instrumental Archive

EP Review: Versal

A vocal chorus pad introduces the EP, but that aural texture quickly subsides in favor of crystalline acoustic piano playing a simple yet appealing melody. As “Eternal” unfolds, those electronically generated vocals return along with synthetic strings. The whole effect is elegiac, contemplative. When a string synth lead enters around the two-minute mark, it’s a

Hundred-word Reviews for April 2019: Jazz

I’m sent a lot of music for potential review, and for that I’m grateful. Generally, I can winnow through the stack and narrow it down to a manageable pile; put another way, a lot of the stuff I hear is unremarkable (i.e. not worth remarking upon). But sometimes I’m awash in great music that I

Album Review: Dennis Coffey — Live at Baker’s

In the course of his career, Dennis Coffey has made a name for himself several times over. The Detroit guitarist was a key session player in that city’s music scene; as one of the famed Funk Brothers studio aggregation, he lent his skills to numerous funk and soul side of the 1960s and beyond. His

Aaron Price: “It’s all music, and it’s all spiritual.”

Aaron Price is one busy musician. He plays bass guitar and keyboards in the nationally-recognized tribute group Wham Bam Bowie Band; he plays barrelhouse piano in a duo with vocalist Peggy Ratusz; he collaborates with guitarist, singer and songwriter Jeff Thompson. But his latest project is an expression of his longest-held musical focus: an album

Herb Alpert: International Man of Music

It’s only a slight overstatement to call trumpeter Herb Alpert the king of 1960s easy listening music. Alpert, of course, led the staggeringly successful Tijuana Brass; if you’ve ever been in a thrift shop, you’ve seen Whipped Cream and Other Delights, the record with that famously racy cover photo. Alpert is the rare artist who

Album Review: STIG — Agreed Upon

Some artists play music that – if one wishes to label it – requires several words to describe. Formed by five students at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, STIG (the band spells its name in all caps) self-identifies as an “all-instrumental progressive jazz funk” band. In a hurry, some might be tempted to label the

He Comes From Planet Jarre, Part Three

Continued from Part Two … Because a great deal of your work is instrumental, I’m curious about the inspiration for the pieces. Do you start with a non-musical concept, such as an emotion or story idea that serves as a catalyst for the song? Or do you start instead with a melody or a melodic

He Comes From Planet Jarre, Part Two

Continued from Part One … This may be a difficult question to answer. What do you see as uniquely French characteristics in your work? I think it’s maybe not that difficult. We should not forget that electronic music had nothing to do with the U.S. at the beginning. It has nothing to do with jazz,

He Comes From Planet Jarre, Part One

Last fall I had the honor of interviewing Jean-Michel Jarre for the second time (the two features based on our 2017 conversation are here and here). This second interview again resulted in two separate features; one ran in Stomp & Stammer; the other on Rock and Roll Globe. Here now is the full 2018 interview,

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