A good year topped by Prince
very real, a week after the album dropped he was shot to death
she can swing like Count Basie swings…
everything you want from reggae by one of the greats
a rock n roll Big Thief
Ethiopian pop meets True Groove black rage unharnessed, is the third of the Haile Selassie trilogy
bedroom pop’s coming of age
instrumental last act
An instrumental look back produced by Bill Laswell
We may never see this again
Changed the sonic identity of ’70s funk
For all the great music Bernie has provided for us, he should be given nothing but money all the time
A tough sell and nobody bothered to sell it, so it seems to be as deep and strong and blue as a classical take on black music phenoms can be but also unheard of and hiding in plain sight of the world. released around the end of 2013, it is a lovely coda to a great career
It is a gloriously beautiful piece of music that elevates us as high as we can possibly go and is so inclusive the only reason not to embrace it is misanthropy. Why only Tomas Doncker is heralding this album is beyond me. A magnificent piece of music that should be heard and heard again.
The solos that intro and outro the 20s masterpiece written by the great man himself are there for dancing but once the vocal kicks in the song changes tempo and Louis growls an entreaty and a promise “If you just listen to me honey, I’ll tell you something you don’t know…” – A+
Ikonoklast Bill Laswell for this article, he spoke of the lineage from which the three original soundscapes (and much of the overall “vibe” of ELEVATION) emerged.This music has to be felt, not analyzed, compared, judged or even listened to. It exists in the distance… past and future. Its’ roots go as far back as Miles Davis’ “In a silent way”. It’s beyond music. It’s part of the fabric. It’s Culture”.
Adventures In Bluesland – Phil Gammage – A New Wave stalwart continues his career trajectory through Americana to an East Coasts rock and blues sound uniquely his own. Add to that one of the best rock and roll singing voices you’ll hear and a mean harp, Gammage’s album stands as an organic response to synthetic emotions.
Love Child – Diana Ross And the Supremes – A bastards story but also a Motown classic, sends me back to the back of my dad’s Jag on a Sunday afternoon driving back from Blackpool – A+
Billy Joel sucked in the New Year but the Icons Of Funk made up for it in the middle of a blizzard where Bernie Worrell gave a keyboard performance we will never forget.Still on Worrell, Tomas Doncker woke me to Worrell’s superb Elevation (The Upper Air) album, released in November.
Bridge Over Troubled Water – Aretha Franklin – I saw Franklin perform this the day after Whitney Houston died, February 17th, 2012 at Radio City Music Hall and it was superior to this take but not by much. Both are Gospel, but the pain that night is something only real grieving can match – A
John Newman I am very ecited to be seeing on Thursday (and the album is dropping Stateside this month), and Bernie Worrell was new to me but not the rest of the world. But new to everybody is Angel Haze’s excellent new album, a pop triumph that might actually break pop.
Future Farmers Of America – Lou Reed – It sounds like it has escaped off his New York album, with a swift powerful kick and hard buzzing guitars from his final masterpiece as the millennium turned – A
Spirit Of The Mountain – Bob Dylan – No chorus but who needs one with a bridge this smart, it flows like a river and it shimmers on your consciousness as an adult, maybe even senior, love song, “You think I’m past my prime?” Dylan asks, “let me see what you got….” Sublime way to end the year- A
The two revelations here are Cody Chestnutt’s superb r&b album from late 2012 and Bernie Worrell’s brilliant new album which opens with Miles Davis and closes with Bob Marley and in between is a subtle and beautiful jazz masterwork for piano.