Tag Archives: Music

CD review – Kate Lush – Feb 2016

Kate-Lush-Blues-EP

Artist:    Kate Lush
Title:
     Kate Lush
Label:     Independent
Year:       2015

Tracks:   8

Web:       http://www.katelush.com

Location:  Sydney, Australia

Review
It doesn’t hurt that Groove Me  the first track on this robust EP is one of my favourites.  Kate delivers the King Floyd classic with groovy gusto, showcasing a swingin’ sax solo by Jason Bruer.
Next up Tired of My Tears, first released in the 60’s by Ray Charles, keeps faithful to the original feel by capturing that old-gold soul sound.

KateLush-5Written by Kate, the standout on the EP  Do You Know What Love Is creates a moody bluesy feel with plaintive, pleading vocals appealing for an answer to the impossible question.

Originally recorded by American blues artist Robert Johnson in 1936, this cover of Dust My Broom lifts your spirits with its 12-bar blues boogie rhythm which is more akin to the later Elmore James version;
then continuing the livelier tempo Loving You is Sweeter Than Ever, written by Stevie Wonder and released by the Four Tops, steers the album in a soulful direction with this unique arrangement.

Another favourite is the Kate penned True Fire which has an odd beginning that doesn’t quite make sense until you watch the video (TrueFire) – but get past that bit and the song morphs into a soul-drenched, organ-infused burner that engraves itself on your brain.

The uptempo When You Pray gets the foot tapping and head nodding in the same way gospel music demands attention.  At the back end of the EP, Set Me Free launches into a spirited blues belter with Kate letting loose on this fabulous finalé to her first-class release.

Already achieving local awards and gaining high marks on Australian blues charts, there’s no doubt this album, because of its varied content, excellent production, musicianship and undeniable talents of Ms Lush herself, will continue to entertain soul and blues fans well into the future.

Album Personnel

KateLush-2

Kate Lush

Kate Lush – vocals
Matt Roberts – guitar, vocals
Chris Wright – guitar
Tim Wilson – bass, vocals
Lachy Doley
– organ, keys
Damon McMahon
– keys
Wes Harder
– keys
Sam Boyd
– keys
Jason Bruer – sax
Stewart Kirwan – trumpet
Paul Derricott – drums
Tony Boyd – drums
Jo Fabro – BV’s
Robert Susz – harmonica

Production:  Michael Carpenter
Mastered by: Rick O’Neil @ Turtle Rock

CD Review – GroovExpress – Jan 2016

GroovExpress-CDcover2014
Artist:   
GroovExpress
Title:
     Ukrainian Doll
Label:     Independent
Year:       2014

Tracks:   10

Web:   http://www.groovexpress.me

Location:  New Zealand


Review

Individually the members of New Zealand’s GroovExpress have a trainload of history.   Collectively the band has been together since 2010 when composer, arranger and producer Mykeljon formed the group.

We were fortunate to discover the band via our Northside Radio colleague, Paul Mac  (Phase Radio Monday’s 4-7pm) and since obtaining this CD, it has remained one of our playlist favourites .

Ukrainian Doll delivers something new with every listen.
Jazz grooves laced with organic soul and fueled with raw funk, the album offers artful hooks that get caught in your memory grooves.

Organ, sax, harmonica, keys, bass and guitar blend with groove-laden drums and percussion providing pleasurable moments and evoking general bonhomie.

First up the title track Ukranian Doll sports a delightful dual tracking of harmonica & sax along with well-placed organ, guitar and sax solos;   Mi Bella Paola lays down everything necessary for a good groove;   I Say Praise eases into the smooth jazz arena claiming attention with wistful harmonica, then a quirky piece No Way Home  is followed by my favourite Foxy Brown which lifts the pace with its bright & breezy melody;  Tell Me Why eases back the tempo, while High Heels strolls the mellow vibe.  Pretty Little Thing has a distinctly blues bent, yet E Type Blues has a decidedly funky feel.   The final and only vocal track, You Are My Fantasy builds from an acoustic guitar solo with Latin inspired percussion into a syncopated groove that would make anyone’s hips move.

Your invitation awaits to take a trip on the GroovExpress!

GroovEspress

Album Personnel (recording)
Mykeljon
– guitar, vocals, composer, arranger and producer
‘Haggis’ Maguiness – diatonic and chromatic harmonicas
Ernest Semu – organ, keys & synths
Isaac Sanchez – drums/percussion
Robert Kyle – tenor sax
Bruce Kerr – bass

GroovExpress-logo copy

 

EVENT Review – Sam McNally Group featuring Lana Rita Sayah Thurs 14 Jan 2016 @ Venue505

 

EVENT:  Sam McNally Group  Support – The Tommy Novak Band
DATE:    Thursday 14 January, 2016
VENUE:  Venue 505, 280 Cleveland St. Surry Hills  NSW
PERFORMERS:   Sam McNally (MD & keys), Phil Scorgie (bass), Dave Plenty (drums),   special guests:  Jason Bruer (sax), Lana Rita Sayah (vox),  Tommy Novak and Elishia Semaan (bv’s)

REVIEW:   Although we only caught the tail end of Tommy Novak’s support set, by all accounts he gave a great performance and the snippets of video I’ve seen attest to those comments.

Sam McNally took to the stage with his usual air of casual flair, opening with Agent of Change which segued skillfully into the Miles Davis penned All Blues.

PhilScorgie-SteveWong

Phil Scorgie

Word was that bassist Phil Scorgie had only just made it to the gig by the skin of his teeth, notwithstanding the Justifiably Erratic Transport of celestial proportions having been the cause of his tardiness, yet the audience remained oblivious to his angst as he delivered a blisteringly skillfull bass solo during All Blues.

DavePlenty-SteveWong

Dave Plenty

Jason Bruer joined Sam, Phil & Dave on stage for Consequences – one of the writer’s favourite pieces – which featured the deft drumming of Dave Plenty who captured the mood completely, followed by Sam’s arrangement of the Bacharach/David song Do You Know The Way to San Hose supplemented with sweet sax solos by Mr Bruer.

JasonBruer-SteveWong

Jason Bruer

 

Sam’s special guest vocalist Lana Rita Sayah put her own languid slant on the John Legend tune Ordinary People, followed by a truly sensational reworking of the seminal Stylus track Colours of Your Love – written by Sam McNally.  Returning for the final song of the set, Jason Bruer was joined by vocalists Elishia Semaan and Tommy Novak completing a very musically satisfying set.

Sam&LanaRitaSayah-SteveWongpic

The second set began with another favourite Serendipity Samba, followed by Melrose & Vermont interspersed with Sam’s interesting and informative comments.  All vocalists returned to the stage for I Get Up and the set was concluded with a slowed-down version of  M Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel.  If the lazy tempo had slowed any further they may have ended up in reverse, but it was certainly an interesting and unexpected version!

The frequent interaction of synergy and smiles between the collective musicians kept the audience engaged as they created an evening of thoroughly rewarding entertainment.  Thanks everyone!

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Phil, Tommy, Sam, Elishia, Lana, Dave, Jason

Photographs:  Stephen Wong – www.stephenwong.com.au

 

CD Review – Machiniso – May 2014

Machiniso-LoS_400px Title:      Lounge-O-Scope
Label:    Independent
Year:      2012
Tracks:  4

Website:  http://www.facebook.com/Machiniso

Location:
Sydney, Australia

..
The husky, sensual and sultry vocals of Anne-Lise (pron. Anne-Leesa) Larsen is the first thing you notice when listening to this 4 track EP, superbly played by the 4 piece rhythmic combo featuring vibes, drums, bass & vocals.
Anne-Lise interprets the songs in a torch-come-vamp style jazz rather than the purist or straight ahead kind, but that’s okay because these tracks are far more accessible for the listening public than the introspective, esoteric jazz variety.

The vibes bring a melodic pizazz to each track, with “Hexotica” conjuring up images of middle eastern belly dancers gyrating to the dance of the seven veils, while “Vampire Jazz” incorporates a theatrical burlesque feel.  “The Weather” (written by Larsen) with it’s incessant drum rhythm tells the story of relationship discontent.

Anne-LiseMy pick, “Miss Lil’Lethal Blues” (remodeled by Larsen) warns potential suitors to beware of this smouldering seductress.  With lyrics that paint a vivid picture… the message is  clear… get too close and you’ll get burned!!

A professional cellist in a previous life,  Anne-Lise isn’t merely an exotic singer, she has oodles of songwriting talent as do the other musicians who all give solid performances
on this not too serious, and sometimes quite quirky CD.

 MachinisoAlbum Personnel
Anne-Lise Larson – vocals
Dave Smith –  vibraphone
Scott Leishman – bass
Rich Machine – drums

 

 

CD Review – Zkye – December 2013

Zkye-JustTheWayItGoes2012Title:      Just The Way It Goes
Label:    Independent
Year:      2012
Tracks:  10
Website:  http://www.zkye.com.au
Location:
Adelaide, South Australia

Born in Adelaide, Zkye (pronounced Sky) Compson-Harris has been singing since she was very young.  Unfortunately I had not heard of Zkye until I received this CD, so I had absolutely no idea what she sounded like.

After first listen, what struck me was the distinctive timbre and gutsy-ness of her voice.  I expect others have compared Zkye with many and varied blues singers from contemporary to bygone days including Koko Taylor, Etta James, Irma Thomas and Janis Joplin, and this girl certainly does not ‘look’ like her voice sounds!

If I’d heard her without seeing her, I would not have expected this diminutive diva who doesn’t just write great blues songs, she sings them with oodles of soul, gusto, passion and credibility.  And on “Just The Way It Goes” her self-penned songs fit comfortably amongst the other well-chosen selections.

Although blues based, the album has elements of rock and soul mixed with its country leanings.  The songs – full of raw emotion and heartfelt lyrics, the musicianship, the production, the CD continuity, in fact the whole shebang makes for a fine blues album which can be enjoyed time after time.

Once you’re familiar with the songs they become like comfortable slippers that you can slip into any time for a leisurely listen.
Here’s hoping Zkye makes the journey back to Sydney some time soon!

Zkye-Reddress

Zkye

Album Personnell:
Electric guitar – James Mitchell
Acoustic guitar – Pat McGrath
Drums – Greg Morrow
Bass – Damien Steele Scott
Hammond B3, Electric Piano, Piano 
Dennis Wage
Backing Vocals – Gale Mayes, Angela Primm
Diane Dixon, Callum Campbell, Zkye Compson-Harris
Produced by:  Damien Steele Scott

CD Review – Lily Dior – June 2012

LilyDior-coverTitle:        Let’s Talk About It
Label:      Independent
Year:        2012
Tracks:    12
Website:  https://www.lilydior.com
Location:  Sydney, Australia

Having been a fan of Lily’s for many years and knowing her superb talent, I was eagerly anticipating this album.  I’m even more delighted than I’d expected!

Lily had said this set would be more soulful than her previous jazz releases, which it is, but it also encompasses funk, blues, gospel, ballads, and a whole lot more.

The production is superb, the musicianship exceptional, and Lily’s musicality and singing is breathtaking.  Her writing skills, which I’d never thought about before, are outstanding and IMHO she’s up there with Diane Warren!

Although the album was in gestation for a considerable period, the time taken to ‘get it right’ has certainly paid off, and if you’ve never heard Lily before, here’s your chance to be blown away!  Be prepared for the goose bumps!

I love every song on the album, with the standouts being Love’s Like a River (co-written with Ben Fink), and the blues ballad Can’t Stop Me Crying – one of Lily’s finest compositions to date… there’s those goose bumps again!   Also included is a superb cover of Billy Holliday’s Who Needs You.

The late Carolyn Shine wrote Set Me Free and with Lily’s gospel-laden treatment, and Brendan St.Leder’s organ/piano work, this track is just sublime.  (More goose-bump material!)

Lily invited singer/composer Daryl Aberhart to contribute a couple of  songs  and he delivers two fine blues/funk tracks Surely By Now and Don’t Say a Thing (Lily co-wrote the latter).

You may think I’m being dramatic, but I cannot say it any clearer – this is one of the finest albums I’ve heard in recent times!   If you don’t include this on your listening list immediately, you are missing out!  Get a copy for yourself and one for someone who’ll appreciate your exquisite taste!

Lily Dior -colour

Lily Dior

Album Personnell:
Piano/Organ/Wurly/Rhodes – Brendan St.Ledger,
Bass – Alex Hewetson
Drums – Jamie Cameron
Guitar Arne Hanna
Trombone – James Greening
Tenor Sax – Matt Keegan
Trumpet – Nick Garbett
BVs – Tina Harrod, Virna Sanzone, Mitch Anderson,
Ben Fink and Rebekah Jensen.
String arrangements: Sarah McCallum.
Produced by:  Lily Dior
Sound Engineer & Mixing:  Richard Belkner

GIG Review – Joe Robinson – Jan 2011

Joe@Lizottes
Joe Robinson @ Lizottes

ARTIST:
Joe Robinson with Bernard Harris & Marcus Hill

DATE:   Thurs 20 January 2011
VENUE:
Lizottes,  Pittwater Rd, Dee Why, NSW

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Joe’s Website: http://joerobinson.com/
Lizotte’s Website:  http://www.sydney.lizottes.com.au/live/index.asp

On a warm summer’s night, the cool air of Lizottes was refreshing as our table for 6 enjoyed the outstanding cuisine which we’ve come to expect from Lizottes restaurants.

As we savored the last morsels of our main courses, we all agreed that the food was so delicious we had to try the desert.  We were not disappointed!  Table service was friendly, attentive and courteous without being pushy.

When Australian guitarist Joe Robinson along with his Nashville rhythm section Bernard Harris (bass)  and Marcus Hill (drums) took to the stage we anticipated a good show but we weren’t prepared for such a marvelous display of musicality, craftsmanship and sheer talent from the 3 young musicians.

We were also looking forward hearing Joe sing for the first time and to our delight his gentle yet strong voice did not disappoint.  The band members entertained us with different styles of groove and blues infused songs, written mainly by Joe, who also performed a number of solo pieces.  Throughout the show many favourable comments were overheard from nearby tables.

Joe allowed both Bernard & Marcus to shine during their respective solos, and we were astounded by Bernard’s incredible bass playing (including Piccolo bass), at times causing his instrument to sound like an organ.  Not only was he an exceptional player, but his soulful, baritone voice was a knockout!

Bernard Harris’ playing was a great match for Robinson’s mind-blowing guitar-work and their impressive call and response challenges wowed us all, causing many outbursts of applause.  All the while Marcus, whose gaze barely strayed from Joe, kept the trio glued together with his deft yet subtle drumming, occasionally leaving the kit to perform interesting percussion pieces on a Cajon box drum.

The enthralled audience loved every moment, and continued applauding and whistling long after the 2nd set had ended, until the boys returned to perform an amazing FIVE song encore!  What an absolute treat!

After a standing ovation at the end of the encore, it was obvious that the satisfied audience left with full appreciation of  the night’s outstanding entertainment.

I definitely won’t miss the chance to see the exceptionally talented Joe Robinson again.

JoeRobinson-Lizottes2