I have been reading a book on jazz by Nat
Hentoff, a noted critic who loves jazz but writes more about
socio-political stuff these days, and a book by the late great Edwin
Newman that goes into why he does not like amorphous terms such as
socio-political, so I guess I end up being a bit confused. But I agree
with Hentoff that cool jazz is cool and with Edwin Newman that the
degradation of the English language is a damned shame.
And truly saddened by the news that 11-year-old
Shannon Tavarez, who played one of the cubs in the Broadway musical
version of “The Lion King”, has succumbed to cancer. At least she got
to fulfill her dream of performing on stage and for that we applaud her.
Jerry Bock, who composed the musical score for
“Fiddler on the Roof”, has also gone on at 81. Another 81-year-old,
gospel Grammy award winner Albertina Walker has left for the Heavenly
choir, along with James Phelps, 78, a gospel and R&B vocalist.
Polish avant-garde composer Henryk Gorecki has died at 76. One of his
works depicted thje Virgin Mary as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration
camp. And Tony Moreno has passed at 66. Born in Cuba, he was raised in
Miami, where he founded MP Records, a Latino music label.
A name more of our readers might recognize is off
this plane too. Solomon Burke was 70 when he died at an Amsterdam
airport while on tour. He was a major influence on the lives and styles
of many artists and people in the business said he was the king of rock
and soul and the man who made modern music possible. Late in his career
he appeared on a throne, but it was more due to health and weight
problems than anything to do with that king stuff going to his head. Oh
what a voice! Solomon Burke was survived by 21 children, 90
grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren.
While not musicians, a couple more people deserve
some mention here. One is Lisa Blount, an Academy-Award winning actress
who was born in Fayetteville and passed away in Little Rock at 53. The
other is one of the guys who gave us Bullwinkle Moose and Rocky the
Flying Squirrel and all that other good stuff that came along with
them: Alexander Albertson, Jr. He was 90.
4TH & BROADWAY
This lady can sing and she has good range and
timbre. She also has eclectic tastes in her music. Recording at Trax
East in South River, New Jersey and at Jpad Music in Nashville,
Tennessee, she swings from blues and jazz to country and has a whole
host of great musicians backing her. An excellent set.
GOOD FOR THE MEANTIME
Carter Sampson can sing and play the guitar and she
can flat sell a song. She wrote all the songs on this album, recorded
at Dirty Bird Studios in Norman, Oklahoma. OK, all but one, which she
co-wrote with Gabriel Marshall. But they had it mastered in
Pennsylvania. Oh well, maybe they know a really good engineer up there.
Ah, here is his name: Garrett Haines; his studio is Treelady in Turtle
Creek. Sweet, cool, hot; how can that be?
Nice set. The music ain’t bad neither. I have yet to
truly develop a taste for the style, which might be described as
DUST THE DUST
Ghost Town Blues Band
Never heard “Come Together” done as a blues, most
interesting. They do some other covers, more traditional ones I guess
you could say, plus several originals, mostly written by singer /
guitarist / harpist / organist / believe it or not clavichordist. You
just cannot find that many blues bands with a clavichord (and I have
known blues bands that were lucky to have three chords, period). Kevin
Houston of Inside Sounds recorded and mixed and Kevin Nix of Ardent
Studios mastered. Good stuff.
Hey, Bee Jay’s is no label or even a recording
studio. It just happens to be a hair salon; they even have a price list
in with the liner notes along with a plug for their teaching
techniques. David has a good voice and some power. He is backed by
Marquis Hunt on sax, Clay Paul on percussion, and Michael McKinnis on
keys. Go to beejayshairstylingacademy.com for further info or drop by
1907 Hinson Loop in Little Rock or 130 West Main in Batesville and get
BACK IN THE FIRE
Now then, talk about selling a song, Robin Rogers
not only sells the song, but also adds interest. She is one hell of a
singer, which is what we have to come to expect from Blind Pig. This
disc just swings from end to end.
Silvertone / Jive
Whoa, the cat is 74 and still wailing on the guitar,
singing too. He also has B.B. King and Carlos Santana sitting in on one
cut each. Many of the songs are in a reflective mood, which is fine
with me; cat has every right to look back fondly on a long successful
career. I saw him at the Fillmore West in 1969 and he blew the crowd
away that night. I suspect he could still do that sort of thing. 74
years young and gonna keep on having fun.
LAWSON GARRETT & PEACES OF WAY
Lawson Garrett & Peaces of Way
Unusual music from an unusual combo and most
engaging. Mike Stephenson played drums, Todd Jones played some bass, as
did Kim France, Rick Anderson played some violin and pedal steel,
Jonathon Wallace added some banjo, and David Streng did some
percussion, but the core of the recording is Lawson Garrett on vocals,
guitars, Kim Bos on vocals and percussion, and mandolin, and Jud Barry
on oboe, bassoon, electric dulcimer, pennywhistle, and harmonica. I
told you they were unusual.
STAY WITH ME
Big Fat Cat
This is well played, well produced, but just not my
favorite thing. For those of you who like draggy, mournful pop, it
might just be your thing. Have at it.
A play on the words harmonica and cornucopia, the
title does give one a good idea of what lies inside: lots and lots of
harmonica. If you like that sort of thing, then you should enjoy this
fine album. If you do not care for it, you should skip to the next
THE GOODBYE WALTZ
Another play on words, what goes on here? In this
case, some purty dadgum good music I must say. Recorded in Connecticut,
at the Dirt Floor Studios in Chester and Deep River, this album
nonetheless has a sound similar to much of what I have heard produced
down home. Their song about Jesse James is especially poignant. Many of
the songs are downright catchy.
SO MANY MILES
Chris Cain is, as always, Chris Cain, a great
guitarist / vocalist / songwriter. This album is no departure from his
established style, which is California blues at its best, laid back
when the song calls for it and scorching when that is what is needed.
Robben Ford adds some rhythm guitar and it all adds up to a fine piece
of work, or should I say play? Cain also plays some keyboard and is
backed by a variety of instruments providing a fuller sound.
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