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RBSProds "rbsprods" (Deep in the heart of Texas)
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The Bottle (La Botella)
The Bottle (La Botella)
Price: £0.79

5.0 out of 5 stars SINGLE TRACK REVIEW: JOE BATAAN'S SMOKING VERSION OF GIL SCOTT-HERON'S "THE BOTTLE"., 24 Feb. 2015
Five SWINGING Stars! Composer, arranger, pianist, and singer Joe Bataan took musician/poet Gil Scott-Heron's classic social statement theme "The Bottle" and recast it as "La Botella" using a latin beat, disco violins, a number of `congueros', `timbalists' and drummers, Bataan's driving 'ostinato' piano riff, and a hot tenor sax in the role of lead voice and soloist, turning it into a popular instrumental hit of the 1970's, becoming a hit of the disco musical craze. It still retains its power, swing, and attractiveness. Highly Recommended. Five HUGE Stars! (1 MP3 track; Time-3:36)


midnight sun LP
midnight sun LP

5.0 out of 5 stars FLORA PURIM’S FABULOUS “MIDNIGHT SUN”, 16 Feb. 2015
This review is from: midnight sun LP (Vinyl)
This excellent recording is from the decade that saw Brazilian jazz vocalist Flora Purim voted the number one jazz vocalist in the world by the DownBeat International Critics Jazz Poll. Performing also is her husband, the legendary Airto Moreira who became one of the top percussionists, both as a solo artist and as her accompanist. The kaleidoscope of musicians on the session, which vary by song, include Marcos Silva or Kei Akagi on piano, the 'Itchy Fingers' sax quartet (Mike Mower, John Graham, Martin Speake, and Howard Turner), Gary Meek on tenor and soprano sax, Jose Neto on guitar, Randy Tico or Bob Harrison on bass, and Airto on drums, vocals, and percussion. Special guests are George Duke on "Midnight Sun" and Egberto Gismonti on "Bodas de Prata".

With the ‘Itchy Fingers’ quartet laying out a lush reed and flute palette, Flora gives a very personal accounting of the classic ballad “Angel Eyes”. The classic “Light As A Feather” is a great extended version of Flora’s breakout performance with Chick Corea’s 'Return to Forever' which spread her fame even more early in her career. It features a fascinating fleet-fingered piano solo by Kei Akagi. Jaco Pastorius’ lovely lilting “Las Olas” (The Waves) begins with a rhapsodic piano introduction by Marcos Silva and has Flora singing wordlessly in the personal instantly-recognizable ’scat' style that made her famous for decades and influenced 3 generations of jazz vocalists and instrumentalists who use a background vocalist. Flora’s own “Flora Nova” is a heartfelt performance sung solo and multi-tracked in sensuous Portuguese. Giving a nod to Milton Nascimento with “Nothing Will Be As It Was” Flora unleashes her clever scatting of the song with Meek very emotional on his tenor sax solo. “Good Morning, Heartache” is a superb version of this classic jazz and blues ballad sung in English, as is the title track “Midnight Sun” which features George Duke on keyboards and Gary Meek on tenor sax. Renowned composer, guitarist, and pianist Egberto Gismonti and Flora bring the set to a close with great drama on his own composition "Bodas De Prata” (Silver Wedding) with filagrees by Meek on soprano. Flora and friends are in excellent form giving outstanding performances on this Venture records set. Highly Recommended. Five DIVERSE Stars! (9 tracks. Time-43:40)


Acucena
Acucena
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars KENIA'S HIDDEN GEM ON "DISTANT HORIZON": "ACUCERNA", 16 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Acucena (MP3 Download)
Brilliant Brazilian popular music (MPB) singer Kenia's breakout album was "Distant Horizon" which reached audiences far beyond the shores of Brazil, thanks to international Brazilian DJ's such as Sergio Mielniczenko. This album features outstanding songs such as Toninho Horta's "Distant Horizon" (Horizonte Distante) sung sweetly with the English lyrics of Bill Gable. But another gem on the album is her lilting, heartfelt Portuguese performance of Ivan Lins' "Acucerna", featuring a great synthesizer solo and some great drumming, which Kenia elevates to a level as good an Ivan's own version. Five MAGNIFICENT Stars! (1-MP3 track.Time-3:53)


Revolutionary Ensemble
Revolutionary Ensemble
Price: £9.35

5.0 out of 5 stars "REVOLUTIONARY ENSEMBLE" IN DELIGHTFUL, APPROACHABLE AVANT-GARDE SESSIONS, 16 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Revolutionary Ensemble (Audio CD)
Five CAPTIVATING Stars! Recorded live at Moosham Castle in Austria, this recording reveals the Revolutionary Ensemble as an excellent, cohesive group of talented multi-instrumentalists that play attractive approachable avant-garde jazz that keeps things interesting and very intellectual by frequently changing forms and rhythms, both among the songs and within the songs. The group consists of the legendary Leroy Jenkins on violin, flute, kalimba, and voice; double bass master Sirone who also plays flute; and the polyrhythms of drummer Jerome Cooper who is also heard on flute, piano, balaphone, and chiramiya.

The 'best of the best' begins with "Clear Spring" where the trio set aside their main instruments and playing on flutes in the lovely pastoral first movement that is distinctly `bird like' and emblematic of the Spring season, the second movement has Jenkins playing a kinetic violin solo that is perfectly matched by Cooper's exotic beats from his 'mallets on tom toms' work. "March 4-1" has the pure controlled-fury of the 'New Thing' movement in some sections, but still very approachable because of the group's tightly-arranged, empathetic musicianship, which keeps both the listener and the musicians on track, then the song gives way to an attractive drum-bass section of unusual beats with Jenkins' violin soaring above. "Chicago" is a lovely blues statement that Jenkins repeats over and over with different inflections and an octave jump, all over Sirone's walking bass and Coopers drum bombs, shimmering cymbals and rolling snare figurations. The eponymous "Revolutionary Ensemble" has Jenkins on the vibraphone-like 'kalimba' and Cooper on the oboe-like 'chirimira' with Sirone in arco mode, then a virtuoso pizzicato solo, and then there is a fascinating dialogue between Sirone and Jenkins in both arco and pizzicato modes as Cooper cuts loose underneath, all showing the immensely-talented Revolutionary Ensemble at the height of their creativity and musicianship on this Inner City live recording. My Highest Recommendation. Five IMAGINATIVE Stars! (4 tracks. Time-42:46)


Virada Pra Lua
Virada Pra Lua
Price: £29.08

5.0 out of 5 stars THE AMAZING SIMONE GUIMARÃES SINGS INTENSE BEAUTIFUL BRAZILIAN MPB, 16 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Virada Pra Lua (Audio CD)
Five HUGE Stars!! A thrilling new set of Brazilian Popular Music (MPB) songs from the amazing singer, poet, musician Simone Guimarães. Simone is "one of the best singers out there" and has one of the most exotically beautiful voices in all of Brasil, unlike any other. Her conceptual music CDs are beautiful and intense, demanding attention, as she sings about the real interior Brazil: the people, the culture, and nature. If you're looking for beach sambas and background music, it's not here, although she can samba with the best of them. On her last CDs, she took us canoeing down the river of life, wordlessly through beautiful orange groves, into the battle between man and nature, dancing the forro and the ciranda, and through the coastal fog and into the deep waters around Brazil, always searching for love, insight, and happiness. On this CD the search continues but using a more urban contemporary sound, with the legendary Milton Nascimento and the acclaimed guitarist, singer-songwriter Guinga as primary guests.

"Virada Pra Lua", the turning phases of the moon, takes us into the city where minorities yearn for a better life ("Imensidade"-Immensity) and past hillside tenements where musical notes float down like prayers from heaven. Past the beautiful seaside with a stunning performance of "Porto De Araujo" with composer Guinga himself on guitar, through a sensuous "Night Club", and into a fabulous version of Nacimento's "Imagem E Semelhança" (Images and Similarities) with Milton and Simone who are always wonderful in duet. "Meu Coração" (My Heart) is a gut-wrenching performance with Simone's unusual sonorities perfectly fitting this song. It all ends on a up note with a high-energy samba, "Marilyn", that celebrates feminine accomplishment and sexuality through the likes of mega-star Marilyn Monroe, actress/media goddess Sonia Braga, super divas Elis Regina, Sarah Vaughn, and Ella Fitzgerald, and one-time Sao Paulo Brazil mayor Marta Suplicy. All sung in beautiful, sensuous Brazilian Portuguese with Brazilian Portuguese liner notes. Chalk up another winner by the amazing Simone Guimares that is Highly Recommended and deserves Five BIG Stars.


Can't Wait (US Import)
Can't Wait (US Import)

5.0 out of 5 stars MARGO LEDUC: MARVELOUS, SOULFUL VOCAL PERFORMANCES, DEDICATED TO LOVE, 16 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Can't Wait (US Import) (Audio CD)
Five BIG Stars! Emotional, soulful vocal performances. Margo LeDuc is a marvelous vocalist and educator who has a sensational singing style, with a soprano voice that is framed by both a solid higher and lower register, the sum total of which can mesmerize the listener. Indeed, her 'held notes', soulful hipness, and altissimo forays on this recording and on her "DC Boogie" and "Into the Blue" tracks on "Paul Hardcastle VI", her "Live at Last" CD, and the "Sailing" track on Tony Saunder's "Romancing the Bass", can be quite goose-bump inducing. Across her career, her recordings, guest recordings, and live appearances show she is an arresting singer whether in the pop, soul, jazz, and gospel venues. On this recording, somewhat 'conceptually' caught up in the spell of Teena Marie, she transcends her "Lady T" influences with her own dynamic vocal capabilities and unique approaches to her music.

The `best of the best' is all-inclusive here, because each track is a musical jewel of equal excellence. It all begins with a great interpretation of the Bobby Caldwell R&B hit "What You Won't Do (For Love)". "Love Between U & Me" is a minor masterpiece with a great jazzy sax introduction, Margo is marvelous. "Love We Once Had" effectively uses the refrain " spinning round and round" with Margo interweaving her effective vocals among the vocal chorus' refrain of "spinning round and round" while she soars over it all. The haunting "Heartache" and the impassioned "I Remember Love" are excellent heartwarming love songs. And best of all, the soulful title track "Can't Wait" delivered with dramatic pauses, amid infectious, shifting multiple rhythms over staccato phrasing by the vocal chorus, underneath Margo's very emotional vocalizations. Kudos to the musicians and the wonderful vocal chorus for stellar support and background work. Margo LeDuc is an outstanding, versatile vocalist. My Highest Recommendation. Five HUGE Stars! (9 tracks, Time-40:30)


Concerto Italiano
Concerto Italiano
Price: £51.72

5.0 out of 5 stars CARMIGNOLA PLAYS COMPELLING CONCERTOS BY ITALIAN COMPOSERS, WITH 3 WORLD PREMIERS!, 16 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Concerto Italiano (Audio CD)
FIVE INSPIRED Stars!! Illuminating, unique Italian concerto performances! With this recording, the baroque violin virtuoso Giuliano Carmignola continues his winning ways with premier performances of 3 rare violin concertos by late baroque period Italian violinists/composers: Domenico Dall'Oglio, Michele Stratico, and Pietro Nardini, as well as a concerto by Antonio Lolli. Recorded at the famed Gustav-Mahler-Saal, Kulturzentrum Grand Hotel, in Dobbiaco/Toblach Italy, the sound is excellent. Coming off of two spectacular Vivaldi recordings with the Venice Baroque Orchestra under the baton of Andrea Marcon: first as an individual on Vivaldi: Concertos and then forming a great duo with Russian-born violin diva Viktoria Mullova (on her 1750 Guadagnini violin with gut strings, no less) on Vivaldi: Double Concertos, Carmignola now continues along his driven, inspired musical arc with this recording. He and the VBO meet the challenge with truly compelling performances.

The 'best of the best' of this recording begins with the violin concerto of Domenico Dall'Oglio, a virtuoso violinist & composer who spent decades in the musical service of the Russian imperial court. While the premier of this work shows he is thematically under the spell of Vivaldi, he departs from "the Red Priest" within each movement, giving Carmiognola a broad framework of personal music that is challenging and beautiful, especially both Allegro movements, that allow Carmignola to bring on bowed fireworks within the stately nature of the concerto, using the composer's own cadenzas. The prolific composer Michele Stratico was educated in Padua, Italy, becoming a musical associate of the famed Guiseppe Tartini. His "g-moll en sol mineur" concerto is a work of elegance and grace, unpublished during his lifetime, especially the Grave and the sparkling Allegro Assai third movement with its arresting double stops, surprise false ending, and crucial VBO support. Nardini's soaring Violin Concerto in G major is beautiful and charming, especially the Adagio movement. While of high quality, this concerto is not up to the standard of the other two premiers. Nardini demonstrates instead his capacity to write beautiful themes and orchestrations, which obviously inspire Carmignola's arabesques and cadenzas. For the icing on the cake, Carmignola includes sizzling performances of concertos by Antonio Lolli and, for some, a bonus one-movement Rondo Allegro by Giornovichi. These transitional period Italian concertos are wonderful performances by Giuliano Carmignola, Andrea Marcon and the VBO making this a very special 2010 recording. Hats off to repertoire consultant/editor Olivier Fourés whose musical forensics took him from California to Japan to Europe. Highly Recommended! Five ILLUMINATING Stars. (This review is based on an iTunes digital download with digital booklet. Mr. Carmignola plays the 1732 "Baillot" Stradivarius violin. a' = 440 Hz.)


Composition No 323c
Composition No 323c

5.0 out of 5 stars ANTHONY BRAXTON'S FAR OUT AVANT-GARDE TRIO WITH MARY HALVORSON & TAYLOR HO BYNUM, 16 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Composition No 323c (MP3 Download)
Five EXCELLENT Stars! Welcome to the leading edge of fascinating, experimental, far out, avant-garde music! "Trio (Victoriaville) 2007" was recorded live at the 'Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville' in Quebec Canada. And it features the legendary composer, virtuosic musician, philosopher Anthony Braxton's latest musical incarnation: the Diamond Curtain Wall Trio, consisting of the leader playing a mind-boggling number of unusual reeds, woodwinds, and software; cutting-edge, creative guitarist Mary Halvorson; and highly inventive brass artist Taylor Ho Bynum (of the Fully Celebrated Orchestra). Plus a Macintosh computer running SuperCollider, no less. Jazz visionary Braxton, a winner of the lucrative MacArthur "genius" fellowship, has produced over 100 albums and over 300 compositions in continuing his relentless exploration of jazz and idiomatic avant-garde compositional forms, musical structures, and improvisation groups. Mr Braxton, entered our jazz consciousness decades ago as a member of the super group Circle with Chick Corea and as an associate of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), playing both conventional jazz and experimental music.

The one 'song', 59 minute "Composition 323c" is apparently built on written themes with free-flowing jazz improvisations and commentaries between the three musicians (and the Mac computer) with Mr Braxton switching to an impressive number of instruments (probably the only place in the world, short of a classical orchestra, where you will see the very large "lowest-pitch possible" contrabass sax, the smaller but 'still a handful' bass sax, soprano sax, F alto sax, and sopranino: the contrabass sax had to be wheeled to forefront. Mr Bynum switches to an imposing number of trumpets, cornets, mutes and a trombone). Ms Halvorson plays one of the widest guitar sonic palettes I have heard. The sounds they create are flat-out amazing, with colorful dynamics and symmetry. Some would say it is not music, just interaction. Well, the CD reveals these are master musicians interacting on A.B.'s music. There is no conventional pulse and it doesn't swing, conventionally, but there are moments of great beauty, intrigue, and overwhelming improvisational energy & emotion, especially at the musical 'power points'. It ends as it began with Braxton, Halvorson, and Bynum (and the Mac) in moments of tranquility, with many stormy moments in between. The audience in Quebec certainly enjoyed it, shouting their approval. Please evaluate the Amazon.com music sampler first. I enjoy avant-garde 'music from the edge' & I give this performance my Highest Recommendation. Encore! Five CUTTING-EDGE Stars!! (Import, Audio CD, 59:36, an Amazon.com purchase that arrived surprisingly and quickly from England.)


Old Spice Fiji Body Wash 475 ml Body Wash for Men
Old Spice Fiji Body Wash 475 ml Body Wash for Men
Offered by Deals of UK
Price: £16.32

4.0 out of 5 stars "FIJI": A TROPICAL, DISTINCTIVE, EXPENSIVE "OLD SPICE" BODY WASH FRAGRANCE THAT SEEMS TO 'TAKE YOU THERE', 16 Feb. 2015
Four EXOTIC Stars! Definitely a very pleasant smell for targeted users and even one woman reviewer uses it. This Old Spice "Fiji" body wash is one of their most unusual fragrances from their "Fresh Collection" of body washes and is advertised as "8 hours of sunshine and freedom" in a 16 ounce squeeze bottle. With the "Fiji" name, one might expect a spicy fragrance, and it is more of a light, spicy, and long-lasting aroma that reminds me of a mixture of coconut and mango with the familiar Old Spice fragrance underneath. As a body wash, it has a light green color and is thinner and more fluid than most body washes, but it effectively cleans the skin and leaves that aroma for, at least, the targeted 8 hours. Suggested for nighttime, the beach, or on vacation. Very Definitely Recommended, but expensive. Four ATTRACTIVE Stars! (Old Spice "Fiji" fragrance body wash in a 16 fluid ounce squeeze bottle.)


Barefoot
Barefoot
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars SINGLE TRACK REVIEW: ELIANE ELIAS BEGUILES WITH A SMOOTH JAZZ “BAREFOOT”, 15 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Barefoot (MP3 Download)
“So Far, So Close” was one of the first recordings that signaled Eliane Elias' entry into the world of smooth jazz and her first on Blue Note records. After the breakout years of hard bop, MPB, and fusion performances that had announced a major Brazilian jazz artist to the international community, she kept in touch with her roots and developed her stunning singing voice at the same time. “Barefoot” is a great tune from this album with Eliane singing wordlessly and playing synth. She’s actually using a samba beat that is cleverly disguised by a bouncing Will Lee bass line that boots the song along. Drummer Peter Ersking further aids in the disguise by dropping some effective tom tom bombs and cymbal splashes at key, unexpected moments over the figurations of conguero Cafe’ and Don Alias. This is a great group performance, featuring her vocal-synthesizer performance by legendary highly-influential Brazilian jazz vocalist and pianist, Eliane Elias, who helped shape the "smooth jazz” genre, over 25 years ago. Five LOVELY Stars! (1 MP3 track. Time-4:39)


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