The Tibetan Freedom Concert was the largest rock charity event of 1997, a two-day event held in June that featured many of the biggest names in rock and rap. Appropriately, it was filmed and recorded with the intention of being released later in the year as a charity record. The triple-disc set, The Tibetan Freedom Concert, is the extraordinary document of that weekend, containing one performance apiece from the 36 artists who appeared at the concert.
Concerts with Maria Schneider are something special. They are stylistically not only out of the ordinary, they also manage to bring large orchestras to perform artistically at high voltage, with an energy and at a creative level which is otherwise known only in much smaller ensembles. It is not the music alone that drives the participants, but rather the serene seriousness of a band leader who demands a maximum of intensity from her compositions and passes this premise on to their interpretation. It is impossible to conceive of compositions for jazz orchestras more stringently. The instrumentalists know this too, and therefore feel called upon not only to reproduce the charts accurately but to work out all the contained hints, implications, and visions of sound down to the deepest levels. This original recording was made in May 2000 when Schneider appeared alongside the SWR Big Band. And for the SWR Big Band, those days in May 2000 are some of the highlights of their orchestral history.
The arrival on the shelves of Wackerman's FORTY REASONS seemed a long time coming. After Wackerman's tenure with Zappa and his continued work with Allan Holdsworth (who, naturally, lends his guitar prowess to FORTY REASONS), it seemed only logical that the crafty beatsmith would go out on his own. FORTY REASONS is a tidy thesis of lessons well learned, a snazzy musical diary of 20 years of modern fusion surfeited with complex drumming, a multitude of elastic-time changes, and attractive, high-tech melodies. There's also a healthy funk base anchoring it all. This brazen re-thinking of the form renders its future prognosis quite healthy, thanks not only to Wackerman but also to bassist Jimmy Johnson and keyboardist Jim Cox. Wackerman's choice in sidemen gives FORTY REASONS drop kick, punch, and top-notch performances by an airtight band.
Between 1960 and 1963 Texas tenor Curtis Amy (1927-2002) made six superb albums for Dick Bocks Pacific Jazz label, three of which, Groovin Blue, Way Down, and Tippin on Through, are included here. They were part of Bocks recognition of the emergence on the West Coast scene of a more groove-based, harder swinging approach than the cooler, considered style that preceded it. He chose well. Years of semi-obscurity in L.A. dance bands and organ combos had made Amy a thoroughly seasoned, assertive and inventive player in the mould of fellow tenor, Harold Land; these Pacific albums established him as a major exponent of the new music revitalizing West Coast jazz.
Released in 1971, The Land of Many Churches is similar to other Merle Haggard tribute albums released in the same era, including Same Train, Different Time and I Love Dixie Blues. To his credit, Haggard had a greater need to shine light on the music that influenced him, more so than the need to release material that guaranteed a surefire hit. These 24 tracks include gospel chestnuts "Precious Memories," "Turn Your Radio On," "Amazing Grace," and a great version of the Hank Williams composition "I Saw the Light." Recorded live at the Nashville Union Rescue Mission and several rural churches across the country, Haggard is joined by guests Bonnie Owens and the Carter Family. Highly recommended to traditional country fans.
Poco’s biggest-selling album of all time also presented the biggest personnel change at one time for the then-decade-old group, whose lineup had hardly been a model of stability up to that time. Co-founding drummer/singer George Grantham and longtime bassist/singer Timothy B. Schmit were both gone, the latter off to the Eagles. Listening to parts of this album, one gets the sense that, with the arrival of Charlie Harrison (bass, harmony vocals) and Steve Chapman (drums) in the group, Poco was deliberately adopting a change in sound similar to what the Eagles went through when Joe Walsh joined, into much harder rocking territory, at least part of the time.
During the 70s, the Japanese jazz scene was in an incredibly intense phase - one that had players breaking out of older modes that were often strict copies of American jazz, and working in newer styles that often blended soul, modal, and spiritual jazz with freer-thinking ideas and more Eastern-inspired modes. The result was an incredible batch of music that was probably more strongly recorded by the Three Blind Mice label than any other Japanese imprint - because unlike some of their contemporaries, TBM didn't fill their catalog with work by American players, and often focused exclusively on Japanese artists.
Listen to Bezuyaehu Demissie. Great Album from great artist.
A really cool pairing of two relatively obscure and always overlooked early- to mid-'60s LPs by Jerry Lee Lewis that, respectively, capture him as a country crooner (and quite a good one) and a high-energy country-rocker with a bluesy edge. The original albums never sold any significant numbers to speak of, with the result that the material will essentially be new to all but the most hardcore fans. None of it is bad and a large portion of it is not only good but impressive, showing some sides to Lewis' talent that weren't always obvious amid the rippling ivories of the Sun Records hits.
Daniel Schnyder is known as a composer/performer with a dynamic reputation in both jazz and classical fields. He recorded over ten CDs of his own music for Enja Records, Col Legno, Koch Jazz, CCnc, Universal, BIS, TCB, Arabesque and Red Records. As a performer Daniel toured and recorded with many well-known classical musicians, world music artists and jazz players.