SOME STUFFS: Audio Fidelity remaster albums by Herbie Hancock and Billy Cobham

AF: Herbie Hancock/BillY Cobham photo AF_HancockCobham_covers_zpsvktqhkpk.jpg
Audio Fidelity are exploring the world of 70’s jazz with two new SACD remasters due out on February 26th.

  • Thrust was Herbie Hancock’s follow-up to his massively successful Head Hunters album so after making an impact with that, he decided to go even furhter. The year was 1974 and with everyone waiting to see what he and his band would do, he went there and then went further than that into a soothing and funky vibe that has been loved by jazz, funk, soul and years later, hip-hop fans alike. Like Head Hunters, Thrust shines the spotlight on nothing but four cuts but each one displays a sense of power and warmth that still holds up. This is the album that also includes the song “Butterfly”.
  • It was with Spectrum that drummer Billy Cobham moved to a higher level than he was before as a member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Released on Atlantic Records, Cobham is joiuned by Jan Hammer, Lee Sklar, Tommy Bolin, and Ray Barretto for a set of music that moved him within his Mahavishnu groove but also helped make people realize he’s much more than just part of the maniacal fusion machine of his band. This one managed to be more accessible than what he did with his group, which allowed the album to make it to the #1 spot on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart.

    Both of these albums were also released in quadraphonic counterparts, and they will be released as part of the hybrid SACD, which means everyone will be able to hear newly remastered versions of each album on one side while those with SACD players can listen to the quad mix as well. This is the first time the quad mix of Thrust has been released digitally, while the quad mix of Spectrum had come out as a DVD-Audio disc 15 years ago so it’s a chance to pick it up to hear the surround sound mix if you missed it before.

  • RECORD CRACK: Frank Zappa’s “Apostrophe (‘)” album to be re-issued on vinyl

     photo FZA_cover_zpseb3f3dee.jpg
    It’s considered one of Frank Zappa’s most cherished albums, and now for those of you who have been trying to hunt down an older copy of it but have been unable to locate it, good luck my friend. Apostrophe (‘) will be reissued on vinyl by
    USM on October 20th. Originally released 40 years ago, this is the album where Zappa is joined by the likes of George Duke, Jack Bruce, Ruth Underwood, Ian Underwood, Sugar Cane Harris, Jean-Luc Ponty, Ray Collins, Napoleon Murphy Brock, and many more. The album features such greats as “Cosmik Debris”, “Excentrifugal Forz”, the awesome title track, and the mega popular means of advice called “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow”. No word yet on who is remastering this new pressing but as soon as I find out, I’ll let everyone know.

    REVIEW: Rented Mule’s “X”

    Great jazz gets me going, funky jazz has me sold, so when you combine the two genuinely, I’m wanting to shake what’s left and just get locked into the grooves they’re slicing left and right. Now add to that a bit of fusion and what might sound like a collision ready to get ugly, it’s perfect in the hands of Rented Mule, who combine these elements successfully on X (self-released).

    They may call it jazz-rock, perhaps in the vein of Santana‘s mid-70’s output, and you would come very close, but Carlos Santana always flirted with jazz without ever pushing it to the side (at least in that era of his career). X sounds a bit like Frank Zappa if he wanted to jam with Tower Of Power, complete with great musicianship and arrangements, and a tightness that you want to somehow get inbetween in order to, in your mind, truly feel its magic. The rhythm section of bassist Danny Greenberg and drummer Don “DA” Jones are the bands core, and with them the entire band follow while not being afraid to share their individual qualities in their instruments. It’s loose and funky, and when there is a guitar solo (duties of which are exchanged between Pete McRae, Ron Budesa), it takes the music on another playing field. It’s very much in the spirit of those jazz/funk/fusion albums of the mid to late 70’s, where jazz was splintering into more directions yet keeping to the integrity of the music.

    They’re more than capable of backing any vocalist if they wanted to, but this is an all instrumental album, which is perfect. Solid from start to finish, I’d like to see these guys become a house band for a talk show, or maybe do some movie soundtracks.