Sunday 29 May 2022

Salty Dogg - Love to Play and Sing, New Zealand 1978


Their only album as you can see here is a nice slice of seventies pop rock or ssw with vocals except one longer track called Genesis in which the more classical progressive side is explored.

Note the interesting intro to the track called Searching for You:

Saturday 28 May 2022

Cloud 's Times Change 1981, by request


First album from this funky soul rock quartet.  Some light sounds, some vocal some instrumental, with only 8 songs each roughly 3 minutes it's almost criminally short.

Posted Cloud's 1985 release Common Man here, earlier, you may recall.

A representative track called I'm Not Your Fool:

Wednesday 25 May 2022

Matthew Larkin Cassell, by request


From discogs:

Matthew Larkin Cassell is an American songwriter, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and writer. His songwriting style has been described as a fusion of funk, R&B, jazz and pop. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Cassell has made numerous appearances in the Bay Area and European tours throughout his formative years as a musician.

Very light songwriter AOR with some nice touches here and there, all vocal of course, the first track of the 1977 album called Pieces gives you an idea of what we're dealing with, like so many other albums posted here in the past similar in sound I guess to the late seventies output of James Walsh (not Gypsy) but clearly not as good / well-written:


 Also, both albums are very short.

Monday 23 May 2022

Back to Brian Brown with The Planets, 1985


Here we are back with another planets concept album, the third after Moe Koffman and Kazumi Watanabe's Beyond the Infinite.  This one is not as well developed as the others unfortunately, with the compositions a little bit too concise and the jazzy improvisation a little too extended.
The other albums are clearly superior, sadly, but I had to purchase this vinyl just to make sure.
The Space Walk track, as an exemplar:

Saturday 21 May 2022

Peter Finger with the requested Neue Wege, plus a bunch more


I'm not so thrilled with this artist as others, I find his albums a bit too repetitious in the material he presents which is acoustic guitar with some extra touches.  His discography is quite long though as you can see here.  An example of a more progressive composition is Ein Blick Zuruck, from the later album Niemandsland (1988):

Nonetheless, the requested record which is Neue Wege from 1984 looked interesting on the basis it borrows Charlie Mariano for flute, sax, and Trilok Gurtu for percussion, both of whom are well known for their progressive bona fides.  It does start off with some interesting dissonant ideas on the guitar but then doesn't quite pull it off for the most part, in four long tracks, the shortest of which I sample here, called Coral:

Wednesday 18 May 2022

Back to Yoshio Suzuki with 1979's Matsuri


I posted his material earlier of course here and here.  As I said at the time I grew to really love his early 80s albums with the gentle synthesizer patterns, not only relaxing but almost entrancing too, with enough oddness in the chords or originality in the ideas to not make it generic new age.

I'm not at all sure why this LP is so hard to find, but here it is, a bit less fusion and more modal jazz than the others I posted.  Note the comment: Recorded at R.P.M. studio NY in 1979.  Odd that they couldn't find a better location in which to shoot his photo with the big-ass headphones for the cover above.

The Little Lady which is the track that closes out the disc has that same entrancing piano sound I love, although sadly only played on the grand piano:

Sunday 15 May 2022

Steve Kuhn's October Suite (Composed and conducted by Gary McFarland, 1967)


Gotta love that cigarette, a la Bill Evans. Info here.

Beautiful composed classical music with jazz, in an earlier style, cf. Gil Evans' work with Miles.

Childhood Dreams:

Thursday 12 May 2022

Doonesbury's Jimmy Thudpucker etc.


I guess if you're old you know what Doonesbury is.  I mean I hated that comic strip when I was a kid and I especially hated people who thought it was hilarious because they represented that special variety of young snob that today you'd refer to as the hipster.  Or maybe that term is also of the past.  And I'd really love to never find out who the hell Jimmy Thudpucker is.

I thought perhaps this would be interesting as an exemplar of 70s songwriting along the lines of the later James Walsh stuff, which is incredible, but in fact it has just a ton of cliches in it, ranging from the bluesy southern stuff like Doobie Bros. to the cooler art rock styles of for ex. Steely Dan. Info here, much like the Hudson Bros LPs.  Especially irritating to me is the reference to "West Indian Rhythm Section" given the extreme white conservative racist attitude of the comic and the reference to Greatest Hits which is supposed to be, of course, a witty joke, but it fails totally in comparison to the School Band's similarly named album (Our Best Songs).

Ginny's Song, the one highlighted on the cover sticker:

The album closes out with a song that I'm sure the composer thought was a masterpiece like Jimmy Webb's McArthur Park, orchestrated and with a bridging progressive instrumental section including violin solo. For sure, it's worth getting this album (for free) just to be blown away like a mild spring breeze by that last track:

Monday 9 May 2022

Dave Liebman, Part 2 (Lookout Farm, The Last Call, Dedications, What it is)


In these albums he moved towards the more commercial mainstream fusion that obviously was huge in the later 70s, consider the quasi-masterpiece fusionary visions on Paoli's Vision:

The album Dedications was originally only 4 tracks, but a later 1996 CD release added 3 (admittedly, excellent) tracks and removed one of the original ones, always supremely annoying but of course inevitably when we hear the left off track it turns out to be unlistenable-- most of the time.

The chamber compositions are simply outstanding on this album:

I'm sure I missed a lot of great music from him, I didn't bother to complete the discography this time, maybe others can point us in the right direction for more great music here.

Saturday 7 May 2022

Dave Liebman, Part 1 (Drum Ode, Sweet Hands, Forgotten Fantasies, Light'n Up Please)


Another very prolific artist whose material ranged all over the place, from jazz to fusion, funk, contemporary, classical chamber, even the dreaded free jazz. You can see that we know him already well from the astonishingly brilliant masterpiece from Baird Hersey called Year of the Ear, which you can still find here as always (I think).   He also popped up with the Kawasaki material, here, on the wonderful and accessible Nature's Revenge album.

From the quite famous (so to speak) Drum Ode, 1975, the brilliance of the Loft Dance:

Wednesday 4 May 2022

Kazumi Watanabe Part 6, the Requests


We have a bit less of interest on these CDs from the later years.

An amazingly complex and progressive acoustic guitar composition, stunningly featuring harmonics mixed with the Christy Doran-like dissonant chords, from the album called Kaihogen, sadly too short, showing how brilliantly competent he was (is) as a composer:

from Esprit, Astral Flakes:

Sunday 1 May 2022

Kazumi Watanabe, Part 5, Post 1985 (The Spice of Life 1 and 2, Pandora, Kilowatt, One for All, Beyond Infinite)

Totally unexpectedly the album Beyond the Infinite featured acoustic guitar playing modern music over chamber/orchestrated arrangements in a true conceptual fashion, much like the great Solar Explorations album from Canadian Moe Koffman, quite a shocker for me given that it came out in the year 2001--!  And these compositions range over quite a variety of different styles, with some more simplistic Terry Riley-like ostinato stylings mixed with the all-out quasi-atonal or polyphonal style of modern classical, like on the sublimely gorgeous Sun track:

If you look at his discography in fact you can see he continued to record and put out music up until the present day after that wonderful start in the 70s with relatively generic fusion.  I have no idea what else might be in there worth hearing, obviously, having never even heard of him until a couple of weeks ago.

Going back to the mid to late 80s though the albums he made were basically continuations of the Mobo material, some Frippian dissonances and angular fast-moving instrumental fusion, not compositionally as impressive obviously as this point of comparison.  Here and there a beautiful composition pops up, as in Rain from the second Spice of Life album, note the surprising chord changes that shine like the sun through clouds, I guess that being the intended effect: