2th September 2004
Happened To Hear… September 2004
…In the Land of Smooth by Byron Woods
in the 2-minute intro I’m hooked.
This sounds like the Stylistics at their best and I can’t stop
singing it. Fly Away
features vocal tricks like those of Philip Bailey and a lush piano
backing. The funky Girl,
I Need You has the musical and vocal sass of Al Jarreau, especially
in the lower registers. Saxman
Steve Cole also features – to great effect – on this song.
this Expansion Records
release, you’ll hear classy production, confident instrumentation and
superb backing vocals.
Byron wrote or co-wrote seven of the thirteen songs here.
If you love good soul vocals, especially where these have
overtones of Phil Bailey, Phil Perry or the Stylistics, well, you’re
going to love this guy…
This is an outstanding slice of modern soul music.
you’ve heard Hiroshima, you’ll know how Japanese and western musical
styles can blend in a startling way.
That’s what happens when this young master of the shamisen –
a traditional 3-stringed instrument – lays melody over a chunky
backbeat, as he does on Dawnlight, Heartbeat and Panther.
He has the sensitivity to respect a traditional instrument as he
shows on the sombre Paper In The Air.
He also has the in-your-face soloing chops of Stanley Clarke and
he totally burns on the outrageously funky Shami’s Groove.
contrast between the western-influenced music and tracks like Paper
In The Air and Baetnorae/Tsugaru Yosare Bushi is as
fascinating as it is stark. In The Sky is my choice as film music; it’s both
dramatic and uplifting, apart from being technically dazzling.
Age, World Music, jazz – this 2004 album from Domo
Records is whatever you want it to be.
…New North by Karl Seglem
cover of this Norwegian tenor saxophonist’s CD hints at the brooding
nature of much of the music on the disc.
meandering Port, with its almost Irish feel, its intertwining,
plaintive sax and guitar lines is unlike any music I’ve heard before.
Moon Fjord continues the theme while Med Jesus Vil Eg
Fara is a Norwegian psalm – one of two traditional tunes, which
again have a surprising Irish sound.
male vocals on this CD were hard to get to grips with, partly because I
don’t speak Norwegian and partly because I’m still trying to think
of this as a jazz album, which it reveals itself not to be.
In fact, the song with the most conventional structure is the
dreamy New Goodbye.
tenor sound is superb and reminds me in many ways of the Yellowjackets’
Marc Russo. I also enjoy
the percussion on the album, which is often chaotic.
Where I’ve struggled to appreciate this set musically, I’ve
found myself listening to it as a collection of sounds.
Who can tell you how you should hear music that is so far removed
from the mainstream?
out www.ozellamusic.com if
you’re an adventurous music buyer.
…Lumpy Jazz by Jeff Berlin on M.A.J. Records
heard the term “bass players’ bass player”?
Jeff Berlin has inspired – and tutored – many fine players
and his soloing is legendary.
Brooklyn Uncompromised, he explores most of the bass and its
melodic and chordal possibilities.
On My Happy Kids, the running bass, skittering snare and
joyful piano will make you smile. Bass
players – don’t try this at home!!
bluesy atmosphere of Almost Dawn holds you spellbound, waiting
for something to break loose and the guitar-like soloing halfway through
won’t disappoint. It’s Richard Drexler’s piano that sticks in my mind
though. Drexler’s no
slouch on upright bass either (piano and upright bass – how often do
those talents combine in one person?) and he holds it down while Berlin
flies all over the bass on Have You Met Mischpucha.
Thielemans’ utterly sublime harmonica adds the sweetness to Toots
Suite – it’s a lovely tune.
I love Danny Gottlieb’s flying snare and cymbals on Everyone
Gets Old (If They Have The Time).
I just wish there’d been more melody before the blazing,
high-register bass workout kicked in.
you want to hear how far – and how fast – a bass player can go
melodically, you should hear “Lumpy Jazz”.
If you want to learn bass, hear some slapping or cool out on some
low-end stuff, I’d start with something simpler.
Bass maniacs can surf to www.jeffberlinmusic.com
to order this CD and read more about the truly individual Mr Berlin.