Saturday, March 31, 2018

Tal Farlow - 1981 [1999] "On Stage"

Other than a Prestige date in 1969, this was guitarist Tal Farlow's first recording in nearly 17 years. He is heard at a reunion with vibraphonist Red Norvo and matching wits with pianist Hank Jones, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Jake Hanna. Recorded at the 1976 Concord Jazz Festival, this was Farlow's first of six Concord albums, and it led to a slightly higher profile for him than during the past decade. Highlights of the joyous occasion include Norvo's feature on "The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else," a heated "Lullaby of Birdland" and a colorful rendition of "My Shining Hour." Highly recommended to straight-ahead jazz fans.

This reunion between Tal Farlow and Red Norvo was recorded at the 1976 Concord Jazz Festival and originally released in 1981. Now available on CD, the session marked their first time together in many years. Along with Charles Mingus, Farlow was a member of the Red Norvo Trio of 1949. Mingus stayed for only a brief time, but the guitarist stayed with him until 1953. Then the two went their separate ways; Farlow preferring to stay home and perform at local venues. Thus, this reunion served as a prod to bring the guitarist back into the fold; he recorded a handful of albums shortly after this one.
Truly an all-star session with plenty of solos and fours, the program brought out well-worn standards for the festival audience. Hank Jones displays his light piano touch a cappella on "The Very Thought of You," coloring every phrase with expressive right hand motion and carefully selected left-hand harmony. Performed as a quartet without guitar, "The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else" features piano and vibraphone trading fours with similar styles, both of them delicate and swinging. Farlow begins his medley of "A Time for Love" and "My Romance" unaccompanied and with subtle fire before bringing the quartet together again; Norvo lays out for that one. We lost Tal Farlow in 1998 and Red Norvo in 1999. Their decision to lead an all-star reunion twenty-three years ago resulted in a superb album that’s finally available on CD.

Knowledgeable jazz fans would probably guess a couple of things about this release just from looking at the names of the musicians: first, that this set must have been recorded some years back; second, that this set must be tasteful and tasty indeed. Both guesses would be correct. This live set was skillfully recorded by Concord engineer Phil Edwards at the Concord Jazz Festival back in August 1976. It was released as an LP in 1981, and is making its debut on CD more than two decades after being recorded. Farlow (guitar), Jones (piano), Norvo (vibes), Brown (bass), and Hanna (drums) are all masters of their instruments, and they certainly seemed to have enjoyed playing together during that Bicentennial summer. The songs are standards (e.g., "Lullaby of Birdland," "In a Mellow Tone") and the atmosphere is one of convivial music making that the audience seemed to really appreciate. More then three decades later, we can appreciate it, too.

Tal Farlow, Red Norvo, Ray Brown, Hank Jones and Jake Hanna recorded live at the Concord Pavillion in August 1976. A real toe-tapper from start to finish. What more needs to be said?
Simply put, this is one of Concord Jazz's best releases from both a music and sound quality point of view. But just when you think Farlow is going to steal the show with his wonderful guitar solos, Hank, Ray and Red get in the act too. Get this one before it disappears, or, better yet, contact Concord Records and lobby them to reissue this one in their new series of 30th anniversary releases on SACD. THEN you'd really know how great this one sounds!


1. The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else 6:11
2. My Romance 7:01
3. Lullaby Of Birdland 7:46
4. My Shining Hour 7:38
5. The Very Thought Of You 2:45
6. Rose Room 6:42


Tal Farlow- guitar;
Red Norvo- vibraphone;
Hank Jones- piano;
Ray Brown- bass;
Jake Hanna- drums.

Charles Mingus - 1960 [1986] "Mingus Revisited"

Mingus Revisited (originally released as Pre-Bird in 1961) is an album by jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus consisting of music that was composed before Mingus first heard Charlie Parker, hence the Pre-Bird title. The music is scored for various sized large jazz ensembles and features many soloists prominent at the time of recording. The album includes two tracks which are contrapuntal arrangements of two swing era pieces, whereby "Take the "A" Train" (left channel) is paired with a simultaneous "Exactly Like You" (right channel), and likewise "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me" with "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart".

This is an LP reissue of a set that was originally titled Pre Bird because it features some of the advanced originals that Charles Mingus wrote prior to hearing Charlie Parker. The bassist leads an undisciplined but colorful 25-piece orchestra on three titles including an Eric Dolphy feature on "Bemonable Lady" while the other five tracks are by a ten-piece (including two pianos) band; Lorraine Cousins sings "Eclipse" and "Weird Nightmare." It's an interesting set of typically unconventional music by Mingus.

Mingus Revisited aka Pre-Bird is one of the legendary Mingus sessions, where the size of the band was increasing rapidly from rehearsals to the actual recording sessions. Producer Leonard Feather wrote about the incident in his book Earwitness To An Era (Part Five, chapter Westward):
Of all my experiences as a producer, none was more traumatic than the attempt, in 1960, to record an album for Mercury Records with Charles Mingus.
... After two days of crisis during which it seemed the album might never be made, I walked into the studio on the date of the session and could hardly believe my eyes. We had a twenty-two-piece orchestra, with Gunther Schuller conducting! Eric Dolphy, Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Knepper, Joe Farrell, Booker Ervin, Yusef Lateef and Paul Bley were among the participants.

Charles Mingus / Mingus Revisited: This Great album was originally titled "Pre-Bird" and then changed to "Mingus Revisited". By whatever name this album comes by, it is an excellent collection of songs. This one has Mingus' compositions plus two well known Duke Ellington numbers that are wonderfully interpreted by Mingus. This is a very entertaining CD. Five Stars

Track listing:

1. "Take the "A" Train" (Billy Strayhorn) / "Exactly Like You" (Jimmy McHugh/Dorothy Fields) – 3:40
2. "Prayer For Passive Resistance" – 3:57
3. "Eclipse" – 4:01
4. "Mingus Fingus No. 2" – 3:39
5. "Weird Nightmare" - 3:42
6. "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me" (Duke Ellington/Bob Russell) / "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" (Duke Ellington/Irving Mills/Henry Nemo/John Redmond) - 3:41
7. "Bemoanable Lady" - 4:30
8. "Half-Mast Inhibition" - 8:14

All compositions by Charles Mingus, except where indicated


Max Roach - drums
Gunther Schuller - conductor
Marcus Belgrave - trumpet
Ted Curson - trumpet
Clark Terry - trumpet
Hobart Dotson - trumpet
Richard Williams - trumpet
Robert Di Domenica - flute
Eric Dolphy - alto saxophone, flute
Yusuf Lateef - saxophone, flute
John LaPorta - saxophone
Danny Bank - saxophone
Bill Barron - saxophone
Joe Farrell - saxophone
Eddie Bert - trombone
Slide Hampton - trombone
Jimmy Knepper - trombone
Charles "Majeed" Greenlee - trombone
Paul Bley - piano
Roland Hanna - piano
Charles Mingus – bass
George Scott - drums
Dannie Richmond - drums
Sticks Evans - drums
Lorraine Cusson - vocals

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Vital Information - 1998 "Where We Come From"

Modern electric jazz and the funky soul of the '60s fuse into a rollicking trip down memory lane on WHERE WE COME FROM. Vital Information, the long- lived pet project of leader and world-renown drummer Steve Smith, make a distinctive change from their usual format of hard-edged fusion on this, their eighth album. The emphasis here is on the soulful instrumental grooves of their youth, the music that originally enticed these world-class musicians to take up their instruments in the first place.

From the influence of Jimmy Smith, the Meters and Tony Williams' Lifetime, Smith and company serve up a spicy gumbo of groovy tunes and have a grand old time in the process. The unrestrained casualness of this disc is contagious as Smith jauntily drives his bandmates through the slippery funk of "Dr. Demento" and the James Brown-ish "Listen Up." The spirit of the bayou is evoked on the zydeco grooves of "Swamp Stomp" and "Sitting Ducks." The jazz element has never been lost, though, as a swinging version of Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dick," the Brubeck-influenced "Take Eight," and Ornette Coleman's "Happy House" clearly illustrate. Finally, even the Ventures' effect is felt in the classic surf music styling of "008."

Vital Information's Where We Come. This one offers 77 minutes of intense rhythmic fusion that's loosely influenced by the Meters and Booker T and the MGs.

Vital Information has gradually shed its jazz-lite tendencies to become a first-rate fusion ensemble. Drummer Steve Smith is the only original member in what is now a four-man all-star group. The current lineup was last heard from in 1996 on the catchy but substantial Ray of Hope.

Where We Come From showcases four talented musicians who have enough confidence in their collective abilities to attempt a more low-tech approach. This release has Smith on drums, former Santana keyboardist Tom Coster playing B-3 organ, Fender Rhodes and accordion, Jeff Andrews on bass, and Australian Frank Gambale on guitars.

Drummer Smith has been one busy dude of late. In addition to his usual session work in pop, rock and country circles, he recently teamed with Victor Wooten and Scott Henderson to form the jazz-metal trio Vital Tech Tones, and then with Larry Coryell and Tom Coster on the incendiary fusion release Cause and Effect, also reviewed on this page. All three of Smith's 1998 CDs are outstanding, but Where We Come From gets the nod as my favorite.

Gambale is particularly impressive here, whether playing fuzzy-toned phrases on the funked-up "Dr. Demento," fast-paced blues on a swinging version of Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dick," George Benson-style jazz on "First Thing This Morning," or Duke Levine-ish rock on "Bob." Gambale lends Vital Information a more pop-oriented sound than most fusion ensembles, but his accessible style enhances rather than detracts. He's an extremely versatile guitarist.

Coster's organ helps drive many of these cuts. The former Santana keyboardist plays both organ and accordian on the Cajun-spiced "Swamp Stomp," but most interesting is his inside-out accordian work on Ornette Coleman's "Happy House." Like Steve Smith's post-Journey work, Coster's playing has progressed from happy-jazz to fiery fusion in the years since he left Santana.
He and Gambale have never sounded better, and Smith and Andrews hold up the bottom end with enthusiasm and skill.

This CD is a great mixture of many styles. You can find jazz,fusion,funk and even tango on this CD. I strongly recommend this CD to anyone who likes great music. Also, if you like old sounds, like Hammond B3, buy it, you'll love it. Where We Come From is a must-have for any fan of funky fusion.

Track listing:

01. Dr. Demento ( 3:10 )
02. Moby Dick ( 8:20 )
03. Craniac Trilogy Part 1: Transport ( 00:53 )
04. Listen Up ( 4:53 )
05. Craniac Trilogy Part 2: The Extraction ( 1:16 )
06. First Thing This Morning ( 5:12 )
07. Take Eight ( 6:10 )
08. Craniac Trilogy Part 3: The Implant ( 2:17 )
09. Bob ( 3:59 )
10. Cranial Joy: Completion
11. Happy House ( 2:30 )
12. Cranial Meltdown: Dementia ( 1:28 )
13. Blowfish Blues ( 5:40 )
14. Sitting Ducks ( 5:20 )
15. Once In A Lifetime ( 10:43 )
16. 008 ( 7:11 )

Total Time : 76:02


Frank Gambale / guitar
Tom Coster / Hammond B3 Organ, Fender Rhodes, accordion
Jeff Anderews / electric & acoustic bass
Steve Smith / drums

Friday, March 23, 2018

Santana - 1970 [1998] "Abraxas"

Abraxas is the second studio album by Latin rock band Santana, released in September 1970. In 2016, the album was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry due to its "cultural, historic, or artistic significance. The title of the album originates from a line in Hermann Hesse's book, Demian, quoted on the album's back cover: "We stood before it and began to freeze inside from the exertion. We questioned the painting, berated it, made love to it, prayed to it: We called it mother, called it whore and slut, called it our beloved, called it Abraxas...."

The album cover features the 1961 painting Annunciation by German-French painter Mati Klarwein. According to the artist, it was one of the first paintings he did after relocating to New York City. Carlos Santana reportedly noticed it in a magazine and asked that it be on the cover of the band's upcoming album. Abraxas is now considered to feature a classic of rock-album covers.

Santana's 1970 follow-up to their Woodstock-propelled smash '69 debut found leader Carlos Santana further expanding his San Francisco group's already broad musical boundaries. To wit: two hit singles that emanated from opposite ends of the spectrum--"Black Magic Woman," originally written and recorded by English blues-rock guitarist Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac, and New York Latin percussionist/dance music king Tito Puente's infectious "Oye Como Va." Tying blues, rock, and salsa together in one pancultural package, Abraxas also featured such standout tracks as "Gypsy Queen" and "Singing Winds, Crying Beasts." The latter underscored the growing Eastern sensibilities of guitarist Santana.

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.

This is one of those timeless Classics that gets better and better as time goes by...Nearly 50 years on I never tire of the depth, rhythm and vitality of this album and it sounds as fresh as it did in the 70,s.
As a musician and a band they obviously matured and perfected their interplay over the ensuing decades but never have they sounded as alive and with it as on this their 2nd album , considered by many an all time Gem, and considered by most Santana peers as their finest hour and certainly commercially one of their most successful.

When one listens to BLACK MAGIC WOMAN, SE A CABO, OYE COMO VA, the incredible INCIDENT AT NESHABUR and the all time fave SAMBA PA TI, how can anyone doubt the sheer brilliance and quality of this album?? THIS is SANTANA at their very very best!!

Tracks Listing:

1. Singing Winds, Crying Beasts (4:48)
2. Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen (5:17)
3. Oye Como Va (4:17)
4. Incident At Neshabur (4:58)
5. Se A Cabo (2:49)
6. Mother's Daughter (4:25)
7. Samba Pa Ti (4:46)
8. Hope You're Feeling Better (4:10)
9. El Nicoya (1:29)
Bonus Tracks on 1998 Legacy remaster:
10. Se A Cabo (Live *) (3:47)
11. Toussaint L'Overture (Live *) (4:52)
12. Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (Live *) (4:57)

* Recorded at the Royal Albert Hall, april 18, 1970.

Line-up / Musicians:

- Carlos Santana / guitars, vocals
- Gregg Rolie / keyboards, vocals, arrangements
- David Brown / bass
- Michael Shrieve / drums
- Michael Carabello / congas, arrangements
- Jose 'Chepito' Areas / timbales, congas, arrangements
- Alberto Gianguinto / piano (4)
- Rico Reyes / vocals (3,9), percussion (9), arrangements

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Thelonious Monk - 1967 [1996] "Straight, No Chaser"

Straight, No Chaser is an album by jazz musician Thelonious Monk, released in 1967. The album was reissued on CD in 1996, including restored versions of previously abridged performances and three additional tracks.

Straight, No Chaser is undeniably one of those classics, and finds Monk in the good company of his long-time companions--Charlie Rouse, Larry Gales, and Ben Riley.

For this CD, reissue producer Orrin Keepnews has added approximately 25 minutes of never-before-heard Monk, meticulously re-editing lost portions of issued titles while discovering two complete, previously unissued performances.

This is the sixth studio album cut by Thelonious Monk under the production/direction of Teo Macero for Columbia and as such should not be confused with the original motion picture soundtrack to the 1988 film of the same name. The band featured here includes: Monk (piano), Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), Ben Riley (drums), and Larry Gales (bass). This would be the final quartet Monk would assemble to record with in the studio. While far from being somber, this unit retained a mature flavor which would likewise place Monk's solos in a completely new context. At times, this adaptation presents itself more subtly than others. For instance, Monk's extended solo in "Locomotive" never reaches beyond itself due in part to the tempo-laden rhythm section. The contrast of styles, however, appreciates the caliber of this particular solo, including an obvious assertion by Monk which leads the band, albeit temporarily, into playing double-time. Other recommended quartet selections on this disc include a liberated version of the title track, which highlights some stellar interaction between Monk and Rouse. The same can be said for "We See," which features the hardest bop on the album. In addition to the quartet sides, Straight, No Chaser contains two unaccompanied piano solos: "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" and "This Is My Story, This Is My Song." [The original disc only included six performances, half of which were edited due to the stringent time constraints of vinyl; subsequent reissues not only restored all of the previously abridged performances, but also added a trio of sides, two of which ("I Didn't Know About You: Take 1" and "Green Chimneys") are issued here for the first time.]

"Straight, No Chaser" was released on Columbia Records in 1967. What amazes me about Monk besides his brilliant musicianship was the fact that he wasn't the person the media made him out to be. He was in fact a genuine, hard-working artist trying to make ends meet. He was also a family man. Miles Davis, who had a feud with Monk during the 50s and 60s, wrote in his autobiography that Monk was "a sweet guy." Don't let the "image" of a reclusive, drug-addict, and eccentric tunnel dweller scare you away from his music, because he wasn't like that at all.

This recording contains some of Monk's best performances and sidemen: Charlie Rouse on tenor saxophone, Larry Gales on bass, Ben Riley on drums, and, of course, Monk on piano. This in my opinion was his best group. Each of the musicians had an understanding of Monk's compositions better than any other musicians he's played with before. Charlie Rouse is the perfect foil to Monk. Rouse has a warm sound and is also technically amazing. You have to be gifted to play Monk's compositions. Though many of the melodies to his tunes seem simple, it's what the harmony is doing that confused people. Even John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins had trouble playing his tunes. In fact, Sonny Rollins had such difficulty with "Brilliant Corners" that the producer had to edit together three seperate tracks and Coltrane has said that he gets "lost" when he's playing some of Monk's tunes. I find this really incredible because both Rollins and Coltrane can play over just about any chord changes thrown at them. I guess my question is how did Rouse become such a walking encylopedia of Monk? Was it long practice sessions? Was it Monk explaining everything in detail to Rouse? Could be, but I think what it was is Rouse's empathy for Monk and his compositions. This is what kept Rollins and Coltrane from really understanding the inner-workings of these pieces. Rouse was indeed an amazing Monk sideman. The bass player, Larry Gales and drummer Ben Riley also play an crucial role in Monk's music. They are the backbone of this quartet and they provide such a great support system.

"Straight, No Chaser" is a classic bebop jazz album and should appeal to fans of this type of jazz music. Every song is a world within itself and should inspire all who are willing to listen. Highly recommended.

Track listing:

1. "Locomotive" (Th. Monk) - 6:40
2. "I Didn't Know About You" (Duke Ellington) - 6:52
3. "Straight, No Chaser" (Th. Monk) - 11:28
4. "Japanese Folk Song (Kōjō no Tsuki)" (Rentarō Taki) - 16:42
5. "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" (Harold Arlen) - 7:36
6. "We See" (Th. Monk) - 11:37
Bonus tracks on CD reissue
7. "This Is My Story, This Is My Song" (Phoebe Knapp) - 1:42 (better known by the title "Blessed Assurance")
8. "I Didn't Know About You" (D. Ellington) - 6:49
9. "Green Chimneys" (Th. Monk) - 6:34


Thelonious Monk - piano
Charlie Rouse - tenor sax
Larry Gales - bass
Ben Riley - drums

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Tommy Bolin - 1976 [1996] "Live at Ebbets Field"

Due to the success of his back-to-back appearances at Denver's Ebbets Field club in 1974, Tommy Bolin chose to premiere his new Tommy Bolin Band at the venue in May of 1976. Included in this top-notch band were ex-Vanilla Fudge keyboardist/singer Mark Stein and drummer Narada Michael Walden (nowadays a producer), while Norma Jean Bell (saxophone) and Reggie McBride (bass) rounded out the group. Like all Tommy Bolin concerts and albums, the music is extremely varied. Included is one of Bolin's trademark songs, the swaggering "Teaser," which remains sadly overlooked by classic rock radio. You'll also find reggae sounds on "People People," jazz fusion balladry on the Narada Michael Walden-sung "Delightful," and the funky groove of "The Grind." It wouldn't be a Bolin concert without a song for Tommy to show off his guitar talent, and here it's "Marching Powder." A strong album, it's only slightly diminished by a far, far too long drum solo (almost ten minutes!), which is completely unnecessary, since the majority of the people buying Tommy Bolin CDs are doing so to hear his memorable songwriting and guitar skills. Still, it's worthy of any serious Tommy Bolin fan's time.

This recording is taken from the master radio broadcast tape from one of the first performances of The Tommy Bolin Band. This historic first lineup of Tommy’s solo band put on a high energy, unique live performance that not only showcased Tommy, but also Narada Michael Walden on drums and vocals, and original Vanilla Fudge keyboardist and vocalist Mark Stein.

Track listing:

1 Teaser 6:20
2 People People 8:00
3 The Grind 3:21
4 Wild Dogs 9:01
5 Delightful 5:03
6 I Fell In Love 5:40
7 Marching Powder 14:42
8 Lotus 7:06
9 Homeward Strut 9:01


Guitar, Vocals, Producer [Original Live Recording] – Tommy Bolin
Bass – Reggie Mcbride
Drums, Vocals – Michael Walden*
Keyboards, Vocals – Mark Stein
Saxophone, Vocals – Norma Jean Bell

Monday, March 12, 2018

Jörg Kleutgens - 1993 "J.K Special" featuring Dave Weckl

Unlike many drummer-led dates in which percussionists do not establish that it is their session, Weckl's stamp can clearly be detected on any release bearing his name. His blistering beats and phrases occupy a prominent place in the mix, and he is clearly the best player among this session's assembled cast, although speedy electric bassist Jörg (J.K.) Kleutgens provides booming lines and rapid-fire progressions. The songs, like many fusion and instrumental pop pieces, are fragments with light, quickly forgettable melodies and minimal solo space. Other than a forum for Weckl's percussive feats, this qualifies as a pleasant but hardly vigorous workout.

A funky bass sound with Dave Weckl's drum technique.....Wonderful music that you have to listen. Excellent Album. A masterpiece. Definitely one of my favorite all time jazz albums. Even as a guitarist, I have been a long time fan of Weckl and Chick Corea.

Track listing:

1. Crossfire (4:43)
2. S.W.I. (4:11)
3. Bodega (5:06)
4. Shine on Me (7:00)
5. Special (5:47)
6. I Still Love You (5:59)
7. B.A.C. (5:27)
8. Ride Home (5:42)

Total Time: 43:58


Bass Written-By, Producer, Recorded By, Mixed By – Jörg (J. K.) Kleutgens*
Drums – Dave Weckl
Guitar – Dirk K.*
Keyboards – Chris Erbstösser

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Frank Zappa - 1970 [1990] "Weasels Ripped My Flesh"

Weasels Ripped My Flesh is the seventh studio album by the American rock band the Mothers of Invention, released in 1970. It is the second album released after the Mothers' disbanding in 1969, preceded by Burnt Weeny Sandwich. In contrast to its predecessor, which predominately focused on studio recordings of tightly arranged compositions, Weasels Ripped My Flesh largely consists of live recordings and features more improvisation.

Given Zappa's already stated penchant for expressing his music in "phases"—We're Only in It for the Money was written up as "phase one of Lumpy Gravy"— Zappa fans occasionally label this album Phase Two of Burnt Weeny Sandwich. Both albums consist of previously unreleased Mothers tracks released after Frank Zappa disbanded the original group in 1969.

Whereas all but one of the pieces on Burnt Weeny Sandwich have a more planned feel captured by quality studio equipment, five tracks from Weasels Ripped My Flesh capture the Mothers on stage, where they employ frenetic and chaotic improvisation characteristic of avant-garde jazz and free jazz. This is particularly evident on "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue," a tribute to the multi-instrumentalist, who died in 1964 and is cited as a musical influence in the liner notes to the band's Freak Out! album. The song opens with a complex melody over a 3/4 rhythm, breaking into howls and laughter at the three-minute mark, then the theme is repeated and elaborated; after a brief rave-up section, the number concludes in stop-start fashion.

Zappa's classical influences are reflected in characteristically satirical fashion on "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask", a play on Claude Debussy's "Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun)". "Oh No" is a vocal version of a theme that originally appeared on Zappa's Lumpy Gravy album, as well as a pointed barb aimed at the Beatles and John Lennon's "All You Need Is Love". "The Orange County Lumber Truck" incorporates the "Riddler's Theme" from the Batman TV show. The album's closer and title track consists of every player on stage producing as much noise and feedback as they can for two minutes. An audience member is heard yelling for more at its conclusion.

In contrast to the experimental jazz material, the album also contains a straightforward interpretation of Little Richard's R&B single "Directly From My Heart to You", featuring violin and lead vocal from Don "Sugarcane" Harris. This song is actually an outtake from the sessions for the Hot Rats album.

The album also documents the brief tenure of Lowell George (guitar and vocals), who went on to found the band Little Feat with Mothers bassist Roy Estrada. On "Didja Get Any Onya?", George affects a German accent to relate a story of being a small boy in Germany and seeing "a lot of people stand around on the corners asking questions, 'Why are you standing on the corner, acting the way you act, looking the way you look, why do you look that way?'"

The Rykodisc CD reissue of the album features different versions of "Didja Get Any Onya?" and "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask", which featured music edited out of the LP versions. The extended version of "Didja Get Any Onya?" features a live performance of the composition "Charles Ives", a studio recording of which had previously been released as the backing track for "The Blimp" on the Captain Beefheart album Trout Mask Replica, produced by Frank Zappa. The 2012 Universal Music reissue reverts to the original LP versions.

A fascinating collection of mostly instrumental live and studio material recorded by the original Mothers of Invention, complete with horn section, from 1967-1969, Weasels Ripped My Flesh segues unpredictably between arty experimentation and traditional song structures. Highlights of the former category include the classical avant-garde elements of "Didja Get Any Onya," which blends odd rhythmic accents and time signatures with dissonance and wordless vocal noises; these pop up again in "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" and "Toads of the Short Forest." The latter and "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" also show Frank Zappa's willingness to embrace the avant-garde jazz of the period. Yet, interspersed are straightforward tunes like a cover of Little Richard's "Directly From My Heart to You," with great violin from Don "Sugarcane" Harris; the stinging Zappa-sung rocker "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama," and "Oh No," a familiar Broadway-esque Zappa melody (it turned up on Lumpy Gravy) fitted with lyrics and sung by Ray Collins. Thus, Weasels can make for difficult, incoherent listening, especially at first. But there is a certain logic behind the band's accomplished genre-bending and Zappa's gleefully abrupt veering between musical extremes; without pretension, Zappa blurs the normally sharp line between intellectual concept music and the visceral immediacy of rock and R&B. Zappa's anything-goes approach and the distance between his extremes are what make Weasels Ripped My Flesh ultimately invigorating; they also even make the closing title track -- a minute and a half of squalling feedback, followed by applause -- perfectly logical in the album's context.

Frank Zappa disbanded the Mothers in 1969, with the band mired in financial struggle, personality clashes and creative squabbling. But the bandleader was as crafty as he was prolific: Determined to make the most of unused live and studio recordings, Zappa started tinkering with the archival material, resulting in two 1970 LPs, Burnt Weeny Sandwich and its demented younger brother Weasels Ripped My Flesh.
Zappa's original plan for the post-Mothers era was to release all the material in a massive, 12-record set. But he nixed the idea after considering the financial logistics.

Zappa would explore jazz themes more overtly under his own name, veering into big-band fusion with acclaimed albums like 1973's The Grand Wazoo. But as he explained in a 1970 interview with Sounds, those influences had been there all along.
"One of the reasons why the Mothers have never been associated with jazz is because most reviewers have never listened to jazz," Zappa said. "They wouldn't guess unless it said on an album cover that we were influenced by jazz. If I had stated on an early album that I had been influenced by Eric Dolphy or Archie Shepp, then for the last five years they would have been writing about jazz influences instead of Stravinsky influences. ... The group has always been encouraged in jazz-type improvisation within a framework of atonal music. The trouble is that most of the audience thinks of jazz as going from Louis Armstrong to Blood Sweat and Tears. They don't know about today's self-determination music."
Frank Zappa would revive the Mothers brand later that year, recruiting a hoard of new members – some legendary (keyboardist George Duke), some infamous (three former Turtles, including vocalists "Flo and Eddie"). The band's awkward transitional phase – documented on LPs like 1970's Chunga's Revenge and the 1971 soundtrack 200 Motels – only illustrates the original line-up's charm and potency.

Track listing:

01 Didja Get Any Onya? 3:44
02 Directly From My Heart To You 5:17
03 Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Sexually Aroused Gas Mask 3:35
04 Toads Of The Short Forest 4:48
05 Get A Little 2:35
06 The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue 6:53
07 Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula 2:12
08 My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama 3:35
09 Oh No 1:46
10 The Orange County Lumber Truck 3:18
11 Weasels Ripped My Flesh 2:05


Frank Zappa – lead guitar, vocals
Jimmy Carl Black – drums
Ray Collins – vocals
Roy Estrada – bass, vocals
Bunk Gardner – tenor saxophone
Lowell George – rhythm guitar, vocals
Don "Sugarcane" Harris – vocals, electric violin
Don Preston – organ, RMI Electra Piano, electronic effects
Buzz Gardner – trumpet and flugel horn
Motorhead Sherwood – baritone saxophone, snorks
Art Tripp – drums
Ian Underwood – alto saxophone

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Pharoah Sanders - 1971 [1987] "Thembi"

Thembi is the seventh album by free-jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, released in 1971.

The album is named after Sanders's wife. Sanders moved away from the long, intense compositions of his solo albums and produced an album of shorter tracks. He and other musicians played a large variety of instruments. Sanders played tenor, alto, and soprano saxophone, bailophone (African thumb piano), small percussion instruments, and a cow horn.

Sanders's other major collaborator, pianist and composer Lonnie Liston Smith, performs on Thembi (though this would be the last time they recorded together). Also featured are violinist Michael White, bassist Cecil McBee, and percussionists Chief Bey, Majid Shabbaz, and Nat Bettis. "Thembi", "Astral Travelling' and "Morning Prayer" were included on the two-disc anthology, You've Got to Have Freedom, on Soul Brother Records. ' Lonnie Liston Smith began experimenting with electric keyboards while recording this album.

On Thembi, that was the first time that I ever touched a Fender Rhodes electric piano. We got to the studio in California — Cecil McBee had to unpack his bass, the drummer had to set up his drums, Pharoah had to unpack all of his horns. Everybody had something to do, but the piano was just sitting there waiting. I saw this instrument sitting in the corner and I asked the engineer, 'What is that?' He said, 'That's a Fender Rhodes electric piano.' I didn't have anything to do, so I started messing with it, checking some of the buttons to see what I could do with different sounds. All of a sudden I started writing a song and everybody ran over and said, 'What is that?' And I said, 'I don't know, I'm just messing around.' Pharoah said, 'Man, we gotta record that. Whatcha gonna call it?' I'd been studying astral projections and it sounded like we were floating through space so I said let's call it 'Astral Traveling.' That's how I got introduced to the electric piano.

Thembi has been criticized for its somewhat cut-and-paste feel (it was compiled from two sessions, recorded in 1970 and 1971); the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, written by Richard Cook and Brian Morton, offers a particularly harsh assessment. However, Ashley Kahn, author of The House that Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records, describes it as "a career high-point: [it was] co-produced by Michel and rock producer Bill Szymczyk, who together introduced Sanders's music to advanced studio techniques of the day — close miking, overdubbing, and effects like reverb, echo, and phasing."

Recorded with two different ensembles, Thembi was a departure from the slowly developing, side-long, mantra-like grooves Pharoah Sanders had been pursuing for most of his solo career. It's musically all over the map but, even if it lacks the same consistency of mood as many of Sanders' previous albums, it does offer an intriguingly wide range of relatively concise ideas, making it something of an anomaly in Sanders' prime period. Over the six selections, Sanders romps through a tremendous variety of instruments, including tenor, soprano, alto flute, fifes, the African bailophone, assorted small percussion, and even a cow horn. Perhaps because he's preoccupied elsewhere, there's relatively little of his trademark tenor screaming, limited mostly to the thunderous cacophony of "Red, Black & Green" and portions of "Morning Prayer." The compositions, too, try all sorts of different things. Keyboardist/pianist Lonnie Liston Smith's "Astral Traveling" is a shimmering, pastoral piece centered around his electric piano textures; "Love" is an intense, five-minute bass solo by Cecil McBee; and "Morning Prayer" and "Bailophone Dance" (which are segued together) add an expanded percussion section devoted exclusively to African instruments. If there's a unifying factor, it's the classic title track, which combines the softer lyricism of Sanders' soprano and Michael White's violin with the polyrhythmic grooves of the most Africanized material (not to mention a catchy bass riff). Some fans may gripe that Thembi isn't conceptually unified or intense enough, but it's rare to have this many different sides of Sanders coexisting in one place, and that's what makes the album such an interesting listen.

It is strange that two of the most striking albums made by saxophonist Pharoah Sanders during the first flush of late 1960s/early 1970s astral jazz have been so often overlooked in reissue series. Tauhid (Impulse!, 1967)—the recording which launched astral jazz, the style Sanders fashioned alongside harpist/pianist Alice Coltrane—and Thembi have been available only intermittently during the last 20 years.

Tauhid is unalloyed bliss from start to finish, a sweet and lyrical evocation of Eastern mysticism which established astral's template: prominent African and Asian percussion instruments; velvet-sandpaper saxophone vocalizations and multiphonics; hummable tunes and melody-centric improvisations; rock steady bass ostinatos; piano vamps; chanted vocals; rich collective grooves.

Thembi inhabits this territory over four of its six tracks, but steps out of it on the other two. The album was recorded during two sessions—in Los Angeles in November 1970 (tracks 1-3), and in New York City in January 1971 (tracks 4-6)—with some changes in personnel. Sanders, pianist Lonnie Liston Smith and bassist Cecil McBee were present at both sessions; violinist Michael White was in Los Angeles, though was featured little; traps drummer Roy Haynes and four percussionists replace Los Angeles' drummer Clifford Jarvis and percussionist James Jordan in New York.

The album opens with Smith's "Astral Traveling," a lush, sweeping group workout foursquare in the astral paradigm; in 1973, Smith, too, used it as an opening track, on his solo debut Astral Traveling, on ex-Impulse! producer Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman label. The tune is given an exquisite performance on both albums, with Sanders' presence giving his Thembi version the edge.

But on Thembi, "Astral Traveling" proves to be the calm before the perfect storm. "Red, Black & Green," which follows, is as ferocious as is suggested by its title, a reference to the colors made emblematic by black liberation movements in the US and Africa. At 8:56 minutes, it is the second longest track on the album, and Sanders' overdubbed saxophones are foregrounded practically throughout, played in a style closer to the tumultuous one adopted by Sanders when he was a member of saxophonist John Coltrane's groups in 1966-67. Here, Sanders' sole concession is to play within a marginally more lyrical harmonic framework.

"Thembi" returns to the melodic, ostinato-driven palette of "Astral Traveling," before the album once more switches out of the astral comfort zone.

"Love," is an unaccompanied, 5:12 minute bass solo. If you are already reaching for the "skip track" button, don't do it. McBee turns in a corker, starting conventionally enough, albeit with frequent use of percussive, "Africanized" string-on-wood effects, before focusing on cleanly articulated high-harmonics (well recorded by producer Ed Michel and engineer Bill Szymczyk). Given all the tirelessly iterated ostinatos McBee contributed to Sanders' music—here and on Izipho Zam (Strata East, 1969) and Impulse!'s Jewels Of Thought (1970), Summun, Bukmun, Umyun (1970), Black Unity (1972), Wisdom Through Music (1972) and Village Of The Pharoahs (1973)—he was owed this five minutes alone, and he seizes them; "Love" is the sort of track that gives bass solos a good name.

The closing "Morning Prayer" and "Bailophone Dance" return to more familiar, collective astral territory. "Morning Prayer," at 9:11 minutes the longest track, revisits the fierce tenor heard on "Red, Black & Green," but in an amiable, ostinato-driven groove. "Bailophone Dance," built around a traditional West African cross-rhythm, makes good use of hand drummers Chief Bey, Majid Shabass, Anthony Wiles and Nat Bettis.

Delicious, essential listening.

Track listing:

1. Astral Travelling (Lonnie Liston Smith) - 5:48
2. Red, Black & Green (Sanders) - 8:56
3. Thembi (Sanders) - 7:02
4. Love (Cecil McBee) - 5:12
5. Morning Prayer (Sanders/Liston Smith) - 9:11
6. Bailophone Dance (Sanders) - 5:43


Pharoah Sanders – tenor and soprano saxophones, alto flute, koto, brass bells, balaphone, maracas, cow horn, fifes
Lonnie Liston Smith – piano, electric piano, claves, percussion, ring cymbal, shouts, balaphone
Michael White – violin, percussion
Cecil McBee – bass, finger cymbal, percussion
Roy Haynes – drums
Clifford Jarvis – drums, maracas, bells, percussion
Nat Bettis, Chief Bey, Majid Shabazz, Anthony Wiles – African percussion
James Jordan – ring cymbal

Leo Kottke - 1981 "Guitar Music"

Guitar Music is an album by American guitarist Leo Kottke, released in 1981. The album is all solo guitar played on a Gibson J-45 and a Lundberg-Martin 12-string.

A classic 1981 release, "Guitar Music" is a self-explanatorily-titled instrumental album by one of the most wide-ranging guitarists of his era. Leo Kottke is influenced by a huge variety of musics, as evidenced by the covers of "Tumblin' Tumbleweeds", "All I Have to Do Is Dream" and a glorious country-blues version of Santo and Johnny's classic "Sleepwalk."
"Part Two" and "Available Space" are watery, jazz-tinged melodies, but the six-part "Some Birds" suite is one of Kottke's most impressive compositions ever. Varied yet subtly linked, these six pieces are small gems. The new age aspects of Kottke's mid-'80s releases have their roots in this extended work, but there's nothing amorphous or muzak-like about this album.

I am a bit of fan of Mr Kottke - ever since hearing 6 & 12 String Guitar way back when. Have a few other albums of his and have even seen him perform when he has visited Australia. Impressive stuff. Haven't bought anything of his for quite some time and stumbled across this one on Amazon - saw the good reviews and bought it. Dont know how I did not know about it - maybe it was never originally released in Australia. Anyway this is what Leo does best - tasty, clever and stylish playing. This album perhaps doesnt have the fire and energy of 6 & 12 String Guitar but in some ways it is the better for it - a bit more mellow and rounded. To be honest its a four and half star album but you cant do that on the rating sytem. If you have other albums by Leo Kottke you will be sure to enjoy this - well worth it.

This is a re-mastered cd from a vinyl press nearly thirty years ago. I wore out my record. Classic Kottke, with some of his own compositions. A good introduction to a genuine American treasure. Kottke has few peers in the history of solo guitar. This is one of his five best albums. If you would like to just sit back, relax and enjoy some beautiful music, than you need to buy this CD. We saw him live and his music will live in my heart forever.

Track listing:

01 Part Two 1:44
02 Available Space 1:35

Side One Suite 10:30
03  Some Birds
04  Sounds Like...
05  Slang
06  My Double
07  Three Walls And Bars
08  Reprise: Some Birds

09 Perforated Sleep 2:42
10 Strange 2:34
11 Little Shoes 1:32
12 Jib's Hat 2:17
13 Tumbling Tumbleweeds 2:42
14 Agile N. 1:45
15 A Song For "The Night Of The Hunter" 3:05
16 All I Have To Do Is Dream 1:42
17 Sleep Walk 2:23


Leo Kottke - Acoustic 6- and 12-String Guitars

Jennifer Batten - 2997 "Momentum"

Jennifer Batten's Tribal Rage: Momentum is the second studio album by guitarist Jennifer Batten, released on August 5, 1997 through East West Records and reissued in June 2008 through Lion Music.

Tribal Rage is Jennifer Batten on guitars, guitar synth, keys, talk box, and dentist drill guitar, Ricky Wolking on bass (fretted and non), talk box, and other bizzare sound manipulations, with Glen Sobel doing drums and percussion. And what is all this fuss over Batten about?

She is amazingly fluid, so many tricks up her sleeve, so many voicings, techniques, and sheer bombast that you are overwhelmed with what torture and delicate touch she lays on a guitar. Slapping, tapping, bending, pulling off, hammer ons, slides — and with both hands! Throwing in a Whammy pedal when all her hands are too busy, she then creates so much wailing, swooping, and mutiple harmonics, that your aural dynamic sense nears overload. The effect is one steady onslaught of unique sounds you thought guitarists could only offer in tidbits, in certain moments, for lead breaks, at song intros or outros. Yet Batten constructs a whole CD’s worth of magical moments of a guitar doing things you rarely hear. She goes beyond Vai’s insane excursions and tops it off by tipping her hat and then running past Satriani’s finer weirdness.

This lady is an artist crafting a whole new dimension of guitar sounds, weaving it all together into song, and best of all it works. Her music is not endless backflips or clowning around — Batten hears another land’s strange echoes and offers a curiously interesting reply. With her Tribal Rage crew at her side a world of wonder unfolds. Seven quality cuts ranging from 7:10 to 9:33 let the whole crew stretch. There is some seriously cool bass work and severely challenging percussion happening here as well.

Batten has toured with big names like Jeff Beck and Michael Jackson. So what does Jeff Beck think of her playing? Beck says, “Incredible stuff, very impressive. She’s very dedicated. I just see her in her little house somewhere, doing nothing else. Because you can’t get that good unless you do.” I have to agree.

As guitar fans would easily recognize Holdsworth’s, Torn’s, or Rypdal’s guitar voice— Batten’s flexible-axe voice is a clear signature. I must say I’ve never heard anyone do anything quite like Batten’s continuous stream of note-bending, tapping, swells, controlled feedback, harmonics, and lightning-fast riffs. Prepare to enter into another dimension of guitar where elasticity is the word.

“Jennifer Batten’s Tribal Rage – Momentum” CD was a labour of love which was developed over a period of several years. “Momentum” is a hybrid of rock and very exotic sounds, including African percussion, Australian didgeridoo, Caribbean steel drums and Scottish bag pipes all wrapped up in a inviting album of diverse influences and sounds.

Looking back on the album’s creation Jennifer comments, “Glen Sobel, Ricky Wolking and I set out to make this a rich sonic journey for ourselves and the listener. We wanted to take them around the globe and included a lot of elements from different cultures. We spent a lot of hours developing, rehearsing and jamming in Glen’s mother’s shoe closet. You couldn’t fit more than the 3 of us and our equipment in there, but the price was right. We set out to be as open minded and creative as possible”.

A really astonishing work from a female guitar slinger who accompanied Jeff Beck and Michael Jackson on world tours back in the day. Her fellow musicians: Ricky Wolking on bass and Glen Sobel on drums and percussion are nothing short of jaw dropping when faced with some demanding roles. If you're into first rate guitar work with plenty of speed, harmonics, fresh, original ideas and the ability to see them to sizzling fruition, this album will be one that you whip out and say to your friends, "Check this out!

Jeff Beck was once quoted as being shocked when he saw Ms. Batten in person for the first time. To wit: "...I expected someone who was introverted and did nothing but practice all the time, because you'd have to do nothing but practice all the time to be that good!!!". Amen to that observation. I have followed with a passion her 2-handed techniques from her days as a GP magazine columnist. I got my 1st taste of what it could sound like from one of her GIT teaching tapes. NEVER could I dream that the amalgamation of her composition skills and technique (i.e., her total artistry) could be so beautifully, powerfully devistating as reflected on this and her other 2 CDs (5-stars for the lot of them). Just stunning stuff. Simply put, if anyone wants to hear a true guitar visionary apply her musical gift and craft in a spellbinding way - buy the CD(s) - be silent - just listen and absorb (sit down if you can - but you'll likely be too energized to allow it)! Who should know brilliance better than the maestro Jeff Beck; he is, he said she is, and the resultant truth is most obvious.

Track listing:

1. "Wodaabe Dancer" 8:30
2. "Elephant Stomp" 7:10
3. "Zulu Wedding" 9:30
4. "Scottsman in the Carribean" 8:57
5. "The Swarm" 9:19
6. "Glow" 8:45
7. "Unplug This" 9:34

Total length: 61:45


Jennifer Batten – guitar, guitar synthesizer, keyboard, talk box, background vocals (tracks 1, 4)
Glen Sobel – drums, percussion
Ricky Wolking – bass, banjo, talk box, background vocals (tracks 1, 4)
Chris Tervitt – spoken vocals (track 4)
Sean Wiggins – spoken vocals (track 6), background vocals (tracks 1, 4)
Benny Collins – spoken vocals (track 7)
Bret Helm – background vocals (tracks 1, 4)
Janis Massey – background vocals (tracks 1, 4)
Sylmarian Pygmee choir – background vocals (tracks 1, 4)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Greg Koch - 2001 "The Grip!"

"The Grip!" is a collection of songs from guitarist Greg Koch's five previous independent releases plus three new tracks added from this prolific songwriter/ musician's cachet of twisted tunes. "The Grip!" fuses rock, blues, jazz, and country into one incredible package sure to make new believers and diehard fans of music lovers everywhere. Favored Nations president and noted guitarist Steve Vai states, "Greg Koch is one of those rare guitarists that can blend various styles with a light hearted approach and a tremendous amount of technique. Hearing him play is inspiring to a guitar player to try to achieve greatness on the instrument," while Guitar One chips in with "Koch can't lose with his over-the-top chops, feel for melody, crisp tone, unpredictability, and, above all, unpretentious sense of fun."

It doesn’t take long to figure out why Milwaukee, WI resident, guitarist, Greg Koch resides as a first call session musician for radio and TV advertisements. Hence, the artist displays his multifaceted talents during his debut for guitarist, Steve Vai’s “Favored Nations” record label.
Basically, Koch possesses enviable chops, yet seems adept and undeniably at ease performing from within a variety of contexts. Besides various personnel changes, the leader opts for the guitar, drums, and bass format, although harmonica performer, Steve Cohen lends his talents to the piece titled “Defenstrator.” Meanwhile, the guitarist works his way through a series of blues, rockabilly, surf, and hard rock grooves that generally span three to five minutes in length. Koch also renders a justifiably hard-edged spin on Hendrix’ “Spanish Castle Magic,” where he utilizes his electric guitar equipped whammy bar to great effect. Here, Koch viciously disfigures a series of scathing lead lines while seemingly inflicting pain upon his axe of choice. However, not all of these seventeen works hold up for the long haul, as a sense of invariability permeates the proceedings about mid-way through the set. Otherwise, Koch provides more than enough fireworks via his fancy fretwork and diverse bag of tricks throughout the majority of this rather upbeat production.

Greg Koch is a prolific and ubiquitous guitarist, one heralded by the likes of Steve Vai as a huge talent. He is one fifth progressive, metallic, blues-ridden, bluegrass and rock combined into one harmless assault. The tracks themselves play out like semi-intellectual keystone capers written into interesting beer commercials. The constant highlight of each number, however, is the lead playing of Koch, which is never undermined by the backgrounds of near muzak-like musicians. They are only there to propel and to not merely fulfil without substance. The energy comes out faster and in full force than that of the actual super-quick rotation of a compact disc spinning in its host player.

If you like modern day, edgy, multi genre, guitar music, this is yer kinda CD! You'd get a steamy plate o' blues, country, rock, jazz fusion that sizzles! Greg Koch plays guitar so hot it's like dinkin' a glass of Tabasco and Sriracha sauce! Why the food analogy you ask? Well, it best describes the tunes, which are like complex spices, saffron and curry, sugar and chocolate all rolled into one. Something is bound to satisfy. The whole CD is burnin' with pathos and humor. This is my first foray into the wonderfully twisted musical world of Greg Koch, I'm a believer, and as $ will allow I will snatch up all the Koch I can. My only complaint is I didn't get any info on who the other players, song writers and guest artists etc. were on the CD . .ahh the trouble with downloadable music, but all the morsels were, and are tasty and in the immortal words of Schwarzenegger in "The Terminator" ; "I'll be boch . . . . for more Koch"!!

From the other reviews here you will see that Greg Koch is a phenomenal guitar player. He is able to offer virtuoso compositions of a great variety of musical styles on this disc. Not one to take himself too seriously, (too many great guitar players fall into that mode at some point) Koch plays with fire and a great sense of humor (Albert's Back and has joined a death metal band for revenge, and Blind Lemon Pledge...funny stuff). This is a guy who loves to play guitar. Nice variety, there isn't a weak tune on the whole disc. Kudos on the very cool "Blue Note" records type CD artwork front and back. Great artist, great disc.

Track listing:

01. Zoiks
02. Spank It
03. Holy Grail
04. Carlos Dale
05. Spanish Castle Magic
06. Chief’s Blues
07. Draw My Number
08. Defenestrator
09. Alberts Back
10. Tonus Diabolicus
11. Walking Wounded
12. Steppin’ Out
13. Big Jim
14. Absinthe
15. Dylan the Villian
16. Blind Lemon Pledge
17. The Grip


Greg Koch - Guitar
Tom "Damn" Good - Bass
Kevin Allen - Bass (5,12,15)
John Calarco - Drums
Gary Koehler - Drums (2,5,10,12,15)
Kevin Mushel - Bass (2,10)
Steve Cohen - Harmonica (8)