Author Archive

Crime and Spy Jazz on Screen: A Conversation with Derrick Bang (Part 1)

One of the many benefits of being a music journalist is that I come into contact with all manner of creative types. So it was that my friend Cheryl Pawelski of Omnivore Recordings introduced me to Derrick Bang. A film critic and author, Bang has written a two-volume work that digs deep into a subject

Album Review: ‘Rolling Stone: Life and Death of Brian Jones’ Soundtrack

There are at least three categories of film soundtrack albums. One is a collection of songs, scores, cues and the like, often by a single composer/artist, music created expressly for a film or television show. Another is what my esteemed colleague Derrick Bang (author of the new two-volume book series on Crime and Spy Jazz)

Album Review: Various Artists — Saving for a Custom Van

Grammy Award-winner Adam Schlesinger died on April 1 of complications from COVID-19. The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist gained fame for his work as a member of power pop band Fountains of Wayne, indie pop combo Ivy and other projects. He also wrote music for other artists and for television and films. Among his most celebrated

Book Review: Eddie Floyd with Tony Fletcher — Knock! Knock! Knock! on Wood

Eddie Floyd is best known for his 1966 hit single, “Knock on Wood.” Backed by the Stax band Booker T & the MGs, Floyd delivered a powerful, soulful and highly memorable performance, one that earned him a place in soul music history. He did a lot more of note before and after, though: he was

Album Review: Turnstyles – Cut You Off

Members of Jack Oblivian’s band, Seth Moody (guitar) and Graham Winchester (drums) are Turnstyles. From Memphis, this group/duo deals in the rocking yet cheerfully loose vibe that characterizes many of the Bluff City’s rock legends. Listeners will hear echoes of Tav Falco, post-Big star Alex Chilton and the like, but Turnstyles are a shade or

Album Review: Barrett Martin Group — Scattered Diamonds

In spring of last year, I reviewed Songs of the Firebird, a resonant and deeply intriguing album that could be described in part as a jazz album made with non-jazz musicians helping out. That record leaned in a bit of an avant-big-band direction. This newest release from the group is even more accessible. Scattered Diamonds

Why Not Give it a Try: Gordon Lightfoot Goes ‘Solo’ (Part 3 of 3)

Continued from Part Two … Things took off from there. His long string of hits would include many highlights, including “Sundown” and “Carefree Highway,” both from 1974’s Sundown LP, and the haunting “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” from Summertime Dream in 1975. Canada’s Juno Awards – that country’s equivalent to the Grammys – are

Why Not Give it a Try: Gordon Lightfoot Goes ‘Solo’ (Part 2 of 3)

Continued from Part One … And he had another fleeting concern. All those years had gone by, and then he returns with a simple, unadorned album? “I didn’t want people to think I was getting lazy,” he says with a laugh. Compared to the highly polished East of Midnight, Solo would represent a radical departure.

Why Not Give it a Try: Gordon Lightfoot Goes ‘Solo’ (Part 1 of 3)

When Gordon Lightfoot soared to the top of the U.S. singles charts with 1970’s “If You Could Read My Mind,” most listeners considered him a new artist. But the Ontario-born singer-songwriter was a seasoned veteran of the music scene. Already in his 30s, Lightfoot had been releasing albums since early 1966. Sit Down Young Stranger

Eleanor Underhill’s New and Strange Chemistry (Part 2 of 2)

Continued from Part One … There’s a moody — and sometimes even a little dark and melancholy — vibe to some of the music on Land of the Living. Would you say that there’s a kind of overarching emotional perspective to the album as a whole? I would say that a lot of my solo