Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mister Tucker Reviews: Steve Slagle – Alto Manhattan

The following music review comes courtesy of friend and writer Marc S. Tucker, carried over from his newsletter VERITAS VAMPIRUS and is NOT of my doing despite being featured on my blog - please keep this fact firmly in mind for future reference.

STEVE SLAGLE – Alto Manhattan
2016 / Panorama
Review written by Marc Tucker - February 6, 2017



Anything that alto saxist (and excellent flautist) Steve Slagle’s involved with, the moment you hear it, ya can’t help but blurt out “Now that, goddammit, is JAZZ!” The guy was born to the mode and gets better with each passing year; quite a feat considering he’s been top notch for decades. And when Joe Lovano teams up with him on tenor? Good God! Add the dynamic Bill Stewart on drums, Lawrence Fields on a piano switching between be-bop and Evans/Ellington picturesqueness, Gerald Cannon on a smokin’ hot bass, and then Roman Diaz’s congas tossed into three cuts, and you have a band so integrated they might as well have been welded together as a mobile of kinetic musos.

Slagle’s as pre-eminant a hornsman as any you can name, as is Lovano, and the appearance of one, the other, or both in any endeavor is a guarantor of quality, not to mention no respecters of boundaries, taking from many infra-styles while firmly positioned in the grand tradition. Steve’s work both reifies the sometimes elusive basic nature of jazz and then projects forward, not far, not 'fusion' as it’s commonly known, but enough past the studio doors to look to the stars while walking around the neighborhood.

Doesn’t matter if it’s his own work, as the lion’s share of comps here are, or someone else’s (three great covers splash in), everything carries the saxist’s sterling imprint. It’s one thing to ape the fare of the greats, as classical musicians do, but quite another to breath even more life into them via one’s own cognizances, aesthetics, and interpretations. Check out his take on Johnny Green’s “Body and Soul”, and you’ll see what I mean. That’s the solemnest section of the CD, everything else a blow fest, celebration, and seminar in what makes jazz jazz. But, man, that Stewart…a cross between Jack DeJohnette and Carl Palmer! No wonder a galaxy of jazz estimables have inducted the guy into a very impressive catalogue of releases. And if Steve Slagle’s a Samuel Johnson, Stewart’s his Boswell, setting everything on this disc firmly into indelible sonic quarto editions.

RELATED LINKS: Steve Slagle's Official Website

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Brandon's Cult Movie Reviews: King Kong Escapes

Do you like giant apes? How about drop kicking dinosaurs & robot doppelgangers? Or hot blondes, hot brunettes, and Doctor Who (sort of)?

Well, you can see all this and more in Brandon Tenold's latest cult movie review, King Kong Escapes, with title card duties handled once again by yours truly!


RELATED LINKS OF INTEREST:

Toho Kingdom's Page For King Kong Escapes

Wikizilla's Page For King Kong Escapes

Thursday, February 16, 2017

GALAXY! GALAXY! GALAXY! GALAXY!

GALAXY! GALAXY! GALAXY! GALAXY! GALAXY! GALAXY! GAL...Just watch the video-podcast below, which I co-hosted with KaijuNoir, to find out what the heck I'm referencing here.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Mister Tucker Reviews: Cojones – Resonate

The following music review comes courtesy of friend and writer Marc S. Tucker, carried over from his newsletter VERITAS VAMPIRUS and is NOT of my doing despite being featured on my blog - please keep this fact firmly in mind for future reference.

COJONES – Resonate
2016 / PDV Records / Rough Trade
Review written by Marc Tucker - 01/26/2017

Croatian metalline progrock?!?!? Righteous!!! The promo lit extols Cojones (um, “Balls” in Spanish…and I don’t mean ‘beach balls’, y’all) in comparison to Monster Magnet, Soundgarden, the Melvins, Kyuss, stoner metal, and others, but, because I’m familiar with all those groups, I’ll say the more accurate RIYLs would be along the lines of Omega, Nektar, Fields of the Nephelim, and the Euro-Krautische-Balkan cross-connection of the 70s and 80s. Formed a decade ago, the four gents (Bojan Kocijan, Nenad Mandic, Gordan Tomic, Stanislav Muskinja) know the backstory and, despite the far distance of Zagreb from those antecedents, have obviously devoured a wide spectrum of sounds between The Great Era (progrock’s far too short zenith from the mid-60s to mid-to-late-70s) and everything up to the moment.

Yeah, I hear all the modern metalloids, but, being the upsetter of apple carts I am, let me heap even more appropriate praise on Cojones beyond the above analogues ‘cause this quartet has its shit down stone cold. Hawkwind circa Xenon Codex appears many times as well as Killing Joke, snatches of Killer / Love It to Death Alice Cooper, the more symphonic aspects of Type O Negative, and even a bit of Savatage, among others. This is the ensemble’s third outing, but I’m guessing they were this tight and pounding straight out of the starting gate on their debut, a few years ago; the sophistication of composition alone indicates that.

Despite the heavy nature of the disc, the engineers managed to work in in a rich satiny finish that elevates the 8-song enterprise into a more classic stratum complementing the many harmonic cohesivities in varying atmospheres cleaving closely to earthy textures before screaming into the stratisphere, “Build a Home” particularly notable in this. Trippy Alex Grey / Euro underground-comix artwork is showcased in a four panel transubstantiation of a spaced head (Timothy Leary and Terence McKenna would approve!) by Stipan Tadic in an aestheticallty pleasing presentation topping off the professionality of the enterprise. Resonate competes with the best in the field.

RELATED LINK: The Cojones Official Webpage

Monday, January 16, 2017

Mister Tucker Reviews: Andre Dinuth - Here With You

The following music review comes courtesy of friend and writer Marc S. Tucker, carried over from his newsletter VERITAS VAMPIRUS and is NOT of my doing despite being featured on my blog - please keep this fact firmly in mind for future reference.

ANDRE DINUTH - Here With You
2016 / no label cited
Review written by Marc Tucker - 01/15/2017

SHRED FEST ALERT!!! SHRED FEST ALERT!!! Of all the highly impressive World Fusion musicians who poured materials forth in 2016, Andre Dinuth stands shoulder to shoulder with the best. Loaded to the back teeth with outrageous chops, compositional ingenuity, and any number of ingenious approaches to playing, frequently backed by Jan Hammer-level keyboardist Marthin Siahaan, Here With You is peak-level Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Al DiMeola, Nova, etc. event. I do not speak lightly here.

I don't recognize any of the basic band's players, but they’re all top notch in keeping up with this super-clean speed demon. A decent percentage of personnel rotates as the cuts track their way through one's speakers, but everyone shines like starbursts all through the 10 songs in a release I have little doubt will get a hell of a lot of pass-around among the top dawgz in the industry. Steve Howe, for instance, will swoon when he hears Dinuth's Chet Atkinsy / Flatts 'n Scruggsy "Farm-O-Country", an adept Dixie Dregs-ish ditty that swings like crazy, and John Petrucci will be digging the rapid-fire lyricisms dripping from every corner of the release entire.

Indra Lesmana, a well-proven vet, sits in on one cut, Djitron Pah on another, Andi Rianto on a third, and then there's Eugen Bounty taking up the clarinet for a way cool duet, Andre switching to an acoustic axe. That number takes me back to the 70s when neo-Romantic compositions flourished in the nu-jazz and fusion fields, entranced by the manifold virtues found in all genres and unafraid to incorporate apposite materials with rare grace. In the arts, this is what constitutes evolution.

The opening cut, “Sahara”, the track carrying Lesmana on keyboards, also purveys a muy bitchin' Carnatic/Arabian vocal line by the mono-monikered Moh, who also plays saluang (mis-ID'ed here as "sulang", which actually means "thank you" in Palauan) and whose sung lines I wish they’d shoved more up front in the mix, and steamroller drum work by Yandi Andaputra underscored in tabla by another mononymed gent: Husein. A speedball rollercoasting white-knuckler, the track sets the scene but restricts nothing, as many flavors and tempi are found throughout, from the breakneck to the balladic, though, all prognutz and fusionoids will be happy to find, high drama and Saturn 5 ballistics dominate.

I always regret that I get so loaded down with submissions at the end of each year because its impossible to review everything in the timely manner I'd like, especially given I have no admin, V.V. being a one-man horse…BUT…had I gotten to this in Dec., it would DEFINITELY have gone on the 2016 Year's Best list. Dinuth is a vibrant player with the sort of energies and enthusiasm discerning ears are ever a-thirst for. It's evident he spent God-only-knows how many thousands of hours woodshedding and crafting. Here With You is the gent's second solo gig (the previous one emerged in 2015), though he’s played for a decade with some of the top Timorese/Indonesian musicians, including Tohpati and Dewa Budjana. This disc and its predecessor herald the arrival of an Instant Master well ensconced in the intricacies of the region's superlative styles well informed and re-shaped by a connoisseur's digestion of Western modes. It only remains, then, for you to join the feast.

RELATED LINK:

Andre Dinuth's Official YouTube