Gilberto Gil – Gil Luminoso (1999) {DRG Records 31618 rel 2006}

Gilberto Gil - Gil Luminoso (1999) {DRG Records 31618 rel 2006}

Gilberto Gil – Gil Luminoso (1999) {DRG Records 31618 rel 2006}
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© 1999, 2006 DRG Records / GeGe Prod / Sarapui Prod | 31618
Música popular brasileira / MPB / Brazilian Traditions / Brazilian Pop

Throughout his four-decades-plus career as one of Brazil’s most popular singers, Gilberto Gil has restlessly sought new avenues of expression, from the heady and fiery psychedelic Tropicalia of the ’60s to his 2002 album of Bob Marley covers, Kaya N’Gan Daya. But there was one thing Gil had never attempted until now, an album spotlighting nothing but his voice and guitar. Gil Luminoso is, by its very nature, one of the most intimate recordings he has ever made and, not surprisingly, one of the loveliest and most moving.

Gil’s tender, placid voice and understated guitar work project much warmth and soulfulness, and despite the lack of accompaniment it’s as whole as any music he’s made before. Gil, Brazil’s Minister of Culture at the time of this recording, reached into his considerable songbook for 15 songs that would be apropos for solo presentation, and chose material from as far back as the late ’60s: romantic, spiritual, political, philosophical. It’s quintessential Gil, at his finest, sans help. This CD was nominated for a Grammy award in 2007 for Best Contemporary World Music Album.

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Gilberto Gil – Gil Luminoso (1999) {DRG Records 31618 rel 2006}

Sonny Stitt – Moonlight In Vermont (1977) {Denon Japan 38C38-7046 rel 1983}

Sonny Stitt - Moonlight In Vermont (1977) {Denon Japan 38C38-7046 rel 1983}

Sonny Stitt – Moonlight In Vermont (1977) {Denon Japan 38C38-7046 rel 1983}
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© 1977, 1983 Denon / Nippon Columbia | 38C38-7046
Jazz / Bop / Saxophone

Sonny Stitt, doubling on alto and tenor, is in fine form on this quartet session (a Japanese import CD) with either Barry Harris or Walter Davis on piano, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Tony Williams. The repertoire (bop standards, blues and ballads) is fairly typical and nothing too unusual occurs, but fans of straightahead jazz in general and Sonny Stitt in particular will be satisfied with this above-average effort, highlighted by “It Might as Well Be Spring” and “Constellation.”

Continue reading “Sonny Stitt – Moonlight In Vermont (1977) {Denon Japan 38C38-7046 rel 1983}”

Sonny Stitt – Moonlight In Vermont (1977) {Denon Japan 38C38-7046 rel 1983}

Gerry Mulligan – Jeru (1962) {2014 Japan Jazz Collection 1000 Columbia-RCA Series SICP 4024}

Gerry Mulligan - Jeru (1962) {2014 Japan Jazz Collection 1000 Columbia-RCA Series SICP 4024}

Gerry Mulligan – Jeru (1962) {2014 Japan Jazz Collection 1000 Columbia-RCA Series SICP 4024}
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© 1962, 2014 Columbia / Sony Music Japan | SICP 4024
Jazz / Cool / West Coast Jazz / Baritone Saxophone

Reissue with latest 2014 DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. Jeru was a favor that Gerry Mulligan did for his drummer, Dave Bailey, who owned a startup label called Jazzline. Mulligan was bet-ween recording contracts. The ensemble played together only once, during the four-and-a-half-hour session when Jeru was made in 1962. It features Tommy Flanagan on piano, Ben Tucker on bass, Bailey on drums and Alec Dorsey on congas. The album never appeared on Jazzline because CBS bought the master and released it on Columbia.

It was Mulligan’s first-ever experience of recording with a piano without the presence of other soloists. Not for a moment would you suspect that he is in uncharted waters. Jeru flawlessly swings with a relaxed, throbbing, positive life force. Mulligan’s guttural gliding and Flanagan’s pristine comping are almost too perfect for jazz. “Here I’ll Stay” and “You’ve Come Home” could roll and tumble forever. The concluding “Lonely Town” begins in poignant whispers but can’t resist the pull of sprightly double time.

The recorded sound, achieved by an unidentified engineer at Nola Penthouse Studio in New York City, has remarkable presence and three-dimensionality. Jeru is one of the quickest 30 minutes in jazz.

Gerry Mulligan – Jeru (1962) {2014 Japan Jazz Collection 1000 Columbia-RCA Series SICP 4024}

Richard & Linda Thompson – Sunnyvista (1979) {Chrysalis CCD 1247}

Richard & Linda Thompson - Sunnyvista (1979) {Chrysalis CCD 1247}

Richard & Linda Thompson – Sunnyvista (1979) {Chrysalis CCD 1247}
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© 1979 Chrysalis Records | CCD 1247
Rock / Folk Rock / British Folk / British Folk Rock

1978’s First Light marked Richard & Linda Thompson’s first time in a recording studio after three years away from music, and it suggested they were still getting warmed up as performers; a year later, Sunnyvista found them in much stronger form and a significantly more upbeat frame of mind. Sunnyvista is the wittiest and most joyous album Richard & Linda made together; while several of Richard Thompson’s trademark meditations on romance at it’s least successful are on hand, “Why Do You Turn Your Back” manages to generate an unusually soulful groove, “Lonely Hearts” captures the melancholy country feel that First Light never quite caught, and “Traces of My Love” finds a winning warmth in its sadness.

Richard Thompson’s satirical eye gets an airing on the darkly witty title cut, and he displays his rarely aired politically conscious streak on the rabble-rousing “Borrowed Time” and “Justice in the Streets.” Linda Thompson’s vocals are in superb form on “Sisters,” a lovely duet with Anna McGarrigle. And you’d have to go back to Hokey Pokey to hear the Thompsons having as much fun as they do on the rollicking “Saturday Rolling Around” and the wildly passionate “You’re Going to Need Somebody.” With a big band of Fairport Convention and Albion Band associates and top UK session players on board, and Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Gerry Rafferty, and Glenn Tilbrook contributing vocals, Sunnyvista boasts the stylistic eclecticism of the Thompsons’ best work, with a healthy dose of added enthusiasm. Anyone who thinks Richard & Linda Thompson’s records are always depressing have obviously never heard Sunnyvista; if it isn’t quite as resonant as I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight and Pour Down Like Silver, it still boasts great songs, great singing, and you can play it at a party.

Richard & Linda Thompson – Sunnyvista (1979) {Chrysalis CCD 1247}

Gary Bartz – Anthology (2004) {Soul Brother Records CD SBPJ 23}

Gary Bartz - Anthology (2004) {Soul Brother Records CD SBPJ 23}

Gary Bartz – Anthology (2004) {Soul Brother Records CD SBPJ 23}
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© 1970s, 2004 Soul Brother Records / Passion Music | CD SBPJ 23
Jazz / Jazz Funk / Modern Creative / Soul Jazz

Soul Brother has given us a long overdue compilation of Gary Bartz’s experimental jazz material from the 1970s, beginning with his classic Harlem Bush Music albums, Taifa and Uhuru from 1970 and 1971, with his band NTU Troop. While it’s impossible to overstate the influence his brief tenure with Miles Davis had on him (Bartz is featured on the Live-Evil recordings), the saxophonist and composer was exploring other avenues of creative black music as well, from funk to soul to the blues. The 12 cuts here begin with the sublime “Celestial Blues,” from that seminal NTU Troop debut set.

The band included vocalist/keyboardist Andy Bey, bassist Ron Carter, drummer Harold White, and percussionist Nat Bettis in the mix. Following is “Uhuru Sasa,” with a killer call-and-response vocal from Bartz and Bey, and “Drinking Song,” which similarly follows suit but with a fiery, deep solo from Bartz. “Dr. Follow’s Dance” from Follow the Medicine Man marks the accent on the blistering electric funk groove. Bey left the band and was replaced by Hubert Eaves, II, who added a smoother, more R&B-oriented dimension to the band’s sound. “I’ve Known Rivers” is from the live set of the same name, with Stafford James on bass and Eaves on acoustic and electric piano, and melds soul, R&B, and Native American folk music with Bartz’s post-Coltrane modal sensibilities. Bartz’s vocal is just beautiful and inspiring here. The transition is complete with “I Wanna Be Where You Are,” written by T-Boy Ross and Leon Ware. Spacey for Marvin Gaye, slippery, shimmering, and utterly in the pocket, it winds through the entire history of black music to execute its popping ethereal groove. There are also tracks here from Juju Man and the rare Shadow Do (“Sea Gypsy”/”Gentle Smiles”). The disc’s final two offerings come from Bartz’s Blue Note album, Music Is My Sanctuary, which was produced by Larry Mizell; these include the title track and “Carnaval de l’Espirit.” What is notable about these final two songs is their utter abandonment of the jazz fake-book (even with a very large – 17 piece – band) for urban soul. The late vocalist Syreeta Wright is present on these tunes, as are Wah Wah Watson, Mtume, and Eddie Henderson. These last two selections are the bookends that show just how far Bartz had traveled on his journey, always keeping melody, harmony, and innovative rhythmic and modal ideas at the center of his aesthetic. Anthology is highly recommended for a slim but nonetheless dynamite portrait of the artist during one of the most exciting periods of his career.

Gary Bartz – Anthology (2004) {Soul Brother Records CD SBPJ 23}

Various Artists – Dr. L. Subramaniam Presents Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival (1992-2000) {2CD Sony Music-Viji Records L2C 3008 2} (ft. Herbie Hancock}

Various Artists - Dr. L. Subramaniam Presents Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival (1992-2000) {ft. Herbie Hancock}

Various Artists – Dr. L. Subramaniam Presents Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival (1992-2000) {2CD Sony Music-Viji Records L2C 3008 2} (ft. Herbie Hancock}
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© 1992-2000 Sony Music / Viji Records | L2C 3008 2
Folk Music / Western Classical / Indian Classical / Fusion / Classical Crossover / World Music

Dr. Laxminarayana is renowened violinist and the father of three outstanding violin players namely Dr. L. Subramaniam, L. Shankar and L. Vaidyanathan. This music of this album is recorded in Dr. Laxminarayana Global Music Festival conduced in various countries from 1992 to 2000. The performances included in this album ranges from World Fusion to Roots and Folk to Western Classical & Indian Classical. Along with Dr. L. Subramaniam, Some stellar musicians have been participated in this festival including Herbie Hancock, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Jie-Bing Chen etc. Enjoy.

Various Artists - Dr. L. Subramaniam Presents Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival (1992-2000) {ft. Herbie Hancock}
Various Artists – Dr. L. Subramaniam Presents Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival (1992-2000) {2CD Sony Music-Viji Records L2C 3008 2} (ft. Herbie Hancock}

Hespèrion XXI & Jordi Savall – Ostinato (2002) {Alia Vox AV 9820}

Hesperion XXI & Jordi Savall - Ostinato (2002) {Alia Vox AV 9820}

Hespèrion XXI & Jordi Savall – Ostinato (2002) {Alia Vox AV 9820}
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© 2002 Alia Vox | AV 9820
Classical / Early Music / Baroque / Renaissance

Ostinato is an anthology which brings together the most representative works of the art of improvisation and of a musical form based on a unique concept of the basso, which is repeated sequentially throughout the compositions.

Following the astonishing success of La Folia, Jordi Savall began work on an in-depth study and reappraisal of the most interesting works created around the basso ostinato. The musical journey of Ostinato, covering 150 years and crossing the lenght and breadth of Europe, takes us from the early works of Diego Ortiz to Johann Pachelbel’s Canon. This recording gives us insight into two types of composition. On the one hand, there are the richly improvised works which were built around the raw material provided by Ortiz, with the added development of a single-voice part (for viola) – such as Greensleeves to a Ground, Canarios and Gallarda Napolitana. On the other hand, we have those compositions which were constructed along the more elaborate lines of chamber music, allowing a free, uninterrupted interplay among the instruments (Falconiero, Marini, Purcell, Pachelbel).

The multiplicity of solutions developed on the basis of the system which is common to all the works included in the anthology results in a disc full of contrasts, variety, verve and surprise.

Hespèrion XXI & Jordi Savall – Ostinato (2002) {Alia Vox AV 9820}