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Forgotten series: Pink Floyd – Division Bell (1994)

by Nick DeRiso Perhaps the only album from after the so-called Classic Period (“Dark Side”-to-“Animals,” some would also include “The Wall”) that must be checked out by any prospective Pink Floyd fan — if only because it helps encapsulate the Rest of the Story, outside of Roger Waters’ monolithic influence.

Half Notes: Robert Cray – Strong Persuader (1986)

by Nick DeRiso I came to know about Robert Cray by association. Digging through the blues stacks at the old SOOTO Records in the Shreveport, I stumbled across the 1985 album “Showdown!” on Alligator, featuring two I knew and one I didn’t: Albert Collins, Johnny Copeland … and some dude named Robert Cray. I bit — and boy, am IRead More

Forgotten series: Ike Turner – 1958-59 (1993)

by Nick DeRiso It’s been more than 50 years since Stan Lewis opened Stan’s Record Shop in downtown Shreveport. From his vantage point at the the top of Texas Avenue (I used to sneak down there after class), he would go on to create a once-lucrative business, then see the shop whither and go under (as vinyl died). But, allRead More

John Scofield – Überjam (2002)

Much as Neil Young was the elder godfather to the grunge bands of a decade ago, guitarist John Scofield now enjoys a similar stature among the numerous funk-jazz jam bands that have sprouted up in the wake of the emergence of Medeski, Martin and Wood in the mid-nineties. Many of these young guns found inspiration in Scofield’s funky offerings fromRead More

Lists: Jazz rhythm standouts Peter Erskine, Christian McBride, Tony Williams, Dave Holland

by S. Victor Aaron PETER ERSKINE, Sweet Soul (1991) I’ve got scads of records led by John Abercrombie that show Erskine’s prowess on the skins better than this record. But here, Erskine does such a great job leading an ensemble that shifts from track to track. On some, we are treated to Kenny Werner’s inspired keyboard work and on others,Read More

Lists: Blues harmonica players Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Paul Butterfield

1) Little Walter, “His Best”First gaining fame as a member of Muddy Waters band, Marksville, La.-native Little Walter pioneered the amplified harp sound that is often imitated but has not since been duplicated. Chess Records (now part of MCA) released a “Best” series that rank as one of the best compilation projects in the history of the blues. Walter’s setRead More

Gimme Five: Funky records from Herbie Hancock, Jeff Lorber, Grover Washington Jr., The Crusaders, David Sanborn

This time we look at albums with grooves in the pocket even if they weren’t much in the press: 1) Herbie Hancock, Mr. Hands (1980)The seventies began very creatively for HH, first with the space funk Mwandishi albums followed by the better-known Head Hunters period that firmly eastablished Herbie’s pre-eminance in synthesized instrumental funk. But as the decade wore on,Read More

Something Else! sneak peek: Miles Davis – The Complete 'In a Silent Way' Sessions (2001)

by S. Victor Aaron On the Columbia re-release of Miles Davis’ “The Complete In a Silent Way Sessions” … This 3 cd set covers Miles Davis’ recoding sessions from September, 1968 to February, 1969, chronicalling the line of demarcation between “acoustic Miles” and “electric Miles”. It is an important piece of work for historical reasons, making the listener a flyRead More

Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra – Fire of the Fundamentals (1994)

by Nick DeRiso While it doesn’t have the cohesiveness of 1992’s “Portraits of Ellington,” this makes its own kind of statement. The playlist is an evocative pairing of older, traditional big-band selections by composers like Billy Strayhorn, with more modern tunes from Miles, Monk and Coltrane. In that way, the CD nearly mirrors the band’s own makeup.

Allen Toussaint – Connected (1996)

I’ve always been a fan of this pianist/composer. Perhaps never meant to be a star, Toussaint was one of those great working-class, behind-the-scenes talents — he did session work, produced, helped with A&R, wrote songs — who made the record business go back in the day. In this way, Toussaint was the tireless, beating heart of New Orleans music inRead More

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