Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Tenderlonious ‎– Hard Rain (2019)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl, FLAC
Label: 22a, P-Vine Records

Tracklist:
01.   Casey Jr.
02.   Buffalo Gurl
03.   Hard Rain
04.   GU22
05.   Low Tide
06.   Another State Of Consciousness
07.   Aesop Thought
08.   Love You
09.   Workin' Me Out
10.   Almost Time

Credits:
Executive-Producer – Dennis Ayler
Written-By, Arranged By, Performer – Tenderlonious

Tenderlonious is essentially the project of London producer, jazz flautist/saxophone head and 22a label owner Ed Cawthorne. Under this moniker though he makes jazz infused house music aiming, by his own admission for the likes of Omar S, Theo Parrish, Glen Astro taking inspiration from J Dilla, Blaze and Carl Craig. His new album Hard Rain is out on his own 22a label. 
But it’s not really any of those things. The Dilla influence may come from the fact that over half of the tracks only just nudge (one way or another) two minutes, but whereas on Donuts Dilla said what the had to say, on Hard Rain Cawthorne doesn’t try to – instead hinting and brushing over it, giving you an push in the direction he wants you instead of being explicitly shown. 
Neither does it have, or seem to want, the dancefloor heavy beats of some of the other influences, but what Tenderlonious does have is skill. He’s able to weave and texture his beats and pieces, threading not only his jazz influences, but also samples (the flute interjections on the bubbling, almost dizzying Detroit house of Aesop Thought is one of the albums real highlights) and spinning in some of the club influences to make something that is more than electronic background noise, but something that has to be sat down and listened to keenly. 
As such though, the more substantial tracks are the ones that hold the album together. The wonky piano funk of opener Casey Jr, with its woozy but fractured bassline and this sparse but telling percussive beats is a winner, as is the warm house of the title track. 
It’s the albums most weighty track that really holds onto you though, Another State of Conciousness clocking in at the wrong side of seven minutes really allowing Cawthorne’s creativity and spontaneity run riot over this incredible blistering synth line that warps and morphs as it goes. 
There’s a lot right about Tenderlonious’ Hard Rain album. His inventive and at times brilliant scope for bringing strands and ideas and melodic fragments together to make something whole makes it an enjoyable and at times thrilling record.
Jim F / backseat mafia

Chariot Riders ‎– Sensimilla Dub (1980)

Genre: Reggae
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Crystal D

Tracklist:
A1.   Sensimilla Dub
A2.   Born To Dub You (Combination 2 & 3)
A3.   Crucial
A4,   Jah Walk
B1.   Tracks It
B2.   Boom
B3.   Blow Wow
B4.   Outers
B5.   Ghetto Talk

Credits:
Written-By – D. Harriott
Bass – Robert Shakespear
Drums – Sly Dunbar
Guitar – Bo Peep, Rad 'Dougie' Bryan
Organ – Winston Wright
Percussion – C. "Skyjuice" Burt, Noel 'Scully' Simms
Piano, Organ – Ansel Collins
Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Dean 'Youth Sax' Fraser

Rare Moods ‎– Peace In Da Neighborhood (2002)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz
Format: CD
Label: Comet Records

Tracklist:
01.   Slim It's Time
02.   Silk
03.   Peace In Da Neighborhood
04.   A Kind Of Fool (Thinking About Freedom)
05.   Numbers
06.   Speaking For Myself
07.   Slim's Around
08.   Cape Of Good Hope
09.   Oil On Fire
10.   This Is Not Your Frequency!
11.   Sun City
12.   A Bad Trip
13.   Space Maters
14.   Mistery Lane
15,   Slim In Hell

Credits:
Guitar – Pee Wee Drake
Saxophone – Cedric Ricard
Sitar – Waky
Flute – G Flute
Keyboards – Omar Sosa
Vocals – Slim Jim, Silky Spearman, Joey Freedom, Dom Farkas, Timothy, Jessica Lynch
Music By, Mixed By – Doctor L
Producer, Mixed By – Doctor L, Manu Boubli

Maria Rita ‎– Brasileira (1988)

Genre: Latin, Folk, World, & Country
Format: Vinyl, FLAC
Label: Optimo Music, Selva Discos, Acorde

Tracklist:
A1.   Cântico Brasileiro No.3 (Kamaiurá)
A2.   Felicidade
A3.   Cântico Brasileiro No.6 (Temporá)
A4.   Canção De Garoa
A5.   Lamento Africa / Rictus
B1.   A Cidade
B2.   Cântico Brasileiro No.1
B3.   Relhaços
B4.   Trilhas
B5.   Melodia De Veludo
B6.   Canção De Barco E De Olvido
B7.   O Amor

Credits:
Performer – Luiz Eça, Ricardo Bordini, Uakti
Written-By – Maria Rita
Producer – Antares

Brazilian duo Selvagem partners up with Optimo Music to launch the label Selva Discos. First release is the official reissue of the scarce and sought-after “Brasileira” LP by singer Maria Rita Stumpf. 
An original copy of the Brasileira LP by Brazilian singer Maria Rita Stumpf has been on top of collectors' and music lovers' wishlist for the past couple of years, since "Cântico Brasileiro No 3 (Kamaiurá)" broke out and cast a spell worldwide – from Japan to Brazil, from Norway to South Africa, everybody was flabbergasted after they first heard the song, and each and every time they heard it again. For the lucky ones that could listen to her whole album – and get to know other gems such as "Lamento Africano/Rictus" and "A Cidade"– it is clear that it is an ouvre that more people should have access to, not only an elite of listeners and connaisseurs. 
The good news are that the LP will be available again in its entirety in a new, glossy, loud and clear pressing released through Selva Discos, a new label run by Augusto Olivani and Millos Kaiser (the DJ/production duo known as Selvagem) in partnership with JD Twitch's Optimo Music. It's a legit reissue overviewed by Maria Rita Stumpf herself, the music being remastered from the remaining DAT tape of the original release and artwork faithfully updated by Brazilian design studio Colletivo, featuring liner notes by the singer/songwriter. 
Maria Rita Stumpf is owner of Brazilian production company Antares Produções, responsible for bringing international artists to Brazil for the past 30 years, such as Philip Glass and Mikhail Baryshnikov. After distancing herself from the music business since the Brasileira original release, almost 30 years ago, she’s now back in the game.
bandcamp

Candeias ‎– Sambaiana (1976)

Style: Bossa Nova, Fusion, MPB, Latin Jazz 
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Disques Espérance, Dare-Dare

Tracklist:
B1.   Sambaiana
B2.   Casas De Invierno
B3.   Palmeiras
A1.   El Tren De Tom
A2.   Paolinho
A3.   Zimbao
A4.   Managua

Credits:
Bass – Darci Soave
Drums, Percussion – Carlos Carli
Guitar, Electric Guitar – Agustin Pereyra Lucena
Piano, Electric Piano, Guitar, Producer, Mixed By – Guillermo Reuter
Mixed By – Jorge Da Silva
Producer, Mixed By – Jacques Subileau

Candeias, (engl: Candles) was initiated by the Argentinian multi-instrumentalist Guillermo Reuter due to an invitation by French producer Jaques Subileau to write an album.The Band’s only long player Sambaiana was recorded in the Buenos Aires based studio ‘Sound Center’ in 1975. Members of the recording session included Guillermo Reuter, Uruguayan drummer and percussionist Carlos Carli, Brazilian bass player Darci Soave, flute player Rubén Izarrualde and Agustin Pereyra Lucena on guitar. Originally Sambaiana has been released in Spain and France but only in small numbers.Expect a Jazz Fusion masterpiece with a strong influence of Brazilian Jazz & Pop and some elements of Classical music and Latin rhythm. If UNESCO installs a world heritage list for Jazz long players Candeias’ Sambaiana would be on it! 
Having now Notes On A Journey, more than forty years after its initial release, introducing ‘Candeias’ to a whole new audience is also in the interest of its creator. For Guillermo Reuter, this album was and is a lifework, which has never lost momentum and significance. It is a record, which simply stands the test of time by bringing pure joy over its full, entertaining length, and is going under the skin at the same time. That’s why for this re-issue the original Spanish pressing has been lovingly restored, preserving the sound quality, letting you listen to it the way it should be heard, in the here and now. With the stunning new quality ‘Candeias’ will find a much bigger following this time round.
Phonica Records

Duet Emmo ‎– Or So It Seems (1983)

Style: Industrial, Synth-pop, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Mute

Tracklist:
1.   Hill Of Men
2.   Or So It Seems
3.   Friano
4.   The First Person
5.   A.N.C.
6.   Long Sledge
7.   Gatemmo
8.   Last's Card
9.   Heart Of Hearts

Credits:
Engineer – Eric Radcliffe, John Fryer
Performer – B C Gilbert, Daniel Miller, Lewis


Duet Emmo finds Mute boss Daniel Miller and Lewis and Gilbert of Dome in cahoots and, as you might expect, the album is a sometimes unharmoneous, but sometimes inspired clash of Dome's noise-led experimentation and Miller's synth-pop leanings. 
It is with the pop-oriented tracks that the release really hits its highs, especially with the beautiful Or so it Seems. The combination of repeating tinky-pop tunelets and riffs, squelchy burbling noises and haunting vocals, is both infectious and timeless. Similarly engaging is the drastic reworking of Linasixup from Dome 1, now called The First Person and sounding like a bizarre mix of Dome rhythms, sweet, yet sombre voices and, oddly enough, the theme to Doctor Who... 
Of course, the atypical Dome fan is not to be left wanting. Along with the relentless beat of Hill Of Men that marks the introduction to the album, and the vaguely ethnic rumblings of A.N.C., one finds the epic Long Sledge. This slowly building stew of metallic rhythms, background clattering and claustrophobic space, lasts for nearly 17 minutes, slowly giving way to layered washes of texture and industrial sound loops. 
Apart from a few pieces that rely on the technology of the time (the very Mute-pop outro, Heart of Hearts springs to mind here) this release manages to transcend the decades, often sounding as fresh and original now as it must have done back in 1983. Dedicated Dome listeners or fans of Mute's output will probably note that Duet Emmo is something of a pick'n'mix, but you'll find most of the album is worth listening to. 
Craig Grannell / Wireviews

Tenderlonious featuring The 22archestra ‎– The Shakedown (2018)

Style: Jazz-Funk, Afrobeat, Latin, Hip Hop
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Inpartmaint Inc., 22a

Tracklist:
1.   Expansions
2.   Yussef's Groove
3.   Togo
4.   SV Interlude
5.   The Shakedown
6.   Maria
7.   You Decide
8.   SV Disco
9.   Red Sky At Night

Credits:
Bass – Fergus Ireland
Drums – Yussef Dayes
Keyboards – Hamish Balfour
Percussion – Jeen Bassa, Konrad, Reginald Omas Mamode IV
Producer, Flute, Synthesizer – Ed Cawthorne

In Britain, the incidence of self-taught jazz musicians has declined dramatically over recent decades. Jazz-studies programmes have mushroomed in colleges and more and more young players have been signing up to them. Successful stylists of earlier eras, who may have studied informally with an older musician but who learnt most of their art on the bandstand, increasingly belong to the past.  
Ed "Tenderlonious" Cawthorne is among a handful of autodidacts who have bucked the trend. He spent much of his early childhood abroad (his father was in the military), and music lessons did not figure in his school curricula. As a teenager, he happened on records by Yusef Lateef and John Coltrane and, inspired by a Lateef album cover, bought a soprano saxophone he saw in a shop window and taught himself to play. He later taught himself the flute. By that time an in-demand DJ, spinning jazz, broken beat and deep house in London clubs, going to college did not figure in his plans.  
In 2018, Cawthorne is one of the musicians blowing new life into the London jazz scene, alongside a host of exciting players which includes saxophonists Shabaka Hutchings and Nubya Garcia, trumpeters Yazz Ahmed and Dylan Jones, drummer Moses Boyd, and keyboardists Joe Armon-Jones and Kamaal Williams. Cawthorne has his own label, 22a, and two bands, including the 22archestra, who are featured here. Like that of his peers, Cawthorne's take on jazz is a hybrid, involving hefty infusions of hip hop and hip hop-derived styles, and like Kamaal Williams, he is at the beat-centric end of the new-jazz spectrum.  
On The Shakedown, the core of the 22archestra is keyboardist Hamish Balfour, bassist Fergus Ireland and onetime Kamaal Williams collaborator, drummer Yussef Dayes. When building his arrangements, Cawthorne has to employ unconventional methods. "I was never educated talking about music as a diminuendo or crescendo," he said in a recent interview. "So for me it's about describing the music [to the band] as if I was writing it for a film. Like 'we're in some alleyway and it's dimly lit and there are a couple of shady characters,' or 'you're walking down the beach and you're trying to play it cool and puff your chest out.' And they laugh, because they don't hear that normally."  
But it works. The Shakedown is one of a dozen or so albums to have been released in Britain in late 2017 and early 2018 that are radically redefining jazz. Also prominent among them are Shabaka Hutchings's Sons of Kemet's Your Queen Is A Reptile (Impulse!), Joe Armon-Jones's Starting Today (Brownswood), Kamaal Williams's The Return (Black Focus), Yazz Ahmed's La Saboteuse (Naim) and the various artists showcase We Out Here (Brownswood), all previously reviewed here. Jazz is on a roll in Britain and, boy, it is an exciting ride.
Chris May / All About Jazz

Lightning Head ‎– Studio Don (Deluxe Edition 2019) (2002)

Style: House, Dub, Downtempo
Format: MP3
Label: Best Seven

Tracklist:
01.   El Head Sound
02.   Me And Me Princess
03.   E.V.A.
04.   Superfunky Bird
05.   Bassdrum & Snare (Instrumental)
06.   Salsation
07.   Mudman Skank
08.   Solsteppa
09.   2nd Line Stomp
10.   Raggasalsa
11.   Message To The Tribes Instrumental)
12.   Studio Don One
13.   Me & Me Princess (Instrumental)
14.   Message Beats
15.   Superfunky Bird (Instrumental)
16.   Traffic Jam
17.   Theme from 2001
18.   Me & Me Princess (A Capella)

Credits:
Producer, Written-By, Arranged By – Bigga Bush

‘Studio Don’ is the pivotal first solo album from Lightning Head aka Glyn “Bigga” Bush, former “midi maestro” of Rockers Hi Fi and current spearhead of Magic Drum Orchestra. Originally released on the fledgling Best Seven imprint, (part of the Berlin-based Sonar Kollektiv label family, founded by DJ Daniel W. Best) in 2002; ‘Studio Don’ fuses batucada rhythms, Latin piano lines, funk riffs, reggae off-beats, space echoed bass dub, to create a sound-pallet that garnered support from Gilles Peterson, Mr Scruff, Kruder and Dorfmeister, Ross Allen, Ashley Beedle and many more.

Now re-issued on Tru Thoughts, ‘Studio Don’ is an album that has stood the test of time: “The idea was to imagine a cross-pollination of music from Cuba and Jamaica (which are only about 90 miles apart)”, Glyn explains. But the musical outcome is more of a straight line starting in New Orleans going down through Havana, finishing up in Kingston: “Straight outta Kinky Funkston”. Peppered with vigorous dancehall rhythms, ‘Studio Don’ amalgamates a wide pallet of genres to create a sonic output that still sounds fresh today: “I noticed certain similarities and overlaps in musical styles and started experimenting with putting dub basslines with Latin rhythms, or having a reggae guitar skank played on percussion.”  
Lightning Head was initiated as a request from Sonar Kollektiv’s Daniel Best, asking Glyn to write a 7” in a funky dancehall-break style. This catalysed the start of Lightning Head’s musical journey, inspiring Glyn to write “Me & Me Princess” – using a Singing Bird vocal sample that he had on DAT tape. “I wanted to keep it stripped, raw, funky and have lots of clavinet and dirty bass.” As Glyn continued to work on the record, more and more influences were transported onto the album, such as rich and idiosyncratic sounds of samba (despite being a couple of years before Magic Drum Orchestra was formed). 
Glyn was influenced at the time by Latin and salsa beats such as Machito, Ray Barretto and St. Vincent Latinaires, the New Orleans funk of The Meters, Eddie Bo and all that Saturday Night Fish Fry stuff, and of course classic 70s Jamaican, such as Jackie Mittoo, Byron Lee & The Dragonaires and King Tubby. The album title ‘Studio Don’ is a tongue-in-cheek homage to the legendary ‘Studio One’ in Kingston – a great source of inspiration for the production (the musicians would work an 8 hour day laying down rhythms track like a factory production house), while the moniker ‘Lightning Head’ was something preached from the mouth of Lee Scratch Perry in an interview.  
With ‘Studio Don’ Glyn created an album where you can travel from Kingston, Jamaica to Havana Cuba, the Bronx in New York to Brixton, London, the original funk sound of New Orleans, to the open spaces of Dorset, England – where the album was finalised. But what’s the formula for creating a global masterpiece, without a single sample? “My thing has always been to really study music – whatever the genre, learn how to play it and try to reproduce it faithfully whilst still making it my own”. 
“Combing the roots with afro beat, samba, batucada and funk, Glyn has taken future steps from historical beginnings and produced a rare thing indeed”DJ Mag  
“Batucada rhythms and dub techniques, son montuno piano lines and funk riffs, reggae off-beats and loping basslines bed down together and do what’s natural. An impressive debut” The Wire     
3DJ / Get Funk Dub 

Lightning Head ‎– Studio Don (2002)

Style: House, Dub, Downtempo
Format: CDFLAC
Label: Best Seven

Tracklist:
01.   El Head Sound (Vocals – Farda P.)
02.   Me And Me Princess (Vocals – Colliston White)
03.   E.V.A.
04.   Still A Move
05.   Superfunky Bird (Vocals – Colliston White)
06.   Bassdrum & Snare(Vocals – Patrice)
07.   Steelsation
08.   Mudman Skank
09.   Step On Out (Vocals – Monterria Tolson)
10.   2nd Line Stomp
11.   Raggasalsa
12.   Message To The Tribes (Vocals – Monterria Tolson)
13.   Studio Don One

Credits:
Mastered By – Duncan Cowell
Producer, Arranged By – Glyn "Bigga" Bush

Taking his name from a phrase that appeared in an interview with Lee Perry, Lightning Head refers to the idea of inspiration and not, for those of you that were wondering, some freakish meteorological accident. El Head as he is sometimes known, is ex Rockers Hi-Fi main man, Glyn Bush and Studio Don is the first offering under the new moniker. Fusing latin, samba, reggae, dub and house, this wonderfully international record is made all the more surprising by the fact that it has been made by one young man living and working in Dorset. 
By his own admission, the self-congratulatory title is actually a play on words based on the legendary Studio One in Kingston. Like the familiar Jamaican sound of the seventies, Dorset's finest has its own set of sonic anchors: guitar, drums, bass, Hammond organ, clavinet and monosynth. That said, the El Head sound is embellished time and again with steel pan percussion, 
the odd echo-meter or reverberator and various bits of machinery that go boing.
The funky dancehall break "Me and Me Princess" was the track that started Mr Bush's new musical journey way back when. This is a beautiful in its simplicity and a perfect illustration of how few components in the right hands can become supremely catchy. The pure party vibe on "Superfunky Bird" sees Colliston White on mic detail and puts things on an Afro house tip. 
In keeping with reggae tradition Studio Don has a couple of cover versions on it. Jean Jacques Perreys "E.V.A." is reworked in a dub steel orchestra style whist "Steelsation", a reworking of the Saturday Night Fever classic, also receives Caribbean treatment. The personal favourite has to be the drifting and gentle dub workout "Step On Out" with Monterria's emotive vocals giving the soul a good old stir.
Bush is gifted producer and it's no wonder that he has the likes of Gilles Peterson, Kruder and Dorfmeister, Ross Allen and Ashley Beedle singing his praises. Studio Don is a truly global affair and the mark of a musician who is engaged, informed and impassioned enough to go out on a limb for us all. We suspect that Mr Bush might be a very nice man too!
 Christian Hopwood / BBC

Ricardo Richaid ‎– Travesseiro Feliz (2020)

Style: Alternative Rock
Format: CD, FLAC
Label: Far Out Recordings

Tracklist:
1.   Maracas Enterprise/Frio Da Manhã
2.   VIP Xuxa
3.   Largado Nu
4.   Drone
5.   Outra
6.   Só Na Darkzera
7.   Formigas
8.   O Velho Cai
9.   Ave Apoena

Credits:
Drums – Larissa Conforto
Drums, Percussion, Piano – Frederico Santiago
Electric Guitar – Eduardo Verdeja
Fretless Bass – Claudio Ribeiro
Guitar – Pedro Tambellini
Percussion – Marcos Suzano
Saxophone – Antonio Sechin
Saxophone, Flute – Bernado F*
Synth, Sampler – Raquel Dimantas
Trombone – Luiz Fernandez
Vocals – Ana Frango Elétrico, Cheyenne, Liza Machado
Voice – Nina Richaid
Voice, Percussion – José Pablo Ibarra
Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Guitar Synthesizer, Electric Guitar, Percussion, Sampler – Ricardo Richaid

A fusion record with a Bossa nova groove and progressive rock instrumentation, ‘Travesseiro Feliz’ by Ricardo Richaid opens our minds to the influence of Brazilian music.

In many ways Brazil is the South American counterpart to the United States, a vast state with poly-ethnic influences, a dominating sports culture and vibrant arts communities now headed by a conservative government. Many an American music genre has been reproduced in the country of the Amazon and the balneario. Jazz translates to bossa nova, rock translates to tropicalia, country translates to sertanejo and samba reigns as the Brazilian songbook standard. If one is searching for new music, especially one both palpably foreign and yet unmistakably familiar, then most western audiences would do well to consider researching Brazil.

Multi-instrumentalist Ricardo Richaid derives his debut record from this fundamental curiosity; Travesseiro Feliz (happy pillow in Portuguese) is the type of international record people salivate for. Released on British-based label Far Out Recordings, Ricardo Richaid’s debut is at ease both in your Starbucks Cafe or your record player on a Sunday: a fusion record with a bossa nova groove and progressive rock instrumentation; a bid for a new wave “Clube da Esquina” ambiance pioneered by Milton Nascimento and Lô Borges; a Rio de Janeiro record that explores both neo-classical and post-punk elements within a tropicalia idiom. 
There are ideas befit for a new-wave Arthur Verocai record and breath taken from the flute of Ian Anderson. Where Anderson strove to marry British folk idioms and blues structures, his product became Richaid’s ingredient, welding native Brazilian music to the schools of British and American art rock.

This all may seem like too many words, too many genres. It is. The digital album is messy and vague. Cuts are overstuffed with instrumental cavalcades and then segue into near a-Capella interludes. It has problems being a repeatable affair: tracks like “Só na Darkzera” and “Maracas Enterprise/Frio da Manhã” tax the listener to extremes that will make repeat listening difficult. Deciphering the record would take a lifetime of research into the music history of Brazil. 
But to understand the proggy lexicon of Travesseiro Feliz is to read the cut “Largado Nu” like a Coptic slab with ease, to hear the trifling flute of Bernardo F at the right headphone, synth guitars streaking from the left, an electric guitar crashing over top, an acoustic shooting through, a piano peaking in and a repique drum filling cracks. Each layer reveals another script inherent to the album’s language: jazz, progressive rock, post-punk, neo-classical, Brazillian folk, respectively. When flute returns, uncached from the right stereo, in duet with Richaid’s acoustic guitarwork, the album’s conceit is revealed: this LP will test and tie genres together in a way not seen since Rio de Janeiro during the Seventies. 
And because Far Out Recordings decided to compile the tracklist in different orders according to long-play or digital and compact disc, the format is as important to the record’s pacing and mood as the songs. The CD version careens like a turning head on an oceanfront avenue, a tourist distracted by each new happening on the teeming street, a dense attention deficit stream-of-consciousness bouncing between song to interlude with little regard to sonic overload. Repeat listening to the CD version is a harsh experience. However, despite the majority audience being digital consumers, the vinyl edition is listed as the “official” tracklist for the writer’s head because he is actually an old man moonlighting in a young man’s clothes and because the long-player edition of Travesseiro Feliz is cut into two different sides; the hard Side A of “Maracas Enterprise”  and “Só na Darkzera” and the softer side of “Ave Apoena” and “O Velho Cai.” The long player is strung along like a performance in the bayside bistro, an open patio affair in two sets made for people-watching the day.

However the softer side does feature a cut the most post-punk of all the tracks, “Drone.” A criss-crossing piece, spliced together from the Kinks’ flatter mono recordings of “Sunny Afternoon” and a room-y sonic befit for Os Mutantes, the record clocks in just under three minutes and is developed into an international new-new-new-new wave anthem that could woo any La Luz fan to smile. For the digital version, Drone is placed within the first quartet of cuts but on the long-player it comes to the fore as the penultimate cut of the album, before the denouement of “Formigas” which features Richaid singing duet with his daughter, Nina. 
So yes, this record is a mess of pacing in its digital form- its instrumentation teetering on the edge of maximalism and then overcorrecting into minimalism. Indulge into the happy pillow too much and the mind might reel from its enigmatic lyricism, its light-yet-dark musicality. But given space and distance, each session with this LP-Record affords a new holiday experience in the Terra do Brasil; another new-millennium reading of the “Clube de Esquina” sound pioneered by Milton Nascimento and Lô Borges reflecting a modern Brazil currently in an eerily familiar political throe. 
Perhaps we would do well to listen to Richaid’s music even if we don’t quite understand the words. Sometimes the message is just that instantly recognizable.
Ben Nielsen / At Wood Magazine

Kamasi Washington ‎– The Epic (2015)


Style: Fusion, Contemporary Jazz, Psychedelic, Soul-Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl, Digital
Label: Brainfeeder ‎– BFCD050

Tracklist:
Volume 1 - The Plan
1-1.   Change of the Guard
1-2.   Askim
1-3.   Isabelle
1-4.   Final Thought
1-5.   The Next Step
1-6.   The Rhythm Changes

Volume 2 - The Glorious Tale
2-1.   Miss Understanding
2-2.   Leroy and Lanisha
2-3.   Re Run
2-4.   Seven Prayers
2-5.   Henrietta Our Hero
2-6.   The Magnificent 7

Volume 3 - The Historic Repetition
3-1.   Re Run Home
3-2.   Cherokee
3-3.   Clair de Lune
3-4.   Malcolm's Theme
3-5.   The Message

Credits:
Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass – Miles Mosley
Cello – Artyom Manukyan, Ginger MurphyGraves, Thalma de Freitas, Tracy Carter
Drums – Ronald Bruner Jr., Tony Austin
Electric Bass – Thundercat
Keyboards, Organ, Piano – Brandon Coleman
Lead Vocals – Dwight Trible, Patrice Quinnn
Percussion – Leon Mobley
Piano, Organ – Cameron Graves
Tenor Saxophone – Kamasi Washington
Trombone – Ryan Porter
Trumpet – Igmar Thomas
Viola – Andrea Whitt, Molly Rodgers
Violin – Jennifer Simone, Lucia Micarelli, Neel Hammond, Paul Cartwright, Tylana Renga Enomoto
Choir  – Cameron Graves, Charles Jones, Dawn Norfleet, Dexter Story, Dwight Trible, Gina Manziello, Jason Morales, Maiya Sykes, Natasha F Agrama, Patrice Quinn, Steven Wayne, Taylor

It is probably impossible to discuss Kamasi Washington's new record—all three impressive hours of it—without copping to at least someawareness of two extra-musical truths. The first of these holds that, as a member of the studio wrecking crew that brought Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly into being, this saxophonist-composer is unusually well poised to secure the attention of listeners who have previously been uninterested in jazz. (This past spring's celebration of all-things-TPAB was sufficiently strong that Billboard even published a well-reported piece that detailed exactly how Lamar's album came to feature so many jazz figures, including Washington.) 
The second truth is that jazz could use a few more people with Washington's cachet in the wider world—touring with Snoop Dogg, or putting out albums on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder imprint. Admitting this is not tantamount to saying that jazz is in some unhealthy creative state (it isn't), but rather that the music currently faces an uphill struggle in the marketplace (as it often has). 
You can see hints of these outside considerations in some of the pre-release writing around The Epic—virtually all of which cites Washington's hip-hop associations as a reason to pay attention to his big debut as a jazz bandleader. (Washington cut one prior album as part of a collective, in 2004, but this set is his real coming-out party.) One can imagine other elite contemporary jazz artists grinding teeth while checking Twitter, muttering to themselves: if anyone paid attention to me, they'd notice the post-turntablism beats in my music. 
Given all this, it's something of a gobsmacking paradox to discover what a hip-hop-free zone The Epic is, and how enamored of jazz's past it turns out to be. This triple-album set is an extravagant love letter to (among other things): soul jazz, John Coltrane (various periods), and 1970s fusion leaders like Miles Davis and Weather Report. The Epic's Disc 1 opener, "Change of the Guard", might as well be titled "We Love All Kinds of 'Trane". Its ringing opening piano chords sound almost entirely lifted from the playbook of McCoy Tyner, the pianist in Coltrane's so-called "Classic Quartet." (That's the group responsible for A Love Supreme.) The opening theme in the saxes is something that could only have been written after "Impressions". And the harmonious writing for Washington's string section recalls posthumous Coltrane releases like Infinity—tracks from which featured orchestral overdubs supervised by Alice Coltrane (who is, as you may have read, Flying Lotus's aunt). Toward the end of the 12-minute tune, Washington's tenor sax solo veers off into flights of screeching intensity that were the hallmark of Coltrane's later groups—specifically the ones that also included Pharoah Sanders. (Who is, by the way, still active—and still great, on the evidence of last year's record with the São Paulo Underground.) 
What The Epic does come to sound like, over the course of its significant running time, is a generational intervention—an educational tool that widens the definition of styles that fall under "jazz classicism." With his writing for string sections and chorus, Washington even flirts with that most dreaded of appellations: smooth. But these specific choices also wind up paying dividends: The calmly spiritual voices and Washington's wailing playing during the back half of "Askim" feels novel. 
Three hours is a lot of music, and Washington uses the space to range freely—the R&B vocals of Patrice Quinn crop up roughly once per disc, and there are long sections that feel indebted to grittier funk and soul. Washington has a healthy sense of melodrama, which is especially clear whenever the chorus swoops in with open-hearted "ooohs" and "aaahs", aiming straight for the listener's gooseflesh. Meantime, some of the longer, less ambitious instrumental tracks (like "Isabelle") play things much safer, in a kind of chill-jazz mode that features greasy-soul-organ and tasteful solos from Washington's large cast of skilled supporters (like electric bassist Thundercat and trombonist Ryan Porter). While faultlessly executed, these are the only moments across the music's three-hour sprawl that resemble padding. On the uptempo, high-energy music, like the updated Miles Davis-isms of "Re Run Home", as well the potent Disc 3 closer, "The Message", Washington and his band truly excel. 
The big news is that The Epic actually makes good on its titular promise without bothering to make even a faint-hearted stab in the direction of fulfilling its pre-release hype. If you came for the hip-hop associations, and can't listen for anything else, you will surely be disappointed. But to listen like that is to cheat yourself. If you want rapping over contemporary jazz, you can find it elsewhere. If you're in the mood for acoustic adaptations of electronic-music practices, look to Vijay Iyer Trio's recent Break Stuff (specifically, the track "Hood", which is a shout-out to Detroit DJ Robert Hood). You can find more studiously contemporary R&B vocals on Robert Glasper's recent Black Radio series. Kamasi Washington's epic isn't the place for those things—though it is also a zone of surprise. Instead of a self-conscious attempt to seize someone else’s idea of the zeitgeist, it's a large and generous canvas, clearly created in the hopes of attracting new visitors to the post-Coltrane wing of the jazz museum. At this point, that project is its own form of radicalism.
Seth Colter Walls / Pitchfork 

Knok Knok ‎– Knok Knok (2017)

Style: Experimental, Krautrock, Psycadelic
Format: FLAC, Cass.
Label: Base Recordings

01.   O verbo
02.   Círculo
03.   Casa de papel
04.   Estudo Easel 1
05.   Vapor
06.   Olha para o chão!
07.   O primeiro inverno
08.   Roda
09.   Estudo Easel 2
10.   P vs H
11.   Acrílico azul
12.   Estudo Easel 3
13.   Concêntrico
14.   O último verão

Credits:
Drums – Diago Andrad, Duarte Cabaça
Synth Bass Roland GR33B, Minimoog, Multimoog, Buchla Music Easel, Oberheim OB8, Yamaha CS30, Yamaha SK30, Korg MS20, Sequential Circuits Pro One – Armando Teixeira

Com um percurso ímpar no panorama musical português, Armando Teixeira a.k.a Balla a.k.a. Bullet, apresenta-se agora com o baterista Duarte Cabaça no projecto Knok Knok. Fazer as coisas por obrigação não é com ele. A verdade está no sintetizador tocado à unha, pouco programado e na liberdade de criar o que lhe der na real gana. Já adivinharam que este senhor é um sortudo, não já? 
Armando Teixeira tem sido uma presença constante no panorama musical nacional há mais de 30 anos. Ainda na década de 80 começou por projectos mais underground, como Ik Mux e depois Boris Ex Machina, onde se apoiava nos seus heróis da altura, fossem eles os neo-românticos Ultravox, os góticos Clan of Xymox ou mesmo os Sisters of Mercy. Mas, a grande exposição veio na década seguinte com os Da Weasel, onde foi membro fundador, ao mesmo tempo que abraçava os mais viscerais Bizarra Locomotiva.

Armando esteve, portanto, na génese de duas instituições nacionais, que entretanto seguiram caminhos distintos, tal como ele próprio seguiu outra via. A dele. Sempre autónomo, criou Balla e também Bullet, projectos que ganharam o respeito da crítica. Agora, é a vez de Knok Knok. A VICE Portugal foi bater à porta do músico, para conversar sobre maquinaria, processos de composição e cassetes, numa altura em que o álbum homónimo já está disponível via Base Recordings. 
VICE: A tua relação com as máquinas vem de longe. Dos tempos de Ik Mux aos Boris Ex Machina, passando por Bizarra Locomotiva e Da Weasel, até, naturalmente, aos Balla, Bullet e agora Knok Knok. Consegues localizar no tempo as tuas primeiras incursões na maquinaria? 
Armando Teixeira: Sim, a minha primeira caixa de ritmos foi uma Boss DR110. Há quem tire os acordes na guitarra das suas músicas favoritas, eu copiava os ritmos dos Ultravox, Clan of Xymox ou Sisters of Mercy. 
Deduzo que os suportes mais electrónicos acarretem uma maior independência na composição, um caminho mais solitário. É verdade? Como é que se processa contigo? Passas muitas horas a explorar novos sons?

É verdade, pode ser bastante solitário, mas a independência foi o que me levou - desde os Ik Mux - a usar a electrónica. Passo muito mais tempo a explorar sons e a perceber como as máquinas funcionam do que a compor. O que acontece frequentemente é estar a desenvolver um som ou ambiente e ser inspirado para uma melodia.

Este novo disco de Knok Knok que acabaste de editar surge nos formatos digitais actuais, mas também em cassete. Com tanta tecnologia, como é que chegas novamente ao formato cassete? À partida pode parecer um retrocesso, mas, se calhar, é todo o contrário... 
Ainda sinto falta do formato físico. A cassete é uma alternativa ao CD, com um som característico que me agrada bastante e que se adequa perfeitamente ao som Knok Knok. 
Neste trabalho usaste instrumentos que, para o comum dos mortais e assim escritos, mais parecem os componentes de uma nave espacial: Synth Bass Roland GR33B, Minimoog, Multimoog, Buchla Music Easel, Oberheim OB8, Yamaha CS30, Yamaha SK30, Korg MS20, Sequential Circuits Pro One. Cada um terá o seu som específico. Tal como acontece em muitas outras áreas artísticas, sabes quando terminaste um tema, ou tens a tentação de ir metendo camadas sobre camadas e é o deadline que determina as coisas?

Estes sintetizadores que mencionas foram todos usados no álbum, mas em nenhum tema usei mais de três. Cada vez sou mais criterioso com o que uso. Conheço bem os meus instrumentos e, quando procuro um determinado som, sei onde o ir buscar. Acho engraçado nomear os synths usados, porque quero que se saiba que não usámos sintetizadores virtuais e que muito poucos foram programados. A maior parte dos synths neste disco foram tocados e todas as pequenas imperfeições são intencionais. Também é uma homenagem aos discos de electrónica dos anos 80 onde eram orgulhosamente descritos os sintetizadores usados. 
Por falar em viagens, a sonoridade deste Knok Knok parece-me que foi buscar algumas das tuas influências iniciais, como os belgas Front 242 ou Nitzer Ebb. Momento "revista Caras": o facto de teres feito 50 anos bateu-te de alguma maneira? 
(Risos) Não me sinto com 50 anos. Não sou saudosista. A existir saudade na música dos Knok Knok é de tempos que não vivi, da early electronic dos anos 50/60 e do krautrock dos 70. Do Raymond Scott aos Can, passando pelo Morton Subotnick, Cluster e Kraftwerk.

É curioso que o movimento EBM (Eletronic Body Music) tem afinidades e anda lado a lado com algum do italo disco que se fez nos anos 80, embora tenham sido alvo de incursões no mercado completamente diferentes. A tua diversidade - do EBM, ao lado pop do recente Festival da Canção - vem dessa abertura onde na música tudo é possível e não há que ter vergonha de nada?

Para mim, de facto, vale tudo, desde que goste e fique satisfeito. Para a música do Festival a minha preocupação foi ficar satisfeito e que a canção me representasse. Acho que representa e tenho orgulho no tema "O voo das cegonhas". Tendo em conta as premissas que é necessário seguir para fazer uma canção para o Festival ficou bastante bem. 
O Rui Reininho disse uma vez que tu és "um dos músicos em Portugal com mais liberdade" e, de facto, nota-se pela diversidade de coisas em que te metes, muitas delas tremendamente diferentes esteticamente. Nessa entrevista ao Observador, o vocalista dos GNR também disse sobre ti: "Tem este ar tranquilo de quem faz o que quer fazer". Confirmas tudo? 
Devia ler mais o que os meus amigos dizem sobre mim (risos). Ao longo da minha carreira tenho muitos exemplos de que, de facto, faço o que quero. Embora isso nem sempre tenha sido o melhor para mim. Fazer o que devo não é muito estimulante.
Pedro Miguel / Vice

Brian Eno ‎– Before And After Science (1978)

Style: Art Rock, Avantgarde, Ambient
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Virgin, EG, Polydor

Tracklist:
01.   No One Receiving
02.   Backwater
03.   Kurt's Rejoinder
04.   Energy Fools The Magician
05.   King's Lead Hat
06.   Here He Comes
07.   Julie With...
08.   By This River
09.   Through Hollow Lands (For Harold Budd)
10.   Spider And I

Credits:
Solo Vocal – Kurt Schwitters
Guitar – Brian Eno, Fred Frith
Rhythm Guitar – Brian Eno, Paul Rudolph
Drums – Dave Mattacks, Jaki Liebezeit, Phil Collins
Percussion – Brian Eno, Rhett Davies, Shirley Williams
Piano – Brian Eno, Möbi Moebius
Grand Piano, Electric Piano – Achim Roedelius
Bass – Bill MacCormick, Brian Turrington, Paul Rudolph, Percy Jones
Bells, Brass, Vibraphone, Synthesizer, Vocals, Chorus – Brian Eno
Producer – Rhett Davies

Before and After Science is being touted as Brian Eno’s most commercial album, and with some reason: it’s a graceful, seductively melodic work, and side one even kicks off with a neat little disco riff. But this view also confuses the issue. People who think of Eno solely in terms of the static, artsy instrumentals on David Bowie’s Heroes and Low forget, or never knew, that on Here Come the Warm Jets and Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), the master of dadaist cybernetics also made some of the wittiest and most enjoyable music of our time. These records were supremely entertaining, in the best sense, and they were rock & roll. By contrast, Before and after Science is austere and restrained, an enigma in a deceptively engaging skin. 
Not that Eno isn’t the avant-garde intellectual genius everyone always says he is. But he’s also a deeply emotional artist whose music, for all its craft, often seems to emerge straight from the subconscious, his compositions suffused with a humane serenity and marvelous, clearheaded tenderness in the face of decadence. In this context, Eno’s obsession with patterns is the modern equivalent of the romantic’s craving to recapture a lost past. And this obsession is the real source of both the surreal, infectious high spirits and the almost subliminal melancholy that run in constant parallel through all his work. 
On Before and after Science, the gaiety is given a sketchy, restless treatment, and the melancholy predominates. As a result, the new LP is less immediately ingratiating than either Taking Tiger Mountain or Here Come the Warm Jets. Still, the execution here is close to flawless, and despite Eno’s eclecticism. the disparate styles he employs connect brilliantly. At first, the pulsating drive of “Backwater” seems totally at odds with the resigned lyricism of “Julie With…” or “Spider and I,” but it soon becomes clear that drive and lyricism are only complementary variables, organized by the album’s circular structure. 
Like all of Eno’s records, Before and after Science is concerned with journeys that have no destination and end only in pauses. Traditional pastoral images of river and sky are the LP’s central verbal motifs; when cued to the electronic instrumentation and to Eno’s shifting, kinetic sense of rhythm, these images take on a powerful, futuristic concreteness. The classical irony, “You can never step in the same river twice,” is the album’s real epigraph in more ways than one. 
Brian Eno’s position is ambiguous almost by definition: a perfect child of science, he uses its rationalism to celebrate mystery. For him, technology is not bloodless machinery, but a wondrous instrument of delight. This delight, however muted, is still what makes Before and after Science linger so vividly in the mind. One title here may crystallize the paradox: “Energy Fools the Magician.” That seems to say it all — until you realize it says just as much the other way around.
Tom Carson / Rolling Stone

Bang On A Can ‎– Music For Airports - Brian Eno (1998)

Style: Modern Classical, Contemporary, Minimal, Ambient
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Point Music

Tracklist:
1.   1/1
2.   1/2
3.   2/1
4.   2/2

Credits:
Bass – Robert Black
Cello – Greg Hesselink, Matt Goeke, Maya Beiser
Electric Guitar, Cello, Mandolin, Mandocello – Mark Stewart
Flute – David Fedele, Liz Mann
Horn – Chris Komer
Keyboards, Piano – Lisa Moore
Percussion – Steven Schick
Pipa – Wu Man
Trombone – Christopher Washburne, Julie Josephson
Trumpet – Tom Hoyt, Wayne Du Maine
Violin – Todd Reynolds
Women's Voices – Alexandra Montano, Katie Geissinger, Mary Runyan Marathe, Phyllis Jo Kubey
Producer, Mixed By – Eric Calvi
Producer, Mixed By, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet – Evan Ziporyn

In 1979, Brian Eno's epochal Music For Airports introduced the phrase "ambient music" into the contemporary-music lexicon. Even if Erik Satie originally coined the term "wallpaper music," it was Eno who popularized the Zen-like texturalism of ambient music. Now, nearly 20 years later, the New York collective Bang On A Can has transcribed and arranged Eno's calm-inducing opus for live performance, playing the repetitive, hypnotic pieces in real time and recording the results. Just the thought of performing Eno's album at first seems like some sort of arch, post-modern joke, like John Cage's 4'33". The curious contradictions inherent in the task are formidable: If, as defined, ambient music is meant to fade into the background, what's the point of re-recording an ambient album? But this line of reasoning gives Eno's infamous album short shrift: Though far from the most engaging piece of music ever recorded, Music For Airports is hardly as disposable as its reputation implies. That Bang On A Can could so accurately replicate each "movement"—the four tracks are titled "1/1," "1/2," "2/1," and "2/2"—reveals that there's more going on in Eno's music than might appear at first, even if the pieces don't change that much. The new rendition only differentiates itself from the original in the most mundane ways, like instrumentation and recording fidelity. But as an intellectual exercise, the effort is incomparable.
Joshua Klein / AV Club

Taiguara ‎– Imyra, Tayra, Ipy - Taiguara (1976)

Genre: Jazz, Latin, Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Odeon, Kuarup Discos, Sony Music

Tracklist:
A1.   Pianice
A2.   Delírio Transatlântico E Chegada No Rio
A3.   Público
A4.   Terra Das Palmeiras
A5.   Como Em Guernica
A6.   A Volta Ao Passado Ameríndio
A7.   Luanda, Violeta Africana
B1.   Aquarela De Um País Na Lua
B2.   Situação
B3.   Sete Cenas De Imyra
B4.   Três Pontas
B5.   Samba Das Cinco
B7.   Primeira Bateria
B8.   Outra Cena

Credits:
Acoustic Bass – Novelli
Acoustic Guitar – Toninho Horta
Bandoneon – Ubirajara Correia Da Silva
Cello – Jacquinho Morelenbaum
Drums – Paulinho Braga, Zé Eduardo Nazario
Flute – Hermeto Pascoal
Harp – Lucia Morelenbaum
Percussion – Paulinho Braga, Zé Eduardo Nazario
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Nivaldo Ornelas
Mellotron, Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals – Taiguara
Arranged By, Orchestrated By – Hermeto Pascoal, Taiguara Chalar Da Silva

Contextualization is necessary: ​​in the late sixties, Taiguara was seen as one of the biggest names in Brazilian popular music. He have won festivals, their albums sold well, their songs were reproduced constantly in the radios. Over time, Taiguara was fond of singing more freely, allowing himself to make small comments about the military dictatorship and the dreams of a new society - all in metaphors and innuendos. In 1971, in the album "Carne e Osso", there was a song dedicated to Cuba. The Brazilian censorship never left Taiguara rest for then on. In the following years, more than 60 songs would be prohibited, censored, or prevented from being reproduced in radio and concerts. His shows were constantly attacked by police forces. Taiguara decided to go on exile. In England, he records an album with Michel Legrand and the London Symphonic Orchestra. The album is banned from being released in England by the Brazilian government - today the original tapes have not yet been found. In 1975 he was allowed to return to Brazil and record a new album. 
How? How to express his indigenous roots, his displeasure with censorship and dictatorship and his dream for another society without censorship attacking him? "Imyra, Tayra Ipy" is born. 
With Wagner Tiso, Hermeto Pascoal and more than 80 musicians, "Imyra, Tayra Ipy" becomes a lavish album, absurdly complex, with thematic and concept from start to finish. The arrival in Brazil, his feeling of belonging to a land whose birds do not sing anymore; its indigenous, African and Spanish roots sung, while more than 3 musicians solo at the same time. "Imyra, Tayra Ipy" is a landmark of both the artist and Brazilian music. Albums like this were not usually recorded in Brazil: by technical and financial condition to gather all the attributes. "Imyra, Tayra Ipy" grandeur comes, often in the album, in its ability to completely subvert brazilian songs and themes in something completly different. One of the best example is his reading of "Aquarela do Brasil" in the track "Aquarela de um país na lua". 
The result? Three days later, the Brazilian police collected the album form the shelves of the stores and destroyed the copies. Taiguara went into exile in Europe and Africa and would record again only almost ten years later. 
But no matter, the song has come to us, we have the opportunity to see an artist who used the music to take revenge on a system, whith strings, drums and highly dreamy lyrics. 
The Taiguara of the following decades would be extremely bold and would definitely drop the metaphors to reach his political ideas in a direct form.
GKAZZ / Jazz Music Archives

The Lloyd McNeill Quartet ‎– Asha (1969)

Genre: Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Soul Jazz Records, ASHA Recording Co. Inc.

Tracklist:
A1.   Asha
A2.   As A Matter Of Fact
A3.   Two-Third's Pleasure
A4.   Dig Where Dat's At!
B1.   St. Margaret's Church
B2.   Effervescence
B3.   Warmth Of A Sunny Day

Credits:
Bass – Steve Novosel
Congas – Paul Hawkins
Drums – Eric Gravatt
Percussion – Paul Hawkins
Piano – Gene Rush
Flute, Composed By – Lloyd McNeill

Lloyd McNeil’s solo project music are multi-dimensional and presented live painting during his performance. Indeed, his high degrees of educations in the art fields and his slight involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and the counterculture of the late 60’s, as well as his contacts in other artistic realms (including Picasso) lead his performances reach unusual levels of originality. Most likely the artwork of Asha is the result of one of them. 
Although the leader is a flutist, LMcN’s quintet is piano-oriented with Gravatt’s (future Weather Report) percussions adding dimension, bringing energy levels that are often found in the then-nascent JR/F adventures of the times. McNeil’s flute styles is fairly different to his other jazz colleagues (Herbie Mann, Jeremy Steig, Rashaan, etc…), because he also diddles with the piccolo, thus giving a special sonic to his albums. Gene Rush’s piano has a certain Tyner-esque feel at times, thus giving a modal ambiance that can remind Coltrane. 
Opening on the almost 9-mins title track (whose name hints at psychedelic and oriental dimensions), we’re directly transported in soundscapes that are more reminiscent of the 70’s, induced by Gravatt’s powerful drumming (reminiscent Elvin Jones). Don’t get me wrong, these Coltrane references that I’m giving you are just indicative, and while somehow that mythic quartet’s shadow is indeed hovering over the album, there is no way you’d ever mistake Asha for anything else than a McNeil oeuvre. The same “Asha” ambiances are to be heard in a few other tracks (namely Dig Where Dats At), but some compositions (like Matter Of Fact, Effervescence or 2/3’s Pleasure) are more conventional and 60’s-ish. The closing spellbinding Sunny Day is very descriptive of its title, and ends in total serenity. Note that Lloyd uses more piccolo (slightly annoying throughout the total duration of the album) on Asha than necessary. 
An unusually long album for the times and the genre (well over 20 minutes per side), Asha is a fantastic testimony of the artistic creativity of the counterculture, then at its apex in the late 60’s. Sadly enough McNeil’s discography is limited to the wider-70’s (from 69 to 80), but his early contributions are absolutely essential. I’m not exactly sure how he got tagged as “third stream”, since in the few works of his that I’m familiar with, his music rarely veers towards classical music, and when it does, it’s purely classical, with no jazz in the mix. But that is simply not applicable to this Asha album, where we’re dealing more with a pre-JR/F jazz and not at all with "Third Stream", one a very solid effort, at that.
Sean Trane / Jazz Music Archives