Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Ronu Majumdar, Ry Cooder, Jon Hassell ‎– Hollow Bamboo (2000)

Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD
Label: Water Lily Acoustics

Tracklist:
1.   Vaisnava Bhajan
2.   Krsna Kantha Kandam
3.   African Queen
4.   The Charmer Of Braj
5.   A Day For Trade Winds
6.   Bay Of Bengal
7.   River Song
8.   Hollow Bamboo

Credits:
Bansuri – Ronu Majumdar
Electric Guitar – Rick Cox, Ry Cooder
Oud (Turkish Oud) – Ry Cooder
Percussion – Joachim Cooder
Tabla – Abhijit Banerjee
Trumpet – Jon Hassell

The world music bin at the record store is a depository for all non-Western sounding musics. From field recordings of Australian aborigines spinning bull-roarers in a ritual context to studio-produced fusion musics that use an occasional tabla sample for the sake of added exoticism, the world music category catches them all. On Hollow Bamboo, celebrated bansuri player Ronu Majumdar tunes into a few of the different bandwidths offered within the world music spectrum. With half of the tracks he grounds his playing in traditional Hindustani works. Accompanied by the penetrating tabla playing of Abhijit Banerjee on most of these cuts, Majumdar whips up stunning melodic gusts that swirl in and out of time with the tabla. The other four tracks are experimental collaborations with trumpeter Jon Hassell, guitarists Rick Cox and Ry Cooder, and percussionist Joachim Cooder. "A Day for Trade Winds," a song formed upon richly textured guitar drones, is the most successful of these four fusion tracks because guitarists Cox and Cooder lay back and let Majumdar develop subtle, yet sophisticated, melodies. "African Queen" is a less successful hybrid, due in part to the fact that Joachim Cooder's hand drumming drowns out the superior playing of Banerjee. Whatever the contributions of his collaborators may be, Ronu Majumdar's sensitive performance on the hollow, bamboo bansuri makes this CD a great listen, no matter what end of the world music spectrum you're coming from.
John Vallier / AllMusic

VA – Tudo Ben (Jorge Ben Covered) (2008)

Style: Samba, Bossanova
Format: CD
Label: Mr Bongo

Tracklist:
01.   Salinas - Tenha Fé, Pois Amanhã Um Lindo Dia Vai Nascer
02.   Elza Soares - Pulo, Pulo
03.   Wilson Simonal - Silva Lenheira
04.   Osmar Milito - Rita Jeep
05.   Wilson Simonal - Zazueira
06.   Osmar Milito - Quem Mandou
07.   Doris Monteiro - Se Você Quiser Mas Sem Bronquear
08.   Wilson Simonal - Que Pena
09.   Osmar Milito - Morre O Burro, Fica O Homem
10.   Os Originais Do Samba - Lá Vem Salgueiro
11.   Os Brazoes - Carolina Carol Bela
12.   Wilson Simonal - Crioula
13.   Sonia Santos - Speed
14.   Claudette Soares - Êles Querem Amar
15.   Os Increveis - Vendedor De Bananas
16.   Wilson Simonal - Brasil, Eu Fico
17.   Cyro Aguiar - Rei Do Maracatu
18.   Wilson Simonal  Resposta
19.   Elza Soares - Mas Que Nada
20.   Wilson Simonal - País Tropical
21.   Originais Do Samba - Cadê Tereza
22.   Zarijo - Fio Maravilha
23.   Os Originais Do Samba - Tenha Fé, Pois Amanhã Um Lindo Dia Vai Nascer
24.   Os Brazoes - Que Maravilha
25.   Os Mutreteiros Grilados - Cosa Nostra
26.   Os Originais Do Samba - Falador Passa Mal

The writer of Mas Que Nada, covered by the likes of Sergio Mendes, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Al Jarreau, and Taj Mahal - the source of inspiration for Rod Stewart's 'Do You Think I'm Sexy?', Ben is a enormous force in Brazilian popular music. 
Often described as the James Brown of Brazilian music due to his prolific output, he is the most sampled Brazilian artist ever with artists from The Black Eyed Peas to DJ Markylifting elements off his tracks. 
His song catalogue has also been covered by some of the finest bands in Brazil. This selection represents some of the more dance-floor orientated interpretations including mega rarities such as Cosa Nostra by Os Mutreteiros Grilados and tracks that even Ben himself never got around to singing like Rei Do Maracatu's Cyro Aguiar.
Mr Bongo

Yusef Lateef & Adam Rudolph ‎– Towards The Unknown (2010)

Style: Contemporary, Avant-garde Jazz, Modern, Fusion
Format: CD
Label:  Meta Records

Tracklist:
1.   Concerto For Brother Yusef: First Train
2.   Concerto For Brother Yusef: Southside
3.   Concerto For Brother Yusef: Reflections
4.   Concerto For Brother Yusef: Mysterious Affinities
5.   Concerto For Brother Yusef: Six Trees
6.   Concerto For Brother Yusef: A Better Day
7.   Percussion Concerto (For Adam Rudolph): First Movement
8.   Percussion Concerto (For Adam Rudolph): Second Movement

Credits:
Tenor Saxophone, Producer, Composed By, Vocals – Yusef Lateef
Arranged By, Composed By, Cymbal, Djembe, Frame Drum, Gong, Percussion, Producer, Sintir, Udu – Adam Rudolph

9 ottobre Yusef Lateef varcherà l'invidiabile soglia dei novant'anni. All'epoca di questa incisione, lo scorso 17 settembre, ne aveva dunque quasi ottantanove, e già questo ha del sorprendente. Lateef è in effetti uno di quei grandi del jazz che hanno sempre vissuto la vicenda-maestra della musica afroamericana su posizioni un po' defilate, periferiche, a dispetto di un rilievo notevole, non fosse altro - nel suo caso - che per la spinta offerta alla causa del polistrumentismo, materia controversa fin che si vuole - anche alla luce, magari, di certi recenti eccessi - ma nodale nello sviluppo del linguaggio jazzistico contemporaneo. 
Affermatosi a cavallo fra anni Cinquanta e Sessanta (quindi già alla soglia dei quaranta) con i fratelli Adderley, Lateef (al secolo William Emanuel Huddleston) s'impone come tenorsassofonista in qualche misura in bilico tra un fraseggio di marca hard bop e una sonorità più larga, di matrice classica. Le sue energie creative si sviluppano peraltro su un trittico di strumenti che include anche flauto (sul quale l'impostazione accademica cede di rado alle tentazioni dell'ipersoffiato) e oboe (utilizzato di regola nei brani più larghi e rarefatti). Il suo approccio rivela in ogni frangente un attento orecchio rivolto alla musica (così come del resto alla cultura tout court) orientale, tratto ribadito anche dall'adozione, accanto al canonico modello traverso, di tutta una serie di flauti di foggia esotica (cinese, arabo, e Ma-Ma, da lui stesso ideato). 
Towards the Unknown lo coglie appunto su questa molteplicità di strumenti (oboe escluso), oltre che alla voce, nell'ambiziosa (nel senso migliore del termine) suite predisposta per l'occasione dal sodale di turno, il percussionista Adam Rudolph (che ricordiamo già a fianco di Sam Rivers e Omar Sosa, fra gli altri, in lavori degni di nota), nonché nelle vesti di compositore nella suite con cui lo stesso Lateef ricambia la cortesia. 
A seconda della prospettiva in cui ci poniamo, i due coéquipiers risultano ugualmente determinanti per il livello (comunque eccellente) del lavoro: Lateef attraversando da par suo il concerto dedicatogli da Rudolph e costruendo a sua volta una partitura, di impianto decisamente "colto," magistrale per il collega; quest'ultimo, autore non meno apprezzabile, potendosi giovare di tanto interprete per il concerto da lui composto, ma rappresentando nel contempo, in quello a lui dedicato, un po' il sia pur minimo tallone d'Achille dell'incisione intesa nella sua globalità, nel suo confezionare interventi un po' troppo monolitici - sia nelle dinamiche che sotto il profilo squisitamente timbrico, il che non manca di stupire, vista la miriade di strumenti da lui "manipolati" - giustapposti come isole galleggianti entro la notevolissima partitura messa a punto da Lateef. 
Il quale Lateef, in "Concerto for Brother Yusef," offre una prova veramente maiuscola: un vociferante, umorale solo di tenore nel secondo movimento, tutto in duo col solo Rudolph (a cui non rende la pariglia nel suo "Percussion Concerto," di cui è solo autore), ripetendosi nel terzo, dove lo raggiunge l'orchestra (e la scrittura di Rudolph evidenzia tutte le sue atouts, di marca squisitamente "contemporanea"), per passare ai vari flauti in particolare nei due movimenti finali, fra l'elegiaco-sospeso e l'ipnotico-ancestrale. Un album magistrale.
All About Jazz 

Terranova ‎– Hotel Amour (2012)

Style: House, Tech House
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Kompakt, Kompakt, Algorythmik Records

Tracklist:
01.   Question Mark
02.   So Strong
03.   Hotel Amour
04.   Paris Is For Lovers (My Love)
05.   Make Me Feel
06.   I Want To Go Out
07.   Ain't No Thing
08.   Take My Hand
09.   Code Blue
10.   Boogie For The Dollar
11.   By My Side
12.   Avenue Wagram
13.   Prayer

Fetisch Bergmann and Marco Meister have both been permanent fixtures on the European scene since the mid-'90s, mostly as behind-the-scene producers. They first made their name via trip-hop-tinged and breakbeat-ish studio jobs for the forgotten likes of Cath Coffey, Ballistic Affair and Copyright and with more high-profile collaborations with people like Tricky. As Terranova, they developed a more personal kind of downtempo electronica with an urban twist (a sound epitomized by their 1998 DJ Kicks compilation). Terranova was always a collective effort, though—one that included in its ranks other Berlin partiers such as Filippo "DJ Naughty" Moscatello or Xaver Naudascher—and, as a result, early '00s albums like Hitchhiking Nonstop with No Particular Destination and Peace Is Tough came across as too disparate for their own good. On Hotel Amour, their first album after an eight year hiatus—and first offering on Kompakt—it seems Terranova's sound benefits from a renewed sense of focus.  
If you had followed the lead of the album's title track, you'd think the band members are indulging a weird, nostalgic throwback mood on Hotel Amour. And, when Billie Ray Martin starts doing her famous torch songstress schtick on "Make Me Feel" (a lead-footed mood reproduced on the "Code Blue" and "Avenue Wagram" interludes and on the more abstract "Take My Hand"), you could rightfully fear Hotel Amour is threatening to get all acid jazz on us. In that regard, "So Strong" is a more fitting introduction: just like its "By My Side" doppelganger and last year's "I Want to Go Out," the track is built around a light, ping-pong-like bassline that bounces without ever feeling aggressive or vexingly nervous. Khan's vocal presence is also fitting, his low-sung voice adding gravitas to otherwise schaffel-tinted, lascivious cuts. "Ain't No Thing," featuring the ever eccentric Snax, might be slightly more upbeat, but in typical Kompakt fashion (of late, at least), it also comes across as geriatric dance music at its most dignified.  
Then there is the rather exhilarating dance/pop hybrid "Paris Is for Lovers (My Love)," a Justin Timberlake cover that Fetisch and collaborator &Me originally released three years ago in collaboration with Tomas Høffding. That the album's penultimate moment is an acid house take on a modern R&B classic might feel irksome to all cross-pollination detractors, but it's hard to deny this track's—or the overall album's—immediate charms. Not unlike Gus Gus' underrated Arabian Horse long player for the label last year, and in a similar vein explored by Superpitcher during his latest, so-called voodoo house period, Hotel Amour doesn't cover new sonic ground. The dance floor corners the band does explore, though, are handled with sophisticated ease.
Stephane Girard / Resident Advisor

Otto Luening / Vladimir Ussachevsky ‎– Tape Recorder Music (1955)

Style: Musique Concrète, Experimental
Format: Vinyl
Label: Cacophonic

Tracklist:
1.   Sonic Contours
2.   Fantasy In Space
3.   Incantation
4.   Invention In Twelve Notes
5.   Low Speed


Originally released in 1955. One of the very earliest and most important examples of electronic tape music to be pressed on vinyl (alongside the Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française musique concrète compilations in France and Jim Fassett's comedic 1953 Strange to Your Ears novelty record), this privately pressed 1955 10" was released on a one-off label owned by businessman Gene Bruck to document a custom-made performance at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1952. This facsimile edition of this important LP archives remastered versions of the first recorded unison of Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky, a partnership that founded the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center at Columbia University in 1959, which would later count İlhan Mimaroğlu, Wendy Carlos, Dariush Dolat-Shahi, and Alice Shields among its graduates. The October 28, 1952, performance showcased the debut of the seminal "Fantasy in Space," based on resampled flute recordings that were manipulated on magnetic tape to create an otherworldly melodic composition, stylistically begging comparison with the early recordings of Kraftwerk (made some 20 years later) and bringing a palatable and tuneful alternative to the stark avant-garde experiments of the pair's French counterparts. The mechanical construction of the track was even "performed" on primetime American television to celebrate this groundbreaking approach to modern music. The record's full program includes further experiments with manipulated recordings of bells and woodwind instruments subjected to mechanical "augmentation, diminution and retrograding" to create pieces that "cannot be played with conventional instruments." In the following years labels like Folkways and Desto would also plunder this important session as a milestone in electronic music. For the purposes of this release Cacophonic have also included the seldom-heard 14-minute track "Poem in Cycles and Bells" for tape recorder and orchestra, which was recorded using the same techniques with the Royal Danish Radio Orchestra in 1956 and released via the Composers Recordings Inc. label founded by Luening himself in 1954 (employing Ussachevsky in an advisory capacity). CRI operated for 49 years, releasing records by Harry Partch, Alwin Nikolais, John Cage, and Alice Shields. Also included in this edition is an expansion of the rare 10" original artwork by legendary graphic designer Ronald Clyne, an early example of his work made before he became in-house designer for Folkways Records, rivaling the likes of Blue Note's Reid Miles for some of America's most iconic record sleeves.
Soundohm

Oscar Brown Jr. ‎– Sin & Soul...And Then Some (1996)

Genre: Jazz, Funk / Soul
Format: CD
Label: Columbia Records

Tracklist:
01.   Work Song
02.   But I Was Cool
03.   Bid 'Em In
04.   Signifyin' Monkey
05.   Watermelon Man
06.   Somebody Buy Me A Drink
07.   Rags And Old Iron
08.   Dat Dere
09.   Brown Baby
10.   Humdrum Blues
11.   Sleepy
12.   Afro-Blue
13.   Mr. Kicks
14.   Hazel's Hips
15.   World Of Grey
16.   Forbidden Fruit
17.   Straighten Up And Fly Right

Credits:
Bass – Frank Carroll, George Duvivier, Joe Benjamin
Drums – Bobbie Rosengarden, Osie Johnson, Panama Francis
Guitar – A. Chernet, Don Arone*, Everett Barksdale
Piano – Alonzo Levister, Bernie Leighton, Floyd Morris
Saxophone – Joe Solde, Phil Bodner, Walt Levinsky
Trumpet – Billy Butterfield, Joe Wilder
Vocals, Written-By – Oscar Brown Jr.

Allysha Joy ‎– Acadie : Raw (2018)

Style: Soul, Soul-Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Gondwana Records

Tracklist:
01.   Fnfl
02.   Selfish
03.   Honesty
04.   Know Your Power
05.   Desire
06.   Akala
07.   Doom
08.   Eagle
09.   Swallow Me
10.   Enate

Credits:
Alto Saxophone – Josh Kelly
Bass – Henry Hicks
Drums – Ziggy Zeitgeist
Backing Vocals – Danika Smith
Vocals, Keyboards – Allysha Joy