Spain – The Blue Moods of Spain

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The Blue Moods of Spain is one of the best albums I own, certainly when you narrow my collection down to the 90s. The title says it all really, and it differs from She haunts my dreams because this album is slower and even more melancholic than the second one. Spain is one of those bands who can’t be expected to be successful with singles. You have to listen to the whole cd or not at all. Josh Haden is terrific on bass and vocals and all melodies are unforgettably beautiful. My personal favorites are I lied, Untitled #1, Ray of light, Spiritual and Ten nights. This album is not of this world.

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Ronny Jordan Meets D.J Krush – Bad Brothers

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In what could have been a very eclectic and explorative collaboration, turntablist supreme DJ Krush and pioneering acid jazz guitarist Ronnie Jordan churn out a collection of Krush remixes that only occasionally steps outside the friendly confines of smooth jazz. It’s not that this is a stereotypical smooth jazz record, but the detriment of this wing of the highly hyped genre of acid jazz was really only a fusion of beats and laid-back jazz instrumentation and/or soulful vocal stylings (frighteningly close to smooth jazz). Not all acid jazz so easily fell into that trap, but the design of the formula alone left that as the case more times than not. Unfortunately, Bad Brothers fell right in, head over heels. The only things that save this from being played on smooth jazz radio are Krush’s beats, which hold his patented minimalist hip-hop trip that most Earl Klugh fans might find a bit aggressive.

Gil Scott-Heron – Reflections

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Although a major across-the-board hit always eluded the poet, singer, and activist Gil Scott-Heron, this album does contains one of his best-known songs. “B-Movie,” an extended attack on Ronald “Ray-gun,” unleashes 12 minutes of vitriol about the then recently elected president. Beginning with the declaration “Mandate, my ass,” it’s a laundry list of fears about Reagan, fantasizing that his election meant “we’re all actors” in some surreal film. Delivered over a taut funk groove, parts of it are still funny. Elsewhere, Scott-Heron takes an early stab at endorsing firearm control on “Gun”; slows things down for “Morning Thoughts”; and explores reggae’s rhythms and revolutionary power on “Storm Music,” a direction he’d pursue more fully on his next album, Moving Target. The disc also includes a pair of covers that offer varying degrees of success: Bill Withers’ “Grandma’s Hands” is a natural for Scott-Heron’s warm baritone and a bright soul-jazz arrangement from the Midnight Band, but the version of Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues,” while it swings convincingly, has a lengthy spoken-word riff that fails to embellish on the pain implicit in the original. Overall, Reflections doesn’t capture Scott-Heron at the peak of his game, though anyone who enjoyed the other works from his Arista period certainly won’t be disappointed.

Carlos Johnson – My Name Is Carlos Johnson

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Carlos Johnson (born January 17, 1953, Chicago, Illinois, United States) is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is left-handed, but plays a right-handed instrument upside-down like players such as Otis Rush and Albert King. Johnson is known for his aggressive playing which has attracted audiences in Chicago blue scene since the 1970s. He has played on recordings of notable musicians including Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues and Son Seals.
In 1989, he made is first tour to Japan with Valerie Wellington, and caught attention of the Japanese blues fans. He revisited the country in 2004 as a supporting guitarist for Otis Rush who became unable to play the guitar due to the stroke he suffered earlier that year.These concerts helped him build a fan base in Japan.
Though he has been active since the 1970s, he had to wait until 2000 to release an album under his own name. That year saw the release of his debut CD My Name Is Carlos Johnson recorded in Buenos Aires, Argentina from local Blues Special label.He was featured on Billy Branch ‘s CD Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues featuring Carlos Johnson released in 2002. Johnson also made an album as a duo with Branch titled Don’t Mess with the Bluesmen in 2004. Another CD In and Out from Mr. Kelly’s Records followed the same year. In 2007, he released a live album Live At B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted recorded in Chicago.