SOME STUFFS: Audio Fidelity gets into jazz fusion with new remasters

Audio Fidelity: Weather Report/Return To Forever photo AF-WRRTF_covers_zpseqrdvbrf.jpg
The folks at Audio Fidelity have been dipping into some morsels in the last year and as 2016 slowly comes to a close, they are entering the world of jazz fusion with new hybrid SACD remasters.

Tale Spinnin’ was Weather Report’s fifth album that came out in 1975. While my dad was not heavy into jazz fusion, he did love this album and I’m not sure if he was like me where he randomly chose an album and said “I’ll try this” or if he simply liked the cover. He bought it on cassette and it became one of his cruising albums. Personal reflection aside, this was the album produced bY Weather Report members Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter and this one contains some nice gems, including “Five Short Stories” and “Lusitanos”.

Musicmagic was Return To Forever’s seventh album which is also known for being the group’s last. This was the follow-up to the band’s successful Romantic Warrior album and with this one, Stanley Clarke and Chick Corea were the remaining two from the original line-up. There was a live album after Musicmagic but by then, it was over. Upon listening to Musicmagic, it sounded like they could’ve went on forever like their own name but they had other plans. This one has Clarke’s “So Long Mickey Mouse” while thea lbum ends with a song done by Corea and his wife Gayle Moran, “The Endless Night”.

The CD side will feature the original stereo mix of the album while the SACD side will contain the original quadraphonic mix. Both of these discs are scheduled for release on October 21st, both can be pre-ordered below via

REVIEW: Matteo Tundo’s “Zero Brane”

Matteo Tundo photo MatteoTundo_cover_zps8b5kpmqw.jpg The music on Matteo Tundo’s Zero Brane (Aut) isn’t what I would call free jazz but it could easily be called free form, if not leading to free form tendencies. Someone who is more in tune will say “this isn’t exactly free form” but let me explain before I started getting into a self-debate over what this music is.

Tundo is the guitarist within the band that features not only a traditional jazz group (whatever “traditional” may mean to you) but there’s also an occasional electronic vibe to it to, or at least someone named Alessio Riccio is credited with just “electronics”. He may be the Brian Eno of the function for all I know but while some of the music played on the album is free form, where things aren’t always as predictable as you want to assume, there is form and structure in each song. It’s not loose or an anything goes adventure but what Tundo and friends do is pull you into their scope and try to lure you with each movement, enhancement, and sound to make you stay on for their voyage. Traditional jazz this is not although that traditional side does pop up occasionally. It is an interesting listen but one that will make you want to hear this continuously and hear new things with each play.

(Zero Brane can be purchased from by clicking the cover below or through the Bandcamp player at the bottom.)

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

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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.

  • REVIEW: Urban Killas’ “Down On Earth”

    Urban Killas photo UrbanKillas_cover_zpsgahipph7.jpg With a name spelled like Urban Killas, some people may immediately assume they are hip-hop related but knowing this album was released on Aut Records, I knew it couldn’t be. Aut is generally jazz, but not just typical/ordinary jazz so I opened it up to find out what’s going on. Urban Killas could be considered jazz fusion, but that would be a loose interpretation of what this group can do. The musicians are Italian (Yuri Argentino (tenor/baritone sax); Andrea Vedovato (guitar); Riccardo Di Vinci (bass/doublebass); Simone Sferruzza – (drums)) but their music is other-worldly, their land of origin could not easily be detected based on what and how they sound. They create noise textures that could easily make them from New York City, Chicago, or Detroit or perhaps hanging out in some Medeski, Martin & Wood village circa The Dropper, or maybe in some German village or a Spanish village deep where the musicianship echoes in the valleys. It almost sounds like these guys are individually on their own track but without them bouncing off vibes and hints from one another, it wouldn’t sound as united as it really is. Things are chaotic and frantic in songs like “Icecream”, “Gas Panic”, and the opening track “Voices” and even when it feels like things are at a calm level, it’s anything but. If they are killers on urban upbringing or wanting to change what living in urban circumstances is defined as, Urban Killas are definitely going to spawn some sense of dialogue between one another, even if it means bringing in another horned instrument, killing it, then bringing it back to life.

    SOME STUFFS: Mahavishnu Orchestra & Jeff Beck remasters officially released

    Audio Fidelity: Mahavishnu Orchestra & Jeff Beck Group photo AF-MahaBeck_covers_zpshydzivpu.jpg
    Posted last month, some news about new remasters from Audio Fidelity on albums by the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Jeff Beck. Both titles were released today, so please order one of them (or perhaps both) below via Amazon.


    SOME STUFFS: Mahavishnu Orchestra & Jeff Beck remasters in August from Audio Fidelity

    Audio Fidelity: Mahavishnu Orchestra & Jeff Beck Group photo AF-MahaBeck_covers_zpshydzivpu.jpg
    Two new hybrid SACD’s from Audio Fidelity will be released on August 21st and these two are going to be scorchers.

  • The first one is a celebrated album by the Mahavishnu Orchestra called Birds Of Fire. Originally released in 1973 on Columbia, this was the band’s second album and one that got a lot of attention upon release, due to the musicianship of John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham, Jan Hammer, Rick Laird, and Jerry Goodman. It went as high as #15 on Billboard’s Album chart, which meant it was a success outside of the jazz chart, leading to the popularity of jazz fusion for the next few years. Due to its success, a quadraphonic mix was made for it and it is that quad mix that is part of this new hybrid SACD.
  • The Jeff Beck Group has been celebrated pretty much continuously since its release in 1972. It is the band’s fourth album and their last before Beck started to release music under his own name, but back then the Group consisted of Cozy Powell on drums, vocalist Bobby Tench, pianist Max Middleton, and Clive Chaman on bass. With Steve Cropper behind the board in production, this was something that has stood the test of time and some of its songs still get airplay on classic rock radio today. A quadraphonic mix was also made for this album and is a part of the hybrid SACD.

    Only the Jeff Beck remaster is available for pre-order from Amazon at this time so get it and wait patiently for its release.


  • VIDEO: Trioscapes’ “Digital Dream Sequence”

    The guys in Troscapes decided to put together a video for the title track to their Digital Dream Sequence album on Metal Blade Records released yesterday, and now they’re presenting it to you. It was directed by Chuck Johnson, so blame him and thank him for what you are about to watch or what you just witnessed.


    FREE DL: Weather Report’s “American Tango (Platurn Edit)”

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    DJ Platurn is back with an all new edit, and this time he is dipping into the world of jazz fusion. Weather Report find their “American Tango” (originally released on their Mysterious Traveller album, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year) taken to a place previously unimaged. It had been placed in the hands of Platurn and now it’s for you and all to hear.

    (NOTE: The file you’ll be downloading is a full WAV, so get to this while supplies last.)

    REVIEW: Ross McHenry’s “Distant Oceans”

     photo RossMcHenry_cover_zps899fa7a2.jpg Ross McHenry’s Distant Oceans (First Word) is the kind of jazz album that would have fit perfectly alongside albums by Weather Report, Stanley Clarke, Joe Zawinul, Ramsey Lewis, Herbie Hancock, or something equally as adventurous in the early to mid 1970’s. It’s a jazz album played by guys who have a love for funk and fusion, where the bass riffs may border on carefully played minimalism, which is perfect for potential samples and loops. The opening song, “Intercosmos”, sounds as if it could’ve lead to five or more different songs, be it Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk”, War’s “Beetles In The Bog”, or Bob James’ “Nautilus”, wherever you want it. The drum break that opens “Griffith Park” sounds ready made for a picnic, barbecue or any family gathering that will lead to people dancing, and the flute solo is gorgeous. Basically, what McHenry has done is put together an album that is well crafted from start to finish, with great album from Mark de Clive Lowe, Dylan Marshall, Jon Hunt, Luca Spiler, Myele Manzanza, Adam Page. It was interesting to note that we now live in an era of post-Dilla producers, which admits to the work and ear of the late hip-hop producer who have helped to inspire a new style of creativity that is centered on the analysis and celebration of the old and cherished, but very much alive and strong. I dig this big time.

    REVIEW: Roberto Badoglio’s “Re-Evaluation Time”


    The music of bassist Roberto Badoglio will be for those who love the sounds of Weather Report, Return To Forever, and The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Re-Evaluation Time (Space Rack) may sound of a time long ago, but it’s very much of the now because the music you love is very much timeless. It still sounds good because it gives you a good feeling, and Badoglio knows all the right spots to hit with his playing. One of my favorite moments of “Scirocco’s Theory” is right within his solo, the bass pans back and forth in the speakers, catching me off guard but somehow fitting at that exact moment. Keyboardist Steve Hunt gets into his Jan Hammer/Joe Zawinul groove and the music as a whole keeps getting higher from that point on.

    In tracks like “Inner Urge”, “Dojo”, and “The song of The Wine, The Wind and The Trees”, it feels very much like jazz but there is a unique European dinge, not sure if it’s the folk melodies or the fact that some American musicians have forgotten this style of jazz, to the point of abandoning it. Together, Badoglio, Hunt, drummers Pablo de Biasi and Marty Richards come into the mix as tourists and ambassadors, in other words, they are students and teachers, made very clear in “Perfect Landing”, which almost sounds like Earth, Wind & Fire‘s “Can’t Hide Love”, sans horn section. Badoglio’s bass work is a trip to hear, wringing the neck and fingering his way into patterns and time signatures unknown while creating something that sounds full, developed, and at times orchestral, ready made for a sound much better he himself me realize.

    That full sound comes courtesy of keyboardist Hunt, who also produced and mastered the album. It sounds like there are at least eight to ten people in the studio but there’s only three. I could see this being used for surf or ocean movies/documentaries, as it has a sense of peace and harmony that is very comforting to me. There are subtle touches throughout, such as accented percussion in the back of the mix, or the combination of piano and keyboards in unison with the bass riffs, that just take this home, and hopefully many will feel the same way.