Tim LOTHAR & Peter NANDE – Two For The Road 2009

Posted in BLUES, Peter NANDE, Tim LOTHAR on December 26, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Tim LOTHAR & Peter NANDE – Two For The Road 2009


Two for the Road finds Tim Lothar and Peter Nande, two of Denmark’s finest roots music artists, traveling back in time to capture the essence of pre-WWII American acoustic country blues.
From the first notes of this outstanding country Blues album you know it’s going to be fun.
The rollicking beat and wonderfully relaxed feel of it all might make you overlook just how fine the musicianship is. But don’t.
Tim Lothar, originally a drummer, plays a style that’s pure blues yet recognizably his own: He combines fingerpicking, slide, and a drummer’s intricate sense of rhythm.
Peter Nande’s harmonica ranges from dance-quick and happy to as lonesome as a midnight train.
Lothar and Nande have each been named Danish Blues Artist of the Year, but to say that is almost to undervalue them: Who cares that they’re Danish? They should win some W.C. Handy awards: This is the best acoustic Blues album you’ll buy this year.
It’s produced by long-time American Bluesman James Harman—who, one critic has written, “is incapable of making a bad album.” His production (and guest vocals) infuse the outing with authenticity and humour.
One highlight is a cover of the Lovin’ Sam Theard tune, ‘Can’t Get That Stuff No More’ (wrongly attributed here to Tampa Red)—you just have to sing along.
The nine originals are stellar, too, from ‘Slow Train’, a jaunty toe-tapper, to ‘Rough Ride’, which Lothar’s loping drums and staccato guitar give a propulsive feel.
This album proves that Blues don’t come from place of birth: These guys get it. Beginning to end, this album is a damn good time.
By M.D. Spenser.
01. Slow Train
02. Can’t Get That Stuff No More
03. Ain’t Too Old
04. Baby Blue
05. Late Again
06. You Got To Choose
07. Done Left You
08. Rough Ride
09. Still On Hold
10. Poor Boy
11. Confessions
12. Pa-ta-nin’ Ta’ Jook-jernts
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The Siegel-Schwall Band – Sleepy Hollow 1972

Posted in BLUES, The Siegel-Schwall Band on December 26, 2010 by whoisthemonk

The Siegel-Schwall Band – Sleepy Hollow 1972


“Sleepy Hollow” was Siegel-Schwall’s second effort for their new label, “Wooden Nickel Records” Released in 1972, it broke new ground with hits “Hey Billie Jean” and “Something’s Wrong”. Check out the harp workout Corky gives to “Billie Jean”, then listen to the greased lightning fretwork Jim puts into “Something’s Wrong”….whew!! How do dey do dat?? “You Don’t Love Me Like That” is a blues boogie like you always wanted to hear, footstompin’ music and awesome slide guitar. Rollo Radford, bass player extraordinaire, gets a tune here too, with an original called “I Wanna Love Ya” and appropriately, it opens the record setting the tone for what’s to come. He has a very tuneful and powerful voice, and it’s always a treat to hear Rollo belt one out. Jim’s “Blues For A Lady” is the longest cut, and also the quietest…it’s a slow blues and tells a story of love for his then wife Cherie, in Jim’s own special way. And Jim even visits country music with his hilarious “Sick To My Stomach” in which he sings about the gastric distress he experiences whenever he thinks of his girl being with another man.
By William H. Haines.
Corky Siegel- Vocals, Harp and Piano
Jim Schwall- Guitar and Vocals
Rollow Radford- Bass and Vocals
Sheldon Ira “Shelly” Plotkin- Drums

01.I Wanna Love You 4:01
02.Somethin’s Wrong 4:12
03.Sleepy Hollow 3:33
04.Blues For A Lady 8:35


05.His Good Time Band 3:59
06.You Don’t Love Me Like That 3:31
07.Sick To My Stomach 2:23
08.Always Thinkin’ Of You Darlin’ 3:30
09.Hey Billie Jean 6:06
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Kurt ELLING – Dedicated to You (Sings Music OF Coltrane & Hartman) 2009

Posted in JAZZ, Kurt ELLING on December 26, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Kurt ELLING – Dedicated to You (Sings Music OF Coltrane & Hartman) 2009
Recorded Live at The Lincoln Center’s Lavish Allen Room.


Dedicated To You is a tribute to one of the most beloved and beautiful recordings in jazz, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. On that six song album, John Coltrane introduces a relatively unknown singer named Johnny Hartman. The two musicians had only just met one another, however in a mere three hours, they produce a classic. Hartman unfortunately never gains much recognition beyond this one album. Coltrane obviously fares a bit better.
Kurt Elling is a standout choice to honor Hartman. He boasts a rich baritone with flawless intonation and an uncanny flair for storytelling, just like Hartman before him. They’re also both from Chicago, which may be related to Elling’s interest in this project (Elling was recently named “Chicagoan of the Year” and holds down a regular night at The Green Mill when not on tour).

The supporting voice on that classic album is, of course, Coltrane. Ernie Watts, a veteran of the LA studio scene, doesn’t jump out as the obvious pick for this role. Nonetheless, he doesn’t disappoint, though at times he sounds more like Lenny Pickett than John Coltrane. But while his tone may not match the expectations of purists, his solos compliment the vocal approach of Elling perfectly.

This is not meant to be a replica of the 1963 classic. In fact, many of the tracks are from Ballads (Impulse!, 1962), another seminal Coltrane album recorded around the same time. It also doesn’t have the spare quartet sound of the original. Elling’s pianist and arranger Laurence Hobgood enlists the ETHEL string quartet to fill-out the group. This provides opportunities for a fuller orchestral feel with a few chamber interludes too.

The CD’s lone instrumental “What’s New?” receives a bit too much care (and vibrato), which when combined with strings starts to drift into the realm of ’70s-style Muzak. The track is short and soon the band is back to business with one of the most memorable songs on the original LP, “Lush Life.”

Don’t be put off by the Ink Spots-style talking in the beginning of the second track, “It’s Easy To Remember.” Elling proceeds to tell the fascinating story of the Coltrane/Hartman session. For those don’t know the album’s history, it may be surprising to learn how loose and unstructured the session really was—Hobgood likely spent a bit more time preparing for this set. It’s also poignant to hear of Hartman’s struggle to achieve prominence as a vocalist, as his fame is mostly posthumous.

Dedicated to You is a live recording from the Lincoln Center’s lavish Allen Room. The sound quality is first-rate, and the audience enthusiastic. Elling has once again shown that he’s not only a lover of this music, but a big part of its future.
By Andrew Leinhard.
Many, myself included, hold the opinion that John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman’s 1963 eponymous album is the greatest vocal jazz c.d. ever recorded. Based on this recording, one person who certainly agrees with that assessment is Kurt Elling. This is a loving tribute, a loving re-creation.

Is it as good? As they say in the opera world, “Aria kidding me??” No modern jazz or cabaret singer has the full, rich bass-baritone range of Johnny Hartman; and nobody can produce gut-wrenching sheets of sound, past or present, like John Coltrane.

Yet, if there is one male jazz singer who could do the album justice, it is Kurt Elling. But interestingly, he doesn’t use the structure of the Coltrane/Hartman or the Coltrane Ballads albums (both of which he covers here, as the original Coltrane/Hartman album was only about 30 minutes long) as a springboard for his wild vocalese, like you might expect. Instead, with pianist Laurence Hobgood’s arrangements for the “Ethel” string quartet, the c.d. takes a “classical feel,” as though this is truly classical music that deserves such treatment; and the incredibly soulful Ernie Watts is on hand, to remind us all that this, after all, was Trane’s music.

All of that sounds like a 4-star review. The reason for 5 is: Elling sings beautifully. As I noted in my review of 2007’s wonderful “Nightmoves,” he is getting more like Sinatra all of the time. I was particularly impressed by how well he was able to jump vocal registers in “Lush Life”; not many singers can do what he did here. And Hobgood and Elling have done a marvelous job in producing this c.d. It sounds wonderful, throughout.

I’m glad Kurt Elling did this tribute. I look forward to his return to the approaches he has taken on tunes such as “Tanya Jean,” “Effendi,” and “Hold Tight.”
By Rick Cornell.
Kurt Elling graciously accepted his first GRAMMY yesterday for the exquisite, tasteful, and always swingin’ “Dedicated to You.” It’s the first time since 1993 a male vocalist has taken home the golden gramaphone for Best Vocal Jazz Album. This was Kurt’s ninth GRAMMY nomination and his first win — the first of many, we hope!

If you haven’t heard this album yet, you’re in for a real treat. Kurt and his musical director and collaborator, Laurence Hobgood, have creatively and lovingly “re-imagined” the jazz classic that John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman recorded in 1963. Laurence’s arrangements are inspired. They’re joined by the great Ernie Watts on tenor, bassist Clark Sommers, drummer Ulysses Owens, and the string quartet ETHEL. “Dedicated to You” was recorded live at New York’s Lincoln Center in front of a *very* appreciative audience.

We’ve listened to this album repeatedly since it was released last summer, and it never grows old. We keep hearing new things to delight us.

Highly recommended! Buy it for yourself. Buy it for Valentine’s Day. You’ll love every minute of it!
By  P+T Johnson-Lenz.
Kurt Elling- Voice
Laurence Hobgood- Piano
Clark Sommers- Bass
Ulysses Owens- Drums
Ernie Watts- Tenor Sax (1, 4-7, 10, 12)
Corenlius Dufalo- Violin
Mary Rowell- Violin.
Ralph Farris- Viola
Dorothy Lawson- Cello
01. All or Nothing at All 6:50
02. It’s Easy to Remember (A Jazz Story Memory) 4:05
03. Dedicated to You 6:35
04. What’s New (Instrumental) 2:40
05. Lush Life 4:39
06. Autumn Serenade 3:10
07. Say It (Over and Over Again) 6:40
08. They Say It’s Wonderful 3:59
09. My One and Only Love 3:26
10. Nancy with the Laughing Face 4:56
11. Acknowledgements 0:38
12. You Are Too Beautiful 8:10
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Steve LACY with Don CHERRY – Evidence 1961

Posted in Don CHERRY, JAZZ, Steve LACY on December 26, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Steve LACY with Don CHERRY – Evidence 1961
1990 Issue.


Steve Lacy continues to dissect the Thelonious Monk catalog, performing four more of his tunes (The Straight Horn of Steve Lacy had three Monk tunes and Reflections was entirely Monk). Joining Lacy are two members of Ornette Coleman’s quartet, drummer Billy Higgins and trumpeter Don Cherry, as well as bassist Carl Brown. Clearly inspired by Ornette’s shaping of jazz to come, this album has no piano/guitar and thus no discernible chord changes, making the relationship between the melodies and harmony ambiguous.

What’s interesting is that the Monk selections sound as melodic and logical as ever, even in this anti-harmony context. If it’s possible to be disappointed in a Monk composition, my choice would be “Let’s Cool One,” only because it’s a tad simple and lacks the large interval leaps and rhythmic challenges he’s known for. Still, Don Cherry saves it with some of his catchiest and bluesiest choruses. The other three Monks are all A pluses, even if they’re not the most well-known. “Evidence” especially, it probably has fewer notes than any other Monk tune but the choice of what notes to use and when they’re played is so incredibly on the money. When Don Cherry solos, Lacy can’t help but play some of the head underneath.

The other two tunes here are both Ellington compositions, and while “Something to Live For” is only average, “The Mystery Song” fully lives up to its name. Lacy’s soprano sax is phrased alongside Cherry’s trumpet and Higgins works his toms like magic. Starting the album off on such a dark, downbeat note is odd but it only works in the album’s favor. Aficionados of Monk and/or Ornette and/or soprano sax should check this out.
By Coolidge.
Really wonderful work from a pair we wish we could have heard more often together! Steve Lacy’s early records are all pretty darn great, but this album’s a really special gem – a rare pairing with trumpeter Don Cherry, and an album with an incredibly haunting sound! There’s almost a bit more warmth here than some of Lacy’s other early records – and more than Cherry’s too, for that matter – as the pair move together marvelously through space that might be dubbed modal, but which also has a somewhat airy and open sense of freedom. Lacy brings in some of his usual love of Thelonious Monk, but the rhythmic progressions often move away from standard Monk modes – partly from the absence of piano on the set. Drummer Billy Higgins is especially great – playing with an almost melodic approach to his kit at times – and the quartet’s completed by bassist Carl Brown, who’s really won our attention with his work on the date. Titles include an incredible reading of Duke Ellington’s “The Mystery Song” – plus the tracks “Something To Live For”, “Let’s Cool One”, “Who Knows”, “San Francisco Holiday”, and “Let’s Cool One”.
From Dusty Groove.
Soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy continued his early exploration of Thelonious Monk’s compositions on this 1961 Prestige date, Evidence. Lacy worked extensively with Monk, absorbing the pianist’s intricate music and adding his individualist soprano saxophone mark to it. On this date, he employs the equally impressive Don Cherry on trumpet, who was playing with the Ornette Coleman quartet at the time, drummer Billy Higgins, who played with both Coleman and Monk, and bassist Carl Brown. Cherry proved capable of playing outside the jagged lines he formulated with Coleman, being just as complimentary and exciting in Monk’s arena with Lacy. Out of the six tracks, four are Monk’s compositions while the remaining are lesser known Ellington numbers: “The Mystery Song” and “Something to Live For” (co-written with Billy Strayhorn).
By Al Campbell. AMG.
Steve Lacy- Soprano Sax
Don Cherry- Trumpet
Carl Brown- Bass
Billy Higgins- Drums
01. The Mystery Song Ellington, Mills 5:45
02. Evidence Monk 4:59
03. Let’s Cool One Monk 6:43
04. San Francisco Holiday Monk 4:28
05. Something to Live For Ellington, Strayhorn 5:50
06. Who Knows? Monk 5:25
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James SOLBERG Band – See That My Grave Is Kept Clean 1995

Posted in BLUES, James SOLBERG on December 26, 2010 by whoisthemonk

James SOLBERG Band – See That My Grave Is Kept Clean 1995


As a former sideman for the late Luther Allison, Solberg’s strong Allison influence is evident here. However he takes things one step further in his highly emotional, rich, overtone-saturated guitar playing. This fits perfectly with the somewhat minor key oriented set on “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean”. The Hammond B-3, expertly played by H Bomb Vegas, has a dominant role in this recording; in fact this represents some of the most tasteful blues organ on recorded CD. Solberg’s vcals are good but his powerful guitar and it’s interaction with the rest of the group, especially the B-3, are what makes this CD great. Highlights include the title cut and a fabulous rendition of the classic “St. James Infirmary”. Overall a very highly listenable and enjoyable CD
By Douglas K. Hawley.
Jim Solberg’s debut album See That My Grave is Kept Clean is a storming collection of hard-driving electric blues. Before he had the chance to make this record, Solberg perfected his trade by working as a sideman. Those years slinging a guitar paid off in spades, as this record demonstrates. There’s a maturity to his style, but there’s also unbridled energy — the combination is, at times, irresistable. The songs may be a little uneven, but there’s no denying that Solberg and his crack supporting band have made See That My Grave Is Kept Clean into something to remember.
By Thom Owens, All Music Guide.
Charlie Bingham- (Guitar),
Bruce McCabe- (Piano),
James Solberg- (Guitar), (Vocals),
Mike Vlahakis- (Piano).
01. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean 5:12
02. Cry for Me Baby 3:48
03. Let’s Straighten It Out 3:41
04. Somebody Give Me a Guitar 2:27
05. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright 3:23
06. Bad Love 6:54
07. Baby, When Ya Comin’ Back 3:24
08. St. James Infirmary 8:45
09. Man of Many Words 4:11
10. Ain’t Nobody’s Business 3:42
11. Snatch It Back and Hold It 3:44
12. Jimmy’s Blues 3:49
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Jackson DELTA – Lookin' Back 1991

Posted in BLUES, Jackson DELTA on December 26, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Jackson DELTA – Lookin’ Back  1991


This independently produced CD is just great. It was recorded live and sounds more immediate and present than 98% of live records. The performances are loose, fun, and honest, with great playing all around. There is nothing precious or falsely authentic about this R&B-flavored record. The best cuts are “My Mistake” and “My Ears Keep Hearing Voices”
By Richard Meyer. AAJ.
A Profile of Jackson Delta, Jackson Delta emerged – after almost 15 years of work in coffee houses, clubs, colleges, concert halls and festivals – as a world-class acoustic roots/blues band.
The trio of Alan Black (drums, harmonica), Rick Fines (guitars) and Gary Peeples (guitars) has taken its own brand of basic, emotive, stripped-down music to enthusiastic audiences from the Mississippi Delta to the Mackenzie Delta.
“Jackson Delta grew out of rock n roll bands that Al and Gary and I played in. On our off nights we would get together to play acoustic blues.” – Rick Fines.
Blending the traditional sounds of the rural south with their own contemporary songwriting, this is a band with rare depth, passion, and finesse. And when the three residents of Peterborough, Ontario named their band after the Jackson Creek, which flows into Little Lake right beside the downtown Holiday Inn, they indicated that their music has a home-grown wit as well.
Jackson Delta’s first hint of a strong future was in 1988, when the trio placed third in the new talent contest for the National Blues Awards, and cut their first album in the famed Sun Studios in Memphis – in a single hour. The resulting tape, Delta Sunrise, is a collector’s item these days as only 250 copies were pressed.
The follow-up album, Acoustic Blues (nominated for Best Roots/Traditional at the 1990 Juno awards), was recorded a year later. This independently released album was just what the band needed to trigger interest among club bookers, concert promoters and festival organizers. Since then the band has hardly paused for breath.
The band’s third album,** Lookin’ Back **, continued the trio’s exploration of the blues tradition, but was markedly different in that all but two pieces were original tunes. A fourth album resulted from a live session cut with pianist Gene Taylor at the Ultrasound Showbar in Toronto in the spring of 1992. Titled I Was Just Thinking That… the record brought the band their second Juno nomination.
Jackson Delta has performed at virtually every important folk, jazz and blues festival across the country, toured with Muddy Waters veteran piano man Pinetop Perkins and performed with Colleen Peterson, Mose Scarlett, Ken Hamm and many others.
01. Lookin’ Back 4:15
02. Fool In Love 3:37
03. Goin’ Back To Memphis 3:40
04. My Mistake 3:50
05. Honey, What’s Wrong With You 4:00
06. My Ears Keep Hearing Voices 3:00
07. Little Sister’s Gonna Be Alright 2:54
08. The Feel Of Uncertainty 3:45
09. Silly Rules 2:50
10. Unpaid Bills Blues 3:15
11. I Sleep With A Ghost 5:00
12. Crazy (About You) 3:30
13. Worried Life 4:25
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Volker KRIEGEL & Mild Maniac Orchestra – Octember Variations 1977

Posted in JAZZ, Volker KRIEGEL on December 26, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Volker KRIEGEL & Mild Maniac Orchestra – Octember Variations 1977
68.147, MPS 15495


Volker Kriegel (24 December 1943–14 June 2003) was a German jazz guitarist and composer born in Darmstadt, Germany, perhaps most noteworthy for his contributions to the European jazz rock genre and for his collaborations with the American vibraphonist Dave Pike. In 1975 he was a founding member of the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble.

A self-taught guitarist, Kriegel began playing when he was fifteen and formed a trio three years later that won an award at a 1963 amateur jazz festival. In 1973 he founded Spectrum, a quartet that included Eberhard Weber, among others. In 1975 Kriegel spent a month teaching for the Goethe Institute, an organization he had worked for at various points throughout his career. In 1976 Spectrum broke up, and Kriegel started another band called the Mild Maniac Orchestra which stayed together in to the 1980s.

In 1977 Kriegel became the partial owner of a label called Mood Records. He has also done sideman work for various musicians, including Klaus Doldinger. In addition to music, Kriegel was also a cartoonist who appeared in several German newspapers, a radio broadcaster, and a director of films and author of books related to music.
German guitarist Volker Kriegel released this LP in 1977 on the MPS label, personnel is Volker Kriegel on guitar, Thomas Bettermann on keyboards, Hans Peter Ströer on bass and Evert Fraterman on drums, plus guests Nippi Noya on percussion, Alan Skidmore on sax, Ack Van Rooyen on trumpet and Wolfgang Dauner on synthesizer.
Volker Kriegel- Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Sitar [Sitar-guitar],
Hans Peter Ströer- Bass
Evert Fraterman- Drums
Thomas Bettermann- Keyboards
Music By;
Hans Peter Ströer (tracks: A2, B4) ,
Thomas Bettermann (tracks: B1) ,
Volker Kriegel (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)
Nippy Noya- Percussion
Alan Skidmore- Tenor Sax (on A1)
Ack van Rooyen- Trumpet (on A1)
Wolfgang Dauner- Synthesizer (solo on A3)
A1. Funk You Very Much 5:37
Saxophone – Alan Skidmore
Trumpet – Ack Van Rooyen
A2. Ballad Garden & Palm Dreams 6:02
A3. Octember Variation 6:30
Synthesizer – Wolfgang Dauner
B1. Und Schön Ist Die Fahrt 5:50
B2. Dora 6:30
B3. Flugsteig B 2:06
B4. Spiral Crackers 3:30
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