Maurice White’s gratitude gave former mentor Ramsey Lewis a hit with Sun Goddess

Maurice White’s gratitude gave former mentor Ramsey Lewis a hit with Sun Goddess

February 5, 2016

Eight years after Ramsey Lewis gave him his first big break, Maurice White returned the favor to Lewis by lending his talents to an album that put Lewis back in the public spotlight.

Remembering Paul Kantner’s Flight, from Jefferson Airplane to Jefferson Starship

Remembering Paul Kantner’s Flight, from Jefferson Airplane to Jefferson Starship

January 28, 2016

Science fiction helped Paul Kantner escape the drudgery of his childhood existence, then it fired his imagination as Jefferson Airplane transformed into Jefferson Starship.

The JAC Christmas Crew, “Holiday On Mars” (2015): Something Else! sneak peek

The JAC Christmas Crew, “Holiday On Mars” (2015): Something Else! sneak peek

November 30, 2015

Seething with energy and sass, the JAC Christmas Crew not only know how to write a good and witty song, but they also know how to arrange and deliver such wares in a cool and courageous manner.

Aruán Ortiz Trio feat. Eric Revis + Gerald Cleaver – Hidden Voices (2016)

Aruán Ortiz Trio feat. Eric Revis + Gerald Cleaver – Hidden Voices (2016)

January 27, 2016

While the tactics might be altered for each time out, Aruán Ortiz’s sophisticated, ultra-modern style of composing, arranging and improvising emerges each time.

Jaimeo Brown Transcendence – Work Songs (2016)

Jaimeo Brown Transcendence – Work Songs (2016)

February 8, 2016

Jaimeo Brown and Chris Sholar are able to make sense of traditional work songs from the American South and all corners of the world all and place it in the context of the present.

People Band, January 14, 2016: Shows I’ll Never Forget

People Band, January 14, 2016: Shows I’ll Never Forget

January 18, 2016

If this gig at London’s Cafe Oto is anything to go by, we should be hearing the People Band for a long time to come.

Paul Kantner (1941-2016): Fondly Recalling a Jefferson Airplane Concert I Did Not Attend

Paul Kantner (1941-2016): Fondly Recalling a Jefferson Airplane Concert I Did Not Attend

February 5, 2016

Paul Kantner played the University of Iowa on November 11, 1969 with Jefferson Airplane, but I was in the ninth grade – so no way were my parents letting me go.

Yes, “South Side of the Sky” from Fragile (1971): YESterdays

Yes, “South Side of the Sky” from Fragile (1971): YESterdays

January 26, 2016

An amazing piece of music, “South Side of the Sky” is a platform for the best of Yes’ compositional, playing and arranging talents.

Fred Phillips’ Best of 2015 (Hard Rock + Metal): Iron Maiden, Marilyn Manson, Queensryche

Fred Phillips’ Best of 2015 (Hard Rock + Metal): Iron Maiden, Marilyn Manson, Queensryche

January 4, 2016

Picking a Best of 2015 list wasn’t easy. A few albums were outstanding, but I sometimes had a hard time finding new music that connected.

The Beatles, “I’ll Follow the Sun” from Beatles for Sale (1964): Deep Beatles

The Beatles, “I’ll Follow the Sun” from Beatles for Sale (1964): Deep Beatles

January 29, 2016

Tellingly, Paul McCartney still occasionally performs the Beatles’ “I’ll Follow the Sun” in concert. It’s an important stepping stone in his artistic development.

Joe Mandica, “I Just Can’t Wait” from A Thousand Miles (2007): One Track Mind

Joe Mandica, “I Just Can’t Wait” from A Thousand Miles (2007): One Track Mind

February 5, 2016

A poignant paean to his son and daughter, Joe Mandica’s “I Just Can’t Wait” has been made complete with a newly released video featuring intimate images of family.

David Wiffen – Coast to Coast Fever (1973): Forgotten Series

David Wiffen – Coast to Coast Fever (1973): Forgotten Series

January 13, 2016

When the world around us grows quiet, there is no better company than an album like the deeply underrated David Wiffen’s ‘Coast to Coast Fever.’

Levon and the Hawks, “He Don’t Love You” (1965): Across the Great Divide

Levon and the Hawks, “He Don’t Love You” (1965): Across the Great Divide

October 22, 2015

The Band, then known as Levon and the Hawks, released a few forgotten songs before heading to that basement with Bob Dylan. Here’s one of the best.

Steely Dan Sunday: Katy Lied turns 40 this month

Steely Dan Sunday: Katy Lied turns 40 this month

March 8, 2015

This month, Steely Dan’s ‘Katy Lied’ turned 40 years old. Here are some reasons why it’s good enough to overcome an infamous mixing fiasco.

The Beatles, “I’ll Follow the Sun” from Beatles for Sale (1964): Deep Beatles

The Beatles, “I’ll Follow the Sun” from Beatles for Sale (1964): Deep Beatles

January 29, 2016

Tellingly, Paul McCartney still occasionally performs the Beatles’ “I’ll Follow the Sun” in concert. It’s an important stepping stone in his artistic development.

Bruce Springsteen – The River (1980): Gimme Five

Bruce Springsteen – The River (1980): Gimme Five

October 18, 2015

When Bruce Springsteen issued ‘The River’ in October of 1980, I didn’t like it very much. Time has changed that – and here’s why.

Yes, “South Side of the Sky” from Fragile (1971): YESterdays

Yes, “South Side of the Sky” from Fragile (1971): YESterdays

January 26, 2016

An amazing piece of music, “South Side of the Sky” is a platform for the best of Yes’ compositional, playing and arranging talents.

Toto, “Turn Back” from Turn Back (1981): Toto Tuesdays

Toto, “Turn Back” from Turn Back (1981): Toto Tuesdays

February 2, 2016

“Turn Back” stands the test of time well on its own, and elevates Toto’s third album – even though it was miscast.

(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Offramp” (1981)

(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Offramp” (1981)

June 7, 2014

Some think Metheny is joking around, that he couldn’t possibly like “all of this noise.”

Lucinda Williams – The Ghosts of Highway 20 (2016)

Lucinda Williams – The Ghosts of Highway 20 (2016)

February 4, 2016

Once again Lucinda Williams excels at making her pain, perseverance and hope relatable to ours, like few others can.

Maurice White (1941-2016): Five Great Earth Wind and Fire Moments

Maurice White (1941-2016): Five Great Earth Wind and Fire Moments

February 4, 2016

Maurice White, who died today, was the mastermind behind Earth Wind and Fire’s focused, soul-lifting horns, sunburst harmonies and a thrilling propensity for shaken-up textures and rhythms.

Lucinda Williams – The Ghosts of Highway 20 (2016)

Lucinda Williams – The Ghosts of Highway 20 (2016)

February 4, 2016

Once again Lucinda Williams excels at making her pain, perseverance and hope relatable to ours, like few others can.

John Lennon – Menlove Ave (1986): On Second Thought

John Lennon – Menlove Ave (1986): On Second Thought

January 21, 2016

John Lennon always preferred music raw and natural, and ‘Menlove Ave’ captured him 30 years ago in a thoroughly human moment.

Songs About Fights, Games People Play by Rolling Stones, B-52’s + Others: Odd Couples

Songs About Fights, Games People Play by Rolling Stones, B-52’s + Others: Odd Couples

January 23, 2016

The first time I heard the B-52’s, I laughed. The first time I heard the Rolling Stones’ “Emotional Rescue,” I laughed – but not for the same reasons.

The Smith Tapes 1969-1972: Lost Interviews with Rock Stars & Icons (2015): Books

The Smith Tapes 1969-1972: Lost Interviews with Rock Stars & Icons (2015): Books

December 19, 2015

Howard Smith’s ‘Lost Interviews with Rock Stars & Icons’ lends new perspectives on historical figures we thought we knew well.

Danny Elfman and ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’: Shows I’ll Never Forget

Danny Elfman and ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’: Shows I’ll Never Forget

December 23, 2015

A spectacular live reinterpretation of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ found composer Danny Elfman staging a partial on-stage Oingo Boingo reunion, as well.

John Belushi originally thought Steve Cropper was a roadie: ‘The guy with the long hair?’

John Belushi originally thought Steve Cropper was a roadie: ‘The guy with the long hair?’

July 19, 2015

John Belushi actually met Stax legend Steve Cropper early into putting together the Blues Brothers band. But he assumed Cropper was someone else.

Maurice White (1941-2016): Five Great Earth Wind and Fire Moments

Maurice White (1941-2016): Five Great Earth Wind and Fire Moments

February 4, 2016

Maurice White, who died today, was the mastermind behind Earth Wind and Fire’s focused, soul-lifting horns, sunburst harmonies and a thrilling propensity for shaken-up textures and rhythms.

Maurice White’s gratitude gave former mentor Ramsey Lewis a hit with Sun Goddess

Maurice White’s gratitude gave former mentor Ramsey Lewis a hit with Sun Goddess

February 5, 2016

Eight years after Ramsey Lewis gave him his first big break, Maurice White returned the favor to Lewis by lending his talents to an album that put Lewis back in the public spotlight.