instrumental Archive

Ottmar Liebert: Combining Traditional and Modern

Five-time Grammy Award nominee Ottmar Liebert is German-born. His music is rooted in the traditions of Spain. And he lives in the American Southwest. Somehow, those disparate elements combine to make guitar-based music that has one foot in tradition, the other in modern, pop-style accessibility. Though he’s a technically accomplished and ambitious musician, Liebert says

30 Days Out: February 2020 #1: André Cholmondeley, Mike Dillon Band, Kamasi Washington, Rich Nelson Band

If you’re in and/or around Asheville, N.C. in the next 30 days, you’d do well to catch these shows. Artist: André Cholmondeley Venue: The Mothlight Date: Thursday, Feb. 6, 8 p.m. Door: $5 André is something of a renaissance man. His myriad musical activities include leading a Frank Zappa tribute band (Project Object), working as

Hundred-word Reviews for January 2020

Every so often – pretty often, in fact – I find a stack of CDs has accumulated on my desk. They’ve made the cut as albums deemed worthy of sharing with my readers. In the space of just one hundred words, I endeavor to convey what’s noteworthy or even special about these releases. Each of

Album Review: Bill Bruford’s Earthworks — Heavenly Bodies: The Expanded Collection

Bill Bruford is a hero in the world of progressive rock. Though it’s something of an oversimplification, the short story on him is that he found drumming for Yes not challenging enough, so at the peak of that group’s popularity, he left to join King Crimson. Either way, before and after he made that move,

Boxed Set Review: Land of 1000 Dances

Though there were certainly earlier examples, the era of the lavish boxed set began a few decades back; it more or less coincided with the CD era. And it persisted well into the 21st century. In the last few years, it seems to have trailed off, though superb exceptions to that rule continue to pop

Free Planet Radio: In Pursuit of Modern Jazz

When Free Planet Radio debuted in 2001, the Asheville-based trio was often described as a world music group. And while by definition that label casts a wide net, it was never quite expansive enough to get to the heart of what Free Planet Radio does. The three creatively adventurous musicians have always explored many styles,

Hundred-word Reviews for August 2019, Part One

It’s that time again: reviews of new music that passes the rigorous “smash or trash” competition happening periodically at my CD changer. Diplomats of Solid Sound — A Higher Place First off, let’s give credit where it’s due and acknowledge that Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are owed a debt for reintroducing soul to today’s

Album Review: Eddie Senay — Step by Step

Clarence Avant was a Detroit entrepreneur, a figure who wanted to bring to the world Detroit music beyond that which Berry Gordy was doing. In the early ’70s his Sussex label did just that, releasing some astoundingly good albums by the likes of Dennis Coffey and Bill Withers. Instrumental funk was more or less Sussex’s

Reviews: Three New Classic Jazz Albums

Three new and notable jazz releases have gone on the market recently. Two are from long-established artists who demonstrate that after decades playing jazz, they still have plenty that’s fresh, new and exciting to offer. The third comes at things from the other direction: it’s a collection of soul jazz classics played with fire and

EP Review: Tub — UNCA Session

For some listeners, the very thought of improvisational music is an unappetizing prospect. The idea that a musician – or worse yet, the thinking goes, a group of musicians – might begin playing without a specific direction in mind conjures mental images of train wrecks. Not without reason, those sorts of listeners prefer instead music