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LIVE REVIEWS

Live From Birmingham: Benjamin Booker, Grey Wolf & Blondie

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Benjamin Booker O2 Academy September 6, 2014 Usually, audience demographics are spread closely in line with the age of a performer, but such things were not predictable at Stateside bluesman Benjamin Booker's gig. Although born in Virginia, this 25-year-old singer/guitarist now dwells deep down in New Orleans, adopting many of the traits commonly exhibited by gnarled oldsters three times his age. The crowd in the venue's smallest room (Academy 3) looked to be three-quarters in the forties-and-above age range, with the remainder being around the late-teens or early-20s mark. Curious. Or maybe not ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Meter Men at the Ogden Theater, Denver

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The Meter Men Ogden Theater Denver September 11, 2014 Funkify your life Get on down You can be the funkiest one In your town That pretty much sums up the philosophy of the Meters and now the Meter Men. In the song “Funkify Your Life," they seem to be offering a suggestion for a lifestyle, or at least an attitude. And a noble suggestion it is. Certainly, we could all use a little more funk and a little less... uptightness, or something. Get syncopated, baby! Just keep in mind, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Dundas/ Arild Andersen/Bendik Hofseth/Patrice Heral: Oslo Odyssey

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What's up with Oslo, Norway? Two of the outstanding recordings by of 2014 have come out of the city: pianist Paul Bley's Play Blue (ECM Records), and now Los Angeles-based pianist Chris Dundas' Oslo Odyssey (BLM Records). Dundas' profile isn't exactly soaring through the stars. He has one previous recording as a leader to his name, a very good mainstream affair from the year 2000, featuring saxophonist Bob Sheppard. What Oslo Odyssey represents for Dundas is something of a (bluesman) Robert Johnson moment--he slips off the recording radar for a long spell, then comes back with a set ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tunto: Huvi

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Tunto is a band providing what its Finnish name can be translated into -'a sense of feeling.' Although described disparagingly in one reviewer as veering towards New Age, this is music for a variety of moods. This is reflected in the song titles, on this their fourth to album to date, ranging from Stalking Music via Lice Picking Music to Sandcastle Music! The compositions are also again all by the driving force of the combo (on this album reduced to a duo), the player of various strings and assorted other instruments, Matti Wallenius. Known principally as the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ernie Watts: A Simple Truth

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After sixteen albums as leader, two-time Grammy-Award-winning saxophonist Ernie Watts presents a concept album, a journey of sorts, a musical description of a “jazz day" beginning with a morning piece and ending with an evening song in declaration of A Simple Truth. Recorded in Cologne, Germany, with his touring European quartet--together for over fifteen years--Watts imagines the music as being “basics that connects people, going right past language, ethnicity, culture and even history, into direct feeling," which is the simple truth the music in this audacious recording, is designed to reveal. Another revelation immediately evident as one samples ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jason Ajemian: Folklords

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Folklords is one of the most adventurous albums to be issued by Delmark Records since Levels and Degrees of Light, the auspicious recording debut of pianist and composer Muhal Richard Abrams in 1967. Bassist Jason Ajemian's second effort for the venerable label, following 2008's The Art of Dying, conceptually surpasses his prior work by leaps and bounds. It shares significant similarities with Abrams' premiere, including the use of spoken word and expansive dynamics that veer from impressionistic balladry to rhapsodic free jazz. The first in a series of planned homages to acknowledged masters, the arrival of Folklords coincides ...

THE VINYL POST

Everything Old is Blue Again: Hank Mobley, McCoy Tyner, Grant Green and Horace Silver

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If you are a Blue Note fan, you undoubtedly know that over the course of their 75th anniversary year Blue Note has been reissuing important titles from the catalog at a rate of about five albums per month. It is really a fast-paced program that will appeal to folks on many levels. Some might be starting out and looking for their first copies of these iconic albums, while more seasoned collectors might be looking to fill in gaps in their collection. But one thing is certain, at about twenty bucks a pop, none but the wealthiest of collectors will be ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Endre Huszar

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Meet Endre Huszar: “Versatility" is probably the word that would describe best Endre Huszár's career: beside being a musician/composer, he is also known as a journalist and media expert. While playing with many leading Hungarian acts in a wide range of genres from pop, alternative rock to jazz and world music, he formed his jazz fusion project, the 9:30 Collective in 1995. Meanwhile, he also contributed to other projects as a sound engineer and arranger and composed music for commercials, theater and various other applications. In addition to his musical work, he was the operational director of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Howard McGhee: Howard McGhee West Coast 1945-1947

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Bebop trumpet pioneer Howard McGhee has undergone a lengthy process of rediscovery and reassessment since his death in 1987. A one-time Downbeat Poll Winner (1947), it's probably not much of an exaggeration to say he had been largely forgotten, even by trumpet players. Yet Gunther Schuller (1989) and Scott DeVeaux (1997) soon published searching and sophisticated analyses of his contribution and playing. More recently, trumpet player Brian Lynch offers a terrific appreciation of McGhee in his “Unsung Heros of Jazz Trumpet" project, suggesting how McGhee took Roy Eldridge in his own, distinctive direction. Of course, there's also a lot of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Afro Bop Alliance: Angel Eyes

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Latin Grammy Award-winning group Afro Bop Alliance lend their infectious hard-driving and percussive Latin-tinged sound to Angel Eyes, the group's fifth album staking one more claim for yet another future Latin Grammy nod. Known for their percolating percussion as well as dipping into straight ahead jazz, this Washington D.C. based octet lets the rumba rumble, the cha-cha churn and the samba simmer on another exciting energizing album of note. Led by drummer/percussionist and Afro Bop Alliance founder Joe McCarthy, the band also consist of a three-piece horn section a bassist, pianist, a vocalist and Victor Provost on the steel pans. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Blue-Eyed Hawk: Under The Moon

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London-based quartet Blue-Eyed Hawk's debut recording has benefited from three years of gigging and the slow stewing of ideas. Collectively, singer Lauren Kinsella, trumpeter Laura Jurd, guitarist Alex Roth and drummer Corrie Dick sounds like the finished article, which whets the appetite for future chapters. With writing duties spread evenly, the quartet soars over wide stylistic terrain, from susurrus, folksy balladry and sophisticated pop to psychadelic rock and punkish struts. It all blends wonderfully, like a heady cross between Bjork, Patti Smith and Moetar. For label seekers, art-rock might satisfactorily describe Blue-Eyed Hawk's aesthetic, but boxes aside, ...

INTERVIEWS

Wil Blades: Groooooovin'

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"I love the blues," says Wil Blades, a Hammond B3 whiz who didn't come to the instrument until he left his hometown of jny: Chicago and was going to college in California. He doesn't remember specific instances of being struck by a blues thunderbolt, but “I remember hearing it. It's part of the feeling I get when I play music." He started on drums at a young age and turned to guitar as a teenager--"I had those rock star aspirations when I was in middle school," the easy going Blades quipped--but when he started fooling with the B3, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joan Chamorro and Andrea Motis: Feeling Good

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Feeling Good is well named: the feelgood vibe is strong and the love of music that reaches out from this album is pretty much guaranteed to leave listeners with a similarly good feeling. It's the second album from Joan Chamorro--bassist, saxophonist and director of Barcelona's Sant Andreu Jazz Band--and the band's star member, the teenage singer and instrumentalist Andrea Motis. Chamorro's name may come first, but it's Motis' personality that shines through most strongly on Feeling Good. Chamorro can take much of the credit for this--he's mentored Motis and other members of the Sant Andreu Jazz Band for ...

ONE LP

Kenny Burrell: Duke Ellington, The Great Paris Concert

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Kenny Burrell: University of California, Los Angeles, 7th May 2013 The record the maestro recorded in Paris in 1963; there are many great things on this recording. One that I particularly like--it's one of my favorite pieces in all of Ellingtonia and all music--is “Tone Parallel To Harlem," known as “Harlem Suite." This was commissioned in 1950 by Arturo Toscanini of The NBC Symphony Orchestra of New York. Duke Ellington at that point was pretty popular and also gaining recognition as a serious composer; at the time he was fifty one. That piece has ...



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