instrumental Archive

Album Review: The Greyboy Allstars with Fred Wesley — West Coast Boogaloo

The Greyboy Allstars have a rich history. Funded more than 25 years ago, the soul jazz group came together originally to work as a backing band for DJ Greyboy, a major figure in the deep groove scene. The band continues to this day – with nearly the same personnel as when it began – and

Adi the Monk: The ‘Cosmic Thread” Running Though His Music

Asheville’s music community features an impressive number of unique personalities. But it’s safe to say that only one has a personal history that includes a period spent as a Vaishnava monk. Ādi Puruṣa Das performs and records as Adi the Monk, making instrumental music that – on the surface at least – has little to

Album Review: Chick Corea – Chick Corea Plays

The pandemic and its resultant shutdowns may have (for a time) put a stop to live music performances, but after a brief pause in March and April, it seems to have done little to slow the release of new material. The manner in which albums can be created outside a traditional studio (and often by

Dan Lacksman: The Electronic System Man

This feature appeared previously in Synth and Software. — bk This pioneering synthesist has worked with Bowie, Dolby, Deep Forest, and Kraftwerk’s Florian Schneider on what could be his final project. Daniel Lacksman was one of the first musicians in Belgium to own a synthesizer; he bought an EMS VCS3 in 1970. As a studio

Album Review: Martin Denny — Exotic Moog

Introduced in the middle 1960s, Dr. Robert A. Moog’s invention – the Moog Modular synthesizer – changed the musical landscape. Groundbreaking releases like Switched on Bach made it plain that the formidable instrument was more than a cold mass of technology, more than a gimmick. But that didn’t stop a rush of artists charging into

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

Album Review: The Radam Schwartz Organ Big Band — Message from Groove and GW

Situating a Hammond organ out in front of a big band is a splendid idea; the verve and energy of the keys plays off well against the muscular, thrilling backdrop of a massive instrumental aggregation. Organist Radam Schwartz plays that organ, and writes most of the tunes on Message from Groove and GW. Using an

Album Review: Dreamroot – Phases

This Durham, North Carolina group combines neo-soul, jazz and spoken word in a style that seems incredibly natural and effortless. Joe MacPhail’s piano runs are lyrical and accessible, and Lynn Grissett’s trumpet is soulful and heartfelt. The combination of jazz vocals and spoken bits works quite well; it’s closer to Anita Baker than Gil Scott-Heron,

Album Review: Purdie Fabian Oswanski – Move On!

Bernard Purdie is one of the most influential drummers in music; his style has made a serious impression on players well outside his chosen genres of jazz and funk. And while at age 81 he has long since passed the nothing-left-to-prove milestone, here he is with two younger players, making an album of high-energy organ

Album Review: Sonar with David Torn — Tranceportation (Volume 2)

In my April 2018 review of Vortex, the first collaboration between Sonar and guitar master David Torn, I likened the music to ‘80s-period King Crimson at its most accessible, citing Crim’s “The Sheltering Sky” instrumental as a useful reference point. Between then and now I seem to have missed an album by this aggregation, because