The Other Side of the Story

The Other Side of the Story is an album full of head nodding songs with a Wayne Shorter feel, coupled with a spiritual and arcadian effect that only Matt Kane can deliver.  Kane’s influence is all over this album along with the undisputed truth that he can write songs and write them well.The Other Side of the Story You Me NYC
(Image courtesy of Matt Kane)

The team Kane put together for this album, comprised of vibraphonist Peter Schlamb, Pianist Klaus Mueller, guitar player Vic Juris and bass player Mark Peterson.  The Chromatic solos fo Schlamb and Muller work together perfectly on each track of the album.  Couple their playing together with the dynamic, sexy riffs and phrasing of Juris’ guitar playing is an added bonus.  Kane and Peterson back each soloist with solid rhythm.  Kane’s drumming technique drives the music forward, generating statements of his own, with tight snare whips in a march-like pace.

What I love about this album is that Kane explores a plethora of moods.  “Jump Rope Dance” is an exceptional example of funk, while “Eureka Springs” has an energetic feel of a road trip.  Then there is “Distance” which exhibits a rustic, rural feel, like being out in the wilderness camping.  “Drive” is all about a rock feel and is also Kane putting on a drum clinic.  He starts with a single tap to a full explosion of controlled drumming.

Conclusion:

The Other Side of the Story is a collective adventure that will take you on a ride through all the different moods Kane brings to the table.  Kane tells the other side of the story to us very well, not only as a bandleader but as a composer too.  This is the first album Kane composed and I am waiting with “Great Expectations” for his next work.  This album is a must-have for Jazz lovers and music enthusiasts of all genres as well.

Gorillaz Gone Ape In the Barclays

Closing in on the colossal stadium, in the now metropolitan, which is Fort Greene, lies the Barclay’s Center.  The Barclays Center is certainly a circus of lights, advertisement and a certain glint of “New York” spirit. Whether it is the most out of place Roc-A-Wear clothing store or extremely lit (with actual lights) subway entrance to guarantee that you’ve definitely made it to your destination the Brooklyn way. Making my way into the colosseum in the city there’s a brief halt to the glamour and glitter while being checked in through the short security section. The lobby area is nothing special, especially when comparing to the light show that’s going on outside. Once past all the meekness of entering the tunnel to get to your seat, lies vendor after vendor serving decadent meals and frosty cold beers. The homage train car near the exclusive “American Express” entryway isn’t lost on this New York however, it does serve as a cool separation for the haves and the people who are actually riding the train.

Gorillaz Gone Ape You Me NYC(Image Courtesy of New York City Theater)

The Internet was a sublime opener for those previously unaware of the group. With a cocktail mix of R&B, hip-hop, funk and electronic they served as the perfect amuse-bouche to the audience. Even though there were a number of seats still being filled in, the waiting crowd was vibing to the beats.

Anticipation wore heavy on me wondering with questions of what form the band would appear in for the show. Previously known for concealing their identity with some groovy animations or using their silhouettes, the band storms on stage with a wild energy. Their outfits matching the presence of their music, electrical and eclectic.  All except for the frontman of the band, David Albarn’s character 2-D, represents a similarly grungy, laid back, cigarette ashing on my washed out black T-Shirt vibe. The other members performing as the backup in some radical bright patterns and eye-catching colors, like the animated videos in the background showing the remaining animated members of the band.

Gorillaz Gone Ape You Me NYC(Image Courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan)

The first song bringing the band on stage “M1 A1” screams out an ominous call for help, behind a building guitar riff which is reminiscent of early guitar hero strumming that breaks into an electrifying brit rock anthem. It was an excellent way to start and rile up the crowd after a comparatively calm band like The Internet.

Followed up by ‘Tranz’ a trancey toon with an animated video of the nonhuman portion performing, gives a feel of what some of the first songs put out by the band.  There is more of a rock influence backing the track.  ‘Last Living Souls’ was next up using a beat machine.  David Albarn introduces a tougher hip-hop beat while the song sings out questioning the humanity of people while alternating between beats and a country-like ballad.  This song shows how the band can seamlessly incorporate different genres.

The band coasts through “Rhinestone Eyes” a softer melody before getting into the far creepier “Saturn Barz” featuring Popcaan. The song is dark visually and linguistically.  Popcaan sings through some of the painful realities of his life growing up in Jamaica, to a contrastingly creepy electronic rhythm. The electronic presence of the group, likely wouldn’t have translated as well without the harmonious background cast of all black singers. There, a solo by a spectacular talent that was especially appreciated by the audience.

Other highlights of their epically extravagant set include a variety of guest stars including De La Soul, Peven Everett, Bootie Brown and a Brooklyn native Mos Def. The experience was a definite separation from a typical concert experience with well-choreographed animated videos, to bring clarity to the lyrics that are usually far more serious than their sometime’s pop-punky backtracks. Towards the end of the show, most of the sparsity in the crowd was filled with standing fans singing along. This being a more personable performance for the band, it only leaves us fans anticipating what the transformative group has ahead of them.

The Painted Lady Suite

The Painted Lady Suite is the debut album by the Michael Leonhart Orchestra (MLO).  Inspired by the incredible 9 thousand mile migration of the the “Painted Lady” butterfly. This suite is broken into two parts with seven movements.  Each part represents, two separate journeys of the “Painted Lady” butterfly. One journey is over North America to Canada.  The other from the Arctic Circle over Europe to North Africa.  Additionally, this compilation also contains three earlier pieces composed by Leonhart specifically for MLO. Michael Leonhart Orchestra The Painted Lady Suite You Me NYCFirst, is the additional track “In the Kingdom of MQ”.  A cool march , with a stimulating solo by tenor sax player Donny McCaslin. “In the Kingdom of MQ” is dedicated to Leonhart’s younger son Milo.  Portraying his son’s confident steps from toddler-hood to the joyful discoveries of being a young boy.   Next,” Music Your Grandparents Would Like” is what fusion is all about.  A “big band” swing with a rock feel, guitarist Nels Cline delivers a solo which Zappa would appreciate.  Thirdly the piece, “The Girl From Udaipur” depicts a family trip to India.  The baritone sax solos of Ian Hendrickson-Smith and Jay Leonhart bring this album to a chilling close.

First of all, I love this album because each song delivers a taste of the classical masters, such as Ravel and Stravinski.  If you are familiar with “Bolero” by Ravel, you can definitely recognize his influence in a lot of the music on this album.  Furthermore, you can also hear the influence of rock guitar legends Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix on this album as well.  Finally, the glue holding this album together is the style of Miles Davis and Quincy Jones.

Conclusion:

This is a definite “add” to your collection.  This album is perfect for any mood, therefore a must have for all Jazz aficionados.  Additionally, the progress and evolution of MLO parallels the journey of the “Painted Lady” butterfly.  Hence the creation of “The Painted Lady Suite”, which really hits home.  More importantly, this album is an illustration of a blend of genres that work well together.  “Painted Lady Suite” is solid, however the three additional tracks are what really make this album exceptional.

The DIVA Jazz Orchestra and Their 25th Anniversary Project

I Absolutely love this album.  The DIVA Jazz Orchestra is an ensemble of fifteen extremely talented and versatile female musicians, that swing, with a “Big Band” sound that will completely leave you thirsting for more.  The fact that this band is comprised entirely of women, makes it a melting pot for talented musicians who remain greatly under exposed to define and express themselves in such a male dominated industry. The Diva Jazz Orchestra You Me NYCThey are hard charging, powerful and their anniversary project album is all that and more.  Every song on this album swings with vibrant sound and stellar soloists that really take charge.  This twelve song collection contains all original compositions by its members.  The precision of each contribution to the project, highlights the alliance of skill by each musician, beyond their exceptional playing artistry.

The first track on the album is “East Coast Andy” which really sets the mood for the entire compilation.  The melody is performed with an excellent woodwind section surrounded by a strong brass section.   Each section of band hits, show how tight a band can be after playing together for twenty-five years.  Jami Dauber’s trumpet solo is marvelous and stirring.  The solo is full of blues tonality over the medium-tempo of solid swing.  Baritone sax player Leigh Pilzer’s is just buzzing with the full rich language of Jazz, which is the heart and soul of this song and all of the other pieces on this tremendous work.

A 25th anniversary is a rare milestone in the music world today.  Band leader Sherrie Maricle, is the driving force behind this Jazz machine of excellence.  The DIVA Jazz Orchestra goes above and beyond the label of an just another all-female band.  This is all about a combined sound and force of women who have worked hard for each of their accomplishments as players and game-changers in the industry today.

 

Wes Montgomery in Paris (Jazz Album)

Wes Montgomery, Jazz Guitarist/Musician/Legend, that’s what I think about this brilliant composer and instrumentalist.  Born in Indianapolis Indiana, the guitarist had one of the most successful careers in the world of Jazz.  Just recently I had a chance to hear a recording of Wes live in Paris which was produced on March 27, 1965 and had been re-released digitally in a two CD set by Resonance Records.  There are two reasons as to what makes this recording so unique.  This was Wes’ first and only performance in Paris, AKA the “City of Light” and it was recorded in “ORTF”.  Now you’re probably saying to yourself, “What the hell is ‘ORTF'”.  “ORTF” is a technique used to record  stereo sound.  Now I can go on and talk about recording techniques, however that’s not what this is about.

Wes Montgomery You Me NYC

Wes was joined on the stage, by Jazz legends, pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Arthur Harper, drummer Jimmy Lovelace, and special guest, tenor sax player Johnny Griffin, all solid at what they play in the Jazz world.  The arrangement are flawless and truly some of Wes’ best work along with his accompaniment.  Harold’s piano is full of the freewheeling spirit of “Bop”  and the tight rhythm section keeping the pace for the finger picking leads and the slash chord solos with the magnificence only Montgomery can deliver.

The mid-’60s was considered a time of “Pop Jazz” which is where Wes tended to drift towards, however, he still kept to his bebob and blues roots through the entire performance.  Song number four on CD number two is a perfect example of this combination of genre and style that is the antithesis of Wes Montgomery. The  entire album illustrates the long lasting impression his creativity left on the world of Jazz and all the genres of music today and days of the past.  We lost Wes 3 years after this iconic performance, June 15, 1968 at the age of 45 due to a massive heart attack.  A crushing blow to the Jazz and performing artist community.  This album is a must have for all Jazz enthusiasts.

Fishing for Compliments: Jazz Album

People ask me all the time if there is a particular Jazz album for a specific occasion or “What’s a good album to sit back and just chill to”?  I make a ton of recommendations because there is a lot of Jazz out there.  One album that really stands out to me is “Fishing for Compliments” a blend of Cool, Swing and Smooth Jazz all rolled up into one hell of an album created by tenor sax phenom Scott Kreitzer.  Kreitzer is accompanied on this album by one of the best rhythm sections in the business today, including: Kenny Washington, David Finck, Andy Ezrin and Kreitzor’s mentor, Ira Sullivan.  Each artist in this combination, compliment each other throughout the entire album the way only true Jazz masters can. This compilation is flavored with all of the various influences throughout Scott’s Career such as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Clifford Brown, and Ira Sullivan.

 

Scott Kreitzer Fishing for Compliments

 

Just a little about the man behind this album, a current New York City Resident, Scott is originally from South Florida and started his musical journey on the clarinet when he was twelve years old.  At the age of fifteen, Scott was introduced to the tenor sax and Jazz legend Ira Sullivan, who later became his  mentor.  When Scott turned nineteen he ventured off to New York City where he was able to study with Joe Lovano, Eddie Daniels, and Bob Mintzer, while he was still able to continue his education at William Paterson College.

“Fishing for Compliments” is on of those albums that can be played on any occasion for any type of mood.  Whether your throwing an exclusive dinner party or you need to come down after a stressful day, this album is the perfect answer for any situation.  Have a listen, swing and enjoy!

Elbow


Originally formed in Manchester, England in 1990, Elbow’s swirling, moody, and unmistakably British brand of ethereal rock is as cerebral as it is beautiful. An admitted musical snob who critiques and analyzes every note as it enters my ears, I have been hooked on this band since first hearing their debut full-length major label release back in 2001, entitled “Asleep In The Back”. This band’s music has pulled me to soaring new heights of unending, thought provoking, emotional dream-scapes that few others have. The kind of music you want to casually drive home listening to with only the night sky as your passenger. The kind of music that envelops your body, and your mind, in a warm, complete cloak.

With 6 other studio albums, and one B-side compilation, with their most recent release titled “Little Fictions” released in February of this year, Elbow continues to reinvent themselves and solidify their position as my undisputed favorite band.

Guy Garvey Elbow
A few weeks ago I was asked to start contributing to this magazine and of course, I said yes without hesitation. The only issue was to figure out what my first contribution would be. Then, a few days later on November 2, 2017, I went and saw Elbow live at Terminal 5 in Manhattan; and as the music took over that night before our eyes, my first article began to take shape.

The band took the stage to the thunderous appreciation of the crowd’s acknowledgement, with all of us fully aware of the beautiful journey we were about to embark on together. Singer Guy Garvey stepped into the spotlight donning his familiar black button down shirt with his sleeves rolled up and darkly colored jeans. A Burly man who’s kind, smiling face was draped in its ever-present brown scruffy beard. He greeted the crowd and waved with seemingly as much excitement as the rest of us had to begin the show. If you’ve ever seen Elbow before there is always one constant, the fact that this band never fails to present their music with the same amount of joy and gratitude every single time. It’s as if they are always playing their very first concert in a room filled with 5,000 of their closest friends, every time. As you watch them throughout the night you would swear that Garvey makes direct eye contact with every single person in the room at least once, including yourself.

As much as they may draw comparisons to fellow countryman Radiohead and Coldplay, there is no comparison in the eyes of your narrator. Nothing against Radiohead or Coldplay, but Elbow never seems to need the flash, nor the pomp and circumstance, either of those bands tend to bring along. It is the stunning simplicity, sincerity, and beauty of their music which sets them apart, not only from the two aforementioned bands, but from every other band. Garvey commands a room like few other front-men have and addresses the crowd with a level of respect that few others can. Often including the crowd as backup vocalists to the point where he relies on their voices to begin some songs, and carry others. The crowd never fails to graciously accept his offer, and just like that, we are all joined in song.

Their latest album, Little Fictions, explores a sense of rhythm not displayed on earlier recordings, but with the same level of melody which is ever present. They don’t overpower you with musicianship or thunderous percussion, instead you will find that most of the time they seem to simply sprinkle in the perfect amount of instrumentation while allowing Garvey’s soothing, and sometimes heartbreaking vocals and poetry to guide the way.

Elbow

No matter what your usual musical tastes may be, I implore you to give this band a listen. In a world which seems to artistically provide less and less honesty and emotion, Elbow’s versatile style offers a little something for even the most discriminating musical palette. Happy listening. Your friend – Vinny P.

Beats By Keishh

Keishh

From playing around with “Fruity Loops” in her parent’s basement to producing tracks in New York City, where one landed on HBO’s “Insecure” due to features on “NPR”, blurbs on “Fader”, “Elle”, “The Cut”, and “The New York Times”, Keishh the founder of “Beats by Keishh” a fantastic music production company in the Brooklyn area, is on a mission to showcase her company’s talent through live performances and more visual projects.  When asked how she came about her name Keishh with an extra “h” she replied “I knew I wanted to always keep my real name in some way.  Funny story is I used to go by Killa Keish, and when I went to pick my twitter account it was unavailable.  So I threw on an extra “h” and it was available, so I went with it haha!  I saw myself making music forever so I dropped Killa but kept KEISHH with the extra “h” just because it was a part of me at this point.  keishh.com was available when I went to make my website which was cool, and it also makes it a bit easier to find me online.  So the internet kind of led me to this, but I like it”!

Keishh was born in Denver Colorado and raised in Central Maryland where she discovered her love of music at the age of six, while observing her uncle making and producing all kinds of beats.  Fast forward a few years, Keishh was listening to instrumentals on “You Tube”, where she saw some suggested video content on making beats.  With little to no formal music training outside of some basic classes,  she went ahead and downloaded “Fruity Loops” and began creating music patterns.  After that Keishh was hooked.

When asked who are her primary musical inspirations, her response was “Missy”, “Timbaland”, and ” Pharrell”.  Those three made most of her favorite music growing up.  Their versatility, signature sound, and how their production shaped the artist, is what she aspires most to do and emulate.  Whenever Keishh is feeling uninspired about music, she likes to listen to their instrumentals and get lost for a while and then found by a shot of ambition.

Amongst all of the projects she has worked on, her favorite one is an album she produced for an artist by the name of Miss Eaves, titled, “Feminasty” which also happens to be Keishh’s most successful thus far.  Keishh and Miss Eaves met via the “World Wide Web” and developed a wonderful relationship over time.  Keishh loved this project because at the time she was living in Maryland and Miss Eaves was living in Brooklyn.  The challenge was to communicate their visions to each other without being in the same physical space.  After the extraordinary production of “Feminasty”, both Keishh and Miss Eaves gained the confidence needed in each other to trust their ideas and execute them without any doubt, whether being in the same state or different countries.

Keishh is an amazing artist, producer and I can’t wait to see and hear what else comes out of her outstanding production company.  What really strikes me the most about her, aside from her amazing talent is how real she is.  When asked if there were any embarrassing moments during any of her production sessions she said “No”, however what embarrasses  her right now is when she listens to her early tracks and thought how she was creating fire back in the early times and then realized how far from fire it was.  Check out Keishh’s “SoundCloud” tracks below, you won’t be disappointed, I can assure you of that.