Apr 28

Barry Gibb – In The Now (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 54:31 minutes | 710 MB | Genre: Pop
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Artwork: Digital Booklet | © Columbia

“In the Now” is the second solo album by British singer-songwriter Barry Gibb, released on 7 October 2016 by Columbia Records. Although his second solo album (since 1984’s Now Voyager), it is the first of all new material since the Bee Gees’ final studio album This Is Where I Came In (2001). Gibb said of the album: “This is a dream come true for me. It’s a new chapter in my life. I always hoped one day that The Bee Gees would be with Columbia or indeed Sony so, it’s a great joy for me to start again this way with such great people.”

Tracklist:
01. In The Now (04:52)
02. Grand Illusion (04:42)
03. Star Crossed Lovers (03:20)
04. Blowin’ A Fuse (04:44)
05. Home Truth Song (05:09)
06. Meaning Of The Word (04:34)
07. Cross To Bear (06:01)
08. Shadows (04:35)
09. Amy In Colour (04:27)
10. The Long Goodbye (02:41)
11. Diamonds (05:19)
12. End Of The Rainbow (04:07)

Personnel:

Sam Bohl, Assistant Engineer
Femio Hernandez, Assistant Engineer
Ed Maina, Baritone Saxophone
Julio Hernández, Bass
Claudio Jaffe, Cello
David Cole, Cello
Stephen Gibb, Composer, Guitar, Lyricist
Doug Emery, Composer, Horn, Keyboards, Lyricist, Other, Strings
Ashley Gibb, Composer, Lyricist
Lee Levin, Drums, Percussion
Eric Kerley, French Horn
Dan Warner, Guitar
Barry Gibb, Guitar, Vocal
Ben Stivers, Keyboards
Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer
Mick Guzauski, Mixing Engineer
Richard Bravo, Percussion
John Paterno, Recording Engineer
John Merchant, Recording Engineer
Ed Calle, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Greg Leisz, Steel Guitar
John Kricker, Trombone
Jim Hacker, Trumpet
Doug Michels, Trumpet
Anthony Parce, Viola
Chauncey Patterson, Viola
Scott O’Donnell, Viola
Carol Cole, Violin
Alfredo Olivia, Violin
Tomas Cotik, Violin
Huifang Chen, Violin
Monica Cheveresan, Violin
Valentin Mansurov, Violin
Scott Flavin, Violin
Evija Ozolins, Violin
Mark Schuppener, Violin

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Apr 28

Bobby Timmons – Holiday Soul (1964/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 42:21 minutes | 935 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Original Jazz Classics

Holiday Soul is an album of Christmas music by American jazz pianist Bobby Timmons recorded in 1964 and released on the Prestige label.

Bobby Timmons became so famous for the gospel and funky blues clichés in his solos and compositions that his skills as a Bud Powell-inspired bebop player have been long forgotten. After emerging from the Philadelphia jazz scene, Timmons worked with Kenny Dorham (1956), Chet Baker, Sonny Stitt, and the Maynard Ferguson Big Band. He was partly responsible for the commercial success of both Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and Cannonball Adderley’s Quintet. For Blakey (who he was with during 1958-1959), Timmons wrote the classic “Moanin’” and, after joining Adderley in 1959, his song “This Here” (followed later by “Dat Dere”) became a big hit; it is little wonder that Adderley was distressed when, in 1960, Timmons decided to return to the Jazz Messengers. “Dat Dere” particularly caught on when Oscar Brown, Jr. wrote and recorded lyrics that colorfully depicted his curious son. Timmons, who was already recording as a leader for Riverside, soon formed his own trio but was never able to gain the commercial success that his former bosses enjoyed. Stereotyped as a funky pianist (although an influence on many players including Les McCann, Ramsey Lewis, and much later on Benny Green), Timmons’ career gradually declined. He continued working until his death at age 38 from cirrhosis of the liver. ~ Scott Yanow

Tracklist:

01. Deck The Halls (3:12)
02. White Christmas (7:06)
03. The Christmas Song (5:20)
04. Auld Lang Syne (4:40)
05. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (6:29)
06. Winter Wonderland (5:36)
07. We Three Kings (5:06)
08. You’re All I Want For Christmas (4:52)

Personnel:
Bobby Timmons – p
Butch Warren – b
Walter Perkins – d

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Apr 28

Cyrus Chestnut – Natural Essence (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 1:03:14 minutes | 1,25 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: AcousticSounds | Front Cover | © Highnote

From his emergence in the mid-Eighties to the present, pianist Cyrus Chestnut has declared himself a committed stylist completely infatuated with his instrument and the art he’s sworn allegiance to, jazz. Chestnut has consistently shown himself an improviser of rare ingenuity and grace, yet what most distinguishes him from other gifted pianists of our era may be the sheer pleasure that radiates from all that he plays. While the characteristic cheer that Chestnut displays on “Natural Essence” can be attributed to his undiminished vigor and attentiveness, the presence of his notable cohorts also contributes to the leader’s focus. With the dynamic Lenny White on drums and the redoubtable Buster Williams on bass Cyrus & company breathe new life and vitality into that most venerable of jazz ensemble formats, the piano trio.

Tracklist
01. Mamacita
02. It Could Happen to You
03. Faith Amongst the Unknown
04. I Cover the Waterfront
05. I Remember
06. Dedication
07. My Romance
08. Toku-do
09. Minority

Musicians
Cyrus Chestnut – piano
Buster Williams – bass
Lenny White – drums

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Apr 28

Cuong Vu Trio – Meets Pat Metheny (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 00:53:19 minutes | 1,02 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © Nonesuch

There’s a bit of a role reversal going on with this one. Trumpeter Cuong Vu—a Pat Metheny devotee from the time he first heard the guitarist’s Travels (ECM, 1983) as a teenager—eventually came to join the Pat Metheny Group, enhancing the sound of the band on a pair of Grammy-winning albums: Speaking Of Now (Warner Bros. 2002) and The Way Up (Nonesuch, 2005). Now Metheny returns the favor, joining Vu’s crew for this expansive outing.

Tracklist
01. Acid Kiss
02. Not Crazy (Just Giddy Upping)
03. Seeds of Doubt
04. Tiny Little Pieces
05. Telescope
06. Let’s Get Back
07. Tune Blues

Musicians
Cuong Vu – trumpet
Stomu Takeishi – bass
Ted Poor – drums
with
Pat Metheny – guitar

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Apr 28

Corinne Bailey Rae – The Heart Speaks In Whispers (2016) [Deluxe Edition] FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:15:40 minutes | 1,6 GB | Genre: R&B
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Pono Music | Artwork: Front cover | © Virgin Records

The Heart Speaks In Whispers is rich in fresh ideas and full of emotional energy which surges through its songs like electricity. Recorded both at her studio in Leeds, and in Los Angeles, the album is co-produced by Corinne with Steve Brown, her collaborator on her critically acclaimed previous album The Sea. The album features a number of notable musicians including Pino Palladino (D Angelo, Erykah Badu, The Who), James Gadson (Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers), Marcus Miller (Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock), Esperanza Spalding and Moses Sumney (best known for his work with Beck).

The gap between The Sea and The Heart Speaks in Whispers, Corinne Bailey Rae’s second and third albums, was over six years in duration. During the wait for full-length number three, Bailey Rae released The Love EP, a brief set of covers that featured a Grammy-winning update of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love.” She married Steve Brown, a keyboardist and producer who had been a factor in all of her releases for Capitol. Bailey Rae also shifted from that label to Virgin and worked on new recordings with a handful of old and new collaborators, including Brown and Steve Chrisanthou, as well as Paris and Amber Strother of the emergent King. The Heart Speaks in Whispers naturally doesn’t pack the heavy emotional weight of The Sea, an album issued after the multi-instrumentalist tragically lost her then-partner Jason Rae. It’s all spirited and lively. At their best, the wide-eyed folk-soul moments tend to evoke a contemporized version of fellow Englishwoman Linda Lewis, even on “Do You Ever Think of Me,” assisted by songwriting demigod Valerie Simpson and, through references to “The Makings of You,” Curtis Mayfield. The more electrified and groove-oriented material is bound to elicit parallels drawn to the likes of early Erykah Badu and, well, King. Each one of the Strother collaborations is stimulating, with lyrics and productions that complement one another. “Been to the Moon” swoops and slides, reflecting Bailey Rae’s alternation between delighted and demanding exclamations. Its dazzling electro-soul gives way to a trumpet, saxophone, and flute coda that works far better than it should. “Horse Print Dress,” more like purple paisley, is ecstatic, private, joyful synth-funk, while the dazed “Green Aphrodisiac” drifts along on a sinewy, unmistakable Marcus Miller bassline. Multiple allusions to working past bitterness and metaphorical storms help cast the album in a rejuvenating light. Despite all the likenesses that can be heard, it all comes out fresh, pieced together and transmitted in a way that no one but Bailey Rae – a remarkable and flexible artist with some very real life experiences – can approximate.

Tracklist:
01 – The Skies Will Break
02 – Hey, I Won’t Break Your Heart
03 – Been To The Moon
04 – Tell Me
05 – Stop Where You Are
06 – Green Aphrodisiac
07 – Horse Print Dress
08 – Do You Ever Think Of Me?
09 – Caramel
10 – Taken By Dreams
11 – Walk On
12 – Night
13 – In The Dark
14 – Ice Cream Colours
15 – High
16 – Push On For The Dawn

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Apr 28

Chris Schlarb – Dropsy: Original Soundtrack (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 00:45:10 minutes | 474 MB | Genre: Score / Jazz, Guitar, Ambient
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Bandcamp | Artwork: Front Cover

“I was five years old in 1982. I remember sitting on thick brown carpet, plugging in the joystick, and playing Yars Revenge on the Atari 2600. The music consisted of a single, oscilating drone. Thirty years later technology has granted us the wish of near-infinite possibilities: it’s not uncommon for some games to feature vocal choirs and symphony orchestras. Of course, as Orson Welles famously remarked, “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.”

A few years ago my friend Jay Tholen asked me to write music for his adventure game about a mute, handless clown named Dropsy. We talked about junkyards and circus tents, we looked at photos of open country roads and graffiti and neon lights. Jay showed me his early pixel landscapes and it made me think, perhaps video games represented a type of modern folk art. He embraced the limitations of medium and created something honest and beautiful. I wanted to do the same with the soundtrack.

The themes for Dropsy were composed almost entirely on piano. After months of preparation, I booked a single, 12-hour recording session and tried to leave enough space for each musician to contribute their own voice. Everyone looked at the images Jay provided and we talked about the different locations inside the game. I can hear the subliminal influences of Joe Raposo’s early music for Sesame Street in the music now. I hear the mechanical pop of Devo and the doom metal of Earth. I hear the limitations working their magic. The music is alive.”
– Chris Schlarb

Tracklist:

01. Kierkegaard’s Umbrella (02:05)
02. Mothersbaugh on the Beach (01:30)
03. Clown Breath (Variation #2) (00:47)
04. In the Court of the Junkyard King (02:21)
05. Last of the Lonely Tumbleweeds (02:17)
06. Kierkegaard’s Neon Lights (03:00)
07. Home Is Where the Ground Is (02:05)
08. Waltz of Urban Blight (01:35)
09. LF/HF in Four Dimensional Bossa Nova (00:50)
10. Low Fiber/High Fructose (01:33)
11. Sneaky Snacky (01:28)
12. Clown Breath (Variation #3) (00:53)
13. 144 Gears Marching in 14/4 (01:27)
14. Slightly Ominous Theme Heard While Waking from a Dream (00:11)
15. White Dub in the Psychic Temple (01:44)
16. Lee’s Vampire Dub (03:13)
17. Clown Breath (Variation #4) (01:33)
18. The Unmistakeable Scent of Clown Breath (00:46)
19. Home Is Where the Pulmonary Artery Is (01:03)
20. Eric Dolphy Memorial Hospital (02:04)
21. Fugutive Foxtrot (01:02)
22. Kierkegaard’s Fire (01:40)
23. Waltz of Impending Doom (01:33)
24. Home Is Where the Hurt Is (01:24)
25. These Clown Shoes Are Made for Walkin’ (01:06)
26. Tres Monolitos de las Llanuras (02:46)
27. Kierkegaard’s Columnated Ruins (01:30)
28. Obelisk Strategies (01:44)

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Apr 27

Chris Potter, Underground Orchestra – Imaginary Cities (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88.2kHz | Time – 01:11:11 minutes | 1,25 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © ECM Records GmbH
Recorded: December 2013 Avatar Studios, New York

Imaginary Cities, an album of great power and expressive range, is the recording premiere of saxophonist Chris Potter’s new Underground Orchestra. At the core of this larger ensemble is the personnel of his long-established Underground quartet – with Adam Rogers, Craig Taborn and Nate Smith – now joined by two bassists, a string quartet, and Potter’s old comrade from Dave Holland Quintet days, vibes and marimba virtuoso Steve Nelson.

The title composition is a suite, panoramic in its reach, with movements subtitled “Compassion”, “Dualities”, “Disintegration” and “Rebuilding”. The scope of the work, and its contrasting moods and thematic continuity, inspire some of very Potter’s finest playing, including some extraordinary solos. His saxes fly high above his imaginary cityscapes or launch into dialogues or group improvising with its gifted inhabitants. Four further pieces – “Lament”, “Firefly”, “Shadow Self” and “Sky” – extend the feeling of the suite, successfully combining both tightly written material and very open areas involving all members of the orchestra. References are multi-idiomatic and multicultural, and Potter, who counts Charlie Parker with Strings amongst his formative enthusiasms, had Arabic and Indian string sections in mind, as well as contemporary composition, when shaping this material. The track “Shadow Self”, meanwhile, reflects the influence of Béla Bartók.

Potter assembled the Underground Orchestra originally in response to an invitation to present music at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. “There was an idea that it could be something that I hadn’t done before. So I started with the Underground quartet, with Craig Taborn on acoustic piano in this case [as opposed to the Fender Rhodes he usually plays in the small group] and then kept adding more and more players. No bass player in the Underground group? Well, I’ll have two this time. In my mind I was hearing a real thick rhythm section sound, also with vibraphone and piano. The way Fima [Ephron] and Scott [Colley] play together and improvise together makes a lot of things work in this music. And then the strings … eight or nine years ago I’d done an album called Song for Anyone where I’d written a little for strings. I didn’t want a classical-meets-jazz feeling. I wanted it all to be completely integrated. And, in places, the lines between the written material and the improvised material would be a little blurred, and the strings would improvise, too.” Not the least of the achievements of Imaginary Cities is the way in which Potter has extended the tremendous rhythmic drive of his Underground band into his music for the larger group.

The concept of the four movement structure of “Imaginary Cities” emerged slowly: “It really evolved from the writing. I had this idea of imaginary cities, a non-specific utopian idea of how the modern city could be better. Not that I’m writing a manifesto of what I think urban planning could be…It just seemed like a compelling way to organize my thoughts. It started out just being one tune and then I saw how one theme could migrate to another mood and continue it and be another aspect of the same thing. So it ended up being four movements with thematic development through the whole thing.” Potter says that he conceives of the whole album – the suite and the four additional songs arranged for the same musicians – as one unified sound.

Tracklist:
1. Lament 08:06
2. Imaginary Cities, Pt. 1 Compassion 08:35
3. Imaginary Cities, Pt. 2 Dualities 08:45
4. Imaginary Cities, Pt. 3 Disintegration 07:23
5. Imaginary Cities, Pt. 4 Rebuilding 11:33
6. Firefly 08:37
7. Shadow Self 06:10
8. Sky 12:02

Personnel:
Chris Potter, tenor and soprano saxophone, bass clarinet
Adam Rogers, guitars
Craig Taborn, piano
Steve Nelson, vibraphone, marimba
Fima Ephron, e-bass
Scott Colley, double bass
Nate Smith, drums
Mark Feldman, violin
Joyce Hammann, violin
Lois Martin, viola
David Eggar, cello

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Apr 27

Chris Potter – The Sirens (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 1:03:18 minutes | 1,11 GB| Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital booklet | © ECM

The Sirens is acclaimed saxophonist Chris Potter’s ECM debut as a leader. It is an album of mood and melody, inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey, both with its epic atmosphere and timeless humanity. Potter has previously contributed on several ECM albums with Dave Holland, Paul Motian and Jason Moran. Joining Potter are virtuosic musicians Craig Taborn, David Virelles, Larry Grenadier and Eric Harland. Potter declaims lyrical lines over the dynamically inventive rhythm section, as coloristic keyboards shimmer like stars in the night sky.

The Sirens retains the distinctive muscle and firepower that’s made Potter so vastly influential but, unsurprisingly, posits some new perspectives as well. ~~ All About Jazz

Tracklist:
01 – Wine Dark Sea
02 – Wayfinder
03 – Dawn (With Her Rosy Fingers)
04 – The Sirens
05 – Penelope
06 – Kalypso
07 – Nausikaa
08 – Stranger At The Gate
09 – The Shades

Personnel
Chris Potter – soprano and tenor saxophones, bass clarinet
Craig Taborn – piano
David Virelles – prepared piano, celeste, harmonium
Larry Grenadier – double bass
Eric Harland – drums

Recorded September 2011 at Avatar Studios, New York.
Produced by Manfred Eicher.
Engineer: James A. Farber Assistant: Charlie Kramsky.
An ECM Production (P)+(C) 2013.

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Apr 27

Cocteau Twins – The Pink Opaque (1985/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 40:02 minutes | 869 MB | Genre: Punk, New Wave
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Artwork: Front cover | © 4AD

The Pink Opaque is the first compilation album by Cocteau Twins, composed of tracks recorded between 1982 and 1985. A joint release by the UK-based 4AD (the band’s label) and the USA-based Relativity Records, it was the band’s first official domestic USA release. The American label Relativity Records reached an agreement to distribute the band’s albums on license from 4AD. Rather than reissuing all of the band’s releases to that point, it was decided that the compilation The Pink Opaque would be issued instead, as a sampler of the Twins’ output up through early 1985.

After having built up a considerable reputation in the U.K. and Europe, the Cocteaus first fully reached America via this compilation, cherry-picking some of the group’s finest moments for this trans-Atlantic co-release between home label 4AD and then-stateside label Relativity. None of the ten tracks had been released in America before, but whoever assembled the release knew exactly what they were doing in terms of whetting appetites. The only absolute rarity on the disc was “Millimillenary,” originally turning up on a compilation tape given away by New Musical Express. It’s a fine number, recorded soon after Raymonde joined the group – a good mix of the Cocteaus’ instrumental lushness and Fraser’s vocal acrobatics. The version of Garlands’ “Wax and Wane” included here is slightly remixed and arguably even better than the original, bringing out everything a little more clearly and powerfully. A sage decision was the inclusion of all three tracks from the Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops EP; as flawless as that was, all deserved inclusion, while beginning the compilation with “The Spangle Maker” was also inspired. Other cuts include “Hitherto,” “From the Flagstones,” “Lorelei,” and the then-recent single “Aikea-Guinea.” Concluding with the similarly album-ending “Musette and Drums” from Head Over Heels, The Pink Opaque is a lovely taster for anyone wanting to discover the peerless early years of the Cocteaus.

Tracklist:
01 – The Spangle Maker
02 – Millimillenary
03 – Wax and Wane
04 – Hitherto
05 – Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops
06 – From the Flagstones
07 – Aikea-Guinea
08 – Lorelei
09 – Pepper-Tree
10 – Musette and Drums

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Apr 27

Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll (1988/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 35:04 minutes | 792 MB | Genre: Alternative
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Source: Qobuz | Label: 4AD

Blue Bell Knoll from Cocteau Twins gets the reissue treatment, remastered some 26 years after its initial release. Strikingly beautiful at points, it features standouts such as ‘Athol-Brose’ and the title track ‘Blue Bell Knoll’, but it’s a slow burner of an album that features them retreading their best path while venturing into unknown territory. ‘Carolyn’s Fingers’ – perhaps the album’s highest point – features Elisabeth Fraser intoning hip-hop rhythms and delightful guitar melodies as played by Robin Guthrie. While not their best work, it’s a must for collectors and newcomers alike.

The first Cocteaus album to feature a full-band lineup since Treasure was also their first full studio record released in America, resulting from the group’s stateside deal with Capitol. Much to longtime fans’ surprise, the Twins in fact were much more content with Capitol than 4AD, hinting at their eventual full departure from that label. This was all well and good, but the trio’s new inspiration didn’t fully translate into their work, unfortunately. While Blue Bell Knoll has some striking moments that are pure Cocteaus at their best — the opening title track is especially lovely with a keyboard loop leading into Fraser’s ever-wonderful vocals, a light rhythm, and a great final Guthrie solo — it’s still the band’s least noteworthy release since Garlands. The feeling throughout is of a group interested in dressing up older approaches that have served them well, but aren’t as distinct; the quite-lush arrangements by Guthrie are fine but the songs are a touch more pedestrian. Blue Bell Knoll has enough initial steam, however, to ensure that there are reasons to listen, happily. “Athol-Brose” has the inspirational feel that the Twins can easily create. “Carolyn’s Fingers,” the clear album standout, is perhaps the strongest individual Cocteau song since “Aikea-Guinea,” with Fraser singing against herself over a rough, hip-hop-inspired rhythm while Guthrie peels off a fantastic main guitar melody and Raymonde contributes some supple bass work. After that amazing opening, things slowly but surely slide back a bit; most of the rest sounds okay enough to listen to, but the heartgripping intensity that defines the Twins at their best isn’t present.

Tracklist:
01 – Blue Bell Knoll
02 – Athol-Brose
03 – Carolyn’s Finger
04 – For Phoebe Still A Baby
05 – The Itchy Glowbo Blow
06 – Cico Buff
08 – Spooning Good Singing Gum
09 – A Kissed Out Red Floatboat
09 – Sucking The Mender
10 – Ella Megalast Burls Forever

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