Friday, January 30, 2015

Full Show Friday: Chucho Valdes & The Afro-Cuban Messengers 2010

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week..Chucho Valdes & The Afro-Cuban Messengers!
It's Jazzy January again here at RtBE, so get ready to kick off 2015 with some different styled shows every Friday, we are skewing into new (or more recent) jazz land this month. Keeping it recent to prove there is amazing live jazz still being performed no matter what Ken Burns says.
It is Latin Jazz time as we wrap up Jazzy Jan with Chucho Valdes & The Afro-Cuban MessengersWell it was another fun spin into the jazz realm this month, thanks for tagging along, we will get back to some regularly scheduled writing next month but until then...

Enjoy:


CHUCHO VALDÉS - piano
REINALDO MELIÁN ALVAREZ - trumpet
CARLOS MANUEL MIYARES HERNANDEZ - tenor sax
LÁZARO RIVERO ALARCÓN - bass
DREISER DURRUTHY BOMBALÉ - percussion, batá, vocals
JUAN CARLOS ROJAS CASTRO - drums
YAROLDY ABREU ROBLES - percussion
MAYRA CARIDAD VALDÉS - vocals

Thursday, January 29, 2015

RTBE Interview: Lucky Chops Band

A few weeks ago we reviewed the newest excellent release from Lucky Chops and now the bands trumpeter Josh Gawel took some time to conduct an interview with us as part of our on going RtBE Interview series. You can read it below:
RTBE: So how did Lucky Chops get started?

Lucky Chops Josh Gawel: We formed many a moon ago when we were all in high school. We were classmates at LaGuardia Arts High School in Lincoln Center and we met (no surprise) in band class. We used to play in Central Park after school, exploiting the cuteness of a kid brass band to get some nice pocket money. Eventually we all went to college and starting performing in other bands and delving into various styles of music. In 2013 we began taking the band seriously again and we used the new tools gathered in college to create the current Lucky Chops sound. We're now a six piece band consisting of Sousaphone, Drums, Tenor Sax, Bari Sax, Trombone and Trumpet. Here's to the future!

RTBE: You do a lot of playing for free especially in the subway's how has NYC influenced what you guys do? Does playing next to a rumbling train change things up musically for you?

LC: In 2014 we were admitted to the MTA's Music Under New York program, granting us legal permits each week to perform in the subway. We love the job and it brings us back to our roots performing in Central Park. Our main tenant as a band has always been to bring joy to a city that often times seems joyless. What better place to brighten up someone's day than the subway? It's great to get crowds of all sorts of people randomly gather for a dance together. That's what we're all about.



RTBE: You seem to be very comfortable putting your own spin on songs, whether it is the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" or a Michael Jackson tune, I am interested in the decision making process of whether to do a straight up cover or a "Lucky Chops" version of a tune?

LC: We love playing covers! It's a great way to connect with audiences, and a great outlet for our creativity. Since we're an all acoustic band with no lead singer, we enjoy the challenge of covering vocal songs and making them both recognizable and funky. Our covers of current top 40 pop songs are usually pretty straight forward, and they come and go with the new hits. We like to be more experimental with our covers of classics though, since they've withstood the test of time and can remain in our repertoire. We draw from a very wide range of styles and time periods to find our covers, from Ottoman Empire Arabic music to Tchaikovsky to The Spice Girls and beyond. Everything is on the table for us.

 

RTBE: There is a clear groove/funky element to your sound, have you collaborated with any MC's or are there any plans to delve into hip-hop?

LC: We went through a phase of collaborations with various MCs back in 2012. We wanted to go in more of a hip-hop direction and had some great shows, we even opened for Snoop! We discovered that our band vibe wasn't in fact suited for hip hop though and decided to leave that behind. We still incorporate elements of hip hop in our music, but we don't often work with MCs anymore

RTBE: As with most brass bands the city of New Orleans is all over you guys (We can not get enough of the town and 2015 Jazzfest can't come soon enough for us) what influence has it had on the band?

LC: We love NOLA and we've all been down there before. A number of us have jazz backgrounds and I particularly have studied early jazz history extensively. The sound of 1920's and early 30's jazz is a big part of my playing and I like to add those sounds to the big chops "gumbo"

RTBE: What's in the immediate future for the band?

LC: We are currently working on some really big projects that we're not at liberty to discuss... but stay tuned!!



RTBE: If you guys had a dream gig what would it be?

LC: Hmmm.... we've always wanted to live on a sailboat and play all day and night, just for ourselves. We'll see what happens with that!

Sail On Sirs! You should make it a point to catch the band live as they are a joy, we danced all night last Friday to their sounds out in Brooklyn. Thanks to Josh and the fellas for their time and the fantastic music. 

The Incredible Story of Moondog: The Viking of 6th Avenue

As January draws to a close we are finishing up our focus on Jazz but before we do we wanted to direct people to the unlikely story of Louis Thomas Hardin, Jr. better known as Moondog. A blind viking homeless Jazz musician/composer who influenced a generation of composers/rockers, Hippies/Beatniks and New Yorkers. Please take some time to read his story here written by Zachary Crockett.
He made being a true individual pretty inspiring and his story is one that could never happen in today's NYC. Thanks to Mike for sending this story our way.

Below are some compositions of his for you to check out before we end the month tomorrow with our last full show Friday that pays tribute to Latin Jazz. Thanks for reading.
    


Janis Joplin covering Moondog:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

NYPL Blog Post: Miles Davis- Dark Magus

Hey all, we got our latest post up over @NYPL. You can read it right c'here! It is our newest installment in the Great Albums You May Have Missed series with a focus on Miles Davis live disk Dark Magus.
This disk has been with us for a long time, and it is great to be able to write about it for the day job and have it finish up our Jazzy January series. We still remember grabbing a copy from the second floor of the old Tower Records on Broadway back when it was first released. It enchanted from the get go and was a perfect mix of rock/funk/jazz/punk/whatever in our brains. It was a pleasure to write about it for NYPL and again you can read the full long post here.
Also you should check out Robert Christgau's review of the disk. We will probably write more about the Dean at some point, but it is shocking how many times we will go back to see what he said about an album, after our opinion is already formed, and see him feel the same.

In this case the phrase that stuck with us that Christgau wrote was, "single palpitating organism" that sums it up. This music is as alive now as it was in '97 when the CD came as it was in '77 when they released it in Japan, as it was in '74 when the players played it in Carnegie Hall, just a short walk from the library itself. I can't imagine it won't sound fresh and amazing in 2077 and yet one more reason it was dumb of Ken Burns to not talk about fuison, electric jazz, etc in his documentary.

Enjoy "Wili" broken into it's two parts:


 


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Album Review: Triad-TRIAD

Triad
TRIAD
**and 1/2 out of *****
Triad is a Greek quartet that takes traditional jazz and blends it with a fusion touch for various results on it's first studio release. Dimitris Keramidaki, Alekos Roupas, Michael Evdemon and Apostolis Vangelakis respect their homeland and are the players who vary up enough to keep things from becoming staid. 

The opener "MAZEPPA" begins the album on a routine if not exciting light jazz vibe before half way through the track a flurry of ivory work kicks the song into uncharted, Mediterranean sounding territory until its all to soon fade out; what seemed routine got exciting quick.

That is a returning theme here as songs seem to be going in one direction before twisting and getting spiced up. "Crazy Monks" gets augmented by out of left field tempo bounces and some appropriately breathy scat singing while "Καιγομαι και σιγολιωνω" takes some male vocal work and alters things up with a singing break that messes with the tempo and blowing fills.

"Lost Castles" wanders over a stuttering drum as a scattered electric bass rambles around but both are held in check by a smooth sax. The title track has imposing and haunting intro as the instrumentation expands to include various percussion, flutes and piano banging; when it's five and half minute run time is over it sticks with you.

Not all of the tracks are successful, the vocals on "Μαυρα μου χελιδονια" don't mesh with the playing but on "Kαμπισιο" the frantic piano worked is paired with a catchy groove and songs like this makes Triad worth a listen.   
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Another bandcamp find for Jazzy January

Buy the album here and steam it below:


Monday, January 26, 2015

Dylan Cover #174 Keith Jarrett Trio "My Back Pages"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a live cover by the Keith Jarrett Trio playing "My Back Pages"
Jazzy January has invade Mondays! All month we will check out covers of Dylan with a Jazz vibe, can you dig it daddy-o? 

Thoughts on Original:
From our first take on a cover of this:
The original has taken upon itself a cultural importance, and the chorus has simply become iconic.  I doubt Dylan intended such, but it toes the line of out and out protest and illustrative questions.  He puts down everyone from evangelists to girls, but the language snakes and flows so magically that it doesn't seem as harsh as "Positively 4th St" or "Ballad in Plain D".  

The sense of exhaling desperation or at least the realization that age confuses things even more seems to be what I take from this tune.
Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
We know Jarrett from his fantastic electrical work with Miles Davis but had not heard him play strictly piano before which apparently is his preference. I don't think I have heard bassist Charlie Hayden before but I have checked out drummer Paul Motian before with his work behind Bill Evans

Thoughts on Cover:
This is easily our favorite cover this month and one of all time favorites that we have heard. Love how Jarrett's piano will return to the song while the rhythm section of Charlie Hayden's double bass and Paul Motian's snares and drums can wander around. This is a great jazz inspired Dylan cover that rises above to just simply become a great cover period.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Full Show Friday: Snarky Puppy 9/25/14 Raleigh, NC

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week..Snarky Puppy!

It's Jazzy January again here at RtBE, so get ready to kick off 2015 with some different styled shows every Friday, we are skewing into new (or more recent) jazz land this month but it's all cool daddy'O! Keeping it recent to prove there is amazing live jazz still being performed no matter what Ken Burns says.

The jazz collective with upwards of 30 members known as Snarky Puppy are our Full Show Friday this week. Their style is a mix of jazz genres, thoughts, and eras. They can be funky, turn on a dime, solo for multiple measures or jam out as a unit. These guys are really talented and good people holding music teaching clinics on the road when they tour. An interesting group especially because the dynamic of the band is so varied their sound can be all over the place but it is pretty much always grounded in Awesomeville.   

Just a quick note, as you can see from the info below, the fact that this was recorded on an iPhone is pretty unreal. Technology has come a shockingly long way in recent years.

Enjoy:


Snarky Puppy's Early Set (out of two that night) @ Southland Ballroom in Raleigh, NC - Sept 25th '14

Set (thanks to Ethan Mitch for watching):
0:00 - Kite
8:05 - Strawman
20:25 - Binky (25:49 Rite of Spring quote and again at 26:44)
36:00-38:30 - Transition to Skate U
38:30 - Skate U
48:35 - Thing of Gold
57:00 - Obnoxious "Free Bird" Request
57:15 - Celebrity (Chris Bullock's uncredited flute performance)
1:12:08 - Young Stuff

Recorded with an iPhone 6

The Band:
Chris Bullock: Tenor Sax
Mike "Moz" Maher: Trumpet/Flugelhorn
Justin Stanton: Trumpet/Keys
Nate Worth: Percussion
Robert "Sput" Searight: Drumset
Mark Lettieri: Electric Guitar
Bob Lanzetti: Electric Guitar
Cory Henry: Keyboard
Shaun Martin: Keyboard
Michael League: Bass/Bandleader

Thursday, January 22, 2015

2015 Means a Song a Week from They Might Be Giants

In Steven Hyden's article on Grantland about They Might Be Giants we learned two things. One, there is actually a 33 1/3 book on Flood which we need to read and two, the title of this post.
Like Hyden, we found TMBG in our junior high school days and they stayed with us until they started playing with a full band on John Henry, then we checked out. We couldn't get into the sound of all the players as the early TMBG albums were so quirky and weird the full band, to these ears, hurt that uniqueness. One of our inspirations Robert Christgau may have said it best when he reviewed the duo's first album:
Two catchy weirdos, eighteen songs, and the hits just keep on coming in an exuberantly annoying show of creative superabundance.
If we went back now we would probably love John Henry but there is no questioning we love the first 4 albums from the band and could probably sing every single song verbatim from them....well sing them poorly at least.

We reviewed The Else for Glide in 07 and were honored to review the band (the stars would be 7 on the current scale) and are very happy they are still making music...a lot of music. This year the group will release 52 songs, one a week, through their Dial-A-Song program which you can check out here.

Below you can check out a few of the tunes already released, and both are really solid, and sound better then the more recent "official" releases from the band. We will be keeping an eye out for more:
 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Album Review: The Cactus Quartet- Cactus Quartet

The Cactus Quartet
Cactus Quartet
*** out of *****

The four piece jazz ensemble known as The Cactus Quartet have put out a warm rolling EP with this self titled offering. Part of the Berlin music scene the group consists of  Achilleas Sourlas (Alto Sax) Anthony Plekhov (Hammond) Panos Giotis (Guitar) Jürgen Meyer (Drums). 

ALl the tracks run long letting the group flex their chops over patient numbers. The opening "Ψolarity" dribbles out with ease over drums and guitar as the hammond and sax pop in and push the pace gently as the long tunes progresses. "Yang Ying" bubbles with a sly clipped vibe that like it's title sounds as if it could have been recorded in reverse.

While "Salzburg" is pretty far from Berlin this funky cut fits the groups lighthearted groove expertly. "Façir" sails a bit close to after-dinner jazz but stays engaging while "Mandarina" floats in the those same mellow waters but ends up to tepid and dull.

EP closer "BWB" lets the Hammond shine as the band takes its smoothness to the edge with some interesting cuts and grooves. The Cactus Quartet never hurry but sure show some interesting takes on cool funky jazz during their first studio recording.     
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Another great bandcamp find for Jazzy January.

Go hear to purchase the album and stream it below:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2014 Recap: Favorite Albums, Shows, Etc.

With all the hectic happenings at the end of the year, things can be missed. This is just a catch up post to point out a few of our favorite things from 2014 that shouldn't go unnoticed. There were many strong releases, great live shows, amazing musical moments....2015 has a lot to live up too.

 In case you missed it here are our Best of 2014 series of posts...

Our picks for best album art of 2014, where we check out some creative album art from the last year.

Our picks for best live show of 2014, what an amazing year for live tunes...all of these were jaw dropping nights in their own ways.

Finally our one, two, three, part picks for best albums of 2014.  Again all of these are fantastic and worth your time and attention. 

Feel free to let us know your choices in the comments and thanks as always for reading and exploring...as the patron saint of this blog stated:

What are those of the known, but to ascend and enter the Unknown?   

Album Review: Ryan Bingham- Fear and Saturday Night

Ryan Bingham
Fear and Saturday Night
**and1/2 out of *****
Having already achieved more fame then most in his field will ever see via an Oscar for "The Weary Kind" Ryan Bingham has simply never settled. He has sifted and searched for inspiration in various fields, going bar room whiskey fueled rock and roll on Tomorrowland and now looking inward for Fear and Saturday Night.

Written while he secluded himself in a trailer way up in the California Mountains without electricity the New Mexican born singer/songwriter examined his parents early deaths and put those feelings into a variety of song styles that flirt in and out of country, western, honky-tonk and acoustic strumming.    

While the musical presentation may change the one constant is the voice. Bingham has a gruff vocal sound that instantly establishes a weathered pioneer among the western sun drenched landscapes of the southwest United States. If he is plodding through an Anders Osborne sluggish rocker on "Top Shelf Drug" or getting his Mexicali inspired Bruce Springsteen upbeat shuffle rolling for "Adventures of You and Me" the one constant is that distinct and engaging vocal.   

Bingham albums seem to be content to place filler around the two or three songs he digs into. Here the singles "Broken Heart Tattoo" and "Radio" standout for different reasons. "Broken Heart Tattoo" is Ryan at his most open expressing his doubts and fears to an unborn child with the best lyrical work on the disk in front of a waltzing guitar and harmonica combo. "Radio" contains the best musicality on the album, an easy drum beat, deep groove, jam session feel that gets put over the top with some well placed piano work before an ending rave up that will soar live.

A track like "Island in the Sky" is more the norm when it comes to Bingham records. It possesses an Americana spiritual feeling without getting specific; something that can become a detriment to Bingham's writing. A generic sense of everyone and yet no one seeps in lyrically not delivering the emotional impact some of the tunes hint at and the voice can clearly convey.  The production is gorgeous as Jim Scott (Tom Petty's Wildflowers, Wilco's Wilco The Album) easily finds threads between Binghams various styles and helps with cohesion and crisp homespun sounds.

While the title track has to be the most depressing going out and partying song possibly ever, Bingham adds another chapter to his life with Fear and Saturday Night. Wherever he is on his journey it is worth checking on in, pouring a whiskey and seeing where he's at.
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We reviewed Junky Star by Bingham and enjoyed Tomorrowland and the same pluses and minuses are here with Fear and Saturday Night.

Support the artist here, buy the album here and peep some video below:

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dylan Cover #173 March on Washington, Happy MLK Day

This is a tradition here at RtBE. While we are including this in our Monday Dylan series, this is a necessary break from the routine.
We here at RtBE have lots of heroes and most stem from America's hard fought past. We have talked about the godfather of this site, we will probably touch on Lincoln at some point, but the man who we celebrate today is right up there with all of them. Martin Luther King Jr. is an American who deserves to be honored right alongside the greatest our country has ever produced.


We are happy to dedicate this Monday to him and to help celebrate the day we will post a 10 minute clip of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and others performing songs at one of the most monumental days for democracy, the1963 March on Washington DC.

Dylan plays "When The Ship Comes In" with Baez helping out, "Only A Pawn In Their Game" solo and joins a group for "Keep Your Eyes On The Prize".



Have a great day and make sure to watch this, MLK's last prophetic public words:


It is still so incredibly moving.

The full speech is located here and worth listening too:

Friday, January 16, 2015

Full Show Friday: BadBadNotGood Live 2014 Brownswood Basement

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week..BadBadNotGood!
It's Jazzy January again here at RtBE, so get ready to kick off 2015 with some different styled shows every Friday, we are skewing into new (or more recent) jazz land this month but it's all cool daddy'O! Keeping it recent to prove there is amazing live jazz still being performed no matter what Ken Burns says.

Where last week we looked at a new band playing retro, it is Jazz Fusion time this week as BadBadNotGood grace RtBE with a live set from England during their 2014 tour. They are playing in Gilles Peterson's home which is cool as all hell, Peterson is a Jazz DJ from the UK and this is pretty good interview to kick things off and a Flying Lotus cover early on after a few originals.

This is killer set that runs around experimental jazz that never goes too far astray and comes back to the fold with hip hop styled breaks at times. Worth checking out on this frigid Friday. 

Enjoy:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Album Review: Lucky Chops- Lucky Chops EP

Lucky Chops Brass Band
Lucky Chops
***and1/2 out of *****
The Brooklyn NY based brass blowers known as the Lucky Chops, offer up their similarly titled EP showing off their interlocking bad ass playing. "Buyo" begins the EP on a mellower tip though as the band works up their lungs over some crisp progressions. 

"Hymn" messes with the time arraignments and feelings of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" moving it from a shuffle to a funky get down to stand and salute pageant in a few measures. The percussion shines on this one as the tempo flies around with wild abandon.

The drums kick off the ode to the brassiest town out there with "Bourbon Street", their take on the Crescent City staple. This version of the track gets sultry and celebratory about 3 minutes in showing what Lucky Chops do best; take tradition and funk it up in their style.  

The Latin beats clog the dance floor for "Dance Of The Tiger" which will have couples grinding while "Going Home" will put a damper on the evening with marches towards the exits. The closing cover of the classic "Lean On Me" highlights the trumpets as the group keeps things creatively casual to end things.

While perhaps not as instantly infectious as their previous release the band still gets funky and fresh with their horns, if a bit more soulful/melancholy on Lucky Chops. Maybe it has to do with dropping that brass weight off their name, any which way, fans of funky stuff should give them a whirl. 
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After a bit of a rock break with Glide Magazine reviews we get back to the brass. We excitedly reviewed Lucky Chops previous EP last Jazz January, and are pumped they are here yet again with another offering. We dig these fellows and will have much more from them before the month is out so stay tuned, until then...

Support the band here, buy/stream the album here  or below and watch some kick ass video of them:



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Album Review: Dr Dog- Live at a Flamingo Hotel

Hey all got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!
Thanks to Shane and the Glide team for FWD'ing us this one to review. Actually we owe the website more then that as Glide had us go review the band way back in 06 which started us digging on the Dog's. The site also put us in touch with Scott which has been to this day our most enjoyable music interview for any site or magazine.

As shown above we love Dr. Dog and will be seeing them this Friday night in our favorite NYC venue, so this was a nice appetizer. The album itself isn't anything amazing, but they are a great live band, last tour was particularly tight, and now a documentation of that fact is at hand.  
 
Buy the album here, catch them live here and peep some video below:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Abum Review: Catfish and the Bottlemen- The Balcony

Hey all got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!
It is of Catfish and the Bottlemen's newest release, The Balcony. These guys have been pretty popular in Europe and are now pushing big time to become something over here.

The disk is a solid base of pop rock playing with an early candidate for album cover art of the year (simple yet captures that youth idea perfectly). They are being billed as indie rock but they are pretty far from that in every direction. At times a bit forced/over-produced/cheese ridden, but if you like poppy rock give it a listen, some samples below:
  

Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 NOLA Jazzfest Lineup

Well we tried to predict yesterday, got a few right and most wrong because it is official.
Here is your 2015 Jazzfest lineup:

Well we went Billy Joel and it is Elton John behind the ivories, and we guessed Drake and got Pitbull and T.I. instead and while not an overall super exciting headlining crew the festival lineup itself is pretty deep.  

The Who make an interesting choice and I am not sure how well one of our favorite bands of all time will go over in 2015 generally and in the hot NOLA sun specifically. Jerry Lee Lewis plays another Louisiana big time show, that is a hell of a plus.
You can sort through all of the days right here and it should be pointed out that the final headliner on Sunday has yet to be announced as a TBA. Last year the fest did the same thing when it was first announced and that turned into Bruce Springsteen so odds are that one big bullet is still waiting to be fired in the next few weeks.

We can't wait to be there.

Dylan Cover #172 Willis White "All Along The Watchtower" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a live cover by Willis White playing "All Along The Watchtower"
Jazzy January has invade Mondays! All month we will check out covers of Dylan with a Jazz vibe, can you dig it daddy-o? 

Thoughts on Original:
From our first take on a cover of this:
There are certain songs we are surprised we missed cover versions of in the Bard's back catalog...but "All Along The Watchtower" isn't one of them.  There is a reason we haven't covered a cover version (confusing). As Wilson mentioned in his post back in cover #44 there is only one true version of this song...and that is Mr. Jimi's.
Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
We were not familiar at all with Willis White before checking out this cover, but here is his facebook page.

Thoughts on Cover:
Starting with a reggae vibe adding subtle sax and going a bit scat, the jazz singer Willis White and crew give it a good live effort. Not sure we need 7+ minutes at this tempo but it is a fine live effort especially when the howling vocals match with electric guitar at the 4 minute mark.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2015 NOLA Jazzfest Acts: Announced Tomorrow, Predicted Today

Tomorrow the lineup for the 2015 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will be announced but we got the scoop...
Actually, no we don't but since it is fun to predict, lets look into the crystal ball and guess who will be and who should be playing. We will exclude local acts (even though they are the main reason we go) lets just talk about national touring acts for now....

Friday, January 9, 2015

Full Show Friday: Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns 2014

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week..Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns!
It's Jazzy January again here at RtBE, so get ready to kick off 2015 with some different styled shows every Friday, we are skewing into new (or more recent) jazz land this month but it's all cool daddy'O! Keeping it recent to prove there is amazing live jazz still being performed no matter what Ken Burns says.

What a show we got today! Combining the old and the new, few do it like Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns from New Orleans, LA. This is an amazing live show with vocals being the highlights while the playing on some classic tunes is up there as well. The show was of the group in action on tour for Foolers Gold and playing a set at the famous KEXP. You get a bit of Meschiya's background in the break between the 2nd and 3rd song and it is quite a tale.  You also get stories of the groups live show, even including our friends The Loose Marbles who RtBE had the privilege to interview a few years ago

We love this band and this fantastic live performance makes us so pumped for Jazzfest in only a few agonizing months...this cold has to break sometime....

Enjoy the glorious sounds of Miss Lake and the boys:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Album Review: Rebirth Brass Band- Move Your Body

Rebirth Brass Band
Move Your Body
**and1/2 out of *****
The New Orleans legends Rebirth Brass Band are coming off of a career highlight as the band won a Grammy for their 2012 release Rebirth of New Orleans. Their follow up continues the groups high energy formula but has a bit of a come down feel to it at points.

The band is custom made for the live stage and with the disk opening "Rebirth Makes You Dance" they have their obvious set opener for a few tours to come, but on record things don't crackle with energy from the start. That seeps over to the title track as well, "Move Your Body" lacks some energy feeling sluggish in parts.

Things get better from there though as a brass blasting interpretation of "Your Mama Don't Dance" complete with shout out "Hey" section pumps up the jams and puts things back on track after a shaky start. The band moves in a slightly Latin groove direction with "Take'em To The Moon" and continue it with "Rebirth Groove" which successful incorporates vocals that are custom made for singalongs on sunny fairgrounds.     

"On My Way" slows things down from the party atmosphere to let the trumpet shine as a soloist. The rhythmic drums are showcased as the Latin flair returns for "Who's Rockin', Who's Rollin?" and continues again into "HBNS" which plays the same but incorporates vocals again. The big party marcher "What Are We Gonna Do?/Banner Men" closes things out with another return to the "Hey" riff/trick.

While not a bad brass disk, there is a sense of repetition and dilution to Move Your Body. Having heard a lot of these songs live there is first hand knowledge that they translate well to the marches and stages they were meant for but on record the the songs could use some extra juice.   
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We caught the band in NOLA last year and had high hopes for this release, surprisingly it let us down a bit, not bad but not earth shattering or all that important to hear.

Support the band here, buy the album here, most importantly catch them live here, peep some video below:

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Album Review: C.A.R.- Beyond The Zero

C.A.R.
Beyond The Zero
*** out of *****
There is a quote on C.A.R's bandcamp page that says "Jazz is not dead, it just moved to Europe". A pretty accurate statement as the German group offers up a nice twist of jazz with Beyond the Zero.

The four piece group, Leonhard Huhn- Saxophon, Effekte, Christian Lorenzen- Piano, Synthesizer, Kenn Hartwig- Kontrabass, Effekte, Johannes Klingebiel- Drums have produced some engaging songs that mix delicate jazz textures with freakout noise and digital vamps.

The opener "Test One Two Three" works around a basis of drums and keys swirling pleasantly until squeaks of muted sax enter and things turn ominously. This trick of finding a familiar refrain with a pair of instruments and then diving in a different direction with digital effects plays out a few times on Beyond the Zero with mostly success.  

The title track continues the drum and key constant as other weird noise dip in, "Genetically Modified By Space Aliens" picks up the pace moving a bit while "Buddha Bar" gets free jazz blowing in a slightly retro fashion with comfortable sax work.

The best track offered is the also the groups most drawn out as "Audio Spiritual Seekers" begins ambient before kicking up the drums half way through and moving into exciting outerspace like realms. At over seven minutes it is a journey but one worth taking; like Beyond the Zero as a whole.
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Another fun random bandcamp find.

Support the band here, buy the album/stream it here and below:

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Album Review: Medeski Scofield Martin Wood- Juice

Medeski Scofield Martin Wood
Juice
**and1/2 out of *****
On the first official pairing between these two jazz camps John Medeski, Billy Martin and Chris Wood primarily acted as sideman to John Scofield for A Go Go. Their work was magnetic as fans of jazz and jam melded as the players themselves hit it off immensely; both injecting life into their careers. They teamed up again, but this time on equal footing, for Out Louder in 2006 and it showed how naturally the four players worked together. On their newest studio offering as a partnership you get flashes of their collective greatness but also a sense that the combo may be running out of ideas.

Rather then a free form approach the band attacks Juice with constructed songs. The foursome clearly wanted to move from their jam past (for the most part) and attack individual writers contributions from all members as well as cover tunes and it is the selection of some of those songs that can get them in trouble. One that works expertly however is "Sham Time" as the group opens the album with Eddie Harris' groove vehicle with both keyboards and guitar dueling instead of Harris Saxophone.

The originals all show insight into the individual players personality and the group as a whole. Scofields "North London" is bright and sunny while Martin's "Louis The Shoplifter" showcases the low end with a Caribbean vibe. The group effort of "Juicy Lucy" takes Scofield's "Louie Louie" riff and pairs it with guest Pedrito Martinez's congo's as the group chats lively with each other.
Individually, Wood's contribution leans the most avant-garde with "Helium" that long time fans will be thankful for after Scofield's "I Know You" dulls, being to close to smooth jazz, for over eight minutes.  

All these tracks would make for an excellent release if paired with a few dazzlers, except what the combo compliments them with are lackluster classic rock interpretations in jazz form. While not quite musak versions they sadly aren't all that much better.

The selections of "Light My Fire" and "Blowin' In The Wind" are odd choices for this band and while the choices themselves are fairly lacking, what they do with the tunes is nondescript. The biggest offender is the reggae fueled "Sunshine Of Your Love" which goes for 11 minutes of tame island grooves. Wood and Martin are locked in at the low end but the extended track does little invigorate.

The original tracks from this now well weathered quartet still show some imagination and spark so it begs the questions why the cover tracks are so lifeless and exist on this release at all. Have the players involved reached the end of their partnership, or are they just waiting to do what they all do best, live in the moment?
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Our first review for Jazzy January and we take on some favorites from 90's-00's jazz with MSMW. We dug the first few songs immensely but then things got really dull with the cover tunes...not sure the rationale behind that. Oh well.

Support the band here, buy the album here and peep some video below:


Monday, January 5, 2015

Dylan Cover #171 Stan Getz "Blowin' In The Wind"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by Stan Getz playing "Blowin' In The Wind"
Jazzy January has invade Mondays! All month we will check out covers of Dylan with a Jazz vibe, can you dig it daddy-o? The Voice, Stan Getz gets first shot at a classic to start the month off proper.

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this song:
The classic Dylan song, if you asked 100 people to name you the first Bob Dylan song they thought of, or his best known song, I am guessing 95-99 of them would answer "Blowin' In The Wind".  It is an epic, vital song in the history of recorded music.  The lyrics tell a stirring tale, the melody is enchanting, it is pretty spot on perfect, and when it originally came out if announced to the world the greatness that was Bob Dylan.

Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Stan Getz is famous for his smooth sax and "The Girl From Ipanema" past that and what we saw in Ken Burns Jazz we aren't too familiar with Getz, but he does have a sweet smooth tone. 

Thoughts on Cover
A stately way to kick start the new year of Dylan covers with a Jazz vibe. Pretty easy listening and while we can do without the orchestra we understand why it is there. Enjoy.




Friday, January 2, 2015

Full Show Friday: Gretchen Parlato Lotos Jazz Fest 2013

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...Gretchen Parlato!

It's Jazzy January again here at RtBE, so get ready to kick off 2015 with some different styled shows every Friday, we are skewing into new (or more recent) jazz land this month but it's all cool daddy'O! Keeping it recent to prove there is amazing live jazz still being performed no matter what Ken Burns says.

We have not heard of Gretchen Parlato before, but we noticed when we did last years Jazz January we didn't give any love to the Ladies, so we are remedying that the first two weeks of this years Jazz Winter Interlude.

Both females will heat up things this winter, yet this is the first time I am listening to Parlato who has won awards as a vocalist (next weeks we know well). This has some really nice sound all around with the piano rolling gloriously. I can also say with 100% accuracy after hearing Herbie Hancock scat-sing, I would much rather hear Gretchen do her version of the art form.   

Enjoy:

http://www.gretchenparlato.com/, http://www.zadymka.pl/en/
01 Butterfly (Herbie Hancock / Jean Hancock / Bennie Maupin)
02 Juju (Wayne Shorter)
03 Alô Alô (Paulinho da Viola)
04 Come to Me (Björk)
05 If It Was (Alan Hampton / Gretchen Parlato)
06 Like Someone In Love (Johnny Burke / Jimmy Van Heusen)
07 Weak (Brian Alexander Morgan)
08 Magnus (Gretchen Parlato)
09 Still (Alan Hampton)

Gretchen Parlato - vocal & percussion
Alan Hampton - bass, acoustic guitar, vocal
Aaron Parks - piano
Mark Guiliana - drums

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Woof the 80's were a rough time...don't believe me? Look at Bono's hair:


Enjoy New Years Day. We will be celebrating/thankful for lots of things as we enter 2015, but immediately we have the team we support on top of the Premier League,
 Congrats Chelsea, now destroy Spurs later today and we will have even more to celebrate.