Friday, 26 February 2010

Ethnic Heritage Ensemble - The Continuum (1997)

Genre: Jazz
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: 1997
Label: Delmark

01. The Continuum ElZabar
02. Well, You Needn't Monk
03. Ancestral Song ElZabar
04. Ornette ElZabar
05. From Whence We Came ElZabar
06. Chatham Dirge ElZabar
07. All Blues Davis

By John Murph
Percussionist/composer Kahil El' Zabar's two ensembles, the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble and Ritual Trio exemplify the AACM's credo: Great black music, ancient to the future, with these two excellent releases. While his 20-year-old Ethnic Heritage Ensemble explores the communal polyrhythms of Africa, the 18-year-old Ritual Trio extends that tradition by engaging in democratic freedom swing.

On The Continuum, the EHE introduces two newcomers, saxophonist Ernest Dawkins (replacing Ed Wilkerson) and percussionist Harold Murray. With the addition of Murray, the group yields both a fuller sound and surprisingly calmer rhythmic pulse, which frees Dawkins and trombonist
Joseph Bowie to deliver more elongated melodic statements. The result is an amazing tribal jazz
record that could rival any drum & bass track, hands down. Despite the smoother fluidity, The
Continuum also amounts to one of the EHE's funkiest and most accessible offerings of recent times. On the thumping "Well, You Needn't," El'Zabar and Murray lay down a head-nodding groove in which Dawkins' peppered alto and Bowie's smearing trombone unleash smothering, yet cogent solos. The same is true for the infectious title track and their imaginative reading of "All Blues." Dawkins' bittersweet tone and economical phrasing offer a nice contrast to Bowie's explosive, and at times effusive outbursts. El'Zabar exhibits a more restrained, yet focused level playing which also heightens the sheer enjoyment of this recording.

Comparatively, The Ritual Trio's Jitterbug Junction is a more conventional jazz offering, but
no less rewarding. El'Zabar drives this ensemble with blistering free-bop intensity, while tenor saxophonist Ari Brown alternates between subdued statements and passionate wails. Bassist
Malachi Favors keeps the hyperkinetic activity together with his steady basslines. From the
explosive opening of "From Whence It Came" to the soothing Coltrane tribute, "One For John,"
the Ritual Trio reclaims freedom swing's lyrical essence that is so often obscured by meaningless avant garde clich s. Although El'Zabar's compositions tend to be sparse in design, their simplicity still creates a sense of suspense and excitement.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

John Patitucci - John Patitucci (1988)

Genre: Jazz
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: 1988
Label: GRP Records

One of the top bassists of the 1990s (on both acoustic and electric), Patitucci's speed, very clear tone, and versatility are quite impressive. He started playing bass when he was 11, grew up in Northern California, and in 1978 moved south near Los Angeles. He played with Gap Mangione (1979) while going to college, and during 1982-1985 worked in Los Angeles with Tom Scott, Robben Ford, Stan Getz, Larry Carlton, Dave Grusin, Ernie Watts, Freddie Hubbard, and others, in addition to becoming a studio musician. In 1985, he gained a high profile when he joined Chick Corea as a regular member of both the Elektric and Akoustic bands. Patitucci toured and recorded extensively with Corea and made a series of his own diverse sessions for GRP and Stretch (although he is not as strong a composer as he is a bassist). John Patitucci left the Elektric Band in the early '90s but continued working with Corea on an occasional basis....

Spyro Gyra - Spyro Gyra (1976)

Genre: Jazz
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: 1976
Label: MCA By James Houser
Spyro Gyra is a well-rounded Spyro Gyra record. It was their debut album. It originally appeared back in 1976. This cd conveys a great mixture of sounds and is quite unique 70's Spyro Gyra. For being their debut album, this cd is really quite good.

My 3 favorite tracks on this album are 1,2, and 4. Shaker Song is their first song and it's great and has an extraordinary melody to it. OpusD'Opus is also a great track featuring a tight drums/percussion solo. Pygmy Funk is a strange, but good song. Strange is good, right. Throughout the whole cd there are great melodies and many different parts and sounds....

Friday, 19 February 2010

Kora Jazz Trio - Kora Jazz Trio (2003)

Genre: Ethnic/Jazz, International/Africa, Jazz/Modern Postbebop
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: 2003
Label: Melodie, Celluloid

01. Tabou
02. N'dyaba
03. Senef
04. Miriya
05. Now is the time
06. Goree
07. N'dimi
08. Mimi
09. Matamani
10. Nina

Djeli Moussa Diawara was born in Guinea into a family of griots, a traditional caste of African priest-poets musicians. His father was a famous 'balafon' player, his mother a singer and his half-brother is Mory Kante. Both as a singer and as a musician (playing his 32 string harp, the 'kora') he has achieved a mastery very rarely attained , whether bringing new approaches to mandingue music or adapting his instrument to other musical styles Salsa, Flamenco, Blues and now Jazz.

Abdoulaye Diabaté, like both his colleagues in this trio, was born into a family of professional musicians in Senegal. After ten years of study at the 'Conservatoire National' where he won many first prizes as a classical pianist, he developed a passion for Jazz and became the leader of the Senegalese National Orchestra. Presently he tours as Salif Keita's pianist and has also worked with many other stars (Manu Dibango, Mory Kanté, Papa Wemba). He is certainly the most sought-after arranger and composer active in African music today.

Moussa Cissoko, was also born into a griot family in Senegal, with his brother he has already recorded an album of percussion on the Celluloid label and he is recognized as one of the great masters of West African drumming techniques.
Mixing rhythms, his style and feeling have accompanied several major figures of the French and International music scene since the 80's (Peter Gabriel, Toure Kunda, Ray Lema, Manu Dibango …).

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Weather Report - This Is Jazz 10, Weather Report (1996)

Genre: Jazz
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: April 30, 1996
Label: Columbia/Legacy

01. Birdland
02. A Remark You Made
03. Black Market
04. Man In The Green Shirt
05. Young And Fine
06. The Moors
07. Mysterious Traveller
08. Orange Lady
09. Teen Town

Because most diehard Weather Report enthusiasts already have everything included on this addition to Legacy/Sony's This Is Jazz series of compilations, the "best of" CD serves primarily as an introduction to the fusion innovators' breakthroughs of the 1970s. While hardly the last word on the band, This Is Jazz isn't a bad introduction at all. Naturally, the disc contains Weather's best-known piece, the infectious "Birdland." But equally captivating are the eerie yet funky "Mysterious Traveler," the intriguing "Man in the Green Shirt," the congenial "Young and Fine," the hauntingly abstract "The Moors" and the Asian-influenced "Black Market." Boasting improvisatory, risk-taking and imaginative gems full of blues feeling, This Is Jazz 10 is jazz in the truest sense of the word. Alex Henderson, All Music Guide

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

David Sanborn - Closer 2005

Genre: Jazz, smooth-jazz
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: January 11, 2005
Label: Verve

01. Tin Tin Deo
02. Senor Blues
03. Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
04. Smile
05. Enchantment
06. The Ballad Of The Sad Young Men
07. Another Time, Another Place
08. Capetown Fringe
09. Poinciana
10. You Must Believe In Spring
11. Sofia

Nowadays, whenever a jazz musician can spell En-dur-ance backwards without thinking on it for too long, you have to believe that saxophonist David Sanborn is the one individual who can do so with authority. His ability to transcend the boundaries of pop, R&B, crossover music and jazz in both contemporary and smooth arenas has allowed him to become one of the most influential artists of the last 30 years. Besides the late Grover Washington, Jr., David's iconic status in jazz has made him one of the few remaining saxophonists of his era to have a sustained presence, inspite of limited radio airplay and commercial exposure. Although there are numerous talents in jazz who skillfully play the alto saxophone with precision, it is Sanborn who has managed to blow away his contemporaries time-after-time. Overall, he has stayed true to his craft without compromising his music for the sake of commercialism. Since 1975, David Sanborn has recorded numerous albums and has gigged with some of the finest artists in music. With his latest release entitled 'Closer' on the Verve Record Label, David has proven once again why his sustained presence is such a valued commodity.

This latest recording visits a side of jazz few connoisseurs get to hear. David carries listeners down memory lane with tracks from names you seldom have the opportunity to experience anymore, which includes James Taylor, Horace Silver and Abdullah Ibrahim. Sanborn also adds a few originals to his eleven tracks of beautifully recorded contemporary songs. As usual, he continues a formula that has always worked by blending pop oriented influences with jazz and a hint of R&B grooves. On such tunes as "Senor Blues" by Horace Silver, Sanborn adds a Latin flavor to a uniquely delightful percussive rhythm, a strong sax presence, coupled with some prominent instrumentation. Vibraphonist Mike Mainieri's strategic vibes are a perfect match to David's multi-fingered note structure. Then there is vocalist Lizz Wright on the cut "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," who by most standards has one of the most dynamic voices of any jazz newcomer. Having recorded her first CD in 2003, she has taken the jazz world by storm with her deeply rooted gospel-oriented interpretations of song. The ebb and flow of 'Closer' is a gem of a CD by any stretch with the addition of such classic melodic tunes as "Poinciana," the slow roll of Sanborn's "Another Time, Another Place" as well as "You Must Believe in Spring." When experiencing this CD for the very first time, the expectation may be just another commercial sounding recording that was purchased because it was David Sanborn. What is apparent from the onset of Track 1 entitled "Tin Tin Deo" is David's trademark sound. His voice is as lush and sensitive as it has always been, but when you delve into the entire CD you continue to get everything David Sanborn and then some. His many fans already know what to expect when they sit down to listen to his artistry at work. On the other end of the spectrum, jazz beginners who are trying to find their way will become instant fans of 'Closer' and everything leading up to the present. This latest release by David Sanborn is a harmonic, melodic and rhythmic embrace of jazz in all of its flavors. As one of the genre's most enduring figures, David's impressive body of work looms large across the musical landscape with plenty of vim and effervescence.
by Sheldon T. Nunn

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand) - African Marketplace (1980)

Genre: Jazz / World Music/Fusion
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: 1980
Label: Discovery

This is one of Abdullah Ibrahim's most colorful band recordings. With a 12-piece group that includes altoist Carlos Ward, trombonist Craig Harris and bassist Cecil McBee along with some lesser-known names,

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Jaco Pastorius - Jaco Pastorius (1976)

Genre: Jazz / Post Bop, Fusion, Jazz-Rock
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: 1976 {2000 Legacy Rem. with bonus tracks}
Label: Epic

It's impossible to hear Jaco Pastorious' debut album today as it sounded when it was first released in 1976. The opening track -- his transcription for fretless electric bass of the bebop standard "Donna Lee" -- was a manifesto of virtuosity; the next track, the funk-soul celebration "Come On, Come Over" was a poke in the eye to jazz snobs and a love letter to the R&B greats of the previous decade (two of whom, Sam & Dave, sing on that track); "Continuum" was a spacey, chorus-drenched look forward to the years he was about to spend playing with Weather Report. The program continues like that for three-quarters of an hour, each track heading off in a different direction -- each one a masterpiece that would have been a proud achievement for any musician....

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Anouar Brahem - Le Pas Du Chat Noir (2002)

Genre: Jazz, World Music/Fusion,
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: Aug 27, 2002
Label: ECM

01. Le pas du chat noir
02. De tout ton coeur
03. Leila au pays du carrousel
04. Pique-nique a Nagpur
05. C'est ailleurs
06. Toi qui sais
07. L'arbre qui voit
08. Un point bleu
09. Les ailes du Bourak
10. Rue du depart
11. Leila au pays du carrousel, var.
12. Deja la nuit

The outstanding clarity of Anouar Brahem's new trio record demonstrates the composer's ability
to combine several cultural influences without sounding contrived or disjointed. For this project, Brahem composed 12 pieces for the most unusual combination of piano, accordion, and oud (a type of lute). The music came out of a long period of listening and composing on piano in Tunis, where Brahem found himself unable to return to his voice on the oud after an intense session for 1997's Thimar. As he developed his ideas, Brahem returned to the oud and assembled a final version which also includes pianist François Couturier and accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier.

What's most remarkable and surprising about Le Pas Du Chat Noir ("the black cat's footsteps") is that music composed with such attention to detail can be transmitted through the right hands
into a thoroughly improvised feel. Make no mistake, this is chamber music: understated, deliberate small-group interplay. But at the same time, it offers dramatic waves of sound that
wash ashore in tidal fashion. The overtones of the string instruments here allow an effective
means to color notes, while the accordion provides a feeling of breath and inspiration. As for
the trans-cultural underpinnings of Le Pas Du Chat Noir, it's hard to separate the intertwined
strands—as hard as it is to dissect the culture of Tunisia itself. But the rhythms suggest the
striding pulse of North Africa and the lilting lightness of Eastern Europe; the harmonies often
occupy the ground of Northern European neoclassical minimalism; and melodies regularly take
advantage of the minor modes of Arab and Middle Eastern music. (And, of course, each instrument brings with it a specific musical tradition, in this specific case straddling the boundaries that make up post-colonial Tunisian musical culture.)

Le Pas Du Chat Noir is a recording of exquisite sensitivity and nuance, tilted toward composition despite an palpable improvisational feel. Brahem has thrown a most unusual cocktail of musical elements into his blender in order to create this chamber music. The record may deviate far enough from the jazz tradition to disappoint die-hard afficionados of improvised solos, standards, and swing. But if you're willing take Le Pas at face value, it's mesmerizingly beautiful.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Jonas Hellborg - Art Metal 2007

Genre: Fusion, Metal - Jazz
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: 2007
Label: Bardo Records

01. Muthucutpor (Hellborg/Selvaganesh/Eklundh)
02. Manirambha (Hellborg/Selvaganesh/Eklundh)
03. Nataraja (Hellborg/Selvaganesh)
04. Solitude (Hellborg/Selvaganesh)
05. The Three Princes of Serendip (Hellborg/Selvaganesh)
06. Round Metal Hat (Hellborg/Selvaganesh/Eklundh)
07. Vyakhyan - kar (Hellborg)
08. Art Metal (Hellborg/Selvaganesh/Eklundh)

Review by Richard Heath

This continues in the tradition of the experimental fusions that Hellborg started his solo career off in the late 80's with numerous DEM Records releases, where very little seems off-limits to Hellborg wrt musical cross-pollenation. In particular, the very heavy jazz fusion of 'e' (predating Niacin by several years), and Shining Path's 'No Other Worlds', and of course more recently the Indo jazz fusion of 'Icon', 'Paris', 'Kali's Son' etc., are the precursors to 'Art Meta'l, although clearly the music isn't stuck in the 90's. Anders Johansson continues to impress being one of the most intelligent metal drummers around, and again he demonstrating great sympathy with percussionists, particularly those using eastern rhythms, (i.e. as previously heard on his album 'Red Shift'). And I have to say a welcome back to Jens Johansson - great to hear him away from Stratovarious and being pushed.
I have to admit this record has needed a second hearing for me to appreciate its subleties. With my first session in found a recording that started with (brash but) intelligent jazz metal (indeed semi-math rock in parts). However, I was hard pressed to hear its Indian side at the start, and instead that became far mor evident as it moved through to its later tracks, when I found the Indian influences became increasingly strong and equally weighted. However, with the second hearing and I realised the Indian rhythms and the structuring of tunes are more obvious from the very start. This is a record that will need several more hearings for me to more fully appreciate it, but already its complexity of arrangement, the use of light and heavy, the mix of east and west, abrupt change in song, tell me 'Art Metal' maintains Hellborg (and Co.) usual high standard of expermental jazz fusion albums - and indeed the album title is fairly accurate! This is an album that is most strongly recommended to Hellborg fans and especially those into metal jazz which does something new and special.
As an important footnote, I think having seen the intruction DVD, 'The Gateway to Rhythm' by John McLaughlin and S. Ganesh Vinayakram, the information there has provided me with some
considerable insights into what Hellborg and Selvaganash are doing in the company of proven metal rock masters of the Johansson brothers and Mattias IA Eklundh. ALso recommended as an introduction to Indian music.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Casiopea vs The Square - Live 2004

Genre: Jazz, Fusion, jazz - rock
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: 2004
Label: Sony Music

01. Omens of Love
02. Looking Up
03. Kapiolani
04. Justice
05. Once in a Blue Moon
06. Midnight Circle
07. Yuh-Ja
08. Mid Manhattan
09. Eccentric Games
10. Nab That Chap!!
11. Japanese Soul Brothers
12. Fightman
13. Truth
14. Asayake

The first disc of the double disc set starts with both groups performing together for the two opening tracks. Then The Square takes center stage for seven tracks, and give up the stage to Casiopea for eight tracks. On the second disc members from each group square off against one another. Guitar, Keyboard, Drum, and Bass battles encompass the first ten tracks. The last two tracks of the disc has the groups reuniting for two encore tracks.

CBW - Electric (2005)

Genre: Jazz
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: 2005
Label: Chesky Records

01. Wolfbane (Lenny White)
02. BB Blues (Larry Coryell)
03. So What (Miles Davis)
04. Sex Machine (Sylvester Stewart)
05. Black Dog (Page/Plant/Baldwin)
06. Footprints (Wayne Shorter)
07. Born Under a Bad Sign (Bell/Jones)
08. Low Blow (Victor Bailey)
09. Rhapsody and Blues (Larry Coryell)

By: Rick Calic

That lineup conjures musical magic in the minds of Jazz Rock fans, and rightfully so. Larry Coryell was a true Jazz Rock pioneer and arguably inventor as well. Lenny White the legendary
drummer in Return to Forever and on the groundbreaking Miles Davis Bitches Brew recordings, is a monster often overlooked by fans in favor of flashier style drummers. Victory Bailey originally “that guy that took over for Pastorius?? in Weather Report has grown into a phenomenal musician in every respect. Then for the icing on the cake, the Cd is on Chesky, well
known for their extremely high quality recordings. I was really putting high expectations on
this recording for all those reasons.
For those of you not familiar with Home Theater or Multi-Channel recordings, you might
experience an ambience you’re not used to. Anyone with a DVD-Audio or SACD player will tell
you. Don’t let that fool you, the recording is really amazing and I enjoyed both Stereo and Multi-Channel listening.
If there’s an issue with the performance on this Cd, you have to keep in mind that the type of
recording made here is virtually live in the studio. If anyone remembers the vinyl Direct to
Disk recordings, I’m sure they’ll also remember the performances were usually not as polished
as a typical studio productions. Same thing here, basically because the recording is so good,
you hear every nuance of sound and most of us are not used to that. Consequently you will also
hear flaws that might have been mixed into oblivion by standard studio productions. In addition
this type of recording is like performing in the Olympics, you get one chance – there’s no “takeovers??. I have several Direct to Disk records including the Japanese released VSOP “Five Stars?? , Herbie Hancock’s “Direct Step??, Paul Jackson’s “Black Octopus?? and The Great Jazz
Trio’s “Direct from LA??, and they all have wrong notes, missed beats, and other minor flaws
that would have probably been "fixed" in a standard recording.
I personally found the music on Electric to be disappointing at first, but dismiss that as having expectations that were not realistic and may revise that statement after a few more listens. In addition, this is not a recording of some young Jazz Rockers trying to blow your socks off. Rather, it’s the sound of a relaxed trio of exceptional veterans playing some fun stuff together. They play a Led Zeppelin tune, a Sly Stone tune, a Miles Davis classic, and some original compositions. None of them show the slightest effort to push the envelope or break new ground, it’s just good stuff.
Overall, this may not be the best Jazz Rock recording ever made, but it is certainly worth
owning. Take your testosterone level down a few notches, sit back and enjoy a live concert by
three of the finest musicians of our times.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Teodosi Spasov - Ultramarin (2001)

Genre: Jazz, Ethnic/Jazz
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: 2001
Label: Kuker Myuzyk


Record of "Ultramarine" was made on 30th Deutsche Jazz Festival in Frankfurt. It participates
Enver Izmaylov and guitarist who is already well known in Germany. Theodosius Spasov (flute,
vocals), Anatoly Vapirov (saxophone) and Stoyan Yankoulov (drum, percussion) create an independent "Bulgarian World jazz" in a new form, which speaks for itself with free improvisation with singing without words ... Impresivniyat and often melancholic sound of the pipe is mixed with the voice of Sax on Vapirov and deep pounding drums as if the instruments belonged to one different ages. With breathtaking ease Enver Izmaylov be joined with clean guitar line. Everything is played a dance as close to the Bulgarian wedding music - zasvirva increasingly faster and faster, almost of ecstasy, a brilliant solo izpalnenieya. Once it is rock, which is obvious after Arabic influences are or breadth and loneliness Some Bulgarian landscape - beautiful ornament in spokynite more times. "Trio Story" deserves its name - "Ultramarine" is "Music to sleep." KARINA shackles / Dzhazdaymenshan