review Archive

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

Album Reviews: Five from the Coed Record Label

Doo-wop – or r&b vocal, if you prefer – is an important part of the rock and roll story. The style began just after World War II, and doo-wop enjoyed its heyday in the early (read: pre-Beatles) 1960s. Doo-wop was primarily an African-American phenomenon, but many white groups got into it as well (and there

Album Review: Allan Holdsworth – Frankfurt ‘86

Being an early adopter is a risky pursuit. Godley and Creme built an entire album (the triple-LP Consequences) around their Gizmo, and disaster ensued. Some of the earliest releases with the Synclavier were stiff and mannered. But fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth was having none of that restraint when he dove headlong into the world of

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: Soft Machine – Live at the Baked Potato

The original Soft Machine was a kind of jazz answer to Pink Floyd. Contemporaries of Syd Barrett’s group, they often showed up on the bill with his band. But because the Canterbury group was grounded in jazz – albeit with a rock sensibility – it was destined to remain well outside the commercial sphere in

Album Review: The Apartments – In and Out of the Light

This album from Peter Milton Walsh’s group features deep-hued melancholy, heartfelt lyrics and a vibe that’s equal parts subdued and impassioned. The group’s sound is reminiscent of a more relaxed version of The Church (The Apartments are Australian as well), though Walsh’s lyrics are decidedly more straightforward than those of Steve Kilbey. Walsh’s well-worn voice

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: Spygenius – Man on the Sea

One observation made about The Beatles when they hit America is that they sang without thick Liverpudlian (Scouse) accents; they keys to their success were clearly myriad, but that may have been one of them. It was only when groups like The Kinks (to name one) began to achieve some success that the deep Britishness