30 November 2014

New Age Instrumental Review: Michael Hoppé and Harold Moses-Serenity

Release Date: May 13, 2014
Label: Spring Hill Music

Michael Hoppé is a talented composer, artist and musician. A Grammy nominee, his work has been heard on television series (The Sopranos and more) and is regarded highly by Jane Goodall, Sarah Breathnach (Simple Abundance) and Robert Cooper (Emotional Intelligence) among others. His work has earned him several platinum and gold records and Hoppé is also the founder of InterConnection Resources and a senior executive for PolyGram, securing such talents as The Who and ABBA in his long and distinguished career.

Harold Moses is an educator, composer, master violist, harmonic theorist, recording artist and works for Harmonic Research and Design specializing in vibrational health and wellness devices. 


In Serenity Harold Moses performs on the viola and Michael Hoppé delights us on the keyboards. Each piece is recorded in one sitting, letting each artist wind around the other in perfect symmetry. Each track is matched to a month in the year, each a reflection on the essence of each month. The first track is “Serenity I” and with fragile and elegant musings, the strings and keys come to flagrant life. Poignant and effervescent this piece will stir your soul. Having never encountered a Michael Hoppé album previously (living in a cave I think) my ears sighed and my heart just smiled. This is how music should be. It is the epitome of relaxation. If anyone has ever thought of the humorous but heartfelt phrase, “serenity now” you need to check out this album. It is just that. 

March swings in with wild tumultuous vigor in “Serenity III,” like a breath of storm on the horizon, waiting to pelt you with shivering rain. The tension is palpable and the feelings evoked, raw. Longing and bliss at the vibrant heart of this piece pulse and throb for a romp through windswept fields, weather whipping your hair about your face in a frenzy of activity. Joy in the act of living, even as the rain stings your skin in its veracity.

“Serenity X” has to be my favorite on the album. The scent of autumn crisp in your nostrils as October sets in. Burnt Orange and blustery winds lead you into the colder seasons of the year. Oh so brief, but so powerful.
December greets us in “Serenity XII” with an almost “Taps” finality. The year is winding to a close and the soulful fragile moments sprung from the echoing viola and keyboard call forth memories and thoughts of faith and family. Edgy and at the precipice of new beginnings, this piece leads right into the New Year with “Serenity XIII” a delicate and touching piece that is exquisite in its beauty and serene in its majesty. Beauty in the fresh breath of a new start, this piece winds up the album with a bittersweet and haunting melody that will make your finger itch to hit the replay button.

Michael Hoppé and Harold Moses have created something here that goes beyond words. These thirteen improvisations are truly masterful and each is paired with its own haiku by Brett Brady. If you could reach into the heavens and pluck down a ray of the essence of life, love and the reflections of what it means to be human and alive then here you have it. Tender and evocative, these two artists and composers set about to craft an album in one sitting and they did just that. Five stars all the way and I am forever a fan girl. Serenity Now. Seriously. You can’t feel any other way when you listen to this masterpiece. It is quite simply, bliss.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Serenity I, Serenity III, Serenity X, Serenity XI, Serenity XIII

DanaWright, Sr. Staff Writer

November 30, 2014

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

26 November 2014

Book Review: 108 Rock Star Guitars

Book Title: 108 Rock Star Guitars
Photographer/Author:Lisa S. Johnson
Paperback: 396 pages
Publisher: Hal Leonard Books; Reprint edition (November 11, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1480391476
ISBN-13: 978-1480391475
Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.1 x 10.5 inches

At this time last year I had the pleasure of receiving, reading and reviewing the coffee table book 108 Rock Star Guitars by Lisa Johnson. The hardcover version is gorgeous and a real keeper. Now it is available in a beautiful paperback edition. The list price is $54.00 however Amazon.com has it for $34.56 currently and that is steal for what you get in return.

One question about this book that may arise the first time you see it is why 108 Rock Star Guitars? The belief in numbers and combinations of numbers has a long history back to the early times of mankind. They hold spiritual and cosmic meaning. Dependent on your own beliefs or research you may have done this may or may not apply in your life.

To get to the point, this is a book about guitar players in the world of rock. The author and photographer isLisa S. Johnson, who spent the last 17 years compiling all the intimate photos and stories behind each musician and their six strings. The pictures presented are jaw dropping accounts of well-known performers in the industry.

With these detailed and striking photographs each guitar becomes an extension of every individual musician’s body and soul. The end result of the images and words gives a unique personality not to only the musician but the guitar itself. The beauty in the pictures is all the nicks, scratches, and wear and tear. With all the warts you get the story of how the instruments matured into what you are witnessing. 

This is a work of commitment, love and devotion beyond compare. It is a book about music that should not be missed. If you play guitar or are thinking about it, this will inspire and fascinate you endlessly.

From legends like Eric Clapton to Slash, you get much more than the visuals you get the story in their own words on some of the most famous guitars to ever grace a stage. 

Tis’ the season and I you now have a reason to give the gift of music.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Founder Write A Music Review, Prog Rock Music Talk, New Age Music Reviews, Rate The Tracks

November 25, 2014

Holiday/Rock Review-Hard Rock Classic Christmas-Various Artists

Release Date: October 7, 2014
Label: Legacy Recordings

Christmas music and hard rock are not two genres that people generally think of as going together, but that is about to change. I was even skeptical at first, but it did not take long to have me convinced that hard rock and Christmas make for a wonderful pair.  The Classic Christmas Hard Rock Album features eleven classic Christmas songs, with each being performing by a master of hard rock.  The likes of Jeff Beck, Steve Vai, Ted Nugent, Alex Lifeson, Joe Satraini, and others bring their rock talents to make music magic with a little help from the Christmas Spirit.

If there were any doubts about whether or not hard rock versions of classic Christmas songs could work, then Jeff Beck’s rendition of “Amazing Grace” should burn any and all of those doubts away.  “Amazing Grace” has a great spiritual, holiday atmosphere with some elegant guitar work to really solidify the emotional impact of the song.  Next up is Alex Lifeson’s “The Drummer Boy” and it does a very good job of capturing the solemnness of the traditional sound. “Silent Night / Holy Night Jam” by Joe Satraini is a real treat, as it does a wonderful job of respecting the original sound while putting his own unique touch to it.  It makes for one lively tune.

Steve Vai is brilliant, as usual, on “Christmas Time Is Here.” It is a great guitar lead song, with a crisp rocking sound, and the background instruments are wonderfully used to add a nice touch of Christmas atmosphere.  Steve Lukather’s “The Christmas Song” is a hopping rock song.  It sounds so natural that it leaves you thinking that it was meant to be a hard rock song all along. Stuart Hamm’s “Sleigh Ride” is a pleasant and lively version of a fun classic. It perfectly captures the playfulness of the original.

“O Come All Ye Faithful” is one of the standout songs.  Trevor Rabin probably does the best job at modernizing a Christmas classic.  It is the best of both worlds, with the old and new colliding to make this incredible song.  Nothing is lost from the original and I think that the quality has increased.  Ted Nugent’s
“Deck the Halls” really rocks and rolls with tons of energy.  Following it up is Robin Trower’s reverent version of “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”  Rob Halford’s “We Three Kings” makes for a brilliant ending for this hard rock Christmas album.  It comes out blazing and rides that wave all the way to the end.

All in all, The Classic Christmas Hard Rock Album is a great rock album and great Christmas album, as well.  The classic versions that we have grown to love over the years are timeless classics, and these hard rock versions add to their already rich tradition.  These songs might not replace your favorites, but they will give them a run for their money.  This album will definitely add a little spice to any Christmas party, and should be another one to add to the album rotation every year. 

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Amazing Grace, O Come All Ye Faithful, Deck the Halls

Brian McKinnon
November 26, 2014
Review Provided By Write A Music Review

25 November 2014

Grammy Nominated Pink Floyd Engineer Andy Jackson Releases New Modern Progressive Rock Album 'Signal To Noise'


London, UK - Esoteric Antenna is pleased to announce the release of “SIGNAL TO NOISE”, the new studio album by twice Grammy nominated PINK FLOYD engineer ANDY JACKSON. “Signal to Noise” is a fine, modern, progressive work, which draws on Andy Jackson’s exemplary work as an engineer and producer. Besides being an allusion to Andy’s sound engineering background, the title refers to many of the lyrical themes of the album. Andy explains; “The album reflects on the sorting of what is important in life from the humdrum of everyday existence, and is in itself an analogy for the process of the creation of the album”.

Andy Jackson began his career at Utopia Studios in London, training under James Guthrie, a relationship that continues to this day with the duo being co-pilots of Pink Floyd’s sound. Andy had success as a recording engineer at Utopia, including hits with Boomtown Rats “I Don’t Like Mondays”, before the call came from James Guthrie to follow him into the world of Pink Floyd, to work on the film of “The Wall”, an offer he couldn’t resist, having been a Floyd fan for many years. So started a relationship that continues to this day, (on albums such as “The Final Cut”, “A Momentary Lapse of Reason”, “The Division Bell”, “Pulse”, Roger Waters’ “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking”, David Gilmour’s “About Face”, “On An Island”, “Live in Gdansk”), resulting in two Grammy nominations for his work and Mix magazine’s award for best live sound engineer for “Pulse” tour. He is also engineer and a co-producer of the soon-to-be-released Pink Floyd album, “The Endless River”.

Along side his work with Pink Floyd and wider work as an engineer, he has recorded three albums, recorded with friends, as a musician in his own right: “On the Surface”, “Obvious” and “Mythical Burrowing Animals”. All three works were ideas ahead of their time it would seem. He did find time along the way to produce work for other artists, including the seminal British Goth band Fields Of The Nephilim. This again was the genesis of a relationship that would lead to the present day, after ex Nephilim Tony Pettitt asked Andy to join his new band The Eden House as guitarist. After three years with Eden House, Andy felt it was time to move on & embark on a new challenge of a completely solo album project. This has lead to the creation of the “Signal to Noise” album, a wonderful sonic experience that is sure to Andy Jackson heralded as a significant creative force in modern Progressive music.

Track Listing

1. The Boy in the Forest
2. One More Push
3. Invisible Colours
4. Spray Paint
5. Herman at the Fountain
6. It All Came Crashing Down
7. Brownian Motion

Check out the new videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyWWMAeYTtQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQmGf3wmvE8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRxustelSwM#t=3363 (Cherry Red TV interview)

For more information: http://www.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=4884

Also available Deluxe Limited 2 Disc Edition: http://www.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=4885

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158 (USA), glassonyonpr@gmail.com

Legacy Recordings Announces Limited Edition Vinyl Exclusives For Black Friday RSD

Legacy Recordings Announces Limited Edition Vinyl Exclusives For Record Store Day's Annual Black Friday Event (Friday, November 28, 2014)


Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, announces the label's line-up of collectible 12

 Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, announces the label's line-up of collectible 12", 10" and 7" vinyl releases created especially for Record Store Day's Black Friday 2014, celebrated this year at the nation's independent record stores on Friday, November 28, 2014.

Dave Matthews Band's Recently EP (on vinyl for the first time ever in a 10" numbered edition which includes the rare "Pumpkin Recently" promo); and OutKast's breakout "Player's Ball" single (newly reissued on 10" translucent green vinyl). 

Legacy's Black Friday 2014 releases include these Record Store Day exclusives

Aaliyah – Age Ain't Nothing But A Number  2LP – White Vinyl 180 Gram
Twenty years ago, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number introduced the world to the stunning talent of Aaliyah. Her sensuous, soulful vocals, combined with the writing and production skills of R. Kelly, established her as one of R&B's brightest stars. This collectible 2LP edition of her debut is pressed on white 180-gram vinyl and features the Top 10 hits "Back & Forth" and "At Your Best (You Are Love)" plus the rare international bonus track "The Thing I Like."


Bessie Smith - At The Christmas Ball – Red 7" Single
Legacy celebrates the 2014 holiday season with a classic vinyl single by the Bessie Smith, the Empress of the Blues, featuring her classic "At the Christmas Ball" c/w "Jazzbo Brown from Memphis Town" pressed on on a red vinyl 7" 45 RPM single featuring a replica of the original Columbia 78 RPM label.  Bessie Smith is the subject of a new biopic, starring Queen Latifah, coming in 2015.


Dave Matthews Band – Recently EP Double 10" Vinyl
This individually numbered limited edition of the Dave Matthews Band's Recently EP marks the first ever vinyl release of this music.  The deluxe double 10" includes the original EP and the rare "Pumpkin Recently" promo as well as a free download of both versions.


David Bowie - "Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)" c/w "Tis A Pity She's A Whore 10" vinyl single
Two new tracks from music legend Davie Bowie on a 10" vinyl single.


Joe Satriani – Joe Satriani EP  12" Vinyl 45 RPM 180G - 30th Anniversary Edition
This 30th anniversary edition of Satriani's self-titled 5 song debut showcases the magic that helped Joe secure his deal with Relativity Records.  This "one man band" recording is remarkable in that every sound on the 5 songs was made on an electric guitar, from tapping on the tuneups for drums and percussion to detuning the guitar to replicate the lower bass sounds.  This RSD exclusive is individually numbered and remastered on 180 gram vinyl.


Miles Davis "Blue Xmas"   7" 45 RPM blue vinyl single
In 1962, Miles Davis, Gil Evans and bebop singer Bob Dorough turned the holiday season on its ear with "Blue Xmas," a jazzy original mocking the commercialism of the Christmas season. This recording, along with "Devil May Care," another Dorough original recorded by Davis and Evans, is being released by Legacy for Record Store Day Black Friday 2014 as a 7" 45 RPM blue vinyl single in a brand-new picture sleeve. "Blue Xmas" is featured in Jingle Bell Rocks!, a new documentary about alternative holiday songs to be released this year by Oscilloscope Laboratories.


OutKast "Player's Ball" 10" Translucent Green Vinyl
OutKast proved "the South got something to say" when they returned to the stage earlier this year after an eight-year absence. Celebrate the 20th anniversary of their unique sound and influential Southern hip-hop movement with their breakthrough debut single "Player's Ball" on 10" translucent green vinyl. This limited, numbered single features a rare extended version of the track alongside two tracks from the duo's acclaimed 1994 debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.


Wham! – Last Christmas 12" Translucent Red/Green Vinyl
Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Wham!'s "Last Christmas"--the much-covered yuletide perennial penned and produced by George Michael--with this limited edition 12" translucent red/green vinyl single which includes a previously unreleased instrumental version of the Wham! seasonal classic, perfect for Christmas karaoke under the mistletoe.


Wu-Tang Clan "C.R.E.A.M."  10" Die Cut Picture Disc on 120G Vinyl
The lyrical mastery and groundbreaking production technique of the Wu-Tang Clan changed the hip-hop scene forever. Legacy Recordings celebrates the 1994 release of their single "C.R.E.A.M."—hailed as one of the greatest rap singles by The Source, Rolling Stone and Time—with a limited collectible vinyl single die-cut in the shape of the group's iconic logo and backed with the single's original B-side "The Mystery Of Chessboxin'."


The following will be released as RSD exclusives before becoming more generally available:
Elvis Presley Showroom Internationale 2LP - 180G 12" vinyl
The film "Elvis: That's The Way It Is" provided fans with their first real glimpse of Elvis performing at an absolute peak of his vocal prowess in August 1970. This individually numbered, 17 song, 2 LP set features the King's full August 12, 1970 dinner show and includes 13 previously unreleased performances.


Jimi Hendrix - Hear My Music 2LP 200 Gram Audiophile 12" vinyl
This limited edition, individually numbered 2LP set, pressed on 200 gram audiophile vinyl by QRP, features a treasure trove of unreleased Jimi Hendrix studio recordings from 1969.  Hear My Music is an authorized Jimi Hendrix "bootleg" issued by Dagger Records.


The Kinks Muswell Hillbillies 2LP 180 Gram Vinyl
Released in 1971, The Kinks' Muswell Hillbillies found the quintessentially British band painting a vivid portrait of working class life in North London, with a sonic palette that drew from turn-of-the-century British music hall and American country styles. Rolling Stone would call it Ray Davies' "signature statement" as a songwriter. This deluxe 2LP edition features the original album paired with a bonus vinyl disc of rarities and outtakes from the original album sessions as well as BBC sessions recorded for John Peel.


Various Artists - American Hustle Soundtrack 2LP - 1 Red 1 Blue Colored 150G Vinyl
The soundtrack to the blockbuster film is now a 2 LP Gatefold (on red & blue vinyl) with 6 songs not found on the CD version.  The soundtrack featuring tracks by America, Bee Gees, Electric Light Orchestra, Duke Ellington, Elton John, Tom Jones, Jeff Lynne, Donna Summer, and Wings.

Now in its seventh year, Record Store Day is an annual day-long celebration of record store culture taking place on the third Saturday in April, with an annual Black Friday event occurring the day after Thanksgiving. This past February, RSD announced Chuck D as Record Store Day 2014 Ambassador.

Holiday Review: Frank Sinatra-The Classic Christmas Album


Release Date: October 7, 2014
Label: Legacy Recordings
Website

Frank Sinatra is one of the best known crooners of his time and this year Sony Legacy has brought together a fourteen track album of his best loved holiday hits with two previously unreleased tracks."Baby It's Cold Outside" with singer Dorothy Kirsten and an alternate version of "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" with the Page Cavanaugh Trio. Another version of “Let It Snow” is also on the second track of the album with The B. Swanson Quartet and the two pieces are very different indeed. One is bright and shiny and the other more subdued, but both invoke the magic of the season.

As I sit at my writing desk and listen to this master performer belt out songs from my childhood and beyond, I can’t help but be reminded of a simpler time. That, to me, is the magic of Sinatra’s voice. You can here “Let It Snow” a million different ways, but when Sinatra does it, I always stop a moment and sigh.

“Adeste Fideles” or “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” is another classic that brings a sense of nostalgia. The bells and ornate instrumentation have an attention to musical detail that is often lost in modern performances. It made me feel like I did after watching a favorite old black and white holiday movie with my husband. Happy and dreaming of days when mangers were seen in front lawns and churches and Christmas trees were celebrated on main street and in our hearts. Not just the retail rush, but the rush of love for friends and family in this hectic time of year.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” is from the MGM performance of “Neptune’s Daughter” and is one of two tracks previously unreleased until now. This track alone is worth getting the album. Joyful and full of the magic of young love, this song has always made me smile. This recording brings to life the visage of old Hollywood and lets us visit the sweet playfulness of yesteryear.

Frank Sinatra is the epitome of a music legend. His voice invokes the magic of the holidays and brings us back to simpler times in our lives we have only momentarily forgotten. For those who haven’t heard his magnificent voice, this album with two rare songs is a perfect one to start with. Chock full of the magic of the season, it will warm your heart.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Adeste Fideles, Baby It’s Cold Outside, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!


Tracks:

01. Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town
Frank Sinatra

02. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Frank Sinatra with The B. Swanson Quartet

03. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
Frank Sinatra with the Ken Lane Singers

04. I've Got a Home in That Rock
Frank Sinatra with the Charioteers

05. Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)
Frank Sinatra with the Ken Lane Singers

06. Christmas Dreaming
Frank Sinatra

07. Jingle Bells
Frank Sinatra with the Ken Lane Singers

08. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Frank Sinatra

09. O Little Town of Bethlehem
Frank Sinatra with the Ken Lane Singers

10. Jesus Is a Rock in the Weary Land
Frank Sinatra with the Charioteers

11. Silent Night, Holy Night
Frank Sinatra with the Ken Lane Singers

12. White Christmas
Frank Sinatra

13. Baby, It's Cold Outside (From the MGM Film, "Neptune's Daughter")
Frank Sinatra with Dorothy Kirsten

14. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (From the CBS Radio Broadcast, "Songs by Sinatra") Frank Sinatra with the Page Cavanaugh Trio


Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer

November 25, 2014

Review Provided By Write A Music Review

 

24 November 2014

Concert Reviews: Johnny Winter Remembrance Concert In Woodstock NY


The Johnny Winter Remembrance At The Bearsville Theater
Woodstock, NY
November 22, 2014
All Photographs Provided By Lois Dysard



We lost one of the great blues brothers the world has ever known in July this year, Johnny Winter.

His music will live on for eternity and his guitar player/producer and protégée Paul Nelson, is making sure that music fans are still getting the opportunity to hear Johnny’s music played in a live setting.

The band consists of Paul Nelson on guitar, Scott Spray on bass, Tommy Curiale on Drums, and Jay Stollman on vocals. With the exception of Stollman, this was Winter’s band. Also special guest Ronnie Baker Brooks (Lonnie Brooks’ son) added some gusto to the show with his excellent guitar playing and vocals.

The night kicked off with a screening of Down and Dirty, an account of Johnny’s life and recent footage of him touring around the world. The film was a very up close and personal view into the blues legend’s life and something most fans probably never had a chance to see. The DVD is due out in January and there are some high expectations as would be expected.

I had a conversation with Paul and found out Step Back, Johnny’s album released in September, is up for Grammy consideration  In addition to that Paul is up for consideration for Producer of The Year. All of this recognition is well deserved and I do hope there is some hardware to display on their mantels once all the voting and ceremonies are over.

This was the first time I had the opportunity to see Paul play live on his own for every song when I attended concerts. He is quite the guitar player and he knows how to electrify the songs with some killer rockin’ riffs. I can see why Johnny had this band behind him all these years as they all sound terrific live. They obviously have the necessary chemistry to mesh on stage and in the studio. I don’t want to wait another five years this time before I see Paul Nelson again and enjoy all of this great music. Paul does have a new solo album coming out early next year so I am looking forward to that.He is quite the guitar player and he knows how to electrify the songs with some killer rockin’ riffs. 

After the film viewing (which is 90 minutes) there is a short break then the band comes on stage. They started of full steam ahead with a rousing version of “Bony Maronie.”  From that point the band took the appreciative audience through some of Johnny’s favorite tracks including some from the new album Step Back. One song certainly that is very special for Paul is “Killing Floor,” where he did a duet with Johnny on the new album. 

Another highlight of the evening was “Don't Take Advantage of Me,” featuring Ronnie Baker Brooks on guitar and vocals. Musically I think it was the best song of the evening and it was great to discover another up and coming blues artist. I mentioned to Paul after the show it would nice to see him as a permanent member of the band at some point. Brooks’ on stage energy and performance certainly added another dimension to the music and presentation.


If you are ever in upstate New York make sure you check out the charming little town of Woodstock and the beautiful Bearsville Theater. The venue is a converted 1800’s barn and right next door is the Woodstock Radio Station , 100.1 on the dial.

I would like to thank Paul Nelson for making this night happen, all the cordial folks at the venue and Lois Dysard for all the great photos.

I hope to catch another show again sometime very soon!

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 24, 2014
Write A Music Review, Prog Rock Music Talk, New Age Music Reviews and Rate The Tracks Founder

(Paul Nelson and Keith)

Set List:
Bony Moronie
School Girl
Mojo Working
Don't Want No Woman
Black Jack
Killing Floor
Don't Take Advantage of Me
Jumping Jack Flash
Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo
All Over Now
Dust My Broom
She's 19
Johnny Be Goode

Featured Track: John Otott-Tesoro

John Otott, instrumental new age artist, has just released his new album titled Colors. One of the tracks that I felt stood out was "Tesoro." Its elegance and beauty will take frazzled nerves and tried spirits and change those feelings to peace and joy.

Otott's excellence with the ivory keys will deliver a slice of heaven to your ears. With music like this it's not so much about the journey but about the destination - where it can take you.

"Tesoro" and many other tracks on the new album will provide instant stress relief. Find out for your self and listen to the stream provided.

MuzikMan Rating 5/5


More About John Otott: 

http://www.johnotott.com


A multi-instrumentalist and composer, John started playing piano at a young age. Taking up the bass guitar in high school, John went on to play in a series of rock bands and regularly performed at such Hollywood hot spots as The Whiskey A Go-Go, the Troubadour and the Roxy. He then transitioned into an instrumental jazz/rock band that performed with such artists as Lyle Mays (of Pat Metheny fame), Latin star Tania Maria, Grammy award winning sax player Gato Barbieri and Thelonious Monk Jr. However, he always maintained his love for piano music composition.

COLORS is John’s latest release (November 2014). The CD contains a collection of piano-based instrumentals interwoven with emotional and often dramatic string and keyboard arrangements. Many of the songs are inspired by his life events, conveying a true sense of meaning through music.

John is a voting member of the Recording Academy, the organization that, in addition to producing The Grammy Awards, supports music industry professionals through advocacy, outreach programs and student initiatives.

21 November 2014

Holiday/Country Review: Classic Christmas Country Album-Various Artists

Release Date: October 27, 2014
Label: RLG/Legacy

Christmas songs come in every flavor and this year its colorful twinkle lights wrapped around a pair of boots. Sixteen well-loved holiday tracks from artists throughout their careers are showcased in this Walmart exclusive album just in time for the holiday season. From the ever popular “Mele Kalikimaka” from Christmas Vacation to “Jingle Bell Rock,” there are classics abundant.

The first song in this merry little lineup is “Christmas Time’s a Comin’” performed by Patty Loveless. With jingle bells and a plucky little guitar number the song ramps up and starts jamming. Full of country twang, images of a country holiday celebration filled with family and friends appear. Food, candles, hearts yearning for home and snow pack this powerhouse of a song. 

“Rockin’ Little Christmas” starts off with a sexy saxophone solo and on come the jingle bells and the sweet and sexy voice of Deborah Allen. A cross between country and rock, this song is a go getter. No wall flowers need apply. Only delicious love scenes allowed! Slip on those boots and get ready to do the boot scootin boogie all night long. Love and longing under the Christmas tree with a passel of mistletoe to bring down the house. This song smokes trials through the snow and that Frosty had better watch out!

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is the last song on the album. Sung by Martina McBride with a mellow multi-instrumentation providing a snowy backdrop of holiday bliss, this song is a fine end to an album filled with holiday songs and memories from years gone by. Her voice is crisp and pure, giving voice to all of our hopes and dreams for a Christmas filled with love and laughter.

This Walmart exclusive is a great compilation of songs from many country performers spanning many years in the industry. I found several favorites on this album and discovered a couple of new ones. So have yourself a Merry Christmas and if you get the chance to pick up this album, do. And please, pass the eggnog.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Christmas Time’s A Comin’, Rockin’ Little Christmas, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Tracks: 
01. Christmas Time's a Comin' Patty Loveless
02. Christmas Time John Anderson
03. Pretty Paper Kenny Chesney
04. Rockin' Little Christmas Deborah Allen
05. Santa Baby Kellie Pickler
06. Blue Christmas K.T. Oslin
07. Please Come Home for Christmas Lonestar
08. I'll Be Home for Christmas Sara Evans
09. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree Alabama
10. Jingle Bell Rock Sweethearts Of The Rodeo
11. Mele Kalikimaka Jake Owen
12. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (Single Version) Ricochet
13. Winter Wonderland Brad Paisley
14. White Christmas Lari White
15. The Christmas Song Brooks & Dunn
16. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Martina McBride

 
Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer
November 21, 2014
Review Provided By Write A Music Review

20 November 2014

World New Age Review: James Asher and Sandeep Raval-Drum Travel

Release Date: Nov 11, 2014
Label: Starfield Records

James Asher and Sandeep Raval are two incredibly talented men with the gift of knowledge that encompasses a multitude of instruments, mainly percussive so it is no surprise that the title of their recent release is Drum Travel.

There is a bit more to this than just the title Drum Travel. The artists refer to this recording as the Tipi Experience. The image on the cover is a pyramid with a swirling gateway or rhythm portal, as it is referred to on the CD cover, all brought to you by their Global Percussion. If you notice however there is a city on the water that the beautiful image is overlaid on. There is a message here and you are cordially invited to  find the meaning in the music and what is beyond the portal awaiting your discovery. It all makes more sense once you start off on your journey with Asher and Ravel.

These two amazing artisans are assisted by Simon Brewin (bass, guitar, Wit,The Discerning Don) and Carolina Maggio (vocals, charrango, painting, creativity and enthusiasm) and several other talented folks. These gents have a marvelous sense of purpose but also maintain a good sense of humor. After all, James plays a ton of instruments but gets credit for “Kitchen” so I am assuming he provided sustenance in the form of food and drink for his musical warriors whilst recording this endeavor.

Drum Travel is a two CD set comprising 13 tracks on disc one and 7 tracks on disc two, both clocking in at over 70 minutes. The very first track “Fugira” kicks things off in a marvelous way with splendid percussion, amazing rhythmic vocal styling’s (in Italian) and some fluid guitar lines. This music is a worldly blend; there is new age, world, jazz, blues and rock. Everything blends together superbly into a musical melting pot that will bring joy to your soul and aural beauty to your ears.

The instrumental tracks are a literal omnibus of musical delights. When Asher and Raval combine their efforts it’s like a wall of drums that envelopes you. It does not encapsulate you in a power driven sphere and take you away; it is like being swept away by a gentle wave then feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin and the best part is the wave never ends. You can respect the awesome power it commands but feel grateful for the retreat that it affords you into audio bliss.

“Bring on Brasil” is just that, you feel like you have arrived in that beautiful country and are suddenly taking in all the breathtaking landscapes and walking the city streets. It’s like world travel by osmosis. Then to change things again, “Beside The Blues,” delivers the blues and jazz sensations via the right percussion, keyboards and guitar flourishes. To say that this recording offers diversity is an understatement, you simply do not know what is coming next and that is what makes the listen so intriguing.

Chili Pickle Chaser” is a great example of the percussion collaboration of Asher, Raval and friends. It has an interesting name but let me tell you it is nothing but pure excitement that builds as the track plays out. 

“If The Earth Could Speak” is the first track I heard and was so taken with it I featured it on RateThe Tracks and to no surprise it jumped to the #1 position on the charts within a day and it continues to get plays. The title is quite prolific and so is the music. Everything that is good about what these people do when making music comes flowing forth like a river with a definite path to the ocean. It has meaning, beauty and first and foremost touches your spirit in a way that is most memorable.

Now if all of that was not enough they end the set with “On the Outbreath,” which is one minute short of 30 minutes. If there is one song that takes everything to another level it’s this one. There are some amazing creative juices flowing throughout this mix. This time frame made up an entire album in years past yet it is one song out of 20 that make up this implausible gathering of sound, elements and textures that capture your attention and engage your senses.

There is something true and natural about drums particularly when used in such a manner. It calls to you and invites you into their special rhythm portal. Listen, take the journey, you will not have any regrets.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Fugira, Bring on Brasil, If The Earth Could Speak, On the Outbreath

Tracks:
Disc: 1
 

01. Fugira
02. Takita
03. How it Feels
04. Bring on Brasil
05. Beside the Blues
06. Drums for the Dragon
07. Chili Pickle Chaser
08. Rhythm Network of Sparks
09. Neptune Skank
10. Percussive Kitchen
11. Pappadoms form Persia
12. Breaking Good
13. Seven Veils


Disc: 2
 

1. African Angel
2. Los Cuentos
3. Hey Wanaina
4. If the Earth Could Speak
5. Accelerando
6. The Great Transition
7. On the Outbreath
 
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
November 20, 2014
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews