Category: Jazz/ Fusion

Al Hirt ‘Soul in the Horn’

  Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Harlem Hendoo” by Al Hirt Time was running out. By 1968, the gravy train that artists like Al Hirt and Herb Alpert had ridden to fame on, was about to make a stop. Sure, Alpert would score his last huge hit, the #1 Bacharach and David gem “This Guy’s In Love With You” in 1968, but shortly after that, even Alpert’s run at the top would end until the mid-1980s. Things were even worse for Al Hirt. It had been four years since Hirt was on the top with singles like the Allen Toussaint-penned “Java,” “The Green Hornet Theme” and “Sugar Lips,” plus top-ten albums like Honey In The Horn”...

Kelan Philip Cohran & The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

  Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Spin” by Kelan Philip Cohran & The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble If you love tuba solos, they’re here. How about exotic string instruments like zithers and kalimbas? Check, they’re in abundance. Funky, funky brass? Present and duly accounted for. Exciting music like you’ve never heard before? Look no further than the welcome return of Kelan Philip Cohran and his latest group, The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Cohran played trumpet, zither and other string instruments with Sun Ra Arkestra from 1959-1961, performing on their albums Interstellar Low Ways (1959), Holiday for Soul Dance (1960), Fate in a Pleasant Mood (1960) and later guesting on the record Angels and Demons at Play (1965). He...

Herbie Hancock and Foday Musa Suso ‘Village Life’

  Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Moon/Light” by Herbie Hancock and Foday Musa Suso In West African culture, a griot is a musician and storyteller who holds all of the keys to the history of his people. It is the griot’s place in society to share that history through music, entertainment and poetry. The kora is a 21-string instrument that is the chief instrument accompanying a griot. Foday Musa Suso was born in Gambia and is a direct descendent of the inventor who invented the musical instrument over four hundred years ago. Now anyone who’s ever heard the music of the kora, no doubt, has fallen under its spell. It is a string instrument that has...

William Parker ‘Petit Oiseau’

  Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Talaps Theme” by William Parker Difficult listening doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s all about perception, and with the ability to just let it all wash over you with an open mind, difficult listening can be real easy. Case in point is bassist William Parker’s 2008 free jazz album Petit Oiseau. Parker has one of the best working bands in Jazz today. Along with longtime percussionist Hamid Drake, Parker acts as the catalyst of The William Parker Quartet, driving the proceedings with his percussive approach to the double bass and sustaining the tension between saxophonist Rob Brown’s sharp tones and trumpeter Lewis Barnes’ muted beauty. Even when the band is...

Wes Montgomery ‘I Love Blues’

  Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “I Love Blues” by Wes Montgomery – Perhaps one of the greatest guitarists in Jazz, right up there with Django Reinhardt, Grant Green, Charlie Christian, Gabor Szabo and George Benson!  Wes Montgomery only walked this earth for a short time, but he left behind a lasting legacy of recordings that never fail to astound. Montgomery hailed from Indiana and idolized the guitar playing of Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian. He didn’t begin to play the guitar until the age of 20, and then primarily lead his own small groups. He recorded sessions with the likes of Wynton Kelly, Jimmy Smith, Milt Jackson, Cannonball Adderly and Nat Adderly, and was once...

Dave Brubeck Quartet ‘Toki’s Theme’

  Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Toki’s Theme” by The Dave Brubeck Quartet Ever since the news broke about Dave Brubeck’s passing earlier this week, I’ve been mourning the only way record geeks like myself know how to, grab all of the music you own by the artist and start listening. I’m a serious record collector who has been at it now for over 40 years. In that time, I think I’ve amassed a pretty well-rounded and eclectic collection of music suitable for any mood. I became aware of Brubeck’s music many years ago, but didn’t buy my first records by him (which were Take Five and At Carnegie Hall) until the early 1980s when I...

Dan Siegel “Dan Siegel”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#660 in the Series) is 1982, self-tiled release from Dan Siegel. When you go to a concert do you pay attention to the opening acts? Do you see what they have to offer? If not, I suggest that you do, as I’ve found many acts that have become favorites by doing so.  I wonder if how much longer it would have taken me to find NRBQ if I hadn’t seen them open for John Prine in the early 80’s. Another of those was when I first saw Dan Siegel. I was spending the summer in Kansas City, and was an aspiring rock and roll writer for Night Rock News magazine at the...

Stanley Clarke "School Days"

Today’s Cool Album of The Day (#655 of the Series) is Stanley Clarke, School Days We have a large number of musicians in our group. I KNOW they know this one!! Stanley Clarke was on a roll in 1976 when this was released. Playing bass for Chick Corea’s Return to Forever will do that for you. He had just released three albums. Children of Forever, Stanley Clarke and Journey to Love had both faired quite well. But School Days was a monster for him. The title track has been hailed as one of the most influential songs by a lead bassist in jazz fusion. “The Dancer” also got some play.  It’s really too bad that rock radio doesn’t play albums...

Pat Metheny Group “Pat Metheny Group”

    Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#642 in the Series) is the eponymous release by The Pat Metheny Group. (ECM) Often when I post these pieces to either here at the website or on our sister Facebook Page I often get a reaction saying something like, “this album is good but I like ‘blank’ better” or possibly “you should’ve done their other album called ‘blank’ as apposed to this one.” As I’ve said before our goal was never to just feature an artist’s best album, that would narrow the field down considerably plus whom am I to say if what I think is the best album parallels with what you think is the best album. Don’t worry...

Return to Forever “Romantic Warrior”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#591 in the series) is Return to Forever, Romantic Warrior It was May 12th of 1982 when a group of friends and I were driving to the Asia show (at the fabulous Chicago Auditorium) when I plugged in this beauty of a piece into my 8-track player and when it came out of my Jensen Supersonic speakers, having heard it for the first time, they were blown away. If you never heard of this band you probably heard of the individuals that make up the groups line-up of jazz fusion superstars. This was largely keyboard master Chick Corea’s brainstorm, but to recruit the greatest fusion bassist in Stanley Clarke, guitar virtuoso (especially...

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