Pavle Aksentijevic – Anthology of Serbian Church (Sacred) Music (2002)

FrontCover1Byzantine as well as the old Serbian sacred music is characterized, as far as its inner essence is concerned, by simplicity or. freedom from undue complexity, by purity or freedom from everything sensual, ostentatious, insincere, and by unsurpassed power and spirituality. As regards its outer form or technical aspect, it is characterized bu the fact that it is entirely vocal, not making use of any instruments, and monophonic, that is, employing melodies in one vocal part only. In order to enrich and augment the melody, this music employs, , instead of polyphony and the accompaniment of the organ or some other I instrument, a finer, more spiritual means: the isocratima or holding-note. The work of the isocrats consists of holding a drone on the basic tone of the mode in which the melody is being sung. The isocratima not only enhances the melody, but also emphasizes the mode in which the psalm, humn or ode is being sung, and adds, solemnness and power to the psalmody. Its use goes back to the early Christian period.

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In order to provide the chanters worth needed period,of rest, and to keep the congregation in a state of inner wakefulness antiphony is employed. That is, not one but two choirs are employed, so the congregation are not subjected. to the sleep-conductive monotony of hearing continuously the same voice or voices, coming from the same part of the church.

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This music has its own system of musical scales, its own laws and canons, its own modes of composition, its own notation. The symbOlS above the words are interval signs. They do not give the pitch of every tone in the melody, bud indicate how many tones a certain note lies above or below the preceding one, orwhether it is a repetition of it. The aim of this music is not to display the fine voices of the chanters, or to entertain the congregation, or to evoke aesthetic experience. In the firct place it is a means of worship and veneration; and in the second plase, a means of self-perfection, of eliciting and cultivating man\’s higher thoughts and feelings and of oposing and eliminating his lower, undesirable ones. (by Constantine Cavarnos)

And I´m very impressed by the depth, intensity and ardency. And I include an english written booklet (20 pages).

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Personnel:
Pavle Aksentijevic (vocals)
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Byzantine chanters:
Miomir Ristić – Bratislav Ristić – Darko Manić – Nikola Popmihajlov – Damnjan Aksentijević.

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Tracklist:
01. Alleluia (6th Mode) 1.08
02. Psalomnik (Praise Verses) (1st Mode) 6.22
03. Now The Celestial Powers (6th Mode) 6.46
04. Cherubic Hymn (2nd Mode) 5.59
05. Have Mercy On Me O Lord (6th Mode) 4.33
06. We Worship Your Cross (2nd Mode) 1.06
07. God The Lord (4th Mode) 3.19
08. Alleluia (5th Mode) 1.17
09. O What A Wonderful Miracle (1st Mode) 6.30
10. You Are The Prophets Announcement (1st Mode) 2.59
11. Servikon (After The Birth) (8th Mode) 3.08
12. Sing To The Lord All the Earth (Psalm 95-1) (4th Mode) 1.21
13. Everything That Breath (Psalm 150-6) (5th Mode) 3.07
14. He Looked On The Earth (Psalm 103 and 104-32) (8th Mode) 2.50
15. Alleluia (1st Mode) 1.51

Music: Psalms of Byzantine and Serbian authors from 13th to 15th century

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Biography

Noel Redding – Live From Bunkr Prague (2002)

FrontCover1An excellent musician, Noel dropped his guitar in 1966 to play bass with Jimi. A hell of a bass player he was too. His thunderous playing was an essential part of The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s sound.
Born in Folkestone, England, he was a gifted guitarist and played with bands in his home region such as the Modern jazz Group. As part of another local group, The Loving Kind, he recorded three singles on the Picadilly label. While in London to audition as for a place as guitarist in The New Animals, he ended up instead with the job as bass player for the then unknown Jimi Hendrix. Jimi appreciated Noels quickness to grasp musical styles and liked his wirey afro-like hair and nicknamed him Bob Dylan’s Grandmother (Noel replied with “Jimi Henpecked”). The band made their first official public appearance at Evreux, France (13/10/66). The chemistry between Noel, Mitch Mitchell and Jimi was just right and the band quickly developped and refined their stage show. Noel would soon provide backing vocals on numbers like “Fire” , “I Don’t Live Today” or simple “Ooohs” and “Aaahs” on “Purple Haze”. He often joined Jimi in chatting humourously with the audience between songs.
Noel managed to get two of his own songs on the bands albums (“She’s So Fine” and “Little Miss Strange”). The music on “My Friend” was Noel’s (Jimi wrote the lyrics) but he was never credited for it.

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However, frustrated with the role of bass man and tired of sitting around while Jimi perfected his studio recordings, he soon developed his own solo project Fat Mattress (he even opened with them at some Experience gigs). He became more and more estranged from Jimi and began to question the management about where all the money was going. The last straw was when Jimi announced to others about his intention to expand the group, without mentioning it to him before hand. So he quit the band.
In 1970 he decided to bury the hatchet and was on the point of rejoining the Experience and he met up with Jimi and Mitch for a press interview to announce this. Jimi however chose to keep Billy Cox from his Band Of Gypsys line-up. It is a pity that Jimi didn’t keep Noel as a second guitarist, it was after all his intention to expand the group.
On guitar with Fat Matress he worked on two albums: “Fat Matress” (Polydor 1969) and “Fat Matress II” which he abandoned when the album was only half finished. He then played bass again with the group Road, recording the album “Road” on the US label Rare Earth in 1972. That same year he also played with Jimi’s old friend Randy California (under the hilarious pseudonyme of Clit McTorious) for the very Hendrix inspired album “Kapt Kopter And The Fabulous Twirly Birds”.

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Then he setted in Ireland to form The Noel Redding Band with the ex Thin Lizzy guitarist Eric Bell. They put out two albums: “Clonakilty Cowboys” (RCA 1975) and “Blowin'” (RCA 1976) and more tracks came out later as “The Missing Album” (Griffin 1995).
In 1990 he published his memoires with the book “Are You Experienced: The Inside Story Of The Jimi Hendrix Experience” .
Redding04When Jimi’s old flat in London’s Montague Square received a commemorative blue plaque in the nineties, an emotional Noel was there paying his respects in front of the gathered crowd and journalists.
In 1995/96 he toured with the Hendrix tribute band More Experience and later participated in many other Hendrix tribute events in America and Europe and appears on albums “Stone Free” (Dressed To Kill 2001), “On Tour” (Brilliant 2001) and “Live From Bunkr-Prague” (Track 2002). He also put in an appearance with Mitch to jam at The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame to celebrate Jimi’s inauguration. He also toured with a band he formed called Secret Freaks.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience was an unparalleled three man band. After Noel left the group in mid 1969, Jimi and Mitch never found quite the same excitement that the three of them together could muster. (hendrix.guide.pagesperso-orange.fr)

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Noel Redding and Friends “Live from Bunkr” features a last-minute band of Jimi Hendrix’ bass player Noel Redding with guitarist/vocalist Ivan Kral, Anthony Krizan/Spin Doctors on guitar, and drummer Frankie LaRocka/Bryan Adams in an impromptu club show in Prague. The 1995 concert was attended by Czech President Vaclav Havel,
and was Noel’s last recorded work prior to his untimely death at age 57. (

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“We didn’t want to do the whole lot of the Experience but there again they’ve never really heard anyone playing it there and playing it well. I shouldn’t say that!” Noel Redding, the bass player of the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience, is talking of the gig in the Czech Republic documented on his new live album, “Live From Bunkr. Prague,” due June 24 from Track Records.

It features an all-star cast that includes Redding on bass, Ivan Kral (Patti Smith Group) on rhythm guitar, Anthony Krizan (Spin Doctors) on lead guitar and vocals, and Frankie La Rocka (New York Dolls, Bryan Adams) on drums. The gig in question took place in 1995 and was attended by no less than Czech president Vaclav Havel.

After a mere 45 minutes of rehearsal, the band performed a surprisingly slick set that consisted mostly of well-loved Experience songs such as “Voodoo Child,” “Stone Free,” “Purple Haze,” and “Little Wing.” There were two exceptions. “We threw in ‘Silver Paper’ because I’d just done a stint with Mountain in America on a quick tour and I’ve always really liked Mountain,” Redding explains. “We learned it at the rehearsal. I had a vague idea and it was basically ad-libbed but we got through it. Then Ivan wanted to do that Lennon song [‘Cold Turkey’], so we did that, which broke up the stuff from the Experience.”

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Krizan is surprisingly effective at mimicing Hendrix’s technique, capturing the wobble-board sound of “Voodoo Child” as well as he does the undulating delicacy of “Little Wing.” “I thought he did a really good job ‘cos it’s rather hard for anyone since James,” Redding says of the task of duplicating Hendrix’s fretwork. “A lot of people have tried. There again, he didn’t play exactly the same thing but he kept the sort of theme of it.”

The only time Krizan struggles is on “Red House,” where Hendrix’s effortless fluidity on the original understandably proves beyond him. “Maybe he was a bit nervous about that track ‘cos I still think it’s a very special track from the Experience,” concedes Redding, adding, “I think the lady who sang the vocal on it sort of made up for it.” He is referring to Tonya Graves, who asked a wary Redding whether she could be allowed to handle the lead vocal on the Experience chestnut. “I said to her, ‘Can you sing it in B?’ She said, ‘Yeah’. So I said, ‘Okay’ and she did it exactly the way the Experience had done it,” he says. “I thought she did an amazing job.”

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Though Redding says “I’m not into politics or presidents,” he admits he was tickled when he heard Havel might be attending the show. Havel, of course, is a longtime rock’n’roll fan whose ascent to power was dubbed the Velvet Revolution in reference to his penchant for Lou Reed’s Velvet Underground. Recalls Redding, “We did the gig and then I suddenly noticed on the side of the stage they’d set up this small little table with a couple of blokes all wearing jeans and this bloke sitting down drinking a pint of Guinness, of all things — and that’s the president! After the gig, we said hello to him and had a chat and it was grand. Very, very nice person. He said he really enjoyed it [and asked if] we could play another song.”

Though it saw a limited edition release in the Czech Republic shortly after the gig, this is the album’s first mass-market issue. However, the Track label it appears on has no real link with the U.K. Track label to which Hendrix was originally signed. This is perhaps just as well, since Redding has been battling Track for back royalties for years.

“Some lawyer I had in the ’70s wrote a letter and then we got a letter back saying unfortunately they’d had a fire and their files had been destroyed, which is quite a standard one,” he says. “And then we wrote another letter. We did get a reply saying, ‘well, actually Track did everything through Polydor — you have to go to them.’ So it’s the same old story: passing the buck. I never got a penny from Track, ever.”

Redding did at least get publishing royalties for “Little Miss Strange” and “She’s So Fine,” MCFrontCover1the two songs he wrote for the Experience. They will be appearing on a compilation of his music that he’s hoping will be released toward the end of this year. “That goes from 1962 until 2000,” he says. “I had a band called the Lonely Ones — I found an acetate from 1963. I had a band called the Loving Kind which had some records out on Piccadilly. Then I did the Fat Mattress and I’ve got some unreleased stuff, songs I wrote which became Mattress songs except they’re recorded with an orchestra. Then there’s a jam session with Randy California. And then newer stuff with Eric Bell. It’s a double CD.”

For Redding, the time that he spent recording for Hendrix constituted the guitarist’s artistic peak. “I much prefer the stuff we did earlier than after the band split up,” he admits. “I think Jimi needed to have a rest at that point. He should have actually taken some time off and done nothing, ‘cos we all worked our arses off for three years.”

Most observers attest that while Billy Cox, the bassist Hendrix worked with when the Experience broke up in the summer of 1969, was superior technically to Redding, the Experience had a chemistry Hendrix’s later bands lacked. “The thing is, myself and Hendrix used to ‘compete’ and it worked,” he explains. “Being an ex-guitar player, I was playing chords and stuff which impressed Hendrix. Not many bass players play chords. I know Billy Cox is an excellent bass player but I probably was a bit more flamboyant.”

After that split, Redding endured incredible financial hardship and emotional trauma in his efforts to obtain his royalties, harrowingly detailed in his book “Are You Experienced?” Nevertheless, he now turns down work in order to live the quiet life. “I play in my local town every Friday and I do the occasional zipping away but I only go away on a weekend,” he says. “I wouldn’t go on a tour ever again. I realized I prefer staying at home, even though I can’t really afford it.”

Asked whether his ordeal at the hands of the music business makes him regret ever having become a rock star, he says, “I should have been a plumber. That’s a joke. But the thing is, plumbers get paid. But there again, I’m still playing, thank God. That’s the main thing.” (Billboard, June 17, 2002)

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Personnel:
Anthony Krizan
Ivan Kral (guitar, vocals)
Frankie LaRocka (drums)
Noel Redding (bass, vocals)
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Tonya Graves (vocals on 08.)

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Tracklist:
01. Voodoo Child (Hendrix) 7.06
02. Stone Free (Hendrix) 3,25
03. Silver Paper (West/Collins/Laing/Pappalardi/Knight/Gardos) 3.35
04. Cold Turkey (Lennon) 4.17
05. Come On (King) 4.07
06. Purple Haze (Hendrix) 3.44
07. Little Wing (Hendrix) 5.18
08. Red House (Hendrix) 4.50
09. Little Miss Lover (Hendrix) 2.59
10. Wild Thing (Taylor) 4.59
11. Hey Joe (Roberts) 7.04

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Noel Redding (December 25, 1945, Folkestone, UK – 11 May 2003, Clonakilty, Ireland)

 

The Classical Jazz Quartet – Christmas (2002)

FrontCover1.jpgOkay, let´s start with another collection of Christmas albums:

As high-concept jazz groups go, few have been as fun, laid-back, and boisterous as the Classical Jazz Quartet. Taking classical compositions and transforming them into upbeat jazz anthems, the group isn’t afraid to make drastically unique changes to the music they cover. The group first came together when bassist Ron Carter contacted pianist Kenny Barron to work together. Discussing the prospect of covering Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, vibraphonist Stefon Harris and drummer Lewis Nash were soon called in and the group decided to go ahead with the project. Released in 2001, their rendition of the classic Christmas ballet was a playful reinvention that swung hard and fun. A year later, The Classical Jazz Quartet Plays Bach did the same for the 17th century baroque composer. (by Bradley Torreano)

The Classical Jazz Quartet recorded a series of sessions utilizing Bob Belden’s arrangements of classical music, though this session draws primarily from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. The cast of musicians, including pianist Kenny Barron, vibraphonist and marimba player Stefon Harris, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Lewis Nash, is never less than impressive, though the album production and, occasionally, Belden’s charts don’t always serve their considerable talent. Handel’s famous Hallelujah from The Messiah is a promising start, though it is strangely and suddenly truncated by a rapid fadeout just over the five-minute mark.

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Better is the extended workout of J.S. Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, which gives the musicians a chance to stretch out. The remainder of the album is devoted to music from The Nutcracker Suite, which duplicates the music heard on The Classical Jazz Quartet Play Tchaikovsky, meaning that those already owning that CD aren’t likely to purchase this release for just two new tracks. “The Swingin’ Nut” (Overture Miniature) is a bluesy chart that gets stuck in a boring vamp instead of developing upon its famous theme as a source for improvisation. But the remainder of Belden’s arrangements inspire top-notch performances, especially the playful “Blues à la Russe” (Russian Dance Trepack) and the delicious bossa nova treatment of “Mirlitonova” (Dance of the Reeds). Highly recommended for listening, at any time of year. (by Ken Dryden,)

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Personnel:
Kenny Barron (piano)
Ron Carter (bass)
Stefon Harris (vibraphone, marimba)
Lewis Nash (drums)

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Tracklist:

01. Hallelujah From “The Messiah” (Händel) 5.25
02 Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring (Bach) 8.40
03 Overture Miniature From “The Nutcracker” (Tchaikovsky) 6.28
04 March From “The Nutcracker” (Tchaikovsky) 4.50
05 Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy From “The Nutcracker” (Tchaikovsky) 6.54
06 Russian Dance Trepack From “The Nutcracker” (Tchaikovsky) 5.59
07 Dance Of The Reeds From “The Nutcracker” (Tchaikovsky) 6.54
08 Waltz Of The Flowers From “The Nutcracker” (Tchaikovsky) 7.24

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Van Morrison – Meet Me In… (2002)

FrontCover1.jpgVan Morrison continued to record and tour in the 2000s, often performing two or three times a week. He formed his own independent label, Exile Productions Ltd, which enables him to maintain full production control of each album he records, which he then delivers as a finished product to the recording label that he chooses, for marketing and distribution.

The album Down the Road, released in May 2002, received a good critical reception and proved to be his highest charting album in the US since 1972’s Saint Dominic’s Preview. It had a nostalgic tone, with its fifteen tracks representing the various musical genres Morrison had previously covered—including R&B, blues, country and folk; one of the tracks was written as a tribute to his late father George, who had played a pivotal role in nurturing his early musical tastes. (by wikipedia)

Van Morrison has always from time to time allowed for concert recordings and here´s a real pretty one … This show was broadcasted on August 16, 2002, by the German radio station RadioEins.

And here ist the complete version of this concert in soundboard quality !

Enjoy the one and only Van Morrison !

Recorded live at the The Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany, June 06, 2002

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Personnel:
Richard Dunn (keyboards)
Ned Edwards (guitar, background vocals)
David Hayes (bass)
Matt Holland (trumpet)
Bobby Irwin (drums)
Van Morrison (vocals, guitar, saxophone, harmonica)
Martin Winning (saxophone, clarinet)
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Candy Dulfer (saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart (Morrison) 3.27
02. Whining Boy Moan (Morrison) 5.10
03. Days Like This (Morrison) 2.59
04. Did Ye Get Healed? (Morrison) 5.47
05. Naked In The Jungle (Morrison) 6.38
06. In The Midnight (Morrison) 5.05
07. Hey Mr. DJ (I) (Morrison) 3.49
08. Meet Me In The Indian Summer (Morrison) 3.51
09. Hey Mr. DJ (II) (Morrison) 5.26
10. Sometimes We Cry (Morrison) 3.00
11. Into The Mystic (Morrison) 3.46
12. Early In The Morning (Jordan/Bartley/Hickman) 5.51
13. Real Real Gone (Morrison) 4.49
14. In The Afternoon/Raincheck (Morrison) 10.31
15. All Work No Play (Morrison) 4.49
16. Its All In The Game (Morrison) 11.43
17. Brown-Eyed Girl (Morrison) 4.18
18. Gloria (Morrison) 4.39

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Chuck Loeb – All There Is (2002)

FrontCover1.jpgCharles Samuel “Chuck” Loeb (December 7, 1955 – July 31, 2017) was an American jazz guitarist and a member of the groups Steps Ahead and Fourplay.

Loeb was born in Nyack, New York, near New York City. At a young age, he listened to Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Cream, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan. According to a 2005 JazzTimes article, the first song he learned on guitar was Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”, which he would later play at a guest appearance with Dylan.[1] He discovered jazz when he was sixteen through the music of guitarists Wes Montgomery, George Benson, John McLaughlin, and Pat Martino. At that point, Loeb chose to become a musician and “never thought of doing anything else”.

He studied with local music teachers, then traveled to Philadelphia and became a student of jazz guitarist Dennis Sandole. In New York City, he learned from Jim Hall.[4] For two years he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, then left in 1976 to seek professional work in New York City.

In New York, Loeb played with Chico Hamilton, Ray Barreto, and Hubert Laws. Starting in 1979, he was a member of Stan Getz’s group. Getz later became the best man at his wedding to singer Carmen Cuesta. Loeb and Mitchel Forman, who was also in Getz’s group, formed the jazz fusion band Metro (1994). In the 1980s, he was a member of the group Steps Ahead, which included Michael Brecker, someone Loeb credits as an influence. He replaced Larry Carlton as guitarist in Fourplay (2010).

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Loeb and his wife have recorded together, with Cuesta providing vocals on his albums and Loeb playing on Cuesta’s albums, and their daughters Lizzy and Christina contributing vocals.

Loeb began a solo career in 1988 with his debut album My Shining Hour on the Japanese record label Pony Canyon. He released subsequent albums on DMP Digital Music Products among which “Life Colors” (1990) until receiving commercial success with Shanachie Records on The Music Inside (1996). The title song from the album held the number one position on the jazz charts for six weeks. Later, he produced Moon, the Stars, & the Setting Sun (1998), Listen(1999) In a Heartbeat (2001), and All There Is (2002).

Loeb’s music has appeared on TV shows, commercials, and movie soundtracks, including The Untouchables, You’ve Got Mail, and Hitch.

Loeb died of cancer on July 31, 2017, at the age of 61 (by wikipedia)

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Chuck Loeb’s All There Is is proof that one can be a tasteful guitarist working in the often-derided smooth jazz style and still be capable of making albums that are more than just easy listening sludge. Recorded in a simple small-group setting with no extraneous “special guests” around to muddy up the sound, Loeb unspools ten originals and tasteful covers (none of the tacky ’70s AM pop crossover attempts that marred 2001’s In a Heartbeat) in a relaxed style that never quite gets mellow in the pejorative sense. Clearly inspired by Wes Montgomery and George Benson’s work with Creed Taylor, Loeb steers clear of the pitfalls endemic to that style, maintaining melodic interest while never merely playing prettily. Even the Brazilian-influenced “Sarao,” which flirts with Chuck Mangione-style disco-pop thanks to the utterly retro ARP synth line and cooing female vocals, maintains its integrity thanks to some trickily precise soloing by Loeb and a rhythm section that actually has a bit of funk to it. All There Is is not for those raised on a diet of Ornette Coleman and ESP, but there’s a place for mood music, and this does it better than most. (by Stewart Mason)

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Personnel:
David Charles (percussion)
Carmen Cuesta (vocals)
Barry Danielian (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Brian Dunne (drums)
Ron Jenkins (bass)
Jeff Kashiwa (saxophone)
Will Lee (bass)
Chuck Loeb (guitar, keyboards, drum programming)
David Mann (keyboards, saxophone, flut, drum programming)
Mike Pope (bass)
Mike Ricchiuti (keyboards)
Andy Snitzer (saxophone)
Kirk Whalum (saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. As Is (Loeb) 5.17
02. Sierra Nevada (Loeb/Mann) 4.22
03. True Or False (Dunne/Loeb/Ricchiuti/Jenkins) 5.23
04. Golden Heart (Loeb) 5.10
05. Sarao (Cuesta/Loeb) 5.32
06. Fundamentally Sound (Cuesta/Loeb) 4.49
07. In The Hands (Loeb/Lee) 5.09
08. Tenerife Blue (Loeb) 5.20
09. Bread & Butter (Loeb) 5.28
10. Love Is All There Is (Cuesta) 2.57

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Ambache Chamber Ensemble ‎– Chamber Music (Louise Farrenc) (2002)

FrontCover1.jpgLouise Farrenc (31 May 1804 – 15 September 1875) was a French composer, virtuoso pianist and teacher. Born Jeanne-Louise Dumont in Paris, she was the daughter of Jacques-Edme Dumont, a successful sculptor, and sister to Auguste Dumont.

Louise Farrenc enjoyed a considerable reputation during her own lifetime, as a composer, a performer and a teacher. She began piano studies at an early age with Cecile Soria,[1] a former student of Muzio Clementi. When it became clear she had the ability to become a professional pianist she was given lessons by such masters as Ignaz Moscheles and Johann Nepomuk Hummel, and, given the talent she showed as a composer, her parents decided to let her, in 1819 at the age of fifteen, study composition with Anton Reicha, the composition teacher at the Conservatoire, although it is unclear if the young Louise Dumont followed his classes there, since at that time the composition class was open only to men. In 1821 she married Aristide Farrenc, a flute student ten years her senior, who performed at some of the concerts regularly given at the artists’ colony of the Sorbonne, where Louise’s family lived. Following her marriage, she interrupted her studies to give concerts throughout France with her husband. He, however, soon grew tired of the concert life and, with her help, opened a publishing house in Paris, which, as Éditions Farrenc, became one of France’s leading music publishers for nearly 40 years.

In Paris, Farrenc returned to her studies with Reicha, after which she reembarked on a concert career, briefly interrupted in 1826 when she gave birth to a daughter, Victorine, who also became a concert pianist but who died in 1859 aged thirty-three. In the 1830s Louise Farrenc2.jpgFarrenc gained considerable fame as a performer and her reputation was such that in 1842 she was appointed to the permanent position of Professor of Piano at the Paris Conservatory, a position she held for thirty years and one which was among the most prestigious in Europe. Accounts of the time record that she was an excellent instructor with many of her students graduating with Premier Prix and becoming professional musicians.[2] Despite this, Farrenc was paid less than her male counterparts for nearly a decade. Only after the triumphant premiere of her nonet, at which the famous violinist Joseph Joachim took part, did she demand and receive equal pay. Beside her teaching and performing career, she also produced and edited an influential book, Le Trésor des Pianistes, about early music performance style, and was twice awarded the Prix Chartier of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, in 1861 and 1869.

Farrenc died in Paris. For several decades after her death, her reputation as a performer survived and her name continued to appear in such books as Antoine François Marmontel’s Pianistes célèbres. Her nonet had achieved around 1850 some popularity, as did her two piano quintets and her trios. But, despite some new editions of her chamber music after her death, her works were largely forgotten until, in the late 20th century, an interest in women composers led to the rediscovery – and thence to the performance and recording – of many her works. In December 2013, Farrenc was the subject of the long-running BBC Radio Three programme Composer of the Week.

At first, during the 1820s and 1830s, she composed exclusively for the piano. Several of these pieces drew high praise from critics, including Schumann. In the 1830s, she tried her hand at larger compositions for both chamber ensemble and orchestra. It was during the 1840s that much of her chamber music was written. While the great bulk of Farrenc’s compositions were for the piano alone, her chamber music is generally regarded as her best work. The claim can be made that Farrenc’s chamber music works are on a par with most of her well-known male contemporaries.

Louise Farrenc1Throughout her life, chamber music remained of great interest. She wrote works for various combinations of winds and or strings and piano. These include two piano quintets Opp.30 & 31, a sextet for piano and winds Op. 40, which later appeared in an arrangement for piano quintet, two piano trios Opp.33 & 34, the nonet for winds and strings Op. 38, a trio for clarinet (or violin), cello and piano Op. 44, a trio for flute (or violin), cello and piano Op. 45, and several instrumental sonatas (a string quartet sometimes attributed to her is regarded by specialists as the work of another composer, not yet identified).

In addition to chamber music and works for solo piano, she wrote two overtures and three symphonies. She heard her third symphony Op. 36 performed at the Société des concerts du Conservatoire in 1849. The one area which is conspicuously missing from her output is opera, an important lacuna as opera was at the time the central musical form in France. Several sources, however, indicate that she was also ambitious in that field, but did not succeed in being given a libretto to set to music by the Théâtre de l’Opéra or the Théâtre de l’Opéra-Comique, for reasons still to be discovered.

François-Joseph Fétis, perhaps France’s greatest 19th century music biographer and critic, wrote in his new edition of the Biographie universelle des musiciens of Louise Farrenc, only three years after her death, as follows: “Unfortunately, the genre of large Diana Ambache1scale instrumental music to which Madame Farrenc, by nature and formation, felt herself called involves performance resources which a composer can acquire for herself or himself only with enormous effort. Another factor here is the public, as a rule not a very knowledgeable one, whose only standard for measuring the quality of a work is the name of its author. If the composer is unknown, the audience remains unreceptive, and the publishers, especially in France, close their ears anyway when someone offers them a halfway decent work…Such were the obstacles that Madame Farrenc met along the way and which caused her to despair. This is the reason why her work has fallen into oblivion today, when at any other epoch her works would have brought her great esteem.”

Her works were recognized by the savants and connoisseurs of the time as first rate, but this was not enough to gain her any lasting fame as a composer. (by wikipedia)

Long before the age of feminism and political correctness, Berlioz wrote that Farrenc’s music displayed ‘a talent rare among women’, and it’s good to find some of it explored on disc, especially in performances as lively and alluring as these. Farrenc’s C minor Sextet is a bold, purposeful work, with an almost Beethovenian rigour and urgency. The Nonet, which was first performed in 1850 by an ensemble led by Joachim, has instant melodic appeal, and a style akin to that of Spohr’s Nonet (1813). These works are played with panache and insight by the Ambache Chamber Ensemble, as is the lyrical Flute Trio which completes this disc. Recorded sound is detailed, but occasionally too clinical for my ears; a welcome find, nonetheless. (Michael Jameson)

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Personnel:
Diana Ambache (piano)
Naomi Butterworth (cello on 08. – 11)
Susan Dorey (cello on 04 – 07.)
Lynda Houghton (bass)
Helen Keen (flute)
Sophie Langdon (violin)
Joan Enric Lluna (clarinet)
Martin Outram (viola)
Mark Paine (horn)
Jeremy Polmear (oboe)
Brian Sewell (bassoon)

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Tracklist:

Sextet For Piano And Wind In C Minor, Op 40:
01. Allegro 9.38
02. Andante Sostemuto 6.15
03. Allegro Vivace 7.00

Nonet For Strings And Wind In E Flat, Op 38: 
04. Adagio – Allegro 9.24
05. Andante Con Moto 7.48
06. Scherzo Vivace 4.42
07. Adagio – Allegro 5.30

Trio For Flute, Cello And Piano In E Minor, Op 45: 
08. Allegro Deciso 7.36
09. Andante 5.12
10. Scherzo: Vivace 5.05
11. Finale: Presto 5.09

Nonet and Sextet recorded at the Warehouse, London SE1, 14-17 December 1995
Trio recorded at St Michael’s Church, Highgate, London N6, on 18 March 1996

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Nils Landgren – Sentimental Journey (2002)

FrontCover1.jpgA lot of heart went into the making of “Sentimental Journey”; it is a project that is worked down to the smallest detail.

What is more boring than a record on which every piece sounds pretty much the same? That’s not the case here. Every song has its own individual arrangement and stands alone in its beauty.
Landgren is no friend of simple solutions – he’s not content with getting his ideas ready-made.

Instead of using the usual string ensemble for an adequate background, he opted for the original FleshQuartet out of his Swedish homeland.

Landgren intoned, “It’s damned hard to translate the ideas you have perpetually running around in your head into sounds, but I never thought it was possible that they could sound better in reality than the way I had painted them in my fantasy. I’ll always be indebted to the Fleshquartet for their contribution to this recording.”

One of the miracles of jazz is the ability of jazz musicians to accomplish the incredible without any previous personal contact. So said, witness and wonder at the results on “Sentimental Journey”: “I don’t know why, but something inside me said that I absolutely should bring Anders Widmark, Lars Danielsson, and Wolfgang Haffner together,” declared Nils.

Booklet2Certainly not a bad choice. The Swedish pianist Anders Widmark is one of the most versatile of his profession. A while ago he made a recording of “Carmen” which caused quite a stir. Bassist Lars Danielsson is one of the most sought-after players on the European jazz scene, as is indicated by the many albums he has recorded, both as bandleader and accomplished accompanist. And drummer Wolfgang Haffner’s biography could hardly be more colourful: alongside his work with his own formations, he is one of the most sought-after session drummers on the international scene. Besides this, the “special guests” include singers Rigmor Gustafsson and Viktoria Tolstoy, along with Nils’ labelmate and friend, pianist Esbjörn Svensson. On the title song “Sentimental Journey” we also hear Nils Landgren with two of his students, trombonists Karin and Mimmi Hammar. (Giuseppe)

Nils Landgren in his own words:
One day quite some time ago, when taking a stroll along the sea where we live, I mentioned to my wife Beatrice that I was dreaming of making a new album with beautiful melodies and good lyrics with a meaning, at least to me. And, I wanted strings on it. I had got the idea of recording with strings after being given the chance to perform with the wonderful G-strings from Hamburg, but I was looking for something a bit different this time. “Why don´t you call the FleshQuartet up?”, she asked . So I did.
They said “Yes” and on New Year’s Day 2002 I teamed up with my ACT Man Siggi Loch to discuss the project. He liked the idea and the result is a fantastic new world of sounds to me. I am forever grateful to the guys for writing and performing arrangements of such beauty and grace, totally understanding the idea that I had in my head from the start and even making it sound better than in my fantasy world!

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I also wanted piano, bass and drums to be there for me. So I called Anders Widmark, Lars Danielsson and Wolfgang Haffner up because I simply could hear the way it would sound, even though they´ve never played together before. Together with all these fine musicians I really feel that I have found what I was looking for and the material I have chosen for this album is songs that I love with all my heart. With that, when paired with a great piano trio, nice singers and tromboneplayers and some fleshstrings, what more could I ask for in life? Thank you all for making me a very happy man!
This album is dedicated to Bea and to all you people out there supporting the music that I love to play.

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Personnel:
Lars Danielsson (bass)
Wolfgang Haffner (drums)
Nils Landgren( vocals, trombone)
Anders Widmark (piano)
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Rigmor Gustafsson (vocals on 05.)
Karin Hammar (trombone on 11.)
Mimmi Hammar (trombone on 11.)
Esbjörn Svensson (piano)
Viktoria Tolstoy (vocals on 10.)
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Flesh Quartet:
Mattias Hellden (cello)
Örjan Högberg (viola)
Jonas Lindgren (violin)
Sebastian Öberg (cello)
Chrille Olsson (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Speak Low (Nash/Weil) 2.59
02. Ghost In This House (Prestwood) 4.49
03. This Masquerade (Russel) 4.08
04. Nature Boy (Ahbez) 4.48
05. Fragile (Sumner) 3.15
06. In A Sentimental Mood (Ellington) 3.21
07. The Ballad Of The Sad Young Man (Wolf/Landesmann) 5.25
08. My Foolish Heart (Washington/Young) 4.44
09. Should I Care (Eastwood/Bayer Sager/Thompson) 4.13
10. Be There For You (Serletic/Kadish) 4.04
11. Sentimental Journey (Green/Brown/Homer) 3.28
12. Everything Must Change (Ighner) 4.46
13. I Will Survive (Fekaris/Perren) 4.32

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Greygoose gave me the inspiration for this album: thank you very much !

Avril Lavigne – Let Go (2002)

FrontCover1.jpgLet Go is the debut studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne. It was released on June 4, 2002, by Arista Records. For a year after signing a record deal with Arista, Lavigne struggled due to conflicts in musical direction. She relocated to Los Angeles, where she recorded her earlier materials for the album; the kind of sound to which the label was not amenable. She was paired to the production team The Matrix, who understood her vision for the album.

The album was credited as the biggest pop debut of 2002, and was certified six-times Platinum in the United States. It was released to generally positive reviews, although Lavigne’s songwriting received some criticism. It also did extremely well in Canada, receiving a diamond certification from the Canadian Recording Industry Association, as well as reaching multi-platinum in many countries around the world, including the UK in which she became the youngest female solo artist to have a number-one album in the region.

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As of 2011, Let Go had sold over 20 million copies worldwide becoming Lavigne’s highest-selling album to date. According to Billboard, the album was the 21st best-selling album of the decade. A Rolling Stone readers poll named Let Go the fourth best album of the 2000s. The album is considered as one of the albums that changed the pop punk music scene, because it helped to bring pop punk music into the mainstream, contributing to the rise of female fronted pop punk bands and female-driven punk-influenced pop music. On 18 March 2013, Let Go was re-released as a double disc-set paired with her second studio album, Under My Skin, which is released under RCA Records. The album was further promoted by the Try To Shut Me Up Tour between December 2002 and June 2003.

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Lavigne relocated to Los Angeles, where she collaborated with songwriter and producer Clif Magness, who gave her ample creative control in the writing process. Lavigne and Magness wrote “Losing Grip” and “Unwanted”, songs that she deemed reflective of her vision for the entire album. However, Arista was not thrilled with the heavy-guitar laden songs that Lavigne was writing, prompting the label to look for other producers to match their demands.

Now two years since she signed the deal, Lavigne, who was then unknown, came to the attention of the three-piece production team The Matrix. Arista could not find the right direction for Lavigne, so the team’s manager, Sandy Roberton, suggested that they work together: “Why don’t you put her together with The Matrix for a couple of days?” According to member Lauren Christy, they had been listening to Lavigne’s early songs and felt they contained “a Faith Hill kind of vibe”. As soon as they saw Lavigne coming into their studio, The Matrix felt that her musical direction was incongruous to her image and attitude. After talking to Lavigne for an hour, “we cottoned on that she wasn’t happy but couldn’t quite figure out where to go”.

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The Matrix played her songs with Faith Hill influences, because it was those kind of songs the label wanted Lavigne to sing. But Lavigne dismissed it, saying she wanted songs with punk rock inclinations. Lavigne played The Matrix a song that she had recorded and really loved, a track with sounds in the likes of the rock band System of a Down. Fortunately, prior to forming The Matrix, its members’ early projects were in the pop-rock type, so they readily figured out what Lavigne wanted to record and knew exactly what to do with her. They told her to come back the following day, and in the afternoon during that day, they wrote a song that evolved into “Complicated” and another song called “Falling Down” (Falling Down appears on the Sweet Home Alabama Soundtrack). They played it to Lavigne when she came back the following day, inspiring her what path she should take.

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When Josh Sarubin, the A&R executive who signed Lavigne to the imprint, heard the song, he knew it was right for her. Lavigne presented the song to Reid, who agreed the musical direction Lavigne and The Matrix were taking, and set “Complicated” as the album’s lead single. Reid sent Lavigne back to The Matrix to work with them, initially for a month. Arista gave the team carte blanche to write and produce 10 songs, which took them two months. The album was originally entitled Anything But Ordinary, after the track of the same name that The Matrix produced, but Lavigne asked Reid for the album to be called Let Go instead, which is the title of an unreleased demo featured on Lavigne’s 2001 B-Sides.

Critics described Let Go as an alternative rock album with post-grunge-oriented sound. (by wikipedia)

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Talk about pressure — being under 21 and having a record deal no longer qualifies as extraordinary. And as mass-produced teen pop makes its exit and a glut of young singer/songwriters enter, child prodigies no longer have built-in marketing appeal. So if newcomer, 17-year-old Avril Lavigne truly wants to be “Anything But Ordinary,” as she sings on her debut album, Let Go, she’ll have to dig deeper. Luckily for Lavigne, aside from youth, she does have talent. Her debut runs the gamut from driving rock numbers like “Losing Grip” — where Lavigne shows off her vocal range, powering into the anger-fueled, explosive rock chorus — to singer/songwriter pop tunes like “My World,” where Lavigne fills listeners in on the past 17 years of her life. Lavigne handles a variety of styles deftly, but she still has some growing up to do lyrically. “Sk8er Boi” has a terrific power pop bounce, but shows her lyrical shortcomings: “He was a punk/She did ballet/What more can I say” — a lot. The phrasing is awkward and sometimes silly: “It’s funny when you think it’s gonna work out/Till you chose weed over me you’re so lame,” she sings on “Too Much to Ask.”

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Not surprisingly, the standout track is the first single, “Complicated,” a gem of a pop/rock tune with a killer chorus. But listen carefully and you’ll realize that “Complicated”‘s sing-song melody borrows just enough from Pink’s “Don’t Let Me Get Me” to make it familiar and likeable. Nonetheless, the song is a knockout radio hit. Lavigne, a self-professed skater punk and labelmate of Pink, shares her “Take Me As I Am” credo as well. And that said, it’s hard not to look at this record, executive produced by Arista label head Antonio “L.A.” Reid, who is thanked by Lavigne for allowing “me to be myself,” and feel cynical about the music industry’s willingness to reproduce a hit over and over. Lavigne, however, is a capable songwriter with vocal chops, and at her age, one imagines, she is still finding her feet, borrowing from the music she’s grown up listening to. The problem is Lavigne is still so young she’s listening to the radio hits of the ’90s and early 2000s: she’s Pink when she’s bucking authority, Alanis Morissette when she’s angry, and Jewel when she’s sensitive. Let Go shows promise, but the question is whether Lavigne and only Lavigne will shine through on her next effort. (by by Christina Saraceno)

In other words: A perfect Power Rock album !

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Personnel:
Jeff Allen (bass)
Joe Bonadio (drums)
Alex Elena (drums)
Curt Frasca (guitar)
Josh Freese (drums)
Corky James (guitar)
Avril Lavigne (vocals, guitar)
Gerry Leonard (guitar)
Clif Magness (bass, guitar, keyboards, drum loop)
Dennis Johnson (beats and scratching)
Suzie Katayama (cello)
Peter Zizzo (guitar)
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background vocals:
The Matrix – Sabelle Breer

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Tracklist:
01. Losing Grip (Lavigne/Magness) 3.54
02. Complicated (Lavigne/Christy/Edwards/Spock) 4.04
03. Sk8er Boi (Lavigne/Christy/Edwards/Spock) 3.24
04. I’m with Yu (Lavigne/Christy/Edwards/Spock) 3.44
05. Mobile (Lavigne/Magness) 3.31
06. Unwanted (Lavigne/Magness) 3.41
07. Tomorrow (Lavigne/Frasca/Breer) 3.49
08. Anything But Ordinary (Lavigne/Christy/Edwards/Spock) 4.12
09. Things I’ll Never Say (Lavigne/Christy/Edwards/Spock) 3.44
10. My World (Lavigne/Magness) 3.27
11. Nobody’s Fool (Lavigne/Zizzo) 3.57
12. Too Much To Ask (Lavigne/Magness) 3.46
13. Naked (Lavigne/Frasca/Breer) 3.26

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Vanessa Carlton – Be Not Nobody (2002)

FrontCover1.jpgVanessa Lee Carlton (born August 16, 1980) is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. Upon completion of her education at the School of American Ballet, Carlton chose to pursue singing instead, performing in New York City bars and clubs while attending college. Three months after recording a demo with producer Peter Zizzo, she signed with A&M Records. She began recording her album, which was initially unsuccessful until Ron Fair took over.

Her debut single, “A Thousand Miles”, reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2002. Her debut album, Be Not Nobody, followed and received a platinum certification in the United States. Her subsequent albums, Harmonium (2004) and Heroes & Thieves (2007), failed to match the commercial success of the first. She produced a fourth album, Rabbits on the Run (2011), independently before seeking a record label to release it. Carlton released a holiday EP titled Hear the Bells in November 2012, and released her fifth studio album, Liberman, on October 23, 2015.

Be Not Nobody is the debut album by American singer-songwriter Vanessa Carlton, released on April 30, 2002, through A&M Records.

“A Thousand Miles” was released as the lead single from the album and reached the top five on the US Billboard Hot 100, number one in Australia and the top ten in the United Kingdom. Be Not Nobody was certified gold by the RIAA in June 2002, and platinum in October 2002.

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“Ordinary Day” charted inside the top forty on the US Hot 100. “Pretty Baby”, which was nominated for a 2003 Teen Choice Award for “Choice Love Song”,[6] did not appear on the Hot 100 or the UK top seventy-five. As of late 2004 the album had sold 1.38 million copies in the US according to Nielsen SoundScan, and Variety magazine reported in July 2003 that it had sold 2.3 million worldwide.[8] Billboard magazine placed Carlton at number twenty-one on its year-end “Top Pop Artists” list for 2002.

“Pretty Baby” was remixed and released as the album’s third and final single in early 2003. After the single’s release, subsequent pressings of the album contained the remixed single version of the song in place of its original album version. (by wikipedia)

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Vanessa Carlton probably couldn’t have happened without Alicia Keys, but that doesn’t mean they sound the same. Both artists are preternaturally talented and write on keyboards, sounding much older than their years. The difference is, Carlton pretty much revels in her advanced years, creating a record that recalls the lush ambition of Keys, but also the soul-searching of Fiona Apple and the precise intricacies of Rick Wakeman. Certainly, this wasn’t something she planned to evoke, but the end result is pretty impressive all the same, because it’s so well crafted, from both Carlton and her producer, Ron Fair, who doesn’t stop her from taking leaps that could potentially prove embarrassing.

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And there are embarrassing moments on her debut, Be Not Nobody, the most notable of those is a ham-fisted, melodramatic cover of the Stones’ “Paint It, Black,” which for all the world feels like a single dictated by the studio. That’s the nadir of the album, but the rest is charmingly ambitious and often quite accomplished. Take the lead single, “A Thousand Miles” — as it moves from its solo piano opening to bombastic orchestral-backed choruses, the result isn’t overwhelming, it’s sweet, multi-layered, and appealing. And most of her debut album follows that lead, often overflowing with soaring strings, intimate pianos, crooned vocals, and pretty melodies, yet it all gels because Carlton shows the potential of a songwriter who can convey her emotions through her songcraft. Sure, some of Be Not Nobody is naïve, but much of it’s well crafted and nearly all of it is endearing; it’s a rare debut that is quite enjoyable in its own right yet is almost more enticing because of what it suggests that she could do next. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Vanessa Carlton (piano, vocals)
Luis Conte (percussion)
Ron Fair (harmonica, organ, vibraphone)
John Goux (dulcimer, guitar, sitar)
Dan Higgins (recorder, woodwind)
Abe Laboriel Jr. (drums)
Gayle Levant (harp)
Tommy Morgan (harmonica)
Emil Richards (vibraphone)
Leland Sklar (bass)
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violin:
Eun Mee Ahn – Charlie Bisharat – Jacqueline Brand – Becky Bunnell – Franklyn D’Antonio – Joel Derouin – Bruce Dukov – Kirstin Fife – Armen Garabedian – Berj Garabedian – Alan Grunfeld – Clayton Haslop – Tamara Hatwan – Al Hershberger – Tiffany Yi Hu – Natalie Leggett – Mario de León – Phillip Levy – Rene Mandel – Robin Olson – Sid Page – Sara Parkins – Katia Popov – Barbara Porter – Mark Robertson – Anatoly Rosinsky – John Wittenberg – Margaret Wooten – Ken Yerke
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viola:
Karen Elaine Bakunin – Dmitri Boviard – Paul Cohen – Mathew Cooker – Brian Dembow  – Marlow Fisher – Keith Grezen – Simon Oswell – Karen Van Sant
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cello:
Bob Adcock – Larry Corbett – Stephen Erdody – Suzie Katayama – Armen Ksadjikian – Timothy Landauer – David Low – Cecilia Tsan
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woodwind:
Rose Corrigan – Cindy Ellis – Susan Greenberg – David Shostac – Sheridon Stokes
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double bass:
Trey Henry – Nico Abandolo – Alex Al – Chuck Berghofer – Michael Valerio

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Tracklist:
01. Ordinary Day (Carlton) – 3:58
02. Unsung (Carlton) 4.21
03. A Thousand Miles (Carlton) 3.57
04. Pretty Baby (Carlton) 3.55
05. Rinse (Carlton) 4.32
06. Sway (Carlton) 3.58
07. Paradise (Carlton) 4.50
08. Prince (Carlton) 4.09
09. Paint It Black (Jagger/Richards) 3.31
10. Wanted (Carlton) 3.56
11. Twilight (Carlton) 4.49

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Richard Ashcroft – Human Conditions (2002)

FrontCover1Human Conditions is the second album by English singer-songwriter, Richard Ashcroft. It was released on Hut Records in 2002.

Human Conditions received mixed reviews. Review aggregating website Metacritic reports a normalised score of 61% based on 15 reviews. Entertainment Weekly awarded the album an “A”. Some of the negative reviews, included Nick Southall of Stylus, who remarked that “Ashcroft obviously sees himself as some kind of incisive commentator with a greater depth of understanding of the human condition than those around him. This record reveals with alarming clarity that he is actually a poor songwriter, dire lyricist, and arrogant buffoon all at the same time.” Andrew Lynch of entertainment.ie gave the album two stars out of five, calling it “in the final analysis, quite unbelievably boring.” Rowan Shaeffer of Counterculture gave it three stars out of five and praised aspects of the album, though still feeling that “for the most part Richard Ashcroft seems be going through the motions; and while he’s produced a good album, it’s an ultimately unfulfilling listen.”

In 2003, when asked about the naysayers to the album, Ashcroft responded: “If I had put on fifteen stone and Kate had left me and I’d almost [overdosed] on smack, then this record would have been received very well”. In a 2006 interview with The Sun, Ashcroft said of the criticism: “I wouldn’t say I was massively affected. I didn’t feel the paranoia I felt when The Verve broke up.” (by wikipedia)

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Richard Ashcroft is a deeply inquisitive man, probably too much for his own good. His regimen of frequently questioning God and overanalyzing the theories of love naturally work for him, so the design of Human Conditions isn’t any different from what he’s done before. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, either. Human Conditions is, in a literal sense, Ashcroft’s sonic bible of beautifully crafted melodies and lyrical mysticism. The warm, honeyed tones of a hushing brass section and string arrangements set the mood on album-opener “Check the Meaning.” A battle of search and fight is realized almost immediately. God is female and Ashcroft’s lyrical character struggles with trust. Sweeping acoustic guitars drive the lilting paranoia of “Buy It in Bottles” and “God in the Numbers,” but the bluesy feel of “Bright Lights” is much more gritty. Ashcroft might be a bit preoccupied with finding a good life, but who isn’t? He’s playful in presentation and actually pretty sweet when it comes to delivering a pop hook. “Nature Is the Law,” which features harmonies from Beach Boy Brian Wilson, is a testament of that. Whereas Alone With Everybody was lush in emotion but musically over-produced, Human Conditions stays within the boundaries. It’s a decent second album and longtime Verve enthusiasts should leave it at that. (by MacKenzie Wilson)

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Personnel:
Richard Ashcroft (vocals, guitar, percussion, bass, Piano, keyboards)
Martyn Campbell (bass)
Matt Clifford (wurlitzer)
Jim Hunt (flute, saxophone)
Chuck Leavell (keyboards)
Kate Radley (keyboards)
Richard Robson (programming)
Peter Salisbury (drums)
Steve Sidelnyk (drum programming)
Talvin Singh (percussion)
Craig Wagstaff (percussion)
Brian Wilson (background vocals)
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The London Session Orchestra conducted by Will Malone
London Community Gospel Choir conducted by Brian Wilson

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Tracklist:
01. Check The Meaning 8.04
02. Buy It In Bottles 4.39
03. Bright Lights 5.15
04. Paradise 5.37
05. God In The Numbers 6.58
06. Science Of Silence 4.15
07. Man On A Mission 5.29
08. Running Away 4.16
09. Lord I’ve Been Trying 5.23
10. Nature Is The Law 4.55

All songs written by Richard Ashcroft

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