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J. Higham "joehigham" (Europe)

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Simply Stated
Simply Stated

5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten classic, 15 Jun 2014
This review is from: Simply Stated (Audio CD)
This is one of those forgotten classic albums that has somehow disappeared from the catalogue. Unfortunately Blanchard's more recent albums are far less interesting, although in media terms they have been a great success. His new band-mates although top class musicians aren't as compelling as the first band represented here by Bruce Barth (pno), Troy Davis (dms), Sam Newsome (tenor sax) & Rodney Whitaker (bass). The compositions are excellent, the solos 'killing', the group interplay and sheer swing is top level. Although this was not a ground-breaking album at the time, it was however a band - and front man - that helped the resurgence of mainstream jazz, giving it some credibility again, and enabling young musicians to play jazz as a respectable art form.

The album sounds just a fresh today (2014) as it did when made in c. 1992 and is definitely one of those albums that you find yourself coming back to.

Different Times, Different Places
Different Times, Different Places
Price: 13.82

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More from Miller, 1 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For anyone who grew up listening to jazz in the UK in the 70s or early 80s then Harry Miller will be a familiar name. His Ogun records was a major part of the UKs vibrant jazz scene and the label hosted some of the top names. Miller was part of the group of musicians who bridged the gap between jazz, rock and maybe even some free elements, his name was synonymous with the vanguard of players pushing at the boundaries of jazz such as Keith Tippett, Chris McGregor, Elton Dean, Louis Moholo, Mike Osborne or Mike Westbrook. Before his untimely death in 1983 Harry produced a fine, if small, batch of his own recordings from solo bass on Children At Play (1972), to a duo Bracknell Breakdown (1972?), Harry Miller's Isipingo: Family Affair (1977), Harry Miller Sextett: In conference (1978) and the Harry Miller Quintet: Downsouth (1984). His music fused elements of South African grooves (he grew up in Cape Town) and strong modal riffs which he combined with the explosive energy of drummer Louis Moholo to produce some very exciting vibrant, swinging, melodic yet edgy music.

This is a collection of live recording from two concerts London (73) and France (76). The music is absolutely burning with Mike Osborne standing out as a major talent that he was - if you haven't heard him before imagine Ornette and Jackie McLean and you'll have a good picture. The tunes on the album are mostly from his Family Affair album long since out of print, however there are a couple of pieces which I've never come across before, or at least not on his records. The music is Harry's usual bag of burning intense riffing music which is driven by Louis Moholo and Miller. Osborne blows up a storm on most of the compositions, and to my mind it's some of his best playing - I've heard.

Other than that the recording quality is not bad for old - re-mastered tapes - recording from live concerts. Interestingly a lot of the Ogun catalogue when first released was often live recordings.

Price: 9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars try harder next time, 17 Mar 2014
This review is from: G I R L (Audio CD)
Well, I guess that if you like "Happy' then you'll be pleased with the album, even if it doesn't really have anything extra to add to that excellent single. I can't help hearing the influence of Curtis Mayfield in the sound of Pharrell Williams of recent, however if he wants to be up there with Curtis he's going to have to increase his political awareness lyrically and make music that has a little more texture and some harmonic sophistication.

Glad to see everybody else is happy with the product.

If you're curious about my review please try one of Curtis Mayfield's earlier albums, although beware they are not pop 'girl, I love you' albums.

Here's the first albums that are of interest (although I haven't heard the CD versions) Original Album Series, the last which may be of interest is "Glad to be in America Today", but I don't see that for sale here.

Virgins [VINYL]
Virgins [VINYL]
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 22.53

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sounds good, so far!, 4 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Virgins [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Just a quick review of the product - not the music. I thought to add this in immediately as it could help people decide on what they buy, LP or CD.

I'm little disappointed that Kranky don't include a digital download with the LP. It's a little bit boring (sad) to have to:

a) Record your own vinyl to put onto a CD/iPod (or whatever) to take on holiday, business travel etc.
b) Buy a second 'downloadable' copy, just to save the problem of (a).

I do understand that this isn't an obligation, but as one knows with such high quality music it can be very useful to have a digital copy to be able to carry around as already stated. However, I should add that the vinyl copy seems excellent quality, which surprised me after reading elsewhere that Kranky didn't produce/press such high quality LPs. In this case it's perfect - so far!

I'll update the music part in a few days, but as yet the music sounds excellent, for all those who already know Hecker's work. For all those about to discover, read the other reviews first.


The Complete Live At The Plugged Nickel 1965
The Complete Live At The Plugged Nickel 1965

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly over-rated, 12 Jan 2014
I thought I'd add this review in just to give a more balanced view of the legendary Plugged Nickel sessions, and help those that don't have it worry a little less about owning this collection.

I also bought this the first day it came out. As a young pro jazz musician I was eager to hear what was inside this long hidden Aladdin's cave of musical jewels. I was a little disappointed to say the least. The music is brimming over with energy and the band is killing, that much is true. However, what a lot of fans seem to blatantly ignore is that one person is ruining the whole thing........Miles!

There are many stories about Miles at this period and especially how the Plugged Nickel session was a kind of 'end of an era' type of thing. Miles hadn't been playing much as was his style at the time, party hard and play jazz later - all this can be read in his various biographies. This shows up on the Plugged Nickel where quite frankly what you hear is a musician whose chops are not 'on form'. His phrases are short, not well developed and his tone thin and hesitant. Just listen to any of the other albums from that period - there are live bootlegs around also - E.S.P, Nefertiti etc. His playing is glorious on those records, beautiful tone, phrasing, lines, rhythm, it's all there. But not on these evenings recorded here!

Of course the others - young cats ready to burn - were happy to play, as young players always are. Wayne Shorter - if I remember correctly - was drunk on one of the evenings, which probably accounts for some great 'wild' playing. Herbie, Ron and Tony played with burning conviction.

So, my opinion is that if you don't own the box set DON'T spend mega-bucks on it. Wait until it comes out as a cheap version, or just borrow it from a friend and enjoy listening to it over a couple of weeks whilst reading the copious liner notes. Then give it back having enjoyed finally hearing this legendary session.

I should maybe add that the box set has some great liner notes, photos, and other interesting stuff.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 31, 2014 8:46 PM BST

Thomas Ades: Anthology
Thomas Ades: Anthology

5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, and also good music!, 13 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Thomas Ades: Anthology (Audio CD)
This was a quick way of getting to hear who Adés is musically. Furthermore, on hearing it I was most impressed! I'd only heard the Adès Asyla: Chamber and Orchestral Works before, a gift from my brother many years ago - probably also from Amazon!

This compilation (or anthology) is really packed with exciting music. Some of my favourites are the "Chamber Symphony" and "Living Toys", with a quite superfluous trumpet solo in it, something one would normally find on a Gil Evans arrangement. But all the music - to my ears - is really exciting. The pieces I mentioned would seem quite 'jazz' orientated works - to give you an idea of the style. But saying that there are other gems here such as the Piano Quintet which ranges from delicate modern melodic music to more harsh dissonant sounds, great stuff!

One of the small complaints is that the booklet that accompanies the CDs isn't that useful. It does have all the basic information, an interview and a short bibliographic essay. However, I think if you mix up all this music (EMI) it could be useful to explain a little more, and give us details of the musicians involved?

Apart from that I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone curious to discover either contemporary (classical) music, or just curious to hear something of Thomas Adés.

Wild Science Magic Nail Lab
Wild Science Magic Nail Lab
Price: 12.37

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality, 28 Nov 2013
= Durability:1.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Wild Science Magic Nail Lab (Toy)
We just bought this (or rather my daughter spent her own money - from a gift voucher) a few weeks ago. I'd strongly recommend saving your money. The kit is all that it claims, but unfortunately the quality of the products inside are very low. My advice would be, save your money, go out and buy a few of the same products - glitter, colours and stickers, but better quality real ones! I'm sure they're not that expensive, and at least you can guarantee the results.

A few examples (and we followed the instructions to a 't') - the glitter, shimmer as it's known here, doesn't really show up at all. In fact I wouldn't have known it's there, except I helped my daughter put it into the mix, and onto her nails. The colours (you can add) are very poor and look opaque in contrast to what's shown on the box. It (cheekily) says that to get a brighter colour you should paint the nails several times. I doubt this will change anything, the colour product just isn't consistent (thick enough). Lastly, the stickers that are meant change colour in the light do not - my daughter told me they just look a little blue! And the fluorescent stickers come off immediately, even if you add extra layers of (their) clear varnish over the top.

Finally, although my daughter battles on with the set, I can see she's a bit disappointed. If we'd bought it from a shop I'd go back and complain, but after using the products I don't see why the seller should reimburse us. However, maybe with this review I might save people from wasting their money on such rubbish, and have some disappointed faces around the Christmas table in a few months time.

The Last
The Last
Price: 13.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and atmospheric!, 27 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Last (Audio CD)
I was interested to hear this album after having heard their first release on the mini-loop label. I thought that album - not available via Amazon I think - had great potential but was without real direction. This album is much more rounded off. The one thing it lacks is strong melodies, but that isn't really what the music is about. MA is really playing around with sound - it's also very beat driven - not unlike the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew or Herbie Hancock's Mawandishi style of music. But it's even darker than those albums and one could say that the music broods.

If you're buying the album hoping to hear hot sax solos then you'll be dissapointed. Tom Challenger uses his instrument as part of the group adding to the whole atmosphere. Dave Smith's drums sound great, Matt Calvert who seems to mix the whole thing together (live) via his electronic set-ups, makes them into something really special.

If you're curious there's a video on YouTube* with them rehearsing/recording one of the tracks which is pretty representative.

*= It was there when I wrote this - see the date.

One Great Night...Live
One Great Night...Live
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 12.79

4.0 out of 5 stars a good one, but .., 22 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: One Great Night...Live (Audio CD)
It's difficult to say anything negative about this group especially after so many excellent records - something like 10 in all? The group goes through many types of music some of it free-ish, although the 'free' label stuck on Ellery Eskelin is a bit of a red herring as far as I'm concerned. The record has 7 tracks of which 4 are tunes from the "Quiet Music" album and the other 3 from "Arcanum Moderne", both were released on HatHut, although maybe difficult to find now. The level of musicianship and playing throughout the record is impeccable, but for me it doesn't quite grab you as much as some of their other records did.

It's a little difficult to describe the music style of this trio and you'd be best advised to go and find a clip on YouTube to get the full picture. If you interested to discover Eskelin's trio try Ellery Eskelin : One Great Day... as it's certainly his best work with this band. There are others but unfortunately not in print at present.

One strange thing is that my copy of the CD won't play on a computer, although I don't understand why as it plays perfectly on the CD player. This is very annoying, and I'd be interested to hear/read if anyone else has had such an experience?

No Title Available

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just what you need., 18 May 2013
Great little recorder which is perfect for making all sorts of recordings - I'm a musician, and also use it at university to record lectures. It is easy to manipulate, change settings etc, no problems there. You can read what everybody says is great about it in the reviews.

Why the 4 stars. Couple of gripes,

a) the back cover (for the battery section) is becoming loser with every change/re-charge of batteries.
b) the annoying way that the file names/numbers stay even when they are wiped. This means that if you've just recorded file number xxxx_01.wav, and downloaded and wiped it from your recorder, then the next time you record it automatically makes xxxx_02.wav, etc. This is very annoying! Of course you can change all that in your computer, and rename as you wish, but why can't the Tascam just restart at 01 each time? I've tried various ideas such as wiping the whole memory i;e. complete re-format, but no change.

Anyhow, that's two very small gripes for a great machine.

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