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Ghost Canyon

Title - Acrobats
Artist - Jo Lawry / Allison Miller / Linda May Han Oh

For those unaware, Australian vocalist Jo Lawry has forged an impressive solo career with a global fan base, while earning deep respect as a musicianís singer within and beyond jazz circles.

Sheís also spent nearly a decade performing and recording with Sting and has worked with Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel. The two albums she released as a singer/songwriter/producer, Taking Pictures (2015) and The Bathtub and the Sea (2017) garnered critical acclaim.

Now, more than 10 years since her last solo jazz album, Lawry presents Acrobats, unequivocally returning to the genre alongside globally in-demand bassist Linda May Han Oh and versatile drummer Allison Miller.

Acrobats is a playful album embodying both the freedom and exquisite complexity of jazz. The genesis for the project came about by Lawry setting herself a challenge: I thought, what is the hardest thing I could do? And the answer was a trio album: voice, bass and drums, where Iím trying to function like a horn player and weíre providing the whole landscape without the benefit of chords.

1. Travelling Light (2:50)
2. Acrobats (4:21)
3. Taking a Chance on Love (4:48)
4. Youíre The Top (2:21)
5. íDeed I Do (4:00)
6. Youíre The Voice (4:18)
7. Takes Two To Tango (4:04)
8. 317 East 32nd Street (5:01)
9. My Time of Day / Iíve Never Been in Love Before (4:49)
10 If I Were a Bell (5:52)

This melodically dulcet new album opens on the quietly frenetic Frank Loesser composition Travelling Light and then backs that up with the artistically drawn, titular Acrobats, and then we are brought her remarkable reworking of John Coltraneís Taking a Chance on Love, a drum-led, eager rendition of Cole Porterís Youíre The Top, and one of my own personal favorites, the finger-snapping íDeed I Do.

Along next is a quite wondrous take on John Farnumís massive worldwide rock hit, Youíre The Voice and then comes her softly intentioned duet with Oh on Takes Two To Tango, which are seamlessly followed by a Lennie Tristano tune, 317 East 32nd Street, and which is wholly scatted across and through, the album rounding out on the veritable gossamer of the conjoined pairing of Guys & Dollsí My Time of Day and the jazz standard Iíve Never Been in Love Before, coming to a close on the foot-tapping rhythms within If I Were a Bell.

Lawry reflects, This is the most playful and adventurous that Iíve been in the studio, and thatís down to the alchemy of this particular combination of people. The innate interconnectivity and trust between the members of this trio is palpable, much like a troupe of acrobats, and you need to have people that you know are going to catch you.

Collaboration and agility are at the core of this bold new record from three highly esteemed musicians, led by the visionary Lawry who presents this unconventional and inspired addition to the vocal jazz canon.

Jo Lawry @ Facebook

Jo Lawry @ Twitter

Jo Lawry @ Instagram

Title - The Thing That Knowledge Canít Eat
Artist - Mike Keneally

For those unaware, Frank Zappa alumni Mike Keneally will be releasing his new solo album The Thing That Knowledge Canít Eat on February 24th, 2023.

Says Mike,This is my first new solo album in seven years - the last one was Scambot 2 in 2016, so this one has really been a long time coming. About half of the material on the new album was in the works prior to the pandemic, but the other half was created at home in lockdown in 2020 and 2021, and all the finishing touches were placed on the songs during 2022, so itís been in the works for a while.

Iíve never done so much work on an album on my own, so the learning curve was steep, but I did have help from friends all along the way, including farming out tracks to drummers who were also locked down at home. I wrote all the songs, and the lyrics of the later songs definitely reflect the strange times during which the album was finalized.

A lot of my past albums have been lengthy, extended works, but this one is a tight 42 minutes, nine songs - I think it goes down pretty smooth, but it travels to a lot of different places along the way. Iím extremely happy with it, and very grateful to finally be able to share it with everyone.

1. Logos
2. Both Sides of the Street
3. Mercury in Second Grade
4. Celery
5. Spigot (Draw the Pirate)
6. Ack
7. Lana
8. Big Hit Song
9. The Carousel of Progress

This eagerly awaited release features guest appearances by Steve Vai, Eric Slick, Nick DíVirgilio and others, opens on the jaunty piano and multiple vocal-imbued Logos and the gentle rocker Both Sides of the Street, and then follows those up with the shimmeringly acoustic Mercury in Second Grade, the down and dirty, hard-rocking instrumental guitar cut Celery (featuring Steve Vai), and a rather wonderful, free flowing Spigot (Draw the Pirate); which features both Pete Griffin and Nick DíVirgilio, the title referring to old advertisements for the Art Instruction School of Minneapolis, and features).

Along next for us to enjoy is the upbeat and joyous instrumental Ack (which notably features, in addition to Mike on guitar: Peter Tiehuis on second guitar (he plays a great solo at 1:13), Bart van Lier on trombone, Herman van Haaren on violin, Hans Vroomans on acoustic and electric piano, Ruud Breuls on trumpets, Leo Jansen on tenor saxophone, Marc Scholten on alto saxophone, Murk Jiskoot on percussion, Bryan Beller on bass, and Arno van Nieuwenhuizen on drums), and that is in turn backed nicely by the alt-90s vibe of Lana (a song originally called Prawna, and about a meditating shrimp), and then the album rounds out with the playful, multi-movement piece Big Hit Song, coming to a close on the seven-and-a-half-minute, veritably low slung prog epic, The Carousel of Progress (which features Malcolm Mortimore on drums).

Long acclaimed as one of the worldís most creative and intense guitar and keyboard players, Mike Keneallyís talents as a vocalist, songwriter, arranger, producer and multi-instrumentalist are nearly unequalled in rock music.

Keneally has released over 30 albums of his original music since 1992 (including special editions and limited releases), and has built a body of work of remarkable inventiveness and originality. The stylistic variety present in his work indicates Keneallyís abiding love of good music above all, regardless of genre distinctions.

Keneally played in Frank Zappaís final touring band in 1988, performing as a vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist. Heís appeared on many of Zappaís albums, and has been a touring and recording member in the bands of Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Devin Townsend, as well as a member of the Adult Swim metal band Dethklok.

He has also recorded or performed with Robert Fripp, Wayne Kramer, Kevin Gilbert, Solomon Burke, Steve Vai, Chickenfoot, Bear McCreary, Henry Kaiser, Michael Manring, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Andy Prieboy, Mullmuzzler, The Persuasions and many others.

Known for his innovative, unpredictable live shows with his own band Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins, Keneally has played extensively in the United States and Europe, in contexts ranging from solo and duo concerts, to performances with large-scale orchestras. His 52-minute orchestra-with-guitar suite The Universe Will Provide received its world premiere in 2003, featuring Keneally as guitar soloist fronting Hollandís Metropole Orkest.

The US premiere of Universe occurred at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in 2011. 2012ís album release was Wing Beat Fantastic: Songs Written by Mike Keneally & Andy Partridge, a collection of material written with ex-XTC leader Andy Partridge; the album was widely acclaimed, and ranked highly on numerous criticsí Best of 2012 lists.

2016 saw the release of his grand conceptual work Scambot 2, and was the last new Keneally solo album until now, with the upcoming February 2023 release of the aforementioned brand new The Thing That Knowledge Canít Eat.

As of late, Keneally has been performing live with other ex-Zappa alumni as part of The Zappa Band, the only official Zappa Trust-sanctioned band playing the music of Frank Zappa live. He has also been playing with the group ProgJect, performing many of the classic í70s progressive-rock songs that Keneally grew up loving.

He is also a member of a new band called The Bird Brain, who released an acclaimed 3-song EP late in 2022, with more new music coming this year. With the release of his new solo album in 2023, Mike will be doing a series of Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins shows this year featuring a retrospective selection of material chosen from all the primary solo albums across his over-30 year career.

Official Purchase Link

Mike Keneally: Celery (feat. Steve Vai) - Official Video

Official Website

Mike Keneally @ Instagram

Title - A Gallery of The Imagination
Artist - Rick Wakeman

For those not in the know, keyboard legend Rick Wakeman will release his new concept album A Gallery Of The Imagination on February 24th, 2023 via Madfish.

The conception of the album began at the age of five. Rickís childhood piano teacher, Mrs Symes, taught him that musicians with instruments are like an artist with paint. Something that Rick carried through his life, creating sonic paintings through his composition.

Wakeman says: One of my great loves is going to museums and art galleries and seeing all the different types of art, so I thought, why not a music gallery? ... A Gallery Of The Imagination? People can paint their own mind pictures to the different types of music that are on the album. It is very diverse and for me it works very well because the concept holds it all together.

Just as you might find a vast array of styles in an art gallery, Wakeman presents a plethora of musical aesthetics throughout the record. Inspired by the menagerie he created, Rick recalled the advice of his beloved teacher and has presented these tracks as pictures in a gallery: A Gallery Of The Imagination.

The line-up on A Gallery Of The Imagination - as with Rickís previous album The Red Planet - features The English Rock Ensemble: bassist Lee Pomeroy, guitarist Dave Colquhoun, drummer Ash Soan and on vocals Hayley Sanderson, famous for her work as a vocalist on Strictly Come Dancing with each artist recording their individual parts their own studios.

Join Rick for a stroll around A Gallery of the Imagination, for, as he himself says, it is a gallery that belongs to everyone.

1. Hidden Depths
2. The Man In The Moon
3. A Mirage in the Clouds
4. The Creek
5. My Moonlight Dream
6. Only When I Cry
7. Cuban Carnival
8. Just A Memory
9. The Dinner Party
10. A Day Spent On The Pier
11. The Visitation
12. The Eyes of a Child

This quite magically abundant new concept album from the renowned, and globally-adored keyboard legend, opens on the free flowing prog of Hidden Depths and the beautifully vocalized The Man In The Moon and then serves to bring us the truly scintillating Mirage in the Clouds, the paino balladry of The Creek and then we get both the vocalized, í80s-imbued My Moonlight Dream and the lushly vocalized Only When I Cry.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites on this wondrous new recording, the joyful, and veritably uplifting Cuban Carnival, which is itself is backed seamlessly by another dulcet piano work in the form of Just A Memory, then comes the Renaissance-tinged euphoria of The Dinner Party, the playfully vocalized A Day Spent On The Pier, the ethereal, almost Kate Busheqsue vocalizations within The Visitation, before the recording rounds out on the atmospherically-charged piano ballad The Eyes of a Child.

Keyboard engineering - Erik Jordan
Mixing & editing - Erik Jordan at The Nursery
Additional mixing - Toby Wood
Mastering - Simon Heyworth at Super Audio Mastering
Producers - Rick Wakeman & Erik Jordan
Executive Producer - Rob Ayling

Rick Wakeman @ Facebook

Title - Fractal Guitar 3
Artist - Stephan Thelen

For those unaware at how Stephan Thelen came to create his brand new album, Fractal Guitar 3 (out now on Moonjune Records), he himself now explains: In 2021, I was simultaneously working on four albums: Transneptunian Planets, Fractal Sextet, Music for Piano and Strings (an upcoming album of piano quintets and string quartets written either by Fabio Anile or me), and this album, Fractal Guitar 3, the third installment in the Fractal Guitar series.

While being stylistically very different, these four albums are connected in many ways, not to mention the fact that various musicians appear on more than one album. In hindsight, itís interesting for me to see how progress on one album often provided fresh inputs into one or more of the other albums, and how ideas that appeared on one piece were often further developed on pieces on other albums, albeit in a different form.

As usual, I would like to thank all the musicians who were involved in the making of this album: without them, it would have been impossible to make. Thanks also to Leonardo Moonjune Pavkovic for his unwavering support [September 2022].

1. Through the Stargate (16:17)
2. Morning Star (9:49)
3. Glitch (9:37)
4. Ascension (13:38)
5. Black on Electric Blue (11:32)
6. Through the Stargate (Edit/J. Peter Schwalm mix) (9:56) [Bonus Track]

This meticulously crafted, wholly ambient and majestically ornate new recording opens on the emboldened, atmospherically-charged, near 17 minute opus Through the Stargate (a further exploration of material used on Enneagram, the opening track of Black Light), before seamlessly bringing us the quieter, veritably shimmering affair of the near ten minute Morning Star (based on a 5 against 7 polyrhythm), the funky, scratchy, near ten minute Glitch (which is actually a new version of Angular Momentum, a track that was co-composed by Manuel Pasquinelli and also first appeared on Black Light), and then they are in turn followed by the near 14 minute Ascension (which is based on similar musical material as my sixth string quartet of the same name), the recording rounding out on the frenetically exhilarating, and itself near 12 minute Black on Electric Blue (which is based on the same rhythmic patterns in 7/4; simultaneously played in different speeds and in different octaves), closing on the near ten minute bonus track, a reworking of Through the Stargate (Edit/J. Peter Schwalm mix).

Official Purchase Link

Title - Kosmonautik Pilgrimage
Artist - Anchor and Burden

For those not in the collective know, in 2021 the supergroup known as Anchor and Burden - and one that Markus Reuter put together to set an example of what a contemporary band can actually be - recorded five albums of cutting-edge music that was improvised live in the studio.

In 2022, now with new Germany-based drummer Asaf Sirkis (Shawn Crowder moved back to the US), the group recorded another set of breathtakingly performed pieces. The first album of the second incarnation of the band called KOSMONAUTIK PILGRIMAGE has now been released on Leonardo Pavkovicís MoonJune Records this past January 2023.

1. Corridors of Silent Screams (9:04)
2. Cerebral Transfixations (6:48)
3. Hissing Skin (7:10)
4. The Core is Organic (4:40)
5. Shivering Walls (7:48)
6. Self Assembly (6:26 )
7. Secret Laboratory (8:52)
8. Royal Augmentation (7:04)
9. Crown Hive (6:28)

This exceptionally transcendent, and simply musically divine new recording opens on the near ten minute synth tech opus Corridors of Silent Screams and then that gives way to the flashing/firing neutrons within the abundant Cerebral Transfixations, the industrially playful, one minute, darkly aggressive the next, and near 8 minute Hissing Skin, and then we are brought forth the organically cultured The Core is Organic.

Next up is this deliciously infectious new album is the scintillating beams within the near 8 minute Shivering Walls which is itself packed seamlessly by the sharper edged Self Assembly, the recording rounding out on the gently melodic, gothically-crisp, near nine minute Secret Laboratory, the seven minute the dark avant-garde-esque Royal Augmentation, coming to an close on the free wheeling, cultivated synth, guitar, and drum delirium within Crown Hive.

Official Purchase Link

Title - On The Bone
Artist - Brian Thomas

For those unaware, Boston-based trombonist Brian Thomas has been a crusader for funk, jazz, soul & reggae music in New England and beyond for over 20 years. Whether with BT ALC Big Band, Duochrome, BT Allstars, Brian strives to achieve his goal to deliver positive music for your mind and body that keeps your head bobbing and and your soul full.

His new album, One The Bone, is self-produced by Thomas, but recorded, mixed and mastered by Souliveís Alan Evans at Iron Wax Studios in Western Massachusetts. Al knows exactly what to do to make the musicians comfortable to perform at a high level and has the perfect musical sensibility to help capture a classic soul jazz vibe I was going for, says Thomas.

1. Turn On (5:18)
2. Orange Tape (5:17)
3. On The Bone (3:26)
4. Just A Glimpse (6:04)
5. Bacudi Blues (5:09)
6. Check Your Intentions (5:57) [Bonus Track Remix]

This stunningly opulent new album opens on the big band, soulfully funky sounds of Turn On and then we are brought forth the free wheeling, smoothly ambient melodies within Orange Tape, the more forthright, í70s-hued rhythms within the titular On The Bone, the triumphantly-sculptured Just A Glimpse, the album rounding out on the drum-led, organ-fueled Bacudi Blues, coming to a close on the funky grooves within the bonus track remix Check Your Intentions.

Official Purchase Link

Brian Thomas @ Facebook

Title - Surrender
Artist - Jann Klose

For those not in the know, Jann Kloseís forthcoming studio album Surrender is due for release March 3rd, 2023, and he has already admitted that he was blown away by some of the incredible people involved with the album: Surrender was created under the most unusual of circumstances. We were dealing with a global pandemic and a complete shutdown of music venues and recording studios.

My co-writer for more than half the album, Alex Forbes and I got together bi-weekly at her apartment in Manhattan and poured our souls into the songs during the strangest of times. Producer Marcus Dembinski and I worked in person at our home studios in Manhattan and Queens, then started adding live instruments at Studio G Brooklyn with engineer Cyril Putzer when it became possible.

A lot of recording was done remotely. Max Sternlicht, who played all the great bass lines you hear on most of the record, and I, as of this writing, still havenít met! Dimitris Menexopoulos recorded his Cretan Lyra in Greece, and Ben Kesler mastered Surrender in St. Louis, MO.

1. Surrender
2. Sugar My
3. Pilot Light
4. Love You the Most (Acoustic)
5. Do You Want to Be Lonely
6. Flesh and Blood
7. All the Way Down
8. Here in My Heart
9. Stay the Same
10. Even If it Takes a Lifetime

This free flowing, ambient and wholly embracing new album opens on the joyously euphoric title track Surrender and the immovable pop stance of Sugar My and then we are brought forth a Jason Mraz-esque Pilot Light, a quite stunning, harmonically aural Love You the Most (featuring Alicia Madison) and the rhythmical, layered percussion within Do You Want to Be Lonely.

The rapturous buoyancy of the pop-laden Flesh and Blood then gives way to the forthright All the Way Down and they are in turn backed by the boy band-imbued Here in My Heart, the album rounding out on the Queens-based musicianís strummed mid-tempo balladry of Stay the Same, closing on the textured Spector Sound within Even If it Takes a Lifetime.

Jann Klose - Surrender [Official Lyric Video]

Official Purchase Links

Jann Klose @ Facebook

Title - Beethoven: The Late Quartets [3CD]
Artist - The Calidore String Quartet

On February 3rd 2023, Signum Classics will release BEETHOVEN: The Late Quartets, the Calidore String Quartetís third album and most ambitious project to date on the label following their acclaimed albums BABEL (2020) and Resilience (2018).

The three-disc set marks the first installment of the Calidoreís full Beethoven cycle to be released on Signum over the next three years. It has been twelve years since friends Jeffrey Myers (violin), Ryan Meehan (violin), Jeremy Berry (viola), and Estelle Choi (cello) formed the Calidore String Quartet while students at the Colburn School in Los Angeles.

Performing the Beethoven cycle is the musical equivalent of scaling Mount Everest, says violinist Ryan Meehan. It is a grueling nine hours of music comprised of some of the most technically intricate and emotionally demanding music ever conceived, to which we have dedicated much of our studying and performing since the quartetís inception.

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 12 in E flat major, Op. 127
I. Maestoso (7:06)
II. Adagio, ma non troppo e molto cantabile (15:22)
III. Scherzando vivace (8:02)
IV. Finale. Allegro (7:10)

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131
I. Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo (6:48)
II. Allegro molto vivace (2:54)
III. Allegro moderato (0:43)
IV. Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile (13:26)
V. Presto (5:01)
VI. Adagio quasi un poco andante (1:59)
VII. Allegro (6:38)

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major, Op. 130
I. Adagio ma non troppo - Allegro (13:39)
II. Presto (1:59)
III. Andante con moto ma non troppo. Poco scherzando (6:55)
IV. Alla danza tedesca (Allegro assai) (3:24)
V. Cavatina (Adagio molto espressivo) (7:00)

Beethoven: Grosse Fuge in B flat major, Op. 133

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat major, Op. 130: VI. Finale. Allegro

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132
I. Assai sostenuto - Allegro (9:57)
II. Allegro ma non tanto (9:01)
III. Molto adagio (17:32)
IV. Alla marcia, assai vivace (2:17)
V. Allegro appassionato (6:41)

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135
I. Allegretto (6:38)
II. Vivace (3:15)
III. Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo (7:48)
IV. Grave ma non troppo tratto - Allegro (6:43)

The simply incredible new recording opens on Beethovenís String Quartet No. 12 in E flat major, Op. 127, and the summery Maestoso, the slightly sterner, and near 16 minute Adagio, ma non troppo e molto cantabile, the flirtatious Scherzando vivace, and then comes the melodically wholesome Finale. Allegro.

Up next is Beethovenís String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131, which opens on the aching yearn of Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo, the flighty Allegro molto vivace and the short, but sweet Allegro moderato, and then comes the gently melodic Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile, the more ardent Presto, the hunger within Adagio quasi un poco andante, the piece rounding out on the defiant Allegro.

Along next is Beethovenís String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major, Op. 130, which begins with the overtly strained, near 14 minute Adagio ma non troppo - Allegro, then continues onward with the feisty Presto, the elegance of Andante con moto ma non troppo. Poco scherzando, the subtle ballroom twirl of Alla danza tedesca (Allegro assai), and the ornately sculptured Cavatina (Adagio molto espressivo).

Beethovenís Grosse Fuge in B flat major, Op. 133 is a most gloriously heartfelt work of the highest order, performed here by the The Calidore String Quartet and is backed seamlessly by yet another spirited rendition, this one of Beethovens String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat major, Op. 130: VI. Finale. Allegro.

Beethovenís String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132 is along next and first up is the elegant musings within Assai sostenuto - Allegro and then the sweeping Allegro ma non tanto, which are backed by the more captured essence of the number within Molto adagio, the upbeat, near 18 minute Alla marcia, assai vivace, the work closing on the harmonious Allegro appassionato.

The last work is Beethovenís String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135, which opens on the playfully flirty Allegretto, the ELO-esque Vivace is up next, the work, along with the recording, closing out on the thirsty craving felt within Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo and then, finally, the resonating timbre found within the, at times, stridently joyous, Grave ma non troppo tratto - Allegro.

The Calidore String Quartet has been continually drawn to Beethovenís music for the enduring relevance of his humanistic perspective. Meehan says, He was an artist who aimed to compose not for one portion of society, but rather to unite us through our fundamental elements. His sixteen string quartets sonically weave a tapestry of human emotion; from vulnerability and hope as in the Heiliger Dankgesang of op. 132, to terror and anger subsiding to joy like in op. 135‚Äôs Der schwer gefasste Entschluss.

Our public performances affirmed to us that Beethovenís Quartets appeal to the emotional experiences we share in common as human beings, which are far more substantial than what may divide us. These great works are also the result of Beethovenís struggles to overcome the challenges of his own life.

This recording serves as a snapshot of our twelve years of working, growing, listening and collaborating with one another. Though this music speaks in a language that is hundreds of years old, its message remains immediate, relevant and comforting to listeners of today and of generations to come even, and especially in the most challenging of times.

Official Apple Purchase Link

The Calidore String Quartet

Title - The Mysterious Island
Artist - Free Human Zoo

Discovering an island space is always about discovering yourself. The journey is just as sensory, a slow perception of the deep nature of the elements, as a journey into oneís own interiorities, our buried self.

And this is all the more true when chance puts you there, with the winds, or when it comes, like Robinson, to find your own means of subsistence, the rebound necessary for any attempt to survive.

It is first of all the moment to summon the spirit of solidarity, the very one that will fertilize the relationship between Man and Earth, which will encourage discoverers in their respectful appropriation of ecosystems, which will allow Cyrus, Spilett, Nab, Pencroff and Herbert, the castaways from the sky, to remain upright, to revel in a land that becomes their nurturing island, to finally discover the identity of a host as mysterious as he is protective.

Three years after No Wind Tonight, Free Human Zoo are particularly happy to present this fantastic musical and human adventure to everyone, one that is THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND. Enjoy!

1. LíÓle Mystťrieuse (LíIsola Misteriosa - Part 1)
2. LíÓle Mystťrieuse (LíIsola Misteriosa - Part 2)
3. LíÓle Mystťrieuse (LíIsola Misteriosa - Part 3)
4. LíÓle Mystťrieuse (LíIsola Misteriosa
5. La Splendeur Du Volcan
6. Les Vasques DíEau Turquoise
7. Premiers Craquements
8. Eruption
9. Ton Nom est Personne
10. La Nef des Hommes de líOmbre
11. Les Mouettes De Líőle (I Gabbiani DellíIsola)
12. LíÓle Mystťrieuse (LíIsola Misteriosa - Part 4)
13. La Nef Des Hommes De LíOmbre (La Nave Dei Pirati)
14. Excipit

This quite stunning created, heartfelt and abundantly organic, free of fear new recording, opens on the veritably crystalline LíÓle Mystťrieuse (LíIsola Misteriosa Part.1) and the enchanting duo of LíÓle Mystťrieuse (LíIsola Misteriosa Part.2) LíÓle Mystťrieuse (LíIsola Misteriosa Part.3), before grabbing us by the arm and leading us into the stridently rapturous, blues-grooved brilliance of LíÓle Mystťrieuse (LíIsola Misteriosa.

The resplendent La Splendeur Du Volcan is just, simply put, a cracking tune, and that is backed by the funk-laden Les Vasques DíEau Turquoise, then we get the quietly precocious Premiers Craquements, the aptly-named Eruption, then we get the free flowing rhythms and melodies within the atmospherically-charged Ton Nom est Personne, and the euphonious, cinematically í70s-esque timbre within La Nef des Hommes de líOmbre.

Up next is the stunningly ambient Les Mouettes De Líőle (I Gabbiani DellíIsola), the deliciously-sculptured LíÓle Mystťrieuse (LíIsola Misteriosa - Part 4), the album rounding out on the impassioned La Nef Des Hommes De LíOmbre (La Nave Dei Pirati), coming to a close on the veritably magnet pulse that bleeds unwaveringly throughout the 8 minute Excipit.

Official Purchase Link

Free Human Zoo @ Facebook

Free Human Zoo @ YouTube

Title - Impromptus
Artist - Ismael Margain

For those unaware, Ismael Margain was born in 1992 in Sarlat where he began his musical training (piano, flute, saxophone, jazz, writing, etc.).

The pianist and conductor Vahan Mardirossian, with whom Ismael had worked from an early age, introduced him to his former master Jacques Rouvier, who prepared him for the entrance examination for the Paris Conservatory.

Received unanimously, he chose to join the class of Nicholas Angelich, then at the departure of the latter to continue his training with Roger Muraro and Michel Dalberto.

Winner of the International Competition GeneArts in Geneva, it is at the Long-Thibaud Competition 2012 that the general public discovers Ismael. After playing Mozartís concerto no.23 in the final, he won the Audience Prize and the 3rd Grand Prix Marguerite Long awarded by the president of the jury Menahem Pressler.

He played this concerto again at the Victoires de la Musique Classique 2015, where he was nominated in the category instrumental soloist revelation.

Margainís new recording is the magnificently sculptured Impromptus (due out February 17th, 2023 via Naive) and it is genuine work of musical art, of that you have my word.

1. Impromptus No. 1 in E-Flat Major, Op. 25
2. Impromptus No. 1 in D-Flat Major, Op. 29
3. Impromptus No. 2 in F-Minor, Op. 31
4. Etudes, Op. 25
5. Impromptus No. 3 in A-Flat Major, Op. 34
6. Fantaisie-Impromptus in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 66
7. Impromptus No. 4 in D-Flat Major, Op. 91
8. Impromptus No. 2 in F-Sharp Minor, Op. 36
9. Impromptus No. 5 in F-Sharp Minor, Op. 102
10. Impromptus No. 3 in G-Flat Major, Op. 51
11. Impromptus No. 6 in D-Flat Major, Op. 86
12. Berceuse in D-Flat Major, Op. 57
13. Improvisation in C-Sharp minor, Op. 84
14. Improvisation

Opening on the free flowing majesties within Impromptus No. 1 in E-Flat Major, Op. 25, next up is the perky, gently fervent Impromptus No. 1 in D-Flat Major, Op. 29, which is itself followed by the diligently euphoric Impromptus No. 2 in F-Minor, Op. 31, the more cultured Etudes, Op. 25, the furtively-cultured Impromptus No. 3 in A-Flat Major, Op. 34, the strident Fantaisie-Impromptus in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 66, and then we get the quietly jaunty Impromptus No. 4 in D-Flat Major, Op. 91.

Along next is the sheer elegance of Impromptus No. 2 in F-Sharp Minor, Op. 36 and the bright and bubbly Impromptus No. 5 in F-Sharp Minor, Op. 102, and they are followed by the erudite Impromptus No. 3 in G-Flat Major, Op. 51, the grandiose Impromptus No. 6 in D-Flat Major, Op. 86, and then we get the quietly serene gossamer of Berceuse in D-Flat Major, Op. 57, the recording rounding out with the veritably coquettish Improvisation in C-Sharp minor, Op. 84, and closes on the dulcet Improvisation.

Official Apple Purchase Link

Ismael Margain @ Facebook

Ismael Margain @ YouTube

Title - Best Of The West - Live At The Whisky A Go Go
Artist - Kings of Thrash

Witness the return of the Kings as former Megadeth axemen David Ellefson and Jeff Young return to the historic Whisky A Go Go stage for this very special concert event!

Released as a 2CD and 1DVD set, together, along with former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland, the Kings Of Thrash performed the entirety of the two thrash classic, Megadethís 1985 Killing Is My Business and Business Is Good and 1988ís So Far, So Good So What? as well as select cuts from 1986ís Peace Sells But Whoís Buying!

CD 1:
1. Last Rites
2. Rattlehead
3. The Skull Beneath The Skin
4. Good Mourning / Devilís Island
5. Wake Up Dead
6. 502
7. In My Darkest Hour

Opening on the euphorically-charged intro of Last Rites, suddenly we are thrust head first into the frenetic Rattlehead and the searing guitar work of The Skull Beneath The Skin, and they are followed by the thunderous pairing of the instrumental Good Mourning and the cutting Devilís Island, the rampant Wake Up Dead, the first disc rounding out on the unrestrained thrash rock of 502 and the rockier In My Darkest Hour.

CD 2:
1. Orange Light
2. Into The Lungs Of Hell
3. Set The World Afire
4. Killing Is My Business And Business Is Good
5. Chosen Ones
6. Liar
7. Hook In Mouth
8. Mechanix
9. These Boots Are Made For Walkiní
10. Peace Sells But Whoís Buying?

The second disc opens on the atmospherically-hued, war-themed intro Orange Light and then they bring us the embattled instrumental Into The Lungs Of Hell, the boisterous Set The World Afire, the strident metal-rock of Killing Is My Business And Business Is Good, and the angst-ridden Chosen Ones.

Along next is the anarchic vibe within Liar and the rowdy Hook In Mouth, and they are in turn backed by the melodic rock of Mechanix, the recording rounding out on their turbo-charged rendition of Nancy Sinatraís These Boots Are Made For Walkiní and closing on the riotous Peace Sells But Whoís Buying?

1. Last Rites / 2. Rattlehead / 3. The Skull Beneath The Skin / 4. Good Mourning + Devilís Island / 5. Wake Up Dead 6. 502 / 7. In My Darkest Hour / 8. Orange Light / 9. Into The Lungs Of Hell / 10. Set The World Afire / 11. Killing Is My Business And Business Is Good / 12. Chosen Ones / 13. Liar / 14. Hook In Mouth / 15. Mechanix / 16. These Boots Are Made For Walkiní / 17. Peace Sells But Whoís Buying?

Kings Of Thrash - Thrashiní U.S.A. Tour Promo Video - Featuring Loved To Deth, Live in Pheonix, AZ

Official Purchase Link

Title - Back at the Bop Stop - Live
Artist - Maria Jacobs

For those unaware, Back at the Bop Stop is Maria Jacobsí ninth album, featuring Rock Wehrmann on piano, Bryan Thomas on bass, and Jamey Haddad on drums for all live tracks.

Maria Jacobs is an American jazz vocalist, Christian singer songwriter and author, born of Syrian Lebanese and Armenian descent. She is the Adjunct Professor of Applied Vocal Jazz at Kent State University, her second alma mater, from where she graduated Cum Laude.

She is a licensed music educator, a Principal Conductor and Curriculum Advisor for The Open Tone Music Academy, partnering with Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Maria is a national voice over artist and a national smooth jazz recording artist whose original song, Pour Me A Cup of Yesterday, is heard on smooth jazz stations across the country. She has charted on the Groove Jazz Charts and the Smooth Jazz Holiday Charts in 2019 and 2020.

As a follow-up to her 2019 jazz release Bootlegginí at the Bop Stop, Jacobs has now recorded her brand new album, the aforementioned Back at the Bop Stop (releasing March 3rd, 2023).

1. Up Jumped Spring
2. Youíd Be So Nice To Come Home To
3. Deed I Do
4. Stand By Me
5. Infatuation
6. If You Could See Me Now
7. Pour Me A Cup of Yesterday
8. Easy To Love
9. Moodyís Mood For Love
10. Never Will I Marry
11. Blue Moon [Studio Bonus Track]
12. Pale Moon, Blue Sky [Studio Bonus Track]

This magnificently ambient new album opens on the playful jaunt of Freddie Hubbardís Up Jumped Spring and the soulful balladry within Cole Porters Youíd Be So Nice To Come Home To and then Maria brings us the low slung swing of Deed I Do, a dulcet rendition of Ben E. Kingís Stand By Me, and both a smooth, laid back Infatuation and Tadd Dameronís tantalizingly sumptuous ballad, If You Could See Me Now.

Along next is the gentle finger-snapper Pour Me A Cup of Yesterday and Cole Porterís passive swinger, Easy To Love, and they are in turn followed by the ornate gossamer of the classic Moodyís Mood For Love, the upbeat and groovy Never Will I Marry, and then come two studio bonus tracks; featuring Maria on piano and Bobby Selvaggio on alto sax, the aching Blue Moon, and Chris Anderson on trombone and horn arrangement, Bobby Selvaggio on alto sax, Jack Schantz on trumpet and flugelhorn, Rock Wehrmann on piano, Aidan Plank on bass and Mark Gonder on drums for the breathy, harmonized Pale Moon Blue Sky.

Official Amazon Purchase Link

Maria Jacobs @ Facebook

Title - Speech Acrobats
Artist - Fella Cederbaum

For those unaware, renaissance woman Fella Cederbaum will release an album of poetry and original music, Speech Acrobats on March 17th, 2023 via MahniVerse Productions.

With original music and poetry combined, Cederbaumís Speech Acrobats builds on the promise of her early-2023 single release, The Great Offense.

Multi-talented musician, poet, spoken-word artist and filmmaker, Fella Cederbaum aka MahnoDahno, turns her thoughtful eye on successfully communicating - and coexisting - in the 21st Century.

Speech Acrobats is 13 poems, set to Cederbaumís striking original music, which gently challenges listeners to examine their assumptions about the origins of inner and outer discord.

She calmly aims to clear the polarized air by asking questions, encouraging listeners to examine their firmly held beliefs, and listen to other points of view with an open mind, rather than isolating or marching in lockstep with fellow believers.

1. How Do You Know
2. Experts
3. Truth Tango
4. News
5. Speech Acrobats
6. Violence
7. Donít Talk Nicely
8. Burn My Bed
9. Fear
10. The Great Offense
11. Precious
12. WHO? Cares
13. Rips The Bonds

With all the music composed, played and produced by Fella Cederbaum, the new album opens on the self-diagnosis within How Do You Know and the piano-led thoughts on all the new so-called Experts and then Fella brings us the aptly-named Truth Tango, the darker notes about questioning within News, the gently jaunty, titular Speech Acrobats, and then we are brought forth the, quite literal, heartbeat of Violence and the disparaging Donít Talk Nicely (Donít talk nicely, while keeping trash behind your tongue).

Along next is the lighter fare of Burn My Bed and the veritably shimmering Fear, and they are in turn followed by the jazzy-blues foot tapper, and my own personal favorite, the funky The Great Offense, the mood taken down for the balladry of curiosity within Precious, and then the album rounds out with the media being corrupt theme of WHO? Cares, closing on the informative yearn for freedom within Rip The Bonds.

Official Purchase Link

Fella Cederbaum @ Facebook

Title - No Brains, No Blood
Artist - The Inside Out

For those unaware, James Howard, John Landino, Andi Wright, and Zach Stout have joined forces to share a creative vision. Individually, their musical journeys are diverse and well-seasoned. Together, and known as The Inside Out, they strive to provide familiar tunes with a fresh perspective that indie/alt fans have been craving.

James, John, and Zach have all formally studied audio engineering. Their trained ears are earned from decades of performing and producing various genres of music. Andiís musical roots have been self-driven from a young age and have grown alongside her professional career as a mechanical engineer.

The group is enthusiastic about sharing their 11-track debut album, No Brains, No Blood, which is out now, with those who wish to delve into an introspective sonic experience, and so we here at Exclusive Magazine are helping them do just that.

1. One, Two, Three, Silence
2. Separation Anxiety
3. No Brains, No Blood
4. Nothing
5. Blue
6. Figure Me Out
7. I Donít Know You Anymore
8. Itís All In Your Head, Itís All In The Past
9. Back Against The Unknown (Never Again)
10. Fiend
11. Fire!

This thunderously articulate, resoundingly raging, yet wholly organic album opens on the atmospherically-charged spoken word One, Two, Three, Silence intro, before launching into the booming Separation Anxiety and then we get my own personal favorite, the metal-rock of the titular No Brains, No Blood, and then come both the languishing rock of Nothing, and the quieter, balladry fare of Blue.

Up next is the pop-nu-hardcore í90s vibe within Figure Me Out and that is in turn backed by the melodic growth found within I Donít Know You Anymore, the veritably shimmering guitar rock of Itís All In Your Head, Itís All In The Past, then comes the angst-driven Back Against The Unknown (Never Again), the album rounding out on the coruscate, at times, driven at others Fiend, closing on the disquietude found within the hearty Fire!

Official The Inside Out Website

Official Spotify Purchase Link

Title - Transition
Artist - Torben Enevoldsen

For those unaware, Perris Records is proud to announce the CD release of Torben Enevoldsenís brand new all instrumental albums entitled 5.1 and Transition on February 3rd, 2023.

The albums were released earlier digitally worldwide on iTunes, Amazon and more and Torben plays much of the guitars, bass, keyboards and Dennis Hansen (Section A, Fatal Force) on drums.

For the record, no pun intended, Torben has also played guitar in many bands like FATE, PINNACLE POINT, ACACIA AVENUE, DECOY and SECTION A, et al.

I am thrilled that Perris Records is releasing both of my latest all instrumental albums on CD, Torben explains. Quite a few people have been asking for a physical release, so I am very pleased that we are now able to offer this option to the fans.

1. In Orbit
2. Backslide
3. Beyond The Sky
4. Fool-proof
5. Out Of The Ordinary
6. DNA
7. Home
8. Memories
9. Bounce Back
10. Enough Said

We here at Exclusive Magazine were kindly sent Torbenís new Transition CD and so taking it from the top, this exquisitely majestic, high flying and yet organically cultured new opens on the searingly ornate structures within the soaring, and aptly-named In Orbit and that is backed by the rocking melodies within Backslide, the mid-tempo AOR of Beyond The Sky, and then come the gently frenetic Fool-proof and the quietly pulsating Out Of The Ordinary.

On an album where Torbenís admitted earliest influences have included Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Van Halen all magnificently seep through, along next is one of my own personal favorites from this album, the full-on charge of both excitement and euphoria within DNA and the wholly ascending Home, and they are in turn followed by the smooth craftsmanship on show within the Eastern-flavored Memories, the album rounding out on the foot-tapper Bounce Back, closing on the head down and rock on approach to Enough Said.

Band members:
Torben Enevoldsen - Guitars and keyboards
Pete Steincke - Bass
Dennis Hansen - Drums

Official Torben Enevoldsen Website

Torben Enevoldsen @ Facebook

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - Unalome
Artist - Buster Williams

For those unaware, legendary bassist/composer Buster Williams celebrates 80 years (and counting) along a path to musical enlightenment on his stunning new album, UNALOME, featuring vocalist Jean Baylor, saxophonist Bruce Williams, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, pianist George Colligan, and drummer Lenny White.

For those unfamiliar with the title of the gorgeous new album from Buster Williams, UNALOME, or the lotus flower-topped symbol that graces its cover, Unalome is a Buddhist symbol representing individual transcendence and the path to enlightenment over the course of oneís life, a guiding concept that Williams, a long-practicing Buddhist himself, has been exploring throughout his life and career.

It seemed to express perfectly the mood or the collective spirit of the music on this particular project, Williams explains. I believe that your life should be a succession of steps and that those steps should be along an ascending path.

1. Stairways (5:26)
2. Estate (8:29)
3. Tayamisha (5:47)
4. In the Middle of a Rainbow (7:16)
5. The Wisdom of Silence (4:54)
6. 42nd Street (7:01)
7. Iíve Got the World on a String (6:18)
8. Hereís to Life (6:11)

This wholesomely heartwarming, sumptuous and organically-driven new album opens on my own personal favorite from the recording, the at times, twinkling, at others cinematic in its scope, but always grounded Stairways and that is followed by the luxurious, upright bass-led Estate, the joyful and upbeat Tayamisha and then we get the low slung blues-jazz shuffle of In the Middle of a Rainbow.

Up next is the veritably shimmering, at times almost hypnotic The Wisdom of Silence and that in turn is backed seamlessly by the smoothly smoldering 42nd Street, the album rounding out on the jam fervency of Iíve Got the World on a String, coming to a close on the Jean Baylor-vocalized, smoothly sultry, and just all-round ensconced in velvety undertones, Hereís to Life.

UNALOME is also just the latest step along what has certainly been a storied path. One of the most revered bassists of the last half century, the Grammy-winning Williams has played, recorded, and collaborated with such jazz giants as Art Blakey, Chet Baker, Chick Corea, Dexter Gordon, Jimmy Heath, Larry Coryell, Wynton, and Branford Marsalis, Sonny Rollins, Count Basie, Errol Garner, Freddie Hubbard, and countless others. He was a charter member of Herbie Hancockís groundbreaking Mwandishi band and the all-star Thelonious Monk tribute ensemble Sphere.

At 80 years of age, Buster Williams shows no sign of slowing his climb along that ascending path. UNALOME brilliantly reflects how far heís come while looking eagerly ahead to future chapters. As I get older, I discover that thereís more over the horizon than you think, he declares. The horizon may look like the end, but the closer you get the more you realize that youíll never reach it. What you can see from where you are, seems to be limited, but with each step, you see more and more.

Jean Baylor - vocals
Bruce Williams - saxophone & flute
Stefon Harris - vibraphone
George Colligan - piano
Buster Williams - bass
Lenny White - drums

Official Bandcamp Purchase Link

Official Website

Buster Williams @ Facebook

Title - Thunder
Artist - Stephan Micus

For those unaware, Stephan Micus is a unique musician and composer. He collects and studies instruments from all around the world and creates his own musical journeys with them.

Incredibly, Thunder is his 25th solo album for ECM and its sound is dominated by the four-metre long Tibetan dung chen trumpet, an instrument he has recently learned and is using for the first time.

It was the thunderous sound of this instrument that led to the albumís name and its nine tracks celebrating deities around the world. I dedicate this music to the big family of thundergods around the world, humbly hoping that - when they hear it - their destructive powers will be somehow pacified, he says.

It features instruments - all played by Stephan Micus - from Tibet, India, Burma, Borneo, Siberia, Japan, South America, Gambia, Namibia, Sweden and Bavaria. The album was released to coincide with Stephanís 70th birthday, this past January 19th, 2023.

1. A Song For Thor
2. A Song For Raijin
3. A Song For Armazi
4. A Song For Shango
5. A Song For Vajrapani
6. A Song For Leigong
7. A Song for Zeus
8. A Song For Ishkur
9. A Song For Perun

On what is a most fabulously sculptured work of musical art, and quite like no other I have personally experienced in the past decade or so, the opening track is the strident A Song For Thor and that is followed supremely by the quiet, ambient effervesce of A Song For Raijin, labyrinthine finger-picking styling is next brought forth on A Song For Armazi, then comes the veritably crystalline A Song For Shango, which is backed by the atmospherically-charged A Song For Vajrapani.

Along next is one of my own personal favorites from this new set, the sweeping, almost earthly-cored A Song For Leigong, which is itself backed by the more intricately-embodied, stirringly-emboldened A Song for Zeus, the recording rounding out on the deliciously pleasing A Song For Ishkur, coming to a close on the delicate musings and orchestrations found within A Song For Perun.

Featured artists:
Stephan Micus - Frame Drum, Dung Chen, Burmese Temple Bells, Himalayan Horse Bells, Ki un Ki, Bass Zither, Bowed Sinding, Kyeezee, Shakuhachi, Sarangi, Nyckelharpa, Kaukas, Sapeh, Voice, Nohkan.

Official Website

Stephan Micus @ Facebook

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - Itís Always Now
Artist - Ralph Alessi Quartet

For those unaware, Ralph Alessiís fourth appearance as a leader for the label follows a singular album run thatís been met with nothing but praise from The New York Times to The Guardian.

On his new album, Itís Always Now (due out April 7th, 2023, via ECM Records), Alessiís unique tone is as limber, piercing and present as ever, enveloped by a fresh quartet line-up - pianist Florian Weber, Benz Oester on bass and drummer Gerry Hemingway - that navigates through the trumpeterís idiosyncratically swinging compositions with a sixth sense.

1. Hypnagogic
2. Old Baby
3. Migratory Party
4. Residue
5. The Shadow Side
6. Itís Always Now
7. Diagonal Lady
8. His Hopes, His Fears, His Tears
9. Everything Mirrors Everything
10. Portion Control
11. Ire
12. Hanging By A Thread
13. Tumbleweed

On what is a simply divine listening experience from start to finish, the album opens on the quixotic sounds of Hypnagogic and the natural, albeit tangibly ethereal sound within Old Baby and follows those up with the brushed drums luring us smoothly along within the mesmerizing Migratory Party, their synchronized connectivity of Residue, and then brings us the verily shimmering The Shadow Side and the Eastern-hued rhythms that are subtly sewn within the titular Itís Always Now.

Along next is the enchanting Diagonal Lady and the internal glow within His Hopes, His Fears, His Tears, and they are in turn backed seamlessly by the melodically burnished Everything Mirrors Everything, Portion Control is threaded with a feeling of dysphoria, the organically-structured Ire never once breaks its purlieus, the new album rounding out on the smoothly agile Hanging By A Thread, closing on the compelling Tumbleweed.

The album is not only a continuation of the leaders work, but also records Florianís evolution on the label, this being his fourth album with ECM to date.

His distinctive harmonic approach on keys is as evident in leader settings as in the role of a sideman, and his deep sensibility for Alessiís pulse enhances this session, which was produced by Manfred Eicher.

Official Website

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - Sphere
Artist - Bobo Stenson Trio

For those unaware, the Bobo Stenson Trioís ability to cover far-reaching idioms and wide-ranging repertoire within the scope of their personal diction has become both hallmark and custom.

New York Times says the pianist makes sublime piano-trio records without over-playing. Itís pulsating, lumpy with long improvised phrases; itís alive.

Charting a subtle and idiosyncratic path through originals and melodies derived from various Scandinavian composers, the group proves of a particularly supple alchemy on his brand new recording, Sphere (due out April 7th, 2023 via ECM Records).

1. You shall plant a tree
2. Unquestioned answer - Charles Ives in memoriam
3. Spring
4. Kingdom of coldness
5. Communion psalm
6. The red flower
7. Ky and beautiful madame Ky
8. Valsette op. 40/1
9. You shall plant a tree (var.)

This beautifully crafted new recording opens in the languishing beauty within You shall plant a tree and the stoically emboldened Unquestioned answer - Charles Ives in memoriam, and then brings us the veritably crystalline Spring, the quietly furtive Kingdom of coldness, and the ornately-sculptured Communion psalm.

Along next is one of my own personal favorites from this veritably crystalline recording, the shuffling sensitivity found within The red flower which is itself backed by the tentatively-nurtured Ky and beautiful madame Ky, the album rounding out on the imbued-lucidiness of Valsette op. 40/1, coming to a close on a variation of the opening track, You shall plant a tree.

Official Website

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - At First Light
Artist - Robin Towner

For those unaware, an ECM artist for his entire musical career, US guitarist Ralph Towner has built up a unique body of work in his recordings for the label.

Central to his oeuvre are his solo albums, the first of which, Diary, was issued 50 years ago. His brand new recording, At First Light (due out April 7th, 2023 via ECM Records) extends this great tradition, drawing inspiration from a broad palette of music.

In addition to his own pieces, Towner also plays Hoagy Carmichaelís Little Old Lady, Jule Styneís Make Someone Happy and the traditional tune Danny Boy.

1. Flow
2. Strait
3. Make Someone Happy
4. Ubi Sunt
5. Guitarra Piccante
6. At First Light
7. Danny Boy
8. Fat Foot
9. Argentinian Nights
10. Little Old Lady
11. Empty Stage

On what is a simply heavenly musical experience to embody oneself with, the new recording opens on the trickling gossamer of Flow and the gently-woven Strait, and then brings us a quietly furtive rendition of Jule Styneís Make Someone Happy, the collared perkiness of Ubi Sunt, and then we are brought forth the sharper tones within of the mid-tempo Guitarra Piccante.

Along next on this sumptuous album is the beautiful, and titular At First and the organically heartfelt melodies within the traditional Danny Boy, and they are in turn backed by the rambunctiously restrained Fat Foot, the laid back, sumptuously-created Argentinian Nights, the album rounding out on a free flowing rendition of Hoagy Carmichaelís Little Old Lady, closing on the acutely-honed Empty Stage.

My solo recordings have always included my own compositions in which there are trace elements of the many composers and musicians that have attracted me, writes Towner in a liner note, citing the influence of, among others, George Gershwin, John Coltrane, John Dowland and Bill Evans: I feel that At First Light is a good example of shaping this expanse of influences into my personal music.

Official Website

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - Life & Fire
Artist - Omer Klein / Haggai Cohen / Amir Bresler

For those unaware, Pianist and Composer Omer Kleinís music is ďborderlessĒ (New York Times) in its organic assimilation of widely diverse sources of inspiration, as he continuously ďpushes mainstream Jazz concepts into the futureĒ (Time Out New York).

A prolific performer and composer, Klein has released 8 albums as a soloist, and published over 100 original compositions.

An exclusive Warner Music artist, Klein has made three recordings for the label so far. Sleepwalkers (2017) is a trio exploration of themes related to society in the information age, for which the Omer Klein Trio has won the 2018 ECHO award.

This was followed by Radio Mediteran (2019), adding analog synthesizers and percussion to the classic trio format, thus creating ďa very contemporary, forward-looking album full of subtle grooves and strong melodiesĒ (Hamburger Abendblatt). Kleinís third effort for Warner Music and his 9th overall, ďPersonal BelongingsĒ, was released in September 2021.

With bassist Haggai Cohen Milo and drummer Amir Bresler, Klein formed the Omer Klein Trio in 2013. The trio performs Kleinís compositions and tours extensively. Their debut recording, Fearless Friday (2015) is considered ďone of the most rewarding piano trio releases of recent yearsĒ (All About Jazz).

And it is this very same trio - Omer Kein / Haggai Cohen / Amir Bresler - that now bring forth their brand new trio album, Life & Fire available now on Warner Music.

1. The Ravens
2. Song No.2
3. 3/4 Mantra
4. Tzuri
5. Cantando
6. One Step At A Time
7. Niggun
8. Spilt Milk
9. Malchut

On what is a recording that also celebrates the Omer Klein Trioís 10th Anniversary being together, it opens on the luxuriously languishing The Ravens and the upbeat toe-tapper Song No.2 and then brings us the furtively-alert 3/4 Mantra, the simply captivating Tzuri and the melodiously free flowing Cantando.

Along next on this vibrantly accessible new recording is the organic preciseness of the key work within One Step At A Time, which is itself backed seamlessly by the dynamically-sculpted rhythms within the precisely hued gossamer of Niggun, the album rounding out on the veritably dainty Spilt Milk, coming to a close on the atmospherically-charged Malchut.

Omer Klein, Piano
Haggai Cohen-Milo, Bass
Amir Bresler, Drums

Official Website

Omer Klein Trio - Niggun [Official Video]

Official Pre-Order Purchase Link

Title - Truth Be Told
Artist - Angie Wells

For those unaware, Angie Wells has a smokey well rounded voice that can give listeners goosebumps on a ballad and then turn around to get them tapping their feet when she swings.

She has the ability to entertain her audience in a way that is truly captivating by giving a show in the true sense of the word with glamorous costume changes, humorous banter and a voice that keeps her audience hanging on to every note.

Angie truly believes a performance is a symbiotic exchange of energy between herself and her audience and gives her all at every moment.

Her new album, Truth Be Told (out February 24th, 2023) is vocalist/songwriter Angie Wellsí diverse musical journey through various truths in her life.

The concept behind Truth Be Told is to provoke thought, to touch the heart, to bring joy, and to inspire through the truths we encounter along the way of this great adventure we call life.

The eventful summer of 2020 was the catalyst for Wells deciding to write new music and to choose truth as a theme for the album. Wells assembled a group of players whose masterful skills and alignment with the emotions of the music create a true listening experience.

2) DO I MOVE YOU (3:35)
4) TRUTH BE TOLD (3:11)
7) NICK OF TIME (4:10)
8) HEREíS TO LIFE (5:33)
13) I WISH IíD MET YOU (5:38)

On what is a most fabulously sculptured work of musical art, Angieís sophomore album opens on the rambunctiously urgent original THEREíS ALWAYS TIME FOR LOVINí and the luxurious sewn DO I MOVE YOU and then Angie brings us the suave storytelling of another original WHERE THE LIVINí IS GOOD (a satirical look at being homeless), the finger-snapping, harmonized TRUTH BE TOLD, the frenetically-charged ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE, the short, but sweet IíVE GOT A FEELING (HYMN VERSION) (the gospel standard included as short musical interludes throughout the recording as a tribute to Angieís grandmother), before offering up the smooth grooves within NICK OF TIME and the low slung blues-jazz of HEREíS TO LIFE.

Next up is the upright bass-led original TALKINí ALL UNDER MY CLOTHES (a humorous nod to the language of flirtation) and a very quick, .40 second rendition of IíVE GOT A FEELING (HUMMING VERSION), before they are in turn backed by the aching yearn within YOU DONíT KNOW WHAT LOVE IS, the playfully perky MOANINí/WORK SONG MEDLEY, the lush piano balladry within I WISH IíD MET YOU, the album rounding out on the languishing, minute long IVE GOT A FEELING (MUSIC BOX VERSION), the oh-so cute duet of the .90 second THEY CANíT TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME, and a short, but wholesome rendition of IíVE GOT A FEELING (FULL BAND/VOCAL VERSION).

Angie Wells: In the summer of 2020 many of us witnessed the brutal death of George Floyd and the worldwide protests for justice and peace that followed. Although I was sad and angry I felt a glimmer of hope as I watched people of all races, nationalities, cultures, sexual orientations and religions take to the streets together.

About two weeks later as I was taking a pleasure drive in silence, I began to hear and feel a melody rise from inside. The melody came in the form of a deep emotional humming that felt like it was coming directly from my ancestors. This melody stayed in my head in the following days and began combining with the phrase truth be told until a song was born.

As Truth Be Told became a living song I realized I wanted to embark upon a new recording project. I wanted this project to be a collection of original music and covers that spoke to the various truths of my life relating to daily living, love, joy, sadness, family, spirituality and hope. I decided to title the project Truth Be Told.

Angieís official debut CD with Raphael Lemonnier titled LOVE and MISCHIEF was released in 2017 to a series of noteworthy reviews including: All About Jazz, Contemporary Fusion Reviews, Midwest Record Review and her original composition She Ainít The Kinda Girl reached #4 on Franceís Jazz Radio.

Angieís sophomore recording project, Truth Be Told is a collection of original tunes and cover songs which speak to the truths of life. The project is produced by John Clayton.

Official Website

Angie Wells @ Facebook

Angie Wells @ Spotify

Title - Subsequent Ruins
Artist - Jason Blake

In recent years, Jason Blake has established himself as one of Warrís most distinguished technicians. For those unaware, the Warr guitar is a unique twelve-string instrument that incorporates the range of a guitar and bass and is played by touching the strings, a technique known as touchstyle.

Known primarily for his work with the progressive metal instrumental band Aziola Cry (Sensory Records), Jason Blake began to build an impressive resume as a solo artist.

In this work, Blake pushed the boundaries of the instrument by incorporating elements of progressive rock, ambient and classical. After releasing a varied series of instrumental albums under his own name, Blake returns with his most ambitious album yet.

Subsequent Ruins (out March 17th via 7d Media) is the title of Jason Blakeís forthcoming instrumental progressive rock album, featuring Warr guitar as the sole melodic instrument along with Marco Minnemann on drums.

The songs are a modern retelling of Rattenfanger von Hameln (The Pied Piper), with screens playing the title role.

1. Obsolete Perception (3:46)
2. Pretense of the Herd (9:54)
3. Follow I (Emanated Hook) (4:42)
4. False Streets of Entanglement (5:07
5. Follow II (The Coercible Leash) (5:05
6. A Bleak Outcome (10:33)

This beautifully sculptured, wholly embodied, magnificently organic new album opens on the powerfully fluctuating Obsolete Perception and then follows those up with the strength of decisiveness within the near ten minute Pretense of the Herd and the veritably shimmering Follow I (Emanated Hook).

Along next is one of my own personal favorites from this new recording, the free flowing, drum-led melodic spirals and curves made within False Streets of Entanglement which is itself backed seamlessly by the forthright, yet clutched Follow II (The Coercible Leash), the album rounding out on the ten minute musical tour de force of A Bleak Outcome.

Jason Blake - Warr guitar
Marco Minnemann - Drums

The six-song album was mixed in Chicago at Gravel Road Recording by Amery Schmeisser and mastered by Andy VanDette (Rush, Porcupine Tree). Hajo Mueller (Steven Wilson, Mariusz Duda) completed the thought-provoking artwork.

Says Jason, When I started writing the music for this album, I kept thinking about how phones and other screens have become so addictive and controlling to the minds of young people today. This led me to the idea of creating a soundtrack for a modern retelling of Rattenfänger von Hameln (The Pied Piper).

I saw the screens as the main character in the story, as they symbolically lead children blindly down a cliff. I also worked with Hajo Mueller, my frequent collaborator, to create an elaborate CD package that serves as the lost art book of one of these children. Once I had the idea for the album, I started writing the music that I felt would be appropriate to tell this story.

I usually start with song titles that help guide the direction I want to take. I knew I wanted some longer songs as centerpieces of the album, along with some shorter pieces of solo Warr guitar that would function almost as interludes. During the writing process, I wanted to create music that sounded great with the use of overdubs, but could also be performed on its own in quieter settings.

Once the music was written, I knew I wanted a drummer who could take the music to the next level, so I turned to Marco Minnemann who provided the perfect accompaniment. The music was then recorded on and off during the summer of 2022.

Official Website

Title - The Winds of Change
Artist - Billy Childs

For those unaware, Billy Childs has announced his latest album, The Winds of Change (out March 17th via Mack Avenue Music Group).

In his third release with Mack Avenue, the Grammy-winning pianist, composer and arranger is joined by an all-star quartet consisting of trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Brian Blade.

I have been doing all of these lofty projects, chamber things, symphonic things I wanted to just get back to being a jazz pianist, Childs says. Fortunately, these extraordinary musicians find my music interesting enough that they want to be a part of it.

1. The Great Western Loop
2. The Winds of Change
3. The End of Innocence
4. Master of the Game
5. Crystal Silence
6. The Black Angel
7. I Thought I Knew

This beautifully ambient and magnificently sculptured new recording, which includes five new original compositions, opens on the spirited The Great Western Loop and the emphatically cultured, titular The Winds of Change, and then brings us the veritably sparkling The End of Innocence.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites from the new album, the playful Master of the Game, which is itself backed by a unique arrangement of Chick Coreaís Crystal Silence, an animated take on Kenny Barronís The Black Angel, the musical experience closing on the rather luxurious I Thought I Knew.

The music was inspired by film noir; great film composers like Jerry Goldsmith, Bernard Herrmann and John Williams; and nostalgia for the Los Angeles of Childsí youth.

Official Website

Billy Childs - The End of Innocence (Official Audio)

Title - Smiliní At The Future
Artist - Jeremy Facknitz Band

For those unaware, Jeremy Facknitz has been entertaining audiences with his lovingly crafted music and high-energy performances for over a quarter century.

Since the 2002 break-up of his Detroit-based band The Ottomans (they earned a 2001 Detroit Music Award for Best New Alternative Band, beating out The White Stripes), Jeremy has performed primarily as a solo act, marrying folk-rock and jazz styling to showcase his intimate stories of life, love, and self-discovery.

But from 2003 to 2017, those stories seemed to fall on deaf ears. Facknitz carved out a living performing at bars, coffee shops, and corporate events while teaching lessons on the side. I was happy to be making a living performing music, but my original music wasnít being heard - and as the years passed I found myself more and more frustrated playing to little more than the din of drunken conversation.

Things came to a head on July 17th, 2017 when Jeremy was diagnosed with viral meningitis. I came face to face with my mortality, and I realized it was time for a change. I quit performing at bars and spent the next year making the leap to house concerts, touring, and performing solely for listening audiences.

The leap has paid off. Jeremy was named a top 24 finalist from over 800 entries in the 2020 and 2022 Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Competitions at Kerrville Folk Festival. His songs Ballet of an Unhatched Chick and Michigan (Something In The Water) were awarded semi-finalist distinction at, also in 2020 and 2022.

While occasionally performing with his 6 piece band in Colorado, Jeremy continues to tour solo - performing at house concerts and listening rooms in the United States, Canada and Europe. His 6th solo album, Smiliní At The Future, is set for release March 31st, 2023.

1. Destiny
2. As Of This Morning
3. Michigan (Something In The Water)
4. Thereís No Going Home Again (featuring Serenity Hollaway)
5. Broad Strokes (featuring Edie Carey)
6. Smiliní At The Future
7. Ste. Genevieve
8. Lay It On Me
9. Come Alive
10. Unsung

This soulfully-hued, and wholly heartfelt, organic new album opens on the rhythmic growth within the veritably, at times, shimmering foot-tapper Destiny and the free flowing musical notes and melodies within As Of This Morning, and then we get brought the soulfully-imbued Michigan (Something In The Water), the melodic notes and storytelling of Thereís No Going Home Again (featuring Serenity Hollaway), and then comes the beautiful balladry of Broad Strokes (featuring Edie Carey).

Up next is one of my own personal favorites on the album, the fun, jaunty pop of titular Smiliní At The Future which is itself backed seamlessly by the sweeping Ste. Genevieve, the impassioned Lay It On Me, the recording rounding out on the atmospheric, stirring ardent Come Alive, closing on the quiet, acoustic balladry of Unsung.

Official Website

Jeremy Facknitz - As Of This Morning [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Title - Black, Brown, and Blue
Artist - Eric Reed

For those unaware, think of the songwriters whose work comprises the canon of jazz standards, and names like George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin, and Cole Porter immediately come to mind.

On his new album, Black, Brown, and Blue, pianist/composer Eric Reed argues for a revision of that canon to focus on Black and Brown composers, songwriters whose work originates within the jazz realm rather than on the Broadway stage.

Due out March 10, 2023, via Smoke Sessions Records, Black, Brown, and Blue features music written by jazz masters like Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Benny Golson, Horace Silver, Buddy Collette, and Buster Williams, along with jazz-conversant pop/R&B songwriters Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers.

In addition, Reed and his bandmates on this thrilling session - bassist Luca Alemanno and drummer Reggie Quinerly - each contribute a new piece of their own.

1. Black, Brown, and Blue
2. Lean on Me
3. I Got It Bad (and That Ainít Good)
4. Peace
5. Search for Peace
6. Christina
7. Infant Eyes
8. Cheryl Ann
9. Along Came Betty
10. Variation Twenty-Four
11. One for E
12. Pastime Paradise
13. Ugly Beauty

This soulfully-hued, and wholly organic new album opens on the rhythmic growth and spirals within the titular Black, Brown, and Blue and an emphatic rendition of Bill Withersí beloved Lean on Me (with Calvin B. Rhone on vocals) and then we are lovingly presented a sumptuous take of Duke Ellingtonís I Got It Bad (and That Ainít Good), the veritably crystalline, softly shimmering Peace, which is itself followed by, for all intents and purposes, a continuation within Search for Peace.

Along next is one of my own personal favorites on this new recording, the glistening Christina, and that is in turn backed by a dutiful take on Wayne Shorterís Infant Eyes, then comes the embroidered Cheryl Ann, strident rhythms then embody Along Came Betty, then we are gifted the stately, grandiose Variation Twenty-Four, the quietly playful One for E, the album rounding out on his impassioned, vocalized (by David Dautghtry) take on Stevie Wonderís Pastime Paradise, closing on Thelonious Monkís mischievous Ugly Beauty.

Where I am now in my life, Iím only concerned about conveying the most personal and heartfelt ideas through my music. BLACK, BROWN, AND BLUE is the culmination of my life thus far, Reed explains.

Thus what shines through on these performances is the deep well of emotion and feeling that Reed mines in his playing, his expression, and his ability to communicate on a profound level with his new trio.

Reed points to the early stages of his own career when he was a member of that highly touted generation known as the Young Lions. Without dismissing the music created during that period, which he acknowledges was executed by a staggeringly talented group of artists, he regrets the narrow stylistic vision and the carefully controlled image that he was coerced to present to audiences. There was an agenda to create a narrative around jazz that was far too often skewed and extremely antagonistic, he says.

When I first started my path in this music, it was under a different, very revisionist type of energy. Where I am now in my life, Iím only concerned about conveying the most personal and heartfelt ideas through my music. Iíve found myself becoming so much more open.

That openness extends beyond the realization of Reedís musical choices and into his personal life. Black, Brown, and Blue marks the first album that he has recorded while being completely open about his bisexuality, resulting in what he calls his most autobiographical release to date.

Itís time for me to just go ahead and be completely authentic in every aspect of my life, he insists. That includes, but is not limited to, being more open about my sexuality and proactively moving into spaces connected with the LGBTQ+ community. I think that would have happened in spite of the political climate in this country and the pandemic, but itís been hurried along. Those aspects of my life were becoming more bold and more broad, and I could no longer keep them on the margins.

Eric Reed - piano
Luca Alemanno - bass
Reggie Quinerly drums
Calvin B. Rhone - vocals on Lean on Me
David Dautghtry - vocals on Pastime Paradise

Eric Reed @ Facebook

Title - Pairings
Artist - Franglais [Ben Wood & Eve Seltzer]

For those unaware, Ben Wood and Eve Seltzer conceived of this album during the COVID lockdown of 2020.

Indeed, they chose tunes that reflected how they felt in isolation, and arranged them for a duo setting to capture the intimacy of the hours they spent on the couch playing music together in their Brooklyn apartment.

The title, Pairings (due out March 14th, 2023), is a nod to Ben Woodís work as a sommelier. In fact, the CD includes drink suggestions for each song.

1. Too Close For Comfort [Red Wine pairing]
2. Iím Old Fashioned [Georgian Orange Wine pairing]
3. I Donít Wanna Sing [Bourbon pairing]
4. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most [Gin and Tonic pairing]
5. Joseph, Joseph [Man, ob, Manisbewitz pairing!]
6. Lune de Miel [Loire Red pairing]
7. Stolen Moments (Electric Version) [Negronis pairing]
8. Iím Glad There Is You [Champagne pairing]
9. This Time the Dreamís On Me [Orange Wine pairing]
10. Save the Country [Oregon Pinot Noir pairing]
11. Stolen Moments (Acoustic Version) [Bonus Track]

This dulcet, embroidered, old-fashioned and yet stirringly ambient for today, new recording opens on the jaunty, acoustic-pop sense within Too Close For Comfort and the playfully poppy, jubilantly-imbued Iím Old Fashioned, and they are followed by the ranging, impassioned I Donít Wanna Sing, the delicious storytelling within the seasonally-hued Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most, and the melodically, German-sung Joseph, Joseph.

Along next is the impishly flirtatious Lune de Miel and the dedicated Stolen Moments (Electric Version), and they are in turn backed by the delicate rhythms and hushed vocals found within Iím Glad There Is You, the album rounding out on the triumphant This Time the Dreamís On Me, closing on the diligently, sentimentally-structured Save the Country and a bonus Stolen Moments acoustic track.

Official Website

Franglais Swings @ Facebook

Title - NOW Thatís What I Call Music! Hip-Hop Party
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, the just-released NOW Thatís What I Call Music! 2000ís Hip-Hop presents an all-star 18-track lineup of Hip-Hop hits from the 00ís.

Bringing together 25 years of unstoppable anthems, the legends being showcased here include: OutKast, The Notorious B.I.G., DMX, Busta Rhymes, Migos, Post Malone, Flo Rida, Wiz Khalifa, Black Eyed Peas, and so much more.

Indeed, a wondrous 2LP edition of this album, pressed on black vinyl, will also be sold exclusively at Target stores.

1. OutKast - Hey Ya!
2. DJ Snake & Lil Jon - Turn Down for What
3. DMX - Party Up
4. The Notorious B.I.G. - Hynpotize
5. Nelly - Country Grammar
6. Busta Rhymes - Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See
7. Flo Rida - My House
8. Too $hort - Blow the Whistle
9. Migos - Stir Fry
10. Eve - Tambourine
11. Lil Wayne feat. Cory Guns - 6 Foot 7 Foot
12. DaBaby - Bop
13. Post Malone feat. 21 Savage - Rockstar
14. Rae Sremmurd feat. Gucci Mane - Black Beatles
15. 24kGoldn feat. iann dorr - Mood
16. Black Eyed Peas - Boom Boom Pow
17. Wiz Khalifa - Black and Yellow
18. G-Eazy feat. A$AP Rocky & Cardi B - No Limit

This free-flowing work of musical art opens on the one of the most nostalgic musical moments of history, let alone the 2000ís, OutKastís smooth as silk Hey Ya! and then we get the absolutely banginí DJ Snake & Lil Jon track Turn Down for What, DMX and his gangsta Party Up, The Notorious B.I.G.ís veritably í90s hip hop/rap Hynpotize, and Nelly‚Äôs Country Grammar continues the musical journey into the golden age of hip-hop.

Next up is Flo Ridaís unforgettable catchy My House and with a beat so old it can still slap so many years later, Too $hortís Blow the Whistle is up next, and is followed by the harmonizing flow of the late Migosí Stir Fry, the sexualized bumping within Eveís Tambourine, the cadence, flow and punchlines from Lil Wayne featuring Cory Guns on 6 Foot 7 Foot is amazing, and then we get some good flute (which always enhances a rap, IMHO) of DaBabyís Bop, and we get the addictive masterpiece from Post Malone featuring 21 Savage, Rockstar.

As we come into the final bend, up next is the nostalgic-tipped Black Beatles from Rae Sremmurd featuring Gucci Mane, the brilliant rhythmic vibes within 24kGoldn featuring iann dorrís Mood, the collection rounding out on the addictive beats and grooves within Black Eyed Peasí Boom Boom Pow, the certified hood classic Black and Yellow from Wiz Khalifa, it all coming to a close on the creatively unique G-Eazy featuring A$AP Rocky & Cardi B hit, No Limit.

NOW Thatís What I Call Music! debuted in the U.S. in 1998, following 15 years of multi-platinum international triumph. The series has sold more than 250 million albums worldwide, topping 105 million in the U.S. alone. 68 previous releases in NOWís numeric U.S. series have reached Billboardís Top 10, and 19 volumes have topped the chart.

Official Purchase Links

Title - Voices
Artist - The Cold Stares

For those unaware, blues-rock outfit The Cold Stares channel Son House, Blind Willie Nelson on cinematic, gospel blues track, Throw That Stone, of which that song will also be featured on the bandís explosive new full-length album Voices, out March 3rd, 2023 via Mascot Records / Mascot Label Group.

Self-produced by the band and recorded almost entirely over the course of just two days with engineer Mark Needham (Taj Mahal, The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Walk the Moon, Fleetwood Mac), The Cold Staresí new album stands as the bandís most mature, eclectic collection yet, balancing gritty muscle and tender emotion in equal measure.

The release of Throw That Stone follows previous single The Joy, which draws from Pink Floyd as it revels in the happiness that comes with finding your true soulmate. This song takes a step outside of our normal catalog and tackles the topic of finding happiness after heartache, Tapp explains.

1. Nothing But The Blues
2. Come For Me
3. The Joy
4. Lights Out
5. Got No Right
6. Sorry I Was Late
7. Voices
8. Waiting On The Rain
9. Sinnerman
10. Throw That Stone
11. Itís Heavy
12. Thinking About Leaving Again
13. The Ghost

This brilliantly propulsive, hard rocking, yet soulfully-hued new recording opens on the foot-to-the-floor blues-rock guitar monster Nothing But The Blues and the rhythmically layered Come For Me and they are followed by the mid-tempo The Joy, the down and dirty blues of Lights Out, and then we get the melodic AOR of Got No Right and the veritably shimmering balladry of Sorry I Was Late.

Up next is the aching blues of the titular Voices and their power trio sound then comes to the fore on Waiting On The Rain and they are in turn backed by the cinematic-hued Sinnerman, the Gospel-fueled yearn within Throw That Stone, the album rounding out on the western overtones of Itís Heavy, the slow, yet nonetheless dense roll of Thinking About Leaving Again, coming to a close on the internal balladry ache of The Ghost.

Official Website

The Cold Stares - Throw That Stone (Official Lyric Video)

Official Album Purchase Links

Title - Canyons and Waves
Artist - Griff Peters

For those unaware, Griff Petersí signature musical voice is best described as artistic roots-rock, an amalgamation of rural Americana, blues, folk, elements of avant-garde, prog, and album-side rock.

Besides being a sage and sensitive songwriter, and soulful vocalist, Griff Peters is a subtly virtuosic guitarist and a tone poet - a musicianís musician.

Nature has always been spiritually grounding for singer-songwriter and guitarist Griff Peters. A few years ago, when the San Diego, California-based roots rock artist was mired in a heart-wrenching personal struggle, he went out to the beach and sat down on a rock formation. There, Griff asked himself this question: if he was told he had a year to live, what would he do?

The answer was simple - make his solo debut, Canyons and Waves (Impropriety Records), a deep and sincere body of work crafted by a skilled and experienced artist with a worthy message of hope within darkness.

That very rock formation graces the cover of the album, and from that fateful day on, Griffís life has been powerfully transformed. Griff says This is the long-awaited showing-up for my own life as an artist. The music paints a picture of an inner-knowing and the rekindling of hope when we feel lost.

1. Home (1:26)
2. Holiday (4:00)
3. Where You Been (6:25)
4. She Plays with Light (4:14)
5. Choose Love (3:08)
6. Marie Marie (5:10)
7. Climb a Tree (5:36)
8. Dirt (6:50)
9. Stained Glass Eye (5:18)
10. Canyons and Waves (7:25)

This wholly impassioned, heartfelt and infectiously melodic rocker of a new recording opens on the short, but set soundscape Home and the gently forthright Holiday, then comes the mid-tempo balladry of Where You Been, the soaring prog rocker She Plays with Light and the low slung, countrified Choose Love.

Along next is one of my own personal favorites, the hammond-hued, foot-tapping blues of Marie Marie and that is in turn backed seamlessly by the gently-flowing Climb a Tree, the drum-led, slow grind rocker Dirt, the album rounding out on the soaring Stained Glass Eye, closing on the atmospheric, country twang of the titular instrumental Canyons and Waves.

Griff will be promoting Canyons and Waves with shows and videos of the songs being performed live in the studio, onstage, and in breathtaking natural expanses. He will also be performing and releasing more new songs in the months ahead.

Reflecting back on his epiphanic journey, Griff says: Music says things that cannot be said otherwise. It reaches peopleís hearts in places that cannot be reached by any other way. Iím using music this time around to transcend barriers and gently say Hey, Iíve been there, too, but now Iíve found a better way.

Griff Peters - Holiday [Official Music Video]

The Making of Canyons and Waves Album by Griff Peters

Official Website

Official Album Purchase Links

Title - Olympians
Artist - Vince Mendoza & Metropole Orkest

For those unaware, on March 3rd, 2023, the Metropole Orkest will release a new album on Modern Recordings with compositions by honorary conductor, and seven-time Grammy winner Vince Mendoza entitled Olympians.

Inclusive of works he wrote for the orchestra during his 28 years with the Metropole Orkest, Olympians will be released in early March, but is also now available for pre-order in their webshop. Better yet, everyone who pre-orders will receive a copy signed by Vince Mendoza.

Olympians was recorded when the orchestra was unable to give concerts. Drummer and co-producer Martijn Vink: We are used to play a different project every week. Now we suddenly had the time to really take the time to explore Vinceís best compositions and record their ultimate versions.

The album features guest appearances from vocalists Dianne Reeves and Cecile McLorin Salvant, saxophonists Chris Potter and David Binney, percussionist Alex Acua, and the late guitarist Ramon Stagnaro (charango). But the soloists in the orchestra - Arlia de Ruiter, Marc Scholten, Rik Mol, Hans Vroomans, Leo Janssen, Paul van der Feen and Peter Tiehuis - also shine on Olympians.

1. Quixote
2. Esperanto (feat. Dianne Reeves)
3. Partido Alto
4. House of Reflections
5. Miracle Child
6. Big Night
7. Lake Fire
8. Barcelona
9. Bright Lights and Jubilations

This magnificently structured, wholly embracing new recording opens on the atmospherically-charged Quixote and the stirringly cinematic Esperanto (featuring Dianne Reeves), and then brings us the euphonious Partido Alto, the honeyed House of Reflections and the lushly orchestrated Miracle Child.

Along next is the joyous, uplifting and wholly exhilarate Big Night which is in turn backed by the more symphonic-structured, and gently fervent Lake Fire, the silky smooth recording rounding out on the pictorial, filmic vibe of Barcelona, coming to a sumptuous close on the extravagantly exuberant Bright Lights and Jubilations.

Master arranger Vince Mendoza first conducted the Metropole Orkest in 1995. The starting point for a sustainable collaboration. In 2005 he succeeded Dick Bakker as chief conductor and brought fantastic soloists and projects to Hilversum. The term Olympians, Mendoza explains, referring to the albumís title, is something that I use quite often while on the podium with the Metropole as I feel that this orchestra continues to play difficult music with grace, enthusiasm, and accuracy, especially given the wide scope of the projects they have done over the years.

Theyíve really developed the ability to be comfortable with so many different styles of music which is quite unusual for an orchestra. This recording shows them at the height of their Olympian powers.

Official Purchase Link

The Official Metropole Orkest Website

Title - Spark Bird
Artist - Emilie-Claire Barlow

For those unaware, Spark Bird (due out March 31st, 2023, and released on her own independent label, Empress Music Group,) is Emilie-Claire Barlowís first full album in over 5 years.

And exactly just what is a Spark Bird, I hear you say? Itís actually the bird that changes everything. Itís the bird that inspires an ongoing curiosity and passion for these magical creatures.

And in Emilie-Claireís case, the birds that helped changed the course of her life, and inspired her to put together this collection of songs.

During the dark isolation days of the coronavirus pandemic, award-winning Canadian songstress Emilie-Claire Barlow found herself at an artistic crossroads. She questioned if she would ever want to make another record to add to her impressive 12-album oeuvre.

She hadnít been able to tour and she wasnít aroused to assemble a new collection of songs. So, and despite the long pause in recording time over recent years, you simply cannot fully quiet a vital creative artist.

Case in point: Barlowís return to action with her brilliant new album, Spark Bird, that she co-produced with her partner Steve Webster.

1. Over The Rainbow
2. Fais comme líoiseau
3. Skylark
4. Bird of Beauty
5. O
6. Where Will I Be?
7. Little Jazz Bird
8. PŠjaros de barro

With each song having its own signature bird illustration, designed by Caroline Brown, Whitebear Design, this quite deliciously-absorbing new recording opens on a song written for the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, in which it was sung by actress Judy Garland, the brightly shimmering Harold Arlen-Yip Harburg standard, Over the Rainbow and the comfy, French-sung, playful track Fais comme líoiseau (which means Do Like the Bird), and they are followed by the luxuriously romantic, Hoagie Carmichael/Johnny Mercer standard Skylark (complete with a surprising swell of strings arranged by Drew Jurecka), and then comes her uptempo reimagining of Stevie Wonderís 1974 hit Bird of Beauty (part of the chorus encouraging Take a chance and ride the bird of beauty of the sky).

This extremely captivating, and wholly heartfelt eight-song avian journey continues onward with Coldplayís O, an ambient piece that comes after their Fly On track, here handled just as delicately by Barlow, and that is then backed by the longing yearn of the futuristic Where Will I Be? (When thereís no more rain, no more sun / Will there still be birds?) by the Toronto-based composer Hannah Barstow who plays piano on the track, the album rounding out on the Gershwin & Gershwin classic tune, Little Jazz Bird (where she adds in another popular melody from the í20s, When the Red, Red Robin, Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbiní Along), as a countermelody, and which ends with guitarist Reg Schwagerís solo (that Barlow uses for a noteworthy stretch of vocalese), closing on the sung-in-Spanish rendering of Manolo Garciaís PŠjaros de barro (here in a duo format with pianist Chris Donnelly; and appropriate closing song about seizing the day and flying free).

The most poignant song of the collection is Barlowís moving take on Coldplayís O that was arranged by band pianist Amanda Tosoff. This song has a special meaning, the singer says. I tragically lost a young family member in a plane crash. He and I and his mom were big fans of Coldplay, so the lyrics of fly on are so relevant. I played this at his funeral. For this album version, we used strings and Rachel Therrien offers a melancholic, mournful flugelhorn solo.

In addition to the bird songs of joy and sorrow on Spark Bird, Barlow has worked with graphic designer Caroline Brown of Whitebear Design to create original bird illustrations. Carolineís avatars for each song are so whimsical, playful and special, Barlow says. And she has me interacting with them in some way.

Thereís a happy orange-breasted bunting for Over the Rainbow, a graceful and solitary great blue heron for the darkness of Fais comme líoiseau, a flock of swallows for O, a ridiculously cute Australian pink robin for Little Jazz Bird. And the signature bird for PŠjaros de barro is my yellow-winged cacique.

So, Spark Bird ends with the noisy, comical bird that served as the inspiration for her soulful, emotive music. In her liner notes, Barlow writes, When that cacique tapped on my window, I felt a spark. Not just a budding bird obsession, but the curiosity and desire to see what life would be like if I spent more time in this place that makes me feel so buoyant and full of wonder ... the birds - a constant source of joy and inspiration - have reignited my spark. For that, Iím full of gratitude.

As Barlow writes in her liner notes, A bird arrives and changes everything. Before its debut, she is offering a cascade of singles, beginning January 20 and continuing every two weeks until the release date. Birds have the power to completely transport me, says Barlow, who splits her time between Toronto and Mexico where she and Webster are building a house with a fully operational studio.

So, when I decided to do the album, I started going down this path of gathering songs about birds. Theyíre my joy, my fascination. These songs tell a story.

After a five-year hiatus from releasing a full album, this year finds Barlow in fine Spark Bird shape to wing her career to a new plateau. Little did she guess during the dark times that a daily visit from a yellow-winged cacique that is native to the southern Pacific Coast of Mexico would inspire her to dedicate an entire album of songs to birds of all shapes and varieties.

That all said, Barlow hastens to note that while she is not a member of an organized birder group, her appreciation of the choirs and colors of birds has heightened her passion to learn more about her winged discoveries.

In her 25-year career of delivering a distinctive and accessible style of vocal jazz, Barlow has accrued a remarkable resume of critical success, including seven Juno nominations, with two jazz vocal Juno awards-2013ís best Jazz Vocal Recording for her all-French song collection Seule ce soir and her Clear Day collaboration with the Metropole Orkest winning the same award in 2016.

Also in 2013, Barlow scored a Felix Award for Seule ce soir as ADISQís Album of the Year-Jazz Interpretation. Previously, she had been named Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2008 National Jazz Awards.

Official Purchase Link

Title - From A To B: The Sony Years [4CD]
Artist - New Musik

Formed in 1977 by Tony Mansfield, a former member of The Nick Straker Band with bassist Tony Hibbert and drummer Phil Towner, New Musikís first single, ĎStraight Linesí, was released in 1979, and their debut album, From A to B, followed in April 1980.

From A to B entered the Top 40 in the UK Albums Chart and contained their most commercially successful single ĎLiving by Numbersí plus two other hit singles: ĎThis World of Waterí and ĎSanctuaryí.

The bandís second album, Anywhere was released in 1981 and reached No. 68 in the UK following which, Towner and Hibbert departed, and Mansfield cut the next album, Warp, with the assistance of studio musicians.

After the demise of their label GTO Records, the band released Warp in 1982 on the Epic label. Warp was almost entirely electronic, and one of the first albums to be recorded primarily with digital samplers and emulators, resulting in a more experimental sound than their previous releases.

Mansfield went on to achieve success as a producer with After The Fire, a-ha, Aztec Camera, The B-52ís, The Damned, Captain Sensible, Naked Eyes, and Mari Wilson.

New Musik: From A To B Ė The Sony Years is a 4CD box-set bringing together all of New Musikís three studio albums as well as a disc of B-sides, single edits and remixes.

It also contains a booklet featuring an interview with Tony Mansfield by Record Collectorís Daryl Easlea.

CD 1:
From A To B (1980)
1. Straight Lines
2. Sanctuary
3. A Map of You
4. Science
5. On Islands
6. This World of Water
7. Living By Numbers
8. Dead Fish (Donít Swim Home)
9. Adventures
10. The Safe Side

The first of the four discs opens with From A To B (AKA Straight Lines) and for me, is one of the best, and most influential, electronic LPís of the í80s. Its keyboards may sound dated, but thereís a freshness to these charming, unpretentious songs that hasnít been spoiled by technological advances in computerized instrumentation.

With robot precision/Weíre gonna be doiní just fine, sings Tony Mansfield (guitars, keyboards, vocals) with geek sincerity on the exhilarating Straight Lines.

The tracks on the LP are structured like traditional pop songs with choruses catchy enough for the Beatles, a band whom New Musik would cover later on, for me, 1982ís disappointing Warp. There are no love ditties, but tracks like the soaring On Islands generate warmth and the group often utilizes acoustic strumming to prevent everything from seeming too mechanical.

And where Science is nerdy sci-fi dance music, coined years before Thomas Dolby came on the scene, their most commercially successful single Living by Numbers, is one that still lives rent free inside my head today!

CD 2: Anywhere (1981)
1. They All Run After the Carving Knife
2. Areas
3. Churches
4. This World of Walter
5. Luxury
6. While You Wait
7. Changing Minds
8. Peace
9. Design
10. Traps
11. Division
12. Back To Room One

The next disc opens on one Anywhere, once again, if only for me, one of the best albums of the music soon-to-be-known-as Synthpop, just wonderfully chock full of amazing masterpieces from start to finish.

With stand out tracks such as They All Run After the Carving Knife, This World of Walter, and, for me, both Traps Division, the whole album comes together as still an incredibly appealing sound.

Indeed, and some might venture somehow, the archaic synthesizers arenít embarrassing, even today. Instead, the years have preserved their coolness, if you will, and brings forth oodles of creative fantasy in the songs: pitched voices, ring modulators, multi-layers, reverse audio and so forth.

CD 3: Warp (1982)
1. Here Come the People
2. Going Round Again
3. A Train on Twisted Tracks
4. I Repeat
5. All You Need Is Love
6. All You Need Is Love
7. Kingdoms For Horses
8. Hunting
9. The New Evolutionist (Example ĎAí)
10. Green And Red (Respectively)
11. The Planet Doesnít Mind
12. Warp

This third disc opens on the, for me, lesser musically inspired of the albums on show here in this new box-set, Warp. Indeed, if the tracks on Warp sound familiar, itís probably because the albumís chilly keyboards and mechanical percussion helped to form the blueprint for í80s synth acts such as Depeche Mode and, perhaps even, the electronica artists that followed in the í90s like the Crystal Method and the Prodigy.

That doesnít mean theyíre entirely original though. Here Come the People opens up with funky riffs prevalent among club-oriented new wave bands from the early í80s; its robotic vocals having been snagged from Kraftwerk. Tony Mansfield (vocals, keyboards, guitars) has a thin voice that sometimes recalls Tim Finn of Split Enz, but unfortunately, Mansfield sings without emotion and his often cryptic lyrics are repetitive and un-involving here.

And whilst a lot of the tracks here do involve the aforementioned cryptic lyrics, stand out tracks such as A Train on Twisted Tracks, I Repeat, and even The Planet Doesnít Mind, donít need comprehensible lyrics; they may not have much heart, but it can be fun listening to the lads play with their high-tech gadgets, nonetheless.

CD 4: B-Sides / Edits / Extended Versions
1. Straight Lines Ė Single Edit
2. While You Wait Ė Single Edit
3. The Planet Doesnít Mind Ė Single Edit
4. Sad Films Ė B-Side Living by Numbers
5. Missing Persons / Tell Me Something New Ė B-Side This World of Water
6. Sheís A Magazine Ė B-Side Sanctuary
7. Chik Musik Ė B-Side Sanctuary
8. Magazine Musik Ė B-Side Sanctuary
9. Twelfth House Ė B-Side All You Need Is Love
10. From The Village Ė B-Side While You Wait
11. Guitars Ė B-Side While You Wait
12. The Office Ė B-Side Luxury
13. 24 Hours from Culture (Part 2) Ė B-Side The Planet Doesnít Mind
14. While You Wait Ė Extended Version
15. Here Come the People Ė Remix

The fourth, and sadly final disc in this quite fabulous box-set, features a few Single Edits, but more importantly a wealth of B-sides that if you never purchased the 7 inch singles back then, you might not have ever heard until today.

Stand outs for me include the three B-side cuts from the 12 inch of Sanctuary, the free flowing, twinkling synth of Sheís A Magazine, the Disco-edged, funk guitar instrumental, and the soaring synth instrumental Magazine Musik, the eclectic instrumental 24 Hours from Culture (Part 2); the B-side to The Planet Doesnít Mind, and a brilliant Extended Version of While You Wait [although an extended remix of Living By Numbers would most definitely have been welcomed].

Official 4CD Purchase Link

Title - Jesus Changed My Life
Artist - Katy Nichole

For those unaware, Centricity Musicís Billboard Chartbreaker Katy Nichole announces her full-length album debut, Jesus Changed My Life, will release globally Feb. 24th, 2023 and is available now for pre-add / pre-save / pre-order at digital and streaming outlets globally by clicking here!

The 11-song recording features Nicholeís record-breaking No. 1 single, In Jesus Name (God of Possible), top-charting hit, God Is In This Story, never-before-released Please, which is available for immediate download, the albums title track that encapsulates the heart of every song on the upcoming album, and more.

1) In Jesus Name (God of Possible)
2) Jesus Changed My Life
3) God Is In This Story
4) Things I Wish I Wouldíve Said
5) Jesus Thank You
6) Living Proof
7) By The Grace Of God
8) Please
9) Hold On
10) Take It To The Cross
11) Turn To Jesus

This exceptional-sculptured, wholly heartfelt and abundantly impassioned new album opens on the cogently invoked Jesus Name (God of Possible) and the gentle country twang that sidewindís alongside the uplifting title track Jesus Changed My Life and then we get the inspiriting God Is In This Story, the low key balladry of Things I Wish I Wouldíve Said and the uplifting hand-clapper Jesus Thank You.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites, the soothingly reassuring Living Proof and the upbeat, exuberant By The Grace Of God and they are in turn backed by the spirited outreach within Please, the softer, albeit still mid-tempo balladry of Hold On, the album rounding out with the emphatically-charged Take It To The Cross, closing on the veritably shimmering ballad Turn To Jesus.

One of the most successful breakout artists of 2022, Nicholeís music is connecting with a worldwide audience. Her prayer-song, In Jesus Name (God of Possible), became the biggest single this decade on the Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart, holding 20-weeks at No. 1 followed by three more weeks on top with her second single, God Is In This Story.

Along with being No. 1 on this chart for 44 percent of 2022, she also topped six Billboard Year in Music, the No. 1s issue radio and sales categories. She further garnered nominations for an American Music Award and a Dove Award (co-hosting and performing on the GMA Dove Awards Pre-Telecast) plus received a K-LOVE Fan Award and made her Grand Ole Opry debut.

Launching into 2023 with this momentum, Nichole wrote the title track of Jesus Changed My Life with GRAMMY Award-winning Jonathan Smith and Dove Award-winning Benji Cowart.

Jesus is constantly refining my heart, shares Nichole. Like a lot of the cries that are in the Psalms, when I find myself in a place of struggle, I turn back to Him. If Jesus could change my life then, He can change my life now.

In her new song Please, written with GRAMMY-nominated songwriter Jeff Pardo, Nichole offers a plea for when circumstances seem insurmountable. This song came from the deepest part of my soul, reveals Nichole. Iím on my last breath and this is all I can get out: God, I need you, I need you now. Itís admitting to the fact that I canít do it on my own.

Katy Nichole - Hold On (Official Lyric Video)

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Title - Singles 1978-1985 [2CD]
Artist - Angelic Upstarts

For those unaware, the just-released Singles 1978-1985 by the Angelic Upstarts is a magnificent 44-track 2CD set covering every A and B-side issued by the punk legends between 1978-85.

Running in chronological order, it starts with the self released The Murder Of Liddle Towers and is followed by the major label debut of Iím An Upstart which hit No.31 in the UK charts.

Teenage Warning then hit No.29 and saw the band in the nationís living rooms via their appearance on Top Of The Pops. A hat-trick of hits was completed when Never íAd Nothiní hit No.52 in late 1979.

The band moved into the 1980s with hits like Out Of Control (No.58), We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (No.58 and incredibly appearing here on CD for the first time in its original 7 version), Last Night Another Soldier (No.65) and Kids On The Street (No.57) before they switched to (then) newly established Independent label Anagram Records. Each of the 17 singles featured has a detailed history included in the booklet which is illustrated by the original sleeves.

CD 1
1. The Murder Of Liddle Towers
2. Police Oppression
3. Iím An Upstart
4. Leave Me Alone
5. Teenage Warning
6. The Young Ones
7. Never íAd Nothiní
8. Nowhere Left To Hide
9. Out Of Control
10. Shotgun Solution
11. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place
12. Unsung Heroes Part II
13. Last Night Another Soldier
14. The Man Who Came In From The Beano
15. England
16. Sticksí Diary
17. Kids On The Street
18. The Sun Never Shines
19. I Understand
20. Never Come Back
21. Heathís Lament
22. Different Strokes
23. Different Dub

This vibrantly brilliant, punk-al-rock flashback opens on, quite possibly, one of the greatest punk anthems of all time, The Murder Of Liddle Towers and the rhythmic Police Oppression and then comes the fervent Iím An Upstart (complete with a terrific solo in the middle), the skinhead bopper Leave Me Alone, the ferocious Teenage Warning, an inspired cover of The Young Ones, and then we get the unwavering punk-rock-pop of Never íAd Nothiní, the thunderous Nowhere Left To Hide, the headbanger Out Of Control, the genuine foot tapper Shotgun Solution, a quite brilliant, emotionally raw cover of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, and then comes the always underestimated Unsung Heroes Part II.

Up next is another punk tune with meaning, Last Night Another Soldier and the rhythmic punk of 14 The Man Who Came In From The Beano, and then we get a song that could have easily been Englandís national anthem, England, the genuine storytelling within Sticksí Diary, the drum-led beauty Kids On The Street, the informative The Sun Never Shines, and then comes one of their best offerings, the reggae-imbued I Understand, the still lyrically relevant today Never Come Back, the first disc rounding out on the comrade-driven, veritably poetic Heathís Lament, The Clash-esque Different Strokes and a shimmering dub version of the same song (Different Dub).

CD 2
1. Never Say Die
2. We Defy You
3. Victory For Poland
4. Woman In Disguise
5. Lust For Glory
6. 42nd St.
7. Solidarity
8. Five Flew Over The Cuckooís Nest
9. Dollars And Pounds
10. Donít Stop
11. Not Just A Name
12. The Leech
13. Leave Me Alone (Live)
14. Liddle Towers (Live)
15. White Riot (Live)
16. Machine Gun Kelly
17. Paint It In Red
18. Thereís A Drink In It
19. Brighton Bomb
20. Thin Red Line
21. Soldier

The second disc kicks off just as powerfully as the first with the synth-led (yes, I said synth) Never Say Die and the alt-punk of We Defy You and they are in turn backed by the fist-clenched Victory For Poland, some turbulent political viewpoints (but then again, when were they ever not) are then aired within Woman In Disguise, the emphatically-charged Lust For Glory, the atmospheric 42nd St., the inspirational Solidarity, the scorching guitar work within Five Flew Over The Cuckooís Nest, the short, but politically poetic Dollars And Pounds and the pop-rock of Donít Stop.

Along next is the melodically-infused alt-punk of Not Just A Name and angst-fueled The Leech, before we are then graced with three live tracks in the form of Leave Me Alone, Liddle Towers and a brilliant cover of White Riot, which are in turn backed by their historical nod to Machine Gun Kelly, the anger-fueled Paint It In Red, a P.I.L.-esque Thereís A Drink In It, the punk-rock anthem of Brighton Bomb, the second disc, and collection, closing on the gently frenetic Thin Red Line and the heartfelt and emotional song Soldier.

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Title - Three
Artist - Eric Lilley Trio

For those unaware, Eric Lilley is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, and composer born in Corona, California. Lilley graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1978 and started his career with Atlantic recording artists, The Energetics, followed by joining Herb Reed of the original Platters.

Eventually settling in Denver, Colorado, Lilley quickly became an in-demand player on the local jazz, blues, rock, and funk scene. In 1985 Lilley formed the jazz fusion group You Guys, which released Play de Doh on ITI Records and received favorable national airplay leading to festival dates at the Telluride, Breckenridge, and Vail jazz festivals, among others.

The nineties decade found Lilley touring out of Nashville and doing theatrical work in Branson, Missouri. He was keyboardist and staff arranger for the Shoji Tabuchi Show and served in the same capacity at the Lawrence Welk Show in 1999.

In 2005, Lilley formed Twin Goat Music and released Songs Without Words as a solo piano disc. In 2020, Lilley released Joie de Vivre, in 2021 came their follow-up, aptly-titled Follow Up, and now the quintet brings us their brand new album, and once again aptly-titled Three (March 17th, 2023).

1. Goats
2. Jereicesí Step
3. Kendrasí Waltz
4. Bill Evans
5. May Day
6. About Face
7. Few and Far Between
8. Any Day Now
9. Visiting Hours

This deliciously sculpted, heartfelt and smoothly sailed new recording opens on the delightful vibrancy within Goats and the upbeat and perky rhythms of Jereicesí Step and then brings us the richly-layered Kendrasí Waltz and the playfully flirty Bill Evans.

Along next is the deeply-assured May Day and the gentle finger-snapper About Face and they are in turn backed by the free flowing majesties within Few and Far Between, the album rounding out on the divinely beautiful Any Day Now, closing on the organically-sculpted Visiting Hours.

Official Website

Title - Opening
Artist - Chris Keefe

For those unaware, Chris Keefe has performed across North America in cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, Boston and Calgary. He has performed at jazz festivals including Jazz at Banff Centre and the Lake Placid Institute.

He has also performed with notable jazz musicians including Joe LaBarbera, Darek Oles, Rufus Reid, Don Thompson, Antonio Sanchez and many more. Chris received his Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music and a Masterís from the Manhattan School of Music. He studied under Kenny Werner, Fred Hersch, Charlie Banacos and Douglas Buys.

For his new recording, the aptly-named Opening (out now), Keefe has invited two superb musicians to join him: bassist Harvie S and drummer Adam Nussbaum, both of whom complement Chrisí piano perfectly.

1. Got a Chick?
2. Modern
3. Along Came Betty
4. I Fall In Love Too Easily
5. Just In Time
6. Chobim
7. Dream

This fun, upbeat and infectiously heartfelt new album (one filled with three originals and four covers) opens on the drum-led, groovy hipsway of Got a Chick? and is beautifully complemented by my favorite track, Modern and then we get the first cover, this one a rich, rhythmic rendition of Along Came Betty.

Along next is another of my own personal favorites, the succinctly executed I Fall In Love Too Easily (the story of my life, in truth!), and that is in turn backed by the innovative styling of Just In Time, the album rounding out on another original, this one the engaging Chobim, coming to a close on the unvarnished arrangements within Dream.

Official Website

Title - Adventures Of The Moss Bear
Artist - Anderson-Chute-Easley

For those unaware, following the release of his latest pop-rock solo album, Easley Rider in 2020, New Orleans pedal steel guitarist, vocalist and composer Dave Easley has been more than busy in the interim.

After Easley Rider was, unfortunately, largely overlooked during the height of the pandemic, an instrumental work, selected as ĎBandcamp jazz album of the monthí for January 2022, was released on LP and DDL through the auspices of Chris Schlarbís Big Ego Records label, entitled Byways Of The Moon.

Around the same time another Easley group, jazz-rock quartet, Kolotov Mocktails, released Ivy Hall on Three Coasts Music. 2022 also saw the CD release by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation of the Musaica Chamber Ensemble album, Chamber Music Collaborative, which featured an Octet by Anderson and Easley and a Nonet by Anderson.

Dave Anderson has written classical music premiered by the Philadelphia Philharmonic. Easley was the pedal steel player on Brian Bladeís first two Blue Note albums.

Just prior to the Musaica release, Anderson-Chute-Easley (aka ACE) released Adventures Of The Moss Bear, an avant-garde, instrumental fusion trio album featuring Anderson, Easley and drummer, Tom Chute. It contains only one pre-composed piece. The rest of the songs were composed while playing them.

1. Camellia Dreams (7:47)
2. Five Gallon Hat (4:26)
3. Slender Forest (4:28)
4. Pop Medley From Outer Space (12:15)
5. Ozzy (5:10)
6. Adventures Of The Moss Bear (18:03)

This innovative and masterfully engaging new album opens on the shimmering Camellia Dreams and the diligently artistic hipsway of Five Gallon Hat and then lovingly brings us the layered gossamer harmonies within Slender Forest, the 12 minute, all-encompassing opus Pop Medley From Outer Space, the recording rounding out on the structured, cacophonous-hued euphoria of Ozzy, coming to a close on the rhythmically-buoyant, 18 minute epic Adventures Of The Moss Bear.

Andersonís perfect-pitch and extensive university training under renowned composer, Frank Proto, Easleyís improvisational experience with Blade, New Orleans based improv group, 3 Now 4, and many other free-form ensembles in the New Orleans collective improv community, combined with Chuteís unfailing sympathetic ear, enable the group to extemporaneously explore richly varied aural landscapes from the pastoral opening number, to the frenetic, Ozzy, from the other-worldly, Pop Melodies From Outer Space, to the earthy, yet psychedelic, title-cut.

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Title - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever [2LP]
Artist - Various Artists

For those unaware, Marvel Studiosí Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Music From and Inspired By album, featuring the Oscar-nominated song Lift Me Up performed by Rihanna, is now available as a 12 Inch Vinyl 2-LP (set).

The first Black Panther had many themes - neocolonialism, infighting and unity across the African diaspora, the abundance of Soundcloud rappers in the late 2010s - but its most potent was the story of TíChalla becoming his own leader and his own man.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever deals with an inversion of the same main challenge. TíChalla is dead - actor Chadwick Boseman passed away from a long and private battle with colon cancer in 2020 - and without their warrior king, Wakanda is in disrepair.

Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright), Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), spy Nakia (Lupita Nyongío), and general Okoye (Danai Gurira) attempt to pick up the pieces and fend off invading forces, including those from Talokan, an underwater society led by Namor (Tenoch Huerta).

Thus, everyone involved confronts the weight of inheritance amid the fallout from T‚íChallaís death, giving Wakanda Forever a more somber tone compared to the celebratory burst of the original.

The filmís soundtrack follows in lockstep, trading the fireworks and scope of the Kendrick Lamar and TDE-led Black Panther The Album from 2018 for something more intimate but no less devoted to intercultural exchange.

Wakanda Foreverís musical diversity is staggering, and its best songs both flesh out their respective cultures and key moments in the movie. Namorís birth scene is amplified by Mexican singer Vivir Quintana and rapper Mare Advertencia Lirikaís haunting vocals over deep drums and shakers on Ńrboles Bajo El Mar.

Side A:
1. Lift Me Up Performed By Rihanna
2. Love & Loyalty (Believe) Performed By DBN Gogo, Sino Msolo, Kamo Mphela, Young Stunna and Busiswa
3. Alone Performed By Burna Boy
4. No Woman No Cry Performed By Tems

Side B:
5. Ńrboles Bajo El Mar Performed By Vivir Quintana and Mare Advertencia
6. Con la Brisa Performed By Foudeqush and Ludwig GŲransson
7. La Vida Performed By Snow Tha Product Featuring E-40
8. Interlude Performed By Stormzy
9. Coming Back for You Performed By Fireboy DML
10. They Want It, But No Performed By Tobe Nwigwe and Fat Nwigwe

This quite brilliant, awe-inspiring and just all-round magical musical experience opens on the beautifully emotive Lift Me Up by Rihanna and then brings is the infectious melodies and rhythms within DBN Gogo, Sino Msolo, Kamo Mphela, Young Stunna And Busiswaís Love & Loyalty (Believe), the peaceful, soul touching even Alone by Burna Boy, the side rounding out on the goosebumps delivering No Woman No Cry from Tems.

The second side begins with the ethereally cored Vivir Quintana And Mare Advertencia track √Ārboles Bajo El Mar and that is followed by the beautiful love letter found within Foudeqush And Ludwig GŲranssonís Con La Brisa, the empoweringly joyous La Vida from Snow Tha Product, then comes the intense, powerful Interlude by Stormzy (man, that voice!), the side closing on the happy, breathy Coming Back For You by Fireboy DML and Tobe Nwigwe And Fat Nwigweís badass (complete with, I believe, Dora Milaje chants) They Want It, But No.

Side C:
1. Laaylií Kuxaíanoíone Performed By Adn Maya Colectivo: Pat Boy, Yaalen Kíuj, All Mayan Winik
2. Limoncello Performed By Og Dayv Featuring Future
3. Anya Mmiri Performed By Ckay Featuring Pinkpantheress
4. Wake Up Performed By Bloody Civilian Featuring Rema
5. Pantera Performed By AlemŠn Featuring Rema

Side D:
6. Jele Performed By DBN Gogo, Sino Msolo, Kamo Mphela, Young Stunna and Busiswa
7. Inframundo Performed By Blue Rojo
8. No Digas Mi Nombre Performed By Calle X Vida and Foudeqush
9. Mi Pueblo Performed By Guadalupe de Jesķs Chan Poot
10. Born Again Performed by Rihanna

The second vinyl in the 2LP set now on the turntable and being spun, itself it opens on the atmospherically-charged, Mayan Hip-Hop track Laaylií Kuxaíanoíone Performed from ADN Maya Colectivo, Pat Boy, Yaalen Kíuj, and All Mayan Winik and then we get the West Coast vibes of OG DAYV within Limoncello, the spiritual Anya Mmiri from CKay (which also combines the melody of traditional Igbo (SouthEast Nigerian ethnic group) flute called Oja (pronounced Or-Jah) and patterns of Igbo drum called Igba), the music on this side rounding out on the simply surreal Wake Up by Bloody Civilian, and the Mexico-representing AlemŠn (featuring Rema) with Pantera.

The fourth side opens on the beautifully impassioned Jele from DBN Gogo, Sino Msolo, Kamo Mphela, Young Stunna And Busiswa, then we get a song (in Mexican) that dives into the heart of mourning and grieving, Blue Rojoís incredible, soulful Inframundo, whereas we get more Viva Mexico from the upbeat melodies of Calle X Vida And Foudequshís No Digas Mi Nombre, the side, and the album, rounding out on the the ancient Mayan language spoken within Guadalupe de Jesķs Chan Pootís Mi Pueblo, closing on the veritably meditative Born Again by Rihanna.

Voices Rising : The Music of Wakanda Forever | Official Trailer

Oscar-winning composer Ludwig GŲransson and director Ryan Coogler collaborate with musicians and artists from across the globe, creating the music for one of the most anticipated sequels in modern movie history. In Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever, they push the boundaries of what a Hollywood score and soundtrack can be, creating an immersive, moving experience in the process.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever [Gold 2-LP Disney+ Edition]

Title - Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section [LP]
Artist - Art Pepper

Released as part of the Acoustic Sounds Series celebrating 70 years of Contemporary Records, Saxophonist Art Pepperís first album Meets The Rhythm Section features Pepperís legendary sessions with the East Coast rhythm section for Miles Davisís quintet.

Meets The Rhythm Section is the altoistís auspicious 1957 Contemporary debut pairing him with pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones, three-fifths of Miles Davisí nonpareil quintet. The album was recorded by legendary engineer Roy DuNann this new edition and features remastered audio from the original tapes.

Originally released in 1957, this new edition features ALL-ANALOG mastering from the original tapes by Bernie Grundman and is pressed on 180-gram vinyl at QRP and presented in a Stoughton Old Style Tip-On Jacket.

Side A:
1. Youíd Be So Nice To Come Home To
2. Red Pepper Blues
3. Imagination
4. Waltz Me Blues
5. Straight Life

Side B:
6. Jazz Me Blues
7. Tin Tin Deo
8. Star Eyes
9. Birks Works

This classic east meets west, cool imbues hot collection of infectious melodies opens on the precise interpretation sculpted within the slip-sliding affair Youíd Be So Nice To Come Home To and then we get the veritably swinging Red Pepper Blues, a delicately impassioned treatment of Imagination, the smoothly grooved Waltz Me Blues (where you can hear and feel the ¬ĺ time), and the first side rounds out on the gently frenetic Straight Life.

The jazzy, bebopimbued tunes carry onward with the reachingly euphoric twists and turns showcased within Jazz Me Blues and that is in turn backed by the crisp Latin-to-swing pace of Tin Tin Deo, the album rounding out on the aching beautiful, dulcetly soulful Star Eyes (which was itself turned into a jazz standard by the great Charlie Parker), coming to a close on the quietly perky, smooth as silk Birks Works (where Pepper seamlessly goes into a lower octave tone, more like a tenor).

Last year, Craft Recordings launched the Acoustic Sounds Series, which celebrates 70 years of Contemporary Records and highlights gems from legendary jazz labelís extraordinary catalog and featuring artists who both defined and expanded the sound of West Coast jazz.

Following reissues of Art Pepperís +Eleven: Modern Jazz Classics and Barney Kesselís The Poll Winners and Benny Carterís Jazz Giant Craft releases Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section on vinyl today.

The Acoustic Sounds Series continues on September 15th, 2023 release of Shelly Manneís hugely popular 1956 trio session My Fair Lady with bassist Leroy Vinnegar and pianist Andre Previn, paved the way for hundreds of jazz albums dedicated to Broadway shows.

All six albums are being released on Acoustic Sound Series 1-LP and are available for pre-order HERE. Hi-Res Digital (96/24 and 192/24) and Craft Recordings exclusive SACD formats of each title will also be made available.

Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section [LP] - Official Purchase Link

Title - Next Voyage
Artist - Blues Image (feat. Mike Pinera)

For those unaware, Blues Image rides again with a new album Next Voyage forthcoming and a new tour. The album features original guitarist and vocalist Mike Pinera, and includes the greatest songs from his history with Blues Image and Iron Butterfly, revisited with orchestra and horn section.

Produced by Michael Franklin, who produced Jon Andersonís 1000 Hands part One and Robby Steinhardtís Not in Kansas Anymore, in Franklinís tradition of special guests, the album features Pat Travers, Jonathan Cain from Journey, Charlie DeChant, and others. [Michael and Tim Franklin have toured as members of Blues Image for 30 years].

1. Butterfly Bleu
2. Something to Say
3. Love Is The Answer
4. Isla
5. Leaving My Troubles Behind
6. In A Gada Da Vida
7. Fugue / Paid My Dues
8. Captainís Suite (Next Harbor / Ride Captain Ride / Safe Harbor / Ride Captain Ride)

This all-encompassing, most joyous of musical flashbacks recording opens on the inter dimensional, guitar riff-full, simply sublime Butterfly Bleu and the stinging guitar from Mike Pinera of Something to Say, and then brings us the timeless rock gem Love Is The Answer and the beautifully complemented melodies and rhythms within Isla.

Along next is one of my own personal favorites, the deliciously themed, Hammond-driven Leaving My Troubles Behind which is itself backed nicely by the psychedelic hard rock tune that turned hippies into head bangers, Iron Butterflyís epic In A Gada Da Vida, the recording rounding out on the duo of the melodic Fugue and the clawing guitar sound that had us rocking back in the 70s, Paid My Dues, closing on the truly uplifting opus of Captainís Suite (Next Harbor / Ride Captain Ride / Safe Harbor / Ride Captain Ride).

Blues Image:
Mike Pinera - Guitar and vocals
Tim Franklin - Bass and vocals
Eddie Metz Jr. and Greg Alban - Drums
Michael Franklin - Keyboards and vocals

Special Guests:
Pat Travers - Guitar
Jonathan Cain of Journey - Wurlitzer
Charlie DeChant - Saxophone
Tommy Calton - Guitar
Steady Joseph - Percussion
Randie Paul - soloist on Love is the Answer
Suzie Park - soloist on Something to Say
Naomi Bradshaw - soloist on Pay My Dues

Blues Image is an American Blues Rock band formed in Tampa, Florida in 1966 by singer-guitarist Mike Pinera. Blues Image became the house band at the club Thee Image, which featured bands like Cream, Grateful Dead, and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

The band moved to Los Angeles and signed with Atco Records, releasing their self-titled debut album in February 1969. Their second album, Open (April 1970), included the hit single Ride Captain Ride. Written by Pinera and Skip Konte, the song has been used in many films. Pinera left the band to join Iron Butterfly in the fall of 1969.

Blues Image - Next Voyage [Official Promo Video]

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Title - Sparks
Artist - Ludovica Burtone

For those unaware, Ludovica Burtone is an Italian violinist with an incomparable wealth of musical experiences and a sound that transcends categorization. Her vast compositional oeuvre extends from classical quartets to Brazilian music and contemporary jazz.

Burtone has performed in some of Europeís top orchestras and alongside icons such as Jon Batiste and Dream Theater and in the world scene with musicians such as Arijit Singh and Camila Meza.

Now, she is fusing her passion for the string quartet with her unique compositional voice on her debut album Sparks (out now via Outside in Music).

Sparks is an autobiographical story of Burtoneís journey to the United States from Italy, documenting a prolific passage from playing classical music to jazz, world music and beyond.

Sparks was born long before Burtone set pen to paper to begin composing. She grew up in a small city (or, large town, as she jokes) in northeast Italy, but had dreams of exploring her passion for music elsewhere.

Armed with her violin and an appetite for discovery, Burtone began with what she knew: the orchestra. From playing in her regional symphony and then earning a postgraduate.

1. Blazing Sun
2. Sinha
3. Altrove
4. Awakening
5. Stelutis
6. Incontri

This exceptional-sculptured, wholly heartfelt and abundantly impassioned new recording opens on the flirtatiously-crafted Blazing Sun and the atmospherically-charged, and free-flowingly ambient Sinha and then brings us the delicately-orchestrated, veritably shimmering Altrove, the piano-led, euphonious mastery of Awakening, the melodically aching yearn within Stelutis, coming to a close on the quite spectacular, all-encompassing Incontri.

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Title - Beautiful Tomorrow
Artist - Hailey Brinnel

For those unaware, Outside in Music is proud to announce the March 17th, 2023 release of Beautiful Tomorrow, the sophomore recording from vocalist and trombonist Hailey Brinnel.

When asked to define her style, the Philadelphia-based artist, whose sound is steeped in swing and bebop, describes her effort to move the genre into new spaces: I like pushing the limits of the idiom, while staying true to jazz.

Alongside her entrusted quartet with Joe Plowman on bass, Dan Monaghan on drums and Silas Irvine on piano, Brinnel presents her extraordinary comprehension of vintage material throughout this new enterprise, offering two original compositions and eight arranged standards. Special guest trumpeters Terell Stafford and Andrew Carson join the date as well as saxophonist Chris Oatts.

1. Thereís a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow
2. I Might Be Evil
3. The Sound
4. Walk Between Raindrops
5. Tea for Two
6. Wayfaring Stranger
7. A Cottage for Sale
8. There Will Never Be
9. I Want to Be Happy
10. Candy

This splediferous new recording opens with an upbeat, and joyously embraced reimagination of the Sherman Brothers classic Thereís a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow and then we get two originals back-to-back in the form of the low slung I Might Be Evil and the hard-driving swing of The Sound, and they are followed by the finger-snapping, foot-tapping, re-imagined Walk Between Raindrops (a 1982 cut from Donald Fagenís brilliant The Nightfly) and the frenetically-studious standard Tea for Two (featuring guest trumpeter Terell Stafford).

Along next on this most joyous of musical experiences is another standard in the shape of a drum-led, veritably permeable, re-imagined I Want To Be Happy, which both the former and latter tracks were written for the 1925 musical No, No, Nanette, and that is in turn backed seamlessly by Haileyís take at another traditional tune, the sumptuous Wayfaring Stranger, then we get the leisurely, aching yearn of a ballad within A Cottage for Sale, the album rounding out on the resplendent There Will Never Be, closing on the upright bass-veined Candy; inclusive of a rather sweet, albeit brief vocal/bass duet.

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Title - Other Side
Artist - Danielle Wertz

For those unaware, Outside In Music is proud to announce the March 10th, 2023 release of Other Side, the stunning sophomore statement from vocalist Danielle Wertz.

Wistful and highly expressive, this daring enterprise is both an immersive sensory experience and a polished showcase of Wertzís seasoned and unique artistry. Fearless while navigating new landscapes, Wertz brings our most existential questions to the forefront, creating a musical work that is hypnotic, impassioned and familiar at once.

Alongside a visceral cast of esteemed collaborators including Javier Santiago on piano, organ, rhodes and synthesizers, Owen Clapp on bass, Evan Hyde on drums and percussion, Keith Ganz on both electric and acoustic guitar and Sam Priven on alto saxophone, Wertz braves essential questions of the human experience with nuanced expression.

The final output showcases Wertzís preeminent treatment of contemporary instrumentation, where her voice stretches across a vast array of channels within the jazz idiom.

1. April 2020
2. Spring is Here
3. Rest Your Head (One for Natalie)
4. Hall of Champions
5. A Sunday Kind of Love
6. when the walls crumble, we return
7. I Have Dreamed / Dreamsville
8. Turn In
9. Cloud Shaped Thoughts
10. Other Side

This sincere, heartfelt and genuinely-organic new recording opens with the veritably ethereal April 2020 and the crystalline Spring is Here and backs those up seamlessly with the quietly confident rhythms within Rest Your Head (One for Natalie), the melodic hop-skip of Hall of Champions, and the languishing A Sunday Kind of Love.

Up next is the upbeat, finger-snapping swing of when the walls crumble, we return and the atmopsheric duo medley I Have Dreamed / Dreamsville, and they are in turn followed by one of my own personal favorites here, the softly tangible Turn In, the recording rounding out on the pure gossamer of Cloud Shaped Thoughts, coming to a close on the peacefully reticent Other Side.

After being named a 2015 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals competition semi-finalist, Wertz released her impressive 2017 debut Intertwined in collaboration with visionary Israeli pianist Tal Cohen. This buoyant enterprise celebrates Wertzís aptitude for storytelling over eight expansive and highly melodic tunes.

With Intertwined surfacing, the New York City-based artist continued to fortify her reputation as a distinguished jazz contemporary, placing 2nd in the Ella Fitzgerald Jazz Vocal Competition, then 3rd in the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Vocal Competition in the same year of her debut release. Intertwined set the stage for Wertzís savvy approach to jazz composition, exhibiting her reverence for the art form through cutting-edge and dexterous arrangements.

Evident from her early marks, Danielle Wertz has a sensational ability to transform abstract feeling into sound. Other Side represents a continued exploration of this craft, an invitation for listeners to indulge in something complex and authentic within a personal, emotional realm. After the world crumbled in 2020, Wertz chose to abandon the straight ahead collection of music she planned to record that year.

Embracing the turbulent nature of the pandemic, she felt strongly that the music she put out should reflect the inward evolving she was experiencing. In effect, Other Side is a musical recount of internal chaos, as Wertz paraphrases, as well as a testament to the age-old philosophy that our greatest ideas, and perhaps most profound, are born from introspection and solitude.

I produced this album as I untangled my internal world, and this music recounts that chaos. It recounts the anger, the unraveling, the questions, and even some answers. May this music inspire you to turn toward yourself, to look inward, to accept the chaos and the anger, to find ease in the unraveling and to trust that if you stay the course, you will emerge transformed on the Other Side, Wertz shares.

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Title - Duo Encounters
Artist - Lizzie Thomas

For those unaware, New York-based vocalist Lizzie Thomas presents her career-defining fifth album, Duo Encounters. The inventive jazz singer ó gifted with an inviting voice and a swinging style ó teams up with a dozen of her favorite artists to perform a set of intimate and adventurous duets.

Over the course of twelve tracks, Thomas digs deep into the lyrics, and uplifts each song with her individualistic approach. Turning away from the conventional, these interpretations of carefully curated tunes are fun and adventurous.

The result is a memorable set of superbly sung and often surprising music and itís Lizzie Thomasí most rewarding recording to date.

1. Love For Sale (feat. Helio Alves) (2:33)
2. Willow Weep For Me (feat. Ron Carter) (5:05)
3. After You Who? (feat. Jon Di Martino) (3:36)
4. My Foolish Heart (feat. Russell Malone) (4:03)
5. Nature Boy (feat. Cafť da Silva) (4:43)
6. Both Sides Now (feat. Ron Affif) (6:04)
7. Have You Met Miss Jones? (feat. Dezron Douglas) (4:10)
8. Lush Life (feat. Wayne Escoffery) (5:50)
9. Youíre Getting To Be a Habit With Me (Feat. Rossano Sportiello) (3:02)
10. Smile (feat. Guilherme Monteiro) (3:50)
11. Evíry Time We Say Goodbye (feat. Noriko Ueda) (4:41)
12. íRound Midnight (feat. Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf) (4:35)

This lushly orchestrated new album opens with the feverish Love For Sale (feat. Helio Alves) and the upright bass, ornate gossamer of Willow Weep For Me (feat. Ron Carter) and backs those up seamlessly with the flourishing After You Who? (feat. Jon Di Martino), the veritably shimmering My Foolish Heart (feat. Russell Malone), the atmospherically-insulated, stoic hue of Nature Boy (feat. Cafť da Silva), and then comes a quite magnificent, hauntingly sheer rendition of Joni Mitchellís Both Sides Now (feat. Ron Affif).

Along next is the upright bass-led, Rogers & Hart classic Have You Met Miss Jones? (feat. Dezron Douglas) and a warmly embraced rendition of Billy Strayhornís Lush Life (feat. Wayne Escoffery), and they are in turn followed by the perky Youíre Getting To Be a Habit With Me (Feat. Rossano Sportiello), the Charlie Chaplin cut Smile (feat. Guilherme Monteiro), the recording rounding out on the low slung swing of Cole Porterís Evíry Time We Say Goodbye (feat. Noriko Ueda), closing on a classically-imbued, effortlessly reaching rendition of Thelonius Monkís íRound Midnight (feat. Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf).

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Lizzie Thomas @ Facebook

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Lizzie Thomas @ twitter

Title - Duality
Artist - Sanah Kadoura

For those unaware, Lebanese-Canadian drummer, composer, educator and producer Sanah Kadoura is thrilled to announce the March 3, 2023 release of her dynamic sophomore album Duality.

A follow-up to 2018ís critically-acclaimed Hawk Eyes, Duality focuses thematically on the balance between light and dark. Musically, the album traverses the modern jazz idiom with hints of neo-soul and a strong musical influence from Kadouraís motherland of Lebanon.

Sanah is in prime company on this innovative release, joined by a diverse ensemble featuring top musicians from New York City and Canada. Kadouraís impressive band includes Stacy Dillard on soprano saxophone, Rachel Therrien on trumpet and flugelhorn, Virginia MacDonald on clarinet, Joanna Majoko on vocals, Michael King on piano, Jonathan Michel on bass, Parham Haghighi on vocals, and Flavio Silva on guitar.

1. The Geminiís (4:52)
2. The Seer, The Soarer (3:44)
3. Duality (4:40)
4. Hidden Realities (3:25)
5. Interlude - Old Friends (1:03)
6. When Itís Time (5:14)
7. Zaytoon (4:07)
8. Dijonídres Deal (4:01)
9. Rise (Ft. Joanna Majoko) (5:16)

This smooth-as-silk new recording opens with the gradual harmonized growth within The Geminiís and the sweepingly ornate The Seer, The Soarer and backs those up seamlessly with the glistening Duality, and then we get the feverishly fervent Hidden Realities.

A short, but sweet, hipsway-inducing Interlude - Old Friends is up next and is backed by the lush swoon found within When Itís Time, and they are in turn followed by the layered rhythms and melodies within the Eastern-imbued Zaytoon, the recording rounding out on the drum-tastic Dijonídres Deal, closing on the simply magnificently soulful Rise (featuring Joanna Majoko).

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Title - Hope Resurgence
Artist - Nadia Washington

For those unaware, powerhouse vocalist Nadia Washington makes her debut statement with Hope Resurgence, her new album due out February 24th, 2023.

Six years in the making, this affirmative nine-track collection finds the seasoned singer demonstrating her multi-instrument proficiencyís and savvy vocal stylings amid a fearless and heartfelt multi-genre collective.

Touching on themes of perseverance and faith, Hope Resurgence captures Washington poised and steadfast, leading an impressive roster of respected musical collaborators while the Texas-native divulges in her superb vocal range and dexterity on an array of instruments including acoustic and electric guitars, auxiliary bass and harp, to name a few.

Though Hope Resurgence marks Washingtonís first release as a leader, the vocalist has been active on the scene and within an array of musical categories, for over a decade.

She can be heard among the likes of performers such as Esperanza Spalding, Lalah Hathaway, Dianne Reeves, Terri Lynn Carrington and the late George Duke.

Washington has also made acute impressions within the Hip-Hop realm on collaborations with Ray Angry of The Roots, Georgia Anne Muldrow and DJ Mark De Clive-Lowe. Notably, she can be heard on the critically acclaimed 2015 Blue Note and Revive Music recording, Revive Music Presents Supreme Sonacy Vol. 1.

1. Hope Resurgence (5:24)
2. Broken (4:31)
3. Half Love (3:48)
4. Cyclone (Ft. Nicholas Payton) (3:41)
5. Nabi (Edified) (Ft. Nelda Washington and Kisha Grandy) (2:24)
6. Machine (4:41)
7. Bitter Cold (4:36)
8. Fire (5:32)
9. Pagliacciís Lament (4:20)

This soulfully-smooth, heartfelt and organic new album opens on the twinkling, and titular Hope Resurgence, and the groove-laden Broken and then brings us the mesmerizingly serene balladry of Half Love and then we get the atmospherically-charged Cyclone (featuring Nicholas Payton).

Up next is the vibrantly joyous, funky and uplifting Nabi (Edified) (featuring both Nelda Washington and Kisha Grandy), and then, led in by some spirited guitar growth, we get the rocking, gritty blues of Machine, the gossamer balladry of Bitter Cold, the recording rounding out on the pulsing, mid-tempo Fire, coming to a close on the classically-imbued Pagliacciís Lament.

Throughout the development of Hope Resurgence, Nadia relished in the steady process of collaboration. Demonstrating patience and fortitude, she chose to piece together a collection of compositions recorded and conceptualized over the past few years of her life. ďI wanted to make sure the music and arrangements reflected my inner growth personally and musically.Ē

The final product encapsulates the grateful spirit and mastery of an artist who opted for repose.

Nadia Washington - Hope Resurgence (Live Recording)

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Title - Playing With Fire
Artist - Jane Bunnett and Maqueque

For those unaware, by now the international Jazz community knows the story that Maqueque came out of a jam session at the Cohiba Hotel in Havana that introduced renowned Jazz musician Jane Bunnett with young women musicians and composers who had recently graduated from the Cuban conservatory.

Over ten years the band has created opportunities for composing and performing extraordinary Jazz that has taken this all female ensemble around the world and has expanded to include not only women players from Cuba, but also brilliant vocalist Joanna Majoko (from Zimbabwe) and has had musicians from the Dominican Republic, Latin America, Spain and Lebanon.

The band has won a Juno Award, was nominated for a Grammy and annually tours Europe, Latin America, the US and Canada. Downbeat Mag picked this group as one of the Top Ten Touring Groups of 2019. NPR has featured the band in specials and they have done a Tiny Desk Concert.

On this brand new recording, their fourth as an ensemble, entitled PLAYING WITH FIRE (out March 10th, 2023 via Linus Entertainment), the evolution of this all female Cuban-based collective continues.

1. Human Race
2. Tempus Fugit
3. Sierra
4. Danielaís Theme
5. A God Unknown
6. Turquoise/Turquesa
7. Bolero a Un SueŮo
8. Jump Monk
9. Tomorrow
10. Playing with Fire

This radiantly euphoric and most assuredly harmonious new recording opens on the pulsating beats and rhythms within Human Race and their simply incredible re-imagining of Bud Powellís Tempus Fugit (featuring vocals by Joanna Majoko) and they are backed by the contemporary jazz-hued, albeit with lines of edgy guitar, Sierra, the luxuriously free flowing Danielaís Theme, and then comes the veritably spiritual A God Unknown.

Along next by the Juno-winning, Grammy-nominated ensemble is one of my own personal favorites, the drum-led, sax and scat vocals of Turquoise/Turquesa and the bountiful Bolero a Un SueŮo and they are in turn followed by another re-imagining, this time of a most joyously arranged Charles Mingus cut, Jump Monk, the recording rounding out on the English-sung, flute and guitar-imbued Tomorrow, coming to a close on the rock-channeled Playing with Fire.

The album marks the debut of 19-year-old violinist Daniela Olano, sister of the bandís co-founder and pianist, Danae Olano. Playing With Fire is also the first Maqueque album to fully feature vocalist Joanna Majoko. The band is rounded out by drummer Yissy Garcia, bassist Tailin Marrero and percussionist Mary Paz.

Playing With Fire also features guitarist Donna Grantis, whoís best known for her performances in Princeís band 3RDEYEGIRL in the 2010s. Grantis performs on three pieces: A God Unknown, A Human Race and Sierra.

Official Jane Bunnett and Maqueque Website

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Jane Bunnett @ YouTube

Title - Greatest Soul/Funk & Disco 12Ē Singles
Artist - Various Artists

Like many crucial inventions, the 12Ē single was born out of necessity. Although itís widely seen as an innovation born in the disco era to help DJs keep people dancing by stretching out songs much further than the conventional three-minute mark defined by the 7Ē single, the very first 12Ē single appeared in 1970.

It was a novelty that didnít catch on but a few years later in 1974, an innovative New York producer called Tom Moulton resurrected the 12Ē single format as a vehicle for making extended mixes of dance tracks.

It was an innovation that helped stoke the flames of the Disco Inferno and introduced the concept of instrumental breakdowns or ďbreaksĒ.

Initially, 12Ē pressings targeted DJs and were only used for promotional purposes but such was their desirability that it wasnít long before record companies made them commercially available; the first one sold to the public was Double Exposureís ĎTen Percentí in 1976, that is included in this package.

Its success opened the floodgates and from that moment, the 12Ē single became the format that defined Discoís glory years.

CD 1:
1. The Undisputed Truth Ė You + Me = Love
2. McFadden & Whitehead Ė Ainít No Stoppiní Us Now
3. Earth, Wind & Fire with The Emotions Ė Boogie Wonderland [Special Disco Version]
4. T-Connection Ė Do What You Wanna Do
5. Peopleís Choice Ė Do It Any Way You Wanna [A Tom Moulton Mix]
6. Instant Funk Ė Got My Mind Made Up
7. Crown Heights Affair Ė You Gave Me Love
8. Whispers Ė And The Beat Goes On
9. Arthur Adams Ė You Got The Floor
10. Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes Ė Expansions
11. Chaz Jankel Feat Brenda Jones Ė Youíre My Occupation (Extended)

The first of the four discs opens with The Undisputed Truthís You + Me = Love, featuring Taka Boom on lead, the song was the groupís one and only UK hit, peaking at #43 in 1977, but man, with those funky grooves, it hit like a bolt of lightning whenever it was played! Then we get McFadden & Whiteheadís uplifting disco-pop message of encouragement within the massive Ainít No Stoppiní Us Now, an then we get a luxurious, near nine minute Boogie Wonderland (Special Disco Version) from the band that spanned the genres of Jazz, R&B, Soul, Funk, Disco, Pop, Latin, and Afro Pop, Earth, Wind & Fire.

The funk donít stop, trust me, as next up is T-Connection with Do What You Wanna Do, a song that always felt, to me, as if it was spinning a wee bit too fast, but still when of the toughest, funkiest, slamming songs of the era and that is backed by Peopleís Choiceís alpha jam Do It Any Way You Wanna [A Tom Moulton Mix], the easy Latin rhythms and beats within Instant Funkís Got My Mind Made Up and then we get a genuine disco classic gem, the infectiously melodic Crown Heights Affair with You Gave Me Love.

Continuing onward, next we get the simply dynamic, smooth dance moves that went with the Whispersí And The Beat Goes On (a song I could listen to all day and night) and Arthur Adamsí smooth jazzy groove on You Got The Floor, and they are backed by Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoesí ageless masterpiece Expansions, the first disc rounding out on the dancefloor cool groove of Chaz Jankel Feat Brenda Jonesí Youíre My Occupation (Extended).

CD 2:
1. Brass Construction Ė Moviní
2. Skyy Ė Call Me
3. Parliament Ė Flashlight
4. Zapp Ė More Bounce to the Ounce (Pts. I and II)
5. Midnight Star Ė No Parking On The Dance Floor
6. S.O.S. Band Ė Just Be Good To Me
7. The Jimmy Castor Bunch Ė Space Age
8. Lakeside Ė Fantastic Voyage
9. Aquarian Dream Ė Youíre A Star
10. Maze/Frankie Beverly Ė Twilight (Instrumental)

The next disc opens on one of the biggest funk bands of the day, Brass Construction and their keyboard grooving track Moviní and Call Me, the addictive and danceable cut from Skyy, and they are followed by one MF of an infectiously synthesized bass groove within Parliamentís Flashlight, the near ten minute superfreak vibe to Zappís More Bounce to the Ounce (Pts. I and II), and the super funky jamming from Midnight Star on No Parking On The Dance Floor.

Along next on this superb collection we get a song with no gimmicks, no autotune, no drama. Just pure raw talent and funk, and that is the S.O.S. Band with their monster early í80s hit Just Be Good To Me and that is itself backed by the trippy psych blues funk rock of The Jimmy Castor Bunchís Space Age, a bass line that is the heartbeat of the cosmos, Lakesideís Fantastic Voyage, Aquarian Dreamís jazz funk masterpiece Youíre A Star, the disc rounding out on Maze/Frankie Beverlyís slap bass instrumental gem Twilight.

CD 3:
1. Chic Ė Good Times
2. Sister Sledge Ė Heís the Greatest Dancer
3. G.Q. Ė Disco Nights (Rock Freak)
4. Double Exposure Ė Ten Percent
5. Loleatta Holloway Ė Love Sensation
6. Edwin Starr Ė Contact
7. Narada Michael Walden Ė I Shouldíve Loved Ya
8. Voyage Ė From East To West
9. C.J. & Co Ė Devilís Gun
10. The Trammps Ė Disco Inferno

This third disc opens on the fantastic bass line, guitar, piano and harmonies of one of the greatest club anthems of all time, Chicís Good Times and then producer Nile Rodgers steps up to the plate and together with Sister Sledge knocks the brilliant Heís the Greatest Dancer out the park, and that is backed by Emanuel Raheim Leblancís vocals on G.Q.ís Disco Nights (Rock Freak), the Jimmy Williams-sung beauty Ten Percent (Double Exposure), and then comes Loleatta Holloway with her beautiful Love Sensation.

Up next is the glorious musical fusion of Edwin Starrís vibrant Contact and the bass lines, brass and horns of Narada Michael Waldenís I Shouldíve Loved Ya, with another pure disco, solid gold hit, From East To West (Voyage), C.J. & Coís funky to the bone Devilís Gun, the disc closing on the mighty mighty disco dancefloor sounds of The Trammpsí massive hit Disco Inferno.

CD 4:
1. Change Ė Searching
2. Roy Ayers Ė Running Away
3. Valentine Brothers Ė Moneyís Too Tight (To Mention)
4. Evelyn ďChampagneĒ King Ė Shame
5. Rose Royce Ė Is It Love Youíre After
6. Third World Ė Now That We Found Love [Disco Mix]
7. Hi-Tension Ė Hi-Tension
8. Freeez Ė Southern Freeez
9. Ultrafunk Ė Gotham City Boogie
10. Level 42 Ė Love Games
11. Atmosfear Ė Dancing In Outer Space

The fourth, and sadly final disc in this quite fabulous box-set, opens on the Luther Vandross lushly-vocalized Searching (with Changes) and then a track where both the bass player and drummer are on fire, Roy Ayersí hand clapper Running Away, and they are followed by an underrated í80s soul funk smooth groove by the also underrated, yet legendary Valentine Brothers on the original Moneyís Too Tight (To Mention), a quite brilliant dancefloor, saxophone-embraced mega hit Shame (Evelyn ďChampagneĒ King) and then we get Rose Royceís goosebumps-inducing, funky gold of Is It Love Youíre After.

A song that went down perfectly at house parties in the early í90s, Third Worldís Now That We Found Love [Disco Mix] is still a joy to behold and is backed by one of the most underrated funk groups ever, Hi-Tension and their self-titled hit Hi-Tension, then comes the absolutely glorious Southern Freeez by Southern Freeez, the horn-layered, dancefloor gem from Ultrafunk, Gotham City Boogie, and as we come to a close, well, things (for me) go a little left of center, for the whole disco/funk path being trodden here is veered off of for the slap funk bass of Level 42ís pop song Love Games, the whole collection closing on Dancing In Outer Space, the mother of all Jazz Funk anthems from North Londonís finest, Atmosfear.

This is the very first soiree into the compilation market for Robinsongs. ĎThe Greatest Soul / Funk & Disco 12Ē Inch Singles of The 70s & 80sí is packed with some of the Greatest 12-inch versions from that era is is thus a vivid snapshot of that golden era.

It also comes complete with liner notes by journalist Charles Waring against every track in the booklet.

Official 4CD Purchase Link

Title - Italian Whisky
Artist - Agony Street

For those unaware, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, recording artist and founder of the band Citizen K, Klas Qvist died on July 5th, 2021. When he died suddenly, Klas and his long-time songwriting partner Gudmundur Bragason were busy putting the finishing touches on what was to be the third album by Agony Street, the band they started back in 1990.

Having recorded two classic pop albums, 119 Agony Street (1991) and Songs For William (1993), their third, Italian Whisky was set to be the long-awaited reunion album by Agony Street.

The album was nearly completed but was delayed in the wake of the death of Klas Qvist. Gudmundur did a great job finishing the release and Italian Whisky was finally released on February 3rd, 2023.

4. YOU TURN ME OFF (Album Version Stereo) (2:26)
7. SAVE 20 MINUTES (3:22)
11. TIME TO GO HOME (3:09)
12. MOMíS STREET (3:32)
14. UTOPIA (5:15)

This thoroughly enjoyable new recording, and one Iím sure that Klas himself would loved to have seen come fully to fruition before his passing, opens on the short, but sweet, NEXT DOOR OVERTURE and the gently rambunctious THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, and then continues onward with the drum-led swoon within ALL THOSE GOLDEN YEARS AGO (SONG FOR ANKI), the joyously 60s-esque pop-bounce of YOU TURN ME OFF (Album Version Stereo), before we are lovingly brought forth the Renaissance-hued ITALIAN WHISKY, the strident Baroque pop fare of YOU ARE GWENDOLYN and the melodically-structured SAVE 20 MINUTES.

Along next is the flashback, Italian-embedded drinking chant within AFTER APPROXIMATELY SEVEN GLASSES OF ITALIAN WHISKY and then comes one of my own personal favorites on this new album, the free flowing pop-rock of LETTER FROM HELL, and that is in turn backed by the lyrically-fun NEXT DOOR TO A LOONEY, the arioso rock of TIME TO GO HOME, the lighter fare of MOMíS STREET, the album rounding out on the beautifully sculpted GLOBAL CITY (NOTHING IS EVERYTHING), closing, one assumes, with the tongue in cheek, mirthful UTOPIA; given that it includes shout-outs to historical names such as both Papa Joseph from the U.S.S.R. and Uncle Walter, from good old East Germany.

A profound consolation prize for fans of Agony Street and Klas Qvistís work in Citizen K, Italian Whisky is state of the art 21st century psychedelic pop/rock and is an absolute retro-pop classic.

The sound of his electric harpsichord is especially evident on a number of tracks. Other guests include Jonas Nordin, who worked with the band before Klas died and was a valuable person in the final release. Also appearing are Klasí girlfriend, singer Annika Larsen and Gudmundurís wife Anki. Agony Street takes the pop music world by storm on their third and, sadly, final album.

In short, Italian Whisky is a modern-day musical delight not to be missed!

Agony Street @ YouTube

Official Purchase Link

Title - The Water Is High
Artist - MOTU

Multi-discipline singer-songwriter/band leader Dr Richard Michelson (stage name: MOTU which is Music Of The Universe) is known for his ability to play any string instrument with expertise as well as being a prolific poet, master engineer.

Past SEMI-FINALIST WINNER in both the ISC and IBC, the NY-based multiple BEST OF LONG ISLAND WINNER has performed world-wide and has a huge on-line following demonstrated by his over 9 MILLION views on YouTube and over a QUARTER OF A MILLION FOLLOWERS on Facebook.

This new 2023 album, THE WATER IS HIGH: Songs of Love, Lies, and Freedom, is his 22nd official release which follows up his 2022 Grammy 1st round ballot album, BACK TO THE GARAGE with return performances by Dee Michelson (Vocals), Bob Rush (Keyboards, Harmonica), Ed Modzel (Drums), and Dr Rich (Vocals, Slide Dobro, Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Banjo, Mandolin, Sitar, Bass, and Pedal Steel Guitar).

9. IíLL FLY AWAY (3:53)

This vibrantly astute and wholly organic new album opens on the soulful electric jazz vibe of IíM JUST HERE PLAYINí IN THIS BAND and then serves us up some cultured Delta-styling within the titular THE WATER IS HIGH, and they are followed by the bluesy jazz of the aptly-named THAT LAST SUMMER BREEZE, the acoustically-imbibed, melodious THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAN, and then comes the raw blues rock of ARE YOU THE MAN IíVE BEEN WAITING FOR?

Along next is the fusion instrumental LOVELY DAY FOR A MOON WALK and that is itself followed by the informative prose within the strong CAN WE ALL RISE ABOVE?, then comes the rhythmic hipsway within DONíT YOU WORRY, ITíS GONNA BE ALRIGHT, the album rounding out on the lighter, albeit driven by guitar fare of IíLL FLY AWAY, coming to a close on the beautiful WALK WITH ME FOR ONE MORE MILE.

On the surface THE WATER IS HIGH has a wonderful Blues-Rock feel with strong harmonies by MOTU and Dee. However, beneath that surface is a unique poetry in motion with a variety of current events commentaries, via socially conscious lyrics, describing the struggle of the human condition.

Also, in contrast to prior Delta and Electric Blues MOTU albums, which were dominated by Dr Richís outstanding slide guitar leads, THE WATER IS HIGH has Dr Rich covering a spectrum of guitar styles ranging from John McLaughlin, Jimi Hendrix, to Jeff Beck, and even playing jazz leads on mandolin and sitar!

Bob Rush is amazing on his Chicago style harmonica riffs and Dee Michelson shows she is a dominant force as a lead jazz-blues vocalist along with being an expert at harmonies. Ed Modzel backs it all magnificently on drums sounding like Charlie Watts at his best.

In short, ďTHE WATER IS HIGH: Songs of Love, Lies, And FreedomĒ is a musical piece of art showing that this 22nd MOTU album is a maturity of expression beyond the normal.

MOTU @ Facebook

Title - Shadows In A Jar
Artist - Life On Mars

For those not in the know, Shadows In A Jar is the sixth studio album, and next installment of the Life On Mars series from Earl Kayoss and an array of talent including Fernando Perdomo.

Furthermore, Kayoss and Perdomo have been working for 8 years to deliver this remarkable project.

Earl Kayoss, a prolific songwriter, wrote all of the songs on the album. Joining Kayoss and Fernando Perdomo on the album are Billy Sherwood (Yes) and Denny Seiwell (McCartney and Wings). Each one of them are very well known in their own right and have extensive credits.

1. Ego
2. The Key
3. Stray Dog
4. After All
5. Technology
6. Rabbits
7. And BesidesÖ
8. Sheís Already Gone
9. Rock People
10. Nancyís Finger
11. Only One
12. Hurricane Jane
13. Shadows In A Jar

This stridently assertive, old school rocker of an album, opens on the boisterous Ego and the adamant guitar work within The Key and then brings us the melodic AOR-prog of Stray Dog, the acoustically-imbibed After All, and then we get the lushly-orchestrated Technology and the Americana-rock of Rabbits.

Along next is actually one of my own personal favorites from this new recording, the airy resonance within And Besides ... and that is in turn backed seamlessly by the mid-tempo pop-rock of Sheís Already Gone, the searing bar scene noise of Rock People, the guitar-steered Nancyís Finger, the album rounding out on the low slung Only One, coming to a close on the heartfelt rock of Hurricane Jane and the creeping pysch-prog of the titular Shadows In A Jar.

Mastered by Grammy award winning engineer Zach Ziskin, who has numerous credits and awards, the CD includes a booklet featuring all of the lyrics, art and musiciansí credits.

Life On Mars - After All [w/special guest Billy Sherwood] [Official Video]

Official Purchase Link

Life On Mars - The Band @ Facebook

Title - Live at the Side Door
Artist - Vince Ector Organatomy Trio +

For those not yet aware, esteemed jazz drummer and composer Vince Ector is thrilled to announce the March 17th, 2023 release of Live at the Side Door. This electrifying follow up to 2019ís critically-acclaimed Theme For Ms. P captures the stellar Philadelphia bred/NY based jazz outfitís January 2020 performance at the iconic Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

As ever, the groupís sound is centered around the great organ-centric Philadelphia jazz tradition, an idiom through which Ector gained his renown, acting as the driving rhythmic pulse behind generations of Philly jazz greats.

Live at the Side Door is dedicated to the memory of the great Joey DeFrancesco who, prior to his passing, encouraged Ector to share this live recording with the world. This adventurous, soulful outing features Ector alongside organ great Pat Bianchi, celebrated guitarist Paul Bollenback and fiery up-and-coming saxophonist Justin Jones.

1. South Philly Groove (7:22)
2. Sister Ruth (5:48)
3. The Courtship (7:06)
4. Con Alma (8:31)
5. Love Wonít Let Me Wait (7:00)
6. Renewal Revisited (5:46)
7. Dex Blues (7:02)
8. Wives and Lovers (5:47)
9. Reprise and Thanks (1:27)

On Live at the Side Door, Ectorís Organatomy Trio+ celebrates the great lineage of Philadelphia jazz through the evocative compositions of Ector, one of Philadelphiaís most prolific sons, with the recording opening on the joyously jaunty bop of South Philly Groove and the drum-led Sister Ruth (which showcases perfectly solos from both Jones and Bianchiand), then brings us the lushly smooth The Courtship and an energetically-charged rendition of Dizzy Gillespieís near nine minute, bebop jazz and Latin rhythm classic, Con Alma.

Along next is the sweeping Love Wonít Let Me Wait and then we get some mesmerizing solo work from Bollenback on the ardently impassioned urgency within Renewal Revisited, and they are in turn followed by the laid back swing of styling of Dex Blues, the recording rounding out on another drum-led show of musical magnificence from Bianchi, Wives and Lovers, coming to a close on the introductory, and aptly-named Thanks.

Ector reflects: ďWhen we stepped into The Side Door in January 2020, we never expected that the world as we knew it would soon experience a seismic shiftĒ. Ector had recently embarked with the Organatomy Trio+ on a NorthEast tour in support of his recent recording entitled Theme for Ms. P which had recently been recognized as one of the top ten most requested recordings on the SiriusXM Real Jazz station for 2019.

Ector continues, ďThe Side Door was a one-night engagement and when our dear friend, jazz advocate and Side Door owner Ken Kitchings asked if we would mind if they recorded the evening, I never hesitated to say ďof courseĒ! I was on a cloud that Friday evening! Everything that you hear on this recording was captured in one take as it was intended for the audience that evening and encompasses material spanning my last 4 recordings as a leader.Ē Ectorís debut Side Door performance as a bandleader would mark one of the last performances of the group before the pandemic brought live music to a sudden decrescendo. The album remains a stunning document of the groupís creative output and of the live concert atmosphere that was so sorely missed in the many months to follow.

ďThis is our gift to those who love the music we make and is dedicated to those we lost since the pandemic struck.Ē The performance features the core Organatomy Trio+ members with the exception of saxophonist Bruce Williams, due to his recovery from a recent surgery. Williams was replaced for the evening by young lion Justin Jones. Ector further remarks, ďThat evening, Justin was thoroughly prepared and a welcome addition to our growing Organatomy family!Ē

Capturing the raucous triumph and masterful refinement of the Organatomy Trio+ís live performance aesthetic, Live at the Side Door is a love letter to live music, to the rich legacy of Philadelphia jazz, and to the current vibrancy of the jazz world.

Thus, and in closing, Ector says ďPlease continue to support live music, it is a true healing for that we can share with each other.Ē

Official Website

Vince Ector @ Facebook

Title - Variations: Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms
Artist - Sarah Beth Briggs

For those unknowing, Beethoven wrote in his diary that he wanted ďto show the British what a treasure they have in God Save the KingĒ, a reference to his set of variations on the national anthem, composed in 1803.

Sarah Beth Briggs recorded the virtuoso set precisely one month before the passing of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022, and the recording heralds the coronation of King Charles III in May 2023.

The lesser-known Variations on an Original Theme in F major (1802) represent Beethoven the revolutionary. Uniquely, each variation was written in a different key, the dramatic effect of which would have startled the composerís contemporaries.

9 Variations K.573 on a Minuet by Jean-Pierre Duport
1. Tema (1.25)
2. Var. I (1.12)
3. Var. II (1.15)
4. Var. III (1.21)
5. Var. IV (1.28)
6. Var. V (1.38)
7. Var. VI (1.47)
8. Var. VII (1.09)
9. Var. VIII: Adagio (2.04)
10. Var. IX Ė Allegro Ė Tempo primo (2.08)

7 Variations WoO 78 on ĎGod Save the Kingí
11. Tema (1.07)
12. Var. I (0.50)
13. Var. II (0.46)
14. Var. III (0.52)
15. Var. IV (0.53)
16. Var. V: Con espressione (1.21)
17. Var. VI: Allegro. Alla marcia (1.03)
18. Var. VII Ė [Allegro] Ė Adagio Ė Allegro (2.36)

6 Variations on an original theme in F Op.34
19. Tema: Adagio. Cantabile (1.39)
20. Var. I (1.53)
21. Var. II: Allegro, ma non troppo (1.08)
22 Var. III: Allegretto (1.14)
23. Var. IV: Tempo di Menuetto (1.50)
24. Var. V: Marcia. Allegretto (2.22)
25. Var. VI Ė Allegretto Ė Adagio molto (5.06)

Variations sťrieuses Op.54 MWV U 156
26. Theme: Andante sostenuto (0.45)
27. Var. I (0.34)
28. Var. II: Un poco piý animato (0.32)
29. Var. III: Piý animato (0.23)
30. Var. IV 0.23)
31. Var. V: Agitato (0.29)
32. Var. VI: A tempo (0.26)
33. Var. VII (0.26)
34. Var. VIII: Allegro vivace (0.20)
35. Var. IX 0.26)
36. Var. X: Moderato (0.48)
37. Var. XI (0.45)
38. Var. XII: Tempo di Tema (0.41)
39. Var. XIII (0.56)
40. Var. XIV: Adagio (1.18)
41. Var. XV: Poco a poco piý agitato (0.30)
42. Var. XVI: Allegro vivace (0.21)
43. Var. XVII: [Allegro vivace] Ė Presto (2.57)

Variations in F sharp minor Op.9 on a theme by Robert Schumann
44. Tema: Ziemlich langsam (1.16)
45. Var. I (1.19)
46. Var. II: Poco piý moto (0.29)
47. Var. III: Tempo di tema (1.11)
48. Var. IV: Poco piý moto (0.44)
49. Var. V: Allegro capriccioso (0.53)
50. Var. VI: Allegro (0.56)
51. Var. VII: Andante (1.04)
52. Var. VIII: Andante (non troppo lento) (1.48)
53. Var. IX: Schnell (0.40)
54. Var. X: Poco adagio (2.41)
55. Var. XI: Un poco piý animato (0.45)
56. Var. XII: Allegretto, poco scherzando (0.46)
57. Var. XIII: Non troppo presto (0.35)
58. Var. XIV: Andante (1.09)
59. Var. XV: Poco adagio (2.00)
60. Var. XVI: [Adagio] (2.53)

Sarah Beth Briggsí collection of Variations underlines a lineage of the genre through the classical and romantic eras. Opening the programme is 9 Variations on a Minuet by Duport by Mozart, whom Beethoven greatly admired.

The work, which takes a theme by cellist Jean-Pierre Duport, chamber music director of the court of the Prussian King, Friedrich Wilhelm II, from whom the composer hoped to gain favor, opens on the delicate Tema and proceeds onward with a selection of sprightly, dominant, playful, intricate, ornate and seducing movements.

Next we get Ludwig Van Beethovenís 7 Variations WoO 78 on ĎGod Save the King,í of which passionately opens on the known underscore to the national anthem within Tema, and then proceeds to bring us a gorgeous plethora of other variations, that I myself, have never had the pleasure to behold before.

Mendelssohnís Variations sťrieuses was written as a tribute to Beethoven, and was included in an album of works that raised funds for the now famous bronze statue of Beethoven in Bonn. Opening on the short, but sweet gossamer of Theme: Andante sostenuto, other selections are even shorter, some a little longer, but all bring forth an impassioned love for the diversity to hand.

Mendelssohnís near contemporary Brahms paid tribute to his troubled friend Robert Schumann, using a melody from Bunte Blštter (ďColourful LeavesĒ) in his poignant Variations on a Theme by Schumann, on which it leads with the forthright, yet confidently-alluring Tema: Ziemlich langsam, before coming to a close on a most gentle, serenely placid Variation XVI. [Adagio].

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Title - Eclipse / Fifth Element [Remastered 2CD Edition]
Artist - Jade Warrior

Formed in 1970, Jade Warrior were one of the most original British bands to emerge during the Progressive Rock era. The first incarnation of the band featured Tony Duhig (guitars) and Jon Field (flutes, percussion), both of whom had been in the Psychedelic group July, and Glyn Havard (bass, vocals). Signing to Vertigo, the band recorded their self-titled debut.

In 1972, the band expanded to a quartet with drummer Allan Price for the ĎReleasedí LP, and the bandís third album, ĎLast Autumnís Dreamí. In 1973, the band recorded their next album, ĎEclipseí. The studio sessions produced enough material for a double album, but Vertigo declined to issue the recordings.

Several tracks appeared on Vertigo various artist samplers but ĎEclipseí, and a further album entitled ĎFifth Elementí were never released.

Following another series of US concerts, Jade Warrior split, with Jon Field and Tony Duhig reforming the band as a duo in 1974, leaving both ĎEclipseí and ĎFifth Elementí unreleased for many years.

CD 1: Eclipse (Remastered)
1. English Morning
2. Sanga
3. Too Many Heroes
4. Soldier Song
5. Mwenga Sketch
6. Holy Roller
7. House of Dreams

Remastered from the original Vertigo master tapes, Eclipse is solid work almost on a par with their previous three albums, in my humble opinion. It does tend a little more towards mainstream rock on some tracks, although even those tracks still have that special Jade Warrior magic.

Indeed, the album has that wonderful mixture of the reflectively mellow, the searing guitar, the Afro-Asian tones and atmospheres that gave Jade Warrior its distinctive sound. Bassist/vocalist Glyn Havard is a major contributor here, giving his more rock-oriented songs unusual time signatures that distinguish them from the run-of-the-mill rock product that was starting to pervade the charts.

And, of course, the otherworldly soundscapes are still there, even on the opening track, the gentle English Morning (even though is truly has nothing to do with the rest of the album, musically), but the fusion of rock and African (complete with conga and percussion on Sanga) really begins to set the tone for the album.

On the following track Too Many Heroes, Tony Duhig really gets rocking. This is a fine rock number, but still distinctly Jade Warrior, and it will strike a chord with many an old school rocker. Soldier Song has heavy vocals from Glynn, more rock guitar from Tony, and also uses conga and other percussion; including the odd, yet never the less interesting addition of a bell tree before the lengthy instrumental Mwenga Sketch (which continues the fast rocking African rhythms reminiscent of Barazinbar from the album Released).

Inclusive of some quite ingenious percussion and more rock guitar from Tony, Holy Roller is another rocking number with vocals from Glyn and rhythm guitar from Tom Newman [a long associate of the band]. The final stunning track House of Dreams defies a description by me, sorry, and is best left to the individual listener.

CD 2: Fifth Element (Remastered)
1. On the Mountain of Fruit
2. Discotechnique
3. Hey Rainy Day
4. We Are the One
5. 24 Hour Movie
6. Annie
7. Yam Jam

For me personally, Fifth Element is one of Jade Warriorís best albums. Itís a little more consistent than their first three albums (I, Released, and Last Autumnís Dream), which all have some amazing tracks, but occasionally get mired in psychedelic excess.

Furthermore, about half the tracks (especially the first which was reworked later by the revamped Jade Warrior) clearly indicate what JW was to become one of the most exciting music forms to emerge in the í70s; a sound so ahead of its time that is now has become truly timeless.

All the material on this album is criminally underrated, and this is, perhaps, due to a mixture of higher expectation of JWís audience to these lost mythical albums and the sad story about this material being rejected by the Vertigo label; seeming that the bandís quality in both composition and sound was not good enough (terrible mistake!), which is simply not true.

But if we compare the evolution of the band, youíll probably find in the í73 material a more polished sound (I would say delicate, is the right word) and better care in melodies, moods, rhythm. et al., than in the previous albums.

The band was now focusing more, in that it features more than in the vocal / lyrical arrangements, and Glyn, yet correct in his role, seems like he was getting out of the musical race at this time, in truth.

So this is not a lost Floating World, Part Two album, but happily I find it has much more in common with that album than with the Vertigo ones, as the natural evolution of the band, and itís an album that brings connection with the two periods.

In closing, if you are fan of Island period and also you like albums such as Last Autumnís Dream or Released, please donít miss out on owning this lush new 2CD set from Esoteric Recordings today, as youíll enjoy every musical second of it, trust me!

This new Esoteric Recordings edition gathers together these recordings from 1973 and presents them in remastered form as a double CD set, which also features an illustrated booklet with new essay.

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Title - Stand And Fight
Artist - Burnt Out Wreck

Burnt Out Wreck are a hard rock band from the UK formed by ex-Heavy Pettiní drummer Gary Moat, and who have released three albums to date - ĎSwallowí (2017), ĎThis Is Hellí (2019), and now the brand new recording, ĎStand And Fight.í

ďThese are eleven of the best songs Iíve written. This really was the difficult third album, inspired by the worst one and a half years in my life,Ē admits front man Gary Moat, adding, ďBut the end result was worth the struggle and this is something Iím really proud of. I invite you all to Stand And Fight.Ē

And now Burnt Out Wreck - consisting of front man Gary Moat, bassist Alex Carmichael, lead guitarists Andy McLaughlan and Richard Upson, and drummer Paul Gray - have released their third studio album Stand And Fight via Burnt Out Wreckords on November 18th, 2022.

This, without a shadow of a doubt, sets the tone for the full release in true Gary Moat style, hard rocking and fiercely defiant in tone!

1. Big Up Yourself
2. Stand And Fight
3. Lion
4. Ainít Done Nothing Wrong
5. More Than Anything
6. Pain & Suffering
7. Turpentine
8. Blood Sweat And Tears
9. Wake Up
10. Take It Or Leave It
11. Iím A Loser Too

Demonstrating the breadth of Scotlandís original rock n rollers MoatĎs writing skills with his diverse range of songs, the album opens on the throaty roar of Big Yourself Up and the free flowing rock of the titular Stand And Fight, they are eagerly followed by the stalking guitar work within Lion, the acoustically-imbued Ainít Done Nothing Wrong and then comes the head-banger More Than Anything.

Produced by Steve Rispin, best known for his work with Asia and Yes, along next is the AOR of Pain & Suffering and the Brian Johnson-esque vocalization of Turpentine and they are in turn followed by the artistically-sculpted rock of Blood Sweat And Tears, the free wheeliní Wake Up, the album rounding out on the pulsating Take It Or Leave It, coming to a close on melodically rhythmic Iím A Loser Too.

This third solo album from original drummer and a founder member of one of the best-loved rockiní bands of the í80s and í90s, albeit with his band Burnt Out Wreck, will be touring and playing at festivals throughout 2023.

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Official Website

Burnt Out Wreck @ Facebook

Title - Greatest Hits (30th Anniversary 2LP)
Artist - The Police

For all those unaware, The Policeís Greatest Hits has just been reissued on vinyl in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the original release. Remastered at Abbey Road and cut at Ďhalf-speedí for ultimate sound quality, the set contains two heavyweight black LPs with expanded artwork and packaging in a bespoke gatefold sleeve, which enhances the original artwork.

A multi-platinum selling global smash on CD, it was originally released in 1992 and with only a limited run of vinyl originally made available, it became a much sought-after set amongst fans, whilst the CD version simultaneously proved to be the perfect introduction to one of the most unique bands of all time.

The definitive compilation of The Police, remastered at Abbey Road Studios, features 16 tracks, eight U.S. Top 20 hits, 14 U.K. Top 20 hits and five U.K. number one singles including ďMessage In A Bottle,Ē ďWalking On The Moon,Ē ďDonít Stand So Close To Me,Ē ďEvery Little Thing She Does Is Magic,Ē and ďEvery Breath You Take,Ē which also hit No. 1 in the U.S.

The Police are one of the best-selling bands of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide. A dynamic three-piece comprising of Sting (lead vocals, bass guitar), Andy Summers (guitar) and Stewart Copeland (drums, percussion), the trio is one of the most iconic bands to emerge from the original British Ďnew waveí of the late 1970s.

They became a global touring phenomenon throughout the early 1980s and are a multi-award winning group with two Brit Awards, six Grammysģ and an MTV Video Music Award to date. In 2003, the band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Side A:
1. Roxanne
2. Canít Stand Losing You
3. So Lonely
4. Message In A Bottle

Firstly, I defy you not to put this album on and track after track sing along and even flash yourself back to the exact time in life when you were originally enjoying each and every one of these gems of musical history!

The first side of this luxurious double vinyl set opens on a song about a man who falls in love with a prostitute, and which was also their first major-label release (no, I donít count the indie released Fall Out the year before), Roxanne, and then brings us the impassioned Canít Stand Losing You (about a teenager who commits suicide when he loses his girlfriend), the sardonic broken-heart song So Lonely, rounding out on a song about a guy stranded on a remote island, the infamous Message In A Bottle.

Side B:
5. Walking On The Moon
6. The Bedís Too Big Without You
7. Donít Stand So Close To Me
8. De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da

Flipping the first vinyl over, and next up is, for me, about taking giant risks whilst walking on thin ice, the pop-hop rhythm of Walking On The Moon, then comes the moody, yet graceful reggae-hued The Bedís Too Big Without You, Donít Stand So Close To Me (about teacher who lusts after one of his students), with the second side closing on De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da; an articulate song about being inarticulate, it is about the way politicians, priests, entertainers, and others in power use words to manipulate people.

Side C:
1. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
2. Invisible Sun
3. Spirits In The Material World
4. Synchronicity II

Swapping the vinyl over on the turntable, up first on the third LP is about someone who has trouble professing his love for a woman, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic and that is followed by the wholly underrated Invisible Sun (a song about the violence and turmoil in Northern Ireland in the early 1980s), and then comes a song based on the writings of Hungarian author and philosopher Arthur Koestler, the ethereal Spirits In The Material World, the third side rounding out on the absolute apocalyptic-tinged belter Synchronicity II (a term Psychologist Carl Jung created related to the theory that even seemingly coincidental events are connected through their meaning).

Side D:
5. Every Breath You Take
6. King Of Pain
7. Wrapped Around Your Finger
8. Tea In The Sahara

Flipping the second vinyl over, first out the speakers is the number one song of 1983, the stalkerish Every Breath You Take and that is backed by a track Sting wrote at a very low point in his life, both personally and professionally, and thus her called himself the King Of Pain, and that is followed by a song about about being under the control of another person, Wrapped Around Your Finger, the fourth, and final of this magnificently remastered set coming to a close on the under-looked Tea In The Sahara (named after a chapter in the book The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles).

Recording only five studio albums (four of which made Rolling Stoneís list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time), the band also produced an extraordinary number of commercial successes and critically-acclaimed hit singles. Their astonishing musical range and skillful musicianship, paired with Stingís astute lyrics, successfully mixed punk, reggae, jazz and rock influences into a melting pot of ingenious songs that still stand the test of time today.

Amazon Purchase Link

Official Website

The Police @ Facebook

Title - Arrows: The Complete Collection [2CD]
Artist - Arrows

The Arrows were a band based in London, England. The group, which formed in 1974 and disbanded in 1977, included American singer/bassist Alan Merrill, American guitarist Jake Hooker and English drummer Paul Varley (original drummer Clive Williams was replaced by Paul Varley).

They had UK chart hit singles in 1974 and 1975 with Touch Too Much and My Last Night with You, produced by Mickie Most on RAK Records and they wrote and recorded the original version of I Love Rock N Roll, later covered by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.

Arrows: The Complete Collection is a lovely 2CD, 29 track box-set featuring everything released by the much-beloved í70s pop legends

Along with including the UK hit singles ĎA Touch Too Muchí (No. 8) and ĎMy Last Night With Youí (No. 25), it also features their only album, First Hit, plus the original version of the self-composed (and aforementioned, now rock standard ) I Love Rock N Roll, amongst a bevy of others.

Guestís on the album include Rock legends Chris Spedding and Cozy Powell and the booklet features detailed liner notes by Phil Hendriks who played on 2004 tracks recorded with vocalist Alan Merrill.

CD 1: First Hit
1. Once Upon A Time
2. First Hit
3. Thanks
4. Whatís Come Between Us
5. Boogiest Band In Town
6. Donít Worry ĎBout Love
7. Let Me Love You
8. Feeliní This Way
9. Love Child
10. Love Is Easy
11. Gotta Be Near You
12. DreaminíBonus [Bonus MICKIE MOST SESSION Track]
13. Wake Up [Bonus MICKIE MOST SESSION Track]
14. Bam Bam Battering Ram [Bonus MICKIE MOST SESSION Track]

The first of two discs is their First Hit album, where the Arrows offered a reinvention of themselves, to be fair, and one aimed firmly at the same AOR territory as RAK labelmateís Smokey; who were carving out for themselves, their very own path. I mean, even the title track boasts a sound-alike husky vocal, which works for for it, no doubt, but wasnít exactly straying too far form what they were obviously programmed to play.

That aside, it really is not a bad album, and still holds up today, Iíd like to think, given all the unintelligible crap that is out there in the charts! What Comes Between Us is a nice slower burner, with some tasteful guitar, an anthemic chorus, and a smart steal from Iíve Been Loving You Too Long over the fade, while both Thanks and Donít Worry ĎBout Love have a hint of Bad Company around the edges.

The opening Once Upon a Time, meanwhile, was one of several tracks that were surely modeled after the kind of grand ballad that the also-beloved Walker Brothers might have considered, so overall, itís a really good album - nice melodies, raspiness, and all brought together with some rockiní and tasty vocals by Alan Merrill and the band.

CD 2: The Singles
1. Touch Too Much
2. We Can Make It Together
3. Toughen Up
4. Diesel Locomotive Dancer
5. My Last Night With You
6. Moviní Next Door To You
7. Broken Down Heart
8. I Love Rock N Roll
9. Hard Hearted
10. My World Is Turning On Love
11. Bring Back The Fire [Bonus ARROWSVISION Track]
12. Love Rider [Bonus ARROWSVISION Track]
13. Faith In You [Bonus ARROWSVISION Track]
14. Dare You Not To Dance [Bonus ARROWSVISION Track]
15. Moviní Next Door To You (Version 2) [Bonus ARROWSVISION Track]

The second disc is aptly-named The Singles, and brings us a tasty selection of ten tracks that showcase the band at their finest. OK, sure, the Arrows had already shot their bolt (sorry, couldnít resist) by the time their debut album was released, a string of under-performing 7 inch singles prefacing the appearance of the aforementioned LP, but when the songs hit, they stayed stuck.

Much like the Disco-punk-rocker Diesel Locomotive Dancer, the George Thorogood-esque Moviní Next Door To You, their impassioned I Love Rock N Roll, and both the free flowing beauty of Hard Hearted and the funky, jangling guitars of Toughen Up, and here we even get five cuts from their ARROWSVISION days, the stand outs being both the psych rock of Love Rider and the smoothly-sculptured, double vocal track Faith In You.

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Title - Beach Baby: The Complete Recordings
Artist - The First Class

There werenít too many classic British pop singles issued in 1974, but harmony pop epic ĎBeach Babyí bucked the trend, reaching the UK Top 20 and becoming an even bigger hit in America, peaking at the No. 4 spot.

Arguably the ultimate Beach Boys tribute, ĎBeach Babyí introduced a new name, The First Class Ė actually veteran pop hitmaker and songwriter John Carter with the aid of Chas Mills and lead singer Tony Burrows.

While other singers and musicians adopted the name to front their music in public, the Carter/Burrows/Mills combination continued to record new First Class material, including a self-titled LP that is quite possibly the finest, most ambitious British harmony pop album of the 70s.

The First Class had a couple of follow-up minor hit singles in America that failed to attract the same attention at home, where second album ĎSSTí (not even released in the US) sank without trace. By the end of the 70s, Carter had effectively laid the name to rest.

A 3CD set in a lavish digipak package featuring a new 5000 word essay, ĎBeach Baby: The Complete Recordingsí is the definitive document of both The First Class and John Carterís myriad overlapping activities during the second half of the í70s.

It contains an embarrassment of riches: both albums, all singles, out-takes, pseudonymous releases, a huge number of previously unissued TV/radio advertising jingles and, most fascinatingly of all, seven previously-unheard 1974 demos for the musical Bobby Dazzler, abandoned when the single of the same name unfathomably failed to chart.

CD 1:
12. BEACH BABY (single version, full-length)
22. BEACH BABY (single version, edit)

This quite brilliant, wonderfully-curated new collection opens on a song that will have you thinking of sunshine, white sandy beaches and pretty girls, the melodically-addictive BEACH BABY and the fervent pop of WONíT SOMEBODY HELP ME and they are followed by the lush balladry of WHAT BECAME OF ME, the atmospherically-charged SURFER QUEEN, the pop-skip of THE FIRST DAY OF YOUR LIFE, the feisty, drum-led, feelgood beauty LONG TIME GONE, the sweeping FUNNY HOW LOVE CAN BE, and then we get the free wheeling DREAMS ARE TEN A PENNY, the folk-pop hipsway of BOBBY DAZZLER, the energetic THE DISCO KID and then comes the yearning ache within the ballad I WAS ALWAYS A JOKER.

Along next is a full-length single version of BEACH BABY, the rhythmic B-side cut BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY, a song not a million miles away from Neanderthal Man, LAVENDER MAN and then we are brought forth seven previously-unreleased tracks: the rollicking good fun of ONE GOOD TIME, the glam rocker BORN TO BE A REBEL, the heartwarming ditty BABY DOLL LOVE, the Asian-flavored sing-along CHINESE CHRISTMAS, the frenetic GOING ON, the disc rounding out on the low slung ballad A QUIET LIFE, the mid-tempo balladry of LOVING, and then we get another version of BEACH BABY (single version, edit).

CD 2:
12. BROOK STREET* (jingle)
13. TOO MANY GOLDEN OLDIES (single version)
25. PLEASE YOURSELF (Rowntrees Tots)* (jingle)

The second disc opens on the vibrant I WAS A STAR, the funky AINíT NO LOVE, and the rhythmically soft flow of CHILDíS PLAY, and then brings back the funk-rock for OLD TIME LOVE, the sandy beach serenade within BABY BLUE, the soaring LIFE IS WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO BE, the yearning love song CARRY ON SINGING MY SONG, and the sparkling SMILES ON A SUMMER NIGHT, which are in turn backed up seamlessly by the pop-rock of SEVEN TEN TO NOWHERE, the veritably orchestral ballad AUTUMN LOVE, the hankering within AND SHE CRIED, and then we get the previously-unreleased, jaunty BROOK STREET (jingle).

The disc continues onward with the flowery TOO MANY GOLDEN OLDIES (single version), the mid-tempo pop of MAKE IT ON MY OWN, the funky guitar sounds of BROKEN TOY and then comes the low slung AOR of LISA (I ALWAYS LOVED YOU), the previously-unreleased BIRDS DREAM TOPPING (jingle), the shimmering SONG ON THE WIND, the buoyantly earnest THE SADDEST WORD, the pan pipe-imbued OCEAN OF GLASS, this second disc rounding out on the beaming, ABBA-esque BIENVENIDO, the previously-unreleased SUNLIGHT DETERGENT (jingle), the joyous disco-pop of GIMME LITTLE SIGN, closing on the happy AVERAGE RAINFALL and another previously-unreleased cut, PLEASE YOURSELF (Rowntrees Tots) (jingle).

CD 3:
1. WE LIKE TO DANCE (Milk Is Our Way)* (jingle)
7. KIT-E-KAT MUNCHIES* (jingle)
12. VAUXHALL CHEVETTE (Whatever You Want It To Be ) #1* (jingle)
15. BIRDS EYE COD* (jingle)
20. TYPHOO 1* (jingle)
21. TYPHOO 2* (jingle)
23. SILVIKRIN* (jingle)
25. MALIBU* (jingle)
30. WOMAN MAGAZINE* (jingle)
34. VAUXHALL CHEVETTE (Whatever You Want It To Be) #2* (jingle)
35. TOO MANY GOLDEN OLDIES (full-length version)

The third, and final disc, opens on the Mud-esque vibe of the previously-unreleased WE LIKE TO DANCE (Milk Is Our Way) (jingle), the Showaddywaddy-esque DISCO KID, the vibrant MIDNITE MUSIC, and then we get another previously-unreleased ad in the form of SINGER SEWING MACHINES (jingle), before the Beach Baby-hued melodies of OH CALIFORNIA, the lushly-orchestrated IíM IN LOVE AGAIN are brought forth, and then we get the previously-unreleased KIT-E-KAT MUNCHIES (jingle), the rockerís rumble of THE SOUND OF SUMMER, the previously-unreleased LETíS GO BRITISH CALEDONIAN (jingle), and both the hard-edged foot-tapper SIDEWALK JOHNNY and another rendition of the rockabilly MIDNITE MUSIC.

In amongst a batch of previously-unreleased jingles, of which their VAUXHALL CHEVETTE (Whatever You Want It To Be ) #1 (jingle), the CRAWFORDS CHEDDARS (jingle), BIRDS EYE COD (jingle) lead the way, the lazy Sunday ambience of IF I DONíT HAVE YOU, and the mid-tempo haze of SUNDAY CHILD and then the heat is turned up for the finger-licking guitar work within GREASY DOLLAR BILL are included, plus the soft pop rock of TOP FORTY ANGEL, the always-enjoyable surf-romp SILVER SURFER and the upbeat CONEY ISLAND, with this portion of the disc rounding out with more previously-unreleased jingles: EVER READY BATTERIES (jingle), TYPHOO 1 (jingle), TYPHOO 2 (jingle), SILVIKRIN (jingle) and the light and breezy MALIBU (jingle).

Up next are the languishing beauty of I CANíT BELIEVE MY EYES and the rock flashback of WAKE UP AMERICA, and chin-out rocker THE SONG WAS WRONG, with the RIGHT GUARD DEODORANT (jingle) sandwiched between, and then they lead into the WOMAN MAGAZINE (jingle), before the drum-led pop-rock of SHINE ON ME WOMAN, the cloud-pop-soar of ONE MORE MILE TO FREEDOM, the whole collection closing on the two previously-unreleased jingles CRACKER JACK POPCORN and VAUXHALL CHEVETTE (Whatever You Want It To Be) #2, and the full-length version of TOO MANY GOLDEN OLDIES.

This is the first-ever complete 3CD anthology of ĎBeach Babyí harmony pop hitmakers and features both First Class LPs, all singles, pseudonymous releases and numerous previously unreleased tracks including advertising jingles and songs from an aborted 1974 musical.

Official 3CD Purchase Link

Title - Lush Exotica: Exotic Sound Of Arthur Lyman [2CD]
Artist - Arthur Lyman

The brand new Lush Exotica Ė The Exotic Sound Of Arthur Lyman is a 2CD set of four albums from the legend Arthur Lyman who lit the blue touch paper on exotica.

From heavy sound effects-led exotica to much simpler soulful jazz all powered by Lymanís awesome marimba playing. Inclusive of key sounds from the incredibly strange world of music for any bachelor pad, as loved by Lux and Ivy of The Cramps, Throbbing Gristle and many more!

Featuring the bandís million-selling debut, ĎTabooí from 1958 acclaimed as an early pinnacle of the genre, the eerie and echoey ĎBwana Aí take the listener much further into the jungle, ĎBahiaí comes complete with its added shipís horns, thunder storms, parrots, paraquats, rainfall, tinkling marimba, and a lonesome violin, plus we also get ĎLeis Of Jazz,í in which Lyman revisits his jazz roots and love of Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton.

Simply put, this is music like nothing else! ďA conch shell wailed, the conga drums thump-thumped, the bamboo sticks clattered,Ē Time magazine wrote in 1962, ďThe four men on stage were constantly on the move ó clacking wooden blocks, scratching a corrugated gourd, flailing away at Chinese gongs, weaving rhythms that were insistent, sinuous and hypnotic. Occasionally, when the spirit moved them, they barked like seals or whooped like cranes.Ē

In the í50s, Martin Denny and Les Baxter were pioneers of a style of music that became known as exotica or lounge music. Arthur Lyman was a member of Dennyís band. He formed the Arthur Lyman Group and achieved fame on his own.

What we have here on Lush Exotica: Exotic Sound Of Arthur Lyman, is a most wondrously kooky, and yet spiritually-embracing set of musical pieces that cover four of his albums and make for, in this glorious 2CD set, a most incredible listening experience.

I mean, this stuff is so outlandish that it is cool! And whereas there really isnít any dire need to ensconce yourself into a deeper state of listening, it wouldnít help to allow yourself some alone time to focus inward, shall we say.

Lymanís group uses any and all forms of found sounds and yelps, yips, barks, whoops, and man-made animal noises, which means that his sound design skills bring to the fore a quite magnificent collective beast of sounds; come quite like you have never, ever heard before!

And sure, some tracks may have a slightly sedate, jazzier sound, laden with an organic way to entrance you into drifting along with it, but he also uses a wide variety of ethnic instruments, percussion, and even bird calls.

Always rooted in jazz, each and every one of these 48 tracks - at some level - conjure an aural atmosphere throughout, leaving the mind of the listener to choose their own closed-eyes, laid back, calm and relaxed destinations.

CD 1:
1. Taboo
2. Kalua
3. Ringo Oiwake
4. Sea Breeze
5. Misirlou
6. China Clipper
7. Sim Sim
8. Katsumi Love Theme
9. Caravan
10. Akaka Falls
11. Dahil Sayo
12. Hilo March
13. Leis of Jazz
14. Trigger Fantasy
15. The Lady is a Tramp
16. Body and Soul
17. Gypsy in My Soul
18. Lullaby of the Leaves
19. On the Street Where You Live
20. My Funny Valentine
21. The Way You Look Tonight
22. How High the Moon
23. Lullaby of Birdland
24. Aloha Oe

CD 2:
1. Bahia
2. Jungle Jalopy
3. Legend Of The Rain
4. Bamboo
5. Return To Me
6. Caribbean Nights
7. Quiet Village
8. Tropical
9. Happy Voodoo
10. Busy People
11. Beyond The Reef
12. Maui Chimes
13. Bwana Š
14. South Pacific Moonlight
15. Moon Over a Ruined Castle
16. Waikiki Serenade
17. La Paloma
18. Otome San
19. Canton Rose
20. Blue Sands
21. Malaguena
22. Vera Cruz
23. Pua Carnation
24. Colonel Bogey March

Official Purchase Link

Title - Blues All Around
Artist - Savoy Brown

Quarto Valley Records announces the upcoming release of Blues All Around, the new album from legendary British Blues Rock band Savoy Brown on February 17th, 2023.

Sadly, shortly after the new album was completed, Savoy Brown founder, guitarist/ singer/ songwriter Kim Simmonds lost his hard-fought battle with cancer on December 13th, 2022, just a week after turning 75.

While recuperating from his initial cancer treatments, Simmonds had begun work on the new album that was to become Blues All Around.

Blues All Around was tracked in layers, piece by piece, and not in the live-in-the-studio manner Savoy Brown has always used. The change doesnít affect the vibes and grooves at all and youíd never know if you werenít told. ďHereís how it went,Ē Simmonds explains. ďMy tracks, guitar, vocal, etc were laid down first. Pat and Garnet then added bass, drums, and percussion and the whole process worked beautifully. They clinched the deal using my tracks as a guide. Brilliant work. Theyíre heaven sent. The concept wasnít my brainchild. Studio owner and engineer Ron Keck suggested the approach due to my failing health to make things easier, and Iím forever grateful.Ē

1. Falling Through
2. Black Heart
3. Going Down South
4. Gypsy Healer
5. Blues All Around
6. Texas Love
7. Winning Hand
8. Hurting Spell
9. Canít Go Back To My Hometown
10. California Days Gone By
11. My Baby
12. Falling Through the Cracks

This incredible, and sadly final release by the late Savoy Brown founding father Kim Simmonds, opens on the short, but sweet intro Falling Through and then we get the low slung blues of Black Heart and the harmonica-driven Going Down South, the aching blues yearn of the brilliant Gypsy Healer, and then comes the free flowing guitar blues-rock of the titular Blues All Around and the rumbling Texas Love.

On an album where the British blues/rock legends still sound vital and alive, they continue onward with the mid-tempo guitar balladry of Winning Hand and the foot-tapper Hurting Spell and they are in turn backed seamlessly by the suave blues brought forth within Canít Go Back To My Hometown, the dirty grind of California Days Gone By, the album rounding out in the melodically rhythmic My Baby, closing on the organically-sculptured, slow roll of Falling Through the Cracks.

Savoy Brown: band/orchestra; Kim Simmonds: guitar; Pat DeSalvo: bass; Garnett Grimm: drums.

Official Purchase Link

Savoy Brown / Kim Simmonds @ Facebook