Winston Walls wHh Jack McDuff, "Boss of the B-3" A B-3 s a designation by the Hammond Organ Company of their dual keyboard organ manufactured initially in the 1930s. The unique wailing sound produced by this instrument comes from little spinning gears inside a sturdy wooden cabinet and a foot-controlled attenuator. The sounds one can get from this distinctive instrument range from thunderous cat-screaming screeches to whispering murmurs. And how well one manipulates the dynamics and range of this instrument separates the true legends of the instrument from mere players. Winston Walls is a legend. At age 57 this is Walls first record ing where he is the featured artist. He is backed by Motown session drummer Pistol Allen, tenor saxophonist Gene Parke, and bassist Chris Buzelli and Walls' close friend, B-3 organist Jack McDuff (McDuff duels admirably against Walls throughout the album). Recorded live at the SerenGeti Ballroom in Detroit and The Ark in Ann Arbor, thisCDclearly shows the emotional range of Walls' playing. The CD opens with a swinging Walls composition, "Winston's 1 00." He slides easily from this up-tempo number into the beautifully emotive Hoagy Carmichael tune "Georgia." One of the strongest songs is Jack McDuff's "Rock Candy." The cross-talk between Walls' and McDuff's organs is breathtaking. At times during this recording you'll heardeep gospel chordings; other times you'll hear great jazz riffs and flashy rhythm and blues melodies. Two numbers that feature all these elements are a Walls composition "SerenGeti Blues" and the gospel standard "How Great Thou Art." On the first number, seminal rhythm and blues feelings combine with subtle swinging rhythms. On the second number, Walls works over the foot attenuator to deliver one of the most emotional renditions of this old hymn that l've ever heard. When the combo picks up the tempo, we hear first-hand how gospel music evolved into rock'n'roll - in the church during those musical interludes between hallelujahs. If you were to piek this recording up in 20 years, and I hope we don't have to wait that long for more of this fantastic music, the music would still sound fresh. It stands up to repeated listening and captures the richness and textures of a musical legend. Get this CD today! Lunar Octet, "Highway Fun" The liner notes on this CD cali Lunar Octet's latest release, Highway Fun, "a joyful blend of Jazz, Latín, and FunkRock," and it certainly is just that. But the real strength of this CD is in the excellent ensemble work. Brandon Cooper, on trumpet and f lugelhorn, certainly seems to be the central focusoftheirsound, but Stephen Hiltner's saxophones and the percussion work of Aron Kaufman, Dave Mason, and particularly Jon Krosnick (also of Charged Partióles) also defines their musical signatura. Ensemble membersalso include Sam Clark on guitar, Mark Kieswetteron keyboards, and David Stearns on basses. The music on this CD, overall, is very accessible. The orchestration emphasizes a clean and balanced sound. The result is a recording sounding coalesced and unified. Similarïy, the medium-to-fast tempos and the poly-rhythmic work between instrumentalists found in most of the tunes, results in a danceable and listenable groove. The drumming and percussive work is especially appealing on "Into the Wave" and "Bird of Paradox" while the energy is particularly strong on more subtle numbers like "Flugel Tune." The production mix of this work is above average. As noted, the blend between instruments is fine but the production highiight is found on the drums. They do not overwhelm the mix found in the instrumental interplay. Instead they sound punchy and forceful, fitting in nicely. "Highway Fun" stands up to many listenings and is highly recommended. Cub Koda, "Abba Dabba Dabba - A Bananza of Hits" This is a sweet recording and a great idea. Koda, adistinguished rock'n'rollerforthe past 25 years or more, compiled 24 tunes, some from the '50s and '60s and some original compositions. He performed virtually all the instrumental and vocal parts and produced the CD as well. The result is an eclectic mixture of good to great tunes performed in weird and witty ways, produced to make them eminently listenable and fun. For instance, the opening tune, "Random Drug Testing," brings an immediate chuckle. Sounding like a slave work song, it comes replete with the repeated line, "Pee in the Cup." The next cut jumps into a right-on Howling Wolf-sounding rendition of the Gary Lewis and the Playboys '60s classic, "She's Just My Style." On the Fats Domino classic, 'Tm Gonna Be a Wheel Someday," the production is extraordinary. It sounds exactly like the mid-'50s production that producer Dave Bartholomew used on the original. Not every song on this CD will be recognizable to everyone nor necessarily appealing, but within each tune there is at least one element that will grab you - be t the lead vocals, the mix of the background vocals, the rocking guitar work, the tempo or the unusual timbres. One might not like the old tune "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" but Koda's gruff vocals and rock arrangement make a seemingly hackneyed tune compelling and fun. And you'll f ind these creati ve nuggets throughout this work. The second you want to skip a tune, Koda throws in a perfect '60s echoey guitar lick, or a great do-wop vocal line which makes you go whoosh. I advise you to piek this one up and play it loud and often. Charged Partióles, "Charged Particles" After listening to Charged Particles' new CD a number of times, I was amazed at the sophisticated musicianship of these very talented and dexterous musicians. The complexity and drive of their music, the power and precisión of this style of electric jazz - performed by Caleb Hutslar on keyboards, Michael Rak on basses, and Jon Krosnick on drums - clearly demonstrates musical prof iciency and the acknowledged inf luences of jazz pianist Chick Corea, bassist Jaco Pastorius, and drummer Steve Gadd. Unfortunately the music on this 1 4-track volume is decidedly lackluster and derivative. With so much obvious talent oozing out the musical pores of these musicians, one would hope that their music and technique would transcend their influences, soaring beyond the music of Corea, Pastorius and Gadd. It doesn't. Instead their performances rarely reach the heights of exceptional electric jazz. The reasons this CD is so uneven sterns from two areas. First, the energy on this CD is too restrained, a bit too controlled. Given theirtalent and the excellent feel they have for each other musically, l'd bet they're dynamite in concert. Second, where the production of the pianos and bass sound well-balanced and natural, the drum mix is woefully inadequate. The cymbals don't ring, the punch sn't there, and without these elements the entire project suffers. Don't discount this CD entirely. In fact, if you like hard-driving, technically proficient electric jazz, this might be agood addition toyourcollection.
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