quarta-feira, 30 de novembro de 2016

Mike Harrison - Mike Harrison 1971

b. 3 September 1945, Carlisle, Cumberland, England. Vocalist/pianist Harrison began his career in the early 60s as a member of local act the Ramrods. In 1965 he joined the V.I.P.s, who later evolved into Art (1967), then Spooky Tooth (1968). In each of these acts Harrison’s distinctive voice was well to the fore, notably on Spooky Tooth’s ‘Sunshine Help Me’ and ‘Better By You, Better Than Me’. Mike Harrison was recorded following this band’s disintegration. Here the singer was supported by Junkyard Angels, a Carlisle-based outfit led by ex-VIPs’ guitarist Frank Kenyon and completed by Ian Herbert (guitar/vocals), Peter Batley (bass) and Ken Iverson (drums). Harrison’s powerful intonation - part Joe Cocker, part Stevie Winwood - raises this rather disappointing set which failed to recreate a personal chemistry between the leader and sidemen. Smokestack Lightning was an excellent collaboration with various Muscle Shoals session musicians, including Barry Beckett (keyboards) and David Hood (bass), both of whom later joined Traffic. In 1972 Harrison joined a re-formed Spooky Tooth - which also featured Ian Herbert - but left again in 1974. The low-key Rainbow Rider ensued before Harrison teamed with former Joe Cocker pianist Chris Stainton. After spending some time in Canada he worked in a warehouse having left music altogether, a sad waste of one of the finest bluesy heavy rock voices the UK has produced, although in 1999 he joined a re-formed Spooky Tooth to record a new album and got together with Mike Maslen and Dave Williams to record Late Starter, an album of little known covers. The production was superb, the playing; ditto, the voice quite magnificent but the pedestrian songs let him down. AMG.

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Marvin Gaye - That's The Way Love Is 1970

The title cut was another Gaye classic, while much of the other material was equally impressive. Gayewas beginning to become disillusioned with Motown, but that hadn't affected his album output or his singing. Anyone hearing this wouldn't have suspected that Gaye was about to unleash What's Going On. AMG.

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Ace - Five-A-Side 1974

“How Long,” the song that broke Ace and by many measures defines them, doesn’t necessarily present the most accurate picture of the band or its 1974 debut, Five-A-Side. Sure, Ace had a knack for a soft soulful groove that distinguished them from their pub rock brethren and in Paul Carrack they had perhaps the best blue-eyed soul singer the scene produced (Frankie Miller being a close contender for the title), but neither are the focal point on Five-A-Side, a record evenly balanced between the singer and quintet, as the title implies. Most of the ten-track record doesn’t ride the same easy rhythm as “How Long"; “The Real Feeling” and “Why” come close, containing some of the same ‘70s polyester sheen, but those bear stronger resemblance to the rest of the record, the songs that are heavily rooted in American roots rock, some of which are not sung by CarrackAce deftly mimicked the bluesy country-rock of Delaney & Bonnie, choosing to emphasize R&B over shaggy country-folk, thereby sounding quite different than their Band-loving peers. All this gives Five-A-Side a smooth, relaxed quality even on Ace’s relatively harder-rocking numbers like “Sniffin’ About” and that laid-back groove is appealing, partially because there’s just enough grit in their interplay to keep this from being lazy, partially because the songs -- chiefly written by Carrack, who bears eight songwriting credits -- are so strong, excellent pieces of straight-ahead rock & roll and blue-eyed soul that make this album something of a minor gem of its time. [Cherry Red’s 2011 expanded reissue adds a disc of bonus tracks, beginning with the amiable instrumental outtake “Tastes Like Fish,” running through a Peel Session from November 1974, then concluding with a Bob Harris Session from the following month. All the BBC sessions are first-rate, capturing a band just a little rawer and looser than on record, a band making the most of its pub rock classification.] AMG.

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Rico Rodriguez - Man From Wareika 1977

One of the most prolific session players of Jamaica's pre-ska era, trombonist Rico Rodriguez later emerged as a catalyst behind the UK's 2-Tone movement of the late 1970s, recording both as a solo artist and as a member of the legendary Specials. While attending Kingston's Alpha Cottage School, an institution for wayward boys, he studied trombone under the legendary Don Drummond. In the years to follow, Rodriguez emerged as one of Jamaica's most highly regarded session musicians, often working under the direction of the renowned producer Duke Reid. While his forte remained jazz, he adapted brilliantly to any environment, and applied his improvisational skills to productions from notables including Sly & Robbie. In 1977, Rodriguez also cut a solo LP, Man from Wareika, credited to simply "Rico; " it was followed a year later by Midnight in Ethiopia. In 1979, he appeared on the Specials' cover of "A Message to You Rudy," and soon joined the band as a full-time member; for the group's 2-Tone label, Rodriguez also helmed his own outfit, Rico and the Rudies, to yield the albums Blow Your Horn and Brixton Cat. AMG.

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Wilson Pickett - The Exciting Wilson Pickett 1966

Less of a hodgepodge than his debut album, In the Midnight HourPickett's second album established -- if there had been any doubt -- his stature as a major '60s soul man. The 12 tracks include his monster hits "634-5789," "Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won't Do)," "In the Midnight Hour," and "Land of 1000 Dances" (the last of which was his first Top Ten pop hit). Collectors will be more interested in the non-hit cuts, which are of nearly an equal level. These include covers of the R&B standards "Something You Got," "Mercy Mercy," and "Barefootin'"; several original tunes written in collaboration with Memphis soul greats Steve CropperEddie Floyd, and David Porter; and Bobby Womack's "She's So Good to Me." It all adds up to one of the most consistent '60s soul albums ever. AMG.

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Nara Leão - Nara Leão 1968

Nara Leão, the Musa da Bossa Nova (Bossa Nova's Muse, as she is affectionately known), was a prominent figure in bossa nova. She didn't restrict herself as a bossa nova singer, though, and was one of the first artists to engage in the movement later known as "canção de protesto" (protest song), an artistic movement which denounced military dictatorship in Brazil. She launched the careers of such composers/interpreters as Chico Buarque, Zé Keti, Martinho da VilaEdu LoboPaulinho da Viola, and Fagner. An international performer in spite of her short, uneducated voice, she left an expressive discography even though death caught her by surprise at such a precocious age.
When she was a year old, she and her family left Vitória for Rio. In 1954, she took her first violão classes with Solon Ayala and Patrício Teixeira, and then with Roberto Menescal and Carlos Lyra. As an amateur, she participated in the first university presentations where bossa nova was coming together as an organized movement. She performed with names such as João Gilberto, Luiz Eça, Ronaldo Bôscoli (with whom she would have a love affair and later become his fiancée), Carlos Lyra, and others. At that time, she was a reporter for Rio's newspaper Última Hora. The ample apartment of her complacent parents in Rio's south side (zona sul), Copacabana, Posto 4, became a meeting point for musicians, which led many to erroneously establish it as a bossa nova cradle (actually, the cradle was, to some extent, the Cantina do César, but even more appropriately, the Plaza nightclub around 1952). In 1963, she debuted as a professional, working in the musical comedy Pobre Menina Rica, by Vinícius de Moraes and Carlos Lyra. While working on the play, they also acted at the Carioca nightclub Au bon Gourmet. She also debuted in that year in recording studios, singing "Naná" (Moacir Santos), which was included in the movie soundtrack to Ganga Zumba, Rei dos Palmares (Cacá Diegues). She also recorded two tracks on Carlos Lyra's LP Depois do Carnaval (Philips): the marcha-rancho "Marcha da Quarta-Feira de Cinzas" (Carlos Lyra/Vinícius de Moraes) and the samba-jazz "Promessas de Você" (Carlos Lyra/Nelson Lins e Barros). Also in 1963, she toured Brazil, Japan, and France with Sérgio Mendes. When they toured the Northeast, Leão was introduced by Roberto Santana to the so-called Vila Velha Gang, the baianos Caetano VelosoGilberto GilGal Costa, and Maria Bethânia. Her first LP (Nara), recorded by Elenco, launched the sambista do morro (sambista of the hill) Zé Keti into the middle-class circle with great success with his song "Diz que Fui por Aí" (with H. Rocha). She also reintroduced to the same circle the older sambista do morro Cartola ("O Sol Nascerá," together with Elton Medeiros). Along with these two songs, which became all-time hits, another two songs recorded on that album had the same success: "Consolação" (Baden Powell/Vinícius de Moraes) and "O Morro" (Carlos Lyra/Gianfrancesco Guarnieri). On that album, she evidenced her social concerns (still a bit naïve), choosing a non-bossa repertoire. These concerns were even more evident in the following phase of her career when a coup took power over Brazil and installed the military dictatorship; this event provoked her to actively denounce it. Her second album, Opinião de Nara (Leão's opinion, Philips, 1964), brought "Opinião" (Zé Keti). In December 1964, she made a great success with the show Opinião (Gianfrancesco Guarnieri/Augusto Boal) at the Teatro Opinião (Rio). The show brought together Leão, a middle-class young girl, Zé Keti, representing the morro people, and João do Vale, from the poor region of Northeast.
The show was such a longtime success that it robbed the middle-class audiences making the important samba redoubt Zicartola profitable, which was owned by Cartola himself; it closed its doors soon afterwards. It also killed bossa nova in Brazil. Leão delivered passionate speeches against bossa nova in that time, calling it an "alienating" movement. At the same time, the instrumental backing of the show Opinião was pure bossa, as can be heard on a CD reissued in 1994, informing that the rupture, at that time, was more ideological than musical. In 1965, she presented Chico Buarque with his songs "Pedro Pedreiro" (strong social thematic) and "Olê, Olá." Also in that year, she participated in the Teatro Opinião show Liberdade, Liberdade (freedom, freedom), by Flávio Rangel/Millôr Fernandes. She also appeared on Elis Regina/Jair Rodrigues' regular TV show O Fino da Bossa, which eventually also had Chico BuarqueGilberto GilCaetano VelosoEdu Lobo, Tom Jobim, Vinícius de Moraes, and Ivan Lins. In 1966, she recorded her album Manhã de Liberdade (Philips). Defending Chico Buarque's "A Banda," together with him at TV Record's II FMPB (1966, São Paulo), she won first place (together with "Disparada," by Geraldo Vandré and Théo de Barros). Leão recorded "A Banda," together with the first song composed by the duo Gilberto Gil/Capinam, "Ladainha." The next year, she sang, together with its author, "A Estrada e o Violeiro" (Sidney Miller), at the III FMPB. The song was awarded for Best Lyrics.Between 1966 and 1967, she and Chico Buarque had a regular weekly TV show (Pra Ver a Banda Passar, TV Record). In 1966, she was almost framed in the National Security Law by the War department due to a direct critique against the military in an interview with the Carioca newspaper Diário de Notícias ("our military forces are of no avail"). In 1967, she recorded the LP Canto Livre de Nara. In 1968, she joined the Tropicalista movement, joining Caetano VelosoGilberto Gil, Rogério Duprat, Tom ZéCapinamOs MutantesTorquato Neto, and Gal Costa on the LP Tropicália ou Panis et Cirsensis. The same year, she recorded her LP Nara Leão, on which she sang Ernesto Nazareth's "Odeon" that had Vinícius de Moraes' lyrics written especially for her. The LP, released at the Carioca nightclub Le Bilboquet, brought two of Veloso's compositions, ("Mamãe Coragem" and "Deus vos Salve Esta Casa Santa," both with Torquato Neto) and the arrangements of Rogério Duprat, which helped establish a connection with Tropicalia. She had decided to stay out of television for a whole year, for not agreeing with the short vision of art of the producers. In the next year, she moved to France and recorded another LP. In 1971, she recorded Dez Anos Depois (Polydor) in Paris and then went back to Brazil. In the next year, she appeared in the film Quando o Carnaval Chegar (by Cacá Diegues, her husband), together with Chico Buarque and Maria Bethânia. In the following years, she began her psychology college studies, leaving music aside. In that period, she made only sporadic appearances on shows and albums from other artists, such as Fagner. In the late '70s, she released her LP Meus Amigos são um Barato (Philips, 1977), with appearances by Tom Jobim, Carlos LyraEdu LoboChico BuarqueCaetano VelosoGilberto GilRoberto Menescal, and others. As she learned she had cancer, she returned with full impetus to her career, recording another 11 LPs until 1988. In 1997, she was the theme of the first play by renowned moviemaker Júlio Brassane, Vida-Névoa-Nada. AMG.

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sábado, 19 de novembro de 2016

Frank Zappa - Chunga's Revenge 1973

Chunga's Revenge marks the debut of Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (among several other musicians) with the Mothers, and while their schtick has not reached the graphic proportions it later would, the thematic obsessions of the 200 Motels period are foreshadowed on tracks like "Road Ladies" and "Would You Go All the Way?" Other vocal numbers include the hard-rocking "Tell Me You Love Me," the musicians' union satire "Rudy Wants to Buy Yez a Drink," and the doo wop-influenced "Sharleena." Meanwhile, Frank Zappa's strong instrumental music incorporates Eastern European influences ("Transylvania Boogie"), cocktail jazz ("Twenty Small Cigars"), and the percussion-only "The Clap." Zappa's guitar tone is wonderfully biting and nasty throughout; George Duke provides another musical highlight by scat-singing a "drum solo." But while there are plenty of fine moments, Chunga's Revenge is in the end more of a hodgepodge transitional album, with less coherence than Zappa's other 1969-1970 works. Still, it will appeal to fans of that creatively fertile period in Zappa's oeuvre. AMG.

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Eddie Boyd - Five Long Years 1965

One of the first and best of Boyd's many overseas recordings, cut while he was in the midst of that auspicious 1965 American Folk Blues Festival tour of Europe. While the caravan was ensconced in London, young producer Mike Vernon spirited Boyd and a rhythm section (guitarist Buddy Guy, bassist Jimmie Lee Robinson, and drummer Fred Below) off to the studio, where Boyd ran through some of his classics ("I'm Comin' Home," "24 Hours," the title track) and a few less familiar items while alternating between piano and organ. AMG.

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Andy Roberts - Nina And The Dream Tree 1971

Andy Roberts' second album was similar to his worthy debut, Home Grown, in its agreeable brand of gentle British folk-rock, but also a departure in several notable respects. Most unusually, there were just five tracks this time around, although one of them ("25 Hours a Day/Breakdown/Welcome Home") was more a combination of songs than a completely separate entity. Also, there was more of a piano base that pushed the record a little away from standard British folk-rock and more toward the early-'70s singer/songwriter school. Some of the tunes, for instance, are reminiscent of Elton John's early work (though with a less strident, consciously pop air), parts of "Keep My Children Warm" and "Dream Tree Sequence" adding a muted gospel-soul feel in the backup vocals and arrangements. Sometimes the compositions do go on too long -- the closing "Dream Tree Sequence" lasts a good 15 minutes -- and "Good Time Charlie" is a fairly forgettable, you guessed it, good-time blues-folk-rocker. But at its best, as in the haunting "I've Seen the Movie," there's a delicate wistfulness that will spark unavoidable comparison to some of Iain Matthews' early work, particularly since Matthews and Roberts would soon team up in PlainsongRoberts is perhaps too low-key to ever generate a wide cult following, but his early work deserves hearing by fans of the early-'70s British folk-rock/singer/songwriter crossover sound, this outing included. AMG.

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Léo Ferré - La solitude 1971

Although little known in English speaking countries, Léo Ferré (1916-1993) is a monument of French chanson, revered throughout the francophone world. A singer, songwriter, author, composer, and even orchestra conductor, he is mostly remembered for songs like "Avec le Temps," "Les Anarchistes," and "Jolie Môme." His career began in the cabaret and took him through four decades and a number of styles, but his best material and his popularity peak happened in the ‘60s and early ‘70s, as the generation of May ‘68 adopted him as an anarchist figure.
Léo Ferré was born and raised in the principality of Monaco, between France and Italy. Throughout his life, the artist would live and work in the two countries alternately, even recording a few songs in Italian. He completed his college studies in 1934 in Rome. Since his father refused to let him go to the music conservatory, he went to Paris for studies in law, earning a diploma in Political Sciences in 1939. The second World War dragged him into the military and upon Paris' capitulation he fled back to Monaco. He got married for the first time in 1943, began to work at Radio Monte-Carlo, and wrote his first songs.
After the Liberation (1945) Ferré gave his first performances in Parisian cabarets, encouraged by Charles Trenet, Edith Piaf, and Juliette Gréco who would sing many of his songs. His first wife divorced him in 1950. Shortly after, he met Madeleine Rabereau, who would become his second wife and have a decisive influence on his career, pushing him constantly forward. He cut his first 78 rpms for Le Chant du Monde and wrote his first piece of "serious" music, the oratorio "La Chanson du Mal-Aimé." In 1953, Ferré was signed by the record label Odéon and recorded his first LP which includes "Paris-Canaille."
In the late ‘50s and early ‘60s he recorded a series of albums devoted to French poets, interspersed with LPs of his own songs. His lyrics alternate between love topics and a social commentary that grows more and more bitter: "Thank You Satan," "Mon Général" (against Charles De Gaulle), "Ni Dieu, Ni Maître." When the events of May ‘68 take place, Ferré is at a popular and artistic peak. Now forever associated to the Anarchist movement, he let himself be transported by the younger generation. He abandoned the over-emphatic, theatrical style of singing that was also Jacques Brel's trademark, recorded and toured with the rock group Zoo, and included monologues in his concerts. In October 1970 came out the single "Avec le Temps." It became his signature song.
Starting in 1975, Ferré attempted a career in classical music, conducting orchestras for his works and classics (he recorded works by Beethoven and Ravel). For the next decade he continued to release albums and tour, but his prime had passed. His writings and television appearances were feeding his popularity more than his musical production of the time, and by 1985 he had considerably slowed down his activities. He was preparing a come back to the stage when illness struck in 1992. He died in July 1993 at age 77. AMG.

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Lowell George - Thanks I'll Eat It Here 1979

Thanks I'll Eat it Here is strikingly different from the fusion-leanings of Little Feat's last studio album, Time Loves a Hero. Lowell George never cared for jazz-fusion, so it should be little surprise that there's none to be heard on Thanks. Instead, he picks up where Dixie Chicken left off (he even reworks that album's standout "Two Trains"), turning in a laid-back, organic collection of tunes equal parts New Orleans R&B, country, sophisticated blues, and pop. George wasn't in good health during the sessions for Thanks, which you wouldn't tell by his engaging performances, but from the lack of new tunes. Out of the nine songs on the album, only three are originals, and they're all collaborations. That's a drawback only in retrospect -- it's hard not to wish that the last album George completed had more of his own songs -- but Lowell was a first-rate interpreter, so even covers of Allen Toussaint ("What Do You Want the Girl to Do"), Ann Peebles ("I Can't Stand the Rain") and Rickie Lee Jones ("Easy Money") wind up sounding of piece with the original songs. George's music rolls so easy, the album can seem a little slight at first, but it winds up being a real charmer. Yes, a few songs drift by and, yes, Jimmy Webb's vaudevellian "Himmler's Ring" feels terribly out of place, but Lowell's style is so distinctive and his performances so soulful, it's hard not to like this record if you've ever had a fondness for Little Feat. After all, it's earthier and more satisfying than any Feat album since Feats Don't Fail Me Now and it has the absolutely gorgeous "20 Million Things," the last great song George ever wrote. AMG.

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V.A. - Catch My Soul OST 1973

Another one from the 'musicals' bin, and it's damn good! Completely unexpected from the cover and insert, this album features several wicked swamp funk numbers, including the excellent Chug-A-Lug and Looking Back. You must have seen this a thousand times in the record bins, and now we're giving you justification to buy it - you'll be very (pleasantly) surprised! Blaxploitation.com.

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Isao Suzuki - Cadillac Woman 1977

Isao Suzuki is the grand master of jazz in Japan. He is a bassist, multi instrumentalist, composer, arranger, producer, and bandleader. He was born on January 3, 1933 in Tokyo.

When he was a college student back in December 1953 he went to see Louis Armstrong All Stars in Tokyo. Milt Hinton, the best player ever, 43 at the time, was playing. Luckily Isao could see him playing from the front seat, and he was totally taken aback by Milt’s bass. When Milt said, “I pick and you clap,” and played solo bass very casually for 15 minutes, Isao was so moved by the sound that he couldn’t stop crying. Milt smiled at Isao when he noticed that Isao was so moved and crying. Isao was so fascinated by his performance, so three days later, Isao asked his mother to buy him a double bass.

Some time after Isao got the bass, a bandleader of a strip joint asked him if he wanted to play for them. The question, or his answer rather, would become the first step onto a professional path. At that time, live performing was very common and good strip theater had jazz players. Isao couldn’t do anything at the beginning, but he was able to read music scores and play in about six months. Among the customers frequenting the strip joint was guitarist Tony Tekiseira, a G.I. working with the military band. One day Tony invited Isao to the U.S. military base in Tokyo. He liked the way Isao played, and Isao joined his band. Isao spent three or four years there and gained confidence, because he played with real American jazzman.

In 1960, Isao joined a very popular band named George Kwaguchi and Big Four and sometimes it became George Kwaguchi and Big Four plus one, when Sadao Watanabe joined in. Isao was having lots of jam session at that time. Once Tony Scott, the clarinet player, listened to his performance and Tony wanted to play with him. Tony lived in 1960 to 1965, and joined hands with Isao throughout 1962 with the legendary Tony Scott quartet. After Tony left the band, Hidehiko Matsumoto joined and it became Hidehiko Matsumoto Quartet. This is where Isao met Paul Chambers. In 1964, lots of great musicians such as Miles Davis, Wynton Kelly and Paul Chambers came to Japan for “the first world jazz festival.” Hidehiko Matsumoto Quartet was the only Japanese band to join the festival, then Isao met Paul and they spent lots of time together.

In 1966, Isao joined the Sadao Watanabe quartet, with pianist Masabumi Kikuchi and drummer Masahiko Togashi. After he quit Sadao Watanabe quartet, he became a band leader of a house band at Five Spot in Jiyugaoka that was ran by Teruo Isono who is very famous jazz critic in japan. Isao played every day for almost two years. Isono knew lots of people, and he brought great musicians such as Oscar Peterson, Horace Silver, Winton Kelly and Art Blakey, then Isao often played with them. Especially Blakey came there often and once he said, ‘Isao, come to Ner York and we can play together.’ So in 1970 he went to New York at the encouragement of Art Blakey and officially joined his lengendary group JAZZ MESSENGERS. He even stayed at Blakey’s place. During this time, he worked and recorded with Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Ella Fitzgerald, Wynton Kelly, Bobby Timmons, Jim Hall, Ron Carter, Sun Ra and others. Isao spent about a year with Art Blakey’s band and then returned to Japan.

Since his return to Japan, Isao has contributed to the development of many young musicians enlisting them as members of his band 'OMA SOUND', a practice which has kept his sound on the cutting-edge of progressive jazz to this day. “This might be Art Blakey’s influence. But in music, especially jazz, you don’t need to say anything. Experience is more important than anything else,” Isao said.

In 1971, guitarist Baden Powell came to Japan to have concerts tour and recordings. Isao was replacing an original bassist. “Despite of Isao Suzuki’s unplanned contribution he proved to be and equal and versatile musician, finding his way between Alfredo and Baden. It can only be guessed how this setting with the Japanese bass player influenced his future studio work. At the end of this year he sould seek again the collaboration with a professional Jazz bassist recording enough material for two records.” (http://www.brazil-on-guitar.de)

On his solo album “Self-Portrait” (1980), Suzuki played 20 or more instruments, sealing his unique standing in the Japanese jazz scene. Now, with more than 60 albums released, including several winners of the prestigious Japan Jazz Prize award, Suzuki's reputation as a unique leader of jazz in Japan has been secured.

His group called OMA SOUND was participated on Miri International Jazz Festival in 2008, and JAVA Jazz Festival in 2009.

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Joe Cocker - Mad Dogs and Englishmen 1970

Listening to this CD brings back a lot of memories. Mad Dogs & Englishmen was just about the most elaborate album that A&M Records had ever released, back in 1971, a double LP in a three-panel, fold-out, gatefold sleeve, with almost 80 minutes of music inside and a ton of photos, graphics, and annotation wrapping around it. A live recording done in tandem with a killer documentary film of the same U.S. tour, it was recorded at the Fillmore East, where the movie was a cross-country affair, and the two were, thus, completely separate entities -- also, as people couldn't "buy" the film in those days, the double LP has lingered longer in the memory, by virtue of its being on shelves, and also being taken off those shelves to be played. Unlike a lot of other "coffee table"-type rock releases of the era, such as Woodstock and The Concert for Bangladesh, people actually listened to Mad Dogs & Englishmen -- most of its content was exciting, and its sound, a veritable definition of big-band rock with three dozen players working behind the singer, was unique. The CD offers a seriously good sound, whether it's just Joe Cocker and a pianist and organist in the opening of "Bird on a Wire," or the entire band going full-tilt on "Cry Me a River"; the remastering was set at a high volume level and there was a decent amount of care taken to get the detail right, so you can appreciate the presence of the multiple drummers, and the legion of guitarists and singers, plus the multiple keyboard players. The lead guitar and solo piano on "Feelin' Alright," for example, come through, but so do the 34 other players and singers behind the lead. This record was also just as much a showcase for Leon Russellas it was for Joe Cocker, which A&M probably didn't mind a bit, as Russell was selling millions of records at the time. As is now known, and it's recounted in the new notes, the tour from which this album was drawn all but wiped out Joe Cocker -- on a psychic level -- because the music was presented on such a vast scale (and there is a moment in the movie where he mentions breaking up his former backing group, the Grease Band, with a hint of regret in his voice) and his own contribution was so muted by Russell's work as arranger and bandleader. He may well have been the "victim" of a "hijacking" of sorts, but the musical results, apart from the dubious "Give Peace a Chance," are difficult to argue about upon hearing this record anew, decades after the fact -- it's almost all bracing and beautiful. AMG.

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