South African jazz pianist and composer Abdullah Ibrahim will be 85 on October 9. He’s been recording since 1960. Apartheid led him to spend a lot of his life outside his native country, so he’s lived a lot of places and recorded with just about everybody. For The Balance, Ibrahim relies on a septet of longtime musical colleagues (Ekaya), loading up with three saxes, flutes, two double basses, harmonica, drums and trombone. The result is 10 tracks (in just over 40 minutes!) that simply do not waste your time. It’s fast, dance-y, heady, and much happier than you might expect.
– Bruce Collier
Sami Linna Quartet
Finnish jazz guitarist and leader Sami Linna joins with Jussi Kannaste (sax), Mikko Heleva (organ) and Dana Hall (drums) for this quartet album. Linna is reportedly in the process of earning a doctorate in music, but obviously he’s been taking study breaks. Scandinavian jazz can be full of surprises and twists on traditional forms. This five-track album clocks in at under 38 minutes; still, nobody’s rushing things. Linna has been playing for a while, and he’s not afraid to time-travel. There’s strolling, bluesy stuff (“Dreamville”) some shimmering and soulful ’70s fare (“Black Mountain”) and plenty of opportunities for solo passages (“Umoya”).
– Bruce Collier
German classical cellist Julian Steckel pays tribute here to Hungarian violinist/composer/educator Zoltan Kodaly (1882-1967). The all-Kodaly album offers seven tracks—a sonatina, sonata, and duo for cello, variously with violin or piano. Kodaly reportedly wrote some challenging stuff, and along the way developed a teaching method that bears his name. Steckel, himself an educator, is known for delving deep into the pieces he plays. His performances here have both strength and purity of tone, and an ease and sweetness that makes them all the more accessible to a casual listener like me. Maestro Kodaly is well served here.
– Bruce Collier
Brotherhood Built This
From collaboration births friendship, community and art. At their heart, The Strangers are about giving a voice to the continually growing batch of hip-hop visionaries with roots right here. That all might make Brotherhood Built This seem like it could be fractured—the product of many voices and ideas—but thanks to their extraordinary talents, this full-length album beautifully excels at being a fluid combination of talents. A well-rounded addition to Elevated Underground’s extensive catalog.
– Nikki Hedrick
A Sunday Fire
An Open Letter
This high-energy rock band from Mobile, Alabama, has an undeniable punk backbone. An Open Letter is the follow-up to their 2017 debut, and it’s obvious from the first few minutes that the band took their time to craft this full-length into something mighty special. One of the hardest tasks with this type of music is balancing a pristine, deliberate recording with one that captures the roaring energy of their punk influences. It requires a certain amount of patience and fearlessness to find that balance, and A Sunday Fire is triumphant in that goal. The band just wrapped up an impressive West Coast tour, and I look forward to seeing what they put their sights on next.
– Nikki Hedrick
The Specialty Recordings 1956-58
Twenty tracks of early Art, sure to appeal to anyone who digs, say, Fats Domino (pretty much everyone). “Cha Dooky-Doo” is probably the best known of these, but I also savor the two tributes to the music I love—“Let’s Rock” and “That Old Time Rock ‘N’ Roll.” (Yes, even in the mid-to-late ‘50s, folks were trotting out the nostalgia.) And who can resist another rendition of “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie-Woogie Flu”? Not me.
– Chris Manson
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#itsgooderonguana – A Hurricane Dorian Relief Trip Report
By Eddie Morgan Monday, September 23 – Wednesday, September 25 After weeks of planning, shopping for supplies and preparing the Papi for travel, Kevin Moak, Cole Wyatt and I departed Harbor...
Beachcomber Profiles* – Kevin Carson
HOMETOWN: From Memphis, Tennessee, but moved to Santa Rosa Beach six months ago. I’m calling my move to Santa Rosa Beach my retirement gig! PROFESSION: Working musician. AGE: Almost grown. RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Recently...
Angel the Cat and JoJo the Bird
Submitted by Dan Fugate and Edward McGrath, Blues Angel Music, Pensacola “JoJo, the blue and gold macaw, is 22 years old and has been with us since the early days,” Mr. Fugate...
Shelter House Calls on Community for Food Pantry Support
In observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Shelter House is hosting a community grocery drive to help stock the pantry for their emergency shelter. The home has been at or near capacity...
A Slug of Ice and Fire: Russian Vodka
By Bruce Collier As someone who prizes full-flavored spirits like whiskey and gin, I sometimes wonder what all the fuss is about vodka. As Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 27, Sec....
Art Classes & Workshops
ARTS AND DESIGN SOCIETY (ADSO) Classes at the Art Center, Fort Walton Beach. More info at artsdesignsociety.org. Mondays and Wednesdays. Clay and Pottery Open Studio, 9 AM-noon both days and 6:30-9 PM...