It’s that time of year!
Label: Stony Plain Records
Blues artist Rory Block seems to have a certain fondness for tribute albums, as “keepin” is now her sixth, this one being devoted to Bukka White. Her stated goal is to produce those works that memorializes artists who have had a profound influence on her career. This whole CD details aspects of Bukka White’s life and track two, Bukka’s Day talks about White going to jail and how the Blues is God’s music. All throughout this CD Block’s style is classic blues, much of which I’m sure Bukka White himself would have been pleased to hear. If the Blues in a 1930’s Mississippi Delta style is liked and admired, then check out the new work from Rory Block – because that is exactly what this one is.
Overall: 8 Sonics: 8
Sometimes the world needs more music that is centered around the magnificent Hammond B-3 organ. Anyone agreeing with that assessment should consider the second release by Robert Kennedy, an artist who is quite skilled at the B-3. Joined by guitar, saxophone and drums, the quartet of performers weaves their way through ten tracks of original and standards all done in a traditional jazz genre. Born in the South, Kennedy has made somewhat of a name for himself in the San Francisco Bay area where, surprisingly, the Hammond B-3 is seeing a resurgence of sorts. All ten of these tracks are done in a straight up, traditional, sometimes gospel, sometimes bebop, sometimes soul type of jazz presentation.
Overall: 8 Sonics: 8
Artist: Thor Platter – “Take Time”
Label: Sunshine Music
With a voice that has an eerie resemblance to Willie Nelson, “Take Time,” Platter’s latest release, is a collection of songs in a folk, blues, and country type of presentation. Platter himself has often said he just makes the music he enjoys. Most of the ten tracks contain all the hallmarks of what is stylistically folk based music – harmonica, banjo, and guitar. Platter cites performers like Woodie Guthrie, Bob Dylan and even Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs as inspirations for his own particular style of music. In fact, Platter himself has been cited as saying that like his most profound influence, Neil Young, he has always been more concerned about how music was recorded. In fact, by Platter’s own admission, he never wanted to be a pop star and his preference is what he terms as “Americana Music.” From toe tapping upbeat, too soulful, soft and slow, Platter delivers a blues, folk work that will be enjoyed by any fan of the folk genre.
Overall: 8 Sonics: 8
Label: Geometric Records
When I read the CD’s title my first thought was what the heck is a Jimi Jazz band? By the second track I realized that was basically a pointless question. What was of far more importance was actually listening to a remarkable jazz guitarist. He has been called “dazzlingly versatile” and has played with an impressive list of jazz artists and has been written up in publications like Guitar World, Jazziz, and Jazz Times. On “What Now,” Filipiak delivers seven original tracks and one cover of the Beatles hit, “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Beyond his guitar work, bass, saxophone, keyboards and drums in what I would not classify as necessarily traditional jazz, not especially smooth jazz, but more perhaps in line with fusion jazz accompany him. All in all, Filipiak is a very, very talented guitarist who is certainly worth a listen.
Overall: 8 Sonics: 8.5
]]>Artist: Reggie Young – “Young Street”
Label: RGY Entertainment
Bassist Reggie Young started playing the guitar at age twelve and has grown into a Grammy award winning session player. He has been a contributor to artists like Lenny Kravitz, Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder to name a few. Growing up in a religious background in New York and subsequently Long Island, his first professional forays were in Gospel music. Soon enough, however, his considerable talent led him to more mainstream genres and he became highly sought after in the NYC music scene. He has performed at the Apollo Theater, numerous clubs and even theaters. In 2010, Fodera Guitars, whom many would say are the world’s leaders in custom bass guitars, announced they would release the Reggie Young version, an honor only bestowed on a select few bassists. While Young’s latest release is not traditional jazz, not smooth jazz and is probably not best classified as any one genre, it is a very listenable work. It is jazz that is more intensified with funk, rock, and accompanied with a catchy horn section. There are eleven all original tracks that each one, it its own unique way, deliver the incredible talents of one who has certainly mastered the bass guitar.
Overall: 8.5 Sonics: 8
If you have ever thought there needs to be more rock and roll in the world you are in luck. In doing these music reviews I so frequently sit and listen to CD after CD all in similar styles and similar genres. Every so often it is really nice to hear something that breaks the mold. The Freeway Revival is an Asheville, NC based band whose main influence is the Allman Brothers but also have hints of Led Zeppelin, Little Feat, and even Bob Dylan in their music. Harkening to a 60’s and 70’s style, their overall presentation is sometimes soulful, sometimes hard charging, sometimes poetic, sometimes even barn burning but always exceptionally good. Drummer Cartwright Brandon is a remarkable drummer and has been compared to John Bonham. I found “Revolution Road” such a welcomed change of pace in what for me is my usual jazz centric genre that I listened to the work all the way through with the volume turned up before I ever even worried about a music review. This release has pretty much everything a rock album should have, hard charging guitars, explosive drums, catchy tunes, interesting lyrics, four part harmonies, and well, just a rockin’ good time. Highly, highly recommended.
Overall: 10 Sonics: 8.5