Category: Instrumental

Shadowfax “Watercourse Way”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#955 in the Series) is Shadowfax, Watercourse Way When you look at a listing of the best bands Chicagoland has produced it better have Shadowfax included, if it doesn’t find a new list. Are you familiar with Shadowfax? If not, let me go back a ways. The origins of this eventual Grammy-winning band begin in the early 70s in south-suburban Crete, Illinois. That’s where the band lived in a farmhouse popularly known as “The Triple B Ranch.” It was there that these five young men crafted a sound that really could not be pigeonholed. It was jazz, it was rock, it was spacey. It was acoustic, it was plugged in. It was good....

Guitar Legend Steve Hillage To Release New ROVO And System 7 Rock-orientated Album ‘Phoenix Rising’

London, UK – Much to the excitement of music fans worldwide, guitar legend Steve Hillage is releasing a new album in the US with Japanese progressive rock/jam band ROVO on October 8, 2013 on Cleopatra Records. Steve Hillage is widely considered a guitar innovator, and is associated with the Canterbury scene, working in experimental domains since the late 1960s. Besides his critically acclaimed solo recordings, Steve has been a member of the ensembles Khan and System 7. But, he first came to prominence as a member of the multi-national rock band Gong, and appearing on successful albums such as ‘Angels Egg’, ‘You’ and his final album with the band ‘Shamal’. Steve recorded his first solo album in 1975 entitled...

Return to Forever Featuring Chick Corea ‘Hymm of the Seventh Galaxy’

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy” by Return To Forever featuring Chick Corea Pianist extraordinaire, Chick Corea, got his professional start playing with the likes of Cab Calloway, Blue Mitchell, Herbie Mann, Willie Bobo and Mongo Santamaria. He went on to replace Herbie Hancock in Miles Davis’ band and played with him from 1968 through 1971 during a crucial time when Miles was moving away from straight-ahead jazz, and toward a more psychedelic rock sound. He appeared on Davis’ seminal albums Filles de Kilimanjaro, In A Silent Way, Bitches Brew, Black Beauty and Miles Davis At Fillmore. After leaving Miles’ ranks with Dave Holland, he formed Circle with Anthony Braxton and Barry...

Cliff Nobles & Co. ‘The Horse’

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “The Horse” by Cliff Nobles & Co. Cliff Nobles was a gospel singer from Alabama who relocated to Philadelphia to break into the recording industry. He was quickly signed to Atlantic records where he recorded three singles: “My Love Is Getting Stronger,” “Let’s Have A Good Time” and “Your Love Is All I Need” that failed to find any action on the charts. As a result of his affiliation with Atlantic, he was signed to a local Philadelphia record label called “Phil-L.A. of Soul Records” by independent producer Jesse James and formed the group Cliff Nobles & Co. consisting of Benny Williams on bass, Bobby Tucker on guitar, and Tommy Soul...

Young-Holt Unlimtited ‘ Soulful Strut’

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Soulful Strut” by Young-Holt Unlimited It was a breath of funked out fresh air when “Soulful Strut” hit the charts in 1968, and today the song is one of the most refreshing instrumentals of all time. Eldee Young (bass) and Isaac “Red” Holt (drums) were Chicago musicians who made up the rhythm section for The Ramsey Lewis Trio. After gigging with Lewis for ten years and scoring the monster hit “The In Crowd,” Young and Holt left to form their own jazz combo called The Young-Holt Trio with pianist Don Walker. Together, the trio scored a top 20 R&B hit with “Wack Wack,” and recorded several records for the Brunswick record...

Mason Williams ‘The Mason Williams Phonograph Record’ Featuring ‘Classical Gas’

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams It’s an album that starts with an Overture. No, it’s not a Broadway Cast album or film soundtrack to a musical; however, it is an album with lofty levels of conceit and pretension that could only have been recorded in the late ‘60s by Mason Williams. And for The Mason Williams Phonograph Album, it all makes sense since Williams is an artist of high conceit and pretension with a supreme talent level to match. Fortunately (for him and his fans), he was coddled by the most artist friendly record labels of the 1960s, Warner Bros. Records, for otherwise, a record like The Mason Williams Phonograph Album...

Rudresh Mahanthappa ‘Gamak’

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Waiting Is Forbidden” by Rudresh Mahanthappa Welcome to the sonic space where Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time meets King Crimson. Sound intriguing? If it doesn’t, read no further because today’s Song Of The Day is not for the faint of heart or those of closed mind. Despite his exotic name, Rudresh Mahanthappa was born in Italy of Indian descent, but raised in Boulder Colorado from a very young age. He studied music at Berklee in California and earned his Master Of Fine Arts degree at DePaul University in Chicago. While at Berklee, he was introduced to Indian saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath, and the two traveled to India to play concerts between 2005 and...

Whistling Jack Smith ‘I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman’

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” by Whistling Jack Smith Whistler’s brother? Actually, no. Then who was Whistling Jack Smith, and why is his sole hit from 1967 haunting me? I played an album of British Invasion hits released on the Parrot Record label from the late ‘60s before I went to work this morning. When this song came on, my ears quickly perked up. Although I recognized the recording, I hadn’t heard it in years and didn’t even know who it was or what it was called. Ever since then, this little ear worm has ceased to leave me alone. The song was initially titled “Too Much Birdseed” and was written...

Pat Metheny ‘The Orchestrion Project’

  Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Improvisation #2” by Pat Metheny Orchestrion Project If the essence of Jazz is to listen to and improvise off of the musical ideas of those you are playing with, and you are in essence a one man band, can you still consider the music you make jazz? The orchestrion is a mechanically controlled mini orchestra that was designed by Pat Metheny and controlled by his touch on the guitar. Metheny based his orchestrion on his childhood fascination for his grandfather’s player piano. But where the player piano plays itself, Metheny, in essence plays an entire orchestra controlled through his guitar in the album and film, The Orchestrion Project. Metheny has...

The Bryan Ferry Orchestra ‘The Jazz Age’

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#841 in the Series) is Bryan Ferry, The Jazz Age Talk about something coming completely out of left field. I had heard nothing about this album until one day I saw it pop up on a listing of new releases for the week. What makes it more surprising is that was true even though it had been out in the UK for about three months. The premise of The Jazz Age is quite simple. Bryan Ferry takes some of his more popular recordings and transposes them into 1920s era jazz pieces.  I love the idea but I must admit that it did take me a few listens to warm to the record....

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