Chick Corea & Gary Burton – The New Crystal Silence (2008)

FrontCover1.jpgThe New Crystal Silence is a 2008 live jazz album by Chick Corea and Gary Burton. It was released in a 2-disc set. The first disc was recorded May 10 & 12, 2007 at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. The second disc was recorded on July 7, 2007 at Bjornsonhuset in Molde, Norway, except for the track “Señor Mouse”, which was recorded July 13, 2007 at the Auditorio de Tenerife in Canary Island, Spain.

The album peaked number eleven in the Billboard Top Jazz album charts[4] and also won the Grammy awards for the Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group. (by wikipedia)

When Crystal Silence first appeared in 1972 on the ECM label, its cover photograph depicted a stellar shot of the sun, which appeared to be setting. That duet album featured two already-seasoned jazz veterans who were in their thirties, and had been part of many of the developments in the music for a decade. Corea’s credits included Miles Davis, his own Return to Forever, the “Is” sessions, Circle, and many others; Burton’s included tenures with George Shearing and Stan Getz as well as Larry Coryell. But the duet album they recorded for ECM was so utterly striking and arresting because it highlighted not only an entirely new way of playing duets between piano and vibes — which had been done previously and well by others — but a new way of hearing them as well.

Corea-Burton_composite.jpgAfter 35 years, five duet records, and countless tours together, the pair revisit the notion of the duet in two different contexts on this delightful, compelling double-disc package from Concord. The first disc finds the pair playing live in Sydney with that city’s symphony orchestra conducted by Jonathan Stockhammer and arranged by Tim Garland. The program includes five tunes, all of them composed by Corea. While it is disconcerting on first thought as to how an orchestra could add to the special intuitive communication this duo has developed since its first accidental performance at a festival in 1971, those fears disappear quickly after the orchestra’s intro, when Corea’s piano makes its entrance and Burton responds. It’s striking there was so little rehearsal time, and that Garland’s arrangements are so spot-on and attuned to the intricacy of what happens harmonically between these two. “Duende” opens the set with an enormous introductory sweep that feels more like a crescendo, but it gives way within two minutes to the exploration of extrapolated minors when Corea plays a single note that initiates his speaking voice on the piano. Burton answers and moves them into another direction, painting from the inside and pulling on certain notes as he quotes a melody that feels strangely like “The Shadow of Your Smile.” Then the pair are off, the orchestra brooding and shimmering behind them, opening up spaces where there would be tension in such a focused space of minor keys that sweep this way and that way, and then they engage fully with the orchestra. This continues through “Love Castle” and the speculative intro to “Brasilia,” which feels like a question. The rhythmic interplay is built layer upon layer, however sparely by the harmonic striations of vibes and piano as strings hover and cautiously seem to follow into a much more romantic and exotic flight of fancy.

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Of course, the title track, while seemingly an entirely new piece when played with this symphony, is no less limpid than its predecessor. The compositional notion is simply eased into more tentatively, but the interpolations between Burton and Corea are even cannier than one might expect. Everything begins in shade and shadow and is revealed in the full light of day. The set ends with a driving rendition of “La Fiesta,” begun with an intensely intricate series of counterpoint exchanges between the pair.

Disc two contains a live performance from the Molde Festival in Norway, with one cut, “Señor Mouse” (also from the Crystal Silence debut), recorded in the Canary Islands. Far more breezy but perhaps more taut and far less tentative, the set starts off with Corea’s “Bud Powell,” and Burton shines with his solo, moving through the lyric phrases as Corea punches in spaces with tough, jaunty chord masses. It swings like crazy before giving way to a stellar reading of Bill Evans’ “Waltz for Debby.” The melody, instantly recognizable in Corea’s hands, is nonetheless a bit heavier in touch, but that’s what makes it sound new as well.

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The solo he opens with carries the basic lyric frame in his two-handed chords and runs before Burton slides the melody in solo, as expressive and intimate as one could ever hope for before it opens wide and sings. This happens on the other standards here as well, the deeply emotive reading of “I Loves You, Porgy,” with Burton’s solo as tender as a singer emoting the words, and “Sweet and Lovely,” where the pair just dig in and let the tune guide them on a wonderfully engaging, swinging ride through its harmonic possibilities. The other four Corea tunes here include a very different version of “La Fiesta” as a set closer; “No Mystery,” which is more mysterious in some ways because of its use of arpeggios, space, and counterpoint; and the all-too-brief rhythmic invention of “Alegria.” The bottom line, of course, is that this set, as different as its two mirroring discs are, is nearly magical in both its intensity and creativity, and in its wonderfully relaxed manner of walking through the deep passageways of improvisation. Anyone who is a fan of the duet recordings between these two should own this. Anyone not familiar should check out the ECM disc first, and then move straight here, filling in the gaps later. They are wonderful counterparts to one another and immensely satisfying listens. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Gary Burton (vibraphone)
Chick Corea (piano)
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Sydney Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jonathan Stockhammer

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Duende (Corea) 10.54
02. Love Castle (Corea) 12.41
03. Brasilia (Corea) 9.38
04. Crystal Silence (Corea) 14.09
05. La Fiesta (Corea) 13.35

CD 2:
01. Bud Powell (Corea) 7.55
02. Waltz For Debby (Evans) 8.03
03. Alegria (Corea) 5.49
04. No Mystery (Corea) 9.12
05. Señor Mouse (Corea) 9.10
06. Sweet And Lovely (Arnheim/Daniels/Tobias) 6.56
07. I Love Porgy (Gershwin/Heyward) 4.09
08. La Fiesta (Corea) 10.41

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The Pete Best Band – Hymans Green (2008)

FrontCover1.jpgRandolph Peter Best (born Scanland; 24 November 1941) is an English singer, songwriter and civil servant. He is best known as an original member and the first drummer of the Beatles. After he was dismissed from the group in 1962 he started his own band, The Pete Best Four, and would later join many other bands over the years. He is one of several people who have been referred to as the Fifth Beatle.

Best was born in the city of Madras, then part of British India. After Best’s mother, Mona Best (1924–1988), moved to Liverpool in 1945, she opened the Casbah Coffee Club in the cellar of the Bests’ house in Liverpool. The Beatles (at the time known as the Quarrymen) played some of their first concerts at the club.

The Beatles invited Best to join on 12 August 1960, on the eve of the group’s first Hamburg season of club dates. Ringo Starr eventually replaced Best on 16 August 1962 when the group’s manager, Brian Epstein, exiled Best under the direction of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, following their first recording session at Abbey Road Studios in London.

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After working in a number of commercially unsuccessful groups, Best gave up the music industry to work as a civil servant for 20 years, before starting the Pete Best Band. He has been married for over 50 years to Kathy Best; they have two daughters, Beba and Bonita, and four grandchildren.

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Haymans Green is a 2008 album by The Pete Best Band, released by Lightyear Entertainment and distributed in the US and Canada by EMI. Pete Best plays drums, and co-wrote most of the tracks. Reviews of the album have been mostly favorable, and almost all reviewers agree that the album sounds influenced by The Beatles, a band which Pete Best was a member of between 1960 and 1962.

The album’s cover shows the section of the Hamburg-era photograph of The Beatles featuring Best’s face that was removed as part of the collage design for the Beatles’ Anthology 1 album. (by wikipedia)

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As we become increasingly aware of the need to protect our non-renewable natural resources, it becomes obvious that the musical community is not making adequate use of the dwindling supply of former Beatles, and as Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr can hardly be expected to keep the world supplied with Beatles-related material forever, another onetime member of Liverpool’s finest, Pete Best, has stepped forward to help remedy this situation. Sure, Best was given his walking papers by the Beatles about three weeks before they cut their first single for Parlophone, but he still counts as a former member of the band, and Haymans Green is his fifth album since returning to active duty in 1992, a few years before the release of the Beatles’ Anthology 1 made him a very wealthy man and convinced him there was a disturbing gap between demand for Beatles solo recordings and the current supply.

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Haymans Green is the most Beatles-sounding album from a former Beatle to emerge since Paul McCartney became aware of his advancing maturity, but what’s remarkable is that it recalls not the rough-and-tumble rock & roll of their early days playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg, but the ambitious pop of Revolver through Abbey Road, as if Best wants to prove to the world he could have helped make Sgt. Pepper’s or the White Album if someone had given him the chance. Best also had a hand in writing the 11 songs on Haymans Green, something he’s never done before, but guitarist Phil Melia and guitarist and keyboardist Paul Parry are also credited on all the tracks, and Pete’s brother Roag Best (who doubles with him on drums) also pitches in on eight of the selections, so this falls a bit short as a defining personal statement.

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It also says a certain amount about Best’s role in the Beatles that he’s surrounded himself with people who write, play, and even sing like John, Paul, and George; 46 years after he stopped being a Beatle, he’s still defined by the sound of his former bandmates even on his own solo album, as if he has nothing to say as a musician besides “I knew them when.” As a Beatles pastiche, Haymans Green isn’t quite up to the inspired appropriation of Utopia’s Deface the Music or anything by the Rutles, but the quality is at least a couple steps up from Best’s clumsy covers of beat-era material on his previous albums, and it is doubtless more satisfying than whatever Jimmy Nicol or Andy White have in the works. (by Mark Deming)

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Personnel:
Pete Best (drums)
Roag Best (drums, percussion)
Tony Flynn (guitar, vocals on 04. + 09.)
Phil Melia (guitar, harmonica, vocals on 03.)
Paul Parry (guitar, keyboards, vocals)

… but who the fuck was the bayy player ???

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Tracklist:
01. Come With Me (R.Best/Melia/Parry) 2.24
02. Step Outside (P.Best/R.Best/Melia/Parry) 3.58
03. Round And Around (P.Best/R.Best/Melia/Parry) 2.38
04. Grey River (P.Best/R.Best/Melia/Parry) 3.19
05. Gone (P.Best/R.Best/Melia/Parry) 2.34
06. Dream Me Home (P.Best/R.Best/Melia/Parry) 3.47
07. Everything I Want (R.Best/Melia/Parry) 3.38
08. Beat Street (R.Best/Melia/Parry) 2.06
09. Broken (P.Best/R.Best/Melia/Parry) 3.57
10. Red Light (P.Best/R.Best/Melia/Parry) 4.01
11. Hayman’s Green (P.Best/R.Best/Melia/Parry) 3.05

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Three brothers: Pete Best with brothers Rory Best and Roag Best

Helix – A Heavy Mental Christmas (2008)

FrontCover1.jpgA Heavy Mental Christmas is a CD released by heavy metal band Helix in 2008. It is Helix’ 11th full-length studio album and 20th album released overall. It is a Christmas album featuring both standards and original music. It was released in Walmart stores in Canada in October 2008 through Universal Music and GBS Records. /by wikipedia)

Ahh, Christmas albums by rock bands! To me, the current wave all started with Trans-Siberian Orchestra. However, it is undeniable that Twisted Sister’s version of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” also changed the playing field, giving them their biggest hit in decades. It meant that any metal band could record Christmas songs now.

So Helix’ Brian Vollmer, no stranger to Christmas music (check out his Raising The Roof on Mary Immaculate disc) decided to record some Helix versions in that hot summer of August 2008. Yes, Christmas music is often recorded in summertime — that’s how they get it on the shelves for December. The effect this has on the music is worth questioning. It must be hard getting inspired to go caroling when it’s beach weather.

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A Heavy Mental Christmas is not a bad Christmas album if you’re a metal fan. I wouldn’t nessesarily play this for grandma, but for people who already enjoy metal versions of Christmas songs, it’s a good listen. It’s not really my thing, personally. I loathe Christmas music in general (too many years working retail) and metal versions are not something I really get into. Having said that, with Vollmer’s excellent delivery here, these songs do shine. They are enjoyable, the band is in top shape, and all the songs are classics or traditionals except one original, “Christmas Time Is Here Again” by Brian’s friend and collaborator Steve Georgakopoulos. (Obviously, this isn’t the Beatles song “Christmas Time Is Here Again”.) Like some other Helix albums, this one clocks in at under 30 minutes, so be aware. Only one song clocks in over 3 minutes.

The Helix band pictured on the sleeve is not entirely the band playing on the CD. Drummer Brent “Ned” Neimi, bassist Paul Fonseca, and guitarist Rick VanDyk (ex-Zero Option) are present, but long-timer guitarist Jim Lawson is not. (He lived in Sudbury, far from the London recording studio where this was made.) Instead you will find the wonderful guitar stylings of the aforementioned Steve Georgakopoulos (say that five times really fast), who played Ace Frehley in the London-based KISS tribute band Alive. Steve also played guitar on the previous Helix album, the excellent Power Of Rock And Roll, although he has never been an official member of the band. Either way, he’s a great writer and player, and he does have a Frehley-like vibe to his shredding.

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Highlights: The slick metal blues of “A Wonderful Christmas Time”. The Lennon classic “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” which to me is kind of sacred territory. It’s hard to sing a song that John Lennon made famous, but Vollmer does so successfully. And then there’s the original tune, “Christmas Time Is Here Again” which is really just a vintage Helix rocker with Christmas lyrics. Musically it could have been on Long Way to Heaven, but there’s no mistaking the lyrics. “Santa’s coming to the show!” announces Brian.

So, to sum up:

I loathe Christmas music,
but I love Helix,
and this is still a pretty good album.

I think rock fans out there will like it a lot. The running time doesn’t bother me personally, as the album does not overstay its welcome and I have paid more money for less music before. If you’re a Helix fan, this album is a must to have. It’s just fun, and it has balls. It was somewhat of a landmark for them, while it is only their 11th studio album, it was their 20th official release overall, and certainly that is worth celebrating.

If you want more Helix Christmas tunes, check out their 7″ single for “All I Want For Christmas is the Leafs to Win the Cup”. (by mikeladano.com/)

And I add this rare and very special christmas single as a bonus.

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Personnel:
Rick van Dyk (guitar, background vocals)
Paul Fonseca (bass, background vocals)
Steve Georgakopoulos (guitar)
Brent “Ned” Neimi (drums, background vocals)
Brian Vollmer (lead vocals)
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Aaron Murray (keyboards on 08.)
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background vocals:
Doug Weir – Gord Prior

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Tracklist:
01. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (May/Marks) 2.37
02. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree (Marks) 1.59
03. Santa Claus Is Back In Town (Leiber/Stoller) 2.24
04. A Wonderful Christmas Time (McCartney) 2.36
05. Jingle Bell Rock (Beal/Boothe) 1.57
06. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (Lennon/Ono) 2.54
07. Sock It to Me Santa (Honaker/Lagassa) 2.18
08. Jingle Bells (Pierpoint) 2.38
09. Silent Night (Gruber/Mohr) 2.59
10. Christmas Time Is Here Again (Georgakopoulos/Prior/Vollmer) 3.08
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11. All I Want For Christmas Is The Leafs To Win The Cup (Vollmer/Kelly) 2.38

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Dickey Betts & Great Southern – 30 Years Of Southern Rock (1978 – 2008) 2010)

FrontCover1.jpgAnd here are great live recordings from Germany (1978 and 2008). Dickey Betts and Great Southern were the third highlight at the Rockpalast Festival on March 4th/5th, 1978. On those evenings they played for the first time in Europe in front of an enthusiastic audience at the Gruga-Halle in Essen/Germany and millions of viewers on television. Dickey Betts is not an unknown to those who are familiar with American Rock music. He was one of the original members of the Allman Brothers Band and formed his own band Great Southern in 1976. Nowadays, Dickey Betts and Great Southern are considered to be one of the most important and influential Southern Rock bands of all time.

The air in Germany definitely agrees with Dickey (see Ohne concert in 1991). I just got this music and it is phenomenal to compare him playing songs 30 years apart. The first side is from 1978 and Dickey is a madman–fast, furious, inventive, and uninhibited. This is the GS with the Toler brothers and Dan kicks ass as well. Every song is unique–in High Falls, Dickey does his Whipping Post solo. Inventive riffs on all solos throughout. Liz Reed and Jessica are other standouts. It’s a different GS in 2008 but no less original if a bit more mature. You can’t go wrong with this one. (by Mabulous)
A then and now collection, a live show from 1978 and on disc 2 a show from 2008. The sound quality on both these shows are excellent.It is amazing how Dickey has survived all these years and not loose too much of his guitar playing and singing.Dickey delivers on both these shows.This is a must have for any Dickey, Allman fan. (by Richard L. Raines)

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Personnel:

The 1978 Great Southern lineup:
Dickey Betts (guitar, vocals)
David Godflies (bass)
Dan Toler (guitar)
David Toler (drums/percussion)
Dani Sharbono (drums/percussion)
Michael Workman (keyboards)

The 2008 Great Southern lineup:
Andy Aledort (guitar)
Pedro Arevalo (bass)
Dickey Betts (guitar, vocals)
Duane Betts (guitar)
Michael Kach (organ, vocals)
Frankie Lombardi (drums)
James Vanardo (drums)

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Tracklist:

CD 1 (Essen/Germany, Grugahalle 1978):
01. Rockpalast-Intro 0.14
02. Run Gypsy Run (Betts/Buck/Paramore) 5.23
03. In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (Betts) 11.39
04. Good Time Feelin’ (Betts) 7.06
05. Dealin’ With The Devil (Betts/Reynolds/Toler) 3.50
06. Jessica (Betts) 12.19
07. High Falls (incl. Drum Solo) (Betts) 29.13
08. Ramblin’ Man (Betts) 6.11

CD 2 (Bonn/Germany, Museumsplatz 2008):
01. Statesboro Blues (McTell) 6.09
02. Nothing You Can Do (Betts) 5.22
03. Blue Sky (Betts) 9.26
04. Get Away (Betts) 6.38
05. One Way Out (Sehorn/James) 8.36
06. Havin’ A Good Time (Betts) 5.51
07. In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (Betts) 19.49
08. No One To Run With (Betts/Prestia) 6.27
09. Ramblin’ Man (Betts) 5.42

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Doc Holliday – 25 Absolutely Live (2008)

FrontCover1Doc Holliday, named of course after legendary Wild West character, hails from Macon, Georgia and released couple classic southern rock albums in early 80’s. Although they never got the recognition they deserved in Unites States, Doc Holliday was a hugely successful in Europe. Early days of this southern rocks hidden gem can be traced to beginning of 70’s, when the band leader Bruce Brookshire formed a band called Roundhouse which would later transform into Doc Holliday. Although southern rock losing its momentum in early 80’s, with little help from Molly Hatchet management, they got signed by A&M records. With legendary line-up of Brookshire and Rick Skelton on guitars, John Samuelson on bass, Eddie Stone on keyboards and Herman Nixon on drums they released self titled debut album on early 1981 and managed to break into top #30 chats. Through relentless touring with groups like The Outlaws and The Charlie Daniels Band, Doc Holliday gained new fans and later that same year they put out Doc Holliday Rides Again which turned out to be even more successful album. Disaster strike in 1983, when Doc Holliday decided to record their third album, 80’s pop oriented Modern Medicine in Germany. It wasn’t the kind of medicine southern rock fans were looking for, it sold poorly and band broke up soon after that. After three year hiatus, Doc Holliday got their act together and released Danger Zone, more traditional approach to southern rock genre. Over the years they have released several albums for small European record labels, which are difficult to find from the States, but well worth hunting down for. Doc Holliday remains popular touring act in old continent, especially in Germany.

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Almost 20 years after the milestone that is “Song for the Outlaw Live” Doc Holliday came up with an impressive document of their versatility on stage. No edits, changes or overdubs were made by producer Tom Hallek, to make “25 – absolutely live” sound exactly that. (by zinhof)

20 years after releasing their first live album the gods of Southern Rock return with an honest album featuring their best songs and a few cover song including Fire On The Mountain” (Marshall Tucker Band), “Run For Your Life” (Beatles) and “Born To Be Wild” (Steppenwolf)

A hell of a show … long live Southern Rock !

Recorded “Absolutely live” in hot nights in Germany during July 2006.

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Personnel:
Bruce Brookshire (vocals, guitar)
Daniel Bud Ford (bass)
Danny Lastinger (drums)
John Turner Samuelson (guitar, vocals)
Eddie Stone (keyboards, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Ain’t No Fool (Brookshire) 6.02
02. Never Another Night (Brookshire/Samuelson) 4.10
03. Fire On The Mountain (McCorkle) 4.49
04. A Good Woman’s Hard To Find (Brookshire/Stone) 4.27
05. Southern Man (Brookshire) 4.35
06. Run For Your Life (Lennon/McCartney) 3.49
07. It Suits Me Too (Brookshire) 3.47
08. Highway Call (Brookshire) 7.40
09. Redneck Rock & Roll Band (Brookshire) 4.22′
10. I’m A Rocker (Berry) 4.44
11. Lonesome Guitar (Brookshire) 9.58
12, Born To Be Wild (Bonfire) 4.25

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FM Belfast – How To Make Friends (2008)

FrontCover1FM Belfast is an electro-pop band from Reykjavík, Iceland. Its members include Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir, Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson, Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason, Egill Eyjólfsson and Ívar Pétur Kjartansson.

FM Belfast formed in late 2005 as a duo of Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson (Plúseinn) and Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir, but didn’t really get going properly until Árni Vilhjálmsson and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason joined. The band was a studio project for some time until the Iceland Airwaves festival 2006 when the band expanded into a full-on live act. The members now vary from 3 to 8 depending on member availability. The core of the band is made up of Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson (Plúseinn, Hairdoctor, Motion Boys), Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir, Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason (múm, Borko, Skakkamanage), Egill Eyjólfsson, and Ívar Pétur Kjartansson. They are joined sometimes by Sveinbjorn Hermann Pálsson (Terrordisco), Björn Kristjánsson (Borko, Skakkamanage), Birgitta Birgisdóttir and Eiríkur Orri (múm, Kira Kira, Benni Hemm Hemm).

Andri Snær Magnason, three-time recipient of the Icelandic Literary Prize, says he has to attend a FM Belfast concert at least once every six months, according to doctor’s orders. It is worth mentioning that Andri Snær is not a doctor, but his father is a doctor; his grandfather was a doctor; his sister is no less than a neurosurgeon! Should we, the common, soot-stained masses, doubt the professional medical advice of an entire family?

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The band’s live show often features many percussionists, among them are Sveinbjörn Pálsson, Björn Kristjánsson (Borko), Halli Civelek, Svanhvít Tryggvadóttir, Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson (Retro Stefson) and Þórður jörundsson (Retro Stefson).

Their first album was recorded in New York and Iceland, with the group recording, mixing, and mastering it, and creating the album artwork themselves.

Árni Vilhjálmsson has since left FM Belfast. (by wikipedia)

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And “How To Make Friends” is the debut album by the Icelandic band FM Belfast, released in 2008.

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Kicking off with the swagger and sass of “Frequency,” and falsetto lyrics about someone being their “designated driver” over a crisp, punchy arrangement that’s half-classic electro and half-classic EBM, FM Belfast come up with How to Make Friends, an album that takes bored-youth-seeking-kicks clichés and turns them into something just a little twisted. If the basic model of “21st century act reclaims synths from the ’80s” is equally well established — there’s very little on the surface that would distinguish the Icelandic act from any number of similarly minded acts in the U.K., the U.S., or many other spots — there’s still something purring along in most of these songs that feels enjoyably off. Rather than embracing sparkly overload or queasy psychedelic disruption, FM Belfast lock down call and response vocals and observational lyrics with almost brutal rhythms — “Tropical” may well be the least likely song to possess such a total, the only aspect suggesting a random playfulness being a sweet melodic part up against flatly sung words. At the same time, while the lyrics might not always be entirely sunny, there’s plenty of straight up joy to be had with the arrangements on songs like “Synthia” and “Par Avion,” so it’s not like How to Make Friends is simply po-faced through and through. Still, there’s a forced moment where the band takes on Technotronic’s pop-rave confection “Pump Up the Jam” and turns it into a slow and all-too-stiffly sung hotel-lounge swoon — the idea is cute, but ten seconds is all one needs to get the idea. (by Ned Raggett)

This album comes with 6 inserts illustrating the songs lyrics:

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Personnel:
Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir (vocals, various instruments)
Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson (keyboards)
Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason (various instruments)
Árni Vilhjálmssona (vocals, various instruments)

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Tracklist:
01. Frequency (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 3.49
02. Underwear (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 3.09
03. I Can Feel Love (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 3.33
04. Tropical (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 3.09
05. Pump (cover of Pump Up The Jam by Technotronic) (Kamosi/de Quincey 2.42
06. Par Avion (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona/Pálsson 3.16
07. VHS (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 2.52
08. Lotus (cover of Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine) (Commerford/Rocha/Morello/Wilk) 3.44
09. Optical (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 3.21
10. Synthia (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 3.14
11. President (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 3.45

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Avishai Cohen Trio – Night Of Magic (2008)

FrontCover1Avishai Cohen (Hebrew: אבישי כהן‬; born April 20, 1970) is an Israeli jazz double bassist, composer, singer, and arranger.

Avishai was born in Kabri, Israel. He grew up in a musical family at Motza and Beit Zayit near Jerusalem until the age of six, when his family moved to Shoeva, western Israel. He began playing the piano at 9 years old, but changed to the bass guitar at the age of 14, inspired by bassist Jaco Pastorius. Later, after playing in an Army band for two years, he began studying upright bass with Michael Klinghoffer. Two years later he moved to New York City, and got in contact with other jazz players. At the beginning of his stay there he had to struggle, working in jobs like construction. According to him his first year there was the most difficult year of his life, having to play bass in the streets, subways and parks. He studied music at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, and after playing Latin jazz in a few bands in his student years, Cohen was approached by pianist Danilo Pérez to join his trio.

After a long period of performing in small clubs, Cohen got a phone call from the jazz pianist Chick Corea and was given a record contract. In 1996, he became a founding member of Corea’s sextet Origin, and his first four albums as a leader were subsequently released under Corea’s Stretch label. Cohen performed in Corea’s bands until as late as 2003, when he left the Chick Corea New Trio and started his own record label; he currently performs with his own group, the Avishai Cohen Trio (with fellow Israelis Daniel Dor on drums and Nitai Hershkovits on piano). His later albums have been released by this formation with extended lineup including wind instruments.

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Aside from Corea, Cohen has accompanied, recorded or performed with several noted jazz figures such as Bobby McFerrin, Roy Hargrove, Herbie Hancock, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Nnenna Freelon and Paquito D’Rivera. Other collaborators include Claudia Acuña (Wind from the South, 2000), Alicia Keys (studio recording) and the London and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras (concert performances). Cohen has been cited as “undoubtedly the most successful” of Israel’s jazz exports by The Jerusalem Post a “jazz visionary of global proportions” by Down Beat, one of the 100 Most Influential Bass Players of the 20th Century by Bass Player magazine, and “a great composer” and “a genius musician” by Chick Corea himself.

In 2002, Cohen founded his record label, Razdaz Recordz, and on September 9 of 2003, released his label’s debut album, Lyla. “I’ve always been interested in several genres of music, including jazz, rock, pop, Latin and funk,” says Cohen. “I’m always packed with ideas. I decided to start my own label because I’m involved in so many different Cohen2010.jpgprojects.” (Avishai Cohen, 2003) As of 2012, the label had produced 12 albums, five of which were Cohen’s. Other artists associated with the label include pianist Sam Barsh, saxophonist Jimmy Green, flutist Ilan Salem, and guitarist Amos Hoffman. Also produced by Razdaz are the works of some of Cohen’s associates such as drummer Mark Guiliana, who performed with Cohen on two of his albums. Razdaz produced an album for Guiliana’a band HEERNT in 2006. Razdaz also produced Lady of The Forest, the first album of the singer Karen Malka, in 2010. Karen had been touring with Cohen for three years prior. The most recent production of the label is Ilan Salem’s album Wild, which is Ilan’s third album, though it is his first under Razdaz.

Lyla is the first album released by Cohen’s Razdaz Recordz. The album was lauded for its genre breaking diversity. Cohen reflects on his work, “Lyla reflects much of who I am as an artist. The International Vamp Band has been touring for two years and I wanted to document that. I also started a rock band Gadu with Israeli drummer named Mike Starr dubbed by ‘Drummer magazine’ as one of the most aggressive drummers in Jazz and some young musicians who are graduates of William Paterson College. It’s creating a buzz in New York, I have been exploring a lot of new territory. I’ve also been working on pop tunes with a female vocalist named Lola. And, of course, to show the whole picture Cohen2015on the CD, I wanted to acknowledge my relationship to Chick. I’ve been associated with him for six years and have played hundreds of shows in his bands, so we’re very connected.”

Cohen’s signature sound is a blend of Middle Eastern, eastern European, and African-American musical idioms. The New York Times describes his 2006 album Continuo as conjoining “heavy Middle Eastern groove with a delicate, almost New Age lyricism”. Cohen often sings in Judaeo-Spanish (Ladino), to which he has a connection through his mother. For example, “Morenika”, from his album Aurora, is a very famous Ladino song he grew up hearing his mother singing around the house (by wikipedia)

And here´s a very rare album by Avishai Cohen; recorded and produced for the record market in the Ukraine only:

This Kyiv concert is, no doubt, memorable for all those who was then at the concert hall – and, apart from them, all of their relatives and acquaintances, because the sensations then had to find at least some way out) Non-speaking about it was just dangerous, and impossible as well… And – that was speaking enthusiastically, selflessly, and partly – silently (because this music is still much greater than any words), with light in the eyes, warm shine on the face – right? I’m sure that I’m right. Between the hall and the scene, a mystery of incredible might and depth took place, that was Music that for some time melted the several hundreds of various, separate souls – into the joint, large, live heart. I think that on that evening there was enough love to prevent or stop some war in the world – and probably, in the end, so it happened… That is why it seems to me that one such concert is worth a dozen of other nice concerts – because this was not nice. This was – truthful light magic. I know: the real soul of music opens up exactly on such evenings – in full, and no matter whether it is called jazz.

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But it matters that this is live music, which takes place here and now, which not only causes reaction, but also instantly reacts, breathes, changes, acquires a new clarity. If I’m not mistaken, “To the Bird” was performed by Avishai Cohen after his modest warning: – Now I will do this for the first time, – and he did! However, the essence here is not even technical skills, no. Just sometimes there happen performances, when it seems that the high sky went down on earth, and this is a wonderful experience. But others also happen, when one feels the earth flying up into the sky – and this is indescribably beautiful… The music by Avishai Cohen Trio on that evening was exactly like that – and let you be able to feel at least a particle of this sincere, warm beauty… (by Milan Asadurov)

Oh, what a night, what a concert … listen for example to “The Ever Evolving Etude” … sounds like a musical orgasm … and … he played a very special version of the Beatles classic “Come Together” !!!

Recorded live in Kiev Conservatory Hall on November 29, 2007

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Personnel:
Avishai Cohen (bass, vocals)
Mark Juiliana (drums)
Shai Maestro (piano)

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Tracklist:
01. Elli (Cohen) 9.04
02. Gently Disturbed (Cohen) 6.45
03. The Ever Evolving Etude (Cohen) 7.21
04. Ani Maamin (Shlonsky) 11.26
05. Remembering (Cohen) 7.12
06. Eleven Wives (Cohen) 5.29
07. To The Bird (Cohen) 5.48
08. Come Together (Lennon/McCarntey) 4.46

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