Τρίτη, 30 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Roy Harper - Return of the sophisticated beggar [1967]

Digitally remastered reissue of the British Folk-Rock singer's 1966 debut album with one bonus track: 'Legend'.

This is where it all began for British folk-rocker Roy Harper: a slim volume of poems and psychedelic ditties set to music, backed by a simple Revox machine, and transformed by instrumental turns that display Harper's deft guitar work. "Girlie," "Big Fat Aeroplane," and "Legend," while steeped in traditional folk idioms, hint at Harper's still-developing songwriting style. His caustic wit and passion are evident in the wordplay. "Forever" is as pretty a love song as you are likely to hear, while the mostly instrumental "Blackpool" displays as much acoustic dexterity as the playing of Leo Kottke and John Fahey. The electrified "Committed" takes a darkly humorous look at Harper's 15-week spell in an institution undergoing electro-convulsive therapy treatment after he faked mental illness to get out of the Royal Air Force. Very much a first album with rough edges and no-frills production, The Sophisticated Beggar nonetheless displays the talent and possibilities Harper would soon command. 

Κυριακή, 28 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Amadou & Mariam - Wati [2003]

If you think Mali is all about the kora or the Super Rail Band, you need to take a listen to Amadou & Mariam, a blind married couple who take Malian music in a whole different direction. They keep to the bluesy, pentatonic root that's the heart of the desert sound of Mali, but bring it toward the West, even letting guitars howl here and there and funking things up with some lovely keyboard work. Amadou & Mariam sing both separately and together (indeed, they're at their strongest together, when the two voices can work off each other on songs like "Chauffeurs"), and they're both strong writers, using rhythm as much as melody for a sound that's remarkably down-home. There's nothing complex about it -- perhaps the Bamako equivalent of a bar band, albeit a very good one. "Sarama," for example, rocks wonderfully and hypnotically, and wouldn't sound out of place in a roadhouse, getting the crowd up and dancing. Perhaps it's because they don't sound especially African in their approach to music -- allowing the roots to be just one part of the whole.


Soul Rebels Brass Band - No More Parades [1998]

As Dirty Dozen and Rebirth were the major players in the transition away from traditional to the modern brass band sounds that dominate the city, Soul Rebels, in a way, are the next step, incorporating more hip-hop into their sound while still staying loyal to the origins.

The perfect pedigree, the band was born when two younger members of Dejean’s Young Olympia Brass Band -- Lumar LeBlanc and Derrick Moss – struck out on their own as they wanted to add the flavors of what they were hearing on the radio into the brass band sound.

The album is a nice mix of hip-hop, Latin influences bringing to table to the up-tempo party sound that the band has honed playing hundreds of shows at the Le Bon Temps Roule, but never lost in the inclusion of so many influences is the large, booming brass band sound from second lines as well as is that strong marching band beat. 


Παρασκευή, 26 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Shake Keane - Dig It! [1969]

A groovy album of short little pop jazz numbers – featuring the sparkling trumpet of West Indian player Shake Keane over the top of arrangements from Ivor Raymonde! Shake's got his roots in the hipper side of the British scene of the late 50s and early 60s – and is particularly well known for his work on some of Joe Harriot's groundbreaking albums. Here, though, Shake also proves that he's got a good vision for an all-around groover – and works with the arranger in a style that nicely circles between mainstream instrumentals and jazz inflections. There's some great groovy covers on the session – including "Honey", "Sunny", "World", "Love Is Blue", "As Tears Go By", "Goin Out Of My Head", and "Bend Me Shape Me".


Τετάρτη, 24 Οκτωβρίου 2012

The Bobby Hamilton Quintet Unlimited - Dream Queen [1972]

 Deep & soulful, this privately pressed 1972 LP, good from start to finish, is an essential testimony from an out of sight band. Unique sound!


Δευτέρα, 22 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Jimmy McGriff - Honey [1968]

Honey is by far Jimmy McGriff’s best Soul stompin album. He really lets go on a series of great covers from the opening (Sweet, Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone to Respect to a really grooving version of We’re A Winner to Tell Mama to the open drums at the beginning of I Thank You and I Got The Feelin. With a set like that and McGriff going off on the organ you really can’t go wrong. 


Σάββατο, 20 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Mukta - Jade [2000]

Here's a unique ensemble--a French Indo-jazz group. None of the players are likely well-known to American listeners, but don't let that stop you from an eminently satisfying listening experience. Traditional jazz instruments--drums, trumpet, guitar, marimba--combine with Indian ones--sitar, tambura, bansuri--to produce a set of tunes that defy easy categorization.
Mukta also makes use of Latin percussion, an additional component that blends seamlessly, thanks to the leader's (Simon Mary's) songwriting skills. The presence of this third culture lets you know these guys are well aware of the environment of world music--but they don't overdo it; they're savvy enough to know how to give their music exactly what it needs to make it glow, scintillate, and throb. 


Τρίτη, 16 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Babis Papadopoulos - From The Draco's Cave [2010]

  Guitarist of the legendary rock group Trypes and Thanassis Papakonstantionou long time collaborator presents his solo work.
  For this  project,Babis Papadopoulos recruits another three important musicians that, judging by the final result, appear to share his idiosyncrasies and obsessions, Dimitris Vlahomitros on bouzouki, Dionisis Makris on double-bass and Giorgos Christianakis on piano. The music retains a strong foundation on greek folk tradition, since Papadopoulos adds seven greek songs from the distant past to his repertoire, as a way to pay his dues to the rebetiko, a genre that inspired him massively. His work is, without a doubt, an attempt to revive and relive the emotions evoked by these songs when they were released back in the 30s (plus one of 1948), through a genuine orchestral and acoustic prism. The songs share more than just the time they were written, they share the common ground where they were conceived, the beautiful harbour of Peiraus. There's also four improvisational pieces that feature Papadopoulos and Christianakis here.



Δευτέρα, 15 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Guy Warren Of Ghana - Afro-Jazz [1969]

Born in Ghana in West Africa, Guy Warren, who is also known as Kofi Ghanaba, was a jazz drumset player and player of traditional Ghanaian percussion. He also played piano, flute, would sing, and was trained in Western style composition. He was fluent in writing and arranging jazz compositions as he composed most of the pieces on his recordings. 
Warren was a big fan of American jazz and eventually made his way to England and finally the USA in 1955. He worked in Chicago and New York having befriended Charlie Parker, Max Roach, and Thelonius Monk among others.
Warren was uncompromising in the kind of music he wished to play. His idea was to combine his traditional Ghanaian percussion and rhythms with the jazz aesthetic. He incorporated the African talking drum in jazz ensembles and played both the drumset and traditional hand drums in unusual ways.
This is one of the hardest records to track down in the Lansdowne Series, the title Afro-Jazz even coined its own sub genre long before the movement arose. Not only that, the backing group is the Ian Carr-Don Rendell Quintet with Amancio D'Silva on guitar!


Σάββατο, 13 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Tom Scott with The California Dreamers - The Honeysuckle Breeze [1967]

Before he developed into a star composer and arranger, Tom Scott was an ambitious 19 year-old saxophonist looking for his big break in 1967. The opportunity came when legendary jazz label Impulse paired Scott with 9-piece vocal group The California Dreamers and allowed the young musician to take the helm as a band leader, with The Honeysuckle Breeze as the spectacular result.

This rare and long out-of-print album features Scott leading a stellar lineup of sessions players—Bill Plummer (sitar), Glen Campbell (guitar) and Carol Kaye (bass) among them—through warm, smooth versions of songs by The Beatles ("She's Leaving Home"), Donovan ("Mellow Yellow"), Joan Baez ("North") and Jefferson Airplane ("Today"), which many will recognize from it's sampling in the Pete Rock & CL Smooth classic "T.R.O.Y." 


Παρασκευή, 12 Οκτωβρίου 2012

War - Live [1974]

In between studio efforts, the band released WAR Live, a double LP documenting the dazzling dynamic synergy the band's concerts were renowned for. Recorded during a four-night engagement at Chicago's High Chapparral club, the set includes classic WAR favorites such as "Slippin' Into Darkness," "All Day Music" and "Get Down" in their original long form, as well as the previously unrecorded "Ballero," a fiery Latin jam that reached #33 on the pop and #17 on R&B singles charts. WAR Live continued the band's commercial success, eventually selling a million and a half copies. 


Πέμπτη, 11 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Fela Anikulapo Kuti - Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense [1986]

'Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense' adopted a markedly different aesthetic to the one Kuti typically used, and it was a triumph. The album was recorded shortly after Kuti had been released from jail, where he'd served 20 months on the smuggling charge. 
 Badarou's production is richer and more burnished than was the norm for Kuti. Indeed, it's almost orchestral. The sound is smoother, the beat more chilled, and the arrangement denser, with layers of keyboards, a serpentine horn chart, and the backup choir placed well forward in the mix. 
....This isn't democracy, says Kuti, it's "demo-crazy."


Τετάρτη, 10 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Femi Kuti - Femi Kuti [1995]

This debut album was an extremely popular record in Africa and Europe; it introduced Kuti's cleaner, more succinct take on his father Fela Kuti's legendary Afro beat sound. Packed with contagious rhythms born of African, jazz, and funk melodies, Femi Kuti represents an important offering to world music. 


Τρίτη, 9 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Ginger Baker – Stratavarious [1972]

Stratavarious is an album by Ginger Baker, the drummer from Cream, released by Polydor in 1972. Baker had many associations with an eclectic mix of musicians brought together under numerous band titles bearing his surname. Stratavarious is the only album which was released under the name of Ginger Baker without other associated names. The lineup on Stratavarious includes Bobby Tench, vocalist and guitarist from The Jeff Beck Group, who plays guitar under the pseudonym Bobby Gass and the Nigerian pioneer of Afrobeat, Fela Ransome-Kuti who appeared at concerts with Baker at this time.Great album!


Κυριακή, 7 Οκτωβρίου 2012

East New York Ensemble de Music - At the Helm [1974]

Bilal Abdurahman's East New York Ensemble de Music came out of the diverse community of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, where African, West Indian & black American cultures converged. First and foremost a deep Spiritual Jazz record, At The Helm also incorporates elements of the West Indies, and both the Near and Far East. 
The sound is loose and free – spiritually building in a manner that recalls the work of Ahmed Abdul Malik, Phil Cohran, and some of the AACM – and the album has a style that's exploratory, but never goes too far out, or loses its sense of rhythm and swing. 


Σάββατο, 6 Οκτωβρίου 2012

John Handy, Dr. L. Subramaniam, Ali Akbar Khan ‎– Rainbow [1981]

Great indo-jazz record, second encounter between John Handy(saxophone) and Ali Akbar Khan(sarod) after a first MPS record 5 years before with the addition of L. Subramaniam in violin.


Παρασκευή, 5 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Sabir - Fones [2004]

SABIR gives us the image of the two furthest pillars in the Mediterranean sea on the one part we have Greece, cradle of the Western civilisation, and on the other shore the Iberian land.The three members of the Greek-Spanish group SABIR include into their repertoire traditional pieces from Mediterranean countries, as well as others which are original compositions but still strongly influenced by the traditional music of the Balkans, Persia, Greece, Flamenco or Western Medieval music. Ancient and oriental modes are merged with asymmetric rhythms and improvisations performed with instruments such as the Indian tabla, the hurdy-gurdy (mediaeval bowed string instrument), flamenco guitar, the santoor (Persian psaltery), saz (Turkish lute) or the zarb (Persian percussion instrument).


Πέμπτη, 4 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Max Roach – M’Boom [1980]

This is credited to Max Roach, who formed the M’Boom ‘re:percussion ensemble’ around 1970, but it’s very much a group work. The ensemble features a bunch of experienced drummer-percussionists – Roy Brooks, Freddie Waits, Joe Chambers, Ray Mantilla etc . Before you run away with thoughts of endless soloing, this is an album of tunes, using “more than 100 different instruments of determinate and indeterminate pitch”, which means a whole lot of marimba, vibes, xylophones, timpani, gongs, bells, and pretty much every instrument you can bang on. Banged on by men who really know how to bang on shit. This is a particularly colorful set that is easily recommended not only to jazz and percussion fans but to followers of World music.


Δευτέρα, 1 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Ocote Soul Sounds with Adrian Quesada - El Niño Y El Sol [2004]

''El Niño y el Sol" is a collaboration between Martin Perna (Ocote Soul Sounds) and Adrian Quesada. They are founding members of two of the world's most successful and progressive afro/latin/funk big bands, Antibalas and Grupo Fantasma, respectively. Antibalas (Brooklyn, NY) has been credited with reviving the afrobeat sound popularized by Fela Kuti while Grupo Fantasma (Austin, TX) has been called "the adventurous musical offspring of Los Lobos and Mano Negra.

In this welcome pseudo-soundtrack, Latin percussion and woodwinds meet electronica, conventional instruments and other sounds to create a unique mix that explores various moods. In one instance, you have '70s-inspired funk with a salsa-ish backbeat that lends itself to a lot of improvised moments on saxophone and flute. In another, you have a dreamy ambient soundscape that leads you to a completely different place. In between, you have a saxophone freely traveling through a semi-psychedelic background formed by guitar, bass, B-3 and percussion. Also, you have very short interludes that serve sometimes as introductions or simply a break between tunes.