Nordost Playlist – January 2022

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

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


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


  1. Bottle Tops—Ritual Feat. Mononoke—Every Night Another But Not You
  2. Stimela (Coal Train)—Hugh Masekela—Still Grazing
  3. After Hours—The Velvet Underground—The Velvet Underground
  4. Delores’ Boyfriend—Allen Toussaint—American Tunes
  5. Cotton Fields—Harry Belafonte—Belafonte Sings The Blues  
  6. Love Ain’t Enough—The Barr Brothers—Sleeping Operator
  7. cloud castle—Luna Li—jams EP
  8. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?—Bing Crosby, Lenny Hayton & His Orchestra—They Essential Bing Crosby
  9. Unhate—Cat Power—Unhate/I’ll Be Seeing You
  10. Let Me Roll It—Wings—Band On The Run

Nelson Brill reviews a jubilant concert by the Tedeschi Trucks Band and concert recordings to share

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, Nelson joins a fully-vaxxed audience to enjoy a much missed live music concert, with the Tedeshi Trucks Band. He also recommends how to relive this same vibrant experience in the comfort of your own home.  


A BUCKET OF ROCK N’ ROLL JOY: TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND IN CONCERT AND NEW LIVE RECORDINGS TO SAVOR

By Nelson Brill | DECEMBER 5, 2021

On November 30th, the Tedeschi Trucks Band (“TTB”) opened a four-night stand at the legendary Orpheum Theatre in Boston and from the first note, there was glee and celebration in the return of live music in all its glory.

The TTB sustained a creative musical statement that teemed with bluster, soul and communal spirit with its adoring (fully vaxxed!) capacity audience. The TTB is composed of Susan Tedeschi on guitar and lead vocals, Derek Trucks on guitar, Gabe Dixon on keyboards and vocals, Brandon Boone on bass, Tyler “Falcon” Greenwell and Isaac Eady on drums, Elizabeth Lea on trombone, Kebbi Williams on saxophone and Ephraim Owens on trumpet – all backed by the stellar vocal cast of Mike Mattison, Mark Rivers, and Alecia Chakour. There is a special bond between these players, palpable in every song they explore. Its an easy-going democratic companionship where, without fuss, lime-light or artificial gestures, each member of the band gets their chance to shine within the spirited collective.

TTB- Orpheum – photo by Steven Levine

This easy-going spirit and companionship was fully on display at TTB’s Orpheum opening night concert, packed with special musical treats. The concert opened with the slow-boogie optimism of the Beatles’ “I’ve Got A Feeling!” with Mattison leading the vocal charge with his steadfast presence, augmenting Tedeschi’s luminous calls with his bluesy husk (with the audience joining in on Tedeschi’s urgent choruses of “Oh Yeah!”). From his rear stage position, Mattison pelted his deep vocal swagger (and falsetto leaps) on his pulsating original “Life Is Crazy” and crowned Taj Mahal’s charging “Everybody’s Got To Change Sometime” with powerful vocal ardor and deep bluesy pounce.

TTB with Mike Mattison – Orpheum Theatre, Boston Globe

The gospel soar and audacious pulse of TTB’s “Bound For Glory” and their propulsive “Made Up Mind” brought out the splendor of Rivers and Chakour’s vocals. Each took a solo in which they displayed their individual styles by utilizing their fluid vocal ranges and their great feel for gospel, gliding soulfulness – holding the audience transfixed with their expressive force.

Tim Bugbee

Tedeschi’s vocals too were as strong as ever: smoothly gliding to her highest calls (with a bit of husk up top to emphasize her high calls and blues passion). The quality of her voice always nailed the essence of the songs she sung. This included a riveting and quiet version of John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery”; a radiant version of Neil Young’s “Helpless”; a breezy romp on The Four Tops’ “Lov’in You Is Sweeter Than Ever” and a deep bluesy plunge into her chestnut, “Just Won’t Burn” – a slow blues fireball from Tedeschi’s youth when she would play with her power trio to small gatherings in Boston at lunch time or grace Boston’s intimate clubs with her questing blues.

Forbes

Tedeschi has found a life-long creative partner in Trucks, and together, backed by their concussive drum partners and Boone’s ever-creative bass, they have become a legendary force. The sound at the Orpheum this evening was fantastic (kudos to the sound team!) with every layer of color from Tedeschi and Trucks’ searing guitar dialog captured punctual and distinct, in nice sonic balance with the rest of the band. The second set opened with barn-burning energy from Trucks on his electric guitar, grabbing hold of TTB’s blistering “Anyhow” with urgent high spills and amplified trills (punctuated with blasts from the TTB shining horn section). Trucks continued his carefree abandon on a spikey-sweet version of Derek and the Dominos’ “Why Does Love Have To Be So Sad” where he joined Tedeschi and the band in a locomotive romp that melded into a tranquil plateau of lilting colors, resonant guitar string bends and soft chord holds.

This quiet, slow-evolving play also highlighted Trucks’ special moments on stage with his rhythm section and Dixon’s twinkling keyboards, experimenting on John Coltrane’s “Afro Blue”. On this adventure, Trucks moved from sitar-drenched effects to deliberately loosening his guitar strings and letting them roar in oblique resonant drops and amplified holds. Tedeschi and the full band then joined Trucks for a pressurized version of Bobby Blue Bland’s “That Did It”, in which Tedeschi took command with her expressive guitar attack, weaving with Trucks a tapestry of hot stinging bent notes and pummeling strums. All of this heat and drama concluded with a TTB romp on the upbeat Coasters’ song, “Let’s Get Stoned”. The band danced and swayed on all cylinders with the crowd roaring their approval – the epitome of rock n’ roll joy.

To relish a vibrant slice of the TTB in live performance, grab a copy of their superb new live recording re-imagining the legendary Derek & The Dominos‘ Layla. The TTB’s Layla Revisited (Live At Lockn’) [Fantasy Records; www.tedeschitrucksband.com] captures a performance of TTB at the LOCKN’ Music Festival in Arlington, VA. in August, 2019 with the band joined by inspired guests – guitarists and vocalists Trey Anastasio and Doyle Bramhall II – with JJ Johnson joining Greenwell on drums.

The recording is reference audiophile quality, delivering the natural images of each player in the TTB on a wide and layered deep soundstage, with each player’s image natural, dynamic and tactile in the airy venue.

Goldmund Telos 590 Next Gen. II Integrated Amplifier

My reference system, anchored by Ensemble Audio Dirondo CD Player [www.ensembleexperience.com] j Goldmund Telos 590 Next Gen. II Integrated Amplifier [www.goldmund.comSeidenton loudspeakers (www.seidenton.ch) and cabling by Nordost (www.nordost.com) was a glorious conduit, inviting me into this live performance with aplomb. The Dirondo’s special trait as a CD player with excellent “continuousness” (that rare quality of never a break or sputter in its natural flow of music), partnered with the Goldmund Telos 590 integrated ampifier, (with its ability to portray music with great dynamic headroom and naturalness), involved me immediately in the whorl and roughhouse of TTB’s spirited Layla Revisited live performance.

In the first set of Layla Revisited, The TTB are off to the races with blistering versions of “Keep On Growing” (with each guitarist getting the opportunity to improvise their bold and propulsive statements) and “Nobody Knows When You’re Down And Out”, a searing blues highlight. “Anyday” is another toe-tapping and rumbling highlight, building from Mattison’s vocal strides and Tedeschi’s buoyant guitar and vocals. The second set takes the energy even higher with a striding “Key To The Highway” to a fiery “Little Wing” (with layered background singers entwined with tons of bold guitar blasts). The title track gallops forward with pell-mell guitar solos and leaping creativity from all members of the band. Just as on the original, “Layla” is followed by the quiet moment of “Thorn Tree In The Garden,” re-imagined here in a studio setting with Tedeschi and Trucks in supple acoustic rapport.

Inspired by TTB’s galvanizing Orpheum concert and their spectacular Layla Revisited recording, I recommend for your listening pleasure one other “best-of-the-year” live recording mining the rock n’ roll and blues of legendary songwriter Peter Green and the music of Fleetwood Mac.

Peter Green – guitar.com

On February 25, 2020, just days before the first COVID cases were discovered in the UK, a concert took place at the legendary Palladium in London, organized by Mick Fleetwood and friends in celebration of Green and his music. We now are gifted with Mick Fleetwood & Friends Celebrate The Music of Peter Green [BMG; www.BMG.com], another stellar live recording from start to finish.

Jonny Lang- Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The “house band” for this concert was tight-knit and glorious, most notably guitarist and singer Jonny Lang and guitarist Rick Vito. Their guitars teem with blues heat and rapid-fire twists in many highlighted moments on this live recording, propelled by the robust drums of Mick Fleetwood and Zac Starkey and the pungent bass of David Bronze. This band’s kinetic versions of “Homework”, “Sandy Mary” and “Need Your Love So Bad” are dazzling power blues with great freewheeling and funky glory.

The guests that appear with this radiant band at this Mick Fleetwood And Friends concert are clearly inspired to be on stage to salute Green: John Mayall with his swaying, pulsating Otis Rush “All Your Love”; Billy Gibbons torching “Doctor Brown” with his husky vocals and guitar swagger; Steven Tyler stinging “Rattlesnake Shake” with his funky vocal power and Pete Townshend (“Are we plugged in lads?”) cavorting on Jeremy Spenser’s “Station Man” with spirited vocal calls and reverberant blasts from his electric guitar- filling the airy hall with swathes of radiant heat.

Pete Townshend – Berkshire Eagle

Act II of this concert brings other fresh and dynamic treats. David Gilmour delivers his deep, soulful guitar meditation on the slow blues of “Oh Well, Part 2” and joins Tyler and Gibbons on a raucous rock n’ roll party on “Oh Well, Part 1”. Bill Wyman and Jeremy Spenser glitter on a deep Delta version of Elmore James’ “The Sky Is Crying” with Spenser’s guitar sly and assured in all its tactile heat. Following these delectable treats are propulsive versions of Elmore James’ “I Can’t Hold Out” and Green’s feisty “Green Manalishi” – delivered in thunderous fashion with Gibbins’ craggy vocals and Kirk Hammett’s ricochets of electric guitar (utilizing Green’s original guitar for this earthshaking performance). The curtain closes on this spectacular concert with a joyous “Shake Your Money Maker”from the entire crew that is swinging and irresistibly ebullient – another crackling rock n’ roll catharsis for our times.


You can read more of Nelson’s concert reviews at www.bostonconcertreviews.com.


Nordost Playlist – December 2021

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

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


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


  1. Made of Gold – Edit—Ibeyi, Pa Salieu—Made of Gold
  2. Color in your Cheeks –Ibibio Sound Machine—I only listen to The Mountain Goats
  3. Red Right Hand—Nell Smith, The Flaming Lips—Where the Viaduct Looms
  4. The Melting Of The Sun—St. Vincent—Daddy’s Home
  5. Tiffakonkae—Kamasi Washington—Heaven and Earth
  6. Under the Sun—Mia Doi Todd
  7. Chain Gang—Otis Redding—The Soul Album
  8. The Christmas Song (feat. Wanya Morris)—Dionne Warwick, Wanya Morris—Dionne Warwick & The Voices of Christmas
  9. Valentine—Snail Mail—Valentine
  10. Summer Rain (fet. Jazmine Sullivan)—Leon Bridges, Jazmine Sullivan—Gold-Diggers Sound

Nordost Playlist – November 2021

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

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


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


  1. Midnight Mischief—Jordan Rakei—Cloak
  2. Heels—Sir Babygirl—Crush on Me
  3. Texas Sun—Khruangbin, Leon Bridges—Texas Sun
  4. You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me—Smokey Robinson & The Miracles—OOO Baby Baby: The Anthology
  5. Find Yourself—Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real—Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
  6. What Kinda Music—Tom Misch, Yussef Dayes—What Kinda Music
  7. Easy On Me—Adele—Easy On Me
  8. The Boy With The Perpetual Nerves—The Feelies—Crazy Rhythms
  9. Ship In A Bottle-From “The Lovely Bones”—Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins, Leo Abrahams—Brian Eno-Film Music 1976-2020
  10. The Hardest Cut—Spoon—The Hardest Cut

Nordost Playlist – October 2021

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

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


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


  1. Tamala—Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate—Monistic Theory
  2. Three O’Clock Blues—Eric Clapton, B.B. King—Riding With The King
  3. Days of Wine & Roses—Jacintha—Autumn Leaves (The Songs of Johnny Mercer)
  4. Beat Hotel –Allan Taylor—Closter To The Music Vol. 1
  5. When It Rains It Poors—Twiddle—Somewhere On the Mountain
  6. A Night on Bald Mountain—Modest Mussorgsky, Dimitri Mitropoulos, New York Philharmonic—Tchaikovksy: Symphony No. 6- Mussorgsky: A Night on Bald Mountain
  7. Your Bright Baby Blues—Jackson Browne—The Pretender
  8. So What—Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans—Kind of Blue (Legacy Edition)
  9. Lost It—ZHU—DREAMLAND 2021
  10. Ravel: String Quartet, M. 35: II. Assez vif – Très rythmé—Maurice Ravel, Quatuor Ébenè—Debussy, Fauré & Ravel: String Quartets

The Newport Jazz Festival is back, and Boston Concert Reviews was there to see it all

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, we welcome the return of the Newport Jazz Festival. Nelson was there in order to share the performances with you, from time-honored veterans to fresh voices of the festival.


NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL 2021 – A HAVEN FOR FRESH SOUNDS AND RESILIENT SPIRIT

By Nelson Brill September 1, 2021

America’s music, Jazz, is on the move again. The joys of hearing live jazz continued this summer with the return, (after a one-year hiatus), of the 67th Edition of The Newport Jazz Festival (“Newport Jazz”) (www.newportjazz.org) held at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island from July 30th-August 1st. Newport Jazz, directed by the singular impresario George Wein for over sixty years and now captained by its Artistic Director, Christian McBride, continues to be a fertile ground for music of experimentation and verve reflecting the diversity of today’s America and its political and social movements. At the Saturday session, the sold-out crowd was teeming with young people, Black and White mingling together, clearly demonstrating that McBride and his staff have succeeded in advancing Wein’s legacy in presenting jazz that continues to be a unifying force and an inspiration for all ages.

Mavis Staples at Newport Jazz – photo by Jim Brock

The 95-year old Wein, (on a video call from New York City) welcomed to the Newport Jazz Lawn Stage one of his contemporaries, the singular Mavis Staples, who performed her magnetic “down home” Chicago blues and gospel-tinged songs before her dancing, adorning audience. After Wein’s introduction, the indomitable Mavis grabbed her microphone, punched her fists into the air and launched into the classic Staples Singers’ tune, “I’ll Take You There!” dancing alongside her tight-knit band: guitarist Rick Holmstrom, bassist Jeff Trumes, drummer Stephen Hodges and singers Donny Gerrard and Vicki Randle.

The band dug deep into several songs taken from their superb live recording, Live In London [Anti Records; www.ANTI.com]. They hunkered down on the deep grooves of the bristling “Who Told You That?” and rocked away on a spunky version of the Talking Head’s classic, “Slippery People”. Their pulsating “Can You Get To That” rode on Trumes’ thundering bass, Holmstrom’s melodic pulses and Mavis’ reveling vocals, accented by deep bass plunges from singer Donny Gerrard.

Holmstrom and Mavis made for a particularly joyful musical partnership. Mavis would lovingly clap the dapper Holmstrom on his back for his animated guitar solos that teemed with stinging notes and crisp rhythm-guitar sparks. Mavis’ voice was in fine form. Her voice still packs emotional power with its dusky low calls or gospel-rich leaps. Her bracing voice propelled the rollicking classic, “Respect Yourself!” and mined poignantly the soulful depths of the gospel gem, “Wade In The Water”. During this song, Mavis preached to the crowd about keeping up the fight against injustices and hatred (repeating in soaring calls, “My soul is anchored!).

Ledisi at Newport Jazz- photo by Jim Brock

Mavis and her band’s joyful performance at Newport Jazz was a perfect segue to hearing a fresh voice on the R&B and jazz scene, Ledisi Anibade Young, (known simply as “Ledisi”), whose music is also greatly influenced by down-home blues and gospel power. Ledisi swept onto the Quad Stage and took the audience by storm with her commanding voice– warm, lustrous and expressive – in intrepid exploration of the songbook of one of her heroes, the legendary Nina Simone. Accompanied by her sterling and nimble band, Ledisi launched into Simone’s “Do I Move You?” with deliberate stride, her silvery fluid voice capturing the power and sensual glow of this song’s slow-burning zeal.

If you are a vinyl fan, find at your local record store an original pressing, (or refer to the online catalogue of Analogue Productions (www.acousticsounds.com] for their excellent re-master) of the seminal blues recording, Nina Simone Sings The Blues [RCA LSP-3789]. On this brilliant recording, Simone entwines “Do I Move You?” with singular vocal power. This entire album is a treat (one of my favorite blues albums) and when it is heard on a reference high quality audio system, (in my room, FM Acoustics 123 phono preamplifier; Holborne turntable with Fuuga cartridge feeding Goldmund Telos 590 Next Gen. II Integrated Amplifier and Seidenton loudspeakers – see “Nelson’s System” for full details and reviews), Simone appears at her dynamic piano with reach-out and-touch tactile presence and natural imaging, as only vinyl can deliver. Her song, “My Man’s Gone Now” is a luminescent stunner and her “Backlash Blues” a searing indictment of institutional racism.

Back at Newport Jazz, Ledisi’s interpretation of Simone’s funky “Be My Husband” was all sass and inventive vocal flourishes. Another highlight from her concert was the band’s combination of Randy Newman’s powerful anthem “Baltimore” (sung by Simone on her 1978 album of the same name) transformed here into a bold statement. This powerful tune segued into Ledisi’s original song, “Shot Down”, a scathing portrayal of recent police murders led by thunderous big bass, drum thrusts and Ledisi’s glowing charge to the top of her expansive register. (Some of these passionate high flourishes, unfortunately, were marred by the shrill high volume of the sound mix at the Quad Stage for this performance).

Ledisi has just released her Ledisi Sings Nina [BMG Label; www.bmg.com] and this should be a treat to hear judging from her inventive and powerful interpretations of these songs at Newport Jazz. I have also enjoyed exploring Ledisi’s 2020 CD release, The Wild Card [BMG Label] a superb collection of both her originals and covers that teems with her adventurous spirit.

Highlights include the opening ”Anything For You”, (with Ledisi’s voice frolicking high and lithe); the uplifting “Stone” (gospel strong and regal), the swaying bluesy pulse of “Next Time” and the brimming sass of the swinging “What Kind of Love Is That”. Ledisi’s commanding voice flows warmly, earthy and creatively forceful on all of her great R & B and soul-infused adventures.

That same warm R&B flow -that feel for the sinuous groove or funky powerful blast – shares kindred space with the music of two other gifted artists who also appeared at the Saturday edition of Newport Jazz 2021: keyboardist and intrepid composer Robert Glasper (whose colorful “Now or Never” is covered in fine grooving form by Ledisi on her Wild Card) and bold trumpeter and composer, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah.

One of the many formations that the inventive Glasper has lassoed over the years is his “R+R=N” (“Reflect + Respond = Now”) group, consisting (at its core) of Glasper on keyboards, Derrick Hodge on bass, Terrace Martin and Taylor Mcferrin on synthesizers and vocoder and Justin Tyson on drums. R+R=N’s 2018 recording, Collagically Speaking [Blue Note; www.bluenote.com], is an excellent introduction to this alighting music with its shifting rhythms, layered drum and bass textures and inventive spoken-word directness to the power of love and resilience. Listen to the ever-adventurous Derrick Hodge on his sinuous bass (for example, his warm plucky solo introducing the powerful tune, “Her=Now”) or get dancing to R+R=N’s grooving “Resting Warrior”, riding on Adjuah’s streaking trumpet and Martin and McFerrin’s keyboard and synthesizer windswept grooves.

Robert Glasper “Dinner Party” with Kamasi Washington at Newport Jazz – photo by Jim Brock

At their Saturday performance, this core group (aided by talented guests saxophonist Kamasi Washington and vocalist Phoelix), plied their adoring audience with their funky “jazztronica” brew- diverse in its sounds, colors and dance. The group’s performance of “Freeze Tag” added ripples of spoken-word and poetry to their creative mix with Martin’s sax hitting hard in the warm groove propelled by Glasper’s repeating patterns on his lithe keyboard.

Christian Scott atunde Adjuah at Newport Jazz – photo by Jim Brock

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, making a guest appearance with Glasper on Saturday, also appeared with his own spirited band at the Lawn Stage at Newport Jazz, exploring his “Stretch Music”- spanning the globe with influences from bebop to lithe African rhythms. The band’s questing spirit at their Newport Jazz performance included the welcomed addition of flautist Elena Pinderhughes, who plied her sprite instrument with bluesy trills and high, dancing flourishes. Her sparkling flute, combined with Adjuah’s dynamic trumpet, made for a radiant partnership. Her articulate flute dipped and danced with Adjuah’s trumpet- from his highest rapid-fire piercing runs to his tranquil moments (squeezing short breathy bleats from his horn)- all in the service of questing passion and expression. Keyboardist Lawrence Fields, always an intrepid force, added his own twinkling voice to the band’s charisma and invention. His twinkling piano solo on the ballad, “Guinevere” (a David Crosby nugget) glowed with lithe charm. His careening solo on the band’s rollicking version of Herbie Hancock’s “Eye Of The Hurricane” (ranging to every octave of his piano) propelled Hancock’s feast delivered in bold colors and intensity by this consummate, gregarious band.

Another source of open-eared music at Newport Jazz at this Saturday session – one that combined a mercurial jazz band, impassioned vocals, (spoken-word and poetry) with snippets of pre-recorded speeches and nimble DJ action- was the striking music performed by drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and her Social Science, with pianist Aaron Parks, guitarist Matthew Stevens, saxophonist and bassist Morgan Guenin, vocalist Debo Ray and MC, DJ Kassa Overall. Social Science explored original material from their bold 2020 album, Waiting Game [Motema Music; www.motema.com], a quality recording that captures the tactile heat and synergy of these convivial musicians thriving on their songs of deep groove and spoken-word power.

John Watson photo

Every tune on the album is driven by the singular Carrington on her stalwart drum kit. She reliably drives the music’s foundation with inventive, fluid propulsion that sparkles and shines or startles – with her dynamic deep eruptions hitting with audacious power – as the music requires.

At Social Science’s Newport Jazz performance, their”If Not Now” was a funky, grooving power glide with the band laying down mercurial, potent colors. The song ended with the crowd singing along with vocalist Debo Ray on the tune’s swaying and dancing “By-yah, By–yah” choruses. Ray also sang with operatic power (in to her highest silvery register) on the band’s powerful “Anthem”, a song that salutes the resiliency and power of women everywhere. On the band’s shimmering version of Joni Mitchell’s “Love,” Ray’s voice nestled tender in Steven’s guitar washes and Guenin’s spinning warm bass slides. Kassa Overall’s limber percussive effects and snippets of recordings (from women held as political prisoners in recent history) generated the power of “No Justice For Political Prisoners”, a magnetic piece that blazed on Guenin’s muscular sax solo, Steven’s layered guitar hurls and seismic hits from Carrington’s drums. All of this swirling energy empowered the recorded statements by these political prisoners calling for an end to racism and injustices suffered in their own legal cases (and for the advancement of prisoner’s rights everywhere). This was a moving, boundless performance by Social Science, highlighting the transformative power of music in the service of political and personal change.

Kenny Garrett at Newport Jazz – photo by Jim Brock

The feast of exuberant music at Newport Jazz at this Saturday edition concluded with two performances teeming with joyful soar and upbeat possibilities. First up was an explosive performance by venturing saxophonist Kenny Garrett, soaring on his instrument with irresistible groove and power. Garrett delivered geysers of sounds and colors from his gleaming sax – lean and nimble in their quick bursts – throwing back his head to ignite his rapid-fired high calls. His music was a global feast, roughhousing from blues to Cuban rumba with a joyful sense of discovery. Garrett’s trusted bandmates added carousing piano colors, lithe bass lines and big swathes of drum and conga heat to Garrett’s full-bore attack. The apex of this knockout performance occurred when Garrett took off on an extended solo flight on his sax that teemed with breathless runs, blazing trills, deep bleats and swaggering R & B swing ending with a journey into the stratosphere of his register, urged on by a raucous audience riveted to his every blistering run. Garrett’s new album, Sounds From the Ancestors [Mack Avenue Records, www.mackavenue.com], is due out soon and should be a thrill to explore, given his shining, global-inspired performance at Newport Jazz.

Trombone Shorty and Pete Murano at Newport Jazz- photo by Jim Brock

Saturday’s Newport Jazz edition concluded monumentally with a joyful, rollicking performance by Troy Andrews (aka. Trombone Shorty; “Shorty”) and his big band, Orleans Avenue, barnstorming Newport’s Lawn Stage with their kinetic grooves. The energy of this show was irresistible – from the first blares of punctual brass to the appearance of Shorty and his gleaming trombone (lifted to the sky) to deliver his instrument’s breathy, powerful pulses of dance.

The tight-knit Orleans Avenue concentrated on a number of cuts from their terrific 2017 Blue Note label recording, Parking Lot Symphony, a recording that captures this frolicking band in all its tactile, layered heat within the airy confines of the legendary Esplanade Studio in New Orleans, the same studio where Newvelle Records recently recorded their fabulous New Orleans Collection of artists on their impeccable LPs (see my earlier review and www.newvelle-records.com for all information).

The high-wattage fun at Shorty and Orleans Avenue‘s Newport Jazz performance had the capacity crowd dancing from start to finish. The dashing instrumental, “Tripped Out Slim” sent the dancing ablaze with its pumping foundation by baritone saxman BK Jackson and the rest of the band’s tight grooves. “Dirty Water” pranced on the slink of Pete Murano’s electric guitar and on “It Ain’t No Use”, Shorty’s molasses-smooth vocals sashayed alongside the shimmy of brass choruses. On the irresistible anthem, “Where It At?”, Shorty’s gushing and vital trombone led the “Second Line” carouse with its deep pulses and flair while the crowd danced and sung along to the rousing chorus: “I just want my heart back – Where it At?” Here was Newport Jazz at its most funky and playful – a carefree abandon in rejoicing music of resiliency.

sfchronicle.com

*Many thanks to my friend and colleague, Jim Brock [www.eyeonthemusic.com], for his superb photos from all the great action at Newport Jazz this year!


You can read more of Nelson’s concert reviews at www.bostonconcertreviews.com.


Nordost Playlist – September 2021

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

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


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


  1. Cruel—St. Vincent—Strange Mercy
  2. Feelin’ Alright—Joe Cocker—With A Little Help From My Friends
  3. Can I Go On—Sleater-Kinney—The Center Won’t Hold
  4. Have You Ever Seen Peaches Growing…—Jake Xerxes Fussell—What in the Natural World 
  5. Winners (feat. Yxng Bane, Chance The Rapper & Joey Purp)—Smoko Ono, Yxng Bane, Chance the Rapper, Joey Purp—Winners
  6. Smoldering Fire—Ural Tomas and the Pain—The Right Time
  7. Never My Love—The Association—Insight Out
  8. Tank!—Seatbelts—COWBOY BEBOP
  9. Disco Man—Remi Wolf—I’m Allergic to dogs!
  10. The Way We Were/Through The Eyes Of Love (Live)—Barbra Streisand—Back to Brooklyn

Better Normal: A ‘Concept Concert’ with Eleanor McEvoy

Join our good friend and industry advocate, Eleanor McEvoy for an up-beat, up tempo ‘Concept Concert’ that will warm the heart and lift the spirits: Better Normal. 

Eleanor McEvoy, along with Jess Kavanagh, and Pauline Scanlon, will walk you through Skiffle songs from the 1900s and bring you right up to original songs specially commissioned for the show and written by Eleanor McEvoy, Paul Brady, Derek Ryan and Dave Rotheray (ex-Beautiful South).

What is Skiffle music? 

Skiffle is a type of music that originated in America in the early 1900s, rooted primarily in folk music, and contains elements of blues and jazz. It was typically played by amateur musicians on improvised homemade instruments. 

The 1950s brought a massive revival of Skiffle in Britain. Many of the estimated 40,000 skiffle groups around this time grew into successful, well-established acts. Among them was “The Quarrymen”, the pre-curser to The Beatles, formed in 1956 by John Lennon. 

Eleanor McEvoy, Jess Kavanagh and Pauline Scanlon will be accompanied by a five-piece band, augmented by a three-piece (New Orleans style) brass ensemble and a ten-piece Gospel Choir!

Not “back to normal”, but instead creating a “better normal”.

Better Normal is available to stream at the link below internationally Friday August 27th at 8pm for €15 

https://ticketco.events/ie/ie/m

Nordost Playlist – August 2021

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

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


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


  1. Crimson and Clover—The Shacks—Crimson and Clover
  2. Black Grease—The Black Angels—Passover
  3. Floated By—Peter Cat Recording Co.—Bismillah
  4. The River—Michael Farneti—Good Morning Kisses 
  5. I Get A Kick Out Of You—Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga—I Get A Kick Out Of You
  6. Surf’s Up – A Cappella—The Beach Boys—Feel Flows The Sunflower & Surf’s Up Sessions 
  7. Be Aware—Barbra Streisand—Release Me 2
  8. World That’s Not Real—Gloria Ann Taylor—Deep Inside you 
  9. Angel – Work Tape—Aretha Franklin—ARETHA 
  10. Turnaround (Cocaine Song)—Tōth—You and Me and Everything

Nordost Playlist – July 2021

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

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


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


  1. We Cannot Resist—LUMP, Laura Marling, Mike Lindsay 
  2. Bed Head—Manchester Orchestra—Bed Head 
  3. Lowdown—Boz Scaggs—Silk Degrees 
  4. Slow Mover—Angie McMahon—Salt 
  5. You & Me—Dave Matthews Band—Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King (Expanded Edition)
  6. Comerte Entera—C. Tangana, Toquinho—Comerte Entera
  7. Somebody Help Me—Otis Brown—Southside Chicago
  8. Tip Toe—SAULT—7
  9. Dreams—Fleetwood Mac—Rumours
  10. Against The Wind—Victory—The Broken Instrument