REVIEW: Max Wild’s “Tamba”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Africa is a vast continent, rich with cultures and languages that are quite complex to the outsider. Its music is just as diverse, with every country having characteristics that are different from one another, indigenous in spirit but also sharing some of its many outside influences. Max Wild takes in his outsider mentality and brings it within the heart of African to create Tamba (Obliqsound).

The music is very happy and proud, and in this case it’s a mixture of jazz with pop. It is not as heavy or funky as Fela Kuti, one might argue that it may sound like tourist/resort music, or “ready made for Disney” but that would be avoiding the power of the pride of the country they sing about. It is accessible, and with songs like “Kuvakidzana” and “Rudo Rwako” you may reminisce about the first time you were exposed to African music, with a team of vocalists who sing for love, honor, pride, and simply for being. While tracks such as “Voice”, “Butterfly”, and “In Your World” may be easier for the Western tongue to say, they do not lose any of the impact these musicians and singers offer, and Wild is able to bring forth the elegance of these songs while gluing them together with his saxophone work.

REVIEW: Bob Szajner Triad II’s “Live At The Detroit Montreux Jazz Festival 1981”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The liner notes indicate that Bob Szajner has become nothing more than than a footnote to Detroit’s thriving jazz scene, but this CD is part of a movement to show how much of an impact he could have made had circumstances not turned him the other way.

When Szajner performed at the Detroit Montreux Jazz Festival in 1981, most had not heard of him even though he had been playing for a number of years. When he moved away from his piano bench, he along with bassist Ed Pickens and drummer Frank Isola had the crowd crying for more. This CD released by Cadence Jazz Records is an archive of that live performance, and don’t let the humble cover photo fool you. it looks like a simple live performance done in a small outside venue, but as the music goes on, they show an incredible knack on how to move the crowd and each other, each of them driving the momentum to the point of no return, all without playing into a frenzy.

The anticipation in the music is similar to those live albums Dave Brubeck would recorded at colleges, many of which were recorded for release. In songs like “Three Four Montreux”, “Travesty”, “Isolation”, and “Class Conscious”, it’s almost as if they feel this is a make or break performance. They start out getting golf claps, but by the end you have people demanding encores.

The liner notes indicate that Bob Szajner would eventually leave the world of music altogether, but returned briefly a few years ago. Those who were at this 1981 show still remember it fondly, and now jazz fans will get a chance to hear someone who was on the… I was going to say “on the verge of making an impact” but he definitely made an impact on his music scene, as everyone had to know who this hot piano player was. But he didn’t take the aggressive road and some have argued his disappearance from the Detroit jazz scene also made an impact. Perhaps if younger musicians hear this and pay attention to what he, Pickens, and Isola did that afternoon, it will encourage them to stick it out for the love of musical communication.

REVIEW: Incandescent Sky’s “Four Faradays In A Cage”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Incansescent Sky are a band who haven’t released a new album in four years, but individually have created a plethora music that goes well beyond what people may know of them with this group. Together, John MacNeill (keyboards), John Orsi(drumset and percussion), Don Sullivan (guitar and guitar-to-MIDI), and Mike Marando (bass guitar) pull together all of their unique influences for Four Faradays In A Cage (it’s Twilight Time) to create a sound that sounds familiar at times, but you’re so caught up in what they’re creating that the “strangeness” (if you want to call it that) sounds like the comforts of home, or a time when new musical discoveries were the reason you looked forward to waking up in the morning.

Incandescent Sky merge together touches of jazz, rock, progressive rock, and new age to the point where they become one. It may sound like some long lost hippie scriptures from the high mountains of Bangla Desh, but those who were/are true to the improvisational music of the late 60’s and early 70’s, and those who have looked to creating spontaneity in music in the modern day, will love how each of these songs unfold from one envelope to the other. It’s tranquil when it wants to be, but then becomes complex a few minutes later, like some of the best Italian soundtrack albums. “The Byways” is a track that goes for only 4:17 but may be the one compact way to take in what they do in the shortest amount of time, in fact it is the shortest song on the album. Sullivan’s guitar work builds on itself, layer upon layer, it may bring to mind the slide guitar of David Gilmour before grooving on in a Stone Gossard-type fashion. Orsi’s drum work is an important core to the their song, it may sound simple but is consistent just as Jaki Liebezeit was to Can, and with a different perspective, one can hear how the others in the band build around Orsi. With an altered perspective, you may hear everyone building around MacNeill, and that’s the thing about Incandescent Sky, every perspective is a legitimate one.

The best songs on here are those that are over the ten minute mark, such as “Orange Ice” (10:20) and the mindblowing title track (16:25), for they truly explore the potential of sound, both in each other and what the song can provide in terms of emotion, elegance, and sheer strength. Fans of Embryo, Tangerine Dream, Supersilent, and The Necks will find this to be the kind of listening endurance test that results in the kind of satisfaction that can only come from musicians who truly know about and love the music they create. While I don’t do drugs, I can only imagine the possibilities of Four Daradays In A Cage in the proper settings, so for those who are into audio mind expansion, get ready to roll.

REVIEW: Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson Trio’s “Six”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Six (Konnex) is the sixth album Michael Jefry Stevens (piano), Jeff “Siege” Siegel (drums), and Tim Ferguson (bass) have recorded together as a 3-piece unit, even though they have done many other projects together in some combination for years. I know when I see any of their names, it’s in my mind a musical event, and together it means “stop what I’m doing, it’s time to listen to fantastic musicianship.”

As with previous albums together, they mix in their original songs along with classic jazz gems, in this case we have Thelonious Monk‘s “Straight No Chaser”, and the pop standard “It’s Only A Paper Moon” (made famous by, among many, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole). I think what I like the most about these three is the anticipation one has for their playing individually and as a unit, as if you’re friends of theirs and you’re encouraging them to a school yard battle. You don’t want to see them fight, but this battle is a must. You don’t care about who gets hurt, it’s about the goal of winning, and these three play as if there’s no tomorrow, but with such a spirit and dedication to jazz that you want to know when they’ll record or perform next. Think of any master of jazz, be it Phil Woods, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, Jack DeJohnette, or anyone, and you hear the echoes of them in Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson, whose reverberations on this album will soon be heard in the next generations of jazz to come.

REVIEW: Ellen Honert’s “Hummingville”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Upon popping in the new album by Ellen Honert I wasn’t sure what I would hear, but I was fearing the worst because of my dislike of most vocal jazz. Then she started to sing.

I know it’s harsh and in truth it’s not her or her voice, but it’s just that her voice is not to my liking, despite the decent selection of songs on Hummingville (Mill Station). She does a decent cover of Sting‘s “I Was Brought To My Senses”, but that’s where my interest ended. Okay, I’ll take that back. What moved me was the band that backed her, which includes Frank Martin (piano and Hammond organ, and co-writer on songs she wrote with Honert), Alex Acuña (drums/percussion), John Peña (bass), Pedro Eustache (flute), and Jose Neto (guitar). I could listen to these guys all day, even with terrible singers, and what kept me listening to this CD in full was their musicianship. I just found Honert to be lackluster to my ears, but that doesn’t mean she’s a bad singer, because she can sing. She’s just not to my liking. As for Martin and the cast of musicians here, let me hear an abundance of much more.


SOME STUFFS: Wavves push their new album up by a month

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By looking at this picture, it might seem the guys in Wavves need shaves, or at least haircuts. But really, fuck that. These three men are about to release King of the Beach (Fat Possum) very soon. If you love hard copy, you can obtain it on August 3rd. For you digital totoys, it will be on iTunes on July 1st and make other digital rounds on July 13th, weeks before the street date. Kinda sucks, but what can you do, they’re Wavves.

The band are currently doing a small handful of shows, which will be followed by a time-out period before they go on the road again in August. This is where they’ll be:

June 26 Philadelphia, PA The Barbary *
June 27 Montclair, NJ Meat Locker
August 06 Chicago, IL Lollapalooza
August 07 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle / Lollapalooza afterparty #
August 12 San Diego, CA Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego +

* = w/ Cloud Nothings
# = w/ Harlem
+ = w/ Shepard Fairey (DJ Set) Presents: Wavves “King of the Beach” from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

VIDEO: Wampire rocks the crowd at Burgerville
You’re an indie rock band in your city, and you want to let everyone know who you are, what you sound like, and what you’re about, so what do you do? If you’re Wampire, you head to your local Burgerville and rock out while satisfying/freaking out customers. This is the future of rock, and you’re welcome.

(Video courtesy of Portland Mercury.)

VIDEO: Suicide Death Force’s “Baba O’Riley”

Suicide Death Force plays Baba O’Riley from Chris Schlarb on Vimeo.

My sister calls the song “Baba Gnoosh”, others have called it “Teenage Wasteland”, but of course it’s called “Baba O’Riley”, as performed by The Who in 1971 on their Who’s Next album (a/k/a “the shishi cover”). This cover version is performed by a school band called Suicide Death Force. These music students are from Hawthorne Academy, a private non-public school, and musician/producer Chris Schlarb is their instructor (the man on guitar on the right). The students, most of whom are 15, learned the song for their graduation ceremony, and as you’ll see and hear, they did a very good job. It may have freaked out the younger children in the crowd who didn’t realize the CSI: NY theme had more to it than the 30 seconds they’re exposed to, but then again, one would hope those kids are watching Kid Nick and not CSI: NY but what do I know.

Outside of music projects he always seems to be producing, Schlarb is currently putting together a documentary film on ice cream trucks called We Scream: Voices From The Ice Cream Underground, which will add the term “director” to his impressive line of work.

We Scream Trailer from Chris Schlarb on Vimeo.

SOME STUFFS/RECORD CRACK: Go Rydell to release debut album in July

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Fans of the Orlando, Florida-based band Go Rydell have been waiting for their debut album to drop when it was announced they were signed to Black Numbers, and now they only have about a month left to wait.

The band is coming out with The Golden Age, and fans of punk with a slight pop touch will want to get to know what this band is about. The album will be released on vinyl in a limited pressing of only 500 copies (100 Blue, 150 White, 250 Green), and each LP comes with access to a free MP3 download of the album. That’s perfect: MP3’s for your digital player of choice, the LP for your turntable enjoyment. Black Numbers have the album available to pre-order, including a package deal where collectors can order one copy of each color pressing, along with a 4-record package deal where they’ll throw in a black vinyl test pressing (audiophiles will tell you the black vinyl pressing is arguably better sounding than a color vinyl, but this is punk rock, who cares right?) Head over to Black Numbers to select which package suits your listening needs.

Go Rydell just hit the road with Nightlights, so if you’re on the East Coast, see where they’ll be next:
JUN 23 – Pembroke Pines, FL @ The Talent Farm w/ Touche Amore
JUN 24 – Orlando, FL @ Hoops Tavern w/ Touche Amore, Maker, Late Nite Wars, Nightlights, Battle
JUN 25 – Atlanta, GA @ PS Warehouse w/ Nightlights, Maker, Late Nite Wars
JUN 26 – Greenville, SC @ The Channel w/ Nightlights
JUN 27 – Greensboro, NC @ Arts By Alexander w/ Nightlights, Late Night Wars
JUN 29 – Richmond, VA @ The Camel w/ Nightlights
JUN 30 – Philadelphia, PA @ The OX w/ Nightlights
JUL 01 – Nanuet, NY @ Le Garage w/ Nightlights, Motorcycle Industry
JUL 02 – Mendon, MA @ RAD Skatepark w/ Nightlights
JUL 03 – Garden City, NY @ EHS w/ Nightlights
JUL 04 – Happauge, NY @ House Show w/ Nightlights, Ink and Lead
JUL 05 – Hackettstown, NJ @ House Show w/ Nightlights, Banquets
JUL 06 – Wester Chester, PA @ Basement Show w/ Nightlights, Bearings, Spraynard
JUL 07 – York, PA @ The Skid Row Garage w/ Nightlights
JUL 08 – Bethlehem, PA @ Secret Art Space w/ Nightlights
JUL 09 – Baltimore, MD @ Charm City Art Space w/ Nightlights
JUL 11 – Savannah, GA @ Sweet Mellisa’s Pizza Place w/ Nightlights
JUL 13 – Pembroke Pines, FL @ The Talent Farm w/ Nightlights, Featherweight