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Laughing Down Crying
Laughing Down Crying
Price: £13.23

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, say no more! He is restless and still growing musically., 27 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Laughing Down Crying (Audio CD)
It's fair to ask what kind of solo album Daryl Hall would make after 14 years and a 'world' of changes.

Since 1997's "Can't Stop Dreaming", Hall reunited with John Oates, cut records, and toured globally. He ended a 30-year romantic and creative partnership, got married, became a stepdad, and created "Live from Daryl's House", a homemade internet TV show that went into national syndication in 2007.

In 2010, four days into these recording sessions, his producer and best friend T-Bone Wolk died suddenly of a heart attack (the album, dedicated to him, contains his final recorded performances).

"Laughing Down Crying" is instantly recognizable, yet ambitious and understandably poignant.

Hall plays loads of instruments here; he co-produced with guitarist Paul Pesco and keyboardist Greg Bieck.

These ten songs reflect the range of music Hall's recorded, been influenced by, and encountered while doing his internet show. He doesn't shy away from what made him and Oates household names in the '80s; he embraces the songcraft but doesn't indulge in nostalgia.

The title track opens with an acoustically driven folk-rock number; the melody is pure Hall. It grabs the listener instantly with its strummed acoustic guitars and laid-back backbeats.

The vocal harmonies are pure '70s rock classicism in the refrain, and in them is a tight, rich hook.

"Talking to You (Is Like Talking to Myself)" is more uptempo, its hook dead center. The dual harmony lead vocals touch on late-'80s and early-'90s pop but pushes past them.

"Lifetime of Love" is an acoustically driven, blue-eyed soul number, with horns and a backing chorus that push Hall to soar over them, and his voice just gets better with age.

The opening of "Eyes for You (Ain't No Doubt About It)" is a spacy, nocturnal, funky soul tune with a babymaker bassline and loop.

"Save Me" employs slick gospel with an unforgettable chorus. "Wrong Side of History" would serve Hall & Oates well in the 21st century. Hall's interest in modern production and songwriting is revealed in "Get Out of the Way", with its big drum loops, wall of guitars, and Hall's voice calling up the musical storm around him.

"Crash & Burn" is a gorgeous acoustic pop ballad, and set closer "Problem with You" has Hall taking on the blues via his Philly soul roots. Admittedly, "Laughing Down Crying" is comforting and familiar. That said, it offers plenty of proof that Hall is restless and still growing musically.

It's the work of a master musician doing what he does best -- writing and performing beautifully crafted pop songs in terrific form -- while proving that not only does he have plenty left to say in the new millennium, but has everything it takes to compete in the marketplace. T. Jurek

Can't Stop Dreaming
Can't Stop Dreaming
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 4, 2011 10:19 PM BST

Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play The Blues- Live From Jazz At  Lincoln Center
Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play The Blues- Live From Jazz At Lincoln Center
Price: £6.76

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On this album, the joy is palpable and the chemistry natural., 14 Sept. 2011
United by dalliances with purism as young men and an abiding love of classic blues and jazz, Eric Clapton and Wynton Marsalis are a more comfortable fit than it may initially seem. Both musicians are synthesists, not innovators, stitching together elements from their idols in an attempt to preserve the past while bringing it into the present, so their sensibilities are aligned and, in 2011, they're amenable to a partnership that explores their common ground.
So, Clapton and Marsalis held a series of concerts at New York City's Jazz at Lincoln Center in April of 2011, the guitarist selecting the songs (apart from "Layla", performed upon the request of bassist Carlos Henriquez), the trumpeter picking the band and working up the arrangements, using King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band as his template yet finding room for piano and, of course, guitar.
Clapton's choice of songs leans heavily toward the '20s -- so much so that the dip into postwar electric blues via Howlin' Wolf's "Forty Four" feels a bit of a shock -- and the arrangements are faithful to classic New Orleans jazz yet loose, never quite hidebound to tradition and finding plenty of space for every one of the players to roam; Clapton and Marsalis surely solo plenty, but so do trombonist Chris Crenshaw, clarinetist Victor Goines, and pianist Dan Nimmer.
There's not much ego on display -- even the inclusion of "Layla" doesn't feel forced, thanks to Marsalis' inventive New Orleans funeral arrangement of this overly familiar tune -- but the joy is palpable and the chemistry natural.
Compared to Wynton's duet albums with Willie Nelson, this is both more traditional and riskier, and compared to Clapton's latter-day duets with B.B. King and J.J. Cale, this finds the guitarist none too deferential.
These are consummate musicians united by playing music they love, and their passion resonates so strongly it's hard not to enjoy Clapton and Marsalis playing the blues. S. T. Erlewine

Best tracks: "Ice Cream", "Careless Love", "Layla", "Corrine, Corrina".

The Definitive Collection
Riding With the King
The Road to Escondido
Two Men With The Blues - Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis
Here We Go Again
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2011 4:16 PM GMT

Helplessness Blues
Helplessness Blues
Price: £7.99

33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The album is in many ways superior to its predecessor., 2 May 2011
This review is from: Helplessness Blues (Audio CD)
The plaintive harmonies and get-back-to-the-country imagery of Fleet Foxes' well-received 2008 self-titled debut Fleet Foxes helped define a musical movement of 21st Century bands in search of lost, 19th Century ideals: Midlake, Blitzen Trapper, Bon Iver. Now the Seattle sextet returns with the far more ambitious "Helplessness Blues" (Sub Pop).

Though the melodies aren't quite as instantly memorable, the album is in many ways superior to its predecessor.
The band's multi-part harmonies function more as a piece of the wide-screen arrangements rather than the dominant feature.
The voice of Robin Pecknold is more out front and lyrically direct; against an intricate web of counterpoint melodies, he plays the troubled narrator wrestling with his place in the world.
Employing everything from woodwinds to Tibetan singing bowls, with finger-picked acoustic guitars sailing atop rumbling timpani, the band makes a wonderful sound: rich but not overstuffed, intricate but not labored, virtuosic without sounding like anyone's showing off. The songs don't stick to verse-chorus formula, they're more like mini-suites that turn and twist without drawing attention to their complexity.

If there's a shortcoming, it's that the band is almost too subtle for its own good; all that beauty and detail is rarely played for dramatic effect.
When Pecknold's pristine voice rises and finally cracks on "The Shrine/An Argument", followed by a free-jazz freak-out, it's the type of musical jolt the rest of the album lacks.

But such outbursts probably wouldn't make sense in fleshing out the album's central theme.
"Could I wash my hands of just looking out for me?" Pecknold sings on "Montezuma".
On the title song, he declares his desire to "be a functioning cog in some great machinery, serving something beyond me".

In striving for more self-less version of self, Pecknold and his excellent band have made an album that embraces modesty. Which is why it may take a few listens for its rarefied combination of beauty and anxiety to hit home.
In this case, another virtue that Pecknold extols -- patience - has its rewards. G. Kot

The Courage Of Others
For Emma Forever Ago
Destroyer of the Void
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2011 5:16 PM BST

The Lost and Found
The Lost and Found
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.77

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool! Brilliant! Finally a very different jazz singer!, 14 April 2011
This review is from: The Lost and Found (Audio CD)
The American (of Italian descent) vocalist Gretchen Parlato presents an ambitious follow-up to 2009's In a Dream with "The Lost and Found", a smorgasbord of vocal jazz styling over a diverse set of tracks.
Along with associate producer Robert Glasper, Parlato reaches far and wide with the aid of a first rate band.
The pianist Taylor Eigsti, bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott create ultra-hip grooves while maintaining a sensitive rapport with Parlato's soft-spoken approach.
The bassist Alan Hampton (who does a convincing turn on acoustic guitar and background vocals on "Still") and saxophonist Dayna Stephens add to the disc's a contemporary flair.
along with pop covers such as Simply Red's "Holding Back the Years" and Mary J. Blige's "All That I Can Say".
The fifteen track disc includes a handful of impressive Parlato' originals, most notably the sensual R&B flavored "Better Than", with light-as-air phrasing and hypnotic syncopated rim shots from Kendrick Scott.
A fondness for Brazilian music is heard on a cover of Paulinho's "Alo Alo", with a dance-like vocal line over multiple percussion parts, all performed by Parlato.
Wayne Shorter's classic jazz waltz "Juju" stands out strong with Parlato's original lyrics and Stephens' soaring tenor sax.
An in demand artist, having recorded with the likes of Terence Blanchard and Esperanza Spalding, Gretchen Parlato is on her way to becoming a mainstay in the field of jazz vocalists.
"The Lost and Found" is sure to add to her growing allure. J. V. Barron
The album debuts at # 5 of the Billboard Top Jazz Album. Issue date: April 23, 2011

Berlin 13
Berlin 13
Price: £9.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On this album, he revisites his deepest musical influences: atmospheric soundscapes., 11 April 2011
This review is from: Berlin 13 (Audio CD)
Federico Aubele was born and raised in Argentina, and while he is inescapably influenced by the musical traditions of his homeland, he has been inspired and affected by the many other places he has been.
He has lived in New York, Barcelona, and Berlin, and his sound is at least as well-traveled as he is, synthesizing dub reggae, ambient electronica, and Spanish guitar into elaborately textured music that is easily recognizable as his own.
He moved to Berlin in 2001, during the Argentine Crisis. It would seem, on the surface, to be a project dedicated to the German city, but it ends up being his most eclectic album to date.
"On his fourth album, Argentine guitarist and songwriter Federico Aubele takes both the production and mixing reins for the first time.
The title - "Berlin 13" - refers to the two-year period he spent living in the German city after leaving Buenos Aries, and to the thirteenth card in the Major Arcana of the tarot: Death.
"Berlin 13" is also significant for Aubele because it glues together the various strengths he's displayed on his previous recordings without their excesses or missteps.
There are the big, bass-heavy beats and loops that made 2004's "Gran Hotel Buenos Aries" stand out, the delicate, spidery, near-virtuosic nylon-string guitar lines that evoke tango, fado, flamenco, and jazz that have appeared on all of his records; there's the songwriter's gift for intimacy, subtlety, and melody from 2007's "Panamericana", and the ambitious genre melding, atmospheric evocations of other world music traditions from 2009's "Amatoria".
The set kicks off dubwise with "Berlin". A DJ's scratch beat, a bubbling bassline, and Aubele's otherworldly melodica accompany his guitar as swirling synths pan the channels à la Lee Perry. He sings in duet with Natalia Clavier, creating a sultry groove as sonic effects paint the backdrop underneath the dominant bass, kit, and hand-drums.
"No One" features some of the same dubbed-out elements in a downtempo vamp with tinges of tango, fado, and Latin percussion accompanying the tangle in Aubele's and Clavier's voices.
The album's single, "Bohemian Rhapsody in Blue", co-written with Jesse Harris, marries tango to reggae seamlessly. Aubele's vocal -- strangely reminiscent of Matt Johnson -- becomes a bridge in the tune's rhythmic palette, and is contrasted with Clavier's, echoing half-beat-behind one, to seemingly stretch time. The effect is steamy and erotic. The guitar and overamped bass twin perfectly, with sonic washes fluttering through the mix.
Clavier sings duet on the shimmering lament "Lágrimas Viejas", and lead on the trip-hop tango "Ojalá".
"Efemera" walks a club jazz-meets-fado line with Karina Zeviani singing lead. It's dark swirling synths and rhythms pulse and phase.
Other standouts include the midtempo, skittering beats and bass-blasted "13", with Aubele's guitar claiming as much authority as his voice, and the tribal, digital dub-tango "El Meiedo".
Ultimately, "Berlin 13" is the record Aubele's been trying to make since he started: it fulfills the promise of his earlier recordings while expanding his restless musical vision to become a new high-water mark". T Jureck.
The songs never stray too far from his roots in Buenos Aires, however the beats are heavier than on previous efforts. Maybe his time in Berlin lent a bit to the whirling mix of sounds, possibly representing pulls in different directions in his life in those tumultuous times.
It makes for good music when you can channel your emotions.
Favourite tracks: "Berlin", "Bohemian Rhapsody in Blue", "Efemera", "Lágrimas Viejas".

Gran Hotel Buenos Aires

Witchcraft - The Songs of Cy Coleman (Hybrid CD - Plays On All CD Players)
Witchcraft - The Songs of Cy Coleman (Hybrid CD - Plays On All CD Players)
Price: £16.45

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A joy to hear., 23 Mar. 2011
This duo's 2005 album, "When Lights Are Low", revealed Sir Richard Rodney Bennett (piano and vocals) and Claire Martin (vocals) to be the Fred and Ginger of the jazz world: while he gives her class, she gives him sex appeal.
The same applies to this new collection of songs by composer Cy Coleman, though the distinctions are a bit more blurred.
Coleman's music isn't the most memorable, but the witty, sophisticated lyrics of his collaborators are a joy to hear.
Download this: "Ev'rybody Today is Turning On" and "Nobody Does It Like Me".- A. Kerr

When Lights Are Low [Sacd/CD Hybrid]

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