Another Day Dawns Debuts ‘Beautiful Suicide’ Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Another Day Dawns is giving audiences another taste of its new album.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Beautiful Suicide‘ March 25. The video features footage of the band performing its new single in a forest setting crossed with footage addressing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The song’s musical arrangement is a fiery, upbeat composition that is driven largely through its edgy guitar work.

The energy in the song’s musical arrangement is accompanied by a biting sociopolitical commentary in the song’s lyrical content, as explained in a recent interview by front man Dakota Sean.

“When we wrote the song, it had to do with a political climate o fear and control,” he said.  “The song indirectly was essentially how fragile everything is and when it falls apart, it leaves anarchy.  This day and age with the current situations we have at hand, we thought it was best to have a video about what happens when fear and greed have taken control and how they prey on us.”

‘Beautiful Suicide’ is the second single from Another Day Dawns’ EP Stranger, which the band released independently Jan. 31.  The album has also spawned the single ‘Taste of Heaven.’

Stranger is available to download and stream here.  The EP’s track listing is noted below.

 

Track List:
1. Stranger
2. Beautiful Suicide
3. Am I
4. Taste of Heaven
Never Okay
6. Forget Me Not

 

More information on Stranger is available online along with all of ADD’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://anotherdaydawns.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/AnotherDayDawns

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/an0therdaydawns

 

 

 

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Slave Revolt Debuts ‘Devil In Jeans’ Lyric video

Independent hard rock band Slave Revolt debuted the video for its latest single this month.

The band debuted the lyric video for its new song ‘Devil In Jeans‘ March 8.  The song, which boasts a melodic hard rock style musical arrangement, is featured in the band’s forthcoming debut album Journey to the Other Side.  The album is scheduled for releae April 24 through The Label Group/INgrooves.

The song’s melodic hard rock arrangement is accompanied by a lyrical theme that centers on those people who do little to make this world better, according to a brief, collective statement from the band about the work.

“‘Devil in Jeans’ is a song about the monsters who walk among us and the trail of pain they leave behind,” the statement reads.

‘Devil In Jeans’ is available to stream and download here. The song is the latest single to come from Slave Revolt’s forthcoming album.  The band debuted another of the album’s singles, ‘Organic Robot‘ Feb. 21.

The video, which crosses footage of the band performing its new single in what looks like a run down, graffiti-laden building with footage of mechanical parts running.  The musical arrangement echoes influences from Fear Factory, but the lyrical content is not explained in the press release distributed about the video’s debut.

‘Organic Robot’ is available to stream and download here.

The debuted of the ‘Organic Robot’ video comes two months after the band debuted the lyric video for its then latest single, ‘Open The Heavens.’

The full track listing for Journey to the Other Side is noted below.

Track List:
1.Spartacus
2.Open the Heavens
3.Happy
4.Devil in Jeans
5.Journey to the Other Side
6.Facing the waters
7.Ready To Go
8.Light in the Dark
9. Organic Robot feat. Jim Acevedo
10.Embers

More information on both singles is available online along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Websitehttp://www.slaverevoltrock.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/slaverevolt

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/SlaveRevoltRock

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

Wyldlife Debuts New LP’s Third Single

Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records/The Orchard

Indie punk rock band Wyldlife recently unveiled the third single from its new forthcoming album Year of the Snake over the weekend.

The band debuted its new single ‘Automatic’ Friday. The catchy, upbeat composition is available to stream and download here.  It was influenced by famed indie rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain, according to front man Dave Feldman.

“This song is for my friend Therese, who works for a florist and who also shares a huge love for The Jesus and Mary Chain,” he said.  “I also happened to work there every Valentine’s Day for five years or so, delivering flowers. But this one is about her love life’s trials and tribulations.My close friend Sasha Cibic lent her voice on the chorus.  I love them both so much.”

The debut of Wyldlife’s new single comes less than a month after the band debuted the second single from YOTS, ‘Kiss and Tell.’

Feldman talked about the song’s lyrical content in a recent interview.

“After listening to ‘Definitely Maybe’ more times than we can count, [guitarist] Sam [Allen] an I wanted to make a song that was tough and angry, but still confident and cool,” he said.  “The lyric, ‘I’d rather be ignored than adored’ was another riff on another favorite Macnhester band, The Stone Roses.  Obviously, we as a band want to be celebrated and have an impact on people’s lives, but most times, I just want to be left the f*** alone.  Wyldlife tends to have a larger than life personality, but most people don’t actually know anything about us.  I’ve said “Good to see you” to more people I don’t know than I’m comfortable with.”

Wyldlife debuted the lead single from Year of the Snake, ‘Neon Nightmare’ late last year.  The full track listing for Year of the Snake is noted below. Pre-orders for the LP are open now.

 

 

Year Of The Snake Track Listing:

1 Deathbed

2 Neon Nightmare

3 Get Well

4 Kiss and Tell

5 Automatic

6 Crime of the Scene

7 Sacré Bleu

8 Year of the Snake

9 Tulsa Superstar

10 Keeping up with C.T.

11 The Falcon

 

The band has two concerts scheduled to take place this summer.  Both shows — July 4 and 5 — are scheduled to take place at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver, CO.

More information on Wyldlife’s upcoming concerts, its album and singles is available online at:

 

Websitehttp://www.wyldlife.bandcamp.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/wyldlifeband

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/wyldlifeband

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Bloodywood Debuts ‘Yaad’ Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Bloodywood debuted the video for its latest single over the weekend.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Yaad‘ Friday.  The video features a man watching video footage of himself and his dearly departed dog, remembering the good times he had with his best friend. While the video centers on a man’s memories of his four-legged friend, lyrically, it is actually a much broader song about coping with loss.

Bloodywood founder/guitarist Karan Katiyar discussed that topic in a recent interview.

“‘Yaad’ (Hindi for ‘remember’ on ‘in memory’) is about the power of accepting the loss of a loved one and moving on,” he said.  “The lyrics celebrate the permanent impact they have on us, reiterating the belief that we carry them in our best memories, no matter how far apart we may be.  I lost my dog 10 years ago and I still feel the loss to this day.  I wanted the video to show the bond between and his dog to highlight its (the song’s) message.”

The song’s musical arrangement is a powerful presentation that is a stark contrast to much of Bloodywood’s current music, boasting a distinct melodic hard rock sensibility instead of the heavier rap-rock for which it has come to be known.

Portions of the video for ‘Yaad’ were shot in the Himalayan mountains. Other portions of the video were shot in urban areas of India.

‘Yaad’ is available to stream and download at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and Google Play.

In an added effort that ties in with the song’s message and the video’s treatment, the members of Bloodywood recently funded the purchase of a new animal ambulance for a nonprofit animal shelter known as The Posh Foundation in their home town of New Dehli.  The shelter’s other ambulance recently broke down, leading to the need for the new vehicle.

Pending the developments in the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Bloodywood is scheduled to perform live this summer at a series of European festival shows. The virus caused the cancellation of the Sonic temple Festival, at which the band was scheduled to perform. The band’s upcoming pending live schedule is noted below.

 

The European Festival Dates:
07/08 @ Bloodstock Festival – Derby, UK
08/09 @ Alcatraz Festival (Swamp Stage) – Kortrijk, BE
08/14 @ Reload Festival – Sulingen, DE
08/15 @ Summer Breeze Open Air – Dinkelsbühl, DE

 

More information on Bloodywood’s new single and video is available online along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bloodywood.dehli

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Bloodywood2

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “”Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

 

The Dodies’ Latest LP Will Appeal To Emo, Garage, Punk Fans

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Independent rock band The Dodies will release its forthcoming album It’s One Hell of a Ride next month.

The duo — Yoni Avittan and Ran Aronson – is scheduled to release its new 13-song record April 24.  The record’s musical arrangements will appeal to fans of the punk, garage and stoner rock genres.  Its often bleak lyrical themes are certain to appeal to fans of the emo genre, many of whom are also part of the punk and garage rock fan base.  Of course not all of this 42-minute record falls into that mold.  The record’s opener and lead single ‘Boiling Point’ supports that statement.  It will be addressed shortly.  The brooding ‘Suleyman,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another standout addition to the record.  It will be addressed a little later.  ‘Goodbyes,’ the record’s closer, is one of the most notable of the record’s songs.  It will also be discussed later.  Keeping that song in mind along with the other two noted here, this record proves to be a presentation that is worth at least one listen.

The Dodies’ new album It’s One Hell of a Ride is an interesting offering from the Israeli duo.  It is a work that will appeal to a very targeted audience base, as is evidenced through its musical and lyrical content.  The album’s opener and lead single ‘Boiling Point’ is just one of the songs that serves t support the noted statements.  The song’s musical arrangement instantly lends itself to a comparison to music from The Darkness and Royal Blood.  That is especially the case in the song’s chorus as Avittan hits his high notes.  He sounds just like The Darkness’ front man in those moments.  The song’s manic energy serves well to help translate the emotion in the song’s lyrical content, which Avittan recently discussed in an interview about the song.

“I wrote the song when I was really depressed and felt nervous about having no sexual interaction with any woman in my early twenties,” he said.  “I felt like I was in some sort of crossroads, like something drastic had to change in my life because I’m about to reach my boiling point.”

Avittan writes in the song’s lead verse, “I’m surprised that I’m so surprised/I love my TV/But it’s filled with lies/I don’t know where to go from here/If I don’t get lucky/Then it’s off the pier/Nothing wrong with being a bum/I’m not condescending/You’re just dumb/I forgot what my grandpa said/But I know I puked in my empty bed.”  He adds in the song’s second verse, “I don’t want to smile again/’Cause I know I’ll blink and it’ll suddenly end/I must say that it’s quite bizarre/That I get no p**** and I play guitar/See fumes of loneliness gushing out of me/Never do my best to try and fix it up/’Cause I think I drove too far to stop.”  He concludes in the song’s third verse, “Sorry if I disappoint/I’m about to reach my boiling point/Phony smile and a wave goodbye/I don’t’ wanna live/I don’t wanna die/That’s one fine comfort zone/Would you like to trade?/I can’t stand my one/Don’t ask me/I don’t know/But we might as well/Just give ‘em a show.”  Avvitan’s frustrations are such that especially plenty of young male listeners will connect with his words and with the energy in the song’s musical arrangement.  That ability to connect with listeners (albeit targeted listeners) with the song’s infectious arrangement and relatable lyrical content is just one example of what makes this LP worth at least one listen.  It is just one of the album’s most notable entries.  ‘Sulyeman’ is another intriguing addition to the album.

‘Suleyman’ is a stark contrast to ‘Boiling Point’ in its musical arrangement and its lyrical content.  The song’s musical arrangement starts out in very brooding fashion before building into a distinct stoner rock approach with its fuzzed guitar sound and heavy drums set against the duo’s vocal delivery.  It definitely stands out to this end, against the rest of the album’s entries.  It’s just one part of what makes the song so intriguing.  The song’s lyrical content adds its own share of interest to its presentation.

Considering that the members of The Dodies are from Israel (The Middle East), the first thing that comes to mind here is that perhaps the song centers on the infamous Islamic leader Suleyman.  For those who might not know the history, Suleyman was an Ottoman Sultan.  During the course of his life, Suleyman waged war against Christians in Europe and the Mediterranean.  He also led the way in making reforms in law, education and taxation.  Not only that, but Suleyman was also renowned for protecting Jewish residents who lived within the Ottoman Empire.  Considering that much of Israel is populated by Jews, it would make sense that The Dodies’ work here would, in turn, be focused on him and his rule.  Of course, that is all this critic’s interpretation, and could be wholly incorrect.  Hopefully it is somewhere near being correct.  There is no direct mention made of the legendary ruler at any point in the song, again leading one to wonder.  Regardless of right or wrong, the very possibility and the discussion that is certain to ensue from that possibility is in itself reason for audiences to take in this song.  Keeping this in mind, it’s one more way in which It’s One Hell of a Ride proves an interesting offering from The Dodies.  It still is not the last of the album’s most notable entries.  The record’s closer, ‘Goodbyes’ is another important addition to the album.

‘Goodbyes’ stands out because it is musically another piece that is unlike all of the emo-style works that make up so much of the record’s body.  Yes, it is an emotional work in its simplicity, but at the same time, it is not one of those downer, oh-woe-is-me type works.  It is just one guitar and one person singing.  And when joined with the song’s lyrical content, which focuses on the difficulty of saying goodbye, it becomes all the more powerful and moving.

Avittan points out in the song’s final line that the song is about saying goodbye not in relation to death or a broken relationship, but about going out into the world, saying goodbye to everything and everyone that one has known and heading out into the unknown.  He sings in the lead verse, “Auf widersehen/You were a great friend/You now as well that I can’t pretend/Gotta head out and see the big world/So many people from so many homes/I’m not that good at saying goodbyes/Maybe it’s ‘cause you can see through my lies/not gonna cry/It’s the sun in my eyes/I’m not that good at saying goodbye.”  He adds in the song’s second verse, “Maybe I’ll slip and slowly decay/Maybe you’ll see me on TV someday/Those are big words/But I’ve got to say/Anything’s better than having to stay.  I’m not that good at saying goodbyes/Picking a fight, so you won’t see me cry/I already said it’s the sun in my eyes/I’m not that good at saying goodbyes.”  He goes so far as to add in the song’s final lines, “Send my goodbyes to mom and dad/Yeah/I know they’ve never been that proud/But I’ve got to go and find my way.”  Some might say addressing the matter of coming of age and learning about becoming one’s own person is cliché.  Maybe it is.  But the way in which the matter is addressed here is anything but cliché.  It is in fact, very positive and is certain to connect with plenty of listeners.  When the whole of this work is considered along with the impact of the other two noted songs and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of the album becomes a presentation that audiences will find worth at least one listen.

The Dodies’ new forthcoming LP It’s One Hell of a Ride is an intriguing offering for audiences who are perhaps not overly familiar with the duo’s work.  Composed largely of musical and lyrical content that will appeal to fans of the emo, garage and punk realms, the album also presents some more personal content, as noted throughout this review.  Between the songs noted here and those not addressed, the album in whole proves to be worth at least one chance.  It’s One Hell of a Ride will be available independently from The Dodies April 24.  More information on the album is available online along with the duo’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://thedodiesband.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thedodiesband

Twitter: http://twitter.com/thedodiesband

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Run Around’s New EP ‘Bombs Away’ Anything But Bombs

Courtesy: Earshot Media

Up-and-coming punk rock outfit The Run Around released its first new studio recording in 11 years this month.  The Chicago, IL-based quintet released its EP Bombs Away March 14 independently.  The five-song record is the band’s first studio recording since the release of its 2009 LP Fight The Day. Its musical and lyrical content will appeal to fans of bands, such as Dropkick Murphys, Sum 41 and Bowling for Soup, the latter of which is scheduled to perform live alongside The Run Around Aug. 27 at Bottom Lounge in The Run Around’s hometown.  Tickets for that concert are available here.  The EP’s lead single and opener, which is also the record’s title track, is just one example of how that content makes this record so appealing.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘White Coats,’ the EP’s mid-point is another example of what makes the record stand out in this year’s field of new punk rock records.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Go Under,’ the EP’s closer is one more example of what makes the disc stand out.  It will also be discussed later.  Between this composition, the other noted songs, and the record’s other two offerings, the EP in whole proves itself to be a strong return for The Run Around, and hopefully not the band’s last release.  That is because it is one of this year’s top new EPs.

The Run Around’s first new studio recording in 11 years is a strong return for the up-and-coming punk rock band whose appeal is far-reaching, thanks to its collective musical and lyrical content.  The record’s opener/title track, which is also its lead single is just one example of what makes this record such an impressive return for The Run Around.  The song’s up-tempo musical arrangement lends itself to comparisons to the likes of Dropkick Murphys and Rancid.  One could even argue that a comparison to works from Sum 41 could be made, at least  in the way of that arrangement.  The infectious groove established in this song couples with the straight forward, no-nonsense sociopolitical commentary in its lyrical content to add to its impact.

Front man Jason Fein sings against the work of his band mates – Jason Enders (bass, vocals), Fabian Falcon (guitar, vocals), Mario Sanchez (guitar) and Mike Curran (drums) – “Little Tommy’s gun a gun/He’s not gonna shoot anyone/Sick of this carousel/There’s only one way out when it goes to hell/And when it comes, too/All that we’ll go through/Does not mean a thing/When war mongers control our brains/No future/No desire/We are drowning/But we’re too close to the fire/Bombs away/It’s just an ordinary day/In the U.S. of A./Say/No way/We contradict your politics/And the grand old GOP.”  The song’s second verse is difficult to decipher without a lyrics sheet to reference. However, in the refrain of the song’s chorus, Fein and his band mates change things up slightly, stating, “We contradict your politics and the redneck NRA.”  Considering this and everything in the song’s lead verse, the message in this song comes across as being pretty clear.  Fein adds in the song’s third verse that, “we must ride this wave or go down in punk rock glory” before returning to the chorus once more, adding, “Where the hell’s our liberty?…We say no way.”  Again, the lyrical content leaves little doubt as to its statement.  This is a commentary about the state of the nation.  Given, it will appeal mainly to those who are anything but Republicans, but to those audiences in question, it will certainly find its ears.  The urgency in the song’s musical arrangement adds to the fire in the song’s lyrical content to make the song in whole, a work that is a strong start for Bombs Away and an equally strong first impression for the band in its return.  The song is just one of the EP’s most notable works.  ‘White Coats’ does its own share to show the EP’s strength.

‘White Coats’ presents a musical arrangement that once again, is pure punk rock.  As with the EP’s opener, this up-tempo, guitar-driven work, with its solid time keeping is another work that lends itself to comparisons to works from Dropkick Murphys.  That is especially the case through Fein’s vocal delivery.  It instantly lends itself to the vocal delivery style of DKM vocalist Al Barr.  The simple, yet infectious hooks, which feature band simply singing “whoah” even are instantly comparable to DKM’s work.  The same can be said of the guitar solo in the song’s bridge.  That driving arrangement joins with the song’s straight-forward commentary in its lyrical content to make the song all the more powerful.

Fein sings in the song’s lead verse, “Wake up, baby/It’s the weekend/And we’re never gonna be … again/So let go/Of control/It’s too much stress for one to handle/You know it/We know it/Let the past be the past/You can’t wait for it/Tonight our enemy will be the sunrise/Haters gonna hate on what they don’t know.”  He and his band mates continue in the song’s second verse, “Mr. policeman/Put down the weapon/Please don’t shoot/We’re only drinking/Let go/Of control…we promise we won’t tell/One night/So live life/You know it/We know it/The past is the past/You can’t wait for it.” Of course Fein and company are not saying that drinking and driving is okay here.  The choice of words might have been better.  However, the bigger picture here is that the song’s message comes across relatively clearly.  The message inferred is that we should make the most of our lives.  This argument is strengthened even more as Fein sings in the song’s chorus, “Forget the bastards/And those who bring us down/Tonight, we’ll live life…when the white coats come/To take us all away/Sanity is just your favorite blue pill away.”  That line about sanity being our favorite blue pill away and the men in white coats coming to take us away enhances the song’s overall message about making the most of life.  It is as if Fein is saying that we are going crazy as a nation, and we need to just live our lives, making the best of every day.  That might account for the note of the blue pills and the men in white coats.  Keeping that in mind along with the playful, lighthearted vibe in the song’s arrangement, the song does an admirable job of translating that seeming message.  Looking at the seeming message and music, and that of the EP’s opener, it is clear that this record certainly has substance both musically and lyrically.  That substance does not end with these two songs.  Rather it continues in the EP’s closing number, ‘Go Under.’

‘Go Under’ is, musically, a very accessible song for audiences with its radio ready musical arrangement.  The harmonies established through the guitars, bass and vocals couple with the solid time keeping to make this song at least musically, this EP’s most radio ready work.  It’s just one part of what makes the song so accessible.  The song’s lyrical content, which centers on the all-too-familiar topic of a broken relationship.

Fein sings in the song’s lead verse, “Let’s start at the part/I broke your heart/You told me that you loved me/Right before I fell apart/Never meant for this/Bliss and happiness/Came with the yard and the white picket fence/I bit off my tongue/So you’d never drink alone/Blew off my friends/Pretend that we weren’t home/Now I’m the one/You scream when I call/All is far is love and war/Always my fault.”  He makes mention in the song’s chorus of things going to hell, which signals yet again, that matter of the relationship going south relatively fast.  He adds during the chorus, “I was your lightning/You were my thunder/Never really looked at another//When the lightning crashed/There was no more thunder/Life goes on/Then we go under.”  The song’s second verse is very similar in its approach, continuing that story of the broken relationship.  Between that clear presentation made in the verse and chorus, the song’s lyrical content translates quite well.  Coupled with the infectious musical content, the song in whole is a wise choice for a single, and could be that work that breaks the band into the mainstream, what with that accessibility.  Considering the strength of this song, the others discussed here and the rest of the EP’s entries, the whole of the 16-minute record proves to be a positive return for The Run Around and that is easily one of this year’s top new EPs.

The Run Around’s newly released EP Bombs Away is a record that explodes with so much substance, both in terms of its musical and lyrical content.  It is a work that will appeal to purist punk rock fans as well as those of the more mainstream stuff.  That is evident from the record’s opening to its end.  Keeping that in mind, this EP is a solid return for The Run Around and hopefully just the new beginning for this punk rock outfit.  The EP is available now.  More information on Bombs Away is available now along with all of The Run Around’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheRunAroundBand

Twitter: http://twitter.com/The_Run_Around

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

JLCO Earns Its Own Championship Title With Live Recording dedicated To KU’s Basketball Program

Courtesy: Blue Engine Records

Late last year, Blue Engine Records announced it was going to open 2020 with a bang by releasing four new live recordings from The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.  Three full months into the year, the label has stuck to its busy schedule, releasing the group’s live recording of its performance of music from Wayne Shorter, and of Shermann Irby’s Inferno, as well as a presentation of the Duke Ellington Orchestra’s timeless record Black Brown & Beige.  The label continued that packed slate of new recordings last week with the release of JLCO’s fourth live recording so far this yeear, Rock Chalk Suite.  Released March 20, the 63-minute recording is another wonderfully enjoyable performance from the collective.  It is a work that apparently will appeal to sports fans, too, thanks to its central concept, which will be discussed shortly.  The arrangements that make up the body of the recording add even more interest to its presentation, and will be addressed a little later.  The recording’s production and mixing round out its most important elements, and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is key in its own special way to the whole of Rock Chalk Suite.  All things considered, this latest live recording from JLCO is yet another one of this year’s top new live CDs.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis’ latest live recording Rock Chalk Suite is another impressive new live offering from the organization that deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new live CDs.  That statement is supported in part by the concept at the heart of the recording.  As noted in information provided about the recording, its concept bases each of its 15 songs on one of the famous basketball players from none other than the University of Kansas.  That includes members of the men’s and women’s team.  One might immediately begin to scratch one’s head wondering how such a concept came to life.  The answer to that question is that the recording was meant to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the construction of the university’s Lied Center.  Given, the Lied center has never hosted KU basketball games, being a cultural arts center, but that aside, KU students, staff and alums will appreciate the very fact that this group recorded this entire performance in dedication to the university in so many facets.  Few if any music acts from any genre can say they have dedicated an entire recording – whether studio or live – to a college and its rich history.  To that end, this is really unique, and sets a solid foundation for the recording.

The foundation set by Rock Chalk Suite’s premise is strengthened by the arrangements that make up the body of the 15-song recording.  It is important to re-state here that each arrangement is meant to pay tribute to a specific member of KU’s basketball program throughout the years.  Figures, such as Paul Pierce, Jo Jo White and Bill Houghland are honored along with the likes of Mario Chalmers, Charlie B. Black and Lynette Woodard throughout the performance.  ‘C.B.’s Theme,’ which pays tribute to Black, is a wonderful classic 1960s style work that conjures thoughts of works from the likes of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, the Miles Davis Quintet and the Chet Baker Quartet.  That is evident through the horn arrangements, the dynamic changes and the subtleties in the work’s piano and percussion lines.  Considering the success that KU’s men’s basketball program enjoyed during his time as a member of the team, it makes sense that this song would be so light and upbeat. The light, bouncy approach to the song serves well to illustrate the happiness that must have flowed through each player and the university in whole during his time with the team.

In contrast to ‘C.B.’s Theme,’ ‘Third Quarter’ is a stark contrast.  The song pays tribute to KU and former NBA star Nick Collison.  This work is more reserved than ‘C.B.’s Theme’ and some of the recording’s other works.  It could be argued that maybe the title and vibe in the song are a reflection of how understated Collison’s career was.  He led the Jayhwks to two consecutive Final Four appearances during his career at the university.  He was the NCAA Player of the Year during the 2002-03 season; Big 12 Player of the Year during the same season and was a first-team All-American.  Those are some pretty hefty accolades, but he apparently never rose to the superstar level of some of his counterparts, such as Carmelo Anthony.  He did go on to play with the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics and Oklahoma City Thunder, but was the 12th overall pick in the NBA’s draft after his graduation from KU.  So yes, he was successful, not at the level of other NCAA standouts from KU and other schools.  Of course, this is all this critic’s interpretation, and could be wholly inaccurate.  So, it should not be taken as gospel.  Regardless, the fact of the matter remains that this song boasts its own share of entertainment with its combination of woodwinds, piano, light percussion and standup bass.  The arrangement will put anyone at ease.

‘The Ponderous Pachyderm of the Planks,’ which pays tribute to Clyde Lovellete, is another example of the importance of this performance’s arrangements.  It’s fitting that a song about Lovellette would basically call him a pachyderm.  He was a giant in many ways, physically and in his accomplishments.  Lovelette stood six-feet, nine-inches in height, which is very tall.  Given, elephants are much taller, but in comparison to most other plays of his day and present, he clearly was “as big as an elephant.”  His ability to make one-handed shots during his professional career draws images of someone his height almost taking huge steps down the court, a la an elephant, and making those shots.  Looking at his college career, he led the team to the 1952 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, earned MVP status and scored what was then a record 141 points along the way.  He was named first-team All-American twice during his college career, too.  As an added highlight, he also won gold with the USA Men’s Basketball team at the 1952 Summer Olympics, not long after leading the Jayhawks to the NCAA title.  He was the team’s leading scorer during the games.  Lovelette’s life after basketball was humble, finding him working as a farmer and Sheriff and even worked at a faith-based school helping at-risk youths.  Considering all of these accolades, it makes sense why the arrangement presents a certain swagger and bombast.  That energy is about as big as he was along with his career.  It’s just one more way in which the recording’s arrangements serve to show their importance to the whole of this presentation.  Between this arrangement, the others noted and the rest of the featured arrangements, each does its own part to properly honor KU’s program and its members.  When considered along with the very concept of joining sports and music in this fashion, the two elements make this record even more engaging and entertaining.  They are not the recording’s only key elements.  The recording’s production and mixing round out its most important elements.

The production and mixing that went into Rock Chalk Suite is just as impressive as that of JLCO’s past live recordings.  Whether the arrangements are upbeat or more reserved in their energies, whether they are more lively or subdued, each member of the orchestra has his/her performance expertly balanced with that of his/her fellow musicians.  The horns lead the way throughout the majority of the record, given, but the subtleties of the piano are there, too, as are those of the drums and percussion.  Every part gets its own attention, and in turn, each line is heard perfectly.  The end result is a presentation that is just as easy on the ears because of the content as for the content’s aesthetics.  Those behind that work are to be commended for their continued attention to every finer detail.  Keeping this in mind along with the value of the recording’s content and its foundation, all three elements join to make Rock Chalk Suite a work that is most certainly a slam dunk for sports fans, jazz aficionados and music lovers alike.  Yes, that awful pun was intended.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s latest live recording Rock Chalk Suite is a work that will appeal not just to jazz lovers, but to fans of college basketball — and specifically to fans of the Kansas Jayhawks – and to music lovers in general.  That is proven in the very concept that the recording is a tribute to a college basketball program.  That is unique to say the very least.  The arrangements do an applause-worthy job of paying tribute to some of the program’s most notable names.  The recording’s production and mixing put the finishing touch to the presentation.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this presentation.  All things considered, they make this recording deserving of its own trophy.  More information on this and other titles from the Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchesta with Wynton Marsalis is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://jazz.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jazzatlinconcenterorchestra

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jazzdotorg

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from Blue Engine Records is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://jazz.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/blueenginerecords

Twitter: http://twitter.com/blueenginejazz

 

 

 

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