‘High priestess of psychedelic Arabic jazz’ couldn’t fit better for British/Bahraini trumpeter and band leader Yazz Ahmed. She is the queen of jazz fusion at the moment, and her band is as tight as can possibly be. One track, of course, is not enough, but I’m hoping it’s a taste of what is to come.
There’s always a band that manages to slip into the cracks, no matter how carefully I try to research what’s new. Take Radare for instance – a band out of Wiesbaden, Germany, who specialize in a noir-jazz (maybe darkjazz?) style that reminds me of Die Haut, who gained fame collaborating with Nick Cave a lifetime ago, and the incredibly prolific Bohren & der Club of Gore.
Judging by the quality of the music and the fact that this is Ed Palermo’s third full-length album dedicated to Frank Zappa’s avant-big-band interpretations, I think that the album title is apropos. Eddy does indeed loves Frank! From his Bandcamp site:
Ed and his amazing 16 piece band (+ guests) return with his third album of his distinctive, big-band interpretations of the great 20th century composer, Frank Zappa. This body of work has won them huge acclaim from both new and old fans of the music and they even appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition for a short feature which was heard by millions of listeners in 2006. For those not already familiar with Ed’s colorful, jazz-based arrangements of Zappa’s compositions, Ed has led a big band for 30 years (!) and has had his band performing the music of Frank Zappa for 15 years. Many years of playing these pieces in front of hugely enthusiastic crowds have honed the band’s skills interpreting Zappa’s beautiful but notoriously difficult material to where they are able to perform these challenging charts with apparent ease. All of these musicians are high caliber, hugely talented NYC professional players, and most of them have been playing this music for a decade and a half with this group, not because it is a good paying gig (it isn’t) but because they all admire and appreciate the genius of Zappa’s work and they love having the opportunity to be able to perform these terrifically exciting charts.
“Wonderful, breathtaking, fantastic, exhilarating, great sound, great production, great musicianship…I run out of superlatives…”
“Palermo developed these charts during years of live shows with these musicians, and their mastery of the material shows in the performances, which turn on a dime yet feel fierce with spontaneous invention…. Palermo’s arrangements and these performances are precise, dedicated, raucous and incisive—just like Zappa himself.”
“Palermo uses Zappa’s compositions as a framework for inspiration, rather than simply trying to recreate what is already available on CD.”
It’s a very happy occasion when I get to review a new album by Santiago Fradejas! Our friend, guitarist and composer now based in Barcelona, Spain, comes at us with another disc full of soundscapes which sit well between the more mellow compositions of John McLaughlin, the usual powerful post-Industrial soundscapes, and maybe because I have been listening a lot to him lately, some bits that would not sound out-of-place in a Charles Mingus album.
MoonJune Records have established themselves as one of the premier record labels operating in the United States. Promoting jazz, progressive and improvisational music, they work with some of the finest names in these genres in the world.
It seems that La Casa Murada is a recording studio inside a farmhouse based in Catalonia, Spain, where some of the house musicians get recorded. This is where the label’s magic takes place, so this compilation is a great way to sample what the company has to offer.
Though I’m enthralled with library music at the moment, thanks to my friend Chris, who has served as a bit of a guru for me, I’m disappointed to see that there isn’t much in the way of literature documenting how these classic discs came to be. Thankfully, through the work of labels like BBE Music, we’re being treated to some remarkable compilations, giving a synopsis of the brilliant music we managed to miss out on.
From the Bandcamp site:
Join two of BBE’s most prolific artists and compilers, Mr Thing & Chris Read on a voyage into the mysterious, strange and wonderful world of Library Music, courtesy of Cavendish Music. Founded in 1937 and originally known as Boosey & Hawkes Recorded Music Library, Cavendish Music is the largest independent Library Music publisher in the UK and also represents a host of music catalogues across the globe.
During the Library Music heyday of the 60s and 70s, thousands of original instrumental tracks were produced across a broad range of genres for companies like Cavendish, who then created vinyl and tape collections, often arranged by theme or mood, for their customers in radio, television and film. Cult British TV shows such as The Sweeney and The Professionals as well as documentaries and feature films relied heavily on these catalogues, and companies like KPM, De Wolfe and Boosey & Hawkes went a long way toward defining the sound of British popular culture at the time.
Never commercially available, music created for these libraries that never made it to the promised land of TV or Radio was destined to languish in Cavendish Music’s vast London vault; only recently unearthed by a new generation of DJs and producers searching for rare gems or a perfect sample.
Mr Thing & Chris Read were first invited to examine the contents of the Cavendish Music archive in 2014 as part of WhoSampled’s ‘Samplethon’ event in which producers created new tracks against the clock using sample material mined from the catalogue. Whilst digging through box upon box of records and tapes looking for interesting sounds, the pair also discovered a host of 70s library music which has not only stood the test of time, but deserves to be heard in its original form.
From dramatic big band numbers reminiscent of Lalo Schifrin’s film scores to atmospheric proto-hip hop instrumentals produced before the genre’s existence, right through to fairly straightforward jazz and funk cuts; this amazing collection of music is sure to inspire and delight DJs and beatmakers the world over.
I loathe Steve Perry. No, not as a person. I’m sure he’s swell and a blast to hang out with. I mean what he did to Journey. Former members of Santana, guitarist Neal Schon and vocalist Gregg Rolie, started the band out as a really good jazz-fusion band, touched a bit with hard rock. Perry’s vocals killed the band, at least for me, though millions of screaming teeny-boppers will, no doubt, tell me otherwise.