Extended Analysis


Bill Frisell: When You Wish Upon a Star

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While jazz and interpretation are hardly strange bedfellows, few musicians have managed to be both as deeply reverent to his source music and profoundly personal and in his approach as guitarist Bill Frisell. That's not to suggest his re-imaginings of other composers' works have been anything remotely approaching predictable; as early as his first “covers" record, Have a Little Faith (Elektra/Nonesuch, 1993), Frisell managed to create a congruent program out of disparate sources ranging from Aaron Copland, John Phillip Sousa ...


Weather Report: The Legendary Live Tapes 1978-1981

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The Legendary Live Tapes 1978-1981 is a stellar package of Weather Report concert recordings focusing on that phase of this groundbreaking group's career where they were truly rock stars visiting from a jazz world. It stands as further affirmation of the constant change implied in their name as much as their continual transcendence of the jazz-rock fusion genre. The unusual size and shape of the 5.5 x 6 inch package thus stands as a very metaphor of Weather ...


Jane Getter Premonition: ON

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While it's true that, in the rock world, there are relatively few female guitarists, especially those leaning towards the heavier and more progressive side of the equation, that doesn't mean that those intrepid enough to enter what has traditionally been a man's world should be assessed on anything but their own merits. Good guitarists are good guitarists, regardless of gender; great guitarist, too, are great guitarists, irrespective of their hormonal dispositions. Guitar Player Magazine may have rightfully deemed Jane Getter ...


David Bowie: Blackstar

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The 10-year long absence from the limelight clearly didn't dim singer David Bowie's sense of guile or invention. That was clearly evident with the sudden reappearance with the utterly brilliant The Next Day which pilot single “Where Are We Now?" appeared from nowhere on his birthday and delighting many people along the way. In a career that has lasted for 50 years, Bowie has always refused to be pigeonholed and with Blackstar that is set to continue. Many years into ...


Everyone's Buzzin': The Complete Bee Hive Sessions

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The idea behind Jim and Susan Neumann's Bee Hive label was simple: gather together a bunch of great musicians for recording dates and let them play whatever they wanted. The sessions were led by talented musicians who may not have received the recognition they deserved in the jazz heyday of the fifties and early sixties -names like Sal Salvador, Ronnie Mathews, and Dizzy Reece to name a few--but who still had plenty to say. And for sixteen recording sessions, the ...


Nat Birchall: Invocations

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There is a feeling of a new beginning on this collection from Nat Birchall. Superficially the album is released on Henley-on-Thames' Jazzman records rather than Birchall's own Sound Soul and Spirit records, on which he released the wonderful World Without Form and classic Live in Larissa. More tangibly only Adam Fairhall on piano remains from those two collections, representing the last common link to the pool of musicians Birchall and Matthew Halsall drew from in their classic collaborations on Gondwana ...


Bob Dylan: Bootleg Series Volume 12, The Cutting Edge

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The Bob Dylan's ongoing bootleg series have proven to be a real treasure trove for fans of this renowned singer and songwriter. Not even his most optimistic and devoted fans could have foreseen the breadth and depth of his past catalog which so far has brought to the light things buried deep in the vaults. After all, Dylan is the second most bootlegged artist after Grateful Dead and obviously for a good reason. Thanks to the ongoing multi-disc box set ...


The Spike Orchestra: Cerberus (Book of Angels - Volume 26)

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Taking inspiration from the divine is a tough sell. Get it wrong and it can appear sacrilegious or insulting to the faithful; too devout and our largely secular society turns away. In the past the poet William Blake was famously beaten by his own mother when he claimed to have had angelic visions at the age of eight, but nowadays an artist is more likely to receive concerned enquiries as to their sanity. Yet creativity is so hard to pin ...

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