Nordost Playlist – April 2018


Nordost is lucky to have a wonderful team of representatives and product trainers who travel around the world educating and demonstrating the effects of Nordost’s products. As part of these demonstrations, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort system and accessories. Whether at shows, visiting our dealers and distributors or even in our own listening room in our headquarters in Holliston, we are constantly getting asked what music we are playing (or if our audience is not so bold to ask, we can see their Shazams working overtime). So we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share our favorite songs of the moment. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but one thing is for sure …it’s all great music.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this April.

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You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  |  SPOTIFY


  1. Hallelujah I Love Her So-2016 Mono Remastered—Ray Charles—The Atlantic Studio Albums In Mono (Remastered)
  2. Messaien’s Gumbo—John Patitucci—Remembrance
  3. I Choose You—Sara Bareilles—The Blessed Unrest
  4. Call Out My Name—The Weeknd—My Dear Melancholy
  5. My Way—Ivy Sole—West
  6. Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye—Feist—Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
  7. Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps—Igor Stravinsky, Teodor Currentzis—The Rige of Spring : Part One : Adoration of the Earth: Spring Rounds
  8. Astonished Man—Thao & The Get Down Stay Down—A Man Alive
  9. Follow My Voice—Julie Byrne—Not Even Happiness
  10. Kill My Sorrow—Joy Kill’s Sorrow—Darkness Sure Becomes This City

 

Nelson Brill On New Audiophile Jazz Recordings

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this blog, Brill shares some new Audiophile jazz recordings.


New Audiophile Jazz Recordings To Spin And Savor

By Nelson Brill

January 14, 2018

Pierre VIGNAUX

Audiophile buddies gather around! Here are a few of my favorite new jazz recordings on CD or vinyl to share. They all contain toe-tapping music recorded with excellent sonics that deliver all the dynamic presence of these great musicians at play.

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First off, there is cause for celebration in hearing the new recording by the magnificent vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant and her savvy trio: Aaron Diehl on piano; Paul Sikivie on bass and Lawrence Leathers on drums. Dreams and Daggers [Mack Avenue Records; www.mackavenue.com] captures this magnetic partnership in delicious flight in their performances at the Village Vanguard in New York City in September, 2016.

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Salvant’s singular voice fills every nook and cranny of this glorious live recording with joy. She pours herself fully into the vessel of the blues singing slow and radiant on her powerful version of “My Man’s Gone Now” and then spiky and sweet on Ida Cox’s classic “Wild Women Don’t Have The Blues” and in the comic stroll of “Sam Jones’ Blues.” Her vocal playfulness positively glows on such burbling romps as “Let’s Face The Music And Dance”; “Nothing Like You” and “Never Will I Marry.” She effortlessly fashions narratives by Kurt Weill and Langston Hughes into a coiled, unfolding performance (on the unflinching “Somehow I Never Could Believe”) and then she joins a velvety string ensemble with cool vocal glow on a few zesty originals. Salvant inhabits the narratives of her songs with effortless aplomb. She fills each with soft scampers; slow delicious murmurs or heady crescendos – all with expressive delight. She possesses this protean ability to maintain her lithe pitch control to lightly perch on any twig or branch in her wondrous vocal range with indelible expressiveness (from tender quips to full blasts of soulful heat).

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Harlem World Magazine

Her partnering trio is as dapper and impeccable as one of Mr. Diehl’s fastidious bowties. On Dreams and Daggers, each player dazzles in their solo work and in their collective whimsy with Salvant’s creative lead. Diehl is a master storyteller at his keyboard. He possesses the lightest of touches; the most devious velvety runs and can surprise with fresh bursts of octaves or soft isolated notes that combine for deep expressiveness. Sikivie’s bass is a resonant juggernaut (check out his pumping presence in duet with Savant on “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me”) and Leathers is a sensual propulsive machine on his drum kit (listen to his impeccable backbone on “Si J’etais Blanche”). Savant’s duet with guest pianist Sullivan Fortner on “You’ve Got To Give Me Some” is another highlight as it shakes with sassy fury and showcases Fortner’s own transfixing piano style and his swanking partnership with the ever-adventurous Salvant. The audiophile quality of Dreams and Daggers captures every tactile detail of these gleeful encounters within the acoustic space and energy of the Vanguard. The adoring audience is also ensnared up close and present in their  boisterous enthusiasm for each musical gift bestowed by this stunning jazz band in action.

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Across town from the Village Vanguard, the eminent Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (www.jazz.org/JLCO/) creates its own magic in performances at Lincoln Center in New York City. Two of its stalwart musicians, bassist Gerald Cannon and alto saxophonist Sherman Irby, each have new recordings out in which they contribute to each other’s smart, bracing and vital music.

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Cannon’s Combinations [Woodneck Records; www.cannonmusicart.com] fires on all cylinders with swinging prowess, such as on the opening “Every Man Is A King” (with blaze of trumpet from Jeremy Pelt) or on “One For Amos” with  Cannon’s fluid bass pumping behind Irby’s biting alto sax. The musicians gathered on this recording offer dynamic companionship to Cannon in their eclectic journey together. Russell Malone’s swanking guitar joins Cannon’s nimble bass in a radiant duet on “How Great Thou Art” while Gary Bartz’s smoothly cascading alto propels the unflinching R & B of “Gary’s Tune.” Pianists Kenny Barron and Rick Germanson bring their own glowing styles to several tunes that run from a shimmering bossa (“Amanda’s Bossa”) to the feathery lightness of “How My Heart Sings.” Drummer extraordinaire Willie Jones III brings his panache to everything he touches, including the blaring cacophony of “Columbus Circle Stop” which blares with Jones’ humming snare and crisp cymbal heat. Don’t miss the last tune, “Darn That Dream,” in which Cannon stretches his elastic acoustic bass to the max in a glowing solo piece where his fingers pull, hold and pluck upon his low strings to create a brewing cauldron of deep soulful dance.

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Cannon and Jones shine as well on Sherman Irby’s new recording, Cerulean Canvas [Black Warrior Records], another powerful statement of creative jazz mixing with blues heat.

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This recording is another audiophile gem, recorded by engineer Katherine Miller, who also recorded the Cannon Combinations session. Miller takes great care to deliver all the tactile details and buoyant energy of these two heated blowing sessions and ensnares all of their superlative musicianship and comradeship up close and personal.

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jazz.org

Irby’s sharp robust attack on his alto sax can sing in bellowing breathy notes as on his molten slow grooving heater, “John Bishop Blues” (with Cannon’s pungent bass pumping behind) or on his “Blues For Poppa Reed” (with pianist Eric Reed tenacious and twinkling). He can also sing on his alto sax in full ballad glory on the slow unfurling swing of “From Day By Day” and the loping gait of Wayne Shorter’s “Contemplation”. The unusual front line of Irby’s alto sax mixing it up with a tenacious trombone (plied by either Vincent Garner or Elliot Mason) is bold and expressive. “Willie’s Beat” and “Racine” are stellar examples, with trombone and alto sax rollicking to Reed’s pouncing piano notes and the sparkle of Jones’ nimble cymbal/snare combinations. Irby’s version of “Sweet Georgia Brown” is a sprite swinging delight where trombone, sax and bass frolic in lightning elegance to the dance of Jones’ wood rim hits.

Trombone also plays glorious partner to sax in another blazing recording session brought to us by the young baritone saxophonist, B.J. Jansen, on his new recording, Common Ground [RonninJazz; www.bjjansen.com].

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Jansen joins one of my favorite trombonists, the dapper and keenly creative Delfeayo Marsalis, in a collective that also includes trumpeter Duane Eubanks; bassist Dezron Douglas; pianist Zaccai Curtis and the indefatigable drummer, Ralph Peterson. They create another barn burning session that is captured on this recording in all its intense up-front energy and tactile crackle.

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bjjansen.com

The heat is immediately felt on “Stacey’s Plan” as Jansen’s reedy baritone plunges and flows deep in partnership with Douglas’ bass and Marsalis’ colorful trombone declarations (filled with high note blares and slippery slides). Curtis shines with keyboard prowess as he delivers tight bluesy turns of phrase and deft soft note accents. “Bucket Full of Soul” also swings kinetically on Jansen’s baritone pelts and gutsy breeze (blowing from high registers to low) with Marsalis working his creative banter and bluster. In contrast, “Brandon’s Blues” walks in slow strides as baritone and (muted) trombone take a stroll in warm meandering fashion, until Eubanks trumpet interrupts with his brazen calls – all angular, creative shine. This glittering band can do anything it wills: moving effortlessly from the full bore swing of “Angela’s Aggravation” to the melodic flow of “Relaxin’ With Jessica”. The title cut, with a feel of John Coltrane’s combination of soulfulness and heat, is ignited by Jansen’s baritone solo roiling in colorful declarations of low reedy power and heft partnered with Douglas’ heady bass rolls and Peterson’s snare and cymbal power. The magnetic Peterson is a creative gale force throughout the recording. His percussive foundation lays the brickwork for all the garlands of sonic riches and grooves that are delivered from this tight adventurous band flourishing in their companionship.

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drummerszone.com

Shadows of John Coltrane and his compatriot genius, Thelonious Monk, linger over many of these new artists’ creative visions. Appropriately, two new recordings shine brightly upon Monk’s legacy.

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The first is a special audiophile quality LP (also available in a deluxe 2-LP box set) of a never-before released recording session by Monk joined by saxophonists Charlie Rouse and Barney Wilen; bassist Sam Jones and drummer Art Taylor at the Nola Penthouse Sound Studios in July, 1959. The occasion was to record a soundtrack for Roger Vadim’s film, Les Liasons Dangereuses and this new vinyl release of the same title, (produced by Zev Feldman, Francois Le Xuan and Fred Thomas for Sam Records/Saga [www.samrecords.fr]) invites the listener to take a front row seat to experience the informal give and take between these great musicians. Listening through my Rega RP-10 turntable with Alpheta 2 cartridge (www.rega.co.uk) and Aesthetix Rhea phonostage, (www.aesthetix.net) this LP’s surfaces were dead quiet and images were beautifully rendered. Although Monk’s piano is a bit recessed and its harmonic body slightly curtailed, there is a naturalness and informal quality to this session that immediately draws one into the drama and chemistry between these simpatico players. When the full band is involved, such as on their swinging “Well, You Needn’t,” or “Rhythm-a-Ning”, Rouse and Wilen’s saxes explode with dynamic presence in each corner; Taylor’s jumping sticks on his cymbal are crisp and clear and Jones’ walking bass is a pungent engine. Monk’s delicious and obtuse keyboard chases bind all this buoyant drama with his limpid bluesy phrases and pouncing chords. On “Six in One”; “Crepuscule with Nellie” and “Pannonica”, Monk’s solos are little marvels which are revealed on this splendid LP in all their intricate design and playful vision. The swank of Monk’s 12-bar blues, “Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are” is icing on the cake as all of these gifted musicians take a spirited run at this voluptuous romp. The Sam Records LP of this historic session allows us to time-travel back to sit in a folding chair in the Nola Studio and relish all of these potent grooves and musical drama within the air, warmth and naturalness of the studio space that only an LP can provide.

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Taking his own inspiration from Monk’s incomparable razzmatazz with rhythms, instrumental colors and melodic fancy, pianist, composer and arranger John Beasley has reinvented many of Monk’s compositions into his own exuberant stew for his “MONKestra” Big Band. The band has released two volumes of recordings, entitled MONKestra Volume 1 and 2 both on Mack Avenue Records [www.mackavenue.com]. The recording quality of both of these titles is excellent with the full weight, spaciousness and colorful imagery of a swanking big band in creative flight captured in a layered and airy  space. Beasley and his MONKestra can make a blaring New Orleans’ parade out of the glory of Monk’s “Round Midnight” or sail Monk’s “Skippy” into bluesy R & B territory, carefree and swinging. Monk’s “Little Rootie Tootie” is a collage of start and stop brass and woodwind soars while “Epistrophy” beckons with its dissonant swipes and clusters of tumultuous sounds (with guest Gary Burton frolicking on his crisp vibes). From Monk’s unpredictable vamps to his swinging bebop glory, everything is within the grasp of Beasley’s creative arrangements and the MONKestra’s consummate music making. They partner on these two recordings to flutter, spin and carouse in the playful landscape of Monk’s genius to the delight of our ears and our spirit.

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linkedin.com


If you would like to read more reviews like this one, visit Nelson’s blog at www.bostonconcertreviews.com.


 

We’re collaborating w/ Newvelle Records!

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Nordost is very proud to announce an exciting new partnership with Newvelle Records!

This innovative company has made its mark on music distribution since their first pressing was introduced in 2016. Throughout the year, Newvelle creates a series of six exclusive, vinyl records, each paired with curated artwork and writing, which are released to customers in bi-monthly installments. These six pressings combine to form a box set that takes advantage of its full canvas to express something exceedingly deep and affecting.

The response to their work has been overwhelming, with an onslaught of positive reviews raving about every aspect of Newvelle, from the integrity of their records, to the quality of artists they feature, to the distribution model that they employ.

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We’ve found great symmetry in the ideals, aesthetics, dedication, and craftsmanship between Nordost and Newvelle.  Like us, they care fundamentally, and above all else, about the music. For their next set of recordings at East Side Sound in NYC, Newvelle will be using Nordost cables, including our Pro Audio studio series, Ax Angel, to create their highest quality recordings to date. This partnership will give Nordost customers the unique opportunity to experience their music through Nordost cables from beginning to end.

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To celebrate this new collaboration, and help you celebrate the upcoming holidays, Newvelle Records is offering the first 100 Nordost customers who purchase their already completed Second Season Box Set an exclusive gift: Piano Noir.

Piano Noir is a record born from the idea of “Making the Connection”— in this case, the connections that can be found between all of the arts involved in the project: audial, visual and literary.  Based on a story that was commissioned by Newvelle from best-selling author Douglas Kennedy, with music written by Newvelle cofounder pianist Elan Mehler, and featuring some of NYC’s best musicians, Piano Noir is a unique piece of art not currently available for sale, and made to Newvelle’s exacting standards.

Take advantage of this exclusive offer by using the promo code “Nordost” at checkout to get your copy of Piano Noir with a purchase of Newvelle’s Season Two, and be a part of this exciting musical movement.

Learn more about Newvelle Records at www.newvelle-records.com

 

Analog vs Digital — The Great Audio Debate   

One of the most hotly contested debates in modern-day hifi is one of source and substance: analog or digital. The preferential rift isn’t as clear-cut as one would think. Thanks to the recent resurgence of vinyl (and even reel–to-reel, which is increasingly seen at hifi shows), one’s inclination towards LPs or CDs, tapes or WAV files, can’t be determined by the decade one was born in.  There are benefits and deficiencies to both formats to be sure, and that is exactly what we are exploring here…

 

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Argument for Analog

Aside from the obvious nostalgia, there are several reasons why discerning music lovers would opt for analog over digital sources. To many, vinyl recordings have a more authentic, natural quality than their digital counterparts (which critics often describe as cold and uninviting). Some may argue that analog bandwidth is superior, especially when compared to the dumbed-down results of compressed recordings (although those recordings are getting better with time, thanks to modernized digital files). Bandwidth aside, the REAL allure of analog is its raw charm, which has the power to elicit an emotional response from listeners. The term that is typically associated with this emotional response is “analog warmth”. It is interesting to note that this distinctive warmth is in fact a side-effect of technical imperfections in the analog recording process. Whether it is speed-stability issues of magnetic recording tape, or harmonic distortions created by transformers, each of these flaws leads to an enhancement of the mood, character, and enjoyment that comes with analog reproduction. And that enjoyment is only amplified when you add the ceremonial aspects to LP listening. No skipping around tracks—just you, the music, and the liner notes and artwork provided on your canvas-like cover.

 

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Digital Defense

Where analog may sweep with the nostalgia and feel-good factors, digital sources win out in terms of precision and convenience. We have advocated for “analog warmth”. However, let’s not forget that a lot of that warmth is the direct result of distortion—and some of that distortion is not so welcome. In general, digital recordings have a greater SNR (signal to noise ratio), and in many cases, that leads to a more enjoyable listening experience. Of course there are some wonderful pressings of vinyl available, but those LPs come with a high price tag. Unfortunately, the majority of affordable records are noisy, warped and distorted. Furthermore, while the ritual of getting out an album and listening to it play out in full may stand the test of time, the album (or tape) itself does not. The grooves and tapes of analog recordings can only withstand so much play time—digital files, on the other hand, can be listened to ad infinitum without any negative repercussions to their sonic integrity. Even at “first play”, you may be better off going with digital, since even standard CDs have significant dynamic advantages over vinyl. Lastly, consider the convenience of digital storage and the variety of digital streaming. Thanks to new technology and ever-improving files, audiophiles can keep their entire music catalog at their fingertips and explore artists and genres that they never would have been exposed to otherwise, with the click of a button.

 

The debate of analog vs digital could go on and on without a concrete, impartial conclusion. For the most part, the correct answer is highly individualized and preferential. It is a testament to our industry that we have so many great options on which to experience high fidelity recordings. But a debate is a debate, so we ask you: How do you like to have your music delivered to you?

Nelson Brill On New Audiophile Quality Recordings From Troubadours Spinning Tales From Americana

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this blog, Brill focuses his attention on three wonderful folk acts — Charlie Parr, John McEuen, and Sherman Holmes.  


 

NEW AUDIOPHILE QUALITY RECORDINGS FROM TROUBADOURS SPINNING TALES FROM AMERICANA

By Nelson Brill

NOVEMBER 3, 2017

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First up, a recent movie tip: the 2016 biopic, Maudie [Screen Door Productions/Sony Pictures Classics] is a stellar film that portrays the life of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis [1903-1970] who overcame many obstacles, including being orphaned at a young age; suffering a lifetime of disease and abuse from her husband and society at large, to blossom as an artist. In this moving film, the actress Sally Hawkins plays Lewis and captures all of her fragility, sense of humor and resilience with passion and quiet dignity. Ethan Hawke is also superb as Lewis’ abusive and reclusive spouse.

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Lewis’ paintings capture her love of the landscape of her native Nova Scotia, (dancing flowers, bleak wintry scenes, birds in flight, workers in the fields), and is a testament to the power of folk art grounded in a particular place and time.

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Folk art, in the musical context, can also work a mesmerizing hold on the human need to tell stories of a certain place and time, accompanied by an irresistible back beat. One such master of this musical form is Minnesota native Charlie Parr, (www.charlieparr.com) who performed an intimate solo concert within the warm pine-paneled walls of the Atwoods Tavern in Cambridge, MA. (www.atwoodstavern.com) on October 2nd. Parr’s inventive yarns glowed with the glory and heartbreak of people living within his landscape of rural Minnesota and beyond, sung in a voice that rose in spiky, maverick expression.

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Parr’s show at the Atwood, (resembling a house concert with the capacity young crowd swaying to Parr’s fleet guitar and thunderous foot-stomping) was ignited by Parr singing a number of originals from his 2015 audiophile gem, Stumpjumper [Red House Records; www.redhouserecords.com).

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Highlights included a lilting “Remember Me If I Forget” (with swirling slide guitar accents quick and agile) and the contemplative “Over The Red Cedar”, a revolving beauty that tells the tale of a neighborhood kid growing into a man and realizing the passage of time. Parr also took a raucous detour into “Falcon”, (another highlight from Stumpjumper), that rocked furiously on a spinning tale of a wisecracking “north of the Red River” character surviving as best he can. On “Falcon,” Parr’s pumping acoustic guitar and heavy foot stomps sounded like baseball cards flipping in bicycle spokes: revolving in crisp colors with great vocal bravado, string heat and fleet guitar propulsion.

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Parr also plunged with scrappy heat into several numbers taken from his new recording, Dog [Red House Records] where his lyrics shone like little powerful firecrackers, bursting with life. He sang meditatively about a tale of sons following in the footsteps of their fathers (“Hobo”); about our comic rituals surrounding death (“I Ain’t Dead Yet”) (with Parr’s slide working its greased magic) and finishing with a blistering version of the classic murder tale, “Stagger Lee,” belting his vocals and tumultuous guitar strums to the height of expressive power. Parr also paid tribute to his friend and fellow traveler, the incomparable Spider John Koerner, playing a version of one of Koerner’s comic tales (that features Buffalo Bill and Koerner’s contemplation of Free Will) in an effervescent tumble of Parr’s sharp guitar lines and playful majesty. Parr left the stage to the raucous ovations of the audience who hung on every one of his craggy lyrics and the crackling sound of his spinning, incisive guitar licks.

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Returning from Parr’s intimate and soulful performance, I was reminded of a new recording by another superb folk art master who also takes his inspiration from the likes of Spider John Koerner, Jerry Jeff Walker, Johnny Cash and Warren Zevon to create his own stew of rollicking folk music joy. Roots Music Made in Brooklyn [Chesky Records; www.chesky.com] is a new recording by singer, songwriter and string master John McEuen. For this recording, McEuen assembled a sterling group of musicians at the Hirsch Center in Brooklyn, New York for an informal jam session that delivers a bountiful feast of acoustic gifts. The audio quality of this Chesky “binaural recording” (utilizing their “3D and Applied Acoustics” recording technics) is superb in its tactile and dynamic presence; its natural tones and colors and, (as always with the Chesky label), a beautiful capturing of instruments and voices illuminating the natural space and air of the particular recording venue.  [For another vivid dose of the Chesky label’s new sonic gifts, listen to the amazing 2016 Chesky recording Stripped that ensnares the craggy vocals of Macy Gray (with her stellar band) in a performance that shimmers and soars in airy delights].

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On McEuen’s disc, instrumental compositions “Acoustic Traveler”, “Brooklyn Crossing” and “Miner’s Night Out” are all shining, carefree explorations of Americana melodies with garlands of beautiful solos from this swanking ensemble.

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These include sweet clarinet solos from Andy Goessling; sparkling fiddle from Jay Ungar; deft guitar solos from David Bromberg and McEuen and pumping acoustic bass from Skip Ward. McEuen’s canvas encompasses the swanking gospel of “I Rose Up” (with layered background vocalists rising and falling around banjo pricks and fiddle sways), to the rough and tumble sounds of  New Orleans in “Travelin Mood,” (with David Bromberg firing up his acoustic guitar flowing into David Amram’s soaring penny whistle solo).

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The crisp interplay between these spirited musicians also propels McEuen’s free-flowing versions of Warren Zevon’s comic, sardonic treats: “Excitable Boy” (with Bromberg’s vocals taking a turn next to swaying mandolin, fiddle and chorus) and “My Dirty Life And Times,” taken at a bluesy pace (led by Steve Martin’s scrappy banjo) with mandolin, dobro and fiddle accents swirling around McEuen’s vocals. Delectable blue-grass is also here on “Blue Ridge Cabin Home” and “The Mountain Whippoorwill,” where McEuen’s solo fiddle and spoken words pay tribute to another folk hero, Vasser Clements. McEuen’s words and instrumental radiance reverberate off the walls of the recording space in spare elegance on this twisting tale.

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The crowning glory to this recording is McEuen and his band’s version of Jerry Jeff Walker’s folk classic, “Mr. Bojangles.” This swaying beauty brews on the expressive vocals of David Bromberg, John Cowan and others, reveling in this expressive tale all curled up with acoustic accompaniments plied and strummed with quiet passion.

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A final, glorious dip into new musical folk art recordings takes us to Christchurch, Virginia into the deep blues, gospel and tumultuous rock flowing in the blood of Sherman Holmes, bassist and vocalist for the venerable Holmes Brothers Band. Since the death of his two brothers, Holmes has soldiered on to now produce a glowing new recording with his Sherman Holmes Project, The Richmond Sessions [M.C. Records; www.mc-records.com] in which his voice, bass and keyboard presides in a gathering of musicians and gospel singers who make these folk, gospel and rock tunes shimmer and shake.

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The recording quality is superb. This is no surprise because Mark Carpentieri’s M.C. Records is well known for producing recordings with great presence, dynamic energy and natural, life-like image dimensionality. (Take a listen to M.C. Records’ 1999 recording of Odetta, in her Blues Everywhere I Go for a reference blues recording of knockout beauty and passion).

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A crackling presence of pumping guitars, propulsive bass and vivid vocals sears this new M.C. Records recording of the Sherman Holmes Project from start to finish. Holmes and his swanking band glow in their gospel righteousness on such gut-thumping traditionals as “Wide River”, “I Want Jesus” and “Rock of Ages.” All of these tunes are laced with the deep spirited vocals of Homes and the surging power of his background vocal group, “The Ingramettes,” three female vocalists who bring supremely assured vocal prowess and soaring power to the mix.

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The band extends their gospel and soul roots into exuberant, rocking versions of Ben Harper’s “Homeless Child”, John Fogerty’s “Green River”; Holland, Dozier’s “Don’t Do It” (made famous by The Band’s rollicking version) and a roguish “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home”.  In each of these volcanic gems, the musicianship is superb, with sparkling solos from Rob Ickes’ spindly and inventive dobro and David Van Deventer’s crafty fiddle.  Jim Lauderdale’s “Lonesome Pines” brings us home, with its slow cyclical expressive vocals, spinning banjo and ebullient hits from Ickes’ dobro. Here is power and soul; instrumental glitter and intoxicating singing that all take the Sherman Holmes Project’s folk portrait to a foot-stomping earthy place within the rich and diverse soil of Americana.

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If you would like to read more reviews like this one, visit Nelson’s blog at www.bostonconcertreviews.com.


Nelson Brill Attends the 2017 Lowell Folk Festival

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this blog, Brill attends the oldest running folk festival in the United States to hear music from “the streets of  Zimbabwe, Morocco and Cuba to the blues alleys of Chicago.”


FOLK MUSIC FLOURISHES AT THE 2017 LOWELL FOLK FESTIVAL AND IN A GLOWING JAZZ PARTNERSHIP

By Nelson Brill

AUGUST, 2017

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The unbounded nature of folk music, with its global reach and its rich stories of love, struggle and glory, continues to astound. The vitality of folk music was heard in all its myriad forms at this year’s 31st edition of the venerable Lowell, MA. Folk Festival (“Festival”) the oldest running folk festival in the United States. This year’s edition, running from July 28-30th, was lit up with music that careened from the streets of  Zimbabwe, Morocco and Cuba to the blues alleys of Chicago.

UnknownArriving at the Festival’s “Dutton Street Pavilion,” C.J. Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band were performing under a huge tent rocking the classic tunes “Caldonia” and “Jambalaya (On The Bayou)” with infectious zydeco sway. Chenier’s accordion churned out flowing chords while his muscular partner on his “Frottoir” (a version of a washboard worn with a shoulder strap – first designed by C.J.’s father, Clifton Chenier, in 1946 Louisiana) provided the intense zing of a backbeat. Chenier sang with a rotund voice (containing ardor and grit) that punctuated the swirling music of his band. The capacity audience danced and swayed to the joyous grooves while Chenier’s accordion swept them along with his swashbuckling accordion.

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shakethetreeboston.com

Over at the Festival’s “Boarding House Park” stage, Toronzo Cannon and his quartet delivered a scorch of another variety: searing electric Chicago blues. Cannon utilized a rolling guitar style in which he slid his fingers seamlessly from one fret to another or hit hard a cluster of repeating notes in a circular, rapid-fire pattern.

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lowellsun

His rousing voice accompanied his guitar swagger and his songs of lost love and “bad contracts” – all delivered with gut-thumping heat. The classic Elmore James’ tune, “Look Over Yonder’s Wall [Hand Me Down My Walk’in Cane]”, was a pile-driving romp with the band’s young keyboardist battening down the hatches with his percussive, two-fisted barrelhouse runs.

In contrast to the molten heat from Cannon’s guitar, the guitarist fronting the band Mokoomba, (a band hailing from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe), delivered the lightest of dancing notes and stutter-stepping phrases on his instrument. Mokoomba’s music combined expressive calls and vocals with the resonant pulse of congas and hand-held percussion to create undulating light grooves upon which members of the band surfed with their great high-stepping dance moves.

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pri.org

Congas (and a variety of other indigenous drums) were also the resonant foundation underlying singer Betsayda Machado’s spirited performance of Cuban and Venezuelan folk music with the band, “La Parranda El Clavo”.

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npr.org

Machado possessed a radiant voice (with a beautiful mix of expressive full power and tonal delicacy) and she joined with several other singers in performing Spanish songs and Yoruba chants that floated over the many drum calls below (accentuated by the whirling steps of dancers onstage).

At the Festival’s “Saint Anne’s Churchyard” stage, Americana folk and blues were nestled in the bows of the band Shadowgrass, who drove their bluegrass hard and fleet. These four young musicians took the capacity audience by storm with their sparkling banjo soars, acoustic guitar flourishes and a nimble, thumping bass that rode it all to glory.

The Festival would not complete, however, without hearing some of that sweet driving Memphis soul delivered hot and fresh by the Stax Music Academy Alumni Band.

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LowellSun

These young musicians tore up classic hits like “Rock Steady” and “I’ll Take You There” with soaring vocals (from their two powerhouse female vocalists and their male vocalist with a baritone as smooth as honey) propelled by a backing band of churning brass, guitar and drums. As the sun went down, the Stax Alumni Band took the Festival home with their deft vocal harmonies and their horns strutting in sharp, playful majesty.

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The rich veins of Americana folk and blues were also explored in another recent performance by two consummate Boston area musicians who create their own sweet and pungent stew from the griddle of folk roots music, poured creatively into their vessel of jazz improvisation. On July 22nd, vocalist Dominique Eade and pianist Ran Blake (both colleagues and educators at New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation Department, www.necmusic.edu), took to the welcoming stage of Thelonious Monkfish, (“Monkfish”) and delivered a sparkling recital before a transfixed capacity audience.

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Derek Rubinoff

Monkfish (www.theloniousmonkfish.com) is a delectable restaurant and music venue run by its amicable, music-loving proprietor Jamme Chantler and his musical coordinator, Scott Goulding, himself an accomplished jazz drummer with bands such as the dynamic Yoko Miwa Trio that frequently appears at Monkfish. (Pianist Yoko Miwa and her Trio have a new album out this summer entitled Pathways and it is a stellar outing with great melodic beauty and creative artistry to explore [See www.yokomiwa.com]).

The sound at Monkfish is very good and at the Eade/Blake recital, another NEC alumnus, Jeremy Sarna, manned the sound controls to produce a sound that captured the partnership of Eade and Blake in soaring flight. The sound had excellent tactile detail, a natural balance to piano and voice and offered a clear window to hear every crisp isolated note and thunderous resonant cloud in Blake’s intrepid piano explorations.

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At their Monkfish performance, Eade and Blake celebrated their new duet recording Town and Country [Sunnyside; www.sunnysiderecords.com), an audiophile gem which is particularly noteworthy in its sound quality for its capturing of ambient space: an empty NEC Jordan Hall with all of its splendor of flowing air and deep resonance.

Their Monkfish recital roved from every corner of this recording’s expansive folk and blues territory. The concert opened with William Schumann’s “Pretty Fly and Lullaby,” with Eade perched on the most gentle of free-flowing high notes and runs, (with some creative bird call-like sounds whispered into her mix). “Winter in Madrid” was another garland of high fleeting vocal gifts from Eade: her voice here resembled a young tern learning to fly at an ocean’s edge. Her voice dove, swerved and dipped to express the beauty and depth of her songs with creative and unpredictable zest. Blake’s piano was like the partnering wind to her wings: his spontaneous bellows of chord colors, pedal holds or prickly jumping notes always sent Eade flying in a new vocal direction or swoop.

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jazzedmagazine.com

The rich folk, gospel and blues songs from their Town and Country recording sometimes rang out with thunder in Blake’s prodigious keyboard crashes or, at other times, were drenched in the lightness (like nourishing, falling rain) from Eade’s slippery bebop scat. “Moon River” glowed with Eade’s voice lustrous and strong (tethered to Blake’s bluesy chords). “Elijah Rock” also glowed with gospel fervor on Eade’s sassy and brazen vocals that concluded with her retreating from her microphone to echo the phrase “Lord, Lord” in cascading light calls. On Dylan’s “Its Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”, Eade turned her voice into a talking, penetrating slipstream of words that rang with condemnation, sarcasm and knife-sharp edges as Blake responded with arresting stop and start keyboard quips that rang out like shotgun blasts.

The music on Town and Country seeps into every emotional crevice of Americana roots music: it can be prickly; it can be warmly inviting or it can be blistering in its condemnation of human suffering. Johnny Cash’s “Give My Love To Rose” (a moving ballad on the human cost of imprisonment) and “The Easter Tree” (an old English protest song against racist violence with the stark imagery of a lynching at its core) lurched on Blake’s spare piano notes and Eade’s pouncing vocals. (Eade concluded “Easter Tree” by holding the last word- “Stone” – for several seconds to deliver a wallop of vocal power and intensity). “Memphis,” Blake’s short instrumental composition for Martin Luther King, shuddered with thunderous clouds of ominous chords contrasted with the lightest of piano touches- as if to portent the spark of new possibilities.

In contrast to these penetrating numbers, Eade and Blake also performed a light and glittering “Moonlight In Vermont” (a highlight of gentle sway and lilting creativity) and Eade performed a riveting scat solo piece in which she played an imaginary wind instrument (with her fingers outstretched before her) concocting percussive sounds up and down her nimble register.

The recital came to a close on the meditative theme of a beautiful spoken word/singing tribute to another Americana folk hero: the sage activist Henry David Thoreau (whose bicentennial is being celebrated this year). In this unfurling poetic moment, spoken text and vocals curled around Blake’s floating clouds of soft velvety piano colors until they disappeared in a final wisp of Eade’s fragile held soar.

DominiqueEade-200px

 


If you would like to read more reviews like this one, visit Nelson’s blog at www.bostonconcertreviews.com.


 

Nordost Playlist – September 2017

Nordost is lucky to have a wonderful team of representatives and product trainers who travel around the world educating and demonstrating the effects of Nordost’s products. As part of these demonstrations, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort system and accessories. Whether at shows, visiting our dealers and distributors or even in our own listening room in our headquarters in Holliston, we are constantly getting asked what music we are playing (or if our audience is not so bold to ask, we can see their Shazams working overtime). So we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share our favorite songs of the moment. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but one thing is for sure …it’s all great music.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this September.

playlist_September_17

  1. Personal Jesus – Remastered Version—Depeche Mode—The Best Of Depeche Mode Volume 1
  2. Cocaine Cool – Extended Vol2—Laid Back—Cosyland
  3. Coffee—Grace—FMA
  4. Lover—Tree Theater, Emily C. Browning—Lover
  5. Nalésonko—Ballaké Sissoko—At Peace
  6. Portraits of Langston: V. Jazz Band in a Parisian Cabaret—Langston Hughes, Valerie Coleman, McGill/McHale Trio—Portraits: Work for Flute, Clarinet & Piano
  7. Gold – Nikitch Remix—Andreya Triana, Nikitch—Gold
  8. Heart’s On Fire—Passenger—Whispers (Deluxe)
  9. Stranger—Paul Simon, Nico Segal—Stranger
  10. Appointments—Julien Baker—Appointments

We’ll be updating our “Nordost Monthly Playlist” on Spotify every month, and you can visit our profile to find all our selections in one place!


 

Nelson Brill Reviews Two Bass-Centric Acts in Cambridge

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this blog, Brill covers two bass-centric performances at the Regattabar in Cambridge, MA, featuring veteran bassist, Ron Carter, and newcomer to the scene, Linda May Han Oh .


 

TWO BASS-CENTRIC JAZZ BANDS SWING WITH PLAYFUL PURPOSE

By Nelson Brill

MAY 29, 2017

Unknown-1-1 The power of an acoustic or electric bass is limitless. It can, in the hands of an eminent string master, power a walking blues romp or, in the hands of a young bassist taking her first turn as a band leader, it can serve up a stew of gut-thumping colors propelling her original compositions.

roncarter.net

roncarter.net

As for an eminent master of the acoustic bass, there is no one like the impeccable Ron Carter, who celebrated his 80th birthday with his artful trio (Donald Vega on piano and Russell Malone on guitar) in a sparkling performance on April 28th at the Regattabar in Cambridge, MA. (www.regattabarjazz.com). Sporting a dapper suit (accented with a purple pocket square), the lanky, joyous 80 year-old immediately alighted on his bass with delectable bounce and rhythmic splendor. His nimble fingers tenderly flirted with his strings, creating buoyant and soulful song lines. The intimate setting of the Regattabar (and the superb sound that house engineer W.J. Edward Emerson was able to concoct from Carter’s small amplifier elevated on a stand) allowed for the capacity audience to lean in and hear every soft purr, fleshy pluck and pungent roll from Carter’s bass.

montrealgazette.com

montrealgazette.com

Carter and his sympathetic band mates swung heartily into music that paid tribute to some of Carter’s departed past colleagues: bassist Oscar Pettiford, guitarist Jim Hall and trumpeter Miles Davis. Their tribute to Hall, entitled “Brazilian Opus No. 5”, was highlighted by Carter’s extended solo in which he ensnared all the warmth of this slow-brewing bossa nova with nimble dexterity. He located notes down low (with gentle plucks and lingering harmonic holds) and then effortlessly slipped up to his highest register (with an elastic “portimento” or huge slide) grabbing a cluster of notes with his outstretched fingers. “Brazilian Opus” concluded with Carter’s trademark touch: a rigorous singular bass note struck on just the right note and pitch to sum up the arc of the band’s creative excursion.

pinterest

pinterest

Cushioned within all this alluring bass drama was Vega’s subtly eloquent piano. Throughout the concert, Vega displayed a plush keyboard attack that relied on understatement in his creative feel for the backbone of each melody. He twisted each strand of melody into creative braids of fleeting piano lines that always fell into satisfying patterns of light tension and release.

latinlife.com

latinlife.com

The Trio’s version of Pettiford’s “La Verne Walk” was a slippery, sliding delight that had all three musicians crackling with collective energy and virtuoso solo moments. All the sunshine in this tune was captured in Carter’s cavort: he pulled strings to bend them in elastic deep rumbles; he slid and slurped in playful bluesy holds and chased the melody with buoyant touches and spidery licks.

latinlife.com

latinlife.com

Carter’s ineffable bounce led the way into Malone’s gleeful solo in which Malone first created the delectable sound of a washboard by rapidly strumming his strings and lightly tapping his hollow body guitar to create a wooden percussive rush. He then found a perch on one note, repeating it for several seconds, only to flow into a rapid, funky descent that ended on the same one note perch. The crowd roared in approval as a smiling Carter took up this same one-note on his bass and threw it into his quiver of colorful declarations to send Pettiford’ swinging piece homeward.

motionbluejakarta.com

motionbluejakarta.com

The Trio ended their set on a version of Benny Goodman’s “Soft Winds” that showcased the Trio’s ability to hit prankish hard, with the lightest of touches. Vega’s piano solo was filled with undulant waves of blues chords rising from his depths to his highest registers; Malone dove in with his sly funk and crisp strumming and Carter added his penetrating undertow of walking bass lines. This thunderous action receded when Carter’s bass veered into the lightest of purrs and touches, sending Vega and Malone into peaceful curls of their own, high and sweet on their instruments. The final note (which Carter held serenely) sung out with regal force punctuating this great musical companionship.

alchetron.com

alchetron.com

Carter has been involved in more than 2,000 recording sessions. A few of his most recent recordings are recommended for their audiophile quality and their beautiful ensnaring of Carter’s spirited versatility.

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One of my older favorites is Carter’s 2003 Entre Amigos SACD/CD recording on the (always reliable) audiophile quality label, Chesky (www.chesky.com). On this superb recording (suffused with the warmth and air of the recording venue), Carter’s bass softly entwines (from a layered rear position) with the expressive vocals of Rosa Passos and the acoustic glory of several other virtuoso musicians to mine the unfolding grooves of some classic Brazilian tunes. The relaxed feel of this session is fantastic with Passos’ lithe and expressive vocals crisply captured up front, meandering in and out of Carter’s probing bass.

51sGdieCeEL._SS500-300x300 Carter also showcases his versatility on his most recent recordings: he joins in a warm and simmering duet with saxophonist Houston Person on Chemistry [HighNote Records] and then joins forces with a boisterous band led by trombonist/composer Steve Turre on Colors For The Masters [Smoke Sessions Records]. Chemistry is a stellar recording and one of the last produced by the recently departed recording master, Rudy Van Gelder, at his legendary New Jersey studio. Although I would have liked more upbeat numbers from this swashbuckling duet, (slow ballads predominant), the session is a beautiful example of two masters conversing on an intimate scale where every curling breath of Person’s soulful sax is tactilely felt and where every one of Carter’s pungent touches is heard nimble and radiant.

71WAxVld6L._SX425_-300x270In contrast to Chemistry’s intimate session, Colors For The Masters takes off on the boundless energy of a stellar band in flight. The band is supremely assured with glittering pianist Kenny Barron, master drummer Jimmy Cobb and Carter leading the rhythmic charge in accompanying Turre’s resolute trombone and Javon Jackson’s brawny tenor sax. This vital recording packs a soulful punch as it veers from the raucous to the voluptuousness, delivering animated keyboard grooves, glowing horns and, underlying them all, Carter’s bracing bass lines.

Another bassist, (who may take a thing or two herself from the Carter playbook) is the intrepid young bassist, Linda May Han Oh, who brought her venturesome band (pianist Fabian Almazon; guitarist Matthew Stevens; saxophonist Greg Ward and drummer Rudy Royston) to the Regattabar’s intimate stage on April 15th to celebrate the release of their latest recording, Walk Against Wind [www.lindamayhanoh.com].

allaboutjazz.com

allaboutjazz.com

The band’s performance featured many of Oh’s original compositions from Walk Against Wind (her first recording as a band leader) and several of these pieces were commenced with Oh taking an extended solo on her acoustic bass. Her bass playing has this special quality of a wide-open, adventurous feel, where anything is possible. She combines long trailing runs (effortlessly spun up and down her flexible register) with angular, jostling isolated notes. She can stop on a dime; pluck big and resonant and then fall silent for a few seconds, mixing up her tempos with impeccable touch and a natural feel for the groove.

allaboutjazz.com

allaboutjazz.com

Her style fully complements the overall feel of her creative compositions: the slow bluesy feel of “Lucid Lullaby” (with her bass plush and swelling with resonant plucks and evolving colors) or the buoyancy of her Brazilian tinged “Fire Dancer” (where she combines dancing light notes and plucks to sashay with Royston’s delicate cymbal and wood rim hits).

jazzafterhours.com

jazzafterhours.com

The musical synergy  that was exchanged between Oh and her simpatico band mates at this concert was a delight. Royston, a propulsive engine of delectable lightness and  passion on his drum kit, always kept his eyes on Oh. He accented her every spontaneous string dip and soar (or surprising pause) with his own interwoven percussive glory – sometimes silvery and sometimes volcanic.

allaboutjazz.com

allaboutjazz.com

The Cuban-born Almazon, (who I have written glowing about in these pages before), also kept his eyes glued on Oh, ready to send his restless piano lines into the fray. On “Walk Against The Wind,” Almazon grabbed the heartbeat of the song and took off on a breathless piano solo. His exploration melded funk, blues and Afro-Cuban influences into a swirling crisp dance that was as unpredictable as it was radiant.

51T7kXwtGEL._SS500-300x300 Take note that Oh, Almazan and Royston can be heard in all their triple threat glory on a recent recording that they made with alto saxophonist Jim Snidero entitled  Main Street [Savant Records]. This recording delivers great presence and up-front vitality to all instrumental timbres and textures. One highlight- “The Streets of Laredo” – delivers a full dose of what Oh, Almazan and Royston can do both individually (on each of their searing and elastic solos) and in collective presence with Snidero’s reedy, sharp explorations.Towards the end of the performance at the Regattabar, Oh took up her electric bass and she and her band hurled out some full throttle funk on Oh’s original “Perpluzzle”. The highlights here were Stevens on his searing guitar solo, (sending out some heady angular and off-kilter note bends and power chords) and saxophonist Ward pile driving the funk with his soaring sax holds. Oh smiled from behind her electric bass, content to pressurize the proceedings with the raw vitality of her playful bass lines.

vanityfair.com

vanityfair.com

 


If you would like to read more reviews like this one, visit Nelson’s blog at www.bostonconcertreviews.com.


Nordost Playlist – April 2017

Nordost is lucky to have a wonderful team of representatives and product trainers who travel around the world educating and demonstrating the effects of Nordost’s products. As part of these demonstrations, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort system and accessories. Whether at shows, visiting our dealers and distributors or even in our own listening room in our headquarters in Holliston, we are constantly getting asked what music we are playing (or if our audience is not so bold to ask, we can see their Shazams working overtime). So we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share our favorite songs of the moment. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but one thing is for sure …it’s all great music.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this April.

playlist_April_17

  1. A Sunday Kind Of Love—Etta James—At Last
  2. Just Like You—Bosley—Honey Pig
  3. Red-Eyed And Blue—Wilco—Being There
  4. A Rose For Emily—The Zombies—Odyssey And Oracle
  5. Blind Ambition—Sophia Bastian—Blind Ambition
  6. Freedom Is Free—Chicano Batman—Freedom is Free
  7. Baldamore—Hadouk Trio—Utopies
  8. Feel It Still—Portugal. The Man—Feel It Still
  9. Chanel—Frank Ocean—Chanel
  10. Saturnz Barz—Gorillaz—Humanz

Nelson Brill Reviews The Wood Brothers at The Somerville Theatre

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound.

In this blog, Brill heads to The Somerville Theatre to see The Wood Brothers perform their carousing vaudeville and fiery rock n’ roll” set. 


CONCERT GLIMPSE: THE WOOD BROTHERS- PRIMED FOR ADVENTURE

By Nelson Brill

FEBRUARY 12, 2017

The Somerville Theatre (located in the heart of Davis Square in Somerville, MA.) opened its doors on May 11, 1914 and the first acts that graced its stage that night were a vaudeville act; a “singing skit” and a “comedy playlet”. (www.somervilletheatre.com). One hundred years later, the Somerville Theatre is still going strong.

somervilletheatre.com

On February 8 and 9th, The Wood Brothers (www.thewoodbros.com) came into town to deliver their own version of carousing vaudeville and fiery rock n’ roll on the Somerville Theatre’s historic stage to the delight of their rollicking, dancing audiences.

The Wood Brothers (“the Brothers”) love to harken back to the days of original vaudeville and folk acts. Midway through their performance on February 8th, the Brothers (Chris Wood on bass, vocals and harmonica; Oliver Wood on vocals and guitar and Jano Rix on keyboards, vocals and everything percussive) dimmed the Somerville Theatre house lights, turned off all stage microphones and gathered in a semi-circle around a single antique microphone (which they call their “Big Mic”). Basking in this autumnal glow, the Brothers performed the filigree title track from their 2013 recording, The Muse [Southern Ground Artists] and their classic, “Postcards From Hell,” (a tribute this evening to the late Levon Helm) in stately sweet harmonies.

The unkempt beauty of these stark ballads highlighted the down-home feel of this great band and their consummate musicianship. Each number combined far-ranging influences such as a brush with Calypso beats (in Chris Wood’s pumping bass solo) to Oliver Wood’s country vocal touches.

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Other sweetly grooving numbers at this concert included the opening “Two Places” and “Touch of Your Hand” (both taken from the Brother’s excellent 2015 recording, Paradise [Honey Jar Records]), with Oliver’s lithe and clear vocals shimmying alongside Chris’s pungent bass and Rix’s keyboard off-kilter splashes.

The Brothers’ common pulsing sway also highlighted their sardonic “American Heartache” with the rasp of Chris’ harmonica cutting deep into the trio’s soaring harmonies that combusted in thunderous drum and snarling electric guitar hits.

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Betwixt and between these grooving ballads and blues, The Brothers took off on a raucous ride through their arsenal of full tilt rock n’ roll sending their lyrics (both comic and cutting) soaring on ripped-up guitar chords and huge bass pelts. Leave it to The Brothers to come up with lyrics such as: “You put your lips in the wind and hope for some kisses back” or “He hails from the great state of confusion and he now pulls a push broom at the inconvenience store.” The latter lyric is taken from their soaring “Singing To Strangers” that crushed with gleeful guitar heat and was partnered with “Snake Eyes” (both numbers found in spirited versions on Paradise) that had Chris Wood dancing in playful revel: he pounded his exuberant bass strings into a frenzy and then, (holding onto the very tip of his huge acoustic bass) he shimmied across the stage to finally fall on his knees to the blasts of Rix’s gut-thumping drums.

musicmarauders.com

The frolic continued with blazing harp and bass propelling the boogie of “Honey Jar” as Oliver Wood sang in his wonderfully dry, expressive and thin-as-a-reed vocals. This careening number was partnered with the exuberant “One More Day,” a song that was first recorded on The Brothers 2006 recording, Ways Not To Lose [Blue Note]. (For audiophiles, I recommend Ways Not To Lose as The Brothers’ most natural sounding recording to date, because it records them in an intimate session with natural tones and textures to their beguiling instrumental and vocal interplay, with the spirited drummer Kenny Wollesen in the creative mix).

“One More Day” took on a furious pace and blistering heat at this concert as Oliver took up his electric slide guitar with fervent swipes of crushing and blurred high notes followed by Rix’s drum solo that was fit for a boisterous New Orleans “Second Line” parade. Appropriately, this heated jam ended with a spontaneous outburst of a warped version of “The Saints Go Marching In.”

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In the final moments of this raw funk fest, The Brothers came full circle to revisit the glory of The Band, (the Brothers’ upcoming release will be a performance recorded at Levon Helm’s Barn) and lifted the 100 year-old roof of the Somerville Theatre with a soaring version of The Band’s “Ophelia”. At the apex of this reveling version, Rix took a turn in Levon’s honorary seat by singing the chorus at his drum kit while his two partners caroused around him with effusive harmonies and their entwining brotherly love.

rollingstone.com

 


If you would like to read more reviews like this one, visit Nelson’s blog at www.bostonconcertreviews.com.