A totally excellent bit of funk from Chico Hamilton – working with a great group that more than helps their leader live up to the album's title! The record's a real lost gem – and it's got Chico working in much funkier territory than before, grooving with complicated rhythms, and a heavy sound that features lots of work on organ and guitar. Lowell George (of Little Feat fame) is playing slide guitar in the group, giving the sound a great, muddy propellant – which only gets stronger with the help of Simon Nava and Sam Clayton on congas, plus heavy organ and piano by Stu Garner, Jerry Aiello and Bill Payne. Includes the killer Latin groover "Conquistadores 74", plus "Stu", "Feels Good", "Fancy", "Stacy", Gengis" and "I Can Hear The Grass Grow".
Sonny Rollins must have liked hearing Billy Holiday with two of her absolute classic numbers included and a composition he composed himself which has no familarity with Billy Holiday's classic "Loverman" but the title "Love Man" sandwiched in between the two Billy Holiday numbers does make one think. Anyway recorded in 1973 and this album "Horn Culture" is Sonny's second album after his last absence from the Jazz scene in the late sixties and early seventies doing yoga and the Eastern thing but he sure came back vibrant and as usual he played beautifully with this album being no exception.
As John Zorn’s most popular project reaches its tenth year, Tzadik celebrates the Masada songbook with a series of all-star tributes. Following Masada Guitars, Volume 2 is an eclectic and powerful collection of almost two dozen Masada classics artfully arranged by some of the downtown scene’s most creative performers. Zorn’s catchiest and most lyrical tunes performed by rock bands, klezmer groups, vocalists, jazz.
…These 17 hymns and chants, dating from the 14th through the early-18th centuries, are sung in Greek, Romanian, Latin, and Italian, and are beautiful examples of early vocal music, sung as closely as possible to the way they were historically. The beauty of these pieces is powerful and striking, and the growing complexity of the melodies as the pieces move chronologically through the centuries is fascinating to follow…
For me, this release took time to sink in because there is so much going on. Not just shredding but dynamics and melody that gives your brain a workout. Then it clicked - holy crap this is an incredible collaboration of sonic nirvana! Every song on "Culture Clash" is killer and has its own personality. Whether rock, fusion, techno, rockabilly, or prog-metal, these tunes are clever and well thought out with arrangements to die for. The disc clocks in just over 57 minutes, all instrumental, and each band mate wrote three songs. You can get lost in these songs and shouldn't focus too long on one instrument because the sum is better than its parts.
Joe Lovano's third album featuring his Us Five quintet, 2013's Cross Culture, furthers the adventurous collective aesthetic the saxophonist developed on 2009's Folk Art and 2011's Bird Songs. Once again working with drummers Francisco Mela and Otis Brown III, pianist James Weidman, and bassist Esperanza Spalding, Lovano also employs bassist Peter Slavov on a few tracks here, as well as West African guitarist Lionel Loueke. The result is an album of exploratory jazz that is often more about group interplay on various musical themes rather than straightforward improvisation on melodic compositions – though there is that, too.