Friday, July 11, 2014

New Releases: Chicago - Now (Chicago XXXVI); Matthew Halsall - When The World Was Won; Modstock: 21st Century Club Classics


Now (Chicago XXXVI) is the band's first new album of original material since the release of XXX in 2006, and once again these icons offer their signature fiery, jazz-rooted brass arrangements over slick pop rock songs.  When Chicago exploded onto the music scene with their stellar 1969 double-LP debut, Chicago Transit Authority, the band's innovative fusion of up-front horns in a rock 'n' roll context and impeccable pop sensibilities was an instant smash. According to Billboard chart history and stats, Chicago is second only to the Beach Boys as the most successful American rock band of all time, in terms of both album and singles sales. Judged by album sales alone, as certified by the R.I.A.A., the band is still among the Top Ten best-selling U.S. groups in history.  ~ Amazon


Incredible modal sounds from trumpeter Matthew Halsall – one of our favorite contemporary jazz artists, and one whose vision just gets bolder and bolder with each new record! This completely sublime set has Halsall working tightly with reedman Nat Birchall – a frequent musical partner whose own records bristle with the same sort of spiritual energy – given some slight additional flavors here with extra flute, harp, and koto – used alongside the more familiar piano, bass, and drums that have always grounded the pair's work together. All tunes are original, and have this vibe that's perfect for the post-Coltrane spiritual jazz generation – but delivered in a way that's quite fresh, too – and not just a simple rehash of early 70s Impulse Records modes. Every track's a gem – and titles include "Sagano Bamboo Forest", "Tribute To Alice Coltrane", "When The World Was One", "Falling Water", and "Kiyomizu Dera".  ~ Dusty Groove


A brilliant new set from Rob Bailey – the man who gave us all the five volumes of Le Beat Bespoke – returning here with a very fresh take on the mod groove of the 60s! These tracks are more soul and jazz than Rob's previous efforts – still very much in the best modes that were ringing strong with London mods of the 60s, but even deeper, harder, and groovier too – with a plenty strong influence from the farther reaches of the American underground scene! There's still a few rock tracks in the mix, but the addition of mod jazz and Northern Soul really blows the whole thing open – and makes the whole thing a searing set of groovers all the way through. Titles include "Step Down" by The Ranglers, "Too Far To Turn Around" by The Sty-Letts, "It's Gonna Rain" by Gentleman June Gardner, "Shotgun" by Johnny Deen & The Deacons, "Love's A Workin" by Dean Carter, "Line & Track" by The Aquamen, "I Ain't Gonna Take You Back" by Brenda Holloway & The Carrolls, "Please Grow Up" by Harlem Kiddies, and "The Love I Need" by Frank Butler.  ~ Dusty Groove

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