Tag Archives: Sydney

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

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CD Review – Alex Hahn – Jan 2016

!AlexHahn-CDcover
Title:      The Wallflower –
……….A Tribute to Etta James
Label:     Independent
Year:      2013
Tracks:  12
Website:  http://alexhhahn.net
Location:  Sydney, Australia

Although this CD was issued in 2013 I only got my hands on a copy in 2015.
At the time of release Alex had only a short interval to promote the album before heading overseas.  The CD received some good reviews but the marketing momentum was lost when she left Australia to tour the album across Europe and America.
Hence my decision to review this excellent CD now, so music-lovers don’t overlook this gem.
Review:
Covering a well-known artist is not for the faint-hearted, yet Alex has achieved a splendid result with these exceptional interpretations.

!AlexHahn-MicAlthough she doesn’t sound like Etta per se, Alex delivers spunky sassiness, gutsy raunchiness, and perceptive sensitivity on the more emotive melodies, all the while allowing her innate musicality to shine through.
Of the 12 quality interpretations, standout tracks for me are No.3  I’d Rather Go Blind, No.7  A Sunday Kind Of Love, and No.12  At Last – the latter being a wonderful version.

Alex Hahn is the quintessential blues, jazz, gospel and soul singer all rolled into one, and on The Wallflower – A Tribute to Etta James she possesses the enviable ability to translate classic Etta James into contemporary portrayals without losing the gritty, earthy lineage of the originals.

AlexHahnCover-header

Oh, and for the truly nerdy listeners… keep your CD playing a the end of the last track for a tasty little surprise which occurs at 0.52 (counting down)!

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 – Gary Honor 2012

GaryHonor-heads&TalesTitle:        Heads & Tales
Label:      Trippin’N’Rhythm Records
Year:        2012
Tracks:    13
Website:  www.garyhonor.com
Location:  Sydney, Australia

From the bright and breezy title track, Heads & Tales is an album loaded with the sorts of grooves that conjure up cruising along an ocean highway in a luxury sports car!

For comparison, although Gary is a standout player all on his own, track 3 Under the Influence gives a nod to David Sanborn’s style, although with the smooth jazz flute on Southern Exposure further stylings and playing parameters are exposed.

The single lifted from the album, Close To You  is an excellent cover of the song Maxi Priest took to No.1 on the UK charts in 1990 and features Sydney’s Briana Cowlishaw & Troy Anthony Smith on vocals.

The very funky Don’t Push It really gets into the groove with slinky sax and a killer bass-line, while Chatswood Chase has a fun-filled urgency that lifts the spirits.

Gary handles the smoother tracks with equal aplomb and dexterity, a la Island Pearl, Leave Tomorrow Behind and Dreamweaver, the latter utilising flute and didgeridoo to fine effect.

Rock The Jazzbah – one of the best track titles I’ve heard in awhile, delivers a more programmed sound with some interesting guitar & sax riffs, then Cor Blimey returns to the live feel, complete with a funky growling sax and a groove as fat as a hamburger!  Very tasty!

In conjunction with the outstanding writing and production skills of the UK’s
Oli Silk, there’s no need to flip a coin, Heads and Tales delivers the goods.

On a scale of 1 to 10… I give this set 9.5!   Highly Recommended!

GaryHonor3

Gary Honor @ Camelot May 2012

Album Personnell:
Gary Honor
soprano/alto/tenor
/baritone saxes/flute
Oli Silk piano/keys/programming/didgeridoo
Orefo Orakwue bass
Andrew Small drums
Mark Jaimes/Matt Park/Neil Youel guitar
Craig Mitten trumpet
Gary ‘Big G’ Stanionis percussion
Briana Cowlishaw and
Troy Anthony Smith vocals

Produced/Arranged by:  Oli Silk
Mixed by:  Oli Silk & Gary Honor

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

CD Review – Liza Ohlback – June 2012

CD-Cover-Trouble2010Title:        Trouble Going Down
Label:       Independent
Year:         2009
Tracks:     10

Website:   http://www.lizaohlback.com

Location:
Sydney, Australia

OK, so I’m a bit late reviewing this CD, but having reviewed Liza’s unforgettable   live performance at Lizottes in November 2011, I promptly forgot to review the album!

I must say that of all the soulful blues singers I’ve come across, Liza has to be up there in the top ten, and I don’t mean just in Australia… I mean in the world!

Not only can she sing rings around most others, but she writes great songs.  Along with co-writer (bassist & guitarist) Zoltan Budai, they make for a formidable team having penned seven of the ten tracks which range from slow blues burners to mid-tempo movers and uptempo grooves.

Liza covers Things I’ve Been Through written by George Kerr & Gerald Harris (which was also done by Al Green’s backing singer the late Linda Jones), and she includes three fine compositions of her own  Heading For Home, Best You Move On and the final track Leave Before the Dam Breaks, completing the album.

My favourite tracks are:  Didn’t See It Coming featuring Eric Rasmussen on guitar; Somethings Gonna Give featuring Jack Evans on guitar; and Things I’ve Been Through featuring fabulous BV’s by Dee Lavell, Dan Markovina & Evelyn Duprai.

Although Liza is not hugely well-known on the Sydney blues circuit, don’t let that stop you from immersing yourself in this well-crafted, well-presented album.  She covers all types of blues including jazz, gospel, soul and swamp.
Gifted with a voice that can growl, howl or sooth your furrowed brow, Liza is one hell of a singer.
Oh, and the rest of the band aren’t too shabby either!!

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Liza Ohlback @ Lizottes Dee Why

Album Personnell:
Guitars – Eric Rasmussen,
Zoltan Budai, Jack Evans;
Drums/percussion – Greg Ohlback,
Bass – Zoltan Budai;
Double Bass – Peter Maloney;
Sax – David Weir;
Piano/Organ – Peter Rundle,
Mike Fronzek, Rick Mellick;
BVs :  Dan Markovina, Dee Lavell, Evelyn Duprai, Chiara Brown,
Lee Noonan.
Produced By:  Greg & Liza Ohlback