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marraskuu 4, 2019, 3:17 am

On the CD player this week (yes I am still playing cd's and sometimes vinyl)

Loreena McKennitt - Nights from the Alhambra
Jimmy LaFave - Buffalo return to the plains
Arto Lindsay - Salt
John Coltrane - The Classic quartet cd2
Joy Division - Heart and soul.

marraskuu 5, 2019, 10:31 pm

yes I am still playing cd's and sometimes vinyl

Me too! Although I've sadly traded my wonderful system in NYC for a turntable contraption that plugs into a computer, and a separate one-disc-only CD player that doesn't even display the track number. At least my speakers are good...

Most recent listens, Emil Gilels playing concertos by Saint-Saëns and Rachmaninov, plus Shostakovich preludes and fugues; and, Les Cris de Paris (chansons de la Renaissance) on Harmonia Mundi by Dominique Visse's ensemble.

marraskuu 6, 2019, 3:29 am

Hi LolaWalser good to see you here

marraskuu 6, 2019, 11:02 am

>1 baswood: Coltrane is often played here, but we are mired in the latest technology. The best I can do is attach a cheap speaker to my phone. But Coltrane is on there even though I haven't yet been thorough in downloading jazz.
>2 LolaWalser: Arriving today in the mail, if promises are kept: Music for Silenced Voices: Shostakovich and his 15 Quartets. The quartets are all on the phone. His preludes and fugues are one of the great secrets of the 20th Century.
I once wrote up my thoughts on each of the quartets (I know little technically about music) for a friend. One thing I remember was my thought at the time that the 1st was rather ordinary. Pretty enough, but sort of Shostakovich seeing how easy he could manage the form. Suddenly the 2nd is already fully mature Shostakovich (probably because it was written together with his amazing piano trio 2 in 1944). Every quartet is its separate masterpiece.

marraskuu 6, 2019, 11:07 am

Others listened to this week:

1. Townes van Zandt (and terrific covers by the Be Good Tanyas)
2. Howe Gelb (I offered my son 20€ to learn the guitar on 4 Door Maverick: he said the picking was years beyond him)
3. Pixies and Pink Floyd (car cds for the long baseball drives with my son)

marraskuu 6, 2019, 11:48 am

This week: The Hollies and The Cramps.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 6, 2019, 12:27 pm

Thanks for The Cramps, CW (Human Fly)

Bas, thanks for McKennit

marraskuu 6, 2019, 12:59 pm

>3 baswood:

Thanks--I hoped non-project visitors would still be OK. (I tried something similar recently but lasted barely ten weeks: I feel exhausted just thinking about trying again...)

Am listening to "Stratas sings Weill" from 1986.

marraskuu 6, 2019, 3:40 pm

All are welcome... lets see how long it lasts

marraskuu 6, 2019, 7:12 pm

>6 Crypto-Willobie: I saw the Hollies live on stage at my local cinema in 1965

marraskuu 6, 2019, 7:30 pm

The Shostakovich book didn't show today.

marraskuu 6, 2019, 9:37 pm

>10 baswood:
Wow. I'm jealous.

My Hollies Top 5
- I Can't Let Go
- Look thru any window
- I'm Alive
- Here I Go Again
- Bus Stop

marraskuu 6, 2019, 9:39 pm

>7 RickHarsch:

My Cramps Top 5

- Drug Train
- Garbage Man
- Beautiful Gardens
- I Ain't Nothing But A Gorehound
- New Kind of Kick

marraskuu 7, 2019, 7:08 am

I can already tell you my favorite is Gorehound.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 7, 2019, 8:53 am

Favourite 5 Hollies tracks

Just One Look
Rockin Robin
Bus stop
Here I go Again
I'm alive

'Rockin Robin tweet twidd-le dee' - lyrics don't get much better than that

marraskuu 7, 2019, 8:49 am

>8 LolaWalser: Enjoyed listening to some of the tracks on youtube of Teresa Stratas sings Weil

marraskuu 7, 2019, 12:39 pm

Shostakovich by Lesser, the book on the string quartets has arrived. The battle between me and my son over the noise in the house will begin as soon as he returns home from school.

marraskuu 7, 2019, 5:42 pm

>16 baswood:

Glad to hear that. I'm not fond of operatic voices outside their natural habitat and the two Stratas albums of Weill's songs are the only such examples I have--the first album, "The unknown Kurt Weill" from 1981, made a big hit at the time. (It's also mentioned in several novels and memoirs of the period, for example Edmund White's The Farewell Symphony.

The second one is a little too orchestrated for my taste, but it does contain Le Roi d'Aquitaine, one of Weill's loveliest songs but for some reason rarely recorded.

Early this morning I listened to more Weill, "The music for Johnny Johnson", the first work he staged in America. It's filled with motifs from his European works but the Broadway-musical direction he was headed in (because he had no choice) is very clear: the very bright big band sound, hammy Anglo voices, silly names like Minnie Belle... one could write a book about the differences between the European and the American stage based on this one example.

Even brightened and stultified to suit American taste for infantile make-believe, "Johnny Johnson" was still too tart, satirical and depressing for Weill's new audience. The man who escaped the Gestapo by crossing into France on foot had yet to learn to write a happy end, or else.

marraskuu 8, 2019, 4:13 am

>12 Crypto-Willobie:

If you're keen on the Hollies you probably already know this, but just in case, there's some interesting footage of them working on "Carousel" at EMI.

marraskuu 8, 2019, 7:39 am

>19 krolik:
Thanks, I've seen it. Very cool.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 8, 2019, 7:17 pm

Right now some Stevie Ray Vaughan

Earlier CDs this afternoon

Byther Smith
George Thorogood
Tedeschi Trucks Band

In the car this am (iPod)
Orange Goblin

marraskuu 9, 2019, 2:24 pm

>1 baswood: Jimmy LaFave 1955-2017 - Buffalo Returns to the Plains 1995
LaFave was an American folk singer songwriter who leaned towards the country scene. Like most of his albums I have listened to Buffalo contains enough good songs to make it worthwhile. He had a distinctive vocal that just about copes with the songs he wrote. Good production and excellent guitar, mostly electric on this CD

Arto Lindsay - Salt
Lindsay is an American guitarist singer record producer and this 2004 album is full of well produced songs. Keyboards and some electronic effects give this an experimental feel. However this is at the expense of his guitar work, he only really cuts loose on one track. His soft vocals have Latin American influences. A very good listen.

Loreena McKennitt - Nights from the Alhambra
Canadian: she has a powerful folksingers voice something of a cross between Sandy Denny and Enya. This is a live album of Celtic influenced songs. I rarely like live albums it has to be an exceptional performance to win me over and this one does not. After about five songs her vocal mannerisms really started to get on my nerves. A double CD I did not get through the first one.

John Coltrane - The complete studio tracks from the classic quartet. Coltrane: tenor and soprano sax, McCoy Tyner piano, Jimmy Garrison Bass, Elvin Jones drums. I listened to cD2 of this eight CD collection. Tracks are from 1963 just before the group entered into free jazz territory. The music is sublime, Coltranes astounding technique and the interplay between group members is wonderful and there are plenty of ballads on this disc. This collection comes in a stiff cardboard type holder encased in a metal sleeve. It is very substantial and looks like it will last.

Joy Division - Heart and Soul.
This is a 4 cd collection of much of Joy Divisions material unlike the music the flimsy packaging is not going to last. This is music of despair. The group were active from 1976 until 1980 when the lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide. It is sparse original rock music with distinctive bass and guitar lines. It still gives me the shivers - absolutely wonderful

marraskuu 9, 2019, 2:29 pm

>21 Bookmarque: Gonna have a listen to some Byther Smith: he is a blues artist that I have not heard of before. I do enjoy some Stevie Ray vaughn especially when he does his Hendrix impersonations.

marraskuu 10, 2019, 6:28 pm

New week new playlist

Lennon - John Lennon
Justin Clark and the Transient ensemble
Burning Blue Soul - The The
Penitentiary Blues - David Allan Coe
Giovani Gabrieli Canzoni & Sonate - The London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble

marraskuu 10, 2019, 6:46 pm

New week, more Shostakovich quartets. The Lesser book on Shosty and his life viewed in step with the quartets is excellent.

marraskuu 10, 2019, 6:54 pm

Today some Pink Floyd

Wish You Were Here

marraskuu 11, 2019, 7:12 am

I have not been listening to a lot lately. Joy Division though was always a favorite and The Cramps were another old favorite. Human and their version of the torch song Fever. Lux Interior with that hiccup-py voice.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 11, 2019, 11:43 am

Yesterday morning I put on a disc of Vivaldi's cello concertos, on Naxos. Once upon a time there were radio stations playing lots of classical music (without ads!) and, typically, in the early mornings you could count on getting earfuls of jaunty Baroque any time you tuned in.

The stations are gone, I never listen to the radio anymore, so sometimes I go Baroque by my own self. (The downside is that I have a tic where I must listen to the whole disc from start to finish, and that's a lot of jaunt.)

Later I listened to Purcell's "Dido & Aeneas", Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment led by René Jacobs on Harmonia Mundi.

This morning I went for Charlemagne Palestine's "Four manifestations on six elements" on Alga Marghen. A sonic disinfection of the mind.

marraskuu 11, 2019, 6:42 pm

Really like the idea of this thread - has had some stuff I like a lot - Coltrane and McKennit. And Rick’s choice of Townes.

If you haven’t yet seen the documentary Echoes in the Canyon, highly recommended for the music lover.

marraskuu 11, 2019, 6:45 pm

How about Howe Gelb, Dawg--he's only one state over.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 11, 2019, 9:02 pm

#22--I have a lot of Joy Division in vinyl--I also have the first couple of New Order LP's in vinyl and for people who don't know after Curtis's suicide the rest of the band became New Order. I lost interest when they turned more into a synth band. I'm a bit of a guitar nut though each their own. I also have Peter Hook's bio on the band Unknown Pleasures which is about his Joy Division days. They were pretty much all kids who didn't know how to deal with Curtis's grand mal seizures and the more gigs they did the more seizures

#23--Vaughan actually out-Hendrix's Hendrix. They were both amazing guitar players but Vaughan would shred leads for minutes behind his back and his strings were so thick that for any other guitar player they would have been like playing barb wire and he was bending the crap out of them to boot.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 11, 2019, 8:56 pm

#5--Townes Van Zandt I don't really know very much but I do know he was Steve Earle's buddy. Not many on the left in country music but Earle is. Earle's done a bit of acting too--he was in The Wire which is the best television series ever IMO.

marraskuu 12, 2019, 3:44 am

>32 lriley: Two musicians/guitar players that I like a lot - Townes van Zandt wrote and performed some excellent songs in the acoustic folk music tradition. Steve Earle flirts a bit more with country music, but really his rocking electric guitar driven songs are very good.

marraskuu 12, 2019, 6:05 am

Townes van Zandt from Our Mother of the Mountain:

So I reach for her hand and her eyes turns to poison
And her hair turns to splinters,
And her flesh turns to brine
She leaps cross the room, she stands in the window
And screams that my first-born
Will surely be blind

marraskuu 13, 2019, 4:12 pm

The last record I bought was this year's Possessed - Altars of Oblivion. A masterpiece of old school death metal indeed.

For the sake of variety, I've also been enjoying Marina's new album, Love + Fear. My wife introduced me to this singer, of course.

marraskuu 13, 2019, 4:48 pm

This morning, Bella Ciao: chansons du peuple en Italie (Il nuovo canzoniere italiano), on Harmonia Mundi, a 2000 reissue of the album from 1975.

The performers: Sandra Mantovani, Giovanna Daffini, Giovanna Marini, Maria Teresa Bulciolu, Caterina Bueno, Silvia Malagugini, Cati Mattea, Michele Straniero, Gruppo Padano di Piadena, Gaspare de Lama.

marraskuu 13, 2019, 6:34 pm

>36 LolaWalser: my favorite Italina lefty song and version:

marraskuu 13, 2019, 7:01 pm

>35 George_Salis: Listened to Marina for the first time - nice video on youtube

marraskuu 14, 2019, 1:58 am

Yes. She's a queen!

marraskuu 16, 2019, 8:56 am

What do you mean by that crack. Elton John was the queen.

marraskuu 16, 2019, 10:38 am

Spun up some Gary Moore last night - he and the band did a Hendrix set.
Also some Ana Popovic - great guitar player, but of course she has to be naked on all her CDs. I really hate that in order to market women they have to strip. Can't she just play like Clapton or Bonamassa? Although I'm not sure I want to see those guys in the buff.

marraskuu 16, 2019, 1:32 pm

More than one country, more than one queen.

marraskuu 16, 2019, 1:44 pm

more than a woman to meeeeee

marraskuu 16, 2019, 5:42 pm

>41 Bookmarque: Let's be fair, here. For every woman maybe a random man must be chosen and do it or be run out of the business (Imagine Willie Nelson explaining his failed career: I take my clothes off for no man!)

marraskuu 18, 2019, 2:51 pm

today checked out the indie group, Big Thief. excellent.

recently lots of jazz:
Coltrane- The Lost Album
The Best of Blue Note
Wayne Shorter- Without a Net
Kamasi Washington- The Epic
Bill Evans- Some Other Time
Robert Glaspar- Black radio
Terry Blanchard- Breathless
Keith Jarret- Survivor's Suite

Yo Yo Ma- Appassionato

Paco de Lucia- Cancion Andaluza

All on CDs burned from NYPL collection.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 18, 2019, 2:55 pm

regarding the Hollies

recently watched Echo in the Canyon- Graham Nash is prominent. Well done nostalgia history of Laurel Canyon late 60s.

marraskuu 18, 2019, 6:01 pm

Welcome berthirsch love your playlist

marraskuu 20, 2019, 1:08 pm

Shostakovich--I'm up to quartets 9 and 10.

marraskuu 21, 2019, 11:36 pm

I have a ticket to hear Angela Hewitt play The Art of Fugue in February, so I'll be getting more familiar with that.

Today I was listening to Joshua Rifkin playing Ernesto Nazareth via Naxos.

marraskuu 21, 2019, 11:39 pm

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 22, 2019, 6:24 am

>60 krolik: I have not.

ETA: but now I see why you asked

marraskuu 22, 2019, 7:37 am

>51 RickHarsch:

Highly recommended (by me)

marraskuu 22, 2019, 8:22 am


marraskuu 25, 2019, 4:47 am

This week I listened to;

Lennon 4CD collection - I actually listened to the first CD which covers the years 1970/71. His first two Albums after the Beatles and a few of the singles like Give Peace A Chance and Power to the People. The singles now sound rough and ready perhaps a pre-curser to the punks in 1977.

David Allan Coe - Penitentiary Blues 1969
After this he morphed into a country artist, but this is self penned blues songs that owe everything to Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. Not for keeping

David Allan Coe - 17 Greatest Hits
I don't listen to much Country Music so I don't really know how well regarded David Allan Coe is on the Country scene. A couple of nice tunes and he has a full throated tenor voice that suited the music.

Justin Clark - The Transient Ensemble 2013
Justin Clark is a trombonist and he leads an interesting group, violin, bass, piano and percussion through a mixture of compositions, some jazz tinged and some classical baroque tinged. Well arranged and always interesting - the best listen of the week

marraskuu 25, 2019, 8:41 am

this morning wowed by Anat Cohen-Claroscuro

marraskuu 25, 2019, 10:52 am

Excellent clip of Anat on Youtube.
Anat Cohen - "And The World Weeps" Live at Sixth and I Synagogue 06.07.12

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 25, 2019, 11:48 am

>56 baswood:
thanks she is very special women in jazz need to be celebrated and nurtured she could be the best younger clarinets today.

great video. Paquito can play that horn!

marraskuu 25, 2019, 1:51 pm

My favorite version of Saint James Infirmary:

marraskuu 25, 2019, 4:19 pm

>58 RickHarsch: And the artist remained anonymous

marraskuu 25, 2019, 6:47 pm

>54 baswood:
Lennon is over-scrutinized but I've always wondered why I don't hear more about the huge contradiction between the songs and Spector's mismatched production sensibility. Spector was a disaster, not just for Let it Be, while excessive sentimentality about Lennon after his death has obscured how much of a mess much the subsequent work was, too.

"Instant Karma" was a shining exception, where Lennon was in a hurry and pushed past the production crap. "Power to the People" is (for me) flaccid agitprop, and for a more interesting punk precursor, I'd suggest Yoko (yes, Yoko) in "Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow.

marraskuu 25, 2019, 7:13 pm

>60 krolik: I am with you there. I have Yoko's double album Fly. Which is a real mixed bag some great stuff and some truly awful stuff. Don't worry Kyoko is excellent as is Mind Train. I must give it a spin it's a long time since I have heard it.

marraskuu 28, 2019, 9:18 am

Ipod shuffle picked out Peter Paul and Mary. still amazingly good. A seminal modern folk song trio.

marraskuu 28, 2019, 9:42 am

>62 berthirsch:

My dad had their first LP -- it's imprinted on my brain. My sister and I covered half the songs on there...

joulukuu 9, 2019, 6:58 pm

Last week I listebed to:

Noel Langley - Eden Tide 2014
Noel Langley is a professional musician working in London and makes his living as a session musician. On this his only disc as leader he gets to play his own musical compositions. He plays trumpets and flugelhorn and the arrangements are rich in detail and Langley has space to improvise. Varied music always thoughtful sometimes emotional and tuneful Well worth a listen.

Annie Ross - Four classic Albums plus
Great to be able to get these four early albums on a cheap 2 CD collection. Ross is a jazz vocalist who was good enough to attract some top rated jazz musicians to back her style. She has a good range and on her early albums from 1956 and 1959 she was not afraid to take some chances. Some great renditions from the American songbook. Hardly a weak track on the first of the two CDs I listened to.

Gong - Camembert Electrique 1971
Great to catch up with this disc which has been in my collection a long time. Progressive rock featuring songs and improvisation by Daevid Allen. It reminds me very much of early soft machine or other groups around the Canterbury scene in England, but first appeared in France. It is a mixture of jazz-rock and spacey sounds and when it comes off it is sensational. Uneven yes of course, but plenty of magical moments in 'Fohat digs holes in Space', 'I've been stone Before.....' Tropical Fish/Selene. It's definitely not French.

Baaba Maal - Missing you 2001
World music from Senegalese singer and guitarist Baaba Maal. This is a back to the roots acoustic album with Maal singing songs in his native Pulaar language (I am guessing that's what it is). A collection like this has got to have a good sound and good instrumentation and good songs if you do not understand the lyrics. For the most part this collection has, with Maal's rustic sounding guitar to the forefront. He is in good voice on some heavily rhythmic songs, lots of percussion, and there are a couple of heartfelt sounding slower tunes that make you want to listen all over again.

Thrice - The Illusion of Safety 2002 and The Artist in the Ambulance 2003
An American guitar based quartet that seem on the edge of many styles of thrash metal. Vocals are clean and for the most part these albums are well recorded. Plenty of energy, EMO and punk influences. A few decent songs, but mostly I have heard all of this before. These are early releases from the group I have more albums to listen to.

joulukuu 9, 2019, 7:03 pm

Hoping to listen this week to:

Kevin Ayers - Harvest years
Louis Armstrong - Hot Fives and Sevens
Husker Du - Candy Apple Grey
Thrice - more recent stuff.

joulukuu 20, 2019, 3:59 pm

Last couple of weeks I listened to

Kevin Ayers - the harvest years volume 3
Each of the CDs in this collection takes one of Ayers' Album releases and then fills out the cd with any singles, radio edits or outtakes from that year, and so as an anal-retentive this sounds like a great idea. However as in most things anally-retentive it proves not to be the case. The album in question is Whatevershebringswesing from 1972 and this album got the full treatment back in the day with a gatefold sleeve, brilliantly invented cover and good production. It was a good album but not a great album, the creative part of the previous album "Shooting at the Moon is missing. We get the original 8 tracks from the album which was a bit short on running time and the rest off the CD is augmented with eight other tracks: a single which is OK and the rest are radio transmissions; two of which are listenable and four are a waste of time. In this case I would be better sticking to the original 8 track album.

Louis Armstrong - Hot Fives and Sevens.
This is a four CD set and the first cd starts with ten tracks from 1925 Louis Armstrong's hot five which arguably changed the course of jazz history. The enhanced quality on these recordings has made this all very listenable today and it is still mind-blowing stuff. Hearing Armstrong's band race through MusKrat Ramble is breathtaking. Armstrong was the star and every track features a cornet solo and that famous gravelly voice gets going on Heebie Jeebies. There are only a few vocals on the tracks from 1925 and 1926 which is a relief because Armstrong may have mastered the art of cornet playing, but not yet his vocals. Essential listening for any jazz fan

Husker Du - Candy Apple Grey
An album from 1986 and already after four years their punk/thrash sound was getting a little tired. However the short running time on this CD doesn't outstay it's welcome and there are a few good original songs given the Husker Du treatment. They are the sort of group people either like or hate - the sound doesn't change much.

Thrice - If We Could Only See Us Now and and Vheissu 2005
After the disappointment of the 2003 release Artist in the Ambulance these albums sound like more of the same. Won't be listening to any more from this guitar led rock band.

Roy Harper - Stormcock 1971
Roy has released 32 albums over a long career and Stormcock was the album that made some people listen to how good he was. It is mainly acoustic with Harpers unique finger style playing being highlighted by a good sound. harpers liking for jazz shows in these four long songs three of which start out like an artist searching for a tune, Brilliant playing good vocals with changes of mood and that wonderful guitar cascading chords. He finds those tunes on two of these tracks: 'One Man Rock and Roll Band' and 'Me and My Woman'. So glad I got to listen to this early Harper album, I had forgotten how captivating he can be.

joulukuu 20, 2019, 4:03 pm

This week on my playlist are:

Anton Fier - Dreamspeed/Blindlight
Cante Gitano - various ( authentic flamenco music)
Paco de Lucia - Castro Marin
Duke Ellington - The Centenary Collection

joulukuu 20, 2019, 6:29 pm

That Louis is a good one!

joulukuu 20, 2019, 6:55 pm

This week

The Drifters

Frank Zappa

multiple iterations of the Soft Machine classic 'Facelift' both by the Softs and by others.

other stuff but can't recall what.

joulukuu 26, 2019, 9:10 am

Joe Henry-Reverie
Leonard Cohen-Songs From The Road
McCoy Tyner- The Real McCoy, with Joe Henderson, Ron Carter, Elvin Jones
Danil Trifonov- Rachmaninov Variations

tammikuu 3, 2020, 6:20 pm

Over the last couple of weeks I have listened to the following:

Anton Fier - Dreamspeed/Blindlight 1992-4
Fier was a dummer and producer with the experimental studio band The Golden Palominos. This music is mainly electronic with different sort of drum beats and techniques. There are samples and loops and some female vocals from japanese's vocalist phew. I find this sort of music very hit and miss, I tend either to be able to really get into some of the sounds or want to turn the music off. I enjoyed 6 of the nineteen tracks on this collection.

Cante Gitano Gypsy Flamenco from Andalucia
A session recorded live from a flamenco bar in the town of Moron de la Frontera Andalucia Spain. The recording quality is good, however as only two microphones were used it is not a studio sound, but this suits this music very well. Excellent flamenco guitar from Paco del Gastor and some passionate improvised vocals from Maria La Burra and Jose de la Tomasa. Recorded in 1988 If you like your flamenco authentic as I do this is great stuff.

Duke Ellington - The Centenary Collection
Described as 100 classic recordings and they certainly are if the first CD is anything to go by (it is a 4CD collection) This cd features music from 1928/9 and the sound quality is excellent. Even at this early stage of the band alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges was a star, but it was the trumpet section of Cootie Williams and Bubber Miley that lets rip. Some good baritone sax from Harry Carney and some great tunes. Wonderful

tammikuu 3, 2020, 6:23 pm

The playlist for next week is:

Gisburg - No Stranger not at all
Harry Partch - 17 lyrics by Li Po
Beatles - Sergeant Peppers lonely Hearts Club Band
Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland

tammikuu 3, 2020, 10:36 pm

This weeks youtube-based playlist:
13th Floor Elevators
Brian Jonestown Massacre
Velvet Undergound
(the latter is almost constantly on my playlist)

tammikuu 23, 2020, 5:33 pm

Last week I listened to

Beatles Sgt - Peppers Lonely Hearts club Band 1967
My original vinyl copy of this is still just about playable, but I listened to the CD version released in 1987. The inner sleeve notes tell me that the recording of the LP took 129 days, perhaps the most creative 129 days in the history of rock music.
I am always surprised by the depth of sound that the Beatles engineers achieved back in the late 1960's and the music sounds particularly good on this CD. In my opinion it was a 129 days well spent, the songs are brilliant and the arrangements are still full of surprises. This one never disapoints.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland 1968
Again forced to listen to the CD version and this was an early Polydor CD and the sound is not good. especially after the Beatles CD. Today this all sounds very lo-fi and I wonder if it always did. However even in low-fi Voodoo Chile (slight return) still sounds amazing as does All Along the Watchtower and my favourite track Gipsy Eyes. However over the years (and there have been a lot of them) it is side three of the old vinyl LP containing 1983....(A Merman I should turn to be) and Moon, Turn The Tides .... Gently Gently Away that sounds the most impressive today. I love the sound of those chimes.

Tzadik Record label
Tzadik Records is a record label in New York City that specializes in avant-garde and experimental music. The label was established by composer and saxophonist John Zorn in 1995. He is the executive producer of all Tzadik releases. Tzadik is a not-for-profit, cooperative record label.

Tzadik has released over 400 albums by a variety of artists with diverse musical backgrounds, including free improvisation, jazz, noise, klezmer, rock, and experimental composition.

I had a whole bunch of stuff to listen to from this label and I expected some of the music to be challenging: what was too challenging for me was:

The Book of Heads featuring Marc Ribot on guitar 1995
It consists of 35 Etudes mostly on acoustic guitar and all I could think of while this was going on was Oh that poor guitar as he thumps, batters perhaps drills a hole in it.

Redbird is modern minimalist classical music featuring cello, Harp Percussion and Viola
After over 20 minutes of the group seeming to play very similar chords - I gave up.

I am going to give the following another chance this week
Gisburg - No stranger at all - a vocalist backed by some interesting modern classical arrangements.
Wadada Leo Smith - Tao Nja Jazz trumpet player venturing into more experimental sounds
Massacre - power rock trio - Fred Frith guitar, Bill Laswell bass and Charles Hayward drums, playing on iTunes now.
Harry Partch - 17 lyrics by Li-Po Partch invented his own instruments and plays behind a recital of the lyrics of this 8th century Chinese poet, impressed by first listen

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 20, 2020, 7:43 am

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 20, 2020, 7:44 am

The Making of Jazz: A Comprehensive History by James Lincoln Collier
This book has been on my bookshelves a long time, since 1984 in fact. Most of my books are second hand and this one looks second hand and so as usual I turned to the front-piece to see if anybody had written anything in it. They had, but I was amazed to find it was a dedication to me and so the book would have been bought new, it had been bought by my girlfriend at the time. I don't know what has happened to her, but I have finally got round to reading the book she bought me and what an excellent book it is.

Originally published in 1981, Collier in his final chapter looks forward to the future of jazz music. He says that the future of jazz is in the past:

"Jazz needs, at the moment, a respite from experiments. It needs time to consolidate it's gains, to go back and re-examine what is there. There is enough work undone to last many lifetimes."

How prophetic, because this is exactly what has happened. Back in 1981 the avant-garde or free jazz movement had run it's course and critics and commentators were wondering where the music was heading next due to it's history of seismic shifts. The answer has been an examination of the past with lines now becoming increasingly blurred between rock, classical, experimental and jazz music. This blurring of lines however may upset Collier a little because in his book he is clear to make a distinction between jazz and other music, he would find it more difficult today.

A comprehensive history of a musical form covering a period of some 80 years in 500 pages is a tall order, but Collier gets it all down with ease. His theme is the development of the music and the important musicians who have made this possible, but he goes further and relates this to the social context in America. Jazz is an American music phenomenon and essentially it was a black man's music and the struggles for civil rights since the second world war have been part of that music. I refrained from finding out about Mr Collier until I had finished the book, but my conclusions that he is a white professional musician proved to be correct.

Collier has written a chronological history and he starts with the roots of jazz; African rhythms and blues field hollers and how this influenced the first period of classic jazz that originated from New Orleans. The legendary cornet player Buddy Bolden is represented by a photograph from 1895, but that is all we have, because he was too early to be recorded. The first jazz recording was made in 1917 (by five white musicians from New Orleans) this was no way representative of the music at the time, but it just happened by chance that the Original Dixieland Jass Band got to make the first record. The book from this moment gets into its stride with Collier providing pen pictures of the real movers and shakers amongst the musicians that made up this first explosion of the music. Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith along with many others who followed in their wake. There is a chapter on the white influx, because bands were segregated in those days and so the music developed in a sort of parallel world: some space is therefore given to Jack Teagarden, Pee Wee Russell, Benny Goodman and Bix Beiderbeck.

The first of those seismic shifts came with the evolution into swing music and the introduction of the big jazz bands, but Collier is also careful not to lose sight of other developments particularly in piano music and in the splinter groups that formed out of the big bands. The period before the second world war saw the gradual integration of black and white musicians, but it was a relatively slow process and presented difficulties for those involved. At the end of the war the first Bebop groups started making records and the music loving public had to learn almost a whole new language to appreciate what the new younger musicians were doing. Collier explains why this was so from a musical point of view and also puts it in a social context. A drugs culture that had always been present in Jazz music seemed to become a veritable plague amongst the Beboppers with heroin the drug of choice. There are many stories of musicians succumbing to addiction and Collier mentions these without straying too far away from the music that was being made. In the early fifties there was a reaction against the bebop from the traditional jazz revivalists and the cool jazz practitioners from the west coast. Collier charts the progress of these various musical strands highlighting those musicians that were comfortable in moving across the musical boundaries. The late fifties early sixties was the time for the free jazz practitioners to take the music in another direction again and the final chapter of the book features John Coltrane with Collier wondering if the musician was going to be considered the new jazz messiah, by future generations.

Throughout the book the musicians that impress Collier most are those that have the ability to move away from what he terms as the ground beat; the true practitioners of jazz in his opinion and he goes into some detail explaining how this effect is achieved. Collier describes the music they played and points out in his opinion the best examples of their work. He also attempts a musical analysis of some of the main trends which might not be easily understood by non musicians, but it is not in too much detail and would still give a flavour of what was happening with the music. He is of course impressed by musical expertise, but is quite clear that a limited technical ability has not been a hindrance to many jazz musicians. I think he treads this difficult line with real insight. The limited space available makes it difficult to chart the progress of jazz music around the world and during the period of recorded music that Collier covers 1917 to the late 1960's most of the innovations happened in America. There is a perfunctory chapter on European jazz, which might concern some readers, but is probably appropriate.

Collier provides a discography of over 300 recordings covering the period that he critiques in his book and would serve as an excellent guide for those people wanting to hear just what he is talking about. I have been listening to jazz since the late 1960's and have a fairly good knowledge of the music since the second world war and so based on what I know I am happy to let Collier guide me through the gaps in my knowledge of the earlier period of jazz. He also provides a decent bibliography, but I have a feeling it may be a little white author centred, for example there is only one book listed by Leroi Jones.

This really is a comprehensive book on the making of jazz and quite an achievement in itself. I have a couple of criticisms which did not get in the way of my enjoyment of the book. Collier spends some time in a search for the holy grail; that is the perfect improvised jazz solo and his analysis of some musicians efforts can feel a little academic. My other criticism is that the book is obviously written by a white author and his subject is an essentially black music (historically at least): now I am not saying that white people cannot write about black music which is almost as stupid as saying white musicians can't play jazz, but maybe Collier places undue emphasis on some white musicians role in the history of the music. He acknowledges that some black musicians also took the civil rights movement into the concert halls and jazz clubs and while there is no overt criticism of this stance I get the feeling that he would rather they just get on and play the music.

There is no doubting Colliers love and feeling for the music and this shines through his text. It is a considered and carefully thought through love, that is not without criticism of some of the music. It is going to be an expensive book for me as I have made a list of recordings that I want to hear: fortunately these days, jazz reissues of earlier music can be had for little money. A five star read that comes with an unqualified recommendation.

helmikuu 20, 2020, 11:04 am

>76 baswood: On the playlist this week is:

The Sidney Bechet Story (4 cd set)
Jimmy Smith - Groovin at Smalls Paradise.

helmikuu 20, 2020, 1:20 pm

I realized the other day that I can go long periods without thinking of playing music. I think it's a result of too much time tied to the computer.
So I had to be in the kitchen for a few hours the other day and using a phone and little speaker heard mostly Dylan and it was great.
Now I need to figure out how to arrange my life differently and allow more music in.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 19, 2020, 7:39 pm

King Oliver - Snag It (Marshall Cavendish - Jazz Greats)
I picked up this CD for 2 euros last year and discovered it originally came with a magazine published by Marshall Cavendish fortnightly in the 1990's: one of a series of 80. This is New Orleans jazz covering a period from 1923 -1931 and I expected the sound quality to be pretty bad, however I was amazed at how good it was and then amazed by how good the music was. King Oliver played cornet and led a series of bands from the early 1920's to the early 1930's and this selection covers most of that period and provides a sort of history of New Orleans jazz. In the earliest cuts the band included a young Louis Armstrong, but it was King Oliver who took the solos with his blues inflexed cornet sound. The music is pure dixieland with its ragged ensemble sound, which has provided the blueprint for many of the traditional jazz groups that you will hear today. The classic Dippermouth blues sounds good on this CD. By 1926 Oliver was moving towards more written work for his ensembles and by 1931 his sound was that of a swing band jazz orchestra with tight ensembles and space for the soloists.

There are also a couple of excellent blues vocalists: Sara Martin who sang with Clarence Williams and his orchestra and Alger 'Texas' Alexander (new to me) which feature excellent support from King Oliver, who really comes into his own playing the blues. There is also an execrable vocal on Papa De Da Da, but we can easily pass over that. Plenty of variety on this disc with some excellent solos and fine ensemble playing. If all the cd's in the Jazz Greats series were as good as this, then I must get into my time machine and get back to the 1990s, where I can wait for my fortnightly delivery of the magazine, no doubt with the cds stuck with sellotape to the front covers.

elokuu 19, 2020, 11:29 pm

I have noticed during the past five months of isolation that I have almost no desire to listen to any of my recordings, no more than I have motivation to play music. This is a disappointment, given the vast stretches of time that have not filled my solitary and monotonous life.

As best as I can understand, music, whether heard or played, is for me a means to restore my focus, or my equanimity perhaps, after engaging with the world; and since my engagement with the world has become minimal and virtual, the need for music has all but disappeared. The particular kinds of anxiety that I/we have been experiencing needs, apparently, a different sort of antidote.

elokuu 21, 2020, 6:46 pm

>80 librorumamans: Music has for a long time been a comfort to me but there are times when I lose a little interest and this has happened during the lockdown periods. I play saxophones for my own amusement, but find that practising during periods of social distancing can be a chore. However I seem to be turning a corner again now, although it has been too hot the last few days to want to blow through a saxophone.

elokuu 21, 2020, 6:53 pm

In the Nightside Eclipse - Emperor 1994
An album now considered a classic in one of the many genres of heavy metal music. Emperor were a black metal band playing extreme guitar based rock music. The music features highly distorted guitars, furious blast beat drumming, shrieked vocals creating a maelstrom of sound. Emperor added keyboards to this cacophony, imitating a symphonic style that gives a feel of choral music overlaying the churning guitars and drums. Another feature of the music is the raw sound, sometimes, perhaps most of the time it is so muddy that you can barely distinguish the instruments. It is the sort of music/sound that can make another person in the house climb two flights of stairs to ask what the hell is going on.

In the Nightside Eclipse contains all the elements of symphonic black metal and I was prepared for a noisy tumult of sound. The guitar chords and tremolo picking runs are played at a furious pace and any melody is supplied by the keyboards. The vocals are totally unintelligible shrieks and croaks and are used as a sort of other instrument which can be effective. The muddy sound and the shrieked vocals were elements of the music that I could have done without, but the thrash style guitars and intense drumming powered it along well enough. The songs last for between 5 to 8 minutes each and usually feature tempo changes. I have no idea what the songs were about, but they sounded pretty brutal, but they saved the best songs till last: "The Majesty of the Night Sky","I Am the Black Wizards" and "Inno a Satana" worked well

It is Scandinavian bands that have unleashed this music on the world and Emperor are based in Norway. They take a hostile stance against mainstream culture and are considered to be misanthropic and anti-Christian. I think Emperor took this stance a bit too far as two of the band members were sent to prison for burning churches.

elokuu 25, 2020, 11:16 am

John Coltrane - Coltrane Plays the Blues
The LP was released in 1962, but you always have to be careful with John Coltrane as to what sort of music you are going to get. I use the 1960 release (recorded in July 1959) Giant Steps as a sort of watershed: anything before this is probably going to sound like hard bop or even cool modern jazz and anything after will be moving towards free jazz and modal scales with the use of some extreme harmonics and African rhythmic influences. It is good to know then that the tracks on this album were recorded in October 1960: a little more than a year after Giant Steps and so Coltrane was beginning his journey into free Jazz territory. This is not quite the classic quartet Steve Davis is on bass, but McCoy Tyner piano and Elvin Jones on drums have taken their places.

The first three tracks (side one of the original LP) sound to me like improvisations on blues scales. They are lyrical and have recognisable themes and Coltrane's playing on the first track: Blues to Elvin, a slow blues tune is majestic. The surging, reaching saxophone runs are there but the notes are long and bluesy, It's Coltrane all the way. The second track Blues to Bechet features Coltrane on soprano saxophone and the pianist sits out on this one, perhaps Coltrane felt more comfortable on what was his second instrument without the piano. Blues to you which closes the first side is uptempo with Elvin Jones changing the rhythms throughout the track and Coltrane matching him with some exciting improvisations. Side 2 sounds like songs that were written before the studio date, melodic, lyrical with arrangements for piano and bass. Mr Day sound like a typical Coltrane theme on which to base his improvisations, but the piano chords are beautifully played. Mr Syms is beautifully melodic with Coltrane restricting himself to playing the theme on soprano saxophone while Tyner creates the piano solo. Mr Knight closed the original LP and another good tune is given the Coltrane treatment. The CD that I listened to features an extra track "Untitled Original" Coltrane plays soprano and there is a piano solo. It sounds to me as though the bass player was just keeping time on this one which was probably why it was not released.

If you like Coltrane before his playing got too free, but don't want to hear him in a restricting modern jazz combo setting then this would be just the ticket.
Fantastic music.

elokuu 27, 2020, 7:58 pm

Fleetwood Mac - The collection
This is a compilation album, but is only compiled from the groups early material 1967-69 when they were a British based blues band. It features their first two guitarists: Peter Green, and Jeremy Spencer and then Danny Kirwin became the third. Much of the material is songs copied from American blues artists such as Elmore James, Sonny Boy Williamson and John Lee Hooker, but the band were writing their own songs, however many sounded very similar to the copies that they featured in their stage act. Fleetwood Mac were one of the many London based white boy blues groups on the scene at the time and listening to this music today it was probably the quality of the band members that made them successful. Jeremy Spencer's bottleneck guitar style copied from Elmore James appears on many cuts so much so that Doctor Brown and Need Your love tonight back to back in this collection sound like the same song with different lyrics. The album opens with and incredibly fast version of Elmore James Shake Your Money Maker. It was Peter Green's playing that edged the group away from being just blues copyists.

The vocals are strong on all the tracks and the culmination of their early blues style was Love That Burns written and sung by Green that shows a real feeling for the blues, it never got any better. The end of the 1960's saw the group in disarray with an obvious need to change their style and this is reflected by the songs on this disc. However with Green's song Man of the World and the instrumental Albatross the band were getting huge sales in the singles charts as they moved towards more middle of the road music. By 1972 the three guitarists had all left the band: burned out by drugs, alcohol and God.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 29, 2020, 6:41 pm

Rufus Wainwright - Rufus Wainwright 1998
- Poses 2001
- Want One 2003

Rufus is a tit man sang his father Loudon on his 1975 LP Unrequited. Rufus was two at that time and as it turned out he wasn't at all a tit man. He did however follow his father and his mother Kate McGarrigle into the music business and these are his first three CD releases. Rufus writes and plays songs: popular songs with gorgeous orchestral backing. The music is lush and detailed and sweeps over you with its classical based structure. I would describe his music as "whiter than white" because there is not a hint of blues, or jazz or soul: it is as if music created by black artists has not influenced Rufus in any way and he reaches back towards the lieder of classical music for his inspiration.

Rufus Wainwright is one of those artists that I have caught on the radio from time to time and while I have marvelled at the depth of the arrangements to his songs I have never given him a serious ear. I put this right this week and after overcoming an initial thought that his music was too pretty by half I found myself enjoying the songs. For one thing you can hear the words and for another thing his piano based compositions contain some well worked tunes, usually more than one in each song. He has a tenor voice with a good range which sounds to have been classically trained, although he has a tendency to drawl his diction from time to time which I think gives his voice some character and stops it sounding like he is singing opera. He is instantly recognisable, no one sounds quite like him. There are good songs on all these discs, but I liked Poses the best. There is even some drums and electric guitars on a couple of tracks, but you do not listen to Rufus for rock music and he doesn't swing. There are of course quotes from the classical repertoire in the orchestral arrangements which are a feature on these discs. I am glad I have finally caught up with him.

elokuu 30, 2020, 11:14 pm

A couple of weeks ago The Canadian Opera Company streamed a performance of Rufus Wainwright's opera Hadrian to a libretto by Daniel MacIvor. I had no idea that Wainwright also composed major works, and I was impressed by what I saw and heard.

There was a "watch party" on Zoom afterwards, consisting of a Q&A involving Wainwright, MacIvor, the conductor, and the COC's artistic director. It's available (at this writing, anyway) on YouTube.

And if you're interested, a YouTube search on "Rufus Wainwright Hadrian" will turn up some clips of the performance, although none of them substantial.

elokuu 31, 2020, 4:13 am

>86 librorumamans: Thats interesting, I was aware that he had written a couple of operas, but I have not heard anything of them.

syyskuu 2, 2020, 5:31 pm

Guillaume Du Fay - O Gemma Lux - Huelgas-Ensemble
Guillaume Du Fay (1397-1474) was a Franco-Flemish composer of the early Renaissance, he was regarded by his contemporaries as one of the leading composers in the mid-15th century, which is a view that has not changed over the centuries. This disc is a rendition of 13 Isorhythmic motets that he wrote throughout his life as a composer of music. It is secular music written for various events like marriage celebrations or the welcoming of visiting dignitaries. Motets by definition are mainly vocal music and on this disc the choir of 4-6 voices are supported sparingly by sackbuts (a type of trombone) a viola and flute. I also hear an organ on a couple of tracks, (not credited on the disc). An isorhythmic motet is one where a rhythmic figure or period is constantly repeated in one or more of the parts while the melodic material changes. The compositions follow a strict mathematical formula.

Thats enough of the technical detail and so what does the music sound like?
Music for a small choir certainly, where the melody and rhythmic pattern of the first phrase is repeated by successive vocalist which you can hear clearly enough, there are variations on the melody as other voices join in. The vocals are underscored by long notes mainly from the sackbuts. The music is slow to mid tempo with some variations within the motet, but as with music of this sort there are no tempos set. The voices are mezzo-soprano, alto and tenor and as the motets are played in the order of their composition the Polyphony becomes more complex as the disc progresses. It is beautiful choral music, stately in its progression with much melodic content. The voices from the ensemble are clear and precise and the disc has a definite feel to it. There is an excellent booklet provided with translations of the words (sung in latin) and plenty of information about the compositions, even advice on how to listen to the motets to pick out the compositional techniques. I could not fault the sound of the disc. Music to put on the repeat button of your cd player when you are in the mood.

syyskuu 2, 2020, 6:05 pm

>88 baswood:
Love this.

syyskuu 5, 2020, 5:08 pm

The New Jazz Orchestra - Le Déjeuner sur L'herbe - 1968
The date of this release is crucial. In my opinion the period from 1962-69 was the most creative I have known in jazz, rock and other genre's of popular music. In Britain particularly the London Jazz scene there was an amazing group of talented musicians whose roots were in jazz, but also crossed over regularly into the rock music scene. Tubby Hayes, John Dankworth. Mike Gibbs, John Warren and Neil Ardley were all writing scores for large jazz bands and Mike Westbrook was regularly leading a fully functioning jazz orchestra in the late 1960's. The scene was exciting and the music was exciting that is why I was pleased to see this 2014 re-issue of this 1968 recording which I had missed the first time round.

This sixteen piece band features Jack Bruce on Bass, Jon Hiseman on drums and Dick Heckstall-Smith on saxophones all making their names with rock groups: there is also Ian Carr on trumpet who was leading the jazz-rock group Nucleus at the time. With Hiseman and Bruce making up the rhythm section there is plenty of rock power to drive this band along especially on the opening track Le Dejeuner sur L'herbe, Dusk Fire and Rebirth. Neil Ardley arranged and conducted this band and he chose the vibraphonist Frank Ricotti to complete the rhythm section and so no piano and no guitar, which gives the music a different sound. The band roar and stomp like the best American bands of the era, but their sound is different, it is a British sound, I will concede that America had the best and most creative jazz musicians at the time, but in Britain there was a wealth of talented musicians who were making great music and with their own sound and particularly the larger jazz groups. The sound of this band is contemporary 1968 and so there are free jazz and rock influences and some blistering solos. Apart from the original material there are re-working of John Coltrane's Naima and Miles Davis' Nardis and so there are tunes here that most jazz fans will recognise. This CD lived up to all expectations.

syyskuu 8, 2020, 5:58 pm

Rickie Lee Jones - Rickie Lee Jones - 1979
- Pirates 1981
I had not heard anything by Rickie Lee Jones until I put these two CD's in the player. They are her first two official releases. I very much enjoyed her debut disc with its good selection of self penned songs. She has a very American voice that lacks a little depth, but she uses it to full advantage on these mainly acoustic tracks. The songs are tuneful, but they have a jazzy looseness about them that I like and you are never quite sure how she is going to use her voice. The arrangements are imaginative and each song has it's own voice, jazzy, folky, funky or sad.

Pirates is something else again: she seems to have used all the best aspects from her first disc and made them better. The looseness that first struck me on the first disc is taken further here, the songs are longer and she is more confident in the way she sings, perhaps taking more chances. There are some catchy piano motifs as the basis for much of this music and the arrangements with some imaginative bass figures give this album a special feel. It made me think of Astral Weeks by Van Morrison or Hejira by Joni Mitchell. The jazzy feel is enhanced especially on 'Woody and Dutch on the slow Train to Peking" and the title track "Pirates." You need the lyric sheets to understand the words she sings, which can be rattled off quickly in a way that highlights the streetwise feel of the music. A new voice for me and Pirates is something a little special, perhaps not reaching the heights of Astral Weeks or Hejira, but then again I have been listening to those discs for forty years or more. Looking forward to hearing more of Rickie Lee Jones.

syyskuu 12, 2020, 7:00 pm

Vive La France - A musical trip through France
CD 1 Edith Piaf

Vive la France is a 20 CD box set released in the UK in 2005. Most of the CD's feature a French singer from the 1940's or 1950's. It is not an expensive edition the asking price back in 2005 was £25. There is no accompanying booklet and the individual CDs just list the songs and the artists. The first Cd out of the box features Edith Piaf and the first song is one of her most famous 'La Vie En Rose' I was expecting then to find a sort of greatest hits compilation, but this was not the case. All the songs are from 1946 and a few from early 1947 and amount to a compilation of the songs that would have originally been released as 78 rpm shellac discs during that period and so we get a snapshot in time of the singers work.

The period after the end of the second world war was one where Piaf had to prove herself again. She had been closely questioned about her role in collaboration with the Germans during the occupation, but she put all this behind her with some stunning vocals on these songs. The sound quality is acceptable and on the majority of the tracks she is backed by a large orchestra. There are however four tracks when she sings with an a-cappella group Les Compagnons de la Chanson which have a definite military feel. Her voice soars above the all male choir on a series of songs that feature changes of tempo and plenty of drama. 'Celine' and 'La Roi A Fait Battre Tambour' are particularly memorable. These together with torch songs such as 'Mariage' and 'Adieu mon Coeur' are impressive. Piaf had a big hit with Les Trois Cloches again with Les Compagnons de la Chanson which is included. Her recording career started in 1933 and finished in 1963 and she recorded well over 300 songs. A lasting legacy of the French chanson and if you ever wanted to know what all the fuss was about then listening to this selection will put you right. I am hoping that the other 19 `CDs are just as good, most of the songs are new to me as are most of the artists.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 17, 2020, 10:19 am

Rickie Lee Jones - Girl at her Volcano 1983
Flying Cowboys 1989
Exploring the back catalogue of Rickie Lee Jones after her excellent 1981 release Pirates. Girl at Her Volcano was an EP and I suspect there was not enough new material for a full CD release. Girl at her Volcano is a mixture of live and studio tracks and it is the live tracks that stand out because they are so awful. She does cover versions of standard songs like Lush Life and My Funny Valentine and proves that as a live interpreter she is all over the place. There are jazzy interpretations of songs that improve on the original in some respects and there are interpretations that should never have been attempted. If I was an A & R man at this time my advice to her manager would be: don't let her out of the studio to sing standard songs live and don't let her into the studio until she has got some decent material.

Moving swiftly on to the 1989 release Flying Cowboys and we find Rickie Lee Jones with some new songs. Unfortunately mostly they are just not as good as her earlier material. The looseness of her material is still there and she makes the most of what there is, however the best bits are when she manages to include snatches of a tune from some other song. The use of a reggae beat on a couple of songs obscures any tune there is and it is left to the thoughtful arrangements behind the songs to rescue them from being dull. The best songs from the CD are "Flying Cowboys" and "Atlas Marker"
The CD is still worth a listen, it is just not as good as her earlier releases.

syyskuu 17, 2020, 11:14 am

Yusef Lateef - Jazz Mood 1957
The Dreamer 1959
Two early releases from this multi-instrumentalist and jazz musician. In fact Jazz Mood was his first release. Mid Fifties and modern jazz was the music that dominated the jazz catalogues. Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane were the headline artists and Yusef Lateef was never quite in that league, but his musical talents and his abilities on many instruments took him sometimes outside of the prescribed jazz combo format and this is evident on these releases. Jazz Mood contains a couple of tracks where a pano riff repeated gives the tune a different feel and on the track "Morning" it is a repeated bass figure that forms the basis for improvisation with the drummer Louis Hayes on the set sitting out to be replaced by Doug Watkins percussion. The LP starts with Lateef playing flute on Metaphor, but on all other tracks it is is muscular tenor saxophone that is featured. Curtis Fuller supports him on trombone and contributes some good solos.

The Dreamer a couple of years later finds Lateef leading a new group and although the supporting musicians do not add as much as those of the first LP Lateef more than makes up for it. On the first track "Oboe Blues" Lateef does in fact play the oboe and it is a blues. There are not many jazz musicians that play this double reeded instrument, but Lateef makes it sound as though there should be more. The sound of the oboe is like a deeper richer soprano saxophone in Lateef's hands and those blues phrases seem eminently suitable to the instrument. His flute playing on "Angel Eyes" is also a revelation with its depth of sound, he makes those low notes sing. He plays some good tenor saxophone on the other tracks and Terry Pollard solos well throughout on piano. Bernard McKInney plays the euphonium and while his richer sounding instrument adds to the collective playing he struggles to make any impact in his solo work.

These early Lateef releases are featured on CD 1 of an Eight Classic Albums re-issue - looking forward to listening to the others.

syyskuu 20, 2020, 6:08 pm

Cake - Fashion Nugget - 1996
Comfort Eagle - 2001
Cake - the American rock band with a trumpet player. The genre that fits them best is probably alternative rock in that they have a sound all of their own and the lead singer and composer of the majority of their songs John McCrea is mostly responsible for that. He has a clear tenor voice, but his delivery is curiously deadpan which makes many of the songs he sings sound full of irony: even the cover versions. A great example of this is their cover version of "I Will Survive" made famous by Gloria Gainer: the way McCrea sings it the listener feels that the last thing he will do is survive. The cover version of Willie Nelson's "Sad Songs and Waltzes" is also given the McCrea treatment. It is the songs that are foremost on these two CDs; the group want us to hear the words and the musical backing features guitar riffs/figures and some trumpet arrangements. McCrea's own songs feature alliteration and word play: cars, fast or in traffic, along with love songs are the subject matter. There are some neat observations and the tunes are good and the stripped down arrangements are effective. There is not a bad song on these two CDs and on Fashion Nugget there is some nice guitar.

The songs are instantly listenable, but I don't know how they would stand up to repeated playing. After hearing these two CD's I would be happy to hear more from this band, but only if McCrea is singing the songs. Wry smiles and nodding appreciation are the order of the day.

syyskuu 24, 2020, 4:35 am

Miles Davis - Complete In A Silent Way Sessions - 2001
This is a three CD box set and the actual music dates back to 1969. I listened to CD2 and CD3 which has all the music recorded in a three hour session on the 18th February 1969 and is considered the first of Miles Davis truly electronic music. On the original LP release there was just two tracks
Shhh/Peaceful on one side and In A Silent Way/Its About That Time on the second side. On CD2 there are unreleased versions of both these tracks and on CD3 there are the original LP versions plus a couple of tracks from a session later that year. I was interested to listen to a complete session release to get inside the music, its a chance to get a feel for what the musicians were doing. I assume the best cuts were selected for the original LP release and I think this is largely true for In a Silent way. It maybe also that some splicing of the alternative versions was made to get the best music onto the original release.

Listening to the alternative versions is a strange experience because by the very nature of the music it shifts around. The tracks consist of passages of music and then short pauses where the rhythm might change a little or become more intense which can wrong - foot the listener and give that feeling of shifting layers of sound. The alternative tracks have this same feel and as they tend to be a little longer there is a sense of the musicians feeling their way into the songs. There is a version of Its About That Time where the music is stripped down to such an extent that the electric piano accompaniment consists of a series of chords repeated ad infinitum and which I find unlistenable. Miles Davis plays unmuted trumpet and Wayne Shorter plays soprano saxophone, but it is the two electric keyboard players: Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock along with electric guitarist John Mclaughlin who provide the sound of this music along with those persistent but shifting cymbal dominated percussion patterns from drummer Tony Williams.

A few years ago I met Eddie who back in the early 1970's was heavily involved in producing electronic music for the BBC and we got to talking about Miles Davis In a Silent Way sessions and I lent him my copy of the complete sessions. When I came to play the CDs recently I discovered that CD 1 was missing. Now CD 1 contains music recorded prior to In A Silent Way and although there are hints of Miles changing direction to electronic music much of the music is more typical of improvisations on jazz tunes. I guess Eddie decided the liked the jazz better than the electronic music or he just left CD 1 in his CD player; easily done.

syyskuu 25, 2020, 10:42 pm

One of my favorites, bas.

syyskuu 27, 2020, 11:50 am

Lightnin' Hopkins - The Complete Aladdin Recordings 1946-48
These are the first sessions in the recording studio for Samuel Hopkins who went on to make many more recordings before his death in 1982. Back in 1946 Hopkins was playing country blues music on an acoustic guitar and was in partnership for that first session with Wilson 'Thunder' Smith who played blues piano. They had a` hit with Hopkin's song Katie May the first song on this 2 CD release and were together for another session making thirteen tracks in all backed by an unnamed session drummer. There are 43 track in total and the remainder features Lightnin' Hopkins as a solo performer.

The problem with listening through the Complete Aladdin Recordings is that they are complete. Hopkins was known as an inventor of air songs in his public performances. He would sit down play a blues figure on his guitar and invent a song and there are plenty of his air songs on these discs. He does not stray very far from the country blues format and so many of his songs sound very similar and so the most interesting songs come around when his lyrics or his tunes stray outside the format. Lightnin' Hopkins was an accomplished and inventive guitarist and his distinctive slightly gravelly vocals carried his blues compositions well, but I would say that half of these cuts are superfluous unless you are an avid collector of blues songs. His guitar sound on his solo recordings sound like early John Lee Hooker (Hooker made his first recordings in 1948) but more intricate. The two sessions with Wilson 'Thunder' Smith produced the more interesting music with Smith taking a couple of the vocals and playing some good blues piano. Thunder and Lightnin' rock through the saucy "Let Me Play With Your Poodle : to great effect and it's one of the few songs that is not written by Hopkins, but he takes the vocals.

The recording quality on these early blues sessions is fairly good and they provide an excellent document to Hopkins exceptional acoustic blues guitar style and you can just picture him in the recording studio sliding his finger along one of the low note strings as an introduction to his improvisations and letting the words come as they will. You might not need to hear all the songs on this disc, but for collectors of blues music it is probably essential.

syyskuu 27, 2020, 12:22 pm

Lightnin' is one of my top 3 favorite bluesmen...

syyskuu 28, 2020, 6:38 pm

Rickie Lee Jones - Pop Pop - 1991
- Ghostyhead - 1997
Two more CD's from Rickie Lee Jones back catalogue. Pop Pop is a collection of covers and it starts with "My One and Only Love" a ballad from the late 1940's. I know the song well because it is one of the tunes I play and improvise with on my saxophone and Rickie Lee Jones has given me some new ideas with her phrasing. I was still not entirely convinced by her voice on jazz standards, but this song works for her well enough. However by the third track Hi Lili HI Lo which has a fairly simple tune came around I was convinced as she transforms it into something delightful. This is followed by Jimi Hendrix's "Up From the Skies" with some excellent acoustic guitar from Robben Ford and another great transformation. The CD gets better and better ending with Marty Balin's Coming Back to Me. Robben Ford plays beautifully on all these acoustic tracks sometimes with Charlie Haden on double bass and or Joe Henderson on tenor sax. A very good CD

On to Ghostyhead from 1997 and it's all change again as it consists of all songs written by Rickie Lee and this time with trip-hop beats giving it a feel of electronic beat music. Her songs which can ramble a little are shorn up by the beats and they suit the music very well. The songs did not hold my interest for the entire CD unlike Pop Pop but when they work as on Firewalker or Road Kill they are worth spending time with. I could not get into the final two songs particularly the slow 'Vessel of Light' and anything with a title like 'Cloud of Unknowing' is guaranteed to send me to sleep. The CD is worth a listen.

lokakuu 3, 2020, 5:51 pm

Buddy Guy - Complete Chess Studio Recordings
Buddy Guy was the house guitarist for Chess records based in Chicago and played uncredited on many of their releases from 1960-67. This compilation is made up of those releases made under his own name and so includes all of the ten singles and Ep's that were released and the one LP "Left my Blues in San Francisco". There are also a couple of unreleased tracks and a few alternate takes. Buddy Guy has a high tenor voice and his style on these releases is mainly a sort of shouted delivery. One of his early songs 'Ten Years Ago' appeared on a popular compilation The Blues Volume 2 on the Pye international label in 1964 it is typical of his style and many people will have heard him first on this release - I know I did.

There are 47 tracks of which I would be happy to listen to about 13 again. These are mostly blues songs that show off Guy's vocals and guitar style. He is supported on many of them by the Chess house band that would probably have been very familiar with his playing style. Most of the A sides are on the first CD and the band usually consisted of bass and drums. baritone and tenor sax, harmonica and or piano. Donald Hankins play baritone or tenor sax on most of the cuts and Otis Span or Little brother Montgomery are featured on piano, Buddy Guy's blues guitar is featured on all of them. The house band gets to feature on some of the other songs some of which are instrumentals. Towards the latter part of Guy's tenure with chess records they must have tried to broaden his appeal or at least try something different like Mary had a Little lamb from 1967 and Buddy's Groove a couple of years later.

It is no surprise that not all the recordings would bear repeated playings, but there are no real clunkers, even the novelty type numbers have something going for them (even Mary Had a Little Lamb) and I enjoyed the instrumental tracks, which have interesting saxophone riffs and some decent solos. This is a good example of what Chess records were all about with that Chicago sound and it reminded me that its was not always Chuck and Bo (though I have all their cuts as well)

lokakuu 4, 2020, 5:23 pm

Rickie Lee Jones - It's Like This - 2000
- The Evening of My Best Day - 2003
"It's Like this" is an album of cover versions and you have really got to like Rickie Lee Jones' voice to enjoy the whole thing. I have been listening to a few of her records over the last week and yet I am still not convinced by her singing. I would not go near any of her live recordings. She sings off key some of the time and thats OK but when she raises the volume her voice in my opinion becomes unpleasant to listen to. It becomes harsh and little-girly sometimes both at the same time. I like the way she makes other peoples songs her own giving them a new interpretation and her voice takes on a jazz swing which is effective, but she struggles to be musical sometimes. This CD release from 2000 is a good example. It kicks off with a low key rendition of Steely Dan's Show Biz Kids which sounds great her slightly dead pan delivery is perfect for the song. Marvin Gaye's Troubled Man gets a different work over and her voice is just about listenable, but the backing is great. Two real successes follow - The Beatles 'For No One' and the old film song 'Smile' from 1936 are sung with feeling and real enterprise. The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys originally by Traffic is also good, but Oh dear the rest of the CD is tiring to listen to. Her vocals on Up a Lazy River and On the Street where you live are just awful and she murders the jazz standard 'I can't get started'. All in all half the tracks I would rather not hear again.

In 2003 she had a bunch of new self penned material and I really couldn't fault any of her music on "The Evening of my Best day" The song structures are loose and she is able to stretch her phrasing to make the most of some excellent backing. Her voice is comfortable with the material and all the songs are good. This music takes her back to the excellent batch of songs she produced for "Pirates" back in 1981. The subject matter has changed, but you might need a lyric sheet to check this out. This is a real return to form and could be the best CD that I have heard from her. New listeners might wish to start here.

Rickie Lee Jones was completely new to me a couple of weeks ago and having listened to a bunch of her cds, I was pleased to find a new female singer who could produce some thrilling music. However I would not wish to listen to everything she has recorded.

lokakuu 9, 2020, 7:55 pm

Van Morrison - Wavelength 1978
- Common One 1980

Two Lp's from Van Morrison who was still pushing the boundaries of singing and songwriting as he headed towards the 1980s. Still releasing a collection of songs on a yearly basis while his songwriting peers had almost given up: Dylan was approaching that awful decade with 'Slow Train Coming' and then 'Saved' two of worst collections, Leonard Cohen was taking 5 years to produce ten new songs. and Joni Mitchell having peaked with 'Hejira' was also struggling with new material.

'Wavelength' saw Morrison flirting a little with synthesisers, but using them to enhance his songs. The Title track has some rippling electronic sounds and a song that stretches out with Morrison repeating a phrase and letting the music carry the song. This approach reaches perfection in Santa Fe which segues into Beautiful Obsession. There is still time for two of his best songs 'Hungry for your Love' and 'Take it where you Find it.' There is some excellent guitar throughout and Morrison celebrates being in America with music that chugs along on a steady beat, with some great backing vocals.

Two years later and Morrison produced a masterpiece in 'Common One'. This time Morrison is back in the `UK. It is jazz tinged with some great brass and woodwind arrangements. The songs have become even more extended with Morrison improvising his vocals. The longest track Summertime in England has a string arrangement along with trumpet and saxophone and Morrison takes all sorts of risks with his phrasing. The electric guitar riffs and figures have largely disappeared as Morrison seems intent in exploring his roots. 'Satisfied' has a bubbling organ figure with an excellent brass riff and 'Sprit' features a muted trumpet. It is the second longest track 'Where Heart is Open' that lifts this collection out of the extraordinary into the sublime. Muted trumpet and flute with a heavy electric base sound unfurls slowly to provide a perfect template for Morrison to weave his vocal magic. My vinyl copy of Common One is showing distinct signs of wear, but the odd clicks seems to fit right in and it is certainly one of those discs that needs the warmer sound of the vinyl.

lokakuu 12, 2020, 5:11 am

The Only Ones - The Only Ones - 1978
- Even Serpents Shine - 1979

The Only Ones were amongst the explosion of bands that made records in the late 1970's following the Punk and New Wave revolutions in popular music. The group really didn't belong with the Punks or the new waivers they just happened to be a rock band with a bunch of new material when record companies were signing up new bands in a burgeoning singles (45rpm) market. It also happened for the band that their best song from that first batch of material was included on a few of the early and later compilations of punk/new wave music. 'Another Girl Another Planet: it has a fast bass line a slashing guitar riff and catchy lyrics, it is played with great energy and has Peter Perret's distinct vocal delivery either side of a guitar solo. The rest of the songs on that first LP were not at all like the hit single, they were carefully thought out rock songs with good tunes and played by a group who knew how to get the best from their instruments.

A year later and the group produced their best album and one of the highlights of the late 1970's. Even Serpents Shine features all new material; songs written by Peter Perret which are high in melodic content and played with imagination by the rest of the group. There is plenty of room for Rick Perry's guitar breaks, but it is the dynamic musical backdrop that powers these songs along. Perret's vocals have a sort of fragile beauty and straddle the sound of the American new wave vocalists and the English punk bands. However it is the songs and the playing of the songs that make this LP so good. I have never got tired of it.

lokakuu 17, 2020, 3:58 am

Jeffrey McFadden - Guitar Recital

A Classical guitar recital taking in composers such as Enrique Grenados, Napoleon Coste, Vincent Asencio, Hans Werner Henze, Augustino Barrios and Rodrigo. McFadden plays solo guitar with a soft warm sound. Its the sort of concert that might have been given live at my local theatre, but with Covid 19 the closest I can get is listening to a CD. The music is tuneful with some intricate playing, hardly rising above a whisper, but the programme is imaginative and so there is enough here to please the classical guitar aficionados as well as the more casual listener. A nice evening in with a glass of wine and its on Naxos one of the bargain record labels. As Clive James said: A Guitar is a Thief in the Night

A guitar is a thief in the night
That robs you of sleep through the wall
A guitar is a thin box of light
Throwing reflections that rise and fall
It reminds you of Memphis or maybe Majorca
Big Bill Broonzy or Garcia Lorca
A truck going north or a cab to the Festival Hall
And the man who plays the guitar for life

Tests his thumbs on a slender knife
Forever caresses a frigid wife
His fingers travel on strings and frets
Like a gambler's moving to cover bets
Remembering what his brain forgets
While his brain remembers the fears and debts

Long fingernails that tap a brittle rhythm on a glass
Around his neck a ribbon with a little silver hook
Like some military order second class
You can read him like an open book
From the hands that spend their lives creating tension
From the wrists that have a lean and hungry
Eyes that have a mean and angry look

Clive James

lokakuu 22, 2020, 6:23 pm

Sco-Mule - Gov't Mule featuring John Scofield - 2015
I saw John Scofield live at the Marciac Jazz Festival a couple of years ago (live concerts seem a lifetime ago these days). He is recognised as a jazz guitarist, but has often straddled the jazz-rock fusion scene. This CD finds him playing with Gov't Mule which were once upon a time an offshoot of the Allman Brothers Band and so the music leans more to the rock side of things. It is a live recording which the band and John Scofield made in Atlanta in 1999 and so it is a bit of a historical release. The disc features nearly 80 minutes of music recorded at that Atlanta concert.

The band play extended songs giving the two guitarist Scofield and Warren Haynes plenty of time to solo and some good moments happen when they jam together. Matt Abts and Allen Woody on drums and bass play a rock beat throughout and rely on the guitarists and occasional keyboards to provide the excitement. If the music sounds like it comes from another era then that is because that is just what it is. Allman brothers guitar jams raised up a notch in excitement levels. The recordings are good if a little harsh and band announcements and audience enthusiasm is kept to a minimum, they had a lot of music to get on this disc. In fact there is also a bonus disc from other shows with additional guests up on stage. It is a bit exhausting to listen to the two Cds straight through but the band never takes its foot of the gas. Exciting guitar music if a bit one dimensional. Quite noisy.

lokakuu 25, 2020, 5:59 pm

Daydream Nation - Sonic Youth
One of the great albums of the 1980's released in 1988. Many people may have found Sonic Youth's earlier releases as unlistenable, because of the experimental nature of the music, but Daydream Nation with its killer guitar riffs provides just enough hooks for rock music fans to get to grips with some great music. The album sounds better and better the more it is played, one almost forgets the atonal guitar chords and the noise passages, because they get to sound just right, like they have always belonged. I still prefer to listen to Teenage Riot with its sprawl and its guitar riff rather than It Smells Like Teen Spirit by that other band.

So many good songs on this album with some amazing guitar sounds, yes its noisy but the band does not forget to rock, even if tempos become a little distorted and those guitar chords sound so unmusical. Total Trash is an excellent example of their sound. Exciting music and of its kind perhaps has never been bettered.

lokakuu 26, 2020, 7:59 pm

Vive La France - A musical trip through France
CD 8 Juliette Greco

A CD from the 20 CD Box set number 8 in the series and a collection of songs by Juliette Greco who died last month at the grand age of 93. As is usual with this box set these recordings are taken from the late 1940's through to the 1950's and so the recording quality is not the best. However during this period when Greco was the muse of some of the best poets and songwriters of that time in Paris there are plenty of good songs. The Cd starts with one of her most famous songs "Sous Le Ciel De Paris" which celebrates the city of Paris as the home of artists and lovers following the liberation from the Nazis. There is also Je Suis Comme Je Suis written by Jacques Prévert which I am sure an independent woman like Greco would have enjoyed singing.

She had an excellent voice with plenty of depth and could interpret all sorts of songs from the more serious to the lightest and her enunciation is clear throughout which suits many of these chansons which depend on the poetry as much as the tunes. This served as an excellent introduction to the early career of Juliette Greco and there are plenty of examples of more recent songs or of more recent interpretations on youtube. However some of the old clips cannot be beaten:

lokakuu 27, 2020, 8:52 pm

Kevin Coyne - Matching Head and Feet - 1975
Millionaires and Teddy Bears - 1978
Pointing the Finger - 1981
Burning Head - 1992
Knocking on your Brain - 1997

Derby born Kevin Coyne should have been a National (British) treasure, but Derby is one of the least fashionable towns in England and anyway Kevin decamped to Germany in 1980. I first heard him with the group Siren who released a couple of LPs in 1969 and 1971: the music was a strange mix of standard rock and blues numbers mixed up with acoustic songs written by Kevin Coyne. It was the acoustic songs that held my attention they were a little different and the melodies lingered. They were good enough to get Kevin a recording contract with Virgin records in 1971 (apparently he was the second artist they signed after Mike Oldfield). Hist first release for Virgin was a double LP 'Marjory Razorblade' which was filled with his uncompromising mainly acoustic songs and "Marlene" made the singles charts. The LP was critically acclaimed and his unusual songs drew a cult following which stayed with him throughout a career that saw the release of over 40 LP's. Marjory Razorblade was a mixture of good songs and some very self indulgent material some of it on a par with 'Wild Man Fischer' (remember him).

A Kevin Coyne LP/CD is always going to be a mixed bag, but there is always going to be a gem or two mixed in with some pretty naive rock music and these releases are very typical. The saving grace is always a remarkably good voice that sounds a bit like Joe Cocker, he effortlessly sings rock and blues numbers, but when he sings his own songs his voice is more expressive if a bit more twangy. He was never afraid to take chances and some of his experiments and some of his lyrics don't work so well. From this bunch of CD's the least inspiring is Matching Head and Feet and that is really because the songs are a bit sub standard; Andy Summers electric guitar is a bit of a bonus. Things have improved a bit by 1978 and Millionaires and Teddy Bears. Pointing the Finger in 1981 features some strident guitar work by Brian Godding and a clutch of good songs. Burning Head features the guitar style of Hans Pukke and some good songs written by Kevin. Knocking on your Brain is a double CD and is perhaps the best of the bunch, it is the collection that harks back to the sort of songs that Coyne was doing with Siren back in the early 1970's. Twenty two songs and hardly a dud amongst them. He is the sort of artist that inspires a loyal following that will forgive him some lapses in taste and I am always happy to listen to his songs.

The album covers are example of his rather naive art.

marraskuu 1, 2020, 7:56 pm

Pharoah Sanders - Karma - 1969
One of the truly great jazz tenor saxophonists. He came to most jazz fans attention when he joined John Coltrane's group in 1965. Coltrane only had a couple more years to live, but in that time Sanders was an important voice in his group pushing Coltrane ever further into free jazz territory. If people at the time thought that Coltrane was pushing the saxophone's range much further than it ought to go, then that was nothing to what Sander's was doing. He was using overblowing, harmonic and multiphonic techniques to produce all sorts of sounds (noise) and after Coltrane's death he became the leading experimental jazz/music artist on the Impulse jazz label. From 1969-72 he made seven wonderful gatefold sleeve LPs for the label and Karma was the first from that period.

Sanders new saxophone techniques were based on solid foundations and Karma found him using the exciting African rhythms and spiritual feel of Coltrane's later work, but producing more accessible music. There was still those extended solos in an upper register known only to Sanders, but there were also beautiful sweeping melodic figures working above a group heavy on percussion (two drummers and three percussionists) and two bass players. The group also included Julius Watkins on french horn and James Spaulding on flute and Lonnie Smith on piano. Karma has two tracks and both feature the incredible vocals of Amosis Leontopolis Thomas whose rich tenor voice breaks out into his own unique yodelling style. This is music that sweeps all before it waves of excitement followed by deep resonant sounds and Sanders raucous melodic playing. Fifty one years later and this music does not fail to excite.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 6, 2020, 7:43 pm

Santana - Caravanserai 1972
The best group that Carlos Santana ever led got it all together for this LP. On the original vinyl each side built through some imaginative instrumental tracks to a final guitar extravaganza. Side one ended with All the Love of the Universe and side two with Every Step of the Way and on both tracks Santana confirmed himself as being one of the great rock guitarists. There are a couple of vocal tracks mixed in but the majority of the tracks are instrumental and powered along by a rhythm section that features timbales and conga drums along with the standard rock kit.

The drummers get it all their own way on the fiercely battered Future Primitive that opens side 2 this moves into Antonio Carlos Jobin's Stone Flower to give a more Latin American feel. La Fuente Del Ritmo follows with more fierce drumming and Gregg Rolie's exciting organ breaks. Atmospheric organ and slashing guitar chords herald in Every Step of the Way some bass and drums drive in and suddenly Santana has found a guitar line and the timbales and congas build up a head of steam and one of the best flute solo breaks with throat cries puts the track into overdrive, all it needs is a new guitar figure from Santana and he comes up with a great one, building up to a climax against an orchestral background. The flute solo is uncredited, but almost steals the show it is as good as the uncredited flute solo on the Moody Blues 'Legend of a Mind' for impact.

Apart from the incredible drumming the whole disc has imaginative arrangements that fit the music so well. The early sounds on both sides of the LP fit with the glorious album cover picture of a desert camel train under a burning sun. Gloriously melodic guitar solos from Santana feature throughout. Just great music.

And the Moody Blues:

marraskuu 9, 2020, 7:39 pm

Dave Holland - Conference of the Birds 1972
No holds barred jazz from 1972 with a studio group led by Dave Holland on bass. This pianoless quartet featuring Sam Rivers on flute and tenor saxophone, Anthony Braxton saxophones and Barry Altschul on drums play at a furious tempo on three of these six tracks. You would really have to play fast to get into this group. Most of the music is in the territory of free jazz, but there are plenty of melodic lines for the listener to get a hold of. Free but not atonal. Exciting stuff.

marraskuu 11, 2020, 5:57 pm

Side Steps- Prestige Label- John Coltrane before he had his own combos.

Late 1950s . 6 discs
Red Garland Quartet with Donald Byrd on trumpet, Coltrane on tenor sax. Red G is one of my favorite jazz pianists.
Gene Ammons All Star with Mal waldron on piano
Ray Draper Quintet- draper is one of the few jazz tuba players.
Sonny Rollins Quartet- Tenor Madness- Rollins and Coltrane play licks with Red Garland on piano

An amazing piece of jazz history. Great listening while reading through the virus.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 12, 2020, 7:45 pm

Rocking, grooving or just being cool through music has got to be a way through this virus. Gardez la santé

marraskuu 12, 2020, 7:50 pm

Al Stewart and Shot in the Dark - 24 Carrots - 1980
Al Stewart is a Scotsman, but he has one of the most softly spoken English voices on record. In the 1970's he made LPs which featured his songs with imaginative orchestral backing tracks behind his largely acoustic guitar playing. The songs were good and with the shadings from the backings he made some atmospheric music, distinctive in style and taking inspiration from British folk music. This 1980 release finds him with a pop/rock group backing band. I have to say I feared the worst: much of 1980's pop/rock was so........shallow IMO.

The songs on this release are starting to sound familiar, it must happen to many songwriters; unless they are Lennon/McCartney, that after a number of release the tunes are beginning to sound very similar. But enough of the negativity, because I really enjoyed this collection of songs. Many of them are given an added zip by the group who chip in with some nice guitar riffs and solos. Stewarts acoustic guitar is featured on a couple of tracks and he is in excellent voice. Although the tunes may be starting to sound familiar his lyrics have always been inventive, often telling stories based on history or folk tales, and this crop of songs features some of his best words. Even the 1980's synth inspired keyboards sound OK.

Al Stewart - Down in the Cellar - 2000
The cellar in question is a wine cellar and any artist who features songs inspired by his love of wine is OK by me. It would have been so much better if the album title had been Down in the Cave.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 16, 2020, 7:38 pm

Eluvium - Copia + - 2007
I am not a great fan of ambient music: a nightmare for me would be having to listen to the collected works of Brian Eno and having to start from the beginning again every time I fell asleep. Eluvium is ambient recording artist Mathew Cooper and Copia almost persuaded me that I might be missing out on a genre of music. It is a disc with a huge orchestral like sound on the first few tracks and I was content to let the music of Amreik the first track wash over me. However it was the second and longest track that had me reaching for the replay button. The wonderfully named "Indoor Swimming at the Space Station" actually creates an atmosphere of an indoor swimming pool with its wash of orchestral sounds and gradually a piano motif emerges, weaving in and out of the other instruments, it is a repeated motif, but there is some variation in tone as some of the notes initially get lost in the backing. The motif is a good one that has a curious rise and fall at the end of the figure. There is nothing quite as good in the tracks that follow, a couple of which are repeated piano figures.

marraskuu 20, 2020, 6:01 pm

Pulp - Countdown 1992-1983 released 1996
A double CD that collects Pulp (Jarvis Cockers) best songs from nearly a decade of releases that did not set the world on fire. There were three LPs and a number of singles and EP's and this double CD release has twenty songs picked from those releases although one of them (Countdown) is repeated in an extended version. There was a good reason why Pulp failed to hit the big time during this period and this was because their songs were not great. Signed to the Island label in 1994 and on the coat-tails of the Brit Pop boom they did sell a lot of records and I can only think their material improved.

From 1983-1992 they were a competent band and Jarvis Cocker's good tenor vocals are featured throughout this collection. Cockers good range and tuneful vocals are definitely an asset, but on this evidence he could just as easily have been making a living belting out standard songs in working mens clubs up and down the country. A good voice but lacking in character. The songs are mostly centred around shy boy teenage angst and their quirky nature IMO really needed a more expressive vocalist. I picked out five songs from this collection that I would be happy to listen to more than once. "Master of the Universe" and "My Lighthouse" are my favourites.

marraskuu 22, 2020, 2:26 pm

Dufay & The Court of Savoy - The Binchois Consort conductor Andrew Kirkman
Guillaume Du Fay (1397-1474) was a Franco-Flemish composer of the early Renaissance, he was regarded by his contemporaries as one of the leading composers in the mid-15th century, which is a view that has not changed over the centuries. This programme presents one of the best known of all polyphonic Masses. Dufay's Missa Se La Face Ay Pale composed apparently for Savoy some time in the early 1450's. The work enjoys a special kind of status among Renaissance Mass cycles, however on this disc the typical five movement structure is not presented sequentially; but are interspersed with music of a contrasting style which are homages to the soldier Martyr St Maurice. To bulk out the programme even further there are a couple of motets and a song.

This is an all male choir: alto, two tenors and a bass and they sing beautifully throughout. I thought the program worked well and if you want to listen to the five part Mass in its entirety then you can re-programme your CD player. It is restful music with a deep richness at its centre. It was recorded in the chapel of all souls college Oxford and has an unmistakable live sound. A special CD

Dufay: Mille Bonjours - Diabolus in Musica & Antoine Guerber
Dufay's secular music set off with ancient stringed instruments. The vocals are tenor voices with a female contralto. The sound is veering towards what one might expect a group of troubadours to sound like. It all sounds good, no rough edges. Interesting some nice tunes, but the choral music at the Court of Savoy above sounds special which this CD does not.

marraskuu 24, 2020, 5:08 pm

>113 berthirsch: Nine years later Coltrane was playing Cosmic Music:

Cosmic Music - Alice and John Coltrane 1968
Following John Coltrane's death in 1967, two studio albums were released later that year Expression and Om. Since the release of the groundbreaking LP Ascension in 1966 Johns groups had continued to push the boundaries of free jazz. Every release and there were quite a few in that incredible last year of Johns recoding life was pushing his music into what has now become known as noise. It was quite an event then to realise that there was still more material to come from that period and Cosmic music was the first one to appear. It was claimed to be a private recording, but from the quality of sound it was obviously made in a recording studio. I remember being disappointed when I got home from the record shop to discover that John played on only two of the four tracks, the other two tracks featured Alice Coltrane's group. The recording dates for the two John Coltrane tracks were 2 February 1966, and Alice Coltrane 's tracks were from January 1968. It is not a disc I have played much over the years because there is so much of Coltrane's material to listen to.

First things first the title of the LP is Alice and John Coltrane and so one shouldn't be so surprised that it is Alice that plays on all four tracks (as does Pharoah Sanders) who was in both husband and wife's groups at the time. The first track is Manifestion and it would appear that the listener jumps right in someway through the piece just as John is soloing. It is a typical Coltrane group performance at that time with Sanders making an incredible noise on tenor sax, but the ear catching performance is by Alice whose rolling chords provide a base for the fiery saxophones. There are two drummers and Jimmy Garrison plays bass violin. John's second track starts side two and it is a magnificent homage to Martin Luther King. He plays bass clarinet and Sanders plays flute (but it sounds like a piccolo) Coltrane starts of with a gorgeous melodic line in a much more considered piece of music, there is still plenty of fiery playing but the piece has a recognisable shape to it. The two shorter Alice Coltrane tracks show of her bluesy influenced piano style very chordal and very beautiful strong playing. The music here sounded much better today than how I remembered it back in 1968. A nice surprise.

joulukuu 6, 2020, 6:24 pm

Mostar Sevdah Reunion presents - Šaban Bajramović a Gypsy Legend
Recorded in Mostar which is a city in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2000. The enthusiastic sleeve notes tell of a search for the legendary Gypsy singer, who had been popular in the 1980's. It could not have been much of a search because he was found singing at a music festival and according to "Discogs" he had been recorded throughout the 1980's and 1990's. However this CD is well recorded and Saban sings in front of a very good acoustic band.

Saban was well into his 60 's when he made this CD but his voice sounds strong and distinctive. The hard years on the road have not diminished his power. The songs are mostly adapted by him from his poetry and they are strong in melody. The Serbian band is made up of acoustic guitars, accordion, clarinet and trumpet and they play well throughout, but it is Saban's CD and he dominates proceedings. The music seems to be slavic gypsy folk music and Šaban's voice hovers above some good arrangements. This CD was released on the World Connection label and at the time garnered much international acclaim. The songs are all sung in a derivation of the Serbo-Croatian language and I have no idea how much the music has been adapted for an international audience. Šaban was said to have written over 700 songs - well he saved 14 great songs for this CD. Saban true to his Gypsy heritage died in poverty in Niš in 2008, but this CD is testament to a great talent, perhaps he could be considered a legend.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 8, 2020, 7:01 pm


- Unfun - 1990
- Bivouac - 1992
- 24 Hour Revenge Therapy - 1994
- Dear You - 1995

American punk rock band who spent most of their career playing as a power trio. Lead vocalist and guitarist was Blake Schwarzenbach who churned out the punk guitar riffs pretty well. The vocals were good, and the group were blessed with a decent bass player in Chris Bauermeister, who with drummer Adam Phaler rocked the trio. The group hardly changed their sound from their debut disc in 1990 till Dear You in 1995. There are good songs on all the discs, but Dear You has much better recorded sound and so this is the disc I listen to for preference.

joulukuu 11, 2020, 7:12 pm

Donovan - Cosmic Wheels - 1973
Since his debut LP in 1965 Donovan's album releases had come thick and fast until 1971 and then there was a two year gap, until Cosmic Wheels and suddenly the guy whose last couple of release had been mostly acoustic now came back with songs aimed at the pop charts. It was a successful album and Donovan was back in the charts.

One side of Cosmic Wheels is aimed at rock music fans and the songs have large production values and are well recorded. Weak material can be dressed up to sound ear catching, but in 1973 Donovan was still writing good songs and the rock music plus strings sounds great. I think this is one of his releases that is frequently overlooked. It sounds good to me.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 15, 2020, 4:55 pm

Steve Earl - Copperhead Road - 1988
Steve Earl - Side Tracks - 2002
Steve Earl is an American singer/songwriter with his roots in country music. Copperhead Road is all original material and so the quality of the album to some extent depends on the quality of the songs and there are no worries here because there are some great songs on this album. The country music roots are buried deep in rock oriented arrangements, but the influence is there in the lyrics. The album starts off with three excellent songs out of the first four "Copperhead Road" "Back to the Wall" and "The Devils Right hand"
The rest of the album never quite reaches those heights again but it comes close with "Even when I'm Blue" and "Once you love" which has some striking electric pedal steel guitar. "The Devils Right Hand" has since been recorded by a variety of artists and has become something of a classic. Being critical I would say that the heavy depth charge like 1980's drum sounds can be a bit intrusive, but they do add plenty of depth to the songs.
Interesting lyrics throughout and Earl's deep drawly voice is recorded well.

Side tracks has been labelled as a compilation album, but stray tracks would be a good description. The tracks were recorded at different times and didn't belong on previous album releases. It is another strong collection of songs and well worth a listen, in fact taken together it is probably a stronger collection of songs than Copperhead Road and that can't be a bad recommendation.

joulukuu 15, 2020, 5:36 pm

#123--not much of a country fan but I look at Earle as something of a national treasure. Good pick.

tammikuu 2, 2021, 6:17 pm

Bobby Previte and Bump - Counterclockwise - 2003
Jeff Herr Corporation - Layer Cake - 2014

Two jazz groups led by the drummer. . Drummer led jazz groups can produce some high octane music with the drums to the fore in the mix and this is the case with Bobby Previte's American group. Jeff Herr's group is more typically European and so the emphasis is on sound and timbre, anyway there are three of them whereas there are five in Previte's group.

If I was sat down at a blind listening competition I reckon that nine times out of ten I would be able to guess which groups were American and which were European even if I had never heard them before. Back to the music - Previte's group sound like mid period Charlie MIngus with Previte (I presume) shouting out encouragement to his soloists (this doesn't happen with European bands - they like to be taken more seriously perhaps). A feature of the Previte disc is the ensemble playing with Marty Ehrlic on tenor saxophone and Curtis Fowlkes on trombone who know each other well enough to improvise together to provide exciting if somewhat jagged sounds. There are good solos and the group are driven along by Previte's drumming and Steve Swallows electric bass. The group also have long time associate Wayne Horvitz on piano to fill out the sound.

Jeff Herr's Layer cake is a different proposition with Maxime Bender (yes really) on tenor and soprano saxophones and Laurent Payfert on bass. Herrs drumming has a clean sound and he is featured for most of the disc improvising his rhythms behind Benders solos. There are four short tracks amongst the more lengthy improvisations where the group concentrate on making sounds rather than music which to me sounds like a waste of time and had me wondering if there was something wrong with my headphones.
They really did not need this because Bender is a good soloist; melodic and precise and plays well in front of Herr's drums. Laurent Payfert's bass glues it all together. All of the material is original except for a workout on David Bowie's 'The Man who sold the world' The theme sounds great on tenor saxophone, but it took me a few seconds to realise what it was.

Both these discs are worth listening to and I cant get the David Bowie tune out of my head; 4 stars for Bobby Prevites Counterclockwise and three stars for Jeff Herr.

tammikuu 4, 2021, 7:14 pm

Tom Verlaine - Words from the Front - 1982
Tom Verlaine - Cover - 1984

Tom Verlaine (birth name Thomas Miller) is a rock guitarist who hit the big time with his group Television. Based in New York the group got a regular gig at the CBGB club and were along with Talking Heads in the vanguard of the 1977 new wave groups. The release of Marquee Moon demonstrated that the burgeoning new wave scene were worth a listen. Marquee Moon remains a classic rock album. I saw Television live in London probably in 1978 and they put on an exciting show. I saw Tom Verlaine again some years later when he toured as a member of the Patti Smith group, the years had changed him a little as he seemed so introspective that Patty Smith introduced him as the band member who had not said a word to anyone the whole tour, he played well though, hunched over his guitar ringing out his solos with perfect clarity.

Verlaine worked long and hard on his guitar technique searching for a clarity to the notes he played, I get the impression when I hear him play that his solo work is well thought out and composed in advance. These two solo albums both have that distinctive guitar sound and Verlaine wrote all the music. Control along with introspection seems to be the guiding principles for Verlaine, but I might be doing the man an injustice. The strength of the albums then depends on the quality of the songs and Verlaine is experimenting here a little with song structures, but he writes some good melodies and there are some very good songs on both these discs, but some suffer from repetitive guitar riffs that ring out so clearly that they become difficult to listen to. Verlaine's vocal work can sound strained and he has trouble in bringing depth and colour to his voice. If you are a fan of Television's Marquee Moon then neither of these albums will disappoint, because when Verlaine comes up with a good song it is memorable and there are several here - 3 stars for both albums

tammikuu 7, 2021, 6:00 pm

Pantera - Cowboys from Hell - 1990
Breakthrough album from this American heavy metal band that went on to become one of the most successful bands on the heavy metal scene. They influenced plenty of other bands with their thrash metal riffs, slowed down to give more depth to their sound. There is room for guitar solos from Dimebag Darrell and Phil Anselmo's vocals take rocks rough vocal sound to just short of screaming. They were no flash in the pan having started out in 1981, but by 1990 they had forged a sound of their own.

There are plenty of good tracks on this album with varied tempos and lively guitar riffs. On the seven minute 'Cemetary Gates' the group start of acoustically and build to a climax with Darrell's guitar out - shrieking Anselmo's vocals and just to prove a point the next track Domination starts off with fast riffs and power drumming before morphing into more grunge guitar territory. Throughout the guitar playing is impressive and very well recorded, the band stay tight and produce an impressive sound, changing tempos and riffs with expertise. This is a good example of the music and a 4 star disc.

tammikuu 10, 2021, 5:27 pm

Schubert - The Complete Impromptus - Alfred Brendel
I am always on the lookout for re-issues on the Philips Duo label, older recordings released at bargain prices. This one features Alfred Brendel 's recordings of the shorter piano works of Franz Schubert. They are analog recordings digitalised, but they have not lost the warmth of the originals. The music is logical, romantic and tuneful flowing out of the speakers and full of Shubertian flourishes. They are a good starting point for anybody embarking on a discovery of romantic piano music.

On the first CD there are Impromptus D899 with no 3 in G flat and no 4in A flat having particularly striking melodies, these are followed by Impromptus D935 and 16 German Dances D783. The music is very accessible, many of the tunes will sound familiar. CD 2's music features 3 Klavierstucke D946, 6 Moments musicaux D 780 and 12 German Dances D790. The recordings are all from the early 1970's, but no further details are given. Impromptus give the impression of light weight music perhaps made on the spur of the moment, but this is not what this music sounds like at all. Relax, kick off your shoes, pour a glass of wine and let this music flow over you - it's good for the Covid-19 blues.

tammikuu 12, 2021, 5:57 am

Louis Armstrong - Hot Fives and Sevens
Volume 3 1928
This was a significant year for Louis Armstrong's playing and therefore a significant year for jazz. He was quickly leaving the New Orleans traditional dixieland formats in his wake and moving on to something new. It was the year he recruited Earl Hines to the piano chair and the year that his groups started playing in a way that we now recognise as modern jazz, with solo space for instruments over the rhythm section. His trumpet playing was approaching his best and his vocal interpretations of standard songs was about to set a blueprint for many other artists to follow. He was creating Jazz solos that were moving further away from the groundbeat, floating over the rhythm section in a way most jazz players do today. There are many of his famous tracks in this volume: West End Blues, Weather Bird: a duet with Earl Hines, Hear me Talkin to ya, Tight like this, Muggles and his brilliant vocal on St James Infirmary. This is my favourite volume of the set; it has so much variety and its all good.

This is part of a 4cd set originally released on the Columbia label, but I have them on JSP records. They are of course old recordings; the earliest is November 1925, but have been very well remastered. This is the cornerstone of any jazz collector interested in the history of Jazz. I would say essential and a five star listen

tammikuu 14, 2021, 6:42 pm

The Decemberists - The Crane Wife - 2006
This was the breakthrough album for the group led by songwriter and lead vocalist Colin Meloy. Their sound is most easily described as folk/rock, but with a whole set of new songs written by Meloy. The songs are are good lyrically as they are melodically and with The Crane Wife parts 1, 2 and 3 having such a great tune to work on gives the album a special atmosphere.
After the opening track The Crane Wife 3 and that gorgeous tune comes The Island which is twelve minutes of musical progression with its excellent folk/rock arrangements.

Did I mention that the tunes were good, well they are all good. O Valencia is a well sung and played pop song, while Shankhill Butchers is an edgy acoustic folk song that tells of murder and fear inspired by the Ulster Loyalist gang in the Shankhill area and then there is The Perfect Crime which swings with a funky guitar figure. Meloy has a distinctive voice immersed in folk roots music, but updated to sing these modern songs. This is a superb folk/rock album and a five star listen.

tammikuu 15, 2021, 5:21 pm

The Ruts - The Crack - 1979 - 4 stars
The Ruts - The Peel sessions - 1990 - 5 stars
The Ruts DC - Rhythm Collision - 1982 - 3 stars

The Ruts were a rock group that came to the attention of most rock music fans in 1978 a year after the first punk bands had managed to change the music scene somewhat in 1977. They struggled to get their first album released The Crack which only hit the shops in late September 1979 and then seemed something of a disappointment. They had featured on John Peels radio show in England with two sessions earlier in 1979 with a bunch of classic rock songs that seemed to feature almost every week and so by the time The Crack was released it felt to me a little tired. Those John Peel radio sessions were released in 1990 and so there was an opportunity to compare the recordings.

Babylon's Burning, Savage Circle, Dope for Guns, S U S, It was Cold, Your Just A..... and Something That I Said were featured on both releases and the songs are so good that they are worth hearing twice and to my ears the Peel sessions have that extra punch. The group had a presence about them, Malcolm Owen was a powerful vocalist and Paul Fox played excellent guitar lines, but it was the rhythm section of Segs and Dave Ruffy that powered the group and gave them a depth of sound that is recognisable. The Peel Sessions also had room for a couple more excellent songs Staring at the Rude Boys and In a Rut. However The Crack had a couple of the groups reggae dub tunes that was the direction the group were heading especially after the demise of Malcolm Owen. The groups anti-racist stance did not endear them to the rightwing mob that attached themselves to many of the punk bands.

White boys playing blues we have all got used to, but white boys playing reggae was perhaps stretching things a little back in 1980. Rhythm Collision was the result of the Reggae experiment and I think there are mixed results. The bass and drums are superb throughout and the songs have that Ruts presence, but the harmonica on some of the tracks sounds intrusive. It's worth getting the CD for two excellent songs that do work Militant and Accusation

tammikuu 15, 2021, 5:35 pm

#131--one of my favorite bands.

tammikuu 16, 2021, 7:50 pm

Johnny Shines - Standing at the Crossroads - 1971 - 4 stars
Johnny Shines - Traditional Delta Blues - 1991 - 3 stars
Johnny Shines - Too Wet to Plough - 1977 - 4 stars.

I thought I had heard most of the great American Delta blues artists, but Johnny Shines has crept under my radar and he was the real deal. He was a farm worker back in 1932 and in 1935 was travelling with the great Robert Johnson, who undoubtedly influenced Shines guitar playing especially his slide guitar work. Shines never got into a recording studio in his early years, but did so in 1946 with Columbia records and again in 1950 with Chess records, but these takes were not released. Shines had to wait until he was rediscovered in the late 1960's and in 1968 he made two LPs.

Standing at the Crossroads was released in 1971 and is a solo all acoustic set for the most part well recorded. His strong tenor voice rings out clearly sounding a bit like Muddy Waters, but it is his guitar playing that really catches the ear; soft gentle slide guitar that is inventive and tuneful. He was over 50 when he was rediscovered, but these 1971 recording capture him seemingly in his prime. Much of his material is original although rarely strays outside of the country blues format. Traditional Delta Blues although released in 1991 features sessions from 1972 and 1974 and again Shines is alone in the studio. This one is a bit more of a mixed bag with some tracks seeming like out-takes and much of his slide guitar work is missing from the songs.

Too Wet to Plough finds him in the studio with an acoustic group featuring Louisiana Red on second guitar and Sugar Blue on harmonica, they are underpinned by Ron Rault on bass. They work well together playing in a fairly relaxed style and Johnny Shines vocals are more expressive on these tracks, with plenty of examples of his falsetto range. He plays some good slide guitar as does Luisiana Red and overall this is very good acoustic blues. A couple of tracks are solo recordings by Johnny Shines. Overall Shines is a bit of a discovery for me and his singing and playing is very fine indeed, perhaps his vocals lacked just a little bit of character.

tammikuu 22, 2021, 6:14 pm

Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark - 1974
A superb collection of songs, ten of the eleven written by Mitchell, every one in its way a gem. My LP copy of this is fairly battered, but while it will spin I will continue to play it. The songs are all love songs told by Mitchell in her unique personal style and that is why I like her. She more than any other artist catches those personal moments in love affairs, many are written in the first person. She might sing about waiting for her lovers car to sound on the hill leading up to her house, or she might be reminding her errant lover that it all "Down to You". She often makes herself sound vulnerable, but then again most lovers are vulnerable in one way or another. She is however always strong enough to move onto the next love affair: she counts lovers like railway cars.

Her voice is of course instantly recognisable and on the final song the only one not written by her, she does a good job on a jazz vocal number. There is sadness and joy, with her deeply tonal piano chords sounding out that sadness, while her ringing acoustic guitar is present on most of the upbeat numbers. The production values are excellent apart from the scratches on my copy it still sound marvellous. She still had two more excellent collections to be released in the 1970's; "The Hissing Of Summer Lawns" and "Hejira" before the 1980's and a noticeable downturn in her songwriting, but this is wonderful and 5 stars.

tammikuu 25, 2021, 6:07 pm

Timeless - John Abercrombie - 1975
An early release on the ECM label and knowing that label "Timeless" seems to fit right in with their sound, however it is dangerous to call a collection of music "Timeless" when drummer Jack DeJohnette is in the group. This was American Guitarist Abercrombie's first release as a leader and he had come from playing in mainly jazz-rock groups and that influence shows on this release which is a mixture of jazz fusion, modern jazz and much that hovers between the genre's. Keyboards are played by Jan Hammer who had previously recorded as part of John Maclaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra and he wrote half of the material on "Timeless". It is no surprise that the first track opens with a pumping organ sound from Hammer and Abercrombie plays guitar licks that sound much like McLaughlin. It is only the jazz drumming of DeJohnette that stops it sounding just like the Mahavishnu orchestra.

The second track 'Love Song' changes that with an acoustic guitar and piano duet and then we are onto 'Ralph's Piano Waltz' with the group sounding like something from a well recorded Jimmy Smith album. There is a very catchy phrase repeated on organ and electric guitar that binds this improvisation together and Abercrombie seems to be finding his feet as a jazz guitarist. 'Red and Orange' takes us back to a more Mahavishnu Orchestra sound, but the changes introduced by DeJohnette stops it from falling into a jazz-rock beat. 'Remembering' is another acoustic guitar piano duet and the CD ends with the title track 'Timeless' which shifts the group into thoughtful free jazz territory. A varied selection of music on this CD and it sounds like Jan Hammer could have had equal billing with Abercrombie. Being on the ECM label it sounds marvellous and I think there is enough music on here to satisfy anyone who leans more to the jazz element of fusion sounds. I enjoyed everything on here and so 4 stars.

tammikuu 28, 2021, 6:18 pm

Joe Henderson - Mirror Mirror - 1980
American Jazz saxophonist released his first LP as leader in 1963 and was recorded regularly throughout the 1970's, 80's and 90's. This 1980 release sees him leading an all star group with Chick Corea on piano, Ron Carter - bass and Billy Higgins drums. This is inventive jazz played by musicians who had taken on board the avant garde explosion in the 1960's and absorbed this into their playing. Henderson rarely resorts to overblowing techniques happy to let his musical playing carry all before him. Only on Joes Bolero are we back in the 1960's. A superb tenor saxophonist he works well with a busy and inventive Chick Corea who also has some excellent solo time.

An excellent reissue and 4 stars.

helmikuu 2, 2021, 7:23 pm

Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow - 2005
Devendra Banhart is definitely a one off. A singer songwriter who writes freaky type songs that go their own way. Cripple Crow is his biggest selling album: a double LP originally containing 22 songs. He has a distinctive vocal style; a strong voice that wobbles in a way that Marc Bolan's voice could be made to do. On Cripple Crow he plays guitar and the backing musicians sound like they have been influenced by late 1960's psychedelic music. He does write some good tunes and he does write some awful ones, but they all get packed onto his releases. Of the 22 songs on Cripple Crow I am happy to listen to ten of them. Many of these songs have a rough and ready feel to them which sometimes works to their advantage. Childish and silly at times he could always make a living on children's TV. This release could be filed under weird, but not so weird that it doesn't come together strikingly at times. 3.5 stars

helmikuu 6, 2021, 6:50 pm

Jackie Leven - Creatures of Light and Dark - 2001
Jackie Leven claimed that he was songwriter of genius and wrote so many songs that he wanted to make more than one record every 18 months. His record producer told him to go away he was only contacted for a certain number of records. Leven therefore turned to releasing records under the name of Vincent Lone. This CD however was released under his own name and I am inclined to believe he was a songwriter of genius. He has a distinctive voice where one can hear traces of a Scottish accent.

There are ten excellent songs on this CD all with interesting arrangements, but the lyrics are always worth a careful listen especially on songs like "The Sexual Loneliness of Jesus Christ" or "My Spanish Dad" He is not afraid to take risks and on Rainy 'Day Bergen Women' or 'Billy Ate My Pocket' this really pays off. He is the sort of artist who might click with you on hearing him on the radio and leads you to hunting down some of his records. Be warned there are many. This is probably one of his most accessible and the songs stay with me long after they have been played. Definitely New Wave. A five star collection

helmikuu 8, 2021, 7:38 pm

Echo & the Bunnymen - Crocodiles 1980
Echo & the Bunnymen - Ocean Rain 1984
A new wave band from Liverpool that managed to create a distinctive group sound. Nothing spectacular, but recognisable with songs that were well thought through and Crocodiles is an album that gains in power as it progresses. The music has a dark side to it with its threatening sexual images and the powerful vocals of Ian McCulloch who sounds like a more tuneful version of the Doors Jim Morrison. The bands sound feature a prominent bass guitar sound and sparse slashing guitar motifs. There are good songs on the first side, but the album closes with four great songs starting with "Villiers Terrace" and going into "Pictures on My Wall" This is followed by the catchy guitar riff of "All That Jazz" and the album ends with "Happy Death Men" which is as desperate and dark as the title suggests. Probably one of the best rock albums of 1980 and 5 stars

Four years later and the release of Ocean Rain still found the groups sound intact, perhaps it had lost its raw edge, but it had gained through McCulloughs more expressive vocals. However the big change was the use of strings not just strings but a 35 piece orchestra. Generally the orchestra is used to dramatise the songs, but occasionally it cant help but produce sweeter sounds that I think reduces some of the power. The songs are still full of dark imagery and the tunes are good, but not surprisingly they do not quite match those of the first album. "Thorn of Crowns" tries something different but McCullough sounds even more like Jim Morrison. "The Killing Moon" has some of the swagger of their first album. The fuller sound however does not always improve the groups sound and a little of the atmosphere they created on their first release is lost. This is still a good listen and so 4 stars.

helmikuu 11, 2021, 6:44 pm

Bert Jansch - Crimson Moon - 2000

Jansch was a Scottish singer/songwriter, but best known as a stalwart of the thriving London Folk scene back in the 1960's. He was a founder member of the British folk group Pentangle. He was a master of the acoustic guitar and his music never strayed too far from his folk roots, although some of his work with Pentangle crossed over to popular music. His own releases and there were more that 30 under his own name were typically a mixture of traditional folk songs and his own compositions. His voice although recognisable could not be considered strong and just about carried his songs. Really you listen to his consummate guitar playing and his obvious passion for British folk music.

Crimson Moon released late in his career is a good example of his work. It contains eight of his own songs plus a version of the American ballad Omie Wise and a cover of Guy Mitchell' Singing the Blues from 1956. There are also covers of a couple more songs from the 1960's folk scene. Bert Jansch is usually worth a listen especially if you are interested in British folk music and want to hear an artist steeped in the tradition 3.5 stars

helmikuu 16, 2021, 9:07 am

Kate and Anna McGarrigle - Kate and Anna McGarrigle 1975 - 4 stars
- Pronto Monto 1978 - 3.5 stars
- The French Record 1980 - 3.5 stars.

I have had these records sitting on my computer for a number of years and have hesitated to play them thinking that I would not like their far too musical take on folk music. What a pleasant surprise when I got round to listen to them this week because I fell under the charms of the Mcgarrigle sisters almost instantly. On their first eponymous LP they wrote ten of the 12 songs which they sing beautifully. Its more popular music than folk, but the songs are tuneful and well crafted and they do not outstay their welcome. The sisters have good voices and they harmonise well, but its the care they seem to give to their music that makes it so worthwhile. They have a number of star backing musicians, but they do not intrude on the ambience and charm of these two fine singer/songwriters. They also do an excellent job on Loudon Wainwright's "Swimming song". It is only on the last song the traditional "Travelling for Jesus" they sound a little too cheesy

Pronto Monto is more of the same, but the vocal arrangements are a little more complex as they move further away from the folk genre. The French Record is just what it says on the tin. All the songs have french lyrics and the sisters combine with Philippe Tartartcheff in the songwriting department. While I like this record almost as much as the other two I do find the Canadian twang on a couple of the songs a bit off putting. All three releases contain a good collection of songs that will easily pass away an enjoyable forty minutes apiece.

helmikuu 17, 2021, 11:39 am

Tysahwan Sorey:
Oblique 1

Money Jungle
Duke Ellington/Charles Mingus/Max Roach

helmikuu 21, 2021, 7:59 pm

Duke Ellington & Ray Brown - This Ones For Blanton
This was released on the Pablo label in 1972 and one of the labels early releases. Pablo was a record company founded by Norman Granz and back in the mid seventies it felt like almost every other jazz record release was on Pablo. In the early years of the label it was a typical Norman Granz production in that famous jazz artists were given studio space to improvise together, there were plenty of duets, but this one featuring Duke Ellington on piano and Ray Brown was something special. Ellington was in his 70's when this was recorded, but listening to him play is like absorbing the history of jazz pianists from Art Tatum onwards, with particular attention paid to the innovations of Thelonious Monk.

This one for Blanton pays tribute to Jimmy Blanton who in his short career as bassist with Duke Ellington's band from 1940-42 showed how the double bass could be used as a solo instrument. Ray Brown comes from the era of the Be-bop musicians when bass solos were a fact of life on many record releases, he is a master of the jazz double bass and his meeting with Ellington sees two musicians creating wonderful music. On side one there are four Ellington compositions including Pitter Panther Patter which comes from the Jimmy Blanton era and on which he soloed. The duo also improvise their way through the traditional See See Rider. The feature of this excellently recorded album is the interplay between the two instruments, while Duke is soloing Brown will be doing wonderful things on the bass; Ellington had always been a superb accompanist to other players with his sketchy notes always seeming to fall in the right place, here he is more inventive not letting Brown steal the show.

On side two there is the Fragmented Suite for Piano and Bass which is credited to both musicians. It is in four movements and could well have been worked through in the recording studio. The first movement starts with Ellington playing a repeated single note and a brief word between the musicians sets them off on an improvisation, with Ellington using single notes sparsely, setting a plan for Brown to do his stuff. The second movement starts with a chord sequence which will sound familiar, and Ellington has plenty of melodies in his armoury to bring to the party; Great stuff. This is a five star release and deserves repeated plays.

helmikuu 26, 2021, 6:49 pm

Dilon Djindji - Dilon
Dilon Djindji is a musician and entertainer from Mozambique famous in that part of the world for his playing and story telling. He had his first and only long playing CD released in 2002 when he was 75 years old. At the time he was optimistic that it would be the start of an international career, but sadly that does not seem to have happened. He was still alive in 2019 claiming to be 93 years old and the king of Marrabenta music.

Riverboat records took a chance with this release and it got good reviews in the world music press. Dilon sings thirteen songs and accompanies himself on acoustic guitar. The music has a lilt to it that compares to South African high-life music. He is backed by electric guitar and hand drums on some tracks and a saxophone makes an occasional appearance. It is basically folk music and Dilon obviously had a good time making this music, because on several tracks he breaks out into laughter, in fact on one track he is laughing almost all the way through. Riverboat records have done music lovers a service because Dilon's songs are good and they are sympathetically recorded. He claimed to have written over 500 songs, but these thirteen songs sung in his rough vocal style (perhaps he has a few teeth missing) are enough to be going on with. His joy of making music is infectious and so 4 stars.

maaliskuu 1, 2021, 5:34 pm

Samy Thiébault - Caribbean Stories - 2018
Alex Garnett's Bunch of Five - Andromeda - 2015
Two European jazz release featuring tenor saxophonists (my favourite jazz instrument), neither of which break any new ground, but fit snugly into the mainstream of jazz releases.

Samy Thiébault was the last live act I saw at Marciac's jazz festival in 2019, before Covid-19 descended on us all and closed all the venues. I was not particularly impressed with his set which featured tunes from Caribbean stories, but I bought his CD anyway. It does have the feeling of a jazz group looking for a new sound or at least different rhythms and thinking that The music of the Caribbean islands might give them inspiration. The group is a sextet: supporting Thiébaults saxophones and flute are guitar, trombone, bass, drums and percussion. Thiebault has brought a clutch of good tunes to the recording studio and his arrangements are efficient and the playing is good, but for me he does not capture the Caribbean. Attempts at a couple of group vocals do not add anything and it is all just a trifle lacklustre. Nothing wrong with the music, with saxophones, guitars and trombones all having solo space. I enjoyed this CD with its catchy tunes and so 3 stars.

On Alex Garnett's Andromeda you get two tenor saxophonists for the price of one. Englishman Garnett links up with fellow saxophonist: American Tim Armacost who are supported by piano, bass, and drums. It is a blowing session with the two front men well supported by a good rhythm session. They play a couple of standards and six tunes written by Garnett, the musicianship is of a high quality with both saxmen creating plenty of interest with their long solos. I am a sucker for two tenor saxophones trading riffs off each other and a lot of that happens on this disc. Garnett is a studio musician who rarely gets the chance to feature his own group on a CD, but he sounds like he enjoyed this session. The group sound good at brisk to fast tempos and put me in mind of the group led by Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott in the 1960's. The music has not changed an awful lot in the intervening years, but as an example of a straight ahead jazz combo this will do just fine. Garnett features the lowest notes at times in his solos to such an extent that I thought he had switched to a baritone sax at one point. This CD does not have the polish of Thiébault's disc, but it does have a lot more jazz. 3.5 stars.

maaliskuu 3, 2021, 2:41 pm

>143 baswood: late Duke Ellington (see Money Jungle,too) is so interesting and inventive.

Thanks for the YouTube link.

maaliskuu 8, 2021, 8:08 pm

Eric Clapton - Crossroads - 4 Disc set - 1988
This four disc set gives the listener nearly five hours of Eric Clapton and documents his career from his early work with the Yardbirds up until the releases under his own name in the 1980's.

In my opinion Eric Clapton did his best work when he was working for someone else and this is highlighted by this collection. Left to his own devices he can sound uninspired and his vocals have never been the strongest. Having said that much of the music on this collection is superb. We hear his tentative rather polite solo's with the Yardbirds back in 1963. He was the star of John Mayalls group in the mid sixties, providing plenty of attack with his stinging solos. He was at at his best when he teamed up with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce in the Cream; the three musicians pushed each other to create some of the most exciting rock music in the late sixties and there is a good selection here including "Spoonful" and the shorter live version of "Crossroads". Clapton moved on to become a member of the supergroup Blind Faith with Baker, Steve Winwood, and Rick Grech. It was a short lived venture: a headline concert at the Hyde Park in London and one LP, there are three tracks included, one previously unreleased. The excellent single with Delaney and Bonnie: "Coming Home" was certainly worth including and then disc 2 closes with two tracks from the original Derek and the Domino's which featured Duane Allman.

Disc three starts the slide into less inspired music featuring a bunch of unreleased tracks that were projected to be the second Derek and the Dominoes LP. There is usually a good reason for tracks not being commercially released and that is they are not good enough and this is certainly the case here. Duane Allman had gone and Clapton was leading a group of excellent musicians that just did not spark. Clapton was still firing off melodic solos in the now familiar blues style, but there was nothing to match the freshness and excitement of that first LP. Clapton needed other musicians to really spark and the likes of Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon were not it. The music then gets safer and safer as Clapton seems to be rivalling J J Cale in who can be the most laid back musician in history. Yes many of the songs are good and are interspersed with a few live blues tracks where Clapton reminds us just how good a rock guitar soloist he is. All in all this is an excellent representation of Clapton's music, however nothing much seems to have been done to enhance the recording quality and some it sounds a little underpowered to me. 4 stars.

maaliskuu 15, 2021, 8:27 pm

Howard Jones - Cross That Line - 1989
Howard Jones - One to One - 1986
Howard Jones had at least six singles that made the top ten music charts in the UK, he had success in America as well. He is said to be one of the defining figures of synth-pop a genre of music which is not usually my favourite hunting ground. However I think that Howard Jones had something going for him, underneath all that pop glitter there was a good songwriter and arranger struggling to get out and Cross that line proved that to be so. It did produce the hit single 'Everlasting Love', but the rest of the music was more thoughtful and Jones used his studio expertise to produce some memorable songs. He stretches his tuneful vocals a little more: he has a good range and his keyboard work shows more maturity. After all his hit singles the album itself was relatively unsuccessful and coming some three years after his previous release, he had disappeared from view. "Guardians of the breath" is an imaginative composition as is "Those who moved Clouds" and "Out of Thin Air" is a melodic piano instrumental. Everything sounds good and this one off release where he succeeds in being taken more seriously is a four star release.

One to One bristles with the synth pop that made his name and just wasn't as good as his previous albums, his material was thinner and he seemed to be desperately searching for that winning pop formula - 3 stars.

maaliskuu 20, 2021, 8:30 pm

Scritti Politti - Songs To Remember - 1982
Scritti Politti - Cupid and Psyche - 1985
I must stop listening to this 1980's pop music, but there is an excuse with Scritti Politti who are really Green Gartside a Welsh singer/songwriter. Scritti Politti started as a DIY group making and releasing their own music on the rough trade label and this is when I first heard them. It was Green Gartsides vocals that promised something different - a high pitched breathy voice singing catchy melodic pieces in songs that seemed to ramble all over the place. Much of it was acoustic home made sounding material. You would never think that this was the case when listening to these discs which feature highly polished, highly produced synthetic pop music. Gartside is now the star and his gift for melody although still very much in snatches has been harnessed into songs that are tight knit in rhythm and content.

Songs to Remember is probably the best of the two discs, because the material is slightly better and Gartside's vocal charm is a little more stretched, covering reggae beats, jazz swing and white soul all channelled into a pop music format. The music still retains elements of the original do it yourself approach but in new high fidelity sound. There are plenty of guest soloists who enhance the material and the professionalism of musicians keep these songs moving along to great effect.

Cupid and Psyche refined the sound even further but Gartside's voice shines through the over production that takes the character away from some of his music. Green Gartside is always worth a listen, an original talent.

maaliskuu 24, 2021, 8:22 pm

Rudresh Mahanthappa - Bird Calls - 2015
Charlie "Yardbird" Parker bending notes to create quarter tones that feature in Indian Classical Music. There is no mistaking a jazz release with Bird in the title; its just got to be a reference to Charlie Parker. That is what I thought when I first heard alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthrappa play on the first track: Bird Calls No.1. There are five Bird Calls tracks which are interlaced with tunes that pay tributes to Charlie Parker. The sleeve notes tell the listener that Rudresh's quintet improvise on themes that are suggested by Parkers original tunes and as an example "Chillin" is based on "Relaxin at the Camarillo". The songs are not a re-run of Parkers tunes but contemporary compositions: perhaps based on a theme or an improvisation by Parker. If all this sounds a bit complicated then not to worry as the music speaks for itself. The music is very much in the modern jazz tradition with a theme and then improvisations on that theme.

The group is Mahanthappa on alto sax, Adam O'Farrill on trumpet who share most of the solo space and then Matt Mitchell piano, Françoise Moutin bass (who solos on Bird calls No.4) and Rudy Royston drums. The alto sax and trumpet sound good together, complimenting each other and swapping ideas. It is however Rudresh Mahanthappas disc and his grainy fierce sounding alto resonates through most of this music. Rudresh is American but has Indian ancestry which of course is reflected in his music. It would seem that alto saxophonists are particularly attracted to the sound of Indian music, I remember John Handy in the sixties and his collaborations with Ali Akbar Khan and Joe Harriott's Indo/jazz fusion releases at about the same time. Mahanthappa brings the Indian influence right into his playing there is no need for collaborations with Indian musicians on this disc.

The music is very much contemporary jazz, but the arrangements are imaginative and the themes melodic. The rhythm section can power the group along when needed and Rudresh can play those fast runs on the alto sax. This was the first time I had heard Mahanthappa and I am mightily impressed, its always good to discover another saxophonist, especially one that has his own voice. A five star recording.

maaliskuu 28, 2021, 5:21 pm

Damaged - Lambchop - 2006
Kurt Wagner leader and singer/songwriter of Lambchop plays at being Leonard Cohen and proves once again that you do not need much of a voice to make great music. Like Cohen's music it is the words and then the tune that make these songs so successful. Wagner does not have Cohen's deep growl of a voice, his is altogether lighter and more well spoken, but it is the phrasing and the words that are the main attraction. The songs are for the most part talked /sung at a slow to mid tempo, with a simple quartet feel leaning towards country music, with the addition of slide guitar, but it is the orchestral arrangements that deliver the sumptuous tunes. Think of Leonard Cohen's third LP Songs of Love and Hate and you will understand where I am coming from. There are also some computer generated sounds, but these hardly intrude into the format.

On first listen I found that the lack of song variety made the disc sound a bit samey, but there are subtle and not so subtle differences and these soon reveal themselves as do some of the lyrics. One paced it might be, but it a pace that feels just right for the songs. The first and longest song: "Paperback Bible" shows what can be done with lyrics taken direct from a radio bring and buy programme. Wagners vocal delivery makes them sound like poetry with some ear grabbing lyrics such as; "I have always thought/That handguns were made for shooting people/Rather than for sport. We have to wait for the final song: "The Decline of Country and Western Civilization." for Kurt Wagner to break out of his non emotional word smithing to create a song with anger and passion. It is a fine ending to an excellent disc and a 4 star release for me.

Laura Veirs - Year of Meteors - 2005
Singer songwriter Laura Viers writer of clever and very listenable contemporary songs hits more than she misses with this collection. Not a great vocal talent, but her sometimes deadpan delivery is stretched a little on these tunes. A three star release.

huhtikuu 10, 2021, 6:20 pm

Amalgam - Prayer for Peace - 1969
The younger jazz musicians around the London scene in the late 1960's and early 1970's were making some fine music. There was plenty of cross over with the blues and rock scene and many were influenced by the American avant garde and free jazz movement. For me British jazz albums released at this time are a treasure trove and this first release by Amalgam is one of the best. On this release Amalgam are a power trio led by Trevor Watts on alto sax, Jeff Clyne double bass and John Stevens on drums.

The first track is a fourteen minute extended improvisation by the trio with Watts alto hardly pausing for breath. Comparing him to modern day musicians he sounds like a more impressive Kenny Garrett. The next three tracks are three improvisations on a theme written by Watts and called Judy's smile. The final track is the achingly beautiful Prayer for Peace with Clyne playing bowed bass. Back in 1969 this album sounded like cutting edge, it is extremely well recorded with all three instruments coming across loud and clear, but with an unmistakable group sound. It still has all the power and beauty that you could want and Trevor Watts sounds magnificent all the way through.

huhtikuu 16, 2021, 7:13 pm

Red Temple Spirits - Dancing to Restore an Eclipsed Moon - 1988
Red Temple Spirits were an American band that managed to release two albums before fading back into obscurity. I probably picked up this first release in one of the bargain bins of the old HMV record shop. Probably attracted by the exotic sounding name and a nice album cover, but the album has stayed with me probably because their sound reminds me so much of the "Cure" one of my favourite bands of the 1980's. It seems that the Red Temple Spirits had listened very carefully to the Cures 1982 release 'Pornography' and did a good job in enhancing the sound of that album. The songs are crafted around bass guitar riffs that lope along making a nice platform for guitar lines and the distinctive vocals of William Faircloth.

The groups sound hardly varies throughout the eleven tracks, its a mixture of psychedelia and grunge, but when the band work themselves into a groove they sound impressive. I am a succour for this sound and a band whose lyrics reach for something more than the drug inspired love songs that are all too common is an added bonus. 4 stars.

huhtikuu 20, 2021, 7:00 pm

Soft Machine - Third - 1970
Now considered to be a classic, this experimental (very experimental) double album can still surprise. There are four long tracks that stretch over each of the four sides. What is surprising is that anyone in the 1970's got past side 1 track 1 "Facelift" which is truly awful. Cobbled together from two live performances: the sound quality is not great and the music is worse. Crushing chords from Mike Ratledge's organ seem to be the main feature of the first six minutes, before drums, bass and saxophones join to play a series of pointless riffs. I didn't like this in 1970 and it sounds even worse now. Things improve on side 2 and they needed to. A bass figure lays the ground for Elton Deans alto saxophone played in unison with other reeds and a rocking organ riff. The group prove that they can play together and there are some interesting improvisations over tightly controlled jazz/rock riffs. Wyatt's drumming is imaginative and the bass guitar pulls everything together. They even manage to convince the listener that the group did not need a guitarist and that they could overcome the boxy sound.

It is side three that was worth the price of the double album and the only track that features vocals. Robert Wyatt's high pitched vocals improvise over a catchy tune which stops and starts gloriously. It is shadowed by some inspired organ work by Ratledge. Wyatt proves that his drumming can both swing and rock and the group come together to rock out an exciting riff in great style. New themes emerge and with this group the chaos still lurks menacingly around the corner held together by the thread of Wyatt's vocalising. It is one of the great inventive and listenable tracks from that era. The final track is Mike Ratledge's "Out Bloody Rageous" and the awful noise that he created on track one is firmly put in its place by some exotic sounding keyboard work before the group leap in with Ratledge and Dean creating their unique sound of organ and alto sax. An excellent extended solo by Ratledge over a tuneful rock riff (still no guitars) seem to bring things to a close, but there is still time for a new theme and some throaty improvisations from Dean. This track swirls around and melodic content is high. Buy the double album if you must, but throw away sides 1 & 2 after a cursory listen. A great half of a double album makes this a 5 star listen.

huhtikuu 21, 2021, 1:16 pm

two jazz albums - one old one new

Sonny Meets Hawk-Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins on Sax, Don Cherry on trumpet.

A new Charles Lloyd (on sax) collaboration with Bill Frisell on guitar, Greg Leisz on pedal steel, Reuben Rogers on bass and Eric Harland on drums.
A new group they call themselves The Marvels who re-interpret Dylan's Masters of War. Moody and tuneful. Additionally, 2 treats: Willie Nelson on Last Night I had the Strangest Dream, and Norah Jones on You Are So Beautiful.

huhtikuu 27, 2021, 10:51 am

>155 berthirsch: I saw Charles Lloyd at the Marciac jazz festival five years ago I think his playing is better than ever.

I think I have got that Sonny Rollins LP with Coleman Hawkins - I will dig it out.

huhtikuu 27, 2021, 10:53 am

The Blues Collection - Peetie Wheatstraw no. 82
The Blues Collection - Mance Lipscombe no. 85
Two Cds that would have been issued with an accompanying magazine in the Blues Collection series. There were 92 magazines published between 1993-1997 in the UK. Apart from a couple of Christmas compilations all the magazines featured one blues artist and the magazine gave some details of the life and work of the artists. The above Cds have obviously been ripped from the magazines and can usually be picked up from second hand Cd outlets for not very many pennies. I have never read any of the magazines and so do not know how informative they were. I am sure there are people who have collected all 92 issues but I am not one of them.

From the issue numbers it is clear that by the time these artists featured they had run out of household names. (number 1 issue was John Lee Hooker) These two might even be quite obscure to blues music fans. I pick up these Cds whenever I see them and the more obscure the better, because the more famous artists can be represented by sub standard material. It would seem that Peetie Wheatstraw is well represented by this selection of eighteen tracks. Wheatstraw played guitar and piano, but it was his vocals a lyrics that set him apart. These tracks date from the 1930's and 1940's and demonstrate an early jazz tinged Chicago blues sound. The instruments are acoustic but the songs are urban with titles like 'Gangster Blues' 'Working on the Project' and 'Police Station Blues' this is a good collection with a variety of supporting artists and well worth a listen. 4 stars

Mance Lipscomb was a rediscovered blues artist making his first records at the age of 65 in 1960. He was an acoustic guitar stylist in the manner of the country blues. These tracks demonstrate that he was good instrumentalist and he had an attractive voice. Like many of the more famous country blues artists he also played vaudeville and more popular music as well as blues tunes. He was primarily a performer rather than a songwriter. I imagine that this 20 track selection shows him performing in the blues style and he makes attractive recordings of "Corrine Corrine" "Evil Blues" and "I want to do Something for You". Not all of theses sides are are successful, but they are well recorded and again worth the pennies it will cost you to get the Cd. 3 stars.

toukokuu 4, 2021, 7:33 pm

Sonny Rollins - The Bridge - 1962
Sonny Rollins - Dancing in the Dark - 1987
The Bridge is Sonny's comeback album after taking a more than two year break from recording. He spent the time 'wood shedding'; that is overcoming what he saw as his musical limitations. Sometime during this period he could be heard blowing his tenor saxophone on the pedestrian walkway above the Williamsburg Bridge in New York. Apparently his 15 hour a day practice sessions were disturbing the neighbours and so he took himself off in all weathers to play on the bridge. While he had been away on his sabbatical, that other tenor saxophonist John Coltrane had grabbed all the headlines. The wood shedding must have been worthwhile because The Bridge turned out to be one of his best selling albums. On The Bridge (the album) he led a quartet with guitarist Jim Hall, Ben Riley on drums and Bob Cranshaw on drums. If people were expecting a different sound or new style they would have been disappointed because Rollins sounded just like he had never been away, but his playing on the album was superb throughout. The album contains the usual mix of Rollins originals and songs from the American songbook. Of the two Rollins tunes I like John S where a lively theme leads into a solo full of tension. However to admire his technique you only need to listen to his version of God Bless This Child and his playing in the lower register of his instrument. He receives good support from Jim Hall who is inspired to solo well and they both swing like mad on Cole Porter's You Do Something To Me. This is a five star record.

All the way forward to 1987 and Dancing in the Dark and Sonny Rollins sounds like Sonny Rollins. He now has an electric pianist and electric bass in the group along with trombonist Clifton Anderson. but his solos have that same marvellous shape to them and can push the music along which must be exciting for his band. Sonny's original tunes are more wide ranging on this album: Duke of Iron has that West Indies sound that had earlier inspired St Thomas and O.T. Y. O. G. has soul and R & B influences. Dancing in the Darl features one of Rollins famous unaccompanied solos as an intro. and the final track Allison is a great tune. Rollins is not afraid to extend the range of his playing at this stage of his career, but it is kept within bounds and doesn't stray into the avant-garde. Much of the music on this album is uptempo which makes a nice contrast to The Bridge.
This is another choice album from Rollins catalogue and to my ears another 5 star recording.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 17, 2021, 6:50 pm

Free - Free - 1969
Nice Enough to Eat - Various Artists (Island label sampler) 1969
Back to British late sixties rock music and Nice Enough to Eat was just the best sampler Lp ever released - I ended up buying all of the records that were sampled - just look at the lineup - Nice enough to eat and as cheap as chips.

1. Fairport Convention – Cajun Woman
2. Mott The Hoople – At The Crossroads
3. Spooky Tooth – Better By You, Better Than Me
4. Jethro Tull – We Used To Know
5. Free – Woman
6. Heavy Jelly – I Keep Singing That Same Old Song
7. Blodwyn Pig – Sing Me A Song That I Know
8. Traffic – Forty Thousand Headmen
9. Nick Drake – Time Has Told Me
10. King Crimson – 21st Century Schizoid Man
11. Quintessence – Gungamai
12. Dr. Strangely Strange – Strangely Strange But Oddly

Woman by Free came from their second LP which is my favourite by the group and I recently bought the enhanced CD version which has nine extra tracks from that 1969 session. There are two new songs to the original release which are forgettable, but the other seven track which are all alternative versions are well worth a listen. Andy Fraser was one of the very best rock vocalists and his thoughtful powerful singing on these tracks is at its best. The songs all feature some tuneful guitar work by Paul Kossoff before he went off the rails. Perfectly worked blues based rock songs which may be short on quantity, but have quality in abundance. 5 stars.

kesäkuu 1, 2021, 7:35 pm

Lyambiko - Lyambiko 2005
Tina May - Divas - 2013
Silje Nergaard - Darkness out of Blue - 2006

Three female vocalists who would probably be pigeon holed as jazz singers, but who tread a fine line between popular music. The jazz label is probably merited because of the supporting musicians who do most of the improvising. All three have excellent voices, but my interest in the music tends to wander to those backing musicians.

The most appealing voice of the three is the Norwegian singer Silje Nergaard, but on Darkness out of Blue there is very little jazz indeed. She writes much of her own material and I was hoping she would stretch herself more, as she does on her Night Watch CD. Tina May's Divas takes songs made famous by female singers from the past, unfortunately I would prefer to listen to most of the originals. She does well with Chet Baker's Lets get lost and there are some nice solos from her musicians. Lyambiko is a German singer born in Tanzania and has made her name singing jazz standards and I think she has the most interesting voice of the three singers. Her voice has more depth than the other two counterparts and she tackles a few Latin American songs to give a variety to this collection. So nothing earth shattering here and all of the CD's are a bit patchy and so three stars.

heinäkuu 31, 2021, 5:59 pm

Thelonious Monk - Genius of Modern Music - 1951
After immersing myself in books published in 1951 I thought to look and see what was top of the music charts. According to Best Ever Albums internet site this LP was the best selling LP. Wow! I could not believe how groovy the record buying public were in that year. I was expecting to see something by Doris Day, but her highest entry was way back at number 6. An even bigger surprise was that the LP was still available as a CD and so I ordered a copy. I might not have been so quick had Doris Day been the best seller.

The CD that eventually arrived through my post box, however only told half the story as it was not the same as the LP that those cats were listening to in 1951. Back in the day the LP was a compilation of five single releases and was the first record by Monk to appear as a long player. The music dated from recording sessions dating from 1947 and 1948, the latest CD version is a compilation of three sessions from 1947 and so while it has extra tracks it misses entirely `Epistrophy' and 'Misterioso' But still it was good to hear about 60% of the music that was on that 1951 release.

Getting to the music, which is the work of a genius, albeit early Thelonious Monk; these were the first sessions he made as leader and they contain a whole bunch of original tunes that have since become jazz standards, such as 'Off Minor' 'Round Midnight' 'Ruby My Dear' and Well, You needn't'. The earliest of the sessions is a sextet and the music is firmly in the Bebop mode with fast tempos and bright sounding solos. The group is powered along by Art Blakey on drums and they sound like a Dizzy Gillespie ensemble without Dizzy, but there is also a solo piano track titled 'Thelonious' which was not included on the original compilation, but dated from the 1947 sessions. The real genius of Monk emerges on the piano trio tracks that follow the sextet recordings, and they sound like blue prints for all the modern jazz that followed. Yes there were a lot of switched on people in 1951, unfortunately there was none in my household. The recording quality is good and this would serve as a good introduction to Monk's music.

lokakuu 21, 2021, 6:12 pm

Desert Blues 2 (Rêves D'Oasis) - Various Artists - 2002
There was a Desert Blues 1(Ambiance du Desert) and a Desert Blues 3 (Dunes et Savanahs). They form a series of double CD's that provide an introduction to music from the desert regions of North Africa. This is no hastily put together sampler of lesser music, but carefully selected tracks from some of the most respected musicians of the region. I can understand why it has the label of blues, but it would be more accurate to describe it as folk music, mostly at a slow or medium tempo which has a feel for the blues.
It is a Francophone compilation with artists hailing from Mali, Morocco, Guinea, Algeria, Senegal, Egypt and Sudan. Curiously enough it was released on the German label NetworK Medien and compiled by Christian Scholze. There are 22 tracks and every one of them is worth a listen.

The music is acoustic and features a variety of instruments, guitars, ouds, African flutes, harps, koras, drums, violins, ............. It is the variety of vocal performances that is the most immediately ear catching. Different voices, timbres enliven each song and it is no matter that the words are not understandable to non speakers of the African dialects employed, because the songs in themselves are so good and the atmosphere created by the vocals and instruments carry the listener along with them. There are some famous artists of world music featured here. Lobi Traore, Rokia Traore, Habib Koité, Cheb Mami, Mansour Sek. Some of the best tracks have been laid down by artists unknown to me - Momo Wandel Soumah with his guttural vocals and crude saxophone sound, or the haunting flutes and shells that back Abaji's Gibran with its great tune and hoarse whispered vocals. The tracks are superbly recorded making up this 5 star collection. All that needs to be done now is to hunt down CD1 and CD3.

lokakuu 29, 2021, 5:35 pm

Cassandra Wilson - Coming Forth by Day
On this 2015 release Cassandra Wilson sings eleven songs made famous by Billie Holiday, plus one original song co-written by her. It is a challenge for any artist to reinterpret songs made famous by singers from the past and to perform eleven by the same artist is very brave indeed. There are probably two main approaches to the problem; either to perform the songs in a similar style to Billie Holiday in the hope that your vocal talents will outshine the original or to completely rework the material. Cassandra Wilson has chosen the latter approach and more power to her elbow. She is helped by the fact that the songs are from the great American songbook and so were not written by Billie Holiday and so it is a re-interpretation of a re-interpretation.

The songs as sung by Billie Holiday were backed by a stellar group of jazz instrumentalist. Lester Young, Teddy Wilson etc....... musicians who knew Billies style of singing and were comfortable with sharing the music making. Billie was able to sing the most trite of these songs with a melancholy bordering on desperation that could electrify the listener and so it is a hard act to follow. Wilson has surrounded herself with studio musicians and complicated arrangement designed to enhance the atmosphere of the originals. However in the attempt to enhance the melancholy bluesy style of Billie they have slowed down the tempos, to such an extent that to some listeners they sound like a dirge. The arrangements take the place of the bright solos of the originals and Wilson's deep vocal style seems to struggle at times beneath the arrangements. My first impression of the music was that the slow tempos were dragging down the songs and when I played them back to back with the originals which seemed to be played almost at double time this was the case.

This album attracted some rave reviews on its release and no doubt fans of Cassandra Wilson would be impressed, but to my ear only a couple of the songs benefit from their new arrangements and Wilson's artistry suffers as a result. She would have been better to get rid of the studio musicians led by Nick Launay and start again. 3 stars.

tammikuu 11, 2022, 7:15 pm

Souad Massi - Deb
Souad Massi is an Algerian singer/songwriter/musician now based in Paris. She fled Algeria after a series of death threats and has now established herself as a star on the world music scene. Deb is her second album and after the bitterness expressed in the lyrics of her first album Raoui this is mainly a collection of love songs. Souad Massi sings mainly in Arabic although there are a couple of french lyric songs on this album.

This is an acoustic album with an amazing collection of acoustic instruments. What strikes this listener is that the Arabic songs with their middle eastern inflections fit so well over a series of arrangements that blend middle eastern instruments with acoustic guitars. Souad Massi's vocals are steeped in a folk tradition and are expressive and beautifully toned. What makes this album special is the quality of the songwriting all originals: some with a flamenco influence, others distinctly Portuguese Fado, others of course Algerian, but also many sound like well crafted English folk music. Apart from acoustic and flamenco guitars, cello, violin, flute, oud and various percussion instruments provide a musical tapestry of sounds. No electronic wizardry here just beautifully recorded instruments that come across as clear as a bell just like Massi's vocals.

Translations of the lyrics are available, but the quality of the songs and the satisfying tunes with titles such as: Oh My Heart, I shouldn't have fallen in love with you, Mummy I lie to you, Heartbroken and Freedom will tell you all you need to know to enjoy this superb collection of songs. This is a fusion album that works.

tammikuu 30, 2022, 3:58 pm

The Sage of Tippo
Well: all you hip-cats of the 1960's; who is The Sage of Tippo. I was introduced to him through the music of Georgie Fame, who started out playing in the London clubs in the mid 1960's. R&B at the Flamingo Club where he was leader of the house band; he had a weekly venue, Friday nights I seem to remember. He later had a hit with The Ballad of Bonnie and Cyde, but he started out playing rhythm and blues (the 1960's kind) and he featured songs by Mose Allison, not only did he feature some of his songs but he based his vocal style on that of Mose. At that time Mose was mistaken at times for a black singer as was Georgie Fame, they both featured blues material and their nasally vocal style was unmistakeable.

The Sage of Tippo by Mose Allison is a double CD released in 1998, featuring 4 LPs that Mose had recorded in the mid 1960's. Mose was a jazz pianist who wrote his own songs and developed a vocal style that swung along with his piano. His lyrics were satirical, ironic and political, offering sage advice for all those that tuned in. His discs usually featured four or five vocal outings along with instrumental jazz music tracks, typically recorded as a jazz trio. Mose wrote over 150 tunes, throughout a long career in music. He was an artist that straddled the blues/jazz divide, but he was just too hip a jazzster to successfully cross over into more mainstream pop music. His piano style would have frightened many a middle of the road listener. Allison was born in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi in the small unincorporated community of Tippo. This collation does not feature many of his best songs, but still features some great music and is typical of his output at the time. As a bargain introduction to the man and his music it works well.