Album reviews with Kevin Bryan, Tony Burke and Chris Searle


Myriam Makeba
The Roots of – From South Africa to New York

Known as “Mama Africa”, Miriam Makeba was one of the most visible, audible and vocal opponents of the South African apartheid regime until its collapse in the early 1990s.

She appeared with the popular vocal group The Manhattan Brothers and led the girl group The Skylarks which had a number of big hits.

While in New York, she played at the Village Vanguard club where she met Harry Belafonte.

In 1960, following the Sharpeville massacre, her South African passport was revoked and she lived in exile for the next 30 years – a thorn in the side of the South African regime.

This two-CD set includes rare SA records, recordings with The Manhattan Brothers and others: the popular The Click Song from 1960, live recordings with Belafonte, and rare album tracks from the early 1960s. of vital importance.
Tony burke

RB Morris
Back to heaven
(Singular recordings)

He may not be a household name yet, but RB Morris’ compelling approach to the art of songwriting has already garnered heartfelt praise from an equally gifted coterie of luminaries led by Steve Earle. , Lucinda Williams and the late John Prine.

Morris’s latest long-running creation taps into a rich vein of old highway songs and stories inspired by the singer-songwriter’s early travels across western America.

These expertly crafted tales are elegantly backed up here by some of the best sidemen the American genre has to offer today, including mandolin and violin magician David Mansfield and highly experienced harmonica ace Mickey Raphael.

Much evidence of the rare qualities that have prompted discerning pundits to hail Morris as “the country’s greatest unknown songwriter” is provided by notable pieces such as That’s The Way I Do and Old Copper Penny.
Kevin Bryan

Logan richardson
Swirling records

When you listen to Afrofuturism, the new album from Kansas City saxophonist and composer Logan Richardson, you hear the sound album of a personal musical life, but with something much deeper and broader: “I was trying to tell a story, “he wrote,” a little on me, but then on all of us. “

Lines from a poem by his mother in Awaken; references to Tulsa’s 1921 racist crackdown on Black Wall Street and the 2020 protests against police violence in Round Up all resonate with the present.

There’s also a tribute to saxophone innovator Anthony Braxton in For Alto, and a lament for the late pianist McCoy Tyner in Farewell, Goodbye.

Many layers of the black history of the United States are made explicit in this album, flowing from its rhythmic and melodic heart: echoes, years, events and their soundscapes, tales of a family and a people – a century of music and wrestling.
Chris Searle

Tony Allen and Hugh Masekela
Rejoice (Special Edition)
World Tour

The indisputable 2020 jazz / world music album, the original release, got me through Covid’s first long lockdown – if it was never off the bridge. A month later, the sudden death of drummer Tony Allen added to the mythology of this album.

World Circuit’s Nick Gold revisited the 2010 Allen and Masekela mixes and added some never-before-seen parts from the 2019 follow-up sessions to create eight wonderful reimagined bonus mixes (Cool Cats Mix).

The original tracks here are legendary, especially Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be The Same) – a tribute to Fela Kuti, Obama Shuffle Strut Blues and Coconut Jam.

The remixes are fantastic and the sound amazing. The set is available as a two-CD case book edition and 180g gatefold double LP and features new notes and photos. Too important to be missed.

Paul carrack
One against one
(Caraque-United Kingdom)

Born in Sheffield, keyboardist, guitarist and singer Paul Carrack has been plying his trade with style and excellence for over half a century now, with an impeccable musical resume, which includes passages with much-loved outfits such as Mike and the Mechanics. , Squeeze and Ace to name a few.

Paul’s latest offering is largely a one-man show, as the pandemic forced this multi-talented character into his home studio to assemble the highly anticipated sequel to These Days 2018, with much of the vocal input and instrumental provided by the great man himself.

The finished product provides an eloquent vehicle for the moving tones that graced classic creations such as Ace’s The Living Years, Tempted, and How Long in the past, with a series of freshly created new songs nestled comfortably alongside the loving cover of Carrack from the hit Charlie Rich, Behind Closed Doors.

Chris Potter
There is a tide
Editing files

In 1941, pioneer New Orleans saxophonist Sidney Bechet, using the studio overlay, recorded The Sheik of Araby, playing soprano and tenor saxophones, clarinet, piano, bass, and drums.

In 2020, Chicago saxophonist Chris Potter played an instrumental array of flutes, guitars, bass clarinet, and samples to create his home-produced locking album There is a Tide.

An astonishing historical achievement, that a musician can do so much with breath, surfaces, strings and electronics in an American home.

His sonic metaphor of the threat of the tides, with tunes like Mother of Waters or Beneath the Waves, expresses the power of the pandemic.

Hope burns in this irrepressible music, all the notes, the instant melodies, the improvised inventiveness, the creative soundscape and the artistic defiance, until the last track, aptly called New Life (In the Wake of Devastation).

The resurgent power of Bechet music asserts itself: an album of our time, a marker of the human spirit.

Georgia thunderclaps
Can i have a witness
Mascot files

Hailing from Rome, Georgia, the first group of five musicians ushered in a new era of southern rock.

Influenced by the Allman Brothers (they cover the Allman’s Midnight Rider), Lynard Skynard, Neil Young and Little Feat, they deliver 13 riff sides, boastful blues-rock faces with fluid guitar solos, sustained exchanges and solos. by a powerful battery.

So You Wanna Change The World, the band’s first song written, and the dynamic Looking For An Old Friend and Spirit Of A Workin ‘Man reflect the experiences of their rural hometown.

With great catchphrases and lyrics like “Got a full tank of gas and headed for the road, no money in my pocket, destination still unknown” on Take It Slow, you know what you get.

Excellent cover of Be Good To Yourself by Frankie Miller.

Masabumi kikuchi
Red hook records

Hanamichi was the last studio recording of the Tokyo-born pianist, who died in New York City in 2015.

Masabumi Kikuchi has had a stellar jazz life, performing with maestros as stylistically distant as Lionel Hampton, Elvin Jones, Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins.

The album expresses the protean genius of Kikuchi, with beautifully and innovative engraved versions of Ramona by Gilbert and Warne, Summertime by Gershwin and two very diverse versions of My Favorite Things by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

The Songbook’s ballads freeze with her much freer piece, Improvisation, and the melody dedicated to her daughter, Little Abi.

It is an album enveloped in a deep and thoughtful tranquility, as if each note were a personal discovery and the revelation of a full and inventive musical life.

As longtime bass partner Gary Peacock said of him: “It wasn’t until a few years before his death that his voice found him.” Hear her unique pianistic expression on Hanamichi, a collection of sonic beauties.

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