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Articles by John Kelman

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tom Guarna: The Wishing Stones

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An unfortunate reality for too many musicians--even those who are well-known--is that most of their audiences are aware of but a portion of their true work...their fullest capabilities. Recordings only tell part of the story, since artists often tour with groups that are never documented. And even those tours, for those fortunate enough to experience them, are often limited-run engagements--perhaps a few weeks in Europe here, a short tour of Japan there. Even in North America, given the vast distances ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

King Crimson: Sailors' Tales 1970-1972

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If it's a fundamental truth that adversity can sometimes bring the absolute best, creatively speaking, out of music and the people who make it, then the roughly 23 months following the release of King Crimson's classic 1969 debut, In the Court of the Crimson King (Island)--and, after a single North American tour, the breakup of its first lineup--could always be argued as producing some of the group's very best. This, despite a revolving-door lineup and, even, significant doubts and frustration ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bruford: Seems Like a Lifetime Ago 1977 - 1980

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With the plethora of box sets being issued these days with new masters and, perhaps even more importantly, new mixes of classic recordings, it was inevitable that the small but significant discography of drummer Bill Bruford's first steps into a solo career with his band Bruford should finally get the deluxe treatment. Seems Like a Lifetime Ago 1977-1980 not only covers the three studio and one live recording that this at-the-time completely unexpected and utterly distinctive surprise of a group ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jane Getter Premonition: ON Tour

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With the release of ON (Madfish/Snapper, 2015)--the debut album with her newly minted Premonition band--guitarist Jane Getter completed her move from the funk/fusion guitar workouts of her first two albums (1997's Jane and 2005's See Jane Run) towards a more progressive leaning which began with Three (Alternity, 2012). It's a move that the New York-based Getter has managed with considerable success--no doubt, to some extent, the result of her husband and only constant across all of her solo recordings, keyboardist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anouar Brahem: Blue Maqams

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Following an unusually long, five-year gap between 2009's low register-driven The Astounding Eyes of Rita and 2014's particularly ambitious orchestral collaboration, Souvenance, Tunisian oudist Anouar Brahem returns with Blue Maqams, another game-changing release on ECM Records. Change--or, in some cases, natural evolution--has never been hard to find on Brahem's previous nine albums for the label, the oudist's consistent home (barring his soundtrack to The Silences of the Palace, release in 1994 by Caroline) since his ethno-centric trio date, Barzakh (1991). ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

King Crimson: Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017

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As many King Crimson fans eagerly await the November release of its latest 40th Anniversary Series box set--this time spanning the years 1970 through 1972, when saxophonist/flautist Mel Collins was a constant alongside band co-founder/guitarist Robert Fripp for three studio albums (1970's In the Wake of Poseidon and Lizard, and 1971's Islands) and one live album (1972's Earthbound)--along comes Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017, another “warts and all" live soundboard recording along the lines of Live In ...

DOWNLOAD REVIEWS

Bill Frisell: Hurricane Harvey Relief: A Compilation From His Live Download Series

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Bill Frisell Hurricane Harvey Relief: A Compilation From His Live Download Series BillFrisell.com 2017 Many musicians may use their celebrity to speak out about issues that matter to them, but only a relatively precious few are actually prepared to put the time, effort and money where their mouths are, creating contexts where much- needed funds can be raised to support those causes. It's even better when they do so in a way that rewards fans ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dave Stryker: Strykin’ Ahead

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Having just turned sixty this year, it's still quite remarkable that Dave Stryker--a musician who, unfortunately and unfairly, fits into the category of “one of the best guitarists most have never heard"--has released well over thirty albums as a leader/co-leader (including his Stryker/Slagle Band, with saxophonist Steve Slagle, and Latin-informed Trio Mundo) in a little more than a quarter century. This, of course, comes after he cut his teeth, beginning in the mid-'80s and when the guitarist was in his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steven Wilson: To the Bone

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From the moment that he decided to “go solo"--despite his previous flagship group, Porcupine Tree, beginning in the late '80s as a solo project that only evolved into a group when it became popular enough to necessitate putting together a band in order to perform live--Steven Wilson has, in many ways, defied categorization and expectation, while consistently imbuing his music with a seemingly infinite and richly diverse series of influences. Wilson is, after all, a true music geek: ...


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