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Something Else! Featured Artist: Steely Dan

by S. Victor Aaron 1) Aja (1977)Strong set of songs + note perfect production + top notch musicianship = masterpiece. High point: The Wayne Shorter and Steve Gadd exchange during the extended instrumental passage of the title cut. Low point: Didn’t come with a second LP.

The Beatles – Revolver (1966): On Second Thought

The Beatles – Revolver (1966): On Second Thought

The Beatles’ ‘Revolver’ became their best album as the group made its first genuine foray outside of already-comfortable pop-song structures.

Lionel Hampton and Friends – Rare Recordings, Vol. 1 (1977)

by Nick DeRiso A line-up from jazzer nirvana is one thing. Wringing such ringing performances out of the guys is quite another. Call this cool vibes from vibrophonist Hampton, who certainly knows where to mail the invitations — a veritable who’s-who of jazz for the newbie: Pianist Hank Jones, trumpeter Thad Jones, pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines, bassist Charlie Mingus, trumpetRead More

Something Else! Featured Artist: Jean Luc Ponty

by S. Victor Aaron LIFE ENIGMA (2001): Born in Avranches, France, in 1942, classically-trained violinist Jean Luc Ponty discovered Miles and ‘Trane in his twenties and became a pioneer in the fusion movement of the late-sixties and throughout the seventies. He was — and still is — arguably the finest electric violinist in the world. Oops, did I say “arguably”?Read More

Gimme Five: Overlooked Miles Davis recordings

Another in a series of overlooked jazz classics. This time we look at diamonds in the rough by perhaps the single most influential figure in jazz since World War II: Miles Davis. A high profile artist whose work has been picked apart as much as Davis’ won’t have a lot of unturned stones despite some 45+ years of recording history.Read More

The Fireman – Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest (1994)

Capitol Records tried to drop hints that was, in fact, a record by Paul McCartney. Press information shipped with the advance CDs had a pull-out reproduction of a tabloid, apparently circa 1964: “‘Beatlemania,’” the headline screamed, “sweeps U.S.” But the enclosed news release goes on and on about “an anonymous duo” known as the Fireman. No other details given onRead More

Forgotten series: Soul jazz saxophonist Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley

by S. Victor Aaron If someone were to ask me who was the best alto sax player ever, I couldn’t at least not heavily consider Cannonball Adderley, the Miles Davis sideman. He had both technique and soul by the sackful. Adderley churned out some fine ones even without the Prince Of Darkness’ help.

Miles Davis – Tutu (1986)

by S. Victor Aaron Recently I revisited an album that wore our my cassette player during late ’86-early ’87: Tutu by Miles Davis. It typically takes a long time to get the right perspective on a Miles record, he was often took a direction in music before his listeners were ready to follow him down the path he was taking.Read More

Something Else! Featured Artist: Marcia Ball

 by Nick DeRiso One of her best Rounder releases, and hilariously named, is “Let Me Play With Your Poodle.” Featured is legendary guitar virtuoso Clarence Holliman, the guy who burned through Bobby “Blue” Bland’s classic 1950s and ’60 sessions. In fact, the old album titles tell it best, when talking about Marcia Ball: “Hot Tamale Baby.” “Gatorhythms.” “Sing It!”

Forgotten series: Coleman Hawkins – Rainbow Mist (1944)

by Nick DeRiso Rainbow Mist, Coleman Hawkins’ 1944 smoker on Delmark, was a brilliant record borne out of boredom. Hawkins, the tenor saxman, had already made his splash with the song “Body and Soul,” back in 1939. When he returned from living in Europe for five years, he took a chance on updating his by-then decrepit standard — stirring inRead More

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