Archive for April, 2007

One Track Mind: Allan Holdsworth, "The Drums Were Yellow" (2000)

photo: Genevieve Ruocco Of all the rock or fusion guitarists out there, there’s none out there who possesses the most pleasing tone, amazing technique and exceptional phrasing all wrapped up into one than the Brit Allan Holdsworth. He’s is a guitarist’s guitarist, having influenced everyone from Eddie Van Halen to Greg Howe. Holdsworth had been a journeyman for many years,Read More

Guilty pleasures: Gino Vannelli, Michael Franks, Hall & Oates, Jeff Lorber

by S. Victor Aaron Guilty pleasures. Admit it, we’ve all got ’em when it comes to music. For some time, now, I’ve been meaning to put a list together for everyone’s amusement. I was reminded of that half-serious promise I made to myself when I came across Rolling Stone Magazine’s back-handed compliment piece listing 25 “undisputed” guilty pleasure bands. Yeah,Read More

Forgotten series: Sir Charles Thompson – Takin’ Off (1947)

The hard-punching Charles Thompson is best known, if he’s known at all now, as a deep-background member of the Coleman Hawkins/Howard McGhee band from this period. On “Takin’ Off,” however, Thompson’s frisky rhythm and round-house experimentation are a constant reminder of just how underappreciated he remains. Thompson wasn’t simply a link between the swing era and bebop, having first playedRead More

Mavis Staples – We’ll Never Turn Back (2007)

In anybody else’s hands, this new Mavis Staples album would have been a museum piece, interesting but ultimately dust-covered and remote. Not that “We’ll Never Turn Back” (to be issued on Tuesday by Anti- records) doesn’t have plenty of right things to say, and certainly plenty of righteous things, in melding well-known “freedom songs” of the Civil Rights movement withRead More

Crowded House – Together Alone (1994)

This summer’s reunion of those pop perfectionists Crowded House had me back listening to this terrific mid-90s release, which — like the new tour — does not include longtime frontman Neil Finn’s brother Tim. From its completely realized debut with producer Mitchell Froom to the transformations when Neil and Tim (former leaders of the new wave outfit Split Endz) cameRead More

Chicago, “A Hit By Varèse” from Chicago V (1972): Deep Cuts

Chicago, “A Hit By Varèse” from Chicago V (1972): Deep Cuts

Fewer bands in rock have been more unjustly maligned than Chicago. Now, I’m no fan of the David Foster years, but being responsible for some of the shlockiest pop of that era doesn’t diminish the more innovative and ambitious output of the seventies, especially those first five albums.

One Track Mind: Anders Osborne "Boxes, Bills and Pain" (1999)

by Pico One of the coolest things about being a music fan is that no matter how much music you’ve already listened to, you can always discover great new talent that will sound fresh and exciting to your ears. Even if the talent has been around a while and is only “new” to you. Recently, I’ve been exploring the musicRead More

Herbie Hancock – Fat Albert Rotunda (1969)

The period in Herbie Hancock’s work between the landmark Maiden Voyage of 1965 and the funk-jazz classic Head Hunters eight years later contains some of Hancock’s least understood and most overlooked recordings of his career. It took quite a voyage to get from “Dolphin Dance” to “Chameleon” and as is often said, the journey itself is often more interesting thanRead More

Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993): An Appreciation

Editor’s note: This column ran as part of an obituary package on the national Gannett News Service wire upon Dizzy Gillespie’s passing in 1993. People told him those bullfrog cheeks would ruin his playing. The embouchure, very important. Flinty, yet funny, John Birks Gillespie was insightful enough to understand that this would be his hook. Over the next five decades,Read More

Buddy Guy – Southern Blues (1957-63)

NICK DERISO: Guitarist Buddy Guy, a Baton Rouge-area native, has a presence hardly in need of defining. From bar-walking solos (thanks to that old 150-foot amp chord), to his clean, percussive style on a polka-dot guitar, Guy has since the 1960s cut a wide swath, image-wise. Yet “Southern Blues” illuminates the proto-Guy in the same way that the Muddy WatersRead More