domingo, 29 de janeiro de 2017

Ilhan Ersahin - Istanbul Sessions 2009

Born in Stockholm to Swedish and Turkish parents but raised mostly in Turkey, Ilhan Ersahin fell in love with jazz growing up and moved to the U.S. after high school to pursue a career as a jazz saxophonist. Ersahin studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1983 before studying with saxman Joe Lovano and making New York his permanent home. Ersahin, whose influences on the tenor include John Coltrane and Joe Henderson, soon found himself gigging regularly in Manhattan and has played with trumpeters Eddie Henderson and Wallace Roney, as well as pianist George Cables and bassist Ben Allison. By the late 1990s, Ersahin had recorded two albums: 1996's She Said for the Turkish Pozitif label, and 1997's Home on Golden Horn. Ersahin has said that Middle Eastern culture had a greater impact on his music than Scandinavian culture, and to be sure, the influence of Turkish music has done its part to enrich his CDs and live performances. In 1998, Ersahin explored club and dance music with his side project, Wax Poetic, who combined electronica with jazz and Middle Eastern elements. AMG.

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Moon Martin - Street Fever 1980

One of the more curious characters of the new wave movement, singer/guitarist/songwriter Moon Martin issued several critically acclaimed yet commercially underappreciated releases from the late '70s through the early '80s, before reappearing in the mid-'90s. Born John Martin in Oklahoma during 1950, Martin played in local bands, including a rockabilly group, the Disciples, while attending the University of Oklahoma. Martin relocated to Los Angeles in the late '60s and paid the rent as a session musician, playing on albums by Del Shannon and Jackie DeShannon. But soon, his former Disciples bandmates followed him to the land of surf and sun, changing their name to Southwind and issuing a total of three underappreciated country-rock albums on the Blue Thumb label between 1969 and 1973: a self-titled debut, Ready to Ride, and What a Place to Land. Upon the group's split, Martin returned to session work, contributing to Jesse Ed DavisUluluLinda Ronstadt's Silk Purse, and a few Gram Parsons songs that have gone unreleased. Martin also began to focus on a solo career at this time, adopting the nickname "Moon" from friends, after it became an inside joke at the songwriter's penchant for mentioning the word in his compositions.
Initial plans to record a solo album in 1974 with noted producer/arranger Jack Nitzsche failed to pan out, but several of Martin's original compositions began to be used by other recording artists, including the Nitzsche-produced Mink DeVille (the track "Cadillac Walk" subsequently became a moderate hit), as well as Michelle Phillips and Lisa Burns. By 1978, Martin (who by this time was known simply as Moon Martin) was finally ready to launch his solo career with his look and music often compared to such new wave hit makers as Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe. A total of five albums in a five-year span followed, including such titles as 1978's Victim of Romance EP (whose track, "Bad Case of Lovin' You," would become a hit when covered by Robert Palmer), 1979's Shots From a Cold Nightmare/Escape From Domination (which scored Moon his sole hit single, "Rolene"), 1980's Street Fever, and 1982's Mystery Ticket, all of which were issued on the Capitol label. Martin then dropped out of the music scene for the rest of the '80s and early part of the '90s, before resurfacing in 1995 with a pair of releases, Cement Monkey and Lunar Samples. The same year, the British label Edsel reissued Martin's first four full-length releases as two for one CDs (Shots From a Cold Nightmare being paired with Escape From Domination, while Street Fever was combined with Mystery Ticket). AMG.

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Bernard Allison - The River's Rising 2008

Bernard Allison is the guitar-playing, singing, and songwriting son of late legendary blues guitarist Luther Allison. True to form for this chip off the old block, the young Allison injects every bit as much energy into his live shows as his father did. Bernard counts among his influences icons like Albert KingMuddy Waters, and Freddie King, and later, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Johnny Winter. He began accompanying his famous father to blues festivals in the early '70s. There, he was introduced to a who's who of Chicago blues stars: Muddy WatersHound Dog Taylor, and Albert King, among others. When he was seven or eight, he began having aspirations of becoming a guitar slinger like his father. Luther Allison was more than just a casual record collector, and so Bernard benefited from his father and brothers' collections of classic blues and gospel.
In December 1996, Bernard was contacted by Cannonball Records founder Ron LevyBernard was home in Chicago visiting family at Christmas, and hadn't brought any of his guitars or other equipment with him. Levy wanted something based in traditional electric blues, with a few bones for newer fans of the idiom who had jumped on the blues bandwagon after 1990. Bernard released his stunning U.S. debut, Keepin' the Blues Alive, in early 1997, receiving a great deal of critical acclaim. On his successful tour of clubs around the U.S. in the latter half of 1997, Bernard was joined by drummer Ray "Killer" Allison (no relation) and Buddy Guy bassist Greg Rzab, among others. Times Are Changing followed a year later. In mid-2000, Across the Water was released. Based in Paris full-time, Bernard Allison has the comfort and security that the multitude of blues clubs and festivals around Europe can provideAfter graduating from high school, Bernard began playing with Koko Taylor in her touring band. He stayed with Taylor's band until 1985, when he left to hustle up his own gigs as Bernard Allison & Back TalkBernard spent a lot of time in Canada with his first band, and later rejoined Taylor and her Blues Machine for another two years in the late '80s. After joining his father in Europe for a live recording, Bernard was asked to join Luther's touring band and become his European bandleader. Luther helped his son along with the finer points of showmanship for several years until Bernard was good enough to lead his own trio or quartet. At Christmastime in 1989, while both were living together in Paris, the elder Allison arranged to give his son the most precious gift for budding musicians: studio time to record his first album. Bernard's debut, Next Generation, was recorded for Mondo Records using musicians from his dad's band. His other European label releases include Hang OnNo Mercy, and Funkifino. AMG.

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The Golden Palominos - This Is How It Feels 1993

Lori Carson comes aboard for the sixth album from Anton Fier's Golden Palominos. Her writing and singing provide the emotional backbone of This Is How It Feels, while the usual collection of stellar musicians ranging from bassist Bill Laswell to guitarists Bootsy Collins and Nicky Skopelitis gives the record its sonic grooves. This Is How It Feels offers the same ethereal textures of its predecessor, Drunk with Passion, but the feel is rooted in chugging, hypnotic dance rhythms. "Prison of the Rhythm" is slightly funky as Carson delivers a breathy vocal with some clever wordplay on betrayal. "I'm Not Sorry" has a rhythmic, percussive beat and a self-confident lyric about a woman laying down the law to her lover. The strongest, most alluring cut is the mid-tempo shuffle "To a Stranger." Lydia Kavanagh gives a sultry vocal performance on this tale of a physical encounter with a stranger over a pulsating beat complete with moans. This Is How It Feels is another strong entry into the catalog of the Golden Palominos. AMG.

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Snakefinger - Snakefinger's History Of The Blues Live In Europe 2013

Philip Lithman led a schizophrenic career, trying to make his way out of obscurity into the light of mainstream success, but then found a living as a valued sideman to the most obscure pop group of the '70s and '80s: the Residents. His dramatic, slanted runs up the fretboard have its antecedents in the British blues scene and art rock, most particularly Robert Fripp and Fred Frith (the latter also lending guitar to Residents recordings); his fingerwork earned him the nickname "Snakefinger." In the end, he died (suddenly, of a heart attack) while in limbo: not weird enough for the Residents, not normal enough for chart success or critical recognition. Born in London, England, in 1949, Lithman was coming of age in the psychedelic scene, but picked up the more menacing vibe that was permeating the last two years of that decade. In 1971, a 22-year-old Lithman came to San Francisco and met up with a strange group of art terrorists that would become the Residents. He accompanied the group for their two live appearances, as well as raising hell on live radio, playing violin in a screeching, free jazz joke. People dug it, but Lithman returned to England the following year, playing on two albums in the band Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers with his friend Martin Stone (two of the members, Nick Lowe and Pete Thomas, would go on to fame working with Elvis Costello). When the group disbanded, Lithman returned to America, and settled in Los Angeles, where he shopped around demos for two years, trying to break into the mainstream rock scene in the style of the EaglesJackson Browne, and other soft rock standbys. Both Warner Bros. and RCA rejected him. In 1978, he returned to San Francisco and in the middle of shopping around another demo, reunited with his old friends, the Residents. The college-age pranksters had grown into a bizarre band with a cult following and their own label and now had a desire to add other artists to their label's roster -- Snakefinger had returned.  For two years, the Residents co-wrote and produced two Snakefinger albums (Chewing Hides the Sound and Greener Postures), a single "The Spot," and featured him on their albums Duck Stab and The Commercial Album. He also seared the ears with his unforgettable solo on their cover of "Satisfaction" -- it needs to be heard to be believed. The solo albums, while a critical success (Chewing received a "classic" rating in the 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide), seemed more about the Residents than Snakefinger: the similar demented pop of Duck Stab, the singsong lyrics, the weird and cool imagery. Given a chance, Lithman's Brit Rock purisms would leak out; in 1983 he toured, playing blues covers. In the early '80s, while the Residents were engulfed in touring, he formed a band, the Vestal Virgins, with members of Pere Ubu and assorted Bay Area groups, and recorded a third album, Manual of Errors. Here was a breakthrough -- with only a few songs co-written with the ResidentsLithman could make it as a true solo artist. In 1985-1986, Lithman returned to play a world tour with the Residents, documented on at least three releases as the 13th Anniversary Tour. This is a terrific example of Snakefinger's work -- delicate slide work, menacing, distortion filled guitar (often in the same song). That year also saw the release of his most mature work to date: Night of Desireable Objects, recorded with the Vestal Virgins. The eclectic album represented the varying influences at work in Lithman's career, from Nino Rota and Miles Davis to folk and art pop. The Virgins hit the road for a support tour. On July 1, 1987, after a concert in Linz, Austria, Lithman suffered a fatal heart attack. The Residents, who were scheduled to use Lithman on their upcoming God in Three Persons album, composed music for his funeral (later released on Snakey Wake). Since 1987, the Residents have kept Lithman's memory alive through re-releases of his Ralph Records material, including a B-sides collection. AMG

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I Mother Earth - Scenery and Fish 1996

After being pigeonholed as a metal band upon the release of their 1993 debut, Canadian band I Mother Earth returned in 1996 with Scenery and Fish. Guitarist Jag Tanna produced the sophomore effort with Paul Northfield and the resulting album, while not as immediate as Dig, is certainly every bit as rewarding.
"One More Astronaut" was the radio track and it is a propulsive cut, which explores loneliness and isolation over a crunching rhythmic melody. "Three Days Old" alternates a psychedelic feel with jarring instrumental passages. And "Used to Be Alright" incorporates the band's fondness for percussion into a groove-oriented rocker. Nothing on Scenery and Fish quite approaches the instantly memorable hooks of the band's debut, but instead tracks like "Raspberry" and "Another Sunday" settle slowly, but surely, into the brain. A worthy follow-up to an impressive first release, Scenery and Fish accords I Mother Earth a place among the more interesting and entertaining hard rock bands of recent years. AMG.


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Tears for Fears - Songs From The Big Chair (Deluxe Edition) 1985

If The Hurting was mental anguish, Songs from the Big Chair marks the progression towards emotional healing, a particularly bold sort of catharsis culled from Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith's shared attraction to primal scream therapy. The album also heralded a dramatic maturation in the band's music, away from the synth-pop brand with which it was (unjustly) seared following the debut, and towards a complex, enveloping pop sophistication. The songwriting of OrzabalSmith, and keyboardist Ian Stanley took a huge leap forward, drawing on reserves of palpable emotion and lovely, protracted melodies that draw just as much on soul and R&B music as they do on immediate pop hooks. The album could almost be called pseudo-conceptual, as each song holds its place and each is integral to the overall tapestry, a single-minded resolve that is easy to overlook when an album is as commercially successful as Songs from the Big Chair. And commercially successful it was, containing no less than three huge commercial radio hits, including the dramatic and insistent march, "Shout" and the shimmering, cascading "Head Over Heels," which, tellingly, is actually part of a song suite on the album. Orzabal and Smith's penchant for theorizing with steely-eyed austerity was mistaken for harsh bombasticism in some quarters, but separated from its era, the album only seems earnestly passionate and immediate, and each song has the same driven intent and the same glistening remoteness. It is not only a commercial triumph, it is an artistic tour de force. And in the loping, percolating "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," Tears for Fears perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the mid-'80s while impossibly managing to also create a dreamy, timeless pop classic. Songs from the Big Chair is one of the finest statements of the decade. AMG.

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Jim Weider's Project Percolator - Pulse 2009

Born in Woodstock, NY, infamous sideman Jim Weider jumped into the music industry as soon as he could. The area was a hotbed for national talent, with acts like Bob Dylan and the Band recording there. He began recording and hiring himself out to songwriters for backup, eventually gathering up enough money to move to Nashville. He joined Johnny Paycheck's touring band, and supported himself through session work and playing local concerts. By the early '80s, Weider moved back to his hometown and began a tour with Robbie Dupress. When 1983 rolled around, he met former Band drummer Levon Helm, who invited him to join his touring band. Helm was very impressed by Weider, so when the Band was ready to reunite in 1985, Weider took Robbie Robertson's spot when Robertson declined the reunion. He continued to perform with the Band as the decade went on, eventually playing with the group at Roger Waters' recreation of The Wall at the Berlin Wall. In 1993, he also played with the group at Bob Dylan's tribute concert in Madison Square Garden and at Bill Clinton's Inaugural Ball. On top of these performances, he also kept himself busy playing on albums by Robbie Dupree, Artie Traum, Paul Burlison, Rick Danko, and many others. His membership in the Band actually lasted longer than Robbie Robertson's original tenure, as he stayed with the band throughout the '90s, even performing with them at Woodstock '94. When he had time off from the group, he released several best-selling instructional videos for guitar, and finally released his own solo album with the Honky Tonk Gurus entitled Big Foot in 1999. AMG.

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domingo, 1 de janeiro de 2017

Ray Lema - Nangadeef 1989


If Herbie Hancock's "Rock-It" had been recorded by the Zairian diaspora in Paris, it might have sounded something like this. Though the low spots are pretty generic, the frequent thunderclaps on this forward-looking disc are worthy of Youssou N'Dour at his best. Lema first became involved in music playing church organ for five years. By the time he entered college, he was already playing keyboard in Kinshasa clubs for artists like Kalle, Abeti, M'pongo Love, and Tabu Ley. He worked with the Ballet du Zaire and from 1974 to 1978 toured the country studying folklore. He won a Rockefeller grant for study in the U.S. in 1979. Lema's grounding in folklore and choreography, as well as music, helped him break through in the '80s and maintain a reputation as a soukous musician not content to be pigeonholed in that style. He recently signed with the international label Mango. AMG.

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Sand Reckoner - Haunter 2016

Sand Reckoner is a US psychedelic band from Boston! Interesting band.

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Seun Kuti + Egypt 80 - A Long Way to the Beginning 2014

There isn't a lot of subtlety in the songs on Seun Kuti and Egypt 80's fiercely political third album, A Long Way to the Beginning. That's fine, because to his way of thinking, there isn't anything subtle about neo-liberal capitalism's global attack on the poor, either. Seun is Fela Kuti's youngest son. The vocalist and alto saxophonist has been fronting and leading Egypt 80 since his father's death in 1997 (three-quarters of that band remain) and has issued two previous records; the last, From Africa with Fury: Rise, in 2011, was co-produced by Brian Eno and John Reynolds. In the 21st century, there are literally hundreds of bands throughout the globe playing Afrobeat, with most adding a unique spin to the tradition; Kuti respects that. At seven tracks and 43 minutes, this set is tighter, shorter, and punchier than Fela's or Seun's earlier records, and takes into consideration a new palette of sounds. He enlisted Robert Glasper as co-producer (who also plays keyboards throughout), as well as help from rappers M-1 and Blitz the Ambassador. While Fela brought a certain narrative, hypnotic elegance to his music, Seun has replaced it -- at least here -- with the raw aggression of hip-hop and punk. Opener "I.M.F." is a stomping, jittery, crunching, fat, horn-driven anthem, with funky basslines, choppy guitars, and drums. M-1 delivers a rap that underscores Kuti's Pan-African lyrics with a global street perspective. Glasper's spacy keyboards add just a hint of air to the dense mix. His trancey keyboard atmospherics -- and funky clavinet -- can be heard on the hypno-groove in "Higher Consciousness," with a fine staccato horn chart and tightly woven lead and chorus vocals. "Ohun Riye" is a break from the rage. It's a skittering, Yoruban highlife jam with lyrics that celebrate life's spiritual qualities. Blitz the Ambassador helps out on "African Smoke," with hip-hop rhymes woven into the jazzier side of Afrobeat. The militant message delivered by Kuti is underscored line by line by his female chorus. There's also a fine trumpet solo by Oladimeji Akinyele. Closer "Black Woman" is the set's big surprise. A drifty, jazzy, nocturnal groover with killer lead guitar from David Obanyedo, it features sweet guest vocals from Nneka. Along with Glasper's signature keyboards, it has a winding, breezy horn chart atop multiple layers of drums and guitars. It's a feminist anthem that pays homage to the strength, commitment, courage, and struggle black women experience in everyday life. A Long Way to the Beginning is the most ambitious and angry record in Kuti's catalog. Its Afrobeat attack is hyper aggressive. It hammers the anger home in most tunes, and that's exactly what he feels young people around the world are projecting. He's telling them they're not only heard, but that he feels it too. AMG.

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