Nigerian drummer Tony Allen makes his debut on Blue Note with The Source. He’s joined by some 10 other musicians, mostly Parisian, including trumpeter Nicolas Giraud and saxophonist Yann Jankielewicz. The album cover invokes Blue Note LPs from the hard bop ‘50s and ‘60s. What’s inside offers something for everyone, from easy to hard, and a healthy slice of funk. “Bad Roads” made me think of Woody Shaw and even Clifford Brown. “On Fire” evoked some good old Quinn Martin TV soundtracks like The Fugitive. Drummers make great leaders—they anchor it all and make everyone else bring their best.
– Bruce Collier
Test of Time
If you’re a metalhead looking for something new to spin, Mobile’s D.R.E.A.D. should top your list. More melodic than most death metal, more varied than most thrash, and heavier than southern groove metal, Test of Time forges its own path by melding the sub-genres with thunderous results. A resounding horns up for this album.
– Nikki Hedrick
Concrete and Gold
There are plenty of groups that have been around for decades who are still churning out good albums. But more often than not, their sound isn’t quite the same as when they first started out. They experiment by incorporating trendy sounds of the moment. Or they struggle as middle agers to recapture the sense of rebellion—even anger—of the early days that brought them fans and fame. But neither the Foo nor their latest album are any of this—Concrete and Gold is classic Foo, fresh and new. Catch even a brief audio bite of any track here, and you immediately know who the band is. It’s an album with their unmistakable signature sound filled with brand spanking new tracks, and it’s amazingly good.
– Joni Williams
Violinist Mathias Levy takes on legendary French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli. December of this year marks the 20th anniversary of Grappelli’s death at 89. He co-founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France with some guy named Django Reinhardt, as well as surviving an album with Pink Floyd, so such a life merits revisiting. Levy is a respectful revisitor, taking his time on the 10 tracks, which feature delicate pieces like “Valse du Passe,” and Romany-flavored mood music like “Marno.” Levy’s acoustic trio here is rounded out by violincello and contrabass. There’s no Django, but there never will be again.
– Bruce Collier
Lights with Fire
Pensacola’s newest female-fronted indie project is a treasure. Guided by Samantha Stott’s strong voice and accentuated by reverb and angst, Lights with Fire accomplishes that certain goal that connects all music—it makes you feel. This EP has Scott playing every instrument and even producing three of the four songs. Recently, she completed a full band lineup, and I eagerly await what comes next for the band.
– Nikki Hedrick
Claiming the label “soft punk band,” Pensacola’s Marona encompasses the heart of DIY punk, while their four-song EP embraces an acoustic and folk fusion. The exception is the closing track, “Get the Gun,” where the band let their metaphorical hair down and find a groove within a much faster tempo. Marona’s lyrics dabble in the hard truths of expectations, loss of hopefulness, and cynicism…you don’t get much more punk than that.
– Nikki Hedrick
The stunning debut album from Moses Sumney is a meditation on being alone. Sumney has spent many of his recent years collaborating and touring with some of the most exciting names in music, including Solange, Karen O and James Blake. On Aromanticism, he comes into his own by navigating the complexities of being alone through his gorgeous, layered falsetto, crooning, and reflective sparseness. He rejects the idea that solitude can only feel like a sorrowful lack of love or an anthemic celebration of being single. Sumney’s ideas surrounding solitude live in a quieter register, wherein being alone is challenging, but it is also restorative.
– Jane Morgan
Just when I thought September couldn’t get any better (Bourbon Heritage Month), bassist Victor Wooten stepped away briefly from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones to produce and record Trypnotix. Wooten is joined here by saxophonist Bob Franceschini and drummer Dennis Chambers, with participation by vocalists Varijashree Venugopal and Michael Winslow. The 14 tracks are laced with electricity, psychedelic mixing (at one point it sounds like some Minions sat in) and breakneck funk. Loads of funk. On one track, “Funky D,” you’ll feel your trouser legs starting to flare. There’s some quiet stuff, too, but it all remains intense and energized
– Bruce Collier
- Gulfarium Unveils New Dune Walk
- News from the Gumbo World – Throwdowns and Fresh Starts
- NWF State College Techies Honored
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