Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Glen Velez - Internal Combustion

Best known for his work with Steve Reich, Velez is widely regarded as one of the masters of the frame drum; his virtuosity is on display throughout Internal Combustion, which focuses almost solely on his improvisational drumming skills (although Layne Redmond contributes his own frame drum and vocals on two tracks). - by Jason Ankeny, AMG

Excellent release on Schematic, Glen Velez shows idm with the digital skin shed off. All that's left are some great sounding hand persussion drums and misc items from all over the world. The minimal feel and rhythmic strucres are very reminiscent of Autechre's "Conefeild" at times. Serene and comforting to listen to. The album title reminds me of a concept I read in Squarepusher's manifesto about the state of electronic music. He said something to the effect of electronic music will advance & grow to a certain height and then implode into itself. - by Noviellion, Discogs.com

Glen Velez is a globe-hopper, "borrowing" instruments and techniques from a variety of cultures and creating his own musical tapestry from the bits and pieces. Internal Combustion is a great "starter CD" for those wanting to understand the nuances and musicality of frame drums. From solo pieces like "Pyramid" to the duet "Internal Combustion," rhythms breathe, dance and interlace in constantly-shifting patterns and overtone singing floats in and out of the mix. If you're expecting "smooth jazz" or "drum music," this may not be the CD for you. If you want to be introduced to a new world of listening, check it out. It's worth the search. - by J. Kersh, Amazon.com

Artist: Glen Velez
Album: Internal Combustion
Year: 1985
Label: CMP Records
Runtime: 53:40

1.  Pyramid 5:57
2.  Bendir 15:12
3.  Rain 9:35
4.  Internal Combustion 16:17
5.  Bodhran 6:38
All compositions by Glen Velez

Glen Velez (Frame Drums and Voice)
Layne Redmond (Frame Drums and Voice) - 2,4

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Buddy Guy & Junior Wells - Play the Blues

Considering the troubled background of this album (Eric Clapton, Ahmet Ertegun, and Tom Dowd only ended up with eight tracks at a series of 1970 sessions in Miami; two years later, the J. Geils Band was brought in to cut two additional songs to round out the long-delayed LP for 1972 release), the results were pretty impressive. Buddy Guy contributes dazzling lead axe to their revival of "T-Bone Shuffle"; Junior Wells provides a sparkling remake of Sonny Boy's "My Baby She Left Me," and Guy is entirely credible in a grinding Otis Redding mode on the Southern soul stomper "A Man of Many Words." - by Bill Dahl, AMG

This is a spirited rendition of the work of Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, two of Chicago's leading lights in the blues world. Junior Wells' harmonica playing and Buddy Guy's guitar work set a sound foundation for this CD. This was a re cording spearheaded by Eric Clapton as his Derek and the Dominoes album was being finally mixed. And we are fortunate to be able to listen to the results.Backing instrumentals are played by the likes of Clapton, Dr. John (on piano), and J. Geils (guitar), among others. Some cuts illustrate their work. "A Man of Many Words" is a clean sounding, contemporary blues song. This does not look back toward the delta or the early Chicago sound. Clapton's guitar playing is interesting and spirited (although maybe a bit overdone). The vocals are smooth. Some nice wording: "I know I rap long and know I rap strong, Come on mama let me turn you on." "T-Bone Shuffle" is one of T-Bone Walker's songs. Here, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells do a nice job with their cover. The sound is simpler than with "A Man of Many Words." The ensemble playing is very good. Vocals, again, are nice, as they play with lines like: "Tell me what the reason You keep on teasin' me." "This Old Fool" is another fun cut. J. Geils joins with guitar here. Buddy Guy sings against a really insistent beat, with the rhythm section playing splendidly. Magic Dick's harmonica adds to the whole sound. There is a great blues sensibility to this song. The end of the song features some fiery guitar work. So, this is a nice view of the work of Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. The session that was recorded here is lively and has a spontaneous feel to it. Well worth listening to. - Steven A. Peterson, Amazon.com

Artist: Buddy Guy & Junior Wells
Album: Play the Blues
Year: 1972
Label: Atlantic (1992)
Runtime: 37:11

1.  A Man Of Many Words (Buddy Guy) 4:02
2.  My Baby She Left Me (She Left Me A Mule To Ride) (Sonny Boy Williamson)  3:11
3.  Come On In This House- Have Mercy Baby (Junior Wells) 4:23
4.  T-Bone Shuffle (T-Bone Walker) 4:19
5.  A Poor Man's Plea (Junior Wells) 3:13
6.  Messin' With The Kid (Mel London) 2:15
7.  This Old Fool (Buddy Guy) 3:11
8.  I Don't Know (Willie Mabon) 4:30
9.  Bad Bad Whiskey (Thomas Maxwell Davis) 4:15
10.  Honeydripper (Joe Liggins) 3:50

Buddy Guy (Guitar, Vocals)
Junior Wells (Harmonica, Vocals)
Eric Clapton (Guitar)
Dr. John (Piano)
A.C. Reed (Tenor Saxophone)
Mike Utley (Piano and Organ)
Leroy Stewart (Bass Guitar)
Roosevelt Shaw (Drums)
Carl Radle (Bass Guitar)
Jim Gordon (Drums)
Dick Salwitz (Harmonica)
Phil Guy (Guitar)
Jerome Geils (Rhythm Guitar)
Seth Justman (Piano)
Danny Klein (Bass Guitar)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Miles Davis & Quincy Jones - Live At Montreux

Although Miles Davis did not live to participate in Gerry Mulligan's reunion recordings featuring the nonet that played on the famous late-'40s and early-'50s cool sessions, he participated in a reunion concert held at Montreux in 1991. This featured both the Gil Evans Orchestra and George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band, plus additional guests Benny Bailey, Grady Tate, Carlos Benavent and various European players teaming with a gravely ill Davis to perform Gil Evans' marvelous arrangements. Quincy Jones conducted and conceived the idea of using two orchestras, offering majestic surroundings for the solos of Davis, fellow trumpeter Wallace Roney and alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett. Not every moment is golden, but the overall session ranks just a bit below the majestic '50s and '60s dates featuring Davis' trumpet and Evans' arrangements. - by Ron Wynn, AMG

Having read the mixed reviews of this live album I was at first somewhat reluctant to add it to my collection of Miles Davis classics. However, I was eventually tempted after listening to a couple of tracks from this much talked about 1991 Montreux concert. Sure, this is Miles in his twilight days, but what makes this recording great is that it marked his long awaited return to the sounds of the brilliant Gil Evans era. The mood of the album is truly celebratory and is handled more like a highlights reel than a serious retrospective. Most tracks are short and punchy, apart from `Solea', which is understandably longer and reflects another dimension to one of my favourite Davis/Evans compositions. Full credit must go to the maestro Quincy Jones; only someone of his status could have taken Miles back to the music of that time... as we know he was always looking forward. Quincy's arrangement is certainly sympathetic to Miles' condition at the time, with few belting numbers, but rather a string of smooth arrangements supported by a tight big band. Of special mention is Wallace Roney on trumpet, who supports Miles seamlessly, while always giving `the man' room to express himself on tracks like `Summertime'. The Montreux crowd were certainly fortunate that night and from their response you can sense that they were well aware of this special moment. The terrific thing about this album is that you can enjoy it either as an introduction or simply as a celebration of the Davis/Evans collaboration and wonderful music it produced. - by Painterboy, Amazon.com

Artist: Miles Davis & Quincy Jones
Album: Miles & Quincy Live at Montreux
Year: 1991
Label: Warner
Runtime. 56:45

1. Introduction 1:23
2.  Boplicity (Cleo Henry) 3:40
3.  Introduction To "Miles Ahead" Medley 0:08
4.  Springsville (John Carisi) 3:33
5.  Maids Of Cadiz (Gil Evans) 3:37
6.  The Duke (Dave Brubeck) 4:00
7.  My Ship (Kurt Weill) 4:10
8.  Miles Ahead (Gil Evans) 3:38
9.  Blues For Pablo (Gil Evans) 6:06
10.  Introduction To "Porgy And Bess" Medley (George Gershwin) 0:27
11.  Orgone  (Gil Evans) 4:08
12.  Gone, Gone, Gone (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward) 1:47
13.  Summertime (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward) 2:54
14.  Here Come De Honey Man (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward) 3:40
15.  The Pan Piper (Gil Evans) 1:40
16.  Solea (Gil Evans) 11:46

Miles Davis (Trumpet)
Quincy Jones (Conductor)
Gil Evans (Arranger)
George Adams (Tenor Saxophone, Flute)
Benny Bailey (Flugelhorn, Trumpet)
Carlos Benavent (Double Bass, Bass Guitar)
Alex Brofsky (French Hon)
Delmar Brown (Keyboards)
Julian Cawdry (Flute, Piccolo)
John D'earth (Trumpet, Flugelhorn)
Roland Dahinden (Trombone)
Kenwood Dennard (Drums and Percussion)
Xavier Duss (Oboe)
Reiner Erb (Bassoon)
Alex Foster (Alto and Soprano Saxophone, Flute)
Hans Peter Frehner (Bass Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone, Flute)
Kenny Garrett (Alto Saxophone)
Gil Goldstein (Keyboards)
George Gruntz (Piano)
Conrad Herwig (Trombone)
Howard Johnson (Tuba, Baritone Saxophone)
Bob Malach (Clarinet, Flute, Tenor Saxophone)
Tom Malone (Trombone, Trumpet)
Earl McIntyre (Euphonium, Trombone)
Anne O'Brian (Flute)
Claudio Pontiggia (French Horn)
Christian Rabe (Bassoon)
Mike Richmond (Double Bass)
John Riley (Drums and Percussion)
Wallace Rooney (Trumpet)
Roger Rosenberg (Bass Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone)
Xenia Schindler (Harp)
Lew Soloff (Trumpet)
Marvin Stamm (Trumpet, Flugelhorn)
Dave Bargeron (Euphonium, Trombone)
Dave Taylor (Bass Trombone)
Larry Schneider (Tenor Saxophone, Oboe, Flute, Clarinet)
Jerry Bergonzi (Tenor Saxophone)
Grady Tate (Drums)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mel Torme - Sings Fred Astaire

Though it's sometimes relegated to second or third place among Tormé's best albums of the '50s (behind Mel Tormé and the Marty Paich Dek-Tette and It's a Blue World), it's difficult to hear how Mel Tormé Sings Fred Astaire can't be the best album of his entire career. Featuring an artist at the peak of his ability and talent, a collection of top-drawer songs from the best pop composers ever, and a swinging ten-piece that forms the perfect accompaniment, Sings Fred Astaire is one of the best up-tempo vocal albums ever recorded. Coming hot on the heels of Mel Tormé and the Marty Paich Dek-Tette in 1956, this tribute to Hollywood's most stylish dancer finds Tormé obliging with his nimblest and most elegant singing. Even while Marty Paich's band takes "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Cheek to Cheek" at a breakneck pace that Astaire himself would've had trouble with, Tormé floats over the top with death-defying vocal acrobatics. He's breezy and sophisticated on "They Can't Take That Away from Me," ecstatic and effervescent on "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" (matching an exuberant solo by trumpeter Pete Candoli), and even breaks out an affectionate croon for "A Foggy Day." A collection of perfect hard-swinging pop with a few ballads thrown in for good measure makes Sings Fred Astaire a masterpiece of the vocal era. - by John Bush, AMG

Artist: Mel Tormé and The Marty paich Dek-Tette
Album: Mel Tormé Sings Fred Astaire
Year: 1956
Label: Affinity (1987)
Runtime: 35:47

1.  Nice Work if You Can Get It (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 3:12
2.  Somethings Gotta Give (Johnny Mercer) 4:00
3.  A Foggy Day (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 2:47
4.  A Fine Romance (Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields) 3:04
5.  Let's Call the Whole Thing Off (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 3:29
6.  Top Hat, White Ties and Tails (Irving Berlin) 3:11
7.  The Way You Look Tonight (Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields) 2:25
8.  The Piccolino (Irving Berlin) 2:38
9.  They Can't Take That Away from Me (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 3:04
10.  Cheek to Cheek (Irving Berlin) 3:01
11.  Let's Face the Music and Dance (Irving Berlin) 2:22
12.  They All Laughed (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 2:29

Mel Torme (Vocals)
Marty Paich (Conductor, Arranger, Piano)
Don Fagerquist (Trumpet)
Herb Geller (Alto Saxophone)
Jack Montrose (Tenor Saxophone)
Bob Enevoldsen (Trombone)
Vincent de Rosa (French Horn)
Jack DuLong (Baritone Saxophone)
Max Bennett (Double Bass)
Pete Candoli (Trumpet)
Albert Pollan (Tuba)
Alvin Stoller (Drums)


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