|Marvin Gaye | What's Going on | 1971 � Motown
I get so sad when I read the paper, listen to the news and think about where we are headed. So instead of listening to me, just listen to Marvin, I think he says it far better than I ever could.
WHAT'S GOIN ON:
We don't need to escalate.
You see, war is not the answer.
For only love can conquer hate.
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today.
WHAT'S HAPPENIN BROTHER:
War is hell, when will it end?
When will people start gettin' together again?
Say man, I just don't understand.
What's going on across this land?
MERCY MERCY ME:
Poison is the wind that blows from the North and South and East.
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas, fish full of mercury.
Radiation under ground and in the sky.
Oh mercy, mercy me.
SAVE THE CHILDREN:
Who's willing to try to save a world
that's destined to die?
When I look at the world it fills me with sorrow.
Little children today are really gonna suffer tomorrow.
Dreams of peace, fears of war...What's Going On?
Common | Electric Circus | 2002 � MCA
Here is a CD that demonstrates the future of music blending a full spectrum of emotions and musical styles - I can't stop listening to this one. The album was recorded at Jimi Hendrix's legendary Electric Lady Studio and he communicates and emulates the spirit of the guitar master throughout the album; similar to The Roots' nod to rock'n'roll on their latest release, Phrenology.
Highlights include the driving sounds behind "Soul Power" and "The Hustle." For me it all boils down to the powerful tracks with the lady vocalists such as "I Am Music" with Jill Scott (which mixes hip-hop with 50's swing), "Jimi Was a Rock Star" with his soul mate, Erykah Badu, and most definitely, "Come Close" with Mary J. Blige. Common turns the tenderness on to 11 with this track.
As I learn more and more about hip-hop, I am understanding what makes a quality record: a unique introduction, good flow from track to track, beats that make your insides do things, and great vocals. Common as an MC is skilled at making you think and feel without becoming angry or ignorant.
The Numb Project | Soundbridge Sessions | 2002 � Hexagon Records
The debut disc from The Numb Project is a noteworthy representation of the inspiration that one fan has drawn from the live concert experience of three of today�s prominent improvisational bands. Portland, OR based artist Chris Calarco cut his musical teeth on Phish, The Disco Biscuits, and The Slip � having had no formal musical training whatsoever. Utilizing today�s wide open world of independent, electronic production and sampling, Calarco has translated the emotional and cerebral effects these bands had on him into a debut double disc entitled Soundbridge Sessions, released this winter on Pittsburgh, PA�s Hexagon Records.
The disc is unique in its nuanced building blocks - swirling sound sculptures of synth, sample and rhythm. The tempos are always changing, the filters sweep across your stereo; beats are tweaked as bass lines melt into ambience. You may find yourself slightly numb. Many tracks are anchored with distinctive and hypnotic groove as intricate melodies, digital effects, and warm ambiance color the top half of the music. Chock full of music with 21 tracks clocking in at 2 hours and 20 minutes, this disc will provide you with plenty of listening time to roll a few together and see what Calarco has to offer. You won�t be disappointed.
Hot Hot Heat | Make Up the Breakdown | 2002 � Sub Pop
It�s like Elvis Costello�s bastard child with Ric Ocasek. The B-52�s meet Faith No More while hanging out with Joe Strummer and Robert Smith. I would be lying to you if I told you Hot Hot Heat�s first LP Make Up the Breakdown was very original. It's not, it has touches of everything on the cutting edge of indie-pop from the last 20 years. Having said this though, there is something that keeps me listening. I am a sucker for original pop hooks, and this album is chock full of head bopping choruses. At points I feel like I am stuck in the �Fast Times at Ridgemont High� soundtrack. It�s something that is laid back and fun. Much like Cheap Trick�s �Surrender,� you might not like that you�re listening to it, but you can�t turn it off. I like that about this album. You can�t turn it off.
Yusef Lateef | Live At Pep's Volume Two | 1964 � Polygram Records
Talk about smooth...this is some velvety jazz, my friends. Yusef Lateef is one of the great jazz masters that helped define American music. Although not as recognized as some of the other big names in the genre, his presence and power has not gone unnoticed by those who know jazz, nor by the great jazz masters themselves. Lateef played with Charles Mingus in 1960, gigged with Donald Byrd and was well featured with the Cannonball Adderley Sextet. And while his name may not be the first thing you think of when you think jazz, this may be a testament to what a powerhouse he really is. Jazz, in its essence cannot be contained. It can hardly be defined as a highly sophisticated harmonic idiom or an audible ecstasy of freeform structure - it's so much more than words alone can capture. Really, what makes great music truly great is the multi dimensional free synthesis of mind, body, and spirit. Yusef Lateef embodies that synthesis - not only in his music, but in his whole being. He is a pioneer and a scholar, devoting his life to capturing that essence that defines existence. In fact, he'd rather NOT be known as a jazz musician. Yusef composes what he calls "Autophysiopsychic Music," which is to say "Music which comes from one's physical, mental and spiritual self." And there it is my friends, the real holy trinity.
Freddie Hubbard | Straight Life | 1970 � Sony
I recently stumbled upon Freddie Hubbard�s, Straight Life, accidentally while surfing around Rhapsody. After seeing the line-up (tenor saxophone � Joe Henderson, keyboardist � Herbie Hancock, guitarist � George Benson, bassist � Ron Carter, and drummer � Jack DeJohnette) I am still in shock that I�d never heard this album before. The opening tune and title track, �Straight Life,� starts with wailing fluctuations from Hubbard on trumpet and then goes into an �Electric Miles meets Grant Green� groove. The tune clocks in at 17:30, which allows each of these talented players to rip. The second track, "Mr. Clean" is essentially a slower version of "Straight Life." Each of these tracks is nothing more than a head and then a palette for each guy to solo over. Both tunes have the vibe of "Electric Miles" but are much easier on the listener�s ear. If you like the Miles vibe but can�t get into how out there the music is at times, this will be right up your alley. I guess that is what you get when you take Miles� rhythm section and put a more conservative melodic player in the mix, Freddie Hubbard. The album is rounded off by a beautiful duo between Hubbard and George Benson. It is a shame that Benson sold his soul to smooth jazz, because he is potentially the most beautiful and technically proficient player the jazz guitar has ever seen. Check this disc out; if you like jazz you will love this.
Galaxie 500 | On Fire | 1997 � Rykodisc
The simplistic melodies and tonal layers are what first drew me into this album. It's all about the flow as each song builds on the next, starting from similar points of reference but traversing to new and different territory. Given a chance to breathe, the sounds resonate and bounce off the walls in a wide spectrum of detail. There is a deep, suggestive undercurrent to the vocals and instrumentation, as though the artists are both reflecting and journeying forward at the same time.
Reminiscent of an old friend or walk through the woods, the songs are self-imitating, buried in thought and conscious choices yet open and airy at the same time. After a few listens, the words and chords have stuck to me, and I dig deeper for more groove and meaning. Dean Wareham's voice, at first a bit striking, now provides a strong sense of comfort as we billow through this masterpiece. The genius of the album lies in the monotone under-suggestive rhythms which continue to revisit us over and over again. It is upon this foundation that the current rises and the rains pour. Dive in.
John McLaughlin & Remember Shakti | Remember Shakti: The Believer | 2000 � Verve
There is something found within Indian music that clearly does not exist in our Western experience. This is what led guitarist John McLaughlin to his love affair with Indian music and eventually to the union with Shakti in the band they led together through the mid-70's. Remember Shakti finds his original partner, the amazing Zakir Hussain on tabla, along with electric mandolinist U. Shrinivas, and kanjira and ghatam (percussion) player V. Slevaganesh. The end result in this 1999 European tour (heard on this live album) is indisputable genius. The lightning fast interactions between McLaughlin and Hussain are far beyond my comprehension, not to mention the Western melodies that weave in and out of the complex Indian percussive structure. The union of Western jazz and Eastern classical music has never been stronger. If you're familiar with these musicians I obviously need to say no more, and if you're not this album very well may change your life.
Steve Kimock & Pete Sears | 11.24.02 | Boulevard Cafe | Chicago, IL
This small venue proved to be the perfect place to match these two master musicians. Sears' spot on calculated piano work compliments Kimock's tone and subtle nature exquisitely. Sears has been playing professionally for 34 years and has collaborated with such names as Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia, Taj Mahal, and is of course no stranger to Kimock. On this Sunday evening Kimock and Sears managed to keep the raptured crowd silently enthralled. The lucky folks who were in attendance remained so attentive that Kimock actually thanks them for their attention and seems almost surprised how appreciative they are. Musically this mellow mind melt is absolutely top-notch. The over 16 minute "Cole's Law" is beyond words and the close to 20 minute "It's Up to You" is gorgeously introspective. Kimock soars with the style that has made him a legend, and Sears proves why he has enjoyed such longevity. If you can find this show out there it comes highly recommended.
Fela Kuti | Coffin for Head of State/Unknown Soldier | 1979 � MCA
Fela Kuti's socio-political voice finds company with perhaps only Bob Marley. He lived his entire life fighting against his native Nigerian leaders while giving a voice to all of Africa's underprivileged inhabitants. Fela is responsible for giving birth to Afro-beat, while proving him-self to be an inspirational performer, producer, singer, musician, and revolutionary. The double album Coffin for Head of State/ Unknown Soldier are amongst the most personal, and powerful recordings ever attempted. The entire double disc is only two songs; full of swaying rhythms, call/response vocals and piercing horn punctuation. Coffin for Head of State takes aim at the destructive effect of Christianity and Muslim influences on Africa, drawing it's name from a protest in which Fela and company laid a coffin on the doorstep on the Christian military leader's doorstep. Unknown Soldier is a reference to the Kalakuta (a residential compound founded by Fela) raid which lead to the rape, beating, and mutilation of it's residents. The police report claimed that "unknown soldiers" were responsible when it was common knowledge that the government sanctioned the attacks. The tortured 30-minute track is a tribute to Fela's mother who died as a result of the assault. This double disc captures the power of Fela, both musically and politically, and should be considered "necessary listening" for all of earth's people.
Phish | Rift | 1993 � Elektra
A concept album can be a thing of beauty or a lesson in humility. While many bands have attempted to devise and recreate a series of events or feelings on their album many have failed miserably. Phish, in their junior effort produced the beautiful and dream inspired Rift. Beginning with the up-tempo title track the band leads us into the world that only your sub conscious knows. Racing at times to experience all that happens while you rest the second track �Fast Enough for You� slides you into the R.E.M phase of your sleep with it�s relaxing guitar solo. When the real magic hits is when �Lengthwise� enters the scene with its heavy breathing overtones segueing into the manic offering �Maze.� This song eerily conjures up images of dreams where you can�t outrun the slowest of pursuers or stand up if your life depended on it. Throughout the remainder of the album, Phish takes the listener on a journey through the cycles and stages of a night�s rest, possibly waking once to reflect and comprehend the first half of the night with �All Things Reconsidered.� The second showing of �Lengthwise� proceeds the airy and triumphant teaming of �The Horse� > �Silent in the Morning� while demonstrating the motionless wonderment of emerging from sleep after a night of surreal dreams and abstract journeys into the vast spaces of the brain. Rift is an album that has become a classic amongst the growing catalogue of Phish creations.
-Andrew J. Warren
Luv N' Haight Series | trippin': the groove merchant compilation | 1996 � Ubiquity Records
This is the second time that a Ubiquity Records release has made it on to the Overheard board; and it is for good reason, they put out great music. The former Bay Area boutique label is especially strong when it comes to their compilation efforts; making them an especially friendly resource when you go looking for those rare grooves, soulful funk and tasty 70's b-side treats that can help to carry any wild night smoothly towards a new morning. Which is exactly what they have put together with the trippin' groove merchant compilation. This 12 song groove collage has enough diversity to keep it interesting from start to finish and at the same time maintains a continently in it's vibe to tie it all together in one neat package. Just try to imagine an disc that mixes jazz with bossa nova, funk, soul, and just a touch of that Superfly-esque blacksploitation sound of the early 70's. It's definitely finger lickin' good!
Brad Mehldau | Largo | 2002 � Warner Brothers
If you're looking for the top jazz pianist of 2002, well you needn't look too much further than Brad Mehldau. He can play straight jazz, classic mellow jazz, standards, but us youngsters really like it when he breaks new ground into what some call "psychedelic jazz." Mehldau's mind is filled with wonderful musical ideas that stem from his studies in jazz and his obvious love for modern music and rock'n'roll (he covers Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" on this album). On his latest, Largo, Brad Mehldau puts together an incredible cast of characters and creates one of the top jazz albums of the year. The album features horns, electronics and guitars and his usual trio of Jorge Rossy and Larry Grenadier, as well as top session vets featuring Beck's bassist Justin Meldal-Jonson. Largo was released in August, yet it still graces my player regularly.
"When it Rains" kicks off the album with such a beautiful and precise melody, perfect for any rainy day. This song is timeless, simply gorgeous. "You're Vibing Me" featured Mehldau on vibes, an immediate shift of mojo on just the second track. One theme that is featured throughout the album is Mehldau's love for The Beatles. Brad bops back to Beatles themes throughout the record, covering parts of two songs, and leaving a Beatle feel in his comically titled third track, "Dusty McNugget," which has a real beatlesque feel to it as well. There is a rendition of "Dear Prudence" as well as a visit to "Mother Nature's Son" - a vibes solo in the middle of "Wave" that is played behind incredible breakbeat drumming. Breakbeat and Beatles in the same track. You've got to hear it to believe it, check this record out! It's that good.
Kooken & Hoomen | 09.22.01 | Rob's Weirdo Warehouse | Oakland, CA
This short set, recorded at a mysterious venue called �Rob's Weirdo Warehouse,� will give electronica fans a good indication of why they should dig Kooken & Hoomen. K&H; certainly give meaning to the term �ambient soundscapes,� a phrase that�s become pretty overused by many, including me. Their evocative, mainly instrumental compositions seem to bridge the gap between different worlds. They introduce the first number, �Unlimited Undo,� as a song about �making love in a cruise ship in the middle of the night, when the bad guys are after you.� Enough said. �Nosimaj� begins on a gentle note, with lovely keyboards, then evolves into a upbeat jam with some good guitar work. �Se Fue La Luz� features some tight drumming, and the tune �Sunday Evening� is as beautiful as its name suggests. But these boys do love their effects, such as the bullhorn vocals on �Voltage Meter3� and the freaky electro-voice in �Unlimited Undo.� Yet their music can sound very organic. True to the intro, �Unlimited Undo� at times sounds like water flowing, and you can practically envision night falling in �Sunday Evening.� K&H; have been active in the Bay Area for only a few years, and from what people tell me their live shows have gotten tighter and tighter. Aside from their theatrics (i.e., the frog mask; you�ll just have to see it for yourself) the four young players in K&H; are strong musicians, and clearly they have quite a collective imagination. Give this show a listen, and if you like what you hear then see these guys for yourself!
Gary Burton & Keith Jarrett | Throb | Rhino/Atlantic - 1970
This 1970 collaboration of musician�s musicians pairs two of the most melodic players around. Keith Jarrett�s compositions and improvisations run the gambit from beautiful soul/pop to quirky avant-garde. Gary Burton�s virtuosic vibes playing perfectly compliments Jarrett�s stream of conciseness runs. This disc will suck you in and make you forget what you were doing. The peaks and valleys of melodic phrases into dissonant passages create a constant awareness of the beauty and passion of this album. This is not your mother�s elevator music, the emotion shines through again and again. Steve Swallow on bass and Sam Brown on guitar add perfect texture as well. If you�ve never heard Jarrett or Burton before Throb is the disc to get you in the know.
Ernest Ranglin | Below the Bassline | 1996 - Island Jamaica Jazz
Born in Jamaica in the year 1932, Ernest Ranglin cut his chops as a session player at Studio One, helping give birth to ska, and later arranging classics such as "Rivers of Babylon." His ingenious guitar style found a place in history as he was pioneering the union of jazz and reggae. This album is proof that Ranglin has still got the goods (at least as of 1996) and it serves as a prime example of his legendary style. While the bass certainly bumps (courtesy of Ira Coleman) this piece of work features a slew of wonderful musicians, including Idris Muhammad on drums and of course Ranglin on guitar. Between the originals and the wonderfully re-arranged jazzed out covers of reggae/dub classics such as "Satta Massagana" (by the Abyssinians), "King Tubby Meets the Rockers" (by Augustus Pablo), "Black Disciples" (by Burning Spear), and "None Shall Escape the Judgment" (by Johnny Clarke) this album moves with the grace and warmth of a true classic. Whether it's late at night and your chillin' on the couch or you just woke up and are sitting in the sun Below the Bassline will sooth your sole and enrich your mind. The album as a whole works cover to cover, and I'd have a hard time imagining any one who wouldn't dig on this, from your mom, to your little brother, this ones a keeper.
Prefuse 73 | Vocal Studies & Uprock Narrative | 2001 � Warp
First and foremost, this is some next level shit. I mean you really gotta be ready before popping this one in, but that is almost becoming standard procedure for anything Warp puts out. I can guarantee that not everyone will dig this, at least not right away, but as your musical palate starts taking on different tastes, this one will stick out for quite some time. In trying to describe Vocal Studies the task becomes daunting. It is definitely taking heavy nods from hip-hop, (or perhaps trip-hop) and the rough beats that come with it, yet encompasses instrumental flow and attention to subtlety. All of this lends itself to a flavor you really can't put your finger on. The heavy drum work, cut-up vocals, and tweaked out sounds are almost impossible to break down, but thinking takes a back seat as the music inverts itself, washes and bounces taking on crazy patterns and uncountable beats. While listening with headphones (as any serious listener must) one is prone to extreme auditory hallucinations, as well as possible whiplash. Prefuse is using existing sounds, and odd samples with who knows what to make absolutely cutting edge music. This is the fruit of technologies labor, one man (who's from Atlanta incidentally) making more noise than I can even comprehend. With some smooth tracks that flow with lyrical butter such as "Life/Death" the harsh, herky-jerky audio assault finds balance. Basically this is what I hear in my head, and if I had any idea how he's doing it, this is the music I would be making. If your ready to hear what's next, come on in, this one will spin your melon.
Lemon Jelly | Lost Horizons | 2002 - Beggars XL
"All the ducks are swimming in the water..." Now that is the kind of statement I can definitely get behind. That is one example of the random yet comforting lyrical samples that make up Lemon Jelly's Lost Horizons. Given to me on a whim by BooRadly the other night, I am strangely attracted to the sounds that are escaping my speakers. Layers of different textures create a wash of sound that overall is both peaceful and lively - perfect for the morning. Precisely produced, the album is made up of down tempo instrumentations with quirky vocal samples scattered throughout. I picture the Teletubbies merrily running around on their little hill - slightly incoherent, yet unquestionably joyous, spreading color and love to whoever's around. And the icing on this delicious cake is the album art which is so very pretty. Gotta love a great new CD!
Jerry Joseph and The Jackmormons | 08.10.02 | The Mint, Hailey ID
Here's one for all you Spread Heads out there, y'all have earned it. Mikey died on the morning of this JJJ show, and the music that would follow for one of WSP closest collaborators would be a testament to all Houser was, and the emotion he will always be capable of stirring. Joseph has built a reputation as one of the most rough, rugged and raw musicians out there, and on this evening his abilities would shine in a way I've never heard. The entire show is laced with references to Mikey; in fact I'd be confident in saying that every note played, and every word sung, some how came back to Houser. Jerry begins by saying: "This goes out to the obvious" and continues to rip head first into 15 minutes of "Light is like Water." From there the set just blows up, "Brother Michael >Climb To Safety > Brother Michael > Climb To Safety." It is ALL MIKEY. "Brother Michael" with Jerry screaming "I say hey BROTHER MICHAEL Won't you lead me safely, BACK TO SHORE!" As "Brother Michael" collapses into the WSP staple, "Climb To Safety" (of course written by Joseph) Jerry changes the lyrics from "It's no fun to die alone," to "It's no fun to say goodbye." The second set of this scorcher is just as good if not heavier. The power trio that makes up JJJ are just starting to see support out side the South, and if you like it raw, I mean gritty, nasty, all hot and heavy raw, you gotta check Jerry Joseph out. The key to Jerry is the emotion. He plays with as much emotion as any musician I've ever seen. He's straight from the heart, no sugar coat. It's not all nice, it's not even all good, but it's all real, and on this day it's as emotional as it could ever be. If I could have been anywhere that dark evening it would have been with Jerry Jo in Idaho.
David Bowie | The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars | 1972 - EMI
Ziggy Stardust turned 30 this year. Hard to believe this album is three decades old. True, it does have a real �70s rock feel. The opening and closing tunes (�Five Years� and �Rock 'N' Roll Suicide�) sound like movements in a rock opera, and you can definitely hear a Beatles influence in many tracks (not a bad thing, mind you). Yet Ziggy Stardust still sounds pretty timeless after all these years. There are the obligatory popular singles: the title track and �Suffragette City� are the FM favorites that we all know. But it�s the more obscure gems - �It Ain't Easy,� �Starman,� "Moonage Daydream" and �Hang On To Yourself� - that really stand out. Ziggy Stardust starts and ends on a slow, introspective note, and overall is a very fresh and solid album. The anniversary re-release includes a second disc with outtakes of original tunes and some other additions, but no worries: the original single-CD (or vinyl) release still satisfies. If you haven�t picked up this record in a while, then it�s time you give it another listen. As for those who haven�t heard Ziggy Stardust yet, this album will give you some glimpse into why David Bowie is considered such a major force in pop music.
Blackalicious | NIA | 2000 - Quannum Projects
It's refreshing to see artists take a style of music and morph it into something that is all their own. That is what Sacramento-based duo Blackalicious does with hip-hop. This hip-hop isn't self-promotion or trash talking disses - like much of the newer, conscious, underground hip-hop; this is thoughtful and intelligent music. NIA, released on Quannum Records (independent label by Blackalicious and family), is a collection of uplifting songs that include inspirational messages, an empowering soliloquy by Nikki Giovanni ("Ego Trip"), creative rhythms by dj Chief Xcel, and the ever-mind-blowing quick-lip stylings of mc Gift of Gab. There is even a cameo by DJ Shadow - another Quannum family member. Warning: This is one that will stay in the changer for a while!!
Hobex | U Ready, Man? | 2002 - Phrex
What is a Hobex? Happy poppy porn-funk, gospel soul that'll make your soul shine, basslines to bob your head to, falsettos to make you want to get out on a Saturday night and get down to the disco. The band's name does have righteous meaning to it, the band says if you're "doin' it hobex style," you're enjoying the moment. I enjoy all of the moments of this album; it has grown on me positively since it landed on my desk last month.
Hobex is everything I like about the sweet soul music of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Al Green and Curtis Mayfield. Vocalist Greg Humphreys takes the best of Gospel R&B;, puts a tight funk band behind it, and created modern soul music. Even the slow jams work, better than say Ween, Humphreys' falsetto really works on "Baby's Gone Away".
When Greg isn't singing, they break out their secret weapon, April Howell, a black female trombonist vocalist. I think we can all agree that the world needs more of those. Watch her shine on the live track at the end of the album, "Soul Food," - she'll tell you what's good in the kitchen, from neck bone to butter beans, mashed potatoes, collard greens, she knows it all. Makes me want bah-be-cue cooked nice and slow every night!
Humphreys is all about making great albums that made people think, as well as making them dance and have a good time. He's finally ready, man. Check out Hobex's new one, out now on Tone Cool Records, produced by Robert Sledge, former bassist for Ben Folds Five.
Sean Layton | A Musical Retrospective | 2002 - JFJO Records
Most of you have never heard of Sean Layton until now, and most of the world sadly never will. Before I can tell you about this album, I must tell you a bit about Sean, and of course that will in itself help you to understand this piece of work. Reed Mathis, bass player extraordinaire for the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey told me this, "Sean basically put Brian (keyboardist for JFJO) and I on the path we are on. He was the first person to talk to us about nutrition...breathing, African music, jazz." Reed put this album together in an attempt to allow it's necessary message to reach at least a few people. You see Sean is dead; he killed himself at age 30. Reed went onto explain, "He was a very unique individual. He was simultaneously the most enlightened person I�ve ever known and the darkest most tortured person I have ever known. He was truly schizophrenic in the most literal sense."
You may think that A Musical Retrospective is full of anguish, or pain, but you couldn't be more wrong. This album is glowing, vibrating, overflowing with light. It dances and glides through so many genres of music, from jazz to reggae, dub to some kind of warm island slide-rock, it shows great versatility in an early incarnation of JFJO backing him. I can't tell you what this album is in a few sentences, it's too full. I think perhaps it would be better for me to tell you this, the music this man made touches me, and I want you to have it...it speaks of all the things life should be: happy and open, loving and trusting. We let so much get in the way, we let our egos and insecurities rule us. We are afraid to simply allow life to take its course, we often fight our urges. This music flows with the tempo of life. Yes, it is quite a piece of music...
Tea Leaf Green | 09.27.02 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco
Returning home from their first ever national tour, the boys of Tea Leaf Green were greeted with a sold out home town crowd at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall on September 27th. From start to finish, the band elevated the already high energy of the crowd with such favorites as "Gasaholic," "Ride Together," "Sex in the 70s" and a horn laden New Orleans style "Hot Dog" featuring members of the opening band, Boomshanka. It must be quite validating for these musicians, coming back from the road to a room filled with screaming fans, pumped to rock out and shake their fists in triumphant glory at the epic peaks of next level shredding which is the Green. The band has evolved recently to include the always favorite rocking numbers, some down tempo mellower melodies, a few ballads, and the down and dirty funky dance grooves. The show closed out with "Tequila," a song about drinking, and featured an event I've never experienced at a live concert before. During the final musical build of the tune, the entire crowd erupted into a furry of uncontrollable celebration of screaming and chanting out of control until the music grew so large that all hands were airborne...We Win!
Miles Davis | A Tribute to Jack Johnson | 1970 - Columbia Jazz
This Miles Davis 1970 release, was "that album" for me - as well as for his contemporary jazz constituents - it turned Jazz upside-down and inside out. From the time Miles first heard, and became enamored with the style and sounds of Jimi Hendrix he had a personal quest to form the "greatest rock band you ever heard" - and he may never have come closer then with this effort. While this album is by no means straight ahead "Rock n Roll", Miles and John McLaughlin do an outstanding job, both through their solos and their accompanying playing, of making the line between rock and jazz as blurred as it has ever been. Its true "fusion", before fusion got cheesy. If you own this album already, take it out, dust it off, and turn it up. If you have never heard the sounds described herein; then "OverHeard" recommends that you run - do not walk - to your local music store and pick it up. I guarantee it will have you freaking out for years to come.
The Grateful Dead | American Beauty | 1970 - Warner Brothers Records
Timeless. The Grateful Dead are best known for their extended experimental jams, blistering guitar solos and prominent ventures into the psychedelic. American Beauty is none of these. The album's title is a pure reflection of itself, a true American beauty blessed with soulful acoustic harmonies and simple melodic changes. As it grabs a hold of your mind and heart, the album coasts along with a pleasant and classic mood. It is truly one of the great historic albums that can be listened to repeatedly without getting old and always delivers perfect images of old school classic folklore. "A box of rain will ease the pain and love will see you through."
Charlie Hunter | Natty Dread | 1997 - Blue Note
From start to finish, this album perfectly captures the instrumental mood of Marley's Natty Dread with that special Hunter-esque tone we've grown to know and love. Adding complex and dynamic arrangements to the simple classics like "Lively Up Yourself" and "Bend Down Low," this record is so unique that it should be on anyone's must have list. Features Charlie Hunter on 8-string guitar, Calder Spanier on alto saxophone, Kenny Brooks on tenor saxophone and Scott Amendola on drums. Part of the Blue Note cover series. Oh, and Happy Birthday Bob.
Thievery Corporation | Mirror Conspiracy | 2000 - ESL Music
The duo of Eric Hilton and Rob Garza certainly nail it on this one. But that really is no surprise considering that pretty much everything they touch turns to gold. This dreamy flowing piece of music is like floating on a cloud. It�s perfect for smokey relaxing vibes. The smooth beats, deep bass and perfect use of vocals is just what the doctor ordered. If you�re not familiar with Thievery yet you better start playing catch up.
Widespread Panic | 06.19.01 | Paolo Soleri, Santa Fe, NM
First off I was at this show, and anyone who was in that amazing tiny little bowl in the desert damn well knows exactly what I'm talkin' about. As we're all aware, it's not only the songs played in any given night, but the intangibles, the energy, and the manner in which they were played that perhaps makes or breaks an evening. This show had it all. A first set highlighted by "Weight Of The World, Who Do You Belong To? > Proving Ground > Do What You Like > Proving Ground" which they had to stop due to an insane lightning storm the likes of which are only found in the desert. After one of the longest set breaks in history we began to suspect that they might cancel the remainder of the show when all of a sudden, Panic comes out and opens up with Neil Young's "Don't Be Denied." Absolutely perfect! And that is one of WSP most alluring qualities, knowing what songs to play at what time. From there they ripped through one of the dirtiest, nastiest sets to date. After the opener it looked like this, "Porch Song > Bowlegged Woman, Driving Song > I Walk On Guilded Splinters > Drums > Driving Song > Hatfield > One Arm Steve > Travelin' Light." The "Bowlegged", through "Driving", "Guiled" back to "Driving Song" was mind bending. It was true southern grit, dripping with tribal pheromones. They finished it off with a "Contentment Blues, Postcard " that kept me up for days. For those of you who get down with Panic, this one will leave you Satisfied!
Herbie Mann | Memphis Underground | 1969 - Atlantic Records
At one point, many moons ago, this album basically opened the doors for me. It ushered in an era of musical listening with a more intelligent premise, a jazzy feel, and the use of the wonderful airy flute. This is a wonderful album with a great groove and amazing rhythm section. If you don�t know Herbie Mann, do your homework; it will enrich your soul.
CAKE | Comfort Eagle | 2001 - Sony
Ever since I heard CAKE's cover of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" about five years ago, I've been drawn to the droning monotone of John McCrea's voice. The sarcasm and ridiculousness on Fashion Nugget created an instant CAKE fan in me. Their latest release, Comfort Eagle, is possibly more comic than the former with lyrics like "I want a girl who uses a machete to cut red tape" and songs entitled "Meanwhile, Rick James..." The songs are fun and easy to enjoy while typing the day away.
Herbalise | Something Wicked This Way Comes | 2002 - Ninja Tune
This is another monster release by Ninja Tune, (one of the best record labels out there) by the English duo known as Herbaliser. Touching on everything from jazzed out trip-hop, break beats, sick vocals such as the rough female rhymes on "Good Girl Gone Bad" to the super hero instrumental entrance music of "Worldwide Conected" this album is what I love these days. It's got top-notch production value, a wonderful mix of styles, and refuses to sit nicely in one category. It makes you dance with a funky stank, but dives head first into intricate rhythms and serious deep hip-hop. Simply put, it's a party.
drums & tuba | Vinyl Killer | 2001 - Righteous Babe Records
One of the most amazing things about drums & tuba has to be their uncanny ability to create deep groves and funky pockets with their bass less instrumentation. If there's one thing that Vinyl Killer proves is that the tuba is a funky instrumental force to be reckoned with. Stylistically this album covers a good deal of ground, from the break beat infused electronic sounds of the opening track "The Diagram" to more polished & ethereal beauty of "The Sauce Maker"; the latter track resonating more with elements of Bill Frisell then a late night drum & bass DJ. Vinyl Killer shows drums and tuba as a band that has truly matured in to their own sound.
Moonshine Still | 03.01.01 | Georgia Theater, Athens, GA
The music of Moonshine Still touches on rock, folk, bluegrass, funk, jazz, and world genres. The six-piece band writes wonderful music and poignant lyrics, sung with the outstanding vocal skills of Scott Baston. The close relationship between guitar lines of David Shore's guitar and Trippe Wright's keyboards keep their improvisation fresh. This show at the Georgia Theater, especially Set Two, is a great representation of where they were last year. And they are even farther along this path now! With great tempo changes and the ability to mix all the various influences without sounding muddy they really put on a show. The second set highlights are Moonshine Still soon-to-be-classics "Vial" and "Consequence" as well as an incredible cover of Pink Floyd�s �Echoes� into "Cancer Of The Answer" and back into "Echoes"! Frank Zappa�s "Titties and Beer" encore should close the deal, go get yourself a copy of this show!
Wes Montgomery | Smokin' at the Half Note | 1965 - Verve
Smokin' at the Half Note is the quintessential live Wes Montgomery recording, coming years after his 1959 landmark album The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery. In the live setting of Smokin', Montgomery is able to let his trademark octave and chord soloing shine and truly have a voice of its own. The Wynton Kelly Trio (Wynton Kelly (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), & Jimmy Cobb (drums)) is the perfect rhythm section for Montgomery as they absorb all of the subtleties of Wes� thumb picking and allow Montgomery�s solos to build to new intensities; the solos on �Unit 7� and �Four on Six� stand out especially. If you�ve heard the term �Cookin� applied to jazz and were curious where it came from, this is the album to find out. Hear for yourself why Pat Metheny called this the �greatest jazz guitar album� ever recorded. Enjoy!
Listen to Smokin' at the Half Note on Rhapsody
Paul Simon | Graceland | 1986 - Warner Bros. Records
This is a classic, plain and simple. The entire album works as one piece of music, allowing the listener to travel with this eloquent story teller. The South African rhythm and back up singing is absolutely wonderful, and actually provoked this music fan to explore African and world music, a gift indeed. The lyrics on this album shine as brightly as the musical arrangements, touching on life, love, dreams, humor, with definite political undertones of course. Regardless of what track your bouncing through, "The Boy In The Bubble," "Graceland," "Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes," or any other of the eleven exquisite selections the music will put a spark in your step and a smile on your face. If your not familiar with this you should just buy it, and if you own it and it's getting dusty, brush it off and you will surely enjoy the next hour of your life.
Listen to Graceland on Rhapsody
Zero 7 | Simple Things | 2001 - Mushroom Records
This is one of the best morning albums I've heard in a while. It's subtle
enough to ease you into your day without too much roughness yet upbeat
enough to kick start your heart. The two tracks that stick out for me the
most are "Destiny" and "Distractions" which feature the gorgeous soulful
vocal work of Sophie Barker and Sia Furler. It's the kind of vocals you
want to grab a hairbrush and pretend it's your microphone and belt out the
words from the top of your lungs. The rest of the CD is a grab-bag of
musical arrangements that span genres from jazz to electronica. The CD is
orange and that's cool too. -Dee
Karsh Kale | Redesign-Realize Remixed | 2002 - Six Degrees Records
This futuristic album features some of today's top dj's and producers such as Ming and Fs, Spooky, and the pioneer himself, Bill Laswell remixing Karsh's phenomenal debut release Realize. The heavy rhythms indicative of Kale's tabla work echo throughout as vocal samples lift the spirit. Visions of India are mixed with drum and bass, down beat, jungle, a bit of house and a world of ear candy to keep your mind digesting the layers on this album for weeks. The songs as a whole may remind you of areas that bands like Sector 9 are traveling in, which should come as no surprise considering Karsh Kale and STS9's ever growing relationship. This is an excellent album for any one who digs the tabla, deep rhythmic sound excursions, or any kind or bloody wicked music! Check it out, I wouldn't steer you wrong.
flux capacitor | 04.09.02 | Columbia, MO
flux capacitor is a jazz band from St. Louis who sings like a hip-hop choir. Merging three of my favorite sounds that most soothe my soul: Harmonious vibraphones intermixed with steel drum underneath cascading layers of Rhodes piano. When key man Alex leaves the Rhodes, he picks up a trumpet to add a different layer. The show starts out with sirens wailing, quickly morphing into a little jazz n' bass. 'dysphunksion' builds up and by the fourth song, you are hooked on this CD. The catchy lick that defines "Chicago" will stick in your head for weeks. The weaving guitar of Warren Williams has this eerie Frisell-meets-Gutwillig tone to it. Some of these shredding jams are really thrilling my ears, by the steel drum break beat frenzy of "Samurai," oddly enough, it reminds me of Boba Fett approaching the floating metropolis of Cloud City. Dennis and Ryan sample some really odd dialogue in tracks like "camelback espionage," strange old movies shuffle in and fade away while the vibes hold down the melodies. And no offense taken at covering Herbie's "Rockit" either. There is so much depth to this quintet, from up tempo dance groove to solo reflective piano. That's why we listen to everything folks, you are bound to stumble across a diamond in the rough. Until they go big, it's up to the greater St. Louis region to get energized with the flux capacitor.
Mahavishnu Orchestra | Birds of Fire | 1972 - Columbia
Around the same time when Miles Davis' electric group and Tony Williams' Lifetime were melting brains across the country, John McLaughlin put together an all world super group of fusion players John McLaughlin (England) - guitar, Billy Cobham (Panama) - drums, Jan Hammer (Czechoslovakia) - synthesizer, Jerry Goodman (US) - Violin, and Rick Laird (Ireland) - Bass. Mahavishnu Orchestra's second album, Birds of Fire stands out as a truly defining album in fusion music. Deeply soulful songs written in the most abstract time signatures with some of the most proficient and intense solos imaginable. Throughout this masterpiece, McLaughlin plays with a rare mix of dexterity and feeling and Billy Cobham's machine-gun drum work reinvents the instrument. Truly a work of art.
Los Lobos | Kiko | 1992 - Warner Brothers
This album is a definite classic and a testament to Los Lobos� considerable songwriting abilities. I was hesitant when a friend first introduced me to Kiko; perhaps Los Lobos was (unfairly) suffering from a �La Bamba� stigma in my mind. But the irresistible opening tune �Dream in Blue� got me from the start, and the numbers that follow just get better and better. Every single song has a unique flavor and covers just about every mood on the spectrum. From the haunting, retro-sounding �Kiko and The Lavender Moon� to the lovely, melancholy �When The Circus Comes� to the low-down funky �Peace,� this album is a collection of fine songs that captures Los Lobos superb musicianship and boldly defies categorization. Which is why non-believers should set aside their prejudices � as I had, admittedly � and check these guys out. Their newest release, Good Morning Aztl�n, promises to be a high-quality album, judging from what I heard at their recent SF Fillmore appearance. But Kiko is a good starting point for potential new fans, and a "keeper" for anyone with an appreciation for solid, original songwriting. -MP
Recycled Future | From Tomorrow | 2001 - Broke Ass Planet Productions
Recycled Future, an organ trio from Wisconsin, has put together a stellar follow up to their excellent debut, Ballon People on The Highway. The group finds a way to mix groove, modern rock, hip-hop and reggae in a way that I can't say I've heard before from a trio. The songs have unique hooks, interesting melodies, and tremendous energy. Couple this with the fact that they all have great voices and refreshing approaches to their instruments and you've got an Overheard album. I keep coming back to this band saying, these guys are SICK! -Geoff Harrison
Various Artists | Rewind! | 2002 - Ubiquity Records
This is another gem from the San Francisco record label Ubiquity. Taking old school classics and rare grooves, a few of the worlds top producers have brought things up to speed. Starting with a deep, tricked out version of Pink Floyd's "Breathe" you know your in for one hell of a ride. Every song on here is stellar, and you'll definitely trip on the dubbed out "Billy Jean." If your down with remixes this is going to wear out that Sony CD player your still using. Rewind! is destined for glory, it's too good not to be. -The Kayceman
Jo-Jo | 10.13.01 | The Rainbow - Seattle, WA
First off, Jo-Jo is Skerik, Matt Chamberlain, Mike Dillon, and Brian Haas. If you don't know who every one is, you better start paying attention. This all star band set the stage for an amazing night of music that included a set from the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey with appearances by Skerik, Matt Chamberlain, Mike Dillon and Jessica Lurie. Simply put, INSPIRATIONAL! Can I say that Matt Chamberlain brought out a drum kit made of 4 frame drums and a snare, and proceeded to school everyone in the room. I mean, anyone who can make Brian Haas hold back is putting out some serious energy. The Jo-Jo set was so sick, it brought Jacob Fred to some dangerously intense moments...half way through our set two of my knuckles were dripping, no, POURING blood onto my strings, and somehow I managed to set a monitor on fire (it did go out though). Skerik & Jessica got the whole room chanting A LOVE SUPREME...a fitting mantra from JFJO's biggest inspiration, Saint John Will-I-Am Coltrane. - Reed Mathis (Bass, JFJO)
Editors note: This was not solicited as an "Overheard" piece by Reed. It has been taken by JamBase to bring you the best music has to offer.
Bob Dylan | Blonde On Blonde | 1966 - Columbia
Another must have absolute classic if there ever was one. This double album defines Dylan's electric period. It's inspirational, it's beautiful, it's a gift from a genius that lends insight into life at its core. Not only are the pictures painted by the words amazing, but the sound track to the vocals are equally perfect for the stories that unfold. Take "Visions Of Johanna" for instance. This song has haunted me for years. I seem to discover something new at every turn in my life. At times Dylan's word play and symbolic nature can overwhelm the mind, but that is what true art will do, overwhelm, inspire, and leave a mark. If you don't own this your better by night fall, and if you haven't listened to this one lately throw it on and just try to tell me it isn't amazing. -The Kayceman
King Tubby & Soul Syndicate | Freedom Sounds In Dub | 1996 - Blood & Fire
This compilation comes out of Freedom Sounds in Jamaica between 1976 - 1979 and was mixed by the King himself. Osbourne Ruddock, or King Tubby is in a very elite crowd. His deep mixing skills have given the world some of the most inspirational dubs ever. This album captures the amazing rhythm work of the Soul Syndicate and divine vocal healing by Philip Frazer, Prince Alla, and Earl Zero to name a few. The heavy bass, swirling horns, and splashing echoes of conscious sound soothe the mind body and soul. The thickness of this roots dub classic shines from track 1 to track 13, and leaves you full, perhaps even a bit more enlightened. The stylings of King Tubby and the other mixing greats were the precursors to today's DJs and they're techniques are still being sampled and studied. So do yourself a favor and drop into some dub! -The Kayceman
Buckethead | Colma | 1998 - Higher Octave Music
BUCKETHEAD?! Throw away any pre-conceived notions you may have, for as this album begins with a down-beat tempo and smooth groove, you suddenly feel transported into a old school style classic movie. The flow continues beautifully, bringing forth melodies and arrangements unlike any 'classifiable' type of music. Moving between simple, slow oddities, and uplifting bright anthemic arrangements, Colma feels driven and filled with passionate intensions. If you're planning on getting a massage, or just spending a quiet night at home on the couch, this is the perfect album to accompany the ultimate chill session. -Andy
Baldwin Brothers | Cooking With Lasers | 2002 - TVT Records
This Chicago quartet emerged from the city's Wicker Park arts scene, impressing late-night crowds with its contagious mixture of lounge and funk. After three years of playing parties and Chicago's best small clubs, the Baldwins finally released their full-length debut CD, Cooking With Lasers. As its title suggests, this album is the result of blending organic jams with electronica. Think of it as drum & bass with some fine keyboards and quirky samples that often hearken to a different era. Add an impressive mix of guest vocals � including Miho Hatori of Cibo Matto, Angie Hart of Frente!, Geri Soriano-Lightwood from Supreme Beings of Leisure, and underground hip-hop lyricist Barron Ricks � and brassy horn arrangements and you've got yourself quite a stew. Each song has its own personality and showcases the many different facets of the Baldwin Brothers, who have clearly honed their chops since this album was just a glimmer in their fans' eyes. Are you down with techno, funk and groove? Then this could be the album for you. -MP
Phish | Radio City Music Hall | 05.22.00
Yup, we still listen to Phish. And this show is hot! In the second set, they start with a "Bouncin' Around the Room," a warm-up to the insanity that is about to begin. The space noises begin and the band launches into a "David Bowie" that becomes fierce and powerful. It doesn't slow down as the dance party continues with "Sand". This "Sand" was pretty unique as it was more of an experiment in down tempo grooves and less an exercise in the Jedi Knight, high energy guitar shredding of everybody's favorite hero (Think more Kruder & Dorfmister and less Jimi Hendrix). Out of the loungy grooves that were the waning moments of "Sand" came the beloved "Mango Song". A more spirited then usual version, the outtro features one of the most high energy endings of any "Mango Song" that have graced these ears. The "Ghost" that gives way is a version that helped to make this song of epic status. It's one of those versions that lives and breathes, evolving from its groove based roots towards hints of a rock and roll shredder and dropping back in to the pocket for some of the most floating and delicate funk in the game. And what it all comes back to is "Rock n' Roll" and Phish ended this set with a bang. One for the history books!
-Dee & Mike
The Band | Music From Big Pink | 1968 - Capital Records
In The Band's premiere release, it is clear from the onset how these songs have remained a timeless representation of true Americana. Beyond the legendary "The Weight", this album is full of pure expression & soul. Songs like "Tears of Rage", "Long Black Veil" and "I Shall Be Released" fill a clear void in musical history with singer/songwriter perfection. If you're looking for indication of why The Band's music has stood the test of time and continues to be a major influence for many of modern rock's top acts, pick up Music From Big Pink and dip back into the past. -Andy
Listen to Music From Big Pink Now! | (Rhapsody Required)
Talking Heads |
Remain In Light | 1980 - Sire Records
In line with the must have category, this Talking Heads 1980 instant classic should be at the top of your list. Byrne and producer Brian Eno are a match made in heaven. Or more accurately a match made in the future. These two set the stage for the electronic craze that is currently sweeping the music world. But to say this amazing piece of work is simply a prototype of electronica would be way off track. It's polyrhythmic, deep layered percussive backing brings Latin images to mind, while Byrne's eerie lyrics make your skin crawl. From the opening moments of "Born Under Punches" followed by "Crosseyed And Painless" it's tough to sit down when listening to this album. -Kayceman
The Avalanches | Since I left You | 2001 - Modular
This young six man DJ operation hails from Australia where their debut release caused quite a stir. The album is sort of a hip-hop, disco twisted cut and past sound excursion. Throughout the eighteen tracks they mix familiar melodies, and up beat rhythms, with a crate load of vocal samples from all over the map. The light, sexy female vocal work of the opener, "Since I Left You" sets a welcoming, groovy precedent, while "Frontier Psychiatrist" creates a psychotic dance party on uppers. It's a wonderfully weird, at times repetitious, but fabulously fun album!
-Dee, Kayceman, & Waldorf
Ray's Music Exchange | Turanga | 2002 - Delvian Records
Turanga! What the hell does that even mean? No clue, but this CD has consistently sat atop the pile for a few weeks now. How to describe it...well, it's jazzy, but it ain't jazz...it's groovy, but it ain't generic funk...it's slightly ethnic, but don't call it World Music. Best to just check this piece out, as Ray's Music Exchange is finally hitting full stride, having lounged around Cincinnati for the last decade. Brad Myers' guitar fits in perfectly with the trumpet of "Mad Dog" (great nickname on this cat). Nick Blasky's bass holds down the low end, but when the space clears, his six string bass can make room for his dancin' fingers...and the bass works perfectly with Mad Dog's Trumpet and Flugelhorn, especially on the track "Misguided Samaritan". Tunes like "Debo Rides Again" and "Horse Load" makes you think of Galactic, but unlike those funkateers, this band is multi-dimensional. "We Like You" features a Sex Mob-style New Orleans honky-tonk with a haunting choir floating over the horns. The band feeds off the crowd involvement and seamlessly blends solid instrumentation and catchy melodies. They provide "organic grooves for the dancers" as has been their motto for years. Finally, they have an album to back up their live show. Dig it!
Black Frames | 02.10.02 | Dallas, TX
The Black Frames are Skerik on saxophonics, Mike Dillon on vibes and percussion, Brad Houser on bass and Earl Harvin on drums. You know your in for somehing insanely amazing if your starting with three members of Seattle's monster music force, Critters Buggin, and the Black Frames only expand on this same line of thought. They have as of yet played only a few gigs together, but this one in texas shows endless possibilities. On this evening they played with Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and the improvisational madness went through the roof as these two groups fed off each others brilliant, bizaare natures. For all you Skerik freaks out there this is one show you better hunt down. And if your not familiar with Skerik by now, Don't tell anyone, just start doing your homework.
-Dee & Kayceman
Neil Young | Rust Never Sleeps | 1979 - Warner Brothers
Beginning with the legendary My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue) and completing the cycle through Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black), Neil Young once again shows the world why he is the master of melody. Featuring mostly live material from the 70s, this album perfectly captures the Young spirit, flowing elegantly from start to finish. Classics like Thrasher, Pocahontas and Powderfinger keep you singing along from start to finish. These are timeless songs which speak eternal truths clearly show why rock and roll is here to stay.
Ben Folds Five | Ben Folds Five | 1995 - Passenger
Chapel Hill's Ben Folds Five took the college music scene by storm on this
rocking debut. Borrowing elements from Joe Jackson, Billy Joel, and Queen
among others, Ben Folds made the rock music world again realize that you
don't need a guitar to rip. With lyrics that ranged from hilarious to
thought provoking and melodies that would have made Rogers and Hammerstein
jealous, Ben Folds set this group apart from the grunge rock that was
dominating the decade and made kids remember that music could still be fun!
Common | Resurrection | 1994 - Loud Records
This is the ambitious 15 track sophomore release by Chicago MC Common. With a pension for word play, a sense of wit and smooth smoked out lyrics, Common combines jazzy undertones with hip-hop beats to appeal to a wide range of musical tastes. Touching on social commentary, and addressing the issues of growing up, Common produces another stellar piece of work. At a point where rappers are a dime a dozen taking a step back and checking out a REAL MC is worth your while.
Talvin Singh | OK | 1998 - Island Records
Talvin Singh is a classically trained tabla player, but his musical prowess covers far more ground than this. His debut album OK is reminiscent of a classical music composition framed in the context of London's underground music scene. Helping to define the bhangra movement by incorporating sitars, tablas, soothing flute lines, deep drum and bass, and a heavy dose of Asian accents this album will carry you away. -Kayceman
The Slip | 01.13.02 | Tokyo, Japan
I can't seem to stop listening to this show. I get out of bed in a half daze, and before I know it, I'm singing every word to one of my favorite new songs, "Sweet Melinda" (formerly known as "Dark Angel.") From There "Get Me With Fuji" takes over and some how I'm not tired any more. The Slip is truly an amazing band, they're the only group who has a strong vocal presence that I really enjoy right now. This is due in great part to the fact that although Brad Barr subtly uses words to paint pictures, the core of their sound is the instrumentation. The three members are as talented as any musicians out there. Andrew Barr on drums is simply amazing, and Marc Friedman, well his bass playing is unparalleled. This late night gig in Tokyo is a wonderful representation of where The Slip is now, and just how far they have come. Do yourself a favor and check out this show.
| Astral Weeks | 1968 - Warner Brothers
From the first notes of this album, you begin to see everything in the world as beautiful. This album was Morrison's second following his debut album Blowin' Your Mind which held the everlasting pop hit "Brown Eyed Girl." Most folks were expecting to easily ingest another pop album from Morrison, but instead they got the reflective Astral Weeks featuring a jazz rhythm section and a string quartet. The songs on this album celebrate love and passion as they weave in and out of your consciousness. If I ventured in the slipstream / Between the viaducts of your dream... -Dee
Jimi Hendrix | Band Of Gypsys | 1970 - Capital
This is another epic, an absolute must have. To set the scene and give you an idea of what your getting into it was recorded live at the Fillmore East, in New York City on new years, 1969. This was a milestone for Hendrix. He had grown tired of his showboating image and the confinement of playing �The Hits� every night. So The Experience fell apart and Jimi took up with Army friend Billy Cox on bass, and drummer Buddy Miles to make the Band Of Gypsys. The show is largely improvisational and features Jimi just ripping his guitar to shreds. The music matches the psychedelic guitar god images in your mind. If you don�t have it, get it! -Kayceman
Lee 'Scratch' Perry | Arkology | 1997 - Island
This is the first, and perhaps last box set I am offering up. Trying to pick one CD for Scratch is pretty much impossible, so I am heavily recommending the Arkology, which more or less covers his work. He may be the greatest producer ever. His mystical techniques, ganja fueled recording sessions, and insane antics have given the world some of the greatest reggae and dub albums to date. He coined, and at times takes credit for many of Bob Marley�s songs, (who he undoubtedly cultivated) not to mention the score of other wonderful musicians that sought him out. This box set has the classics, the not so well known nuggets, and the never before released tracks. Check it out, and read the book that comes with it, this guy is a legend. -Kayceman
Bobby Hughes Experience | Fusa Riot | 1999 - Ultimate Dilemma
The band is made up of four Nordic cats that definitely know what they�re doing. The album doesn�t miss; it�s cover to cover. Fusa Riot combines funked out Hammond licks, break beats, amazing production quality, a groovy 70�s feel, and experimental jazz overtones. The flute, and slick bass work provide an airy atmosphere to help put your party where you want it. This is candy for your ears. -Kayceman
Karl Densons Tiny Universe | 12.21.01 | Belly Up, CA
The show was billed as a KDTU headliner with Robert Walters 20th Congress opening up. The show is in San Diego and I�m starting to think Greyboy Allstars. In the second set Robert Walter comes out, followed by Chris Stillwell on bass, to join Karl D and Zak Najor. So now you�ve got four out the five GBA�s and Elgin Park shows up, and all of a sudden it�s a Greyboy Allstars reunion. Add in the unparallel percussion work on Mike Dillon, (who rightfully so stayed on stage) and you have a sick show. -SE
| Feelin' The Spirit | 1962 - Blue Note
This album has long held the title of "Most Soulful CD" in my collection. For this Blue Note release Grant Green assembles an all star crew of musicians including the great Herbie Hancock (Piano), Butch Warren (Bass), Billy Higgens (Drums) and Garvin Masseaux (Trombone). What is perhaps most unique about this album, and maybe why it is so soulful, is a result of the subject matter it covers. Specifically, the bulk of the content on the album is made up of a handful of classic Gospel hymens translated by Grant Green to the bop, jazz realm. (The songwriting credits for all but one of the 6 tunes on this disc lie in "Public Domain"). Grant Green combined his ultra warm tone and silky style of phrasing to create one of the more unique and perhaps underrated masterpieces in the Blue Note catalogue.
Add into the mix the session's producer, the legendary Rudy Van Gelder, and it's no mystery where the heart and soul of this album came from.
| Stay Human | 2001 - Six Degrees
This album is so incredible that I find myself listening to it twice in a row. A fictional radio broadcast, the album follows a disturbing case of false accusation and political corruption. While the story is chilling, the songs are warm and welcoming. "Sometimes I feel like I can do anything/Sometimes I'm so alive/Sometimes I feel like I can zoom cross the sky/Sometime I want to cry." Find a copy of this album and get inspired! -Dee
| Is This It? | 2001 - BMG/RCA
Ok, so this album has been hyped up by all the bullshit music media outlets so much that I had to give it a listen. Frankly, I thought it sucked. But I play by the "three strikes" rule, so I listened again. It got a little better. By the third listen, I was asking "Is This It"? Is this the record that makes me believe in mainstream rock and roll again? This album is everything I never listen to. Short songs. No jams. Catchy pop hooks. Simple bass lines. You try to listen to "Someday" or "Last Nite" and not start singing along. The melodies are simple, but they grow on you until suddenly you're whistling it in the shower, and then you find yourself driving down Sunset Boulevard in a convertible on a sunny day, smiling and singing along, feeling like rock and roll might still be alive in 2002. This album has enough hooks to hang up all your old rock and roll posters. -TK
| Bushfire Fairytales | 2001 - BMG/RCA
Every song on this album takes the listener on a mini-journey of steady grooves and mellow riffs segueing into upbeat melodies accompanied by clever, quick-witted lyrics. A large appeal to this album is the refreshing simplicity of the tracks as they move from one mood to the next. Jack isn't necessarily trying to create over-complex arrangements, but rather convey his message through a medley of solid, sometimes deep and always fun songs which provides a wonderful listen (and sing along) time and time again. "Unobtrusive tones, help to notice nothing but the zone." -Andy
Sound Tribe Sector 9
| 11.09.01 | Bend, OR
People are calling this show the dark horse of the tour. The previous weekend at the Fillmore was nothing but epic, and the New Years run to come was monumental, but so was this little sleeper show in Bend Oregon. An oval shaped roller-skating rink was the scene of a serious throw down. There couldn�t have been more than 200 people in the rink, and every one of them was getting loose. The laid-back atmosphere, and lack of pressure surely led to some groundbreaking beats. The opening �Improv�>�Wika Chikana�, �We�ll Meet in our dreams,� �Mobsters� was mind blowing, and seemed to be powered by a real funky Hunter Brown. The second set featuring a great �Kamuy�>�Quest� was on fire, as was the whole show. When your searching out your 9 trades, don�t forget about Bend 11.09.01, it was HOT!
| Blow by Blow | 1975 - Epic Records
The guy is a legend. He pretty much wrote the book on guitar phrasing, and his technical abilities are only comparable to Hendrix and Clapton. He was the unsung hero of the Yardbirds, and broke ground in the fusion world with his solo projects. This album was years ahead of it's time, and can still be heard in the licks of guitar players across the world. If you don't own it, get it, with "Scatterbrain," "Freeway Jam," and one of the best Beatles covers ever layed down in "She's A Woman" this album is a treat, start to finish.
| Animals | 1977 - EMI Records
Perhaps the best album ever. As far as a conceptual album, you would be hard pressed to do better. The dark story line echoes from Roger Waters twisted mind, and will give you nightmares for weeks. Floyd initiated the freak-out style that many of us have come to need with our music, and this piece of work is quintessential for any collection. Kick back, dig deep, and listen. . . But maybe you should leave the lights on. -Kayceman
| Power Clown | 1998 - Pork Recordings
Sticking with what's new, nothing beats Fila Brazilla. These UK cats are at the top of their game, from what they remix to how they do it, and what they throw down on their own you simply can't go wrong. This is what you want to pop in after the show to keep the people partying well into the night. Get this album and see where music is heading, it incorporates everything available to musicians and producers today, the end result will blow your mind. -Kayceman
| Black On Both Sides | 1999 - Rawkus Ent.
In a violent Hip-Hop world dominated by music full of guns, cussing and drugs - Mos Def is a hugely welcome change. Born Dante Beze on December 11th, 1973, Mos has constantly proved himself to be one of hip-hops new-school visionaries - those who break the stereotype of the 'Gangsta rapper' and take hip-hop and rap to new and exciting levels. Indeed, Mos is a precious MC, devoted to his music, with a passion for social consciousness and a divine ability to entertain which will surely cement his place in musical history. This is his ambitious solo debut equipped with dope beats and intelligent lyrics lending insight into our troubled times. -Kayceman
Santa Cruz Hemp Allstars | 12.16.01 | The Justice League, San Francisco, CA
It's shows like this that make us all here at JamBase grateful that Headquarters are in the bay. Zach Velmer on the kit, (need we say more), fellow Sector 9 beat keeper, Jeffree Lerner on percussions, Marc Friedman (The Slip) on bass, Aron Magner (The Disco Biscuits) on the keys, Jason Concepcion (Netwerk: Electric) on guitar, and John Whooley (Estradasphere) on sax and effects, make up the Allstars. And I assure you they did not disappoint. In fact they blew the roof off the Justice League. Totally improvised, instrumental, space exploration would be the tip of the ice-burgh. If you dig the individual bands, you should really hear this collaboration, go search out a copy; they're out there! -Kayceman
| Abbey Road | 1969 - EMI Records
face it, it's hard not to have the Beatles in rotation. We here at da 'Base
are still mourning the death of legendary musical visionary, George Harrison.
If you haven't given this album a good listen lately, do yourself a favor, relax,
listen, and remember why these four changed music forever. "And in the
end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."
| On the Corner | 1972 - Columbia Records
Again we are dealing with a man who changed music drastically. When this album
came out critics chastised Miles for, "losing his mind." About five
years later these same critics recanted, explaining that they just weren't ready.
This piece of work is still breaking ground thirty years later. If you don't
know, GET IT! -Kayceman
|Terror Twilight | 1999 | Matador Records
leads the listener through musical melodies of an upbeat and positive new meeting
between potential lovers, into the depths of relationship depression and then
back up through sparks of light. Amazingly produced along with brilliant lyrics
such as "well tuck in your thoughts, it's there or it's not, the feeling
is mutual" and "don't waste your precious breath explaining
that you are worthwhile" leave me confident that this album is truly
one for the ages. Bring on the Major Leagues. -Andy
Tosca | Chocolate
Elvis | 1999 - G-Stone Records
you're wondering what's new, or feeling like you need a taste of something different,
well get on board. This is the first of many suggestions that stems form a movement
in music that lays outside of the more traditional forms you may be aquainted
with. This is the debut remix from K & D's Richard Dorfmeister, and takes
the smokey dubbed out vibe to another level. -Kayceman
| 12.31.01 The Vic, Chicago IL
has been blowing up over the past year, and their NYE show was a culmination
of their efforts. These young rippers have found a spot in our stereo with their
wonderful improvisational, yet danceable beats. With a second set that begins,
"In the Flesh>Another Brick 2" you know it's going to get dark
and dirty. -Dee Read
a review of this show.