Tuesday, June 7, 2011

This Weeks Best Guitar Cds - Week of 06/07/2011

Tedeschi Trucks Band - Revelator
   This is one of my most anticipated albums of the year. Singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi and guitarist Derek Trucks,in addition to being successful solo acts,are also husband and wife. What a way to spend your summer, recording an album and touring the country with your musical family. If you have a friend who complains about how "There aren't any good guitar albums anymore." here's one with TWO great guitar players. Tedeschi and Trucks aren't the only pair in the group,the 11-piece band seems to be filled with them. There are J.J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell, the two drummers, for instance. Anyone paying even the slightest attention to Derek Trucks career will guess were he got that idea. Brothers Otiel and Kofi Burbridge are another pair,respectively playing bass and keyboards/flute. While both have played with Trucks for many years,I think this marks the first time the brothers are playing in the same band with him. Another pairing are Mark Rivers and Mike Mattison,the two background vocalists. Having two male harmony vocals blend with Susan's strong lead voice was a smart move.
 Messing up our whole "pairs" theme is the three piece horn section. Trombonist Saunders Sermons,Trumpeter Maurice Brown and Saxophonist Kebbi Williams add a bit of brass and reeds to the proceedings. With so many members,this music had the potential to get out of control,but everybody actually plays for the song,thanks in part to the great musicians but some praise should also be directed at the attentive production from Trucks and co-producer Jim Scott. The seemingly lost art of dynamics and detail are given well deserved attention. The songs themselves are as soaked in the blues as one would expect but  the depth of experience Tedeschi and Trucks have allows for all kinds of other goodies to sneak in.  
I hear 50's rhythm and blues,60's Memphis soul,classic rock and Motown grooves and 70's funk. They even leave room for a seamless guest spot for sarod player Alam Khan! While the album is very much a "songs" album,with the arrangements all being about providing a supportive background for Susan's emotive vocals,there is an absolute feast for guitar fans here. As a bit of a side note,I'm also glad Derek Trucks and his pal,Warren Haynes have both recently added the under appriciated Gibson Firebird to their arsenal of guitars. Life is too short to be a one guitar man! Enjoy this guitar showcase.







The New Gary Burton Quartet - Common Ground
 At the age of 68,Gary Burton shows no sign of stopping his habit of recording with great guitar players. After the breakup of his groundbreaking Gary Burton Quartet (with Larry Coryell,Steve Swallow and Roy Haynes) he has worked with Jerry Hahn,Mick Goodrick,Pat Metheny,John Scofield and Kurt Rosenwinkle.
Continuing the impresive guitar tradition is Julian Lage along with bassist Scott Colley (whose last album included Bill Frisell) and drummer Antonio Sanchez (last heard in the Pat Metheny Trio). This is challenging,nuanced jazz in the Burton style and an excellent addition to his catalog that almost makes up for his GRP years. Be sure to also check out my Julian Lage review and Scott Colley review.




Tommy Castro - Presents the Legendary Rhthm and Blues Revue Live!
   In case you haven't noticed the recent trend,the Legendary Rhythm and blues Cruises offer a great oportunity for blues greats to jam together in front of appriciative crowds and have them well recorded as well. Tommy Castro has become the honorary Captain of these cruises and leads the band here along with some great guests.





Morbid Angel - Illud Divinum Insanus
One of the early architects of death metal returns after a decade long hiatus. I'm sure the kids will grumble about how it's not "extreme" enough.With David Vincent back in the fold,they're now officially at that part of their career where it's "a couple of original members,plus some guys". They make a worthy addition to the Morbid Angel cannon,despite what the kids might say.





Nels Cline,Tim Berne and Jim Black - Veil
   Anyone remotely familiar with the guys will know not to expect any easy listening here. Definately not for the weak of heart but this is also noise of a refined and thoughful quality. Good stuff if you're brave enough.





Black Sabbath - Born Again (Deluxe Edition)
  Probably the most contentious album in the Sabs history. I love it,despite it's faults and I'm glad it got the deluxe treatment,giving us nine live tracks from 1983 and a couple of other goodies.This is just a remaster,not the remix Tony Iommi has hinted at in interviews. It helps with some of the previous clarity issues but apparently the original master tape was very compressed so hopefully that remix will still happen. I'm just glad that with Black Sabbath probably at it's end as a recording entity,the whole catalog is getting some attention.





Watermelon Slim and Super Chikan - Okiesippi Blues
  Like your blues pure and to the point? You'll find no gloss on this nothing but vocals,guitars and harmonica blast of goodness. Guitarist Super Chikan says it best on the tune "I Don't Wear No Sunglasses" were he sings "I don't play with no effects y'all,don't need no whammy bar". No indeed.



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