Monday, February 18, 2019

Horace Silver & The Jazz Messengers - 1955 [1987] "Horace Silver & The Jazz Messengers"

Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers is a 1956 studio album by jazz pianist Horace Silver with drummer Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. It was an important album in the establishment of the hard bop style, and was the first studio album released under the band name The Jazz Messengers, which Blakey would use for the rest of his career. Scott Yanow on Allmusic describes it as "a true classic". Originally released as an LP, the album has subsequently been reissued on CD several times.

Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers was the first 12" Blue Note album released under Silver’s name. The album is a reissue of two previous 10" LPs -- Horace Silver Quintet (BLP 5058) and Horace Silver Quintet, Vol. 2 (BLP 5062) -- and the first sessions in which he used the quintet format which he would largely use for the rest of his career. The music on the album mixes bebop influences with blues and gospel feels.

One of the most successful tunes from the album, "The Preacher", was almost rejected for recording by producer Alfred Lion, who thought it was "too old-timey", but reinstated at the insistence of Blakey and Silver, who threatened to cancel the session until he had written another tune to record in its place if it wasn’t included. According to Silver, the track showed that the band could "reach way back and get that old time, gutbucket barroom feeling with just a taste of the back-beat".

In 1954, pianist Horace Silver teamed with drummer Art Blakey to form a cooperative ensemble that would combine the dexterity and power of bebop with the midtempo, down-home grooves of blues and gospel music. The results are what would become known as hard bop, and the Jazz Messengers were one of the leading exponents of this significant era in jazz history. Before Silver's departure and Blakey's lifetime of leadership, this first major session by the original Jazz Messengers set the standard by which future incarnations of the group would be measured. The tunes here are all Silver's, save the bopping "Hankerin'" by tenor man Hank Mobley. Such cuts as the opening "Room 608," the bluesy "Creepin' In," and "Hippy" are excellent examples of both Silver's creative composing style and the Messengers' signature sound. Of course, the most remembered tunes from the session are the classic "The Preacher" and "Doodlin'," two quintessential hard bop standards. In all, this set is not only a stunning snapshot of one of the first groups of its kind, but the very definition of a style that dominated jazz in the 1950s and '60s.

A true classic, this CD found pianist Horace Silver and drummer Art Blakey co-leading the Jazz Messengers; Silver would leave a year later to form his own group. Also featuring trumpeter Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley on tenor, and bassist Doug Watkins, this set is most notable for the original versions of Silver's "The Preacher" and "Doodlin'," funky standards that helped launch hard bop and both the Jazz Messengers and Silver's quintet. Essential music.

Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers is a terrific record. You can put this in the car CD player, hit REPEAT and listen to it over and over again without getting too tired of it. (OK, maybe after 3 times you'll want to switch to the Ramones, or Willie Nelson, or Bach, just for a change of flavor.)

It is, at once, underrated and overrated. Underrated in the sense that Kenny Dorham and Hank Mobley aren't superstars, or even first-line stars, but should be. Overrated in the sense that the The Jazz Messengers, and especially this very first iteration of the band, are regarded as the founding fathers of hard bop who can do almost nothing wrong.

Yes, Art Blakey is here, though not as prominently as in later Messenger albums. Yes, Horace Silver is the leader and the guy who wrote 7 of the 8 wonderful tunes. (Hank Mobley contributed one, too, called "Hankerin.' ") But it is truly a group effort, the strength being not only the solos but the perfect unison themes and choruses.

The music, naturally, is all bop—or mostly bop. "The Preacher" is the standout tune, but also the anomaly. It's a real New Orleans-style gospel-ish number that sounds vaguely like "Down by the Riverside." (Somewhere in the TV show Treme, someone must have played this song—or should have. God, I miss that show!) "Creepin' In" is a slow burner, a smoky blues noir piece that would fit nicely in any number of Humphrey Bogart movies. And, of course, there is fast, fun, funky bop galore.

You know the history. Silver soon dropped out of the band, Blakey picked up the baton and turned the Jazz Messengers into the all-time greatest school of hard bop in history. More great musicians than you can count came from this band over the decades. But it started here—the first album released under the Jazz Messengers name—and arguably it never got better.

There are no bad Messengers albums. Every one is worth hearing and owning. But there are two or three albums at the absolute pinnacle, and this is one.

Track listing:

1. Room 608
2. Creepin' In
3. Stop Time
4. To Whom It May Concern
5. Hippy
6. The Preacher
7. Hankerin'
8. Doodlin'


Horace Silver - piano
Kenny Dorham - trumpet
Hank Mobley - tenor saxophone
Doug Watkins - bass
Art Blakey - drums

Friday, February 15, 2019

Dewa Budjana - 2014 "Surya Namaskar"

Dewa Budjana, Indonesian iconic guitar legend of Balinese ethnic heritage, is releasing his 3rd album (his 7th solo effort on his parallel jazz-fusion career) on MoonJune Records; the New York City's independent label of progressive music that explores boundaries of jazz, rock, avant-garde, ethno & the unknown.

Recorded in Los Angeles by the world renowned engineer Robert Feist (who recorded Stevie Nicks, Anita Baker, 8 albums of Allan Holdsworth, among many others) during two sessions in January and October of 2013, Surya Namaskar (Salute to the Sun, in Budjana's native Balinese language) represents a significant change from Dewa Budjana's last album Joged Kahyangan. While bassist Jimmy Johnson (Allan Holdsworth, James Taylor, Flim & the BB's) is back from that session, this time the drummer is the much in-demand powerhouse Vinnie Colaiuta (Frank Zappa, Herbie Hancock, Jeff Beck, Sting), with ubiquitous guitar session ace Michael Landau (James Taylor, Renegade Creation, Joni Mitchell) and drummer turned keyboardist Gary Husband (John McLaughlin, Allan Holdsworth, Jack Bruce) making valuable guest appearances on one track each.

Full of twists and turns you could never see coming, Surya Namaskar provides ample evidence that the Balinese guitarist is just as much at home in moments of pure spontaneity, ripping over a killer groove, as he is in denser, more orchestrated settings. Exploring previously-unrevealed facets of his artistic mystique, this album highlights a more instinctive, uninhibited approach to both his guitar playing and music making. Served up just-out-of-the-oven fresh and delivered with conviction and urgency, each song is its own unique, engulfing cosmic voyage.

Guitarist Dewa Budjana's two releases on MoonJune Records in 2013, Dawai in Paradise and Joged Kahyangan introduced a talented musician whose Indonesian roots dovetailed with prog rock, jazz fusion and a melodic pop sensibility; Budjana showed tremendous chops but, as he demonstrates once again, he's perhaps primarily a tunesmith. Budjana draws from a similar well of influences on this recording but in contrast to Joged Kahyangan's charts Surya Namaskar boasts a freer, less constructed vibe with Budjana's solos coarser in tone. Mostly recorded in single-takes with some additional overdubbing, everything that Budjana touches—whether composed or improvised—is fundamentally melodic.

On this, the first of two releases penciled in for 2014, the prolific—by modern standards—guitarist is lent cracking rhythmic impetus by drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and bassist Jimmy Johnson. Given the wide variety of contexts in which Colaiuta (Frank Zappa, John McLaughlin, Joni Mitchell) and Johnson (Allan Holdsworth, James Taylor) have played over the years, it's little wonder they drive Budjana's tunes with verve, and when required, great finesse.

It's a dream rhythm team and the perfect foil for Budjana, whose original material exhibits frequent shifts in tempo and weight. In general, the compositions are characterized by motivic chains that wed pop melodicism and prog rock gravitas; at times, as on the sophisticated yet lively rocker "Lamboya" the effect is like a happy splice between The Police and King Crimson.

Gary Husband—a long-time collaborator with Johnson in Holdsworth's groups—plays synthesizer in tight unison with Budjana on the jaunty "Fifty," before the two trade solos; the guitarist's firey, fuzz-toned fretwork contrasts with Husband's clean, sinewy run. The pair reunites towards the end, jamming on a riff as Colaiuta raises his own steam. On "Duaji & Guruji," layered guitar lines add harmonic depth while a killer motif bookends Budjana and Johnson's measured solo excursions. The slower "Capistrano Road" simmers like a Jeff Beck instrumental ballad; Budjana caresses the melody patiently before teasing out a solo that roams between coiled tension and free flight.

Indonesia folk music has long been a feature of Budjana's writing in greater or lesser measure; "Kalinga" brings together Kang Pupung's tarawangsa (Sundanese violin), Kang Iya's Kacapi (Sundanese harp) and Mang Ayi's wordless vocal in a purely folkloric intro. Fastening onto the haunting melody, the infusion of electricity transforms the piece—lyrical and rushing, powerful and delicate in turn. Budjana's tearing solo—arguably his most electrifying of the set—is the jewel in a stirring tune. On the subtly melodic "Campuhan Hill," Budjana displays a fleet, light touch on acoustic guitar.

The title track, which translates as "Salute the Sun" is a fairly simple but striking melodic venture and features a bluesy electric solo from Michael Landau, while Budjana quietly comps on acoustic. The millennium-old ties between Indonesia and India surface on "Dalem Waturenggong"; ancient melodic roots merge with modern rhythms and timbres in a potent fusion, with Johnson and Budjana's lyricism to the fore.

Tuneful at heart, when Budjana has the wind in the sails there's also an undeniable, visceral power in his music. It's a potent combination that invites and rewards repeated listening.

“Thank you Dewa for inviting us along for your TRIP, your music is from Jupiter, truly unusual!” – Jimmy Johnson

“Dewa Budjana’s music infuses jazz fusion with renewed vigor, and his wonderfully imaginative and melodic guitar playing pays homage to past masters, while simultaneously providing fresh perspectives.” – Barry Cleveland, Guitar Player

“A monstrously heavy record! Dewa Budjana, at fifty, is a new guitar hero of strength, creativity, and significance." – John Kelman, All About Jazz contributor

“East meets West and ignites the sky! Dewa Budjana’s latest, a collaboration with jazz giants Jimmy Johnson and Vinnie Colaiuta, elevates guitar-based jazz-fusion with a Balinese flare to new plateaus of nirvana... Mahavishnu, move over: there’s a new master on the block!” – Raymond Benson, music journalist and author of 'The Black Stiletto' and six James Bond novels

“Hauntingly beautiful and intense, I was moved. No progressive fusion release got me on its first listen since Pat Metheny Group's 2005 'The Way Up'. Destined to be my 2014 favorite album.” – Tom Gagliardi, Gagliarchives Radio.

Track Listing:

1. Fifty;
2. Duaji & Guruji;
3. Capistrano Road;
4. Lamboya;
5. Kalingga;
6. Campuhan Hill;
7. Surya Namaskar;
8. Dalem Waturenggong.


Dewa Budjana: electric and acoustic guitars;
Jimmy Johnson: bass guitar;
Vinnie Colaiuta: drums;
Gary Husband: synthesizer (1);
Kang Pupung: tarawangsa (Sundanese violin) (5);
Kang Iya: Kacapi (Sundanese harp) (5);
Mang Ayi: vocals (5);
Michael Landau: electric guitar (7).
('crazy" voices after the Track 1 by Jimmy Johnson and Vinnie Colaiuta)

Track 3 is dedicated to Allan Holdsworth.
This album is dedicated to my mentor and friend Peter Erskine (DB

All compositions and arrangement Dewa Budjana.
Produced by Dewa Budjana (with a generous help of Jimmy Johnson).

Various Artists - 1989 "Jazz Club - Drums"

This compilation includes performances by Art Blakey, Max Roach, Shelly Manne, Billy Cobham and Philly Joe Jones.

Back when the '80s jazz renaissance was in full swing, Polygram got the think tank rolling and put out the neophyte-friendly yet respectable Jazz Club series -- yes, imagine yourself smoking Gauloises in a basement club as the band hits its stride. Marketing illusions aside, the drum edition of the lot features a thorough mix that ranges from bebop and hard bop to free jazz and fusion. Culling the booty from the deep Verve and Mercury vaults, the producers have chosen wisely, from classics by Bird (Kenny Clarke), Sonny Stitt (Jo Jones), and Clifford Brown (Max Roach) to some latter-day funkiness plied by Billy Cobham and Alphonse Mouzon. And let's not forget plenty of skin alchemy by the likes of Billy Higgins, Philly Joe Jones, and Shelly Manne. If rhythm is the thing in jazz, then this disc certainly makes for some essential listening.

Artist/Track listing:

1 –Art Blakey Jazz Messengers* Blues March 6:16
2 –Jo Jones With Sonny Stitt Norman's Blues 2:38
3 –Kenny Clarke With Charlie Parker Si Si 2:38
4 –Max Roach With Clifford Brown - Max Roach Quintet* Jordu 7:46
5 –Shelly Manne With Bill Evans Trio* Let's Go Back To The Waltz 4:29
6 –Elvin Jones With The Jones Brothers (4) Three And One 4:52
7 –Philly Joe Jones* With Bill Evans Trio* Gone With The Wind 5:36
8 –Billy Higgins With The Pentagon (3) D.B. Blues 4:35
9 –Dannie Richmond With Charles Mingus Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me/I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart 3:33
10 –Billy Cobham With George Benson Billie's Bounce 6:31
11 –Alphonse Mouzon The Ram And The Scorpio 5:53
12 –Gene Krupa & Buddy Rich Drum Battle 3:20
13 –Tony Williams* Big Nick 2:43
14 –Shelly Manne, Louis Bellson, Paul Humphrey, Willie Bobo One Score And Four Drummers Ago 2:53

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Rolling Stones - 1968 [1986] "Beggars Banquet"

Beggars Banquet is the seventh British and ninth American studio album by English rock band The Rolling Stones. It was released in December 1968 by Decca Records in the United Kingdom and London Records in the United States. The album marked a change in direction for the band following the psychedelic pop of their previous two albums, Between the Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request. Styles such as roots rock and a return to the blues rock sound that had marked early Stones recordings dominate the record, and the album is among the most instrumentally experimental of the band's career, as they infuse Latin beats and instruments like the claves along side South Asian sounds from the sitar, tabla and shehnai and African-influnced conga rhythms. The album has frequently been ranked highly on many retrospective "great albums" lists, and forms the beginning of the most critically acclaimed time period of the Rolling Stones career.

Brian Jones, the band's founder and early leader, had become increasingly unreliable in the studio due to his drug use, and it was the last Rolling Stones album to be released during his lifetime, though he also contributed to two songs on their next album Let It Bleed, which was released after his death.

According to Keith Richards, the album's title was thought up by British art dealer Christopher Gibbs. On 7 June 1968, a photoshoot for the album's gatefold, with photographer Michael Joseph, was held at Sarum Chase, a mansion in Hampstead, London. Previously unseen images from the shoot were exhibited at the Blink Gallery in London in November and December 2008. The album's original cover art, depicting a bathroom wall covered with graffiti, was rejected by the band's record company, and their unsuccessful dispute delayed the album's release for months. The "toilet" cover was later featured on most compact disc reissues.

On 11–12 December 1968 the band filmed a television extravaganza titled The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus featuring John Lennon, Eric Clapton, The Who, Jethro Tull and Marianne Faithfull among the musical guests. One of the original aims of the project was to promote Beggars Banquet, but the film was shelved by the Rolling Stones until 1996, when their former manager, Allen Klein, gave it an official release.

The Stones forsook psychedelic experimentation to return to their blues roots on this celebrated album, which was immediately acclaimed as one of their landmark achievements. A strong acoustic Delta blues flavor colors much of the material, particularly "Salt of the Earth" and "No Expectations," which features some beautiful slide guitar work. Basic rock & roll was not forgotten, however: "Street Fighting Man," a reflection of the political turbulence of 1968, was one of their most innovative singles, and "Sympathy for the Devil," with its fire-dancing guitar licks, leering Jagger vocals, African rhythms, and explicitly satanic lyrics, was an image-defining epic. On "Stray Cat Blues," Jagger and crew began to explore the kind of decadent sexual sleaze that they would take to the point of self-parody by the mid-'70s. At the time, though, the approach was still fresh, and the lyrical bite of most of the material ensured Beggars Banquet's place as one of the top blues-based rock records of all time.

Beggars Banquet is the album that changed everything for the Rolling Stones.

From the manner it was recorded  at Olympic Studios in Barnes, London, to the track selection, a mixture of rockers (“Street Fighting Man”), blues numbers (“Prodigal Son”, “No Expectations”) and ballads (“Salt Of The Earth”), the band truly came into their own, and the Rolling Stones’ music of today is a reflection of what happened in that studio in 1968, they reached their musical manhood.

The genesis of the epic song “Sympathy For The Devil” is well documented in the Jean Luc Goddard film One Plus One . While 1967’s Their Satanic Majesties was recorded after Mick and Keith’s traumatic and unjust, drugs bust, it was almost too soon to be reflected in their songwriting. Whereas “Sympathy For The Devil”, and much of Beggars Banquet hint at a defiance at what they’d been through, and a strength from the experience.

The album also marks a change in musical direction for the band, with the debut of Jimmy Miller as producer, who went on to collaborate with the band on Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main St and Goats Head Soup. Miller had also produced Traffic and Spooky Tooth, and co-wrote “I’m A Man” with Steve Winwood. Other musicians who appeared on the album  are Nicky Hopkins on piano, Dave Mason on guitar and mandolin and a gospel choir from Los Angeles.

The only non Jagger/ Richards song on the album, “Prodigal Son” is a cover of Robert Wilkins’ “That Ain’t No Way To Get Along”, which he first recorded in 1929. A year earlier Wilkins recorded the first known song to be entitled, “Rolling Stone”.

Track listing:

01 Sympathy For The Devil
02 No Expectations
03 Dear Doctor
04 Parachute Woman
05 Jig-Saw Puzzle
06 Street Fighting Man
07 Prodigal Son
08 Stray Cat Blues
09 Factory Girl
10 Salt Of The Earth


The Rolling Stones

Mick Jagger – lead vocals (all tracks), backing vocals (1, 3), harmonica (4), maracas (6,8)
Keith Richards – electric guitars (1, 4, 5, 8, 9), acoustic guitars (2, 3, 5-7, 9, 10), bass guitar (1, 6), backing vocals (1, 3), co-lead vocals (10)
Brian Jones – acoustic guitar (1, 4) backing vocals (1), slide guitar (2), harmonica (3, 4, 7), Mellotron (5, 8), sitar (6), tambura (6)
Bill Wyman – backing vocals (1), maracas (1), bass guitar (2-5, 8-10), double bass (3), synthesizer (5)
Charlie Watts – drums (1, 3-8, 10), backing vocals (1), claves (2), tambourine (3), tabla (9)

Additional personnel:

Nicky Hopkins – piano (1-3, 5, 6, 8, 10), Mellotron (mandolin setting) (9)
Rocky Dijon – congas (1, 8, 9)
Ric Grech – fiddle (9)
Dave Mason – shehnai on (6)
Jimmy Miller – backing vocals (1)
Watts Street Gospel Choir – backing vocals (10)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Robert Fripp - 1995 "A Blessing of Tears" - Soundscapes Vol. 2 - Live

When Robert Fripp's mother passed away in 1993, he chose the new age sounds of his soundscape series to serve as a tribute to her. The liner notes in the CD booklet contain a beautifully written eulogy (by Fripp himself) about the interesting life of his mother Edie. Fripp does an excellent job of conveying his grief in the eight selections that comprise A Blessing of Tears, while his sorrow is evident in some of the tracks' titles ("The Cathedral of Tears," "A Blessing of Tears," etc.). All of the tracks were recorded live during a week-long U.S. West Coast tour, and it differs from the preceding Soundscapes release, Radiophonics, because its sole purpose is obviously not to test his audience's "listening capabilities." Fripp has once again successfully put his most personal and heartfelt feelings into his music, the proof being heard throughout the beautiful A Blessing of Tears: 1995 Soundscapes, Vol. 2.

Robert Fripp's "A Blessing of Tears" consists of improvised live performances from Fripp's solo soundscapes tour in the beginning of 1995. Soundscapes is a form of digital guitar looping based on Frippertronics-- tape-based guitar looping that Brian Eno concocted. Fripp performs this in many contexts, in the case of this album, as a solo performer. The music on this album is entirely improvised, with only Fripp's guitar and processing in place. The result does not sound like a solo guitar record, but closer to electronic orchestral ambient music. It is fragile and often of stunning beauty, in particular on this album-- "A Blessing of Tears" is a reflection on the death of Fripp's mother, whose eulogy (by the guitarist) is included in the liner notes.

From the opening track ("The Cathedral of Tears"), the mood is set. The piece is achingly beautiful, suggestive of loss, prodding but in a gentle way, and overall mournful. This theme and feel is developed over the next two pieces ("First Light", whose loops hint at Fripp's solo line in 2003's "The Power To Believe II" and the album's standout track, "Midnight Blue", a piece of such a delicate nature it demands its listener to stop and listen) before sort of resetting on "Reflection I", whose gentle themes provide an openness not found on the previous tracks. Again,there seems to be a trilogy of pieces on this one, as "Second Light" and "A Blessing of Tears" build on this mood and establishment. The couplet at the end of the album, "Returning I" and "Returning II", is actually the same track, only the tape is played in reverse on one of them. It is interesting to contrast the two, as they are evocative in different manners.

This is certainly the best of the 1995 soundscapes series and likely the best of Fripp's ambient catalog. If you are a fan of ambient music, or of Robert Fripp, this is essential, if you are curious, this is where to start. Highly recommended.

The "Soundscapes" are more technologically sophisticated frippertronics and while the concept itself is not original, the effectiveness of tools is nonexistent without a good ear for sound. With _A Blessing of Tears_, Fripp has crafted an album of such beauty that you will wonder how it can even be real! All the pieces are taken from improvised, live solo performances. It is hard to describe what it sounds like, it is sort of like a rapturous form of guitar soloing... Fripp pensively constructs various levels of looped guitar synths through digital electronics (as opposed to the old frippertronics use of analog tapes), bearing no resemblance to usual guitar music, just a constantly shifting, alien voices that make your billions of individual cells quiver with ineffable emotions.

It is not like ambient new-age music for SISSIES that goes over you like moving water -- this gives most benefit to the active listener, rather than some passive-aggressive dingus trying to chill out. The way Fripp makes the different voices sort of "speak" to each other is very beautiful, and more engaging, like the solos from Crimson's "Walking on Air" but more complex. There is an emphasis on lots of minor and augmented harmonies, or harmony is strangely suspended altogether.

It is not like an ambient, textural wall of sound, it is about dialogue between different voices, a ravishing polyphony in the language of angels. There is no real structure so one is just lucky that this music was recorded and one can listen. That is part of why this music is a peaceful, mystical experience. _A Blessing of Tears_ is a meditation on sadness, dedicated as it is to the memory of Fripp's mother, but I find this album does not make me feel sad. As with the world, we see suffering and evil and we are distressed by how the world is apparently such a malevolent place. But past this veil of sadness, is a sense of reconciliation and recognition that all the instruments in the symphony of the Absolute meld into a perfectly coherent, beautiful whole. We think of pain and death, but we must also think of beauty, friendship, peace and love.

This is an excellent album!

Track listing:

1 The Cathedral Of Tears 6:30
2 First Light 7:59
3 Midnight Blue 6:06
4 Reflection I 6:06
5 Second Light 7:25
6 A Blessing Of Tears 8:37
7 Returning I 4:00
8 Returning II 5:12


Guitar, Producer – Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp, Jeffrey Fayman - 2000 "Temple In The Clouds"

From 2000: A stunning album of looped Frippertronics and electronics, in the vein of the classic Fripp & Eno No Pussyfooting collaboration.

Recorded live from a past life. Awash in the hypnotic looping structures of Robert Fripp’s guitar soundscapes, Jeffrey Fayman adds an opulent cinematic brilliance to the proceedings, creating an intense and dramatic vision of a future rich in the heritage of Fripp’s past.

A Temple In The Clouds is a unique collaboration between one of rock’s most important and influential guitarists and a contemporary cinematic composer. Fripp’s contribution of two hours worth of treated guitar work (his trademark “Frippertronics”) formed the basis for Fayman’s layering of interwoven electronic soundscapes. Focusing on the subtleties and slight shifts in overtones and harmonics, Fayman & Fripp have created a dynamic musical kaleidoscope, ever changing and intrinsically radiant in each sonic fractal.

AmbientVisions: "A Temple in the Clouds is a spiritual and euphoric soundscape by Jeffrey Fayman and Robert Fripp(!). A glorious album of Frippertronics and contemplative sound sculptures. The sheer spirituality of their experiences shines in this ethereal ambience and insightful minimalism. The joy and beauty of the soul is touched. Piercing rays of bright and unfettered emotion overshadow the dark undertones. This disc is a spiritual journey."

Robert Fripp is like a box of chocolates. One minute he's the evil scientist pumping out some of the most intense and disturbing metal ever recorded with the boys in King Crimson, and the next minute he's a new age disciple using his guitar to create incredibly soothing and "healing" textures. A Temple in the Clouds - a collaboration with keyboardist Jeffrey Fayman - would fall in the latter camp as it is a collection of Fripp's patented "Soundscapes" mixed in with Fayman's keyboards stylings and some ambient outdoor sounds. If the goal of the music (actually, calling it music is a stretch - "ambient backgrounds" would be more appropriate) is to put the listener in almost a meditative trance-like state, A Temple in the Clouds succeeds on every level. After listening to this CD multiple times, I literally felt as if every muscle in my body had called out sick and gone to Tahiti.

According to the liner notes, in 1992 Fripp and Fayman took a pilgrimage to the Greek temple of Anapraxis (along with three tons of recording equipment) with the idea of hopefully capturing some of the mystique of ancient Greece on tape. The sounds captured there - along with some samples from Fripp's Let the Power Fall, - comprise the four tracks on A Temple in the Clouds. Musically speaking, the tracks are mostly exercises in patience and subtlety - the slow chord changes take you from Point A to Point B without really allowing you to remember how you got there. Fripp's guitar acts as the foundation for the CD, while Fayman colors in the spaces with sweeping synthesizers that lend an almost ominous tone to the tracks. The prime example of this eeriness is the 30-minute title track - by the time I was 10 minutes into the track I was definitely completely relaxed, but there was also a residual feeling of something not quite being right.

So if your interest lies in Fripp's guitar chops and "traditional" song structure, you won't be happy here. But, if you're looking for ambient sounds that patch directly into the very essence of what you are, then look no further than A Temple in the Clouds. I guarantee that no matter how stressed and anxious you may feel from the mundane day-to-day existence on planet Earth, spending an hour Fripp and Fayman will put your mind and body at ease - and in these hectic and fast-paced times an experience like A Temple in the Clouds is priceless.

Tracks Listing:

1. The Pillars Of Hercules (15:23)
2. The Sky Below (4:32)
3. A Temple In The Clouds (30:59)
4. The Stars Below (3:30)

Total Time 50:28


- Robert Fripp / soundscapes
- Jeffrey Fayman / tranceportation

Note: The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Friday, February 8, 2019

Various Artists - 2006 "Viva Carlos"

"Viva Carlos!" features some of the greatest names in progressive jazz/fusion, blues, and rock guitar, each paying tribute to rock guitar icon Carlos Santana. These ten incredible guitarists have come together to lift up their guitars as their voices in celebration of some of the most important music in rock history.

Guitarist Jeff Richman continues his series of tribute albums with Viva Carlos!, an homage to guitarist Carlos Santana that manages to accomplish what most tributes can't: actually improve on its source.
Santana's tone and style are immediately recognizable, but when compared to the players enlisted here, the Mexican-born guitarist simply doesn't have the vocabulary. He's dabbled in the jazz world through associations with artists like John McLaughlin and Wayne Shorter. There's no question that some of his tunes are tailor-made for more expansive interpretation. But his ability to navigate his own sometimes complex changes has always been limited. His solo approach is more about finding single notes or simple lines that can thread through the changes, and letting his singing tone do the rest. And that ultimately reduces Santana as a guitarist to something of a one-trick pony.

But there's more substance to Santana's music than meets superficial examination, and his writing can be fine grist for more sophisticated exploration—just listen to Viva Carlos!. Vinnie Moore's take on the blistering "Se a Cabo applies a singing tone similar to Santana's. But his far more developed chops and extended techniques take the energy level to places Santana never could. Similarly, Frank Gambale's equally distorted but sharper-edged tone takes "Samba de Sausalito (from the fusion-centric Welcome, Columbia 1973) and, while occasionally referencing Santana's use of repetition, gives it a facelift through sheer boldness and wide-reaching ideas. Richman's take on the bossa ballad "Europa is reverential in tone, but more advanced in execution.

The real surprises here are those who stray far from Santana's tone and apply a more personal aesthetic. Who'd have thought that Pat Martino's clean and dark-hued sound would work so well with "Moonflower, or that Albert Lee—better known in country circles—could take the equally relaxed "Samba Pa Ti and reinvent it, retaining Santana's evocative melody while turning it into something far more subtle?

Credit, as always, has to go to Richman for assembling a band that understands the source material but is able to expand on it. Sometimes it's a simple conceit like the classic "Oye Como Va (featuring Mike Stern), where the familiar melody is reshaped in 7/4. It can also be a matter of applying a more visceral rhythm, as with the powerful shuffle of "Blues for Salvador, which is tailor-made for the blues-centric Robben Ford.

The fact that all the pieces (except 1987's "Blues for Salvador ) come from '70s albums may reveal a not-so-hidden statement. Recent releases like Supernatural (Arista, 1999) may be mega-million sellers, but Santana's real legacy remains with the string of albums he released between 1969 and 1977. Viva Carlos! respects that legacy but reinvents it through rearrangement and employing guitarists who speak with a more advanced language. This music will appeal to fans and, perhaps surprisingly, non-fans alike.

There are two sides of Carlos Santana which the record buying public has long become familiar with -- the groundbreaking Latin/jazz fusion guitarist of the '60s and '70s, and the mainstream pop/rocker of the early 21st century. Thankfully, the tracks covered on the 2006 Santana tribute, Viva Carlos!, focus entirely on the former era. With a backing band comprised of drummer Dave Weckl, bassist Abe Laboriel, keyboardist Peter Wolf, and percussionist Luis Conte, some of the most renowned names of jazz fusion guitar are included (Robben Ford, Frank Gambale, Pat Martino, Mike Stern), as well as rockers (Eric Gales, Eric Johnson, Vinnie Moore), and even a country picker (Albert Lee). Most tribute albums tend to be mixed bags, but Viva Carlos! proves to be one of the more consistent ones out there, since the performances tend to be quite similar throughout, like Mike Stern's "Oye Como Va" and Coco Montoya's "Jungle Strut." As one of the more criminally underrated/overlooked guitarists, any Santana tribute is a welcome one.

Tracks Listing:

1. Vinnie Moore: Se A Cabo (4:42)
2. Jeff Richman: Europa (4:42)
3. Eric Gales: Jingo (6:40)
4. Mike Stern: Oye Como Va (4:58)
5. Pat Martino: Flor D'Luna (5:24)
6. Eric Johnson: Aqua Marine (4:53)
7. Frank Gambale: Samba De Sausalito (4:36)
8. Robben Ford: Blues For Salvador (4:26)
9. Albert Lee: Samba Pa Ti (5:01)
10. Coco Montoya: Jungle Strut (4:58)

Total Time 50:20


- Vinnie Moore / guitars
- Jeff Richman / guitars
- Eric Gales / guitars
- Mike Stern / guitars
- Pat Martino / guitars
- Eric Johnson / guitars
- Frank Gambale / guitars
- Robben Ford / guitars
- Albert Lee / guitars
- Coco Montoya / guitars
- Luis Conte / percussion
- Abe Laboriel / bass
- Jeff Richman / rhythm guitar
- Dave Weckl / drums
- Peter Wolf / keyboards

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

George Thorogood And the Destroyers - 1977 [1992] "George Thorogood And the Destroyers"

George Thorogood and the Destroyers is the self-titled debut album by American blues rock band George Thorogood and the Destroyers, released in 1977. Consisting mostly of covers of blues hits, it includes a medley of John Lee Hooker's "House Rent Boogie" and "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer", the latter a song written by Rudy Toombs for Amos Milburn, and later covered by Hooker.

In 2015 Rounder released George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers, a new remix of the album featuring the three-piece band as originally recorded and mixed. It omits the bass overdubs by Billy Blough, which were added after the original recording sessions. It also adds the previously unreleased Elmore James track "Goodbye Baby".

Thorogood gained his first mainstream exposure as a support act for the Rolling Stones during their 1981 U.S. tour. He also was the featured musical guest on Saturday Night Live (Season 8, Episode 2) on the October 2, 1982 broadcast. During this time, Thorogood and the Destroyers also became known for their rigorous touring schedule, including the "50/50" tour of 1981, on which the band toured all 50 US states in the space of 50 days. After two shows in Boulder, Colorado, Thorogood and his band flew to Hawaii for one show and then performed a show in Alaska on the following night. The next day the band flew to Washington State, met their roadies who had their Checker car and a truck, and continued a one show per state tour for all fifty states in exactly fifty nights. In addition, they played Washington, D.C. on the same day that they performed a show in Maryland, thereby playing 51 shows in 50 days. This increased visibility occurred as Thorogood's contract with Rounder Records expired. He signed with EMI America Records and in 1982 released the song, "Bad to the Bone", and an album of the same name. The song became the band's first Top 40 single.

In 2012, Thorogood was named one of the "50 Most Influential Delawareans of the Past 50 Years"

Track listing:

01 "You Got to Lose" (Earl Hooker) – 3:15
02 "Madison Blues" (Elmore James) – 4:24
03 "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" (John Lee Hooker) – 8:20
04 "Kind Hearted Woman" (Robert Johnson) – 3:48
05 "Can't Stop Lovin'" (E. James) – 3:04
06 "Ride On Josephine" (Ellas McDaniel) – 4:17
07 "Homesick Boy" (George Thorogood) – 3:02
08 "John Hardy" (Traditional) – 3:18
09 "I'll Change My Style" (William Parker, Manuel Villa) – 3:57
10 "Delaware Slide" (Thorogood) – 7:45


George Thorogood – vocals, guitar, harmonica
Ron Smith – guitar
Billy Blough – bass guitar
Jeff Simon – drums

Gary Burton & Friends - 1992 "Six Pack"

Gary Burton's peculiar connection and affinity for great guitarists is a proven historical fact, as he has been responsible for bringing such fantastic musicians to the world stage as Larry Coryell and Pat Metheny. On Six Pack, he joins with six different six-stringers for some decidedly varied modern jazz. Kurt Rosenwinkel makes like Metheny on the first track, the up-tempo Mitch Forman composition "Anthem." Any predictability to the song disappears in the presence of the rhythm section of Jack DeJohnette, Steve Swallow, and Mulgrew Miller. One doesn't generally think of the vibes as a blues instrument, and to be fair, it's really not, but Burton gives it the old college try on the title track, where his vibes intersect surprisingly well with Bob Berg's tenor sax and B.B. King's guitar. There is absolutely nothing weighty about this song at all, but it is fun and swinging nevertheless (who says jazz has to be serious all the time?). John Scofield also shows up on the track, and his distinctive tone and phrasing work perfectly in this setting. Other selections include such notables as Jim Hall, Ralph Towner, and Kevin Eubanks, and all of their contributions are solid in their own way. One sometimes wishes that this record was a little less GRP, with Larry Goldings' keyboards and Berg's sax being the most frequent offenders, but there are plenty of hot moments on Six Pack that make this record worth searching out, especially for fans of jazz guitar. Where else will listeners find all of these great players on a single record?

Gary Burton also has brought along a lot of kids. His leadership at Berklee`s School of Music makes it natural for him to help younger musicians find an audience. The musical results have been passable, but not as nice as the work he does on this new disc with a group of stars as distinctive as guitarists Kevin Eubanks, Jim Hall, John Scofield, Ralph Towner and B.B. King. Paul Shaffer and Mulgrew Miller join in on piano and keyboards. The mood changes with the sideman, but all of them are interesting.

Track Listing:

  01. Anthem
  02. Six Pack
  03. Summertime
  04. Jack's Theme
  05. Lost Numbers
  06. Double Guatemala
  07. Asphodel
  08. Redial
  09. Invitation
  10. My Funny Valentine
  11. Something Special
  12. Guitarre Picante


Gary Burton - Vibes
John Scofield, B.B. King, Jim Hall, Kevin Eubanks, Ralph Towner, Kurt Rosenwinkel - Guitar
Jack DeJohnette - Drums
Larry Goldings - Keyboards
Mulgrew Miller - Piano
Steve Swallow, Will Lee - Bass
Bob Berg - Saxophone
Paul Shaffer - Piano, Organ

Friday, February 1, 2019

King Crimson - 2016 Shibuya Kohkaido, Tokyo Japan 12.09.1981

This series of gigs marked the start of King Crimson’s long-term love affair with Japan.Is it too fanciful to suggest that the interlocking notes played at the climax of the opening number share the same brittle beauty of koto strings being plucked? Probably is the answer to that is yes but this is a fascinating concert and no mistake.

"Sometimes while we're on the road we write new songs together. This one began in Paris and it's for the next King Crimson album" says Belew prior to a kick-ass rendition of Neal, And Jack And Me. Up until that point Crimson's debut Japanese had been subject to a few missteps here and there, but the take-no-prisoners attitude evident throughout this powerful version is thrilling stuff. The same has to be said for Manhattan - the early version of what would eventually become Neurotica. Those big crashing chords which first originated during the making of Exposure but never quite found a proper home, deliver some devastating blows. A wonderfully raucous version despite some tuning issues in the middle section. The impressionistic extended opening of Sartori is a wonderfully mysterious sequence featuring RF’s Roland, making this sound almost like some forgotten League of Gentlemen track.

The bootleg source kindly supplied to DGM by Benoit Carmichael is bright though there’s not too much on the bass end of things (aside from Levin's biting buzzsaw bass on LTIA). Nevertheless, an important historical moment has been preserved in the KC archive and now made officially available for the first time.

I am glad to see that my boot of December 9, 1981 made it to the official bootleg series. When the Japanese tour came out in August, I was surprise to learn in Sid comments that no recording of December 9 existed in DGM archives. I surely had in mine a decent sounding audience recording of this gig. I promptly contacted DGM to offer them to have a look at it. I have just purchased the flac version to make "official" my position. I am anxious to hear which magic Mr Stormy used to improve this already good bootleg. This is one for you If you like the raw power of the early Discipline band. One can ear here and there throughout the night the transition form Exposure and the League of Gentlemen to KC. A most enjoyable night.

All in all, a very lively show indeed!

Track listing:

CD 1
01 Walk On 04:33
02 Discipline 05:21
03 Thela Hun Ginjeet 07:26
04 Red 07:20
05 Matte Kudasai 03:45
06 The Sheltering Sky 09:54
07 Frame By Frame 05:28
08 Neal And Jack And Me 06:57

CD 2
01 Manhattan 06:05
02 Elephant Talk 05:23
03 Indiscipline 12:59
04 Sartori In Tangier 07:33
05 Larks Tongues In Aspic Pt II 10:48


Robert Fripp - Guitar
Adrian Belew - Guitar, Vocal
Tony Levin - Bass, Chapman Stick
Bill Bruford - Drums

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Arista All Stars - 1978 [2014] "Blue Montreux"

A sweet session of 70s electric jazz – recorded as a unique live all-star outing by a group of Arista's best jazz players at the time! The group's an octet, but plays together in differing formations throughout the record – with Warren Bernhardt on keyboards, Michael Brecker on saxes, Randy Brecker on trumpet, Steve Jordan on drums, Steve Khan and Larry Coryell on guitars, Tony Levin on bass, and Mike Maineri on vibes – the last of which really make for some of the best numbers on the album! Bernhardt's keyboards are pretty good too – stepping out with a spacious, fluid feel that's never jamming – and more in the open-ended Bob James side of the spectrum, although his overall sound is a lot different than Bob's!

At the 1978 Montreux Jazz Festival, a variety of artists (including keyboardist Warren Bernhardt, tenor-saxophonist Michael Brecker, guitarists Steve Khan and Larry Coryell, trumpeter Randy Brecker and vibraphonist Mike Mainieri) recorded a dozen funky selections which were originally released on two Arista LPs. This single CD has the eight top performances from these important fusion stylists; Michael Brecker in particular is in good form. The results are not essential but offer listeners a time capsule of where R&B-oriented fusion was in 1978.

Both CDs are absolute fantastic recordings. Mike Mainierie and especially Mike Brecker are at their best. For me the highlight came one year later in the recording of Jun Fukamachi & New York All SAtars. Joined by David Sanborn, Steve Jordan replaced by Steve Gadd and Steve Khan on guitar. Tuines are mainly identical but I think they have more drive than the Montreux ones.

Personally, Larry Coryell IS one of my favorite guitarists, and since he covered Rocks on his Planet End album it's fitting he guests here. The other stellar guitar moment is Steve Khan's awesome solo on Magic Carpet. Other than that it's about the horns and what horns!!. While this is not straight ahead jazz, it's not fusion like either. Electric instruments mixed into an acoustic setting with taste. If you like the Breckers, buy this if you can find it. It's a gem.

What a line-up! An incredible performance by legends in their own time. I was particularly surprised to find Tony Levin here. His playing on "Rocks" is unbelievable. This is an album to be reckoned with. Sometimes fast and aggresive, lots of feeling when called for. The Breckers tear the CD player apart! They pull out all the stops on "Rocks". Michael's opening line in "I'm Sorry" shows the sensibilities he's capable of rendering. Just an amazing album by an amazing bunch!

This recording is the beginnings of what was to become Steps. Michael Brecker, God rest his soul never made a bad recording and this is worth buying for the tune, "I'm Sorry" alone. The intro still brings tears to me eyes. There's a little bit everyone's compositions including Randy Brecker's eccentric funk, and Manieri's lyricism. I believe that drummer, Steve Jordan was around 19 or 20 at the time of this concert and still a phenom in the world of jazz-fusion. Tony Levin holds down the bottom and Warren Bernhardt contributes nicely on keyboards.

Track listing:

Blue Montreux (8:47)
Rocks (7:54)
I'm Sorry (8:38)
Magic Carpet (5:34)
Buds (4:58)
Floating (7:54)
The Virgin And The Gypsy (8:24)


Guitar – Steve Khan (tracks: 1-6), larry Coryell (tracks: 2)
Tenor Saxophone – Michael Brecker (tracks: 1-3, 5-6)
Trumpet – Randy Brecker (tracks: 1,2,5-7)
Vibraphone, Synthesizer [Oberheim] – Mike Mainieri
Bass – Eddie Gomez (tracks: 1-6)
Bass, Chapman Stick – Tony Levin (tracks: 1-6)
Drums – Steve Jordan (tracks: 1-6)
Piano, Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes], Keyboards – Warren Bernhardt

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Santana - 2016 Santana IV - "Live At The House Of Blues Las Vegas"

On March 21st, 2016, a few weeks prior to the release of the Santana IV album, the classic line-up of Santana (Carlos Santana (guitar, vocals); Neal Schon (guitar, vocals); Gregg Rolie (keyboards, vocals); Michael Shrieve (drums); Michael Carabello (congas, backing vocals); with Karl Perazzo (percussion, vocals), Benny Rietveld (bass) with special guest vocalist Ronald Isley) took to the stage at the House Of Blues in Las Vegas.

The show they delivered combined tracks from the new album with the classic hits from the band's first three albums, to which Santana IV is the natural successor. This was a hugely anticipated reunion of a line-up that had not performed and recorded together since the early seventies. It brought back the scintillating combination of rock, Latin, blues, jazz and African rhythms which was the band's trademark and made them truly unique. The concert was a celebration of the chemistry, dynamism and pure musical joy that had made the original band so special and earned them a place in so many fans hearts. It is a show to be enjoyed over and over again.

This visual and audio celebration of the original members of Santana is fantastic. In early 2016, at the urging of guitarist Neal Schon, the five original members of Santana came together after more than 40 yrs. to play together again and ultimately released an album, Santana IV. In addition, they also started playing live dates together. It is from these shows that this Blu-Ray and 2CD set is taken.

It is truly amazing how new songs like, "Anywhere You want to Go" and "Suenos" fit seamlessly next to older hits like, "Oyo Como Va", "Evil Ways/Black Magic Woman", and "Soul Sacrifice". The band itself plays together so well, it's like the 40 yr. separation never occurred.
As for the technical aspects of the discs is concerned, it doesn't get any better than this. The Hi-Definition taping of the show gives you a "crystal clear", "sharp as a tack" picture. The audio recording of the show is every bit as exceptional as the visual recording.
This purchase is a "no-brained". In a genre where spotty editing and sub-par audio and visual recording are, a lot of the time, "standard", this is a true gem!

I rarely attend concerts these days because very few bands today rock like they did back when I was growing up in the seventies. That was a time when bands were made up of virtuoso musicians who coaxed the very best out of each other on stage. This Santana concert takes me back to that time and, although the original band only reunited for a few shows, it's as if they've been playing together all of this time, their performance is every bit as good as when I saw them 45 years ago.

To watch Carlos, Greg, Michael and Neal playing their hearts out together brought a huge smile to my face, and it was clear that they were loving it too. From the beautiful Samba Pa Ti to the rocking Batuka and the final jam of Toussaint Overture, this band is on fire. Because in a sense Neal plays in Santana's shadow, some may not appreciate what a fantastic guitarist he is, in fact, I think he is one of the very best players today and I love how Carlos introduces him as his "little brother". I do wish he didn't use so much processing and whammy bar on his guitar, it brings a little of that 80s Van Halen distortion which only detracts from the soulful and bluesy Santana sound.

I tend to favor the older material over the new, but the cuts from Santana IV sound great too. While one can say that watching a DVD of a concert will never be the same as being there, the filming and audio quality are so good that, played on a big screen and a high-end sound system, you almost feel that you're in the front row at the show.

Emotional brawn, complexity, abandon, and elegance. Timelessness, too, has always been a fitting attribute for describing the culture of sound that is Santana. That distinction applies more now than ever. While writing about the “Santana IV” reunion album earlier this year, I have to say I wondered if these men could pull off on stage the kind of timeless magic they ignited in the studio. More than 40 years had passed since this particular group played together, but IV really does sound like the natural follow-up to “III,” from the early 1970s.

Reports emerged that they’d tour, but only for a limited number of dates, with the current lineup of Santana filling out the remainder of the calendar. Well, forget any doubts about commitment or ability. As it played out, for a little while anyway, time stood still. Quite simply, Santana burned down the House this night, and “Santana IV Live at the House of Blues Las Vegas” captures the event in the best possible light on DVD or Blu-ray, coupled with two CDs.

Carlos Santana and Neal Schon together again on guitars are a force to be reckoned with. Their fiery duel during the new, thunderous “Shake It” — just one of many examples — sends electric shivers through a body. The songs from “IV” blend seamlessly with the classics. Gregg Rolie back in the seat as lead singer and B3 player not only shows how strong he still is, but that his tenure in the Santana band best represents the Santana band.

Rolie leads the charge on “Anywhere You Want to Go” with the same gusto he gives the absolutely iconic and note-perfect Santana take on Fleetwood Mac’s “Black Magic Woman.” Rousing performances of “Soul Sacrifice” and “Jingo” kick-start the night, right away illuminating the awesome, interwoven percussion of Michael Shrieve, Karl Perazzo, and Michael Carabello. Their performances of the lovely “Samba Pa Ti” (focused on Carlos Santana’s mesmerizing, melodious guitar), the tribal-like “Batuka,” and an at once nonchalant and raging “No One to Depend On,” keep the night flying on high.

Reprising his role on “IV,” the Isley Brothers’ Ronald Isley as special guest dazzles as he sings “Love Makes the World Go Round.” But this is all about Santana — the man and the band. Carlos is one of the few who can paint colors with a guitar, and if ever there was an example of unyielding chemistry between musicians, this band is it. They define Mexican rock music. For every right reason, this package is recommended even more so than “IV.” Viva Santana!

Track listing:

CD 1
01 Soul Sacrifice
02 Jingo
03 Evil Ways
04 Everybody's Everything
05 Shake It
06 Anywhere You Want To Go
07 Choo Choo
08 All Aboard
09 Samba Pa Ti
10 Batuka
11 No One To Depend On
12 Leave Me Alone
13 Sueños

CD 2
01 Caminando
02 Blues Magic
03 Echizo
04 Come As You Are
05 Yambu
06 Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen
07 Oye Como Va
08 Ronald Isley Intro
09 Love Makes The World Go Round [featuring: Ronald Isley]
10 Freedom In Your Mind [featuring: Ronald Isley]
11 Toussaint L'Overture


Guitar, Vocals – Carlos Santana, Neal Schon
Keyboards, Lead Vocals – Gregg Rolie
Congas, Percussion, Backing Vocals – Michael Carabello
Drums – Michael Shrieve
Timbales, Percussion, Vocals – Karl Perazzo
Bass – Benny Rietveld
Keyboards – David K. Mathews

Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles! - 1972 [1994] "Live!"

Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles! Live! is a live album by Carlos Santana and Buddy Miles.

From December 1971 to April 1972, Carlos Santana and several other members of Santana toured with drummer/vocalist Buddy Miles, a former member of the Electric Flag and Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys. The resulting live album contained both Santana hits ("Evil Ways") and Buddy Miles hits ("Changes"), plus a 25-minute, side-long jam titled "Free Form Funkafide Filth." It was not, perhaps, the live album Santana fans had been waiting for, but at this point in its career, the band could do no wrong. The album went into the Top Ten and sold a million copies.

Just an all-around hard-rocking, kick-butt collection of songs from a live concert in Diamond Head crater in Hawaii 1972; (this has been famously debated, only because the liner notes list the concert as January 0, 1972, but I believe this was a real show, as there are people that have stated they were there) In any case it is an amazing set of songs with Santana and his band, with Buddy Miles on drums, and the equally shredding Neal Schon on guitar..highlights are a fast version of Evil Ways, and an almost 25 min. jam called Free Form Funkafide Filth!

Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles Live!…was recorded on New Year’s Day, 1972 at the Sunshine ’72 Festival inside Diamond Head volcano crater, Honolulu Hawaii. Carlos was coming off the massive commercial success highs of three critically acclaimed Santana albums, but was moving away from the Latin rock format he had pioneered and was taking more and more aggressive steps towards focusing his attentions and talents on fusion jazz.

Carlos though was a huge fan of Jimi Hendrix, very evident in his pre-studio and early studio playing techniques and extremely evident in the unreleased 1967 single “Ballin'” a gigantic homage to Jimi! The chance to team up with Band Of Gypsy’s drummer Buddy Miles was as close as he would ever get to meshing with one of his guitar heroes. As a matter of force, Carlos and Buddy were accompanied on this record and in the concert with some main elements of Santana (the band) including 2nd guitarist and soon to be founder of Journey, Neal Schon.

The concert album kicks off with a two-part jam penned by Carlos’ new guitar hero John McLaughlin in the first part (Marbles) and by Buddy in the 2nd drum led part (Lava). An R&B funky version of Evil Ways, with lead vocals by Buddy offers a unique take on the hit single. I’ve been listening to this for nearly 40 years and the jury is still out. As a live performance it has its merits, but in comparison to the Santana original, it is a few bricks shy of a full load for me. The opening song Marbles is much better by a mile (no pun intended), but the closer to side one of the album, a newly refreshed version of Band Of Gypsy’s hit Them Changes is the stand out track here.

These molten grooves were recorded in Hawaii right on a volcanic crater. Carlos Santana together with drummer/vocalist Buddy Miles and several members of Santana channel Evil Ways; Marbles; Lava; Them Changes , and nearly a half hour of Free Form Funkafide Filth !

Track listing:

1. "Marbles" John McLaughlin 4:18
2. "Lava" Buddy Miles 2:10
3. "Evil Ways" Clarence "Sonny" Henry 6:36
4. "Faith Interlude" Miles, Carlos Santana 2:13
5. "Them Changes" Miles 5:50
6. "Free form Funkafide Filth" Greg Errico, Ron Johnson, Miles, Santana 24:54


Buddy Miles – vocals, drums, percussion, congas
Carlos Santana – guitar, vocals
Neal Schon – guitar
Bob Hogins – organ, electric piano
Ron Johnson – bass guitar
Greg Errico – drums
Richard Clark – drums, percussion, congas
Coke Escovedo – drums, percussion, timbales
Mike Carabello – percussion, congas
Mingo Lewis – percussion
Victor Pantoja – percussion, congas
Hadley Caliman – flute, saxophone
Luis Gasca – trumpet

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Al Foster - 1997 "Brandyn"

Al Foster (born January 18, 1944) is an American jazz drummer. Foster played with Miles Davis during the 1970s and was one of the few people to have contact with Davis during his retirement from 1975–1981. Foster also played on Davis's 1981 comeback album The Man with the Horn. He was the only musician to play in Davis's band both before and after his retirement. He has toured extensively with Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, and Joe Henderson.

Foster was born in Richmond, Virginia, and grew up in New York. He began playing drums at the age of 13 and made his recording debut on Blue Mitchell's The Thing to Do at age 20.

He joined Miles Davis's group when Jack DeJohnette left in 1972, and played with Davis until 1985. In his 1989 autobiography, Davis described the first time he heard Foster play live in 1972 at the Cellar Club in Manhattan: "He [Foster] knocked me out because he had such a groove and he would just lay it right in there. That was the kind of thing I was looking for. Al could set it up for everybody else to play-off and just keep the groove going forever."

Foster began composing in the 1970s, and has toured with his own band, including musicians such as bassist Doug Weiss, saxophonist Dayna Stephens, and pianist Adam Birnbaum.

Drummer Al Foster is widely recognized as a first call jazz drummer who has worked with many greats, including an extended tour of duty with Miles Davis, as well as stints with Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, and Joe Henderson. This 1996 studio session made for the German Laika label is evidently Foster's first opportunity to record as a leader. Putting together an excellent band, with saxophonist Chris Potter (who doubles on soprano and tenor), pianist Dave Kikoski, and bassist Doug Weiss, Foster writes challenging post-bop compositions that inspire his bandmates, while he is perfectly happy to give them the spotlight.

His bittersweet, bluesy "Monk Up and Down," is harmonically rich, with a superb tenor solo by Potter. The saxophonist contributed the percolating "Amsterdam Blues," suggesting the lively night scene of Harlem in its heyday. Kikoski composed the driving "Hope." The one familiar piece is Wayne Shorter's "Black Nile," played with gusto by the quartet. This may not be an easy CD to find, but it is obvious to anyone hearing it that Al Foster merits more opportunities to lead his own record dates.

Master drummer Al Foster puts together his dream band for this supremely listenable collection of modern jazz originals. Chris Potter starts the first two on soprano sax, quickly shifting to tenor and mixing it up. To these ears, Dave Kikoski never sounded more lyrical or intense than with comping and soloing on this set. Doug Weiss and Foster anchor with supreme confidence. That this release is so little known is criminal.

Track listing:

1.The Chief 07:36
2.Brandyn 05:22
3.Monk Up And Down 09:12
4.Barney Rose 07:31
5.Amsterdam Blues 06:32
6.Hope 07:26
7.No Title 05:55
8.Black Nile 05:53


Al Foster - drums
Chris Potter - soprano sax
Dave Kikoski - piano
Doug Weiss - bass

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Alain Caron Le Band - 1997 "Play"

The album features seven original tunes and three reworkings or arrangements, and is his third recording since embarking on his solo project LE BAND (apart from UZEB). It is a testament to both his talents as a composer and his daring feats of world-reknowned bass playing. (He has consistently been rated one of the top ten bassists in the world by the prestigious American magazine BASS PLAYER)

LE BAND has changed somewhat since its previous outing: the core group now consists of: Otmaro Ruiz (California/Venezuela) on keyboards, and stalwart buddy Paul Brochu on drums. To this basic trio is added on various invited guests such as Toronto tenor saxophonist Phil Dwyer, local heros François d'Amours on alto sax and Luc Boivin on percussion, as well as a full horn section. All of it came together beautifully at Montreal's Studio Tempo under Alain's skilled direction.

For this recording, Alain wished to underline the playful aspects of his music: the serious "playing" of the music, as well as the more fun "interactive" aspects: the improvisation, the trading of solos, and the pure joy of playing together. Thus, the title, PLAY.

During the last two years, Alain has worked mainly outside of Québec, performing and giving masterclasses. He is well-known for his virtuosity and drive, and has often been feted with honors and prizes: here in Montreal he was given his own invitational series during the 1996 edition of the International Jazz Festival - five nights, carte blanche - at the Monument National. Canada's JAZZ REPORT Magazine has named Alain, for five consecutive years now, top electric bassist in the country. great grooves!! great players and very original.

Play is the third album by Alain Caron Le Band and was released in 1997. The album contains seven original songs by Alain Caron and two interpretations: “Trouble” by Leni Stern, “Impressions” by John Coltrane.

“Play” is a valuable record of Alain Caron talent, both as a bassist and composer superfine.

“Play” oscillates between jazz-soul ( “Pac Man” and “D-Code”), the fusion ( “In & Out” or “B 12”) and sentimental ( “Après la pluie” and “Ton Jardin”) and Alain Caron wanted to emphasize the fun aspect of his music: improvisation, the sheer joy of playing with others and exchanging solos … from here in fact the title of the album, “Play”!

In this collection are some of the best known and appreciated pieces of Alain Caron, among which is “D-Code” which has become a major event for every concert.

Accompany Alain Caron on this record extraordinary musicians such as Paul Brochu on drums, and Otmar Ruiz  on piano.

Alain Caron plays divinely and ranges in various genres, passing easily from the instrument to the fretted and fretless leaving the listener astonished and amazed.

Track listing:

01. P.A.C. Man (4:20)
02. In & Out (6:20)
03. D-CODE (5:05)
04. Ton Jardin (5:50)
05. Pole Position (4:29)
06. Grand Café (8:18)
07. Impressions (7:53)
08. Après la pluie... (7:07)
09. B 12 (7:10)
10. Trouble (6:14)

Total Time: 62:52


Bass [Fretted and fretless], Producer, Mixed By, Photography [Studio pictures] – Alain Caron
Alto Saxophone – François D'Amours* (tracks: 1, 3, 5)
Drums – Paul Brochu
Keyboards, Piano [Acoustic piano], Organ – Otmaro Ruiz
Leader [Horn section leader] – François D'Amours* (tracks: 1, 5)
Percussion – Luc Boivin (tracks: 6)
Tenor Saxophone – André Leroux (tracks: 1, 5), Phil Dwyer (tracks: 2, 7, 9)
Trumpet – Benoît Glazer (tracks: 1, 5), Jocelyn Turcotte (tracks: 1)

Miles Davis - 1961 [1990] "Someday My Prince Will Come"

Someday My Prince Will Come is the seventh studio album by Miles Davis for Columbia Records, catalogue CL 1656 and CS 8456 in stereo, released in 1961. Recorded at Columbia's 30th Street Studio in Manhattan, it marked the only Miles Davis Quintet studio recording session to feature saxophonist Hank Mobley.

Keeping to his standard procedure at Columbia to date of alternating small group records and big band studio projects with Gil Evans, Davis followed up Sketches of Spain with an album by his working quintet. In 1960, however, the jazz world had been in flux. Although Davis had garnered acclaim for Kind of Blue, the entrance of Ornette Coleman and free jazz via his Fall 1959 residency at the Five Spot Café and his albums for Atlantic Records had created controversy, and turned attention away from Davis.

Similarly, Davis' touring band had been in flux. In 1959, Cannonball Adderley left to form his own group with his brother, reducing the sextet to a quintet. Drummer Jimmy Cobb and pianist Wynton Kelly had been hired in 1958, but most difficult for Davis was the departure of John Coltrane, who stayed on for a spring tour of Europe but left to form his own quartet in the summer of 1960. In 1960, Davis went through saxophonists Jimmy Heath and Sonny Stitt before settling on Hank Mobley in December, the band re-stabilizing for the next two years.

Unlike Kind of Blue, which featured nothing but group originals, this album paired equal numbers of Miles Davis tunes and pop standards, including the title song resurrected from the 1937 Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The titles to all three Davis originals refer to specific individuals: "Pfrancing" to his wife Frances, featured on the album cover; "Teo" to his producer Teo Macero; and "Drad Dog" (Goddard reversed) to Columbia Records president Goddard Lieberson. While the cover credits the Miles Davis Sextet, only the title track featured six players, Coltrane making two cameo appearances on the album, taking solos on the title track and "Teo", playing instead of Mobley on the latter. On March 21, ex-Davis drummer Philly Joe Jones made his final contribution to a Davis session, replacing Cobb for the original "Blues No. 2", which was not used on the album.

On June 8, 1999, Legacy Records reissued the album for compact disc with two bonus tracks including the unused "Blues No. 2" and an alternative take of "Someday My Prince Will Come".

In a contemporary review for Down Beat, Ira Gitler praised Coltrane's solo on the title track while finding Kelly equally exceptional as both a soloist and comping musician. "His single-lines are simultaneously hard and soft. Cobb and Chambers groove perfectly together and with Kelly", Gitler wrote. "The rhythm section, individually and as a whole, is very well-recorded."[9] The magazine's Howard Mandel later viewed Someday My Prince Will Come as "a commercial realization rather than an artistic exploration" but nonetheless "lovely", highlighted by each musicians' careful attention to notes and dynamics, and among Davis' most "romantic, bluesy and intentionally seductive programs".

After both John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley left Miles Davis' quintet, he was caught in the web of seeking suitable replacements. It was a period of trial and error for him that nonetheless yielded some legendary recordings (Sketches of Spain, for one). One of those is Someday My Prince Will Come. The lineup is Davis, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and alternating drummers Jimmy Cobb and Philly Jo Jones. The saxophonist was Hank Mobley on all but two tracks. John Coltrane returns for the title track and "Teo." The set opens with the title, a lilting waltz that nonetheless gets an original treatment here, despite having been recorded by Dave Brubeck.

Kelly is in keen form, playing a bit sprightlier than the tempo would allow, and slips flourishes in the high register inside the melody for an "elfin" feel. Davis waxes light and lyrical with his Harmon mute, playing glissando throughout. Mobley plays a strictly journeyman solo, and then Coltrane blows the pack away with a solo so deep inside the harmony it sounds like it's coming from somewhere else. Mobley's real moment on the album is on the next track, "Old Folks," when he doesn't have Coltrane breathing down his neck. Mobley's soul-stationed lyricism is well-suited to his soloing here, and is for the rest of the album except, of course, on "Teo," where Coltrane takes him out again. The closer on the set, "Blues No. 2," is a vamp on "All Blues," from Kind of Blue, and features Kelly and Chambers playing counterpoint around an eight bar figure then transposing it to 12. Jones collapses the beat, strides it out, and then erects it again for the solos of Davis and Mobley. This is relaxed session; there are no burning tracks here, but there is much in the way of precision playing and a fine exposition of Miles' expansive lyricism.

The album is ranked number 994 in All-Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd. edition, 2000).

Track listing:

1. Someday My Prince Will Come 9:06
2. Old Folks 5:16
3. Pfrancing 8:32
4. Drad-Dog 4:30
5. Teo 9:35
6. I Thought About You 4:30


Miles Davis – trumpet
Hank Mobley – tenor saxophone on all tracks except "Teo"
John Coltrane – tenor saxophone on "Someday My Prince Will Come" (master) and "Teo"
Wynton Kelly – piano
Paul Chambers – bass

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Rick Laird - 1977 [1989] "Soft Focus"

From ex-Mahavishnu bassist and featuring Joe Henderson (sax). Lively, creative, and intriguing mix of standards and originals.

This CD is a rare and amazing find. Laird (electric bass) has Tom Grant on piano, Ron Steen on drums, and Joe Henderson on tenor sax for several tunes. You'll find standards, funk, latin, done in most excellent arrangements, by these accomplished musicians. For Joe Henderson fans this is a must have.

Rick Laird stepped away from the bombast of the Mahavishnu Orchestra to wax Soft Focus (1979) - a swinging slab featuring Joe Henderson (who also served as producer), Ron Steen, and Tom Grant. Laird’s warm electric tone affords the resonance of an upright as he works the supportive and solo roles with his usual understated expertise.

Track list:

1 Outer Surge
2 Now You Know
3 Thorn In A White Robe
4 I Love You
5 Soft Focus
6 Tranquility
7 We'll Be Together Again
8 No Me Esqueca
9 Peddle Has A Point
10 Gazelle
11 Caribean Firedance
12 Mystified
13 Pannonica


Bass Guitar – Rick Laird
Drums – Ron Steen
Piano – Tom Grant (2)
Saxophone – Joe Henderson

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Frank Zappa - 1970 [1991] "Freaks & Motherfu#@%!"

Its hard to believe that Zappa is actually gone... The visionary genius, composer, satirist, performance artist...
As a new generation of listeners embraces his music, many people are probably forgetting about the whole Mothers scene - - It was a band you went to see (forget hearing them on the radio... in fact, many record stores didnt even carry their records !) For years, people like myself would do what we had to do to get our hands on those bootleg tapes. Zappas stage antics were legendary and fortunately they are captured for posterity and available in his catalogue, however, a true Zappa fan can never get enough. Therefore, I was elated when almost a decade back, Barking Pumpkin began cleaning up and issuing all those underground bootlegs.
This particular one is great... its a perfect cross between early Mothers and Flo & Eddie (200 Motels era) material and antic, and Zappas funky Jazz Rock. The band is tight (George Duke, Ian Underwood, Ansley Dunbar...) and the routines are great (Penis Dimension, Whino Man with a Dr. John take off...) some great soloing. The sound quality is also pretty good (ahhhhhhh... I used to hate the annoying hissing on those old tapes !)

This CD is currently the only way to hear `Wino Man' (aka `Wonderful Wino') in its original form - with Flo and Eddie (Mark and Howard) providing backup vocals behind Jeff Simmons's lead vocal. And what a singer he was! His performance makes this `Wino' arguably the best version ever.
The editing on this album is questionable - Sides 1 & 2 appear to be in reverse, `Concentration Moon' is lacking a verse (consult the PLAYGROUND PSYCHOTICS album to hear it done properly), we have `Happy Together' (and its introductory remark) but not the rest of the Groupie Opera...and `Call Any Vegetable' (which is terrific) has a fake ending.
The sound quality is particularly galling to those who know about the long-since-deleted `BEAT THE BOOTS VOLUME 2', which reprised some of this material in superior sound. But, one way or another, you need to hear the vocal version of `Holiday in Berlin', as much for Zappa's wonderful guitar solo (bookended by foretastes of `Inca Roads' and `Easy Meat') as Howard's equally wonderful lead vocal. That and the aforementioned `Wino Man' make this disc necessary for Zappa collectors.

"Recorded; New York, New York on May 11, 1970".

Track Listings

  1. Happy Together
  2. Wino Man-With Dr. John Routine
  3. Concentration Moon
  4. Pallidan Routine
  5. Call Any Vegetable
  6. Little House I Used To Live In
  7. Mudshark Variations
  8. Holiday In Berlin
  9. Sleeping In A Jar
  10. Cruising For Burgers


FZ—guitar, vocals
Mark Volman—vocals
Howard Kaylan—vocals
Jeff Simmons—bass, vocals
George Duke—keyboards, trombone
Ian Underwood—keyboards
Aynsley Dunbar—drums

Saturday, December 29, 2018

John Scofield - 1984 [2014] "Electric Outlet"

Guitarist John Scofield combines with Pete Levin on synthesizer to make this 1984 session both very electric and eclectic. With David Sanborn on alto, Ray Anderson on trombone, and Steve Jordan on drums adding acoustic voices to the mix, the results are as thought-provoking as Scofield's titles. The rock, funk, jazz, and techno elements proliferate and combine, putting populist and outside approaches in a new perspective. There are even touches of Ennio Morricone's film music in the wide-open spaces of "Best Western." While much fusion is about the easy mismatching of elements, Scofield manages to turn his different sources into distinctive and original music.

Guitarist John Scofield's music of the '80s (mostly recorded for Gramavision) blended together funk with post-bop improvising. Although not as timeless as much of his work of the '90s, there are always moments of interest on his many recordings. For Electric Outlet, Scofield performs eight originals (the best-known is "Pick Hits") with a notable quintet and also including altoist David Sanborn, trombonist Ray Anderson, Pete Levin on synthesizer and drummer Steve Jordan; there is no bassist, although the leader often plays basslines. Intriguing music.

John Scofield was an early favotite of mine from before he played with Miles. I picked up Shinola when it came out (looking for Steve Swallow stuff, actually). I really loved that. When he started playing with Miles, I was fortunate enough to see him a coulpe of times, and then later in solo form at a nice club. After that period, I have found his stuff 'hit or miss' ... but I was blown away by UberJam. However, Electric Outlet remains right at the top of my list of favorite Scofield work. It really lays out his style and preferences. Worth picking up!

This is a great Scofield disc. I like John's recent funk outings, but this disc from further back in his career really outlines his jazz playing in a more fusion-like setting.

Track listing:

All tracks by John Scofield

1. Just My Luck (5:21)
2. Big Break (5:15)
3. Best Western (5:41)
4. Pick Hits (6:03)
5. Filibuster (5:51)
6. Thanks Again (4:50)
7. King For A Day (2:28)
8. Phone Home (5:12)


John Scofield - electric guitar, bass
Peter Levin - synthesizers
David Sanborn - saxophone
Ray Anderson - trombone
Steve Jordan - drums

Ed Hamilton - 1996 "Planet Jazz"

Planet Jazz gives the impression that guitarist/keyboardist Ed Hamilton has sublimated more adventurous instincts to stay on target with his handlers' bid for mass appeal. Only occasionally does he hint at having a voice of his own: for example, when executing an unexpected turn of phrase in a high-speed run up the neck or in moments when his jazz, rock, and pop confections coalesce into glimmerings of a direction worthy of further exploration. Overall, though, the focus on this 1996 release is on sweet, hummable hooks rather than swinging improvisation. Still, on a couple of the 12 Hamilton originals here, the young Philadelphian impresses with some nice Wes Montgomery-inspired work. It's a pity there isn't more, because when he works in the fresh, mainstream vein of his "Life on the Edge" and "Curtis Blues," Hamilton is a credible and convincing jazz guitarist with fairly staggering chops. Hamilton's cohorts -- including bassists Charles Fambrough and Stanley Clarke, drummer Lenny White, and soprano saxophonist George Howard -- contribute crisp, professional, note-perfect parts. Trouble is they set up static, rather than organic, structures. As a result, Hamilton's impressively hook-laden writing simply becomes repetitious, rather than serving as the basis for the type of spontaneous development usually associated with the term "jazz." Hamilton has clearly come to the crossroads and picked (or had picked for him) the fork that points to potential commercial success (which may or may not come his way). If he later reconsiders, he won't be the first player to backtrack and pursue a more personal muse.

Track listing:

1 Planet Jazz 5:40
2 4 A. M. Blues 4:32
3 Better Days Ahead 4:37
4 Gray Day 4:46
5 What Time Is It Now? 5:06
6 South Of Monterey 4:56
7 Life On The Edge 5:30
8 Curtis Blues 4:19
9 Life Dreams 4:06
10 Race Against The Wind 4:29
11 Lullabye 4:45
12 Say What? 4:06


Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Bass – Ed Hamilton
Bass – Stanley Clarke: (track 3)
Acoustic Bass – Charles Fambrough, Vince Fay
Drums – Lenny White, Pat Petrillo
Percussion – José Rossy*, Todd Schietroma
Piano – Dave Falciani
Soprano Saxophone – George Howard (tracks: 4, 6, 12)