Coltrane’s “Lost Album” Is The Best Find Of 2018’s Jazz, Blues Offerings

Courtesy: Verve Records

Jazz and the blues are among the great genres of music to ever grace the world’s airwaves.  From the days of the “chitlin circuit” that featured so many of the greatest blues musicians of all time, to the fusions sounds of Weather Report, Yellowjackets and others to the more modern jazz and blues of Joe Bonamassa and The Jamie Lawrence Sextet, both genres have produced an infinite number of timeless, influential albums and songs.

That is why as with past years, Phil’s Picks is featuring again, a list of the year’s top new jazz and blues albums.  The two genres are being combined as they are invariably connected to one another.  It has not made crafting this year’s list any easier than in year’s past.  Keeping that in mind, there are no bad albums here.

Taking the top spot in this year’s list is the long lost studio recording from John Coltrane, Both Directions at Once.  Up until this year, the recording had been long thought lost to time, and its “resurrection” of sorts this year is welcome.  The arrangements show a unique side of the famed saxophonist and his fellow musicians featured throughout.

Second Place in this years list goes to Yellowjackets’ new album Raising Our Voice.  This record is everything that the jazz outfit’s fans have come to expect with a little something extra thanks to the record’s guest vocalist.

Third Place belongs this year to The Jamie Lawrence Sextet and its debut album New York Suite.  The record’s arrangements throw back to some very interesting influences while also using those influences to generate an identity of their own in the process.

Also featured in this year’s list are new releases from the likes of Joe Bonamassa, The James Hunter Six, The Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band and Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite just to name a handful of other acts.

As always, the list features 15 total acts and titles.  The first 10 records are the Top 10, while the five that follow are honorable mention titles.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top 10 New Jazz & Blues Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2018 TOP 10 NEW JAZZ & BLUES ALBUMS

  1. John Coltrane — Both Directions at Once
  2. Yellowjackets — Raising Our Voice
  3. The Jamie Lawrence Sextet — New York Suite
  4. Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite — No Mercy in This Land
  5. Ry Cooder — The Prodigal Son
  6. Onyx Collective — Lower East Suite Part Three
  7. The Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band — Poor Until Payday
  8. Joe Bonamassa — Redemption
  9. Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa — Black Coffee
  10. James Hunter Six — Whatever It Takes
  11. Tony Bennett & Diana Krall — Love Is Here To Stay
  12. Gary Moore — Blues & Beyond
  13. Brian Bromberg — Thicker Than Water
  14. Kamaal Williams — The Return
  15. Victor Wainright & The Train — Victor Wainright & The Train

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Jeff Beck Announces Special Live Show For This Summer

Courtesy:  MadInk PR

                                Photo Credits: Ross Halfin

Jeff Beck announced this week plans for a very special concert to be held later this year.

Beck announced this week that he will return to the Hollywood Bowl this summer to celebrate two very big anniversaries. The legendary musician and former Yardbirds guitarist will perform live on Wednesday, August 10th at the famed music landmark as a celebration to mark fifty years in the music industry. The concert will also serve as a celebration to mark the 80th birthday of legendary bluesman Buddy Guy. Beth Hart will also be on hand as a special guest for the event. In discussing Guy’s inclusion in the event, Beck spoke more as a fan of Guy and his extensive body of work than a fellow musician, noting that “Sharing the stage and this moment with Buddy is a dream for me.” He went on to note the importance of Guy’s live shows and his continued influence in the music community even today saying, “His live concerts are legendary and the music world would be a very boring place without his influence.”

Tickets for the concert are available online now at http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/ or via phone at 323-850-2000. Group ticket sales begin Tuesday, February 16th and “Five or More packages will go on sale March 15th. Individual tickets can be purchased in person from The Hollywood Bowl’s box office beginning May 1st.

Beck has been working on his first book, Beck01 in recent months. The book is currently expected to be published via the London-based Genesis Publishing Group. The book will be available in a very limited number of copies, each signed by the veteran musician. The book focuses on Beck’s two main loves, hot-rodding and music. Along with completing his debut literary offering Beck also is working on an officially sanctioned documentary and his autobiography.

More information on Jeff Beck’s upcoming concert at the Hollywood Bowl is available online now along with all of the latest news from Beck at:

 

Website: http://www.jeffbeck.com

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

 

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

Joe Bonamassa adds one more to the list of 2012’s great live recordings

Joe Bonamassa is a modern day music legend.  This guitar virtuoso is right up there with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Satriani, B.B. King and so many other guitar greats.  That multi-faceted mix of raw talent has been expertly captured on his new live double disc dvd, “Beacon Theatre:  Live From new York.”

Bonamassa and his band are shown at the top of their game in this performance, recorded last year.  From the raw energy of ‘Cradle Rock’ to the beautiful, emotional ‘Bird on a Wire’ to the Jimi Hendrix-esque ‘Blue and Evil’, there is little, if anything, bad that can be said of Joe Bonamasa and company in this performance.  The entire band shines both on its own and as a supporting act to guest artists Beth Hart, John Hiatt, and Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company, The Firm).  Audiences really do feel the respect between the band and the guest vocalists throughout the duration of the concert.

Of course, those moments aren’t all that make this performance so great.  One of the greatest moments of the show comes in the show’s closer, ‘Young Man Blues.’  The control of drummer Tal Bergman is immense with each (yes,each) drum solo used to set up each segment of the song.  It does so to help build the anticipationof what’s to come next.  the music presented by Joe Bonamasa and his bandmates makes for an outstanding show.  But one would be remiss to ignore the show’s production values, as they add their own element to the overall enjoyment of seeing J.B. and company live.

Kudos are in order to director Scot McFadyen and eveybody behind the scenes of the show.  The video and audio are very well balanced throughout the course of the concert.  This is the case both on the blu-ray and standard def dvd presentation.  The video is especially clear on both versions, as the concert was shot in high definition.  So no matter which format audiences may choose, they will be getting an excellent presention, all the way around.  Combine the top notch production values of the concert recording with a solid set list, and audiences get a show that is easily one of the best home live releases of the year.

For fans who want more new material from Joe, fear not.  Joe has a new album out later this month titled, “Driving Towards The Daylight.”  And in support of the album, he’s already headed out on a tour that will take him straight through December.  North Carolina fans will be excited to know that Joe will be making a stop at the nationally known Durham Performing Arts Center on November 28th.  Fans can check into tickets and more on the DPAC website, http://www.dpacnc.com.  Joe’s fans can follow his tour news and more online at http://www.jbonamasa.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JoeBonamassa, and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JBONAMASSA