Heaven and the Sea isn't quite as dance-oriented as Pete Shelley's first two albums, nor does it have the nervous pop energy that was a hallmark of those records and his work with the Buzzcocks. Instead, it's a layered and textured release, given a polished, mature production which ironically only emphasizes the lack of notable songs. There are a handful of relatively strong cuts on the record, but even they don't match the high points of its two predecessors.
Although a fourth Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation album (Remains to Be Heard) would be cobbled together from outtakes and recordings done without Dunbar, their third LP, To Mum, From Aynsley and the Boys, was truly the final proper full-length release by the original group. Dunbar had expressed some interest in moving further afield from the blues-rock format around the time the record was done, and the addition of keyboardist Tommy Eyre (from the Grease Band) to the lineup was one step in that direction. The enlistment of John Mayall as producer was perhaps another step in attempting to refine their sound. Still, much of To Mum, From Aynsley and the Boys is pretty standard late-'60s British blues-rock, in line with the previous two albums by the band. Eyre does inject some of the arrangements with a jazzy, more R&B feel, particularly on "Leaving Right Away" and the instrumental "Unheard," the latter of which sounds like a rock band trying to do modern jazz and finding themselves a bit out of their depth.
Keiko Matsui is the Stevie Nicks of contemporary jazz. In her photos, she always appears pale, out of a mist, like a fairy goddess or angel. Her creative and long popular blend of classical piano, aggressive jazz/funk, orchestral grandeur, and sonic elements from her native Japan allows her to create both poignant ballads and more aggressive fusion statements. Over the course of her last few albums, Matsui's Lindsey Buckingham – always at her side, pushing her performance harder and higher – has been seductive saxman Paul Taylor. On this ethereal mind trip, Full Moon and the Shrine (Countdown/Unity), she doesn't let Taylor stray too far.
Pierrick Pedron is a kind of musical UFO. Each new recording causes surprise because he finds a way to embark you in his very personal universe. This one is no exception to the rule. Unclassifiable compositions with an incredible mix of funk, pop, rock, jazz and whatnot. The saxophonist Pierrick Pedron’s new album, which has been made in association with his fellow partner for some years Vincent Artaud, artistic director, producer and real alter ego to Pedron is a call to the rhythms of the future.
Folksinger and composer Jaime Brockett's debut album, Remember the Wind and the Rain (1971), easily demonstrates why readers of Broadside magazine heralded him as Boston, MA's top male performer circa 1968. Brockett's emotive side is revealed on the title track, "Blue Chip," and the hauntingly beautiful "Nowadays," juxtaposed against the anti-authoritarian hippie anthems "Talkin' Green Beret New Super Yellow Hydraulic Banana Teeny Bopper Blues" and the nearly quarter-hour "Legend of the U.S.S Titanic." Even though the latter sounds like an amphetamine-fueled rave, it includes a coded message and some sage advice: if one has the need to partake of recreational combustibles, it should be done "in the privacy of your own home.