Sunday, 20 April 2014

Ahmed Abdul-Malik - East Meets West (1959)


Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz, World Fusion, 
Original Release Date: 1959
Label: RCA



Review by Ken Dryden

The late Ahmed Abdul-Malik was best known to jazz listeners as a bassist with Thelonious Monk, Randy Weston, Coleman Hawkins, and many others. He made a few records as a leader, with this one being his most exotic and also the hardest to find. The Brooklyn native was of Sudanese descent; in addition to playing bass on this interesting blend of Middle Eastern instruments with those from the world of jazz, he also plays oud, the forerunner to the lute. The musicians on Malik's eight originals vary from track to track. On the mournful "La Ibky (Don't Cry)," Malik's oud shares the spotlight with a tenor sax (either Benny Golson or Johnny Griffin) plus trumpeter Lee Morgan. "Rooh (The Soul)" features the 72-string kanoon (which is sort of a brittle sounding and much smaller harp) played by Ahmed Yetman, along with Malik's arco bass and the droning violin of Naim Karacand......

Monday, 31 March 2014

Cornerstone - Arrival 2000


Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Hard Rock, Rock,
Original Release Date: 2000
Label: Massacre Records



Background
When you first take a decent listen to this album, you can't help but get carried away by their deep and moody style of melodic rock. Cornerstone combine those atmospheric moments of Magnum and Dare with the sonic fluidity of Ten. There's intelligence and thought riddled all the way through 'Arrival', and one can easily say that this is not your typical euro melodic rock release. The combination of Doogie White (Midnight Blue, Rainbow, Nikolo Kotsev) and Royal Hunt bassist Steen Mogensen is an unlikely one at that, but the presiding mood of the album is intensely deliberate, something akin to a progressive rock album, which I suppose is not unexpected considering the Royal Hunt connection.....



Friday, 28 March 2014

Fleetwood Mac - Original Album Classics 1968-1969 (2010) {3-CD Box Set}


Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Blues, Blues-rock,
Original Release Date: 1968-1969
Label: Sony Music



This three disc box set presents us with the first three Fleetwood Mac albums. They are returned to their original LP configurations and audio mixes. And that is a good thing. The versions offered on the Complete Blue Horizons Sessions Box Set sound great, I have no complaints about the remastering done for it. It's the inclusion of far too much studio talk and use of too many false starts on many of the songs that takes away from full enjoyment of the set. How many times do we need to hear a song's opening riff repeated?By comparison this set is a blessing in its simplicity. The CDs are well mastered and sound excellent. The packaging is kept to the basics as well, with eco friendly reproductions of the original album sleeves. The only thing missing is the full gatefold image on the cover of Mr. Wonderful. It's a tacky joke that only works the first time you see the cover. So not reproducing it here is a benefit.So with the emphasis not on packaging, ultimately what this box set highlights is the music. There is no booklet with rare photos and essays praising the band. There are no unnecessary additions of any kind to bloat the set. At the heart of it, what is here are three CDs of Fleetwood Mac playing blues music very well. Concentrating on the music is a good thing.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

MCM - Ritual Factory 2004


Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Fusion, Progressive Metal
Original Release Date: 2004
Label: Lion Music



This is a hard one to review. Rarely do I like to criticise such creativity within the Metal genre but on some occasions an album comes along that beggars belief as to what the musicians are hoping to achieve. One such album is MCM’s debut ‘’Ritual Factory’’ An album that ‘’spans from Progressive Rock to Experimental Jazz, from Funk Fusion to Indian Rhythms and phrasing’’ Yeah, you’ll be as bewildered as me when you hear it.

MCM is the brain child of the talented guitarist Alex Masi and he has joined forces with Randy Coven (Steve Vai/Malmsteen) on bass and John Macaluso (TNT/Malmsteen/RIOT) on drums.....


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Colosseum - Bread & Circuses (1998)


Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Prog-Rock, Art Rock
Original Release Date: 1998
Label: 1998 CD Cloud Nine Records/Intuition CLD 9190 2



Veteran jazz rockers Colosseum have been on and off the scene since 1969. They released 5 albums and as drummer and leader Jon Hiseman proclaims in the liner notes, "The worlds first ever jazz rock group...etc". This statement is clearly debatable; however, in their collective prime they dazzled audiences, released fine cutting edge LP's and were among the finest of the British jazz and jazz-rock musicans.

Hiseman is the leader and has been a staple in the British jazz scene most notably with his wife, British saxophonist Barbara Thompson. Other members including keyboardist Dave Greenslade formed a cutting edge prog-rock band in the 70's, simply called "Greenslade." Guitarist Dave Clempson, who has recorded with Jack Bruce, and multi-reedman Dick Heckstall-Smith are a few of the more recognizable names among this band. Hiseman's drumming was world class. Explosive, dynamic and when necessary, refined. Hiseman also recorded a classic LP called Tempest. This LP was recorded in the early 70's and featured the great guitarist Allan Holdsworth along with Colosseum bassist Mark Clarke. As a young teen I was overwhelmed with the superb musicanship of these chaps. Time passes by and here we have the new release....


Anouar Brahem - Conte de L'incroyable amour (1992)


Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz, Folk, World, & Country
Original Release Date: 1992
Label: ECM Records



After a memorable ECM debut with Barzakh, Anouar Brahem recorded this even more memorable sophomore effort one year later. Carrying over percussionist Lassad Hosni, Brahem welcomes Turkish musicians Kudsi Erguner on ney and Barbaros Erköse on clarinet. Erköse, a gypsy music specialist, adds rich colors to an already dense palette, weaving tethers that pull us into tender worlds. His duets with Erguner (“Etincelles” and “Peshrev Hidjaz Homayoun”) stand out as some of the album’s most flowing. The title track brings the patter of clay drums, weaving a gorgeous ney into our vision.....

Monday, 13 January 2014

Steve Smith & Vital Information - Live One Great Night 2012 {with DVD5 NTSC}


Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Jazz
Original Release Date: 2012
Label: BFM Jazz



Live! One Great Night (BFM Jazz) captures Vital Information in its natural habitat: On stage in front of an enthusiastic audience of music lovers with the band in high gear, pulling out all the stops for the entire set.

This recording is a superb example of the creative development in Vital Information’s music. Most of the compositions on Live! One Great Night were originally recorded on the studio albums Come On In and Vitalization. If you compare the performances on this release to the original recordings, you will hear significant musical growth both individually and collectively....







Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Brazen Abbot - Guilty As Sin 2003


Format: ape + cue + log
Genre: Hard Rock
Original Release Date: 2003
Label: SPV GmbH



The Bulgarian guitar hero Nikolo Kotzev is back with Brazen Abbot - Guilty As Sin - the fourth album after Live And Learn (1995), Eye Of The Storm (1996) and Bad Religion (1997). If I refer to the booklet, Nikolo says "This album came in difficult times. At times it felt like I'll never make it ...". Honestly, I though this project was long dead considering the last record was made in 1997. By the way, you might know this guitarist from his metal opera Nostradamus (2001).

Nikolo added "Inspiration was not a friend of mine for quite a while. However, with the help of friends and relatives I moved on and wrote music, which is the fruit of my darkest hours". Well, what an inspiration ... as this Guilty As Sin is by far the best Brazen Abbot album. Reminding me the best moments of Rainbow, Whitesnake or Deep Purple, Guilty As Sin is an homage to the 70's (vintage hard rock)....