Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Album Review: Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah- Diaspora

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
Diaspora
**and1/2 out of *****

Forward looking Jazz artist Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah went large in 2017 releasing 3 albums collectively known as the Centennial Trilogy celebrating one hundred years since the first recorded jazz song. It is a large long project that has one foot in the past and one in the future. The artist is also searching for something deeper:
The series is, at its core, a sobering re-evaluation of the social and political realities of the world through sound. It speaks to a litany of issues that continue to plague our collective experiences. Slavery in America via the Prison Industrial Complex, Food Insecurity, Xenophobia, Immigration, Climate Change, Sexual Orientation, Gender Equality, Fascism and the return of the Demagogue.
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah holds nothing back and fusing his own "Stretch Music" with modern Trap styling, West African rhythms and New Orleans Indian flair; this is concurrently an experimental and historical effort.

On the first release of this trilogy, CSaTA used his talents to fully (and excellently) evolve his Stretch style. On the second chapter, Diaspora, he is more focused on setting a relaxed mood. Taken individually this effort underwhelms, but as part of the collective whole (especially it's first and last tracks) it links thematically to it's sister records and also historically to the smooth jazz greats.

The R&B tinged title track opens the proceedings, grooving out easily with a piano motif. Cool and bubbly as a Ramos Gin Fizz from Bar Tonique the track is soulful, aided by Elena Pinderhughes flute, but on this effort CSaTA's trumpet work is the shining lead. The easy rolling continues for "IDK" where the piano again sets the theme as Braxton Cook's saxophone joins to perform a duet with CSaTA's horn work.

The city that is so much at the center of his work gets more love with "Our Lady of New Orleans (Herreast Harrison)" but where "New Orleans Love Song" on Rebel/Ruler was a burst of rhythmic energy, here the coolness of the Diaspora mellows the mood. That mellowness continues to the point of dullness as both "Desire For The Burning Girl" and "Uncrown Her" fail to live up tho their engaging titles.

"Lawless" is the first track to become inventive and it is the drums/rhythms that do all the heavy lifting here, closing with a drum solo. The percussion also perks up for the interluding "New Jack Bounce" and "No Love" rises above the other slow jams based on the low end bumping bass, finding CSaTA using all of his skills expertly.

Things revert to cool jazz for "Completely" as Pinderhughes flute gains a larger role while the album closes with the vocal help of Sarah Elizabeth Charles on "The Walk". The finale is the most positive force on the album with its hyper piano work, deeper beats, (once again) Pinderhughes flute and CSaTA's scurrying horn playing against the slow groove. 

Those fans of more direct straight, easy listening jazz will gravitate to Diaspora, the most digestible of Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah Centennial Trilogy. For an artist with such amazing talents this middle section just feels too safe, especially in comparison to it's bookend releases.
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RtBE has done Jazzy January for a few years now and without a doubt our favorite find was back in 2016 when we first heard Stretch Music from Christian Scott who quickly added aTunde Adjuah to his name. It is actually one of the reasons we continue to do this focus every year, hoping to find an amazing artist like this.

This week (after our MLK salute) is dedicated to CSaTA with reviews of his Centennial Trilogy and a Full Show Friday celebrating the artist and his collaborators.

Please support the artist, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:




Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Album Review: Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah- Ruler Rebel

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
Ruler Rebel
****and1/2 out of *****

Forward looking Jazz artist Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah went large in 2017 releasing 3 albums collectively known as the Centennial Trilogy celebrating one hundred years since the first recorded jazz song. It is a large long project that has one foot in the past and one in the future. The artist is also searching for something deeper:
The series is, at its core, a sobering re-evaluation of the social and political realities of the world through sound. It speaks to a litany of issues that continue to plague our collective experiences. Slavery in America via the Prison Industrial Complex, Food Insecurity, Xenophobia, Immigration, Climate Change, Sexual Orientation, Gender Equality, Fascism and the return of the Demagogue.
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah holds nothing back and fusing his own "Stretch Music" style with modern Trap styling, West African rhythms and New Orleans Indian flair; this is concurrently an experimental and historical effort.

His first release of the trilogy Ruler Rebel is a blazing success, planting a flag in the ground of modern jazz. The album is an amalgamation of sound and style and the truest form of CSaTA's desired jazz/trap/stretch music yet. The title track sets the fusion of styles stage with bright brass, piano flourishes, strings and deep beats; a regal start. "New Orleans Love Song" gets the energy truly flowing with calypso dance beats, tambourines, piano scales and trumpet blares the song is exactly what it's title proclaims; sonic spicy gumbo.     

The past/present/future merge on "Rise Again [Allmos Remix]" and "Encryption" the two standout offerings on the album. "Rise Again" takes it's skittering trap beats, excellent piano work and fierce yet cultured horn lines into a cohesive pulsating track (ending too soon) while "Encryption" pushes things even further out and winningly succeeds. The track showcases great dance beats building with dynamic drum work, constantly supported by grooving soul claps. A dire/dred filled piano line enters and twists the sounds before the ferocious flute work of Elena Pinderhughes soars (this is simply put some of the best flute work RtBE has ever heard) raising the stakes before a noiserock finish that stuns; this track is audio dynamite. 

This album isn't perfect however, the remixed "New Orleans Love Song II" zaps the original of it's organic energy, instead injecting digital beats and a New Age melancholy that drags laboriously (even with stunningly great horn lines from CSaTA himself) while "Phases" features excellent vocals from Sarah Elizabeth Charles but never fully connects the variant parts to a greater whole.

The bass lines and rhythm foundation dominate the last two offerings, "The Coronation of X aTunde Adjuah" and "The Reckoning". The latter is ready made for an MC to arrive and take the track as their own with it's skittering bass/drum work and gorgeous high trumpet progressions while "The Coronation of X aTunde Adjuah" starts more experimental but ends with a pop brass/woodwind finish that could be the foundation for a remixed single.

With the first of his Centennial Trilogy releases Ruler Rebel is a kick ass way to announce a major release in the modern jazz world by a major player. The disk has the rare ability to cross genres, fan-bases, and worlds with it's modern sound, bold pairings and just damn enjoyable music.   
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We have done Jazzy January for a few years now and without a doubt our favorite find was back in 2016 when we first heard Stretch Music from Christian Scott who quickly added aTunde Adjuah to his name. It is actually one of the reasons we continue to do this focus every year, hoping to find an amazing artist like this.

This week (after our MLK salute) is dedicated to CSaTA with reviews of his Centennial Trilogy and a Full Show Friday celebrating the artist and his collaborators.

Please support the artist, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:




Jack White Tour Dates Spring/Summer 2018

More info coming out of Jack White's camp today as he announces the release date for his new album Boarding House Reach plus a host of tour dates for 2018.
The record is out on March 23rd and below is the full list of tour dates preceded by a special announcement regarding fans and ticket purchasing from Third Man Records:


Tickets for the just-announced headline dates will go on sale to the general public on January 26 at 10am local time. Third Man Records Vault members will have access to the very first pre-sale starting on January 22 at 10am local time. Sign up for Vault Package #35 featuring the ONLY limited edition version of the album + to gain ticket pre-sale access FIRST here
Fans will also have the opportunity to purchase tickets in advance of the public on sale during the Ticketmaster Verified Fan pre-sale to ensure tickets get directly into the hands of the fans. Registration for Ticketmaster Verified Fan is currently open and continues until January 19 at 11:59 PM ET here
Additionally, every online ticket purchased in North America for the new headline shows will include a physical copy of BOARDING HOUSE REACH on CD. Fans will also have the option to upgrade their CD to the standard black vinyl LP. BOARDING HOUSE REACH is out March 23.

April 19: Little Caesars Arena - Detroit, MI

April 20: Eagles Ballroom - Milwaukee, WI

April 21: 20 Monroe - Grand Rapids, MI

April 23: Baxter Arena - Omaha, NE

April 24: Providence Medical Center Amphitheater - Bonner Springs, KS

April 25: Chaifetz Arena - St. Louis, MO

April 27: Bomb Factory - Dallas, TX

April 29: Bomb Factory - Dallas, TX

April 30: Revention Music Center - Houston, TX

May 1: Revention Music Center - Houston, TX

May 2: 360 Amphitheater - Austin, TX

May 27: Brewery Ommegang - Cooperstown, NY

May 29: The Anthem - Washington, DC

June 4: Express Live! Outdoor Amphitheater - Columbus, OH

June 6: Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica - Cleveland, OH

June 7: Dome Arena - Rochester, NY

June 8: Artpark Mainstage Theater - Lewiston, NY

June 9: Budweiser Stage - Toronto, ON

June 27: London, UK - Hammersmith Apollo

June 28: London, UK - Hammersmith Apollo

July 2: AFAS Live - Amsterdam, NL

July 3: L'Olympia - Paris. FR

July 4: L'Olympia - Paris. FR

August 6: The Armory - Minneapolis, MN

August 8: 1st Bank Center - Broomfield, CO

August 9: SaltAir - Salt Lake City, UT

August 11: Veterans Memorial Coliseum - Portland, OR

August 12: Rogers Arena - Vancouver, BC

August 13: WAMU Theatre - Seattle, WA

August 15: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium - San Francisco, CA

August 19: Santa Barbara Bowl - Santa Barbara, CA

August 21: Viejas Arena - San Diego, CA

August 22: Comerica Theatre - Phoenix, AZ

August 23: The Chelsea @ The Cosmopolitan - Las Vegas, NV

Monday, January 15, 2018

Happy MLK Day: March on Washington 1963

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 both 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 to as well and you can read this amazing writing which unfortunately is still relevant today from King as well:

Friday, January 12, 2018

Full Show Friday: Anoushka Shankar Ensemble & Patricia Kopatchinskaja 4/23/16 Berlin

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...
Anoushka Shankar Ensemble & Patricia Kopatchinskaja!

It's Jazzy January again here at RtBE, so get ready to kick off 2018 with some different styled shows every Friday. For this series we skew into new (or more recent) jazz lands. Keeping it current proves there is amazing live jazz still being performed no matter what Ken Burns says.

We go Berlin and musically India for our Full Show Friday this week. Anoushka Shankar Ensemble with Patricia Kopatchinskaja broaden our focus on jazz even wider as we dip into our MLK weekend. Pro Shot, Pro Sound, Enjoy:


Setlist: 1. Raga Puriya Kalyan 2. Raga Pilu (with Patricia Kopatchinskaja) 3. Raga Pancham Seghara (with Pirashanna Thevarajah) 4. Raga Manj-Khammaj 

Anoushka Shankar: sitar Tanmoy Bose: tabla Pirashanna Thevarajah: mridangam Kenji Ota: tanpura Special Guest: Patricia Kopatchinskaja: Violine Großer Saal Konzerthaus 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Album Review: Nubya Garcia- Nubya's 5ive

Nubya Garcia
Nubya's 5ive
***and1/2 out of *****

The London based saxophonist and composer Nubya Garcia has released a stunning easy flowing debut album that captures the ear right away. Nubya's 5ive is actually a six track (one alternate take) effort that catapults the artist onto the scene in a big way as each track is expansive, groovy and enjoyable.

The smooth jazz of "Lost Kingdoms" opens things as her sax mixes with Sheila Maurice-Grey's trumpet all around the warm electro keyboards of Joe Armon-Jones. The theme is established by the stand up bass of Daniel Casimir for "Fly Free" Garcia's warm tone soothes the ear as she effortlessly displays an aloof coolness, almost drifting into avant garde land but pulling back to continue the groove.

That groove takes center stage on "Hold On" as the bass along Moses Boyd and Femi Koloeso drumming get the head bopping before Garcia comes on with skittering energy in a hip hop manner. A deep track that works well with Theon Cross's tuba and a drum duet, never relenting over the seven minute roll time. While the added condensed "Alternate Take" is nice to have we will stick with the original.

"Contemplation" is starts out creeping and deliberate in its pacing, smooth jazz which while effective, seems just a touch off on the piano and drum work when compared with the slow burn of Garcia's horn. "Red Sun" is more alive with a Latin tinged drum beat and matching sounds that propel the tune forward, locked in the group can push and pull using Garcia as a lead while contributing dynamically all around her.

While not as adventurous as some of the other albums we have covered this month, it is an engaging disk that takes it's time and works with atmospherics to deliver a pleasant journey in a more conventional jazz way. As a debut album it is sure fire success, as Garcia soars into the future.     
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Continuing our Jazz January with another bandcamp gem. Support the artist, buy the album/stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Album Review: Bob Dylan - Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series 13 1979-1983

Bob Dylan
Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series 13 1979-1983
**** and 1/2 out of *****

(This is a review of the two compact disc release)

While Bob Dylan has had many shifts in his performances and songwriting styles during his storied career, none has loomed as large and yet been as hidden as his Christian phase and this Bootleg release aims to explore that period in depth.

Focusing on his live performances during this time Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series 13 1979-1983 proves that Dylan was ultra-engaged. His sings with ferocity, backed by a host of female voices acting like a holy choir (these are Mary Elizabeth Bridges, Carolyn Dennis, Gwen Evans, Clydie King, Regina McCrary, Regina Peebles, Helena Springs, and Mona Lisa Young). The gospel sense is infused with the apocalyptic Armageddon message (especially on the first disc) but the secular world also slipped into the proceedings. With disco going on elsewhere, the backing music kicks in with some funky riffs and beats.

The religious fervor famously focused Dylan in the studio, as he used topnotch session musicians and producers for the three albums this release covers Slow Train Coming, Saved, Shot of Love. That attention to details carried over to the stage for these performances. Tim Drummond holds down the bass with Arthur Rosato and Jim Keltner manning the drum kit while a host of experts play guitar (Steve Ripley, Fred Tackett) and prominent keyboards (Al Kooper, Spencer Oldham, Willie Smith, Terry Young). Even Carlos Santana arrives to play a blistering solo on “The Grooms Still Waiting at the Altar”.

Arraigned mostly chronologically the years covered here find Dylan more fire and brimstone in ’79 with a steaming “Slow Train” and powerful “Gotta Serve Somebody” (from his famous Warfield Theater run) while second versions of both songs from ’81 have already evolved, taking on a funky looseness, with less Book of Revelation/End of Times force. “Solid Rock” has two different versions with the ’79 version bumping with grooving energy and the ’81 outing revamped, sapped of all its strength and enjoyment. The burning version of “Shot of Love” from ’81 however shows that Dylan can still dig deep and use that holy power for some inspired rocking.

The final few tracks move away from specific born again Christian directness towards a more worldly spiritual inclusion with the easy reggae tinged “Watered-Down Love” the light love song “In the Summertime” the fantastic organ drenched “Caribbean Wind” all this before one of Dylan’s all-time great pieces “Every Grain of Sand” which finishes the double disc set.

In between you get to hear the artist and players wrestling with the spirits and success of the tracks. The previously unreleased songs seem to be unreleased for the proper reason; they aren’t that dynamic. “Blessed Is the Name” is the best of these, working as a throw down gospel rave up that would be hard to capture in the studio, but “Ain’t Going to Hell for Anybody” remains one note throughout and “Ain’t No Man Righteous, No Not One” is an odd pairing of strong religious declarations with music that would be right at home as a theme song to any generic early eighties network sitcom comedy.

The one thing constant throughout is Dylan’s strong performances on guitar (acoustic and electric), piano and especially vocally. From the heartfelt “Saving Grace” and “Covenant Woman” to the dynamically forceful “When You Gonna Wake Up?” and “Saved”; he is on point with his message and mission. The group stretches out studio versions adding guitar solos or piano runs to tracks but never overstay their welcome, the longest tune here is the almost seven minute piano based “Pressing On”.

Bob Dylan’s Bootleg Series as a whole is amazing. It shines a light deep into the artist’s career, and while they shouldn’t be a first stop for new fans (explore the classic records first) they dig deep, unearthing linking tracks, lighthearted moments and for this entry, spiritual conversions. They are incredibly valuable to get the full scope of the man, his music and his vision as one of the most important figures of the 20th century and beyond. 

This entry continues the series stellar run and is needed to be heard, even if fans never loved or even liked these songs and aren’t apt to convert, it is clear Dylan truly felt the spirit during these years.
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Support the artist, buy the album, and peep some video below:

Two New Jack White Songs "Connected By Love" and "Respect Commander"

One of RtBE's favorites, Jack White has two new tunes out "Connected By Love" and "Respect Commander"
The first focuses on his singing and has an eerie space vibe mixed with a positive gospel sounds with big swells complete with a killer B3 organ solo. Listen for yourself:


There is a ripping guitar solo slipped in that melds with organ work. Sparse bass and drums, but the overly dramatic progressions and warbling intro keep it oddly grounded...really love it upon first listen. It is the first single from his upcoming album Boarding House Reach. 

He also released another track today, "Respect Commander". It is a skittering funky jam session that morphs into an awesome screeching outer space blues lament, birthed directly from Herbie Hancock's "Rocket":


This is clearly going to be a wild album, more info here from Third Man Records:
Today, Jack has released “Connected by Love,” the first single from his forthcoming third solo album, BOARDING HOUSE REACH, along with companion album track “Respect Commander.” Both songs are available digitally worldwide and as a physical 7” pressed at Third Man Pressing in Detroit now – listen, download and purchase HERE.
Needless to say we can not fucking wait to hear the whole thing. Jack's last two releases of new material topped our year end lists in 2012 and 2014 respectively. We have high hopes and judging from these tracks, we will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

2018 New Orleans Jazzfest, Artist Predictions

Soon the lineup for the 2018 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will be announced very soon (hopefully end of this week or next) but we got the early 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) including nationally touring NOLA acts like Irma ThomasDr. JohnGalactic and Trombone Shorty who will all be there. Lets just talk about the bigger national touring artists for now....

To get in the southern festive NOLA mood, here is a great video done by Jeronimo Acero that my friend the fantastic Lu Brow sent north to warm me up during the winter.
Now on to the predictions....

Album Review: Orissa- Resurrection

Orissa
Resurrection 
**and1/2 out of *****
The progressive metal outfit  Orissa is really the brain child of David Dodini who plays all of the instruments (except drums) on Resurrection, proving to be a master of all of them.  The progressive metallic sound will appeal to fans of Dream Theater and as added point of reference, drummer Jason Gianni's day job is in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

After a brief offering the riffs and scales start flying and climbing on Resurrection as "Tara" progresses for over seven minutes before driving into the heavier title track that digs up the darkness complete with mid song eerie breakdown. The cinematic flair continues with "Shades Of Grey" focusing on Dodini's vocals to start, before highlighting the percussion in the middle then ending on a metallic note; it is a good summation track of Dodini's style of writing and performing.

"Dissolution" isn't as successful and drags before the mid song change but still looses steam before its extended run time finishes and an odd wind/storm track "Primordial" acts as a sonic pause to things. The eastern flavored "Verse V" works much better with its snaking guitar lines and heavy handed/stomping drum work, combined with the Broadway ready emotional vocals it ends up the strongest tack here. Closing with the jazzy drum beats and frantic fretwork "Blue Communion" finishes up the album solidly.

The multilayered, long tracks and overly dramatic flair of Resurrection (and Dodini's style in general) will not be for everyone, but fans of progressive rock will certainly soar along with the sound eagerly.
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Support the artist, buy the album or stream it on bandcamp, peep some video below:


Monday, January 8, 2018

Dylan Cover #308 Marty Ehrlich "Blind Willie McTell"

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 Marty Ehrlich playing "Blind Willie McTell"

Jazzy January has invade Mondays! All this month we will check out various artists covering Dylan in a Jazz vibe, can you dig it daddy-o? 

Thoughts on Dylan's Original: 
(From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune)
Ahh the forgotten masterpiece.  This is the song that confirms that Dylan's outtakes are better then most artists best efforts.  Left off of Infidels and to this day only Dylan himself knows why, it was discovered by most via the amazing Bootleg Series 1-3.  There are few better then this haunting jaunt through East Texas, and including it on the 83 record would have solidified a mixed release.  The lyrics seem to burn into your ears as the playing is up to the task as well.  Gorgeous all over.

Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist: 
The Saxophonist/Clarinetist Marty Ehrlich has played with a host of advant garde Jazz greats, adding excellent lines to lots of styles. He has lead bands and worked as a sideman, ppaying with everyone from Marc Ribot to Bobby Previte to Anthony Braxton

Thoughts on Cover:
While we weren't that high on our first Jazzy Jan cover of Dylan, we couldn't be happier listening to this one. While granted it isn't wildly experimental, it manages to be slightly daring while keeping the haunting spirit of the excellent original. A great cover.  

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Happy 4th Birthday to The A&V EP!

Hard to believe @angelsvagabonds released our debut effort, The A&V EP four years ago today.
It has been fun writing about music on various websites and publications over the last ten plus years, but nothing beats the act of creating music, playing it live and recording it. Our first EP was an excellent experience, a huge learning process for me personally, and four years removed, I am still very proud of the final result.

From the cover photo that stayed exactly as Bruno_Pek_ shot it, to the great production from our good friend Glen to the contributions of everyone involved The A&V EP is a joy to remember. More importantly, we still like listening to it and you can do the same now.

You can download from our bandcamp site, you can buy it from iTunes, stream it on Spotify or below. As always, thanks for reading, and on this day I can say thanks for listening.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Full Show Friday: Marcus Miller - North Sea Jazz Festival 2015

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...Marcus Miller!
It's Jazzy January again here at RtBE, so get ready to kick off 2018 with some different styled shows every Friday. For this series we skew into new (or more recent) jazz lands. Keeping it current proves there is amazing live jazz still being performed no matter what Ken Burns says.

Starting this 2018 off with some love for the bass. One of the best to ever pluck the strings, Marcus Miller and his band is the focus of our first Full Show Friday in Jazzy January. Miller is a Jazz legend and a virtuoso, but this set manages to stay fluid and enjoyable for any fan of tunes. The full set list is below and it is great as he riffs on both Dylan and Miles, not a bad twosome.

This is a great one, Pro-shot, Pro Sound. Enjoy:


0:29 B's river 16:00 Papa was a rolling stone 27:02 We were there 40:47 Gorée 55:50 Tutu 1:01:50 Blast

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Album Review: Jaimie Branch - Fly or Die

Jaimie Branch
Fly or Die
***and1/2 out of *****

Jaimie Branch has been on a musical journey for years, born in Brooklyn, coming up through the Chicago jazz scene, studying at both the New England Conservatory of Music and Towson State, she only now releases her solo debut, Fly or Die.

A mix of old school cool and new school drive the record is alive with energy and textures. Branch's trumpet is at the center, but the supporting players do more than just provide color. Tomeka Reid - cello Jason Ajemian - bass and Chad Taylor - drums form the core of the players and they interlock excellently on "theme 001", a dynamic excursion that pumps along. "theme 002" ups the rhythmic pace with the bass pumping things forward as the trumpet blares out musical passages. The themes are the true center of the album and are where everyone can shine as a unit, and Branch as a bandleader.

On the flip side, the warped sounds on "...meanwhile" is an unwanted pauses in the action as the players putz around without any direction but these breaks are short blips before the group coalesces again. "the waltzer" also takes its sweet time and builds on its avant garde vibe deliberately slow, but drags mightily.

Other sonic gambles like "leaves of glass" work better with odd structure and sound beguiling the ear and acting as almost sound effects on "the storm". The perfectly titled track blows in and uses cello strings for added effect, in fact the whole thing brilliantly calls to mind wind and rain. The final part of the theme trilogy, "theme nothing" once again finds the full collection of players bubbling and playing with super strength; flushing out these themes on future releases will only bring more success. 

A fantastic first effort from Branch and company as they manage to mix odd sounds and cohesive passages from track to track on Fly or Die.
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Another name to add to the long list of great artists we find on Bandcamp and during our Jazz January series. Support the artist, buy/stream the album on bandcamp or below and peep some video:




Wednesday, January 3, 2018

New Single from Saxophonist Gianluca Gibbons

It is once again Jazzy January here @RockBodyElec where the site will focus on Jazz based songs, shows, albums and covers. We now present a new single and video from Saxophonist Gianluca Gibbons.

The track is titled "Shades of Me" and it has sultry lead lines from Gibbons, spoken word poetic lyrics and eerie atmospherics that match the video and especially dancer/choreographer Keva Walker excellently. We have loved showcasing newer/possibly lesser recognized jazz players since we started this monthly focus (back in 2014) and are happy to promote Gibbons work.

The LA based artist has performed and studied around the world even opening shows for some greats. Here's hoping his career continues to rise. Enjoy the video and the streaming track below:

Governor's Ball 2018 Announces Lineup

The festival season is almost upon us and while it is -1,729 degrees in NYC this week, the warmer weather is on the horizon with the announcement of the 2018 Governors Ball lineup:
While it isn't an amazing lineup, it is certainly a step up from last year and one of RtBE's all time favorites Jack White will be headlining a night. A few years ago we covered the event for Glide and Mr. White played that year as well along with Outkast, Spoon and other RtBE favorites.

The festival season is a great time, so we are hoping for more announcements soon and will be giving our NOLA Jazzfest predictions any day now. Until then though, enjoy some video to get you pumped for Gov's Ball 2018:







Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Live Review: Phish @ MSG 12/28/17

Phish 
12/28/17 
Madison Square Garden, NYC

Madison Square Garden became the Phish tank in 2017, the band played seventeen shows at the famous venue when the calendar year came to a close. The group began their annual New Year’s run on Thursday the 28th as the sold out crowd battled frigid temperatures to get into the arena.

From the opening “AC/DC Bag” Phish made their musical statement and stuck with it all night; funky grooves that never quit. Mike Gordon was clearly the most valuable player this outing as his bass both anchored and led many of the jams, especially in the excellent first set. The thick funk of “Tube” brought out gyrations from the crowd, “Get Back on the Train” bubbled over with energy before “Your Pet Cat” screeched and bumped delightfully. 

While the closing “Theme From the Bottom” was a powerful statement (led by Trey Anastasio’s climbing riffs), the highlight of set (and the night) was the dynamic “Wolfman’s Brother” which showcased strong piano work from Page McConnell and passages that veered excitingly close to chaos while maintaining the funky fun. It was the best version of this song we have heard/seen yet.

After the brief metallic clanging of “Wilson” echoed out to signal the start of the second set, the band wasted no time dropping right back into the groove, but less successfully this go around. “No Men In No Man’s Land” was the main vehicle as the group spread out behind Anastasio’s pedal work but unfortunately ended up aimless in their exploration, even so the players still managed to keep things fairly light and upbeat. The darker funk came next as “Twist” swirled and while “Everything’s Right” lyrics/chorus are laughable, the dance laden jam that sprang fourth did the job.

The second set was wobbly at times but coalesced nicely at its finish as the funk reached its zenith by way of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” before a scenic “Harry Hood” blissfully rolled out over the fans. The odd pairing of the encore (pop groovy “The Wedge” and gorgeous fret working “Slave To The Traffic Light”) prove the band will play just about any tune at any time these days and still sound damn good doing so.

This summer Madison Square Garden played host to the Bakers Dozen which clearly invigorated the band; now the world’s most famous arena gets to have the group wrap up a successful year on its stage. While Thursday didn't hit the highs of the summer shows, it is great to hear and see Phish still playing at a high level 34 years into their career. 
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Support the band, buy the live show, peep some video below along with the full setlist:

Monday, January 1, 2018

Dylan Cover #307 Miss Caroline "Blowin' In The Wind" 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 Miss Caroline playing "Blowin' In The Wind"
Jazzy January has invade Mondays! All this month we will check out various artists covering Dylan in a Jazz vibe, can you dig it daddy-o? 

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/is/always will be Bob Dylan.

Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Miss Caroline is a Swedish pop/folk artist. Original songs are posted on her youtube channel. For this song she had some help. Electric guitar: Elliot Elliot, Acoustic guitar: Pontus Wittenmark, Pocket trumpet: David Nilsson

Thoughts on Cover:
It is unique. Not one of our favorite versions, but we do love it when artists go out on a limb and try something different, they just don't always nail it.

On a side-note, Happy New Year!