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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Emma Wilson - Memphis Calling - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Memphis Calling, from Emma Wilson, and it's got that hot 60's Memphis sound. Opening with A Small World, with Emma Wilson on lead vocals and Kirk Smothers on sax, Marc Franklin on trumpet, Charles Hodges on organ, Leroy Hodges on bass and Steve Potts on drums. This is a solid opener. Soulful, I Still Love You, is really a nice showcase for Wilson on vocal with it's pared back instrumentation. Kicked up, Drug, has a real nice funky beat with a solid bass line by Leroy, drums by Potts, electric piano by Archie Turner, and Franklin and Smothers really sassing it up on horns. Joe Restivo gets the floor on guitar, laying down the blues on Hoochie Coochie Mama. A low slung version of Morganfield's centerpiece, Wilson really carries it nicely and Charles on organ adds just the right heat. Wrapping the release is soul classic, Since I Fell For You, with Wilson dialing it down over light guitar by Restivo, Leroy and Potts. I really like Charles organ solo on this track giving it the air it needs for a strong closer. 


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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Flying Horse Records artists: The Flying Horse Big Band - A Message From The Flying Horse Big Band - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, A Message From The Flying Horse Big Band, by The Flying Horse Big Band and it's energetic. Opening with Free For All, the band is off to a hard run featuring Josh Mercado, Adam Zapf, Robert Schmidt, Phebe Rich and Elijah Simmons on trumpet and hard driving James Fortune on drums. Edmond Quint Johnson lays on a nice tenor solo, joined by Paul Van Wormer on lead alto and Micah Silverstein on alto, Steven Grant on tenor and Noah Mosca on bari. Dan Parish, Ralph Rodriguez, Gabe Funk and Ben Fuller on trombone are on brass, Noah Charles lays in a nice guitar solo and Michael Santos on bass and Jack Hoag on piano rounds out the field. Peace is a real nice ballad featuring Mercado on solo trumpet and Parish on trombone. With it's warm melody and rich harmonies, it's certainly my choice track on the release. Johnson belts out a real nice tenor solo and Jamesly Jean-Mary holds down the drum spot. Very nice. Latin flavored, Gregory Is Here, features Van Wormer on alto, Charles on guitar and Parish on trombone, all taking strong solos adding beautifully to the mix. Silverstein really steps out on alto over the powerhouse horn section and Johnson adds a nice one of his own making this another of my favorites on the release. Wrapping the release is On The Ginza a brassy track with warm piano work by Hoag and plenty of punch. Van Wormer really sails on alto with plenty of sax work from the crew, Mercado's trumpet chops shine and Jean- Mary keeps the bottom tight. Solid closer. 


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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Scott Emmerman - Spheres - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Spheres, from Scott Emmerman, and it's quite interesting. Opening with title track, Spheres, Scott Emmerman on guitar develops a comprehensive melody line on guitar with intense drum and percussion accompaniment by Marty Zevin. Emmerman weaves a cool, jazzy chord foundation with a Spanish flavored fusion lead, breaking loose with electric branches. Very cool. On Steppin In It, Emmerson builds his melody line over his own keyboard and programmed drumming sequence. Judgement Day has a cool, keyboard intro developing with a wandering lyric melody. Programmed rhythms by Emmerman really build a stout foundation for his complex guitar interplay and added drums and percussion by Zevin really give the track teeth. Wrapping the release is Yearning For Your Love, a smooth jazz number with a radio melody. Developing from a light keyboard and programmed drum melody, Emmerman crafts a lightly funky jazz track. Cool closer. 


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Friday, May 17, 2024

Strange Woman Records artist: Leigh Pilzer's Seven Pointed Star - Beatin' The Odds - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Beatin' The Odds, by Leigh Pilzer's Seven Pointer Star, and it's packed with gems. Opening with SKCC, Pilzer's homage to Billy Strahorn's UMMG, Mercedes Beckman on sax and Ally Hany Albrecht on trumpet create the melody line anchored by Amy K Bormet on piano, Sherrie Maricle on drums, and Amy Shook on bass. Albrecht lays down a real nice solo, followed by Beckman on alto and Pilzer on bari who really rips it by the way. A quick solo by Shook brings us back to the melody. Solid opener. Mysterious, The Platinum Taxi, has a dark theme with sax paired with trumpet. A cool bass line by Shook and dark undertones by Jen Krupa on trombone really create the scene. An excellent, fluid sax solo by Pilzer and active drum work by Maricle, chased by Bormet on piano adds to the tension. A soulful trombone solo by Joe Jackson on And Then It Stopped really caught my attention, bouncing on the rhythm of Allyn Johnson on piano and Pilzer squeezes out a bari sax solo that's so thick and juicy that you need a knife. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Where Will We Go? with a great opening theme by Pilzer on bass clarinet. With Kenny Rittenhouse on trumpet and Tim Green on alto sax, the melody develops. Johnson on piano expands the melody providing plenty of space for a really nice solo by Shook on bass. Deep deep bass sax drives the track as Frank Russo jams on drums. Circling back the ensemble concludes a really cool release. 


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Thursday, May 9, 2024

Jason Arkins - In Focus - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, In Focus, by Jason Arkins, and it's an aggressive fusion set. Opening with Mister Behaving, with it's stirring instrumental backing and whirling rhythms, Jason Arkins on sax sets a somewhat sedate melody as a baseline, with Beau Cornelius on piano, Leo Folsom on synths, and with Mike Ramos and Jack Dratch on bass and drums respectively chomping at the bit to run. Arkins leads the crew on a really strong adventure sonically in his second pass with tight rhythmic piano work by Cornelius and Folsom lays in a very cool synth solo of his own. Ramos never takes his foot off the throttle with a great bass line and Dratch's riffs are hot. Strong opener. Cut Scene opens with a preponderance of something to come with an easy melody and tight rhythm. Dratch kicks the track up a notch with rimshots and Cornelius on electric piano gives the track air. Arkins has a full out call and response with Folsom on synths and Ramos and Dratch are at the end of their leashes again. Very hot. Wrapping the release is forward moving, A Squeegee Situation with Arkins setting a distinct melody on sax paired with Ramos. The first break Arkins really takes a soulful turn with excellent melodic solo phrasing and I gotta say Ramos is always in earshot and I love it. Dratch never misses a beat and with the 2 key players, this track always has body. Ramos gets a chance to talk a nice walk and it's one of my favorite spots on the release. This is a definite one to catch if you like melodic fusion. 


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Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Miguel Espinoza Fusion - Gabriella - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Gabriella, from Miguel Espinoza Fusion, and it's really interesting. Opening with title track, Gabriella, a lively, Latin influenced piece, with Miguel Espinoza on guitar, Randy Hoepker on bass, Dianne Betkowski on cello, Dave Hagedorn on vibraphone and Christian Teele on percussion. Vibrant opener. Howard's Tune features Howard Levy on harmonica with clean, creative, inventive melody, on a foundation of guitar and cello. Very nice. Buleria Estila Antiqua has a real flamenco flair with Spanish style guitar playing by Espinoza and excellent cello by Betkowski and David Hariharan on carnatic violin. My absolute favorite on the release. With just the right bop, Hudson Avenue again features Levy on harmonica trading melodic lead with Betkowski. Christian Teele on percussion adds just the right amount of spice and Hoepker on bass and Espinoza on guitar really flesh out the track giving it a lot of body. Levy and Espinoza both add nicely formed solos taking the lead in more aggressive directions. Nicely done. Wrapping the release is Barrio Latino with it's piano driven lead by Victor Mestas Perez on piano. Hoepker really steps out on this track with excellent bass lines and Espinoza on guitar, Betkowski on cello and Teele on percussion. This is a really engaging track with plenty of movement and fluid execution. Excellent closer. 

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Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Jerico Jams artist: Randy Bernsen - Heart Mind and Soul - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Heart, Mind and Soul by Randy Bernsen, and it's quite interesting. Opening with With You Always, with it's Latin flavor, Randy Bernsen on guitar plays a solid melody, joined by Jimmy Haslip on bass, David Nizri on drums, Uzi Nizri on piano and Dan Davis on trumpet. A more jagged melody with strong bass accents by David and cool piano solo by Uzi make this a terrific opener. Prodigal Son starts quietly with keys, drums, and bass with light solo accents by Bernsen and interweaving trumpet by Derek Sims and sax by Bob Franceschini. Very nice. Slinky, Billy Gate Blues has Bernsen up front with wide open guitar melody over the driving rhythm line of David and Haslip. Uzi sets a cool melody line, picked up by Bernsen with a terrific shuffle reinforcement and punchy trumpet work by Davis. Strong. ABBA Father is a really nice acoustic guitar solo with a Spanish flavor, floating on a bed of piano and keys and with the addition of cello and accent drums. Wrapping the release is Chant 881 with a jagged rhythm giving the band a nice chance to stretch. Bernsen does some of his most creative playing on this track over a cool bottom by David and Haslip. Strong closer.  


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Thursday, May 2, 2024

Scott Henderson - Karnevel! - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release Karnevel!, from Scott Henderson and I really like it. Opening with title track, Karnevel! Scott Henderson (Tribal Tech, Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul) on guitar take off on his next adventure playing lead guitar and writing, joined by Romain Labaye on bass and Archibald Ligonniere on drums. With a driving bass line and tight drum rhythms, Henderson is free to play fluid, melodic lead lines. Strong opener. Covid Vaccination has a really funky fusion feel led by Ligonniere and punched by Labaye. Henderson never misses a note and his feel is masterful. High energy, Sky Coaster, opens with a frenzied drum rhythm by Ligonniere and quickly anchored by Labaye on bass. Henderson soars on lead guitar over synth chords before erupting into a bombastic fusion with Ligonniere. Labaye gets a real opening to show his stuff on bass and doesn't waste a note. Bilge Rat really has a lot of appeal with it's strong rock foundation and it's blues influenced note bending. Outright explosive phrases by the trio really makes you sit up and listen. Elongated guitar solos with expressive single tone variations bring to mind some of my man Jeff Beck's later work. Yes, this is off the hook. Wrapping the release is Carnies' Time with it's jagged time signature and Henderson playing dual lead lines over an aggressive bass line by Labaye and tightly controlled snare/cymbal rhythm by Ligonniere. Excellent closer for a really exciting release. 


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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Togethermen T Records artist: Anyone - Miracles In The Nothingness - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Miracles In The Nothingness, by Anyone, Riz Story's latest project and it is notably adventurous. Opening in epic fashion, Story, who writes, arranges and performs most everything uses thunderous drums, guitar, keys and his own vocals to create a sensational opener, Dawning Of The Miracle. Children of the Void has a haunting melody, sung by Story, with a really cool drum rhythm, absorbed by keys and piano. Soaring guitar lead propels this track. Very nice. Transcending, with it's jagged time signature and tightly anchored percussion and rock hard drum accents, floats with gain filled guitar lead, lightly distorted vocal and sensitive key strokes. Daylight opens cd two with boxed vocals surrounded by keys and intense bursts of drum and guitar work. Jon Davison has lead vocal duty on Symptoms Of The Miracle, with harmonic vocal blending by Story who of course creates a sonic atmosphere using drums, keys, guitar, and bass. Taking it slow, this track really ramps up with heavy drum and guitar punctuation. Wrapping the release is The Ineffable Bliss of Being,  blending vocals, keys and sunlight for a bright closer. 


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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

VizzTone artist: Bob Corritore and Friends - Phoenix Blues Rumble - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Phoenix Blues Rumble, from Bob Corritore and Friends and it's a great blues rumble. Opening with Big Fat Woman 489 LBS. a blues rocker featuring Chico Chism on vocal and drums, Henry Gray on piano, Paul Thomas on bass and Bob Corritore on harmonica. This is a solid opener with plenty of harmonica by Corritore. With a deep, New Orleans, R&B feel King Karl has the microphone on Mathilda, wailing some really soulful lines. With Johnny Rapp on guitar, S.E. Willis on piano Thomas on bass and Doug James on horns, this is a real standout. George Bowman has the mic for slow blues, I Was A Fool and it's one of my favorites on the release with Jon Atkinson on guitar, Danny Michel on rhythm guitar, Troy Sandow on bass and Brian Fahey on drums. Corritore is a standout on this track with thick, heavily hooded harmonica and Atkinson lays in a tasty guitar of his own to tie down the track. Shuffle, Nine Times Out Of Ten, with it's sonny Boy Williams feel, again features Bowman on lead vocal. Atkinson on guitar fans the guitar nicely, Corritore blows a strong solo on harp and Sandow and Fahey hold the bottom tight. Sugaray Rayford leads the way on The Glide with super vocals joined by Junior Watson on guitar, Fred Kaplan on piano, Kedar Roy on bass and Rena Beavers on drums. Watson takes a real nice solo with Kaplan keeping the rhythm on piano. Wrapping the release is I'm Evil, a slower Chicago style track featuring Big Pete Pearson on lead vocal. With Johnny Rapp pulling the strings on lead guitar, Corritore adding essential harmonica lead, Chris James on guitar, Matt Bishop on piano, Patrick Rynn on bass and Fahey on drums, this is an excellent closer. 


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Monday, April 22, 2024

OA2 Records artist: Jun Iida - Evergreen - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Evergreen, from Jun Iida and I like it's upbeat attack. Opening with Gooey Butter Cake a real nice track, Jun Iida on trumpet has the melody, with a adventurous bass line by Jonathan Richards. Josh Nelson on piano lays in a really nice, New Orleans flavored solo complimented heavily by Xavier Le Couturier on drums and Masami Kuroki on guitar follows with a spicy guitar solo of his own making this a really ice opener. Title track, Evergreen is a really solid track and one that should command airplay with Aubrey Johnson singing the melody along with Iida on trumpet. With bright piano work by Nelson, aggressive bass work by Richards, clean melodic soloing by Kuroki on guitar and excellent fusion style drumming by Le Couturier, this is certainly one of my favorites on the release. Love Theme From Spartacus is a really nice track with a floating melody by Iida, strongly supported by Nelson on guitar and sparce bass work by Richards. Wrapping the release is Holding On To Autumn, another Brazilian favored track with melody by Iida and counter melody by Johnson vocally. Interweaving these two themes throughout the track, this is a solid closer. 


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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Desolation Sound - Silver Rain - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Silver Rain, by Desolation Sound and it's cool rocker with strong writing. Opening with a sonic loop of sound, the mood is set almost as a palate cleanser for what is to come. Title track, Silver Rain has a fairly straight up rock format with a tight Bonham like drum opening by Scott Sluis but it's clear pretty quickly that this music is meant to be listened to with plenty of attention to melody and guitar soloing attended to by Daniel DeShon, with Blake Night on guitar and Darvis Taylor on bass. A strong rocker that caught my attention was Find A Way. Sluis on drums and Taylor on bass really control this track giving DeShon just the right amount of space to slip the vocals in. Tight and cool. Miasma Theory scratched my "Pixies" itch and anyone who likes the Pixies is tops in my book. With it's chord driven melody and understated guitar soloing, this track is spot on. Another sonic creation, Cannonade Descends is another experimental type track which is clean and simple. I like it! Wrapping the release Between Us with it's atmospheric background and radio style orientation and melody. DeShon's vocals are solid, backed by acoustic guitar, and mostly bass and drum. This is an interesting release with just enough space to think and solid melodic music.


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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Ruf Records artist: Mitch Ryder - The Roof Is On Fire - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Roof Is On Fire, from Mitch Ryder and it's a great rocker. Opening with Betty's Too Tight, recorded in Berlin in 2020, Mitch Ryder demonstrates without a doubt that his work is still vital. This track hits the gates hard and will have you head banging in no time. Featuring Mitch on lead vocal, Gisbert "Pitti" Piakowski and Heiner Witte on guitar, Manne Pokrandt on bass, Tobias Ridder on drums and Rene Decker on keys, this track will have you breathing hard. Excellent opener. Taking it up about 20 notches on All The Fools It Sees,  Ryder really does get your blood flowing on this one with the addition of Decker on harp and Piatkowski really rips a hot guitar solo making this one of my favorites on the release. Ain't Nobody White is another really strong track on the release with potent lyrics and vocals by Ryder, complimented by Witte on slide guitar. The Stones, Heart of Stone is always a pleasure and soulful vocals by Ryder and strong guitar work by Pitti and solid harp work by Decker really gets the crowd up. All The Fools It Sees is a great track featuring Ryder's soulful vocals and a real nice guitar solo by Pitti over a subdued background of keys and drums. Wrapping the release is a 16 plus minute take on The Doors, Soul Kitchen. With Decker on sax and Pitti on guitar, this track gets a subtle start, building slowly to a real boil.  Pitti improvises over the melody building a really nice tension and Decker loads in some real nice electric piano before blowing out a real nice sax solo of his own. Ryder revisits the chorus before the band hits the ending. Strong closer for a very strong set. 


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Friday, April 12, 2024

The Afro-Caribbean Jazz Collective - Fiesta At Caroga - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Fiesta At Caroga, from The Afro - Caribbean Jazz Collective and it's quite cool. Opening with Descarga, Brian Stark on sax, Ben Weisiger on trombone, Eric Devey on trumpet and Jose Guzman on guitar really lay it all out there over a beautiful weave of percussion supplied by Stephen Busath, Sebastian Nassar, and Brian Shank. Ian Stewart sets a hard bass line giving the track a super anchor and his soloing is tight. Excellent opener. Opening with a complex rhythm on El Canaveral, Busath, Nassar and Shank really dig in deep. Stark solos first on sax with rich deep tones, underscored by the bass lines of Stewart and light rhythm by Guzman. Warm blending by Devey, and Weisiger enrich the overall sound and a fluid guitar solo by Guzman really is nicely presented. Wrapping the release is Baile Bailekita with a great rhythm and brass infused melody. Stark on sax rips a few really nice melodic solos, really fueling the excitement and Guzman on guitar fans the flames. Very nice closer. 


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Thursday, April 4, 2024

Larsen Jazz artist: David Larsen - Cohesion - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Cohesion, from David Larsen and it's a complex yet very enjoyable set. Opening with title track, Cohesion, David Larsen on bari sax and Darryl Yokley on tenor sax set up the intro over the tight rhythm of Wayne Smith Jr on drums and Alex Apollo on bass. With Zaccai Curtis on piano, anchors the melody while Apollo sets off on a really nice bass solo before taking the lead himself. Larsen and Yokley crafty rich solos of their own before rejoining in modal form for the refrain. Very solid opener. Movement again sees Yokley and Larsen playing in tandem, with suspended chords and each shows his chops as Smith and Curtis hold the line and Apollo drives the bottom on bass. Hard bop, Fedchock is one of my favorite tracks on the release with it's straightforward drive and excellent soloing by Larsen, Yokley and Curtis. Kick back and enjoy. Wrapping the release is El Duelo, reminiscent of the great Shorter/Coltrane compositions. With intense lead by Yokley and Larsen, hot soloing by Apollo and Curtis and tight rhythmic control by Smith, this is an excellent closer. 


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Monday, April 1, 2024

Shifting Paradigm Records artist: Chris Rottmayer - Being - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Being, from Chris Rottmayer, and it's a cool set of modern jazz. Opening with On The Street Where Woody Lives, Chris Rottmayer on piano paired with Matt Endres on drums and Rufus Reid really set a nice atmosphere. Russ Johnson on trumpet takes the first leg and really sets a nice stage on trumpet followed by Rottmayer who stretches nicely on piano. Strong opener. Pigalle has a quiet nature with a warm bass line by Reid and ethereal trumpet work by Johnson, floating on the piano weave created by Rottmayer. Reid stretches on bass, really setting down a warm melody with only a light structure of piano and drums. Rottmayer elaborates on the structure set by Reid, creating a very nice overall atmosphere. Song of Modes in 3, has a nice flow and with a tight bottom by Endres and Reid. Johnson on trumpet sets the melodic structure which is really nice and Rottmayer on piano takes it for a really nice run on piano. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Rue des Lombards with it's driving bass line and Johnson laying down some great bop melody. Rottmayer really takes this track for a ride with excellent piano improv, and Endres kicks in a tight drums solo of his own making this my favorite track on the release and an excellent closer. 


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Friday, March 29, 2024

OA2 Records artist: Randy Napoleon - The Door Is Open: The Music of Gregg Hill - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Door Is Open: The Music of Gregg Hill, by Randy Napoleon, and it's quite engaging. Opening with The Lost Tune, a lush melody with a Latin rhythm really is a solid opener. With rich vocals by Aubrey Johnson and well phrased guitar lead by Randy Napoleon, this tune floats. With Rick Roe on piano, Quincy Davis on drums, and Lucas LaFave on bass, sit back and let it flow over you. Light and aiery, Escape to Cat Island has a brisk Latin feel with a real nice trumpet solo by Anthony Stanco. Roe, always on top of things on piano is a key contributor and the slashing cymbal work of Davis and energetic bass lines of Rodney Whitaker really gives this track zip. Napoleon and Johnson work nicely to create a united front on Motel Blues, a slower blues with a samba rhythm, supported by Stanco, Walter Blanding on tenor sax and Andrew Kim on trombone. A real nice bass solo by LaFave leads back to Napoleon on guitar for one of my favorites on the release. The Last Pop Tune has a great walking bass line by LaFave, driving under Napoleon, Johnson and Roe. Very nice. Wrapping the release, is slinky, horn saturated Triple Play. With a tight drum rhythm and nicely interwoven horn, piano, and vocal lines providing a solid blanket for Napoleon on guitar, this is a strong closer. 


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