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Take Five With Mike Brannon

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Meet Mike Brannon: Having been born in jny: Atlanta and then lived in North Carolina growing up, those Southern roots were likely to blame when I started playing blues/rock guitar. But I soon discovered Wes Montgomery, Hank Garland, Joe Pass, Tal Farlow and finally Pat Martino. After attending Jackie King's Guitar Conservatory of the Southwest, where i got to play with traditionalists like Herb Ellis, I went to Berklee for Guitar performance/composition and then studied with Charlie Banacos for five years. After returning to Texas I formed Synergy which has so far released three CDs: Barcodes with 3-time Grammy ...

CATCHING UP WITH

Mike Rivard: Entranced By The Music

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As globalization blends cultures and markets more and more everyday, it is only natural that artistic traditions and the artists that study them do the same. Mike Rivard is a leader in this regard, pioneering some of the most unique blends of musical styles and sounds today. Talking to him about his band Club D'elf and his new project, Grand Fatilla, revealed a number of diverse influences that shed some light on the roots of the one of a kind voice he and his many collaborators have been developing. All About Jazz: Where did you go to school? ...

INTERVIEWS

Oz Noy: The Twisted Wizardry Of Oz

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Any blues played by Oz Noy would have to be a little twisted. Drawing on influences ranging from the classic jazz guitarists of yesteryear to the trailblazers of more recent vintage, Noy's instantly recognizable voice is also heavily influenced by blues and heavy metal guitarists. Two and a half years have passed since Twisted Blues Volume One (Abstract Logix, 2011), Noy's electrifying, knotty and visceral take on the blues featuring an all-star cast of the guitarist's regular collaborators. The format is pretty much the same on Twisted Blues Volume 2 (Abstract Logix, 2014), with old sparring partners joined ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John McLaughlin & The 4th Dimension: The Boston Record

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The jny:Boston crowd's roars on this live set from John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension's 2013 tour say as much about the dazzling interplay of the band as it does about McLaughlin's enduring appeal. For sure, McLaughlin remains one of jazz-fusion's major draws but the acclaim has little to do with nostalgia and everything to do with the excitement that his performances--in whatever guise--generate. This incarnation of the 4th Dimension seems to have inspired McLaughlin to his fieriest electric playing in years, as this recording demonstrates in spades. McLaughlin has always attracted virtusoso collaborators but in Ranjit Barot, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sharp Three: Sharp Three/Zero Cool

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Sharp Three put a wide mix of music together on their album, Zero Cool. Surpassing the quotidian jazz clichés about “moments" and “hipness," this album possesses sonority where even the stoniest non- emotes hear spirituality, Sharp Three provide music with enough cultural variation to lose self in parts or whole. There are 9 generous tracks on the album, each conjures a new landscape, and the facility of the brother team of Goh and Kai Kurasawa on “probably all touch-style instruments in the known universe" is far beyond experimental, (the extreme 24-string Beartrax sound being one of the many). ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Jeff Beck in Cologne

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Jeff Beck Group E-Werk Cologne, Germany May 29, 2014 Sometimes a man's reputation proceeds him. Such was the case tonight, where an overflow crowd of 2,000 fans arrived early, and crammed into a steamy bunker of bricks to hear Jeff Beck's wonderous wails to the electric wind. With general admission ticket prices around an 80 buck exchange rate, it was good indication of respect. The price of admission proved to be merited, about twenty licks in. Luckily for hundreds of fans, sensational sounds were the primary pleasure, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Ginger Baker's Jazz Confusion at Yoshi's

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Ginger Baker's Jazz Confusion Yoshis Oakland , CA June 15, 2014 Dedicated. Stubborn. Outspoken. Perspicacious. These are some of the descriptions which come to mind when considering the personality and legacy of legendary drummer Ginger Baker. Baker first came to prominence as a member of the rock power trio Cream, with guitarist {{Eric Clapton and bassist Jack Bruce, establishing himself as a role model for many an aspiring teenage rock drummer. Later, he joined the super group Blind Faith, while his African Air Force group had, as a member, Phil Seamen--a British ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Tim Bowness: Abandoned Dancehall Dreams

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In some ways, Abandoned Dancehall Dreams was inevitable. Just as Steven Wilson, his partner in No-Man, ultimately took what is, at the very least, a hiatus from, in addition to No-Man and other projects, his primary gig with Porcupine Tree--pursuing a solo career that's led to increasing success, most recently with the studio recording The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) and the live/studio EP Drive Home (both Kscope, 2013)--it appears that the time for singer Tim Bowness to step out on his own has also arrived. It's a risky move for an artist whose reputation has been ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Bathed in Lightning: John McLaughlin, the 60s and the Emerald Beyond by Colin Harper

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Bathed in Lightning: John McLaughlin, the 60s and the Emerald Beyond Colin Harper 480 Pages ISBN: 978-1908279514 Jawbone 2014 Few guitarists in the history of jazz have leapt onto the scene the way John McLaughlin did when the relatively new British expat made two very different appearances on albums by seminal American artists in 1969: first, with drummer Tony Williams' then-new group, Lifetime on the dense, intense and intentionally supersonically loud Emergency! (Polydor); and then on another groundbreaking but easier on the ears yet equally innovative recording, In a Silent Way (Columbia), the ...

BOOK EXCERPTS

Bathed In Lightning: John McLaughlin, the 60s and the Emerald Beyond by Colin Harper

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Exclusive extract adapted from Bathed In Lightning: John McLaughlin, the 60s and the Emerald Beyond By Colin Harper. Published (UK and US) March 26, 2014 by Jawbone Press “British jazz is awash with young talent which, given a healthy set of circumstances and a fair share of work, could produce a generation of outstanding musicians." --Bob Houston, Melody Maker, January 1967 “As a job with security and prospects, being a jazz musician is just about on a par with shooting Niagara Falls in a barrel. Worse, in fact, because one of the greatest problems for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dewa Budjana (with Jimmy Johnson & Vinnie Colaiuta): Surya Namaskar

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For his seventh solo release, Indonesian guitar master Dewa Budjana garners support from the all-universe rhythm section of Vinnie Colaiuta (drums) and Jimmy Johnson (bass). Many of these works equate to a concentrated focus on song-forms, largely comprised of tuneful themes and elevated with a guts and determination modus operandi. Budjana presents the best of both worlds within a jazz rock and jazz fusion realm, where rich melodies and a dynamic slant offer a platform that resonates loud and clear. The band's assertive attack rules the roost, other than a few ballads where Budjana displays a soft touch ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dewa Budjana (with Jimmy Johnson & Vinnie Colaiuta): Surya Namaskar

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Guitarist Dewa Budjana's two releases on MoonJune Records in 2013, Dawai in Paradise and Joged Kahyangan introduced a talented musician whose Indonesian roots dovetailed with prog rock, jazz fusion and a melodic pop sensibility; Budjana showed tremendous chops but, as he demonstrates once again, he's perhaps primarily a tunesmith. Budjana draws from a similar well of influences on this recording but in contrast to Joged Kahyangan's charts Surya Namaskar boasts a freer, less constructed vibe with Budjana's solos coarser in tone. Mostly recorded in single-takes with some additional overdubbing, everything that Budjana touches--whether composed or improvised--is fundamentally melodic.

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Jaco Pastorius: Modern American Music…Period! The Criteria Sessions

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1976 was, for electric bassists, the year where everything changed. Jaco Pastorius hadn't quite emerged from nowhere, and the few prior recordings on which he could be found may have provided some hint of what was to come, but it was the quadruple punch of fellow legend-in-the-making Pat Metheny's leader debut Bright Size Life (ECM, 1976), singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell's classic Hejira (Elektra/Asylum, 1976), fusion super group Weather Report's Black Market (Columbia, 1976) and, most notably, the bassist's own Jaco Pastorius (Epic, 1976), whose opening track--a duet look at Charlie Parker's “Donna Lee" with percussionist Don Alias that spoke of instrumental ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John McLaughlin & The 4th Dimension: The Boston Record

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Ever since guitarist John McLaughlin formed the 4th Dimension--his first electric fusion band in a decade--fans have been hoping he'd dig a little further into his back catalog. The wait is over with The Boston Record, a live album recorded in 2013 at Boston's Berklee College of Music. This isn't 4th Dimension's first live album, though it is the first to feature the seven year-old group's current configuration. Ranjit Barot, first heard with McLaughlin on Floating Point (Abstract Logix, 2009), replaced drummer Mark Mondesir on Now Here This (Abstract Logix, 2013), and is as outrageously virtuosic as ever; ...



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