instrumental Archive

Jake Shimabukuro, Plugged and Unplugged

Hawaiian ukulele sensation Jake Shimabukuro catapulted to international fame in 2006 when a Youtube video of him performing the George Harrison-penned Beatles tune “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” went viral. By that time, Shimabukuro was already well-known in his native Hawaii and in Japan; by 2006 he had released six albums in the west plus

Album Review: Richard Shulman Trio — Turned Into Lemonade

Conveying a spirit of hope and optimism without the use of words is a challenging goal. But on Turned Into Lemonade, the latest from the prolific jazz/orchestral/new age composer (he’s released more than two dozen albums), that ambitious goal is realized. This all-original jazz outing is credited to the Richard Shulman Group: Shulman plays acoustic

Album Review: Nick Ingman — Big Beat

Cratediggers and/or musical Anglophiles of a certain stripe will recognize the name DeWolfe Music. Established over a century ago, the British music production company carved out a unique and important niche in the music business, creating what is today known as library music. No, not something you’d listen to in your local library, but sort

Album Review: Klaus Schulze — La Vie Electronique Vols 1.0, 1.1 and 1.2

Over the years, there have been a number of massive archival releases that all but define the phrase “for the completist.” In 2011, the Grateful Dead went back to the source tapes for one of the band’s best (or least-tedious, depending on one’s perspective) live albums, the 3LP Europe ‘72, and released a 73-disc set

Liner Notes News

I’ve been extraordinarily busy lately. After devoting a large chunk of 2017 to the writing of my first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon, in 2018 I’ve been focusing on writing liner note essays for albums. Here’s a summary of recent and upcoming releases with which I’ve

Album Review: Tashi Dorji & Tyler Damon — Leave No Trace: Live in St. Louis

By its very nature, instrumental music is challenging for both musician and listener. The listener has to lend greater concentration to the music, since the absence of lyrics makes the conveyance of overt, direct messages all but impossible. And for the musician, she or he must rely completely on the instrumentation to put across whatever

Album Review: Disaster Relief — s/t

Nominally classified as jazz, the Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Disaster Relief occupies a musical space halfway between Leeds and New Orleans. The Leeds connection is the band’s funky like-mindedness to New Mastersounds, reliable purveyors of soulful boogaloo. The Crescent City vibe comes from the group’s deep-groove jazz sensibility. Honking saxophone dialogue atop a rubbery

Album Review: Wulijimuren — Sun of UTC+8

Music truly is the universal language. A good example of this axiom is Sun of UTC+8, the new album from Mongolian-born guitarist Wulijimuren. There’s not much explicitly Eastern in the guitarist’s work; instead he crafts a highly melodic electric guitar sound that owes some stylistic debt to Mark Knopfler, Ry Cooder, Eric Johnson, David Gilmour

Album Review: Adi the Monk

In the current music marketplace – a world in which many of the barriers to entry have, for better and worse, been removed – it never hurts to have an interesting back story. Asheville-based Adi the Monk certainly has his bases covered in that respect. He’s likely the only musician working in Western North Carolina

Album Review: Joan Torres’ All is Fused — Of the Musical

The golden age of jazz-rock fusion was a relatively brief period; arguably it began with Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way, released in 1969. The new form enjoyed a number of highlights: Davis’ Bitches Brew and Jack Johnson, Larry Coryell’s albums with Eleventh House, as well several albums from Chick Corea’s Return to Forever, Weather