Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday Music Muse Day - Brand X Reuinon Band, Now and That

This Sunday Music Muse Day has me centering on one group, Brand X, who was one of my favorite Rock-Fusion groups from the 1970.    One of my favorite record shops, the Bop Shop Record presenting at one night gig at the Lovin' Cup a local bar/restaurant/music room.  I could resist picking up ticket (my good friend Bruce Younger agree to go with me. Thanks Bruce).

Only two of the original members in this reunion, guitarist John Goodsall, and bassist Percy Jones, a monster fretless electric bass player, that was enough to it make worthwhile, as they we're play was at the core of the band's sound. The reunion band sounded great and did the classic tune justice.  I mentioned to pick the two-disc live concert CD of the current lineup, with the except of Kenwood Dennard, replacing Kenny Grohowski on drum on the CD.  Dennard had played with the group back in the '70s and '80s, subbing for original drummer, Phil Collin, of Genesis, and his own solo fame.  I saw Brand X twice in the 70's.  Once in Central Park Wollman Rink in NYC in August 1, 1978, when the opened for John Mclauglin's One Truth Band ( one of is post-Mahavishu Orchestra groups) and in Toronto, Canada at the O'Keefe center, September 8, 1979. (Joie Benitez, I think you were with me)
I got a chance to talk to guitarist John Goodsall briefly. Hearing the music played live Thursday night brought back great memories.

Of course, I had to pull out all their old albums and give them another listen.  Plus, reviewing the band's history online, you find it had rotating roster of players and the usual conflict with their record company, in it want them "to be more commercial", like adding vocals and trying for hit singles. That's the kiss of death for adventurous instrumental band.  Brand X did fade from the spotlight for awhile.  I'm glad to see them back.  One aspect remains, their humorous album and song titles.  Some of that had to do with they friendship with two of the members of Monty Python. In fact, Michael Palin wrote very funny liner notes for the "Do They Hurt" LP.

I also picked up some other albums that members of Brand X played on as sidemen.   The David Bendeth Band was the opening act for Brand X on the Canada concert I attended. The Canadian guitarist only made three albums, which featured bassist Marcus Miller, drummers Lenny White and Billy Cobham. then Bendeth quit performing and went on to a success career producing and song writing.

So, all in all, this was a nice trip down memory lane.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Sunday Music Muse Day - John Abercrombie, Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan, Larry Coryell

This week's Sunday Music Muse Day I'm still finds me listening to the music of John Abercrombie, who passed away last week.  It gives me a change to pull out his vinyl records and play them through the ION turntable I have connect to my computer.

But, I do have two new selections to share.  First is Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan Small Town.  I missed this guitar and bass duo when the played the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, held here in June.  I won't pass up a chance to see Frisell again.

Second, is Larry Coryell Live from bahia, a breezy CD from the late great guitarist, who we also lost recently.  This CD features drummer Billy Cobham, former member of John McLauglin's Mahavishu Orchestra, his him solo bands, and countless other musical credits.  I'm happily finding filling gaps in my Coryell collection.

So, that it for this week. Remember, music is you friend, and as a like a good friend it can help you through this stressful times.  Make use of that friend.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday Music Muse Day - RIP John Abercrombie

This is a special, but sad, Sunday Music Muse Day in memory of jazz guitarist John Abercrombie, who passed this past Tuesday, August 22. This hurts so much. John Abercrombie was more than a favorite guitarist and musician of mine, his music was the soundtrack of my maturing years in NYC after art school. I got to see him perform many times in NYC, different groupings, as a leader, in duet with Ralph Towner,as sideman with Jack DeJohnette. I would pick up any album or CD I'd see with his name on, which led lead to discovering many new musicians with John as a guide.

Since Tuesday, I've found myself playing nothing but John's music from the 19 albums, and 10 CDs I own.  Some of his releases I have on album and CD, "Characters' and "Gateway".  I discovered Abercrombie guitar music when I was starting to shift my musical taste from blues rock of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck to the jazz fusion of John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola (Return to Forever) and Pat Metheny, to name a few.  John Abercrombie first ECM album, Timeless, remains a favorite, and especially the title tune.  I can't recall how many hour I sit listening to that tune with headphones on.  I loved how Abercrombie could be intense and introspective without loud volume.  John was adventurous in the true sense.  He explored acoustic, electric guitar, guitar synthesizer, and even the electric mandolin in various settings.  "Character" a solo album is my second favorite.  It should be in everyone music collection. Replaying his music allows me to rediscovery so many gems.

My condolences to his family and friends. We've lost an American treasure. RIP, John, and thanks for the music, Your legacy will live forever.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday Music Muse Day - Kurt Rosenwinkel, Kalnein Fischbacher Group, Sunny Jain Collective, and Al Di Meola World Sinfonia

This week's Sunday Music Muse Day features a batch trio of new artists, and an old favorite. First up, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Caipi.  I've read about this young guitarist as being uprising star on the jazz scene. It's seems he has been around awhile and has a solid growing following. But this is my first extended listen to him, and I must admit, I'm not hearing what all the fuss is about.  The music here borders on "Smooth Jazz" to my ears.  One online reviewer gave Caipi 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.  While another said, "For the music from "Caipi... sounds virtually nothing like what listeners have come to expect from him during the past couple of decades."  So I'm of the mind to seek out his earlier record before giving final judgement.

My next new artist (at least to me) is Kalnein Fischbacher Group - One Man Disco.  I freely admit this CD cover art caught my eye, first. This quote from their web page gives a hint of what to expect: "With post-modern vigor this remarkable quartet morphs trace elements of Jazz, Rock and Indian music into the present, where they flitter throughout the eight original compositions by the two bandleaders, underscored with rhythmic furor and melodic flights of inspiration."  The only online reviews give them 5/5 stars.  I found the music adventurous very much like the post-Weather Report world music of Joe Zawinul.  This music can't be pigeon-hole in any one category, it just needs to be enjoy on it's own merit.  I like it.

The next selection is Sunny Jain Collective - Mango Festival.  I picked up this drummer's CD because I saw one of his sidemen was guitarist Rez Abbasi who's CDs I had picked up this last year.  Reading the liner notes it states Sunny Jain was raised in Rochester, as noted in a online profile: "Born to Punjabi immigrant parents and raised in Rochester, NY, Jain has become an highly recognized musician who's group, Sunny Jain Collective, has been touted as a leading voice for the new music Indo Jazz (a movement of first-generation South Asians equally steeped in the jazz tradition and the music of their cultural heritage). With 3 critically acclaimed CD releases (another 20 as a sideman), multiple tours throughout the world, and numerous of media accolades, Jain is an Indian-American trailblazer."  His resume will make you head spin.  He's very talented. this CD is great introduction, I'll be seek out his other works.  It shows the strength of diversity.

My last selection is by a old favorite guitarist Al Di Meola with his World Sinfonia - The Grande Passion. A review on All Music website states, "A rich, moody tapestry with flashes of fire, this CD incorporates elements of jazz, fusion, classical, Latin, tango, and Middle Eastern music", earning it a 4/5 star review. This music beyond fusion and enjoyable to the max.

Again, these selections shows the riches cultural diversity can offer us, if we open our hearts and minds to it. Enjoy.

Bargain bin shopping for Books

I was bargain bin shopping yesterday at Ollie's, an local discount store, and find these cheap. The Art of Naughty Dog book $4.99 (list $39), Hellboy Companion $2.99 (list $14,95), and How to Draw Fantasy $1.95 (list ?).

 Ollie's has tons of overstock of books, and DVDs. Only when I got home I realized Naughty Dog mentioned Joe Pearson for the creation of Crash Bandicoot.

 The Hellboy Companion book might come in handy with the Hellboy movie re-launch. It give nfo on all the characters, and has ton of spot drawing. The How to Fantasy Style was just too cheap to pass up. I'm not familiar with the artist/writer but the book is well printed, could be a nice gift, or stocking stuffer.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Music Muse day - Jazz Masters of Acoustic Guitar, Tal Farlow, Charlie Haden, and Charlie Parker

Another Sunday Music Muse Day to share recent additions to my music stash. First up is an anthology CD that compliments the Hitting on All Six, Jazz guitar CD set I featured before.  Jazz Masters of the Acoustic Guitar, and some Bluesmen Too is a set of cuts featuring mostly pre-WWII acoustic jazz guitar players before guitarist were fully plugged in.  Besides Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt, many are fairly new to me.  Listening to this CD is nice way to fill in a gap in my jazz guitar history.  (Someone should do a online course in history of jazz guitar)

Keeping in the jazz guitar vain, next up it is The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow, the legendary guitarist with his well regarded trio. This is a re-release of a Verve album produced my Norman Granz, the notable record producer of many classic records.  This CD has several additional cuts, and alternate takes, not on the original vinyl release. Being recorded in 1956, you can hear the be-bop influence.  The quick tempos take a little getting used to, for me.  Lisa felt the same way, and also mentioned she could hear where Bob Snieder picked up a few things.  I'm sure Bob studied Tal Farlow's playing at some point.

Next is a nice two CD set from the late Charlie Haden, the stellar bass player.  Charlie Haden - the Private Collection is a record of two concerts, first for his 50th birthday on August 6, 1987, and the second concert April 4, 1988, the following year.  One nice touch is that he played a Pat Metheny tune Farmer's Trust on both dates.  Metheny doesn't play on these dates, but the Haden and Metheny duets, and group outings, are  some of my favorite listening.

Last, but not least, is my filling a giant hole in my jazz collection, Charlie Parker - Yardbird Suite, The Ultimate Charlie Parker Collection.  Of course, I have Charlie Parker playing on Miles Davis records, and have heard him countless times on the radio, thanks to DJs like Tom Pethic. But as guitar-centric guy, I didn't have any Charlie Parker albums or CDs as a leader.  Now I feel a weight of jazz guilt has been lifted.  The package comes with a informative 59 page booklet which I plan to read as listen the music for added pleasure.

In these tense day in the era of Trump, I finding music is comforting safe haven from all the noise.  Hope you find your safe place to enjoy the music you like.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bob Sneider & Paul Hoffman, Jim Hall, Tony Willams, and The Horace Silver Quintet.

Today's Sunday Music Muse Day finds me in better health than last week, which caused me to miss posting.  (The less said about my stomach flu, the better.) So, on to the music. A couple of weeks ago I missed a club date by one local favorite guitarist Bob Sneider and his trio.  I had also missed a current duo performance by Bob and pianist Paul Hofman, as fate would have I was able to find a CD, Bob Sneider and Paul Hofman Escapade, as cosmic conciliation prize.  So this is an exciting, enjoyable find. Escapade is a follow up to duo's Interconnection CD. 

Next up, is a classic, Jim Hall Live.  This is a perfect jazz guitar album (released on CD) of the legendary guitarist.  It a mesmerizing listening to the music on this set.  This album/CD should be in every jazz fan's collection.  I say is would be a great CD to introduce a non-jazz fan to the music. Even the cover is just a classic design. I have to admit I immediately thought this could be a Bob Sneider set list, and I know I've heard him play these, except maybe one. That is actually a strength of jazz, hearing the echos of legends in younger players, not copying, but adding their voice to the jazz legacy.

Next, lets stick to the classic vein, The Horace Silver Quintet, Song for My Father.  The title song is a such iconic jazz tune, I know I have it on many jazz collections, but it is nice to have it on the original release.  As an added bonus there are three tunes recorded but left off the original release because they couldn't fit on a vinyl record.  Another favorite tune of my is Lonely Woman is covered by many artists. Finally, the cover photo of Horace Silver is also so heart warming, and inviting.  Just Classic.

Rounding out my selections is Tony Williams The Story of Neptune, an excellent example of the late drummer's compositional talents, in a acoustic jazz settings. The all music site give this a 4 1/2 out of 5 star rating.  It's hard to argue with that.

I really have a back log of interesting CD to share in the coming weeks, so be true check back on Sunday. Enjoy the music of your choice.  It's one of the easiest way to relieve stress in these troubled times.