Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This starkly beautiful collection of 13 tracks by Tunisian composer Anouar Brahem is his debut release for the ECM label. The album spotlights Brahem's solo oud pieces, which range from the meditative ("Sadir") to the propulsive ("Ronda"). This solo work is nicely augmented by stellar contributions from violinist Bechir Selmi and percussionist Lassad Hosni; Selmi is featured on the transcendent "Barzakh", while Hosni figures prominently on "Souga" and "Bou Naouara". The three musicians come together for the joyous dance number "Parfum de Gitane". Throughout Barzakh, Brahem and the others forge an appealing mix of Middle Eastern sonorities and jazz phrasing, an intimate sound perfectly suited to the clean and spacious ECM recording style. This is a great title for fans of both international music and jazz.

~ Stephen Cook, All Music Guide

Album: Barzakh
Year: 1990
Label: ECM

Anouar Brahem: oud
Bechir Selmi: violin
Lassad Hosni: percussion

  1. Raf Raf
  2. Barzakh
  3. Sadir
  4. Ronda
  5. Hou
  6. Sarandib
  7. Souga
  8. Parfum De Gitane
  9. Bou Naouara
  10. Kerkenah
  11. La Nuit Des Yeux
  12. La Belvedére Assiége
  13. Qaf

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Nénette Et Boni

Nénette Et Boni is the soundtrack of the film by the french director Claire Denis, exclusively performed by Tindersticks. The only song with vocals is Petites Gouttes d'Eau, which is a newly-recorded version of Tiny Tears. Ma Soeur is an instrumental version of My Sister.

Marks Moods was originally a promo only CD sent out to film producers and music supervisors in the US. The versions of Ballad NY, Ballad LA, No More Affairs, Harry's Dilemma and Let's Pretend are exclusive to this CD. There was also a European version pressed by Rough Trade Publishing which is identical apart from the catalog number and legal credits. This album has been re-released as bonus disc of the Nénette et Boni reissue.

The following review is for disc 1 only:

The plot of the 1996 film, Nénette et Boni, from French screenwriter and director Claire Denis, involves the rather downhearted premise of a 14-year-old girl who is in serious need of an attitude adjustment; she's also pregnant and runs away from her boarding school only to end up at the door of her preoccupied brother, who is fixated on the baker's seductive wife. As if that convoluted scenario was not melancholy enough, the soundtrack to the film, the subject matter of which is quite befitting a sort of downcast pop sound, was appropriately turned over to eternal-depressives, Tindersticks. It was a perfect marriage. Of course, the soundtrack is not exactly a normal Tindersticks album; in some senses it is a radical departure. The obvious difference is that the album mostly lacks the bizarrely beautiful Leonard Cohen-on-valium croon of Stuart Staples (present only on the gorgeous "Petites Gouttes d'Eau"), and so some of their usual somber romanticism is inevitably lost. Also, not all of the individual pieces on the album are full-fledged songs, which is understandable given the album's primary responsibility as incidental music. Its tone is far less varied than normal, with some of the same instrumental themes and eerie piano chords reappearing throughout this release on various songs. It certainly lends consistency to the listening experience, but listeners also can't help but feel a sense of musical déjà vu at certain points along the journey. That doesn't keep Nénette et Boni from being entirely sensual and seductive, however, and in a stately, continental sort of way. It's a truly gorgeous piece of work, with the same lulling, shimmering, melancholy sheen that characterizes every Tindersticks album; together, the songs seem like a delusory, synesthesia oasis of sound. The music is absolutely sweeping at times, with string arrangements occasionally insinuating their way into a song almost as if from somewhere outside the piece. At other times, the music takes on a dark, insular complexion and vibe. Tindersticks can be simply creepy at times, as on "La Mort de Félix," but for the most part, their work here maintains enveloping, organic warmth, even when the sentiments are downhearted or chilling. [The album was also available in an extended "Canada Bonus CD" format.]

~ Stanton Swihart, All Music Guide.

The following review is for disc 2:

No Tindersticks fan could imagine an album by this wonderfully dark and dreamy British group that is almost completely devoid of Stuart Staples' voice, but this is what one gets with Marks Moods (the title most likely doesn't refer to any mood swings suffered by bassist Mark Colwill, as there's no apostrophe in the word "Marks"; the band is simply marking moods, you see). Almost everything on this promotional release is instrumental, even those numbers which were originally recorded with vocals. This sampler hunts and pecks through a period of the band's career (1993-1997), and does indeed reveal the musicians to be masters of mood, pacing, and arranging. It might seem worthless to have "Ballad of Tindersticks" broken up into two pieces, and shorn of Staples' subtly humorous spoken word commentary, but, upon close listen, the song is shown to be haunting even without the vocals, evoking a long drive down empty streets on a dark night. And what might be sacrilegious to some could be an old favorite reborn for others: "No More Affairs," with a trumpet bleating out the vocal line. When the listener realizes that Marks Moods was sent out to film producers, it's raison d'être becomes clear: the lads are showing more than a little interest in composing music for features. (Of course, they've done this already, and there are a few choice tracks from the Nenette Et Boni soundtrack to be heard here.) This would never be the album you'd use to introduce someone to the band -- the unparalleled eponymously titled album from 1995 would be the best place to start -- but for those moments when a little Stuart goes a long way, this is where you should turn.

~ Will Lerner, All Music Guide.

Artist: Tindersticks
Album: Nénette Et Boni (Canada Bonus CD)
Year: 1997, 2004
Label: Island

Stuart Staples: vocals
Dave Boulter: organ & accordion
Neil Fraser: guitar
Dickon Hinchliffe: guitar & strings
Al Macaulay: percussion & drums
Mark Colwill: bass

Nénette Et Boni - tracks:
  1. Ma Soeur
  2. La Passerelle
  3. Les Gâteaux
  4. Camions
  5. Nénette Est Là
  6. Petites Chiennes
  7. Nosfératu
  8. Petites Gouttes D'eau
  9. Les Cannes À Pêche
  10. Mort De Félix
  11. Nénette S'en Va
  12. Les Bébés
  13. Les Fleurs
  14. Rumba
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Marks Moods - Tracks:

  1. Ballad [NY - Mark Moods]
  2. No More Affairs
  3. Nenette S'En Va
  4. Burried Bones
  5. La Mort De Felix
  6. Paco's Theme
  7. Harry's Dilema [Mark Moods]
  8. Let's Pretend [Mark Moods]
  9. Sleepy Song
  10. Ballad [LA - Mark Moods]
  11. Don't Look Down
  12. Rumba
  13. For Those... [Orchestral Version]
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Orchestra Baobab - Pirates Choice: The Legendary 1982 Session

Senegalese Afro-Cuban, "Son" and "Pachanga" at it's best. Just listen to it. Seriously. :o)

Album: Pirates Choice: The Legendary 1982 Session
Year: 1982
Label: World Circuit

Issa Cissako: tenor sax
Barthelemy Attisso: guitar solo
Papa Ba: rhythm guitar
Adama Sarr: guitar accomp.
Charle Antoine N'biay: bass
Balla Sibide: vocals, timbales
Radolphe Gomis: vocals
Nbjanga Dieng: vocals
Medoune Diallo: vocals
Mapenda Seck: vocals
Mountaga Kouyate: percussion, tumba

  1. Utru Horas
  2. Coumba
  3. Ledi Ndieme M'bodj
  4. Werente Serigne
  5. Ray Mbele
  6. Soldadi
  7. Utru Horas (Alternate Take)
  8. Coumba (Alternate Take)

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Saturday, March 26, 2011


Dino Saluzzi as a solo performer is one of the more remarkable musicians in contemporary music, in that he plays several instruments, including his beloved bandoneon with such precision, balance and subtle power. Kultrum is indeed a multi-cultural project that taps into the folkloric, ancestral, and traditional sounds of Native American Indians and his South American roots, enhanced by producer Manfred Eicher's Eurocentric notions. The blending of deep drums, rattling percussion, and chanted vocals with the bandoneon or wood flutes creates a vista of deeply spiritual and ancient ritualistic music. Somehow these sounds are magically transmuted and modernized by the pristine sonic tones the ECM production team always lends to their albums, making this a true contemporary world music tour de force. Without the usage of overdubbing, Saluzzi takes the one-man band concept to tribal elder, soothsayer, or medicine man terrain. "Kultrum Pampa" sets the tone, as a flute sound like a French horn opens the gates for various cymbapls and African percussion instruments. "Agua De Paz" naturally flows like a long stream, while "Pajaros y Ceibos" reflects the natural sounds of a woodland and avian creatures in a vocal manner reminiscent of Milton Nascimento. Clearly this recording depicts a journey through various warm climates, exotic mountains, and glorious natural terra firma. The three-part suite "Ritmo Arauca" is an audio landscape in a full day cycle of rain, thunder, tropical bird calls, and bandoneon told tales of legends, followed by after dinner bonfire dancing. "El Rio y El Abuelo" directly reflects Saluzzi's traditions of his homeland in Argentina, with "Pasos Que Quedan" the most passionately romantic piece, and "Por El Sol y Por La Lluvia" again evocative of the sun and rain, but in a motif akin to morning awakening, as the circadian rhythms of life are renewed again. The bandoneon is not just Saluzzi's instrument, but his heart and soul singing and pleading to a rat race world that knows not of the secrets of the rain forest, the so-called third world, or of life apart from the concrete jungle. Your invitation to discover this remote topography is hereby offered, only a purchase price away from passage on a fascinating excursion into ancient, unadulterated, untouched lands anchored in the mystical realm of the imagination.

~ Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide.

Album: Kultrum - Music for bandoneon and string quartet
Year: 1998
Label: ECM

Dino Saluzzi: bandoneon

Rosamunde Quartett
Andres Reiner: violin
Simon Fordham: violin
Helmut Nicolai: viola
Anja Lechner: violoncello


  1. Cruz del Sur
  2. Salón de tango
  3. Milonga de los morenos
  4. ... y solos - bajo una luna amarilla - discuten sobre el pasado
  5. Miserere
  6. El apriete
  7. ... y se encaminó hacia el destierro
  8. Recitativo final

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Green Chimneys

In the 1980s, Kenny Barron was recognized as one of jazz's top pianists, a modern mainstream master who two decades later is still in prime form. His 1983 trio date with bassist Buster Williams and drummer Ben Riley, Green Chimneys, originally consisted of six songs highlighted by "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise", "Straight No Chaser", and a lengthy version of "There Is No Greater Love". The CD reissue adds a second alternate take of "Time Was", plus three numbers ("Skylark", "When Lights Are Low", and Barron's "Morning Blues") recorded with the same musicians in 1987. The additions are of equally high quality as the earlier set, making this swinging program (which has almost 68 minutes of music) a bargain.

~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide.

Artist: Kenny Barron
Album: Green Chimneys
Year: 1983, 1987
Label: Criss Cross Jazz

Kenny Barron: piano
Buster Williams: bass
Ben Riley: drums


  1. Softly As In A Morning Sunrise
  2. Don't Explain
  3. There Is No Greater Love
  4. Skylark
  5. Green Chimneys
  6. Straight No Chaser
  7. Time Was
  8. When Lights Are Low
  9. Morning Blues
  10. Time Was (Take 2)

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Man from Two Worlds

Although it tended to get overlooked at the time, one of drummer Chico Hamilton's finest groups was his 1962-1963 quartet/quintet. With Charles Lloyd at his most fiery on tenor and flute, and the colorful solos of the up-and-coming Hungarian guitarist Gabor Szabo, this band placed a stronger emphasis on melody and softer sounds than the more avant-garde groups of the time but still pushed away at musical boundaries. Trombonist George Bohanon is also on the final four numbers of this CD reissue, which brings back all of the music from Hamilton's Man from Two Worlds LP and four of the six numbers originally on Passin' Thru. Highlights include the original version of Lloyd's most famous song, "Forest Flower".

~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide.

Album: Man from Two Worlds
Year: 1962, 1963
Label: GRP

Charles Lloyd: tenor saxophone, flute
George Bohanon: trombone (#8-11)
Gabor Szabo: guitar
Albert Stinson: bass
Chico Hamilton: drums


1. Man from Two Worlds
2. Blues Medley
a. Little Sister's Dance
b. Shade Tree
c. Island Blue
3. Forest Flower
a. Sunrise
b. Sunset
4. Child's Play
5. Blues for O.T.
6. Mallet Dance
7. Love Song to a Baby
8. Passin' Thru
9. Transfusion
10. Lady Gabor (Szabo)
11. Lonesome Child

sounds like:


Thursday, March 24, 2011


The follow-up to Krush's excellent Meiso was a slightly more unusual affair, consisting of a series of collaborative pieces throughout, with only one or two exceptions, and with each particular guest bookending their respective track with a brief reflection on what the future of the world will hold. The results are a touch mixed but still a fairly good effort, as always with Krush's brand of jazz-tinged, heavy, druggy breakbeats and scratches at the center of things. His style remains pure and fierce, if anything becoming even more effectively unnerving and atmospheric with time, as the lovely blend of nature sounds and keyboards on "Jugoya" shows. The first collaboration, "Shin-Sekai", also demonstrates this perfectly; fellow Japanese musician Rino lays down a pretty fierce rap while Krush's blend of shuffling but hard-hitting drums and mysterious tones -- pianos, sighing electric guitar, and other strange moans in the mix -- carry everything before it. Producer Shawn J. Period throws in a lot of additional music, subtly but with great effect, like a strange haunted house, on "Listen", while DJ Cam, in an echo of Meiso's DJ Shadows tradeoff "Duality", jams with Krush to create the slamming mini-duel "Le Temps". Guest MCs this time include Tragedy and partner Stash, laying down a harrowing and saddening tale of crime and it's consequences on the hard-hitting "Real", while cult figure Mos Def spins his usual magic on the quietly chaotic salute to Japanese hip-hoppers, "Shinjiro". One of the most inspired moves comes at the end: a cover of John Lennon's "Mind Games", with guest singer Eri Ohno giving it a good soul revamp over the steady, big-impact rhythms.

~ Ned Ragget, All Music Guide.

Artist: DJ Krush
Album: Milight
Year: 1997
Label: Mo' Wax

Personnel and other info:
(click on image to zoom)


  1. Intro
  2. From Rino
  3. Shin-Sekai (with Rino)
  4. Jikan No Hashi 1
  5. From Stash
  6. Real (with Tragedy)
  7. From Tragedy
  8. Jugoya
  9. Listen (with Shawn J. Period)
  10. From Shawn J. Period
  11. Supanova (with Finsta Bundy)
  12. From Finsta Bundy
  13. Jikan No Hashi 2
  14. From DJ Cam
  15. Le Temps (with DJ Cam)
  16. From Kemuri Production
  17. Hitotsu No Mirai (with Kemuri Production)
  18. From Futura 2000
  19. From DJ Krush
  20. Jikan No Hashi 3
  21. From Lee Q.
  22. From Mos Def
  23. Shinjiro (with Mos Def)
  24. From Ken_Duro_Ifill
  25. Light (CanYou See It) (with Ken_DuroIfill)
  26. Mind Games (with Eri Ohno)
  27. From Eri Ohno
  28. Skin Against Skin (with Deborah Anderson)

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Five Tango Sensations

The undisputed lord of nuevo tango, Astor Piazzolla conceived of five tangos, written for himself on bandoneon, and the Kronos Quartet on strings. The neo-classical style of Kronos fits surprisingly well on Piazzolla's new style of tango and provides a wonderful backing for the maestro at work. Though there after only five songs on the album, the title fits well, Five Tango Sensations. Each of the tangos presented is a sensation and conveys the full emotion of scene given the titles: "Asleep", "Loving", "Anxiety", "Despertar" (waking up), and "Fear". Piazzolla plays his heart out on his trusty bandoneon, and the Kronos players accompany to perfection. If it's the tango the listener wants, Piazzolla is the man to listen to.

~ Adam Greenberg, All Music Guide.

Album: Five Tango Sensations
Year: 1991
Label: Nonesuch

David Harrington: violin
John Sherba: violin
Hank Dutt: viola
Joan Jeanrenaud: cello
Astor Piazzolla: bandoneon

  1. Asleep
  2. Loving
  3. Anxiety
  4. Despertar
  5. Fear

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