Sunday, January 22, 2017

CD Review: Otis Taylor Is "Fantasizing About Being Black" On His New Album

American blues musician/singer/songwriter Otis Taylor is preparing to release his fifteenth studio album on February 17th. His new album titled "Fantasizing About Being Black" is a historical look at the minority, which echoes back to modern day events happening in our world. The album is being released on Taylor's own Trance Blues Festival record label.

The new eleven-song release begins with steady electric blues of "Twelve String Mile" as Taylor sings about being passed over because of the color of his skin. Lap steel guitar player, Jerry Douglas guests on the album, performing some amazing guitar work on the opening and closing numbers. Taylor straps on the banjo for the slave song "Banjo Bam Bam," then Taylor tells the tales of retired World War II General Jack Watson during the steady rhythm of "Jump Jelly Belly." The slow sonic blues of "Tripping On This" carries a classic John Lee Hooker feel, while "D To E Blues" is a quiet, battle cry of hope for freedom. The album finishes with the emotional true love of "Just Want To Live With You" and facing the crossroads of making the right decision with the storied blues of "Jump To Mexico." To find out more about Otis Taylor and his latest release "Fantasizing About Being Black," please visit otistaylor.com.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Presents Art Pepper's "West Coast Sessions!"

American jazz musician Art Pepper had an amazing 35 year career in music. Beginning, at age 17, with the Benny Carter Orchestra, then moving on to the Stan Kenton Orchestra, before going solo in the early fifties. He is known as one of the premier jazz musicians of the West Coast jazz movement. His life was cut short when his died from a stroke at the age of 56. During his career, he released over 50 albums and Omnivore Recordings is more than happy to add two more releases to his legacy. On February 4th, two new CD sets will be released covering Art Pepper's 1980's "West Coast Sessions!"

Volume one of this new set features Art Pepper working alongside fellow saxophone player Sonny Stint. Omnivore Recordings took the two albums that Art Pepper recorded with Stint and combined them into this new release, along with four bonus tracks. Disc 1 features the original album "Groovin' High: Sonny Stint And His West Coast Friends." This high energy session produced some exciting jazz numbers, including the nearly nine-minute jams of "Bernie's Tune" and the blues of "How High The Moon." Three of the four bonus tracks on this release are two previously unreleased takes of "Bernie's Tune" (which sound just as good as the released take) along with a high spirited run through Charlie Parker's "Wee." The disc finishes with another take of Dizzy Gillespie's "Groovin' Time" as Pepper and Stint share the spotlight.

The second disc in this set features the original album "Atlas Blues: Blow ! & Ballade." Both albums in this set have been digitally remastered as the sound is fantastic. Disc two begins with the epic numbers "Atlas Blues" and "Lester Leaps In" as the entire band gets their moments to shine. The band also delivers some amazing renditions of "Autumn In New York" and "My Funny Valentine," before closing with the gentle tones of "Imagination."

Now, volume two is a single CD that features the album "Strike Up The Band" featuring pianist Pete Jolly and his West Coast Friends. The album features exciting covers of George Gershwin's "Strike Up The Band" and Cole Porter's "Night And Day." The Art Pepper original, "Y.I. Blues" mixes up the rhythm and delivers a be-bop tone to the song. The song is also featured in the two additional bonus tracks that were added on to this new release. One is an alternative take of "Y.I. Blues," which delivers more swing to the song and the other bonus track is a previously unreleased take of the song as the band are still finding there way through the song. To find out more about these two new Art Pepper releases from Omnivore Recordings, please visit omnivorerecordings.com

Friday, January 20, 2017

CD Review: The Wood Brothers Revisit "The Barn" For New Live Release

One of thepremier Americana-folk bands in the U.S. are The Wood Brothers. They have slowly risen to the top of the genre since their first release in 2005. Their latest studio album "Paradise" topped the Billboard Heatseekers chart and reached #12 on the Billboard Country charts. They continue that success with their new live album "Live At The Barn." It featured The Wood Brothers performing at the "Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble" on August 19, 2016 for the first time since Helm's passing in 2012.
 
The new nine-song album was released on January 13, 2017 through the band's own record label, Honey Jar Records. The show begins with the country swing of "Mary Anna" from their album "Smoke Ring Halo." They get their groove on with the fun, sing-along lyrics of "I Got Loaded," before delivering the blues of "Tried And Tempted," along with their cover of "Trouble In Mind." The Wood Brothers plug in for their funky, folk/rock shuffle of "Who The Devil," then close with the wonderful, up-tempo sounds of "Honey Jar" and their beautiful cover of The Band's "Ophelia."
 
The Wood Brothers are heading out on tour at the beginning of February. For a complete list of live dates and to find out more about their new album "Live At The Barn," please visit thewoodbros.com.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

CD Review: New Releases From eOne Music Artists Unwill And The Wild!

New York rockers, Unwill will debut their new album "Past Life" on February 10th through Lifeblood Inc. and eOne Music. Their new 11-song release begins with the dark tones of "Doubt" as the music feels fresh and alive with youthful energy. They pick the tempo up with the raw, punk-like aggression of "Bitter Truth" as lead singer Rocco Sylvio shreds his vocals for the song's emotional chorus. Unwill also show their passion in "The Way" as they mix tempos to create an exciting and passionate delivery of their music. Their sound simmers, then explodes during the chorus of "Back Again," before heading into the mainstream, alternative sound of "You Wanted Out." Unwill finish their album with the screams of "Drifting," the hardcore alternative metal of "Soul" and the six-minute build-up of "Go." To find out more about Unwill and their latest release "Past Life," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/unwillband.

Canadian rockers, The Wild!, return with their sophomore effort titled "Wild At Heart." It will be released on February 17th through eOne Music and features ten hard-rocking numbers that carry that classic formula for multi-national success. Beginning with "Ready To Roll," lead singer/guitarist Dylan Villain and the rest of the boys draw up immediate similarities to southern U.S. rockers, Jackyl. The Wild! know how to make their music loud and exciting with the shout along chorus of "Livin' Free" and they keep the energy flowing through the addictive sounds of "Another Bottle." They pick the tempo up with the quick-hitting "Best In The West," then add an edgier, southern rock groove to their repertoire with the guitar boogie of "Six Hundred Sixty Six." The album finishes up with the bluesy tones of "Run Home" and the punk-like energy delivered with "Kansas City Shuffle." To find out more about The Wild! and their latest release "Wild At Heart," please visit thewildrocknroll.com

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

CD Review: New Music From World Renowned Artists Tohpait & Wingfield Reuter Stavi Sirkis

Indonesian guitarist Tohpati returns with his band, Ethnomission, after six years with his new studio album titled "Mata Hati." After coming off one their best critically acclaimed albums "Save The Planet," Tohpati is prepared to continue with the diverse progressive rock feel of his new release. The album begins with the Indian tones of "Janger," which features the Czech Symphony Orchestra. Tohpati and his band lead the listener on an epic journey, while the rhythms of "Pelog Rock" will shake things up on this Eastern-influenced tune. Tohpati's guitar glides along the jazz-infused "Mata Hati" as his band guides the way through this six-and-a-half minute song. Tohpati delivers a bluesy solo within "Berburu," before lifting the mood with the folk-rock experiment "Rancak." The album finishes with the intense delivery of "Pangkur" and the hard rock thunder of "Amaran." To find out more about Tohpati Ethnomission and their latest release "Mata Hati," please visit tohpati.bandcamp.com.

Two of the leaders of cutting edge electronic guitar techniques (Mark Wingfield & Markus Reuter) have teamed up with two outstanding, experienced studio wizards (Yaron Stavi & Asaf Sirkis) to create a new album titled "The Stone House." The band just joined together, in the studio without one single note written down. All the music performed on this new release is live, with no overdubs. The six songs featured on "The Stone House" are journeys through sound as each one takes the listener for a ride into the mind of these four musicians. Beginning with "Rush," the song takes unknowing turns as this space rock gems perfectly introduces how skilled the band members are with their instruments. The Pink Floydian sounding "Four Moons" and the hard rock, guitar driven "Silver" are the two shortest songs on the album (5:13 and 8:33 respectively), but both deliver a complete idea from start to finish. The ten-minute "Tarasque" is also a complete adventures experiment, as all the different ingredients work together on the jazz-infused number. The album finishes with the tempo-changing, progressive-rock feel of "Bona Nit Senor Rovira." To find out more about Wingfield Reuter Stavi Sirkis and their latest release "The Stone House," please visit markwingfield-moonjune.bandcamp.com.