mark Turner (Tenor Saxophone) - 4

Monday, October 31, 2016

Mel Tormé - Comin' Home Baby!

Paced by his only hit of the rock era, Comin' Home Baby! is a real crossover record, balancing a few groovy dance numbers (like the title track) with early-'60s cool jazz versions of the standards "Walkin'," "Moanin'," and "On Green Dolphin Street." Though Mel Tormé never made a terrible record -- his crisp voice and ineffable delivery carried all of his dates -- this session has to count as a low point. The constant striving for some sort of jazz-hipster atmosphere relegates one of Tormé's positive attributes -- his excellent scatting -- into little more than a novelty act. Shorty Rogers, who arranged the record except for the two hit hopefuls (Claus Ogerman's "Comin' Home Baby!" and "Right Now"), attempts to equal Marty Paich's excellent arrangement on the mid-'50s records -- and doesn't quite succeed. "Moanin'" is a stale recasting of the superior Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross version, and the child noise on "Dat Dere" is just baffling. Compared to Tormé's other record for Atlantic, Sunday in New York, Comin' Home Baby! is a passé work that understandably can't get much of a reaction from the usually majestic Mel Tormé.- by John Bush, AMG

Artist: Mel Tormé
Album: Comin' Home Baby!
Year: 1962
Label: WEA Japan (24bit remastered, 2012)
Runtime: 33:12

Tracks:
1.  Comin' Home Baby! (Bob Dorough / Ben Tucker) 2:41
2.  Dat Dere (Oscar Brown, Jr. / Bobby Timmons) 2:58
3.  The Lady's in Love With You (Burton Lane / Frank Loesser) 3:01
4.  Hi-Fly (Jon Hendricks / Randy Weston) 3:13
5.  Puttin' on the Ritz (Irving Berlin) 2:23
6.  Walkin' (Richard Carpenter) 2:59
7.  Moanin' (Jon Hendricks / Bobby Timmons) 3:03
8.  Sing You Sinners (Sam Coslow / Frank Harling) 2:27
9.  Whisper Not (Leonard Feather / Benny Golson) 2:49
10.  On Green Dolphin Street (Bronislaw Kaper / Ned Washington) 2:56
11.  Sidney's Soliloquy (Jimmy Wisner) 2:30
12.  Right Now (Herbie Mann / Carl Sigman) 2:12

Personnel:
Mel Torme (Vocals)
Larry Bunker (Drums)
Milt Bernhardt (Trombone)
Harry Betts (Trombone)
Joe Burnett (Trumpet)
Buddy Colette (Woodwind)
Shorty Rogers (Arranger, Conductor)
Ollie Mitchell (Trumpet)
Al Porcino (Trumpet)
Ray Tiscari (Trumpet)
Kenny Shroyer (Trombone)
John Kitzmiller (Tuba)
Bob Cooper (Woodwind)
Bill Hood (Woodwind)
Bud Shank (Woodwind)
Gene Estes (Vibraphone)
Mike Wofford (Piano)
Joe Mondragon (Double Bass)

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