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}

Sandy Denny – 19 Rupert St (1967) {Witchwood Media WMCD 2053 rel 2011}

Sandy Denny - 19 Rupert St (1967) {Witchwood Media WMCD 2053 rel 2011}

Sandy Denny – 19 Rupert St (1967) {Witchwood Media WMCD 2053 rel 2011}
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© 1967, 2011 Witchwood Media | WMCD 2053
Folk / Acoustic / British Folk / Folk Rock

Although little Sandy Denny material was released prior to her first album as part of Fairport Convention (1969’s What We Did on Our Holidays), quite a few pre-Fairport recordings of the singer’s survive, though they usually weren’t made in the most technically sophisticated settings. This CD, recorded in the Glasgow home of folk singer Alex Campbell on August 5, 1967, was salvaged from a cassette and issued in 2011, when interest in Denny’s work had escalated to a point where even documents of rather lo-fi quality held enough interest to merit a commercial release. This is clearly a recording for serious Denny fans because of those technical limitations; even some of the other home recordings from the time that have found both official and bootleg release boast superior sound.

It should also be noted that some of the songs don’t feature Denny as sole vocalist, with Alex Campbell and Patsy Campbell (and even their two young boys) singing along with her on the least interesting tracks. The majority of it does spotlight Denny, however, and will be of interest to hardcore devotees, owing both to her habitually excellent singing and the presence of some songs not available in other versions. Among the most obscure are the traditional “The Leaves of Life,” likely learned from a Martin Carthy album; the similarly melancholy 16th century traditional tune “Balulalow”; “Trouble in Mind,” and “Fairy Tale Lullaby,” which John Martyn did on his first album. There are a few items more familiar to Denny followers, and these are the most enjoyable on the CD, and include Jackson Frank’s “Milk and Honey”; “Who Knows Where the Time Goes,” perhaps her most famous composition (and the only original number on this collection), and “She Moves Through the Fair,” which she’d sing in a much more fully produced version with Fairport on What We Did on Our Holidays. Even if this falls on the “for-fans-only” side of archival releases, Denny’s singing (and its suitability for haunting melodies in particular) can’t be faulted, and it’s sensitively packaged, with liner notes by the Strawbs’ Dave Cousins and annotation for each track.

Sandy Denny – 19 Rupert St (1967) {Witchwood Media WMCD 2053 rel 2011}

The Five Blind Boys Of Alabama – Deep River (1992) {Elektra Nonesuch 9 61441-2}

The Five Blind Boys Of Alabama - Deep River (1992) {Elektra Nonesuch 9 61441-2}

The Five Blind Boys Of Alabama – Deep River (1992) {Elektra Nonesuch 9 61441-2}
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© 1992 Elektra Nonesuch / Time Warner | 9 61441-2
Gospel / Black Gospel / Soul / Blues / Southern Gospel / Contemporary Gospel

On their umpteenth release, the Five Blind Boys of Alabama mix some modern blues and R&B into their core gospel sound. The rhythm section, led by the organ of the legendary Booker T. Jones, keeps the accompaniment simple as the group soars through some traditional material (“Closer Walk with Thee,” “Every Time I Feel the Spirit, “), a few originals by lead vocalist Clarence Fountain, and a transcendent version of Bob Dylan’s “I Believe in You.”

1992’s “Deep River” was a watershed of sorts for the Blind Boys; the support of a major label, terrific keyboards and production from legendary Stax sessionman Booker T. Jones, fine bass playing from James Jamerson Jr. (yes, son of the famed Motown session bassist of the ’60s), and top-drawer material from Bob Dylan and others. At the end of the day, though, it’s the Blind Boys themselves who deliver the goods, making “Deep River” one of the finest gospel albums of the ’90s. Make no mistake–this isn’t contemporary Christian pop in any way, shape, or form. “Deep River” is hardcore southern gospel of the old school: lots of shoutin’, lots of testifyin’, an in-the-pocket rhythm section, those deep, soulful harmonies, and the unbelievable power of lead vocalist Clarence Fountain; imitated by many and matched by none. I’ve had the album since it was released and it’s one a short list of albums that I always reach for when I’m down, particular favorites being “God Said It,” “Down On Bended Knee,” “I’m Getting Better All the Time,” and the version of that old staple “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.” From start to finish “Deep River” will move the feet and feed the soul of even the most hardened agnostic.

The Five Blind Boys Of Alabama – Deep River (1992) {Elektra Nonesuch 9 61441-2}

Malia – Yellow Daffodils (2003) {Epic 503369/5 – bonus tracks}

Malia - Yellow Daffodils (2003) {Epic 503369/5 - bonus tracks}

Malia – Yellow Daffodils (2003) {Epic 503369/5 – bonus tracks}
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© 2003 Epic / Rêve Orange / Sony Music | 503369/5
Jazz / Vocal Jazz / Neo Soul / Soul Jazz / Jazz Pop

Malia’s vocal style is one that’s powerful, jazzy, classy, and daring from a musical perspective. The different tracks on the album showcase her willingness to experiment with big-band, jazz, hip-hop, soul, and international sounds. A couple of tracks that stand out are the up-beat “Lifting you high,” her sensual and seductive “India Song,” and her rendition of “solitude.” It is quite a shame that this artist will (probably) never see her album being released in the uS, as her style doesn’t “fit” the mold of the American urban and R&B stations. It is too classy to be noticed by fans of simple stuff like Ashanti or Mariah Carey.

Wow this album has such a great chilled-out feel good vibe to it. It compliments jazz smoothness with an up to date urban feel. It has a great jazz club feel to it (I think she used to sing in clubs in London). It is a really beautiful album.
Think of a felame Omar and you’re getting somewhere close.
The remixes are also r&b orientated, so this album is perfect for relaxing to.

Malia – Yellow Daffodils (2003) {Epic 503369/5 – bonus tracks}
2CELLOS - Celloverse (2015) {Portrait 88843087812}

2CELLOS – Celloverse (2015) {Portrait 88843087812}
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© 2015 Sony Music / Portrait | 88843087812
Classical / Classical Crossover / Classical Pop / Pop / Rock / Cellos

The third studio album from the internationally renowned Croatian classical/pop duo consisting of savvy cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, the self-produced Celloverse offers up 13 spirited slabs of rock-infused, classical crossover mayhem that are as elegant as they are downright fiery. Tracks include rousing renditions of rock hits from the likes of Iron Maiden (“The Trooper”), Radiohead (“Street Spirit”), Muse (“Hysteria”), and AC/DC (“Thunderstruck”), the latter of which segues into Vivaldi’s Cello Sonata No. 4 in E minor.

2CELLOS, music’s most electric and dynamic instrumental duo, return with their new album Celloverse. Self-produced by Sulic and Hauser, Celloverse showcases 2CELLOS’ unique ability to reinvent classic rock and pop songs, starting with ‘The Trooper Overture’, a metal-meets-classical mash up of Iron Maiden’s hit and Rossini’s ‘William Tell Overture’. The album also includes their take on AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ (having garnered over 30 ‘million views on YouTube), ‘I Will Wait’ by Mumford & Sons and Michael Jackson’s ‘They Don’t Care About Us’. Rounding off Celloverse is the Paul McCartney classic ‘Live and Let Die’, with special guest Lang Lang alongside the title track which is an original song penned and arranged by 2CELLOS themselves.

Propelled into international fame in 2011 after their version of Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’ went viral following an appearance on Glee, Croatian cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser return to their rock roots on their third al-bum, Celloverse. A visually dynamic act, 2CELLOS will create a music video for every song on the album.

2CELLOS playing style has broken down the boundaries between different genres of music, from classical and film music to pop and rock. They have no limits when it comes to performing live and are equally as impressive when playing Bach and Vivaldi as they are when rocking out. They have sold out shows around the globe and frequently perform with Sir Elton John as part of his band, as well as opening his shows to rapturous acclaim.