Chuck Mangione – Chase the Clouds Away (1998)

FrontCover1Throughout the 1970s, Chuck Mangione was a celebrity. His purposely lightweight music was melodic pop that was upbeat, optimistic, and sometimes uplifting. Mangione’s records were big sellers yet few of his fans from the era knew that his original goal was to be a bebopper. His father had often taken Chuck and his older brother Gap (a keyboardist) out to see jazz concerts, and Dizzy Gillespie was a family friend. While Chuck studied at the Eastman School, the two Mangiones co-led a bop quintet called the Jazz Brothers who recorded several albums for Jazzland, often with Sal Nistico on tenor. Chuck Mangione played with the big bands of Woody Herman and Maynard Ferguson (both in 1965) and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1965-1967). In 1968, now sticking mostly to his soft-toned flügelhorn, Mangione formed a quartet that also featured Gerry Niewood on tenor and soprano.

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They cut a fine set for Mercury in 1972, but otherwise Mangione’s recordings in the ’70s generally used large orchestras and vocalists (including Esther Satterfield), putting the emphasis on lightweight melodies such as “Hill Where the Lord Hides,” “Land of Make Believe,” “Chase the Clouds Away.” and the huge 1977 hit (featuring guitarist Grant Geissman) “Feels So Good.” After a recorded 1978 Hollywood Bowl concert that summed up his pop years and a 1980 two-LP set that alternated pop and bop (with guest Dizzy Gillespie), Mangione gradually faded out of the music scene. In the ’70s, Chuck Mangione recorded for Mercury and A&M; in the ’80s he had a couple of very forgettable Columbia albums, and had not been heard from in the ’90s until a 1997 comeback tour found him in good form, having a reunion with his “Feels So Good” band. The Feeling’s Back followed in 1999. (by Scott Yanow)

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Chase the Clouds Away is the tenth album by jazz musician Chuck Mangione.

Upon Chuck Mangione’s signing with A&M, his music underwent a softening process; everything would become subordinate to the pretty tunes that seemed to pour out of the horn player with honeyed ease. However, the tunes on Chase the Clouds Away aren’t as catchy as his earlier ones, and Mangione is starting to run those Spanish chordal patterns into the ground. Mangione’s flügelhorn work begins to show some signs of wear here, and he now doubles on gently phase-shifted Rhodes electric piano, often reserving it for the intros. Wind player Gerry Niewood, bassist Chip Jackson, and drummer Joe La Barbera have been asked to tone down their attacks and interplay; the orchestrations are subdued and recessed, no longer as bold-sounding as in early-’70s Mangione. While Mangione scores points as a precursor of the “smooth jazz” trends of the future, that’s a dubious honor in this context. (by Richard S. Ginell)

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Personnel:
Joe la Barbera (drums)
Charles “Chip” Jackson (bass)
Chuck Mangione (flugelhorn, piano)
Kathryn Moses (flute, piccolo)
Gerry Niewood (flute, saxophone)
Vincent DeRosa (french horn)
Esther Satterfield (vocals)
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Edgar Lustgarten (cello on 05.)
Bill Reichenbach Jr. (trombone on 03.)

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Tracklist:
01. Song Of The New Moon 6.36
02. Can’t We Do This All Night 5.28
03. He Was A Friend Of Mine 6.26
04. Echano 8.31
05. Chase The Clouds Away 4.52
06. Soft 3.31

Music & lyrics by Chuck Mangione

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Soft Machine – Third (1970)

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Soft Machine are an English rock band from Canterbury formed in mid-1966 by Robert Wyatt (drums, vocals, 1966–71), Kevin Ayers (bass, guitar, vocals, 1966–68), Daevid Allen (guitar, 1966–67), and Mike Ratledge (organ, 1966–76). As a central band of the Canterbury scene, the group became one of the first British psychedelic acts and later moved into progressive rock and jazz fusion. Their varying line-ups have included former members such as Hugh Hopper (bass, 1969–1973), Elton Dean (saxophone, 1969-1972), and Andy Summers (guitar, 1968), and currently consists of John Marshall (drums), Roy Babbington (bass), John Etheridge (guitar), and Theo Travis (saxophone, flutes, keyboards)

Though they achieved little commercial success, the Soft Machine are considered by critics to have been influential in rock music. Dave Lynch at AllMusic called them “one of the more influential bands of their era, and certainly one of the most influential underground ones”. The group were named after the novel The Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs.

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Third is the third studio album by the rock band Soft Machine, originally released in 1970 as a double LP, with each side of the original vinyl consisting of a single, long composition.

Third marks the most major of Soft Machine’s several shifts in musical genre over their career, completing their transition from psychedelic music to jazz, and is a significant milestone of the Canterbury scene, featuring interplay between the band’s personnel: Mike Ratledge on keyboards, Robert Wyatt on drums, Hugh Hopper on bass and newest member Elton Dean on saxophone.

Lyn Dobson appears on saxophone and flute on “Facelift”, recorded while he was a full member of the band (then a quintet), although he is credited as an additional performer. Jimmy Hastings (brother of Pye Hastings from Caravan) makes substantial contributions on flute and clarinet on “Slightly All the Time”, free-jazz violinist Rab Spall (then a bandmate of Wyatt’s in the part-time ensemble Amazing Band) is heard on the coda to “Moon in June”, and Nick Evans (a member of the band during its short-lived septet incarnation) makes brief appearances on trombone in “Slightly All the Time” and “Out-Bloody-Rageous”.

In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock (2005), the album came #20 in its list of “40 Cosmic Rock Albums”.

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The original release of Third had an unpolished sound quality, including tape hiss on the live recordings and abrupt editing. “Slightly All the Time” and “Out-Bloody-Rageous” are the most straightforward tracks on the album, representing the jazz-rock sound that would be explored further on subsequent albums.

“Facelift” is the most radical track. The version on the album was recorded live at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, 4 January 1970 (the first by the quintet version of the band), with a brief section from the Mothers Club, Birmingham, 11 January 1970, and some recordings from the 1969 Spaced project.[6] While a large part of the finished product is essentially a live recording, parts involve tape collage and speeding up, slowing down, looping and backwards playing of tapes, the ending being the most memorable part, where two different treatments of the same basic riff (one from the live concert, the other, at double speed, from Spaced) are heard simultaneously, backwards. At the time of the 5-piece line-up, “Facelift” was typically expanded with solo improvisations and showcases by Lyn Dobson on flute, vocals and harmonica.

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“Slightly All the Time” is a medley of different instrumental pieces, including Ratledge’s “Backwards” and Hopper’s “Noisette”. “Backwards” later appeared on fellow Canterbury Scene band Caravan’s 1973 album For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night, as part of the “A-Hunting We Shall Go” medley.

“Moon in June” is the last song with lyrics that Soft Machine recorded, and their last look back to their progressive rock, pre-jazz sound. The song is in three parts. The first is a pastiche of vocal themes delivered in a stream of consciousness which varied in live performances. Wyatt plays all the instruments in this section. The lyrics borrow from Soft Machine’s earlier “That’s How Much I Need You Now” and “You Don’t Remember”, but largely from new vignettes recorded in a demo by Wyatt in October 1968 while on holiday in New York state. An excerpt from a different demo of Part 1, recorded in November 1968, was included on Robert Wyatt’s 2001 Flotsam Jetsam archive compilation. The second part features the whole band, and is an instrumental similar to other jazz-rock pieces on the album. The third is a drone featuring Wyatt and violinist Rab Spall; Spall’s part was recorded separately and was sped up and slowed down to make the violin fit the beats of the music. This section also features Wyatt scat singing uncredited renditions of two Kevin Ayers songs: “Singing a Song in the Morning” and “Hat Song”. A demo of the second and third parts was recorded in Spring 1969, which was spliced onto the October 1968 demo to be included on Soft Machine’s 2002 Backwards archival release. A live recording from 24 May 1970 in London was released on Backwards, containing a shortened version of parts 2 and 3. A pre-Third performance that includes a shortened instrumental Part 1 was recorded live at the Fairfield Halls concert and appears on Soft Machine’s 2000 Noisette archive release.

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“Out-Bloody-Rageous”, the final song on the album, is an instrumental composed by Ratledge, and contains a number of tape loops inspired by the work of Terry Riley.[6] Its name inspired the names of the 2005 Soft Machine biography Soft Machine: Out-Bloody-Rageous,[12] and a 2 CD anthology from 2005 entitled Out-Bloody-Rageous An Anthology 1967–1973. (wikipedia)

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Soft Machine plunged deeper into jazz and contemporary electronic music on this pivotal release, which incited The Village Voice to call it a milestone achievement when it was released. It’s a double album of stunning music, with each side devoted to one composition — two by Mike Ratledge, and one each by Hopper and Wyatt, with substantial help from a number of backup musicians, including Canterbury mainstays Elton Dean and Jimmy Hastings. The Ratledge songs come closest to fusion jazz, although this is fusion laced with tape loop effects and hypnotic, repetitive keyboard patterns. Hugh Hopper’s “Facelift” recalls “21st Century Schizoid Man” by King Crimson, although it’s more complex, with several quite dissimilar sections. The pulsing rhythms, chaotic horn and keyboard sounds, and dark drones on “Facelift” predate some of what Hopper did as a solo artist later (this song was actually culled from two live performances in 1970).

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On his capricious composition “Moon in June,” Robert Wyatt draws on musical ideas from early 1967 demos done with producer Giorgio Gomelsky. Lyrically, it’s a satirical alternative to the pretension displayed by a lot of rock writing of the era, and combined with the Softs’ exotic instrumentation, it makes for quite a listen (the compilation Triple Echo includes a BBC broadcast recording of “Moon in June” with different albeit equally fanciful lyrics, and the Robert Wyatt archival collection ’68, released by Cuneiform in 2013, features a remastered version of Wyatt’s original demo of the song, recorded in the U.S. following the Softs’ tour opening for the Jimi Hendrix Experience). Not exactly rock, Third nonetheless pushed the boundaries of rock into areas previously unexplored, and it managed to do so without sounding self-indulgent. A better introduction to the group is either of the first two records, but once introduced, this is the place to go. (by Peter Kurtz)

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Personnel:
Elton Dean (saxophone, saxello)
Hugh Hopper (bass)
Mike Ratledge (keyboards)
Robert Wyatt (drums, vocals)
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Lyn Dobson (saxophone, flute)
Nick Evans (trombone)
Jimmy Hastings (flute, clarinet)
Rab Spall (violin)

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Tracklist:
01. Facelift (Hopper) 18.47
02. Slightly All The Time (Ratledge) /Noisette (Hugh Hopper) 18.13
03. Moon In June (Wyatt) 19-09
04. Out-Bloody-Rageous (Ratledge) 19.14

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Jan Akkerman – Same (1977)

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Jan Akkerman (born 24 December 1946) is a Dutch guitarist. He first found international commercial success with the band Focus, which he co-founded with Thijs van Leer. After leaving Focus, he continued as a solo musician, adding jazz fusion influences.

The son of a scrap iron trader, Akkerman was born in Amsterdam. He started playing the accordion before turning to the guitar. Around age ten he took guitar lessons and his first single, with the Friendship Sextet, was released in 1960, when he was thirteen years old. Akkerman won a scholarship to study at the Amsterdam Music Lyceum for five years, developing his composition and arranging skills.

At fourteen he was in the rock band Johnny and his Cellar Rockers with his friend Pierre van der Linden. Both then joined The Hunters. After seeing a performance by classical guitarist Julian Bream, he became interested in renaissance music and the lute. He started the band Brainbox with Van der Linden, Kaz Lux, and André Reijnen. They recorded for Parlophone.

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Akkerman joined the Thijs van Leer Trio in late 1969 which, as the nascent band Focus, was the pit band for the Dutch theatrical production of Hair (recorded as an album in 1969). Under the name Focus, the band explored progressive rock, an amalgam of classical, jazz, and rock music, and had hits in the seventies such as “Hocus Pocus” and “Sylvia”. The band’s albums Focus II and Focus 3 were certified Gold. In 1973 Akkerman was voted Best Guitarist in the World by readers of the UK magazine Melody Maker. With manufacturer Framus he helped produce one of the first signature guitar models.

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Atlantic released his solo album Tabernakel, which contains his playing the lute. His concept album Eli, recorded with Kaz Lux on vocals, won the Dutch Edison Award for best album in 1976. On the album, Akkerman experimented with a 12-string guitar tuned in parallel fifths. In the early 1980s he began to experiment with a guitar synthesizer, as on the album Oil in the Family. In 1985, he reunited Focus with Van Leer for an album and accompanying concert. The band reunited again in 1990 for the Dutch television program Goud van Oud (Old Gold). During the 1990s and in the 2000s he continued playing with his own band, and also as a solo musician, accompanied by pre-recorded computer-generated background (Roland synthesizers and Linn drums).

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Akkerman was a session musician with André Hazes and worked with Alan Price, Herman Brood, Peter Banks, Jack Bruce, Charlie Byrd, Phil Collins, Paco de Lucía, Ice-T, and B.B. King.

In 1992, he was involved in a serious car accident, but he resumed playing in 1993. In the late 1990s, after an absence of nearly 20 years, he was persuaded to tour the UK again. He wrote for the Dutch magazine GitaarPlus. In 2013, Akkerman released the album North Sea Jazz. (wikipedia)

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And here´s his 5th solo album

A collection of tightly arranged jazz-rock with as much of an emphasis on the Joachim Kuhn’s keyboards as on the ostensive title attraction. “Floatin'” uses the backdrop of Pierre van der Linden’s proto-techno drumming to showcase Kuhn’s talents on the electric piano, and the lengthy “Angel Watch” gives Kuhn even more room to stretch out, though the latter is made rather tiresome by its incessant hi-hat disco beat. Akkerman’s guitar is more subdued here than in his work with Focus; “Crackers” alternates between brittle, reverbed plucking and lush strumming, and only the gentle acoustic guitar and strings of brief closing track “Gate to Europe” give much of a nod to his progressive fans. (by Paul Collins)

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The eponymous album by Jan Akkerman might have meant that there is a new step in his musical career after leaving Focus and/or a shift in the music. Regardless of any of this assumptions are correct,
this output has a special and esteemed position in Jan’s catalogue. His guitar playing is sometimes ornate, sometimes subtle and less aggressive than in the past but tasty at all times – jazz-rock and even fusion soundscapes
have taken the lead here. Fans of progressive rock but also jazz-oriented listeners will find a plenty to discover.
The first track “Crackers” has amazed me with its swinging bass and guitar lines; its rhythm line is very interesting. The second, lenghty track Angel Watch is the first real treat for
fusion supporters, fluid licks and breath-taking guitar runs are on display. In terms of melody and progression, it is a less interesting track but full of laid-back sunshine. Let’s not forget the tasty but short piano solo.
Pavane could be the track most reminiscent of Focus on this album as it is less jazzy and more reflective.

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Perhaps the biggest soloing highlight is “Streetwalker” -rhythmically fully rooted in the mid 70’s funky groove but instrumentally showing jaw-dropping Jan’s pyrotechnics. Close your eyes and focus on this guitar…
Skydancer features an interesting melody and melancholy – it is more about atmosphere then progression and soloing. If you can, listen to the breathtaking live fusion version on the 1978’s Live in Montreux.
Floatin’ will raise you from your seat, the dazzling fender rhodes solo is incredible and unusual for a progressive rock album. Jan lets his companions shine through on this track.
The only acoustic and symphonic track is a well fitting last track to this 4-star album. (by Stanley Sgtpepper)

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Personnel:
Jan Akkerman (guitar)
Bruno Castelucci (drums)
Joachim Kühn (keyboards)
Cees van fer Laarse (bass)
Nippy Noya (percussion)
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Pierre van der Linden (drums on 06.)

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Tracklist:
01. Crackers 4.20
02. Angel Watch 9.51
03. Pavane 5.32
04. Streetwalker 7.00
05. Skydancer 5.13
06. Floatin’ 5.14
07. Gate To Europe 3.02

Music composed by Jan Akkerman

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Steve Hillage – L (1975)

OriginalFrontCover1A highly skilled guitarist known for his fluid, effects-heavy playing, British musician Steve Hillage has collaborated with countless musicians and influenced several genres over the course of his lengthy career, particularly space rock, prog, ambient, and techno. Initially associated with the Canterbury Scene during the late ’60s and early ’70s, Hillage played in groups such as Uriel and Khan before becoming a key member of psychedelic cult favorites Gong during the ’70s. He launched his solo career with the ambitious 1975 prog rock suite Fish Rising. While albums such as 1977’s Motivation Radio contained some of his most accessible material, 1979’s groundbreaking Rainbow Dome Musick eschewed lyrics and rhythms for extended guitar- and synth-based meditations, helping to pave the way for ambient and new age. Hillage spent much of the ’80s in the producer’s chair, working with a diverse range of artists from Robyn Hitchcock to Genesis’ Tony Banks. In the early 1990s, Hillage and partner Miquette Giraudy co-founded the techno/trance group System 7 and collaborated extensively with techno pioneers such as Derrick May and the Orb on albums like 777 (1993) and Power of Seven (1995); Hillage also lent his distinctive guitar playing to the Orb’s classic 1992 single “Blue Room.” Hillage reunited with Gong for several concerts between 2006 and 2010 before parting ways again. Most of his releases since then have either been archival concerts or new System 7 recordings. (by Jason Ankeny)

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After a stint with Gong as their trippy, hippy, new agey guitar guru of cosmically and extremely raga-esque trance rock and improv heaven, Steve Hillage went solo. He branched out to carry his own version of the Gong gospel of personal freedom via his special blend of cosmic brotherhood, Eastern religion, new age, pyramids, ley lines, crystals, and some ferocious jazz fusion and progressive rock guitar blended with space rock synths. Hillage SteveHillage03reinterprets some well-known tunes by other artists like Donovan and George Harrison here as well as penning some of his more memorable sonic treats. His awesome riffing and speedy solos on his Fender Strat rival those of Hendrix and Frank Marino but go further compositionally via exotic scales from other cultures. Add in Todd Rundgren’s engineering and production genius, his Utopians guesting, and several others like Don Cherry on brass and Tibetan trumpet along with a 15th century Hurdy Gurdy and you have a wild romp into eclectic rock. The 12-minute-long “Lunar Musick Suite” is the pinnacle moment of the release and “Om Nama Shivaya” comes in a close second for Hillage’s most blissed-out trance rock. Both Gong and Hillage’s solo career have brought such superb musical echoes and legends such as veteran space rockers, the Ozric Tentacles. (by John W. Patterson)

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Personnel:
Don Cherry (trumpet, voices, bells, tambura)
Miquette Giraudy (vocals, isis vibes)
Steve Hillage (guitar, vocals, synthesizer, shehnai)
Larry Karush (tabla)
Sonja Malkine (15th century hurdy-gurdy)
Roger Powell (keyboards, synthesizer)
Kasim Sulton (bass)
John Wilcox (drums)

BookletTracklist:
01.Hurdy Gurdy Man (Leitch) 6.34
02. Hurdy Gurdy Glissando (Giraudy/Hillage) 9.01
03. Electrick Gypsies (Hillage) 6.22
04. Om Nama Shivaya (Nanda/Narula) 3.35
05. Lunar Musick Suite (Giraudy/Hillage) 11.59
06. It’s All Too Much (Harrison) 6.34

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Maria Pia de Vito – Nauplia (1995)

FrontCover1Maria Pia De Vito is an Italian jazz singer, composer, and arranger.

A native of Naples, Italy, she studied classical music, opera, and Italian folk music. In 1976 she performed folk songs as a singer, guitarist, and pianist.[1] In 1980 she sang with jazz musicians such as Art Ensemble of Chicago, Michael Brecker, Uri Caine, Peter Erskine, Paolo Fresu, Billy Hart, Maria Joao, Nguyên Lê, Dave Liebman, Bruno Tommaso, Gianluigi Trovesi, Steve Turre, Miroslav Vitous, and Joe Zawinul. In the 1980s she worked with Toots Thielemans and Mike Stern. She collaborated with Rita Marcotulli in the 1990s on the albums Nauplia and Fore Paese. She has often worked with the British composer Colin Towns and with pianist John Taylor. (wikipedia)

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Maria Pia De Vito – vocalist, composer, arranger Maria Pia De Vito is a standout in the contemporary European jazz scene. She began her on-stage activity in 1976 as a singer and player (plectra, percussions, piano) in research groups committed to ethnic music as well as ethnic and non-ethnic polyphony, mostly related to the Mediterranean, Balkan and South-American areas. Since ’80 she has been active in the jazz sphere, collaborating steadily with musicians like John Taylor, Ralph Towner, Rita Marcotulli, Ernst Rejiseger, Paolo Fresu, Norma Winstone, Steve Swallow, Gianluigi Trovesi, David Linx, Diederik Wissels and gigging with musicians having the calibre of Joe Zawinul, Michael Brecker, Miroslav Vitous, Uri Caine, Dave Liebman, Billy Hart, Eliot Ziegmund, Cameron Brown, Steve Turre, Maria Joao, Ramamani Ramanujan, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Nguyen-le and many others, participating to the most important international festivals, and running European and overseas tours.

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After 15 years of jazz practice, a long work on the great American songbook, on scat and be-bop, the first trespassing into free form and the meetings with European jazz, since ‘94 she begins a new phase of her work with the project Nauplia, conceived and directed together with Rita Marcotulli. (allaboutjazz.com)

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A real very special, a real unique album !

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Personnel:
Alfio Antico (tambourine, vocals on 10.)
Rita Marcotulli (piano)
Naco (percussion)
Enzo Pietropaoli (bass)
Arnaldo Vacca (percussion)
Maria Pia De Vito (vocals)
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Insieme Strumentale Di Roma (strings)

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Tracklist:
01. ‘Mmiezo ‘O Ggrano (Nicolardi/Nardella) 6.00
02. Zitto Chi Sape ‘O Juoco (de Vito) 4.45
03. Come Un Ritratto (de Vito/Marcotulli) 4.08
04. ‘Nfrisca All’Anema ‘E Chilli Quatto (de Vito/Pietropaoli) 3.14
05. Scalinatella (Bonagura/Cioffi) 4.10
06. ‘Stu Core Mio (di Lasso) 6.01
07. Ciardino D’Ammore (de Vito) 7.19
08.1. Viene Notte (de Vito/Marcotulli)
08.2. Aurora (Marcotulli)
08.3. Scitame Sole (de Vito/Marcotulli) 12.48
09. Serenata ‘E Pulecenella (Bovio/Cannio) 6.18
10. Frastunnatu (Antico) 4.23

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Dixie Dregs – Live At Lee Furr’s Recording Studio (1978)

FrontCover1The Dixie Dregs is an American jazz rock band from Augusta, Georgia, formed in 1970. The band’s instrumental music fuses elements of rock, jazz, country, and classical music. Their recording “Take It Off the Top” was used for many years as the signature theme tune by disc jockey Tommy Vance for his BBC Radio 1 Friday Night Rock Show.

The Dixie Dregs evolved from an Augusta, Georgia, band called Dixie Grit, formed by Steve Morse and Andy West in 1970. The band featured Morse’s older brother Dave on drums, Frank Brittingham (guitar and vocals) and Johnny Carr (keyboards). Carr was later replaced by Mark Parrish. Shortly after Steve Morse’s enrollment at University of Miami’s School of Music in 1971, Dixie Grit was disbanded. Morse and West continued performing as a duo, calling themselves Dixie Dregs (the “Dregs” of “Dixie Grit”).

In 1973, Steve Morse (guitar), Andy West (bass), Allen Sloan (violin) and Bart Yarnal (drums) met while students at the University of Miami’s School of Music to play as Rock Ensemble II. West also attended Georgia State University for a year while studying cello and music theory & composition along with Parrish. Parrish remained at GSU during the academic school years only to return to Augusta, Georgia during summer breaks – re-establishing the guitar/bass/keyboards/drums quartet with Morse, West, Parrish, and Gilbert Frayer (drums) performing as opening acts for concerts and headlining local gigs as the Dixie Dregs.

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During subsequent academic school years, the remaining members of the Dregs, including Andy West, returned to the University of Miami and Mark Parrish returned to Atlanta, Georgia to complete his degree in music performance and composition at Georgia State University under the study of William Masselos, with additional studies of electronic music at Columbia University in New York City under Alice Shields, a protégée of Wendy Carlos.

At the time, the University of Miami hosted a lively musical community, including future greats Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius, Danny Gottlieb, T Lavitz and Bruce Hornsby. Rod Morgenstein was asked to fill in as drummer after a surfing accident disabled Yarnal. In 1974, during the school years at UofM, keyboardist Frank Josephs was added to their lineup. In 1975, the group’s first effort, The Great Spectacular (named by ex-“Dixie Grit” second guitarist and singer, Frank Brittingham) was recorded at the University. Approximately 1,000 copies of the original LP were pressed. The album was reissued in 1997 in CD form.

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Based on the strength of a three-song demo and a tip from former Allman Brothers Band members Chuck Leavell and Twiggs Lyndon, Capricorn Records signed them in late 1976 to record Free Fall (1977). Steve Davidowski was the keyboardist on “Free Fall”. When Davidowski left to work with fiddler Vassar Clements, former Dixie Grit/Dixie Dregs keyboardist Mark Parrish rejoined the group later that year. The moderate success and critical acclaim of Free Fall led to their 1978 effort, What If, supported by their first tour with dates in New York, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and California.

Their fourth album, Night of the Living Dregs (featuring Morse, West, Sloan, Parrish, and Morgenstein), was released in April 1979, gaining the band their first Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance – won that year by Paul McCartney’s band Wings. Night of the Living Dregs included studio recordings as well as compositions performed live and recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival on July 23, 1978. Ken Scott – The Beatles’ and producer/arranger George Martin’s right-hand man and engineer – produced both Dixie Dregs albums What If and Night of the Living Dregs.

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In October 1979, Capricorn Records declared bankruptcy, and the band was signed by Arista Records in January 1980, to create three albums. At that time, keyboardist Parrish left and was replaced by T Lavitz. Later that year, Dregs of the Earth (featuring Morse, West, Sloan, Lavitz, and Morgenstein) was released.

Parrish went on to play piano and keyboards for vocalists Andy Williams, Roberta Flack, Natalie Cole, Luther Vandross, Peabo Bryson, Celine Dion, Regina Belle, Deborah Gibson, Pat Boone and daughter Debby Boone, Glen Campbell and for guitarist Larry Coryell. He won an Angel Award as co-producer of a Christian album, where he arranged and played all the instrumental parts. He has also been musical director, conductor, and keyboard instrumentalist with the touring stage shows of Cats, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Wizard of Oz, Little Shop of Horrors, Nunsense, Brigadoon, The Phantom of the Opera, Anything Goes, and other Broadway stage shows.

Steve Morse01For Unsung Heroes, released in 1981, the band changed their name to The Dregs in an effort to gain more commercial appeal. Violinist Sloan was replaced by Mark O’Connor, winner of Nashville’s Grand Masters Fiddle Championship for their 1982 release, Industry Standard. This album introduced vocals for the first time as a further attempt to gain more airtime. Guest vocalists included the Doobie Brothers’s Patrick Simmons and Alex Ligertwood (Santana). Industry Standard provided the Dregs with another Grammy nomination for Best Rock/Jazz Instrumental Performance. The recent name change, vocal additions and a grueling touring schedule did nothing to improve sales and the members of The Dregs parted for individual projects.

In the late 1980s, the group reunited for a tour featuring former members Morse, Morgenstein (who was also playing with Winger), Lavitz and Sloan. Their return was complemented by a “Best Of” release entitled Divided We Stand (1989). Bassist Dave LaRue completed the line-up for a seven date tour culminating in the 1992 live album Bring ’em Back Alive, which garnered them a third Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in January, 1993 – awarded to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble for “Little Wing.” Violinist Jerry Goodman, of The Mahavishnu Orchestra fame, filled in for Sloan, who was frequently absent as a result of his busy medical career. They signed a deal with former label Capricorn Records for their first studio album in years entitled Full Circle in 1994.

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The Dregs to this day remain a loose collection of its former members, reuniting briefly for short tours and rare studio work. 1997’s releases were The Great Spectacular in April and King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents (originally recorded in 1979 for the King Biscuit radio show) in September. California Screamin’ (2000) is a curious mix of live recordings from the performances at the Roxy Theatre in August 1999. This release features older compositions and covers of the Allman Brothers Band’s “Jessica”, and Frank Zappa’s “Peaches en Regalia” (with Dweezil Zappa sharing guitar lead). 20th Century Masters: The Best of the Dixie Dregs and the DVD Sects, Dregs and Rock ‘n’ Roll were released in 2002.

On July 3, 2017, Rod Morgenstein announced a reunion tour beginning February 2018 in a YouTube video for Rock, Roots, & Blues – Live.

The first show of the reunion tour dubbed “Dawn of the Dregs” took place on February 28, 2018, in Clearwater, Florida. It featured the original lineup of Steve Morse (guitar), Andy West (bass), Rod Morgenstein (drums), Allen Sloan (violin), and Steve Davidowski (keyboards) (wikipedia)

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And here´s the story about this brilliant broadcast recording:

Many Dregs collectors have had this show for years of mostly unknown lineage. I was always frustrated with the quality I would run across in the tape trading circles back in the day. Living in Tucson and knowing folks in the recording industry, I went on a hunt. I knew someone had to have a master cassette from the FM broadcast or maybe a pre-FM master.

I contacted some folks who worked for KWFM, Lee Furr, the owner of the studio and various engineers who worked there, spending months making phone calls and following up on any lead I could find. Many were dead ends.

When one day, making a phone call to an engineer who worked at Lee’s studio and was now working for the local PBS affiliate I explained what I was looking for and if he might have a lead. Wow he said, I have the tape right here! I offered to buy him lunch at a restaurant of his choice if he would let me borrow the tape for a few days.

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I dropped by his office and picked up the reel and quickly transferred it to the only decks I had available at the time which was two Sony beta Hi-Fi VCR’s and one VHS Hi-Fi VCR.

The first song on the master reel was cut and did not contain the interview that as I recall was played in the middle of the live FM performance. I used the first 33 seconds from my best FM cassette source and spliced it into the master reel version. I also used the FM Cassette source for the interview.

So sit back and enjoy this absolutly stunningly clear version of the Dixie Dregs first Tucson Show! (big o magazine)

Thanks to Surround for sharing the show at Dime.

Recorded live at Lee Furr’s Recording Studio, Tucson, AZ; May 30, 1978.
Very good KWFM 92.9 broadcast.

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Personnel:
Rod Morgenstern (drums)
Steve Morse (guitar)
Mark Parrish (keyboards)
Allen Sloan (violin)
Andy West (bass)

Alternate frontcover:
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Tracklist:
01. DJ Intro/Free Fall (Morse) 4.38
02. Moe Down (Morse) 4.03
03. Refried Funky Chicken (Morse) 4.39
04. Night Meets Light (Morse) 8.23
05. The Wabash (Morgenstein/Morse/West/Parrish/Sloan) 4.50
06. Travel Tunes (West) 3.42
07. Wages Of Weirdness (Morse) 4.18
08. Northern Lights (Morse) 3.40
09. Punk Sandwich (Morse) 4.14
10. The Odyssey (Morse) 7.40
11. DJ Intro/Take It Off the Top (Morse) 4.17
12. Country House Shuffle (Morse) 3.52
13. Ice Cakes (Morse) 5.24
14. What If (Morse) 4.34
15. Gina Lola Breakdown (Morse/Lyndon) 4.04
16. Cruise Control (Morse) 8.47
17. DJ Outro/Interview 9.58

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More from The Dixie Dregs:
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Nancy Sinatra – Sugar (1967)

FrontCover1Nancy Sandra Sinatra (born June 8, 1940) is an American singer and actress. She is the elder daughter of Frank Sinatra and Nancy Sinatra (née Barbato), and is widely known for her 1965 signature hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”.

Other defining recordings include “Sugar Town”, the 1967 number one “Somethin’ Stupid” (a duet with her father), the title song from the James Bond film You Only Live Twice, several collaborations with Lee Hazlewood, such as “Jackson”, “Summer Wine” and her cover of Cher’s “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”. Nancy Sinatra began her career as a singer and actress in November 1957 with an appearance on her father’s ABC-TV variety series, but initially achieved success only in Europe and Japan. In early 1966 she had a transatlantic number-one hit with “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”. She appeared on TV in high boots and with colorfully dressed go-go dancers, creating a popular and enduring image of the Swinging Sixties. The song was written by Lee Hazlewood, who wrote and produced most of her hits and sang with her on several duets, including “Some Velvet Morning”. In 1966 and 1967, Sinatra charted with 13 titles, all of which featured Billy Strange as arranger and conductor.

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Sinatra also had a brief acting career in the mid-1960s, including a co-starring role with Elvis Presley in the movie Speedway, and with Peter Fonda in The Wild Angels. Frank and Nancy Sinatra played a fictional father and daughter in Marriage on the Rocks. (wikipedia)

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This album–one of four (!) Sinatra released in 1966, a time when pop stars apparently had a more serious work ethic–was something of a departure for the chanteuse. Unlike her previous efforts, which were a mix of songs by producer/Svengali Lee Hazlewood and covers of pop hits of the day, this one featured only three Hazlewood compositions, including the LSD anthem “Sugartown,” along with lots of old-timey pre-rock standards. These include a couple–“All By Myself” and “What’ll I Do,” by Irving Berlin.

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Sinatra seems every bit the sex kitten as usual in this repertoire (don’t even think about the back cover, which features her posed in pink bikini and go-go boots). As a bonus, this remastered CD includes her duet with father Frank, “Something Stupid,” also a 1966 hit. (cduniverse.com)

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Personnel:
Chuck Berghofer (bass)
Hal Blaine (drums)
James Burton (guitar)
Glen Campbell (guitar)
Al Casey (guitar)
Jimmy Helms (guitar)
Cliff Hils (bass)
Bobby Gibbons (guitar)
Jim Gordon (drums)
Carol Kaye (bass)
Larry Knechtel (bass, piano)
Donnie Owens (guitar)
Joe Porcaro (percussion)
Don Randi (piano)
Howard Roberts (guitar)
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trumpet:
Bud Brisbois – Howard Katz – Oli Mitchell – Roy Caton – Virgil Evans

trombone:
Bobby Knight – Dick Hyde – Hoyt Bohannon – Lew McCreary
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Billy Strange (guitar on 05.)
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Frank Sintra (vocals on 15.)

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Tracklist:
01. Sweet Georgia Brown (Bernie/Casey/Pinkard) 3.58
02. Vagabond Shoes (Saxon/Gallop) 2.01
03. Oh! You Beautiful Doll (Brown/Ayer) 2.52
04. Hard Hearted Hannah (Bates/Yellen/Ager/Bigelow) 3.35
05. All By Myself (Berlin) 3.03
06. Coastin’ (Hazlewood) 2.45
07. Mama Goes Where Papa Goes (Or Papa Don’t Go Out Tonight) (Yellen/Ager) 2.34
08. Let’s Fall In Love (Arlen/Koehler) 3.38
09. What’ll I Do (Berlin) 2.59
10. Limehouse Blues (Furber/Braham) 3.01
11. Sugar Town (Hazlewood) 2.26
12. Button Up Your Overcoat (DeSylva/Brown/Henderson) 2.25
13. My Buddy (Kahn/Donaldson) 3.01
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14. Love Eyes (Single) (Hazlewood) 2.38
15. Something Stupid (Single) (Parks) 2.40

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Melanie – Leftover Wine (1970)

FrontCover1Melanie Anne Safka-Schekeryk (born February 3, 1947), professionally known as Melanie or Melanie Safka, is an American singer-songwriter. She is best known for the 1971-72 global hit “Brand New Key”, her cover of “Ruby Tuesday”, her composition “What Have They Done to My Song Ma”, and her 1970 international breakthrough hit “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” (inspired by her experience of performing at the 1969 Woodstock music festival).

Leftover Wine is a live album released by Melanie in 1970 on the Buddah label. Production and arrangements were conducted by her then-husband, Peter Schekeryk. The album was recorded at Carnegie Hall in New York City, except for the closing track “Peace Will Come”, which was a studio recording that was released as a single to promote the album.

The concert at Carnegie Hall was the first of Melanie’s two appearances in 1970. While Melanie’s studio albums typically feature complex arrangements, for the concert Melanie was only accompanied by her acoustic guitar. Melanie performance displays her most diverse and emotionally compelling vocals. In several instances, she redirects the songs directly to her audience and was actively communicating with them to keep them engaged. The performance featured the hits from her previous album, Candles in the Rain and other associated standards like “Momma Momma” and “Happy Birthday”. The crowd was ecstatic and as Margie English wrote “She drew strength from them and sang on until she had no more songs. When she rose to leave some of them embraced her, and tears were exchanged”. The album is also known as Live: Recorded at Margie’s Birthday Party.

The live album was released in September 1970. “Peace Will Come (All According to Plan)” was released as a single earlier in the month. It charted at #32 nationally and the album had similar success when it charted at #33. On February 7, 2007 Leftover Wine was re-released in a double compact disc including her other 1970 album, Candles in the Rain. It was distributed by Edsel Records, and included one bonus track for the live album called “Stop! I Don’t Want to Hear it Anymore”. (wikipedia)

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Love her or hate her, no one can argue that Melanie Safka was an artist entirely unafraid to lay her emotions bare before her listeners, and in a real way this is what makes 1970s Leftover Wine the litmus test that identifies a hard-core Melanie fan rather than a casual admirer. While most of Melanie’s studio albums featured imaginative and sympathetic production from her (then) husband Peter Schekeryk, Leftover Wine was recorded during a solo show at New York’s Carnegie Hall, with no accompaniment other than Melanie’s acoustic guitar, and the stark approach is more than a bit polarizing. Melanie is in strong voice on this recording, her guitar work is adequate if not exceptional, and her communication with her audience is intense and impressive, but while Melanie could push the emotional envelope on her studio sides, there are moments here that suggest she’s having a session with her analyst rather than performing for a paying audience (though the happy irony is that “Psychotherapy” isn’t one of them), while at other times she sounds like a ten-year-old with a case of the giggles.

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All that said, Leftover Wine’s set list is cherry picked from the finer selections on Melanie’s early albums, there are more than a few numbers here where she connects solidly with the material and delivers some truly moving music (in particular “Momma Momma” and the title song), and the studio recorded coda “Peace Will Come (According to Plan)” is splendid. For a passionate fan, Leftover Wine is certainly a rewarding listen, but it’s probably a steeper climb into Melanie’s mindset than most folks would care to take. (by Mark Deming)

Oh yes, I´m a passionate fan !

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Personnel:
Melanie (guitar, vocals)
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on 12.:
George Devens (percussion)
Gregg Diamond (drums)
Ron Frangipane (keyboards)
Al Gorgoni (guitar)
Artie Kaplan (woodwind)
Joe Macho (bass)
Sal DiTroia (guitar)

SingleTracklist:
01. Close To It All 4.25
02. Uptown Down 3.14
03. Momma Momma 5.03
04. The Saddest Thing 4.51
05. Beautiful People 4.53
06. Animal Crackers 2.51
07. I Don’t Eat Animals 2.30
08. Happy Birthday 1.07
09. Tuning My Guitar 4.40
10. Psychotherapy 5.48
11. Leftover Wine 5.06
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12. Peace Will Come (According to Plan) 3.22

All songs written by Melanie Safka

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More from Melanie:More

Ron Clearfield – Dream Manifestation (1998)

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Classically trained cellist Ron Clearfield has branched into a diverse range of musical styles. In addition to working with such classical music icons as Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copeland, and Seiji Ozawa, Clearfield has accompanied such pop artists as George Benson, Linda Ronstadt, and Dionne Warwick. He was a featured solo cellist on Judy Collins’ Christmas Special for the A&E network. On his own recordings, Dream Manifestation and Time on Earth, Clearfield skillfully blends the classical tradition with world music and jazz influences to create a highly atmospheric sound. The grandson of a pianist and teacher, who emigrated to the United States from Russia, and the son of a clarinet player, Clearfield studied violin from the age of ten. He switched to cello shortly afterwards.

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Receiving a Masters degree in cello performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, he made his professional debut with the Indianapolis Symphony, the same group that his father had launched his career with more than two decades before. Clearfield remained with the Indianapolis Symphony only briefly before he left to seek work as a freelance cellist in Philadelphia, Houston, New York, and Miami. Building a studio in his home, he recorded three self-produced albums before signing with the EverSound label in 1998. His debut album, Dream Manifestation, was released a few months later. For the past three decades, Clearfield has meditated regularly, using techniques that he learned from Guru Maharaji. He currently serves as associate principal cellist of the Asheville Symphony in Asheville, North Carolina and conducts the Asheville City/Buncombe County Schools Orchestra. (by Craig Harris)

RonClearfield02I think I first reviewed this CD almost 20 years ago. I remember watching a beautiful black horse being ridden to the most breathtaking music I’d ever heard. I finally found out the name and bought the cassette tape and played it over and over. Finally I found it and purchased it on CD. As a therapist, I used this CD in multiple music therapy groups. I work with a diverse group of men and women, some incarcerated, some in residential treatment. In all my years I’ve never had a negative response to this CD. Felons, Loggers, country music fans, rappers, folkies and rockers. This music touched so many souls and brought them home to their hearts. It is truly a masterpiece. Each song is burned into my memory and every cell of my being. Thank you Ron Clearfield. I might add it is also very deep and amazing when used with medical infusions used to treat depression. I love all your music, but this CD really grabbed my heart. (by Karen J. McNamara)

LinerNotes

From the cover photo of Ron Clearfield playing his cello against a painted backdrop of mountains, clouds, and floating red leaves, I expected Dream Manifestation to be a cello album. It is instead a powerful ensemble work. Clearfield plays piano and keyboards as well as cello, tamboura, and percussion, and is joined by other musicians on oboe, English and French horns, flutes, zither, strings, harp, and guitar.
With a theme of unity, peace, and the healing of Earth and its inhabitants, the music is very emotional and dramatic. I am especially impressed with “Listen… The Earth Is Weeping” – a tour de force with orchestration, keyboards, and percussion. Strong Eastern influences are heard, but there is a very universal quality that is so fitting and appropriate to the theme. At 9 1/2 minutes, this piece is fully realized and is mesmerizing from start to finish – I can’t get enough of “Listen…”, and would recommend the CD based on that track even if the rest of the CD wasn’t fascinating.

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But it is! It opens with “Home”, a study in peaceful tranquility with flute, cello, and harp. “Soliloquy” is a lovely, serene “duet” with cello and synth. “Farewell”, composed in honor of Clearfield’s father, is haunting – simple, direct, and from the heart. “The Return and Dance of Gaia” is much more upbeat and rhythmic. There are Eastern influences in this piece, too, giving it a very warm and exotic feel. “Dream Manifestation” is cinematic in its sweep and grandeur. A bittersweet, questioning mood on piano builds to a dramatic climax and becomes delicate and gentle as the cello assumes the lead. “The Marriage of Heaven and Earth” is almost anthemic with several movements, and gives the closing a very peaceful message of peace and optimism. This is a very moving and powerful work, and I highly recommend it. (by Kathy Parsons)

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Personnel:
Tim Adams (percussion)
Ron Clearfield (cello, keyboards, percussion, tamboura)
Mary Byrd Daniels (violin)
John Dee (english horn, oboe)
Danny Ellis (keyboards)
Jomo Faulks (percussion)
Jeff Johnson (guitar)
Jennifer Hart Merrell (french horn)
Tim Richards (tabla)
Jeanne Tarrant (flute)
George Tortorelli (bamboo flute, zither)

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Tracklist:
01. Dream Manifestation 555
02. Soliloquy 3.45
03. Farewell 5.33
04. The Return And Dance Of Gaia 5.38
05. Dream Manifestation 6.41
06. Listen… The Earth Is Weeping 9.27
07. The Marriage Of Heaven And Earth 7.08

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