Elodie Lauten ‎– Waking In New York – Portrait Of Allen Ginsberg (2003)

FrontCover1.jpgElodie Lauten was born in Paris in 1950, the daughter of jazz musician Errol Parker, and came to New York 1973 when she was ‘discovered’ by poet Allen Ginsberg and encouraged in her already precocious excitement for sonic invention. She went to New York University, learnt a lot from LaMonte Young and others, married, became a Buddhist, and is the inspiration for dance and concert events, sound installations and the staging of operatic presentations, workshops and collaborations with instrumentalists and librettists. She has a formidable list of work which includes some curiously esoteric articles.

WAKING IN NEW YORK is about experiencing daily life in New York through the eyes of Ginsberg, pictured in the later part of his life. From his apartment in the East Village, he tells everything about his state of mind, his body, his food, his work, his political causes – the Middle East, the death penalty, peace – all in the same breath. He is in a constant dialogue with his muses, Freedom and Compassion. He tells stories about the real people in his neighborhood, from the junkies and the homeless to the yuppies. Ginsberg expresses his love of life in a down-to-earth, occasionally satirical vision of the world, alternating with moments of deep emotion and classic lyricism. There is an uplifting ElodieLauten02.jpgelement in Ginsberg’s tolerant and all-inclusive vision of the city with its exciting jaggedness, its energy. Elodie Lauten met Ginsberg in 1973 when at 22, she first came to New York. She stayed at his East Village apartment, and occasionally accompanied him in his public readings. He introduced her to Buddhism with the chanting of mantras and meditation and became somewhat of a mentor. In her setting, she closely followed Allen’s train of thought, alternatively introspective and expansive, edgy, playful or lyrical, sometimes triggering hints of different musical styles and unexpected chord changes. Because of her deep understanding of Ginsberg’s personality and philosophy, she felt strongly about a melodic setting as opposed to narrative over music, as others had done before: in Waking in New York, every word is sung, even the most unlikely. (by elodielauten.net)

Her most recent piece was the première at the Willow Place Auditorium, Brooklyn of Symphony 2001 in its revised and unabridged version. This is a joyful nineteen-minute orchestral celebration of the Millennium in Sioux songs, mystery, magic, Buddha, making light of the dark predictions of Nostradamus, and building seven very brief movements from correspondences between colours and their sound frequencies.

ElodieLauten03.jpgClose on its heels follows the subject of this CD review, Waking in New York, a flow of Allen Ginsberg’s introverted thoughts and impressions compiled only six months before his death, and made into a kind of Two Act musical by Elodie Lauten, with singers Mark Duer as Ginsberg, Meredith Borden as Compassion, with Tyler Azelton and Sherrita Duran as the two faces of Freedom. Lauten is described as a leading light of postminimalism, and this piece seems to be doing something like that, a minimal approach to word setting, harmonic structuring, instrumental colour and even the text itself.

For a short time its fascination is mesmerising, but neither music nor text are quite Sondheim, and only a strong personal enthusiasm or connexion would stimulate concentration for over an hour on this recording. It could be better live, and it does make one curious about other works (like that Symphony 2001), but on CD its mechanical syllabic setting, show-style vocals and instrumental constraint creates a longing for greater subtle invention [listen — track 3, 0:00-1:00]. The Lauten website is, however, quite a revelation. ( by Patric Standford)

Ginsberg.jpg

Personnel:
Rafael Agudelo (bass)
Mustafa Ahmed (percussion)
Tania Askins (viola)
Tyler Azelton (Soprano vocals)
Meredith Borden (Soprano vocals)
Mark Duer (Baritone vocals)
Sherrita Duran (Soprano vocals)
Grigory Kalinovsky (violin)
Jaram Kim (violin)
Elodie Lauten (synthesizer)
Bill Ruyle (drums)
Ulla Suokko (flute)
Andrei Tchekmazov (cello)

BackCover1.jpg
Tracklist:

Act I:
1 May Days 1988/Part I: Day After Day 6:04
2 May Days 1988/Part II: How Many More Years 7:06
3 Lunchtime (Meredith Borden) 3:10
4 The Charnel Ground/Part I: See The Supervisor 6:46
5 The Charnel Ground/Part II: Giving Away The Giver 5:28

Act II
6 Personal Ads 3:39
7 Jumping The Gun On The Sun 3:40
8 Manhattan Thirties Flash 3:21
9 Song: The Weight Of The World Is Love (Sherrita Duran) 6:37
10 Waking New York/Part I: O New York 6:35
11 Waking In New York/Part II: Out Of The Womb 9:53
12 Waking In New York/Part III: Well Come & Be Balm 3:48

Music: Elodie Lauten
Lyrics: Allen Ginsberg

ElodieLauten01.jpg

*
**

Elodie Lauten, an American composer known for her operatic setting of the work of Allen Ginsberg, died on June 3 in Manhattan. She was 63.

The cause was cancer, her publicist, Jeffrey James, said.

Ms. Lauten’s style, which incorporated elements of minimalism, pop, jazz, blues, classical composition, electronic music and improvisation — and often combined traditional orchestral instruments with ambient sounds like bird song, sirens and amplified heartbeats — defied handy categorization. While not every critic warmed to that style, many praised her as a skilled melodist who could write music of surprising, satisfying consonance in a dissonant age.

Widely recorded, her work was performed at the Lincoln Center Festival, the New York City Opera, the Whitney Museum, La MaMa, the Kitchen and Theater for the New City, all in Manhattan, and at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, among other places.

Ms. Lauten’s best-known composition, “Waking in New York,” is a chamber-opera setting of a cycle of poems by Ginsberg about the life of the city and its people. Scored for voices, strings, flute, percussion and synthesizer, it received its premiere in 1999. (Ginsberg, a friend and mentor, supplied her with the libretto in 1996 but did not live to see the opera performed: He died the next year.) (New York Times, by Margalit Fox, June 10, 2014)

Little Feat – Highwire Act – Live In St. Louis 2003 (2003)

FrontCover1.jpgHighwire Act: Live in St. Louis 2003 is the fifth live album by the American rock band Little Feat, released in 2004. (see 2004 in music). There was also a video of the same performance released on DVD.

Essentially, this double-disc set is the soundtrack to the DVD of the same name. Sonically, it is sublime; the subtleties of a live performance are all left in. The interplay between guitarists Fred Tackett and Paul Barrére is exceptional, as are the drop-dead-on-a-dime fills of keyboardist Bill Payne. The track selection leans a little more to the classic side of Little Feat’s vast catalog, with many tracks from the 1970s in the set, including “Time Loves a Hero,” “Skin It Back,” “Old Folks Boogie,” “Oh Atlanta,” “Spanish Moon,” “Dixie Chicken,” “Tripe Face Boogie,” “Fat Man in the Bathtub,” “Willin’,” and “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now.” The latter material is served well, too, particularly “I’d Be Lyin’,” by new lead vocalist (though she has been with the band for a decade) Shaun Murphy, and Bill Payne’s “Cadillac Hotel.” And while it’s fair to say that this is the band’s best live outing since Waiting for Columbus, it in no way gets to the emotional and performance heights that classic slab did, even if the band does play “better” now. This set will not likely win the band any new fans, but if you’re one of those who stuck it out after the passing of Lowell George, this collection might just be the thing you’re looking for. (by Thom Jurek)

LittleFeatLive01

Little Feat and the Allman Brothers Band have much in common. Both bands incurred losses of integral personnel (Lowell George in the case of Little Feat and Duane Allman in the case of the Allman Brothers Band). Both bands realized a fallow, sub-productive period following these losses. And both bands emerged from the 20th Century with a second wind that can be boasted by few other rock groups founded in the late 1960s. Corporately, both bands took creative control of their band books and subsequently released new studio recordings showing plainly that these bands were not finished doing their thing, but were just getting started on their second wind.

LittleFeatLive02

The Allman Brothers Band have recently released One Way Out , a concert token recorded during the band’s 2003 stand at New York City’s Beacon Theater. The band reprised much of their old material but also showed they were prepared to create new concert standards for themselves. Now Little Feat has done (continued to do) the same thing with their new live recording, Highwire Act Live in St. Louis 2003. This concert, recorded in St. Louis Missouri in mid-2003 and released as a DVD, was so popular that it has now been released as a two-CD set.

One might ask, “Do we really need one more live Little Feat Recording.” When the playing is as impassioned as this (and just like mirror situation with the Allman Brothers Band), there can conceivable never be too many live recordings by Little Feat. Both bands have clearly benefited by the addition of new band members and then the stabilization of their respective lineups. In the case of Little Feat, it was the final addition of songstress Shaun Murphy and long time Feat associate (and fellow Arkansan) Fred Tackett to the fold that has brought the band to its current high level of creativity.

Booklet01A.jpg

On Highwire Act Live in St. Louis 2003 the band retains several song combinations they have used on past live recordings. “Spanish Moon” and “Skin It Back” are coupled, as they should be, as well as “Dixie Chicken “and” Tripe Face Boogie” and “Time Loves a Hero” with “Day or Night.” The concert characteristic that makes Little Feat a darling of the Jam Band bunch is the propensity Feat has for rearranging their songs from one performance to the next. This is most beautifully illustrated when considering this present “Dixie Chicken” with that previously released on the band’s last disc, Down Upon the Suwannee River . On the latter recording, Paul Barrere introduces “Chicken” with a potently humid “Lafayette Railroad,” which was originally released on the LP Dixie Chicken. This present “Chicken” begins with a shuffle vamp that includes an eerily Miles Davis open bell from Fred Tackett. In both cases it is Bill Payne who is the real star, weaving 300 years of piano science into each performance.

LittleFeatLive03

The “new” (read, post-Lowell George) Little Feat classics included are “Cadillac Hotel” form 1995’s Ain’t Had Enough Fun and “Cajun Girl” and “Let it Roll” from 1988’s Let it Roll. “Let it Roll” has become a veritable concert favorite with its whiplash hooks and Barrere extends the interior of the piece with some white-hot riffing. Little Feat’s most recent recording, Kickin’ It At the Barn , provides its two best songs, Barrere’s “Night on the Town,” featuring some inspired acoustic slide by the guitarist, and Shaun Murphy’s swampy “I’d Be Lyin’.”

One of the biggest differences between the Lowell George brand of live Little Feat and the present band?s live performance is in the production. Lowell George favored a lean finesse sound while Barrere and Payne have opted for a wall-of-sound mixing that takes advantage of the sheer power as a live band Little Feat is able to express. This power is evident on Live From Neon Park , but was not in as full of bloom as outtakes found on Ripe Tomatos, Volume 1 and Raw Tomatos, Volume 1. I readily cite “Rock & Roll Doctor” from on Raw Tomatos, Volume 1. The music is characterized by sheer momentum, urgent and unstoppable. (C. Micheal Bailey)

BackCover1.jpg

Personnel:
Paul Barrere (guitar, vocals)
Sam Clayton (percussion, vocals)
Kenny Gradney (bass)
Richie Hayward (drums, vocals)
Shaun Murphy (percussion, vocals)
Bill Payne (keyboards, vocals)
Fred Tackett (trumpet, vocals)

DVD Booklet.jpg

Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Introduction / Time Loves A Hero (Barrère/Gradney/Payne) 5.59
02. Day Or Night (Payne/Tate) 9.48
03. Cadillac Hotel (Payne/Wray) 6.47
04. Spanish Moon (George) 8.26
05. Skin It Back (Barrère) 6.41
06. Cajun Girl (Kibbee/Payne) 6.42
07. Night On The Town (Barrère/Tackett) 5.59
08. I’d Be Lyin’ (Creamer/Mariani/Murphy) 5.35
09. The Blues Don’t Tell It All (Murphy/Payne) 6.20

CD 2:
01. Old Folks Boogie (Barrère) 7.19
02. Oh Atlanta (Payne) 4.53
03. Dixie Chicken (George/Kibbee) 17.45
04. Tripe Face Boogie (Hayward/Payne) 7.18
05. Fat Man In The Bathtub (George) 11.45
06. Let It Roll (Barrère/Kibbee/Payne) 9.30
07. Willin’ (George) 8.07
08. Feats Don’t Fail Me Now (Barrère/George/Kibbee) 5.26

CD1A

*
**

Peter Murray – Feeler (2003)

FrontCover1.jpgFeeler is the second album by Australian singer-songwriter Pete Murray. Released on 21 July 2003, it went to number one on the Australian album charts on 29 March 2004 and to that date, achieved 6 x platinum status.

In 2002, Pete Murray made an independent album The Game which prompted Sony Music Australia to sign him. In early 2003, Pete Murray and his band entered the studio with producer Paul McKercher and his band to make the Feeler album. On his website, Pete Murray outlines the type of record he was hoping to make. “The records I love by people like Nick Drake, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, they are built to last. I wanted this to be an album like that, something you can pull out in 30 years and still hear the feeling in it, rather than something that’s dated by the musical fashions of the day.”

Feeler was released on 21 July 2003 with the title track as the first single. Triple J radio started playing the track with the Nova FM and Triple M networks picking up the track. With this support, Feeler entered the ARIA top 50 album charts at position forty-three in 2003. His reputation was building fast and he started selling out shows in smaller venues.

Singles.jpg

The momentum of the album continued to build with the release of the second single “Lines” and two ARIA award nominations reaching platinum record status . Radio programmers had been asking for the track “So Beautiful” to be released as a single and the track was widely played on Australian radio, reaching the top ten in 2004. This spurred sales of the album driving it to number one on the Australian album charts in late March 2004 and triple platinum status.

Pete Murray commenced an Australian tour of larger venues in early 2004. Due to the level of demand, he had to announce nine extra dates. As well, he made one of his sellout performances at the Sydney’s Metro Theatre on 27 March 2004 available for download at BigPond Music. (by wikipedia)

BookletBackCover1
I am proud to say unashamably that Pete Murray hails from my city. This is Pete’s 2003 album release called ‘Feeler’ and all I can say this is one beautiful album. It is rare for an album to have 3 hit songs and all in a row from the 1st song ‘Feeler’ that is self titled, to the second song ‘Bail Me Out’ followed by the huge hit on Australian radio even this year ‘So Beautiful’. This song is romantic and shows that Pete Murray oozes with tonnes of talent and can sing.

Pete Murray began singing in local Sydney pubs and clubs before picking up the Columbia label and now he has success and rightly so. Pete is a talented singer who is down to earth and every song means that much to him. The lyrics are his own and come from life experiences he has been through. Pete Murray quickly has ascended the Australian and New Zealand charts and has also become a figure in the folk rock/pop scene. He followed this album with a 2005 release which I shall review in the coming months.

Booklet01A.jpg

This album is produced well and each song lacks nothing. This is one of those albums that you can tell the artist has made sure each of his favourite songs were included. Columbia gave Pete Murray freedom and this paid off. The songs ‘Bail Me Out’, ‘So Beautiful’ and ‘Lines’ are my favourite. But all the songs on this album are perfect. Whether you are listening to it alone, or a loved one or as background in a party – this album delivers in every aspect.

Pete Murray is the proof that the Australian music scene is alive and kicking. He is a pure legend. This album is played regularly by myself and I have become a fan of his talent and modesty. (Petar Vodogaz)

Oh yes, this is a very symphatic singer/songwriter album with many interesting musical ideas … and it´s stands the test of time.

BackCover1.jpg

Personnel:
Nicky Bomba (percussion)
Ben McCarthy (keyboards, bass)
Peter Murray (guitar, vocals)
Christian Sargeant (drums)
Paul Tyrrell ( guitar, bass on 11.)
+
Fi Claus (background vocals on 08.)
Em Heeney (piano accordion on 11., background vocals on 08.)
Anthony Lycenko (guitar on 04)
Col McIntyre (flute on 07., saxophone on 09.)
Paul McKercher (bass on 03.)
Pete Williamson (guitar on 01. + 06.)

Booklet03A.jpg

Tracklist:
01. Feeler 4.22
02. Bail Me Out 4.03
03. So Beautiful 4.40
04. Lines 3.01
05. Freedom 3.17
06. Please 3.23
07. Fall Your Way 3.44
08. My Time 4.08
09. Tonic 3.01
10. No More 3.09
11. Ten Ft Tall 4.29

All songs written by Peter Murray

CD1

*
**

And Pete Murray is still alive and well … here´s a scresnshot from his actuell website:

 

website

Karnataka – Delicate Flame Of Desire (2003)

FrontCover1Karnataka were formed in 1997 by founding members, Ian Jones (bass/acoustic guitar), Jonathan Edwards (keyboards) and Rachel Jones (vocals). The band started as a project to record songs in Ian’s home studio, that had been written and performed by Jonathan, Rachel and Ian in earlier bands. The project was augmented by additional musicians, Paul Davies (electric guitars) and Gavin Griffiths (drums), who had played with other members of Karnataka in earlier bands. At the end of the recording the decision was made to continue the project as a band. The name Karnataka was chosen by the band, from a suggestion by Ian, following his trips to that state of India. (by wikipedia)

It’s always a pleasure to discover a band out of sheer curiosity and to find them exceeding my expectations. Karnataka is one such band that I hope we’ll be hearing more about. Actually, from what little of Karnataka I have heard prior to Delicate Flame of Desire has been pretty darn good, but this latest release sees them upping the ante in every respect. Now officially a sextet, Karnataka continue to present their uniquely British ethereal progressive rock without ever resorting to empty flash or needless instrumental noodling. In fact, “ethereal” is the term I usually see associated with Karnataka’s music, but this isn’t mope Gothic rock nor is it a knock off of Enya or the dozens of other enchantresses designed to get you in the mood whatever the hell that means. Instead, this is simply Karnataka.

Karnataka01.jpg

The CD begins with “Karnataka”, the song. Sort of like Black Sabbath’s Black Sabbath on the Black Sabbath album. It’s a short uplifting introduction that segues into “Time Stands Still”, a beautiful emotive piece with soaring guitars, lush keys and gorgeous vocals by Rachel Jones. What immediately becomes apparent is the fact that Karnataka have taken more time with the arrangements than on The Storm, for instance. While The Storm is a wonderful CD brimming with delicious melodies, Delicate Flame of Desire strives very successfully to add a bit of complexity to the songs.

Karnataka06

The overall effect is that the pleasures aren’t as immediate this time out, which is a good thing because it shows the band growing and challenging its audience to grow with them. “Delicate Flame of Desire”, the title track, is next and it starts out tentatively with Jonathan Edwards trademark keyboard-emulating-the-harp tone leading into Rachel Jones’ vocal passages. The instrumental climax is exciting without showing off, never losing the mood of the song.

Karnataka02

“After the Rain” is quickly becoming one of my favorite songs on the CD. The chorus is uplifting and to die for. Again, this is a song that might take a few listens before it kicks in. “One Breath Away” would be a hit single in a parallel universe as it contains a danceable rhythm and a completely catchy chorus. It’s the simplest song on the CD and I love it. Most of the songs are between 6 and 7 minutes in length, but they say more in that time than many “prog” groups can in 20. However, the best is saved for last in the 10 minute “Heart of Stone”, a bona fide mini epic with its multi-themed instrumental bits and layered harmonies featuring Rachel Jones and Anne-Marie Helder as well as Heather Findlay, on loan from Mostly Autumn.

Karnataka03The year 2003 has really turned out to be a productive one for progressive groups. Karnataka are one of the best that I’ve heard and Delicate Flame of Desire is yet another shoe-in for my top ten of the year. Pour yourself a glass of cabernet, lay back and prepare to fall in love. (by Steve Pettengill)

“…stirring enough to evoke deep emotions, inspire, and spark the imagination. Delicate Flame of Desire is a collection of truly wonderful and well-crafted songs. Karnataka is a very original sounding symphonic rock band…” (Dutch Progressive Rock Page)

“…Their third album is also a further step along the road to musical maturity, and from the chunky gloss booklet to the lush orchestrations, harmonies and production, this package oozes quality…” (Get Ready To Rock)

“…It really is a simply wonderful album by simply wonderful, unassuming and very talented individuals who are thoroughly deserving of great success. Delicate Flame Of Desire? Every home should have one…” (Fireworks Magazine)

Karnataka05

“… After listening to this album, I now know why the press has been so positive regarding Karnataka. This is an outstanding collection of songs and Karnataka is a very exciting band on the current music scene….” (Delicious Agony Progressive Rock Radio)

“…A very accomplished album – good, clear production coupled with quality instrumentation. If you like Marillion, Clannad and laid back folk meets prog rock then buy this album now…” (Classic Rock Newswire)

BookletBackCover.jpg

Personnel:
Paul Davies (guitar)
Jonathan Edwards (keyboards, vocals)
Gavin John Griffiths (drums, percussion)
Anne-Marie Helder (flute, vocals, percussion)
Ian Jones (bass, guitar, vocals, percussion)
Rachel Jones (vocals, percussion)
+
Heather Findlay (vocals on 02., 06. + 09.)

BackCover1.jpg

Tracklist:
01. Karnataka 2.55
02. Time Stands Still 6.17
03. Delicate Flame Of Desire 7.34
04. After The Rain 7.53
05. Strange Behaviour 6.11
06. The Right Time 7.07
07. One Breath Away 5.13
08. Out Of Reach 7.48
09. Heart Of Stone 10.31

Music: Paul Davies Jonathan Edwards – Gavin John Griffiths Anne-Marie Helder – Ian Jones – Rachel Jones
Lyrics. Rachel Jones

CD1.jpg

*
**

Katie Melua – Call Off The Search (2003)

FrontCover1.jpgKetevan “Katie” Melua (born 16 September 1984) is a British-Georgian singer and songwriter. She moved to the United Kingdom at the age of eight – first to Belfast and then to London in 1999. Melua is signed to the small Dramatico record label, under the management of composer Mike Batt, and made her musical debut in 2003. In 2006, she was the United Kingdom’s best-selling female artist and Europe’s highest selling European female artist.

In November 2003, at the age of nineteen, Melua released her first album, Call Off the Search, which reached the top of the United Kingdom album charts and sold 1.8 million copies in its first five months of release. Her second album, Piece by Piece, was released in September 2005 and to date has gone platinum (one million units sold) four times. Melua released her third studio album Pictures in October 2007.

According to the Sunday Times Rich List 2008, Melua had a fortune of £18 million, making her the seventh richest British musician under thirty.

And Call Off the Search is the debut studio album by Georgian-British jazz and blues singer Katie Melua, released in 2003.

KatieMelua03British songwriter, producer and arranger Mike Batt signed Melua to his Dramatico recording and management label after she performed at a showcase at the Brit School for the Performing Arts in early 2003. Batt was looking for a young artist capable of “performing jazz and blues in an interesting way”. Melua went into the studio soon after with Batt as the producer. She recorded songs written by Batt, John Mayall, Delores J. Silver, herself, Randy Newman, and James Shelton. Melua wrote “Faraway Voice” about singer Eva Cassidy. “Belfast (Penguins and Cats)” refers to Melua’s upbringing in Belfast, Northern Ireland: “Penguins” referring to Protestants and “Cats” to Catholics.

Call Off the Search was released in the United Kingdom on 3 November 2003. It became a hit, reaching number one on the UK album chart in January 2004 and the top twenty of the Australian album chart in June 2004. It spent 87 weeks in the ARIA Top 100, certified Platinum for shipments of 70,000+. First single “The Closest Thing to Crazy”, written by Batt, reached the top five in Ireland, top ten in the UK, top twenty in Norway, and top fifty in Australia. The second single from the album was the title track, “Call Off the Search”, which gave Melua her second UK top twenty hit. The third single, a cover of Mayall’s “Crawling up a Hill”, was released on 18 July as the third single in the UK. In the UK the album sold 1.2 million copies within its first five months of release, making it four times platinum. It spent six weeks at the top of the chart.
Chart performance

In the United Kingdom, Call Off the Search was the 5th best selling album of 2004 with 1,356,962 copies sold, and has sold over 1.9 million copies in the UK as of January 2013. (by wikipedia)

KatieMelua02

English listeners went mad for Katie Melua with the release of her debut album in late 2003. Issued domestically in June 2004, Call Off the Search posits the lovely Melua pristinely in between pop, adult contemporary, and traditional American musical forms, with savvy marketing handling the finishing touches. (Think Norah Jones.) It’s a comfortable, lightly melodic affair that drinks red wine safely in the middle of the road. Raised in Soviet Georgia and the United Kingdom, Melua has a beguiling accent that colors the ends of her phrases, adding character to her velvety, if occasionally only satisfactory singing voice. She has a nice time with the understated R&B sashay of John Mayall’s “Crawling Up a Hill,” as well as Mike Batt’s “My Aphrodisiac Is You,” which is spiced up with barrelhouse piano, muted trumpet, and sly references to opium and the Kama Sutra.

KatieMelua04

The singer’s own “Belfast (Penguins and Cats)” opens nicely with a few measures of solo acoustic guitar before it’s joined by the orchestral maneuvers that sweep through the majority of Call Off the Search’s after-dark cabaret. (Melua also penned a dedication to Eva Cassidy, who she’s been compared to vocally.) While the instrumentation is never overbearing, a stoic version of Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” and a couple of late-album pop vocal entries do dawdle a bit in the soft-focus halo that hovers over Search’s more easygoing stretches. These selections are perfectly capable, yet pretty obvious, as if the decision was made to sprinkle Melua’s debut equally with safety and variety, in case a particular style didn’t stick. Still, despite a few detours down easy street, Call Off the Search is a promising debut, and comfortable like the first drink of the evening. (by Johnny Loftus)

BackCover1.jpg

 

Personnel:
Mike Batt (keyboards)
Jim Cregan (guitar)
Tim Harries (bass)
Michael Kruk (drums)
Katie Melua (guitar, vocals)
Chris Spedding (guitar)
Henry Spinetti (drums)
+
The Irish Film Orchestra conducted by Alan Smale

Booklet03A.jpg

Tracklist:
01. Call Off The Search (Batt) 3.27
02. Crawling Up A Hill (Mayall) 3.27
03. The Closest Thing To Crazy (Batt) 4.14
04. My Aphrodisiac Is You (Batt) 3:34
05. Learnin’ The Blues (Silver) 3.25
06. Blame It On The Moon (Batt) 3.49
07. Belfast (Penguins And Cats) (Melua) 3.24
08. I Think It’s Going To Rain Today (Newman) 2.32
09. Mockingbird Song (Batt) 3.08
10. Tiger In The Night (Batt) 3.10
11. Faraway Voice (Melua) 3.16
12. Lilac Wine (Shelton) 4.12
+
13. Katie Melua video clip from the album 6.34

CD1.jpg

*
**

Broken windows and empty hallways
A pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it’s going to rain today

Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles
With frozen smiles to chase love away
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it’s going to rain today

Lonely, lonely
Tin can at my feet
Think I’ll kick it down the street
That’s the way to treat a friend

Bright before me the signs implore me
Help the needy and show them the way
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it’s going to rain today

KatieMelua01

Katie Melua today

Jeff Lorber – Philly Style (2003)

FrontCover1.jpgJeffrey H. Lorber (born November 4, 1952) is an American keyboardist, composer, and record producer. After six previous nominations, Lorber won his first Grammy Award on Jan. 28, 2018 for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for Prototype by his band The Jeff Lorber Fusion.

Many of his songs have appeared on The Weather Channel’s Local on the 8s segments and on the channel’s compilation albums, The Weather Channel Presents: The Best of Smooth Jazz and The Weather Channel Presents: Smooth Jazz II. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for his album He Had a Hat (Blue Note, 2007) (by wikipedia)

The pretzel on the cover of Jeff Lorber’s Philly Style (Narada) isn’t the only tasty thing about the album. Renowned keyboardist-producer and Philly native Lorber teamed with producer Steven Dubin, also a Philly native, and together they paid tribute to their shared hometown’s distinguished musical tradition by serving up a hefty helping of funky, groove-driven, smooth-jazz tunes.

JeffLorber01

Philly Style opens with the rollicking “Under Wraps,” then moves on to “Gigabyte,” which grooves along merrily with bassist Alex Al and drummer John Roberts setting the groove, Lorber’s keyboards gamboling on top, and a horn section shading it all. “Uncle Darrow’s” achieves a retro feel, courtesy of a horn section comprising saxophonist Gary Meek and trumpeter Ron King, while husky-voiced vocalist Naila croons on the chorus of Lorber’s fusion-esque take on Goodie Mob’s hip-hop hit “Soul Food,” and Meeks’ sax flutters gracefully around Lorber’s elegant piano on the atmospheric ballad “When She Smiles.” This is a fun, well-performed collection that will give Lorber fans plenty to munch on. (by Lucy Tauss)

Booklet2.jpg

The soul-jazz minded keyboardist has been a legendary pop-fusion and smooth-jazz artist for several decades, and producer Steven Dubin had been a huge smooth-jazz force for several years (working with Peter White, Richard Elliot and Najee). The two Philadelphia natives never crossed paths (despite having gone to the same high school and played the same clubs), however, until Lorber hired him to work on his album Kickin’ It. This disc continues the fun, feisty and funky retro-soul vibe of that disc in an even fuller celebration of their Phillyness. Lorber is so well known for his old school Rhodes textures (which were “new school” when he first did them in the 70s) that it’s nice to hear so much classy acoustic piano here, as on the seductive, horn drenched opening track “Under Wraps.” Lorber uses the Rhodes as an underpinning harmony, but his ivory soloing is what makes the tune shimmer.

JeffLorber02

The hooky title track collaboration with Elliot offers the same type of vibe, with brass and piano soloing galore before a break in the action, where Lorber turns fully to his Rhodes mastery, punching along with the horns. He keeps the Rhodes-sax duetting with rising horns process going on the well titled “Soul Food,” which features vocalist Naila. “Laissez Faire” is all laid back cool, as is the mystical acoustic piano ballad “When She Smiles,” while the centerpiece jam “Uncle Darrow’s” captures the classic Rhodes centered Crusaders flavor with a crisp horn-harmony-duality provided by Gary Meek (sax) and Ron King (trumpet). It’s kind of hard to imagine that any Jeff Lorber disc isn’t truly Philly-styled, but it’s nice to see he’s finally acknowledging that influence more directly. (by Jonathan Widran)

BookletBackCover

Personnel:
Alex Al (bass)
Lenny Castro (percussion)
Steve Dubin (keyboards, drum programming)
Richard Elliot (saxophone)
Jerry Hey (flugelhorn)
Dan Higgins (saxophone)
Nelson Jackson (keyboards)
Ron King (flugelhorn, trumpet)
Jeff Lorber (keyboards. synthesizer, wurlitzer)
Tony Maiden (guitar)
Gary Meek (saxophone)
Naila (vocals)
Robbie Nevil (keyboards)
William Frank “Bill” Reichenbach Jr. (trombone)

Booklet3.jpg

Tracklist:
01. Under Wraps (Dubin/Lorber) 4.57
02. Gigabyte (Dubin/Lorber) 3.56
03. Regardless Of (Dubin/Jackson/Lorber/Porter) 4.28
04. Philly Style (Dubin/Elliot/Lorber) 4.08
05. Soul Food (Bennett/Brown/Burton/Gipp/Knighton/Murray) 4.12
06. Laissez Faire (Dubin/Lorber) 3.55
07. Step On It (Dubin/Nevil) 4.08
08. Uncle Darrow’s (Lorber) 3.55
09. When She Smiles (Dubin/Lorber) 4.49
10. Serpentine Lane (Dubin/Lorber) 4.47

CD1.jpg

*
**

Mark Merritt – Better Left Unsaid … (2003)

FrontCover1.jpgOh yes, the many sides of Mark Merritt:

Mark was born in Virginia, raised in North Carolina and finished high school in Tennessee–a true “wild-eyed southern boy”. His musical background started when he was twelve years old, playing clarinet and saxophone in school bands. At the age of fifteen, Mark started playing guitar and singing. After high school, Mark spent twelve years playing with military bands in Korea, Japan, Germany and the United States. Mark has also played several concerts backing “The Temptations”.
Mark has had a successful career playing in Bands and performing solo for the last 33 years. Mark has worked with (and also led his own) big-bands, Jazz combos, country and rock bands covering almost all genres of music.
In 1996, Mark started his publishing company, Choo-Choo Seven Musik u. Verlag. In 2009 Mark took over an independent record label and soon found himself owning 4 labels (Amazing Records, Castle Road Records, Blade Records, Country Lane Records). Mark has recently combined the labels under Castle Road Records.
Mark also continues to perform himself and has released to date 7 Solo CD´s, 1 Duo CD (mit Sievert Ahrend), 1 Band CD (Mark Merritt Band; mit Sievert Ahrend und Thomas Merritt).

MarkMerritt01.jpg

Although Mark’s musical background is firmly routed in country music, his stage show includes songs from groups like The Eagles, Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Billy Joel, with a little R&B and folk thrown in as well. Even though Mark has had a successful career working with bands (mostly playing guitar and singing) for over fifteen years, the last several years have brought about a gradual rise in popularity for his work as a solo performer.

During 1997, Mark worked with the band “Fiedel Joe & Co.”, a popular German country band from Westerwald. There he met the guitarist Christoph Schmitt and formed the duo “Mark Meets Chris”. They toured Germany together throughout 1998.

In 1999, Mark teamed up with Sievert Ahrend (Pedal Steel guitar, Banjo, Dobro, Fiddle) and Stephen Ferron (Bass Guitar) to Form the Mark Merritt Duo/Trio. They have been performing together ever since. Lately, they have also added Mark’s son Thomas (Drums) for several gigs.

MarkMerritt02.jpg

In 2001, Mark’s career as musician took a different route when he started teaching clarinet and saxophone for the
music school in Kirn, Germany. Since 2004, Mark has led the big band from the Stadtmauer High School in Bad Kreuznach
and had a 2-year stint conducting a concert band in a local Jr. High School in Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg.
Mark also worked as a substitute teacher at the high school in Kirn over a six-month time span.

Mark also currently works in the high school in Bad Sobernheim teaching music and working with beginner and
intermediate bands as well as conducting a Jr. big band; and is teaching music in the Jr. high school in Kirn.

MarkMerritt03.jpg

Mark conducted the town bands in Daxweiler and Hueffelsheim for several years and is currently conductor for the
town band in Feilbingert; where he also conducts the youth orchester.Music Teacher (taken from his website)

And I bought this CD in 2005 after a gret gig in a pub in Stuttgart/Germany … this is one of his erlier recordings and you´ll hear fucking good Country music … this man knows how to play this music, believe me !

AlternateFrontCover.jpg

Alternate frontcover

Personnel:
Mark Merritt (guitar, vocals)
+
a bunchof unknown studio musicians

BackCover1.jpg

Tracklist:
01. The Still 3.36
02. For Everything You Do 3.22
03. She Deserves Better 2.51
04. She Needs A Love 3.32
05. Cowboy 3.48
06. My Turn 3.53
07. It Snowed On Easter Sunday 3.56
08. Nothing But The Radio On 3.01
09. Standing On The Moon 2.45
10. Better Left Unsaid 3.30

CD1.jpg

*
**

Logo.jpg