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Neil Mawer (Lincoln, England)

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Silver Rails
Silver Rails
Price: 10.92

4.0 out of 5 stars Not his career peak, but something old, something new, something blue, 1 April 2014
This review is from: Silver Rails (Audio CD)
On line reviews have called this Jack's best ever album. Not true, as Record Collector recently stated, Harmony Row is THE peerless 70s album. But this is far far better than we have any right to expect after 50 groundbreaking years and sits right alongside his magnificent 12 solo albums written with Pete Brown. And there's the clue - he's writing with Pete Brown again after a ten year estrangement. Their partnership just pushes things onto another level.

Definitely an album of two halves. The first 5 tracks are piano based songs with tremendous horn arrangements, that talk of visions of mortality. In many ways a musically superior continuation of Pete Brown's recent (excellent) solo album Pearls of Wisdom & Road of Cobras. The last 5 songs revisit (in style) Cream, Harmony Row and his 80s electronic experiments on Automatic & Somethin Els, and in the case of No Surrender & Keep It Down rework earlier classics.

Another gem to add to Songs for a Tailor, Harmony Row, Out of the Storm. How's Tricks, Jet Set Jewel, I've always Wanted to do This, Automatic, Somethin Els, A Question of Time, MonkJack, Shadows in the Air & More Jack than God. Get them all and marvel at Britains greatest ever bassist, singer & songwriter.

Things We Like
Things We Like
Price: 6.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A sideshow album by Jack, but a giant leap by McLaughlin, 19 Feb 2014
This review is from: Things We Like (Audio CD)
Recorded in August 1968, between the final Cream tours of the USA, this is the Jazz side of Jack Bruce that had only previously surfaced on the 1963 Graham Bond Quartet live at Klooks Kleek (again with McLaughlin on guitar) Heavily influenced by Charles Mingus (check out the bass solos) as were the horn arrangements on 1969s Songs for a Tailor, this was an important stepping board for John Mclaughlin, if only a sideshow in Jack's solo career.

The session enabled McLaughlin to buy the air ticket to the USA to meet Tony Williams and kick start his international career. Three other albums to consider in the same vein if you like this one are:-

EXTRAPOLATION - McLaughlin's debut with a very similar sax/bass/drums line up, but perhaps even better than Things We Like
THINGS WE LIKE (US MIX) - The original 1988 US Polydor issue (835 244-2) features a modern remix with stereo drums centre, bass left & sax right. This may be preferable for rock fans used to such a stereo presentation
THIS THAT - a 1994 album by Dick Heckstall-Smith, Jack Bruce and John Stevens on the German Atonal label. A belated follow up to Things We like, but even freer in jazz styling.

So one far from the mainstream of Jack & Pete Brown's songbased solo albums, but of interest to anyone liking the young turks of British free jazz in the sixties.

Rust Never Sleeps
Rust Never Sleeps
Price: 4.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Classic Album - Totally Disgraceful CD Transfer, 28 Nov 2013
This review is from: Rust Never Sleeps (Audio CD)
This was Neil Youngs return to top form & relevance after a lean period post CSNY and the Goldrush & Harvest era. An essential 5 star rock album that gave hope to older artists looking for a post-punk afterlife.

Unfortunately the CD transfer is an absolute disgrace, you can hear the vinyl roar and pre-echo on it from the needle drop transfer. The acoustic side is bearable, but the electric side loses all of the dynamics you associate with Crazy Horse.

Lets hope Neil reads this and hurrys through the next batch of his ORIGINAL MASTERTAPE remasters to include this masterpiece

First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
Price: 6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disgrace to call this a deluxe edition-Total Revamp Needed, 30 Sep 2013
First Rays of the New Rising Sun was first released over a decade ago, and was even then, seemingly an ad hoc collection of late Hendrix tracks from the first 3 LPs released after his death, namely;Cry Of Love ( 1971), Rainbow Bridge (1971) & War Heroes (1972)

Even the much maligned Voodoo Soup attempted a running order and consistent remix for its version of Hendrix's final album. This re-issue of Cry of Love adds a short film documentary. It does absolutely nothing to address the issue of what Hendrix intended for his follow up to Electric Ladyland

This album needs a total revamp by the Hendrix Estate, who far too quickly have lapsed into a lets milk Jimi for all his worth set of relatives, with attached internal in fighting. Hendrix's final studio album should be a 2 Cd set:-

1. CD 1 should be the 3 LP sides of songs Jimi wrote down & listed for the First Rays set, along with his proposed single Dolly Dagger/Night Bird Flying.Unfortunately he never wrote down the tracklisting for side 4 of his double LP vision, therefore

2. Disc 2 should be the finished 1970 songs from Cry of Love, Rainbow Bridge, War Heroes, South Saturn Delta, Valleys of Neptune & both of the family 4 Cd box sets.

At least that would give us what we know of Jimi's vision, and the final songs that may have completed the album. As it is this release is very unsatisfactory, and to re-issue it at full price is a disgrace!

Jazz-fusion: Blue Notes and Purple Haze
Jazz-fusion: Blue Notes and Purple Haze
by Kenneth R. Trethewey
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good intro to a great series of books, 31 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Many thanks for Ken Trethewey, a Cornish author, for expanding the small, but for fans of the genre, essential canon of Jazz Rock ( later Jazz Fusion) books.

The essential tome remains Stuart Nicholsons The Jazz Rock , an overarching look at the genre from the Bond Quartet in 1963 to neo-fusion. The Trethewey bookis a potted history of jazz rock along with some pencil biographies of some of the main players, that does not have the scope or depth of Nicholson. Of far more interest are the accompanying volumes on some of the greats; Miles Davis, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock & John Mclaughlin, a sort of personal critical review of all the albums by these definite heavy weights. Each of these is a 5 star effort, whereas the overview merits 4 stars.

Jazz Rock as defined, in my view correctly, by Jack Bruce is "jazz played with rock instrumentation". Although Nicholson traces its roots back to 1963 and the Baker/Bruce/McLaughlin Graham Bond Quartet, and others to Larry Coryell's 60s recordings, I believe it correctly starts with Tony Williams Lifetime on early 1969. Trethewey paints an interesting picture of Cream giving 6 months notice to split up and bands, including Lifetime, jockeying for position to take their place at the top of the Rock tree. Of course it was Led Zeppelin who succeeded, but Jazz Rock had come into being partly because of that process.

Interestingly Jazz Rock probably ended in 1977 with the final edition of Lifetime with Allan Holdsworth. Weather Report, Al Dimeola and a few others soldiered on, but it was Holdsworths and Bill Connors Neo Fusion that set the standard for others to follow in the 80s. Ken Trethewey is far less successful after the 70s following US jazz fusion stylists such as Metheney and the Brecker Brothers, rather than left field giants like Bill Laswell,perhaps because they are more commercially succesful and to his personal taste. This of course is a potential weakness with any series of books that are a subjective review of a recorded career. People, myself included are bound to disagree over relative importance, and Trethewey does give by and large fair and comprehensive reviews of his favoured artists. Potential disagreement is very much part of the success of these books.

My one real bone of contention is his over playing of the commercial success of an album or artist, what I call the Beatles syndrome. So Bitches Brew, Birds of Fire, Headhunters & Heavy Weather all get 5 stars. On the other hand the bands that have truly influenced the current generation of musicians; Lifetime ( De Johnettes Trio Beyond, Cindy Blackman, Spectrum Road,) Hancock's Mwandishi (There is a whole book by Bob Gluck on their influence) and Miles On the Corner ( Yo Miles, Bill Laswell), but were not a commercial success all receive 1 star. And Frank Zappa & Jean Luc Ponty's King Kong, the real prototype for the Mahavishnu Orchestra is ignored completely. This is the Velvet Underground syndrome. Sold few albums, but everyone who bought it started a band. Again I suspect Tretheweys's love of the commercial over the influential.

This also manifests itself in calling Miles Davis the most important act in Jazz history, aligning this with his continued commercial success after his death. I would personally put that largely down to brilliant marketing by Columbia. Yes Miles is definitely one of the giants of Jazz, but only on a equal footing with Armstrong, Ellington, Holiday, Parker & Coltrane.

And may I make my case for further books on the obvious omissions among the jazz rock greats.

* A volume on Larry Coryell
* A volume on Corea & Clarke similar to the Zawinu/Shorter set.
* And a volume on the Rock input to the genre, notably Jeff Beck's albums from Blow by Blow onwards, and Zappa's staggering Jazz Rock Trilogy Hot Rats, Waka Jawaka (Hot Rats 2) and Sleep Dirt ( Hot Rats3)

And if we are talking of a personal overview I would make a case for Bill Connors, who in my view on Hymn of the 7th Galaxy & Stanley Clarke's debut was the greatest jazz rock guitarist, who then quit to join ECM and basically invent New Age acoustic guitar in the late 70s. He returned with 3 brilliant mid 80s electric albums, defining the neo fusion style, and then retired to teach guitar for 20 years, returning in 2005 with a electric jazz album. Perhaps a footnote even in jazz rock, and certainly not a commercial success, but someone not surpassed in my personal view.

And finally many thanks for Ken Trethewey for his excellent website Jazz Fusion Books who publish all the titles via amazon & kindle. His customer service is second to none.If only all authors were so indulging of their readership

Price: 6.56

5.0 out of 5 stars The very best of "unreleased" Ellington, 25 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When the Duke died in 1974 the Pablo record label went through the late Ellington archives and released 4 albums, including his final classic suite from 1971, the Afro Eurasian eclipse, where the drummer Rufus Jones added real rock rythmns to classic ellingtonia.

Two other albums collected unreleased late period (69-71) pieces again with the driving Rufus Jones on drums. The final album collated 3 suites, 2 late period ones and the superlative Queeen's Suite from the classic 1950s band. The Duke had not authorised its release in his lifetime as the one and only pressed copy was presented to HM The Queen, the whole suite being written in her honour. On release it won the 1975 Grammy for best jazz performance!

So this wonderful and inexpensive Best of Pablo collates 6 tracks from the unreleased late period pieces, showing that Ellington was forever moving forward with organ & flute added to rock drumming, but which is still unmistakebly the Classic Ellington Sound. The 7th track is the complete 20 minute Queen's Suite.

So for anyone looking to investigate "late period" Ellington get this Cd and Afro Eurasian Eclipse and you have the added bonus of the classic Queen's Suite thrown in. A great farewell to one of musics 20th giants

Party in the Rain
Party in the Rain
Price: 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite Pete Brown album, 3 July 2013
This review is from: Party in the Rain (Audio CD)
Although overshadowed by his work as Jack Bruce's lyricist in Cream and the remarkable series of twelve Bruce solo albums from 1969 - 2003, Pete Brown has had a very well respected parallel career producing solo albums since 1969.

Party in the Rain was Browns 4th solo album, and his last one until 1991. Somewhat forgotten after having a very limited initial release on vinyl.

Although credited to Brown and then songwriting partner Ian Lynn, it is actually a record by Back to Front, the band they formed in 1974. And very good it is too.

This CD issue features 5 superb bonus tracks, and reveals Brown searching for a more sophisticated & mature audience than perhaps his early albums suggested. For whatever reason he gave up (punk perhaps?), and took singing lessons, but make no mistake this album has worn very well and gives dinosaur rock a good name. It does very much point the way to his 90s comeback with the excellent albums Ardours of the Lost Rake/Coals to Jerusalem.

This remains my favourite Pete Brown album, and he has not produced a bad one, and is much more than the missing chapter it appears. He also was a better singer than he gave himself credit for

Ardours Of The Lost Rake / Coats To Jerusalem
Ardours Of The Lost Rake / Coats To Jerusalem
Price: 12.62

5.0 out of 5 stars Classic 90s Pete Brown, 3 July 2013
Although overshadowed by his work as Jack Bruce's lyricist in both Cream and the remarkable series of twelve Bruce solo albums from 1969 - 2003, Pete Brown has had a very well respected parallel career producing solo albums since 1969.

Here Brown plays with Phil Ryan (his solo songwriting partner & former Man keyboard player) on their two efforts from the 1990s.

Ardours of the Lost Rake is a more tentative effort, being Browns first since 1977, and his first since taking singing lessons! On Coals to Jerusalem they really hit their stride, it is as good as any Brown solo album and required listening.

They do sound like a Union Jack Steely Dan for the baby boomers. But anyone interested in how a 60s rock icon can grow old with grace need look no further.This is sophisticated rock of a high order.

Excellently repackaged & remastered by Brown & Cherry Red records with 4 bonus tracks these albums have worn very well indeed. Check out the equally excellent follow ups Road of Cobras (2010) and Perils of Wisdom (2013)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 19, 2013 1:17 PM BST

Perils of Wisdom
Perils of Wisdom
Price: 11.28

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Pete Brown record, 3 July 2013
This review is from: Perils of Wisdom (Audio CD)
Although overshadowed by his work as Jack Bruce's lyricist in Cream and the remarkable series of twelve Bruce solo albums from 1969 - 2003, Pete Brown has had a very well respected parallel career producing solo albums since 1969.

Perils of Wisdom is his 8th studio set and follows hot on the heels of 2010s excellent Road of Cobras. This time Brown & Phil Ryan (his solo songwriting partner & former Man keyboard player) have for the first time recorded with their working band Psoulchedelia, which produces a very tightly arranged set. (Strangely the addition of the horn section for this recording reminds you of Jack Bruce's Big Blues Band.)

Another great set of songs about ageing, playing on the road and the recession. No songs about his usual favourite trains, but Motormother takes an interesting slant on the sexuality of cars. They do sound more and more like a Union Jack Steely Dan going for the (substantial) UK grey vote. That is grey in age, but with grey matter between the ears. And very well they do it to, sophisticated rock of the first order for the baby boomers..

Their two excellent 90s albums Ardours of the Lost Rake/Coals to Jerusalem have just been reissued by esoteric.

If this wasn't enough Pete is writing with Jack Bruce again. 70 the new 30 anyone?

Price: 8.58

5.0 out of 5 stars 2013 UPDATE:Buy with Metadelic for an oveview of the mighty Foxx, 20 May 2013
This review is from: Metatronic (Audio CD)
This 2 CD/1 DVD box set is a brilliant overview of John Foxx's harder edged electronica solo career, with some new remixes, rarities & a great live concert with Louis Gordon thrown in for the completist.

The criticism, justified in 2010, that it only shows one side of his career can now be corrected. Its accompanying 2CD/1DVD box set "Metadelica," covering the psychedelic electronica of Foxx is released on 3rd June 2013. Again for the completist it features rare BBC & 12" mixes.

Both beautifully complement each other. Will we have to wait until 2016 for the Metambient box? Lets hope note

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