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Various Artists: Light My Fire: A Classic Rock Salute to The Doors

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Southern California-based Purple Pyramid Records and producer, instrumentalist Billy Sherwood raised the bar with this tribute to The Doors by convening a star-studded cast, featuring classic rockers performing with progressive rock luminaries. And the jazz contingent is onboard, evidenced by jazz guitar great Larry Coryell appearing with Focus keyboardist Thijs Van Leer on “Love Me Two Times." When I first broke the seal on this recording and perused the personnel listing I was delighted yet partly suspicious, fearing this would be an unbalanced project and/or a riffing contest framed on The Doors songbook. Such is not the case. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Various Artists: Impulsively Ellington!: A Tribute to Duke Ellington

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It's not hard to find Duke Ellington cover songs. Nearly every jazz musician alive (and many long dead) has covered an Ellington tune or two. Some have done entire albums. Ella Fitzgerald did a three-CD set. Many covers are so well-known and so ordinary, they're hardly worth finding. “Sophisticated Lady" has been done to death. Ditto “Satin Doll." I'm not sure the world needs another cover version of either. I choose the path less traveled. Lately, I've been listening to a dandy collection called “Impulsively Ellington"--a 2-CD set of Ellington covers recorded by various ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Various Artists: Peru Maravillloso

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Peru Maravilloso: Vintage Latin, Tropical and Cumbia demonstrates what's best about the digital media revolution: It resurrects 15 singles released by homegrown Peruvian labels across the 1960s and '70s, two of the most vibrant musical decades in the history of Peru (and just about everywhere else). Compiled by label managers Duncan Ballantyne, Andres Tapia and Martin Morales, it presents the lively South American styles of cumbia and guaracha and more electric sounds of chicha with strains of music from the Caribbean and Cuba leaking through like radio static. As you'd expect, this robust and hearty musical stew of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Various Artists: Postcards From Italy

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Sound artists, like their brethren mail artists, adhere to the motto “sound art is not fine art, it is the artist who is fine." Born out of phonography, or the audio equivalent of photography, field recordings capture the native sounds of a place. For the Postcards From Italy project, the collective AIPS (the Archivio Italiano dei Paesaggi Sonori, or Italian Archive of Soundscapes) gathered the ambient sounds of a particular place, as designated by specific latitude and longitude coordinates, and swapped them with another member for processing and manipulation.Part ambient, part minimalist improvisation the sounds suggest a place, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Greek Rhapsody: Instrumental Music From Greece 1905-1956

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A couple years back, Tompkins Square issued an unforgettable box set called To What Strange Place: The Music of the Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916-1929, which collected a type of Eastern music that had gone unanthologized, largely because it came from places long since gone from the world map, played on instruments to which most Westerners have never paid much attention. Name three oud players. I dare you.Greek Rhapsody (Dust-To-Digital) surveys rebetika, the international style prominent among Greeks throughout the Ottoman Empire. The music collected here was recorded from 1905-56 in Greece,Istanbul, the United States, and even a German prison ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Various Artists: Rework_ Philip Glass Remixes

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In these modern times, remixing is seen as merely another way of reinterpreting someone's work. Just like jazz or rock artists reworking old standards or classics in their own way, so, too, do remixers apply a modern method of interpreting people's songs, compositions--or, their entire oeuvre.According to Wikipedia “the remix is an alternative version of a song, different from the original version. A remixer uses audio mixing to compose an alternate master recording of a song, adding or subtracting elements, or simply changing the equalization, dynamics, pitch, tempo, playing time or almost any other aspect of the various ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Various Artists: Work Hard, Play Hard, Pray Hard

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There is always complaint that American contemporary musical life is at turns either too glitzy or overly-intellectualized. Either claim is overly simplistic, neither completely wrong. And in no area is it more true than country music. On one hand, there is the proud stupidity of Toby Keith and Gretchen Wilson. On the other, the self-consciously literate indulgences of the Americana movement. Great stuff still lives on in the margins, but it's hardly the norm.Early country music was healthy in that the people who got the recordings made seemed to regard the audience as a constituency whose record-buying was ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Jazz on Film: Beat, Square & Cool

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Again presenting eight film scores spread across five discs, packaged in a gorgeous box and enclosed with a beautifully illustrated and comprehensively notated booklet, the Moochin' About staff (who are also the force behind the excellent British magazine Jazzwise) have returned with their second installment of noir and near-noir jazz movie music. As with their previous five disc volume, Film Noir, Beat, Square, and Cool anthologizes dark, moody “crimejazz" film scores coming from composers from both outside and within the relative mainstream of mid 20th century jazz. This series means business. These sets aren't cheap. Also, much of this music ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Various Artists: Long Live Boogaloo: Rare Latin Boogaloos from Spanish Harlem 1963-'72

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Long Live Boogaloo captures rare and sometimes underground Latin boogaloo, traditional Cuban music shot up like steroids with James Brown and other hard-driving R&B sounds, which emerged from Spanish Harlem in the 1960s, compiled by producer Bobby Marin for Secret Stash.Even if this Boogaloo can sometimes sounds anachronistic, it still sounds vibrant and alive. Ten pounds of dynamite stuffed into little more than three minutes, the hard-rocking drums in Ozzie Torrens' “Mia's Boogaloo" beat with the absolute heart of Latin boogaloo, and animate the vibes and a scorching trumpet soloist. “Funky Big Feet" by Bobby Valentin (a Latin ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Various Artists: Wandelweiser Und So Weiter

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Various ArtistsWanderweiser Und So WeiterAnother Timbre2012This ambitious six-disc boxed set will surely come to be seen as a landmark release from Another Timbre. Whereas the label has previously issued four or five separate CDs at a time, linked by some overarching theme--for instance, “Duos with brass" or “The guitar series"--this time around, it has put together six connected discs as a set. The connection is contained in the title of the set: Wandelweiser Und So Weiter translates as “Wandelweiser and so on"--the Wandelweiser Group being a well-known international group of composers and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Various Artists: 13 Miniatures for Albert Ayler

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Tributes come in many forms. Most blatant is the repertory regurgitation of charts associated with the dedicatee or modern takes on that program. Then comes homage, influenced by the historical figure in question, with works in a contemporaneous style. Finally, there appears art inspired by the spirit of the honoree. It is into this last division that this disc falls, with 13 pieces titled after the names of the musicians, created by between one and five participants drawn from a cast of sixteen. None of them sound remotely like saxophonist Albert Ayler, the touchstone of the project, though each of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Various Artists: Home - Gift Of Music: Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Relief

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Tragedy on a grand scale tends to attract philanthropic and righteous individuals looking to do the right thing and help in some way, but short memories and attention spans often plague these same generous souls. People are quick to open their hearts and wallets when the worst is in front of them, but time passes and people move on; the devastation, however, rarely ends with a swift resolution. The triptych of horror--earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster--that struck Japan on March 11, 2011 is still a fresh wound for the Japanese people. While at-the-time donations helped many in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Various Artists: Putamayo Presents: Brazilian Beat

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"One of the exciting things we at Putamayo do is introduce artists to people who don't know them," says Putamayo Records head Dan Storper. Brazilian Beat surveys the roots and fruits of Brazil's contemporary music, selected from Putamayo's archive of tens of thousands of global/world music pieces. “You can really hear the intersection between past and present in the music of Brazilian artists," Storper continues. “We didn't make an effort to seek it out; this is what musicians are doing. They respect their traditional music but are adding new flavors with real passion."In the opening “Samba na Mao, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Various Artists: Fukushima!

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Various ArtistsFukushima!Presqu'ile Records2012Okay, please sit up and pay close attention. This is an album that you really should not ignore. Fukushima! is a double CD consisting of ten tracks by renowned improvising musicians from across the globe--almost two hours of music altogether.All proceeds from its sales will go straight to non-profit organisations assisting victims of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and its aftermath.The keen-eyed amongst you will probably have spotted that the album title is also the name of the nuclear power plant that suffered meltdown after the earthquake ...



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