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S J Buck (Kent, UK)

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Mad Hatter
Mad Hatter
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £36.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 2 July 2015
This review is from: Mad Hatter (Audio CD)
Stylistically this is all over the place, but as a previous reviewer stated something magical locks it all together. I had never been a fan of Chick Corea but after listening to this I have revised my opinion and am buying, at least all the albums in this period.

I suppose this has to be considered a concept album, but unlike a lot of prog-rock albums of that type this is an album full of catchy and brilliantly arranged pieces. High points are many, but "Humpty Dumpty" is the best of the best. This is the one straight ahead (bop) Jazz piece on the album. Played at a blistering tempo with stand-out performances from the whole band, which consists of Eddie Gomez on Bass, Joe Farrell on Sax and Flute and Steve Gadd on drums.

Another highlight is "Falling Alice", which features Gayle Moran (Chick Corea's wife) giving a brilliant vocal performance, as she does throughout the whole album. On the same track there then follows a wondrous jam, starting with Chick Corea and then continuing between Joe Farrell and Herbie Hancock. Eddie Gomez (listen to his playing on Dear Alice) and Steve Gadd (listen to Humpty Dumpty), who have continued working together in the decades since this recording, are a stunning rhythm section. The accents and interplay between the drums and bass are a lesson for any musician.

I only purchased this recording a few months ago and I must have played it more than a dozen times now. Why its so difficult to get hold of, and so expensive is very odd, not say annoying. I got my copy from Japan, and so far its my album of the year - 37 years later.

There are a few famous Jazz musicians that have said the Jazz fusion experiment was a failure. If this is a fusion album than this is evidence that there were some great successes as well!!

The Gadd Gang "Digital Live" - Roots "Salute to the Saxophone"
The Gadd Gang "Digital Live" - Roots "Salute to the Saxophone"
Dvd ~ Roots
Offered by brrsales
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 18 Jun. 2015
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This is a great DVD. The Roots tribute to the Saxophone features four Sax players no less, including Chico Freeman and its great stuff (Try Parkers Mood). However I bought the DVD for the Gadd gang as I have long wanted a DVD of this band.

It didn't let me down. Essentially playing much in the same style as Stuff a decade earlier, but with more of a Jazz bias as the band contains Eddie Gomez on bass and Ronnie Cuber on Baritone Sax this is fantastic set highlighted by the stunning version of "Signed Sealed & Delivered", which of course Stuff used to play.

There are no extras to speak of except a few biographical details, but you do get 1 hr 55 mins of great music, so its well worth getting copy.

White Elephant
White Elephant
Price: £23.02

4.0 out of 5 stars The proving ground for many...., 11 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: White Elephant (Audio CD)
This is a little gem of an album. The tracks were recorded between 1969 and 1972 and feature musicians who would go on to make their name as Jazz or crossover artists. In some cases such as Steve Gadd someone who made his mark in many forms of music. The music here is I suppose a form of Jazz/Rock fusion with the occasional bit of blues thrown in.

The track listing is:
Peace of Mind
The Jones
Battle Royal
Look in his eyes
White Elephant
Easy One
Animal Fat

Amongst the other musicians are:
Warren Bernhardt
Randy Brecker
Ronnie Cuber
Tony Levin
Michael Brecker
Jon Faddis
David Spinozza

Mostly Mike Mainiera says (in his 1994 sleeve notes) the sessions were late night, after the taking of various substances (!), and reflected the late 60s ethos to a degree. As he says the lyrics have dated a bit. But there is no denying the quality of musicians playing here.

Steve Gadd - American Drummers Achievers Award [2004] [DVD] [NTSC]
Steve Gadd - American Drummers Achievers Award [2004] [DVD] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Various
Price: £18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Musical heaven, 10 Jun. 2015
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This is a fantastic 2 disc set, with loads of interesting interviews, rare footage, and background information on Steve Gadd. Not only that but you get some great live music from the event itself, which basically features Steve Gadd's current band (as of 2015) with the addition of Tom Scott on Sax. They play a variety of material from Chick Corea to James Taylor (who is there singing).

I'm not a drummer, and even if you're not a particular fan of Gadd this is still worth getting as it will point in the direction of some terrific music that Steve Gadd has been associated with over the years. For me his time with Chick Corea has been a recent obsession of mine. The Friends album in particular is very good.

Many of the speeches are interesting if you're a musician. Even if half of what they say is exaggerated for the show, he has still been an influence on countless musicians.

The set on 2 discs and there is over 6 hours viewing in in total!

Price: £8.64

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, 4 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: Friends (Audio CD)
I had some doubt in years gone by about Chick Corea, but having bought this and "Now he sings, now he sobs" as well as "Mad Hatter" I'm now certain I've been missing out on a great musician for the last 50 years.

This album which features Corea on Steinway Grand Piano and a Fender Rhodes electric Piano, is superb in many ways. The original compositions are pretty catchy, the rest of the band are stella: Joe Farrell on Reeds and Flute, Eddie Gomez on bass and Steve Gadd on drums (credited as percussion). The opening track "The One Step" starts out with a great electric Piano riff and never lets up. If I had one slight criticism it would be the similarity in feel between "Sicily" and "Samba Song". But is too much of a good thing bad?!

For me "Samba Song" is the highlight of the album. As the title of the track implies this is a samba, and a really amazing one. For fans of Steve Gadd's drumming, this may be reason enough to buy the album alone. The drive, energy and inspirational energy from all 4 musicians is superb. I can't really put it into words!

I found out today that this album won a grammy for best Jazz instrumental album (or similarly titled award) in the late 70s, and I'm not surprised at all. What a band, what an album..

No Beethoven: An Autobiography & Chronicle of Weather Report
No Beethoven: An Autobiography & Chronicle of Weather Report
by Peter Erskine
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 30 May 2015
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I read this from cover to cover very quickly. Unlike a lot of musicians autobiographies as far as I can tell this was written by Peter Erskine himself and he has done a brilliant job. The book chronicles his time with Weather Report, his musical upbringing as well discussing other musicians and his own recordings. He doesn't say bad things about other musicians, so if you're buying this looking for his opinion on other drummers, you won't find anything but praise, or no opinion at all!

He is a multi-talented man, who has played with Orchestras as well as a multitude of Jazz musicians. In fact about 600 recording sessions in all. The book is full of great musician stories, particularly relating to his colleagues in Weather Report. All in all a wonderful book.

Mika Marimba Madness: Live in Concert 2009 [DVD] [2010] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Mika Marimba Madness: Live in Concert 2009 [DVD] [2010] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Price: £9.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb concert, 21 May 2015
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This concert was recorded in Tamara City, Japan in 2009 and its utterly brilliant. These musicians are all high class: Peter Stolzman is on Piano, and is a very exciting player when he is given solo space. Eddie Gomez is on bass. He played with the great Jazz Pianist Bill Evans for 11 years, say no more. Steve Gadd is on drums, and contributes to the arrangements and material. Of course he has played with everyone! Leading the group, at least in terms of primary instrument, is Mika Yoshida playing Marimba. The combination of the four is a mixture of explosive, swinging, celebratory music at its very best. Is it jazz, you might be asking. Certainly in places there is improvisation, and they do play a few Jazz standards, so the answer is yes. The set list is below:
Rain Dance
Take the 'A' Train
The Duke
Mika Suite
Street Smart
Encore:- Girlfriends Medley

I bought the album on CD recently which was also recorded around the same time as this concert. I think the DVD is the better of the two. The choice of material is better and more interesting. Not that I dislike the CD I like it a lot.

A final word, the DVD is advertised as being region 1, which didn't concern me as I have a multi-region player. However it is playing on my standard play station 3, so I think its actually all regions.

Price: £44.16

5.0 out of 5 stars First class!!, 19 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Mikarimba! (Audio CD)
Perhaps the best album I've bought this year. Featuring Mika Yoshida on Marimba, Anders Wihk on keyboards, Eddie Gomez on bass and Steve Gadd on drums, its a terrifically enjoyable set of tunes recording in late 2009 and early 2010.

A mixture of standards and originals, the set list is:
Take the A train
Pixiland Rag (Corea)
Morning Love (Gomez)
Pathetique (Beethoven)
Slangpolska (Benny Anderson)
Deborah's Theme (Morricone)
The Duke (Gadd)
Sicily (Corea)
Gadd About
Glasgow Boogie
Strength (Gadd)
Tico Tico
Voulez Vous (Anderson/Ulvaeus)

You can see from the list above that its an eclectic set, and there isn't a duff track. I had to buy my copy from Japan as its quite difficult to get hold of without paying a lot. If you're in any doubt (and you shouldn't be with these musicians) check the videos of Mika and Steve Gadd on Youtube. Thats how I discovered it. An absolutely brilliant and quite unique Jazz album!

PS:- There is also a region 1 DVD as well.

70 Strong
70 Strong
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £10.34

4.0 out of 5 stars Still going strong, 16 May 2015
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This review is from: 70 Strong (Audio CD)
A good album this, as you'd expect from a group of excellent like-minded musicians. As the title says this marked Steve Gadd's 70th year, and what better way to celebrate it. "Foam Home" the opening track immediately reminded me of Stuff. Here is a classic example of Steve Gadd seemingly playing a simple pattern, that is completely 'in the pocket'. Actually of course its not simple, and very few drummers have matched his ability to do this. Larry Goldings plays a variety of keyboards and Walt Fowler (who I hadn't heard of) is clearly a terrific Trumpet and Flugelhorn player. Michael Landau is on Guitar and Jimmy Johnson on bass.

The album is mainly laid back and pretty mellow, and my one criticism is that on first listen nothing grabs you by the scruff of the neck and shakes you up, but the CD only arrived through the letter box an hour ago and I've only played it once. So a few more listens I'm sure will reveal more subtleties than my first listen revealed, and maybe then it'll deserve 5 stars.

Fabulous Four - Featuring Hagler, Hearns, Leonard & Duran [1990] [DVD]
Fabulous Four - Featuring Hagler, Hearns, Leonard & Duran [1990] [DVD]
Dvd ~ The Fabulous Four
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The last golden era of boxing, 4 May 2015
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A wonderful DVD featuring highlights of the many great fights between these four great boxers. It includes the complete Hagler vs Hearns fight (3 rounds), which must be considered one of the greatest boxing matches in history. Its a shame the complete fights aren't available, but this is the next best thing. The DVD has no extras and lasts 84 minutes.

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