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From the Inside Out

Chasin’ Charlie’s Ghost: Modern Guitar

By Published: October 4, 2006

Pissed though he may be, this set is not completely without Heller's trademark twisted merriment. Dig his explanation for this cover version of a Dead Milkmen song: "'Punk Rock Girl' is just one of my favorite songs about Philadelphia. I've always been a huge Dead Milkmen fan, and this song has such a great melody that I thought it would work great if we did it in the Richard 'Groove' Holmes' 'Misty' style, because that's one of the ultimate Philly templates.

I know I'm a music geek, but I find it impossible to not love a guy who thinks and works like this!

Lenine
Lenine
Six Degrees
2006

This past August, composer/guitarist/vocalist Lenine began his first tour of the US with solo and band performances in support of this release, his American debut, which pulls together tracks from multiple sets previously released in his homeland, Brazil.

Can you tell anything from the company that a musician keeps? Seems so: Lenine is often referred to as "Brazil's answer to Prince, and his compositions have been performed by such global music legends as Sergio Mendes, Gilberto Gil and Milton Nascimento. Last year, his In Cite album claimed the Best CD, Best Male Vocalist and Best Song awards at Brazil's annual TIM awards, plus two Latin Grammys in the US. And although this eponymous compilation may be Lenine's US debut, his collaborators include some of world's finest Latin, Brazilian and American musicians, with whom he easily keeps pace.

"Rosebud (O Verbo E A Verba) casts him with the stellar Latin-groove ensemble Yerba Buena and the resulting sparks fly from top to bottom, from the top of Rashawn Ross' stratospheric trumpet flight down through the fatback Latin groove thumped deep in funk pocket by drummer Horacia "El Negro Hernandez, who Lenine refers to in his notes as "the heartbeat of Afro-Caribbean music.

Lenine notes, "I had the luxurious presence and help from Nana Vasconcelos and his divine percussion on their mysterious duet "Na Pressão. On another duet, "Nem O Sol, Nem A Luna, Nem Eu, Lenine plays the role of acoustic guitar and vocal bluesman while the traditional counter-part of wailing harmonica is assumed by otherworldly sighs and groans blown through conch shells by Steve Turre.

He sits in with progressive funk-rockers Living Color to kick out "The Man With The X-Ray Eyes, reshaping the theme from Roger Corman's early 1960s sci-fi classic into a growling funk workout that pulls and twists together Brazilian and rock guitar rhythms in a knot with a slippery vocal chart which suggests that Lenine has worn out several copies of Stevie Wonder's "Living For The City.

If you're searching for that special magic of acoustic Brazilian rhythm guitar, "Hoje Eu Quero Sair Só shows off some of Lenine's best chops, strumming "just so to swing the music forward while creating a relaxed feel by somehow playing from behind the beat, and so does "A Rede.

John Stein
Concerto Internacional De Jazz
Whaling City Sound
2006

You can tell from just one look that Concerto is serious music seriously played by serious musicians. In the cover photo, Stein presents what us folks in the cliché trade would call "a stern visage and in case you weren't certain of the program, the title informs you that this is an international concert of jazz.

Stein recorded Concerto in a Sao Paolo studio with his touring band during a sold-out tour of Brazil. It is not a concert of Brazilian music; it is a jazz concert played by Brazilian musicians, including a rhythm section tuned to run impeccably: pianist Alexandre Zamith, who often sings in harmony with Chick Corea's "Spanish heart, bassist Frank Herzberg, who contributes two tunes, and drummer Zé Eduardo Nazario, who Stein calls with good reason "the Elvin Jones of Brazil.

Their journey begins not in Brazil but in New Orleans as Stein calls off his own tune "Happy Hour. This blues shuffle swings from the fulcrum of Nazario's drum rolls and second-line cymbals, perfectly synchronized, bursting with music beneath the guitar and piano solos and in his own crackling solos too.

Stein next guides the ensemble down his ballad "Lonely Street, intertwined flute and acoustic guitar leading a slow romantic dance that echoes the wistful "What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life? "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes similarly intimates the classic "Love For Sale while demonstrating the tremendous flexibility and musicality of Stein on electric guitar, sharp playing with the tasteful taste of Jim Hall, and of his rhythm section.

Stein shows off his chops further in the simply swinging "Blues In Maude's Flat by Grant Green, slicing and dicing its groovy blues through a duet passage with funky Nazario into taut guitar licks hot and tight.



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