Wednesday, September 30, 2009


For those who found Come from Heaven, Alpha's debut album, just a bit too consistently downtempo, this remix EP offers a thoroughly enjoyable remedy: remixes, most of them resolutely funky and upbeat, and a few rare tracks that contrast with them nicely. "With" comes in a politely funky hip hop remix courtesy of the Underdog, while "Hazeldub (MoreRockersPeaceAndLoveMix)" is a drum'n'bass setting that manages to be both frenetic and wispily lovely at the same time. "Honey" is an instrumental based too entirely on a single breakbeat, but it segues nicely into the illbient prettiness of Tim Simenon's remix of "Sometime Later." There are some great vocals from Helen White on "Slim," which also features a thunderous drum sample in a nice juxtaposition. Frankly, this album is far superior to the band's debut -- varied in tone and texture, melodically attractive, by turns booty-shaking and bliss-inducing.
~ Rick Anderson, All Music Guide

I don't particularly agree with the above review about their first album. I thought it was
great and I wish mine didn't break so I could post it here. Anyway...I hope you enjoy this one.
- Πελαγινοι

Artist: Alpha
Album: Pepper
Year: 1998
Label: Virgin Records / Melankolic

Track List:
  1. With (Underdog Remix)
  2. Hazeldub (More Rockers Peace and Love Mix)
  3. Honey
  4. Sometime Later (Tim Simenon Mix)
  5. Slim (Underdog Remix)
  6. Firefly (Receiver Mix)
  7. Pepper (1995)
  8. Bamboo Forest
  9. Over
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

That's My Kick & Gemini

This CD from Telarchive (a subsidiary of Telarc) reissues the complete content of two later Errol Garner LPs: That's My Kick and Gemini. The great pianist was still in prime form and, although his sidemen are fine in support (Wally Richardson is on guitar on the first date and the congas of Jose Mangual add a Latin flavor to the music to both sessions), Garner totally dominates the music as usual. He contributed eight of the 19 compositions and his wit is only exceeded by his creativity. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Artist: Erroll Garner
Album: That's My Kick & Gemini
Year: 1967 & 1972
Label: Octave Records


That's My Kick (Tracks 1-11)
Erroll Garner: Piano
Wally Richardson: Guitar (1,11)
Milt Hinton: Bass
Herbert Lovelle: Drums
George Jenkins: Drums (1,11)
Jose Mangual: Congas
Johnny Pacheco: Congas (1,11)

Gemini (Tracks 12-19)
Erroll Garner: Piano & Harpsichord
Ernest McCarty, Jr.: Bass
Jimmie Smith: Percussion
Jose Mangual: Congas

Track List:
  1. That's My Kick
  2. The Shadow Of Your Smile
  3. Like It Is
  4. It Ain't Necessarily So
  5. Autumn Leaves
  6. Blue Moon
  7. More
  8. Gaslight
  9. Nervous Waltz
  10. Passing Through
  11. Afinidad
  12. How High The Moon
  13. It Could Happen To You
  14. Gemini
  15. When A Gypsy Makes His Violin Cry
  16. Tea For Two
  17. Something
  18. Eldorado
  19. These Foolish Things
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The Brasil Project

I never believed it could be done, and to top it all, it's MY record! I feel like the cherry on a Brazilizn cake made with the best ingredients. Miles Goodman had the idea and brought Oscar Castro-Neves along to co-produce. Joel Moss made us all sound right. Last but not least Ron Goldstein gave us private music's green light. I would like to call this a labor of love.
All I had to do is be myself and play.
What more can a musician wish for?
I know! And I have that too:
My wife Hugette to whom I dedicate this music
with a smile and a tear,

Artist: Toots Thielemans
Album: The Brasil Project
Year: 1992
Label: Private

Toots Thielemans: Harmonica (on all tracks), Whistle (13)
Ivan Lins: Vocal (1,13) & Keyboards(1)
Brian Bromberg: Bass (1,4,10,13)
Djavan: Guitar (2) & Vocals (2,13)
Gilson Peranzzetta: Keyboards (2,7,8,11,13)
Jamil Joanes: Bass (2,7,11)
Teo Lima: Drums (2,7,11)
Cassio Duarte: Percussion (2,3,10,11)
Mike Lang: Keyboards (2,6,7)
Lee Ritenour: Solo Guitar (3), Acoustic Guitar (13)
Oscar Castro-Neves: Rhythm Guitar (3,13), Guitar (5,6,7,10,13), Keyboard (9)
Mark Isham: Trumpet (3,13)
Dori Caymmi: Guitar (3), Vocal (3,13)
Dave Grusin: Piano (4,13)
Chico Buarque: Vocals (5,13)
Ricardo Silveira: Electric Guitar (5,13)
João Bosco: Guitar (6), Vocal (6,13)
Nico Assumpção: Bass (6)
Gilberto Gil: Guitar (7), Vocal (7,13)
Milton Nascimento: Vocal (8,13)
Caetano Veloso: Guitar (9), Vocal (9,13)
Luiz Bonfá: Solo Guitar (10)
Bira Hawai & Zero (José Roberto): Percussion (10)
Edu Lobo: Guitar (11), Vocal (11,13)
Eliane Elias: Piano (12)
Paulino Da Costa: Percussion (13)

Track List:
  1. Começar de Novo
  2. Obi
  3. Felicia And Blanca
  4. O Cantador
  5. Joana Francesca
  6. Coisa Feita
  7. Preciso Aprender A Só Ser
  8. Fruta Boa
  9. Coração Vagabundo
  10. Manhã De Carnaval
  11. Casa Forte
  12. Moments
  13. Bluesette
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Monday, September 28, 2009

House Of Flying Daggers

Shigeru Umebayashi's score for Zhang Yimou's House of Flying Daggers is a study in simplicity, featuring a few understated but hypnotic themes that are repeated with different arrangements of traditional Chinese and Western instruments. Considering that Umebayashi also wrote the music for Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love, it's understandable that this score's romantic moments are among the standouts. The "Lovers" theme has a pure, yearning melody that works as well in a stripped-down arrangement as it does in the more lavish "Lovers (Flower Garden)" and "Lovers (Mei and Jin)." Soprano Kathleen Battle's version of the song is more overtly Western-sounding but still retains the melody's almost unearthly beauty. The score's bittersweet romance is balanced out by a few percussion-driven tracks that score the film's action sequences, but even pieces like "Battle in the Forest" and "No Way Out" are more melodic than might be expected. Gentle drama and restraint are the watchwords for most of the score, particularly on "Bamboo Forest," "Taking Her Hand," "Ambush in Ten Directions (Shi Mian Mai Fu)," and "The House of Flying Daggers" itself. The score's subtlety helps give House of Flying Daggers its own identity and, in the long run, makes the music more compelling than more bombastic music would be.
~ Heather Phares, All Music Guide

Artist: Shigeru Umebayashi
Album: House Of Flying Daggers
Year: 2004
Label: Sony Classical


Beijing Section
Percussion: Wang Shuai
Dizi: Dai Ya
Erhu: Xue Ke
Piano: Bi Xiaodi
Pipa: Deng Le, Shu Fang, Li Qi, Wang Qi, Duan Yan, Zou Yu, Xu Bin, Song Hongfei, Gao Ruiyun, Wang Qiao

Tokyo Section
Orchestra: ARIGAT-Orchestra
Orchestrator: Sachiko Miyano
Violin: Konno Hitoshi
Saxophone: Bob Zung
Bamboo Flute: Shota Mochizuki
Erhu: Jia Pengfang
Guitars: Koichiro Tashiro
Percussion: Ikuo Kakehashi
Voice: Tomoko Kanda
Piano: Takehiko Yamada
Ocarina: Takashi Asahi
Pipa: Jian Ting

Track List:
  1. Opening title
  2. Beauty Song (Jia Ren Qu) - Performed by Zhang Ziyi
  3. The Echo Game
  4. The Peonyhouse
  5. Battle in the Forest
  6. Taking her hand
  7. Leo's Eyes
  8. Lovers - Flower Garden
  9. No way out
  10. Lovers
  11. Farewell No. 1
  12. Bamboo Forest
  13. Ambush in 10 directions (Shi Mian Mai Fu)
  14. Leo's Theme
  15. Mei and Leo
  16. The House of Flying Daggers
  17. Lovers (Mei and Jin)
  18. Farewell No. 2
  19. Until the end
  20. Lovers (Title Song) - Performed by Kathleen Battle
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I bought this back when we still paid for things
in drachmas over here in Greece and I still love it.

Artist: DJ KRUSH
Album: MEISO
Year: 1995, 1996
Label: MoWax

DJ Krush: Music, Beats & Scratches
Black Thought & Malik B: Rap

Track List:
  1. Meiso (Original Mix)
  2. Meiso (Klub Mix) (By DJ Shadow)
  3. Meiso (Instrumental Mix) (By DJ Shadow)
  4. Meiso (Vocal Mix) (By 4 Hero)
  5. Meiso (The 4 Luscious Mix) (By 4 Hero)
  6. Meiso (Drug Deal Vocal Mix) (By DJ Crystl)
  7. Meiso (Drug Deal Instrumental Mix) (By DJ Crystl)
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Three Latin Adventures

The Clarke-Boland Big Band was Europe’s foremost jazz orchestra during its existence from 1960 to 1973. It started as a sextet led by American expatriate drummer Kenny Clarke (1914-1985) and expert arranger and French pianist Francy Boland (b. 1929), then grew to a large band comprised of expatriates like Johnny Griffin and Benny Bailey and talented Europeans like Ronnie Scott and Ake Persson. By the late 60s, its only real competition was New York’s Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Big Band. But only occasionally did the C-BBB – or its records -- make it over to the US.

The two albums featured on the superb Three Latin Adventures are1968’s Latin Kaleidoscope (released on Prestige Records in the US) and Fellini 712 (also 1968). Latin Kaleidoscope is comprised of two suites that are more traditionally Latinate, with the band swinging on well-written parts to a panoply of well-used percussion elements (Boland recruited drummers Kenny Clare, Al "Tootie" Heath" and Sabu Martinez to add their percussion talents). "Fellini 712" may be based on Latin origins, but Boland transcends such humble beginnings to a more universal language.

Gary McFarland’s six-part "Latin Kaleidoscope" is a joy to discover – much as it was to first hear his creations for Stan Getz on 1962’s Big Band Bossa Nova (to which this Latin suite bears some distinctive similarities). His trademark is simple, invigorating themes with a memorable, childlike quality. "Latin Kaleidoscope" offers much evidence of his gifts. Boland, who added his own touches to this suite, never takes a solo throughout and is occasionally heard on harpsichord; a sensitive touch to sensitively considered music. And excellent solos are taken by Sahib Shihab ("Duas Rosas"), Ronnie Scott ("Uma Fita de Tres Cores") and Aki Persson ("Othos Negrs").

Francy Boland’s "Cuban Fever" is like a musical postcard of Cuba: powerful, colorful, exciting, where the unexpected is approached at every corner. The innate skill of Boland’s craft is most apparent here. Like the great jazz arrangers, he’s a scenarist, a master painter. Here the brasses cover more of the thematic canvas. But it is often the reeds that take solo honors (a nice contrast) – with the exception of the beautiful finale, "Crepusculo y Aurora" that benefits by a resonant Benny Bailey trumpet solo (Clarke’s clever shifting patterns are much in evidence here too).

Boland’s "Fellini 712" suite is an ambitious, slightly more avant-garde take on Latin themes that is a testament to Boland’s substantial abilities as a writer and arranger. This suite, named for Italian director Federico Fellini and a reference to Rome’s 712-kilometer distance from the French border, was the result of an invitation for the band to perform in Rome during 1968. Boland was inspired by the band’s "dolce vita" Roman holiday and named his three movements after their hotel, the location of the studio where they performed and a café popular among musicians and artists. During this suite, it’s as if the band coalesces before your ears into one brilliant entity; each individual providing light and shadow to the collective whole. It is the magic Boland works in his pieces, but it’s brought alive by the enthusiastic playing of the band members. The extended time of each movement allows for more soloing too, with exceptional turns taken by Sahib Shihab on flute, Dusko Gojkovic on flügelhorn and Tony Coe and Johnny Griffin on tenor sax.

This is some of the best orchestral jazz that was made in the late 60s, wisely compiled for the CD age by original producer, Gigi Campi, in another one of MPS’s well-designed packages with informative notes by Mike Hennessey. Recommended.


Artist: Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band
Album: Three Latin Adventures
Latin Kaleidoscope
Cuban Fever
Fellini 712
Year: 1968, 1969
Label: MPS Records

Francy Boland: Piano
Kenny Clarke: Drums
Benny Bailey, Idrees Sulieman, Milo Pavlovic, Jimmy Deuchar, Dusko Gojkovic: Trumpet
Ake Persson, Nat Peck, Erik Van Lier: Trombone
Derek Humble, Phil Woods, Johnny Griffin, Ronnie Scott, Tony Coe, Sahib Shihab: Reeds
Jimmy Woode, Jean Warland: Bass
Kenny Clarke, Shake Keane, Al "Tootie" Heath, Tony Inzalaco, Sabu Martinez: Percussion

Track List:
  1. Un Grão De Areja - McFarland/Boland
  2. Duas Rosas - McFarland/Boland
  3. A Rosa Negra - McFarland/Boland
  4. Uma Fita De Três Cores - McFarland/Boland
  5. Olhos Negros - McFarland/Boland
  6. Ramo De Flores - McFarland/Boland
  7. Fiebre Cubana - Boland
  8. Mambo De Las Brujas - Boland
  9. Extraño Sueño - Boland
  10. Cara Bruja - Boland
  11. Crepúsculo Y Aurora - Boland
  12. Villa Radieuse - Boland
  13. 'Tween Dusk And Dawn In Via Urbana - Boland
  14. Rosati At Popolo Square - Boland
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