Τρίτη, 23 Ιουλίου 2013

Palyrria - Palyrria [2004]

Born out of the need for experimentation PALYRRIA is a band that has devised and perfected its own, unique musical style. Created in 1996 as a dance project it wasnt until 1999 that the band decided to turn into its own musical direction, a mixture of western electronica and traditional music from around the Mediterranean. They call it world-electro and indeed this music is neither electronic nor ethnic. PALYRRIA has always been fascinated by traditional music and some of the bands members have worked with renowned traditional musicians, but living in Greece one realizes that traditional music goes way beyond the last millennium, back in times when people chose to express themselves in much more ecstatic and paganistic ways. Ancient ceremonies around the Mediterranean have always been filled with music and musical expression. It wouldnt be far from the truth if one was to draw a parallel between those events and the rave parties the world witnessed in the beginning of the nineties. The similarities are striking and have been the source of inspiration for the dynamic musical context of PALYRRIA. Aeolian scales, pentatonic music, instruments that come out of the depths of history, are presented alongside pumping bass lines, techno grooves, vocoders, clicks and cuts, in an attempt to create music that transcends the centuries and is both ancient and futuristic at the same time. Let the strangeness ware off and enjoy music that comes straight from the source.

Πέμπτη, 11 Ιουλίου 2013

Kato apo to dentro - S/T [2010]

Blues, Rembetika, Pentatonic and other Greek traditional melodies, Dub basslines, African melodies and rhythms, meet unexpectedly through acoustic guitars, bass, mandolin, melodica and percussion in the music of the group ''Kato Apo To Dentro'' ("under the tree'' in English) which is a collaboration between several musicians and friends, based in Athens, Greece. Couplets in the blues mood, tales of adventures in faraway places but also something from Greek traditional fest fun (panigyriotiko) compose this musical journey.

Δευτέρα, 24 Ιουνίου 2013

Jazz The World Forgot, Jazz Classics of the 1920s Early Roots and Branches of Jazz - Vol.1 [1996]

This groundbreaking series brings together some of the greatest performances of early jazz, illustrating that before jazz became a listener's music of improvised solos it was the rhythm-driven dance music of America, the rock and roll of its day. This album shows the incredible variety of the 1920s jazz by bringing together diverse, often obscure masterpieces by legendary small groups and large bands from both city and country. Highlighted is the rich regional flavor of early American jazz with showpieces by territory bands such as Ross De Luxe Syncopaters, Taylor's Dixie Serenaders, and Roy Johnson's Happy Pals along with classics by the pioneer New Orleans band of Louis Dumaine, Sam Morgan and much more. This is an entertaining and illuminating exploration of early jazz which traces its roots back to marching bands, ragtime and vaudeville.

Τρίτη, 18 Ιουνίου 2013

Thanasis Papakonstantinou and the Laikedelica - Ta zontana [2004]

The legendary Greek composer, singer and musician in a full-length double CD program of new works, and songs from previous his two recordings (Vrachnos Profitis and Agrypnia ) given a whole new perspective by the amazing ensemble he has backing him up. One of the best  recordings of 2004, from anywhere on the planet. Highly recommended, especially for those who like creative, roots-inspired progressive rock-folk music.

Σάββατο, 15 Ιουνίου 2013

African Spirits - A Spiritual Jazz Journey Looking Back to Africa [2004]

This album consists of 10 tracks that represent a spiritual jazz journey looking back to Africa: the motherland, the roots of jazz, the birthplace of black music and the ancestral origins of the musicians themselves.
Individually the tracks - some of the best music of its type ever recorded - are in demand in their own right, with most being compiled for the first time. In the 1960's and 1970's many Afro Americans started to look back to their roots and the roots of the music for inspiration, direction and confirmation. Musicians including Yusef Lateef, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, and many of the artists on this compilation experimented with African instruments and sounds during this period. It was a time of black celebration, the 'Afro' hairstyle was a prerequisite for hipness. The drum - the most basic rhythm instrument and the foundation that almost all modern music rests on - came from Africa. Indeed, Jazz music itself can also trace its origins back to Africa; in fact scientists, historians and archaeologists have suggested that the entire human race took its first steps in Africa and evolved from there. The music contained on this album, whilst rhythmically strong is also imbued with haunting melodies and spiritually uplifting shades. A major factor behind the making of this music was a reaction against a society based on commercialism and insincerity: this is music with a message, music of substance, music that demands the listener be drawn in. It's music that you can really feel…music that moves and fulfils you, leaving you spiritually uplifted. This album is not just about selecting and bringing together a collection of in demand Jazz cuts…it's about inviting the listener on a musical journey back to Africa, back to ancient civilisation. Enjoy the ride.

Τετάρτη, 12 Ιουνίου 2013

V/A - Pioneers of the Jazz Guitar [1992]

This anthology features the predecessors and contemporaries of Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian with an emphasis on the jazz guitar duet. Working within their seldom recorded solo or duet performances, master guitarists such as Eddie Lang, Lonnie Johnson, John Cali and others couple melodic sophistication with the kind of economy and restraint rarely achieved today in such compositions as Teasin' The Frets, handful Of Riffs, Chicken A La Swing, Feeling My Way and others.


Δευτέρα, 10 Ιουνίου 2013

Various ‎– Jazz Meets The World [1975]

Today, “World Music” has become a standard concept and the surpassing of borders between jazz musicians and other musical cultures goes without saying. One of the foundations for the development of jazz into world music was established by MPS during the sixties. With the series “Jazz meets the world”, initiated by Joachim-Ernst Berendt, meetings between jazz musicians and other musical cultures were started. The Irene Schweizer Trio played with musicians from India, George Gruntz worked with Arabic and Toni Scott with musicians from Bali. The MPS-series “Jazz meets the world” is still one of the most important concepts between jazz and traditional music from India, Bali, Cuba, Tunisia, Spain, Brazil and Japan. 


Τρίτη, 30 Απριλίου 2013

Tommy McCook & The Supersonics ‎– Down On Bond Street [1993]

 'Down on Bond Street' compiles 20 tracks from 1966-1968.Like Roland Alphonso did while leading Clement Dodd's own Soul Vendors outfit (with organist Jackie Mittoo), McCook and the Supersonics cut several instrumental sides, focusing on groove-heavy beats and tasty horn and organ solos. Trojan's Down on Bond Street brings together 20 of these gems, ranging from late ska cuts like "A Yellow Basket (A Tisket a Tasket)" to early reggae sides such as "Second Fiddle." Focusing primarily on rocksteady material, McCook also delves into some updated Jamaican R&B ("Heatwave (Moving)"), several choice covers ("Ode to Billie Joe"), and a few breezy originals ("Real Cool"). Showing off his considerable jazz chops, McCook is ever present with his vaporously tart and sinewy tenor lines (he turns in impressive flute work on a handful of cuts as well). Also part of that select crew of Jamaican jazz musicians, many being fellow Skatalite alums as well, the Supersonics featured alto saxophonist Lester Sterling, trumpeter Johnny "Dizzy" Moore, trombonist Vin "Don Drummond, Jr." Gordon, guitarist Lynn Taitt (whose Jets found work with producer Joe Gibbs), and organist Winston Wright. While Heartbeat's fine Tribute to Tommy and a few albums with the Aggrovators cover ska and reggae ground respectively, this McCook title is one of the few, if not the only wide-ranging collection of the saxophonist's instrumental output during the '60s. Highly recommended. 


Δευτέρα, 29 Απριλίου 2013

Don Drummond - Jazz Ska Attack:1964 [2000]

Drummond was one of the top soloists and most creative musical minds of Jamaica's ska era. His apex came in 1964 when he and fellow Skatalites, like saxophonists Tommy McCook and Roland Alphonso, organist Jackie Mittoo, Lester Sterling, and trumpeter Johnny "Dizzy" Moore, ruled Kingston's musical scene as the virtual house band for producers Clement Dodd, Duke Reid, George Phang, and many others. Drummond's lopey sounding yet technically superb trombone work stood out on all the Skatalites sessions, whether the band was cutting some of its own records or backing numerous singers like Alton Ellis and Delroy Wilson. This fine Drummond roundup on Jet Set brings together many of the trombonist best Skatalites sides from 1964, including such self-penned classics as "Musical Storeroom," "Eastern Standard Time," and "Don-de-Lion." A great introduction to this most talented of Jamaican jazz masters. 


Τετάρτη, 24 Απριλίου 2013

Milt Jackson ‎– Sunflower [1973]

Jackson is joined here by an outstanding aggregate of younger all-star musicians including Hubbard on trumpet and flugelhorn, Herbie Hancock, swapping chores on piano and Fender Rhodes, Ron Carter (of course) on bass and Billy Cobham on drums.
The image of a sunflower might best describe the music contained within this record. First there’s Someone I Love that is a light and casual Jazz piece that gets a little frantic in the middle with the Herbie Hancock’s piano playing. What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life? is in the same mood and range. The highlight of the album however, is a cover of People Make The World Go Round with Freddie Hubbard’s trumpet in the lead and Ron Carter and Billy Cobham locking down the rhythm into a tight groove in the middle when Jackson takes his solo on the vibes.


Κυριακή, 21 Απριλίου 2013

Legion of Mary: The Jerry Garcia Collection, Vol. 1 [2005]

Buried beneath Jerry Garcia’s endless side projects, guest appearances and solo endeavors is the rarely mentioned Legion of Mary. The LOM lineup consisted of Merl Saunders, JGB bassist John Kahn, Martin Fierro on sax and flute along with Ronnie Tutt on drums (who replaced Paul Humphrey in early ’75). The band was short lived—lasting only from July of ’74 to July ’75—but during the time it lasted the Legion of Mary was a rare force, blending the sounds of jazz, rock and R&B with a touch of psychedelia.

The two discs here feature 14 selections recorded at either the aforementioned club, the Portland Theater and the Great American Music Hall; none of the material has been previously released.The first disc includes readings of Bob Dylan's "Tough Mama," and Robbie Robertson's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," as well as the staple "I Second That Emotion." But the greatest surprise is the improvisation in "Talkin' 'Bout You" that closes the disc. Garcia's interplay with Saunders is simply magical, and Fierro's saxophone work here pushes them both. The second disc ranges from rollicking early rock & roll classics like "Let It Rock" and "Mystery Train," to more Motown tunes such as "Money Honey" and "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved by You." The playing is off-kilter funky, relaxed but adventurous throughout.

                                                                   Enjoy! Cd1   &   Cd2

Παρασκευή, 19 Απριλίου 2013

Paul Giovanni - The Wicker Man [2002]

Extraordinarily literate and thoroughly compelling, The Wicker Man has often been called the Citizen Kane of horror movies. Writer Anthony Shaffer and director Robin Hardy built their contemporary (1973) English murder mystery/thriller upon gothic Druid underpinnings and wisely gave songwriter-composer Paul Giovanni (whose first and only film score this is) the freedom to create music of a piece. The score remains one of the most unusual in the entire genre: a collection of original, well-researched folk songs and instrumental underscore that evoke a rare, eerily discomfiting sense of displaced time and place--'70s folk-pop informed by ancient forces of nature and superstition. Long a holy grail among soundtrack aficionados, this lavishly packaged and annotated release has been prepared from recently discovered master tapes with a clarity and presence that gives the late Giovanni's haunting music the gratifying showcase it's so long deserved.


Τετάρτη, 17 Απριλίου 2013

The Earthbound - The Earthbound [2000]

Formed in Athens (Greece) in 1998 by six former members of The Last Drive, Honeydive, Rockin’ Bones and Engine-V. The Earthbound recorded their self-titled debut album with producer Jim Spliff, which came out in 2000. The album contains three cover versions, namely Kyuss (Gardenia), Woody Guthrie and Guillermo Portaballes. Expect on this platter a sultry mix between americana and rock.


Σάββατο, 13 Απριλίου 2013

The Baghdaddies - Random Acts Of Kindness [2003]

Touring the world for 14 years, the Baghdaddies’ music is world music with  strong Balkan tendencies alongside Caribbean grooves, Middle Eastern rhythms and even some Geordie [native Newcastle] touches, all awash with influences such as ska, jazz, punk , delivered with theatre and exuberance. Uplifting and infectiously danceable, full of blistering brass, rousing 5 part vocal harmonies and a rhythm section that you can’t keep still to. Songs to listen to and party!
  This album is called Random Acts Of Kindness  and you can't listen to it and not smile. On paper, the lyrics might not aspire to poetry, but the exuberant performance style and musical dexterity brings them to life. Songs like Winter Winds, the title track and 6/8 - We'll Be Late would grace any party. 



Πέμπτη, 11 Απριλίου 2013

Dizzy Gillespie ‎– Matrix (The Perception Sessions '70-'71) [2005]

Excellent funk from Dizzy Gillespie – featuring all 3 of his albums for the legendary Perception label! The Real Thing is an amazing mix of funky jazz, cool rhythms, and some nice Latin-tinged grooves – and it's a stunning representation of the way that Dizzy kept on growing as a musician, long after his bebop years were over. James Moody sits in with some very funky tenor, and Mike Longo is on piano. Tracks include "N'Bani", "Matrix", "Soul Kiss", "Ding A Ling", and "Alligator" – all short, hard, and funky! Next up is Portrait Of Jenny, which has a cool electric feel that you don't really associate with Diz. The whole album has a sly sweet funky sound that's part CTI/part Latin-tinged Dizzy – and the real strength is the great Mike Longo, who plays some amazing stretched out piano lines, which work perfectly with the basslines on the record as a foil for Dizzy's sparkling trumpet solos. The album's got 4 long cuts – including the excellent "Me N Them", plus "Olinga" and "Diddy Wa Diddy". The last set is Giants – a live recording that features Dizzy with Mary Lou Williams and Bobby Hackett, in a pretty mellow, pretty straight setting that shows that Diz could still play straight jazz when he wanted to. Titles include "Love For Sale", "Caravan", "My Man", and "Birks Works". 2 CDs, with 21 tracks in all!


                                                       Enjoy!   CD1  &  CD2

Τετάρτη, 10 Απριλίου 2013

Mike Longo - Matrix [1971]

 It was 1966 when Mike Longo was playing in Manhattan. His trio at the time consisted of Paul Chambers on bass and Chuck Lampkin on drums. The trio became a house rhythm section there and during this period Mike played with such jazz greats as Frank Foster, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, Zoot Sims and the legendary Roy Eldridge. It was Roy who went around the corner to where Dizzy  was playing and told Dizzy “you got to come by and hear this piano player who is playing with me.” Dizzy came by and heard Mike play a set with his trio and the next day hired him to be the new pianist with the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, a post Mike would remain in for the next nine years.
During his first year with Dizzy, Mike began writing material for the group and Dizzy eventually appointed him as his musical director. A close bond of friendship as well as musical collaborator developed between the two which lasted until Gillespie’s death in 1993.
 Although Mike has led his own trio on and off for many years, this is his first solo effort on record. In trio and quintet context, Mike has assembled some of the finest rhythm players in jazz including Mickey Roker, Ron Carter, Sam Jones and Potato. Guitarist Al Gafa, whose sound is similar to George Freeman and the late Wes Montgomery, is less known, but in no way less talented.
The six tunes presented here provide a full range view of Mike Longo, the pianist and the composer. "Matrix" and "My San Francisco" are beautiful, rich ballads. "Let Me Out" best illustrates Longo's ability to just swing.
"Night Rider" is possibly his most poetic composition.
Some of these tunes were written for Dizzy's band, some specifically for this record, others were just written. This then is the music of Mike Longo.


Κυριακή, 7 Απριλίου 2013

Yusef Lateef & Adam Rudolph The World at Peace, Music for 12 Musicians [1995]

Picture a 12-piece orchestra with percussion from Africa, the Americas, India, and the Middle East; a rainbow of wind instruments (shenai, musette, kudu horn, bass clarinet, tuba, saxophone, trumpet, flute); and ethereal strings (cello, harp, violin, and classical acoustic and electric MIDI guitar). Now, picture a seamless integration of those textures and tones, a ritual celebration of live trance beats, shamanistic polyrhythms, melodies with wings, drum skins on fire, space and silence between thick brush strokes of color.
The compositions are as harmonically elegant as any score in the Duke Ellington catalog. At once earthy and cosmic, Lateef & Rudolph's two-CD set transcends the myopia of genre-based thinking. Reaffirming the power of the creative spirit, The World at Peace offers up pure expression as a source of positivity and wonderment. Its cultural import spans the planet. 


                                    Enjoy!   CD1  CD2



Σάββατο, 30 Μαρτίου 2013

Trio Balkano - Some time now [2006]

Trio Balkano were formed in 1999 by experienced musicians who were trying to express the Greek musical tradition.They created a music style that combines ethnic elements with jazz improvisations, a style which is known as "Balkan jazz" Some Time Now songs However, their compositions are not restricted to one musical genre. They keep searching their ways through the pluralism of their musical environment and the common memories which are carried throughout time and space. Their music is characterized by originality, adaptability and emotional strength. They therefore form a creative and at the same time modern musical identity. 



Τρίτη, 26 Μαρτίου 2013

Agir Roman - OST [1997]


Ağır Roman  is a 1997 Turkish film directed by Mustafa Altıoklar, adapted from Metin Kaçan's best selling novel Ağır Roman.
I can say that this movie is one of the best Turkish movies in the 90s knowing that it was nominated for many awards in several film festivals. The story is about a family who's living in a suburban in Istanbul. Love, family, passion, death, pain are the main themes as well as hope and rage which define the life in this area. People need to fight in order to survive. In the end, the tragic chain of events keeps going on as if in old Greek tragedies. 
 The soundtrack has music written by Attila Özdemiroğlu,in some songs with the participation of Yusuf Taşkın and one of Cem Karaca.


Κυριακή, 24 Μαρτίου 2013

Giorgos Xristidis - Ap' anatoli se disi [1982]

Giorgos Xristidis at age of 17 years  old won a TV talent show and amazed everyone who watched him playing bouzouki.Soon he got in contact with one of the greatest composer in greece Mimis Plessas and they started this project to combine the bouzouki and the folk greek music with  jazz  arrangement.They play bossa nova to rembetiko with great flexibility and they transform it to something new.

As Mimis Plessas says, jazz ain't a music genre but a way of free expression that is been 'talked' all over the world.This record approves it at its best.



Παρασκευή, 22 Μαρτίου 2013

Kostas Skarvelis - I [1999]

Kostas Skarvelis (1880 – 1942) was a Greek composer of popular music, οf the genre of rembetiko (ρεμπέτικο) in particular. He also wrote the lyrics for his songs and was an excellent guitar player, having participated in many recordings.
 Skarvelis composed hundreds of songs (recordings survive of over 200 of them). The voices he collaborated with for the recording of his songs include Giorgos Kavouras, Rita Abatzi, Kostas Roukounas, Stellakis Perpiniadis, Marika Frantzeskopoulou, Kostas Tsanakos, Markos Vamvakaris, Apostolos Chatzichristos. Among those, the lion's share belongs to Kavouras.
As a lyricist, Skarvelis mostly wrote songs about love. The majority belong to the sub-genre of hasapiko (χασάπικο), of which he explored all variations. His musical signature is considered most representative of the Constantinopolitan urban musical tradition.


Τρίτη, 19 Μαρτίου 2013

V/A - Apo to dimotiko sto rebetiko (1925-1939) [1998]

This is a compilation, made for Difono magazine by record collector Panayiotis Kounadis,with rare songs rom 78rpm records between the borders of traditional and rembetiko.The recordings made in Athens,New York and Chicago showing the first period of rembetiko where it was played with the use of some 'traditional' instrunents like clarinet and violin.Many of the songs are sung by legendary singer,composer and record company owner Tetos Demitriades.


Παρασκευή, 15 Μαρτίου 2013

Dave Pike - Carnavals [1962]

Bossa Nova Carnival and Limbo Carnival, both of which were recorded in 1962 for New Jazz reissued in 2000 by Fantasy back  to back on the Prestige CD Carnavals. The sessions are equally appealing but quite different -- while Bossa Nova Carnival is a caressing, sensuous collection of songs by Brazilian composer João Donato, the grittier Limbo Carnival has more of a Caribbean orientation. Afro-Cuban salsa is an influence on Limbo Carnival, but calypso is an even greater influence -- and Pike, taking a hint from Sonny Rollins, combines jazz with calypso on Rollins' "St. Thomas" and Charlie Parker's "My Little Suede Shoes," as well as two songs that were hits for Harry Belafonte: "Matilda" and "Jamaica Farewell." On both dates, the vibist (who plays the marimba as a second instrument) is joined by some heavyweights -- Bossa Nova Carnival features, among others, Clark Terry on flugelhorn and Kenny Burrell on guitar, while pianist Tommy Flanagan, guitarist Jimmy Raney, and percussionist Ray Barretto are among the sidemen on Limbo Carnival. If you only have a few Pike CDs in your collection, Carnavals should definitely be among them. 


Bo Dollis & The Wild Magnolias - I'm Back... At Carnival Time! [1990]

Mardi Gras may come but once a year, but that spirit of revelry can strike any time, anywhere.
When such a mood strikes, Bo Dollis and his Mardi Gras Indian tribe, the Wild Magnolias, provide the perfect soundtrack.
But be warned: This is addictive, infectious music. Stereos have a habit of finding their volume cranked up, the bass increased, and the speakers given a workout when the Magnolias are being played.
No dry dissertation on probably influences or varied techniques can possibly do justice to this celebration of living, a sheer explosion of joi de vivre.
The Magnolias are a traditional Mardi Gras Indian tribe, with only vocals and percussion. For this recording, though, they are joined by Snooks Eaglin on guitar, George Porter Jr. on bass, and the New Rebirth Brass Band. In addition, fellow Mardi Gras Indian Chief Monk Boudreaux (of the Golden Eagles) joins on vocals for "Jockomo, Jockomo."
Dollis and the Magnolias are never overwhelmed by the additional musicians, though, and those familiar with the above musicians will know that they have the energy needed to keep up.
In fact, music buffs will find particular interest in the three tunes where the Rebirth Brass Band joins in ("Shallow Water," "Big Chief" and "Tipitina"). For here two of New Orleans' oldest musical traditions – the street brass band and the Mardi Gras vocal combo – are brought together on common ground.


Τετάρτη, 13 Μαρτίου 2013

Pierre Cavalli - The fantastic guitar sound of Pierre Cavalli [1973]

Original Italian pressing on JOKER label (SM 3478), from 1973. Italian-only project from the cult Swiss jazz guitarist famous for his Un Soir Chez Norris / Chasse A L'Homme French OST single. Cavalli plays all kinds of very stylish and very funky rhythms using wah wah pedals / fuzz distortion box and other studio trickery. Several important compositions like the stunning psychedelic funk cum bumpy samba - bossa of THE TOAD, the groovy horns / orchestral strings and scat chorus theme ONCE WE WERE IN LOVE, the twisted and super-funky PLANT A SEED with psychedelic fuzz motifs and the funky beats / basslines and trippy riffing throughout WINTER WIND. Killer breaks burst out of nowhere on the otherwise mellow, EASY GOIN' too. Wonderful backing orchestra and singers with a now sound / euro Library / soundtrack feel. Track for track, this Lp is even better than his German-only, Souvenirs From Brazil session. 



Δευτέρα, 11 Μαρτίου 2013

Rocket 88 - Rocket 88 [1981]

This was the best record Alexis Korner had made since 1962, and featured a core membership of former acolytes-- Bob Hall, Jack Bruce, Ian Stewart Hal Singer & Charlie Watts amongst others playing blues & boogie-woogie live at the Rotation Club in Hanover and nobody involved ever sounded better, happier, or more relaxed. This was both Korner's and Stewart's final effort.

From liner note by Ian Stewart:

This album was recorded under less than ideal conditions at the Rotation Club in Hanover, West Germany – where the stage is  20 feet above the floor and most people watch from the sides. For some reason, the band was on fire that night, despite a  long bus ride and the odd hangover or two. Although acoustically the club left much to be desired, I feel we have achieved  one of the best live albums ever, with the sort of feeling that is never achieved in studios. Jack Bruce in particular  played his ass off; and by the time "Roll 'Em Pete" ended the set, his fingers were bleeding profusely from playing double  bass – something he has only rarely done in recent years. Although the album was recorded on 24 tracks, there are no  instrumental overdubs. Everything is as it was on that night...

                            Here they are playing live in 1979,you can get the vibe.


Παρασκευή, 8 Μαρτίου 2013

Florina Brass Band - II [1999]

 Brass instruments reached the Balkan countries through the military bands of the 19th century. It wasn´t too long before they filtered through to the towns and then on to the countryside. The brass band craze spread all over the Balkans and created a new sensation in Balkan traditional music almost instantaneously. For the first time in history the bands used exclusively Western instruments - the very same instruments that would be used by a brass band in, say, New Orleans, but what they played was a particularly fiery brand of their own countries´ traditional music, down to the same scales and odd time signatures that characterize the music of all the Balkan countries. In Greece brass bands form an integral part of the musical tradition of Western and Central Macedonia.

  For over thirty years FLORINA BRASS BAND has been one of the main exponents of this important and sadly so far neglected part of local musical tradition.
  FLORINA BRASS BAND was formed in 1960 by Tasos Valkanis, the leader of the Florina Town Brass Band and also a folk musician. Occasionally they collaborated with musicians such as Chimerini Kolimvites or Floros Floridis. Based in the small North-Western Greek town of Florina, they performed a thousands of times: from tiny villages and towns in Macedonia to the InterBalkan Festival in Thessaloniki and festivals in France. Their sound and the dance tunes they play are unique in Greek traditional music and can mainly be found in the Western part of Macedonia.
  Tasos Valkanis has passed away, but the spirit of the band carries on through his sons Lazaros and Georgios. The members of the band today are Lazaros Valkanis on clarinet, Georgios Valkanis on accordion, Floros Floridis on alto sax, Christos Hasapis on cornet, Panagiotis Ioannou on trombone, Pandelis Stoikos on cornet and Athanasios Samaras on drums. 


Τρίτη, 5 Μαρτίου 2013

Les Misérables Brass Band - Manic Traditions [1994]

As the use of brass wind instruments in popular music rises (Tubas are Very Big this year) more awareness of the wide variety of international regional brass driven music is also rising. From the Balkans to Benin, from Mexico to Switzerland, from New Orleans to the mountains of Peru, Klezmer and much more, there is a lot of very different styles and traditions that have developed from the remnants of military empires and their marching bands.
Le Miserables Brass Band was one of the first groups to pull together many of these elements, finding the connections and make them into something new. Dance, Folk/Traditional, Ceremonial, Religious, Jazz, Rock and categories that had not been widely known in the USA are presented with both great understanding and great energy.
All of the musicians on this recording have gone on to be significant performers, soloists, band leaders, composers, and inspirations to many other musicians.



Κυριακή, 3 Μαρτίου 2013

Amancio D'Silva - Integration [1969]

Of all the attempts to bring together jazz and Indian music, this must be one of the most successful. Born in Goa, D'Silva was brought up in the Indian classical tradition, but took to jazz early in life and became a first-rate guitarist. In London during the late 1960s, he got together with British musicians to record three albums, of which this was the first. The ease with which they found common ground is clear from the start of the opening number, 'Ganges', a joint composition by D'Silva and trumpeter Ian Carr, and the remarkable title piece, which is a virtually free improvisation by D'Silva, saxophonist Don Rendell and bassist Dave Green. They strike a perfect balance between the two idioms, and there is none of that phoney 'Eastern' flavouring, featuring sitars and such like, so fashionable at the time. D'Silva plays electric guitar throughout, and the music swings in a completely natural way. 


Παρασκευή, 1 Μαρτίου 2013

Curandero - Aras [1997]

Brilliant and amazing is just a start to describe the latest released album "Curandero "Aras," by the highly talented artists Miguel Espinoza and Ty Burhoe, aka Curandero. They have had special guest artists  Kai Eckhardt (Bass) and Bela Fleck (Banjo).This six-track disc covers the style of Flamenco embedded with jazz fusion and offers some delightfully interesting and stunning pieces. Incorporating the unique blend of Flamenco guitar, tabla, banjo, and bass the sound textures this group creates is truly fabulous. "Segue" is jazz fire and fury at its best with funky bass lines, driving drum beats, and excellent guitar. Taking the mood to a more serene ambiance, "River" gently flows with a calmness of peaceful tranquility. "Once Upon a Time," features the banjo as the main instrument with an exceptional display of finger picking. Fans of jazz fusion and Flamenco won't be disappointed when listening to Curandero's "Aras," with its creative and distinctive charm of the well-focused and talented cast of musicians.


Τετάρτη, 27 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

John Mayer's Indo-Jazz fusions - Ragatal [1998]

 The 'Indo-Jazz Fusions'  were first released in 1967 and 1968. After Joe Harriott died in 1973, John Mayer did not want to carry on with the band. Following a short-lived version with Steve Williamson earlier in the decade, Mayer formed the new Indo-jazz Fusions in 1995. 'Ragatal', their second release, was recorded in October 1997.
 Significantly, the group is no longer called 'a double quintet' (i.e one jazz, one Indian), it is an integrated ensemble; the Indian and jazz elements are now more fully and successfully blended than in the Harriott group. There are other elements of World Music too; 'Miyan ki Malhar' has distinctly South African rhythms. Despite the inclusion of instrumentation associated with jazz (sax, trumpet, double bass) the music is almost all scored, even the solos, John Mayer does not believe in too much improvisation - after all, he is Professor of Composition and Composer in Residence at Birmingham Conservatoire!
However, some solos do sound very spontaineous and in the jazz tradition. Anna Brooks tenor solo in 'Partita' would not be out of place on a Stan Getz record. Even though there is genuine fusion in this music, to my ears the dominant sound is still that of India. Maybe Indian ears would say the jazz influence dominates. Anyway, Duke Ellington said, 'There are two types of music - good and bad.' This is good. 


Πέμπτη, 21 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

Ross Daly - Iris [2003]

Iris consists of two original compositions and two arrangements of traditional material by Daly, plus one composition by guitarist Vasilis Rakopoulos. Each of the pieces is tightly constructed and very strong melodically, an aspect of the CD that is underscored by Yiorgos Xylouris’ vocals. At the same time Iris is an exercise in texture that features highly unusual combinations of instruments; these include the Iranian long-necked lute called tar, the Afghan rabab, the Cretan lyra, the sarangi, the tabla and the guitar amongst many others. The guitar is especially interesting, with the use of chordal harmony making its first extended appearance on a Daly album, and Rakopoulos’s final track is a deeply seductive blend of Western and Eastern styles. One instrument that deserves special mention is Hamid Khabbazi’s tar, which, for me, provides the sonic thread that links each piece. Khabbazi is a subtle and intelligent player, who achieves a universe of expression in his right-hand pick articulations alone, let alone with his gift for melodic improvisation and embellishment.Wonderful music!


Δευτέρα, 18 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

Embryo – Turn Peace [1989]

Back in 1967/68 Christian Burchard was the vibraphonist of Mal Waldron, the pianist who played with Billie Holliday and John Coltrane and who at least the Japanese recognize for the great musician he is. Just how good the Mal-Chnstian alliance still works can be heard on this record. It is a pity that the other great American musician who was involved in the Embryo evolution – Charlie Mariano – is not to be heard on the record. But in a way he is: when Roland Schaeffer plays the nagasuram, an oboe-like instrument that Mariano studied for years in South India (and so often played with Embryo), you think on hearing Mariano himself, until you realize that it is Roland playing in his own special way – more independent and technically superior. Of course Embryo’s important countries are represented on this record. Marocco by El Houssaine Kill, Nigeria by the Yoruba Dun Dun Ensemble of Lamidi Ayankunie and his friends and India by T.A.S. Mani with his College of Percussion.

 Celebrating 20 years of Embryo, TURN PEACE offered many more surprises, showing that Burchard and co. were still fresh and innovative musicians, still willing to try new ideas and forge on whilst still having the knack for recreating the music they originally set out with!


Τετάρτη, 13 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

Le Mystère Jazz de Tombouctou - S/T [1977]

The Kunkan (Voices) label was established in 1975 by Malian Minister of Culture Youssouf Traore to capture the music of several orchestras from different regions of Mali. Technician Bouboukar Traore proved himself a master in the recording phase when he placed the four microphones and recorded the instruments, particularly the congas.
It is hard to believe that a bunch of electricians, policemen, social workers, a nurse and a bassist / customs man were capable of creating this kind of musical landmark. The messages on these recordings are obviously carried with a holy fire.
  The sound is bold and righteous, but with an other-worldly vibe too – a really haunting quality that grabs us like some of the most evocative Ethiopian sounds of the 70s! At some level, there's definitely a Mali touch going on in the music – some very tripped-out elements in the production, and a way of wrapping things together with an undercurrent of melancholy.
The result is a magnum opus that sounds hypnotic, from the first to the last note.The sound of Le Jazz  Mystère captures the listener in an incredible musical and spiritual hold.


Σάββατο, 9 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

Bilongo – A Third Collection Of Modern Afro Rhythms [2000]

This is the third volume in the set that began with Racubah, continued with Oulelele, and which comes up this time with a fantastic array of rare African funk tunes from the 70s – rarer than any other set we've seen on other compilations of this sort, and sure to keep things interesting for folks who've already bought all their Fela and Manu Dibango albums. Nearly every cut on here is from the 70s – and most are from rare French sources of the type that you'd probably never find, even if you spent your Saturdays digging around flea markets in Paris . The grooves are incredible!