Jan Garbarek (feat. Kim Kashkashian & Manu Katché) – In Praise Of Dreams (2004)

FrontCover1It has been six years since saxophonist/composer Jan Garbarek issued a new recording under his own name. For In Praise of Dreams Garbarek enlisted violist Kim Kashkashian and frequent collaborator Manu Katché on drums. Garbarek, who composed the album’s 11 selections, plays saxophones as well as a host of keyboards and percussion, while Katché plays acoustic and electronic drums along with Kashkashian’s viola. In many ways this is the most radical recording that Garbarek has ever issued, but not because it’s outside — quite the opposite. This is easily the warmest, most accessible outing Garbarek has ever issued because though there are no vocals, Garbarek has clearly written “songs” on this set, with identifiable structures that are followed almost throughout. Though he is no stranger to the form, having employed it almost continually for the last 20 years, he has never engaged it so thoroughly and completely. Previously, he has engaged improvisation to get song to the breaking point and move it somewhere else. Here it is always present; surprise happens inside the formal frameworks of these compositions. Beautiful, soulful lines underscore and recontextualize the saxophonist’s trademark Nordic iciness of tone on the opener, “As Seen from Above,” with its spiraling soprano, lush keyboards, and hypnotic loops.

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In its warmth, it comes very close to a distinctly European kind of groove/soul-jazz. The interplay between Kashkashian and Garbarek on the title track offers rounded, multidimensional sonorities winding through the intro before spilling into a call-and-response melody. The repetitive keyboard line and Katché’s mantra-like drumming under the loops draw the listener inside the song’s heart and extend the edge for the front line. The restrained romanticism shown by Kashkashian on her nocturnal solo intro to “One Goes There Alone” is nearly breathtaking. As it gives way to the tune itself, it’s slow, reflective, and rooted deeply in the tension created between percussion and Garbarek’s minimal backing response lines. When he solos later in the tune, he’s clearly blowing blues into her elegiac line. The blues notion continues in his phrasing on “Knot of Place and Time,” slipping through the landscape of Kashkashian’s elegant, near heartbreakingly poetic soundscape. And so it goes. Things get more speculative on “Scene from Afar” and “Cloud of Unknowing,” but it hardly matters since these song forms are nonetheless immediately recognizable, presenting the nether side of the equation. It emerges again with “Conversation With a Stone” and whispers to a close with “A Tale Begun,” a mantra-like duet that closes this strong set that will undoubtedly, if it gets the opportunity to be heard, garner Jan Garbarek some new fans. Poetic, moving, and marvelous, In Praise of Dreams is a welcome return. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Jan Garbarek (saxophone, synthesizer, percussion)
Kim Kashkashian (viola)
Manu Katché (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. As Seen From Above 4:4
02. In Praise Of Dreams 5:21
03. One Goes There Alone 5:0
04. Knot Of Place And Time 6:22
05. If You Go Far Enough 0:39
06. Scene From Afar 5:14
07. Cloud Of Unknowing 5:22
08. Without Visible Sign 4:59
09. Iceburn 4:59
10. Conversation With A Stone 4:18
11. A Tale Begun 4:39

All compositions written by Jan Garbarek

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Steven Seagal – Songs From The Crystal Cave (2004)

FrontCover1.jpgNever released in America — perhaps for good reason — actor Steven Seagal’s debut album as a musician is a kind of wonderful mess: it’s so all over the place, it can’t make up its mind what it wants to be. There are so many styles here — from adult contemporary to soft rock, triple-A format pop tunes, rock tunes fused with Jamaican dancehall (no kidding!), softcore, nocturnal urban blues, and faux soul — that finding the album’s center is difficult, to say the least. None of these songs are written particularly well, but that’s endearing in its own way, and Seagal isn’t the greatest singer, but that’s nothing new among movie actors — remember Philip Michael Thomas’ and Don Johnson’s solo albums back in the ’80s? Or Keanu Reeves’ rock & roll band efforts in the 1990s? OK, on to the music itself. There are a slew of players on these sessions, but Seagal holds down the lead guitar chair for the entire record and plays plenty of rhythm guitar as well; he gets help from some fine backing vocalists including Janice Renn, Sharon Bryant, Dana Calitri, Curtis King, and Steven Seagal1Shaun Fisher. The set kicks off with the faux soul shuffle of “Girl It’s Alright,” written by Seagal with Greg Barnhill — who is a most worthy collaborator and his melodies are infectious. Seagal’s singing is a tad flat, but it’s got some emotion going and it’s believable. Veit Renn’s keyboards are a bit intrusive — it might have been nice to hear just a couple of guitars and somebody playing a conga instead of a canned drum loop, but what the hell. The ringing rockistry of “Don’t You Cry” (also written with Barnhill) could have come right out of the Counting Crows fakebook at their most Beatlesque and excessive. It’s still got a fine melody and the wide-open guitar sound has lots of charm, but the actor’s voice has a hard time carrying it in front of such a big mix.

The bluesy (but still not blues) “Music” mixes funky grooves, stinging guitars, shimmering hip-hop shuffles, LaBelle-esque backing vocals, and Jamaican dancehall in its knotty sermon on how “music is a language of the people.” The Buddhist overtones in all of these songs is refreshing because they don’t beat you over the head but still come across as optimistic, while still being rooted in personal responsibility. The Americana-kissed “Better Man” was written with Barnhill. As for the steamy nighttime blues of “Route 23” and the funky, reggae-tinged “My God,” Seagal wrote them himself. They’re interesting if a tad monotonous, but again they drip with sincerity to the point that they’re completely believable. But it must be stated that the latter track’s lyrics are almost embarrassing — they’re obvious to the point of overkill. What saves it is a killer harmonica solo by Stevie Wonder and a fine rhythm guitar track by Al Anderson. “Lollipop” is a straight-up reggae-pop tune with burning dancehall by DJ Lt. Stitchie (who also appears on “War”). Lady Saw, another Jamaican DJ, appears on “Jealousy,” an attempt at dread reggae fusion with Kavita and Mani Subramaniam and Sabash Chudrun on vocals, violin, and tabla, respectively.

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It’s one of the strongest things on the set. Lady Saw also appears on “Strut,” which is where the disc begins to run out of steam with absolutely laughable lyrics. “The Light” works because of Chudrun and the Subramaniams and the genuine emotional content of the words, and is a fitting closer to an album that mostly misses but has moments worth engaging. The strange thing is that two years after this set was issued, Seagal issued his “blues” album, Mojo Priest. The latter album sounds like he learned nothing from this experience and traveled down a road of cynical excess, forgetting much of the good-vibes experience that Songs from the Crystal Cave exudes. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Al Anderson (guitar)
Babakar (african drums)
Greg Barnhill (guitar)
Patrick Carroll (bass, percussion, programming)
T.H. Subash Chandran (percussion, jew´s harp, tabla)
Russ Desalvo (guitar, synthesizer)
Habib Faye (bass, keyboards, percussion programming)
Shaun Fisher (bass, frums, keyboards, background vocals)
Marty Grebb (keyboards)
Tommy K (guitar)
Remi Kabaka (talking drum)
Michael Okri (vocals)
Tony Rebel (rap)
Veit Renn (keyboards)
Steven Seagal (guitar, vocals, drums)
Rhonda Smith (bass)
Kavita Subramaniam (vocals)
Mani Subramaniam (violin)
Frank Valardi (drums)
Stevie Wonder (harmonica on 05.)
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background vocals:

Rose Banks – Sharon Bryant – Dana Calitri – Ripley Fairchild – Lisa Frazier – Curtis King – 
Janice Brocking Renn 

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Tracklist:
01. Girl It’s Alright (Seagal/Barnhill) 3.50
02.  Don’t You Cry (Seagal/Barnhill) 4.58
03. Music (Seagal/Barrett) 4.13
04. Better Man (Seagal/Barnhill) 4.29
05. Route 23 (Seagal) 4.31
06. My God (Seagall) 3.57
07. Lollipop (Traditional) 4.34
08. Not For Sale (Seagal/Fisher) 4.56
09. Dance (Seagal/Fisher) 3.32
10. Jealousy (Seagall/Hall) 4.21
11. War (Seagal/Laing) 3.46
12. Strut (Seagal/Hall) 3.05
13. Goree (Seagal) 5.59
14. The Light (Seagal) 4.54

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Anna Netrebko – Sempre Libera (2004)

FrontCover1.jpgAnna Yuryevna Netrebko (Russian: Анна Юрьевна Нетребко, born 18 September 1971) is a Russian operatic soprano. She now holds dual Russian and Austrian citizenship and currently resides in Vienna, Austria, and in New York City.

Netrebko was born in Krasnodar (Russia), in a family of Kuban Cossack Background. While a student at the Saint Petersburg conservatoire, Netrebko worked as a janitor at Saint Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre. Later, she auditioned for the Mariinsky Theatre, where conductor Valery Gergiev recognized her from her prior work in the theatre. He subsequently became her vocal Mentor (by wikipedia)

“Sempre libera,” Anna Netrebko’s second album with Deutsche Grammophon, was released in August 2004. The album features arias from La traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, I Puritani, La Sonnambula, and Otello and was recorded with Claudio Abbado and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

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Anna Netrebko’s second CD is even more impressive than her first. She still may not be an absolutely polished, finished artist, but she’s working at it and presents here a very satisfying—even thrilling—program. She doesn’t quite have the stature or insights for Verdi’s Violetta yet, but aside from some smudged coloratura in low-lying passages she sings the first act scene quite well (capped with a well-placed, big E-flat). She’s close to ideal in the Sonnambula and Puritani excerpts, where her girlishness is entirely right, her coloratura dazzling, and her ability to sound tearful really impressive. The Lucia Mad Scene (also notable here for its use of the glass harmonica for which it was composed in place of the usual flute) is quite wonderful, even if the runs are sometimes not as well-delineated as they should be. And although she’s not vocally suited to Desdemona’s Willow Song and Ave Maria, she does manage to darken her voice to fit the character and presents a very moving portrait. The CD ends with an utterly charming “O mio babbino caro.” Artistry and everything else aside, her voice is just beautiful. Claudio Abbado’s leadership is ideal. (Robert Levine)

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Personnel:
Anna Netrebko (soprano)
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Andrea Concetti  (bass)
Sara Mingardo (mezzo-soprano)
Saimir Pirgu (tenor)
Nicola Ulivieri (baritone)

The Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado:

bassoon:
Chiara Santi – Karoline Schick
cello:
K
onstantin Pfiz – Natalie Caron – Philipp von Steinaecker – Raphael Bell – Stefano Guarino
clarinet:
Alexander Eissele – Romain Guyot
english horn:
Emma Schied
bass:
Anita Mazzantini – Frank Dolmann – Paolo Borsarelli
flute:
Chiara Tonelli – Stefania Morselli – Ulrich Biersack
glass harmonica:
Sascha Reckert 

harp
Julie Palloc

horn:
Fritz Pahlmann – Gianfranco Dini – Markus Bruggaier -Thomas Schulze
oboe:
Mizuho Yoshii
percussion:
Gianluca Saveri – Mihaly Kaszas
timpani:
Robert Kendell
trombone;
Ricardo Casero – Robb Tooley – Wolfgang Tischhart

trumpet:
Bernhard Ostertag – Christopher Dicken

tuba:
Michael Cunningham

Viola:
Béatrice Muthelet – Catharina Meyer – Delphine Tissot – Stefano Marcocchi – Susanne Lerche – Verena Wehling

violin:
Antonello Manacorda – Cindy Albracht – Geoffroy Schied – Henja Semmler, – sabelle Briner – Markus Däunert – May Kunstovny – Meesun Hong – Naoko Ogihara – Serguei Galaktionov –
Akemi Uchida – Daniel Möller – Heather Cottrell – Jana Ludvíčková – Katarzyna Zawalska – Mette Tjaerby – Naomi Peters – Riikka Sundqvist

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Coro Sinfonico Di Milano conducted by Romano Gandolfi

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Tracklist:

Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata
01. No. 3 Scena Ed Aria: “È Strano! È Strano! – Ah, Fors’è Lui – Follie! Delirio Vano È Questo! 4.55
02. Sempre Libera 3.39

Vincenzo Bellini: La Sonnambula
03. No. 12 Scena Ed Aria Finale: Ah! Se Una Volta Sola Rivederlo Potessi 5.38
04. Ah! Non Credea Mirarti 4.47
05. Ah! Non Giunge Uman Pensiero 2.41

Vincenzo Bellini: I Puritani
06. No. 7 Scena Ed Aria: “O Rendetemi La Speme – Qui La Voce Sua Soave 4.36
07. Ah! Tu Sorridi E Asciughi Il Pianto! 4.02
08 “Vien, Diletto, È In Ciel La Luna! 2.57

Gaetano Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor
09. No. 14 Scena Ed Aria: “O Giusto Cielo! – Il Dolce Suono 3.18
10. Ohimè! … Sorge Il Tremendo Fantasma 3.15
11. Ardon Gli Incensi 5.01
12. Spargi d’Amaro Pianto 3.37

Giuseppe Verdi: Otello
13 Era Più Calmo? – Mia Madre Aveva Una Povera Ancella 5.00
14 Piangea Cantando Nell’Erma Landa 7.04
15 Ave Maria 5.17

Giacomo Puccini: Gianni Schicchi
16. O Mio Babbino Caro 2.51

 

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Roger McGuinn – Live In Spain (2008)

FrontCover1Originally broadcast by Spain’s national radio network, LIVE FROM SPAIN presents Roger McGuinn’s solo set from the 2004 Azkena Rock Festival. McGuinn, often prefacing the songs with alternately humorous and wistful reminiscences from throughout his 40-plus-year career, offers songs from the Byrds catalogue, including several penned by his musical hero, Bob Dylan, as well as fan favorites from his solo career. Highlights include the early country-rock gem “Chestnut Mare” and a thoughtful closing version of Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.” LIVE FROM SPAIN is available as a digital download, a standard CD, and a double-disc vinyl LP. (by by Charity Stafford)

Excellent live album by McGuinn – his 12 string Rickenbacker predominant in the mix and his voice never sounded better !
His best live album – so far ! (Brendan Mowles)

Came right on schedule. Great sound. Wonderful collection of stories and songs. Roger McGuinn demonstrates outstanding guitar work and fine vocals. (moko)

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On this album Roger McGuinn gives one of his best live performances.He plays most of his hits with the Byrds as well as his own
Songs including some new ones.If you like Roger McGuinn you will really like this album. (Don)

What a great way to relive the 60s and 70s Roger Mcguinn solo doing some great songs that sound as fresh today as they did when he 1st played them (Joe Cardenas)

What a night, what a concert !

LimitedEditionLabelPersonnel:
Roger McGuinn (vocals, guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. My Back Pages (Dylan) 3.23
02. Ballad Of Easy Rider(McGuinn/Dylan) 2.34
03. Wasn’t Born To Follow (Goffin/King) 1.54
04. On Easter Morn He Rose (Leadbelly) 2.39
05. Mr. Spaceman(McGuinn) 3.00
06. Pretty Boy Floyd (Guthrie) 3.20
07. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Dylan) 3.34
08. Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man (McGuinn/Parsons) 2.06
09. Chimes Of Freedom (Dylan) 2.56
10. On And On WE Go (McGuinn) 2.31
11. Lover Of The Bayou (McGuinn/Levy) 3.16
12. Chestnut Mare (McGuinn/Levy) 5.24
13. Jolly Roger (McGuinn/Levy) 3.45
14. The Bells Of Rhymney(Seeger/Davies)  4.03
15. 5D (Fifth Dimension) (McGuinn) 3.24
16. Mr. Tambourine Man (Dylan) 5.10
17. Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season) (Seeger) 4.01
18. Eight Miles High (Clark/McGuinn/Crosby) 7.41
19. So You Wanna Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star (McGuinn/Hillman) 2.46
20. May The Road Rise To Meet You (C,McGuinn/R.McGuinn) 2.45
21. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Dylan) 4.38

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To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together
To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing
To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it’s not too late!

 

Till Brönner – That Summer (2004)

FrontCover1Till Brönner (born 6 May 1971 in Viersen, West Germany) is a jazz musician, trumpeter, singer, composer, arranger and producer.

His approach is influenced by bebop and fusion jazz, but also modern pop music, movie soundtracks (especially old German movies), country music and German pop songs. His trumpet playing is primarily inspired by Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, and Chet Baker. His most influential teachers were Bobby Shew and Malte Burba.

Brönner was raised in Rome and received classical trumpet education at the Jesuit boarding school Aloisiuskolleg in Bonn. During high school, he completed a one-year exchange program to the United States with the organization ASSIST. He then studied jazz trumpet at the music academy in Cologne under Jiggs Whigham and Jon Eardley.

From 1989–1991, he was a member of the Peter Herbolzheimer Rhythm Combination & Brass. At the age of twenty, he became solo trumpeter of the RIAS Big Band Berlin under Horst Jankowski and Jiggs Whigham.

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He recorded his debut album, Generations of Jazz (1993) with Ray Brown and Jeff Hamilton. His vocal debut was on Love (Verve, 1998). His album That Summer (2004) landed on the German pop chart at No. 16 and made him the bestselling jazz musician in Germany’s history. Larry Klein produced his next two albums. Oceana (2006) featured appearances by vocalists Carla Bruni, Madeleine Peyroux, and Luciana Souza. Rio (2009) was a tribute to bossa nova and Brazilian music with appearances by Kurt Elling, Melody Gardot, Sergio Mendes, Milton Nascimento, and Luciana Souza.

Brönner wrote the score for Jazz Seen, a documentary about photographer William Claxton, and composed the soundtrack for Höllentour, a movie about the Tour de France bicycle race. In 2014, he released The Movie Album, which contained cover versions of songs from old movies to the present, recorded in Los Angeles.

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Brönner has worked with Monty Alexander, Tony Bennett, Dave Brubeck, Natalie Cole, Klaus Doldinger, Al Foster, Johnny Griffin, Chaka Khan, Joachim Kühn, Nils Landgren, James Moody, Aki Takase, and Ernie Watts. (by wikipedia)

And here´s is his very ucessful album “That Summer”:

German trumpeter Till Brönner’s 2004 album That Summer features the pop-jazz artists smooth, laid-back horn style. Included are such originals as “Your Way to Say Goodbye,” and “Ready or Not” as well as Brönner’s take on the standards “Bein’ Green” and “When Your Lover Has Gone.” (by by Matt Collar)

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Personnel:
Till Brönner (vocals, trumpet, flugelhorn)
Kai Brückner (guitar)
Roberto Di Gioia (keyboards)
Wolfgang Haffner (drums)
Timothy Lefebvre (bass)
Chuck Loeb (guitar)
Gareth Lübbe (biola)
Rolo Rodriguez (percussion)
Kim Sanders (background vocals)
Una Sveinbjarnardóttir (violin)

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Tracklist:
01. Your Way To Say Goodbye (Brönner/Hoare) 3.27
02. Bein’ Green (Raposo) 4.13
03. High Falls (Brönner/Hoare) 4.43
04. When Your Lover Has Gone (Swan) 5.33
05. Estrada Branca (Jobim) 3.35
06. Antonio’s Song (Franks) 5.02
07. Ready Or Not (Brönner/Hoare) 5.13
08. After Hours (Brönner/Hoare) 5.16
09. So Right, So Wrong (Brönner/Hoare) 3.54
10. Wishing Well (Brönner) 3:57
11. Rising Star (Brönner/Hoare) 7.46

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Trans-Siberian Orchestra – The Lost Christmas Eve (2004)

FrontCover1The Lost Christmas Eve is the fourth album by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It was released on October 12, 2004, and is the last album in their “Christmas trilogy”, with Christmas Eve and Other Stories (1996) and The Christmas Attic (1998) coming before it. All three albums, as well as their The Ghosts of Christmas Eve DVD, were featured in the box set of The Christmas Trilogy. In 2012 Trans-Siberian Orchestra toured a live production of The Lost Christmas Eve for the first time and performed the Rock Opera in over 100 arena shows across North America. In late October 2013, TSO released a narrated version of The Lost Christmas Eve much like they did in 2012 with Beethoven’s Last Night.

The Lost Christmas Eve was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in five weeks,.[4] On March 27, 2013, the album was certified Double Platinum for shipment of two million copies in the United States since its 2004 release. As of November 2014, The Lost Christmas Eve is the twentieth best-selling Christmas/holiday album in the United States during the SoundScan era of music sales tracking (March 1991 – present), having sold 2,380,000 copies according to SoundScan.

The Lost Christmas Eve is the final installment In TSO’s Christmas trilogy. “The record continues the tradition of its two predecessors by telling a musical tale of loss and redemption, this one encompassing a rundown hotel, an old toy store, a blues bar, a gothic cathedral and their respective inhabitants, whose destines are intertwined by a single enchanted evening in New York City.

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The story starts with a teardrop of infinite sorrow falling from the heavens towards a business man who forty years prior had abandoned his newborn son to a state run institution, and how there is something about Christmas Eve that allows humans to correct mistakes we have made in our lives.

In this symphonic tale, God’s youngest angel is once again sent on a mission to bring his Lord the name of the person who best continued his Son’s work on Earth. However, unlike his other journeys, the angel could only use his wings twice, once when he descended to Earth and once more when he left. Looking for a likely place to search, the angel decided to land in New York City.

As soon as he touched the ground, he notices a street performer weaving a story about the Imperial Wizards Ball of Winter to a group of children. He then entered a hotel, and as he enters the ballroom, he encounters inhabitants from the future and the past. Then he leaves and walks into a blues club, where a jazz band is playing music, eventually the whole bar gets together and starts singing along with the band, except for one man who leaves without a word refusing to be involved in this yule tide cheer.

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The angel noticed that the man left a trail of blood. The blood came from a wound in the man’s soul combined with unwept tears that only an angel could see. As he followed the man, who had been the walking home from work, the angel peered into the man’s heart to find the reason behind the man’s wounded soul.

As the angel delved into the man’s past, he saw that he had not always hated Christmas and in fact loved it like any other child. His family was a good Christian one, and he had been taught that all men are created in God’s image. He eventually got married, and his wife became pregnant. On the night of the birth, things were going as planned and normal. However, the man then noticed that there were many doctors rushing to his wife’s room, but there were none leaving.

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The doctor told him that during the birth, she had hemorrhaged and that, unfortunately, they were unable to save her. When a nurse, in an effort to console him, gave him his son who had survived, the infant appeared sickly. The doctor explained that because the mother had hemorrhaged blood so badly, the baby had been cut from oxygen for so long that he suffered permanent brain damage; he would be unable to function as a normal person in adulthood and would be lucky if he learned to walk. Enraged by this outcome, the man screams towards heaven, that if man is made in God’s image that he saw nothing of God in his son. The man gave the baby back to the nurse and asked if the child could be placed into a state facility.

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After seeing this, the angel let go of the man, who did not notice the angel peering into him. He later encountered a young girl, dressed in a Russian Imperial style winter coat, in front of a toy store. The girl claimed to be staying with her parents on a twelfth floor room of the hotel across the street. She asked him if he had any children. The man responded with a short and gruff “No,” but he knew that he lied, and for the first time in decades he thinks about him and the son. The man told the girl to go back to her room in a nearby hotel, where she claimed she was staying on the twelfth floor room twenty four, then called a cab and set off to find his son.

Eventually, he arrived at a hospital, similar to the one where his son was born, and asked about his son. A nurse took him to a room where the son, now a grown man, was rocking babies born to crack cocaine addicted mothers to sleep. When the man asked if his son could talk, the nurse, realizing that it had been a while since they had met, said, “No, but he’s a good listener.” After so many years, father and son are reunited.

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The father asked his son to move out of the complex he lived in to stay with him, to which he agreed. They then took a cab to the hotel near the toy store to find the girl and asked for the girl’s room. However, strangely enough, there was no twelfth floor to the hotel, nor had there even been any children there the entire week. Confused, the man returned to the cab with his son. The man then took out his briefcase and spilled its contents out on the sidewalk including a folder containing his son’s possessions including a picture of his wife as a little girl that he had never seen before. The son gave a puzzled look, to which the man explained that he was going to quit his job to get a job at the hospital where his son worked. The son gleefully smiled.

When the angel returned to Heaven, to report to his Lord the angel at first gave the name of the man’s son, but then after a moment of hesitation added the name of the story teller, the jazz player, and all of the other people he had seen, even the father. It was at this point that the angel realized that everyone continues the work of his Son when they, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” (by wikipedia)

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The story that unfolds during Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s third Christmas CD deals with angels visiting New York City, which gives this orchestrated rock group a chance to draw upon a wide variety of modern music. The jaunty “Christmas Nights in Blue” sounds like it was influenced by Louis Jordan and is the coolest moment the orchestra has ever offered, while the driving “Christmas Jam” is Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein” with some sleigh bells. Not that the group was ever “traditional,” but the songs here sound less influenced by the old Christmas standards, and they’re generally more fun and uplifting. The quiet numbers are delicate and beautiful, and there are a number of them in the album’s fourth quarter.

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The problem with the album is it’s nearly choked with too much material, with a great number of the songs existing solely to move the story along. That’s when the album gets too emotive, too forced, and too Electric Light Orchestra without Jeff Lynne. Good new is, whittle out the dreck and you’ve still have plenty left to enjoy. Even though it won’t win them any new fans, The Lost Christmas Eve is rumored to be an “end of the trilogy” album. If so, the trilogy ends with a big, theatrical bang, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra fans wouldn’t have it any other way. (by David Jeffries)

And we hear a lot of kitsch, a lot of heavy metal …. what a crazy mix !

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Personnel:
Chris Caffery (guitar)
Angus Clark (guitar)
Robert Kinkel (keyboards)
Jane Mangini (keyboards)
Paul O’Neill (guitar)
John O. Reilly (drums)
Al Pitrelli (guitar, keyboards)
David Z. (bass)

Leadvocals+
Jeff Allegue (bass)
Tristan Avakian (guitar)
John Clark horns)
Carmine Giglio (keyboards)
Amy Helm (whistle)
Mee Eun Kim (keyboards)
Johnny Lee Middleton (bass)
Jon Oliva (keyboards)
Takanori Niida (drums)
Jeff Plate (drums)
Alex Skolnick (guitar)
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lots of strings and background vocals (including a gospel choir)

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Tracklist:
01. Faith Noel (Reading/O’Neill/Kinkel) 4.32
02. The Lost Christmas Eve (O’Neill/Pitrelli) 5.33
03. Christmas Dreams (O’Neill/Kinkel) 3.54
04. Wizards In Winter (O’Neill/Kinkel) 3.06
05. Remember (O’Neill/Kinkel) 3.25
06. Anno Domine (O’Neill) 2.13
07. Christmas Concerto (O’Neill) 0.42
08. Queen Of The Winter Night (Mozart/O’Neill) 3.11
09. Christmas Nights In Blue (O’Neill/Pitrelli) 4.18
10. Christmas Jazz (O’Neill) 2.16
11. Christmas Jam (O’Neill) 3.47
12. Siberian Sleigh Ride (O’Neill) 3.08
13. What Is Christmas? (O’Neill/Oliva) 2.51
14. For The Sake Of Our Brother (Reading/O’Neill/Oakeley) 3.10
15. The Wisdom Of Snow (O’Neill/Kinkel/Oliva) 2.00
16. Wish Liszt (Toy Shop Madness) (Liszt/O’Neill) 3.42
17. Back To A Reason (Part II) (O’Neill/Oliva) 4.52
18. Christmas Bells, Carousels & Time (O’Neill/Oliva) 1.00
19. What Child Is This? (O’Neill/Kinkel) 6.00
20. O’ Come All Ye Faithful (Traditional) 1.30
21. Christmas Canon Rock (O’Neill) 4.57
22. Different Wings (O’Neill/Pitrelli) 2.44
23. Midnight Clear (O’Neill) 1.31

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Trans01

Jon Lord – Beyond The Notes (2004)

FrontCover1Beyond the Notes is a studio album by former Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord, released in 2004. It features guest appearances from Frida Lyngstad, Sam Brown, Miller Anderson, Thijs van Leer, Pete York, and Trondheim Soloists.

Organist Jon Lord supposedly left Deep Purple to retire and take it easy, after he’d spent much of his life recording and touring the world with Purple and other artists. But upon his exit from the band, Lord played gigs and issued albums on his own, such as 2004’s Beyond the Notes. The split provided Lord with the opportunity to pursue some unexpected musical avenues, as the album sees a detour into soothing classical music. Gone is the blaring guitar through Marshall stacks and Lord’s overdriven organ rocking back and forth — in its place is the jazzy sound of “Cologne Again” a lovely piano ballad, and the string-heavy album closer, “Music for Miriam.” While it’s not unheard of for a rock musician to take the orchestral plunge, Beyond the Notes is one of the few instances where it works surprisingly well and doesn’t come off as a mere detour.(by Greg Prato)

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‘Jon Lord is addicted to harmony. Leaving Deep Purple meant leaving his best friends and a life that’s “a bubble, a support system”, as he himself puts it.

But putting an end to compromises did a world of good to keyboarder and composer Jon Lord. His latest album “Beyond The Notes” is the best proof of this. A free spirit blows through the ten tracks of the album. Pavanes and pop songs are peopled by musicians from drummer to violinist, from a rock band to members of a string orchestra. Oriental rhythms pushing classical melodies forward.

Jon Lord takes things seriously. Until he discovers something that does make him smile. “I call it ‘Jon Lord music’. I think the Americans have a label for it – they call it ‘classical cross-over’. So I’m going to call it ‘crossical class-over’. There’s elements of what I love out of orchestral music and there’s elements of what I love out of jazz, and what I love out
of folk music and rock music. And you throw it all in and that’s how you make the cake and experiment.”

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If you watch him at work in the studio, you quickly realise: Jon Lord loves people. He loves the 16 string players of the Trondheim Soloists just as much as his guitarist Paul Shigihara, keyboarder Matthias Krauss, bass player Urs Fuchs, and songstress Sabine von Baaren. He is friends with co-producer Mario Argandona, with songstress Sam Brown, and guest vocalist Miller Anderson. And of course he’s friends with Anni-Frid Lyngstad. Anni who? Frida. Frida of Abba. Jon Lord wrote “The Sun Will Shine Again” for the Swedish lady.

“We became friends a few years ago. And once we’d become friends, she actually asked me if I’d write a song for her. Easier said than done. When you’ve got a voice that is that specific and that glorious. So, I took about three years doing it, and only really found the right song just a few months ago and played it to her and luckily, she liked it.”

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Jon Lord is sitting in an easy chair. His long white hair is held by a ponytail and an equally white beard surrounds his face. The eyes of this humorous man often wander off, rather bridging time than space. He thinks a lot about his past, his life – something that also results in “Beyond The Notes”. “A Smile When I Shook His Hand” is his tribute to the late George Harrison. “George Harrison was a very, very close friend for many years and
one of those losses that are really hard to deal with. I miss him a great deal. The track is about the lightness and happiness I got from knowing that man.”

Tony Ashton is another close friend whose loss Jon Lord had to face recently. To Jon Lord, this keyboarder, vocalist, and painter was like a brother. “I’ll Send You A Postcard” is Jon’s musical memorial for his friend.

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“Music For Miriam” was written in 1995, the day after the death of Jon Lord’s mother. This spontaneous composition was then performed during her funeral by a string quartet and was already released on the album “Pictured Within”. Now, Jon Lord has rearranged this beautiful elegy. In a big orchestral arrangement, his mother’s character seems to be better represented.

And another track serves coming to terms with the past: “De Profundis”, “DP”, treats his separation from Deep Purple. Is music a kind of therapy? Jon Lord laughs. It certainly is a way to help him make a new start.

Even though it seems easier to him to compose sad songs, Jon Lord hasn’t lost his smile. “Telemann Experiment” is the best example for this: a serious piece of music at heart, Jon Lord here combines the style of the German Baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) with a Swedish polka.

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The fact that “Beyond The Notes” was recorded in Germany underlines the artist’s wish to tread new, own paths. Instead of working in one of the halls of fame of British music, Jon Lord chose the Hansa Haus Studios in Bonn, where he recorded his new album in June and July 2004.

“I lived down in Munich for a few months toward the end of the 70s. And I’ve always enjoyed the country. It seems to have taken me to its heart in a way that it understands that I’m not ‘just’ the keyboard player of Deep Purple, but that I have other musical aspirations outside of that, and this country seems to have understood that better than most.” (by deep-purple.net)

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Personnel:
Emilia Amper (nyckel harpe)
Mario Argandona (percussion, drums, background vocals)
Sabine van Baaren (background vocals)
Urs Fuchs (bass)
Michael Heupel (flute)
Matthias Krauss (keyboards)
Thijs van Leer (flute)
Jon Lord (keyboards)
Andy Miles (clarinet)
Paul Shigihara (guitar)
Gerhard Vetter (oboe)
Pete York (drums)
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Miller Anderson (vocals on 08.)
Sam Brown (vocals on 03.)
Frida (vocals on 06.)
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The Vocaleros (background vocals)
Cologne String Ensemble under the direction of Albert Jung
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Trondheim Soloists

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Tracklist:
01. Miles Away 7.42
02. De Profundis 7.22
03. One From The Meadow (8:14)
04. Cologne Again 6.47
05. I’ll Send You A Postcard (Pavane for Tony Ashton) 6.57
06. The Sun Will Shine Again 4.24
07. A Smile When I Shook His Hand (In Memorian George Harrison) 7.31
08. November Calls 5.03
09. The Telemann Experiment 7.08
10. Music For Miriam (Version for String Orchestra) 8.05

All songs composed by Jon Lord. All lyrics by Sam Brown, except “November Calls” by Jon Lord

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