Showing posts with label Music Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Music Reviews. Show all posts

5/15/2024

Jazz Fusion Review: Keith Fiala-New Beginnings

Release Date: May 17, 2024

Label: Che Cosa Guardare

Website

When was the last time you listened to a sound jazz recording? One that had a fusion of ambient, chill, and new age mixed in? Well, it has been quite some time for this listener since I have heard a recording like Keith Fiala's New Beginnings.

"Let Go" starts things off grandly with much energy and emotion. It has a funky backbeat with an on-point rhythm section and some sharp guitar lines weaving throughout, as Keith's smooth trumpet lays down the foundation to build on. It's a great start to raise your spirits and get that blood pumping.

"She's So Sweet" is the latest track released before the full album's release on May 17th. It is sexy, smooth, and oh-so-sweet. The funky bass and guitar complement the trumpet quite nicely.

"Cityscape" hits the streets on a hot summer night. Think NYC with all the neon lights and the nightclubs full of people and music having a good time. It is nighttime in the city that never sleeps, and a musical soundtrack that keeps that energy flowing and growing. Jazz meets funk with just the right touch.

"Flow" starts with an excellent piano introduction as the trumpet slides in quickly. It is chill jazz for the easy chair on a moonlight night or a table for two in the corner with a candle burning so you can only see each other and nobody else—romance at a nice slow and easy pace. The beautiful trumpet with a prominent bass holds up the bottom end with authority and a softly touched drum for added elegance.

"Hollywood & Vine" returns to the city with different colors and attitudes. It's different than NYC. Here, we have movie stars, rock stars, and many exciting and well-to-do people. Is it a fa├žade, or does the music make it all real? Once again, the bass is prominent, leading the way as the trumpet quickly makes its point. A synth adds some layers for a different touch, playing a more significant role as the track moves closer to its conclusion. 

"Lorena" is very different from all the previous tracks. It starts with a Latin-flavored acoustic riff as the trumpet makes its entrance beautifully, as it always does. The timing is superb, and some excellent percussion keeps the atmosphere of the serenade to the ladies intact from beginning to end. It is an instrumental love song with all the trimmings to make it memorable and picturesque. Viva Fiala!

"How Long Can I Wait" starts with many different sounds converging simultaneously. It is hectic, and Keith's smooth-as-silk trumpet tempers the enthusiasm of the activities around it. It is one of the more distinct tracks and needs your ears' clarification. For me, it was progressive jazz fusion. It may take a few listens to get it.

"MB's Groove" is a slow and passionate groove, with the trumpet, bass, and drums seemingly in sync with the same purpose: to lay it down so you can get into “your groove” while listening. There is a short burst of the keys around the midpoint as the horn takes a break and then comes back to lead the way to the close. The track is so smooth; it is quiet storm jazz at its finest.

"Beyond Infinity" starts winding towards the end of this jazz omnibus, as more funk comes your way with a super funked-up bass with a low-end sound. A pedal is being used for that unique sound. Keith's trumpet just kills it straight on through. Then jazz to infinity and beyond with a cool keyboard section more than halfway through. It has a lot of different elements blending to make it one of the more unique tracks.

"Wits End" is the end, the curtain closer to a delightful jazz fusion listen. It ends appropriately with that very funky backbeat and guitar playing a complementary role to Keith's amazing trumpet playing. Some of the horn parts sound like classic 70s jazz and an excellent guitar with its wah-wah effects. It's a trip back in time to the modern way.

This could be New Beginnings for many listeners. For this jazz lover, it was a welcome return and reminder of how much I love jazz fusion and artists who are willing to push the boundaries of the genre, which Keith Fiala does on this recording with great success. This consistent and solid release keeps your attention from beginning to end.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-MuzikMan.net Founder

May 13, 2024

Tracks:

01. Let Go 

02. She’s So Sweet 

03. Cityscape 

04. Flow 

05. Hollywood & Vine 

06. Lorena

07. How Long Can I Wait 

08. MB’s Groove 

09. Beyond Infinity 

10. Wits End 


4/30/2024

Featured Jazz Track: Keith Fiala-She’s So Sweet

 "She's So Sweet" is Keith Fiala's most recent single. 

The girl on the cover sure looks sweet, doesn't she? Once you hear this man's trumpet playing, you will agree that that horn has plenty of sweetness!

While listening to this track, I was reminded of the smoothness of the incredible Herb Alpert. One of the cool things about it is a sitar solo by Ken Berry. That was certainly an unexpected twist in a jazz tune. As different as that may seem, it works incredibly well. With that in mind, the artist should continue to pursue this divergent path in his musical journey.

If Keith Fiala decides to push the trumpet's boundaries, I think the outcome will be as captivating as "She's So Sweet."

Give it a listen. If you like to explore something different for a change, you will appreciate it as much as I did.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-MuzikMan.net Founder

Monday, April 29, 2024

Keith Fiala is a master LA-based trumpeter, composer/arranger, author, producer, technical consultant, and clinician.

He's been a featured member of the legendary Maynard Ferguson Band, as well as with Maestro Arturo Sandoval's various ensembles.

Formerly, Arturo’s assistant, Fiala, was an active, integral part of and participant in Sandoval's recordings, live performances, and film scoring/soundtrack efforts…READ MORE…

4/20/2024

Vinyl Review: Blue Oyster Cult-Ghost Stories

Release Date: April 12, 2024

Label: ‎Frontiers

Website

Source Link

Ghost Stories, possibly the Blue Oyster Cult swan song, is a nostalgic journey back to the band's prime. As the two remaining original members age, this album serves as a heartfelt tribute to their past, pulling out some gems for the longtime fans.

 

It stands out as a significant release, not just for its musical content but also for the long-awaited return of Albert and Joe Bouchard and the heartfelt tribute to the late Allan Lanier. These elements imbue the album with a historical depth, making it a compelling listen for longtime fans.

 

The vinyl edition of Ghost Stories is a visual treat. The artwork's intricate details (and hidden messages?) serve as a unique storytelling medium. It beautifully captures the essence of the tracks, which are like ghosts in the attic, now brought back to life and polished.

 

Side A starts with "Late Night Street Fight," a strong opener." "Cherry" is a classic old-school rock with a summertime AM radio station feel—mind you, this was the 1970s. One part of the song has a quiet interlude, then changes with the guitars cutting loose with fire. So, we are off to a good start two tracks in.

 

Then comes the longest track, "So Supernatural," which clocks in at 5:55. It is classic BOC with music and a theme all fans will recognize. It is one of the strongest compositions on the LP.

 

If you are familiar with The Animals (Eric Bourdon), you will love their version of "We Gotta Get Out of This Place." Eric Bloom does a great job with the vocals; the musicianship is spot on. It's a rock classic on steroids.

 

"Soul Jive" is probably the album's most out-of-their-comfort-zone song. It is very cool, though. A catchy beginning riff sets the tone with a more subdued guitar. The music is soft but well done, even if you like the rockers more. However, there are some things to appreciate.

 

"Gun" closes out side A. It's back to rockin' the house faster and another one of my favorites.

 

Side B opens with "Shot in the Dark." Picture the scene: a smokey bar room with a piano player. Eric starts talking and telling the story before the music and singing kick in. It is a fine opener with lots of high-energy BOC at work and an excellent lead guitar.

 

"The Only Thing" is Buck Dharma's perfect song. His voice is the spice that flavors the words and makes them believable. It's a slow-burner love song but features some fitting rockin' funky organ and bass. There is a good guitar break towards the end.

 

Do you remember, or are you familiar with MC5? Well, here it is, BOC style. "Kick Out the Jams," indeed! Wayne Kramer (RIP February this year) must be smiling down upon this one from his seat in rock 'n' roll heaven. It's another absolute favorite I could listen to daily.

 

"Money Machine" is a real toe-tapper. It has a great rhythm, accompanied by the piano tinkling as the guitars wail. Excellent!

 

"Don't Come Running to Me" features quick guitar bursts throughout, with passionate vocals making a point as they sing, "Don't come running to me if he breaks your heart." Well, you get the idea.

 

Would they end the album with some force and flex their rock muscles? Wrong! They cover The Beatles' song "If I Fell." What a mistake. It is horrendous. It's a very disappointing way to end a decent album from the archives.

 

It is undoubtedly not one of my favorite BOC albums, but it was a fun listen. It was nice to reminisce back when they were one of the hottest bands on earth. It is a sample of those times and a reminder of how talented this band was. 

 

If you're a BOC fan, you have to have it; an average rock fan, look to their early catalog of releases to find out how good they were. I recommend Agents of Fortune, Secret Treaties, Fire of Unknown Origin, and On Your Feet or On Your Knees (live).

 

If Ghost Stories is the curtain call for BOC studio work, then all things considered, it's a good exit strategy.

 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-MuzikMan.net Founder

April 18, 2024

Tracks:

Side A:

1. Late Night Street Fight

2. Cherry

3. So Supernatural

4. We Gotta Get Out of This Place

5. Soul Jive

6. Gun

Side B:

1. Shot in the Dark

2. The Only Thing

3. Kick Out the Jams

4. Money Machine

5. Don't Come Running to Me

6. If I Fell


3/11/2024

Heavy Metal VinylLP Review: Judas Priest-: Invincible Shield

Release Date: March 08, 2024

Label: ‎Sony Music

Website: https://www.judaspriest.com



Judas Priest is comparable to a cockroach that doesn't die in a nuclear holocaust. Always remember their resiliency and ability to adapt and carry the heavy metal flag. Invincible Shield is an excellent heavy metal recording with no disappointments; every track rocks! This band is on point at all positions, with incredible guitar work and a rhythm section that keeps the pace from start to finish. And, of course, Rob Halford is still singing like he was in his 20s.

 

The artwork on the two LPs' gatefold covers, inner sleeves, and lyrics are fantastic. I followed the words all the way through and the images presented to create a story. Honestly, I don't believe it to be too far off base for the world on fire that we are seeing these days.

 

Glen Tipton and Richie Faulkner fighting off health issues is a fine example of strength in their return to the lineup recording and touring. Both guitarists are back in all their blazing glory to answer the call again with fire and brimstone licks.

 

"Panic Attack" kicks things off on side one of this two-album platter of 180-gram metal perfection. It is a classic JP full-throttle opener with great lyrics for our times. They hit the bullseye musically and lyrically. Halford is as strong as ever. Who would have thought he would sound this good at his age? He is simply a wonder of humankind. 

 

"The Serpent and the King" has the typical locomotive rhythm section, driving the lyrics with the force of magma spitting out at the top of a volcano. Halford hits all the high vocalizations amazingly well. Tipton and Faulkner make a remarkable duo, a most potent two-pronged attack. 

 

Side Two opens with the title track, "Invincible Shield," which features some great melodic guitar runs with a heavy edge. These riffs push the lyrics to the forefront and deliver the message of intent. 

 

"Devil in Disguise" has the appropriate sledgehammer metal to meet the point of the lyrics and the deception of evil that is one of a kind, preying on your fears. What an astonishing twin-guitar attack!

 

"Gates of Hell" continues the assault of darkness on your consciousness,  and the lyrics are accurate. Only the energy and sharp chops of this band of metal gods can sharpen the blade of the song's lyrics that Halford sets in stone with his voice.

 

Side three begins with changing thoughts and beliefs with "Crown of Horns." Is redemption the card now for the lost souls? Is Halford singing about Jesus on the cross? ("Heavy is the crown of thorns that rest on his head") It depends on your perspective. The other side of their typical dark and evil subject matter comes across as a light in the darkness with that powerful message with superb licks from the two six-string masters.

 

"As God is my Witness" brings on rapid-fire riffs as Halford tells the story of triumph and the destiny of a world at war. He sings, "I will prevail until the end of days." An optimistic view for only those who are true warriors indeed. As usual, the music suits the lyrics.

 

"Trial By Fire" begins, and within a few passing seconds, the momentum builds as the track explodes into a trail of fire with the band ablaze and committed to back the lyrics with power and conviction. Enduring this trial by fire is an innocent person accused of being a liar, as the words drive home the hell of one unfortunate individual. Halford is impressive with his vocals!

 

Side four opens with "Escape From Reality," a track that ebbs and flows with powerful chops and a testament of truth set to heavy metal as only Priest can perform. The third verse and the line "Hallucinations from another worldly place" sounded like Ozzy, and I was not hallucinating. It is agony escaping reality, an epic track sure to be a concert favorite.

 

"Sons of Thunder" is an anthem for all the metal maniacs. Inspiration for the masses rides the wave of the song as Halford sings "Let's Ride All Night Sons of Thunder" as the clean riffs pierce your soul, and you are ready to take that ride. Again, the always fantastic rhythm section stands tall and proud to support this heavy metal machine like a locomotive on a mission to a destination.

 

"Giants in the Sky" closes out this masterpiece of heavy metal with excellent leads on the guitars and a significant change towards the end with some soft, finely designed acoustic guitar, a little surprise before closing out with a clap of thunder with their punishing sound to a tribute to those giants in the sky.

 

Invincible Shield is a solid release, proving that Judas Priest is not slowing down! The recording and downloads are available in different variants and formats with three bonus tracks. I also checked out the bonus tracks on Spotify, and they are excellent, so that is worth checking out.

 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-TFOV Founder

March 9, 2024

Tracks:

Disc: 1

1. Panic Attack

2. The Serpent and the King

Disc: 2

1. Invincible Shield

2. Devil in Disguise

3. Gates of Hell

Disc: 3

1. Crown of Horns

2. As God is my Witness

3. Trial By Fire

Disc: 4:

1. Escape From Reality

2. Sons of Thunder

3. Giants in the Sky

2/29/2024

Blues-Rock-Country Review: Dion-Girl Friends

Release Date: March 8, 2024

Label: INGROOVES

Website

Dion has been making music for a mighty long time. He is one of the few who recorded music in the 50s and 60s that is still alive and relevant. That point alone should tell you something about the man's resilience and determination. It tells me a lot.

 

Girl Friends is another winner, his most recent release with an all-star cast. As you can see by the CD cover, all his guests are the ladies accompanying him on twelve tracks of blues, rock, and country-flavored tunes. I enjoyed it from start to finish, and Dion is in fine form musically and vocally.

 

Track one begins "Soul Force," an excellent way to kick off things with the fiery Susan Tedeschi. They both rock the house as Dion sings, "Superpower stronger by the hour."

 

"I Aim to Please" with Danielle Nicole is a country-inflected mover! This one has a great call answer from the duo and is a real toe-tapper. 

 

"Stop Drop and Roll" with Valerie Tyson features a strumming acoustic guitar with lots of rhythm and harmonizing. It is a country pop tune with banjo and excellent electric six-string licks. Some foot-stompin' country, y'all!

 

"Do Ladies Get the Blues" with Christine Ohlman & Debbie Davies asks the question. By all accounts, it is true. The ladies and Dion bring it home to make you a believer as some stinging electric guitar heats things to a boil and the bottom end cooks right along with it.

 

"An American Hero" with Carlene Carter is my favorite track because of its meaning. Dion sings, "We need an American hero to stand up for everyone." Never was there a time in our history was that truer. Carlene Carter was a great choice with her voice, and they punctuated every word, which gave me chills.

 

"Don't You Want a Man Like Me" with the soulful Rory Block and some acoustic slide guitar to get those embers of passion burning. The rhythm section is rock solid; hard rockin' blues burn the fuel as they sing "Some Like It Hot."

 

"Sugar Daddy" with Christine Ohlman's breathy vocals and steady rhythms merge for another rockin' blues workout. Acoustic and electric guitars soar!

 

"Endless Highway" with Randi Fishenfeld features exceptional bass, with the track deep in Americana roots and country twang. Dion is in great form.

 

"I Got Wise," with Maggie Rose starting the vocals, is the first on the album without Dion leading off. Dion comes in to answer her at a slow and emotional pace—a very atmospheric track.

 

"Hey, Suzy" with Sue Foley is a kind of old-fashioned love song. The duo combination is perfect, with Dion showing that he still has some range in his vocals. The country and blues-varied guitar lines hit the bullseye.

 

"Mama Said" with Shemekia Copeland is soulful, with Shemekia singing "Listen boy"…as Dion responds. It was another strong and well-rounded effort by the duo.

 

"Just Like That" with Joanne Shaw Taylor is a great closer with smokin' hot guitar lines as they cross the finishing line with conviction.

 

Girl Friends is an eclectic range of artists providing music and vocals that keep it a satisfying listen from beginning to end. The booklet accompanying the CD has an excellent write-up from Dion about the "feminine genius" and how it has surrounded his life. Also, he adds comments about each artist.

 

Dion proves once again that age has nothing to do with a great musician and a singer's capabilities as long as you have the experience, confidence, and belief in your craft. It is a solid release, and everyone involved should be proud.

 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-MuzikMan.net Founder

February 27, 2024

Tracks:

01. Soul Force with Susan Tedeschi

02. I Aim to Please with Danielle Nicole

03. Stop Drop and Roll with Valerie Tyson

04. Do Ladies Get the Blues with Christine Ohlman & Debbie Davies

05. An American Hero with Carlene Carter

06. Don't You Want a Man Like Me with Rory Block

07. Sugar Daddy with Christine Ohlman

08. Endless Highway with Randi Fishenfeld

09. I Got Wise with Maggie Rose

10. Hey Suzy with Sue Foley

11. Mama Said with Shemekia Copeland

12. Just Like That with Joanne Shaw Taylor


12/07/2023

Rock-Progressive Review: 6 Turning 4 Burning-6T4B

Release Date: August 26, 2023

Label: Bomber Records

Website

Those Hellraisers From Cleveland, Ohio, 6 Turning 4 Burning, have released a rock album for all true music lovers to give a spin or to blare from your vehicle while cruising down the roads of America. Listen to 6T4B, and I will tell you why track by track.

Indicative of the cover art, they will appeal to those who believe in the freedom of the U.S. and the open roads to travel anywhere. Their music is very eclectic, bordering or launching into full-on progressive.

"Crazy Peace" is an instant satisfying rocker, and the lyrics are a riot! It is about the lady friend or wife, as it may, having their crazy "time of the month." It is a great way to kick off the album. Also, you will hear some exemplary musicianship on the recording. It is bound to click when you assemble a group of seasoned players. The second track, which clocks in at 7:02, is a tribute to their all-around talents and a tight band exhibiting all their skills within one track. It is a killer track featuring all aspects of the band at each position. Notably, the vocals are outstanding.

"So Deep" was a famous track that got thousands of views. It is a rocking love song, a slow cooker, and a tremendous vocal performance. It serves as another dimension of the band to be admired and appreciated.

"Help Me Through This" differs significantly from the previous tracks for 8:29. The guitar playing is bluesy, which fits the lyrics nicely. I am getting more impressed the further I get into the album. The diversification is quite impressive. And because of that, it keeps things interesting. Also, with extensive songs, it is essential not to lose the listener. That never happens because of all the changes. This one is a progressive rocker.

"Something's Wrong" keeps up with the pattern of change. The track starts with a soft acoustic guitar as the bass and drums come in. The vocals are heartfelt and expressing the lyrics beautifully. If you like blues-country tracks, this one is a nice change from the previous track. They sound like a different band on this one.

"It's Over" starts with a funky bass line accompanied by a driving guitar line, then it changes into a slower pace to emphasize the lyrics about the abuse of drugs and all the struggles it can bring. It doesn't sound like any fun, and it should discourage those wanting to take drugs. I think that was the point. As the song lumbers along, the words hit you like a brick wall at 90 mph, saying, "Cocaine's got me down, rest in peace." About halfway through, the song turns into the fast line as the bottom end pushes it along. The guitar plays some fat chords and nice cutting lines to show off their chops. It is another excellent track with 8:44 of fantastic changes and music to keep you wondering what is coming next. Then, at the end, you can hear someone snorting coke.

"Karma" is another long one coming in at 9:34, so I am amazed at how they can keep pumping out all these impressive tracks with such length and complexities. It starts with some definitive chicken pickin', rapid drumming, and a big bass sound. It all changes as it goes back and forth with different paces and styles of playing. It's like a country-fried rocker with hints of the blues for extra color. You may wonder when the vocals will come in, but they finally arrive well into 3+ minutes. And in this case, that is a good thing, as I enjoyed the long instrumental intro. The vocals add their sentiments with lines like "Karma speaks to you all alone." Those words change how we can relate to and experience karma. Which, of course, works if you believe in it. I believe in it without question, so I found the lyrics relatable.

"Take a Hike" is their magnum opus, dialing in at 11:24. I did not know what to expect with a track this long; it had to be progressive. At least, that was my first thought. It starts epically with a hard-driving metallic power; then they start reciting lines from the bible to help save them from the dark master himself, the Devil. It is an incredible track with magnificent music. It is reflective, opaque, and anticipatory. This one convinced me what a superior group of players this band is. Fans of Black Sabbath would love this one for sure. It is most certainly a hike to the darker side of life. In typical fashion, at 4+ minutes, it completes changes in pace and sound. This bass is prolific here. The vocals reminded me of Ian Gillan of Deep Purple. It is so soulful and passionate, and if anyone wants to know how good this band can play, it should be your first track. It's a must! And remember what they say in the song "Don't listen to Devil!" "Take a hike, Devil, disappear!" All instruments are superb throughout the run of the song.

So, if all of that wasn't enough, they test their abilities by covering the ELP classic 'Lucky Man" within 10:07. Could they once again prove themselves as a legitimate force in music? It starts differently than the original, then changes to the more familiar melody you are used to hearing in 2+ minutes. The vocals are excellent, and the music from start to finish is outstanding. It was risky to close out such a superior recording like that, but they pulled it off like the five-star band they are.

6T4B is a title that may give people a different idea of what this band is all about, including the cover art. Trust me on this one; you are in for a treat for the senses with 6 Turning 4 Burning. Every track is entertaining and well-played, and you will be sorry it all ends, so play it again.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-MuzikMan.net Founder

December 6, 2023

Tracks:

1. Crazy Peace 5:26

2. Release Me 7:02

3. So Deep 5:28

4. Help Me Through This 8:29

5. Something's Wrong 4:25

6. It's Over 8:44

7. Karma 9:34

8. Take a Hike 11:24

9. Lucky Man 10:07


12/06/2023

Rock Review: Dreamstreet-2.0

Release Date: September 23, 2023

Label: Red Fields Entertainment LLC

Website

Dreamstreet version 2.0 harkens back to the '70s and the popularity of AOR (album-oriented rock). I was one of those people who would tune into a radio station out of Boston or Hartford to hear this type of music. Sometimes, they would play an entire album. It's an early version of streaming, just over the radio waves. History can repeat itself and look different while using the same concepts.

The track "You Got Me Rockin" says it all for content, a simple message with great vocals and musicianship to drive it down that road of the excitement of days gone by or, if you are new to the genre, a discovery worth experiencing. I am sure this band is a blast in a live setting.

 

Tracks like "Heartzone" are classic rock ballads, and the longest track clocks in at 5:21. The bass and drums are critical to making this rock clock tick along. Three-quarters in the lead guitar takes off to give you a taste of what they can do within one song. They change the pace and intensity, and the vocals are perfect. It reminded me of the powerful vocals of Kansas at their height.

 

A surprise is the cover of Gary Wright's "Love Is Alive." It is one of my favorites of the time, so this was a big test of how good this band could be. Musically, it is a sound cover, and the vocals would be the most challenging thing to emulate. The vocals were average compared to the music provided. But you expect a vocalist to sound like the original, so I am being critical; however, I liked the way they ended it.

 

"On The Edge" is another excellent example of the AOR genre and how to present it. The keys, bass, drums, and supporting guitar leads that bite and make the song powerful and expressive. 


If you are a guitar enthusiast and like hook-filled songs, Dreamstreet will be the band for you. Find out for yourself and stream the album with the Spotify player provided. If you're a rocker, you will find value and enjoy listening to Dreamstreet.

 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-MuzikMan.net Founder

December 5, 2023


Tracks:

1. Money 

2. Power of Love 

3. Forever Yours 

4. Head Troubles 

5. Love Is Alive 

6. Heartzone 

7. On The Edge 

8. Time To Go Home 

9. You Got Me Rockin




12/04/2023

Instrumental Holiday Jazz Review: Mads Tolling - Featuring The Mads Men & Sonny Fredie-Pedersen-Cool Yule

Release Date: December 8, 2023

Label: Madsman Records

Website

Mads Tolling grew up in Denmark with a strong tradition of the Christmas season as an essential part of his upbringing. His heartfelt tribute to that time and the meaning it holds for him is preserved forever in his heart. With all that emotion and memory, he decided to record some of his family's favorite songs on Cool Yule.

Remember that the songs selected were from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland. So, some tracks may only seem traditional if you have never been exposed to that country's holiday music. 

It's cool because the tracks are performed in the style of holiday music via the jazz idiom and are all instrumental, except for the title track with special guest Sonny Fredie-Pederson. Jazz music always works well with traditional and nontraditional wintertime holiday music. However, I don't recall covering a recording with the violin as the lead instrument in this type of music. 


The first question that will likely come up in your mind is, will it sound close enough to the originals? How will the violin sound as a lead instrument? Well, Jean-Luc Ponty proved it could work in the complicated music of progressive rock and beyond, so why can't Mads Tolling do the same within jazz? It is not an easy task, but I am here to tell you it works out wonderfully. One is because they keep it fresh, and the second is because the improvisation is brilliant while maintaining the true spirit of the music and its original concept and base sound. 

I, for one, have had a love for jazz for over thirty years now. That love and appreciation have grown more robust with each passing year. So, with that thought in mind and my passion for the ability of jazz to stretch out, this is an entirely enjoyable listen. 

A few good examples of the tracks taking things down a different improvisational path because of the violin are "My Favorite Things," of course, Coltrane comes to mind right away when you mention that if you are a jazz enthusiast. "Pa Loftet Sidder Nissen (The Gnome's Attic)" was extraordinary, with superb violin, bass lines, and piano. Then, there is a complete switch when you will immediately recognize "Santa Baby." One of my most unique favorites was "Jolakotturinn (The Christmas Cat)," which sounded very Celtic-influenced or something one may have heard during medieval times.

There are many reasons to appreciate and enjoy a recording like Cool Yule. Mainly because the violin takes the lead and factors like the jazz interpretations and how much ground the band covers worldwide regarding countries. All of that adds up to a unique holiday album that is suitable for listening any time of the year, and that is because eclecticism overrides all the other factors and can keep a listener engaged from start to finish. After all, isn't that what drives a musician to create in the first place? And then, to produce something so unique and significant is another surprise to find in your Christmas stocking this year.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-MuzikMan.net Founder

December 2, 2023


Tracks:

01. The Christmas Song 5:29

02. My Favorite Things 6:10

03. Pa Loftet Sidder Nissen (The Gnome's Attic) 5:04

04. Santa Baby 3:18

05. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus 3:16

06. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 3:28

07. Jolakotturinn (The Christmas Cat) 5:00

08. Let It Go 5:25

09. Cool Yule 3:56

10. Sankta Lucia 5:32

11. The Little Mermaid/Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen 4:46

12. I Am So Glad Each Christmas Eve 5:22


11/07/2023

Featured Track Review: Paul Adams-Moon Over Prairie

"Moon Over Prairie" is an acoustic guitar track from Paul Adams. He describes it as a painting of the prairie. It is an organic spacial fingerstyle piece in the mood of John Fahey, Leo Kottke, or Will Ackerman.

After listening to the track and watching the video, I agree with that assessment. The spatial reference applies to the track and the beautiful video accompanying it.

Paul is a challenging artist to pin down. He is too eclectic to do so. His acoustic guitar playing is outstanding, with flavorings from blues (albeit some excellent slide playing) to country. And he does it all to make it sound rooted in Americana, along with a touch of ethereal.

Paul Adams's track and video of "Moon Over Prairie" is picturesque enough without the video. However, the images presented help to complete the painting, and the moments he creates in the music tell the story. It is over 5 minutes of instrumental acoustic guitar that any music lover can appreciate.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-MuzikMan.net Founder

November 6, 2023



I wonder what it is that Paul Adams doesn't do? Working in multiple genres, his 13 critically acclaimed albums have over 128 million streams on Pandora and can be heard on Spotify, Sirius Radio The Spa, Music Choice, Amazon Radio, Echoes, Apple Radio, Tidal and other worldwide platforms...READ MORE...

6/21/2023

Concert Review: Martin Barre At The Worthington Country Club

                     Martin Barre Concert-A Brief History of Jethro Tull

The Worthington Country Club, Massachusetts

June 18, 2023

https://martinbarre.com/martin-barre-tour/

Nestled in the country along Route 143 off Worthington Road in Massachusetts is the beautiful Golf Links, owned by David and Helen Pollard. It was my distinct pleasure to attend the concert being held there with Martin Barre. For a few reasons: I knew the Pollards very well and had worked for them for five years in the early 2000s. And I had not seen them in 14 years! Secondly, I am very familiar with Martin’s guitar playing with Jethro Tull, covering several of the reissues of their group’s studio recordings over the years, seeing them play live with the band, and providing coverage before he departed on his solo career. With that in mind and being able to see some old friends, I had been anticipating this event for months.

 

We had a beautiful clear blue sky with the sun shining to usher in this rock legend; however, as the night rolled on, it got a bit nippy, and Martin was warming his fingers to keep them agile.

Martin Barre is one of the finest guitar players in the world and has been for many decades. Now in his 70s, he has not lost a step in showcasing his six-string virtuosity. I was to realize this fully last night as he made his way through two lengthy sets. His band consists of Dan Crisp (lead vocals/keyboards), Alan Thomson (bass), and Darby Todd on Drums. The lead singer bares a remarkable resemblance to a younger Phil Collins. That is what I recognized in short order. And besides that, after belting out the first number with authority, he did a complete turnaround. He sang like a young Ian Anderson, including all the facial expressions and mannerisms of the Jethro Tull mastermind and leader, writer, singer, and musician.

 

Another surprise may have been Martin being an accomplished flute player. I had known this, but many in attendance were surprised. The crowd expressed their delight as Martin handled his second instrument quite well. Quite honestly, and even though I still enjoy Jethro Tull to this day, Ian has lost his voice due to age and wear and tear, and nobody ever could replace Martin on guitar. It has not been the same since he left the band.

 

This night I relived the good old days with Martin wailing away and rocking the crowd and Dan Crisp doing a splendid job with each song from the Tull catalog. There are so many outstanding Tull albums and much ground to cover. Martin and his band are tight and did a marvelous job recreating all the music. Even Ian Anderson would be impressed.

 

The first Tull album I got was Warchild back in the day when there were record and CD clubs that no longer exists. It still stands as my favorite album. Now there are many different choices if you are a vinyl enthusiast to choose from. Hearing them play “Warchild,” “Back Door Angels,” and “Sea Lion” was a treat for the ears and senses. And of course, there are many of the favorites that the audience recognized immediately, such as “Bouree,” “My God,” “Thick As A Brick,” and many more, including the all-out rocking encore numbers “Locomotive Breath” and “Teacher.” Martin and the band ended the show on fire, cranking out those two prog rock classics. Fitting, it ended with plenty of fireworks from Martin’s guitar.

 

It was another night for me to remember, and an honor to be able to see the show and report on it. Thank you, David and Helen, for the night that will forever be in my consciousness and for giving this old rocker a smile from the inside out.

 

If you like the beauty of nature and outdoor music, visiting the Worthington Golf Club this summer is a must. Look at what is on tap for the rest of the season and get your tickets here: https://worthingtongolfclub.com/music-concerts-and-events.

 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

June 19, 2023

First Set:

Look Into The Sun

Someday The Sun

Cat’s Squirrel

We Used To Know

Serenade To A Cuckoo

Bouree

Sossity

Bass Solo

Back To The Family

Nothing To Say

My God

(chat) Thick As A Brick

Passion Play

Whistler

Black Satin Dancer

Back Door Angels

(chat) Warchild

Sea Lion

 

Set Two:

Acres Wild

Jack Frost

(chat) Under Wraps Acoustic

Under Wraps Electric

Protect And Survive

Watching Me

Fallen On Hard Times

Too Old To Rock & Roll

Slow Marching Band

(chat)
Locomotive Breath

Teacher