Paul Roland – Professor Moriarty’s Jukebox (2014)

FrontCover1Paul Roland (born 6 September 1959 in Kent, England), is a singer-songwriter, author, journalist and paranormal researcher.

Since the release of his first (shared) single “Oscar Automobile” in 1979, Roland has been spinning his tales against a backdrop of gothic rock, psychedelic pop, folk and, occasionally, baroque strings. His character creations include a Regency magistrate, various 19th Century murderers, a retired executioner, an opium addict, and an entire court of medieval grotesques.

Paul has been called “the male Kate Bush” by one-time label-mate Robyn Hitchcock, and “The Lord Byron of Rock” by the French music magazine Les Inrockuptibles.

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“Paul Roland has remained a cherished figure on the gothic rock and psychedelic pop periphery for 30 years…a treasury of detail and eloquence…Roland’s impeccable narratives (and) formal, baroque instrumentation…creates the antiquated yet timeless ambience his songs deserve” (Marco Rossi, Record Collector, May 2010).

Joshua Pfeiffer of Vernian Process is quoted as saying “As for Paul Roland, if anyone deserves credit for spearheading steampunk music, it is him. He was one of the inspirations I had in starting my project. He was writing songs about the first attempt at manned flight, and an Edwardian airship raid in the mid-80s long before almost anyone else….”[1]

“Paul Roland writes nice melodies and has a very particular personality but he is too intellectual for me!” (Frank Zappa, 1988). (wikipedia)

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A few years back Paul Roland released ‘In Memoriam 1980-2010’ a superb collection highlighting the range of great tracks Paul has produced over 30 years. In his latest release ‘Professor Moriarty’s Jukebox’ Paul has revisited his back catalogue again but this time through a previously unreleased session recorded last year. Like the best sessions and live material these recordings retain the spark that made them so fondly regarded but they are arranged or played differently (sometimes subtlety) so you can listen with fresh ears.

Veronique Rocka

As with all of Paul’s material there’s a distinctly gothic edge to these new versions: from (one of my favourites) 2007’s rock edged ‘Re-animator’ to 1989’s acoustic macabre fan-favourite ‘Nosferatu’. Special mentions must go to ‘Aleister Crowley’ (originally on 1997’s ‘Gargoyles’ album) which as infectious a track as it was almost 20 years ago; and a rougher take on ‘The Puppet Master’ from the previous decade’s ‘Burnt Orchids’ long player.


There’s also an extra 9 tracks of outtakes, remixes and rarities, expanding the set considerably. One gem is his excellent version of The Kinks ‘I’m Not Like Everyone Else’, starting baroquely and cutting loose with fiddle. The track is particularly apt for Paul’s ghoulish tales giving the lyric new meaning. Whilst there’s plenty of Roland originals in these curios, equally as good as the earlier 10 session tracks, I must finish mentioning Paul’s version of Joy Division’s ‘Day of the Lords’. It’s an outstanding gothic remake of this seminal number.

So if you like Paul Roland you’ll love this release, and if you haven’t heard Paul’s work ‘Professor Moriarty’s Jukebox’ it’s another great place to start. (Jason Barnard)

And we hear fantastic violin melodies played by Veronique Rocka


Mick Crossley (guitar, background vocals)
Patryk Korzybski (drums)
Veronique Rocka (violin)
Joshua Roland (bass)
Paul Roland (vocals, guitar, percussion)
Derek Heffernan (guitar on 11.)
Simon Jeffrey (drums on 11., percussion on 12.)
John Tracey (bass on 11.)
Geoffrey Richardson (violin on 12. + 18.)
Nico Steckelberg (piano on 15.)

01. Re-Animator (Roland) 3.48
02. The Crimes Of Dr Cream (Roland) 3.02
03. Cairo (Roland) 2.59
04. I Was A Teenage Zombie (Roland) 3.11
05. Captain Nemo (Roland) 4.35
06. Aleistair Crowley (Roland) 2.40
07. The Puppet Master (Roland) 3.33
08. Tortured By The Daughter Of Fu Manchu (Roland) 3.38
09. The Hanging Judge (Roland) 2.05
10. Nosferatu (Roland) 4.57
11 Meadows Of The Sea (unreleased re-recording 2007) (Bolan) 4.36
12. I’m Not Like Everybody Else (unreleased acoustic version 2007) (R.Davies) 4.29
13. Faeries (unreleased version) (Roland) 2.51
14.  Eight Little Whores (unreleased version) (Roland) 3.35
15. Kali (unreleased acoustic radio session) (Roland) 4.08
16. Bates Motel (unreleased acoustic radio session) (Roland) 5.11
17. I Dared The Devil (remixed from ‘The Devil in Love’ album) (Roland) 4.36
18. Death Of A Clown (outtake from ‘Sarabande’ sessions) (D.Davies) 3.55
19. Day Of The Lords (from ‘Shadowplay’, the Joy Division tribute album) (Curtis/Hook) 4.37




Professor James Moriarty – as you might imagine him to be:
Professor Moriarty

Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia – Never Say Goodbye (2007)

FrontCover1One of the finest saxophone player ever… Barbara Thompson:

Barbara Gracey Thompson MBE (born 27 July 1944) is an English jazz saxophonist. She studied saxophone and classical composition at the Royal College of Music, but the music of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane made her shift her interests to jazz and saxophone. She was married to drummer Jon Hiseman of Colosseum from 1967 until his death in 2018.

Around 1970, Thompson was part of Neil Ardley’s New Jazz Orchestra and appeared on albums by Colosseum. Beginning in 1975, she was involved in the foundation of three bands:

United Jazz and Rock Ensemble, a ‘band of bandleaders’ …
Barbara Thompson’s Jubiaba and:
Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia, her most recent band

Barbara_Thompson01She was awarded the MBE in 1996 for services to music. Due to Parkinson’s disease, which was diagnosed in 1997, she retired as an active saxophonist in 2001 with a farewell tour. After a period of working as a composer exclusively, she returned to the stage in 2003.

Thompson has worked closely with Andrew Lloyd Webber on musicals such as Cats and Starlight Express, his Requiem, and Lloyd Webber’s 1978 classical-fusion album Variations. She has written several classical compositions, music for film and television, a musical of her own and songs for the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble, Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia and her big band Moving Parts.

She played the incidental music in the ITV police series A Touch of Frost starring David Jason. She also played flute on Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds.

From 1967, until he died in June 2018, Thompson was married to the Colosseum drummer Jon Hiseman. The couple’s son Marcus was born in 1972, and their daughter Anna (now known as singer/songwriter Ana Gracey) in 1975. (wikipedia)


And here´s another brilliant album … criminally underrated …:

Liner Notes2

In the aesthetic sense, Barbara Thompson has never been a revolutionary. She has not developed a new style, a new attitude or a new concept. But that was never her intention. She was more concerned with breaking the “men among themselves” attitude and drawing her audience deeper into her music than was usual in the eccentric jazz of the seventies. Her trademark was captivating, inviting but uncompromising jazz rock. She liberated her jazz from all reservations. Her fearless openness made it easier for her to incorporate all imaginable genres – whether classical, pop or world music – into her music and to move light-footedly between the various contradictory schools and eras of jazz without ever having to resort to programmatic thinking or logos.


By bringing together what was excluded elsewhere, she perfected and refined the ideas of her more experimental contemporaries. But unlike many of her male colleagues, Barbara Thompson found recognition where jazz usually had no chance. She broke with the American pattern early on. She didn’t necessarily explore new territory in European jazz, but she gave it a new face from which it still benefits today. From the beginning, she cultivated a language that promised to be timeless and that could adopt a wide variety of styles without distorting them. As such, her ornamental, arabesque compositions, in which the not-too-soft sound of the saxophone remains organic and leads back into the ensemble, have lost none of their hypnotic fire.

“Never Say Goodbye” is a stunning and – for some perhaps – unexpected return from one of the most prolific musicians around. (intuition-music. com)


Dave Ball (bass)
Jon Hiseman (drums)
Peter Lemer (piano)
Barbara Thompson (saxophone, clarinet)
Billy Thompson (violin)
Rob Buckland (saxophone on 03.)
Ana Gracey (vocals on 04.)
Andy Scott (saxophone on 03.)
Andy Wood – Gordon Campbell – Mark Nightingale

trumpet, flugelhorn:
Derek Watkins – Paul Spong – Simon Gardner – Stuart Brooks



Living In The Fast Lane (Concerto in three movements)
01.On The Wings Of A Prayer (Thompson) 5.24
02. Still Waters (Thompson) 7.32
03. Living In The Fast Lane (Thompson) 7.17

04. Never Say Goodbye (The Tango That Got Away)(Thompson) 7.56
05. Giant Steps (Coltane) 6.05
06. Finger Dancing (Thompson) 7.09
07. Son Of A Gun (Thompson) 5.30
08. Are You Real (Golson) 6.42



Liner Notes

More from Barbara Thompson:

Christopher Dell – The World We Knew (2007)


Someone has come up with something fine and that someone is Christopher Dell:

Christopher Dell (* 17 September 1965 in Darmstadt) is a German musician, composer and theorist.

Dell studied vibraphone, percussion and composition in Hilversum in 1985/1986 and in Rotterdam from 1986 to 1988, followed by studies at the Berklee School of Music from 1988 to 1990. He worked as a freelance composer and vibraphonist, and from 1992 to 2000 as a lecturer at the Darmstadt Academy of Music. He also plays in the permanent trio D.R.A., which won the JazzArtAward in 2002. He has also recorded with Theo Jörgensmann, Bob Brookmeyer, Seda, Klaus König, Hiram Bullock, Norbert Stein, Vince Mendoza and with ElbtonalPercussion.

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Dell has directed the “Institute for Improvisation Technology” in Berlin since 2000 and was artist in residence at the Goethe-Institut Kolkata from 2007 to 2008. From 2008 to 2010 and from 2015 to 2018, he held a substitute professorship for urban design theory at the chair of “Urban Design” at HafenCity University Hamburg. He also held a visiting professorship in this subject at the TU Munich. Since 2017, Dell has taught urban design and urban renewal at the Berlin University of the Arts. In May 2012, Dell completed his doctorate at the University of Duisburg-Essen with the thesis “The improvising organisation: management after the end of plannability”. Since 2010 he has worked in a trio with Christian Lillinger and Jonas Westergaard (album Grammar, 2013). Dell has toured extensively with Wolfgang Haffner’s quartet. In 2017, Dell was elected to the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences. (wikipedia)

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And here´s real pretty good album:

Everybody knows Strangers in the Night, one of the greatest hits of the 20th century. Yet, hardly anybody knows that the German composer Bert Kaempfert wrote the song. One can find his name credited next to a great number of worldfamous titles. Kaempfert made music history and created a distinctive style with titles like Spanish Eyes, Danke Schoen, A
Swingin’ Safari or the aforementioned Strangers in the Night, that facilitated Frank Sinatra’s furious return to the top of the charts in 1966.

The Hamburg-born composer, arranger and big-band leader Bert Kaempfert (October 16th 1923 – June 21st 1980) discovered the Beatles and produced their first recordings, he arranged for Elvis Presley, and helped Al Martino to his comeback with Spanish Eyes. His incomparable sound – dominant “knack-bass” figures (Ladi doubling the bass line an
octave up on muted guitar), swinging rhythms, horns and a carefully created luminous background of choir and strings – created a stir all over the world in the early 1960’s.

Bert Keampfert01

All the greatest stars of American showbiz were crazy about Kaempfert’s work. Wayne Newton adorned himself with Danke Schoen; the great Nat King Cole celebrated a triumph with L.O.V.E. Jack Jones (Lady), Dean Martin (I Can’t Help Remembering You), Sammy Davis Jr. (Lonely Is The Name), but also Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Bassey, Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee, Caterina Valente, Nancy Wilson – all of them had celebrated success with compositions by Bert Kaempfert. His hits have become evergreens.

In the year 1993, Kaempfert posthumously received the greatest honour that can be bestowed upon a composer: the acceptance into the American Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame.

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Christopher Dell about this album:
Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler: the most noteworthy German songwriters of the 20th century. Here is another one: Bert Kaempfert. His melodies, atmospheres and his – then revolutionary – concept of sound and space have moved millions of listeners worldwide.
There is a unique quality to each of his compositions, that has fascinated me as a musical “problem” to be solved.
Another musically interesting aspect of his work was Kaempfert’s way of interpreting music as a design object.
In approaching the music, it was important for me that we transport the compositions into a contemporary context. To achieve this, we tried to not let the aspect of space (Kaempfert) or structure (jazz) take priority; rather we focused completely on colour. This impressionist approach allows our music to become a statement independent of the original.

The pieces seem to become excavated monuments from far-gone days. They have the morbid charm of a ruined building, the beauty of which becomes apparent if we take a second look. The voices and the atmosphere that once filled these rooms with life sound out to us from its walls. The title The World We Knew takes on a whole new meaning
in this context, and contributes an inner unity to our conception of a “considerate archaeology”.
There is one musician whose sound left its mark on Kaempfert’s music: guitar player Ladi Geisler. I’m very pleased that he contributed so much of his creativity and elegance to this recording.

Christopher Dell04

A wonderful, measured and yet new bow to one of the great composers of the past century by one of the great vibraphonists of our day. Light and yet of high standard. Simply great. (jazzpodium)


Carsten Daerr (piano)
Christopher Dell (vibraphone)
Ladi Geisler (guitar)
Christof Lauer (saxophone)
Oliver Potratz (bass)
Eric Schaefer (drums)


01.Don’t Talk To Me 5.55
02. Danke schön 3.55
03. A Swingin‘ Safari 7.41
04. Strangers In The Night 5.56
05. Afrikaan Beat (Part II) 2.50
06. Wiedersehn 6.24
07. It Makes No Difference 4.33
08. Spanish Eyes 3.11
09. Afrikaan Beat (Part I) 2.48
10. Geh nicht vorbei (I Can’t Help Remembering You) 5.50
11. The World We Knew (Over & Over) 4.25
12. Love After Midnight (90 Minuten nach Mitternacht) 3.58

Music: Bert Kaempfert



More Bert Kaempfert:

Mika – Life In Cartoon Motion (2007)

FrontCover1Michael Holbrook Penniman Jr. (born 18 August 1983), known by his stage name Mika (/ˈmiːkə/ MEE-kə, stylised as MIKA), is a Lebanese-born British singer-songwriter.

After recording his first extended play, Dodgy Holiday, Mika was named the number-one predicted breakthrough act of 2007 in an annual BBC poll of music critics, Sound of 2007. Mika released his first full-length studio album, Life in Cartoon Motion, on Island Records in 2007, which sold more than 5.6 million copies worldwide and helped Mika win a Brit Award—winning Best British Breakthrough act—and receive a Grammy Award nomination. He topped the UK Singles Chart in January 2007 with “Grace Kelly”. He has since gone on to record four more studio albums (most recently My Name is Michael Holbrook released in October 2019), as well as serve as judge/mentor on both the French version of The Voice and the Italian version of X Factor. Mika has also starred in his own television variety show in Italy, Stasera Casa Mika [it], which won the 2017 Rose d’Or Award for Entertainment.


Life in Cartoon Motion is the debut album released by British recording artist Mika. The album was produced by Greg Wells and Mika himself, mixed by Wells, with co-production on two songs by Jodi Marr and John Merchant. The album was released via Casablanca Records on 5 February 2007 in the United Kingdom, and on 27 March 2007 in the United States. The album’s lead single, “Grace Kelly”, stayed at number one on the UK Singles Chart for five weeks straight and became a number-one hit in many countries.

The Life in Cartoon Motion album cover has since been used in a commercial for the iPod Touch. It was the ninth-best-selling album in the world during 2007.
Prior to obtaining his record deal, Mika sent demos to many record companies in Britain, but was never signed. One record label in particular claimed that Mika had a good voice, but insisted he write more conventional songs like Robbie Williams in order to become more commercial. Mika rejected this advice. The song “Grace Kelly” was inspired by these problems. In 2006 Mika signed with Island Records and began recording his debut album. His musical influences are based in classical music. Before Mika released his debut album, he promised the media that “It was a magical world that you could live in. A parallel universe for people that is illusory and enchanting and amazing.”


Some songs on the album are sexually ambiguous, which prompted some questioning regarding Mika’s sexuality. On this, Mika commented that he has no taboos about what he can use to tell a story or what stories he can actually tell, and said that while he believes that sexualising music is great, politically sexualising music and making the artist’s sexuality the defining point of someone’s music is “boring”. He said about his own sexuality: “laying myself out on the table to almost a tabloid level and kind of sharing my entire personal life, I’m really not into that.” The songs on the album have different subjects. “Grace Kelly”, as stated before, is about the struggle of getting a record deal. Mika stated that the song is important because “it’s a flagpole for the record in terms of lyrical content and the whole pop vision I wanted to get across.” The cover for the album and booklet were designed by Mika’s sister, Yasmine, who works under the pen name DaWack, Richard Hogg and Mika himself. In March 2007 the album was released in the United States. Before its release there was much publicity about the album, mainly due to its success in Europe. Mika commented on the hype by saying: “I think I’m lucky. Hype can be good and hype can be bad. The good thing that’s happening to me is that the hype is about the project, it’s about the music … I’m not the son of anyone famous, I haven’t really slept with anyone particularly well-known … it’s really just about music, and that’s something I think is very healthy.”


The original version of the album, released in the United Kingdom and Europe on 5 February 2007, contains a total of 12 tracks, including the hidden track “Over My Shoulder” and the bonus track “Ring Ring”. It also includes an enhanced section, with links to music videos and live performances, as well as other exclusive content. The version released via the iTunes Store in Europe features three additional acoustic recordings as bonus tracks. The American version of the album, released on 27 March 2007, is essentially the same as the British release, however, it includes the exclusive bonus track “Erase”, not included on the original release. American versions of the album bought at Best Buy stores also carry two exclusive bonus tracks – acoustic versions of “Love Today” and “Satellite”, while the American iTunes Store version also includes an exclusive acoustic version of “Grace Kelly”. The version of the album released in Japan is essentially the same as the original British release, however, it also includes the American exclusive track “Erase”, as well as the Japanese exclusive track “Your Sympathy”, and an enhanced element containing the music video for “Grace Kelly”.


The demo version of the album, issued to media journalists and critics, has a very different track listing than any of the main versions of the albums. It does not include the tracks “Lollipop”, “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)” and “Over My Shoulder”, but does include the Japanese only bonus track “Your Sympathy”, as well as including “Gave It All Away”, Mika’s original version of the track, before it was given to Boyzone. Mika’s version had never appeared on any other release, until the release of the Asian Tour Edition in March 2008, which includes the eleven standard tracks from the British album, the European bonus track “Ring Ring”, “Gave It All Away” from the demo version, “Erase” from the American version, “Your Sympathy” from the Japanese edition, and the B-side recordings “Satellite”, “Only Lonely One” and “Instant Martyr”. The album was also packed with a bonus disc, including six acoustic recordings, four live recordings, and the single mix of “Happy Ending”.


The album had significant success in Europe, with the album achieving 1.65 million certified sales in the United Kingdom and 1.45 million in France. The album was certified five-times platinum in Belgium and two-times platinum in Switzerland, and three-times platinum in Ireland, also achieving gold and/or platinum status in Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany and Greece. The album also charted in the Czech Republic and was certified in Japan. In Oceania, the album was certified two-times platinum in Australia and gold in New Zealand. In North America. the album was certified two-times platinum in Canada. (wikipedia)


Mika’s vivid, aptly named debut album, Life in Cartoon Motion, borrows and builds on the glittery, glamorous, and not-so-secretly sentimental musical territory carved out by Elton John and Freddie Mercury, or more recently, Rufus Wainwright and the Scissor Sisters. Fortunately, his name-dropping, shape-shifting pop is usually good, and genuine, enough to come across as eloquent homage rather than blatant thievery or a tired rehash. Mika’s singles are his most charming moments, especially the instant sunshine of “Grace Kelly,” which crams tap-dancing rhythms, filmic dialogue, Elton’s pianos, Freddie’s vocal harmonies, and Brian May’s guitars into just over three minutes. “Relax (Take It Easy)” is in the same vein of hypnotic, danceable melancholy as the Scissor Sisters’ reworking of “Comfortably Numb,” albeit less showy, while “Billy Brown”‘s brass arrangement, flowing melody, and soft-shoe rhythms give it the feel of an unusually witty show tune about pre-life crises and living in the closet. As Life in Cartoon Motion unfolds, it reveals more of Mika’s musical identity, both for better and worse.


His classical piano training gives the album an appealing fluidity, especially on “Any Other World,” and lilting, Afro-pop-inspired guitars and harmonies pop up here and there, most effectively on “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful).” However, while Life in Cartoon Motion has lots of enthusiasm and creativity, it doesn’t have a lot of nuance. On songs like “Lollipop” and “Love Today,” Mika straddles the line between adorable and annoying. And as the overly long, overwrought “Erase” shows, he also doesn’t have quite the masterful touch with gentler songs that his influences possess. As admirable as Life in Cartoon Motion’s eclecticism is, it could use more focus — something that songs like the jaunty breakup song “Stuck in the Middle” and angry rocker “Ring Ring” suggest Mika is developing. While more restraint could’ve taken the album from good to great, its Technicolor, everything-at-once, borderline overdone feel makes it a fitting portrait of Mika as a young artist. (Heather Phares)


Matt Chamberlain (drums)
Derek Cintron (percussion)
Mika (vocals, keyboards, guitar, percussion, programming)
Tim Pierce (guitar)
Dan Rothchild (bass)
Dylan Schiavone (guitar)
Fabien-Waltmann (programming)
Greg Wells (guitar, bass, drums, programming, percussion, keyboards)
Lyle Workman (guitar)
background vocals:
Zuleika Penniman – Paloma Penniman – Fortuné Penniman – Audrey Moukataff – Alexander Millar – Ida Falk Winland
The Spoon Orchestra of Chiswick conducted by Paul Buckmaster
Studio Gospel Choir
Larry Corbett (cello)
Lee Thornburg (horns)


01. Grace Kelly (Mika/Marr/Merchant/Warner) 3.08
02. Lollipop (Mika) 3.03
03. My Interpretation (Mika/Marr/Supa) 3.35
04. Love Today (Mika) 3.55
05. Relax, Take It Easy (contains a prelude to “Any Other World” at the end) (Mika/v.Eede) 4.30
06. Other World (Mika) 4.19
07. Billy Brown (Mika) 3.14
08. Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) (Mika) 4.08
09. Stuck In The Middle (Mika) 4.09
10. Happy Ending / Over My Shoulder (hidden track) (Mika) 10.21



The official website:

Ben Sidran Hammond Quartet – Cien Noches (2008)

FrontCover1Ben Sidran (* August 14, 1943) , a master of many trades in music and media, makes your average Renaissance man look like a slacker. Jazz pianist of international renown, lyricist of a rock classic, award-winning national broadcaster, record and video producer, scholar, author, journalist, and father to a second generation musical prodigy, Sidran has been a major player in modern jazz, rock and pop for over forty years. Ben Sidran is more widely recognized as the host of National Public Radio’s landmark jazz series “Jazz Alive”, which received a Peabody Award, and as the host of VH-1 television’s “New Visions” series, which received the Ace Award for best music series.

Born in Chicago in 1943”his father was a friend of Saul Bellow’s”Sidran was raised in the industrial lakeshore city of Racine, Wisconsin, going up to Madison to play keyboards at frat houses parties while still a teenager in 1960. The next year he was enrolled at the university, playing dates on campus and around town. He soon joined the Ardells, a Southern comfort party band led by frat boy singer Steve Miller and his friend Boz Scaggs. But when Miller and Scaggs went west to become stars, Sidran stayed to complete his degree in English lit.


After graduating from the UW in 1966 (with honors), Sidran moved to England to pursue a Master’s Degree in American Studies at the University of Sussex. But when the Steve Miller Band came to England the following year to record with the legendary British engineer Glyn Johns, Sidran found himself back on the two-track life of academia and music.

It started with his haunting harpsichord break on Scaggs’ “Baby’s Calling Me Home” for the Miller band’s debut album, “Children of the Future.” A little later on, Ben would pen the lyrics for Miller’s “Space Cowboy,” earning a place in rock history (and enough royalties to pay

for his graduate degrees). While still pursuing his studies, Sidran also developed a relationship with Johns, often doing session work at Olympic Studios with musicians like Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. In 1969, Johns produced Sidran’s demo tape, featuring Charlie Watts, Peter Frampton and others.


Upon receiving his doctorate in American Studies at the height of the war-induced grad school glut, Sidran faced bleak prospects in academia. Then he realized his time for studying the information was over; it was time to become the information. So in the fall of 1970, after dropping his dissertation with some publishers, he moved to Los Angeles to go into the record business. Things started to break in a hurry. First came competing bids to publish his thesis; Ben bypassed the low-key offer from Oxford University Press to take a lucrative (to him, at the time) offer from Holt, Rinehart & Winston to publish the dissertation as Black Talk, or How the Music of Black America Created a Radical Alternative to the Values of Western Literary Tradition. Then, thanks to an introduction from Johns, Sidran soon had his own record deal on Capitol Records. Feel Your Groove, a jazz/rock hybrid, featured Blue Mitchell on trumpet (the first of five such engagements), guitarists Scaggs and Ed Davis and Jim Keltner on drums.

Recognizing Ben’s skills on both sides of the studio, Capitol also offered him a job as staff producer. But because his wife Judy was unhappy in the isolated haze of the Hollywood hills, Sidran did the unthinkable and walked away from LA in the summer of ’71, returning to Madison just as Feel Your Groove was released and Black Talk was published (a set of circumstances which did not provoke the label into excessive promotional activity). Taking up the Hammond B3 residency at a local club, Sidran soon found another life- long musical partner when James Brown played in town and his drummer, Clyde Stubblefield, stayed behind. It wasn’t long before another national label came calling – Blue Thumb Records, which released Ben’s “I Lead a Life” in 1972, quickly followed by “Puttin’ In Time on Planet Earth”(1972) and “Don’t Let Go,” (1973).


Sidran showcased his many talents in varied fields the year he turned 30 – leading a national tour, producing Tony Williams and Paul Pena, creating and hosting a weekly television series, even returning to academia to teach the social aesthetics of record production at the UW. His pace hasn’t slackened since.

After the demise of Blue Thumb, Sidran joined the Arista Records roster, releasing “Free in America” (1976), “The Doctor is In” (1977), “A Little Kiss in the Night” (1978), “Live at Montreaux,” (1979) and “The Cat in the Hat,” (1980). Although Ben developed a significant career in radio and television work during the eighties (see sidebar), he kept his hands on the keyboard, recording “Get to the Point”(PolyStar, 1981), “Old Songs for the New Depression,” (Antilles, 1982), “Bop City,” (Antilles, 1983), “On the Cool Side,” (Windham Hill, 1984), “Have You Met … Barcelona”(Orange Blue Productions, 1986), “On the Live Side,”(Windham Hill, 1986) and “Too Hot to Touch,” (Windham Hill 1987). His production credits that decade included “Ever Since the World Ended” and “My Backyard” for Mose Allison and “Born 2B Blue” for Steve Miller, with whom he and son Leo also toured.


Sidran continued to click on many levels throughout the 1990s, even expanded his efforts to include starting his own label, Go Jazz records. Early Sidran-produced Go Jazz releases included Georgie Fame’s “Cool Car Blues,” and “The Blues and Me,” Ricky Peterson’s “Smile Blue,” and Phil Upchurch’s “Whatever Happened to the Blues.”

In 1993, Sidran combined his art with his soul on “Life’s a Lesson,” a jazz-infused collection of Jewish liturgical and folk songs. In a five-decade career (so far), this Go Jazz release is one of the crowning personal and artistic achievements.

The end of the century brought another emotional highlight – the release of “Concert for Garcia Lorca,” a tribute to the martyred Spanish poet, Federico Garcia Lorca. Recorded in the courtyard of Garcia Lorca’s home, the album earned Ben another Grammy nomination (he lost to Madonna).


Ben has maintained his steady output of high-quality work, both on his own (“Mr. P’s Shuffle,” and “Live From the Celebrity Lounge,”) and with such artists as Van Morrison and David Sanborn. In 2001 he produced two more Grammy-nominated albums, “Mose Chronicles” (Mose Allison) and “It’s Like This” (Rickie Lee Jones).

Building on the Spanish influence that infused the Garcia Lorca release, in 2002 Ben wrote and produced (along with son Leo) the bi-lingual children’s CD, “El Elefante,” winner of the Parents’ Choice Award. That year, Ben somehow found time to return to the UW as artist-in-residence, and release his critically acclaimed memoir, A Life in the Music (Taylor).

In 2003, Ben and Leo joined with Liquid 8 Records & Entertainment to create Nardis Music, a full-service label featuring enhanced CD’s of all original releases. Among its first releases was Ben’s own “Nick’s Bump” (2004). Ben and Judy Sidran continued to reside in Madison, Wisconsin. Most Monday nights, you’ll find him behind the Hammond B3 at the Café Montmarte just off the Capitol Square, joined by Leo on drums and guitar.

A life in the music, indeed. (by Stuart Levitan)


And here´s is one ofhis exciting live albums;

Be ready for a great groove time….

It’s rare that modern jazz crooners govern so many types of keyboard instruments to the best of its ability like Ben Sidran, whether they govern an instrument beyond their voice at all. Although Sidran’s voice is his trademark: a timeless tenor storyteller with wonderful fun and insightful lyrics, which almost has the stand up comedians ability to communicate details in situations, it is Sidran’s pianistic qualities which have been extensive documented and praised, as a leader and sideman. When decided to release a live album where he just plays the Hammond B-3 organ, and with no bass player like the jazz organ masters, it is with some excitement, admiration and concerns that arises when the music starts. “Cien Noches” is the first album in his own name where Sidran plays the organ himself on all the tracks, even though that he 40 years ago played in a organ duo with organist Mevin Rhyne’s brother on drums, Ron Rhyne, in a local jazz club!


“Cien Noches” starts with Sidrans’ scatting intro supported by funky organ licks, before he welcomes us to Madrid’s famous Cafe Central backed by a band of experienced musicians from previous albums; saxophonist Bob Rockwell, brother and drummer Leo Sidran, and for me the unknown guitarist Louka Patenaude. The album contains a number of original songs – the album continues with “Get It Yourself, a bittersweet commentary on rock and roll industry, then” Cave Dancing, an extended parable about jazz and the roots of religion. Bob Dylan classics “Gotta Serve Somebody” and “Subterranean Homesick Blues” is performed better than the original (?) Saxophonist Bob Rockwell’s “Drinkin ‘and Thinkin’ is an obvious party favorite before groove time is announced where guest singer JJ Telesso folds out into jazz scatting ala Eddie Jefferson on “Straight No Chaser”.


Ben Sidran is the complete musician which the quality of “Cien Noches” album proves. Those who expect an organ jazz record in the “Jimmy Smith and Joey DeFrancesco” tradition, must look elsewhere. I am charmed by Sidran’s daring approach to use a Hammond B-3 organ enormous capabilities WITH bass pedals, which piano-to-organ converts should learn of, and as he states: “Anybody who is a fan of Jimmy Smith or Groove Holmes or Larry Young or Jack McDuff knows that the bass line is everything. Not just the notes which are important too but how one uses the position of the notes within the groove to drive the music. Unlike playing in a normal trio or quartet, when you play organ you have the opportunity to set up and support the solos with complete authority using the bass groove”.

A great album for lovers of the modern crooner tradition….and the Hammond organ. (by Terje Biringvad)

Recorded live in the week of November 21, 2007 at the Café Central, Madrid(Spain)


Hector Coulon (percussion)
José Luis Crespo Technical Assistance
Louka Patenaude (guitar, percussion)
Bob Rockwell (saxophone, percussion)
José Ma Rosillo Engineer, Technical Assistance
Amanda Sidran Back Cover Photo, Inside Photo
Ben Sidran (keyboards, percussion, vocals)
Leo Sidran (drums, percussion, vocals)
Gegé Telesforo (vocals on 06.


01. Welcome To The Central (Sidran) 1.36
02. Gotta Serve Somebody (Dylan) 5.14
03. Take Me To The River (Rockwell/Sidran) 7.40
04. Drinkin’ N Thinkin’ (Rockwell) 5.04
05. A Room In The Desert (Sidran) 6.29
06. Straight No Chaser (Monk) 5.51
07. Something For You To Do (Sidran) 0.23
08. See That Rock (Sidran) 7.14
09. Subterranean Homesick Blues (Dylan)
10. Folio (Sidran) 8.58
11. Cave Dancing (Sidran) 10.37



What a great frontcover:
FrontCover (Detail)

Filmed during the live recording in Madrid of Sidran’s 2008 “Cien Noches” record at the Cafe Central in Madrid, this video captures the environment and feeling in the club, and most of the first set of the final night of the two week club residency. The band features Ben Sidran on Hammond B3 and vocals, Leo Sidran on drums, Louka Patenaude on guitar and Bob Rockwell on saxophone. Inter-cut with interviews with the Sidrans about the experience. The sound is distorted at first and then improves. (Ben Sidan)

Terence Blanchard – A Tale Of God´s Will (2007)

FrontCover1A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina) is a studio album recorded in 2007 by the Terence Blanchard Quintet. The album was originally released on August 14, 2007 by Blue Note Records.

In 2008, Blanchard won a Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, and was nominated for Best Jazz Instrument Solo for his work on the song “Levees”.

Film director Spike Lee commissioned New Orleans native Terence Blanchard to compose the score for his 2006 four-hour HBO documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, to show the agony of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In 2007 Blanchard recorded “A Tale of God’s Will”, which contains parts (“The Water”, “Levees”, “Wading Through”, and “Funeral Dirge”) of the recording that were heard in Lee’s documentary. Blanchard’s mother, Wilhelmina, lost her Pontchartrain Park home in the tragedy but survived.

For the tracks “Ghost of Betsy” and “The Water”, Blanchard drew on his own experiences as a little boy when Hurricane Betsy flooded his Lower 9th Ward neighborhood in 1965. He intended “Funeral Dirge” as a dignified repast for a montage of dead bodies. Pianist Aaron Parks contributed “Ashe” as a benediction. Drummer Kendrick Scott describes his “Mantra” as a “mantra for healing and renewal.” Bassist Derrick Hodge’s lush “Over There”, written before Katrina, nonetheless fit the CD’s theme. Saxophonist Brice Winston wrote “In Time of Need” after moving with his family from New Orleans to Tucson, Arizona. (by wikipedia)


When director Spike Lee tapped Terence Blanchard to compose the score for his 2006 documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, the agony of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was a story they both knew had to be told from a moral standpoint and with cultural credibility. Capturing the hurricane’s sorrowful consequences through music would have to take its final shape more from the attitudes of their minds, the devastation they witnessed, and from the inspiration emanating from the people they would meet during the making of documentary. On A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina), Blanchard uses every principle he has mastered as a genius jazz trumpeter to relay the impact of the destruction, the frustration, the sadness and the hope for a future. Full of his beliefs, sustained and elevated by the power of his purpose, Blanchard, accompanied by his quintet and the Northwest Sinfonia (which he conducted and co-orchestrated), delivers a powerful explanation of the emotions surging through them during this devastating experience. Opening with “Ghost of Congo Square,” an African beat drenched in Blanchard’s articulate trumpeting, handclaps, percussion and the chant “This is the tale of God’s will” — the listener is immediately informed about why things beyond their comprehension will undoubtedly happen.


The two-minute trumpet-based “Ghost of Betsy”(about Hurricane Betsy) and the plaintive “Ghost of 1927,” a tune reincarnating another flood that ravaged New Orleans and sketched out by saxophonist Brice Winston and drummer Kendrick Scott, complete a trilogy of brief ghost interludes interspersed throughout the recording to imply warnings from the past. Blanchard depicts “Levees” as perpetually in flux: the calm before the storm as captured by the string arrangement; the interlude which decries a breakdown in the security of the Crescent City, shifting, changing, crashing from the strength of thousands of waves, blown by all the winds that passed and losing their old forms in the backwaters of time. His horn registers the aftermath of the destruction — wailing, grieving and weeping. This song is absolutely amazing. Pianist Aaron Parks plays the unforgettable melody on “Wading Through” “The Water,” and mournful “Funeral Dirge” form the remaining nucleus of the material from the documentary. Songs written by four members of Blanchard’s quintet serve to offer their own perspective of the tragedy, yet all of the music flows seamlessly to create a brilliant, inspired requiem.


The music is potent, tragic, and adept featuring full orchestral plunges and Blanchard’s stellar trumpet emerging to involve you the way he’s involved. “Dear Mom,” Blanchard’s heartfelt tribute to his mother who lost her home in the tragedy but thankfully survived with her life, closes the recording. The imagery of sadness and frustration is deeply prevalent but Blanchard builds in accents and hopeful rhythmic nuance to give the listener time to catch his breath, leave behind certain memories, and to realize the promise of a brighter future. The music here will leave you in a melancholy, contemplative mood and definitely in awe of the talented musicians, composers, and arrangers who told A Tale of God’s Will. This CD was nominated in 2007 for a Grammy award as Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, and Blanchard’s improvisation on “Levees” was nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo. (by Paula Edelstein)

Terence Blanchard (trumpet)
Zac Harmon (tabla)
Derrick Hodge (bass)
Aaron Parks (piano)
Kendrick Scott (drums, percussion)
Brice Winston (saxophone)

01. Ghost Of Congo Square (Blanchard/Hodge/Scott) 3.05
02. Levees (Blanchard) 8.11
03. Wading Through (Blanchard) 6.29
04. Ashé (Parks) 8.19
05. In Time Of Need (Winston) 7.54
06. Ghost Of Betsy (Blanchard) 2.09
07. The Water (Blanchard) 4.10
08. Mantra Intro (Scott) 3.22
09. Mantra (Scott) 9.52
10. Over There (Hodge) 7.46
11. Ghost Of 1927 (Blanchard) 1.40
12. Funeral Dirge (Blanchard) 5.55
13. Dear Mom (Blanchard) 3.39



Babe Ruth – Que Pasa (2007)

FrontCover1Returning after a break of 33 years, you could be forgiven that Babe Ruth would be out of touch with music. You would be wrong. This marks a fantastic return to performing for Babe Ruth, an album that moves through countless genres to create something truly unique. There is still enough to mark this out as a Babe Ruth record, the ease with which they move from genre to genre is astounding. It may have been a long wait, but it was worth it. (Promo text)


“Que Pasa” is the 6th full-length studio album by UK rock/hard rock act Babe Ruth. The album was released through Revolver Records in 2007. That´s 31 years after their last album release “Kid’s Stuff (1976)”. Drummer Ed Spevok is the only remaining member in the lineup from that album, but the four other members in the “Que Pasa” lineup are not strangers to fans of the band. It´s the four original members from the debut album “First Base (1972)” who have reunited. So in addition to Ed Spevok we have Jenny Haan on vocals, Alan Shacklock on guitars, Dave Punshon on keyboards and Dave Hewitt on bass. With a lineup like that I initially had high expectations to the quality of the music…

…the album soon turns into quite the disappointment though. The execution of the music is professional enough but I think the tracks on the album lack power and bite. Jenny Haan doesn´t quite sound like her own rock mama self anymore either and that´s a big minus in my book. To be honest she sounds a bit tired and worn.


While the tracks as such are well composed they lack what made the early albums by the band so enjoyable and that´s attitude. There are 14 tracks on the album which are way too many when the music isn´t that interesting. My mind simply wanders several times during the album´s playing time. To call this a hard rock release is probably a bit misleading too as it leans more towards commercial pop/rock music than sweaty hard rock. There´s even some rather atrocious rap vocals featured on the album.

All in all “Que Pasa” is a big disappointment and a rather weak comeback album by Babe Ruth. As the sound production is of relatively high quality, the songwriting compositionally acceptable (but uninspired) and the musicianship on an acceptable level too I´ll give “Que Pasa” a 2 star (40%) rating, but it´s not an album I´ll put on for my own personal enjoyment. (by Umur)


Janita (Jenny) Haan (vocals)
David Hewitt (bass)
Dave Punshon (piano)
Alan Shacklock (guitar, keyboards, programming)
Ed Spevock (drums, percussion)
DJ Kidsmeal (turntables)
Kim Shacklock (saxophone, vocals)


01. 4 Dear Life 6.46
02. Que Pasa 5.04
03. The Sun, Moon & Stars 5.18
04. Mother Tongue (Pt 1) 2.19
05. Apache 1.48
06. Mother Tongue (Pt 2) 4.35
07. Doncha Wanna Dance 5.28
08. Break For The Border 5.34
09. Killer Smile 5,47
10. 4 Letter Word 5.32
11. The Blues 7.35
12. The Mexican Millennium (Pt 1) 3.04
13. Santa Ana 2.10
14. The Mexican Millennium (Pt 2) 0.36

All songs written by Alan Shacklock
except 05. which was written by Jerry Lordan




Colbie Caillat – Coco (2007)

FrontCover1Coco is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat. The album was released on July 17, 2007 in the United States, debuting at number six on the US Billboard 200, selling 51,000 copies in its first week. It also became Caillat’s best-selling album to date, selling 2,100,000 copies in the United States and over 3,000,000 copies around the world. Caillat supported the album with the Coco World Tour, as well as four singles. The lead single “Bubbly” was a huge international hit, while the following two singles “Realize” and “The Little Things” were minor hits. The final single, titled “Somethin’ Special”, was released on July 29, 2008 to support the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. It was later mixed and titled “Somethin’ Special (Beijing Olympic Mix)”.

Caillat met producer Mikal Blue, who hired her to sing on techno songs used at fashion shows. Caillat began playing the acoustic guitar at the age of 19 and Blue helped her record her first song. She auditioned for American Idol but was rejected at the pre-audition stage and was unable to sing for the judges. The second time she auditioned for the show, she sang her own original song “Bubbly” and was rejected once again. However, Caillat expressed gratitude at the judges’ decision, saying “I was shy. I was nervous. I didn’t look the greatest.


I wasn’t ready for it yet. I was glad, when I auditioned, that they said no.” The popularity of Caillat’s MySpace profile led her to become the number-one unsigned singer in her genre for four consecutive months.[6] Her father also produced her demo songs, and was involved in production of later albums. Coco was produced by Mikal Blue, with additional production by Caillat, her father Ken Caillat and Jason Reeves.

The album was titled “Coco” because Coco was Caillat’s nickname given to her when she was a young child. The album’s artwork was a still from Caillat’s music video for the album’s lead single “Bubbly”, released on May 15, 2007. There are differences between the artwork for the standard and deluxe editions. The standard artwork shows the photo with a brown frame, while the deluxe artwork shows the photo without the frame but with blue waves and the words “DELUXE EDITION” on top. Also, a little yellow flower drawn next to the album title wasn’t shown on the deluxe artwork.


Coco was released on July 10, 2007 in Australia and Asia and a week later in North America. Its deluxe edition was released on September 3, 2008 in Japan and November 11, 2008 worldwide. The album was certified 2× Platinum by the RIAA with shipments to U.S. retailers of 2,000,000 units. The album’s first single, a smash hit, was “Bubbly”, followed by a second single, “Realize”, and the third, “The Little Things”, which became the final single from the album in the United States. The deluxe edition song, “Somethin’ Special (Beijing Olympic Mix)”, was released as a fourth single on July 29, to give support to the American athletes participating in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. The song also appeared on the AT&T Team USA Soundtrack.


According to one of the pictures on Caillat’s MySpace page, it was assumed that her song “Battle” would have been the fourth and final single from Coco. Because of her collaboration with Jason Mraz, “Lucky”, being released as a single and with the release of her second album, it is assumed that the single and music video were canceled and all promotion was then focused on “Lucky” and her second album Breakthrough.

Coco was also promoted with two tours: Coco Summer Tour in 2007 and Coco World Tour in 2008.

“Bubbly” was released as the lead single from the album on May 15, 2007 in United States. It remains Caillat’s biggest hit in the US to date, and her only single to reach the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. The single’s music video, directed by Liz Friedlander, aired on MTV, VH1 and CMT. A still from the music video was used as the cover for the album. The video/single was also featured in the hit PlayStation 2 karaoke game SingStar Pop Vol 2 released in late September 2008 in the United States. It was also featured in SingStar Hottest Hits in PAL regions.

“Realize” was officially released in January 2008 as the second single from the album, peaking at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming her second Top 20 hit in the U.S. The song is musically similar to “Bubbly”, as it is an acoustic folk-pop song, where Caillat sings of having feelings for a best friend. Caillat and her backup band performed “Realize” as the featured musical performance that closed the May 23, 2008 broadcast of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
“The Little Things” was released as the third single in Germany on March 7, 2008 and in United States in October 2008. The single did not chart well in the US, and was her weakest charting single from the album, peaking at number seven on US Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100. In 2008, she recorded a French translated version of this song.
“Somethin’ Special” was released as the fourth and final single from the album on July 29, 2008. The song was included only in the deluxe edition. It was released to give support to the American athletes participating in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. The song also was included on the AT&T Team USA Soundtrack. (by wikipedia)


Sweetness rules on Colbie Caillat’s debut, Coco, which is perhaps only appropriate for an album bearing that name. The record doesn’t play like a toasty mug of chocolate on a winter’s day, though; it’s a sugary lemonade on a breezy summer afternoon. It’s light and comforting, a familiar blend of sunny pop and singer/songwriter tropes that flirt with cliché but never sound hackneyed — a lighter, brighter spin on Norah Jones that sounds like an ideal soundtrack to a few hours in a cozy coffeehouse or a montage on Grey’s Anatomy, whatever comes first.

If that gives the impression that Caillat is a little calculated — and if her music-biz heritage (her dad co-produced Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and Tusk) gives the sense that she may have had a silver spoon, and if her celebrated MySpace popularity is also initially suspect — then as an album Coco shows no crassness or coldness: it flows easily and, yes, sweetly, filled with gently ingratiating melodies and delivered with warmth and a casual charisma that proves to be quite endearing by the end of the record. Caillat doesn’t attempt anything approaching a major statement — the album is filled with songs about love and life — but that’s her appeal: she sings about simple, everyday things in an unassuming manner, letting her melodies and girl-next-door charm carry the day, and they do so winningly on this nicely mellow debut. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)


Michael Baker (drums)
Stevie Blacke (cello, viola, violin)
Mikal Blue (bass, guitar, keyboards, synthesizer)
Colbie Caillat (vocals, guitar)
Jaco Caraco (guitar)
Brian Carr (keyboards)
Luis Conte (percussion)
Tim Fagan (guitar)
Cecil “Censi” Francis (steel-drums)
Victor Indrizzo (drums)
Mark Levang (piano)
Dave Marotta (bass, guitar)
Jason Reeves (guitar, piano, ukulele, backgroun vocals)
Yukihide Takiyama (bass, guitar)
Annaliese Wolverton (background vocals)


01. Oxygen (Caillat/Reeves) 3.51
02. The Little Things (Caillat/Reeves) 3.46
03. One Fine Wire (Blue/Caillat/Reeves) 3.38
04. Bubbly (Caillat/Reeves) 3.17
05. Feelings Show (Blue/Caillat/Reeves) 3.10
06. Midnight Bottle (Caillat/Reeves) 3.42
07. Realize (Blue/Caillat/Reeves) 4.05
08. Battle (Blue/Caillat) 4.04
09. Tailor Made (Caillat/Reeves) 4.30
10. Magic (Caillat/Reeves) 3.25
11. Tied Down (Caillat/Reeves) 3.08
12. Capri (Caillat) 3.01



Kila – Gamblers Ballet (2007)

FrontCover1Kíla are an Irish folk music/world music group, originally formed in 1987 in the Irish language secondary school Coláiste Eoin in County Dublin.

The band’s first performance was upstairs in the Baggott Inn, Dublin, and was attended by three people. The original lineup for the band was Eoin Dillon (uilleann pipes), Colm Mac Con Iomaire (fiddle), Rossa Ó Snodaigh (whistle, bones), Rónán Ó Snodaigh (bodhrán), Karl Odlum (bass), and David Odlum (guitar). Colm Ó Snodaigh, the brother of Rónán and Rossa, joined the band before the first recordings were made. Rónán, Rossa, and Colm Ó Snodaigh are sons of publisher Pádraig Ó Snodaigh and artist Cliodna Cussen and are brothers of Irish TD, Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

In 1991, Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Dave Odlum left Kíla to join The Frames, an Irish rock band. In the same year, Dee Armstrong and Eoin O’Brien joined the band as replacements. Dave Reidy also joined as a lead guitarist, though he emigrated to San Francisco a year later. Karl was then replaced by Ed Kelly on bass who emigrated to Scotland a little over a year after the recording Mind the Gap in 1994. Eoin O’Brien was replaced by Lance Hogan. Laurence O Keefe filled in temporarily on bass until Brian Hogan assumed that position prior to recording Tóg É Go Bog É.

In 2003, in a review of their album Luna Park, Kíla’s blend of Irish traditional music and world music with a modern rock sensibility was credited with breathing new life into contemporary Irish folk music.


In 2009, Donegal guitarist Seanan Brennan joined the band to replace Lance who was on a sabbatical. He has remained with the band since then bringing an electric guitar to the line up for the first time since Eoin O’Brien was a member. He made his first appearance with Kíla in early January of that year on a televised version of Leath ina Dhiaidh a hOcht.

In 2008 Kíla recorded “The Ballad of Ronnie Drew” with U2, Shane MacGowan, Glen Hansard, Damien Dempsey, The Dubliners and a host of other artists. With proceeds going to The Irish Cancer Society. The song was later included on a album of collaborations that U2 recorded with other artists – Duals (2012).

Kíla have played at many festivals around the world, including Dún Laoghaire Festival of World Cultures, Electric Picnic, Womadelaide, Glastonbury, Féile an Dóilín, St. Chartier, Reading and Cambridge Folk Festival, Montreaux Jazz Festival and the Stockholm Water Festival. All members of the group participate in composing and arranging Kíla’s songs. they have also performed at student events such as the NUIG Arts Ball in 2010, the biggest event of its kind in Ireland.


The band collaborated with French composer Bruno Coulais on the soundtrack of The Secret of Kells, an animated film by the Irish studio Cartoon Saloon. The film was nominated for best animated film at the 82nd Academy Awards in 2010. That same year their music was heavily featured in two other feature films – Maeve Murphy’s controversial Beyond the Fire and Ciarán O’Connor’s Trafficked. Kíla’s music also features in the award-winning documentary film Fight or Flight.

In late 2011, Kíla published their long-awaited Book of Tunes. Comprising over 100 of their compositions and lavishly decorated with photos, poems & prose, the book was a huge success, being described as ‘a masterpiece’ by Seán Laffey from Irish Music Magazine. The publication of the book ended a fine year for Kíla in style. Through this year they played three sell-out shows in Harare, Zimbabwe at the HIAFA festival, played at the Possibilities conference that welcomed the Dalai Lama to Ireland and played the inaugural concert in Temple Bar Meeting House Square, under the elegant retractable canopies, two days before Christmas.


2015 could be termed the ‘year of the awards and nominations’ for Kíla. They collaborated on the music for the Oscar nominated animated feature, Song of the Sea with Bruno Coulais. They received an Annie Awards nomination for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Music in an Animated Feature Production’. They also received an Emmy nomination for their work on a Crossing The Line production called The Secret Life of the Shannon. In June Eoin Dillon left and James Mahon from Shankill took his place.

Gamblers’ Ballet is a 2007 album by the Irish folk band Kíla. It was nominated for the Choice Music Prize for Irish Album of the Year 2007. The opening track “Leath Ina Dhiaidh A hOcht”/”Half Eight” was the first single taken from the album. “Cardinal Knowledge” was used as the outro music for the Cartoon Saloon, Oscar nominated animation The Secret of Kells, and “Dúisigí” and “Cabhraigí Léi” were used in the Japanese film Kadokawa, which was directed by Ryuichi Hiroki. (by wikipedia)


They are back again. Better and bigger than ever. Irish band Kíla is about … ag scagadh soiscéal – spreading good vibes. Five instrumental dance tunes have been written and recorded by the band, ambient music on traditional Irish grounds (the first track features “Pachebel’s Canon” written in 1680 as a piece of chamber music for three violins and basso continuo) with bits of jazz, Balkan and Spain here and there. More precisely, it is almost exclusively reels and slow airs (though very varied), but Kíla exactly know how to please their audience. Four songs are executed by singer Rónán O’Snodaigh  in his own unimitable style, Irish language chant over African grooves. It is 21th century poetry about luaithreadán lán, gloiní ó aréir agus boladh biotáile, feadóga, fags, eochar an carr – a full ashtray, last night’s glasses and the smell of whiskey whistles, fags, the keys of the car. With their “Gambler’s Ballet”, Kíla set a new standard in roots music – for themselves, Ireland and the Celtic countries, entire Europe and the rest of the world. (

Another collection of fast and lively songs and tunes in Kíla’s gloriously eclectic style. World, Irish and Street music collide in a fusion of fun and full-on energy.


Irish band Kila have been perfecting their musical skills for over twenty years. They formed in Colaiste Eoin school in Dublin, back in 1987. Since then they have travelled and toured extensively across the globe, enriching their musical skills and rich vocabulary of sounds.

Bubbling over with new ideas, but still full of the energetic tunes and percussive Gaelic vocals that are Kila’s trademark. (

“A record where you feel you’re getting your musical passport stamped in a different location on every song, it finds the septet losing nothing as they bring the energy and freewheeling quality of their live shows to the studio – and sounding like someone just remembered to hit record during one hell of a get together.” (RTE)


“Kíla bring their particular blend of contemporary, paired with layered arrangements and an undoubted World music sensibility.” (Irish Times)

Another album from the masters of Irish Trad/World/Techno/ Dance/Electronica – the spellbinding Kila.
This certainly requires serious listening but we feel the effort will be worthwhile. Kila don’t do things the easy way, nor in half measures.
This is also a top class production job. Congrats to all! (

In other words: a perfect mix between old and new melodies from good ol´Ireland !


Dee Armstrong (fiddle, vocals, dulcimer , banjo)
Eoin Dillon (uilleann pipes,whistles, background vocals)
Brian Hogan (bass, lap steel-guitar, guitar, percussion, background vocals)
Lance Hogan (guitar, drums, percussion, programming)
Colm O’Snodaigh (flute, percussion, whistle, clarinet, saxophones, vocals)
Ronan O’Snodaigh (bodhran, bocals, glockenspiel, percussion)
Martin Brunsden (saw)
Mark Gavin (bass synthsizer)
Darach Mac Con Iomaire (fiddle)
Karl Odlum (programming, guitar, effects)
Liam O Maonlai (piano, background vocals)
Rossa O’Snodaigh (whistle, mandolin, lute, percussion & Lots of noisy things)
Dan ‘Klezmer’ Page (clarinet)
Hiroshi Yamaguchi (guitar)


01. Leath ina Dhiaidh a hOcht (R.O’Snodaigh/Dillon/Pachelbel) 3.19
02. Electric Landlady (Armstrong) 4.50
03. Cardinal Knowledge (C.O’Snodaigh) 5.09
04. Dúisígí (Armstrong/Dillon/B.Hogan/L.Hogan/C.O’Snodaigh/R.O’Snodaigh) 3.40
05. Seo mo Leaba (Armstrong/Dillon/B.Hogan/L.Hogan/C.O’Snodaigh/R.O’Snodaigh) 4.11
06. Fir Bolg (Armstrong/Dillon/B.Hogan/L.Hogan/C.O’Snodaigh/R.O’Snodaigh) 5.33
07. Boy Racer (Armstrong/Dillon/B.Hogan/L.Hogan/C.O’Snodaigh/R.O’Snodaigh) 4.19
08. Her Royal Waggeldy Toes (Armstrong/Dillon/B.Hogan/L.Hogan/C.O’Snodaigh/ R.O’Snodaigh) 4.09
09. Cabhraigí Léi (Armstrong/Dillon/B.Hogan/L.Hogan/C.O’Snodaigh/R.O’Snodaigh) 4.51




Various Artists – Crossroads Guitar Festival (2007)

FrontCover1.jpgReleased almost exactly three years after the first, tremendously successful Crossroads DVD, this double-disc documents the 2007 benefit concert for Clapton’s Crossroads Center substance abuse facility. “Guitar” is the operative word here, since all the participants are six-string players. As in the last show, the genres include country (Willie Nelson, Vince Gill), gospel (Robert Randolph), Latin rock (Los Lobos), pop (Sheryl Crow, John Mayer), jazz fusion (John McLaughlin, Jeff Beck) and lots of blues (everyone else). Some performers such as Randolph, Mayer, B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughan, Robert Cray, Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy, and of course Clapton return from the 2004 lineup. That was a two-day event held in Dallas, TX. This was a one day — a very long day — show moved to the home of the blues, a stadium just outside of Chicago, and features a very funny Bill Murray introducing the acts.

Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood1.jpg

Based on the sunlight, it seems to be in chronological order, or close to it. Each artist gets one or two tunes cherrypicked from longer sets which keeps this album fast paced, even at its three-hour length. Still, it would make sense to release more music on a separate DVD or even CD for those who would like to hear the rest of the material. That is especially the case with Jeff Beck and Robert Randolph, two artists that burn up the stage with abbreviated performances. A highly anticipated reunion with Clapton and his Blind Faith bandmate Steve Winwood results in three songs, “Presence of the Lord,” “Can’t Find My Way Home,” and “Had to Cry Today” from that band’s only album.

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While it sounds fine, there is a noticeable spark and edge missing from the interaction, leaving it somewhat bland and certainly anti-climactic. Derek Trucks burns through Layla’s “Anyday,” though, and Clapton sounds inspired on “Tell the Truth,” another Layla track cranked up with Trucks taking the Duane Allman slide part. Collaborations also bring out the best in some axe slingers, with Vince Gill and Albert Lee’s hot-wired “Country Boy,” and Jimmie Vaughan fronting the Robert Cray band on a sizzling slow blues “Dirty Work at the Crossroads.” (by Hal Horowitz)

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01. Sonny Landreth: Hell At Home (with Eric Clapton) (Landreth) 6.38
02. John McLaughlin: Maharina (McLaughlin) 8.00
03. Doyle Bramhall II; Outside Woman Blues (Reynolds) 3.45
04. Derek Trucks Band: Highway 61 Revisited (with Johnny Winter) (Dylan) 9.17
05. Robert Randolph & The Family Band: The March (Randolph) 12.04
06. The Robert Cray Band: Poor Johnny (Cray) 6.20
07. Jimmie Vaughan: Dirty Work At The Crossroads (with The Robert Cray Band) (Brown/ Robey) 4.09
08. Hubert Sumlin: Sitting On The Top Of The World (with he Robert Cray Band & Jimmie Vaughan (Burnett) 4.29
09. B.B. King: The Thrill Is Gone (Benson/Pettie) 7.14
10. John Mayer: I Don´t Need No Doctor (Ashford/Simpson/Armstead) 7.10
11. Vince Gill: Sweet Thing (Nicholson/Gill) 5.04
12. Albert Lee: Country Boy (with Vince Gill) (Lee/Smith/Colton)
13. Eric Clapton & Sheryl Crow: Tulsa Time (with Vince Gill & Albert Lee) (Flowers) 6.32
14. Willie Nelson: On The Road Again  (with Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill & Albert Lee) (Nelson) 2.50
15. Los Lobos: Chains Of Love (Hidalgo/Pérez) 6.53
16. Jeff Beck: Big Block (Beck/Bozzio/Hymas) 5.44
17. Eric Clapton: Little Queen Of Spades (Johnson) 12.59
18. Eric Clapton & Robbie Robertson: Further On Up The Road (Robey‎/Veasey) 7.18
19. Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton: Pearly Queen (Capaldi/Winwood) 5.47
20. Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton: Had To Cry Today (Winwood) 6.24
21. Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton: Cocaine (Cale) 9.30
22. Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood: Crossroads (Johnson) 5.59
23. Buddy Guy: Stone Crazy
24. Buddy Guy: Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues (Guy) 5.21
25. Buddy Guy & Eric Clapton: Hoochie Coochie Man (Dixon) 9.18
26. Buddy Guy: Sweet Home Chicago (with Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, John Mayer, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmie Vaughan, Johnny Winter) (Johnson) 8.53

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