Thursday, August 28, 2014



Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters take to the road in the live double album Flood, recorded and released only in Japan. Contrary to the impression left by his American releases at this time, Hancock was still very much attached to the acoustic piano, as his erudite opening workout on "Maiden Voyage/Actual Proof" with his funk rhythm section makes clear. The electric keyboards, mostly Rhodes piano and clavinet, make their first appearances on side two, where Hancock now becomes more of a funky adjunct to the rhythm section, bumping along with a superb feeling for the groove while Bennie Maupin takes the high road above on a panoply of winds. Except for "Voyage," the tunes come from the Head Hunters, Thrust, and Man-Child albums (another reason why this was not released in the U.S.). "Chameleon" comes with a lengthy outbreak of machine pink noise that attests to Hancock's wide-eyed love of gadgetry. In all, this was a great funk band, not all that danceable because of the rapid complexities of Mike Clark's drumming, and quite often, full of harmonic depth and adventure. ~ Richard S. Ginell. ~ CD Universe

Digitally remastered using 20-bit technology by Ron McMaster. The AFTER MIDNIGHT sessions were Nat "King" Cole's attempt in 1956 to get a little more in touch with his jazz roots, once again accompanying himself on piano--at one time Cole was considered the heir to Teddy Wilson--and playing with a small combo that included Harry "Sweets" Edison on trumpet, Juan Tizol on trombone, and Ray Nance on violin. As such it was a highly succesful date for Cole and Co. and it stands up more than 50 years later. This was no mere jam session but a chance to hear Cole vocalizing in a non-orchestral setting, just like his early trio but this time singing full-fledged standards like "What Is There To Say?" and the beautifully rendered "You're Looking At Me," not just the familiar Cole trio novelties. THE COMPLETE AFTER MIDNIGHT SESSIONS gathers the 21 master takes that were recorded at the time, three more than the previous "complete" edition on Capitol. LP VINYL EDITION 180 GRAM, DIRECT METAL MASTERING, 2 BONUS TRACK, ALL MUSIC GUIDE. Recorded at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, California between August 15 & September 24, 1956. Includes liner notes by Ralph J. Gleason and Michael Cuscuna. Reissue producer: Michael Cuscuna. Personnel: Nat "King" Cole (vocals, piano); Willie Smith (alto saxophone); Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet); Juan Tizol (valve trombone); Stuff Smith (violin); John Collins (guitar); Charlie Harris (bass); Lee Young (drums); Jack Costanzo (congas, bongos). Producer: Lee Gillette. JazzTimes (3/97, p. 99) - "... this is classy music for mellow hours, before or after midnight." ~ CD Universe


Imelda May's fourth studio album, 2014's Tribal, finds the Irish chanteuse balancing an '80s-influenced new wave rockabilly energy with a few of old-school '50s ballads and a bit of country twang. Produced by Mike Crossey, who previously helmed projects by Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg, and others, Tribal features all of the elements that have made May such a breakthrough artist since her 2003 debut, No Turning Back. Here we get her bright, puckered vocal attack showcased on a bevy of instantly infectious cuts. As with her past albums, Tribal is split down the middle between songs written by May and songs penned by her husband and longtime creative partner, guitarist Darrel Higham. There is also one track, the lyrical, '50s-inspired lullaby "Little Pixie," co-written by May and her brother Fintan Clabby. From the opening title track, which hints at Bow Wow Wow's Burundi beat style, to the fiery Cramps-meets-B-52s-sounding "Wild Woman," May digs deep into the kind of wide-eyed '80s punk-does-'50s-rock & roll that bands like Restless and the Escalators championed in the early part of the '80s. Elsewhere, she delivers a handful of equally compelling songs, including the jaunty country-swing of "It's Good to Be Alive," the yearning and moody "Gypsy in Me," and the cavernous and bluesy "Wicked Way." Ultimately, May has always been a Celtic rockabilly goddess, armed with her trademark front-rolled pompadour and Irish bodhrán drum. Tribal is her call to arms; her statement of purpose. As she sings on the title track," When you look in the mirror, tell me what do you see/Someone new or your ancestry?/You're a king, you're a queen, you're a wizard, a fool/Or if you're me, then rockabilly rules." Whether it's an ancient Celtic tribe or a tribe of leather-jacketed rockers, May and her fans belong. ~ Matt Collar Recording information: Livingstone Studios, London. Photographer: Barry McCall. Personnel: Imelda May (vocals, bodhran); Darrel Higham (guitar); Dave Priseman (trumpet, percussion); Al Gare (upright bass, bass guitar); Steve Rushton (drums, percussion); Mike Crossey (programming). Audio Mixers: Mike Crossey; Imelda May. ~ CD Universe

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