Sunday, May 20, 2007

Frank Zappa's Hot Licks - Colin Towns & NDR Big Band

Colin brings those quirky characters fron Zappa land to pristine big band arrangments for the Hamburg based NDR outfit. Willie the pimp eat that Question Bebop tango and peaches en regalia all appear in spnking new clothes alongside King Kong. Left centre live and pschedelic drama!!

Back East - Joshua Redman

Joshua takes a mature look at his chain of inspiration from Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon to his father Dewey. A fine set of performances in the mainstream setting with the embroidery of his post modern outlook.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Alleycat / Direct Hits - Nucleus

Ian Carr had by 1976 fully established his jazz rock adventure with Nucleus and Alleycat is a great example of the concept. Subtle, ingenious, with an ever flowing funk underfloor, the multi layered structure of solos and conversations from the instrumentalists make this a real Amazon. Direct Hits presents the history of the group from 1970 in an ever sliding perspective of gold glimpsed in that exotic jungle.

Waka/Jawaka - Frank Zappa

Frank tackles jazz fusion, wrestles with the studio, plumbs in the originality and eccentricity reaches towards those perfect stars!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Bringing It All Back Home - Bob Dylan

Love and blues, the chameleon folks it on the road to rock, some unique writing and production alongside those adhoc off the cuff laughing rockabilly moments. Maps the music of a vast territory and comes out singing.

The Promise - John McLaughlin

This garden has flowers of many species from lotus to rose and then onto the real jungle growth. The vegatation is pure and diverse, the garden path an explorers dream challenge. John conducts the world with his cultural friends.

The Look of Love - Diana Krall

The arrangers art brings Miss Krall to this sweet haven, but she brings the edge, dynamic and contrasts of a true jazz addict.

Real Emotional - Curtis Stigers

This guy loves jazz and likes to get caught up in the notes and textures of the song. He plays around with the heart of the piece and hits home with a cowboy's aim.

My Flame Burns Blue - Elvis Costello

EC sings this angular jazz/blues/rock adventure in front of the power string section of a great jazz ensemble, the Metropole. Nice selection of songs, great live recording. Soulful but never abstract.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dylanesque - Bryan Ferry

Ferry delves into the sockets of these Bob Dylan songs and finds truth and romance by reconstructing the bones and tendons with a touch of Roxy magic.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Fusion for Miles: A Guitar Tribute - Various/Jeff Richman

The jewels from Miles fusion experiments arranged for ten great guests guitarists including Mike Stern, Bill Frisell, Bill Connors, and Pat Martin. Soaring solos on the fretboard of jazzy dreams.

The Inner Mounting Flame - Mahavishnu Orchestra With John McLaughlin

The flame burns bright, the spirits are alight for this groundbreaking fusion feast. Universal magic!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Brown Street - Joe Zawinul

Joe leads a stellar group of weather report alumni into the cauldron of new arrangments of WR classics with the WDR Big Band. The music sparkles with fresh inspiration, delicate thunder and moving rain. Goes down a storm.

Industrial Zen - John McLaughlin

The spritual maze of innocence and experience, abstract journeys and views from the highests peaks. John assembles a host of partners for these explorations of past and future, spirit and flesh. Sublime.

Heavy Machinery - Anders Johansson, Jens Johanssen & Allan Holdsworth

A trio of delights with those rich fusion riffs exchanging between Allan on guitar and Jens keyboards with Anders the key sonic beat keeper. Fine machinery indeed.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Elephant Sleeps But Still Remembers - Jack DeJohnette

Jack explores the rythms of jazz and beyond with Bill Frissell on guitar. The drums and percussion up front, angular, powerful and intelligent, the pulse of truth is out here.

Some Skunk Funk - Randy Brecker

Randy and brother Michael breathe with the fire of the WDR Big Band and relive their funk years in this live extravaganza from 2003.

The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975 - The Rolling Thunder Revue - Bob Dylan

Bob leads a stellar group of Greenwich village refugees across New England and beyond. The circus rolls into town, sets up in small town theatres, produces live mercury music captured on tape which is stored for years then eventually released. Live magic, the age of folk rock spins on.


This poet of the tenor sax walks tall with this late 1950's collection of exquisite small group settings of standards. The sound is tough, rigorous with a touch of romance.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Kind of Blue - Miles Davis

On this jazz touchstone from the studio, the instruments sing modern and timeless, strenghth and culture, the colour of this music is not just blue but rainbow.

Today - Skip James

Skip's falsetto delivery and sharp lyrics provide a unique flavour of southern blues.

Abraxas - Santana

This jazz rock soup is magic, exotic, eclectic, a cut through the layers to the dream music.

Pure and pulsating rhythmic joy, the dance goes on, the guitar drifts across the world.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa - Jean-Luc Ponty

The composer inspires the violinist to stretch across a string of genres from rock to jazz, classical to country and he delivers bowing furiously on his electric strings. Magnificent.

Howlin' Wind - Graham Parker

The poet of British pub rock, a hard edge of soulful R&B, gutsy and flavoured with a touch of sinewy rock and roll romance. Rough diamond.

A Funky Thide of Sings - Billy Cobham

The genius of the drums leads an enticing band of fusion brothers into the balanced terrain of funk. Brilliant solos on the cans and ensemble playing par excellence.

That's What I Say: John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray Charles - John Scofield

John plays around these great R&B themes from Charles with that funky intelligence that can produce delicate as well as thump on the bone. Ever changing flow of musical partners ensures variety and surprise. Elegant and rocking, he says it well !

Freak In - Dave Douglas

Acoustic Jazz plus electronics add fusion to the recipe and a very orignal approach and the meal is wholesome. This rich and sensitive record has a sense of place in the titles and always rewards the replay as this has fine melodic patterns set alongside the challenging instrumentation.

East/West - Bill Frisell

The landscape of the live jazz guitar player with two different trios playing in NewYork and California respectively exploring jazz, pop and folk tunes with exquisite taste and intricate group understanding. It captures the essence of why live jazz can reveal and inspire and feed the audience and players in quitessential ways.

The Girl in the Other Room - Diana Krall

The lady sings modern, her sultry jazz inclination locks into a more open set which includes some emotionally wired songs penned by herself and Elvis Costelloe. Inspired, romantic and honest as ever the production values and musicianship enhance the charms of this seductive voice.

Every Grain of Sand - Barb Jungr

The songstress weaves a tapestry of meaning and emotion into a fine selection of Bob Dylan songs. Her Jazz and Cabaret interpretations lead the listener into the unexpected corners and little known vegetation contained in the work, her enhancements endowed with deeper meanings, the arrangments revealing and true. The circus is in town......go play.

The Ultimate Adventure - Chick Corea

Chick gathers a stellar band to sail the mysterious seas of fantasy in this tribute to a fictional world of myths and tales. His electric piano fizzes and twists inside of complex melodic structures. The arrangments contain scents from Arabia, California, Spain and everywhere and the flute , drums, percussion intertwine in a fine display of complexity and discovery.

The Way Up - Pat Metheny Group

Intricate Jazz symphony that continually unfolds its surprises and treasures in measured mazes of harmony and interplay. The guitar leads into that new but oh so poignant and beautiful country. Exquisite, intelligent and dramatic...don't miss this journey into the mystic.

The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born - Branford Marsalis

Pared down to the bones of creativity and experience. Enter in the magic of this groove free and strong but always in the small group groove as the trio listen and remark, sketch and colour with expression and truth.

Metheny Mehldau - Pat Metheny and Brad Mehldau

The interplay of the guitar and piano masters in tune on the same stream of harmonic and melodic exploration. Both powerful and sensitive and so real. Modern with that ancient spirituality, fine music for contemplation and inspiration. Genius from 2006.