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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wally Schnalle: Idiot Fish

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For his ninth album as leader, and with over 40 years of experience at the kit, drummer-composer Wally Schnalle has pulled out all the stops. Working sound bytes into delicate infusions of soul, jazz, and electronica, Schnalle nourishes an integrated field of sound that at once evokes seventies nostalgia and progressive futurism. Toward achieving this effect, he employs the skills of a prodigious trio of West Coast musicians. Guitarist Hristo Vitchev, bassist Joe Constantini, and keyboardist Frank Martin make for a formidable combination of fire and cool. “Market Fresh" sets the stage for the album's tasteful ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nenad Vasilic: The Art of the Balkan Bass

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Solo playing routinely interrogates virtually every assumption one can have about music and its function. It is also the most demanding discipline in improvised music. Here, none of the well known clichés apply: there are no “dialogues," no “sparring" or contention with a partner, no call and response. So far, there has been a plethora of pianists, keyboardists, guitarists, violinists, harpists who have the wherewithal to accompany themselves, either harmonically and/or rhythmically, and to play countermelodies or contrasting lines. Sometimes solo playing is mere display, sometimes it is a kind of cleansing exercise aimed to rid the music of dependency ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Sample & the NDR Big Band Orchestra: Children of the Sun

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Toward the end of his remarkable career, the late pianist Joe Sample (he died on September 12, 2014) traveled to Hamburg, Germany, to record Children of the Sun, a suite of his own music, with the splendid NDR Big Band. The eleven compositions were inspired by Sample's appearance at the 1995 St. Croix Jazz Festival, where he weighed the beauty of that island paradise against the brutality of slavery (17th Century St. Croix was a crucial part of what is referred to as slavery's “middle passage") and the helplessness and hopelessness the captives must have felt. Sample thought something should ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

David Sylvian: There's a Light That Enters Houses With No Other House in Sight

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David Sylvian's extended flight from pop stardom in the middle years of the 1980s was an enthralling counterpoint to that decade's facile obsession with surface and relapse into materialism. While mainstream pop retreated from the innovations and musical openness of post-punk into the empty banalities of bean counting corporate rock, Sylvian among a few others appeared to plot a different idiosyncratic path routed in improvised music and jazz. Central to this were his often inspired choices of collaborators such as the late Kenny Wheeler, Jon Hassell, Bill Nelson, Riuichi Sakamoto and Robert Fripp that opened a window on ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Rolling Stones From the Vault: L.A. Forum Live in 1975 & Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981

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Given that their history spans more than five decades and multiple generations, it only stands to reason the Rolling Stones would have a veritable wealth of material in their archives on par with the vintage likes of Charlie Is My Darling (Abkco, 2012) and what's perhaps the next high-water mark of their career after that mid-Sixties apogee, the Exile on Main Street (Rolling Stones, 1972) era Ladies and Gentlemen the Rolling Stones (Eagle Vision, 2010). There may be more scintillating content than what's contained in the first two editions of 'From the Vault,' but the fact of the matter is ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Rory Gallagher: Irish Tour '74 Deluxe Edition

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Of all the entries in the Rory Gallagher discography-and it's lengthy despite his premature passing in 1995 at the age of forty-seven-none deserve the expanded treatment more than Irish Tour '74, which is not doubt why it was originally documented on film as it happened by Tony Palmer. Not only did the title set the standard for the many subsequent live releases of Gallagher's career, the abbreviated tour reaffirmed the man's loyalty to his native country, a theme he would also revisit numerous times prior to his untimely demise. Not his first concert piece-Live in Europe (Polydor, 1972) ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Leonard Cohen: Popular Problems

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On 21st of September, Leonard Cohen, member of an elite triumvirate of singer songwriters joined the 80 club. A day after his birthday, he delivered a new record and another chapter of his life opened to the public. Cohen is one of those singer songwriters that have kept maturing, producing new and interesting work with every advancing decade of his life. And there is something wondrous about Cohen delivering a new record for his 80th birthday. That he is delivering a masterpiece of a record is even more wondrous thing than that. Several months after the mammoth tour that saw ...



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