sexta-feira, 24 de junho de 2016

Evan Parker & Joe McPhee - What If They Both Could Fly 2013

Evan Parker and Joe McPhee have played together in many different group settings over the years, but have recorded as a duo only once before, back in 2003. What/If/They Both Could Fly was recorded in the moment on-stage at the Konigsberg Jazz Festival in July of 2012. Parker plays tenor saxophone throughout, while McPhee plays both trumpet and soprano saxophone. The nearly 40-minute meeting is divided into three distinct pieces, two longer works over 18 and 13 minutes respectively, and the closer, a tad over six and a half. Rather than a confrontation, this concert is closer to an active conversation between two friends, who are very familiar with one another's "speaking" styles. Parker is content to explore a fairly narrow tonal range on the tenor, but he is far from short on ideas. His fits and starts punctuate, assert, investigate, and question and his wonderful multivalent use of circular breathing offers quick idiomatic moments. McPhee's playing on both instruments tends to a more lyrical side, as has been his wont since the 1960s. While smatterings of notes are common, they almost always exist in a give-and-take manner. Not call and response, exactly; more like assertion first, followed by elaboration, occasionally argument, and either resolve or retreat. What's most striking on opener "What" is that, after near symbiotic statements, Parker takes to poignant circular breathing solos three times. When McPhee responds, it is with elongated single notes, shifting ever so slightly in tone, leading Parker to follow in adding more textural dimension to the established dialogue. Speaking of texture, "If" commences as a study in breathy whispers through both tenor and soprano before it takes off. When it does, it is lively, strident, full of seeming debate, yet always focused. Parker takes more solo space, but it is McPhee's changes of direction that give the piece its weight. For fans of improvised music, What/If/They Both Could Fly has much to offer. For seasoned listeners, it will not likely reveal many hidden new doors, but it is enjoyable and engaging for its lively interplay, presented in a relaxed, open, and inquisitive fashion. AMG.

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Gnonnan Sossou Pierre Kouassivi, known by the stage name Gnonnas Pedro was a singer and musician from Lokossa, Benin. He is perhaps best known as the lead singer of Africando between 1995 and his death in 2004, but had been well known in his home country of Benin and beyond since the 1960s.

Pedro led his own bands Pedro y Sus Panchos, later reforming as Gnonnas Pedro and his Dadjes Band, before joining the long-lived Orchestre Poly-rythmo de Cotonou.

As a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, and dancer, Pedro embraced many styles of music including highlife and juju. Pedro is credited with updating the traditional Agbadja style of his home region, creating Modern Agbadja. He sang in many different languages, including Minad, Adja, Yoruba, French, English, and Spanish.

Pedro produced the song Feso Jaiye, which became a hit and was performed by many bands at the 2nd All-Africa Games in 1973.

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domingo, 19 de junho de 2016

Johnny Jenkins - Blessed Blues 1996

Twenty-six years after releasing Ton Ton MacouteJohnny Jenkins -- a local legend around Macon, Georgia -- released his second album, Blessed Blues. Featuring a selection of new songs, classic covers, and a new version of his 1962 hit "Miss Thing" (also known as "Love Twist"), Blessed Blues gives a good idea why Jenkins is revered in his homestate. His playing is swampy, dirty and impassioned -- it is soaked in the sounds of the deep south. Blessed Blues doesn't clean up his sound at all, preferring to showcase Jenkins in all of his gritty glory. On the whole, it isn't quite as searing asTon Ton Macoute -- after all, that featured support by Duane Allman -- but Blessed Blues proves that good things are worth waiting for. AMG.

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Les Claypool - Of Fungi and Foe 2009

As what would seem like music made purely for the stoner crowd -- particularly, for the folks partial to psychedelic 'shrooms -- Les Claypool's Of Fungi and Foe is a demented, cartoonish ode to, you guessed it, mushrooms. But it's not what you might think. Claypool didn't make this record as a cheap ploy to win over Phish's massive hippie fan base after learning of their endless devotion to drug-friendly music while touring with Trey Anastasio in Oysterhead. Even though Phishheads (and Weenheads) will probably find the goofy, cartoonish rollick herein worth visiting, Claypool had other motives behind the drug-friendly theme. The majority of the songs were originally written to be used as a soundtrack for Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars, a video game about mushrooms brought to life after a radioactive meteor, and Pig Hunt, a horror movie about a giant rabid black boar that guards a marijuana field. As well as bouncy bong songs with lyrics like "Now Errol's a smart boy who delivered big weed/Says that he could get you all that you may ever need," there are also some departures. "Red State Girl" drifts off topic as a Democratic satire about a girl who wants to grow up to be like Sarah Palin, and "What Would Sir George Martin Do" ponders how the Beatles producer would go about catching a cab. It's typical Les Claypool tomfoolery, all based around his past couple years making minimalistic jams -- beating bongos, bowing the occasional cello, playing a xylophone, and of course bassing it up through all sorts of weird-sounding envelope filters. Even though he's not billed with the Frog Brigade, it's not entirely a solo affair. Six other musicians make appearances, including Eugene Hütz, frontman of the Gypsy punks Gogol Bordello, who stops in for a jam on "Bite Out of Life." AMG.

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Nicholas Payton - Gumbo Nouveau 1995

Only 22 at the time of this CD, Nicholas Payton had already quickly developed into a major trumpeter. Possessing a fat tone that is sometimes reminiscent of Freddie Hubbard, by the mid-'90s Payton had become New Orleans' latest significant contribution to jazz. On his second Verve release, Paytoninterprets and modernizes ten songs associated with his hometown and/or Louis Armstrong. Fortunately, Payton generally retains the flavor and joy of the original versions, even while he transforms much of the music into hard bop. To cite a few examples, "Whoopin' Blues" has parade rhythms, send-offs worthy of Lionel Hampton, and boppish solos, "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" is taken as a slow and lightly swinging ballad, and "I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues" is turned into a jazz waltz. "Li'l Liza Jane" becomes a largely unrecognizable hard bop romp and this version of "When the Saints Go Marching In" is a bit melancholy, but "Wild Man Blues" is a real tour de force for the trumpeter and the duet between Payton and pianist Anthony Wonsey on "Weather Bird" has the leader liberally quoting from Louis Armstrong's classic version. Throughout the date, Payton is the lead voice, pianistWonsey is the main supporting player, and there are occasional solos from altoist Jesse Davis and tenor saxophonist Tim Warfield. New Orleans jazz purists may not care for all of the updating, but the overall results are fresh and quite likable. Recommended. AMG.

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King Ubulu - Onweli Egwu Na Amu Ka Nma 1989

Chief Augustine Ojinji, better known to Nigerian music fans as "King Ubulu" and "Love A.U.," breathed his last in late 2004.

King Ubulu was born in 1949 in Amorji-Onicha in present-day Ndokwa Local Government Area, Delta State. Along with his fellow Ndokwa indigenes Charles Iwegbue and Rogana Ottah, he did much to advance the cause of Anioma (Western Igbo) highlife in the Nigerian music scene.?His generosity was such that he was given the honorifics Ochiligwe ("Majority Leader"), Elishi Egwu ("Music Leader") and Ofodile ("Mighty").

Ubulu trained as a shoemaker, but soon opened a record store in Amorji. Because of his skill with the traditional repertoire, he was often asked to sing at funerals, naming ceremonies and other important occasions. Together with Agu Risky and a number of other musicians, he formed the Ubulu International Band in the early 1970s. The group's first LP, Ukwuani Special, was released in 1976 to wide acclaim, followed by a number of other releases.?

In 1983 the Ubulu International Band of Nigeria recruited the late Charlie Boogie of Cameroun, who brought much animation to the group's stage show with his penchant for playing guitar and keyboards with his teeth.

In the 1986 album Onyebu Uwa Nishi, Ubulu warned against those who would try to copy his musical technique, as it came from water (presumably it was as transparent, flowing and natural as that substance).? - John Beadle

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Jennylee - Right On! 2015

When members of distinctive-sounding bands step out on their own, they risk sounding too much like their main projects, or trying too hard to sound different. Fortunately, Warpaint's Jenny Lee Lindberg -- billed here as jennylee -- strikes a good balance between familiar and unique on Right On!, a set of songs that puts the spotlight on various aspects of her music in an intimate setting. Working with co-producer Norm Block, her Warpaint bandmate Stella Mozgawa, and Dan Elkan (who has also collaborated with Broken Bells and Them Hills), Lindberg imbues the album with a late-night spareness full of spaces and silences that allow dreams and memories to bloom. While songs such as the folky closing track "real life" make the bones of her songwriting more apparent than they would be on a Warpaint album, Lindberg's signature haze is present throughout Right On! The winding psych of "blind" is earthier here than it would be with her other band, and sensuality is front and center on "he fresh" and "boom boom" in ways that sound raw and fresh. This direct, kinetic approach shines on more driven moments like "never"'s post-punk-pop and "riot," a teeth-bared rocker that rivals the density ofWarpaint's most intense tracks. As on her other project's music, Right On! is most intriguing whenLindberg swirls sounds and emotions into unexpected new forms. Her cooed threats on "bully" ("you'd better run away and get out of my face") and the anger bubbling just under the pretty surface of "offerings" are challenging, ambiguous, and deserving of close listening. Occasionally, Right On!'s stripped-down sonics are too restrained for their own good -- "white devil" doesn't have the fuel it needs to truly ignite -- but more often than not, the album offers a welcome glimpse of Lindberg on her own. AMG.

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Orchestra Super Mazembe - Kaivaska 1982

With a varying line-up of between nine and 14 musicians, Mazembe (Zairois for earth movers) were one of the most popular Kenyan bands of the 80s, and for a brief while in the mid-80s enjoyed a cult following in Europe, following their signing by Virgin Records and the UK release of the album, Kaivaska. Although based in Kenya since the early 70s, the band’s personnel is wholly Zairean - it being one of several outfits that decided to leave the overcrowded Kinshasa scene in the late 70s to move to the greener East African markets of Kenya and Tanzania. Like fellow expatriates Orchestra Makassy, Mazembe have recorded their most popular material in Nairobi with British producer Norman Mighell. In 1984, they enjoyed a sizeable international hit with a cover version of Nguashi Timbo’s East African evergreen, ‘Shauri Yako’, which had been included on Kaivaska. A second UK album, Maloba D’Amor, repackaged some of the Kaivaska tracks - including ‘Shauri Yako’ - while new material included a curiously faithful reading of the old Buddy Holly hit ‘Words Of Love’ (the title track). AMG.

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Nahko and Medicine for the People - On the Verge 2014

Nahko (Nahkohe Parayno), a sixth generation Apache/Mohawk with a Puerto Rican/Indian mother and a Filipino father, grew up with the family that adopted him in an Oregon suburb, and suffered some early childhood identity problems until he began to ground himself in music, taking up the piano at age six, and in his teens he gave piano lessons and directed musical productions for local schools. His talents landed him a seasonal production position in Denali, Alaska, and there, with the wilderness around him, he began to put all the musical, cultural, and philosophical pieces of his personal creative vision together. Seeing music as international, multi-generational, and multicultural, and as a redemptive and healing force, he joined with his backing group, Medicine for the People, anchored by horn player and Berklee School of Music graduate Max Ribner and percussionist Hope Medford. Together they began making what has been called "thump-hop," a percussion-heavy, rainbow-envisioned mix of styles and approaches that is at times as much spoken word as anything else, a sort of 21st century medicine show for the mind and soul. A debut album, Dark as Night, appeared in 2013, and debuted at number six on the Billboard Heatseekers album chart. Hoka, the group's sophomore studio album, arrived in 2016 via Side One Dummy. AMG.

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quarta-feira, 15 de junho de 2016

Christian McBride - A Family Affair 1998

Hallelujah! Christian McBride is not one of those strait-laced, down-the-line neo-boppers after all. Here, the prodigiously talented young standup bassist proves that he is also an astoundingly gifted electric bassist, and that '70s-vintage funk and soul are every bit as close to his heart as '50s and '60s hard bop. On electric, McBride weaves inventive countermelodies around tenor sax Tim Warfield's lead lines, taking Jaco Pastorius' technique a step further in sheer speed and the ability to play really nasty funk patterns. The stylistic palette of the disc is much wider than anything McBride has done before as a leader, ranging from soul ballads (a lovely cover of Stevie Wonder's nearly forgotten "Summer Soft," Wonder-like vocals from Vesta on "...Or So You Thought") to powerful funk ("Brown Funk [For Ray]"), open-ended electric jazz-rock ("Wayne's World"), and yes, straight-ahead acoustic jazz grooving (on Sly Stone's "Family Affair"). Charles Craig excels on acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, and Wurlitzer electric pianos; drummer Gregory Hutchinson fearlessly handles any stylistic curve balls that McBride throws at him; and guitarist Russell Malone and percussionist Munyungo Jackson turn up now and then. As produced by fellow polystylist George Duke, this is a most encouraging step out of the trap of lockstep bop for McBride. AMG.

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Bombino - Nomad 2013

Born in northern Niger, Bombino is an ethnic Tuareg, a nomadic tribe spread out across the Sahara Desert, and if he inherited a steady urge for going, it shows in his guitar playing, which is informed by the fluid, melodic, and graceful style of so many great African guitarists. But he's also listened and studied the playing of Jimi Hendrix and Mark Knopfler closely, and maybe a little of J.J. Cale, too, another man whose guitar style embraces a sharp, dusty-tinged desert tone, and somehow out of all this, Bombino emerges as a sort of Dick Dale of the Sahara, with a guitar style that is uniquely all his own. For this, his second album, Bombino traveled to Nashville to record with the Black KeysDan Auerbach, and the result is a marvelous set, full of grit and funky elegance, a kind of mesh of Tuareg rhythms with Deep South delta country trance blues, and psychedelic, too, as if Jimi Hendrix and John Lee Hooker somehow got spliced together. It's a wonderful listen from start to finish, with heavily echoed vocals, and layers of snaky, sinewy guitar lines that build and weave, separate and expand as each track goes on, until everything seems to burst transformed into the immense sonic space of an ocean, or a desert, for that matter. Although Bombino is a very political songwriter, he keeps his lyrics and melodies taut, giving his graceful, spiraling, and relentless guitar riffs plenty of room to do their thing. Highlights include the thickly chugging garage guitar epic "Amidine" that opens the set, the amazing serpentine guitar lines of "Imuhar," the back porch Sahara country sound of "Imidwan," and the lovely "Tamiditine," which closes things out, but everything here certainly belongs and contributes to the rich, gritty, and ultimately joyous tone of this wonderful album. AMG.

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Baaba Maal - The Traveller 2015

Senegalese singer, songwriter, and guitarist Baaba Maal hasn't recorded an album in six years, but he hasn't been idle. He's run an annual music festival, Blues du Fleuve, in his hometown of Podor in northern Senegal since 2006, and performed widely with the international unit Playing for Change. He's also been soaking up modern sounds. The Traveller, his 11th album, is drenched in electronic sounds that complement his meld of Senegalese folk and pop and offer the fruit of his journeys. It was produced by Johan Hugo (the Very Best), and recorded in Dakar and London. The Maal/Hugocollaboration first surfaced in March of 2014 with the raw dancefloor bubbler "Suma Rokia." The Traveller is simultaneously more polished and rootsier. Not (entirely) focused on the club, it leaves room for more of Maal's traditional sound even as it lets the electro flow. Opener "Fulani Rock" cooks.Mamadou Sarr's djembes thunder amid sonic vocal treatments by Hugo (AutoTune among them) as dirty, distorted guitars crisscross, creating a furious collision of rhythms that are momentarily interrupted by a martial chant in the bridge. It's followed by "Gilli Men." The acoustic guitars of Maal and Kalifa Baldi offer circular interplay amid loops and kalimbas. Maal's trance-like singing is supported by the Dakar Church Choir. Other cuts, such as "One Day," recall Maal's earlier work, but the layers of reverb, digital delay, and spiky electric guitars deliver compelling layers of texture and color. "Lampenda" commences as a simple Fulani folk song underscored by Maal and Baldi's gorgeous guitar playing (they should tour as a duo) and a church organ. But as multiple sabar drums enter the mix (by Bahkane Seck & Family), Hugo stirs in sweeping strings and keyboards, transforming it into a pop anthem -- and celebrates fishermen! The title track features an appearance by Mumford & SonsWinston Marshallon banjo. Initially it resembles a Malian blues, playing behind multi-tracked backing vocals. But it quickly shifts into a gentle road song with a glorious four-voice male and female backing chorus adding the notion of celebration. There are big beats driving it all, but they're reined in by the canny, eclipsing interplay between Maal and Baldi. The final two cuts, co-written with author Lemn Sissay -- who speaks them in English -- are "War" and "Peace." Maal plays guitar and sings in the backdrop. The former is an urgent, drum-driven call to reject the perils of nationalism; the latter is a prayer for the healing of people and the Earth. Its peul flute, kora, guitars, and organic percussion add an emotional resonance to the lyric. Maal's embrace of technology on The Traveller isn't new: he's been open to it since 2009's Television; it's simply more pervasive here. Nonetheless, he has found a way to use it as a simple extension of his iconic sound. In these songs Maal continues to celebrate his people, his culture, and the Fulani language, even as he presents the listener with challenges to their preservation from inside and outside Senegal.

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Earthless - From The Ages 2013

The San Diego-based stoner rock trio Earthless feature the talents of Nebula guitarist Isaiah MitchellElectric Nazarenebass player Mike Eginton, and Hot Snakes/Clikitat Ikatowidrummer Mario Rubalcaba (who also played with Rocket from the Crypt under the alias Ruby Mars). The band's debut, a collection of jam-heavy instrumentals titled Sonic Prayer, was released on the Gravity label in 2005. It was followed in 2007 by Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky, which marked the band's first release for Tee Pee Records. Live at Roadburn appeared the following year, showcasing the band's strength as a live act. AMG.

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Ambrose Akinmusire - Prelude To Cora 2008

Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire is a forward-thinking musician with a bent toward atmospheric post-bop. Born in Oakland, California, Akinmusire showed early promise by his teens, and gigged professionally while also playing in the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble. Early encounters with such luminaries as saxophonists Joe Henderson and Steve Coleman pushed Akinmusire to focus a keen eye on his own development. He earned his bachelor's degree from the Manhattan School of Music and later his master's from the University of Southern California. Along the way, Akinmusirestudied with such trumpet luminaries as master teacherLaurie FrinkLew Soloff, and Terence BlanchardAkinmusire has appeared as a sideman on many albums, including works by saxophonist Coleman, pianists Aaron Parks and Vijay Iyer, trombonistJosh Roseman, bassist Esperanza Spalding, and others. In 2007 Akinmusire won the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. A year later he released his debut solo album, Prelude to Cora, on Fresh Sound New Talent. In 2011 Akinmusire returned with his sophomore album, When the Heart Emerges Glistening, on Blue Note Records. he made session appearances on records by a wide array of artists includingDavid Binney's Graylen EpicenterChris Dingman's Waking DreamsBaptiste Trotignon's For a While, and Gerald Clayton's Life Forum. His sophomore Blue Note date, The Imagined Savior Is Easier to Paint, was released in March of 2014. AMG.

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