Extended Analysis


Arvo Part: Musica Selecta: A Sequence By Manfred Eicher

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Talented, urbane, and well-informed colleagues like John Kelman often make for a difficult act to follow. Kelman has long been the All About Jazz resident expert on all things ECM. Occasionally, his reportage does intersect with mine as in the present case of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt (b. 1935). I want to refer the reader first to Kelman's vital coverage of the recent Arvo Part: Musica Selecta: A Sequence by Manfred Eicher (ECM, 2015). The importance of this composer, this ...


John Scofield: Past Present

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During the course of his storied career, guitarist/composer John Scofield has never shown much of of a predilection to repeat himself. Rather, he navigates through projects as diverse as trio outings, experiments with horns, collections of ballads and collaborations with the likes of Gov't Mule and the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh in a such a way that, when he completes a cyle of activity, he's grown discernibly as an artist. Which is why the title of Past Present ...


Matthew Halsall & the Gondwana Orchestra: Into Forever

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Some artists epitomise the times they live in, while others go their own way, standing apart from the herd, ploughing their own furrow. As the self-aggrandising, dishonest and downright greedy seem to gain ever greater prominence in our world, those whose work can provide a few moments of respite, refuge and reflection become more and more important--artists like Manchester's Matthew Halsall, who here releases his sixth album since 2008. On Into Forever Halsall shares the billing with the Gondwana Orchestra ...


Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown: The Devil to Pay

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John Mayall may remain the so-called 'Godfather of British Blues," but if that's so, then Kim Simmonds is certainly his consigliere. After all, Simmonds did mentor three members of Foghat, among other stalwarts of the the British blues boom of the late Sixties. And like Mayall, Simmonds has followed a similar path of regular touring and recording, more often than not retaining the moniker of the band he started, Savoy Brown, as on this self-produced , independent work in a ...


The Staple Singers: Freedom Highway Complete

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Music has always been the perfect medium over which people expressed their dissatisfaction and protested social injustices. As such it has a tremendous ability to show the world from the perspective of the oppressed. During the '60s in US the revival of protest music was propelled as a reaction to the social changes and turmoils during that turbulent and dark period, from the civil rights movement to anti war movement. A myriad of musicians have used their music to address ...


Betty's Blends Volume Two: Best from the West

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Even before the final fracture of the Black Crowes, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood proved their prolific nature and hearty work ethic. To date they've produced three studio albums, accompanied by regular roadwork, that's now given birth to two live collections in what looks to be a series of such titles under the aegis of Betty Cantor-Jackson, long-time sound guru to the Grateful Dead. Best From the West consists of seven tracks culled from performances given during the summer ...


Talk Thelonious: NRBQ + Terry Adams plays Terry Adams Arrangements of Thelonious Monk Songs

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Musician and AAJ contributor Skip Heller calls the New Rhythm and Blues Quartet (NRBQ), “the greatest band of all time." A listen to the band's catalog reveals a depth and breadth of material that betrays an omnivorous appreciation of all American Music, all with a wicked and acute sense-of-humor, something so much music lacks. Never a stadium act, NRBQ has staked out for the past 50 years the responsibility of cataloguing, performing, combining, transmogrifying, and nuclear translating our native brands ...


Turtle Records: Pioneering British Jazz 1970-1971

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This extended analysis discusses the celebratory release of the Turtle Records story, a clamshell box set containing a fifty page, 17,000 word booklet written by John McLaughlin biographer Colin Harper which includes rare photographs and new interviews. Crucially, it also includes the only three recordings to be issued on the label. The albums, originally released in 1970 and 1971, were by British jazz musicians whose respective stars were in the ascendant at that time, namely Mike Osborne, Howard Riley and ...

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