Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Fusion Syndicate - Soria 2012

Format: ape + cue + log
Genre: Jazz, Jazz Fusion
Original Release Date: 2012
Label: Cleopatra

From the producer of The Prog Collective comes a new supergroup of unparalleled musical virtuosos who cut loose on this jazz-rock fusion album! Features performances by members of the biggest names in fusion including Mahavishnu Orchestra, Yellowjackets, Brand X, Soft Machine, and Spyro Gyra PLUS Yes, Dream Theater, King Crimson, Tool, Porcupine Tree, Hawkwind and more! Full publicity push with press releases going out to all major fusion websites plus full page ads in PROG and Record Collector magazine! --Official Press Release

Progressive rock musicians are — by their very nature and out of necessity – an ambitious, adventurous lot. So it’s not an insurmountable conceptual leap to get a bunch of them together to make a jazz fusion album. And that’s precisely the conceit upon which the self-titled album credited to The Fusion Syndicate is built. Drawing upon the instrumental expertise of members (past and present) of Porcupine Tree, Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson, Dream Theater, Tool, Hawkwind, Soft Machine and many more, The Fusion Syndicate attempts to revive the ghost of Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis. Right down to the unsubtle Bitches Brew-esque cover painting, the album endeavors to take listeners back to that brief musical era when anything seemed possible; and in those days, one often got points for trying, even if/when the results were middling. You have to push the envelope to create something new, went the thinking; sometimes it worked, sometimes not. On The Fusion Syndicate, that’s also true: it generally works, but some efforts within are more successful than others. And knowing who’s behind it, that makes sense: the entire project was put together by Billy Sherwood, perhaps most notable as one of near-countless Yes alumni members. From this listener’s veiwpoint, having absorbed a good bit of Sherwood’s musical output, he’s something of a mixed bag. Clearly he has a lot going for him: Chris Squire worked with him before, during and after his (Sherwood’s) Yes tenure, and the man’s Rolodex clearly has the private number of a staggering who’s who of prog. And these players take his calls: they seem willing, perhaps even eager to lend their considerable talents to his many projects. Those projects are a mixed lot, too: Songs of the Century is another current Sherwood project, a tribute to the music of Supertramp. Despite its A-list of players, it’s dreadfully uninspired, and its cover versions tend to drain the songs of whatever made them special to begin with. Meanwhile, the music that Sherwood composes, is to these ears – while technically impressive – often short on hooks and memorable melodic lines. His Circa group (with Yes‘ Alan White) simply isn’t very memorable musically. It’s enjoyable while it spins, to be sure, but it fails somehow to leave a lasting impression. This is also true of much of the Yes music from Sherwood’s time with the band. So while he’s a stellar multi-instrumentalist, a good (not great) singer and an effective steward of interesting projects, he’s not a go-to guy when you need catchy song-driven music. But we’re talking about fusion here, after all. Fusion is not the sort of music designed to goad the listener into tapping his or (less frequently) her foot, or humming along with the melodic line. Fusion is about atmosphere, feel, and chops. The musical pieces – beds, if you will – are often mere platforms for musicians to (as they say in the jazz idiom) blow. Sherwood’s approach on The Fusion Syndicate seems to have been this: write some loose jazz structures with plenty of “air” in them, lay down some demos or basic tracks, and then ring up about thirty(!) of his friends and associates – mostly marquee names – and ask them to overdub their own jazzy parts atop the rhythm tracks. And it’s a solid approach. Across seven tracks (longish ones, as this is indeed fusion – every cut is seven minutes plus change), these players – guitarists, bassists, drummers, keyboard players, horn guys, sax guys – strut their stuff. Unlike the approach used on older jazz (Dixieland, bop, etc.), fusion tracks aren’t arranged in the you-take-thirtysix-bars-then-I-will manner; everybody sort of goes at it all at once. The result can often be something of a mess, at least to the ears of more pop-oriented listeners. Some of the cuts are heavily abstract, with little in the way of recognizable melody. Others are more conventional. What’s interesting is that the abstract cuts work better; the more grounded cuts lean disconcertingly in the direction of what we (in a less enlightened era, with more limited musical vocabulary upon which to draw) disdainfully called white-guy jazz. But at its best, The Fusion Syndicate echoes not only jazz artists, but some of the more boundary-blurring work from artists like Frank Zappa, Stomu Yamashta‘s Go project, and Wired-era Jeff Beck. A full roster of the players – most of whom usually appear on but one track – would take too long, but here’s a few names: Rick Wakeman, Mel Collins, Gavin Harrison, Nik Turner, Chad Wackerman, Steve Hillage, Theo Travis, Randy Brecker, Steve Stevens. That’s not even a third of the list. Guys from rock, jazz, prog and across genres. You won’t come away from your hour with The Fusion Syndicate tapping your foot, but if you’re looking for something new that tries to follow in the grand, groundbreaking tradition of early-to-mid 70s jazz fusion, this album is well worth checking out. Musoscribe: Bill Kopp's Music Blog

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Victor Bailey - Slippin' n' Trippin'(2010)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz, Jazz Fusion
Original Release Date: 2010
Label: King Record Co

The music

Bassist Victor Bailey returns with his strongest and most consistent effort to date,titled Slippin’ N’ Trippin’. Bailey states “on this record I wanted to feature more of my bass guitar than on my other cd’s. I’m also a versatile keyboardist,vocalise a little, and play a little drums too”. As usual Bailey serves up a variety of great feels,grooves and of course incredible bass playing.Standouts include the opener “Ape School” wth some innovative slapping and tapping over a surprising supple dance/funk feel.We follow that up with the title track “Slippin’ N’ Trippin’,with a shockingly strong vocal performance by Bailey and a great drum track by the legendary Billy Cobham.Next is an incredible rendition of John Coltrane’s Countdown,featuring Ron Carter on acoustic bass.Then he slows things down with his lovely ballad “I Wonder”,and displays exceptional arranging skills on the classic song Alfie,featuring a rare performance on fretless bass.He puts in a fine vocal performance on “Like A Horn” featuring some of the best bebop bass playing ever heard anywhere.Included is an innovative rendition of the Prince classic “Kiss” recorded with all bass guitars.We get a little gospel feel with “If You Say So” and finish off with the classic funk/fusion jam “Lucky Punch” featuring an amazing drum solo by Bailey’s former Weather Report bandmate Omar Hakim.With names like Hakim,Cobham,Lenny White and Ron Carter you can be sure this is music of the highest order.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Asia - Asia 1982 (2010 Audio Fidelity 24 KT+Gold AFZ 068)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Progressive Rock
Original Release Date: 1982
Label: Audio Fidelity
Catalog#: AFZ 068
Format: 24 KT Gold CD

One of the finest debuts in rock history, there's no denying the epic grandeur of the music

Asia's debut spent 9 weeks at #1 on the U.S. album chart. "Heat Of The Moment" (#4), "Sole Survivor" (#10), and "Only Time Will Tell" (#17) were huge Top 40 hits. Asia would go on to receive a Grammy nomination as Best New Artist of the Year and Billboard named Asia Album of the Year.

One of the first true supergroups - The band had an amazing pedigree made-up of former members of veteran progressive rock bands Steve Howe (lead guitarist from Yes), Carl Palmer (drummer from Emerson, Lake & Palmer), John Wetton (vocalist & bassist from King Crimson) and Geoff Downes (keyboardist from the Buggles)......

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Chickenfoot - III (2011) [US]

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Blues-Rock, Hard Rock
Original Release Date: 2011
Label: earMUSIC

Chickenfoot III is the second studio album by American hard rock band Chickenfoot, released on September 27, 2011. The first pressing of the album was packaged in an exclusive 3-D album cover and includes 11 new songs. Despite the title, this is not actually the band's third album.....

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Brian May Band - Live At The Brixton Academy (1994)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Rock
Original Release Date: 1994
Label: Parlophone

Live at the Brixton Academy is a recording of The Brian May Band's first show in London on June 15, 1993. The album was released on CD, LP and VHS in 1994, and remains the group's only release as a collective.

The album is an almost complete and unedited version of the concert. Their performance of John Lennon's God (The Dream Is Over) was not included on the album due to copyright issues. Keyboard player Spike Edney had to play a second solo (neither are on the CD, the first being on the video) after May had technical problems before playing Last Horizon. Also, Back To The Light, Tie Your Mother Down, Love Token, Headlong, Let Your Heart Rule Your Head, Resurrection (in particular, Cozy Powell's drum solo), We Will Rock You and Hammer To Fall are all slightly shortened on the CD, but appear in full on the 90-minute video of the same event.

The show includes live renditions of the top ten singles Driven By You and Too Much Love Will Kill You.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Vital Tech Tones - VTT2 2000

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz-Rock
Original Release Date: 2000
Label: Tone Center


Recently I got a few jazzrock discs for review. This is one them featuring Scott Henderson, a guitarist I have seen often reviewed, but have hardly heard anything of.

The music

The opening of this album is something else. How often do you see an instrumental intro to a concept album in prog? Very often I would say. But a vocal intro to an instrumental album, is not at all an everyday experience. It does happen here with the bass driven VTT on which the album is introduced vocally. The bass playing is more or less what you might expect from such a bass only experience: technically proficient.

With SubZero we arrive at the kind of music that I would expect from a trio such as this, although the music is maybe a bit more "atmopsheric". The drummer Smith is really going at it on this one. Not really heavy or anything but varied and lightfooted he fills up all the holes left by the meandering Henderson while Wooten lays down some low bass rumbles. The guitar sound is rather high contrasting strongly with the other two instruments which operate in the lower frequencies. Notwithstanding the jamming feel to the track, it sounds to composed to be an improvisation, but every instrumentalists gets his place in the sun on this one with a rather long solo. What I like about this track is the etherealness of a large part of the track. In that sense it is not standard jazzrock.

On The Litigants, we hear more groove in the bass and drums, but also a bit less melody, less interesting ones I mean. This is more typical jazzrock in my opinion, although the guitar maintains part of its etherealness. On this track it seems the instruments take the fore one by one: the drums in the opening, then a bit of guitar and then Wooten shows off his fats playing technique. Very repetitive, almost minimal and extremely fast. Finally the song starts to rock a bit more.

Puhtainin' Tuh... opens slowly and bouncily. A bit of a reggae feel perhaps here. The song never gets to have much pace, but it does get heavier towards the end. Drum Stops, No Good is rather funky track with drums and bass. Its successor Catch Me I U Can lacks a bit of face melodically, but it does have a nice groovy drive. It is a up-beat track with the fast fingers of Wooten on bass, while the guitar is a bit different this time. At times the music has a bit of a Phish feel.

Nairobi Express opens with discordant squeaky sounds. Then we get an easy going piece of music with the bass up front and the guitar drawing long ethereal lines along the soundspectrum in the back. The music does have a certain roomy feel to it, like of the open savannah. The music also builds a kind of tension, and notwithstanding the tune that dominates the track, there is a sense of foreboding, but also a groove that never lets off.

Who Knew? opens moodily, maybe a bit of Stu Hamm here with the warm low bass sound. The guitar has that high ethereal sound again, something which makes the music less slick and more likable for me. A do like a few rough edges to keep it interesting. But of course, if you do not happen to like jazzrock at all, you probably will not appreciate it at all, because that is simply what it is. The melody has a bit of a Latin feel jere. The guitar solo builds up quite nicely building on itself instead of moving in arbitrary directions all the time. This is something I usually do not like about these guitar excursions.

Time Tunnel is an easy-going track with a bit of a country twang on the guitar. The song ends with noisy rock. Very nice. The rock 'n' roll that follows is a bit less interesting to say the least. But let them.

The final track is Chakmool-Ti and is also by far the longest. The track does not bring much news to the album though: it has its somewhat noisy meandering guitar, but wait...there is a soundscapish intermezzo in the middle there after which a moody melodic bass sets in. Nice.


If you are into jazzrock, then I can easily recommended this extremely well played and produced album. The three instruments are all easy to follow throughout the album and might even serve as a kind of lesson for people playing the given instruments.Given what I have heard of jazzrock, the approach of this trio is not as slick as most, but also does not leave melody out of sight altogether. Okay, sometimes the music gets simply a bit too funky, a bit too meandering, but on the whole this is one of the better jazzrock efforts in recent times.~Jurriaan Hage

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Weather Report - Weather Report 1971 (1992)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz,Fusion
Original Release Date: 1971
Label: Columbia Legacy

by Richard S. Ginell Here we have the free-floating, abstract beginnings of Weather Report, which would define the state of the electronic jazz/rock art from its first note almost to its last. Their first album is a direct extension of the Miles Davis In a Silent Way/Bitches Brew period, more fluid in sound and more volatile in interplay. Joe Zawinul ruminates in a delicate, liquid manner on Rhodes electric piano; at this early stage, he used a ring modulator to create weird synthesizer-like effects. Wayne Shorter's soprano sax shines like a beacon amidst the swirling ensemble work of co-founding bassist Miroslav Vitous, percussionist Airto Moreira, and drummer Alphonse Mouzon. Zawinul's most memorable theme is "Orange Lady" (previously recorded, though uncredited, by Davis on Big Fun), while Shorter scores on "Tears" and "Eurydice." One of the most impressive debuts of all time by a jazz group.

"After nine years with Cannonball Adderley, pianist-composer Joe Zawinul is ready to go out on his own." So read the opening sentence of the lead news item in the December 10, 1970 issue of Down Beat magazine. It was the first that most jazz fans learned that Zawinul, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and bassist Miroslav Vitous were forming a new band that included 22-year old drummer Alphonse Mouzon.
By that time, both Shorter and Zawinul had established themselves as influential jazz musicians and composers. Zawinul was coming off a nine-year stint with Adderley, and Shorter had recently left Miles Davis. Though they had rarely played together, the two had known each other since 1959, when they were briefly members of Maynard Ferguson's band. Zawinul picks up the story in a 1984 Keyboard magazine interview:
"When I first met Wayne Shorter in '59," he recalled, "I had only been in the United States for a week or so. After I joined Maynard Ferguson's band, we needed a tenor player. 'Slide' Hampton, the trombonist, and I auditioned three tenor players in one afternoon: George Coleman, Eddie Harris, and Wayne Shorter. For this particular audition, Maynard trusted us to make the right decision, and we picked Wayne. He was only in the band for about a month and when he left [to join Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers], we didn't play together for many years, until we did In A Silent Way in 1969 with Miles Davis. After Bitches Brew [recorded in August 1969 and released in April of 1970], Wayne, Miroslav Vitous, and I decided to make a band. We didn't know anything about each other as far as playing was concerned. When Wayne was on the road with Art Blakey, I was on the road with Cannonball Adderley. In those days we hardly ever listened to records; we just tried to survive."
While he was still with Cannonball, Zawinul had a chance to listen to Miles' album, Nefertiti. "During the 1960s Wayne and I hung out sometimes, had a few drinks and talked about music, but early on we never discussed having our own band. Years later I was in the basement of Bill Russell's house--the basketball player--and he had a great stereo set-up. I had the earphones on and was listening to Nefertiti [Miles Davis' 1967 album on which Shorter contributed three compositions]. It was something like what I had been doing before, structurally--away from all that eight bars shit and then you go to the bridge. The music flowed. That was a real spark." [DB78b] Zawinul felt it was only a matter of time before he and Wayne got together. "From then on, I knew it, because there were certain things I heard, certain concepts which were very, I wouldn't say similar, but complementary." [DB75a] "That's when I felt Wayne was the guy I should do something with. He had the new thinking."
They began talking about forming a band during the In A Silent Way recording sessions, which took place in February 1969. "During the recording of In A Silent Way, Wayne--who already left Miles [actually his last gig with Miles was in March 1970]--was there and Wayne and me said, 'Let’s start a band.' He wanted to make a band together with Chick Corea, Roy Haynes but somehow this didn’t happen. Wayne said, 'Listen, I’m tired of telling people how to play and how this and that goes, let’s have a band.' I agreed." [MDR] And shortly before Davis' death in 1991, Zawinul said, "At the session of In A Silent Way, Wayne and me decided to have a band and that's where Weather Report came from."
Zawinul and Shorter again played together for Davis' Bitches Brew sessions, which took place in August 1969. Shortly thereafter, Joe recorded his third album as a leader, the self-titled Zawinul. [IASW, p. 124] One of the participants was Vitous, whom Joe had met in 1966 when the then-19 year old bass player won the Friedrich Gulda International Competition for which Zawinul was a judge. That led to Vitous coming to the United States on a scholarship at the Berklee School Of Music (the same way Zawinul came to the US), and he quickly found himself in demand by various jazz artists, including Herbie Mann, Chick Corea and Miles Davis.
Meanwhile, Zawinul and Shorter recorded solo albums in 1969 and 1970 that are now looked upon as the seeds of ideas that germinated in Weather Report, as Michael Zipkin wrote in the October 20, 1978 issue of BAM magazine:
In late summer 1969, just following the Bitches Brew sessions, Shorter recorded Supernova , a passionate, atmospheric album of sketches full of jungle-like percusson with polyrhythmic and tonal freedom. Even more prophetic was Wayne's Odyssey of Oska , recorded a year later [on the same day, August 26, 1970, as Moto Grosso Feio ], which was a highly visual series of tone poems tracking "the journey of your own soul" through the metaphorical signposts of "Wind," "Storm," "Calm," and "Joy." Significantly, percussionist Airto Moreira and the young Czech bassist Miroslav Vitous were on Supernova, and drummer Al Mouzon shared responsibilities with Billy Hart on Iska. There first three players would appear with Shorter and Zawinul on Weather Report's first album in the spring of 1971.
Meanwhile, Zawinul was putting together his own prototypical canvas of impressionism on the Zawinul album. This, too, was an album of tone sketches: evocative personal images of Josef's "grandfather's funeral on a cold winter day in an Austrian mountain village" ("His Last Journey"); his "first impressions of New York when he arrived here as a boy on a ship from France" ("Arrival in New York"); and "impressions of Zawinul's days as a shepherd boy in Austria" ("In A Silent Way").
Vitous played on the record, and Shorter contributed one tune. With Herbie Hancock, Zawinul used a Rhodes piano, and with the aid of an echoplex and ring modulator, elicited hitherto unknown layers of sound that paved the way for future explorations with Weather Report.
Shorter continued to play in Davis' live band until early March 1970, when Miles began working with a small, guitar-based group. [MB, p. 73, 114] At that point, Shorter took a break from music. "I didn't play much for a whole year. I made two albums, Super Nova and Odyssey of Iska . So I took that year to just take a look at the world and myself I went to the islands a lot, the Caribbean Islands, St. Thomas. And just let 11 years of playing steady, let it sink in. In conclusion, I didn't want to do it in the same way. Where in five years time you look much older than your time, just into one club and out of the other, on the band-bus routine. I thought to myself, how many other musicians, or painters or writers, with hardly any sustaining money, have a chance to take a whole year and just take a look at themselves. I didn't want to play. I just looked at the horn every once in awhile. Then I started playing a lot of other things, not jazz, but stuff from Ima Sumac, music from Peru, a lot of Latin stuff."
Zawinul's last studio session with Miles took place in February 1970. [MB, p. 315] Later that summer Miles attempted to recruit Zawinul for his live band. "I was out here in L.A. at Shelley's [a defunct jazz club]," Zawinul recalled in 1973, "when Miles called me one morning and said that Miroslav had joined his band and it would be nice if I joined too." [RS73] Zawinul elaborated in another interview: "Miles called me in September of 1970 and told me Miroslav Vitous was joining him. I'd already decided to leave Cannonball, so I told Miles I'd join too. I went to Seattle, where Miles was playing, and Miroslav wasn't there--so I went back to New York and it never happened."
In fact, Chick Corea and Dave Holland left Davis' band at the end of August 1970, creating the need for new keyboard and bass players. And according to Paul Tingen's excellent book Miles Beyond, Vitous did play a few concerts with Miles in September, but apparently not in Seattle when Zawinul showed up. [MB] "As it happened," Zawinul said, "Miroslav and Miles couldn't get together anyway and then all of a sudden we were in New York calling each other one afternoon. My album [the self-titled Zawinul ] had just come out and Miroslav suggested that he and I get together. He called Wayne and Wayne called me, we had a meeting and suddenly said, 'Shit, let's have a band,' you know?"
"Wayne hadn't been working for a year," recalled Zawinul. "At the time he was writing a piece for a 22-piece orchestra. And I had tons of music and it was just time. And when it's time to quit certain things, it's time to quit. Miroslav had made a very nice album for Atlantic. I knew Miroslav for quite a while; I judged this contest in Europe where he came in a winner. We had similar backgrounds culturally. It was very easy to get into his music and understand it, so it fell together in one afternoon."
With that, Weather Report was formed. The three men went into a recording studio to get a feel for what the band might be like. "We never talked about a concept," Zawinul said. "We went down into the studio the first time--Billy Cobham [Alphonse Mouzon was unavailable], Wayne, Miroslav and myself--and made a tape. I still haven't listened to it. Immediately we knew that that was gonna be it." "That was really an experience," he continued. "We decided that we were going to need some fantastic management, because the quality of the music was very high, so we got Sid Bernstein (who as everyone knows, brought the Beatles to the U.S.). Then, I was supposed to do some independent producing at Columbia, and when they heard we had a band, the machine started rolling."
"Then we needed a drummer, and Al [Mouzon] was the first choice, and when he started working with us in rehearsal it was really fantastic--he sings and all that. And then Airto--we'd tried another percussionist but he didn't have that individualism, and that's what we really are aiming for--individuals all, but playing together. So we called Airto and he fit right in." [DB71] In perhaps a bit of revisionist history, Zawinul told Melody Maker in 1972 that Eric Gravatt was the first choice along, but he was unavailable because he was with McCoy Tyner. [MM72] Ironically, Mouzon would replace Gravatt in Tyner's band when Gravatt joined Weather Report in 1971. In any event, Mouzon was well known to both Zawinul and Shorter, having played on Shorter's Odyssey of Iska, and worked with Zawinul on Tim Hardin's Bird On A Wire date.
"After we signed the contract with Columbia," Zawinul continued, "I went to Europe with my family, on December 10, 1970. We hung out in London, then Vienna, and then Barcelona. After we got back to New York, the band rehearsed a month, then went into the studio and cut the record in three days, in March of 1971. It was getting acquainted time. I had only played with Miroslav and Wayne a little." [DB78b] "We rehearsed three weeks--or rather, we took a month and rehearsed four days a week--and then went into the studio and did the record in three days. Rehearsing was quite something--every day when we got home we'd be exhausted, there was so much music going on."
How did the name Weather Report come about? "When we first got together with CBS," Shorter told Jazz Forum magazine in 1976, "we had a meeting with Clive Davis, and we just mapped out what we were going to do. The only thing he asked was, 'How could we give some name to this music in order to sell it, where are we going to put it in the record stores, are we going to put it in the classical thing?' So we just concluded that we should get something so unique that it would be without categorization. We would just put it in the Weather Report rack! What kind of music is it? I don't know."
"We thought The Wayne Shorter-Joe Zawinul Quintet [a percussionist was added] sounded ridiculous," recalls Zawinul, "so we were in my apartment in New York--Miroslav, Wayne and I--trying to find a name which would say something, especially what people had in their minds all the time. So we were thinking about Daily News, but that didn't sound good. Thousands of names--Audience, Triumvirate, all kinds. Suddenly, Wayne popped out Weather Report, and we all said, 'That's it!'"
Shorter gave his version of that story in 1976: "We were sitting together one evening, talking, and trying to figure out what we would call the band. We didn't want just an ordinary name, but something that would hit everybody. So I said what does everybody do at 6 o'clock every evening? They watch the news. And what do they want to hear? The weather! So I said, 'How about Weather Report?' And that was how it got started."

CBS Records ad for Weather ReportThough the album credits only Airto on percussion, Brian Glasser, in his excellent Zawinul biography In A Silent Way, describes the participation of two other percussionists prior to Airto's involvement: Don Alias, a well-known session player who subsequently toured and recorded with Jaco Pastorius; and Barbara Burton, a New York symphonic and freelance percussionist recruited by Shorter. According to Glasser, Alias "walked out before the record was completed after an argument with Zawinul about what he should be playing." Burton told Glasser that she and Alias did the whole album, and it wasn't until the last session, "when all the tracks had been laid [down] at Columbia Studios" that Airto became involved. Apparently Zawinul thought something was missing, or he was in some way unsatisfied, because Burton overheard Joe asking Airto if there was anything he could add. Airto said, "Man, that album is finished. There's nothing I can add." Nevertheless, Zawinul persisted and Airto recorded for the album. [IASW, p.133-135] Zawinul subsequently asked Airto to tour with the band, but he was already committed to Miles Davis (though he did perform once with Weather Report at a private affair for Columbia Records). Burton performed at Weather Report's first gig, a week-long stint at Paul's Mall in Boston before the album was released. Burton told Glasser that when she refused to commit to a tour without certain financial assurances, "Joe got mad at me and took my name, along with Don's, off the album." (Airto later recommended Dom Um Romao, who went on tour with the band following the release of Weather Report, and stayed on through Mysterious Traveller.)
It is an understatement to say that Weather Report's first album created a stir. The May 27, 1971 issue of Down Beat devoted an amazing two-plus pages to the album's review--before the album was even released--including a track-by-track description by the band members themselves. The reviewer, Dan Morgenstern, accorded the album Down Beat's highest rating of five stars, and opened his review by saying, "An extraordinary new group merits an extraordinary review of its debut album." Pat Metheny recalled to Glasser the anticipation he had as a 16-year old: "When the first Weather Report record came out, it was just... wow! I was probably at the store the day it arrived, because we'd all been reading about it in Down Beat and things like that."

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Jon Lord - Before I Forget 1982

Jon Lord has sadly passed away

Jon Lord 9 June 1941 – 16 July 2012.

It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Jon Lord, who suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism today, Monday 16th July at the London Clinic, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Jon was surrounded by his loving family.
Jon Lord, the legendary keyboard player with Deep Purple co-wrote many of the bands legendary songs including Smoke On The Water and played with many bands and musicians throughout his career.
Best known for his Orchestral work Concerto for Group & Orchestra first performed at Royal Albert Hall with Deep Purple and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969 and conducted by the renowned Malcolm Arnold, a feat repeated in 1999 when it was again performed at the Royal Albert Hall by the London Symphony Orchestra and Deep Purple.
Jon’s solo work was universally acclaimed when he eventually retired from Deep Purple in 2002.
Jon passes from Darkness to Light.

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Rock
Original Release Date: 1982
Label: Purple Rec

Before I Forget was Jon Lord’s fourth solo album and the only one he did as a member of Whitesnake. Jon was a member of Whitesnake from August 1978 to April 1984, a period of Jon’s life where I think it is fair to say that he didn’t make himself heard very much.

With two guitarists as well as a singer who probably didn’t want the instrumental parts of the songs make anybody doubt who the star in the band was (after all, the most merited member was Jon Lord), making oneself heard might not have been the easiest task. The name of the record, Before I Forget, hints at the fact that most of the songs are built around different memories of Jon’s. My thought when I first saw the title, however, was that this was Jon taking the chance to put out a solo record and to make him heard again before he forgot how to do it. The cover of the record has the head of an elephant with a knot on its trunk, a creature that isn’t very likely to forget, unless of course it dies from suffocation.
The music is very different from Jon’s previous solo albums in two respects. First of all, it does not have an orchestra and the instrumentation on the album is that of a rock band. Also, it is not in the form of a concerto or suite but consists of separate songs with no connection apart from the memory theme. The songs are divided on two sides, as they usually where in the good old vinyl days, with the first side consisting of four more uptempo songs and the second of four ballads. Starting with the first side I will make some comments about each song.... 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Chambers Berlin Fiuczynski Lavitz - Boston T Party (2005)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz,Fusion, Funk, Post-Bop
Original Release Date: 2005
Label: Tone Center

If quirky titles and wacky cover art were award categories, the foursome of Dennis Chambers, Jeff Berlin, Dave Fiuczynski and T Lavitz would score major honors with their new release, Boston T Party. However, those are just attention getters. The real prize is the music—quirky, wild, and most of all, fun. Some of the more interesting titles are "(Great) Ball of Issues, a humorous spin on Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire, and a pair that put a creative twist on common phrases: "Around About Way and "Foxy Morons.
Each player is an accomplished artist in his own right. Here, they come together for a fusion jam session. Drummer Dennis Chambers is known for his work with Santana, Steely Dan, P-Funk and other artists in the jazz, funk and fusion genres. Bassist Jeff Berlin has numerous recordings in his own name, but has also worked with Al DiMeola, Allan Holdsworth, John McLaughlin and Billy Cobham. Guitarist Dave "Fuze Fiuczynski has worked with the Screaming Headless Torsos and other progressive artists. T Lavitz, on keyboards, has worked with the Dixie Dregs, Jazz Is Dead and Widespread Panic.....

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Duo Jalal - A Different World (2011)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Contemporary Classical, Ethnic
Original Release Date: 2011
Label: Innova Records

by Karli L. One of the most interesting - but somewhat intimidating - chamber ensembles of the 21st century is probably the pairing of the viola and percussion. The dark sonority of the viola is a pleasing harmonic compliment to the various textures that percussion provides as a background. I say intimidating because in theory, it's hard to imagine the two types of instruments coming together well. With some compositions it isn't successful. But this is certainly not the case with this album. The vibrance of the compositions comes through in both the compositions and execution of them. The sound is at times reminiscent of Klezmer, at others various music from across the middle east. In all the tracks there is fantastic energy and interesting sounds that are uplifting and engaging, and I find myself listening to this album frequently in the car when I'm in the mood for something upbeat and without words. Definitely an album that challenges the somewhat negative concept of nontraditional ensembles!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Anomaly - Anomaly 2000

Format: wv + cue + log
Genre: Metal/Instrumental/Progressive/Fusion
Original Release Date: 2000
Label: Bee & Bee Records

Review by erik neuteboom Anomaly was a very promising Dutch progrock band with members who all had a different musical background, this led to an exciting chemistry! Unfortunately their record company run out of money, soon they disbanded. 1. B-YOND 2K (5:34): This an alternating piece with fine breaks, metal-guitar riffs and propulsive drums, orchestral keyboards and Holdsworth-like guitar runs. 2. >4TH&X (4:06): A very exciting tension between the propulsive metal-guitar riffs, classical keyboards and jazzy, Holdsworth inspired guitar work. It sounds very dynamic....

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Mahavishnu Orchestra - Birds Of Fire (1973)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Fusion, Jazz-Rock, Jazz Instrument
Original Release Date: 1973
Label: Columbia

by Richard S. Ginell Emboldened by the popularity of Inner Mounting Flame among rock audiences, the first Mahavishnu Orchestra set out to further define and refine its blistering jazz-rock direction in its second -- and, no thanks to internal feuding, last -- studio album. Although it has much of the screaming rock energy and sometimes exaggerated competitive frenzy of its predecessor, Birds of Fire is audibly more varied in texture, even more tightly organized, and thankfully more musical in content. A remarkable example of precisely choreographed, high-speed solo trading -- with John McLaughlin....

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Maranata - Maranata 1978

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz/Fusion
Original Release Date: 1978
Label: Vampi Soul

"Vampisoul's reissue of Maranata includes the sole album released by the Uruguayan group Maranata featuring Roberto Giordano originally released in 1978. Roberto Giordano was a jingle writer and the bass player for the Uruguayan band Totem, before he decided to release the Maranata album as a promotional tool to showcase the Sondor recording studio. The result is a groovy bit of lost Uruguayan instrumental funk and easy music. The Maranata album consists of a bunch of covers of the day (Deodato, Henry Mancini, Billy Cobham, Chicago, Maynard Ferguson, Ruben Rada) with a few oldies covers (Horace Silver, Ary Barroso, Eduardo Fabini) mixed with a couple of Roberto Giordano originals....." barin99

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Chano Dominguez - Hecho a mano (1996)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz, Latin, Flamenco, Contemporary Jazz
Original Release Date: 1996
Label: Sunnyside

The cross-pollination of Latin music and jazz has been going on for decades. Typically, a jazz group will borrow Latin grooves and instrumentation, while Latin players apply their rhythms and harmonies to the American standards songbook. It's usually a rather self-conscious blending in which the genre lines are still obvious; only a few musicians have managed to make the mix organic (Chick Corea, Michel Camilo, and Al DiMeola's The Grande Passion CD come to mind). Now we have Chano Dominguez, a fine pianist from Cadiz, Spain, who weaves jazz with a flamenco approach. Hecho a Mano (aka Handmade) was recorded in Madrid in September, 1996, for Nuba Records, and released on October 15, 2002 by Sunnyside....

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Steve Weingart & Renee Jones - Dialogue 2011

Format: ape + cue + log
Genre: Fusion, Jazz
Original Release Date: 2011
Label: Skeewa Music

In the making of my third album, 'Dialogue', I enjoyed many first time experiences. One was developing some of the music in co-writing with my wife, Renee Jones. It is her first time recording bass and vocals on an entire project with me. Renee's participation in this music brought about another level in our friendship/marriage. We decided that since everything went so well, we would make our partnership the core of this work, and make plans to tour together in support of this album. Also very noteworthy was my experience with drummer, Simon Phillips who, during the initial stages became co-producer. Because we shared a lot of common ground in our musical tastes, it was very easy to work together. I think that companionship is quite evident upon listening to the very high production value Simon brought to this album, -not only in his musical performance, but also in engineering and mixing the album. My good friends, Steve Lukather, Victor Wooten, and Lenny Castro graciously brought their voices to this album as well....

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Marcus Miller - Suddenly 1983

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Contemporary Jazz, jazz - funk
Original Release Date: 1983
Label: Warner Jazz

by Ed Hogan
Multi-talented Marcus Miller's debut Suddenly was issued in the spring of 1983 on Patrick Rains' PRA Records label through Warner Bros. Miller shared production chores with Ray Bardani and Michael Colina, whom he'd worked with before on sides for David Sanborn. It's a tasty showcase for the bassist/songwriter/vocalist/producer who went from New York session stardom to mega-stardom with his frequent collaborator Luther Vandross. Vandross does vocals on "Lovin' You," "Just for You," and the squishy "Be My Love." The cornerstone cut is the gentle steppers favorite/quiet storm precursor "Much Too Much." The artist better realized his R&B/funk/jazz fusion on his 1984 Warner Bros. LP, Marcus Miller.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Nigel Kennedy and the Kroke Band - East Meets East (2003)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Free jazz, Fusion, Jazz
Original Release Date: 2003
Label: EMI

Jon Lusk, BBC Review
Nigel Kennedy has carved out a reputation as a loudmouth and a fantastic violin maestro, which even those with no knowledge of classical music will be familiar with. His decision to work with Polish klezmer trio Kroke might seem surprising until you learn that his wife is Polish and he spends a lot of time in Kraków, where they have a house. He's also the Artistic Director of the Polish Chamber Orchestra. Even so, Kroke already have their own virtuoso violinist, Tomasz Kukurba, so the idea of them collaborating with Kennedy might seem like over-egging the pudding. Fortunately Kukurba also plays a mean viola, and it's this and his flutes that he sticks to for most of the album's duration. Accordionist Jerzy Bawol and double bass player provide inspired though unshowy support and Kukurba often gracefully shadows Kennedy in harmony or counterpoint, as on the exquisitely refined version of the well known Roma anthem "Ederlezi", which was featured in the film The Time Of The Gypsies. The effect is bittersweet as opposed to saccharine, which it might have become in the hands of lesser players. Kennedy's performance as lead violinist is in no way overcooked, even on his one solo piece "Lost In Time", although the three that feature his electric instrument may prove a little testing for some. Nevertheless, he seems to have got under the skin of the tunes, several of which long-term Kroke fans will recognise. For starters, there's the Balkan-style piece "Ajde Jano", which appeared in instrumental form on Kroke's debut. Here it's sung in Serbo-Croat by Natasha Atlas and makes for an unexpected intro. The only other vocals (which bring to mind those of French maverick Magic Malik) are Kukurba's non-verbal falsetto wails on another number recycled from the extensive Kroke songbook, "Time 4 Time". Another key track is "One Voice", a showcase for the three widely varying violin styles of Kennedy, Kukurba and guest violinist Aboud Abdoul Aal. The balance of upbeat and reflective material is well judged and sequenced. It's also nice to hear Kroke once again playing to their strengths - that is to say the adaptation of traditional material or compositions strongly based in a tradition something they seemed to have all but abandoned on their previous and rather lacklustre outing, Ten Pieces To Save The World. Needless to say, Kennedy has already released his next project -another raid on Vivaldi's archives....

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Grover Washington Jr. - A Secret Place 1976 & All The King's Horses 1972

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz, Fusion, Soul Jazz
Original Release Date: 1972 - 1976
Label: Motown

These two Grover Washington, Jr. albums, All the King's Horses (1972) and A Secret Place (1976), originally released on the Kudu label, were combined by Motown onto a single compact disc, which is now out of print.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Zawinul Syindicate - Lost Tribes (1992)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz; Jazz Fusion; Jazz-Rock
Original Release Date: 1992
Label: Columbia

Review by Richard S. Ginell ( Now reduced in size to a quintet (dropping the extra percussionist), Zawinul's Syndicate delivers its most overtly political album or shall we say, its most anti-political album with its forget-our-differences, one-world tone poems. If Lost Tribes sounds more like a Weather Report album than its Syndicate predecessors, it may be because the CD is loaded with Zawinul's uncanny impersonations of Wayne Shorter on his Pepe synthesizer. Yet the album also cuts down on the pop and straight jazz strains of yore as it explores the sounds and grooves of world music, and Zawinul also resumes using introductory sound collages that produce effects not unlike twisting a short-wave radio dial. The record begins powerfully with the circulating, tense "Patriots" depicting, oddly enough, the role of black soldiers in the Persian Gulf War and segues into the relaxed, swinging "South Africa," a celebratory sequel to "Black Water" with vocals by Perri. Bass player Gerald Veasley contributes a track called "San Sebastian" which comes very close to pure flamenco. This CD ranks above the other Syndicate Columbias because it is emotionally deeper; Zawinul allows himself to brood and ponder as well as party.

Chickenfoot - Chickenfoot (2009)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Hard Rock
Original Release Date: 2009
Label: Redline Records

Supergroups are often motley groups seemingly formed at the end of an after-concert party but few are quite as strange as Chickenfoot, an endeavor featuring Van Halen's Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, guitar legend Joe Satriani, and drummer Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. These four musicians are tied together by their many years playing in the arena rock trenches, a circuit that doesn't necessarily yield common musical ground although it does lend its veterans a certain knack for pleasing crowds. This eagerness is evident on the band's eponymous 2009 debut, which should come as no surprise seeing that Sammy Hagar has never seen a party he couldn't rock, but this mentality doesn't quite jibe with Satriani's immaculate, tightly controlled playing. Satch always seems to want to burst out but can't help leaning on precision, a problem that's the polar opposite to Hagar's let-it-all-hang-out philosophy, and this dichotomy is mirrored in the rhythm section, where Anthony's chugging bass doesn't quite fill the gaps Smith leaves....

Friday, 4 May 2012

VA - Songs Of Led Zeppelin - All Blues'd Up! (2003)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Blues Rock, Classic Rock
Original Release Date: 2003
Label: Smith & Co Sound & Vision B.V.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

John McLaughlin - Que Alegria (1992)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz, Jazz-Fusion
Original Release Date: 1992
Label: Universal I.S.

Recorded in 1991, Que Alegria features the reinvented John McLaughlin Trio with a new bassist, Dominique DiPiazza. And what a bassist he is! His playing sounds facile and energetic, yet subtle and melodic. DiPiazza's two-minute solo "Marie" is beautifully inspiring and represents one of the highlights of this album. McLaughlin revisits his classic "Belo Horizonte" and conjures up some more evocative memories with a new acoustic rendition of "Reincarnation". Que Alegria offers some of the strongest music McLaughlin has put out, and its melodies are quite infectious. This is especially true of the lengthy title cut. (Unfortunately, McLaughlin will never get much airplay in America with a ten-minute piece.) DiPiazza also excels on the title cut, an unusual piece where the main theme and melody are assigned solely to the bass. It is an impressive tour de force for DiPiazza, who not long after this record would leave the music business to join a monastery. Recently he has returned to play with Dennis Chambers and Birelli LeGrene.....

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Nguyên Lê - Songs of Freedom‎ (2011)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: jazz,fusion, Smooth jazz, Blues
Original Release Date: March 25, 2011
Label: ACT Music

By JOHN KELMAN, Published: April 15, 2011 For over twenty years, Nguyên Lê has collaborated with a growing cadre of like-minded musicians—mostly Paris-based, where the guitarist of Vietnamese origins resides—building a body of work that is, in the truest sense of the word, "world music." From the Afro-centric band Ultramarine, and exploration of his own roots on the seminal Tales from Vietnam (ACT, 1996), to recent explorations of a nexus where programming and spontaneity meet on Homescape (ACT, 2006), Lê has carved out a unique space—often fusion-like in its electricity and energy, but avoiding the negative connotations; undeniably jazz-centric, too, but largely eschewing overt references to traditionalism. These days, plenty of jazzers draw on pop music, but you'd be hard-pressed to find another taking a crack at one of the 1960s' most iconic—and, often, reviled—songs, Iron Butterfly's "In A Gadda Da Vida," as Lê does on Songs of Freedom. With an unorthodox core quartet, reliant on mallet instruments for much of its chordal support, Lê tackles other '60s chestnuts, like Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love"—which, after a seemingly non sequitur introduction, filled with thundering percussion and wailing voices, turns relatively faithful, albeit at a brisker pace and with an uncharacteristic complexity of percussive detail. But once singer Himiko Paganotti gets past the first verse and chorus, the harmonic center shifts, and suddenly, with vibraphonist Illya Amar layering a shifting cushion of chords over bassist Linley Marthe's lithe underpinning, the song turns into an odd-metered solo feature for Lê, his mesh of oriental microtonality and occidental grit and grease moving in parallel with background vocal percussion, leading to a knotty, thundering finale.....

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Amine-Hamza - Perpetual Motion 2011

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: World
Original Release Date: 2011
Label: Network

By Bill Tilland Tunisian brothers Amine and Hamza M’raihi, who play the oud and qanun (zither), respectively, are seasoned musical veterans well versed in the Arabic classical tradition. But their curiosity has prompted them to pursue a vision of contemporary world music which, as they state, “attempts to break down borders and barriers.” Perpetual Motion came out last year, but you probably haven’t heard of it, because it comes without the marquee value of world-music projects attached to superstars like Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel or Sting. Experiments of this sort often have mixed results, especially when stars from various cultures are thrown together into a kind of jam-band format with few guidelines and limited rehearsal time. But this fully realized effort has no such issues or deficiencies. The M’raihi brothers are the primary instrumental focus throughout, Hamza’s qanun bringing a bright sound similar to the eastern European version of instrument, although here it is plucked and strummed rather than beaten with hammers. It pairs nicely with the deeper, darker sound of Amine’s oud. To embellish individual tracks, the brothers enlisted a handful of skilled, sympathetic musicians on vocals, guitar, clarinet, flute, percussion, and the Boston String Quartet, arranged by Polish pianist Nikola Kollziejczyk. He uses the strings effectively – even dramatically at times — but always in a supportive role, providing sensitive backing for the M’raihi brothers’ sparkling melodic oud-qanun interplay....

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Santana - Abraxas (1970) {1991 MFSL Gold Ultradisc II UDCD 552}

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Latin rock, jazz fusion
Original Release Date: 1970
Label: In 1991 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab released a remastered version on their Ultradisc (24K) Gold CD (UDCD 552)

Allmusic Review: The San Francisco Bay Area rock scene of the late '60s was one that encouraged radical experimentation and discouraged the type of mindless conformity that's often plagued corporate rock. When one considers just how different Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, and the Grateful Dead sounded, it becomes obvious just how much it was encouraged. In the mid-'90s, an album as eclectic as Abraxas would be considered a marketing exec's worst nightmare. But at the dawn of the 1970s, this unorthodox mix of rock, jazz, salsa, and blues proved quite successful. Whether adding rock elements to salsa king Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va," embracing instrumental jazz-rock on "Incident at Neshabur" and "Samba Pa Ti," or tackling moody blues-rock on Fleetwood Mac's "Black Magic Woman," the band keeps things unpredictable yet cohesive. Many of the Santana albums that came out in the '70s are worth acquiring, but for novices, Abraxas is an excellent place to start.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Rob Whitlock - Sketchin' 2006

Format: ape + cue + log
Genre: Jazz Rock/Fusion
Original Release Date: 2005
Label: Sketchin' Records

Rob Whitlock's Sketchin' explores a wealth of styles, from jazz-blues fare and vintage tunes to Caribbean-flavored pieces and soul-jazz with a touch of gospel. Eclectic and diverse, Whitlock keeps the production palatable and accessible to the average listener. Although the musicians on this album are some of the best soloists and jazzers in the business, Whitlock manages to keep this bunch focused on the groove and feel of the music, as well as some featured highlights for each of them. The arrangements are tasteful and well executed. The record starts off with an energetic retro Herbie-esque piece; "At Golden Pawn" which features Rob soloing on synth over tracks of himself (and the other musicians) on B3 along with Michael Brecker's stellar horn stab stacks. "To Heather With Love" features a trip down memory lane with a CSI style string arrangement that has one reminiscing about the chill jazz of the 70's. "I Deal", a cooking little number is treated as an organ trio swing piece with an overlay of horns punctuating the songs highlights. A remake of a Billie Holiday classic "God Bless The Child," features Rob's wife, Amber Whitlock on expressive and smokey vocals and successfully, and surprisingly, finds a new and whimsical way to express the popular jazz classic. The song also features great and soulful sax work by Michael Brecker." Po Man's Gravy," dedicated to Mom, has that Texas Jazz/Crusader's vibe with a funky down home soulfood cookin' flava' of it's own. Featuring Jaco Pastorius famed steel pan player Othello Molineaux, "Rob's New Tune " has a South Florida Jazz/ Caribbean vibe that at once simmers and stews while cooling you like a subtropical breeze. The finale, and title cut "sketchin" features old pal from Florida days, Scott Henderson on a fierce bluesy fusion number featuring Scott's ripping guitar riffs along with Rob's hot organ comping and soloing, over Vinnie Colaiuta and Anthony Jackson's deepest fat groovin' shuffle. Playing the role of writer/arranger/producer/player of any project is a major undertaking, and Whitlock has risen to the challenge beautifully. This record was sucessfully made to be enjoyed for multiple listens, by jazz fans and musicians alike....

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Jing Chi - 3D (2004)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz Rock/Fusion
Original Release Date: 2004
Label: Mascot Records

By JOHN KELMAN Following a 2003 release, Live at Yoshi’s , which leaned a little more towards the jazz side of the jazz-rock fence, Jing Chi returns with 3D , a pounding affair that places itself more firmly in the rock camp, influenced strongly by power groups from the late ‘60s and ‘70s including Cream, Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies, Led Zeppelin and even shades of the more guitar-centric period of mid-‘70s King Crimson. That’s not to say that Jing Chi—guitarist Robben Ford, bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta—forgets about jazz altogether. “Hidden Treasure,” featuring guest organist Larry Goldings, has some precedent in the Tony Williams Lifetime, although the sound is much cleaner, assertive without being as aggressive. But tunes like “Colonel Panic,” “Mezzanine Blues,” “Time Is A Magazine” and, in particular, “Tangled Up,” with its almost anthemic power chords and head-banging riff, clearly come more from Jimmy Page than Jim Hall....

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Taboo Voodoo - Something's cookin' 2002

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Progressive/Fusion
Original Release Date: 2002
Label: Lion Music Finland

One of the characteristics of progressive rock is that many musicians are involved in more than one band and also in several projects, to find an outlet for their growing creativity. This is also the case for drummer Mike Terrana (Rage), who has played with people like Yngwie Malmsteen, Rage, Axel Rudi Pell and Tony MacAlpine, but wanted to play something else than the simple "balls to the walls metal" as he has been doing for some time now. Interesting is that this amazing drummer is inspired by big band and jazz music and at home he listens a lot to Frank Sinatra and Buddy Rich. As Mike himself says: "I think it's cool to make heavy metal music swing and groove." So although being a full time drummer in Rage, he found time to team up with the French guitarist Cyril Achard and they formed Taboo Voodoo.....

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Uli Jon Roth - Metamorphosis 2003

Format: ape + cue + log
Genre: Classical, Neo-Classical Metal, Baroque
Original Release Date: 2003
Label: Steamhammer – SPV

featuring Uli Jon Roth & Sky Orchestra

contains Uli’s unique interpretation of Antonio Vivaldi’s timeless masterpiece
“The Four Seasons” as well as a new Concerto by U.J.R. - “Metamorphosis”.

The album comes in a Digi-pack, complete with an unprecedented 64-page booklet
including stunning artwork and extensive liner-notes and poetry by Uli.

Metamorphosis is divided into 24 tracks connected by soundscapes and narration.
“This piece represents a new pinnacle of the art of guitar playing and is full of
boldness and innovation.”

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Bob James Trio - Bold Conceptions (1962)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz
Original Release Date: 1962
Label: Verve

by Judith Schlesinger
From the first powerful kick of "A Moment's Notice," it's clear this is not the Bob James of the Taxi TV theme, the fusion-flavored Fourplay group, or the smooth pop albums done with Earl Klugh and David Sanborn. This is the original Bob James -- his very first album, in fact, recorded at age 22 (and produced by Quincy Jones) as a prize for winning the 1962 Collegiate Jazz Festival. Not only did the trio win as a unit, but each member won as most promising player on his own instrument (James also won as leader). This collection, largely bop in its approach, is astonishing in its precocious reach, featuring two James originals: the intriguing "Quest" and the daringly impressionistic "Trilogy" that involves the playing of oil drums, temple blocks, and golf balls, among other things. The trio acquits itself well with the varied, ambitious material, including an ethereal "Nardis," a selection from Leonard Bernstein's ballet, Candide, and a churning rendition of "Birk's Works." The only ballad is a confident, sensitive treatment of "Fly Me to the Moon." The CD also includes two bonus tracks, "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise" and "Ghost Riders in the Sky"; it's unclear whether they were part of the original session, but they are equally playful and joyous. Impressive trio work, great spirit.

Monday, 5 March 2012

L. Subramaniam - Subramaniam in Moscow (1988)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz
Original Release Date: 1988
Label: Boheme Music (BMR) / Melodiya

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Sunstorm - Sunstorm 2006

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Hard Rock
Original Release Date: 2006
Label: Frontiers Records

If you weren't paying close attention, you likely missed it. Sunstorm is not an established name, but yet is another project that features Joe Lynn Turner behind the mic. And if you believe you have never heard anything sung by JOLT then you are likely wrong, since he has appeared everywhere. Turner has been the vocalist for Mother's Army, Rainbow ("Stone Cold" and "Street of Dreams" went top 40), Deep Purple, Fandango, Yngwie Malmsteen ("Heaven Tonight" charted on the Billboard), Brazen Abbot, teaming with Glenn Hughes for Hughes/Turner and plenty more. Toss in a mighty heaping of tribute appearances and a handful of solo records. Get through all of that and you can congratulate yourself for barely scratching the surface of the Joe Lynn universe. There's alot more out there than just those mentioned. He has done metal, hard rock, pop, etc. and has a superb voice for all those niches. Yet AOR may be where he sounds the most at home.

Sunstorm was created in an attempt to finally get some of Joe Lynn's older material out on the market and take him back to his AoR days of glory. Alot of the songs on here are reworked, updated versions of tunes that were slated to appear on the follow up to "Rescue You". This second album was in the can but canned before it could make its way out to the public. The music was undeniably quality stuff so thanks to the encouragement and input from a record label, the dust was blown off and these puppies were polished up for their grand mainstream debut. These were mashed together with an assortment of other tunes. A few unreleased gems from Jim Peterik and a handful of AOR classics that you might have forgotten about as time moves on.....