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December 2004

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Eugene Chadbourne

The History Of The Chadbournes, Honky-tonk Im Nacht Lokal

Leo Records

Avant-garde guitarist Eugene Chadbourne offers a bizarre and often humorous slant on rockabilly music, featuring support from mandolinist Barry Mitterhoff and various jazz musicians. This CD is a culmination of live dates recorded between 1996 thru 2002. Chadbourne's quirky and thoroughly tongue-in-cheek vocals generate impish qualities amid some slick picking exercises and cosmic meltdowns. Those familiar with his artistry should welcome this recent release with open arms.

Manhattan Ragtime Orchestra

Euphonic Sounds - Radical Pop music From The Ragtime Era

Stomp Off Records

Here we have an octet performing ragtime music, enhanced by crystal clear recording characteristics. The palette is teeming with whimsy, pizzazz and a lighthearted bounce, sometimes hearkening remembrances of those now ancient, Silent Movie era music scores. Theoretically speaking, think of what an Edison cylinder might sound like if it was somehow digitally restored and remastered. This program contains a noticeable fun factor to coincide with the retrospective implications of what popular music sounded at the turn of the century. Like Dixieland, ragtime music boasted soaring lines and a vertical sense of swing.

Jan Garbarek

In Praise of Dreams

ECM Records

Norwegian saxophonist/composer Jan Garbarek's latest venture consists of a scaled-down trio, whereas the leader of this date also uses synths and samplers. Violinist Kim Kashikashian and drummer Manu Katche enjoy a level playing field in collaboration with Garbarek's bittersweet melodies and hearkening cries. Yet it's all about weaving delicate choruses into a quasi, world music vibe. This time out, Garbarek opts for a very intimate meeting of the musical spirits. Not the saxophonist's most prolific release by any means, this production generates impressions of mood-stirring dreamscapes, spiced with quaintly generated hooks.

Patrick Moraz & Bill Bruford

Music For Piano and Drums (Reissue)

Bill Bruford (Winterfold Records)

Drumming hero Bill Bruford recorded these sides back in 1983 with his former Yes band mate, keyboardist Patrick Moraz. Bruford's recently launched record label Winterfold Records will focus on remastering and reissuing his first seven albums culminating in 1987. Included is a second disc, presenting an interview with the great drummer along with samples of older "Earthworks" pieces soon to be reissued on the companion Summerfold label. The set is largely based upon precision-oriented motifs via Moraz' quasi classical-jazz-progressive rock grooves and Bruford's polyrhythmic metrics. The lack of a bassist does not come into play here. Between Bruford's thumping bass drum work and Moraz's lower register cluster chords; the duo generates a powerful lower end. Bruford's uncanny backbeats, cross-sticking maneuvers, and exactingly crisp press rolls, among other facets, speak proverbial volumes about his distinct artisanship. Of course, Moraz is a master who seems comfortable attacking and then integrating multiple genres into a signature sound and style. There are bonus tracks, just in case you had the original LP. This CD and its sister reissue, Patrick Moraz and Bill Bruford electronics-oriented Flags , is similar in scope and execution.

Ovum

The Fall Collection

Ovum Records

This record label highlights DJ artists such as Sam & Gigi, DJ Stryke, and many others appearing here on this ten-year retrospective. The music pretty much sums up Ovum Records' manifesto, founded within electronica-based dance grooves, spiced with amenable melodies. The various musicians attain a happy medium bordering upon club music and ambient-electronic soundscapes. Or in some respects, think of '70s disco, fluffed up with spacey synth passages, airy vocalizations and imperturbable, jazz-style pulses.

Vital Information

Come On In

Tone Center

Since the '80s, drummer Steve Smith's jazz-fusion band (amid various personnel changes) has helped reunify a somewhat indistinct jazz-fusion genre. This quartet's infusion of funk and New Orleans type grooves is topped off with brisk swing vamps and cataclysmic crescendos. Moreover, this unit in particular should signify the pinnacle of the band's artistic success, especially when considering its history, dating back to the '80s. Take a loose vibes feel and align with swift time changes to coincide with blazing technical veracity, and there you have it! Of course, Smith, guitar god Frank Gambale, and the others are revered musicians. But there's a certain charm that encapsulates this outing. To that end, it should be noted as one of the group's strongest efforts to date.

Thomas Dimuzio

Slew - A Compilation Of Compilations Tracks 1990-2004


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