Tag Archives: the vinyl anachronist

The Moore-McColl Jazz Society, Electric Fantastic | The Vinyl Anachronist

The long-lasting appeal of old-fashioned blues rock, full of blistering riffs from hollow-bodied Gibsons, Hammond B-3s and the mandatory three-piece horn section, the kind of music G. E. Smith used to play on his Telly when he was leading the SNL Orchestra and heck, even the Blues Brothers themselves, has always perplexed me. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t grow up with this music while growing up in Southern California–aside from Steely Dan, perhaps. This was the music for the young people in towns like Chicago and Detroit, where big, joyful and raucous music was the order of the day. The Moore-McColl Jazz Society plays that sort of music, the kind that borrows the ingredients from many different kitchens and serves you up something unique. The real secret to this nebulous musical genre is more than identifying all those elements–soul, R&B, rock and roll, blues and jazz–and showing how adept you are at playing each one. On their new album, Electric Fantastic, the Moore-McColl Jazz Society adopts that strategy. Singer/keyboard player Beth Moore and singer/guitarist Chance McColl got together last year to record their takes on various jazz and blues genres and assembled not just a band, but a society, to [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Madre Vaca, Winterreise | The Vinyl Anachronist

Just a few days after writing a review on jazz arrangements for Prokofiev, I’ve stumbled upon another CD in the review pile that takes classical compositions and arranges them for a jazz ensemble. In this case we’re talking about the eight-member “jazz collective” known as Madre Vaca and their new album Winterreise, which uses music from Franz Schubert to draw a complex and varied study of melancholia while using many different types of ensembles. Drummer-pianist Benjamin Shorstein arranged these pieces to take advantage of Madre Vaca’s ability to create a multitude of perspectives, with constantly changing moods and sounds. Schubert based his own composition on 24 poems by Wilhelm Muller, which focus on “the story of a rejected man who left his beloved’s home to wander away in the middle of a winter night.” That sounds dreary and full of sadness, but Madre Vaca approaches this subject matter as a way to reflect on our emotions, and how we are sometimes led down a path that’s dark, scary and cold. Through the use of such strong voices as saxophone (Juan Rollan), trumpet (Steve Strawley), trombone (Lance Reed) and guitar (Jarrett Carter), Madre Vaca seems determined to show us the lifelong [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Naim Audio Mu-so 2nd Generation Wireless Music System | REVIEW

  The Naim Audio Mu-so changed the way I listen to music. That’s not hyperbole, a ready-made pull quote that Naim can use in their print ads. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to borrow a Naim Mu-so QB, the smaller cube in the line-up, for a few months. I wasn’t that excited about the Mu-so when I first encountered it. To me, it was a fancy table radio. It did a lot of cool things, but these were mostly the things in audio I didn’t do at the time, like digital streaming. That Naim Audio Mu-so QB had been set up for me in advance, so I plugged it in and started exploring. I didn’t even have a proper owner’s manual for it. I just started poking around, and slowly I started to understand why I would want something like the Mu-so in my daily life. The first discovery was internet radio, something that didn’t interest me in the least before the Naim arrived at my office—the place where I ultimately planned to use it. Over the next few weeks I explored the thousands of stations playing all sorts of genres from all over the world. If [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Spirabassi’s Improkofiev | The Vinyl Anachronist

What’s an improkofiev? For that matter, what’s a spirabassi? Spirabassi‘s Improkofiev has one of those inscrutable album covers, letters going every which way, so it’s hard to figure out what this CD’s about without listening. Here’s the low down: soprano sax player Stephane Spira has teamed up with pianist Giovanni Mirabassi, along with drummer Donald Kontomanou and bassist Steve Wood, to record this album, which is called Improkofiev. It includes a jazz arrangement of Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.1–a favorite composition from one of my favorite classical composers. Spirabassi is the name of this quartet, and Improkofiev refers to the fact that only “excerpts” of Prokofiev’s angular yet stunning themes appear. My first reaction to ideas explored in Spirabassi’s Improkofiev was oh, this is like the Jacques Loussier Trio performing all those fabulous jazz arrangements for popular Johann Sebastian Bach compositions. Spirabassi doesn’t restrict itself by sticking solely to Prokofiev, which I have to admit is an album I would buy in a second. Instead, the quartet runs through a few tracks first before launching into the three-part suite, giving us superb and lush interpretations of Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No.1, Carla Bley’s “Lawns” and a couple of original tunes from Spira. The [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Leslie Ann Jones, dCS Legends | The Vinyl Anachronist

With the first round of our coverage of the dCS Legends series, I did an interesting and possibly misguided thing. When I mentioned the recording engineers honored by dCS, I’d trot out their Grammy-winning LP and listen to it. Why would I do that when we’re talking about dCS, a company at the pinnacle of digital playback? Unfortunately, I still haven’t had seat time with the dCS Bartok that the rest of our staff adored, so I have to come up with a purer way to acknowledge the work of the next honoree–Leslie Ann Jones, Director of Music and Scoring at Skywalker Sound. It just makes sense to listen to the Grammy-winning output of Leslie Ann Jones by streaming Qobuz, especially when you consider the Skywalker Ranch technology that has flowed into the entertainment industry. (Does anyone else miss getting blasted by that THX demo in big movie theaters?) But when you look at the Grammy winners, you’ll notice a lack of the bombastic: Alben Berg: Lyric Suite by Kronos Quartet, Dianne Reeves’ Goodnight and Good Luck, and three other mentioned above. I own the Alban Berg album on CD, but as I mentioned I decided to stream it. I [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile