David Chesky – Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra (2010)

FrontCover1David Chesky is an American pianist, composer, producer, arranger, and co-founder of the independent, audiophile label Chesky Records. He is also co-founder and CEO of HDtracks, an online music store that sells high-resolution digital music.

Chesky is considered a technological and musical innovator with eclectic interests. He has won Independent Music Awards and received Grammy Award nominations. He has written jazz tunes, orchestral and chamber music, opera, ballet, and a rap symphony (by wikipedia)

In the past when I thought of virtual instruments I thought of MIDI tones emanating from an old cream colored computer’s built-in speaker, some terrible synthesized songs from the 1980s, or even some chart-toppers created on a workstation in a bedroom without regard for the actual sound of real instruments. There’s certainly nothing wrong with expressing one’s musical creativity this way, but I’ll pass on spending a buck when the first single is released. That was the past before I heard David Chesky’s new creation Urbanicity / Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra / The New York Variations. The album’s only real physical instrument is an electric guitar played by the 24 year old rising star Bryan Baker on the Concerto centerpiece.

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Every other instrument comprising the Urbancity Orchestra of New York is virtual. This may be a hard concept to accept for many audiophiles, but if anyone understands what real instruments sound like it’s music impresario and current Composure in Residence at the National Symphony of Taiwan David Chesky. —audiophilestyle.com

David Chesky deserves major props for writing one of the best “classical” pieces yet to incorporate the electric guitar–a wonderful instrument that lots of modern composers use, mostly terribly. Leonard Bernstein managed it, and a few others, but Chesky’s concerto is at once excitingly virtuosic, cogently structured, and true to the instrument’s roots in rock and popular music. It’s exceptionally well played by Bryan Baker, who in the notes says he spent eight hours a day learning it. The effort shows, but only in a good way.

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Urbanicity and The New York Variations are ballets, which explains their rhythmic charge, but not their eclectic mixture of idioms and references, which are pure Chesky. Both have three movements. Urbanicity lives up to its title with a vengeance: the music might strike some listeners as overly relentless, but The New York Variations has more variety and (it seems to me) a wider expressive range. The performances, as in the concerto, are tip-top, and the sonics stunningly lifelike, with the electric guitar particularly well-balanced. A very enjoyable release by a distinctive compositional voice. (byDavid Hurwitz)

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Personnel:
David Chesky (piano)
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Bryan Baker (guitar on 04. – 06.)
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The Urbanicity Orchestra of New York conducted by David Chesky

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Tracklist:

Urbanicity:
01. Movement 1 / 6.42
02. Movement 2 / 6.26
03. Movement 3 / 7.58

Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra:
04. Movement 1 / 6.29
05. Movement 2 / 6.17
06. Movement 3 / 6.36

The New York Variations:
07. Movement 1 / 6.54
08. Movement 2 / 10.02
09. Movement 3 / 5.52

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Big Apple Blues – Brooklyn Blues (2010)

FrontCover1.jpgBig Apple Blues came by this vintage sound honestly. They put down tracks for Brooklyn Blues in an old hometown studio, Excello Recording, playing live before analog equipment on throwback instruments. Then they picked out a series of cuts by giants of the genre.

Included on this Stone Tone release are covers of songs by Chess Records legends like Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon, as well as tracks by a pair of former Muddy Waters harmonica-playing sidemen in Little Walter and Junior Wells. Big Apple Blues also tosses in a couple of Big Easy classics by Dave Bartholomew, including the Fats Domino staple “Whole Lotta Lovin,’” and songs by Big Joe Turner and Paul Butterfield, as well.

That gives this warm vibrancy to Brooklyn Blues, which smartly mimics the densely spacious sound of those original masters. You quickly sense that this group’s high fidelity goes beyond the studio technology; Big Apple Blues displays a lasting faith in the music’s tradition.

Guitarist Zach Zunis opens the record with a dirty, barstool-rattling guitar groove on “Too Many Drivers,” while Anthony Kane (pictured at left) puts on a shimmying show with his harmonica. Kane’s gravelly growl is perfect for Butterfield’s well-crafted lyric on betrayal. A saddle-buck cool surrounds their rollicking interpretation of Turner’s largely ad-libbed 1953 Top 25 hit “Honey Hush,” which swings along like a lost Sun Records side. Christine Santelli and Matt Mousseau join in the raucous sing-along at the end.

Big Apple Blues doesn’t often move off script but, when they do, it’s a wonder: For instance, they brilliantly rework “Whole Lotta Lovin,” originally an up-tempo 1958 pop parfait by Fats Domino, into a loping shout. They go even deeper into the brown-bottle blues on “I Hear You Knockin,’” initially sent to No. 2 on the R&B charts in 1955 by Gale Storm.

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On the original “Brooklyn Swamp,” written by Zunis, Big Apple Blues jukes expectations with a New Orleans vibe. Zunis explores a mercurial, echoing sound while drummer Barry “The Baron of the Blues” Harrison (Shemekia Copeland) underscores everything with a second-line beat.

More typical, however, is “Who’s On Third (Duvel),” this album’s only other original. The track, locomotive but instantly familiar, finds author Kane trading licks with guest pianist Brian Mitchell (Bob Dylan, Al Green, B.B. King, Levon Helm, Allen Toussaint), who also appears on “Whole Lotta Lovin.’” Kane’s aching vocal on Howlin’ Wolf’s seminal 1951 Chess classic “How Many More Years” opens the door for a sizzling, explorative solo turn by Zunis.

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Kane then retakes center stage during a trio of showcase opportunities that arrive back to back to back on Brooklyn Blues. First, there’s Wells’ “It’s My Life Baby” and then Little Walter’s “Hate to See You Go,” both from the late 1960s, followed by Walter’s determined 1959 Top 25 R&B hit “Everything is Gonna Be Alright.” Kane completely inhabits Little Walter’s style, this crisp, cocksure sound that shaped the modern vocabulary for harmonica. Then Kane neatly approximates Junior Well’s randy growl on “It’s My Life Baby.”

Big Apple Blues closes with the Diddley wallop of Dixon’s ironically named 1954 side “Mellow Down Easy,” eventually made famous by Little Walter, as well.

Of course, carefully carrying forward those signature sounds sometimes sets up Big Apple Blues for uncomfortable comparisons. These classic sides are famous for very good reasons.

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For instance, “Killing Floor,” a roadhouse staple since redefining Chicago blues in 1964, doesn’t quite have the muscular danger of Howlin’ Wolf’s initial version. Nobody, not even a player as gifted as Zunis, can touch Hubert Sumlin’s towering original riff.

Even so, Hugh Pool acquits himself well on the lyric, pushing his vocal through a series of painful epiphanies about how a relationship has gone terribly wrong. There remain new places for these songs to go, not to mention a new audience unlikely to dig through dusty stacks at the local vinyl shop.

Sure, Big Apple Blues does the old stuff the old way, but in a too-polished world so very far removed from the days when these songs were on the radio, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. (by Nick DeRiso)

Indeed … one of the finest blues albums of the last decade … hot & dirty … loud & proud !

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Personnel:
Joe Bencomo (drums)
Sonny Charles (vocals, harmonica)
Eddie St. Clair (bass)
Spider Ingram (guitar, slide-guitar, vocals)
Little Johnny Walter (guitar, background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Too Many Drivers (Butterfield) 4.06
02. Killing Floor (Burnett) 3.57
03. Brooklyn Swamp (Bencomo/Charles/Clair/Ingram/Walter/Zunis) 3.47
04. Honey Hush (Turner) 2.58
05. Whole Lotta Lovin (Bartholomew/Domino) 4.07
06. I Hear You Knocking (Bartholomew) 3.03
07. How Many More Years (Burnett) 4.09
08. Who’s On Third (Duvel)? (Bencomo/Charles/Clair/Ingram/Walter/Kane) 6.19
09. It’s My Life Baby (Wells) 4.27
10. Hate To See You Go (Jacobs) 3.22
11. Everything Is Gonna Be All Right (Jacobs) 5.23
12. Mellow Down Easy (Dixon) 3.56

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Snowy White Project – In Our Time… Live (2010)

FrontCover1Snowy White has an extensive and impressive CV, serving guitar duties with huge rock acts such as Thin Lizzy (Chinatown and Renegade albums), Pink Floyd (Animals & The Wall tours), Roger Waters, Joan Armatrading, Peter Green and Al Stewart amongst many others. Whilst still to be found touring with Pink Floyd & Roger Waters, Snowy also fronts his own bands ‘The White Flames’ and ‘The Snowy White Blues Project’ and has released a number of well received and commercially successful albums and even scored a hit single with the song Bird Of Paradise.

‘In Our Time… Live’ A Snowy White Blues Project album was recorded in Holland in 2009. Features Snowy alongside Matt Taylor: (guitar & vocals) Ruud Weber: (bass & vocals) Juan van Emmerloot: (drums).

A blues masterclass from former Thin Lizzy and Pink Floyd man…an excellent showcase for White’s nigh-on perfect guitar playing. (Hot Press)

SnowyWhite.jpgClassic Brit Blues Rock, pure RnB and gooving rockin funky blues… the two guitars fit perfectly together. Fine, highly melodic and swinging… awesome. (Glitterhouse)

Fine guitar-sparring between Snowy and Matt Taylor ensure the album’s appeal to lovers of the British blues. …a sound akin to Albert, Freddy and B.B. King. (R2 Magazine)

On par with the best… when White becomes one with his beloved Les Paul Gold Top, his music could hardly be more more authentic, soulful and heartwarming. (Rocks Magazine)

“…Woman Across The River”. Possibly the best version I’ve heard since Freddie King’s! ( BluesBytes)

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Personnel:
Juan van Emmerloot (drums)
Matt Taylor (guitar, vocals)
Ruud Weber (bass, vocals)
Snowy White (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Blue To The Bone (Weber) 3.39
02. Good Morning Blues (Leadbetter/Lomax) 3.54
03. Simple (Weber) 4.46
04. Red Wine Blues (White) 5.05
05. Lonely Man Blues (White) 4.32
06. Long Grey Mare (Green) 3.27
07. In Our Time Of Living (Taylor) 8.19
08. Land Of Plenty (White) 6.16
09. Rolling With My Baby ((White) 4.44
10. I’m So Glad (James) 4.21
11. Walk On (Terry/McGee) 5.58
12. Woman Across The River (Crutcher/Jones) 4.57
13. I Want To Thank You (Taylor) 3.11
14. One Way Ticket (White) 6.53
15. World Keep On Turning (Green)3.24

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John Butler Trio – Live At Red Rocks (2011)

FrontCover1Live at Red Rocks is the fourth live album of The John Butler Trio. It was recorded on 4 June 2010 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and was streamed live to fans around the world at Livestream.
The album was released in Australia in July 2011.

The stunning set captures their captivating, largest headline concert ever at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, USA. This 3 disc package includes 2 live audio CDs plus a DVD showcasing the concert in its entirety with over 2 hours of viewing pleasure.

A live performance is just as important as what comes out of a recording studio, sometimes more; a good band will know how to wow their audiences on both fronts. But when a band manages to take their studio recording and elevate it above and beyond in a live setting, you know you’ve encountered a truly talented act.

John Butler Trio has been a household name for about 13 years now. Rolling through five studio albums and two live recordings, they’ve continuously figured out a way to capture new fans. But it wasn’t until recently that I came across a recording of theirs that was inspirational.

Inlet02A1On the 4th of June in the year of 2010, JBT took the stage at the historic Red Rocks Amphitheater. And on the 19th of July in the year 2011, the band released the live recording of that night’s experiences. From what has been named their largest headlining concert came a 3-disc CD/DVD box set. From first listen, it was obviously that not only the band, but the music itself, felt completely at home [at Red Rocks].

The hoots and hollers could be heard as the marching band drum intro brought in “Used To Get High”. Its sultry vocals seemed as though they slipped smoothly off the stage and the 1980s’ electric guitar was a great audience groove starter for the night. The guitar work of John Butler himself is nearly unmatched. And when he starts off “Betterman” with a folky, banjo-esque twang, you can hear it resonate so strongly through the mountains. At one point the song breaks for a couple drums and some soft vocals, taunting and enticing the audience. The echo that stage provided worked so perfectly, you wouldn’t want to hear it any other way.

Inlet04A1One of my album favorites begins with just a subtle string dance. Fingers sashay across a hollowed instrument in a very Indian/belly dance kind of way. The sound of a didgeridoo comes out eerily from the back and eventually the sentiments of an African-dance leave way for one of the most recognizable JBT electric riffs to bust out. It’s that of the song “Treat Yo Mama” and pretty soon you’re knee deep in the pure insanity that comes with lyrics on speed and so many electric rock chords that they’re coming out your ears. One might think that his guitar work might get lost in an outdoor venue. Rest assured, you experience every note and every ween.

‘Absolute favorite JBT song of all time’is a risky thing to see at a show. You can put so much faith in your band, but so much risk as well. For me “Ocean” tops the JBT chart and when I finally reached the song on the live album, my hopes were not only met, they were surpassed. With so much raw talent rolled up into one man, it’s really best just to give him a guitar and stand back. The intro of “Ocean” was just that. You can almost hear his smile and picture how content he must have been. The first 1:20 was like a window into John. No music to follow, just whatever his fingers wanted to do. It was magical. Soon enough the song itself emerged. And with a few bass beats, the music took shape. A melody turns into a lullaby and a beat into a dance. This was one of those songs that you never wanted to end. And as the second longest song on the album, coming in at 12:03, the band surely tried to do just that.

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Not a single word comes out, but this is on purpose, so that your mind can completely take in each strum and each pluck. Not having seen JBT live myself, I can only imagine that it’s just John making the music throughout this number. And it’s because of this that I’m sure each of those 2,000 sets of eyes was fixed on one place. Like I said, inspirational.

22 songs fill the two discs in the box set and while I’d love to talk about each one, I’ll have to jump to the end. To finish their unforgettable night, the band decided to end with “Funky Tonight”. Massive rock riffs eventually fade to a single chord progression with an Irish hint to it. Cymbals are tickled and a bass note keeps everything mellow. The tempo eventually quickens and the Irish chords morph into a melody so infamously John Butler Trio. There’s no better way to end a show as big as this one, than with each audience member dancing so fast they nearly pass out.

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Even if you’ve been lucky enough to catch the band on tour, this box set is an essential for any JBT fan. (by Rachel Fredrickson)

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Personnel:
Nicky Bomba (drums, percussion, steel drums, vocals)
John Butler (vocals, guitar, lap steel guitar, banjo)
Byron Luiters (bass, didgeridoo, vocals)
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Mama Kin (vocals on 12.)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:

01. Introduction 0.57
02. Used To Get High (Butler/Walker) 4.27
03. I’d Do Anything (Butler) 3.46
04. Betterman (Butler/Birchall/Johnstone) 8.31
05. Don’t Wanna See Your Face (Butler) 3.37
06. Revolution (Butler/Bomba/Luiters) 6.47
07. Hoe Down (Butler) 0.55
08. Better Than (Butler/Walker) 3.18
09. Johnny’s Gone (Butler) 3.43
10. Take Me (Butler/Bomba) 4.51
11. Treat Yo Mama (Butler/Birchall) 10.40
12. Losing You 5.25
13. Intro To Ocean 1.29
14. Ocean (Butler) 12.02

CD 2:
15. Ragged Mile (Butler) 3.59
16. Zebra (Butler/Birchall) 7.07
17. Good Excuse (Butler/Walker) 17.00
18. C’mon Now (Butler) 2.39
19. Close To You (Butler) 6.06
20. Peaches And Cream (Butler/Birchall) 7.04
21. One Way Road (Butler) 5.24
22. Funky Tonight (Butler/Walker) 11.51

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  • Byron Luiters broke a string of his electric bass in the middle of his solo. Nicky Bomba has had to play while the bass has been replaced.
  • Nicky Bomba broke a rind of his tom just in the middle of his solo.
  • The amphitheatre is built on an Indian sacred site.
  • The show was preceded by an exhibition of Indians (Native Americans) invited by the trio.
  • Butler’s wife made an appearance to sing with John.

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The Swipes – Destroy Your World (2010)

FrontCover1.jpg„A wild, independent mix of styles with plenty of sixties beat, garage punk, drugged wah wah guitars and surf and reggae influences. The Stooges and the Cramps meet with the Hives and the Strokes in a newly renovated German garage. „So vividly brings the author of a leading music magazine to the point, what he has heard in The Swipes. Many of his colleagues are similarly fascinated.

Clear case: The quartet from the Greater Frankfurt am Main beats a wide arc from the 60s to the present and goes with mighty pressure and drive to the point. More and more fans are electrified by this extravagant yet radio-friendly in-your-face rock. Well over a hundred gigs in trendy clubs and at festivals, the guitar band has already completed, and the demand is growing continuously.

This is ensured by the never-ending output in sound carrier form. The CD debut „Destroy Your World“ from 2010 soon followed the CD / LP „Lost“ as well as two Maxi-CDs with a total of eight tracks. Material for another longplayer is freshly rehearsed and will be presented live already. The wide-thumb-high echo the previous productions have found in various media can be found on the website of The Swipes. A total of six of the songs were or will be sent by public and private broadcasters on air.

Similar to the retro to punky touched kick rockers of The (International) Noise Conspiracy, one of the most influential influences of the Frankfurters, swinging in the lyrics of The Swipes also political. The best example: their mischievous-winking in untypical country-style on-line billing „Best Tip: No TTIP“, which dissected under the corresponding abbreviated free trade agreement between the EU and the US with snappy rhymes. No sooner was the song outside, he was officially featured by the anti-globalization organization Attac. Also „Back to Life“, the band’s latest release, carries a social message. It is dedicated to the eponymous nonprofit relief project for India and Nepal, to which all profits from production are passed on.

And here´s their debut album.
This is what the press says about The Swipes:

“An elegant-dirty mixture which reminds a bit of bands like Triggerfinger, The Strokes and The (International) Noise Conspiracy (…)” noisy Neighbours

“If you’re fans of The White Stripes, The Hives and The (International) Noise Conspiracy, then you will love these four Frankfurt’s.”RockAndReview.com

“These boys play a thoroughly fancy blend of The Hives, The Stooges, The Cramps or anything of the kind. (…) An appealing sound… And I’m eager to see them live!” Trust

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„Fresh songs that bear comparison with the big names (i.e. The Hives, The International Noise Conspiracy and The Clash) but are very independent.“Wildwechsel

„Unfilial amalgamation of garage, pop, beat, punk and all kinds of well worked out sounds (…) Comes increasingly across as being spacy – like out of this world.“ Ox

“Top cover, top claim! And the music is no less awesome. 13 garage smashers on a debut cd without noteworthy deficiencies. Hats off! ”Pankerknacker

„A hipswinging, fist-in-the-air-pumping sound à la Hives, Hellacopters and Dictators Flight 13

“The band of the evening (…) Inspired rock’n’roll hooklines, igniting effects.” Journal Frankfurt

“One of the currently most interesting bands in Frankfurt is called The Swipes.”Frankfurter Neue Presse

And I saw The Swipes last week in Leverkusen/Germany:

Listen !!!

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Personnel:
Stefan Becker (vocals, guitar)
Jens Uwe Pätsch (drums)
Thomas Striffler (guitar, vocals)
Udo Trauteberg (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Destroy Your World (Becker/Striffler) 4.01
02. Silent Alarm (Becker) 2.34
03.  Light The Night (Becker/Striffler) 3.01
04. Who Told Me Lies (Becker/Striffler) 3.37
05. Never Accept (Becker) 2.38
06. Here Comes the Swipe! (Becker) 2.43
07. Cage Of My Dreams (Becker/Striffler) 3.30
08. Outer Space Theme (Becker) 3.13
09. Agents From Outer Space (Becker) 4.30
10. If the Grandpas Are United (Becker) 4.53
11.  Welcome To The Lo-Fi School (Becker/Striffler) 3.42
12.  Leaving Soon (Becker) 1.48
13.  Thorn (Becker/Striffler) 5.51

All lyrics: Stefan Becker

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Axel Zwingenberger, Dave Green & Charlie Watts – The Magic Of Boogie Woogie (2010)

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Axel Zwingenberger (born May 7, 1955) is a blues and boogie-woogie pianist, and songwriter. He is considered one of the finest boogie-woogie music masters in the world.

Zwingenberger was born in Hamburg, Germany, and enjoyed eleven years of conventional piano training. In 1973 he listened to recordings of boogie-woogie pianists Albert Ammons, Meade “Lux” Lewis, and Pete Johnson. He soon joined piano playing partners Hans-Georg Moeller, Vince Weber and Martin Pyrker, and word about the four friends began to spread. In 1974, he played at the First International Blues-and-Boogie Woogie Festival of the West German Radio Station in Cologne which was followed by Hans Maitner’s annual festival Stars of Boogie Woogie in Vienna.

By 1975, Zwingenberger received his first recording contract, issuing such solo recordings as Boogie Woogie Breakdown, Power House Boogie, and Boogie Woogie Live, as well as lending his talents to recordings by such artists as Lionel Hampton, Jay McShann, Big Joe Turner, Lloyd Glenn, Joe Newman, Sippie Wallace, Mama Yancey, Champion Jack Dupree, Sammy Price, Ray Bryant, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Vince Weber, and the Mojo Blues Band, among others.

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In addition to issuing other solo recordings, Zwingenberger continues to tour all over the world. He has also authored several publications about blues/boogie-woogie music and musicians as well as Boogie Woogie: Piano Solo, a book of 12 of his compositions, exactly transcribed.

Being a railfan since early childhood, he is also known for his photographs of steam locomotives, including some taken from within the machinery itself. Zwingenberger established a non-profit foundation within the German Foundation for the Protection of Historical Monuments which donates for the preservation of monuments on rails, including the world’s fastest operational steam locomotive, the German DR 18 201.

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In spring 2009, coordinated by young pianist Ben Waters from the UK, Zwingenberger renewed his relationship with Charlie Watts, drummer of The Rolling Stones. Together with bassist Dave Green, they played joint concerts billed as The ABC&D of Boogie Woogie. In June 2012 they released their first joint album The ABC&D of Boogie Woogie – live in Paris and presented it in New York by playing concerts at Lincoln Center and The Iridium Jazz Club. (by wikipedia)

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He’s the leading boogie woogie player, worldwide. To record his latest album he went to London where he was joined by two stellar players from the UK. A perfect set of recordings. Comes with a 32page booklet with liner notes in German and English. Great.

The magic of boogie woogie keeps on fascinating the audiences by its youthful freshness since more than 100 years, as well as exciting ever new generations of enthusiastic pianists. But it is more to it than just that: the boogie woogie is one of the most important roots of modern popular music, starting off with rock’n’roll. Charlie Watts, drummer of The Rolling Stones, has mentioned boogie woogie as a foundation of the Stones’ music.

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Axel Zwingenberger, together with Charlie Watts at the drums and Dave Green, the stellar double bass player, let shine the swinging magic of blues and boogie woogie in full glory. This is the pure joy of trio playing! Spontaneously created numbers alternate with boogie classics, and for the first time, Charlie’s drums’ artistry is featured in such an intimate setting.

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Personnel:
Dave Green (bass)
Charlie Watts (drums)
Axel Zwingenberger (piano)

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Tracklist:
01. Shepperton Strut (Zwingenberger) 2.51
02. Lagonda Ride (Zwingenberger) 4.03
03. Heathrow Jet (Zwingenberger) 3.39
04. Windsor Park Walk (Zwingenberger) 4.51
05. High Barn Stampede (Zwingenberger) 2.48
06. Blues, Indeed (Zwingenberger) 4.31
07. Honky Tonky Train Blues (Lewis) 4.46
08. V-Disc Stomp (Lewis) 3.04
09. Smashingly Blue (Zwingenberger) 5.49
10. Second Line Bounce (Zwingenberger) 2.47
11. Bass Goin’ Crazy (Ammons) 3.17
12. Careless Love Swing (Traditional) 3.37
13. Boogie Train Mystique (Zwingenberger) 4.21
14. Lady Be Good (Gershwin) 4.20
15. Boogie Asado (Zwingenberger) 3.24
16. How Long Blues (Traditional) 4.32
17. Boogie Woogie Rhythm Shop (Zwingenberger) 4.42
18. Sympathy For The Drummer (Zwingenberger) 4.26
19. Farewell Smile (Zwingenberger) 4.50

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The Last Tycoon – Same (The Dry Law) (2010)

FrontCover1.jpgBorn 13 days apart, band members Steve and Dan grew up on the same street and began making music together at the age of 10. A couple of years later they played their first gig, performing 50’s rock n’ roll songs to a somewhat bemused audience in a Sligo bar, being several years too young to get a gig in any licensed premises in Dublin. At 17 they united with schoolmates Matt and The Hog, formed the band Porn Trauma and released ‘Sunrise’ EP in 2005 which entered the Irish charts at No. 21 and spent several weeks in the Top 30 OFFICIAL IRISH CHARTS. Over the years, The Last Tycoons have developed a reputation for their live performances, and have opened for and supported various luminaries such as: Babyshambles, Ian Brown, The Coral, The Felice Brothers and Alex Chilton.

Porn Trauma released a limited edition 7″ single ‘Casanova Blues’ before taking a break from the road. In 2007, they then changed their stage name to The Last Tycoons (inspired by F Scott Fitzgerald’s book) and added an extra member (Aoife) on piano/organ and backing vocals. This completed the current line-up and their sound, now defined by their 2 lead instrumentalists (Dan and Aoife), lead vocalist Steve, and rock-solid rhythm section of Matt and The Hog. The band’s sound is also complemented by four vocals which at times play off each other intricately and at other times harmonize effortlessly.

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The band’s first collective release was their single ‘Loving Arms’, which was supported by an Irish tour. In 2008, three members of the Tycoons (Dan, Steve & Hog) were enlisted in The Mighty Stef’s backing band, and since then have been involved in the recording of his 2nd album ‘100 Midnights’ as well as three tours of the US and have played festivals all over Ireland and Europe including Oxegen, Electric Picnic and Benicassim festival in Spain.

The Last Tycoons began recording their debut album in 2008, sporadically going into a studio deep in the Wicklow mountains, and often paying for studio time by completing chores for the owner, like moving pianos and unplugging his drains when the studio flooded. The album was completed in 2009 and the band released ‘The Dry Law’ as a taste of the material recorded for their first LP.

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The Last Tycoons music is rock n’ roll in a style embraced by few other bands around today. From old style R’n’B to narrative ballads, fiery rock n’ roll to dark boozy tunes reminiscent of Tom Waits, the band centres around strong lyrics and a raucous live show worthy of the Pogues. They have toured relentlessly over the last few years, and whether playing live, recording or drinking through the early hours playing old country tunes, this is a band that lives the music they make.

Formed in 2007 after a change of personnel, The Last Tycoons evolved from highly acclaimed Dublin band Porn Trauma. Their self-titled debut album was released in April, 2010.
‘Replete with vintage sounding guitars, liberal use of harmonica and soulful backing vocals, they certainly offer a refreshing alternative to the raft of copycat, post-punk pretenders doing the rounds…. They are a revelation’ (Hotpress).

‘Their ability is obvious and their hard work in improving every area of their performance is acredit to them. Cracking stuff; watch this space’ (InDUBLIN).
The music of The Last Tycoons has a definite southern American roots undertone, yet is
triumphantly Irish in its origin. Tracks from their debut album certainly grab the listener’s attention, such as debut single ‘The Dry Law’, which was written by lead singer Stephen Fanning while experimenting with sobriety for a month, but is set during American Prohibition and the Great Depression, when alcohol was banned.

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‘The eminently watchable front man Steve Fanning is tall and imposing, like a good
looking Richard Ashcroft, with a distinctive twang to his voice that lifts even the darkest corners of their songs to the light.’ -(InDUBLIN). He also sounds, at times, like the love child of Mick Jagger and Nick Cave, which makes for easy comparisons however, this is a band that is not led by any one or two persons but rather a collaboration of ideas with instrumentation such as accordion, piano, banjo, harmonica, trumpet, guitar, bass and drums lending to the bands overall sound.

Known widely for their explosive and raucous live shows, the band have been touring
in Ireland, The UK, Germany and the USA since March, and are due to appear at this year’s Glasgowbury festival in Derry, and Temple House festival in Sligo, before returning to the continent in the Autumn to support the album’s release on German label ToneToaster.

“In short these are the real deal…. An undeniable honorary fine debut album.” (The Mutation)

“If Jack L and Led Zeppelin moved to the deep south and had a love child, they might sound a little like this…. The Last Tycoons is an excellent debut effort from this truly unique band.” (The Star) (www.breakingtunes.com)

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Personnel:
Steve Fanning (guitar, vocals)
Daniel Fitzpatrick (guitar, piano, accordion, banjo, trumpet, vocals)
Michiel Hogerziel (drums, percussion)
Matt Roddy (bass, violin, vocals)
Aoife Ruth (keyboards, fiddle, glockenspiel, vocals)
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Claire Fitzgerald (background vocals on 02. + 10.)
N.C. Lawlor (pedal steel-guitar on 04.)
Gavin Ralston (guitar, mandolin on 04. + 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. Speed (Fanning) 3.39
02. Who Needs Radio (Part III) (Fanning) 3.06
03. Not At All (Fanning) 4.21
04. The Dry Law (Fanning) 4.49
05. Don’t Let Me Catch You (D.Fitzpatrick) 4.53
06. Seven Days (Off The Road) 3.30
07. Alaska Hotel (D.Fitzpatrick) 4.40
08. The Love Song (Fanning) 3.24
09. Good Times (D.Fitzpatrick) 4.05
10. Who Needs Radio (Part III) (Fanning) 9.14

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