I have a wonderful problem: I’m finding I have too many recordings to examine, and not as much time as I’d like to review them.
I would hate for artists to think I’m ignoring the music they send me. To that end, I give you this new series I call Eighth Notes, which enables me to say at least a little something about what I’ve been listening to. Keep those albums coming!
Mark Lettieri, Deep: The Baritone Sessions
Snarky Puppy guitarist Mark Lettieri unleashes an EP of jazz/funk grooves centering on his abilities with the baritone guitar. The results are quite special. Tunes like “Daggertooth” and “Ridgehead” resonate with a Prince meets Stanley Clarke-like quality that lays the foundation for what’s to come. The music is highly organic, even if some of it is programmed. The guitarist’s Stratocaster leads shine throughout, particularly on “Stoplight Loosejaw.” Clocking in at a mere 24 minutes, the only question asked was, “Where’s the rest of it?” The answer would come soon when Lettieri released Things of that Nature a few months later.
Doskalle, Alive at Copperfields September 2018
Guitarist Tobias Alpadie, drummer Mattias Olsson, and bassist Hampus Nordgren show up, plug in, and unleash hell in the best ways imaginable. The rhythm section digs deep, unleash aural gut-shots for their guitarist to dig into or float right over. The album’s four tracks run as a suite, with each musician doing a great job of listening to one another. The music hits in waves, but this is a storm well worth weathering.
Brian Tarquin Project, Vegas Blue
Presented as a tribute to the victims of the Las Vegas, Nevada, mass shooting that took place in October of 2017, guitarist Brian Tarquin uses his instrumental and vocal abilities to bring forth a bit of healing. He is aided by special guests like guitarists Steve Morse, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, and Hal Lindes as well as bassist Trey Gunn (among others), who bring forth a tasteful and mostly straightforward rock and roll affair. The playing is solid throughout, with each player being allowed to shine throughout the album.
Fans of the avant-garde will find joy and solace in the efforts of saxophonist Patrick Brennan (with a touch or coronet) and Abdul Moimeme, who simultaneously plays guitar and assorted “objects.” The music is angular and thought-provoking, able to pull just about any music fan out of his comfort zone. The saxophone squonks its way merrily around percussion barriers, giving the listener something to hold on to while sorting out the other information being offered. A wild ride indeed.
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My book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers.
Would you like to have your album reviewed? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org