Friday, July 29, 2011

Jimi Barbiani Band: Back On The Tracks (2010)

Back On The Tracks
Awesome debut studio disc by this excellent blues/rock axeslinger from Italy featuring 11 tracks of first-rate, authentic, vintage, world-class, blues-based retro-70's, heavy guitar rock that kicks ass with style, class and righteous, old-school, soul-powered, sonic six string authority. Formely of the band W.I.N.D., Jimi Barbiani brings & delivers the six string mojo that speaks the same language as the guitar greats. Highly recommended to fans of Hendrix, Trower, Clapton, Zz Top, Warren Haynes (Gov't Mule) & The Allman Bros.
01. I Feel So Lonely [06:08]
02. I Got The Devil [05:29]
03. Good Time Man [04:12]
04. Weeping Sky [07:05]
05. Party Angel [03:48]
06. Streets Of Love [03:30]
07. Superstition [04:31]
08. Sure Got Cold After The Rain Fell [05:23]
09. You Don't Know [05:07]
10. The Day Of The Witch [04:08]
11. Good Morning [10:52]
Back On The Tracks
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Erik Truffaz: Bending New Corners (1999)

An odd reissue of sorts, Bending New Corners combines tracks off two of trumpeter Erik Truffaz's previous albums. It is unclear why Blue Note felt the need to repackage these tracks yet again; however, here they are and they are worth a listen. Containing tracks from the sessions that produced The Mask and its European version, The Dream, Bending New Corners is a groove-oriented work that draws heavily on late-'60s and early-'70s Miles Davis. To these ends, Truffaz is a forward-thinking improviser with a plangent tone and knack for writing funky, modal compositions. Adding to the hip quotient, rapper Nya guests on a few tracks, delivering a gruff, philosophical vibe that is more G. Love than G Unit. Recorded in 1999, the tracks seem more connected to the post-rock, jazz-rap movements of the '90s; in the post-2000 world they don't feel as cutting edge as Truffaz would probably like them to seem. ~ Matt Collar
Recording information: Studio Du Flon, Lausanne, Switzerland (04/03/1999-04/06/1999).
Personnel: Erik Truffaz (trumpet); Nya (vocals); Patrick Muller (piano, Fender Rhodes piano); Marcello Giuliani (acoustic bass, electric bass); Marc Erbetta (drums, percussion).
01. Sweet Mercy
02. Arroyo
03. More
04. Less
05. Siegfried
06. Bending New Corners
07. Betty
08. Minaret
09. Friendly Fire
10. And
Bending New Corners
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Passport: To Paradise (1996)

PASSPORT was a German jazz/fusion group formed in 1971. Founded by Ace Saxeman, composer and arranger Klaus Doldinger along with Curt Cress (percussion), Kristian Schultze (keyboards), and Wolfgang Schmid (bass & guitar). This was the classic lineup that started with their 4th album "Looking Thru" in 1973, their first US release. I'm not familiar with their first 3 albums, but outside Klaus, the lineup was pretty different. This classic lineup continued through the next 5 albums. Utilizing spacey electronic jazz with rock and classical styles, this group was very groundbreaking. Klaus has a knack for coming up with some of the most beautiful saxe melodies you ever heard. Curt Cress was probably one of the first drummers to experiment with electronic drums. Bassist Wolfgang Schmid's classical guitar adds a nice demension. And Kristian Schultze's use of synth and mellotron gives them an expansive orchestral sound. After their 8th album, PASSPORT went through many different incarnations with only Klaus as the common denominator in all of them. In the 80's, Klaus did other projects like motion picture soundtracks, most notably "Das Boot". But PASSPORT still to this day records and performs (mostly in Europe, they came to the US only once) with various personnel. But it was the classic lineup that expanded their audience and gave them critical acclaim.
1. Blue Kind of Mind
2. Ovation
3. Jungle Song
4. Happy Landing
5. Melancholia
6. A Night at Kippie's
7. Walking Man
8. Green Lagoon
9. Gimmee a Break
10. La Moutte
11. Escape
Passport To Paradise
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

James Carter: Caribbean Rhapsody (2011)

The extraordinary decade-long collaboration of jazz virtuoso James Carter and classical composer Roberto Sierra comes to a thrilling culmination with the release on May 17 of their first recording, Caribbean Rhapsody. Sierra's Concerto for Saxophones and Orchestra, composed for Carter and premiered in Detroit in 2002, is the centerpiece of the new Emarcy CD; a new Sierra composition, "Caribbean Rhapsody," which features Carter, his musical cousin Regina Carter on violin, and string quintet, is a gorgeous companion piece. Two solo interludes on tenor and soprano saxophones respectively were composed by Carter in response to themes and elements in both of Sierra's works.
1. Ritmico
2. Tender
3. Playful - Fast (with swing)
4. Tenor Interlude
5. Caribbean Rhapsody
6. Soprano Epilogue
Caribbean Rhapsody
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jeff Strahan: Double Live at Billy's Ice (2009) [2 CD]

If you aren’t familiar with Jeff, he is a native of Lamesa, Texas, near Lubbock where he grew up on a diet of edgy country, blues and rock ‘n’ roll. He eventually moved in the 80’s to Austin and played a variety of genres in a variety of bands. Frustrated with the “music business” Jeff pursued a “real job” with the hope of returning to music. He was actually a successful trial lawyer in Texas for 10 years before deciding to return to music in 2000. (We lose one lawyer and gain back a great musician all at once- that’s a good day!!) He moved to Durango, Colorado to gain musical inspiration. This must have worked as Jeff delivers a killer live performance that you do not want to miss. -
Double Live at Billy's Ice (2009)  This album was recorded at Billy's Ice House in New Braunfels, Texas in October of 2008 and was released on 4/4/09.  It is a double disc set that includes 22 tracks of raw live music.  The recording qualitity is outstanding and the album really captures the true sound of Jeff and his band.
01. Introduction
02. Everyday's a Holiday
03. Amen to the Blues
04. Confused
05. Del Rio
06. Cooler Than Cool
07. Viva Mexico
08. Smoke Filled Room
09. Superman
10. New Girlfriend
11. Looking for My Rhythm
12. Montana
13. Just a Douche (Feat. Texas Renegade)
01. Hard to Be a Cowboy
02. Take Me to Texas
03. Too Much of a Good Thing
04. Love Me Right Now
05. Along for the Ride
06. Green Grass
07. Introduction to Folsom Prison Blues
08. Folsom Prison Blues
09. Southern Jeans
Double Live at Billy's Ice
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Michel Legrand: Michel Plays Legrand (1993)

Michel Legrand's LaserLight CD boasts quite an all-star band (trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, trombonist Bill Watrous, altoist Bud Shank, Buddy Collette and Hubert Laws on flutes, guitarist John Pisano, bassist Brian Bromberg, drummer Peter Erskine, and the leader/pianist) but is surprisingly (and disappointingly) relaxed. The emphasis is on ballads, Legrand sings two dramatic pieces that are outside of jazz, and none of the solos are all that memorable. Sandoval is overly restrained and, even with some strong moments from Watrous and Laws, this session does not reach the heights one would expect from this cast of musical personalities. - AMG
Tracklist :
01. Summer Me, Winter Me
02. What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life
03. The Summer Knows
04. This Quiet Room
05. Brian's Song (The Hands Of Time)
06. Watch What Happens
07. You Must Believe In Spring
08. How Do You Keep The Music Playing?
09. One At A Time
10. Little Boy Lost
11. La Valse Des Lilas (Once Upon A Summertime)
12. The Windmills Of Your Mind
Michel Legrand (arranger, composer, piano, vocals)
Arturo Sandoval (flugelhorn, trumpet)
Bud Shank (alto sax)
Bill Watrous (trombone)
Pete Christlieb (tenor sax)
Brian Bromberg (bass)
Buddy Collette, Hubert Laws (flute)
John Pisano (guitar)
Peter Erskine (drums)
Michel Plays Legrand
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Rob Tognoni: Rock & Roll Live (2010) [2 CD]

Here comes a double dose of uncompromising, high-octane, live power-blues-rock from one of the most adept practitioners of the genre! This double-disc set contains wall-to-wall killer licks and a dirty-low-down blues-rock feel as Rob Tognoni's fancy fretwork, crushing chords, and sparkling solos slice through the rock-solid rhythm section.
CD 1
01. Rock & Roll Business Man [03:36]
02. Black Chair [03:21]
03. Dirty Occupation [04:41]
04. Dark Angel [09:38]
05. Drink Jack Boogie [04:23]
06. Bad Girl [04:30]
07. Roosevelt & Ira Lee [04:52]
08. Guitar Boogie Refried [02:54]
09. My Detonation [02:59]
10. Product Of A Southern Land [08:05]
11. Itty Bitty Mama [09:13]
12. Lands Of Cirrus [03:10]
13. My Acid Is Kickin' In [05:08]
CD 2
01. Hey Joe [06:19]
02. Keep Your Head Above Water [03:39]
03. The Real Thing [04:38]
04. Mr. John Lee [04:03]
05. God Bless America [03:31]
06. Jim Beam Blues [05:45]
07. This Is Rock And Roll [03:31]
08. 2010dB [03:48]
09. Words Of A Desperate Man [04:30]
10. Shoot to Kill [04:57]
11. Redhouse [07:29]
12. Baby Please Don't Go [13:15]
13. Shoot, Hoot, Electrocute [05:15]
Rock & Roll Live
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Friday, July 22, 2011

The Bad Plus: Never Stop (2011)

Never Stop, the Bad Plus' eighth recording, is their first of completely original material. In a decade-long career filled with curve balls (the last being 2009's For All I Care, their first set of all cover material and the first to feature a vocalist), Never Stop pushes their margin and extends their reach far past canonical definitions of the "jazz piano trio." "The Radio Tower Has a Beating Heart" feels like a nearly six-minute classical intro, full of complex harmonics, roiling kit drums, and a near pastoral theme that is interspersed with angular yet lyric, swinging post-bop improvisation. The title track is nearly an uptempo pop song, set to a near marching tempo. Irony abounds in "My Friend Metatron," with its relatively brief schematic theme that gives way to shimmering crescendos and codas, Latin tinges, and multiple time signatures. "Beryl Loves to Dance" feels more like a sprinting scherzo before it settles down into a funky groove with some knotty harmonic twists adding more irony -- not gimmickry -- to the mix. "Snowball" is a brief, lilting, skeletal ballad, imbued with near impressionistic piano nuances before Anderson takes the melody and asserts it with restraint and taste. "2 P.M." works through a particularly intense jazz improvisation while keeping a taut focus on modern classical composition as a methodology. The two longest pieces are the elegant "People Like You," where Iverson touches on Vince Guaraldi and Bill Evans, and "Bill Hickman at Home," a haunting naturally flowing jazz ballad with added quirkiness because it is played on a slightly out of tune piano, allowing for some compelling inside-out improvisation with a nearly cinematic flourish. The set closes with handclaps on the joyous gospelized blues "Super America." The Bad Plus' originals have always been provocative, but being parceled between covers, their impact was unduly blunted. Hearing an entire program of them on Never Stop offers listeners a full appreciation of just how innovative and creative -- and yet accessible -- they are, even as they redefine and expand the role of the piano trio in jazz. [AMG]
Tracklist:1. The Radio Tower Has A Beating Heart
2. Never Stop
3. You Are
4. My Friend Metatron
5. People Like You
6. Beryl Loves To Dance
7. Snowball
8. 2 P.M.
9. Bill Hickman At Home
10. Super America
Bonus Tracks
11. Birthday Gift
12. Lily Pad
Never Stop
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yutaka Shiina: At the Moment (1996)

Given the intensity and quality of the many piano trios throughout jazz history, undertaking another example must make even the most confident pianists a little hesitant. Most pianists safely stick to groups where they can fade into the background from time to time and let a horn player take the spotlight. Yutaka Shiina will have none of that. He places his piano center stage and draws the bass and drums into a taut unity. The trio ripples with rhythmic interactivity and harmonic ideas. The small size of Art Club Strings leaves no space to hide. Customers line up along the curve of the piano or sit on high stools, with a clear view and an unmiked intimacy. Fortunately, none of these pressures seemed to affect Shiina’s playing. If anything, he thrives on the challenge, choosing a well-rounded set of tunes that showcase the many facets of his piano chops and the trio’s cohesion. The opening tune, “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise,” requires a steady-handed tempo. Played too fast, the tune comes out jumpy; too slow, it can be dull. The trio kept the focus perfectly, showing their control and taste. Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz” is one of those tunes that sounds easy, but has notoriously difficult two-against-three rhythms. Again, the trio nailed it, so well that even Shiina, who a year ago never smiled during his live shows, grinned broadly and shouted encouragement during the solos. The last tune of the first set, “Never Let Me Go” evoked the desperation and pleading of the tune’s lyrics with elegance and a particularly lovely solo by Shiina. “Fascinating Rhythm,” the classic knucklebreaker, loosened all three up to a faster tempo that was great fun. Hirose took ever-longer and more intricate drum solos that complemented Shiina and the small club atmosphere perfectly. Shiina also included two of his originals which showed he has steeped himself not only in the history of piano trios but of compositions as well.
Tracklist :
1. Subconsciousness (Yutaka Shiina)
2. Glow Of The Sunset (Yutaka Shiina)
3. Mr. Day (John Coltrane)
4. Nearness Of You (Ned Washington-Hoagy Carmichael)
5. Night At The Maiden Voyage (Yutaka Shiina)
6. I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You (Ned Washington-George Bassman)
7. Fascinating Rhythm (Ira & George Gershwin)
8. Lover (Lorenz Hart-Richard Rodgers)
9. Royal Garden Blues (Spencer & Clarence Williams)
10. Far East Bridge (Yutaka Shiina)
Recorded: New Orleans, Aug 31 & Sep. 1, 1996
Yutaka Shiina (p)
Reginald Veal (b)
Herlin Riley (ds)
Nicholas Payton (tp) (5, 6, 9)
At Moment
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ambrose Akinmusire: When The Heart Emerges Glistening (2011)

Co-produced by Akinmusire and his label mate and mentor Jason Moran, the album's 12 songs (10 of which were composed by Akinmusire) feature the 28-year-old trumpeter's young quintet (tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III, pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Harish Raghavan, and drummer Justin Brown), a close-knit group of longtime friends and frequent collaborators that breathes a remarkable collective identity. The New York Times wrote that the quintet "seems destined for much wider recognition," and described their unique sound as "limber, straight-ahead jazz with mystery and pop instincts that gets around most of the old, pervasive mainstream influences, both of trumpet playing and bandleading."
01. Confessions to My Daughter
02. Jaya
03. Henya Bass Intro
04. Henya
05. Far but few between
06. With Love
07. Regret (no more)
08. Ayneh (Cora)
09. My Name is Oscar
10. The Walls of Lechuguilla
11. What's New
12. Tear Stained Suicide Manifesto
13. Ayneh (Campbell)
Ambrose Akinmusire - Trumpet (tracks 1,2,4-7,10-13); Celeste (track 8); Voice (track 9)
Walter Smith III - Tenor Sax (tracks 1,2,4,6,10,12)
Gerald Clayton - Piano (tracks 1,2,4,6-8,10,11,13)
Harish Raghavan - Bass (tracks 1-6,10,12)
Justin Brown - Drums (tracks 1,2,4-6,9,10,12)
Jason Moran - Rhodes (tracks 4,12)
When the Heart Emerges Glistening
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Arturo Sandoval & WDR Big Band: Mambo Nights (2011)

Cool, a trumpet and four trombone as a solo instrument in a row on Mongo Santamaria's classic "Sofrito" let go and arrange the whole thing over a pleasurable grooving and precision then sprung big-band sound ... Or Joseph Kosma "Autumn Leaves" - one of the feature equipped with a erratic bongo intro and then a piano-trumpet part, up tempo to start with strong high notes - - pieces by Miles Davis, so a total counter-casting of Miles Davis' proposal - which is just as clever .
So we put in already in the middle of the great cooperation of the WDR Big Band under the direction of the former Tito Puente trumpeter Michael Philip Mossman, with the ex-Irakere trumpeter Arturo Sandoval. Refer to both gentlemen on their former positions makes little sense, such a thing is only for quick understanding. Mossman is a brilliant leader and arranger, and has long been a world star Sandoval on trumpet. Both Latin roots can of course not with the cute slogan "Mambo" grasp. The two make is because even with the super-correct mambo-style arrangement of Perez Prado's long-running "Asi Asi" a bit over the corresponding cliché funny, why at this track, the WDR Big Band and almost sounds like a TV Orchestra of 1960s in a Saturday night show with Vico Torriani. But, as I said, meant more parody.
The 11 tracks on the CD offer, all at all, classic Latin jazz in the classic Latin-jazz style, in the spirit of Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Dizzy Gillespie (clear, "Manteca" is also there) and Mario Bauza. Varied shades, and subtle nuances in the most dazzling shades. High Notes from Sandoval (the lower register, he served just as a virtuoso), fetzende guitars by Paul Shigira, creative and precise piano by Frank Chastenier and an almost uncanny grooving rhythm section - John Goldsby (b), Mark Walker (drums), Pernell Saturnino (prec) - define the sound that is less on innovation than on the total playing the opportunities within the 'genre'. And so rather effortlessly arises a world-class, non-traditional and nostalgic at the same time, imaginative Latin-jazz production, which can be heard again and again. And should!
01. Sofrito
02. Come Candela
03. Asi Asi
04. Manteca
05. A Mayra
06. Autumn Leaves
07. Mambo 9/34
08. Oye Como Va
09. Mambo Sandoval
10. Quiero Ir Contigo
11. Mambo Inn
Arturo Sandoval : Trumpet, flugelhorn
Mattis Cederberg : Bass trombone
Ludwig Nuss : Trombone
Tim Coffman : Trombone
Nils Marquardt, Bernt Laukamp, Mattis Cederberg : Trombone
Oliver Peters : Flute, tenor saxophone
Mark Walker : Drums
Pernel Saturnino : Percussion
Karolina Strassmayer, Heiner Wiberny : Alto saxophone
Paul Heller : Tenor saxophone
Frank Chastenier : Piano
Jens Neufang, Frank Jakobi : Baritone saxophone
Andy Haderer, Rob Bruynen, Wim Both, Hlaus Osterlok, John Marshall : Trumpet
Paul Shigihara : Guitar
John Goldsby : Bass
Mambo Nights
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Nick Colionne: Feel The Heat (2011)

Smooth jazz guitarist and vocalist Nick Colionne delivers enjoyable performances on his seventh studio effort, Feel the Heat. A veteran at this point, Colionne truly has little to prove, but that mindset does nothing to cloud his strong efforts here. From the first track to the closing track, one can easily hear Colionne’s sheer talents as a smooth jazz guitarist with superb soloing abilities. Vocally, Colionne is blessed with a superb baritone vocal range that evolves throughout Feel the Heat, finally reaching its full culmination by the splendid ninth cut (“Can’t Let Go). Colionne certainly refrains attempts at ‘reinventing the wheel’ on this 2011 followup to 2008’s No Limits, but he does give smooth jazz fans an effort that transcends the sometimes bland sub-genre.
“Some Funky” proves to be the perfect opener, given it’s exceptional production work. The funky electric piano part works extraordinarily well with Colionne’s guitar playing being the ‘icing on top.’ Not revolutionary, “Some Funky” shows an incredibly talented musician honing his skills. “The Windy Dance” is nearly as satisfactory exhibiting a subtler, though ‘in-the-pocket’ groove. The harmonic progression underlying “The Windy Dance” is smart, not to mention another cut with a sensible duration (only about three and a half minutes). Again, it does nothing to pave forward-thinking endeavors, but continues to showcase Colionne in top-notch form.
“Let’s Spend Some Time” features a solid groove and for the first time, features Colionne’s vocals. Unfortunately, Colionne sounds as if he is just ‘warming up’ vocally on this cut as the performance is a bit subdued. That said, Colionne’s understated baritone here sets up the listener for the more rousing vocal performances to come (and they do come indeed!). “The Connection” atones for any missteps from “Let’s Spend Some Time,” reuniting Colionne with both funk (think opener “Some Funky”) and his guitar. It does not eclipse “Some Funky,” but it certainly shows that Colionne has some serious guitar ‘chops.’ “There It Is” is a moment of resurgence, exhibiting Colionne’s best playing of the album that one-ups “The Connection” despite its valiant efforts.
“Midnight and You” returns Colionne back to his baritone, which seems more spirited here than on the lukewarm “Let’s Spend Some Time.” Not fully cultivated vocally, the R&B based groove and memorable guitar riffs atone for any misnomers on Colionne’s part. “It’s Gonna Be Alright” contrasts urban balladry in favor of synthesized brass, organ , and electric piano textures that make for one of the album’s very best cuts. The follow-up, “Wessin’” also sees another massive surge in momentum, making a good album even better. “Can’t Let Go” finally finds Colionne’s baritone at its fullest and most vital of the album. The sensual vibe of “Can’t Let Go” is superb and perhaps for the first time, it seems that Colionne has found his stride both vocally and instrumentally which is a truly beautiful thing. Closing cut “Po’ House” may be the album’s biggest surprise with overt vocals, supporting background vocals and a great funky arrangement (rhythmic guitar especially) that truly makes listeners ‘feel the heat’ of which Colionne titled this effort.
Overall, Colionne’s latest release is solid and enjoyable. One could argue that better pacing may have taken this effort to the next level, not to mention even more focus on vocals when they are a featured part of the set. Despite the flaws, Colionne proves he is a remarkable talent. Even when the material fades in the background, the listener always keys in on those soulful guitar licks. (Brent Faulkner - The Urban Music Scene)
01. Some Funky [3:31]
02. The Windy Dance [3:33]
03. Let's Spend Some Time [4:26]
04. The Connection [4:57]
05. There It Is [3:40]
06. Midnight And You [4:37]
07. It's Gonna Be Alright [4:04]
08. Wessin' [5:08]
09. Can't Let Go [4:13]
10. Po' House [4:18]
Feel the Heat
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Ravi Coltrane: In Flux (2005)

The progression of Ravi Coltrane as a musician and leader reaches a momentous level on his fourth recording, In Flux, his most striking and mature work to date. Having been in the jazz game for awhile, various roles have found him as a sideman on many artists' recordings, co-owner of the RKM Music label, and a producer of artists such as pianist Luis Perdomo as well as the acclaimed return of his mother Alice Coltrane's release Translinear Light. With wisdom and respect he has admirably upheld his revered namesake yet also developed a distinct voice if one listens closely.
With tremendous expectations from jazz fans and critics, this voice has slowly developed on previous recordings starting with his auspicious debut Moving Pictures, the outstanding effort From The Round Box, and his 2003 release Mad 6. Each recording has shown different facets of the saxophonist in terms of performance, adaptation, and creativity, as he charts his own path as a musician. The expectations are still present but he's seemingly handling it with ease by doing it his way, at his own pace, and with his own style.
The new recording documents Coltrane with his working band for more than two years (bassist Drew Gress, pianist Luis Perdomo, and drummer EJ Strickland) and you can hear the strong group dynamic in the music—the cohesiveness, energy, and consistency. The vibe is more relaxed and focused—resulting from musicians that have performed together over time. Each musician is noteworthy in his own right and has proven on numerous recordings that they are progressive in their approach to diverse music ideas. In a recent article in Downbeat magazine Coltrane stated, "I'm not interested in the idea of holding up the banner—Keeping Jazz Alive!—Because it's not dying." A serious listen to In Flux clearly proves that statement and shows what modern jazz sounds like and hints at the potential of things to come.
If you're expecting a typical modern post bop recording, then think again. Instead of starting with the usual up-tempo selection—things begin slowly with the short introspective piece "The Message" focused around a poignant piano and sax duet as Perdomo's probing keys are joined by Coltrane's warm and soothing tenor. The up-tempo piece follows next on the effervescent "Coincide" as the group strength shines with everyone getting ample solo time. Ravi Coltrane's soprano skills are just as effective not in the sense of sheer blowing (which he also shows in abundance throughout the recording) but more so in his articulation in his use of phrasing, spacing, and sense of time. The essence of swing is intrinsic throughout the recording as the quartet smoothly handles various tempos while other unique points include "Blending Times" featuring mesmerizing percussion by Luisito Quintero as the melody is carefully blended into the rhythm.
There seems to be a fascination with shorter expressions as seen on "Variations I and III" and "Scram Vamp" as each is under two minutes in length but are filled with spontaneous exploration which may leave you wanting more. Ballads and slower pieces such as "Away" written by Gress and "Dear Alice" written by Coltrane for his mother are rewarding and thoughtful as every note is emphasized with fervent expression. Each member of the quartet not only provides exemplary performances but also contributes a written selection with the bulk of material penned by Coltrane. The single cover lies with the Wayne Shorter composition "United" which is a free for all with the group delivering memorable solos and an impressive spot by drummer E.J Strickland who works magic on his kit.
One of compositions that highlights Coltrane's unique growth and style is "Leaving Avignon" which is a slight reprise from his Mad 6 composition "Avignon" - which slowly builds to a powerful crescendo as Coltrane solos fiercely then gradually reverts back to its original tempo.
Jazz should be about discovery not just nostalgia, and Ravi Coltrane and his quartet succeed in bringing that concept to reality. What's next is left to the imagination and growth of an artist who is clearly open to change. On all counts, this is a stellar recording and is highly recommended.
01. The Message Part 1
02. Coincide
03. Variations III
04. Away
05. Leaving Avignon
06. Blending Times
07. Dear Alice
08. Angular Realms
09. Scram Vamp
10. Variations I
11. United
12. For Zoe
Ravi Coltrane - soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Luis Perdomo - piano
Drew Gress - bass
E.J. Strickland - drums
Luisito Quintero - percussion (#6)
In Flux
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Bob Mintzer: Spectrum (1988)

With an all-star lineup of 19 musicians including Randy Brecker, Bob Malach, Peter Erskine, Lincoln Gaines, Dave Bargeron and Don Grolnick put together by Bob Mintzer for 1988's "Spectrum", this 65-minute workout of pure enjoyment is absolutely big-band jazz at its finest.
The exceptional music arranged by Mintzer from start to finish includes 10 Mintzer originals as out of the total of 12 compositions on the CD, (7) are Big Band, (3) are quintet, (1) is quartet and (1) is solo saxophone.
The songs here flow with more adventure and flair than in comparison with other same period Mintzer Big Band efforts such as the 1986 "Camaouflage" which was overall more conservative and the 1991 "The Art Of The Big Band" which was somewhat less adventurous with safer material than "Spectrum" though both of those recordings were great sounding technically and very much had their own fine moments throughout.
The use of the ensemble at hand in a diverse and complete way by Mintzer presents a wide scope of styles and colors throughout for the listener to really appreciate this piece of work fully. Absolutely recommended.
1. Like a Child
2. Spectrum
3. My Romance
4. Hanky Panky
5. Mr. Funk
6. Mine Is Yours
7. Frankie's Tune
8. Reunion
9. Heart of the Matter
10. I Hear a Rhapsody
11. Solo Saxophone
12. Cowboys and Indians
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Spyro Gyra: A Foreign Affair (2011)

Spyro Gyra started out with the rhythms of the world. From the samba rhythms and Caribbean feel of their early hits to the latest album, they have made it a point to embrace the music of the places they have visited. Their new album, A Foreign Affair, is ready to take you around the world from the Caribbean to South America, and even to South Africa, India and Japan. Besides the memorable instrumentals, there are also three vocal tunes, one of which features Grammy® winning Keb' Mo'.
1. Caribe
2. Khuda
3. Sweet Ole Thang
4. Falling Walls
5. Shinjuku
6. Chileno Boys
7. Samba For Two
8. Cancao de Ninar
9. Antigua
10. Last Call
11. Dancing On Table Mountain
A Foreign Affair
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Friday, July 15, 2011

Billy Hart: Sixty-Eight (2011)

Drummer Billy Hart's working in some solid modern company here – a host of compositions by legendary modernists who include Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Jaki Byard, Mal Waldron, and Sam Rivers – all delivered with fresh new energy by Billy's group of bold younger players! The lineup features the kind of horns that work perfectly cresting over tunes like these – trumpet from Jason Palmer and alto from Logan Richardson – and the set also adds in some striking vibes from Michael Pinto, underscoring one of our favorite side-streams of 60s modernism, but ringing out here with a freshness that's undeniable. Hart's core rhythm combo features Dan Tepfer on piano and Chris Tordini on bass – and titles include "Mrs Parker In KC", "Number Eight", "What Reason", "Fire Waltz", "Cyclic Episode", and "Out There".
01. What Reason (Ornette Coleman) 5:38
02. Number Eight (Eric Dolphy) 5:51
03. Serene (Eric Dolphy) 5:48
04. Fire Waltz (Mal Waldron) 6:50
05. Beatrice (Sam Rivers) 7:06
06. Cyclic Episode (Sam Rivers) 9:06
07. That's Just Lovely (Jason Palmer) 6:35
08. Mrs Parker In K. C. (Jaki Byard) 7:22
09. Punctuations (Dan Tepfer) 7:52
10. Out There (Eric Dolphy) 7:05
Billy Hart (drums)
Jason Palmer (trumpet)
Logan Richardson (alto sax)
Michael Pinto (vibraphone)
Dan Tepfer (piano)
Chris Tordini (bass)
Hotfile / FileServe @ 320K

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Abdul Zuhri: Positive Vibe (2009)

Abdul Zuhri, professional guitarist / composer / producer. Attended Five Towns College under the Contemporary Jazz Program. Jazz, Rock, Funk, R&B and Blues. I feel very blessed and inspired to have toured, performed, recorded or jammed with such great artists and musicians as Omar Hakim, Jerry Brooks, Herbie Hancock, Paul Taylor, Ramsey Lewis, Paul McCartney, Victor Bailey, Dennis Chambers, Noel Pointer, Hiram Bullock, Art Porter, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Donald Blackman, Michal Urbaniak, Marcus Miller, Dean Brown, Steve Horton, Denzil Miller, Roger Byam, Brian Dunne, JT Taylor, Robert Damper, Al McDowell, Chieli Minucci, Lionel Richie, Angie Stone, Guru, Mary J Blige, Digable Planets, Cheryl Pepsii Riley, Tweet, Missy Elliot, Richie Ruiz, Fred LasFargeas, Chico DeBarge, Joe, D’Angelo, Alyson Williams, Fatback Band, Odyssey, Ben E. King, Tom Jones to name a few.
01. Senorita's [04:11]
02. Funky Montuno [04:13]
03. Positive Vibe [03:48]
04. City Life [03:25]
05. Around the Way [03:02]
06. Time to Heal [05:07]
07. Never Forget to Love [04:26]
08. Utopia [03:46]
09. First Flight [04:21]
10. Dulie's Blues [03:12]
Abdul Zuhri - Guitar
Omar Hakim - Drums
Jerry Brooks - Bass
Roger Byam - Sax
Fred LasFargeas - Keys
Richie Ruiz - Percussion
Positive Vibe
Hotfile / FileServe @ vbr

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Acoustic Trio 3000: Yo Ho (2010)

Yo Ho is nice musical debut album by renowned Bulgarian guitarist (lead author Tsvetan Nedyalkov from Ku-Ku Band, Veselin Koychev from legendary jazz ensemble White, green, red and Ivan Lechev from FSB), drifting on the waves of flamenco music in which also has jazz, fusion, even classical music is rearing its head not only because of the title composition "Beethoven". The name of the album was chosen in honor of Johann Devletyan, clerk of the municipality of Plovdiv, which brings together three musicians for the project. Here and there one can hear some joke with the traditional native folk music ("Banishora Forever" and rearranged by Veselin Koychev folk song "Podzim Sa Male"), which pleasantly tickles the soul, but without any drinking exotic.
This project is not unusual, simply such format is not done in former Soviet satellites. Otherwise every connoisseur will remember the legendary guitar trio Al Di Meola Trio, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia, whose third album The Guitar Trio (1996) can make comparisons as a creative approach. More similarities with another classic album, one other string trio with a heavy reputation: The Rite Of Strings (1995) Al Di Meola, Stanley Clarke and Jean-Luc Ponty. Jazz standard of Charles Mingus "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" from 1959 and the last composition "Bugs" (curious to compete with their guitars and blends) are different from others and it sounds a bit out of place, but an interesting variety to the album. The inclusion of violin by Ivan Lechev additionally makes good sound (rich in moods, themes and layers of "Gang"), but it is underused and causes reminiscences with progressive rock veterans from Kansas. It turns out that Lechev is included in the project at the last moment which could explain the absence of his own material in Yo Ho.
1. Accoustic Song
2. Banishora Forever
3. Beethoven
4. Bossa Nova
5. Podzim Sam Male
6. Gang
7. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
8. Bugs
Tsvetan Nedyalkov - guitar
Veselin Koychev - guitar
Ivan Lechev - guitar, violin

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Jeff Golub Band: The Three Kings (2011)

On his first album for eOne Music, "Blues For You", Jeff Golub began a stunning career transition from a contemporary, smooth jazz icon, back to his roots as a blues-rock guitarist of tremendous power and authority. That transition is now complete with Jeff s creation of The Jeff Golub Band, featuring the living legend of New Orleans piano, Henry Butler, currently a featured artist on the hit HBO series Treme. The 'Three Kings' of Jeff Golub's new collection are B.B., Albert, and Freddie - cornerstones of the modern blues revival of the 1960's, and personal touchstones for Jeff Golub as he dives deeper into the limitless wellspring of this music. In addition to the instrumental dazzle, the album is packed with passionate vocals by Henry Butler and drummer Josh Dion. For more spice and sizzle check out guest appearances by Jeff's fellow guitar masters Robben Ford and Sonny Landreth. All in all Three Kings promises to be one of the most listened to blues releases of 2011. -
01. Let The Good Times Roll
02. Born Under A Bad Sign
03. In Plain Sight
04. Help The Poor
05. Side Tracked
06. Oh Pretty Woman
07. Everyday I Have The Blues
08. Haved You Ever Loved A Woman
09. I'm Tore Down
10. Freddie's Midnite Dream
11. Stumblin' Home
12. Three Kings
13. The Thrill Is Gone
The Three Kings
Hotfile / FileServe @ 320K

Escalandrum: Piazzolla Plays Piazzolla (2011)

As a special way of celebrating their tenth anniversary, the jazz sextet Escalandrum, featuring drummer Daniel “Pipi” Piazzolla, the grandson of the great Astor, is recreating for the first time the work of his illustrious bandoneonist grandfather. The programme combines the emotive touch of the family lineage with the music innovation: a series of arrangements of Piazzolla’s repertoire, specially designed for this concert, featuring Lunfardo, Escualo, Oblivion, Romance del Diablo, Adios Nonino, Fuga 9, Tanguedia, Verano Porteno, Vayamos al Diablo and Libertango.
Now Escaladrum is releasing the new album "Piazzolla plays Piazzolla" with an unique live show in Buenos Aires at Gran Rex Theater with reknowned sax player PAQUITO D'RIVERA as special guest.
Born in 1999, Escalandrum is made up of Nicolas Guerschberg (piano), Mariano Sivori (double bass), Damian Fogiel (tenor sax), Gustavo Musso (alto and soprano sax), Martin Pantyrer (bass clarinet and baritone sax), and “Pipi” Piazzolla. Escalandrum enrich their jazz with elements from the Argentine popular music, and to date they have released six albums and toured Latin America and Europe on several occasions.
1 Lunfardo 6:27
2 Buenos Aires hora Cero 5:17
3 Vayamos al diablo 3:41
4 Oblivion 4:56
5 Tanguedia 1 4:37
6 Fuga 9 5:04
7 Escualo 4:00
8 Romance del diablo 5:37
9 Adios Nonino 8:52
10 Libertango 8:25
Escalandrum-Piazzolla Plays Piazzolla
Hotfile / FileServe @ 320K

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tower Of Power: 40th Anniversary (2011)

Two disc (CD + DVD) release from one of the seminal bands of the Soul and Funk scene of the late 60's, early 70's, Tower of Power has been funkin' the house since 1968. This live concert CD and DVD is loaded with extras, and includes original band members Emilio Castillo, Doc Kupka, David Garibaldi, Rocco Prestia, Mic Gillette, Greg Adams, Skip Mesquite, Chester Thompson, Lenny Pickett, and Bruce Conte. There are two additional bonus features on the DVD that are also must haves. One is the "East Bay Tour," with Emilio, Doc, Rocco and David Garibaldi taking the fans on a tour of their old stomping grounds.
01. We Came To Play [02:19]
02. Soul With a Capital “S” [05:07]
03. Can’t Stand To See the Slaughter [04:20]
04. Down To the Nightclub [01:57]
05. It’s Not the Crime [02:55]
06. You Got To Funkifize [04:31]
07. As Surely As I Stand Here [06:46]
08. I Got to Groove [06:04]
09. This Time It’s Real [04:03]
10. Souled Out [04:30]
11. Time Will Tell [04:47]
12. Only So Much Oil In the Ground [03:48]
13. Credit [04:22]
14. A Little Knowledge (Is a Dangerous Thing) [04:44]
15. What Is Hip? [04:28]
16. You’re Still a Young Man [05:58]
17. Knock Yourself Out [05:37]
Emilio Castillo - Tenor Sax and vocals
Stephen "Doc" Kupka - Baritone Sax
Rocco Prestia - Bass
David Garibaldi - Drums
Adolfo Acosta - Trumpet
Mike Bogart - Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Trombone
Tom E. Politzer - Lead Tenor Sax
Roger Smith - Keyboards
Mark Harper - Guitar
Larry Braggs - Lead Vocalist
40th Anniversary (CD & DVD)
Hotfile / Depositfiles @ 320K

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Trix: Impact (2011)

8th studio release (all with one word titles) from this Japanese fusion quartet. The band turns it up a few notches with the addition of 23 year old phenom guitarist, Yuya Komoguchi, best known for his work with Tri-Offensive. Former members of Casiopea & T-Square include drummer Noriaki Kumagai and bassist Mitsuru Sutoh with keyboardist Hiroshi Kubota rounding out the band.
01. Impact
02. Rush
03. Costa Rica
04. Katakori!!
05. Dolphin Beach
06. Overcome
07. Reconstruction
08. Turnaround
09. The Dharma
10. Times
11. Jasmine
Trix - Impact [Japan CD] KICJ-614
Hotfile / FileServe @ 320K