Phil Collins – Serious Hits … Live (1990)

FrontCover1.jpgSerious Hits… Live! is the name of Phil Collins’ 1990 live album, released on vinyl and CD. It is also the title of the 2003 DVD video release of his concert at Berlin’s Waldbühne on 15 July 1990. (The original 1990 VHS and Betamax version of the video was titled Seriously Live.) The songs on the CD version are taken from various concerts during the Seriously, Live! World Tour. At the Brit Awards in 1992, the album brought Collins a nomination for British Male Artist.

When compiling the tracks for the album, instead of providing the experience of a complete live concert, the producers took the approach of putting together a “hits only” selection of songs. On the final song of the album, Collins thanks the fans in Chicago.

The live video and DVD version features one entire concert. The live performance at Berlin’s Waldbühne has been hailed by Collins as his best performance due to the energy of the German people after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The DVD presents an in-depth look at his solo concert experience. Special moments include the crowd not allowing the concert to continue with prolonged applause after “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven” and the lighter vigil during “Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore”. (by wikipedia)

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Along with being a multi-talented musician and an excellent songwriter, Phil Collins is one of the best live performers in rock. His songs usually stay true to their original form, he puts plenty of fire into his vocals, and best of all, every one of his in-concert qualities transfers well into album form. Serious Hits…Live! is a wonderful example of this, with not only 15 tracks, but 15 of Phil’s best tracks, performed with an overcharged amount of enthusiasm and energy. There’s an equal number of ballads and fast songs on the album, but even on the slow stuff, Collins puts a lot of passion and feeling into the lyrics. Efforts such as “One More Night,” “Do You Remember?,” and especially his best ballad, “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” are heartfelt and unhindered. His moods shift easily without any false emotional dramatics, which in turn enhances the ambience of the songs. The tracks are taken from a number of shows during his Serious Tour in 1990, but his performance level remains enthusiastic the whole album through and the change of venues goes unnoticed, which is again another plus.

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Collins is just as sharp on the quicker tunes, with some wonderful percussion filling in behind him. The drumming is stellar on “Easy Lover” and again on “Sussudio,” but the album’s only downfall is its lack of credits, leaving the identities of the musicians a mystery. The album makes up for this with a spine-chilling version of “In the Air Tonight” as Collins does a good job of capturing the song’s haunting air, and from here the album switches gears with “You Can’t Hurry Love” but doing so with undefiled perfection. Almost all of the songs here broke Billboard’s Top Ten, and five of these tracks hit number one, which makes Serious Hits…Live! truly live up to it’s name. (by Mike DeGagne)

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Personnel:
Brad Cole (keyboards)
Phil Collins (vocals, piano, drums)
Leland Sklar (bass)
Daryl Stuermer (guitar)
Chester Thompson (drums)
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The Phenix Horns:
Rahmlee Michael Davis (trumpet)
Harry Kim (trumpet)
Don Myrick (saxophone)
Louis “Lui Lui” Satterfield (trombone)
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The Seriousettes (background vocals):
Bridgette Bryant – Arnold McCuller – Fred White

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Tracklist:
01. Something Happened On The Way To Heaven (Collins/Stuermer) 5.00
02. Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)  (Collins) 3.29
03. Who Said I Would (Collins) 4.28
04. One More Night (Collins) 5.49
05. Don’t Lose My Number (Collins) 4.42
06. Do You Remember? (Collins) 5.40
07. Another Day In Paradise (Collins) 5.36
08. Separate Lives (Bishop) 5.17
09. In The Air Tonight (Collins) 6.35
10. You Can’t Hurry Love (Dozier, E.Holland/B.Holland) 2.54
11. Two Hearts (Collins/Lamont/Dozier) 3.07
12. Sussudio (Collins) 7.14
13. A Groovy Kind Of Love (Bayer-Sager/Wine) 3.30
14. Easy Lover (Bailey/Collins/East) 4.46
15. Take Me Home (Collins) 8.39

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The Christians – Colour (1990)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Christians are a musical ensemble from Liverpool, England, who had the highest selling debut album of any artist at Island Records and international chart hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The name of the band refers to the surname of the three brothers that were originally in the line-up, and is also coincidentally guitarist Henry Priestman’s middle name.

Garry Christian (born 27 February 1955, Liverpool) (lead vocals), Roger Christian (born 13 February 1950; died 8 March 1998 from brain tumour) (vocals, instrumentalist), Russell Christian (born 8 July 1956) (keyboards, saxophone, vocals), and Henry Priestman (born Henry Christian Priestman, 21 June 1955, in Kingston upon Hull, brought up in Liverpool) (keyboards, guitars, vocals) formed the band in 1985. Paul Barlow (drums), Mike Bulger (guitar/vocals) and Tony Jones on bass were also early members. Because of a reluctance to tour, Roger left in 1987.

TheChristians01In Rock: The Rough Guide, critic Charles Bottomley, described them as “The Temptations in ripped jeans, producing gritty-centred songs in a sugary vocal shell”.

Colour is the second album by British soul group The Christians. It was released in January 1990 by Island Records and peaked at number one on the UK Albums Chart. It also reached the Top 20 in several European countries due, notably, to the success of its lead single “Words”. (by wikipedia)

Given the obvious talent at the Christians’ disposal, it’s odd how uninspiring their music is. Gary Christian has a remarkable voice, soulful without resorting to the showy mannerisms that derail so many lesser singers. In his previous band, the Yachts, keyboardist Henry Priestman revealed himself to be one of the wittiest and most melodically subtle songwriters of the post-punk age, as well as one of its most immediately distinctive instrumentalists. The subtle melodicism is still there on 1990’s Colour, but the cleverness and distinctive personality are pretty much gone. The lyrics are uniformly po-faced and mushily inspirational, with none of the sparkling wit of the Yachts, and Laurie Latham’s ultra-slick production doesn’t even have the over-the-top sonic gimmickry of his earlier albums for Squeeze and Paul Young, making Colour musically indistinguishable from the likes of Phil Collins and Simple Minds.

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Worst of all, the songs are absurdly elongated, stretching three minutes’ worth of musical and lyrical content into tracks that tend to stretch into the five- to seven-minute range. Despite the title, Colour is stultifyingly monochromatic. The closing “In My Hour of Need” is a charming sendoff, though, by far the most memorable track on the album. (by Stewart Mason)

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Personnel:
Garry A. Christian (vocals)
Russell Christian (saxophone, vocals)
Henry Priestman (keyboards, guitar, vocals)
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Steve Ferrone (drums)
Pino Palladino (bass)
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The London Community Gospel Choir (on 09.)

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Tracklist:
01. Man Don’t Cry (Priestman) 4.46
02. I Found Out (Priestman) 4.30
03. Greenbank Drive (Priestman) 4.25
04. All Talk (Priestman) 4.37
05. Words (Traditional/Priestman) 7.04
06. Community Of Spirit (G.Christian) 5.13
07. There You Go Again (Priestman) 6.00
08. One More Baby In Black (Priestman) 5.42
09. In My Hour Of Need (Priestman) 6.24

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Strunz & Farah – Primal Magic (1990)

FrontCover1.jpgStrunz & Farah is a guitar duo with an eclectic sound that has been described as a cross between world fusion and flamenco.

Jorge Strunz, born in Costa Rica, and Ardeshir Farah, hailing from Iran, met in the United States in 1979. Jorge Strunz was one of the founders of the Latin jazz band Caldera. Caldera combined jazz, funk and rock with a wide variety of Latin music, influenced by 1970s fusion explorers like Return to Forever and Weather Report. The four albums Caldera released (none of which have been reissued on CD) did not sell, and the band called it quits in 1979.

Having both played guitar professionally since their early teens, Strunz and Iranian guitarist Ardeshir Farah soon teamed up and released their self-produced first album, “Mosaico”, in 1980, which started their own label, Selva Records. They soon caught the attention of Richard Bock, an important figure in jazz radio, who helped the duo land a contract with the jazz label Milestone.

Strunz & Farah have since released nineteen recordings together, several albums as a duo and collaborating with Rubén Blades (“Joseph and His Brothers” BMG, 1993) and with L. Subramaniam on two tracks (“Confluence” and “Shadow of Heaven”) on their debut recording, “Mosaico”.

The duo also worked with Sting on the album The Living Sea: Soundtrack from the IMAX Film as session musicians.

Their latest album, “Tales of Two Guitars”, was released in July 20, 2018. (by wikipedia)

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Ottmar Liebert seemed to have the 1990 flamenco guitar market cornered, but a great promotional push helped L.A. club vets into the limelight with this tasty and contagious collection of jungle-fusion gems. What makes S&F work so well is the rapport their guitars have. Like Acoustic Alchemy with more ethnic elements, their nylon string flamenco stylings blend in a breezy yet melodic manner, accented with just the right amount of Rippington-esque percussion (by Long John Oliva and Luis Perez Ixoneztli) and touches of Charlie Bisharat’s violin on smoothies like “Twilight at the Zuq” and “Anochecer.” Heightening the excitement is the world music element — Strunz is from Costa Rica, Farah is from Iran, and their guest musicians hail from such eclectic lands as Colombia, Mexico, Cameroon, Cuba, and the U.S. This potpourri of influences makes Strunz & Farah’s sound one of the freshest in world music, even if the similar tempos of several of the tunes makes them hard to tell apart at times. Primal Magic creates this and much, much more. It’s a fun, involving listen, something to add to your “something unique” drawer. (by Jonathan Widran)

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Personnel:
Charlie Bisharat Guest (synthesizer, violin)
Ardeshir Farah (guitar, percussion)
Leon Granados Engineer, Mixing
Guillermo Guzman (bass)
Joe Heredia (drums)
Luis Perez Ixoneztli (percussion, synthesizer, vocals, wind instruments)
Juanito Oliva (percussion, cajon)
Jorge Strunz (guitar, percussion)
Paul Tchounga (drums)
Katia Esperanza Tirado (percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Bola (Strunz) 5.08
02. Twilight At The Zuq (Farah) 4.50
03. Ida y Vuelta (Strunz) 4.07
04. Rainmaker (Farah/Ixoneztli) 6.11
05. Huixamatli (Luna Llena) (Ixoneztli) 2.24
06. Canto Al Sol (Ixoneztli/Strunz) 5.10
07. Anochecer (Nightfall) (Strunz) 3.53
08. Tierra Verde (Strunz) 4.35
09. Zumba (Strunz) 3.46
10. Amazonas (Strunz) 6.42

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Roy Hargrove – Diamond In The Rough (1990)

FrontCover1.jpgRoy Hargrove was a hard bop-oriented musician (and acclaimed “Young Lion”) who became one of America’s premier trumpeters during the late ’80s and beyond. A fine, straight-ahead player who spent his childhood years in Texas, Hargrove met trumpet virtuoso Wynton Marsalis in 1987, when the latter musician visited Hargrove’s high school in Dallas. Impressed with the student’s sound, Marsalis allowed Hargrove to sit in with his band and helped him secure additional work with major players, including Bobby Watson, Ricky Ford, Carl Allen, and the group Superblue. Hargrove attended Berklee for one (1988-1989) before decamping to New York City, where his studio career took flight.

In 1990, the young Hargrove (he was only 20 at the time) released his first of five recordings for Novus. He often toured with his own group, which for several years including Antonio Hart. In addition to Novus, Hargrove also recorded for Verve and served as a sideman with quite a few notable figures, including Sonny Rollins, James Clay, Frank Morgan, and Jackie McLean, and the ensemble Jazz Futures. His Verve album roster includes 1995’s Family and Parker’s Mood. Habana (a Grammy-winning album of Afro-Cuban music) and Moment to Moment followed at the end of the decade. Hargrove also went on to contribute to well-received R&B albums by Erykah Badu and D’Angelo, but he also remained indebted to hard bop with such albums as 2008’s Earfood. A year later, Hargrove returned with his 19-member big band on Emergence. Sadly, Hargrove died in November 2018 at the young age of 49; he had been on dialysis for well over a decade and died from cardiac arrest associated with his kidney disease.

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Trumpeter Roy Hargrove’s debut as a leader found him occasionally recalling Freddie Hubbard but already sounding fairly original in the hard bop genre. On a quartet version of “Easy To Remember,” Hargrove shows restraint and maturity in his lyrical ballad statement while featuring his strong bop chops on most of the other selections. Among the many other up-and-coming voices heard on this 1989 set are pianist Geoffrey Keezer (who contributes three originals and shows what he had picked up from McCoy Tyner), the fluid altoist Antonio Hart and drummer Ralph Peterson, Jr. Tenor-saxophonist Ralph Moore, pianist John Hicks and drummer Al Foster are also in the notable supporting cast. The one fault to the CD is that the performances and solos are often a little too brief, with all but “Whisper Not” in the 4-6 minute range. But for a debut, Roy Hargrove can still be proud of Diamond In The Rough. (by Scott Yanow)

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Personnel:
Scott Colley (bass)
Al Foster (drums)
Roy Hargrove (trumpet)
Antonio Hart (saxophone)
John Hicks (piano)
Ralph Moore (saxophone)
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Charles Fambrough (bass on 01., 05., 07., 09. + 10.)
Geoffrey Keezer (piano 01., 05., 07., 09. + 10.)
Ralph Peterson Jr. (drums on 01., 05., 07., 09. + 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. Proclamation (Keezer) 6.12
02. Ruby My Dear (Monk) 6.12
03. A New Joy (Hargrove) 6.03
04. Confidentiality (Hargrove) 4.59
05. Broski (Fambrough) 4.11
06. Whisper Not (Golson) 7.40
07. All Over Again (Hargrove) 5.47
08. Easy To Remember (Rodgers/Hammerstein) 6.06
09. Premonition (Keezer) 5.38
10. BHG (Keezer) 6.04
11. Wee (Best) 4.10

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Roy Anthony Hargrove (October 16, 1969 – November 2, 2018)

Paul Simon – Rhythm Of The Saints (1990)

FrontCover1The Rhythm of the Saints is the eighth solo studio album by American singer-songwriter Paul Simon, released on October 16, 1990 on Warner Bros. Like its predecessor, Graceland (1986), the album gained commercial success and received mostly favorable reviews from critics.

In 1992, The Rhythm of the Saints earned two nominations for the 34th Grammy Awards – Album of the Year and Producer of the Year.

Following the success of 1986’s Graceland, on which he worked principally with South African musicians, Simon broadened his interests in diverse forms of music from around the world. He turned to Latin America for the musicians and rhythms which characterize much of this album, partnering with Afro-Brazilian superstars Grupo Cultural Olodum, masters of the heavily percussive sub-style of samba called Batuque or Batucada. The group’s drumming is featured on the opening song and first single, “The Obvious Child”. Brazilian singer-songwriter Milton Nascimento co-wrote “Spirit Voices” and contributed some vocals. Guest appearances were also made by mandolin- and “guitarra baiana” master Armandinho, another Bahia musician, and by Afro-Cuban drummer Francisco Aguabella, and Puerto Rican-born drummer Giovanni Hidalgo. Another collaborator was jazz percussionist and master of the berimbau, Naná Vasconcelos; jazz guitarist Rafael Rabelo also played on the album, along with many other Brazilian musicians.

The musical styles on The Rhythm of the Saints are, however, not uniformly Brazilian. US saxophonist Michael Brecker and other horn players contribute as session musicians (for example, on “Proof”), as well as American roots rock guitarist JJ Cale, Fabulous Thunderbirds vocalist Kim Wilson (contributing harmonica on “The Obvious Child”), R&B keyboards player Greg Phillinganes and jazz drummer Steve Gadd. Art rock guitarist and synth player Adrian Belew, who played on Graceland, is credited on “Spirit Voices”. There are also many backing vocals on The Rhythm of the Saints, such as “She Moves On”, a duet with Charlotte Mbango. Simon was also influenced by bikutsi for this album.

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The album is characterized by impressionistic lyrics (referring to the Chernobyl incident in “Can’t Run But,” an Amazonian ayahuasca experience in “Spirit Voices,” and the state of the world in “The Cool, Cool River”), with slower tempos than Graceland and an atmospheric flow. Along with Latin rhythms, the prime influence on the album was West African and Central African music. Cameroonian jazz composer Andre Manga plays bass, and South African guitarist Ray Phiri, who also collaborated on Graceland, plays one song of the album, while famed trumpeter and worldbeat bandleader Hugh Masekela is credited with playing flugelhorn on one song.

Although drums for “The Obvious Child” were recorded live at Pelourinho Square in Salvador, Bahia, Simon recorded most of the rhythms for the tracks in Rio de Janeiro studios before returning to The Hit Factory in New York City to record guitar accompaniment and, later, the final arrangements. The Rhythm of the Saints marks Simon’s first collaboration with Cameroonian guitarist Vincent Nguini, a member of his band up until his death in December 2017. Nguini is credited with creating the music and guitar arrangements for “The Coast”, although Simon still wrote the lyrics. Nguini also arranged guitar for other songs, such as “She Moves On” and “The Cool, Cool River,” and he arranged the horns for “Proof.” Together, Simon and Nguini created the melodies, lyrics, and arrangements that changed the bare rhythm and guitar recordings into (due to Simon’s studio experience) the expertly-edited final product.

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Promotion poster

The Rhythm of the Saints peaked at #4 on the US album chart, while Graceland had peaked at #3, both among Simon’s most commercially successful albums. The album was also commercially successful across the Atlantic, reaching #1 on the UK album chart. However, with the exception of “The Obvious Child”, none of its singles charted or received substantial radio play (“Proof” and “Born at the Right Time” were released as well). “The Obvious Child” also failed to reach the US top 40, although it came in at #15 in the UK – his last major hit in the UK. In the end, the album was certified multi-Platinum.
Central Park concert

Simon and his fellow musicians performed live versions of many of the songs from the album at a free concert in Central Park, New York City on August 15, 1991, in front of an audience of around 50,000 people. The performance was recorded and later released as the album Paul Simon’s Concert in the Park. (by wikipedia)

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Though he recorded the album’s prominent percussion tracks in Brazil, Paul Simon fashioned The Rhythm of the Saints as a deliberate follow-up to the artistic breakthrough and commercial comeback that was the South Africa-tinged Graceland. Several of the musicians who had appeared previously were back, along with some of the New York session players who had worked with Simon in the 1970s, and the overall sound was familiar to fans of Graceland. Further, Simon’s nonlinear lyrical approach was carried over: he continued to ruminate about love, aging, and the onslaught of modern life in disconnected phrases and images that created impressions rather than telling straightforward stories. But where Graceland had seamlessly merged its styles into an exuberant whole, The Rhythm of the Saints was less well digested. Those drum tracks never seemed integrated effectively into what had been dubbed over them; at the same time, they tended to lock the songs into musical patterns that reined them in from the kind of excitement the South African music on Graceland generated, making the melodies harder to grasp.

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Nelson Mandela & Paul Simon

At the same time, Simon sang his lyrics in a less involved way, which sometimes made them seem like collections of random lines rather than the series of striking observations Graceland seemed to contain. No Paul Simon album could be lacking in craft or quality, and The Rhythm of the Saints was a typically tasteful effort. But this time around, Simon hadn’t quite succeeded in bringing the wide-ranging elements together; the album sold about half as many copies as Graceland (that is to say, a none-too-shabby two million), and that’s about right — where Graceland was an exotic adventure, The Rhythm of the Saints was more of an anthropology lesson. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Paul Simon (vocals, guitar)
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Accordion – Jimmy McDonald (4), C.J. Chenier (7), Joao Severo Da Silva (10)
Background Vocals – Briz (1, 4), Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Karen Bernód, Myrna Lynn Gomila, Kia Y. Jeffries (3), Florence Gnimagnon, Charlotte Mbango, Djana’d, Elolongue Mbango Catherine (4, 6, 7)
Bass – Bakithi Kumalo (3, 4, 7, 9), Andre Manga (4), Armand Sabal-Lecco (6, 7, 9, 10)
Bongos, Congas, Bata, Gourd – Dom Chacal (4, 5, 6, 7, 9)
Bongos – Anthony Carillo (9)
Chakeire – Ya Yo De La Nelson (4, 7, 8)
Chicote – Mazzola, Paulo Santos (2)
Congas, Drums, Bells, Percussion – Mingo Araújo (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Congas, Bongos, Percussion – Sidinho (4, 5, 6, 7, 9)
Congas – Francisco Aguabella, Giovanni Hidalgo (9)
Cowbell – Wilson Das Neves (6)
Drums – Grupo Cultural Olodum (1), Steve Gadd (2, 4), Felix Sabal-Lecco (7)
Box Drum – Asante (8)
Electric Guitar – Georges Seba, Martin Atangana (4)
Euphonium – Dave Bargeron (5)
Flugelhorn – Hugh Masekela (5)
Guitar – J.J. Cale (2, 7), Rafael Rabello, Ringo Star (5), Ray Phiri (6), Armando Macedo, Kofi Electrik, Tommy Bilson-Ogoe (10)
Guitar, Bass, Clave – Vincent Nguini (3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
Guitar Synthesizer – Adrian Belew (9)
Harmonica – Kim Wilson (1)
Percussion – Uakti (2, 8, 10)
Additional Percussion – Jorginho, Marcalzinho, Wilson das Neves, Canegal, Beloba, Luna, Pedro Sorongo (5)
Percussion, Gourds, Voice, Berimbau, Triangle, Congas – Nana Vasconcelos (2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10)
Saxophones – Charles Doherty, Jude Bethel (3), Alain Hatot (4), Michael Brecker (6), Charles Doherty (8)
Scraper – Pedro Sorongo (6)
Surdo – Gordinho (6)
Synthesizer – Michael Brecker (1, 3, 5, 8), Greg Phillinganes (3, 5, 8), Justin Tchounou (4)
Talking Drum – Remy Kabocka (2)
Trombone – Clifton Anderson (3, 8), Jacques Bolognesi (4)
Trumpets – Errol Ince, Clyde Mitchell (3, 8), Phillipe Slominski (4), Randy Brecker (5, 6)
Vocals – Milton Nascimento (9)

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Tracklist:
01. The Obvious Child (Simon) 4.10
02. Can’t Run But (Simon) 3.37
03. The Coast (Simon/Nguini) 5.05
04. Proof (Simon) 4.40
05. Further To Fly (Simon) 5.36
06. She Moves On (Simon) 5.04
07. Born At The Right Time (Simon) 3.48
08. The Cool, Cool River (Simon) 4.33
09. Spirit Voices (Simon/Nascimento) 3.56
10. The Rhythm Of The Saints (Simon) 4.21
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11. Born At The Right Time (original acoustic demo) (Simon) 3.50
12. Thelma (outtake) (Simon) 4.15
13. The Coast (work-in-progress version) (Simon/Nguini) 5.14
14. Spirit Voices (work-in-progress version) (Simon/Nascimento) 3.50

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Curved Air – Alive 1990 (1990)

AlternateFrontCover1Alive, 1990 is a recording from the Curved Air reunion concert 23 September 1990. The lineup reunited Sonja Kristina, Francis Monkman, Florian Pilkington-Miksa and Darryl Way, sixteen years after the last time all four of them played together.

Aside from the ambient introductory piece “Twenty Years On”, all the material was taken from Curved Air’s first three albums, with a particular emphasis on the debut album. Most of the running time is devoted to songs from the debut album.

The introductory track, “Twenty Years On”, was taken from an audience recording on a mono cassette recorder, and hence is of exceptionally poor sound quality. Since the album was compiled chiefly for fans of the group, it was decided that it would be better to include a low-quality recording of the intro than none at all. (by wikipedia)

What’s the connection between the next musicians: Eddie Jobson, Stewart Copeland, Ian Mosley and John Etheridge? Well , the all were members from the legendary Curved Air! Sonja Kristina.jpgHere’s the classic line up featuring Sonja Kristina, Francis Monkman, Florian Pilkington- Miksa, Darryl Way and special guest Rob Martin (bass on “Vivaldi”), sixteen years after they had played together for the last time. The music from Curved Air is eccentric progrock, not really in the vein of ELP, Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant or Pink Floyd. Apart from the first track “Twenty years on” (biting wah-wah guitar) the sound quality is good. During the other 12 songs Curved Air showcases their unique sound and great skills: powerful vocals and great electric violin play in “It happened today”, a swinging rhythm and rock & roll with again wah-wah drenched guitar and powerful vocals in “Stretch”, rock & roll meets classic in “Hide and seek”, a beautiful folky climate in “Melinda” (Jobson-like violin and acoustic guitar), more Jobson-like violin and exciting keyboards in “Young mother”, great interplay between electric violin and electric guitar and a long violin improvisation (including a Four Seasons interpretation) in a 10 minutes version of “Vivaldi” and a catchy rhythm featuring haunting vocals and sparklin keyboards in “Everdance”. This reunion gig prooves what a great (often overlooked) progrock band Curved Air was. (Eric Neuteboom)

THIS CD IS A GOOD START TO DISCOVER THEM!

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Personnel:
Sonja Kristina (vocals , guitar on 06.)
Francis Monkman (bass, guitar, keyboards)
Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums, percussion)
Darryl Way (keyboards, violin, background vocals on 13.)
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Rob Martin (bass on 11.)

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Tracklist:
01. Twenty Years On (Intro) (Monkman/Way) 4.09
02. It Happened Today (Kristina/Monkman) 5.31
03. Stretch (Monkman/Way) 4.29
04. Hide And Seek (Kristina/Way) 6.52
05. Marie Antoinette (Kristina/Way) 7.04
06. Melinda (More or Less) (Kristina) 4.14
07. Situations (Martin/Way) 5.43
08. Young Mother (Kristina/Way) 7.06
09. You Know (Kristina/Way) 3.45
10. Propositions (Monkman) 5.15
11. Vivaldi (Way) 9.59
12. Everdance (Monkman) 4.15
13. Backstreet Luv (Eyre/Kristina/Way) 4.26

 

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Twenty years on
And what have we got to show for it?
A little bit saddened
And a little bit bushed.
Flowers power upwards
Through politicians’ undertakings, you can
Hear the message loud and clear, but
You won’t read it in the papers
Somewhere in the mountains
A new dawn is breaking
Clouds hide the sun
But who knows clouds at all?
Oh, no!
Twenty years on
Feels like a long time
Where were you?
Yesterday, Tomorrow, Today

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Didier Lockwood – Live In Montreux (1990)

FrontCover1Noted French jazz violinist Didier Lockwood, a disciple of the late Stephane Grappelli, has died of a heart attack in Paris, his agent said.

Lockwood, who turned 62 on February 11, died early on Sunday morning. The night before his death, he had performed at Paris jazz venue Bal Blomet.

“His wife, his three daughters, his family, his agent, his co-workers and his record label are sad to announce the sudden passing of Didier Lockwood,” his agent said in a statement.

Lockwood was playing at a jazz festival when he met Grappelli, another French jazz great who founded a string quintet called the Hot Club of France in 1934 with gypsy guitar legend Django Reinhardt.

The violinist invited the then 20-year-old Lockwood to join him on a European tour, kicking off an international career in which he gave around 4,500 concerts and released more than 35 records.

“That was the start of my career, the launchpad that got me into the world of popular jazz,” Lockwood told Radio France in 2008.

DidierLockwood03Lockwood was committed to music education, in 2001 setting up the Didier Lockwood Music Centre in a town south of Paris teaching improvisation according to a jazz violin method he developed.

French culture minister Francoise Nyssen described Lockwood as “deeply generous and outgoing” and said he would be missed by “his friends, music and all the children he wished to enlighten with his passion”.

“He wanted to make music without borders or prejudices,” she added.
(L) Didier Lockwood performs with colleagues

Born in 1956 in Calais to a French-Scottish family, Lockwood, whose father was a music teacher, gained an early taste for improvisation thanks to his elder brother Francis, a jazz pianist.

Aged 17, Lockwood joined a popular French prog rock band called Magma. He later threw himself into a multitude of musical projects and collaborations, experimenting with varied jazz styles, both electric and acoustic, from classical fusion to gypsy swing.

During his career, he wrote two operas, violin and piano concertos, lyrical works and music for films and cartoons.

“France has lost an exceptional musician, a man with rare qualities,” wrote violinist Renaud Capucon on Twitter.

Lockwood’s widow is the coloratura soprano Patricia Petibon, acclaimed for her interpretations of French Baroque music.

The couple had just recorded an album together, said Lockwood’s agent Christophe Deghelt, who called him “Mr. 100,000 volts” and said the musician had a “huge” number of projects under way when he died.

Lockwood was previously married to the singer Caroline Casadesus, with whom he had created a musical called “Jazz and the diva”.(by The Independent)

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“After Stephane Grappelli and Jean-Luc Ponty, France now has a third great violin player, His name is Didier Lockwood.” (Liberation, Paris). Besides Grapelli and Ponty, Lockwood’s influences include Polish violinist Zbigniew Seifert, John Coltrane, and Frank Zappa. Born in 1956, Lockwood was classically trained, but moved on to rock-inspired jazz at an early age. He followed in Ponty’s fusion footsteps with the use of the electric violin, taking it one step further by experimenting in extending the sounds of the violin.

The 1980 Live in Montreux presents Didier Lockwood at his fusion best. He has multi-Grammy winner Jan Hammer (Mahavishnu Orchestra, music for Miami Vice) along for the ride, as well as the intense, soulful American saxophonist Bob Malach. On Fast Travel, the group performs up-tempo musical legerdemain as first Malach, then Hammer, and finally Lockwood pull out their bag of tricks.

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Flyin’ Kitten radiates a bouncy melodic rock-inflected ambiance, while Ballade des Fees portrays a haunting, wispy fairytale. With its infectiously gamboling 2-beat feel, there’s a folkish quality to Zebulon Dance; Lockwood’s plucked violin and Hammer’s guitar-like synth explorations are highlights. Four Strings Bitch shows off the violin’s willful eccentricities in a virtuoso one-man performance that ventures from classic and bluesy acoustic play on through to electronic experimentation.” (unknown source)

Listen to “Four Strings Bitch”: A masteroiece for the elctric violin !

All in all: a sensational album !

Recorded in the Casino Montreux July 16, 1980 and Mountain Recording Studio Montreux.
Mixed in the MPS Studio Villingen July 28, 29, 30, 1980. 

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Personnel:
Gerry Brown (drums)
Jan Hammer (synthesizer)
Didier Lockwood (violin)
Bob Malach (saxophone)
Marc Perru (guitar)
Bo Stief (bass)

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Tracklist:
01 Fast Travel (Lockwood) 7.15
02. Flyin’ Kitten (Lockwood) 7.43
03 Ballade des Fees (Lockwood) 5.01
04. Zebulon Dance (Lockwood) 3.58
05. ADGC (Lockwood) 5:46
06. Four Strings Bitch (Lockwood)3:45
07. Turtle Shuffle (Kajdan) 8.37

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Didier Lockwood (11 February 1956 – 18 February 2018)

Rest In Peace !