Thursday, 27 May 2010

Carlos Santana - Caravanserai (1972) (2003 Columbia Legacy)

Genre: Jazz/Rock/Latino/Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2003
Original Release Date: 1972
Label: Sony Music / Legacy / Columbia

Drawing on rock, salsa, and jazz, Santana recorded one imaginative, unpredictable gem after another during the 1970s. But Caravanserai is daring even by Santana's high standards. Carlos Santana was obviously very hip to jazz fusion — something the innovative guitarist provides a generous dose of on the largely instrumental Caravanserai. Whether its approach is jazz-rock or simply rock, this album is consistently inspired and quite adventurous. Full of heartfelt,
introspective guitar solos, it lacks the immediacy of Santana or Abraxas. Like the type of jazz that influenced it, this pearl (which marked the beginning of keyboardist/composer Tom Coster's highly beneficial membership in the band) requires a number of listenings in order to be absorbed and fully appreciated. But make no mistake: this is one of Santana's finest accomplishments.....

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Balkan Horses Band Project

Balkan Horses Band - Contact(Part One) 2003

Genre: Ethnic/Jazz
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: 2003
Label: Aquastorm UBP 044

Balkan Horses Band - Contact (Part Two) 2004

Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: 2004
Label: Kvz Music

It’s taken a while, but now the voluptuous attractions of the odd-numbered time signatures and improvising possibilities of Balkan and other East European music (and also the similarly liberating, and to some extent related, delights of Middle Eastern music), and the high, exciting skill involved, are proving as enticing to many musicians outside those regions as the syncopation and freedom of jazz did for their parents and grandparents’ generations.
The music that is emerging sometimes sticks close to its traditional sources, but more often incorporates them with the musicians’ own musical perceptions to spark tangents and departures, a genetic shuffling and re-energising that seems to be evolving a wave of strong new music in Europe and beyond. And the excitement about these exotic musics involves an admiration and seeking-out of music and musicians, and can undoubtedly help break down and humanise perceptions of the rich variety of people arriving in western Europe from the east....

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Area - Tic & Tac (1980)

Genre: Jazz-Rock, Prog Rock
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1980
Label: Warner Italy

Area's uncompromising blend of jazz-rock, ethnic folk, experimentation, and political philosophies made them a unique presence in Italy during the 1970s. Fronting the band's musical fusion was singer Demetrio Stratos, who embellished his own operatic technique with yodels and growls. Stratos died in 1979, and the remaining members disbanded after releasing one instrumental album. The band was formed in 1972 by various musicians that had experience in pop, avant garde, and jazz groups. The band consisted of Demetrio Stratos (born 1945, Alexandria, Egypt; died June 13, 1979, New York - voice, organ, harpsichord, percussion); Giulio Capiozzo (born 1946, Boretto, Italy drums, percussion); and Patrizio Fariselli (born 1951, Cesenatico, Italy - piano, electric piano, bass clarinet, percussion, ARP synthesizer). Guitarist Johnny Lambizzi and bassist Victor Edouard Busniello were soon replaced by Giampaolo Tofani (born 1944, Florence - electric guitar, EMS guitar synthesizer, flute) and Jan Patrick Erard Djivas (bass). Manager Gianni Sassi signed the group to the independent Cramps label, and their debut, Arbeit Macht Frei, was released in 1973. The album's bold title, cover imagery and lyrical content were packaged as a protest of fascism, and by declaring themselves an "International POPular Group," Area gave new meaning to playing music for the people. Musically, the album showed the early influence of jazz rock acts like Soft Machine and Nucleus, with hints of folk music of the Mediterranean, the Balkans and the Middle East. After the first album Djivas joined PFM and was replaced by Ares Tavolazzi (born 1948, Ferrara, Italy - bass, double bass, trombone, pocket trumpet). A second album, Caution: Radiation Area, perfected the group's unique sound, combining the punch of rock and the frightening chaos of experimental music. It also showed their continuing political activism. By dedicating one song to German guerilla activist Ulrike Meinhof, the group began to get more international press for their politics than for their music. Over the next few years Area would play benefits for controversial political causes, and they allied themselves with leftist youth and working class movements in Italy, including the socialist and communist parties. Winning a progressive music award in Italy, Crac! (1975) was the best evidence of Area'scrazy fusion: furious, mind-bending rhythms and melodies balanced with humor and the avant garde. A live album, Are(A)zione, followed in the fall of 1975....

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Colosseum - Those Who Are About to Die Salute You (1969)

Genre: Progressive Rock, Jazz-Rock, Blues
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1969
Label: Castle Records

While Colosseum lasted only a little more than three years, producing five albums in that time, they made a great impression on the blooming subgenre of progressive rock, first with the energetic jazz- and blues-influenced "Those Who Are About to Die Salute You", with its unusual chord progressions and variant song structures, and then with the epic "Valentyne Suite". The title track of Valentyne Suite, a 17-minute composition, pushed keyboardist Dave Greenslade to the forefront of the band and into the spotlight of progressive music, a position he was increasingly uneasy with over the years. Drummer Jon Hiseman, on the other hand, gradually moved towards the jazz fusion area. Colosseum began to undergo personnel shifts with their third album, Grass Is Greener, with everyone calling it quits upon the departure of Greenslade in 1971. In 1975, Hiseman formed Colosseum II, but this time the mandate was firmly jazz fusion. ( Allmusic )

Barry White - All Time Greatest Hits (1994)

Genre: R&B/Soul
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1994
Label: Mercury

If you ever feel romantic and decide to fill half your CD changer with recordings that set in the mood, there are three specific recommendations I have: Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On, Al Green's Greatest Hits, and Barry White's All-Time Greatest Hits. I would suggest three other CD's to fill up the changer and thus make a perfect 6-CD collection, but I'm afraid that nothing else immediately comes to mind.
What makes Barry White's Greatest Hits so great is that the theme of each song is consistent. And that theme is hot romance to the max. Barry White has been able to deliver the message of love as only a true gentleman can. He commands it in a deep baritone voice that can drive the women wild as opposed to those squealing falsetto attempts that never really made it to first base.

Essentially a very thorough compilation of his 20 biggest singles that runs over 75 minutes, Barry White's All-Time Greatest Hits is missing very little. There may be slightly different arrangements in the original LP versions that some listeners might prefer otherwise, but for those who want a definitive collection of Barry White's works, this is about as good as you will ever get.

And some might say that unlike David Lee Roth's A Little Ain't Enough, you definitely can't get enough from this one particular disc. But let's be thankful that we do have this assortment, anyway....

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Trio of Doom - Trio of Doom (2007)

Genre: Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Recorded: March 3 & 8, 1979
Released: 2007
Label: Columbia/Legacy

A band made up of the godfather of fusion guitar, the undisputed greatest innovator of the electric bass guitar and the best drummer of them all is a fusion jazz dream. And for the very briefest of time, John McLaughlin, Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams formed a power trio to top all power trios. One that Jaco coined "The Trio Of Doom."

It became more fittingly "The Doomed Trio." Here's how it happened.

In 1979 the U.S State Department sponsored a trip of prominent American musicians to play in Havana, Cuba along with Cuba's finest in a musical summit event formally called "Havana Jam," and nicknamed "The Bay Of Gigs." All of the American artists, from primarily the jazz, fusion and rock genres were provided by Columbia Records, who organized the three day event. Williams, McLaughlin and Pastorius (through his membership in Weather Report) were all Columbia recording artists at the time and were all going to Havana. All three had played or jammed with one other, but never all three together. Since they were going to all be performing at the Jam anyway, they decided to get together for a single gig during the event, limited to only twenty-five minutes.

Astute fusion fans will already note that Williams and McLaughlin made up two thirds of the lineup of the original, seminal Lifetime band a decade earlier. But adding the hyper-talented but unpredictable Pastorius to the mix it was guaranteed to make this combo stand apart from the one where the bottom was being provided by Larry Young's bass pedals.....

Friday, 21 May 2010

Trilok Gurtu - Usfret (1988)

Genre: Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1988
Label: CMP Records

The amazing percussionist Trilok Gurtu first came to prominence with the world music group Oregon. He would later achieve greater fame with the John McLaughlin Trio, where his wild East-meets-West percussion forays became highlights of every show. In performance, Gurtu surrounds himself with Indian percussion instruments of every sort and a small traditional drum kit. He plays sitting and or kneeling. His percussion pallet is as big as anyone's. He may strike a small cymbal, then drop it in and pull it out of a bucket of water. He may squeeze squeaky toys, blow a whistle, shake a handful of small bells or strike an impressive Western backbeat or snare roll. And he does it all with an infectious smile that in itself is part of a wondrous rhythm....

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Azam Ali - Elysium for the Brave 2006

Genre: World Music, NewAge
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2006
Label: Six Degrees

Bloomington (Indiana), USA - Elysium for the Brave (Six Degrees Records), Azam Ali's second solo album, signals a new turn in her musical evolution. The album, her most ambitious work to date, brings together musicians from varied musical backgrounds performing in diverse permutations.
Singing predominantly in English for the first time, the songs are based on lyrics written by Azam herself and reveal a poetic lyricism heard only in glimpses of her previous works.

From the new CD’s opening track, “Endless Reverie,” it becomes immediately apparent that Ali has moved into new sonic territory. The frame drum pulse is familiar but the percolating synthesizer textures and haunting vocals sung in English take the song into a darkly beautiful place that exists between the worlds of electronic rock and global fusion. This terrain is also occupied by the tracks, “In Other Worlds,” “In this Divide” and ”Forty One Ways.”.....

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Herbie Hancock - Inventions & Dimensions 1963 [REMASTERED 2005]

Genre: Jazz
Format: ape + cue + log
Released: 1963
Label: EMI Japan

All too often the concept of a Latin jazz album by a musician without a history inside that genre implies bop solos over a heavy-handed polyrhythmic foundation. What makes pianist Herbie Hancock's Inventions & Dimensions so utterly fresh and challenging, even decades after its original 1963 release, is his willingness to try a number of Latin-sounding gambits without resorting to a Drums of Passion rhythmic backdrop. Anyone who has appreciated Bud Powell's forays into a kind of proto-Latin improvisation will appreciate Hancock's inventiveness.

The four original compositions by Hancock are far from catchy, more like sketches than his most famous pieces. Yet from these patchy and meandering tunes Hancock works up a completely mesmerizing series of colors and textures and riffs, with mutated montunos dominant in the mix.....

Friday, 14 May 2010

The Robert Frip String Quintet - The Bridge Between (1993)

Genre: Prog-Rock/ Art Rock
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1993
Label: Discipline

THE BRIDGE BETWEEN's charismatic wonders evolve right out of your speakers like prog's bastard offspring. After the staid acoustic concerns of the League of Crafty Guitarists, Fripp's latest ensemble indulges, thankfully, in both electric and electronic applications. Fripp is accompanied here by longtime associate Trey Gunn (on grand stick) and by The California Guitar Trio. His choice of material--some traditional Bach pieces in addition to original works--is cogent, breathtaking, and absolutely absorbing......

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Dave Weckl - Master Plan (1990)

Genre: Jazz, Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1900
Label: GRP


From the time Dave Weckl burst on the scene as the drummer in Chick Corea's Electric Band, you could tell he was something special. It wasn't just his technical virtuosity, or his integration of electronic triggers into his acoustic setup, or his unique phrasing or counterpoint grooves: it was the way he did everything within the context of the music. I truly believe that this debut CD, like many that have followed it, contains tunes that NO other drummer can play let alone conceive. Most of the compositions on this CD were done in collaboration with long-time friend and keyboard player Jay Oliver....

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Masahiro Andoh - Melody Book (1986)

Genre: J-Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1986
Label: Sony

Masahiro Andoh (September 16, 1954, Nagoya, Japan) is a Japanese composer,
guitarist and T-Square's leader from Aichi, Japan. Beside being its band
member, Andoh is notable in videogaming circles as he wrote the music used
in games such as Gran Turismo and Twilight Of The Spirits, most notably of
the former, Moon Over the Castle, its theme tune. He is one of the
performer on the band's composition, Truth, the theme tune for Fuji
Television's Formula One World Championship coverage, which has been in
use since 1987.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Chick Corea - Piano Improvisations

Chick Corea - Piano Improvisations Vol 1 (1971)

Genre: Jazz
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1971
Label: Ecm Records

Review by Scott Yanow (
After spending a year with the avant-garde quartet Circle, Chick Corea's desire to communicate to a wider audience led to him deciding to break up the unit. His first post-Circle recordings were two LPs of piano solos. Vol. 1 features six of his originals including the eight sketches of "Where Are You Now?," and the debut of the future standard "Sometime Ago." These performances are sometimes a bit precious, but they succeed in being acccessible and serve as a transition between Circle and Return to Forever.

Chick Corea - Piano Improvisations Vol 2 (1972)

Genre: Jazz
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1972
Label: Ecm Records

Review by Scott Yanow (
This is the second of two LPs recorded by Chick Corea shortly after he broke up the avant-garde quartet Circle, saying that he wanted to communicate to a larger audience. As with the first set, these brief sketches are melodic and a bit precious but contain some strong moments. In addition to seven Corea originals, he interprets Thelonious Monk's "Trinkle Tinkle" and Wayne Shorter's "Masquellero." Not essential but worth acquiring.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Gamalon - Aerial View (1990)

Genre: Jazz-Rock/Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1990
Label: MCA / Amherst

Gamalon is a jazz rock band from USA formed in mid '80's around the excellent musicians Tom and Ted Reinhardt. This is their second album from 1990 namjed Aerial view. Quite intristing release melting jazz rock with some progressive leanings here and there, Gamalon manage to create a solid album in this genre. This album, and aswell their next one, sounds more like a guitarist album , in vein Of Satriani, rather then a effort of a band, in a true sens of the word. Guitar orientated release with some excellent moments, well not a masterpiece for sure, but very good. Gamalon played a more upbeat jazz rock , they are more influenced by musicians as Joe Satriani, in places some pieces are one on one with Satriani's atmosphere, just listen to for ex to Lena, I swear this piece is taken from some Satriani albums from late'80's , early'90's. Of course the musicians is top notch, entirely instrumental, Gamalon manage to brig something great in this field, the prestation of the musicians , the ideas are great, and I can only recommended this band to be checked because worth every second. In some parts I can aswell trace some Dixie Dregs elements, that atmosphere from, What if, and even some experimental moments are obvious here. Well to the tell the truth , first time I heared this band, I was a little confused, because I expected to be a real jazz fusion album, instead I get some jazz rock album, who turns to be after some spins a real treat for me. 4 stars, for this Aerial view, some pieces are truly amazing, like the opening track, Lena and a couple more. Recommended.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Adagio - Sanctus Ignis 2001

Genre: Neo-classical Metal, Progressive Metal
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2001
Label: SPV

Fans of Adagio do know that its leader has always been Stephan Forte. A French guitarist heard Yngwie Malmsteen in his youth and was convinced what he should do in the future. He studied at CMCN (International Music Academy in Nancy) and graduated from it in the year 1997. His musical taste surely took a right shape after listening to the greatest world's composers like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Yngwie Malmsteen, Paco De Lucia, baroque, jazz and fusion music. Stephan recorded an instrumental demo "Visions" in 1996 that was a herald of Adagio in a sense. It was the same with another guitar virtuoso - Michael Romeo who recorded the instrumental album "The Dark Chapter" before the debut of Symphony X. Mr. Forte played as a support artist for Yngwie Malmsteen and he has been unfairly compared to a Swede since that moment. Both Stephan and Yngwie play neoclassical elements in their music, but the French guitarist comes from more extreme and progressive school, however the Swedish wizard derives from classic hard rock tradition. You needn't be a music critic to pick out these differences between them. Moreover, Adagio performed live with the likes of Majestic, Double Dealer, Symphony X, Devin Townsend, Matthias Eklundh, Misanthrope, Uli Jon Roth and others.....

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Steve Smith - Vital Information (1983)

Genre: Jazz
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1983
Label: Wounded Bird Records

Pre-dating Steve Perry's solo endeavor by a whole year, Vital Information was a peculiar solo release in an age where singers from highly successful bands were the only ones permitted to venture off into solo endeavors. Steve Smith, the drummer from one of arena rock's best bands ever --Journey -- broke the taboo by assembling a small group of musicians and releasing Vital Information, an all-instrumental, seven-song session. Electric jazz in the vein of Pat Metheny and later-era Miles Davis, this album may be a disappointment for those who were expecting more of the pop-friendly anthems Journey has previously delivered. The closest to a "Journey moment" arrives midway through the disc during Mike Stern's blistering guitar workout on "All There Is." But that's exactly what makes this record work: Smith is free of constraints and proves himself quite a versatile and intense drummer, well, capable of brushing things up a bit beyond what Zappa termed the "petrified forest of boom-bap" that rock drummers have become so well-known for....

Saturday, 1 May 2010

VA - Stockfisch Records - Closer To The Music Vol. 2 (2007){Superb SACD Audiophile}

Genre: Acoustic, Pop
Format: ape + cue + log
Released: 2007
Label: Stockfisch Records

Since the release of Stockfisch's first SACD sampler, the audiophile label has recorded and published many new Stockfisch productions – well known artists of the singer/songwriter scene as well as so called “insider tips”. Listen to 15 new tracks, 70 minutes on this Hybrid-SACD!

Just like Vol. 1, this second Stockfisch collection closer to the music Vol.2 offers on its 15 individual tracks a wide musical variety. Different as they may be, they are bound by an invisible thread, a common ground for all of them, the guitar based arrangements. This special sound, the “trade mark” of nearly all Stockfisch productions, is where they all meet. Always energetic, but at the same time gentle and never lacking transparency, that’s how the artists and their fellow
musicians skillfully present their music. These recordings, as any listener will experience, exemplify once again the Stockfisch philosophy: closer to the music!