Sunday, 26 December 2010

Curt Cress - Sing 1997

Genre: Fusion, Jazz-Rock
Label: Wea
Format: flac + cue + log
Year: 1997

Bio by
After playing in various German bands Curt Cress started releasing albums under his own name in 1975. The personnel used on Curt Cress Clan became the nucleus of Snowball in 1978, and already ceased to exists three years later, in December 1981. Ever since, Curt was recruited as a session drummer for the likes of Falco, Mike Batt, Alphaville, The Scorpions and Saga (to name just a few) and was never a steady member of any formation again. He also commenced writing and producing film soundtracks in the 80s, and published three more solo efforts. Most recently, at the beginning of the new millennium, he was a part of the intended reunion of Triumvirat.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Bob James & Hilary James - Christmas Eyes (2008)

Release Date: 2008
Genre: Jazz, Christmas
Label: Koch Records
Format: flac + cue + log

There are 13 tracks in all, ten vocals – all performed by Hilary and Kevin. Along with traditional favorites like ‘Silent Night’, ‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘Greensleeves’ among others, also featured here are three instrumentals with arrangements by Bob James. Very special guest artists include Al Gorgoni, James Genus, Billy Kilson, Chuck Loeb and Dave Koz.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Gregorian - Christmas Chants (2006)

Date of Realise: 2006
Genre: pop, Christmas
Label: Edel
Format: ape + cue + test

Holiday release from the Gregorian Chants series that has sold millions of copies worldwide. The Gregorian Masters of Chant are the only worldwide touring Gregorian Choir, having played venues ranging from theaters to arenas to landmark churches. Features yuletide favorites like 'Silent Night', 'The First Noel', 'O Come All Ye Faithful', 'Amazing Grace' and more.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Players - Players (1987)

Label: AGAT Company Ltd. (Russian Pressing). Original label is Passport
Date: 1987
Genres: Jazz, Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log

Monday, 20 December 2010

Ferrigno, Leal & Kuprij - Promised Land 2003

Label: Lion Music
Date: 2002
Genres: Progressive Metal, Neo-Classical Metal
Format: wv + cue + log

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I had no idea what to expect when I put "Promised Land" into the CD player. It was pretty obvious that it was going to be instrumental music as I could see no credit given to a vocalist. Also, I had a vague idea about virtuoso keyboardist Vitalij Kuprij's role in Artension, but hadn't heard his playing in any manner, shape, or form (oops, I was wrong - I've heard Kuprij on James Murphy's "Feeding The Machine"). Of course, it goes without saying that I'd never heard of the two feature guitarists on "Promised Land" either; Marco Ferrigno and Javier Leal were complete unknowns to me....

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Dave Weckl - Heads Up (1992)

Label: GRP
Year: 1992
Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz

"Heads-Up" was the 1992 follow up recording to "Master Plan. A lot had changed for Dave, as he had recently moved to California.

This record was the first recording completed in his home studio. Like all the GRP-era recordings, "Heads Up" was a "project record," with no band concept in mind. Jay Oliver and Dave used the computer quite a bit for composition and production, and most of the bass on this record was programmed.

However, Jimmy Earl made an appearance on a few tunes, as well as Gary Novak (the drummer!) also playing bass on a tune Dave co-wrote with him!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Mercan Dede - Sufi Dreams 1996

Genre................: World, Electronic, Ambient, Sufi
Year.................: 1996
Label................: Golden Horn
Format...............: flac + cue + log

Delicate, sinuous arabic rhythms wind in and around themselves deep in a lush, layered garden of sighs, heartbeats and breathes while Brenna MacCrimmon's stunning voice evokes exotic vistas of the inner and outer worlds traveled to via the heart chakra. Dense, poetic, evocative and at times deeply melancholy, Sufi Dreams is trance music in the (very) old school tradition. Spiritual and meditative ancient Eastern chants and rhythms are gently and subtley married to contemporary ambient electronica in a ceremony held in the global village square. The ancient meets the newly born in a cyclic transcendence of temporal restrictions and spatial delineations which is also reflected in the circular compositional structure of the individual pieces and the entire CD.....

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Jan Somers Band - Here We Are 1993

Date Released: 1993
Genre: Jazz
Label: Timeless Records / IODA
Format: ape + cue + log

Jan Somers started off as a lead guitar player in many heavy metal rock bands (e.g. Vengeance) and has been known since many years for his very exiting way of playing. In the early ninetees Jan recorded an instrumental CD ‘Here we are’ . This particular CD containes heavy guitar improvisations on own jazz-fusion compositions , which truly can be called cross-over music. The CD was a stricking element in Jan Somers’ musical career at that time.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Vega - Andaluza (1978)

Year: 1978 (reissue — 2003, Dro East West)
Label: Fonomusic
Style: Progressive rock
Genre: Prog-folk / Flamenco-rock
Format: APE (image) +CUE+LOG

ProgArchives, erik neuteboom:
In the early Nineties I bought some Spanish progrock magazines (Sirius) in order to improve my ‘one-year-Spanish’ and to discover more of the exciting world of Spanish progressive rock. In one Sirius I noticed an add in which Angel Romero (a known Spanish proghead from Madrid who later moved to the USA) offered his entire progrock LP collection because of a dust-allergy. I felt like a vulture but it was no problem to him, he was happy with my appreciation for the socalled Rock Andaluz, the wonderful blend of Spanish flamenco and progrock. I asked him for advise and bought albums from Cai, Azahar and Vega. On this debut LP guitarplayer Tomas Vega delivers a pleasant progressive blend of flamenco and rock....

Aziza Mustafa Zadeh - Always (1993)

Released: 1993
Genre: Jazz/Mugam fusion
Format: FLAC/cue/log
Label: Columbia

Aziza Mustafa Zadeh - also known as The Princess of Jazz, or Die Prinzessin des Jazz or as Jazziza, was born in Baku on December 19, 1969 and is an Azerbaijani singer, pianist and composer who plays a fusion of jazz and mugam (a traditional improvisational style of Azerbaijan) with classical and Avant-garde influences. Reviewers have said that her style also shows some influence from Keith Jarrett.[1] She currently resides in Mainz, Germany with her mother, Eliza Mustafa Zadeh, who is also her manager. Her two favorite leisure activities, she says, are painting and sleeping. She is a vegetarian. Since 1991, Aziza sold around 15 million albums worldwide.....

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Colosseum - Daughter of Time (1970) /1998 Castle Remaster/

Genre: Progressive Rock
Format: APE (image + .cue)
Released: 1970

This band had potential. This band had good players. This band really knew how to merge art-rock with jazz so that it would preserve both the emotionality of the former and the colourfulness of the latter. This band lost James Litherland on guitar/vocals and replaced him with equally nimble guitarist Dave Clempson.
And then this band went ahead and replaced its lead singer....

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Jan Garbarek & Ustad Fateh Ali Khan - Ragas And Sagas 1992

Genre: Jazz, World Music/Fusion
Format: FLAC/cue/log
Released: 1992
Original Release Date: 1992
Label: ECM Records, PolyGram

The saxophone is not an instrument usually associated with Pakistani music. And Pakistanis are not especially famous for collaborating with Norwegians. But that is what listeners have on this incredible recording. The music is predominantly Pakistani in sound, tonality, and structure; voice, sarangi, and tabla improvise along with Garbarek's saxophone on every track. For aficionados of Indian or Pakistani music, this is a great recording; Garbarek's lines are right in step with the traditional styles of improvisation. Listeners unacquainted with these traditions will find this recording a mesmerizingly exotic disc. Those familiar with Garbarek's work will be very surprised. This is a completely unique recording for him; one can only hope that he makes further explorations in this vein....

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Jeff Scott Soto - Love Parade (1995)

Genre: Rock
Format: FLAC/cue/log
Released: 2002
Original Release Date: 1995
Label: FRONTIERS Records

1. ... A New Salvation
2. Love Parade
3. People
4. Gottit Goin On
5. Listen Up
6. How U Want It
7. United/divited
8. 4 U
9. Monogamy
10.Funk Sandwich
12.Dragon Attack

Jeff Scott Soto: vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, drums

George Bernhardt: guitar, bass
Gary Schutt: guitar, bass
Julie Greaux : keyboards

Gary Schutt, born and raised in Monticello, NY started playing along to Bay City Roller's records on his fathers drum kit before his feet could reach the pedals. Since he participated in every musical and concert in high school (either on drums or guitar), Gary learned that he loved how it felt to entertain people. Once establishing himself as a well-rounded guitarist at Berklee College of Music, Gary participated in countless recitals, concerts and studio sessions. Although known as a confident guitarist on campus, Gary led a handful of recitals on vocals, played drums in a couple of shows and played bass for the popular local band IN THE PINK.

After graduating from Berklee, Gary started producing his own tapes of original music that he sold at numerous record stores around the Boston area. In June of 1992, Gary was featured in the "Spotlight" column of Guitar Player Magazine. Gary moved to Los Angeles in August of 1992 to join Jeff Scott Soto's (former singer for Yngwie Malmsteen) new band SLAM. Still continuing to write his own songs and self produce tapes, Gary now sold his five tapes through mail order and his original song catalog grew close to 100 songs. Gary soon showed up in Guitar for the Practicing Musician Magazine's "Resume" column in June 1993.

Locating to Florida after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Gary joined West Palm Beach cover band SIGNAL ZERO. During this time Gary and Jeff Soto released a CD in Japan and Europe of all Gary Schutt tunes called "Sentimetal". Every magazine that reviewed the 11 song CD had nothing but praise for the up and coming talent.

In 1999, Gary released his new CD "Playthings" on the Chicago based Pulse Records label. Gary produced, wrote and performed everything on the entire album. Yes, for the first time we get to experience Gary as a singer!

In 2000, Gary performed "Live Wire" as a medley on the Motley Crue tribute CD "Kickstar My Heart" on Pulse Records.

Durring his career, Gary has performed with Gregg and Matt Bissonette (David Lee Roth), Neal Schon (Journey), Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), Dave Meniketti (Y&T), Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow), Ken Tamplin, Doug Aldrich (Dio, Whitesnake), Jimmy Paxson (Alanis Morrisette, Rod Stewart), Joe Travers
(Duran Duran, Dweezil Zappa), Brian Tichy (Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol), Dorian Heartsong (Powerman 5000), Julie Greaux (Billy Idol), Bryan Beller (Dweezil Zappa, Steve Vai,), Mars Cowling (Pat Travers), Chris Wormer (Charlie Daniels, Jo Dee Messina), and Paul Huesman (Michael Sweet).

As of the end of 2004, Gary has done 3 world tours as bass player/ lead guitarist/ acoustic guitarist for Jeff Scott Soto. Gary has performed in Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Holland, Belgium, England, Ireland, Brazil and Australia.

In May 2005, Gary toured for two weeks as lead guitarist for singer/surfer/model Daize Shayne on the Mavericks/Hard Rock Cafe tour.

In 2007 Gary performed the track "Carry Me Away" on a Rick Springfield tribute CD on Fast Lane Records.

National acts that Garys bands have shared the bill with are LENNY KRAVITZ, PETER FRAMPTON, NSYNC, EDDIE MONEY, BTO, The FOUR TOPS, WAR, AMBROSIA, AVERAGE WHITE BAND, ERIC MARTIN, HARDLINE, HONEYMOON SUITE, TYKETTO, SCRAP METAL (w/ Mark Slaughter, Matt & Gunner Nelson, Kelly Keagy), MICHAEL W. SMITH and K.C. & the SUNSHINE BAND.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Stanley Clarke - Stanley Clarke (1974)

Genre: Jazz, Jazz-Rock, Jazz-Funk
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1974
Label: Epic Records / Sony Music

Clarke's second album as a leader announced him as a true virtuoso of the electric bass. Though he first came to attention playing with such venerated jazzmen as Pharoah Sanders and Horace Silver, Clarke's own music was squarely in the fusion realm. His solo debut, CHILDREN OF FOREVER, alternated embryonic electric jazz with vocal-oriented tunes full of the cosmic/post flowerchild lyrics typical of the era. Here, Clarke limits the vocals to a single song, concentrating instead on a driving, syncopated sound that more closely echoes his pioneering work with Return To Forever....

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Attention Deficit - Attention Deficit 1998

Genre: Jazz Rock/Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1998
Label: Magna Carta

Not unlike some other guitar-centered power trios, Attention Deficit delivers a very energetic jazz rock, including flashes of fiery psychedelia and getting pretty wicked at times.

This supergroup’s particular value relies on the special touch delivered by each individual member. Tim Alexander’s jazz leanings have always been clearly stated from his Primus days (in fact, his drumming proved essential for that band’s overall sound during the time he was a member); Michael Manring articulates his Stanley Clarke and Les Claypool influences with a sense of energetic exquisiteness; and, last, Alex Skolnick absorbs the combined heritages of Holdsworth, Fripp and Beck with a renewing energy and a fearless urge to explore the expressive potentials that can be created by multi- varied guitar effects....

Saturday, 13 November 2010

L Subramaniam - Spanish Wave 1983

Genre: Jazz, Rock, Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1983
Label: Milestone

The first of violinist L. Subramaniam*s string of Milestone recordings (and one of the ones that have been reissued on CD), this fusion-oriented set has strong doses of world music. In addition to the leader, the key players include Tom Scott on lyricon, soprano and flute, and guitarists Jorge Strunz and Larry Coryell, other guests include keyboardist George Duke and bassist Stanley Clarke. The music is atmospheric, challenging and often quite accessible, certainly falling into a unique niche....

Friday, 12 November 2010

Bunny Brunel - Touch 1978

Genre: Fusion, Jazz, Bass
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1978

When CHICK COREA watched BERNARD BUNNY BRUNEL play one night at an upscale London jazz club in 1978, Bunny was unaware of the ultimate significance Corea would play in his future success as a bassist. A few weeks after that visit to London, Chick called Bunny on the telephone and asked him to pack up and join him on a world wide tour. Bunny quickly accepted and went on to record the classics "Tap Step" and "Secret Agent" with the legendary jazz fusionist.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Talisman - Talisman (1990) {2003 2CD European Remaster}

Genre: Hard Rock
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1995
Rock Treasures

Talisman was formed by bass player Marcel Jacob, who had previously played with among others Rising Force, John Norum Group and Power. While Jacob was playing with John Norum, he started working on tracks which he thought would end up on Norum's second solo album. The singer on those demos was Göran Edman, also in John Norum Group at that time. But Norum rejected the songs and, in the meantime, Göran was offered the opportunity to join Yngwie Malmsteen's band....

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Strings Tradition - Strings Tradition 2008

Genre: World
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2008

Binding the ancient but still thriving string tradition of the kora (a 21-string West African harp), the Northern Indian Hindustani tradition of the sitar and the Southern Indian Carnatic tradition of the violin is really a brilliant idea. the debut release of Strings Tradition brings together five versatile and resourceful musicians who, rather than just finding a common musical language, possess a true timbral affinity and intimacy....

Monday, 1 November 2010

Matthias Frey & Trilok Gurtu - Sandhya 1981

Genre: Jazz
Format: wv + cue + log
Released: 1981

Organic Music Push the power! ! ! Mathias Frey hippies German jazz pianist and ethnic people to carry a number of jazz albums, Collin Walcott of Oregon after the late Indian percussionist, known by Trilok Gurtu and participation in the 1981 release duo album masterpiece. Trilok Gurtu hammer out a beat to play the tabla in the background, a beautiful flow of melody spinning an elegant piano Mathias Frey, a positive message and feel the powerful energy of the sun pours down like a broad plain can not keep on without, has been recorded over the full length spiritual and peaceful ethnic jazz. A three-dimensional sounds wonderful too like going to spread far distant from the center of the legs. Board warpage is seen very few, can be played without problems....

Friday, 22 October 2010

Alain Caron - Le Band (1993)

Genre: Jazz fusion/jazz rock/funk
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1993

Widely heralded as the greatest electric bass player in the world, Montreal resident Alain Caron has put together possibly the finest band of its kind - from the musical elite of francophone Jazz - in producing his first solo album. A veteran of the legendary UZEB - the Roland Electronics endorsed super fusion group of the latter third of the last century -, Caron is an in-demand Artist around the globe for his musical, composing and arranging skills. A collection of predominantly original works revealing his own superb talents as a sideman and his awe-inspiring gifts as an improviser is joined by his tribute to Jaco Pastorious in the Charlie Parker tour de force, "Donna Lee". The grooves, originality and powerful arrangements in Caron's music reaffirm the remarkable contribution of Quebecois Artists to the world of Jazz.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Anouar Brahem - Barzakh (1991)

Genre: Fusion, Folk, World, & Country, Jazz
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1991
Ecm Records

"The place of rest and tranquility where the soul goes before resurrection."

From the extraordinary 2002 release, Le Pas Du Chat Noir, we go back to
Brahem's first release on ECM in 1991. A somewhat more conventional setting
for the oud, but still a virtuoso recording of this Tunisian trio, this time: oud, violin, percussion.

This starkly beautiful collection of 13 tracks by Tunisian composer Anouar Brahem
is his debut release for the ECM label. The album spotlights Brahem's solo oud pieces,
which range from the meditative ("Sadir") to the propulsive ("Ronda"). This solo work
is nicely augmented by stellar contributions from violinist Bechir Selmi and percussionist
Lassad Hosni; Selmi is featured on the transcendent "Barzakh," while Hosni figures
prominently on "Souga" and "Bou Naouara." The three musicians come together for
the joyous dance number "Parfum de Gitane." Throughout Barzakh, Brahem and the
others forge an appealing mix of Middle Eastern sonorities and jazz phrasing, an intimate
sound perfectly suited to the clean and spacious ECM recording style. This is a great title
or fans of both international music and jazz.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Еpica - The Phantom Agony 2003

Genre: symphonic metal
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2003
The End Records

A new chapter in the successful book of Gothic Metal is written by guitarist and composer Mark Jansen (ex-After Forever), so forget everything you have heard so far and prepare yourself for the awesome beauty of Epica. Inspired by the Arab culture, Epica brings a unique blend of classical orchestra and choir, brutal grunts and screams and the exquisite mezzo soprano vocals of Simone Simons....

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola & Jean Luc Ponty - The Rite of Strings 1995

Genre: Jazz
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1995

Any time the likes of Stanley Clarke, Al DiMeola and Jean-Luc Ponty are assembled, there is a good chance the results are going to be impressive. Clarke and DiMeola had played together in the legendary Return to Forever, producing some of the most intense playing in all of fusion; Jean-Luc Ponty had also made several excellent, very diverse recordings. The chops of these three musicians are pretty much unsurpassed in the industry, which in itself makes Rite of Strings worthy of a listen. The real treat, however, is in the song selections....

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Hellborg, Lane, Selvaganesh - Good People In Times Of Evil 2000

Genre: Fusion, Jazz-Rock
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2000
Bardo Records

Rick Anderson, All Music Guide

Of the many stunningly beautiful albums recorded by bassist Jonas Hellborg, this is perhaps the most consistently lovely. Technically, this is a trio album -- Hellborg is joined by guitar wizard Shawn Lane and Indian percussionist V. Selvaganesh -- and although Hellborg will inevitably be cast as the leader in a setting like this (he's the only one of the three with composition credits on all tunes), there is an admirable equality of presence between the three. Lane is a truly awe-inspiring guitarist, a man who can seemingly play anything that enters his head, and yet who shows remarkable restraint most of the time; Selvaganesh is one of those rare percussionists who manages to blend into the general atmosphere, spinning out virtuoso polyrhythmic passages almost nonstop and yet rarely drawing attention to himself. The overall feel of this album is energetic yet relaxed; there is little or nothing in the way of tonally or texturing forbidding music, and yet all of it is beautiful in a way that challenges the ear. Particular highlights include the lyrical "Aga of the Ladies" and "Bhakti Ras," which was recorded live and features a guest appearance by sarangi player Ustad Sultan Khan. Very highly recommended.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Terry Bozzio & Billy Sheehan - Nine Short Films (2002)

Genre: Fusion, Rock, Music, Prog-Rock/Art Rock, Jazz
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2002
Magna Carta

The two musicians featured on this album, Terry Bozzio and Billy Sheehan, have been featured on over 100 albums. That is a pretty remarkable accomplishment, and one that would lead to high expectations for the quality of the disc. Well, Bozzio and Sheehan sure know how to deliver, and not in a generic and expected way either. They have produced an album that really does come quite close to defying definition. The title is perhaps quite appropriate, as much of the music seems to have a cinematic texture, telling a story in much the same way as a film would. The title loses a little of its relevance in that there are ten, not nine tracks here, but listeners can give them that one. Truth be told, this fine album seems to cover a lot of varied styles and textures, entertaining the whole way through. The sounds on the album seem to vary from Zappa-ish to Crimson-esque to Peter Gabriel-inspired all the way to modes that call to mind the Police, with little that falls between left untouched. This one will most likely surprise you, but should certainly thrill you, too. ~Review by Gary Hill

Friday, 8 October 2010

Jon Lord - Windows (1974)

Genre: Jon Lord Music
Format: ape + cue + log
Released: 1974
Purple Records

"Windows" was Jon's fourth experiment at merging elements of rock and classical music, and was recorded live during June 1974. Jon had been asked by German festival organisers to perform a special concert in Munich, and got together with conductor Eberhard Schoener to compose a new piece especially for the evening. In fact, two works were performed. WINDOW comprised three movements, including a reworked section from his earlier album GEMINI SUITE. The second piece, CONTINUO ON BACH, saw Jon and Eberhard having his stab at finishing a composition which had been left uncompleted upon Bach's death. The piece had been put together for a German show the previous year, but this was the first time it had been recorded.....

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Jazz Pistols - Three On The Moon (1999)

Genre: Jazz-rOCK / Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1999
Cherrytown Records

The best fusion-trio of Germany ... light years ahead.

With their actual disc the three Jazz Pistols establish themselves as a european topgroup. (Mannheimer Morgen)

Without doubt the Jazz Pistols are setting on 3 On The Moon new standards.

Thanks to their technical versatality the Jazz Pistols are moving on 3 On The Moon in international fields. (drums & percussion)

The Jazz Pistols are the indisputable shootingstars of the German jazz scene. This band will definitively rise further. (Bass Professor)....

Monday, 4 October 2010

Hossam Ramzy & Rafa El Tachuela - Flamenco Arabe 2003

Genre: Ethno, Flamenco, Music Of The World
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2003
Arc Music

This album is a collaboration between Hossam Ramzy and Rafa El Tachuela who is a flamenco musician whose compositions focus on exploring the roots and origins of flamenco. This album is a fabulous fusion of musical styles and instruments by top class musicians. The liner notes in this album are very helpful, it contains short, informative biographies for both Hossam Ramzy and Rafa El Tachuela as well as for Said Kamal (Egyptian violin) and Mohamed Naiem (nay and kawala). Each song title has been translated into English, German, French & Spanish and for each song there are helpful notes on the influences that make up each composition here....

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Red Whale - Queek Egg 1991

Genre: Fussion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1991

Monday, 27 September 2010

Adam Nitti - Liquid Blue 1996

Genre: Jazz, Fussion, Modern Jazz-Rock
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1996
Renaissance Man Records

Friday, 24 September 2010

Erik Mongrain - Fates 2007

Genre: Acoustic Guitar / Instrumental / Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2007
Prophase Music

This first entry into the CD world by Erik Mongrain is to be lauded. It is hard to believe that someone whose first stumbling steps in the music world was to teach himself how to play Nirvana songs on an electric guitar, could produce such a wonderful album. If you are a Nirvana fan, stop reading now, because there will be no further mention of them! I love the acoustic guitar, and Erik has mastered this art, although he is only a youngster that was born in 1980, his playing style is that of a master. What I find absolutely amazing is that Erik is self taught, at the age of 14 he picked up a guitar and just ‘went for it’. Somewhere along the road he also taught himself how to read music, and began composing. I always admire people that see a goal, and go for it....

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Robert Plant - Pictures At Eleven 1982 (JPN.Remastered + Expanded)

Genre: Rock
Format: ape + cue + log
Released: 1982
Swan Song, Rhino Entertainment Company

After the long, hot journey in the Zeppelin, an oasis. Robert Plant’s first solo album is rooted in the music of Zeppelin, of course, but that’s not to say he’s tied to the past. Rather, he branches out, embracing a lighter, crisper studio sound that indulged in familiar exotica while shedding the heavy intensity of Led’s epic arrangements. You’ve seen the swagger of “Burning Down One Side” and “Worse Than Detroit” before, but unchained from his former band Plant could pass for Steven Tyler in a serious mood. Drummer Phil Collins keeps the beat on its toes, Cozy Powell is more a student of the Bonham school, and the core of Robbie Blunt, Paul Martinez and Jezz Woodroffe are as tight as any band Ozzy brought along for the ride. If you’re looking for a lost Zeppelin album, better to bark up Coda’s tree. If you’re looking for Plant’s genius in full flower, you really want Principles. Pictures At Eleven is simply a stake in the ground; a declaration that there would be life after Zeppelin, and it would look something like this (cue the moody “Like I’ve Never Been Gone”). What’s most impressive about Pictures is that Plant and Blunt come up with some awfully good material. Clearly, I hadn’t given Plant a large enough share of Zeppelin’s glory, and Pictures makes plain that much of what was best about that band (that indefinable groove, the heavy caravans of emotion driven through dark endless night) emanated from the singer. I’d always seen him as something of a slightly more substantive Roger Daltrey, and I didn’t count on Pictures At Eleven being so close to the genuine article. (Meanwhile, Jimmy Page, the grand architect, was noodling out inconsequential soundtracks.) It’s not the first time I’ve put my money on the wrong horse. It was, however, the first time that anyone from the legendary Led dared to get back in the saddle. To his eternal credit, Plant came in riding tall like we remembered....

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Mitsuru Sutoh - Favor of My Friends (1997)

Genre: J-Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1997
Village Records

This was a one-off solo album by the T-Square bass player. On this he grabbed 3 friends and produced this excellent album, more rock than jazz. The style is definately more ballsy than the usual melodic fayre that T-Square are known for with some very nice guitar work, even if some of the solo guitar peices can be a bit long at times. Having said that it is still one of my favorite J-Fusion albums.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Therion - A'Arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming 1997

Genre: Modern Classical, Symphonic Metal, Heavy Metal
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1997
Nuclear Blast

Sound: This is probably the best album to introduce new listeners to Therion. This is a very well orchestrated and guitar oriented album that dips even towards classical music. The choirs and duos in this album are also very intriguing to hear. This is also the second post pure death metal album showing the shift from former death metal to progressive/gothic metal. Lyrics and Singing: The lyrics are first of all Written by Thomas Karlsson the leader of the occult group "Dragon Rouge". These Lyrics always tell the Beliefs and ideals. The choirs and singer both chime in finely and sound good with the music. The female and male duets are also a good listen with shifts. The solo soprano singers just like on Lepaca Kliffoth though on this album the singers are greatly impressive. The lyrics if dissected by what is being said can be moving or at least challenge how one thinks...

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Gambale Hamm Smith - Show Me What You Can Do (1998)

Genre: Jazz, Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1998
Tone Center

What happens when you throw three virtuosos together in a room and tell them to create something that showcases their abilities and is also interesting to listen to? Tone Center Records found out when they commissioned the fiery Aussie guitarist Frank Gambale, bass monster Stuart Hamm and drum god Steve Smith for the self-explanatory SHOW ME WHAT YOU CAN DO. The result is a power trio album of tremendous strength and envelope-pushing musical madness. From the thunderous opening of "Bad Intent," it's obvious these boys didn't waste time getting to the good stuff. The testosterone is flowing heavily into the driving groove of "The Promise" as Gambale's piercing guitar surfs over Smith and Hamm's relentless pounding. Later, things take a on somewhat lighter shade on the slinky "Sink," until a powerful drum intro by Smith leads into a driving chops-fest known as "Wrong And Strong." Downshifting into low gear, the expressive "Tanya's Touch" is proof that these guys aren't just about technical facility. Finally, the trio pulls off a lightning fast swing pace on "Lydia's Love Van." Warning: take your vitamins for this one. Only the strong will survive!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Gregorian - Masters Of Chant 1999

Genre: Pop Rock, Downtempo, Ambient
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1999
Edel Media

Gregorian is a German band, headed by Frank Peterson, performing
Gregorian chant-inspired versions of modern pop and rock songs.
Because it features both vocal harmony and instrumental accompaniment,
the music cannot be considered true Gregorian chant.

In 1998, Peterson and his team re-invented the project to perform
popular songs in the Gregorian style. The criteria for song selection
were strict; in order to be considered, a song needed to be
translatable into the 7-tone scale. After the songs were chosen,
twelve vocalists - previously acclaimed session and choir singers -
were hired.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Chick Corea Elektric Band - Chick Corea Elektric Band 1986

Genre: Jazz, Jazz-Rock, Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1986
Grp Records

A new chapter for Chick, who takes two supremely talented youngsters under his wing and leads them flying through some spirited fusion music. This, their debut album (and first for label GRP), could be seen as a return to RTF’s old stomping grounds except that here Corea is the master, Patitucci and Weckl the students. The record follows a loose concept concerning life in Elektric City (an analogy for our own world), like most cities harboring both temptation and salvation. The playing is superlative as you’d expect; Corea remains expressive and entertaining even behind an array of electronic machines, while Patitucci and the unconventional Weckl show flashes of real fire. The trio also receives some help from guest guitarists Carlos Rios and Scott Henderson. If you’re wondering why the album rates an average orange (oh, he’s color coding them now), it’s because so few fusion albums really get under my skin. I’ve listened to this record at least two dozen times, and by now I look for the same payoffs: the lively “Got A Match?” with its shades of Birdland, and the two exotic bookends on side two, “No Zone” and “India Town.” The rest of the record is good, but it doesn’t affect me the way a Romantic Warrior does. To its credit, The Chick Corea Elektric Band benefits from a consistent musical vision. Corea albums from the late ‘70s could often hop around restlessly between classical, traditional and fusion jazz, but this is pure electric/electronic fusion from beginning to end. If you enjoy fusion for itself (or think everything by Weather Report is brilliant) than you should check out at least one Elektric outing (preferably one featuring Eric Marienthal). This is otherwise an auspicious start, suggesting that as Weckl and Patitucci develop they might themselves complete the cycle from students to masters.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Hiroshima - Providence (1992)

Genre: Jazz, Fusion, Modern Jazz
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1992

Providence embodies many of Hiroshima's better strengths as with there use of instruments and well as vocal talents. In some of there previous albums they sometime have too much of one element and not enough of another. But they find balance in this album. There cover of "Ribbon in the sky" by Stevie Wonder is beautiful. As well as song like Turning Point, one of us and Autumn moon. But the gem of this album is the tropical groove of "Island world". You will feel you’re in Jamaica "mon". A strong album in its own right.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Exhivision - Exhivision 2004

Genre: J-Fusion, Jazz, jazz - rock
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2004
ZiZO Records

Four players from other groups, united to deliver their own spin on the time-tested electric jazz~rock formula. In essence, a supergroup? Well, quite possibly. Bowing in at the keyboards is Sense Of Wonder leader and J-Rock mainstay, Hiroyuki Namba; on guitar is Prism's Akira Wada; drumming is hotshot sessioner Kohji Hasegawa; and assuming fretless bass duty is one Toshimi Nagai, formerly of Vienna and pre-trio Gerard. Not exactly household names to those ignorant of Japan's robust progressive scene, but each muso is quite the stylist — which will be made abundantly clear to all who tune in to Exhivision's debut. Comparisons to Kenso were a bit hurried, but not exactly valid. Rather, think of Side Steps: those cats have the chops, but their compositions fall to the generic side a little too often — now eliminate that pitfall and add Namba's superior tonal palette. The rhythm section of Nagai and Hasegawa matches the shooting-star histrionics of Namba and Wada note-for-piercing-note. Expectedly, shades of Return To Forever resonate, though many listeners may find they prefer this to the East's answer to RTF, Roundhouse....