Los Lobos, Patrick Moraz, Geoff Downes + others: Preston Frazier’s Five Recommended Stocking Stuffer CDs

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Here are five Best of 2015 CDs you should give to a love one or — if you don’t own them — treat yourself to.

MORAZ ALBAN PROJECT – MAP (JAZZ-ROCK): This keyboard and drum CD features former Moody Blues/Yes keyboardist Patrick Moraz and drummer Greg Alban is an rousing fusion of jazz and rock. Alban’s knowledge of progressive rock and jazz melds perfectly with Moraz’s formidable jazz chops. The album also features bassist John Avila (formerly of Oingo Bongo) and Lenny Castro on percussion who provide a few more textures to this forward thinking projects. Check out the opening track, “Jungle Aliens” for a great look behind the curtain.

DOWNES BRAIDE ASSOCIATION – SUBURBAN GHOSTS (POP): Current yes Keyboardist Geoff Downes is one the busiest guys in show biz with a full time active membership in Yes and Asia. Somehow he found time to record this pop classic gem with L.A. based Englishman Chris Braide to produce a concept album with pop sensibilities. The themes of isolation and lonliness are explored over Downe’s sheen of vintage sounding keyboards and touching lyrics by Braide. Braide’s vocals are earnest and nuanced. “Dreaming of England” is an instant classic to a must own album for electronic pop fans and proggers alike.

LOS LOBOS – GATES OF GOLD (ROCK): The self-professed “Just another band from East L.A.” produces yet another great rock album in a career of great rock albums. The band’s first release of new songs since 2010’s Tin Can of Trust is full of infectious grooves and powerful guitars. While the band doesn’t break new ground, they play and write better rock and roll songs on every outing and have proven again why they belong in the rock and roll hall of fame. Check out the songs “ Poquito Para Aqui” and “Made To Break Your Heart”

BEN PATERSON – FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE (JAZZ): Paterson, a piano virtuoso has also made his mark on the Hammond B-3 organ. If you have been fortunate enough to catch the Bobby Broom Organisation you already know Paterson’s power on his instrument On For Once In My Life, Paterson proves and effective band leader weaving his organ around rythums set by drummer George Fludas and guitarist Peter Bernstein while covering jazz standards and classics. Check out the opening track, “Cuban Chant.”

DENNIS ROLLINGS VELOCITY TRIO (Featuring Ross Stanley and Pedro Segundo) – SYMBIOSIS (JAZZ): Trombonist Dennis Rollins harnesses this powerful trio which deftly works its way through group composed original and fresh jazz compositions. Segundo’s driving yet nuanced pulse combines with Stanley’s pulsation Hammond Organ playing make for an irresistable combination. This United Kingdom based jazz trio’s CD is not to be missed. Check out the tracks “Utopia” and “Senora Do Almortao”.


Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier
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