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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Billy Jones: 3's a Crowd

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Duo records involving drummers aren't that common in the world of straight-ahead jazz. While it's never been an infrequent option for avant-gardists (and there are some truly legendary examples, not the least of which are John Coltrane and Rashied Ali's Interstellar Space, Max Roach and Cecil Taylor's Historic Concerts, and Peter Brötzmann and Hamid Drake's Dried Rat Dog), commercial limitations or simply a lack of adventurousness have made this kind of pairing rare outside the realm of musicians most well-known ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Charlie Watts Meets the Danish Radio Big Band

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A film director once said that you can't make a great film with a weak script. The same goes for bands of any kind be it jazz or rock or any kind. You can't have a great band without a great drummer. A band can get by with an average bassist or guitarist, but not with an average drummer. It's the heartbeat of any band. One of the things that has made the band Rolling Stones what they are is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Bibb: Migration Blues

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Eric Bibb says in the sleeve note to Migration Blues, his most politicized album to date: “The way I see it, prejudice towards our brothers and sisters who are currently called 'refugees' is the problem. Fear and ignorance are the problems. Refugees are not 'problems'--they are courageous fellow human beings escaping dire circumstances." Not the way Donald Trump sees it. Bibb, probably America's most important folk blues artist, shouldn't have much to fear from ...

OPINION

Chuck Berry: 1926-2017

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In the same spirit of the evolutionary question, “What comes after Music," I ask how does one simply acknowledge, if not pay homage, to what is beyond Greatness? The Saturday, March 18th New York Times did not do bad with: “While Elvis Presley was rock's first pop star and teenage heartthrob, Mr. Berry was its master theorist and conceptual genius, the songwriter who understood what the kids wanted before they knew themselves. With songs like “Johnny B. Goode" ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gary Clark, Jr.: Live North America 2016

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At first glance and upon initial listen, Gary Clark Jr.'s Live North America 2016 suggests a holding pattern on his rapidly-developing career. More careful perusal, however, reveals the man's second concert release, out in fairly quick succession to both Live (Warner Bros., 2014) and his last studio album, The Story of Sunny Boy Slim (Warner Bros., 2015), is the full and complete personal artistic statement the latter title purported to be, as well as harbinger of future stylistic changes.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vaneese Thomas: The Long Journey Home

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With an inherited musical talent, and a professional recording career going back over thirty years, vocalist Vaneese Thomas has appropriately titled her latest release The Long Journey Home, home being her Memphis roots of blues, gospel, and soul. Her last release Blues For My Father, (2014 Segue Records) was an emotional tribute to her father, legendary soul man Rufus Thomas, and this new record continues the family legacy bestowed upon her. Composing eleven of twelve songs, ascertaining she is very ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ruthie Foster: Joy Comes Back

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To prove the point that one can go home again, Ruthie Foster returned to the small church in Caldwell, Texas, where she began, singing hymns in the choir, in search of inspiration for Joy Comes Back. For Foster, singing gospel and soul is a birthright, blues and country her second nature; the vast Americana musical landscape being her backyard. After years on the road, Foster chose to record at neighbor and producer Daniel Barrett's studio in Austin, giving ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Bill Dahl's The Art of the Blues: A Visual Treasury of Black Music’s Golden Age

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The Art of the Blues: A Visual Treasury of Black Music's Golden Age Bill Dahl 224 Pages ISBN: # 978-02263966992 University Of Chicago Press 2016 A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring... There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. --Alexander Pope Except when it doesn't, and we believe we know all; ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thornetta Davis: Honest Woman

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Twenty years might seem like a long time in between records, but for blues singer Thornetta Davis, it's always been about getting it right. Started to sing at age fifteen, joined several bands as vocalist, released Sunday Morning Music in 1996. Fast forward to today and Honest Woman reveals Davis as a mature, commanding vocalist, introspective composer, and demanding producer. Long before Motown, Detroit had an illustrious history associated with the blues going back to the days of Hastings Street, ...


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