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Harlem In Vogue: Poetry Jazz of Langston Hughes [coll] – [Fingertips Records]

Thee Opinataur   7/8/2021   CD, Jazz


This compilation consists of four separate recordings from 1958-60. . The first ten tracks
are Langston Hughes accompanied by Leonard Feathers All-Star Sextet. The next eleven
tracks are Hughes’s poetry with Charles Mingus & The Horace Parlan Quintet. Six tracks
of Hughes poetry follow, closing with two tracks from Bob Dorough’s interpretation of
Hughes poetry. While Hughes did most of his writings years earlier, these were his first
attempts to bridge the jazz and written word. The ‘Weary Blues’ with Leonard Feathers
Quintet as well as ‘Motto/ dead in there’ are some of the best works on this lengthy
compilation. However, while some of his most important works such as ‘I have known
rivers’ and ‘I too’ are wonderful to hear from the author’s own voice, they could have
used some accompaniment. The last two tracks put this otherwise fine collection to
shame as the quality of Bob Dorough’s interpretation of Hughes falls completely flat. A
fine historical piece overall – Thee Opinataur

Infantino, Antonio -Tara’n Trance- [Amiata Records]

Thee Opinataur   7/8/2021   A Library, CD

Antonio Infantino was many things in his home country of Italy, visual artist, musician, artist, anthropologist, and poet. For several decades beginning in the mid-1960s, he revived and popularized the traditional Tarantella music of southern Italy. 

The tarantella’s origin is connected with Tarantism, a disease or form of hysteria that appeared in Italy in the 15th to the 17th century and that was obscurely associated with the bite of the tarantula wolf spider; victims seemingly were cured by frenzied dancing. 

On this album, he collaborates with electronic master Eraldo Bernocchi creating a contemporary new spiritual rave. 

These tracks will get you out on the dance floor whether you like it or not. Staying primarily in traditional Tarantella’s 6/8 timing, as well as 4/4 it spans the centuries harmoniously, making the old new again. You can envision the rural ancient days of peasants crying out, delirious, upon being bitten by the wolf spider. Modern-day victims trance, spinning uncontrollably, aching to be relieved of the toxin flowing through their veins. Hypnotic voices pulsating throughout, Italian, English, Arabic, Hebrew, as well as other regional dialects. Lose yourself in its maniacal rhythm.

–Thee Opinataur

Montoya, Carlos -From St. Louis to Seville- [RCA Victor/ BMG]

Thee Opinataur   7/8/2021   12-inch, International

Carlos Montoya was already one of the world’s foremost flamenco guitarists in 1958 when he stepped into a New York studio to record this album with some of the top studio jazz sidemen. It is an album of two distinctions as the name of the album ‘From St. Louis to Seville’ simply states. Side one (Jazz ) highlighted by Handy’s ‘St. Lous Blues‘ is quite remarkable, as Montoya puts his unique interpretation on a classic. However, don’t sleep on Montoya’s original ‘Improvisation’ where he truly immerses himself in the fusion of jazz and flamenco. 

Side two (Flamenco) – While the underlying foundation is traditional flamenco on these tracks featuring several of Montoya originals. What is fascinating as you listen closely is how he shares the limelight with his rhythm section, a collection of some excellent musicians steeped in jazz. Collectively they bring an element of freshness to the traditional framework. 

Carlos Montoya– guitar 

Osie Johnson– drums 

Milt Hinton– bass 

Barry Galbraith– rhythm guitar 

-Thee Opinataur

Pas Musique – ‘Psychedelic Talismans’- [Alrealon Musique]

Thee Opinataur   6/29/2021   12-inch, A Library

This electronic sound image has a very psychedelic effect and with its beats and mystical sounds, which in addition to the computer and keyboards includes electric guitar.

Tense guitar notes that emerge twisted and strangled alongside the impatient palpating beats, with an emerging sense of unease that surfaces in places. For the most part, there’s a certain mellowness that permeates the album. 

Side 1

Track 1 – Splash of Red Touch – perhaps the inspiration for the luscious red vinyl this album lives, an appropriate opening of welcoming the listener to this psyched-out journey. An uneven, sporadic beat underlies this kaleidoscopic visionary piece. 

Track 2 – Collected Fictions Brightly -An urgent Deep bass foundation, tribal and primitive, inaudible voices yearning to connect.

Track 3 –In Likeness of Me – Acid Swirl Open, playful rhythm halfway through, Field Recordings of random casual conversations to create a dreamlike sonic state

Side 2

Track 1 –ABC of the Telephone – Throbbing, delicate color illuminations. Lost at times is the listener trying to find their way on this trippy, psychedelic listen. Tribal, Convoluted, frustrating journey of sorts as it dares to alter its course to suit your comfort zone. 

Track 2 – The Hour – A warning illuminated that the end is indeed near. Irregular beats, awakening your mind and giving you a glimpse of the final moments. 

Track 3 – La Bas – with its cloudy, psychedelic guitar riffs, it captures the essence of the artist’s spirit, wonderfully dark, with a peaceful close. 

Recorded as a solo project by Robert Pepper during the Covid Lockdown, April – June 2020, released in February 2021. 

Genres = Electronic, Experimental, Psychedelic, Krautrock

Thee Opinataur

De Plata, Manitas – ‘Flamenco Guitar Vol. 2’ – [Connoisseur Society]

Thee Opinataur   6/18/2021   12-inch, International

Manitas de Plata was born in 1921 as Ricardo Baliardo in southern France to a traditional Gypsy community. His name bestowed upon him by his community means ‘Little Silver Hands’. His uncle taught him the guitar as a boy and ultimately evolving into a virtuoso. He exclusively played for his Gypsy community most of his life until he was recorded in 1963 in Arles France and his subsequent albums helped to popularize Flamenco music all over the world. He became somewhat of a cultural icon from that point, as his friends included Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Charlie Chaplin, and even Brigette Bardot. 

He was French rather than Spanish, and his unpredictable improvisations depart from the formal structures of the compás, the metric conventions that enable Flamenco singers, dancers, and musicians to perform together. De Plata achieved prominence as a unique individual who made his own rules.

Several of his sons Toninio, Paco, and Diego Baillardo, as well as nephews, went on to form the Gipsy Kings in the early 1980s that continued to popularize this music for future generations. 

Manitas de Plata died in 2014 at age 93, in France, he continued to tour the world and record extensively, until his death in 2014 having never lost his gypsy ways and outlook on life, pursuing his joint passions of music and women and utterly careless of money and the trappings of wealth.

He wears his emotions on his sleeve, there is no posturing, only the authenticity in his exquisite playing. 

Track 1 – Fandangos -. Dark and introspective, raw and intimate. sweet subtle expression. It is as if he is playing just for you. Taking delight in the transference of his spirit to us the listener. 

Track 2 – Tarantas y Bulerias – combines two forms. The Bulerias originally a slow dance, considered the most festive of Flamenco dance along with Tarantas, expressing a feeling of melancholy. 

Track 3 – Gypsy Rhumba – Impromptu, an example of chico flamenco (light-hearted). An after-hours party with singing, clapping, stomping, and some percussion elements such as scraping corrugated cardboard. Singing alongside Jose Reyes and his son Manero Baillardo.

Side 2 – Moritas Moras -(Little Moorish Girls) Delves into the heart of flamenco. Jose Reyes and Manero Baillardo take turns sharing the raw unrefined Gypsy Blues. This song digs deep into the heart of the Gypsy experience. 

Thee Opinataur

Evans, Jessie -Heartwave – [Fantomette]

Thee Opinataur   6/9/2021   A Library, CD

Jessie Evans has a history in the Bay Area, where she was part of the synth goth band Subtonix in the early 2000s. After relocating to Berlin for a few years, she now calls Brazil home. Released in 2019, this is her third solo album. It’s reflective of her experience in her new life in San Paolo. Her lyrical verse is the star of this album, a deep, introspective, and heartfelt message to the world with an empathy for people around her, and authentic selflessness. 

Synth-Pop beats are the dominant platform throughout most of this album, with Machines, Cello, flute, guitar subtly mixed in. Known by many for her Sax play, she is thoughtful and particular when and where to incorporate. When she does play it, it’s understated with a soulful, sexy, and dream-like affection. Her voice is a mature, vampy, sultry, smokey experience. It can be hypnotizing to get distracted at times listening to the addictive poppy beats, but do try and separate and just listen to the extraordinary straight to your heart and soul lyrics. 

The opening track ‘Chariot’ is a shimmering potent synth-pop frenzy with a catchy chorus, but listen closely to the lyrics ‘While your cities falling, your government is balling’ is just a taste of this prayer. 

I couldn’t help but smile listening to her love song duet with her little girl Elladina in ‘Hold Onto Me’ You can feel, hear and experience her deep affection for her with every word she sings. 

The more I paid attention to her heart, the more I fell in love with her. 

Thee Opinataur

Zimpala – Almaviva – [Lacerba]

Thee Opinataur   6/9/2021   A Library, CD

Released in 2001, Almaviva was the first album from the collective out of Bordeaux, France known as Zimpala. Directing and producing this group of DJs, electronic and acoustic musical artists, and vocalists is French DJ and producer DJ BNX. Is it downbeat, house minimal, broken beat, Nu Jazz, lounge electronic? Why yes, yes it is; all of that and then some others sprinkled in. This is a pretty interesting and cool collaboration mixing in acoustic as well as electric instruments with their house tunes.  

 Things kick off with ‘To the Bass’, it takes you to the beach with a chill, bossa lounge experience to start things off. However, from there, things pick up beat-wise for a while until ‘Come Back’ cools things down. From that point on it’s an exotic mix of world fusion dance, erotic soulful vocals, and chill club music with a perfect tune, ‘New Home‘ to close this album out. All in all a nice groovy lounge trip. 

Thee Opinataur

Lake Oliver,Tchicai John, Osgood Kresten, Westergaard Jonas -Lake | Tchicai | Osgood | Westergaard – [Passing Thru Records]

Thee Opinataur   6/9/2021   CD, Jazz

Oliver Lake [Black Artists Group, World Saxophone Quartet] has collaborated with many of the jazz greats of the past 4+ decades. Recorded in 2003 in Copenhagen, Oliver Lake, Alto Sax, completed a tour of Denmark with Danish tenor saxophonist John Tchicai, drummer Kresten Osgood and bassist Jonas Westergaard. They immediately went into the studio afterward, the product of which is this release on Lake’s Passin’ Thru record label. All four artists contributed compositions to this album. Heavily steeped in swing with a vast amount of improvisation, and a bit of poetry and chanting mixed in on tracks 5 & 7 respectively.

To the ears, this recording feels like you are actually situated in a small intimate live space, not a studio, which is a great treat for the listener. Lake and Tchicai take turns leading us on several journeys throughout with timely phrasing and great energy. The youngest of this group, Kresten Osgood to me is the unsung star, his understated timing, and control to keep this quartet loose, free, and yet playing together as one is a thing of beauty. 

This album is such an engaging and pleasant experience. Its warmth will tickle that sweet spot in your body and brain and yet not let you get too comfortable as it insists on opening your mind and spirit to new places not yet experienced. 

Thee Opinataur

Arthur Doyle Plus 4 – ‘Alabama Feeling’ – [Rank and File]

Thee Opinataur   5/25/2021   12-inch, Jazz

Arthur Doyle Alabama Feeling Album

Recorded Live at the Brook, New York City, Nov 11, 1977. Reissued in 2009 on Rank & File Records out of Berlin.
While Doyle had previously supported other Free Jazz greats, such as Noah Howard (Black Ark) and Sun Ra, This is Doyle’s first album where he leads. He is credited on this album playing Tenor Voice-O-Phone, Bass Voice-O-Net whereas he not only plays but sings at the same time through his instrument. Its results are a fierce raw cerebral energy right from the beginning with ‘November 8th & 9th – I Can’t Remember When’. In fact, the whole first side is a nonstop uncompromising bastion of energy that literally blows you back and really doesn’t stop until you flip to side two. Here the two drummers Rashied Sinan and Bruce Moore blend beautifully in a dark tribal rhythmic duet on ‘Ancestor’ as one by one the other members join in the journey. Charles Stephens Trombone is all over the place throughout this album as he goes from swampy elongated pitches to short, full blasts exploding perfectly alongside Doyle. Not to be outdone, Doyle’s childhood friend from Birmingham, Richard Williams on Fender Bass is magnificent in support of keeping complex time. There is definitely confrontation all along this journey, but I believe that is purposeful, and why this recording stands out and has defied the test of time in its relevancy even today.
While the original master was lost, this reissue was captured from the original vinyl recording. It is lo-fi and has an almost field recording feel to it, and it is absolutely perfect.

Ivory Coast Soul: Afrofunkin Abidjan 1972-1982 [coll] – [Hot Casa]

Thee Opinataur   4/17/2013   12-inch, International

Take a magical journey through the Ivory Coast during their most prosperous decade since post colonialism. Abidjan was the capital of the Ivory Coast at this time, and served the Pan-Africanism ideal for many artists. Musicians from all over West Africa including Mali, Zaire, Senegal and Nigeria descended upon Abidjan creating a rich melting pot of music and culture. Prior to the 1970’s much music was imitated from western popular music from France, Spain and the United States. Some of the most influential composers and arrangers of the Ivory Coast are compiled here including Ernesto Djedje who invented and popularized the ziglibithy sound (fusion of traditional bete folk rhythm and funk soul arrangements). Fela Kuti inspired Afro-beat is displayed on several tracks including A1 featuring Pierre Antoine and B3 with Ernesto Djedje. Jimmy (inspired by Jimmy Hendrix) Hyacinthe’s Yatchimiinou‘s funky disco jam will take you back to tight white jeans and silky shirts as will Nguessan Santa’s (inspired by Carlos Santanta) Mammy Nia . Ali Ibrahim’s deep soulful La Ilaha Illalahou features tight horn section and sweet female back vocals. There is plenty of funk to go around featuring Prince Dgib who is better know in his homeland as the Ivorian James Brown. Hypnotic grooves, chants, raw breaks frenetic rhythms fill the tracks from Jean Guehi and Kassale Etles Ziglibitiens. True Love by Rato Venance is a spacey , jazzy, disco instrumental with some fine keyboard play. Thanks to a painstaking journey of nearly three year’s retrieving and restoring the original vinyl, we can now enjoy these 13 tracks dripping with sweet soul, silky grooves and funk all around.

Gustafsson, Mats; Vandermark, Ken; Baars, Ab, Nilssen-Love, – “Abet?!” – [Terp Records]

Thee Opinataur   4/8/2013   7-inch, Jazz

Trio side-Ab Baars-Clarinet; Ken Vandermark-Tenor Sax; Paal Nilssen-Love- Drums. Recorded- 2009 Addis Adeba this improvisational trio starts fast and furious with Nilssen-Love setting the time, enter Baars Clarinet squealing fire and flying high with Vandermark supporting. Vandermark takes over with blazing solo work with drums keeping live audience on edge of seat. This 4 minute improv doesn’t let up from start to finish. Solo Side- Recorded 2011 Addis Adeba. Mats Gustafsson reaches deep and long releasing animalistic guttural magnitude. Very soulful packed 4 minute solo. Both sides of this 7″ are peak high energy sessions that will leave you gasping for air.

Rongwrong – “epiphany obvers epiphany revers” – [Obuh Records]

Thee Opinataur   4/8/2013   7-inch, A Library

Recorded live in Poland 1993. Rongwrong is a Polish experimental underground trio creating their art through voice/unvoice tapes. Mood is dark and textured taking the listener on a ride though the thick tarry muck of the underworld. A1-Take a deliberately slow, sleepless haunting trip through the fog encrusted haze of the netherworld, ends in locked groove. B1- Ghostly voices haunt the lonesome traveler albeit with barely there beats to plod along to. B2- Meet your brethren seeping out along the way ensuring this is what you once feared and will continue into eternity.

S_W_Z_K – “S_W_Z_K” – [Tresor]

Thee Opinataur   4/8/2013   12-inch, A Library

The tech house duo formerly known as Swayzak consisting of David Brown and James Taylor are no more. JT has left the building with Brown morphing into ‘ess-doubleu-zed-kay’. Name of duo was influenced by movie Point Break with Patrick Swayze, while surfing the english channel. Whoever got their boogie board up on the 6″swale was the ‘Swayzak’, thus a name is born. The original concepts are taken from live performances both had done together over their long partnership.These fresh tracks are filled with deep throbbing techno with Berlin sensibilities. A very energetic raw and unrestrained minimal framework with no more then 10 sounds used with a mix of analog and digital. Both albums take on harsh textures and a rough edge all while mixed in a atmosphere of controlled chaos.

Taj Mahal Travellers, The – “July 15, 1972” – [Klimt]

Thee Opinataur   4/8/2013   A Library

Live recording of concert at Sohgetsu Hall, Tokyo, July 1972, this is the first album ever released by the Japanese electronic drone group headed by violinist composer Takehisa Kosugi. This is avant-garde minimalism with a distinctive Japanese sensibility. Side A is drug induced weightless psychedelic trip that moans and trips through the badlands. Deep droning groans from the contrabass lead the way on this dreamy trip. B1 – Eerie hypnotic throat singing featured giving way to a freeform dreamland of no return. B2 – Electronic violin scratches the underworld, a meditative homily to those who failed to seek their true calling.

 

Scorch Trio With Mars Williams – “Made In Norway” – [Rune Grammofon]

Thee Opinataur   4/8/2013   12-inch, Jazz

Recorded live in Oslo and Bergen Norway May 2011. Drummer Frank Rosaly, Guitar, Elec. Mandolin Raoul Bjorkenheim, Elec. Bass Ingebright Haker Flaten, Tenor, Alto, Soprano, Sopranino Saxophones Mars Williams. The duets between Bjorkenhiem and Williams highlight throughout, but it is the impressive pulling and pushing of Rosaly, which makes this foursome go. Flaten may not be the featured star of this group, however his waves of funky as well as subtle beats keep these accomplished artists in line. Aggressive and textual and yet much room for calm and contemplative moments. A1- beautiful duet of drums and guitar that will take you on a classic trip in time of 30 years or more. C1- traveling through the Sahara on a caravan at nighttime hearing Rommel’s blitzkrieg through Monty’s 3rd division. Williams infuses his vast diverse spectrum into all 8 tracks. He blends beautifully with the other characters; you would never guess this is their first time playing together. Bjorkeheim calls his guitar style Psych-trance-ic-heavy-metal-ethno-free. And while that may be difficult to interpret, once you listen you find yourself nodding in agreement. All four of these members have traversed the Free Jazz as well as Rock landscapes over many years. While many have tried to blend the two, these guys get what Fusion is meant to be.

Dilloway, Aaron / Lescalleet, Jason – “Grapes and Snakes” – [Pan]

Thee Opinataur   4/8/2013   12-inch, A Library

First time collaborators Aaron Dilloway and Jason Lescalleet come together to create something brand new of many things old. No modular synths, or clean loops for these two underground experimental noise artists. Analog synthesizers, reel to reel and 8-track are manipulated, broken and re-created for the listeners hazy trip. Side A opens with a slow burn of dark drone synth, degrading and distorting with low frequency sounds. The final minutes unceremoniously pierce your brain with an intense anxiety filled climax. Side B White noise shrouded crashes, groaning feedback loops this side long set which builds to an equilibrium distorting crescendo. A writhing, and somewhat terrifying blackness fills the air, yet finishes in a most unpredictable warmth of sound.

Phog Masheeen – “Eternal Battle of Heat & Cold, The” – [Love Earth Music]

Thee Opinataur   4/8/2013   A Library, CD

October 2012 release, this is Act 1 of a planned Epic. These SoCal noise/visual artists take on the Big Bang and the creation of the universe. Heat, Cold as well as Entropy take human form and are doomed to work together. It begins with a cold day in hell, as heat and cold are at each others throats, with entropy the voice of dysfunctional reason goading them on. Weird and wild narrative of spoken word from all three characters keep us fixated as we traverse this eons long journey. Electronic glitches, bleeps, distortion filled beats reverberate and household percussion support throughout. This first Act ends with an ominous, harrowing lonely track that allows these elements to take a break for an eon or few. We can only hope and anticipate that Act II will carry us further on this wonderful trip.

Atrum Inritus – “Prognatus In Vorago” – [Altar of The Dead]

Thee Opinataur   4/8/2013   A Library, CD

Debut album released in 2011 from young label Altar of the Dead out of Minneapolis. While the names of the band members are decidedly of Latin origin, there is little doubt their lineage is of Scandinavian decent. Black frosty Nordic metal, buzzing doom drone with underlying suicidal tendencies developing throughout. Raw aggression and dark imagery set the brooding melancholic overture. There are some head nodding hypnotic guitar riffs as well. This is pretty straightforward black metal, with bits of atmospheric. Major influences are Mayhem and Burzum.

Walter, Weasel, Halvorson, Mary & Evans, Peter – “Mechanical Malfunction” – [Thirsty Ear Recordings]

Thee Opinataur   4/8/2013   CD, Jazz

Released in 2012, This eclectic trio features Walter on Drums, Halvorson on guitar, and Evans on trumpet. Three accomplished improvisators producing chaotic fusion at its finest. Each artist provided three compositions to this album along with two that all three collaborated on. Skilled improvisational play within composed theme and structure. Sparse and rigorous chamber improvisation, with much of the music based on short twisted phrases as well as tight intervals. For those used to the free improvisational play from these musicians this album may be frustrating initially as there is a constant struggle of composition vs. improvisation. The more it is played the better it sounds.

Carrion, Ulises – “Poet’s Tongue, The” – [Alga Marghen]

Thee Opinataur   4/5/2013   12-inch, A Library

Originally issued as a cassette in 1977, reissue on 12 inch vinyl in 2012, limited to 270 copies. Ulises Carrion (b1941-d1989) was a Mexican born conceptual artist who created in multiple mediums. This project The Poet’s Tongue is conceptual poetry sound art. Throughout he shows his passion for structures, sounds, meanings and intense interest in grammatical forms and concepts. In Hamlet for two voices, Carrion and Martha Hawley perform by reading names of characters as they appear in the Shakespearean script, representing the structure of the roles the characters perform. Poema,orally represents structure and spatial characteristics of a poem by listing all its structural elements such as words, paragraphs, verses, etc. Three Spanish Pieces consists of Spanish child speak similar to pig Latin gibberish. The only musical piece on this album is the final 45 Revoluciones Por Minuto which is a groovy track consisting of a female vocalist with Carrion voicing over.

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