Masumi Nagasawa + Kölner Akadamie – French Harp Concertos (2012)

FrontCover1Discs with music for harp don’t often land on my desk. The repertoire for the instrument is not that large and many pieces remain to be discovered. In European ‘classical’ music the harp’s appeal different by time and country. In the 16th and 17th centuries it played quite an important role in musical life in Spain and Italy. In Spain it was often used to accompany a singer in solo songs, whereas in Italy it was used as a basso continuo in dramatic works such as operas and oratorios. Composers also wrote solo pieces for the harp. However, in these different roles the harp was mostly interchangeable with keyboard and plucked instruments. Various collections of music were printed in which these options were presented as alternatives. It was with the further development of the harp around 1700 that a more independent repertoire came into existence.

Martin-Pierre D´Alvimare

In the period of the late baroque – roughly speaking the first third of the 18th century – the harp barely played any role across Europe. There is no hint of its use in Bach’s oeuvre, for instance. Even Telemann and Vivaldi, who composed for almost any instrument in vogue at the time, wrote nothing for it. The harp experienced great popularity in France in the second half of the 18th century. Marie-Antoinette was an avid player, and in her salons music for harp, sometimes in combination with other instruments, was often performed.

Two people played a key role in the development and popularisation of the harp. The first was Sébastien Érard (1752-1831) who replaced hooks with forks. Érard built more solid harps with more reliable actions. The second person was Jean-Baptiste Krumpholtz, born in Bohemia, and for a number of years harpist in the Esterházy orchestra under Haydn. In 1777 he arrived in Paris where he met Érard. He was considered the most brilliant harpist of his time. Another Bohemian-born composer stayed in Paris for while: Jan Ladislav Dussek. He was first and foremost a keyboard player but also played the harp. In Paris he moved in the highest circles and became acquainted with Marie Antoinette. Some of his music for harp was written during his time in France.

Francesco Petrini

Francesco Petrini

The music on the present disc is from this period – the classical era – to the early romantic period. Masumi Nagasawa is a specialist on historical harps and here plays a single-action harp by François-Joseph Naderman, built in 1815. The earliest concerto is the Premier concert op. 25 by Francesco Petrini. He was the son of the harpist with that name – Christian name unknown – who was a member of Frederick the Great’s chapel and for whom Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach composed his only work for the harp. He went to Paris and made his first appearance at the Concert Spirituel in 1770. He also started to publish his own compositions for harp. The Concerto op. 25 dates from 1786 and is in three movements. The first is as long as the two other movements put together. The harp here plays the role which the keyboard had in concertos of that time: it acts as a solo instrument, but also takes the bass role in the tutti episodes. The first movement includes a written-out cadenza which Ms Nagasawa plays here, and which gives some idea of the kind of cadenzas played at the time. Despite the harp’s growing ascendancy there was still some music written which could be played either on the harp or the keyboard, for instance by Dussek. In her liner-notes Masumi Nagasawa compares Petrini’s concerto with the famous concerto for flute and harp by Mozart and observes a clear difference. “The figures, patterns, chords and passagework in Petrini’s lie comfortably in the hands of a harpist as opposed to Mozart’s, which seem to be written by a keyboard player”.

Daniel Steibelt

Daniel Steibelt

The next composer is Daniel Steibelt, born, like Petrini, in Berlin. His father was in the Prussian army and was a maker of harpsichords. He studied with Johann Philipp Kirnberger and then left home in order to avoid being forced to join the Prussian army by his father. He worked as a travelling keyboard virtuoso, and made his appearance in places like Munich and Hanover and then settled in Paris. He performed there but also in London, and composed his first opera. Around 1800 he travelled across Europe and gave many concerts. At the same time he was active as a composer. His output is considerable and includes music for the stage, orchestral and chamber music and a large quantity of pieces for the keyboard and the harp. The Concerto in E flat is his only harp concerto. Ms Nagasawa writes that it is in the style of his keyboard concertos. I am sure she is right, but I have to take her word for it as I have never heard any of these concertos. Steibelt is one of the many forgotten composers from the late-classical/early-romantic period. For the first movement Steibelt made use of his ballet Le retour de Zephyre which was well received. The orchestra is considerably larger than in Petrini’s concerto, with pairs of flutes, oboes, horns and bassoons in addition to the strings.

Masumi Nagasawa

Masumi Nagasawa

Martin-Pierre d’Alvimare was a harpist by profession. He was from a wealthy family and only survived the Revolution by hiding his true identity. He joined the Opéra as harpist in 1800 and became a member of Napoleon’s private orchestra in 1806. As a composer he concentrated on the writing of songs. His output is rather small and includes just two works with orchestra. The Concerto in c minor, op. 30 is called the “deuxième concert”. The first concerto was the Symphonie concertante for harp and horn which dates from 1798. The orchestra is again larger than in Steibelt’s concerto and includes a pair of clarinets and timpani. The opening of the first movement is quite dramatic with some chords for the full orchestra. These are repeated a couple of times after episodes taken by various solo instruments but supported by strings. Masumi Nagasawa plays a cadenza of her own which reflects the dramatic character of the opening statement. The role of the harp is confined to that of a solo instrument; it doesn’t participate in the tutti. As in all three concertos the last movement is a rondo; it opens with a solo for the harp.

InTheStudio01The three composers on this disc are all unknown quantities, and that makes this disc a most welcome addition to the discography. Ms Nagasawa states that one of the reasons that their music is forgotten has to do with the further development of the harp. The modern harp with its many technical possibilities may make the music written for older instruments rather superficial and uninteresting. This only underlines the importance of using of period instruments. I can imagine that if this music were to be played on a modern instrument one wouldn’t get a true impression of its qualities. The harp played here is perfectly suited to this repertoire, although maybe an older instrument would have been preferable for the Petrini. Ms Nagasawa delivers technically impressive and musically inspired interpretations. I am less enthusiastic about the orchestra whose playing I sometimes found rather dull, dynamically a bit flat and not very colourful.

Tray1Even so, this disc deserves a positive reception because of the quality of the music and the performances by Masumi Nagasawa on a beautiful historical harp. (by Johan van Veen)

Reorded 2-5 January 2010, Immanuelskirche, Wuppertal, Germany

InTheStudio02Personnel:
Masumi Nagasawa (harp)
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Kölner Akademie under the direction of Michael Alexander Willens

Michael Alexander Willens

Michael Alexander Willens

Tracklist:

Martin-Pierre D´Alvimare: Deuxième Concert pour la harpe in c minor, op. 30 [23:58]
01. Allegro 13.46
02. Romance – Andantino 4.26
03. Rondo – Allegro 5.46

Francesco Petrini: Premier concert pour la harpe op. 25 [24:39]
04. Andante grazioso 12.10
05. Romance 5.48
06. Rondo – Allegro 6.41

Daniel Steibelt: Grand concert pour la harpe in E flat [26:35]
07. Ohne Tempobezeichnung 16.43
08. Adagio 3.07
09. Rondo – Allegretto 6.46

CD1*
**

Painting

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Jack Bruce – Harmony Row (1971)

FrontCover1Harmony Row is Jack Bruce’s third studio album, originally released in July 1971.

The album takes its title from a tenement street in Glasgow, near where Bruce grew up. The street, since demolished, was famous as the largest unbroken houserow in Europe, stretching for over a mile. The album’s cover photo was taken near the Harmony Row tenement.

Although since cited by Bruce as his favourite solo album,[6] Harmony Row did not chart upon its release (it did continue to sell over a long period of time consistently). The album would be his last solo effort for over three years, as Bruce would join the power trio West, Bruce and Laing (with whom he would record three albums) in early 1972.

The song “The Consul at Sunset”, which was inspired by the Malcolm Lowry novel Under the Volcano was released as a single in 1971 (Polydor 2058-153, b/w “A Letter of Thanks”). (by wikipedia)

JackBruce01Harmony Row is the legitimate follow-up to Jack Bruce’excellent songs for a tailor, although 1971 also saw the almost-simultaneous release of 1968 jazz tapes entitled Things We Like by this artist. An elaborate gatefold package has a shadow photo of the artist from the back, overlooking a golden sun on the waters. The self-produced disc begins with the pop excursion “Can You Follow,” which blends into “Escape To The Royal Wood (On Ice).” Jack Bruce provides the voice, keyboards, bass, and some percussion, making this very much a solo project. “You Burned The Tables On Me” takes things into a progressive rock-meets-jazz arena. The only reference to blues here is Bruce’s voice, but guitarist Chris Spedding’s scratchy guitar, and the percussion — either by Jack Bruce or drummer Jim Marshall (who plays on what is not specified) make the track sound almost like Cream without Clapton. There’s a rare photo of Peter Brown in the second cardboard gatefold, and one of Bruce, while all of Brown’s lyrics are spread out for public consumption. A nice touch, as Peter Brown is to Jack Bruce what Keith Reid is to Procul Harum, and the cleverly obscured words are sometimes the only foundation to grasp at while one of rock & roll’s most innovative bassists goes from genre to genre, combining rhythms and melodies that defy commercial categorization. SingleHarmony Row is the album that combines many flavors of Bruce’s experimentations, making it courageous, adventurous, and hardly the product for a mass audience. “Folk Song” is barely a folk song; it is a progressive pop tune with that elegant, Procul Harum-like, sweeping, mystical statement. There’s a pretty piano against church-like organ and vocals, with amazing guitar embellishments by Chris Spedding. “Folk Song” has elements Bruce would examine again, on the album Monkjack; it’s a song which should have made him the darling of underground FM radio. It’s a far cry from the all-out assault of his forthcoming power trio, West, Bruce & Laing, which emerged a year after this. The delicacy of “Smiles And Grins” suggests that hard jazz is what would have given the project with Leslie West a much needed diversion. But what happened was that Bruce embraced the trail Mountain stampeded down, while a purer blending of the two would have been re-readings of this Harmony Row material. “Post War” is a good example of how the underappreciated Leslie West could have expanded his influence — Spedding’s contributions are enormous, and like West, he is the only other musician save the drummer on Bruce’s essential projects in 1971 and 1972, on the albums Harmony Row, and Why Dontcha. Drummer Jim Marshall appeared on the previous songs for a tailor, as did Spedding, though they BackCoverAdidn’t perform together on that disc. Here, Jack Bruce takes two players from that solo album, and moves them into another head-space. His use of the talents around him is impeccable, and yet another reason why fans should have embraced this quirky and intelligent troubadour. “A Letter Of Thanks” is so complex it borders on The Mothers Of Invention-style of non-groove, while “Victoria Sage” is more in-line with the ideas set forth on songs for a tailor, and with exquisite vocals by this tremendous singer. The final track, the tasty, Spanish-influenced “The Consul At Sunset,” utilizes multiple percussive ideas with piano and guitars overlapping Peter Brown’s words; those words are as important as the contributions from Marshall, Spedding, and Bruce. It’s actually quite an amazing transition when set against the other discs released in this four-year period, and a stunning output from a major artist without yielding a Top 40 hit. (by Joe Viglione)

LPBooklet02APersonnel:
Jack Bruce (bass, guitar, cello, keyboards, vocals)
John Marshall (drums)
Chris Spedding (guitar)

LPBooklet01ATracklist:
01. Can You Follow? 1.32
02. Escape to the Royal Wood (On Ice) 3.44
03. You Burned The Tables On Me 3.49
04. There’s A Forest 1.44
05. Morning Story 4.55
06. Folk Song 4.20
07. Smiles And Grins 6.05
08. Post War 4.20
09. A Letter Of Thanks 2.54
10. Victoria Sage 5.02
11. The Consul At Sunset 4.14
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12. Green Hills (instrumental version of “Can You Follow?”) 2.16
13. Escape to the Royal Wood (On Ice) (instrumental demo version) 4.01
14. There’s A Forest” (first take) 2.11
15. You Burned The Tables On Me (remix including electric piano) 4.10

Music. Jack Bruce
Lyrics: Pete Brown

LabelA1*
**

Passport – Iguacu (1977)

LPFrontCover1 Something strange happened when Passport went to Rio de Janeiro to cut the Iguacu album — they seemed to forget the entire basis for their previous success. The trademark Klaus Doldinger sax sound is muted and diluted by the attempt to fit the band into a Brazilian jazz mold, and the result sounds eerily like a pretty good lounge jazz band trying to sound like Passport. The long, liquid melody lines are gone, replaced by up-tempo but unmemorable frameworks for full-band jams. Guitarist Roy Louis plays an unusually large part, Doldinger an unusually small one, and the tracks with the local Brazilian musicians are energetic but unfocused. This is one of the least compelling Passport albums, one without a single tune that stays in your head long after you hear it. (by Richard Foss)

But:

Passport was absolutely at their peak on this album. I had everything they released in the states , Infinity Machine was right before this. Not many Jazz/rock/fusion sets could hang with Herbie’s Headhunters or Return to Forever or Weather Report at the time, but Passport was just as large to me-much too underrated of a group.(justatuch)

This is a very good album, indeed.

Recorded at Union Studios, Munich and Level Studios, Rio De Janeiro

Passport1975Passport in 1975

Personnel:
Curt Cress (drums, berimbau)
Klaus Doldinger (saxophone, flute, synthesizer, organ)
Elmer Louis (percussion)
Roy Louis (guitar)
Wolfgang Schmid (bass)
Kristian Schultze (keyboards)
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Mats Björklund (guitar on 08.)
Wilson Das Neves (congas), pandeiro on 04.)
Roberto Bastos Pinheiro (surdo on 04.)
Noel Manuel Pinto (cuica on 08.)
Clélio Ribeiro (berimbau on 04.)
Marcello Salazar (percussion on 04.)
Pedro “Sorongo” Santos (percussion, whistles on 08.)

LPBackCoverATracklist:
01. Bahia Do Sol 5.53
02. Aguamarinha 4.10
03. Bird Of Paradise 5.36
04. Sambukada 4.30
05. Iguacu 8.42
06. Praia Leme 2.58
07. Heavy Weight 4.30
08. Guna Guna  4.28

All compositions written by Klaus Doldinger

LabelB1*
**

Chet Baker – Chet Is Back (1962)

FrontCover1Chet Is back! is a 1962 studio album by jazz musician Chet Baker.

Chet is Back! was recorded in Rome, Italy in 1962 at RCA’s studios, showcasing bop-oriented tunes such as “Pent-Up House” and “Well, You Needn’t”. The Chet Baker Sextet consisted of a group of up-and-coming European jazz musicians, which included Belgian saxophonist Bobby Jaspar, Belgian guitarist Rene Thomas, Italian pianist Amedeo Tommasi, French bassist Benoit Quersin, and Swiss drummer Daniel Humair. The album features an original composition, “Ballata in forma di blues” (A Ballad in Blues Style), by Amedeo Tommasi. Ballads are featured such as the standards “Over the Rainbow”, “Star Eyes”, and “These Foolish Things”. Also compositions by other jazz musicians are featured like Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t”, Sonny Rollins’ “Pent Up House”, Charlie Parker’s “Barbados”, and Oscar Pettiford’s “Blues in the Closet”.

ChetBakerOn the 2003 CD reissue of Chet Is Back!, four orchestral pop bonus tracks Baker recorded with Ennio Morricone in Rome in 1962 are featured, “Chetty’s Lullaby”, “So che ti perderò”, “Motivo su raggio di luna”, and “Il mio domani”, which Baker co-wrote with lyricist Alessandro Maffei. Morricone arranged the songs and conducted the orchestra. Baker plays trumpet and sings lead vocals on these four tracks originally released as 45 singles by RCA Victor in 1962 in Italy. (by wikipedia)

Recorded in Italy in 1962, Chet Is Back! showcases the “cool” trumpeter cutting loose on such bop-oriented workouts as “Pent-Up House” and “Well, You Needn’t.” Backed skillfully by a young cadre of up-and-coming European musicians, including the stellar saxophonist Bobby Jaspar, Chet Baker may have never sounded better, including on the ballads. One listen to “Over the Rainbow” and it’s clear this is an overlooked Baker classic. (by Matt Collar)

AlternateFrontCoverAlternate frontcover

Personnel:
Chet Baker (trumpet, vocals)
Daniel Humair (drums)
Bobby Jaspar (saxophone, flute)
Benoit Quersin (bass)
René Thomas (guitar)
Amadeo Tommasi (piano)
+
Ennio Morricone and his Orchestra (strings, horns, percussion on

BackCover1Tracklist:
01. Well, You Needn’t (Monk) 6.23
02. These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You) (Link/Marvell/Strachey) 4.56
03. Barbados (Parker) 8.26
04. Star Eyes (Raye/de Paul) 6.58
05. Over The Rainbow (Arlen/Koehler) 3.30
06. Pent-Up House (Rollins) 6.51
07. Ballata in forma di blues (Tommasi) 10.06
08. Blues In The Closet (Pettiford) 7.41
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09. Chetty’s Lullaby (Baker/Maffei) 4.04
10. So che ti perderò (Baker/Maffei) 4.16
11. Motivo su raggio di luna (Baker/Maffei) 3.53
12. Il mio domani (Baker/Maffei) 5.21

CD1*
**

Canned Heat – Future Blues (1970)

FrontCover1Future Blues is the fifth album by Canned Heat, released in 1970. It was the last to feature the band’s classic lineup, as Larry Taylor and Harvey Mandel departed soon after its release and songwriter Alan Wilson died later that year. It was also the only classic-era Canned Heat studio album to feature Mandel, as Henry Vestine had been the lead guitarist on the previous albums. Their cover of “Let’s Work Together” by Wilbert Harrison became a hit. “London Blues” features Dr. John. (by wikipedia)

The final Canned Heat album to feature co-founder Alan Wilson, Future Blues was also one of their best, surprisingly restrained as a studio creation by the band, the whole thing clocking in at under 36 minutes, as long as some single jams on their live discs. It was also one of their most stylistically diverse efforts.

CannedHeatMost of what’s here is very concise and accessible, even the one group-composed jam — Alan Wilson’s “Shake It and Break It” and his prophetically titled “My Time Ain’t Long” (he would be dead the year this record was issued), which also sounds a lot like a follow-up to “Going up the Country” until its final, very heavy, and up-close guitar coda. Other songs are a little self-consciously heavy, especially their version of Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right, Mama.” Dr. John appears, playing piano on the dark, ominous “London Blues,” and arranges the horns on “Skat,” which tries for a completely different kind of sound — late-’40s-style jump blues — than that for which the group was usually known. And the band also turns in a powerhouse heavy guitar version of Wilbert Harrison’s “Let’s Work Together.” ( by Bruce Eder)

BackCover1Personnel:
Bob Hite (vocals)
Harvey Mandel (guitar)
Adolfo de la Parra (drums)
Larry Taylor (bass)
Alan Wilson (slide guitar, vocals, harmonica)
+
Dr. John – piano on 05. + 07.)
Ernest Lane (piano on 09.)

Inlet1

Tracklist:
01. Sugar Bee (Shuler) 2.39
02. Shake It And Break It (Patton) 2.35
03. That’s All Right (Mama) (Crudup) 4.19
04. My Time Ain’t Long (Wilson) 3.49
05. Skat (Wilson) 2.44
06. Let’s Work Together (Harrison) 2.53
07. London Blues (Wilson) 5.31
08. So Sad (The World’s An A Tangle) (Hite/Mandel/Parra/Taylor/Wilson) 7.57
09. Future Blues (Hite/Mandel/Parra/Taylor/Wilson) 2.58
+
10. Let’s Work Together (Single mono version) (Harrison) 2.46
11. Skat (Single mono version) (Wilson) 2.39
12. Wooly Bully (Samudio) 2.30
13. Christmas Blues (with The Chipmunks) (Cook/Taylor/Vestine/Wilson/Hite) 2.31
14. The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) (with The Chipmunks) (Bagdasarian) 2.45

LabelB1*
**

Free – Live ! (1971)

FrontCover1Free Live! is a live album by English rock band Free. It was rush-released by Island Records to commemorate the band, who had broken up in April 1971. Possibly because of the publicity caused by their breakup (which had also earned them a successful parting single “My Brother Jake” that same month) the album was a hit, reaching #4 in the UK album charts. It fared less well in the United States however, reaching only #89.

The album was recorded from gigs played in the UK locations of Sunderland and Croydon, both places where Free had substantial followings, in January and September 1970. Engineer Andy Johns could only use two tracks from the Sunderland gig (“The Hunter” and “All Right Now”), but used crowd noise from it frequently to create seamless links between tracks.

Inlet1With the exception of one song, all performances are versions of album tracks. It begins with “All Right Now”, which lasts for over six minutes. Rodgers’s voice noticeably falters for a second during this song, showing how the album has not been altered in any way to remove such glitches as many modern live albums are. These are followed by loud, Free01guitar-driven versions of “Be My Friend”, “Fire and Water”, “Ride on a Pony” and “Mr. Big”. The live part then closes with one of the band’s most popular tracks, “The Hunter” which receives a greater reaction from the crowd than any other song, including “All Right Now”. Only the initial arrival of the band on stage at the very beginning causes a louder cheer.

The album then closes with the last of four studio tracks recorded by the band before they split (the other three songs surfaced in some form on Highway and information on them is contained in that album’s article). It is a slow, mellow, acoustic song much like a large part of Highway was, and sounds completely unlike any of the live songs on this album.(by wikipedia)

Free02Although Free made excellent studio records, Free “Live” is perhaps the best way to experience the band in all its glory. Led by singer-guitarist Paul Rodgers and lead guitarist Paul Kosoff, the band swings through nine songs with power, clarity, and a dose of funk. Of course, the hit single “All Right Now” is gleefully extended, much to the audience’s and listener’s delight. Superbly recorded by Andy Johns, this is one of the greatest live albums of the 1970s. (by Matthew Greenwald)

Free03Personnel:
Andy Fraser (bass)
Simon Kirke (drums)
Paul Kossoff (guitar)
Paul Rodgers (vocals)

Free Live!StampsTracklist:
01. All Right Now (Fraser/Rodgers) 6.24
02. I’m A Mover (Fraser/Rodgers) 3.46
03. Be My Friend (Fraser/Rodgers) 5.56
04. Fire And Water (Fraser/Rodgers) 3.56
05. Ride On A Pony (Fraser/Rodgers) 4.30
06. Mr. Big (Fraser/Kirke/Kossoff/Rodgers) 6.13
07. The Hunter (Cropper/Dunn/Jackson/Jones/Wells) 5.29
08. Get Where I Belong (Fraser/Rodgers) 4.19

LabelA1*
**

Andy Fraser, who co-wrote the hit song All Right Now when he was the teenage bassist for the rock band Free, has died in California at the age of 62.

AndyFraser01Fraser, who trained first as a classical pianist before switching to guitar, had been living in the desert community of Temecula, where he died on March 16 2015.

At 15, the London-born Fraser (who had been expelled from school for refusing to have his hair cut) briefly became a member of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, the group that proved a training ground for Eric Clapton and Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor.

Within a year, Fraser became a founding member of Free. The band’s most prominent member was singer and guitarist Paul Rodgers, who would also go on to front Bad Company and The Firm. Rodgers and Fraser wrote the song while they were sitting in the Durham Students’ Union building. Fraser recalled: “The idea for All Right Now came about on a rainy Tuesday night in some godsforsaken minor city in England. We were playing a college that could have held 2,000 but had something like 30 people out of their heads on Mandrax bumping into each other in front of us. They didn’t notice when we came on or when we went off. Afterwards there was that horrible silence in the dressing room. To break the intensity, I started singing, ‘All right now…come on baby, all right now.'”

Fraser co-wrote Fire and Water, The Stealer and I’m A Mover but the biggest Free hit by far was 1970’s All Right Now, which peaked at number two in the UK singles chart and number four in the US. In 1991, the song was remixed and re-released, reaching AndyFraser03No8 on the UK singles chart. Fraser also produced the track and played a bass solo on it. Fraser spoke affectionately of his time with the band, saying: ” We were brothers – like a gang, or team of commandos where we could be sure we were all watching each others back. I live by the values formulated at that time.” The band broke up in 1972 and Fraser went on to form his own musical groups, such as The Sharks and The Andy Fraser Band.

Fraser, who said he had a difficult time admitting that he was gay in the aftermath of fame, was a talented songwriter. Among the musicians who covered his songs were Joe Cocker, Frankie Miller, Chaka Khan, Ted Nugent, Lulu, Paul Young, Three-dog night, Paul Carrack, Rod Stewart, Randy Crawford, Bob Seger, Joan Jett and Etta James. He wrote the worldwide hit Every Kinda People for Robert Palmer and Fire and Water for Wilson Pickett.

He and Rodgers remained in contact and took the stage together to play All Right Now at Woodstock ’94, the reboot of the classic music festival. In 2005, he recorded his final album, Naked and Finally Free.

In 2008, Fraser wrote and sang the song Obama (Yes We Can), to support the campaign to elect Barack Obama as president of the United States.

Fraser, who survived cancer and Aids, said once: “I look back at my time with Free with a deep sense of affection. I love most of the songs we wrote. They reflect a great time in my life, of growth and adventure. As a body of work, without nit-picking some stronger or weaker, together they have stood the test of time, and have shown Free to be a truly unique band.”  (by Martin Chilton, The Telegraph)

AndyFraser02

Jon Kenzie – Not Much Technical Stuff (2011)

FrontCover1Jon Kenzie, is an accomplished singer-songwriter from Manchester, UK with his musical roots firmly footed in blues, folk and soul. From reaching No:1 iTunes blues chart position in 2010 with his Northern soul band “Beggar Joe”, Jon embarked on producing his debut solo album “Not much technical stuff” in 2011.

This is a solid debut release with some great stand out tracks including ‘Pacifist’, ‘Touch’ and my favourite because of the great riffs involved, ‘Tease Them’. This release has a great selection of songs which shows Jon’s awesome guitar skills and his great soulful tone.

What was it that made you want to become a musician?

JonKenzie2‘I’ve always played in bands from a young age ever since I began to learn how to play the blues.  I started making money from the gigs I played in small pubs around the south of England when I was just sixteen, which was probably the first time I realized it might be possible to make a living from music.  Even though I didn’t study music at school I managed to get on a BA music degree at Salford university and I’ve only done music ever since.  Music has always been one of the greatest joys in my life and I still feel very lucky to be able to make a living from it.’

Your music has a great soulful sound, what musicians influenced this sound?

‘I’ve played with many talented musicians over the years who have certainly influenced the way I perform today.  In terms of famous artists that I have taken influence from, I’ve always tended to listen to the old stuff, especially the blues, folk and soul. Musicians and singers such as ; Muddy Waters, BB King, Howling Wolf, Al Green, James Brown, John Martin, Bob Dylan, Sly and the Family Stone, Jeff Buckley, The Stones and the Beatles as well as many others have definitely inspired me along the way.’

JonKenziePersonnel:
Jon Kenzie (guitar, vocals, mandolin)
Eryl Roberts (drums, percussion)
Ben Williams (guitar)
Stevie Williams (bass)
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Ben Casbell (cello on 01., 05., 07. + 10.)
Rioghnach Conolly (background vocals on 01., 05., 07. + 10.)
Sam Gray (violin on 01., 05. + 10.)
Harry Richardson (bass on 03.)
Justin Shearn (organ on 09.)

BookletATracklist:
01. Half Pipe Dream (Kenzie) 4.34
02. Pasty Song (Kenzie/B.Williams) 3.54
03. Pacifist (Kenzie) 3.27
04. Save Us (Kenzie) 2.31
05. Lovers Wave (Kenzie/B.Williams) 3.23
06. Tease Them (Kenzie) 3.54
07. Touch (Kenzie) 4.55
08. Quick Tongue (Kenzie/B.Williams) 5.42
09. Temper Tensions (Kenzie) 04:15
10. Tunnel Eyes (Kenzie) 3.35

CD1*
**