modern harmonic Archive

Album Review: Iceberg Slim — Reflections

If I told you that a key inspiration for the slice-of-street hip-hop of Ice-T was an earlier recording artist going by the name of Iceberg Slim, you’d likely develop some immediate preconceptions as to what the earlier iceman sounded like. But I’m here to tell you that you’d probably be way off base. Iceberg Slim

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: Little Willie John — Fever

Little Willie John’s time in the spotlight was relatively brief; his album-making career on King Records lasted only from 1956 to ‘62. His debut LP, Fever, founding him roaring out of the gate: a dozen songs, all killer, no filler. Albums weren’t the primary musical format in ‘56, so Fever is to some extent a

Album Review: The Vettes – Rev-up

Man, those Wrecking Crew guys and gals were a busy bunch. Of course in their 1960s heyday, the loose studio aggregation wasn’t known by that label – ace bassist (and guitarist) Carol Kaye argues the name is a later-day Hal Blaine invention – and in fact their were rarely if ever credited on the records

Album Review: Johnny “Guitar” Watson – s/t

When one thinks of the bluesy masters of the electric guitar, the name Johnny “Guitar” Watson is sure to be mentioned. Watson’s second guitar LP mines a variety of styles; “Posin’” feels a bit like Philly soul, with massed backing vocals and Watson’s blues-shouted lead vocal. But when the master of the Stratocaster launches into

Album Review: Mel Henke — 77 Sunset Strip-per

For a lot of Americans in the late 1950s and ‘60s, jazz wasn’t something they went to clubs to hear. If they heard it at all, jazz was often presented in the context of television and film theme music. The brash, hard-swinging sounds of big band jazz lent an exuberant (and wordlessly carefree) vibe to

Album Review: The Cyrkle — ‘The Minx’ Original Soundtrack

Here’s as unlikely a pairing as you’re likely to encounter, even within the context of 1960s pop culture. The Cyrkle were an American pop group whose greatest claims to fame were twofold: one, they recorded and released a single, “Red Rubber Ball,” written by one Paul Simon. Two, they were part of the package of

Seven Jazz Archival/Reissue Releases

Monty Alexander – Here Comes the Sun (MPS) Jamaican pianist Alexander has a bright, flowing and lyrical approach to his instrument. Originally released in 1971, Here Comes the Sun was Alexander’s sixth album. Working with three other musicians (bass, drums and percussion), the pianist is at the center of the arrangements on all seven of

Album Review: Sun Ra and His Arkestra — At Inter-Media Arts 1991

Sonic explorer Sun Ra was quite prolific during his lifetime; in fact archivists – those you’d expect to know – can’t accurately tally just how many albums the man released. And long after his death, reissues and newly-discovered recordings come out with surprising regularity. Sadly, some of the latter tend toward poor fidelity; their importance

Album Review: Attilio Mineo — Man in Space with Sounds

A breathlessly earnest announcer welcomes the listener to the record as a wonderfully evocative orchestra creates an instrumental backdrop meant to evoke outer space. With the help of some gee-whiz electronic studio effects – heaps of reverb, percussion that suggests a much more accessible Edgard Varese – the listener is transported to a sonic world