Karl Jenkins (Cantorion + The Cory Band) – This Land Of Ours (2007)

FrontCover1.jpgSir Karl William Pamp Jenkins CBE (born 17 February 1944) is a Welsh musician and composer. His best known works include the song “Adiemus” and the Adiemus album series; Palladio; The Armed Man; and his Requiem.

Jenkins was educated in music at Cardiff University and the Royal Academy of Music, where he is a fellow and an associate. He was a member of the jazz-rock band Soft Machine. Jenkins has composed music for advertisement campaigns and has won the industry prize twice.

Karl Jenkins was born and raised in Penclawdd, Gower, Wales. His mother was Swedish and his father was Welsh. Jenkins received his initial musical instruction from his father who was the local schoolteacher, chapel organist and choirmaster. He attended Gowerton Grammar School.

Jenkins studied music at Cardiff University, and then commenced postgraduate studies in London at the Royal Academy of Music.

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The Collier Septet 1967 – from L to R: Karl Jenkins, John Marshall, Mike Gibbs, GC, Harry Beckett, Phil Lee, Dave Aaron

For the bulk of his early career Jenkins was known as a jazz and jazz-rock musician, playing baritone and soprano saxophones, keyboards and oboe, an unusual instrument in a jazz context. He joined jazz composer Graham Collier’s group and later co-founded the jazz-rock group Nucleus, which won first prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1970.

In 1972 he joined the Canterbury progressive rock band Soft Machine. The group played venues including The Proms, Carnegie Hall, and the Newport Jazz Festival. The album on which Jenkins first played with Soft Machine, Six, won the Melody Maker British Jazz Album of the Year award in 1973. Jenkins also won the miscellaneous musical KarlJenkins02instrument section (as he did the following year). Soft Machine was voted best small group in the Melody Maker jazz poll of 1974. The albums in which Jenkins performed and composed were Six, Seven (1973), Bundles (1975), Softs (1976) and Land of Cockayne (1981). Jenkins composed most of the tracks on Seven and nearly all of the tracks on the subsequent three albums.

After Mike Ratledge left the band in 1976, Soft Machine did not include any of its founding members, but kept recording on a project basis with line-ups revolving around Jenkins and drummer John Marshall. Although Melody Maker had positively reviewed the Soft Machine of 1973 and 1974, Hugh Hopper, involved with the group since replacing bassist Kevin Ayers in 1968, cited Jenkins’s “third rate” musical involvement in his own decision to leave the band,[3] and the band of the late 1970s has been described by band member John Etheridge as wasting its potential.

In November 1973, Jenkins and Ratledge participated in a live-in-the-studio performance of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells for the BBC. It is available on Oldfield’s Elements DVD.

Jenkins has created advertising music, twice winning the industry prize in that field. From the 1980s, he developed a relationship with Bartle Bogle Hegarty, starting with composing musics for their Levi’s jeans “Russian” series. He composed a classical theme used by De Beers diamond merchants for their television advertising campaign focusing on jewellery worn by people otherwise seen only in silhouette. Jenkins later included this as the title track in a compilation called Diamond Music, and eventually created Palladio, using it as the theme of the first movement. Other arrangements have included advertisements for the Renault Clio.

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As a composer, his breakthrough came with the crossover project Adiemus. Jenkins has conducted the Adiemus project in Japan, Germany, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, and Belgium, as well as London’s Royal Albert Hall and Battersea Power Station. The Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary (1995) album topped the classical album charts. It spawned a series of successors, each revolving around a central theme. In 2014 Jenkins released a tribute song for the 2014 Winter Olympics, performed by his new age music group also called Adiemus.

Jenkins was the first international composer and conductor to conduct the University of Johannesburg Kingsway Choir led by Renette Bouwer, during his visit to South Africa as the choir performed his The Armed Man: A mass for peace together with a 70-piece orchestra.

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Jenkins’ choral work The Peacemakers, features texts from Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Anne Frank and Mother Teresa, as well as words from the Bible and the Qur’an with some new text specially written by Terry Waite. On the 2012 record the London Symphony Orchestra is joined by different vocal forces including Rundfunkchor Berlin, the City of Birmingham Youth Chorus, and the 1000-strong “The Really Big Chorus” made up of members of UK choirs from across the country brought together in one day, in one studio, to contribute to two movements on the album. Guest artists include violinist Chloë Hanslip, soprano Lucy Crowe, Davy Spillane on Uilleann pipes, Indian bansuri player Ashwin Srinivasan and jazz musicians Nigel Hitchcock and Laurence Cottle. The album was released on 26 March 2012. The world premiere of this seventeen-movement work took place, however, in New York City’s Carnegie Hall on 16 January 2012. Jenkins conducted from the podium and John H. Briggs, Sr. conducted the Children’s Chorus from a seated position. Briggs was the Choral Arts Conductor of one of the participating schools and its two choruses: Il Bel Canto and Die Meistersingers of Gwynn Park Middle School, Maryland.[citation needed] Additional concerts in the UK and US took place later in the year.

Jenkins composed the music for the 2012 BBC Wales series The Story of Wales presented by Huw Edwards.

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A work entitled The Healer – A Cantata For St Luke was premiered on 16 October 2014 (7:30 pm) in St Luke’s Church, Grayshott, Hampshire, and was recorded and broadcast on Classic FM.[9] The Healer received its US premiere at Carnegie Hall, New York on 19 January 2015. In September 2015, the recording of the premiere of The Healer was released on CD by Warner Classics as part of the 8 disc boxed set Voices.

A compilation CD, Still With The Music, was also released in September 2015, coinciding with the publication of his autobiography of the same name.

On 8 October 2016 Jenkins’ choral work Cantata Memoria: For the children, a response to the 1966 Aberfan disaster with a libretto by Mererid Hopwood and commissioned by S4C, premiered at the Wales Millennium Centre. The concert was broadcast the following evening on S4C and was released as an album by Deutsche Grammophon.

Jenkins holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Wales. He has been made both a fellow and an associate of the Royal Academy of Music, and a room has been named in his honour. He also has had fellowships at Cardiff University (2005), the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Trinity College Carmarthen, and Swansea Metropolitan University.

In 2008 Jenkins’ The Armed Man was listed as No. 1 in Classic FM’s “Top 10 by living composers”.

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He was awarded an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Leicester, the Chancellor’s Medal from the University of Glamorgan and honorary visiting professorships at Thames Valley University, London College of Music and the ATriUM, Cardiff.

Jenkins was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2005 New Year Honours and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours. In 2015 he was made a Knight Bachelor.

Jenkins is joint president of the British Double Reed Society and Patron of the International Schools Choral Music Society (ISCMS).

In 2016 Jenkins received the BASCA Gold Badge Award for his unique contribution to music. (by wikipedia)

Tracks on the album ‘This Land Of Ours’ are all special arrangements by Karl Jenkins and range from classical favourites and choral classics to traditional Welsh tunes and pop standards – all performed in that unique brass band style. (prestomusic.com)

This wonderful recording grabbed me at the first note and excepting for one track (“Delilah”, whose inclusion I did and do fail to understand). I was in turn moved to tears, exalted, enchanted and in all, delighted by this recording. Given the nationality of the composer, it’s not surprising that the land referred to in the title is Wales. The original songs by Karl Jenkens, performed in Welsh are gorgeous, showing a genuine affection for the music, and musicians of his homeland. The all male group, Cantorion are splendid. Some all-male (and-all female choruses, for that matter) can bring a sameness to their performances, but not Cantorion.

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The blend is awesome and the range of color of which this group is capable is nothing less than astounding. And as far as the instrumental ensemble, Cory Band, is concerned, the review who opined that this was ‘not a good recording for them’ must have been listening to something else entirely. First of all, the combination of male chorus and band is an ancient and honorable one in Wales. Also, the performances here are nothing short of awesome — in every sense of the word. The final selection ends with an extended cadenza for the band that absolutely takes my breath away every time I listen to it. And every time I play it on my radio program, “Sunday Evening Songfest” (on WMNR Fine Arts Radio — wmnr.org) I get calls from listeners who love what they hear and can’t wait to get this recording. (Annie Schwaikert)

It seems slightly unfair to label this as a ‘Karl Jenkins’ album, as the performers here are the multi-award-winning brassists Cory Band and male voice choir Cantorion. Of course, fellow Welshman Jenkins is the arranger and producer of the material included on this EMI Classics debut, and it’s his name that looms largest on the cover.

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Jenkins’ powerful use of surging vocal arrangements infused with drama, and the sprinkling of modern touches into classical structures is here in abundance – it’s a Jenkins work and no mistake.

The inclusion of the Cory Band generates a clean, brass sound and an almost-Christmassy atmosphere.

Some lesser-known Welsh-language pieces such as Cysga Di (Go To Sleep) vie with age-old favourites (Delilah, Abide With Me, Pie Jesu) but Jenkins’ skill comes in its own, allowing each to breathe; not one piece overwhelms another.

He’s on top form with this interperative collection, aided by some of the UK’s very best musical and vocal performers. (James McLaren)

Recorded at the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, 31 August, 1 & 2 September 2007

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Personnel:
Cantorion (chor; musical director: Tim Rhys-Evans)
Cory Band (brass band; musical director: Robert Childs)
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David Childs (euphonium)

Conducted by Karl Jenkins

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Tracklist:
01. Cantilena: Ysbryd y Mynyddoedd (Spirit Of The Mountain) (Davies/Jenkins) 3.29
02. Cysga Di (Davies/Dvořák) 2.56
03. Delilah (Mason/Reed) 2.26
04. Abide With Me (Monk) 2.43
05. Suo Gan (Traditional) 3.23
06. Danny Boy (Traditional) 4.16
07. Son Of Maria (Barratt/Traditional) 3.03
08. Pie Jesu (From Requiem) (Jenkins) 4.34
09. Hyfrydol (Traditional) 3.38
10. Evening Prayer (Kelley/Humperdinck) 3.47
11. In These Stones Horizons Sing (Jenkins) 4.22
12. Flower Duet (Delibes) 1.41
13. Myfanwy (Parry) 4.16
14. Agnus Dei (From The Armed Man) (Jenkins) 3.39
15. Benedictus (From The Armed Man) (Jenkins) 7.38
16. Lle Cana’r Eryrod (Where Eagles Sing) (Lovatt-Cooper) 3.58

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Vanilla Fudge – Out Through The In Door (A Tribute To Led Zeppelin) (2007)

FrontCover1.jpgOut Through the In Door is the eighth album by Vanilla Fudge, released in June 2007, with the US finally following in August 2009. According to the band’s official webpage, it originally was to be released in February 2007. The following statement was taken from their website:

Coming in February, 2007… A New Album! It’s true! Mark, Vince, Tim, and Carmine were in California in July recording an album of Led Zeppelin covers. Mark said, “Basically, we rearranged some songs — we’re doing a lot of their stuff Vanilla Fudge style. Some of the arrangements are slowed down, and some speeded up but I think we’ve done the songs justice.”

The album title is a play on words of the 1979 Led Zeppelin album In Through the Out Door. (by wikipedia)

Throughout the years, there have been oodles and oodles of Led Zeppelin tribute albums. And many of these releases feature hard rock bands that merely replicate Zep classics note for note, karaoke-style. In 2007, along came Vanilla Fudge’s “tip of the cap” to Bonham-Jones-Page-Plant, titled Out Through the In Door. Unlike most other bands that have covered Zep, Vanilla Fudge actually have some honest to goodness history with the group they’re paying homage to, as Zep supported the Fudge on one of their earliest U.S. tours, back in 1969. And it’s common knowledge among drummers that John Bonham studied — and perhaps even borrowed a thing or two from — the Fudge’s powerhouse drummer, Carmine Appice.

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What makes Out Through the In Door work — unlike many other Zep tributes — is that Vanilla Fudge inject their own style and approach to the tunes, and aren’t afraid to stray a bit from the original compositions. One case in point is “Ramble On,” which gets much more soulful (especially in the chorus), and another is the nice touch provided by Mark Stein’s organ flourishes on “Fool in the Rain” — while both elements collide in an impressively haunting reading of “Dazed and Confused.” Few Zep tribute albums — or even most classic rock tribute albums in general — work as well as Out Through the In Door does. (by Greg Prato)

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Personnel:
Carmine Appice (drums, vocals)
Tim Bogert (bass, vocals)
Vince Martell (guitar, vocals)
Mark Stein (vocals, keyboards)
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Teddy (Zig Zag) Andreadis – Tom Vitorino

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Tracklist:
01. Immigrant Song (Page/Plant) 3.20
02. Ramble On (Page/Plant) 4.29
03. Trampled Under Foot (Jones/Page/Plant) 4.50
04. Dazed And Confused (Page) 5.59
05. Black Mountain Side (Page) 3.31
06. Fool In The Rain (Jones/Page/Plant) 5.36
07. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (Bredon) 7.05
08. Dancing Days (Page/Plant) 4.49
09. Moby Dick (Bonham/Jones/Page) 6.08
10. All My Love (Jones/Plant) 6.17
11. Rock And Roll (Bonham/Jones/Page/Plant) 4.21
12. Your Time Is Gonna Come (Jones/Plant) 5.46

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I got this greaat album from Mr. Sleeve … he has a really great collection of records … thanks again !

Radio String Quartet – Celebrating The Mahavishnu Orchestra (2007)

FrontCover1.jpgHiding political tics behind faux-formalist boilerplate, pop aesthetes accused them of imposing Solidarity and Agent Orange on their musical material, but in fact such subjects signaled an other-directedness as healthy as Michael Stipe’s newfound elocution. Admittedly, with this one beginning “The world is collapsing around our ears,” I wondered briefly whether “Losing My Religion” was about music itself, but when Stipe says they thought about calling it Love Songs, he’s not just mumbling “Dixie.” Being R.E.M., they mean to capture moods or limn relationships rather than describe feelings or, God knows, incidents, and while some will find the music too pleasing, it matches the words hurt for hurt and surge for surge. The Kate Pierson cameos, the cellos, and Mark Bingham’s organic string arrangements are Murmur without walls–beauty worthy of DeBarge, of the sweetest soukous, of a massed choir singing “I Want To Know What Love Is.” (Press release)

This must surely be one of the most unusual releases in ACT’s distinguished canon. The idea of a classical string quartet playing the fusion era compositions of guitarist John Mclaughlin is initially mind-boggling but it all works surprisingly well. So well in fact that the project has won the endorsement of McLaughlin himself who demonstrates his approval by supplying the albums liner notes.

The seeds of the project were sown in 2000 when Austrian composer and accordionist Klaus Paier asked violinist Bernie Mallinger to assemble a string quartet to play on Paier’s CD “Moviemento”. The album was a considerable success and was nominated for an “Amadeus Award”.

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Mallinger’s string quartet acquired a life of it’s own and over the course of several personnel changes and numerous projects the group metamorphosed into the radio.string.quartet. The modish name hints at Mallinger’s willingness to reach beyond the classical repertoire and to embrace more diverse and contemporary styles of music.

He is joined in the radio.stringquartet by fellow violinist Johannes Dickbauer who studied classical violin in Salzburg and Vienna but also has an aptitude for jazz.
Cynthia Liao, another classically trained player is on viola, with Asja Valcic, from Zagreb completing the quartet on cello. Both Liao and Valcic have expressed their enjoyment of playing in the group and of the challenges and freedoms it offers them musically.

Mallinger had been a fan of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and was intrigued by the way Mclaughlin integrated the violin of Jerry Goodman (later succeeded by Jean Luc Ponty) into a jazz-rock context. He felt that re-arranging Mclaughlin’s music for string quartet would bring out the melodic and harmonic aspects of Mclaughlin’s compositions, qualities that were sometimes hidden by Mahavishnu’s somewhat bombastic approach. Mallinger’s arrangements reveal the structures within Mclaughlin’s compositions and bring out the beauty of tunes such as “A Lotus On Irish Stream”.

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This is not to say that the string quartet’s playing lacks energy. Indeed at times they play with a verve and intensity (as on “The Dance Of Maya” and “Birds Of Fire”) that I have never previously encountered from this instrumental line up. There is a great interaction between the players and a drive that also brings out the rhythmic qualities of Mclaughlin’s music. These string players play pizzicato and utilise their bows to create the kind of percussive effects that would be unthinkable in classical music but which are totally appropriate in this context. Mclaughlin’s complex compositions represent a considerable technical challenge to the players and they respond brilliantly. The arrangements by Mallinger and Klemens Bittman are superb and must have been a real labour of love.

Although Mclaughlin incorporated a string quartet into the second incarnation of the Mahavishnu Orchestra the results were surely nothing like this. Radio.string.quartet have put their own stamp on the music and created a different type of fusion as classical discipline combines with the spirit of jazz improvisation to create something unique. There are even a few folk inspired flourishes for good measure.

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The project is a total success on it’s own terms and is a superb blend of passion and precision. However it is very intense and hearing the whole album in one sitting represents a considerable challenge to the listener. Although the album may be less of a commercial prospect than label mates E.S.T. it is to ACT’S credit that they continue to foster such adventurous music.

Fans of Mclaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra should find this album fascinating and hopefully enjoyable. Others like myself, who found Mahavishnu rather too bombastic and OTT will welcome the opportunity to view Mclaughlin’s compositions in a new light. It may even inspire me to revisit the original Mahavishnu recordings, which go back some thirty-five years, heaven help us all.

Radio.string.quartet performed this music to considerable critical acclaim at the 2006 Berlin Jazz Festival. They subsequently performed it at London’s Vortex Jazz Club in May as part of ACT’s fifteenth anniversary celebrations, but I’ve not heard any feedback regarding that concert as yet. On the evidence of this recording it must have been a very interesting evening. (by Ian Mann)

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Personnel:
Johannes Dickbauer (violin)
Bernie Mallinger (violin)
Cynthia Liao (viola)
Asja Valcic (cello)

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Tracklist:
01. Open Country Joy 3.58
02. A Lotus On Irish Stream 6.18
03. Vital Transformation 4.55
04. The Dance Of Maya 6.37
05. Dawn 5.03
06. Dream 5.06
07. Thousand Island Park 3.04
08. Meeting Of The Spirits 5.33
09. Celestial Terrestrial Commuters 4.59
10. Hope 1.44
11. Birds Of Fire 5.01
12. You Know, You Know 5.15
13. Sanctuary 6.52
14. Resolution 2.31

Music composed by John McLaughlin

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When I was first given the demo CD of the recordings of the compositions I wrote for the “Mahavishnu Orchestra” performed by the radio.string.quartet.vienna, I imagined something of dubious quality.
Remember, these compositions were written for an electric jazz-fusion group 34 – 35 years ago, and while the 2nd version of Mahavishnu Orchestra had a string quartet within the group, the drums, bass and electric guitar were always there and very present.
From the first note I was struck by the way this group had ‘appropriated’ my music and made it their very own. They even got the atmosphere which was present all those years ago. The other aspect that touched me deeply was the importance they attach to improvisation, and they do improvise!
The quartet is also not without humour: just listen to that version of “Celestial Terrestrial Commuters”…
This is no ordinary string quartet. The love of, and the dedication they have to their respective instruments is marvellous, and the fact that they have taken what was electric jazz-fusion music, fused it with their training in ‘classical’ music, and conserved the ‘electric’ atmosphere is outstanding.
Throughout the listening of this recording, the radio.string.quartet.vienna brought me back to the wonderful days of the Mahavishnu Orchestras with true enjoyment. Thank you! (John McLaughlin)

 

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings – Nobody Sings Dylan Like Gill ‘n’ Dave (2019)

FrontCover1.jpgIf you saw Gillian Welch and David Rawlings on the Oscars this year, you know they’re amazing. You may not know they are also amazing interpreters of a certain Nobel Prize-winning singer-songwriter. They were featured often on my 40-volume Dylan cover collection “Nobody Sings Dylan Like Dylan,” but when I heard that the Dave Rawlings Machine had covered “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” at a San Francisco concert last year – opening the show with the first half of the song, and closing it with the second half – I decided it was time to give them their own NSD collection. A year later, here it is.

As always, thanks to the tapers – they are the true heroes of the ROIO world – and to Gill and Dave for daring to test their mettle on these incomparable songs. As you might remember, in the summer of 2015 Gill ‘n’ Dave did a 50th anniversary tribute at the Newport Folk Festival to the historic show at which Dylan first plugged in. Surprisingly, it has never turned up on any of the download sites I frequent, though there is a barely listenable/watchable version on YouTube. If you have a better version to offer, please do; if you don’t want to bother with the nuts and bolts of uploading, let me know and I’ll do it for you.

A few of these songs are featured on other NSD sets, but these are different versions. Finally, please allow me to dedicate this collection to my friend and fellow Dylan fan Erik, who first introduced me to Gill ‘n’ Dave’s music in 1996 by giving me a copy of “Revival” and telling me I’d love it. I did, and I still do. (jeffs98119 at dime)

Various dates and venues. Mix of audience and soundboard recordings
between 1996 and 2018

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Dave Rawlings & Gillian Welch (Oscar 2019)

Personnel:
Dave Rawlings Machine (on 01., 03., 05., 07., 11. + 13.)
The Esquires (on 02. + 09.)
Gillian Welch & David Rawlings (on 04., 06., 08., 10. + 12.)

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Tracklist:
01. Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts (1) (Mar 1, 2018, Fillmore, San Francisco, CA) 7.36
02. Gotta Serve Somebody (Sep 27, 1999, Radio Cafe, Nashville, TN) 7.31
03. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight (Oct 4, 2007, Tangier Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA) 5.00
04. I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine (Aug 21, 1996, Acoustic Coffee House, Nederland, CO) 3.42
05. As I Went Out One Morning (Sep 24, 2014, Moore Theatre, Seattle, WA) 5.32
06. Billy (Nov 18, 1998, Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO) 6.13
07. Oh, Sister (Mar 8, 2018, McDonald Theater, Eugene, OR) 5.10
08. Goin’ to Acapulco (Oct 13, 2004, McDonald Theatre, Eugene, OR) 5.53
09. Quinn The Eskimo (Sep 27, 1999, Radio Cafe, Nashville, TN) 3.29
10. Odds And Ends (Aug 2004, WXPN Studios/World Café session, Philadelphia, PA) 2.58
11. Queen Jane Approximately (Jun 20, 2014, Town Park, Telluride, CO) 10.28
12. Mr Tambourine Man (Oct 3, 2015, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA) 6.07
13. Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts 2 (Mar 1, 2018, Fillmore, San Francisco, CA) 5.05

All songs written by Bob Dylan

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Various Artists – Endless Highway -The Music Of The Band (2007)

FrontCover1Endless Highway: The Music of The Band, a tribute to The Band, was released on January 30, 2007.

As a rule, tribute records are problematic; there are some tunes that shine, others that are interpreted as if the performer has no idea what the original artist was about. Amazingly, that’s not so on Endless Highway: The Music of The Band, despite a wider ranging roster than is usually proffered. This is also a celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Martin Scorsese’s brilliant film The Last Waltz commemorating the Band’s farewell concerts in San Francisco. The array here is simply dazzling. Recordings artists from across the popular music spectrum participate: there are the jam bands like the Allman Brothers, Widespread Panic and Blues Traveler; there are indie rockers like Guster, My Morning Jacket, and Death Cab for Cutie; big modern country names like Josh Turner and Lee Ann Womack; modern adult alternative popsters like Rosanne Cash, Bruce Hornsby and Jack Johnson; unclassifiable rockers like Gomez; and modern-day folkies like Jackie Greene and Steve Reynolds, with the Roches on the set, too. And while Bob Dylan isn’t here, Jakob is, in duet with Liz Wright on a gorgeous reading of “Whispering Pines.”

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But then, this whole thing works. Guster’s reverent and moving read of “This Wheel’s on Fire,” opens the set; it’s a beautiful place to start because it’s followed in true Band fashion by Hornsby’s swinging, funky rendition of “King Harvest,” only to be underscored by My Morning Jacket’s “It Makes No Difference.” It’s true that nobody could sing this song like Rick Danko, but it’s played with such understated passion and tension that it’s as necessary a cover as there ever has been. While everybody refers to the Staple Singers cover of “The Weight,” Lee Ann Womack brings the song back to its country roots with a vengeance It’s still a back porch gospel tune, but Womack underscores the rural grit in the tune.

Wow! Gomez count the Band among their many influences and have been playing its songs for over a decade. Their version of “Up on Cripple Creek” is a testament to this. It’s not radically re-interpreted, but as an English band, these cats get the hip and greasy funkiness in the original and bring it out. The live version of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” sung by Gregg Allman, is slow, ragged, and close to stunning. One would have to say that the Roches have been destined by God to cover “Acadian Driftwood.” While it is inextricably linked to the Band’s drummer Levon Helm, the Roches add a completely different spin on this with their wistful, female take on the dislocation, exile, and regret.

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Rosanne Cash’s “Unfaithful Servant” is one of the finest moments here and shows a great empathy for Robbie Robertson’s lyric writing. Yeah, Josh Turner’s deep hillbilly reading of Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” which the Band incomparably covered, is wonderful and nails the simplicity in Dylan’s narrative as well as having a backing band that idles up to the Band’s instrumental acumen. The set closes with a darkly interpreted version of “Rockin’ Chair” by Death Cab for Cutie. The sense of loss, reverie, and loneliness underscores Robertson’s intent, and the understated horns evoke the longing for Dixieland emphatically. In fact, there is only one cut here that doesn’t work — Jack Johnson’s — his utter lack of feeling in “I Shall Be Released” is unforgivable for one of the greatest prison songs ever penned by Dylanand definitively recorded by the Band. Johnson’s lack of lyricism and forced innocence do not ring true for the material. Otherwise, Endless Highway is not only a fitting tribute to the Band, but a necessary one and a blueprint for how it should be done. (by Thom Jurek)

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Tracklist:
01. Guster: This Wheel’s On Fire (Dylan/Danko) 3.25
02. Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers; King Harvest (Has Surely Come)” (Robertson) 4.03
03. My Morning Jacket: It Makes No Difference (Robertson) 6.18
04. Jack Johnson with Animal Liberation Orchestra: I Shall Be Released (Dylan) 4.12
05. Lee Ann Womack: The Weight (Robrtson) 4.48
05. Gomez: Up On Cripple Creek (Robertson) 4.38
06. The Allman Brothers Band: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Robertson) 5.04
07. Blues Traveler: Rag Mama Rag (Robertson) 3.19
08. John Hiatt & North Mississippi Allstars: Ain’t No More Cane (Robertson) 4.16
09. Jakob Dylan: Whispering Pines (Manuel/Robertson) 4.04
10. Animal Liberation Orchestra: Ophelia (Robertson) 3.40
11. Joe Henry: Bessie Smith (Robertson) 3.55
12. Jackie Greene: Look Out Cleveland (Robertson) 3.13
13. Death Cab for Cutie: Rockin’ Chair (Robertson) 5.26
14. Gov’t Mule: The Shape I’m In (Robertson) 7.48
15. Steve Reynolds: Stage Fright (Robertson) 3.44
16. Rosanne Cash: The Unfaithful Servant (Robertson) 4.56
17. Widespread Panic: Chest Fever (Robertson) 6.33
18. Josh Turner: When I Paint My Masterpiece (Dylan) 5.03
19. The Roches: Acadian Driftwood (Robertson) 5.22

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The Band, 1969

Richard Galliano (feat. Gary Burton) – L’Hymne à l’Amour (2007)

FrontCover1.jpgRichard Galliano studied piano and accordion at the age of 4 with his father Lucien Galliano, accordionist and teacher.
Particularly gifted and invested, he quickly entered the Nice Conservatory, directed at that time by organist Pierre Cochereau, and followed courses in harmony, counterpoint and trombone.
He won first prize in 1969 for this instrument.

He arrived in Paris in 1975 and met Claude Nougaro, becoming his friend, his accordionist and conductor until 1983.
The author and composer found each other. They get along beautifully.
From this close collaboration will be born many songs that are part of the heritage of French song, such as Allée des brouillards, Des voiliers,Vie Violence…

The second decisive meeting took place in 1980, with the Argentinean composer and bandoneonist Astor Piazzolla.
Astor strongly encouraged him to create the French “New Musette”, as he himself had
previously invented the Argentinean “New Tango”. (by

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This project sounds natural for vibist Gary Burton. But to imagine a vibraphonist playing with an accordonist – it seems only Burton could have pulled it off. Drummer Clarence Penn and bassist George Mraz provide sympathic support through this heavily romanticized material.

On the opening of Astor Piazolla´s “Milonga Is Coming” Gallianp´s subtle swept couches Burton´s quiet lines. Eventually joined by the rest of the group both solists weave in and out of the song´s dreamy, melancholy mood. The formal nature to this programm continues with Piazzolla´s spritely “Triunfal”.

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The song starts and stops, its moments of reflection balanced by the urge to move vigorously. On Bach´s “Sinfonia 11 In G-Moll”, Burton seems at home with the music´s counterpoint, as Galliano´s lead statement to this waltz alternates with the vibist´s soloing, this swing feel turning it into a lovely occasion for jazz.

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Ballads include the titel track and “Waltz For Debby”, which the group gives an uplifting arrangment. It´s a delight to hear such virtuosic improvisors together. Galliano and Burton have chops galore, but instead of showing off, they are seduced by the material. (by John Ephland)

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Personnel:
Gary Burton (vibraphone)
Richard Galliano (accordion)
George Mraz (bass)
Clarence Penn (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Milonga Is Coming (Piazzolla) 8.29
02. Triunfal (Piazzolla) 3.51
03. L’hymne à l’amour (If You Love Me) (Piaf/Monnot) 7.30
04. Sinfonia 11 In G-Moll, BWV 797 (Bach) 4.28
05. Soledad (Piazzolla) 6.59
06. Para Jobim (Galliano) 5.15
07. Operation Tango (Piazzolla) 8.28
08. Romance Del Diablo (Piazzolla) 5.50
09. Waltz For Debby (Evans/Lees) 5.55
10. Il Postino (Bacalov) 4.47

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Biréli Lagrene – Gipsy Project – Just The Way You Are (2007)

frontcover1Biréli Lagrène (born 4 September 1966) is a French jazz guitarist. He came to prominence in the 1980s for his Django Reinhardt-influenced style. He often performs in swing, jazz fusion and post-bop styles.

Lagrène was born on 4 September 1966 in Saverne, Alsace, France, into a Romani family and community. His father and grandfather were guitarists, and he was raised in the gypsy guitar tradition. He started playing at age four or five, and by seven was improvising jazz in a style similar to Django Reinhardt’s, whom his father admired and wanted his sons to emulate. In 1980, while still in his early teens, he recorded his first album, Routes to Django: Live at the Krokodil (Jazz Point, 1981).

During the next few years, Lagrène toured with Al Di Meola, Paco de Lucía, and John McLaughlin, all of them guitarists, and played with Benny Carter, Benny Goodman, and Stéphane Grappellii. He joined Larry Coryell and Vic Juris in New York City for a tribute to Reinhardt in 1984, and went on tour with Coryell and Philip Catherine. He also performed with Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clarke, the Gil Evans Orchestra, Christian Escoudé, and Charlie Haden. In 1989 he performed in a duo with Stanley Jordan.[1]

Lagrène recorded Gipsy Project (Dreyfus, 2001) and Gipsy Project and Friends (Dreyfus, 2002). With his usual cohorts Diego Imbert (double bass) and Hono Winterstein (rhythm guitar), the latter session featured Henri Salvador and Thomas Dutronc (son of Françoise Hardy and Jacques Dutronc). (by wikipedia)

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Guitarist Bireli Lagrene has long built upon the tradition that began with the Gypsy swing of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France with virtuoso guitarist Django Reinhardt. On this outing, Lagrene continues in the tradition while changing the instrumentation, incorporating drums, sax, and occasionally piano, but he also expands the repertoire to include modern songs written after Django’s death. “After You’ve Gone” and “I’ll See You in My Dreams” all fit like a comfortable pair of well-worn shoes, while Lagrene adds a friendly vocal to “All of Me” and digs up an old Reinhardt original (“Feerie”) that gives the leader a chance to show off his chops. Lagrene also arranged several strong originals written by his musicians. His swinging treatment of George Benson’s “Before You Go” features tenorist Franck Wolf in a breezy arrangement, while Lagrene switches to electric guitar for a laid-back setting of “Flamingo.” Even Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” is successfully transformed into swing, though Lagrene’s loungy “Tim and Zoe” features electric guitar and synthesizer in the style of George Benson’s crossover recordings, a total misfit at the end of an otherwise flawless CD. (by Ken Dryden)

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Personnel:
André Ceccarelli (drums)
Diego Imbert (bass)
Biréli Lagrène (guitar, vocals)
Hono Winterstein (guitar)
Franck Wolf (saxophone)
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Roberto Jermaine Landsberger (piano on 14.)

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Tracklist:
01. After You’ve Gone (Creamer/Layton) 4.19
02. Just The Way You Are (Joel) 6.50
03. Lune de miel (Winterstein) 3.52
04. I’ll See You In My Dreams (Kahn/Jones) 3.21
05. All Of Me (Marks/Simmons) 4.33
06. Féérie (Reinhardt) 2.56
07. It’s impossible (Manzanero) 5.31
08. Cap’tain Ferber (Wolf) 3.23
09. Guet-apens (Imbert) 3.05
10. Flamingo (Anderson/Grouya) 3.57
11. Before You Go (Benson) 5.29
12. Lolita (Winterstein) 5.11
13. Love Me Tender (E. Presley/Matson) 5.00
14. Tim & Zoé (Lagrène) 7.15

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