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MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Ronnie Foster: Two Headed Freap – 1973

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The critics hated Blue Note in the 1970s, and that might be an understatement. Me, I'm kind of intrigued. Fans of good old hard bop, or even soul jazz, were largely left out in the cold. Blue Note in the '70s was a label struggling for its very existence, desperate to find a niche and snag some sales. All of which drove the critics and jazz purists nuts. Richard Cook, in his 2001 book Blue Note ...

INTERVIEWS

Dennis Coffey: Hot Coffey and The Pursuit of Excellence

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Every Tuesday night at the Northern Lights Lounge on Baltimore Street in Detroit, you'll find a funky little guitar-organ trio setting up musical shop. You'll find Julian Vanslyke on drums and Phil Whitfield on organ. And playing right in between them, you'll find one of the world's best guitarists--Dennis Coffey. You may not know Dennis Coffey by name, but you sure know the sound of his guitar. In the late 1950s and early '60s, that sound was a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brownout: Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath II

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Brownout bandleader and guitarist Adrian Quesada listened to a lot of different music, including blood-curdling heavy metal monsters Black Sabbath, while growing up in South Texas. Even while creating original music more reflective of their Mexican and American funk, blues and rock roots, he and his bandmates never lost their taste for Britain's Sabbath. Their first album of Sabbath covers, Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath (2014, Ubiquity) was acclaimed by both NPR, who named it one of that year's fifty best ...

FROM THE INSIDE OUT

Sometimes Jazz Takes Guts

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Brownout Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath II Ubiquity Records 2016 Brownout bandleader and guitarist Adrian Quesada listened to a lot of different music, including blood-curdling heavy metal monsters Black Sabbath, while growing up in South Texas. Even while creating original music more reflective of their Mexican and American funk, blues and rock roots, he and his bandmates never lost their taste for Britain's Sabbath. Their first album of Sabbath covers, Brownout Presents Brown ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hard Proof: Stinger

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Hard Proof tightly fuses sounds from sub-Saharan Africa with adventurous Jazz and deep Funk to stimulate your brain and move your feet. This jny: Austin, Texas based ten-piece collective began by studying the blueprint of Fela Kuti's Africa 70 band, as well as Funk and Jazz from the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. And yet, they're a totally American band--raised on Jazz, Soul, Funk, and Rock music in the USA. You get to hear all these influences in full ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sure Fire Soul Ensemble: Out On The Coast

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Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, from jny: San Diego, is one of the most talented new bands on the West Coast. Mixing funk, soul, jazz, and Latin & African influences to create unique, exciting music... their “cinematic soul" is like a cross between the music from Jim Jarmusch movies & Blacksploitation films of the 1970s. And, you can dance to it! If you like Snarky Puppy, The Beastie Boys' instrumentals, Quantic, The New Mastersounds, Karl Denson & ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Snaggle: The Long Slog

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In the art world, labeling oneself as “the next (fill in the blank)" or “(name of country)'s answer to (fill in the blank)" is a risky ploy that may reap short-term benefits in terms of quickly generating a fan base, but may actually be detrimental in terms of creative sustainability. The jny:: Toronto-based jazz-funk- rock sextet Snaggle is a case in point. Their press materials are riddled with phrases such as “Canada's answer to Snarky Puppy" and “the next Snarky ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lettuce: Mt. Crushmore

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The long-time jazz/funk band Lettuce has been referred to in terms that liken their sound to an evangelizing of funk and that is certainly a fitting descriptions for a good portion of their music. What the funk-laden descriptions obscure is that the blending of a strong jazz element makes this group unique. That aspect is largely driven by an enhanced reed and brass section some of whom perform elsewhere as The Shady Horns. The EP Mt. Crushmore is the sixth ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Haakon Graf/Erik Smith/Per Mathisen: Sunrain

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Digging into the staggered groove of “Santa Monica" during an end-of-2014 performance in jny: Oslo's Olsen Bar, Haakon Graf glides along the keys in an easygoing manner to begin building the show's energy. The electric trappings of '70s Jeff Beck come to mind--albeit without the guitar--alongside the sound of classic outfits like Weather Report and Herbie Hancock's Headhunters. His bandmates keep up at a mid-tempo trot. Erik Smith's drumming coasts steadily with plenty of splashes to avoid going anywhere near ...


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