Saturday, February 28, 2009

McCoy Tyner - Lugano Jazz Festival (2005) (mp3, 128kbps)

Another thunderously powerful show from a true master. Whether you're hearing him with a big band, as a trio, or in an an all-star quintet, as here, he always BRINGS it. This is right off the radio, so the quality is basically an A+.

For those of you unfamiliar with Tyner's shtick, this is very much in the feel eraly 60's Coltrane Quartet. This is not avant garde noise exploration. On the contrary, there is beautiful melody and composition that you will like right away. But it is all INTENSE. McCoy has a heavy touch, and even here, at the age of 68, the bop is as hard as ever.

  1. Soulstice (10:19)
  2. Manalyuca (13:02)
  3. Blues On The Corner (9:40)
  4. Angelina (20:16)
  5. Moment's Notice (8:12)
  6. Ballad For Aisha (12:27)

McCoy Tyner - piano
Gary Bart - alto sax
Ravi Coltrane - tenor sax
Charnett Moffett - bass
Eric Gravatt - drums

The link is in the comments.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

S.B.B. - Göttingen - Alte Ziegelei Live'77 (released 2004) (mp3, vbr)

Even today, S.B.B. are all about the 'official' bootleg. That was necessitated by their extraordinary live show. This was a prog band with great musicianship and love for jazz. In the live settings, the songs were more akin to 'heads' around which the band's dynamic mission would take place - S.B.B. equals Search, Build, Break. As far as what I've heard, that was something they did far more successfully live. I guess studio time was a bit expensive for too much 'Search'-ing.

Between 1974 and 1980, this band created a lot of extraordinary music, both in the studio and on the road. We are now enjoying a new wave of live releases from this period, which includes shows from Koln, Marburg, and Nekargamund, all in this special period, all with the band at the height of its powers. There is also a brand, spanking new studio album, which is pretty damn good - 'Iron Curtain'. This will actually be released in the states in a few weeks, and he European version I've heard shows there's still a fire in Józef Skrzek's 60 year old belly.

This one's more essential listening. A little on the early side of when things started to get really good. This is before Piwowar joined, so it's just Antymos on guitar, and he shreds mightily. Józef Skrzek is his usual outrageous self, sort of a mix between Tony Banks and a Polish, bass playing Joe Cocker. Check him out on Youtube for the full effect. You're not exactly dealing with Joe Zawinul here.

1. Ze słowem biegnę do Ciebie - introdukcja
2. Toczy się koło historii
3. Wolność z nami - temat
4. Światłowód
5. W kołysce dłoni Twych (Pretty Face)
6. Follow My Dream (instr.)
7. Follow Our Music - bass solo
8. Odejście - finał
9. Drums solo
10. Freedom With Us
11. Wołanie o brzęk szkła - finał
12. Coda
13. I Want Somebody (bonus track)

Józef Skrzek / vocals, keyboards, bass, harmonica
Apostolis Antymos / guitar
Jerzy Piotrowski / percussion & drum

The link is in the comments.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sylbat - Mara (2008) (mp3, 128 kbps)

New prog from France, and it's tasty. They cite Mahavishnu, King Crimson and Weather Report as influential, and you can hear that, but the band's composition is something different than any of those acts. First of all, there is no keyboard. Instead, there is a prominent electric harp that carries off much of the Zawinul-esque texture. This gives the music, which is groove and jam oriented, an almost Celtic flair that really drew me right in.

The other exciting thing about the band's composition is that the harpist and the guitarist are both young women - that is not something normally associated with prog. Oh sure, we have the tradition of female vocalists going all the way back to Annie Haslam and Rennaissance, but this is an instrumental outfit.

Regardless of gender, the result is a very satisfying groove that varies in dynamics in a way that certainly recalls the legendary collaboration of Zawinul and Shorter. In the same way that those musicians evolved the vision of Miles Davis, Sylbat is looking to, once again, push the envelope with something that is both technically exciting and emotionally engaging. I can't wait to see what they do next.

1. Bull Machine (6:35)
2. Gigue Hantesque (5:29)
3. Magmafrica (7:41)
4. Menn (5:38)
5. Androide (7:12)
6. Transfert (1:02)
7. Tour D'ivoire (6:52)
8. Marche Des Sept Pas (5:27)
9. Valse Des Loups (6:10)
10. Mara (2:17)

- Clotilde Trouillaud / electroharp
- Patrick Boileau / drums
- Hilaire Rama / bass
- Hélène Brunet / guitar

The link is in the comments.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Albert King - Live Wire/Blues Power (1968) (mp3, 320kbps)

Let me just put it this way - this is the best blues record of all time. How's that for bold? How's that for extreme? Well, let me, maybe, take it one further - is there a better 36 minutes of guitar in any style, anywhere, ever?

Listen for yourself and decide. That's what I did about twenty-plus years ago when I was just learning to play guitar. I did not decide to like the blues. No one listened to the blues in my house when I was a little boy. I listened to rock and pop and whatever else was on the radio. In the early 80's I discovered Eric Clapton and that started me going backwards to the blues REAL fast. And then I found this record, and it was all over. When I heard, this the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up and I knew that I had been chosen, chosen by the blues.

This isn't the jazzy single-note bounce that BB was doing. This is Texas. This is a six and a half foot giant southpaw with a right-hander's Flying V named Lucy. And he even strung it for a righty and then he just flipped it over. No one had ever done that before. There was no frame of reference for that style. Albert had to reinvent the finger-to-note relationship. A few have tried to replicate the feat, but no one has acheived any notoriety playing this way. Even Jimi Hendrix, who was a lefty playing a right-handed guitar, strung it backwards so it would make sense. Albert King made his own sense.

The result is a stinging, searing solo style that just goes on and on. It's a sound that can peal the paint of your walls, remove the fillings in your teeth and rearrange internal organs. That's Blues Power.

"Watermelon Man" (Herbie Hancock) – 4:04
"Blues Power" (King) – 10:18
"Night Stomp" (Raymond Jackson, King) – 5:49
"Blues At Sunrise" (King) – 8:44
"Please Love Me" (B.B. King, Jules Taub) – 4:01
"Look Out" (King) – 5:20

Albert King – Electric guitar and vocals
Willie James Exon – Guitar
James Washington – Organ
Roosevelt Pointer – Bass
Theotis Morgan – drums

Produced by Al Jackson

The link is in the comments.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lindsey Buckingham - The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (1992) (mp3, 160kbps)

I've been playing guitar for a few decades and few things make me happier. It takes me back to the innocence of my youth, when we used to ask each other questions like, "Who would you rather be, Superman or Luke Skywalker?" Well, I wouldn't want to be Lindsey, but if there's one guitarist's super powers I would like, it's this guy. I loved the dark curly hair, the custom-made Rick Turner guitars and that unstoppable, God-given talent. He could play, he could sing, he could write, he could produce - he did it all!! And the amazing thing is he's still doing it all as good as ever. Simply put, Lindsey is a monster.

Which brings us to this post. This is a soundboard-quality recording from the tour that supported 1992's Out Of The Cradle. That's a tremendous record which gives a perfect blend of the top-notch pop sensibilities, mixed with a fierce helping of the avant garde. It's an extreme studio record, with tons of overdubs, crazy percussion and dazzling, dizzying guitar. The tour was Lindsey's first as a solo artist and he was clearly tentative, not in his performance (always manic and intense) but in the scope. There were only a handful of dates and I thenk he even played as an opening act. His more recent outings have shown a much more cohesive, band-oriented approach to the live show.

But when I listen back to this perfect sounding show, I'm really taken at how well he pulled it off. The band looked unwieldy on stage (lots of extra guitars and vocals) but the sound is right where it should be. This is a great mix of the solo stuff (focusing on 'Out of the Cradle') and the obligatory Fleetwood Mac standards. His audience will never let him play a show without getting to hear 'Go Your Own Way'. It all comes across beautifully, so PLAY IT LOUD. That's what my Dad did back in the 70's and I've been loving it ever since.

Quality: A Live soundboard recording, unknown date and venue

Big Love
[Go Insane] - missing from this recording
Don't Look Down
The Chain
You Do or You Don't
I'm So Afraid
Street of Dreams
Never Going Back Again
All My Sorrows
This is the Time
Go Your Own Way
Eyes of the World
Soul Drifter

Sunday, February 08, 2009

James Booker - Blues & Ragtime From New Orleans (1976) (mp3, 160kbps)

Here's the other record from the same set of shows as the lp featured below. Just a quick note on the performance. Any bad behavior has been clipped out of this pair, which is fine. You just get sheer virtuosity, encompassing the classical training and the baddest boogie woogie ever. He blends all his considerable skills on these two records.

I also have nice scans of the back of the lp sleeves. If they are wanted, I will make them available.

1. Desitively Bonnaroo / Right Place Wrong Time
2. Tico Tico
3. Wake Up Mr. Moon Man
4. Save Your Love / Lonely Avenue
5. All By Myself / I'm In Love Again / Four Winds / Such A Wonderful Feeling
6. People Get Ready
7. Besame Mucho / Until The Real Thing Comes Along
8. Love Monkey / Feel So Bad
9. Ora
10. Baby Won't You Please Come Home

James Booker - The Piano Prince of New Orleans (1976) (mp3 160kbps)

What an outstanding treat. I feel like I'm sitting on a gold mine with these two posts. A few years ago the Dime coughed up this gem, indicating that it was a solo piano show by Mr. Booker emanating from a soundboard or FM source. The dates of the shows are October 29th and 30th, 1976. I made mp3 of this show available way back in the days of my version of That relic had 'Jazz and Blues Fridays', which then lead to the 'Prog Listening Group', which it still up and running and has plenty of tasty musical treats.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to figure out how to get the content off of the old page. The links are there, but the music is not. Worse still, Googling this show brings up that same old page - with links but no music. I've even had a request for these from some unknown music-lover. I would never have thought this item was so rare, but a quick search revealed zero good sources.

This morning, I finally found my copies of the disks, only having undergone lossless conversion. When I looked for info on these steller performances, I quickly found out why they sound so amazing. Excerpts of the two dates appear to have been released as two live albums in Germany. Good luck trying to get your hands on THAT vinyl!

So here's disc one - 'The Piano Prince of New Orleans'

1. Life
2. One Helluva Nerve
3. United Our Thing Will Stand
4. Slowly But Surely
5. Too Much Blues
6. Junko Partner
7. Classified
8. Stormy Monday
9. Sixty Minute Man / You Talk Too Much
10. Please Send Me Someone to Love

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Vangelis - Albedo 0.39 (1976) (mp3, 160kbps)

This instrumental, analog masterpiece could only have become a charting lp (#18 on UK Charts) in the glorious '70's. The success of this album touched off extraordinary soundtrack success, including an Oscar for Chariots of Fire. The sound pallet and melodic sense that you may recognize from Chariots of Fire is present in this earlier work, but the shorter works, conceived without pictures, is more comfortably in the realm of prog. He certainly gives the drums a good workout in 'Main Sequence', 'Alpha' and both parts of 'Nucleogenesis'. There are no guest musicians at any point on this record, only Vangelis' engineer giving the narration on the title track.

"Pulstar" – 5:45
"Freefall" – 2:20
"Mare Tranquillitatis" – 1:45
"Main Sequence" – 8:15
"Sword of Orion" – 2:05
"Alpha" – 5:45
"Nucleogenesis (Part One)" – 6:15
"Nucleogenesis (Part Two)" – 5:50
"Albedo 0.39" – 4:30