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pinkjazz (London, England)

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Standing On The Rooftop
Standing On The Rooftop
Price: £6.99

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unusual mix of roots/jazz, which gives her fans a lot to admire., 5 July 2011
In 2009, Madeleine Peyroux issued "Bare Bones", her first recording of all-original material with producer Larry Klein and a small group of jazz musicians and co-composers.
"Standing on the Rooftop" is her debut recording for Decca with producer Craig Street.
The group of players here is a diverse lot: drummer Charlie Drayton, guitarists Christopher Bruce and Marc Ribot, bassist Me'Shell Ndegeocello; John Kirby, Glenn Patscha, and Patrick Warren alternate on keyboards, percussionist Mauro Refosco, violinist Jenny Scheinman, and Allen Toussaint guests on piano.
The program is richly and elegantly painted with modern production touches even as its songs are rooted in the historical past of classic Americana: pop songs, blues, jazz, and sitting room tunes.
It includes eight originals and four covers, among them a poem by W.H. Auden set to music by Ribot entitled "Lay Your Sleeping Head, My Love". The music is summery and laid-back.
The languid parlor-room reading of "Martha My Dear" by Lennon & McCartney has a deliberate old-timey feel and twins well with "Fickle Dove" (one of two Peyroux tunes written with Scheinman). Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain", with its strange pump organ backdrop and studio echo, indulges the kinds of production tricks Tom Waits might employ in disguising a blues. That said, this song too has a twin of sorts in the sonically similar title track; a clattering rag blues with ambient electronics held in check by Peyroux's elegantly earthy vocal. Ribot's acoustic guitar and Toussaint's upright on the Auden poem give the singer a perfectly loose frame to create a song inside.
The thin, lean, funky blues on "The Kind You Can't Afford" (co-written with former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman) and Bob Dylan's "I Threw It All Away" are both slow shuffles and high points. In the latter, Peyroux's voice shifts the lyric's meaning to where the implied bitterness gives way to bewilderment.
The album's final three cuts, "Meet Me in Rio", "Ophelia", and "The Way of All Things" make fine use of Peyroux's jazz chops; and because of Street's production, make an exact time-space continuum wonderfully imprecise.
As an album, "Standing on the Rooftop" may not be as striking as its predecessor, but perhaps it wasn't meant to be.
It is a seemingly effort that pushes the familiar toward an uncertain future where pop genres cease to need to exist at all. T. Jurek


Vel
Vel

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intense and entrancing!, 18 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Vel (Audio CD)
Susheela Raman, born in London from Tamil parents, is almost a household name in France, but isn't as well known as she should be. That's partly because her consistently innovative records have tended to confuse her followers.
Basically, she hails from the movement of immigrant and second-generation musicians from the Indian subcontinent based in Britain, who perform a fusion of traditional and classical forms from their homeland with contemporary beats and dancehall tracks from Western Europe.
She began work on the idea of fusing Indian classical forms with more contemporary Western ones.
Her first album "Salt Rain" from 2000, which looks more and more like a classic in retrospect, was tinged with jazziness, with some highly memorable tunes like "Ganapati" and "Maya", with an amusing take on "Trust in Me (The Python's Song)" from Disney's "The Jungle BookJungle Book 2 [DVD]".
It won her a fervent following, a BBC World Music Award and the love of the world music crowd.
Her next albums have veered from takes on Ethiopian pop in "Love Trap" to Dylanesque lyrics in English culminating in an adventurous album, "33 1/3", of cover versions including "Like a Rolling Stone" and a wonderfully re-imagined version of Hendrix's "Voodoo Child", which usually makes for a delirious encore in her concerts.
The world music contingent was, in general, frankly baffled (other critics liked this album the best).
As one Indian journalist commented, "When you hear Carnatic with a bluesy treatment or a Lou Reed classic sounding like it originated from Chennai or the Mississippi Delta, you're in Susheela Country".
In India too, though, there seems to be a divided response to Susheela - from ecstatic approval from some who see her as the avatar of a new cultural re-arrangement to others who are outraged by both her lax use of spiritual texts, in their opinion, or a kind of jealousy that an outsider is leading the way into the modern world.
For the new album "Vel" (the Tamil for spear, Tamil Voodoo and Incantation), Susheela Raman had worked with Londoner and Rajasthan's Folk musicians to create a different sound which has got a blend of both English Rock and Indian music.
It documents her journey as a European with South Indian ancestry into the heartland of Tamil music.
Its main references are based on ancient Tamil religions and culture, marginalised and downplayed by the mainstream culture in India and an intense sort of rough post-punk sound with added Indian violin, played with passionate verve by Kumar Raghunathan and masterful percussion by long-time collaborator, tabla guru Arif Durvesh.
The post-punk elements are provided by Johnny Turnbull on bass, who used to be in the band 23 Skidoo with Sam Mills, Susheela's partner and producer, who plays guitar.
There are several singalong in-your-face uptempo pieces including the head banging prayer inspired by an ancient female saint "Daga Daga", which is the sound of cosmic union between Shakti and Shiva , and "Raise Up", both of which will have festival audiences entranced, and but also more lyrical tunes like "Orfea", a version of the Orpheus myth, and "Paal", a song about pilgrims climbing a mountain to make offerings to Lord Muruga, which shifts gear from downtempo atmospherics to Wagnerian semi-thrash.
Her supple voice combines the soul of a Joan Armatrading and the wildness of a P.J. Harvey, even at times the spiritual plugged-in power of an Abida Parveen .
With her trademark raw cry, she is well known for singing ancient devotional hymns with an insistent urgency. Every word and note is malleable, and she spares no opportunity to sculpt each with passion.
With the likes of fellow Indo-Brit pioneers like Talvin Singh and Nitin Sawhney there is a feeling of artistic treading water.
With Susheela, though, she moves forward with the force of one of her beloved and fearsome South Indian goddesses, moving implacably into uncharted territory. Peter Culshaw

Prophesy
Love Trap
Music for Crocodiles
Together - Talvin Singh & Niladri Kumar


The Life And Soul
The Life And Soul
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strong '70s retro feel with plenty of street-soul grooves., 8 Jun. 2011
This review is from: The Life And Soul (Audio CD)
One of 2009's best blue-eyed soul albums was Mamas Gun's 'Routes To Riches (Deluxe Version)'.
The album boasted one of that year's best ballads - the warm and soothing 'Pots Of Gold'. Since then the London-based five piece have been touring hard and working on this - the crucial follow up.
Produced by Andreas Olsson and Martin Terefe, the band set out to make a rockier, tougher album than 'Routes' and, by and large, they've succeeded.
The intention is obvious from the start with the frantic guitar and wild vocal intro to "Reconnection"; then on the album's title track there's some hard guitar riffing on a tune that might recall some of David Bowie's more esoteric moments.
"Rocket To The Moon" offers more rocky guitar while, if you're that way inclined, you can also enjoy a cover of Queen's "Bicycle Races"! What saves those cuts and ensures that others stand out is the remarkable voice of Andy Platts.
Platts is a graduate of Liverpool's famed performing arts academy where he was an outstanding student - a testimonial that led him to find work with John Oates, Rod Temperton and Corinne Bailey Rae.
His soulful voice was the outstanding feature of that debut album and here it still sounds convincing.
Listen to the lead single : it's called "On A String" and it's meant to be a homage to James and Bobby Purify's "I'm Your Puppet". It sounds very different but it's every bit as soulful.
"Only One" is another great soul cut. This one is a duet with the lovely Beverly Knight (watch out for her new album Soul UK by the way) and they really get it on.
Best cut on the set though is the ballad "We Make It Look So Easy".
This is this abum's "Pots Of Gold". It oozes all the warmth and "wrap-aroundness" of that great cut and is a perfect vehicle for Platts' wonderful voice. It's worth checking out. B.Buckley


Revelator
Revelator
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £8.29

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With solid song writing and sensitive production, it delivers the goods with emotion and passion., 8 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Revelator (Audio CD)
This is the recording debut of the new, 11-piece band formed by slide guitarist Derek Trucks and blues singer Susan Tedeschi, who are also husband and wife. Both musicians have been fronting their own bands for over a decade and Trucks is also a member of The Allman Brothers Band, playing with his uncle, drummer Butch Trucks.
The band features a 3-piece horn section along with 3 backing vocalists and the photo of all 11 musicians lined up in the photo on the cover can seem a bit intimidating. So you may think of a new, big, soul-rock groups like Delaney & Bonnie and Friends and Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen, and expect "Revelator" to be a big, brassy, soul-shaking rave-up.
But that's not what we have here. The sound is much more restrained with the emphasis on songwriting and singer rather than jamming and shouting.
The album opens with "Come See About Me" (not The Supremes hit) and its mid-tempo funky, southern-fried groove sets the tone for what's to come.
Tedeschi's vocal style is similar to Bonnie Raitt's, but a touch grittier and Trucks' guitar-playing is straight out of the Duane Allman school of slide.
The horns section sounds a bit buried in the mix on the first two tracks but they get to shine later in the piece.
The album really kicks into gear with track three. "Midnight In Harlem" is a mellow, bluesy ballad, driven by Kofi Burbridge's beautiful Hammond B-3. Trucks' slide guitar joins in and Tedeschi lays down one of her finest vocal performances, restrained and emotive. This sounds like it could be the companion piece to Tony Joe White's "Rainy Night In Georgia".
"Bound For Glory" follows (again, not the Neil Young tune, they're all originals here), with a punchy horn chart, funky bass line and a great chorus.
It's followed by a number co-written with The Jayhawks' Gary Louris, a reflective country-soul number called "Simple Things".
Then comes "Until You Remember". Co-written with John Leventhal, it starts out with a New Orleans-style horn part before slipping in to a soulful ballad that recalls Otis Redding classics like "Try A Little Tenderness" and "These Arms Of Mine".
Trucks adds the icing to the cake with another stunning slide guitar solo.
Not all the tracks are successful. "Ball & Chain", with Oliver Wood, sounds a bit undercooked and there seems to be an over-abundance of mid-tempo tracks.
There are a few production flourishes that keep things interesting, particularly the use of table and sarode on "These Walls".
The band starts to pick up steam with the riff-heavy "Learn How To Love" and really gets cookin' on "Love Has Something To Say", which gives the horn section some room to show off.
Things wrap up with the much quieter "Shelter" where Derek Trucks gets the opportunity to let loose with one last slide solo. M. Duda


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