Cool R (1986) Let’s Talk About It (LP) Half & Half ST 62525 

Cool R

Let’s Talk About It 

1986

Half & Half ST 62525

*** noteworthy


Obviously influenced by every master of funk in the 80s, this has a small-town charm all its own.  While this is a varied set, it grabs you from the get-go with the 8+ minute opener “Dangerous.”  The set is produced and written Nathaniel Phillips, the band’s bass player, and that’s not surprising considering the popping bassline is a huge part of the charm.


Perhaps this offering from Portland, Oregon is not worth what you’d likely end up paying for it, this is certainly worth a listen if you dig obscure funk from the 1980s.

— winch (author of

Screw Art Let’s Dance

Did the musical conversations between musicians begin with nonverbal conversations between dancer and musician? How closely was the development of improvisation connected with dance? Was the solo first initiated by the dancers? If so, then dancers played a huge part in creating American music because along with the blues and syncopation, American music is defined by solos, conversation, and improvisation.

In New Orleans it all came together like a cross-bred seed the size of a city and grew like an oak tree the size of a country. It spread across the map like a big-ass oak tree and grew into the music we heard throughout the 20th century, and the music we listen to today.

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So many influences came together down there in New Orleans, from a circle of cultural groups that reached down into the West Indies and up into the Delta, from the original people of the area and from the black people who were brought to various locations against their will, from Africa to the Americas, from internal and external elemental places that they were wise enough to notice and creative enough to capture, the waves and the wind, the shake of the trees and the flicker of the flame, the trickle of the rain and crash of thunder, the beat of the heart as it hunts and hates and loves, the movement of the body as it moves to show affection and cause reproduction.  Movement inspired music, and music caused movement.

The people of New Orleans got together and before the twine frayed, they wove the music together into a tighten wound rope. But what caused the twine to fray, what caused the soloists to twirl out of the rope and do their own things? These things were still of course connected with where the music was going but leading the music into new directions, the rope pulling the soloist back into the pack as the soloist pulled the band down a new alley. It’s all so much like dancers busting out of the pack and doing their own things that one certainly has to wonder if these solo dancers were the ones the inspired these early soloists.

 

And if so, then its easy to see how dancers helped create something that influenced most forms of American music, from ragtime to rap and most everything in between. It’s just something to think about as we look back to try to figure out what happened to make this all come together.

And perhaps it’s even more important as we move forward into the future.

Grab the hand of that man in the wheelchair and let him do his thing. Kick those folding chairs into the corner and stand up for what is right. We must let the music move. We must let the people dance.

— winch (author

Gamelan Orchestra (1952) Mandera ‎Dancers Of Bali (LP) Columbia Masterworks ‎– ML 4618

Gamelan Orchestra

from the Village of Pliatan, Bali, Indonesia

Mandera ‎Dancers Of Bali

Under Direction of Anak Agung Gde

Produced by John Coast

1952
Columbia Masterworks ‎– ML 4618

*** noteworthy

It’s easy to see why jazz musicians found inspirations and influences in Asian dance music like this. The nature of dance made this music fiery, frantic, and avant garde. And it wasn’t improvisation, it sure sounded like that.

Likely while the dancers responded to the music, the music responded to the dancers.


This makes one wonder about the profound effect dancers had on music, not just in Asian, but in America as well.

— winch (author of )

 

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Madlib (2003) Shades of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note (LP) Blue Note Records 

Madlib

Shades of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note 

2003

Blue Note Records

*** noteworthy


Hip-hop influenced “invasion” of the Blue Note catalog, hopefully angering some purists but more likely giving Blue Note fans something fresh to enjoy with the catalog, likely turning some jazz fans on to hip hop, and introducing old jazz to some young hip hop fans.


Highly recommended for fans of Mr. Madlib and his band of aliases.

— winch

 

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Ralph Towner (1973) Diary (LP) ECM 1032 (1974)

Ralph Towner

Diary 

ECM 1032

Recorded April 4 and 5, 1973; released 1974.

Produced by Manfred Eicher

**** recommended


Ron Wynn said it so well when reviewing Towner’s Works, “A great, great guitarist whose songs at worst are overly sentimental, at best hypnotic” and it’s important that Wynn started that sentence with “Great, great,” because even when Towner is being sentimental, he completes his intentions and captures his subject, encapsulating an often fleeting or moving subject like a painter, a memory or a moment, and even in the more forgettable moments on this set, brush strokes mix the memories of music’s past with Towner’s own experiences and expressions.


For an album that features one artist using only acoustic guitars, piano and gong, this definitely has its moments. As much as this seems to come out of his work with the group Oregon, a close listen reveals some clear differences. It’s not only more personal, this reveals different influences. At times, this recalls Weather Report at their most reflective, but here Towner strips the body down to bone and ghost.

— winch (author of )

 

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Porch Ghouls (2003) Bluff City Ruckus (LP) Roman/Columbia (CK 87033)

Porch Ghouls

Bluff City Ruckus

2003

Roman/Columbia (CK 87033)

Produced by Greg Cartwright and the Porch Ghouls

Executive producer: Joe Perry


Debut (and apparently only) long player from this Florida/Memphis outfit, garage blues and back-porch electric Memphis stomp, letting the Tennessee hillbilly come through without sounding like rockabilly.  Unlike their previous EP of mostly covers, all these songs are credited to band members.

It’s not a great album, just a good one, noteworthy 21st Century garage, produced by Greg Cartwright (Oblivions, Reigning Sound), released on Joe Perry’s Roman label . (The Aerosmith / Reigning Sound connection!)

— winch

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Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1999) Echo (LP) Warner Brothers 

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Echo

1999

Warner Brothers

Produced by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell with Rick Rubin

*** noteworthy


Tommy and the Heartbreakers tenth set, last album of the 20th century and last one produced with Rick Rubin.

With the aging process settling in on Petty, his state of mind at this time his life, and/or with the push of Rubin, whatever the reason(s), the influences surface and show quite clearly on this set, the Everly Brothers and the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Ray Davies.


Unlike those artists, nobody is likely to look back at Petty decades from now and revisit some of his works to realize just how valuable they were, but like so many of Petty’s albums, this is certainly worth a spin. Fans should find plenty to enjoy.

— winch (author of )

 

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