Making Music Happen
RECORD REVIEWS MUSIC
I Capercaillie: Capercaillle (Survivall Arista) It’s further from Oban to the UK Chart than it tnust have at first appeared to Capercaillie. Having seetned almost there for the last couple of albums they have enlisted the help ofSoul ll Soul's Will Mowat iii an attempt to turn the mirage into reality.
The six tracks from St't'rt'! People remixed ()li (‘u/wn‘uillie are hardly re- modelled. however. It's more of a subtle enhancement. injected with the sort of modern vibe that makes for a tnuch tnore spacious sounding tnix. It is in the three new tracks that the partnership really comes into play. with a funkier. rhythmically harder sound that adds greatly to the band's own brand of lilting and dance-friendly music. Not that it's likely to result in chart success. but it's still worth the attempt. (Thom Dibdin) I Pale Saints: Slow Buildings (4A0) Pale Saints' third album is too comfortable by half. like a well-worn pair ofjeans with the bottom fallen out. For a band who were once bursting with tender melodies and ingenious musical dressings. there's a puzzling lack of anything to sink your incisors into. Worse still. there‘s the impression of laziness. that the group spent their studio time reclining on chaises Tongues. quaffnig wine frotn goblets while their
attendants fauned their delicately perspiring brows. because these post- Cocteaus textural work- outs practically write themselves. don't they‘.’ ()1in the single line liriend' breaks the somnambulant haze. because it at least drags its feet liim'I'iti'r't'llv. (Fiona Shepherd)
I Calvin’s Dream: Fanatical (Sticky Music) This is almost a fascinating. mesmerising album. The intent is to produce the kind of challenging gothic torch songs that spurt front the pen of Nick Cave. heavy on religious imagery. mental anguish attd drama. sheer drama. The results. though. are mostly half-baked. Calvin‘s Dream are basically an urban folk band with a lyrical eye beyond the usual teenage kicks subject matter who only occasionally match their words of Protestant guilt with theatrical finesse — the title track is reminiscent of mid-80s schlock loons The Very Things. for example. ()verall though. it's a case of nice idea. shame about the execution. (l‘iona Shepherd)
I Spaced Out Cowboys: Space The Western Frontier (Random Rhythms) Things start predictably enough — a rollicking cajun rendition of ‘I.afayette In Blue' which passes the time toe- tappingly enough while you wait for the version of ‘Your Cheatin' lleart'. when — gadzooks! it turns out to be a hideous ska
' interpretation. Thus
Spaced ()ut Cowboys reveal their true colours. as a band who gravitate towards a variety of styles and amuse themselves by indulging all their preferences at once in a cocktail to make you wince (they do ‘Apache' straight though). So ‘Country Cousins' sticks its feet under the satne table as ‘Ya Jacobites‘. a rave mix of ‘I'etais Au Bal' and a selection of Slur Trek samples. as your mind boggles. Available for weddings and bar mitzvahs. as they say. (Fiona Shepherd)
I Blink: A Map Of The Universe by Blink (Parlophone) You can see why this band recently supported Crowded House. Benign jolly tunes such as ‘Snow' and 'There's Something Wrong With Norman's Motif are dismembered by the vocal riff tantrums of love He and 'Is God Gi'oovy‘.". There's the distinct feeling that you've heard half of this before: the plinkety pop of the current single ‘llappy Day" and ‘C‘hristmas 22' whiff of The lightning Seeds. while ‘It‘s Not My l-‘ault‘ positively reeks of Carter L‘SM's ‘Sheriff l‘atman'. Still. it‘s an impressive debut which is in part due to the production talents of John O'Neill (ex-lindertones) and Steve llillage (current dance guru to the stars). whose own laid-back musical elements add a face to Blink. Don't blinkin' miss 'em. (Philip Donvard)
I Cherry/Aberg/Stenson: Dona hostra (ECM) Don Cherry‘s last tour suggested a spent force. but this contemporaneous recording suggests otherwise. His pocket trumpet is razor-sharp. but this is very much a collaborative set. with equally impressive co- leaders in saxophonist Lennart Aberg and pianist Bobo Stenson. and decisive contributions on bass and percussion from Anders Jormin. Anders Kjellberg and ()kay Temiz. The music is strongly European improvisational school in style. but laced with spiky Ornette Coleman-isms.
I John Scolield: lland Jive (Blue Note) The guitarist lines up here with Eddie Harris on tenor and Larry Goldings on piano and organ. with the usual rhythm team of Dennis Irwin and Bill Stewart augmented by Don Alias on percussion. The music
is predictably well-crafted and beautifully put together. but Sco has never recaptured the exhilaration of Time ()2: My Hands ( l‘)‘)()). sparked by Joe l.ovano's surging tenor. and the saxophonist's own 'Ii'nor Leeuev (Blue Note) is a more compelling session. I World Saxophone Ouartet: Breath of life (Elektra Nonesuch) Something of a mixed bag from this once fearsome band. and one which continues their recent collaborations with rhythm sections and the like. including singer Fontella Bass here. Arthur Blythe is no match for the departed Julius Hemphill. and the band has laid aside a lot of its improvisatory fire and its radical edge. even if they can still sound great on a tune like David Murray's ‘Picasso'. Latin-jazz fans should check out Iiddie Palmieri's I’m/mus from the same label.
I John Donaldson:
: Meeting in Brooklyn
(Babel) The linglish pianist is new to me. but his collaborators —- saxophonist lain Ballamy and a top-notch US rhythm section of Ray Drummond and Victor Lewis — are impressive company. The pianist does not sound out of place among them. but in truth his contribution is a little over-shadowed. and Ballamy emerges as the tnore individual voice. Worth hearing.
I Gail Thompson’s Big Band: Gail Force (EFZ) (Jail 'l‘hompson's developing career as a saxophonist was literally cut off overnight by a facial muscle ailment. and it is good to hear her back in action again with this big-ish band recruited from London's finest. if only as conductor and composer. The arrangements are slick rather (hart startling. and the grooves lean as much to funk as swing. but there is plenty of strong soloing to grab the attention. (Kenny Mathieson)
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