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! 


Τετάρτη, 6 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

Nomo - Nomo [2004]

NOMO's roots are firmly planted in the fertile soil of African polyrhythm and American free jazz, and bandleader Elliot Bergman's tracks draw inspiration from cultures and generations wildly different than his home setting. In many ways (at least geographically and sonically) NOMO are a distant relative of the TRIBE collective. Undoubtedly they carry the spirit of the legendary Detroit-label's creative output.
 In 2004 Ypsilanti Records released NOMO's debut album and the band sold a few thousand copies (in the USA), mostly based on the strength of their live set.
The band has a core of 8 multi-instrumentalists and their big steamrolling ensemble sound still leaves room for solo voices.“We blend minimalist keyboard loops, fuzzed-out bass, soulful group vocals, and rolling blasts from an electric mbira," explains an enthusiastic Bergman. “Throw in a horn-led midnight funeral procession and hopefully you have a deep listen that's also a soul shaking dance party for the people!"


Κυριακή, 3 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

Maurice Ferret - Hommage A Django Reinhardt [1970]

Maurice Gros Chien Ferre was born in Rouen, France around 1930. Little is known of his life. He and his partner Joseph Babagne Pouville began playing at the Clarion de Chasseur around 1960, and they played at this Montmartre cafe for 37 more years. Maurice Ferre has a totally unique style of playing. Though he usually used a Favino guitar, his approach was more like an electric player. 
He used the Stimer pickup and Fender twin-reverb amp to their best advantage. His repertoire numbered in the many hundreds of tunes. 
Much of the duo’s unusual sound came from Joseph’s unorthodox rhythm playing – rather than the traditional pompe, his chords had a rolling feel and he used a Gibson ES-125 instead of the usual Selmer type guitar. His harmonies were often as unusual as his rhythms. They made two LPs, and sadly neither is in re-release yet. The first of these “Le Train Gitane” is an outrageous collection of originals and popular tunes, all marked with great exuberance and droll humor. The second is a collection of tunes associated with Django. Hopefully these will soon be available for the world to hear again. Joseph Pouville passed away a few years ago, but Maurice is still living in Paris. After a few years off, he is out playing occasionally with Max Robin. It seems he is finally receiving the credit he deserves for his contributions to the Paris guitar legacy. 


Παρασκευή, 1 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

Ennio Morricone - 3 Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Corbucci

Sergio Corcucci is the greatest spaghetti western directors along with Sergio Leone. He directed great  films as 'Django' and ' The Great Silence' and about 35 films in total. He  also directed three films about the mexican revolution that score composer in them was Ennio Morricone: ': Il mercenario'(1968), 'Compañeros'(1970) and '

                                          Il Mercenerio:
The year is 1915 and the story of The Mercenary takes place in the middle of the Mexican revolution. The Mercenary opens and closes is a similar fashion like Corbucci’s Compañeros where the first scene of the movie is the last scene that dissolves into a flashback that comes full circle at the end of the film. The Mercenary was one of the first Spaghetti Westerns films to inject comedy without spoofing itself.
  The ever reliable Ennio Morricone is the composer for The Mercenary and he once again creates a score that not only makes the films better, but it perfectly fits the films mood.

                                   Vamos A Matar, Compañeros
 Compañeros is one of Corbucci's best-known westerns, as well as one of the best-known spaghetti westerns altogether. Like most Corbucci westerns there is a political undertone to the film and the plot revolves around the Mexican revolution (similar to The Mercenery which Corbucci directed 2 years earlier). Che Guevara look-a-like Thomas Milian is superb as the comical revolutionary Vasco and Corbucci regular Franco Nero is excellent as his ultra-cool Swedish mercenary partner. Add to the mix a marijuana-smoking psychopath played by Jack Palance and you have one explosive concoction of a western. Pulling all this together is another masterful score by the legendary Ennio Morricone. I guarantee you will still be singing the theme tune a week later!