Cavalera Discusses Working With The Navajo In New ‘Ritual’ Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Soulfly front man Max Cavalera is sharing more background on the making of the band’s new album.

In what is now the fifth “making of” video promoting the album, Cavalera talks about working with the Navajo Indian tribe during the album’s creation.  He talks happily about meeting the last of the code talkers during a special performance for the Navajo, going through a blessing ceremony and much more.  The video is streaming online now here.

The band’s previous “making of” videos feature Cavalera discussing Ritual‘s album art, working with producer Josh Wilbur on the album, the album’s title and the return of Soulfly’s tribal elements this time out.

The band also debuted Ritual‘s third single ‘Dead Behind The Eyes‘ last Friday.  It follows the release of the album’s lead single, ‘Evil Empowered‘ on Aug. 9 and the album’s title track on Aug. 30.

Pre-orders are open now for Ritual.  The album’s track listing is noted below.

Ritual track listing:
1.  Ritual
2.  Dead Behind The Eyes (feat. Randy Blythe)
3.  The Summoning
4.  Evil Empowered
5.  Under Rapture (feat. Ross Dolan)
6.  Demonized
7.  Blood On The Street
8.  Bite The Bullet
9.  Feedback!
10.  Soulfly XI

More information on Ritual is available online now along with all of Soulfly’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.soulfly.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheSoulflyTribe

 

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Archer Nation To Open 2019 With New Album

Courtesy: EMP Label Group

Hard rock band Archer Nation is preparing to release its sophomore album.

The band is currently scheduled to release Beneath The Dream January 25, 2019.  Produced by Mike Clink (Guns N’ Roses, Megadeth, Mo tley Crue), it will be released via EMP Label Group.

Front man Dylan Rose said expectations for the record are high,especially since three years have passed since the release of the band’s debut album.

“After working to create Culling The Weak, everyone was excited to get back in the studio with Mike for the second record,” Rose said.  “We’re very pleased with the result and can’t wait to release Beneath The Dream with the great team at EMP Label Group, so we can get back to non-stop touring in 2019!”

Dave Ellefson, EMP Label Group head, shared Rose’s thoughts.

“When Mike Clink first turned myself and Thom [Hazaert] onto the Archer Nation record, we were blown away,” Ellefson said.  “Clink is a true world-class producer, and we’re honored to work with him and Archer Nation to release their ferocious new album in 2019!”

More information on Archer Nation’s new album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://archernation.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ArcherNation

 

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MVD Entertainment Going “Prehysteric” Next Month

Courtesy: Moonbeam Entertainment/Full Moon Features/MVD Entertainment Group

Dinosaurs are taking over this fall, but they’re not the dinosaurs one might think!

Full Moon Features announced this week that it will release the family-friendly 1993 live action/stop motion hybrid dino flick Prehysteria! on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack next month through MVD Entertainment.  The movie, released originally through its imprint Moonbeam Entertainment, is scheduled to be re-issued Oct. 9.

The story centers on the Taylor family — Jerry (Austin O’Brien — The Last Action HeroMy Girl 2The Lawnmower Man), his sister Monica (Samantha Mills — Step By StepCalifornia Dreams, The Family Man) and their father Frank (Brett Cullen — Ghost RiderThe Dark Knight RisesPerson of Interest) as they deal with a group of newborn dinosaurs brought home by their family dog.  Plenty of hilarity ensues in the Taylor household after the dinosaurs — named after the family’s favorite musicians — but that’s not all.  An evil museum curator named Rico Sarno (Stephen Lee — War GamesThe NegotiatorBurlesque) is out to get the tiny dinos back, leading to even more laughs.

The re-issue comes a little more than 25 years after it originally premiered on VHS on June 1, 1993.  A trailer for the movie is streaming online now herePre-orders for the movie are open now.

More information on this and other titles from MVD Entertainment is available online now at:

 

Website: http://mvdentertainment.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/mvdentgroup

 

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Tom Mason & The Young Buccaneers’ New LP Is A Musical “Treasure” For Everyone

Courtesy: Gas Station Music

More often than not, when one thinks of pirates, one’s thoughts typically are not of the most…savory characters, but apparently not all pirates apparently are bad.  Case in point is Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers.  The Nashville, TN-based group has proven over the course of many years that maybe, just maybe, not every pirate is as bad as Hollywood has led them to be portrayed.  They continue to do just that with their fifth full-length studio recording, Songs For Young Buccaneers.  Released last Friday, Sept. 7, via Gas Station Music, the 10-song record is a rollicking musical ride on the high seas for the whole family from start to finish.  This is proven in part through the musical arrangements presented throughout the album.  This will be discussed shortly.  The record’s lyrical themes support that statement just as much as its musical arrangements, and they will be discussed a little bit later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out the most important of the record’s elements.  It will also be discussed later.  Each element noted here is important in its own right to the whole of Songs For Young Buccaneers.  All things considered, they make this latest effort from the group another musical “treasure” for the whole family.

Tom Mason and The Blue Buccaneers’ fifth full-length studio recording Songs For Young Buccaneers is a musical “treasure” for the whole family.  It has plenty of *ahem* booty (yes, that awful pun was intended) for listeners of all ages, beginning with its collective musical arrangements.  From start to end, every one of the album’s 10 songs boasts a sound that is quite similar to the shanty type arrangements that audiences have heard so many times on the big and small screen thanks to Hollywood.  They come complete with the accordions, guitars and gravelly vocal delivery of a “pirate” singer.  That is the case even as Mason sings about the pressing matter of caring for the world’s oceans in ‘Treasure Through the Trash,’ ‘Treasure The Sea’ and the album’s finale, ‘Sailing on.’  Simply put, the record’s more lighthearted and emotional moments alike present the same sort of musical approach in each song.  Just as important to note is that while the songs’ musical styles are much the same throughout the record, audiences they don’t repeat themselves from one song to the next.  In other words, listeners get the same style of song each time, but none of the arrangements are in themselves the same as one another.  To that end, the arrangements presented across this album give reason in themselves for audiences to take in the album.  They are collectively only one of the ways in which the album stands out.  The lyrical themes add even more interest to the album.

The lyrical themes presented throughout SFYB follow the stereotypical pirate theme just as much as the record’s musical arrangements.  What’s interesting here is that the songs’ lyrical themes are just as lighthearted as their companion arrangements.  In ‘Kristofer The Kinfly Kraken,’ listeners get a story about a nice kraken who just wants to be friends with others.  ‘In The Drink (Kids’ Version)’ is just a fun song about a pirate’s adventures on the high seas.  ‘Parrot of a Pirate’ is just as fun as Mason sings about a parrot who was not exactly what one might think.  It turns out that the bird, bought at a pet shop, was a former pirate’s parrot.  Mason sings that the revelation is made thanks to the bird’s language and what it talked about, yet never makes the song improper for younger listeners.  The previously noted songs ‘Treasure the Sea’ and ‘Treasure Through The Trash’ address the issue of conservation, changing things up slightly at two different point.  Those changes keep things just as interesting as the already noted songs and others such as ‘Talk Like A Pirate,’ which celebrates the upcoming “Talk Like A Pirate Day” (Sept. 19), ‘My Invisible Crew,’ which lets young listeners know it’s okay to have an imaginary friend and the fun ‘A Lot of Work to be a Pirate,’ which tells listeners about all the work that goes into the life.  Between all of these songs and others, Mason and company offer listeners of all ages plenty to enjoy from beginning to end.  When this is considered alongside how much the album has to offer listeners musically, the end result of that consideration is a record that proves enjoyable both musically and lyrically.  Of course as much as the album’s musical and lyrical content has to offer listeners, they are not the only elements that make the album so enjoyable.  Its sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

A close listen to SFYB reveals an interesting aspect about its sequencing.  That aspect is that it plays out almost list a story, even though the record clearly is not a story/concept presentation.  It opens with “Capt.” Mason welcoming listeners “aboard” and then explaining everything that goes into being a pirate.  Once that is done, the “journey” gets under way, and Mason tells listeners the tale of a friendly kraken that just wants to be friends with creatures above and below the waves.  From there, the enjoyment continues as he introduces listeners to his “crew” before inviting listeners to take part in some pirate fun in ‘In The Drink (Kids’ Version).’  As the “journey” progresses, Mason tells listeners about the problems posed by pollution in ‘’Treasure through the Trash’ and again later in ‘Treasure the Sea.’  Between those songs is another fun introduction – this time to a parrot who used to be a pirate’s feathery pal.  As the album reaches its end, Mason bids adieu to listeners in ‘Sailing On.’  Considering that the album opened with Mason welcoming listeners and then ends with that fond farewell, the record in whole feels like a musical journey on the high seas.  Again, the intent likely was not to create a concept record here, but it still comes across as a journey of sorts.  It is an enjoyable journey, too.  That is thanks not just to this approach, but to the songs – both musically and lyrically.  When all three elements are combined, they make SFYB a wonderful musical treasure for listeners of all ages.

Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers’ new album If You Want To Be A Pirate: Songs For Young Buccaneers, is an enjoyable new offering for listeners of all ages.  Whether one is a seasoned salt (yes, that pun was intended, too) or less familiar with the Mason and his “crew,” everyone will agree that it has plenty to offer everyone, beginning with its musical arrangements.  The arrangements are everything that audiences have come to expect of pirate style music.  The lyrical themes are just as familiar overall, and the sequencing makes the album overall feel like a musical trip on the waves.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make If You Want To Be A Pirate: Songs for Young Buccaneers a wonderful musical treasure for the whole family.  The album is available now.  More information on this record and all of Tom Mason’s music is available online now along with all of his latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.tommason.net

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

 

 

 

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Say Hello To ‘Bye Bye Germany,’ America

Courtesy: Film Movement

Hollywood has dried up, ladies and gentlemen.  That goes without saying. It’s been a while since American audiences have seen anything original from Hollywood’s “Big Six.”  Thankfully though, independent studios such as Level 33 Entertainment, Cohen Media Group, IFC Films, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Film Movement have taken over time and again over the past decade or so where Hollywood has failed, with so many enjoyable offerings.  Film Movement offered audiences one of the most recent of those standout offerings early this past August when it released the German import Bye Bye Germany.  The 102-minute (1-hour, 42-minute) dramedy is takes place in Post World War II-era Germany, but is not another one of those run-of-the-mill stories based on actual events or even some author’s book.  Rather, it is its own work that SF Weekly writer Sherilynn Connelly accurately compared to works from the famed Cohen Brothers.  With its original story, engaging acting from its cast, and a look that pulls viewers in just as much as those noted elements, Bye Bye Germany  proves to be a work that will appeal equally to fans of WWII-era stories, dramedies and anyone simply looking for an alternative to Hollywood’s seemingly endless ocean of forgettable flicks.

Independent movie studio Film Movement’s recently released German import Bye Bye Germany likely will never get the attention that its American counterparts get, but the fact of the matter is that it is actually quite the entertaining offering, even being another WWII-era tale.  That is thanks in part to the movie’s story.  Unlike so many movies churned out by Hollywood’s “Big Six” Bye Bye Germany’s story is not another run-of-the-mill overly embellished work based on actual events.  Rather, it is its own original story.  The story takes audiences to Germany, 1946, just after the end of the war.  A group of German Jews who survived the Holocaust have come up with a plan to get the money they need to get to America, and it involves tricking former Nazis who currently live in the region.  It is complimented by a secondary story involving the group’s leader, David Bermann (Moritz Bleibtreu – Run Lola Run, In July, Atomised) being accused of conspiring with the Nazis.  When one of his friends follows him to an interrogation session one day, he reports back to the others, leading to suspicion among the group.  The final outcome won’t be revealed here, for the sake ok those who have not yet seen the movie, but the story overall will certainly keep audiences engaged.  It is expertly balanced with the movie’s primary story to make a presentation in whole that forms a solid foundation for this movie and gives audiences plenty of reason in itself to watch.  The movie’s dual-plot story is just one of the elements that makes Bye Bye Germany such an interesting presentation.  The work of the movie’s cast adds even more interest to its whole.

The work of the movie’s cast stands out because of the subtlety in each actor’s work.  Again, viewers should take note that this is another World War II movie, so even being  dramedy, it would have been so easy for Bleibtreu and his cast mates to go over the top at any given point, but they didn’t do that.  Case in point is Bleibtreu’s interrogation room scenes with co-star Antje Traue (Man of Steel, Pandorum, Woman in Gold).  There were moments in which Sara (Traue) asked David questions that would have allowed David to become irate, yet he never did.  Rather, he responded, again, with that noted subtlety each time.  The less is more approach in these tense moments adds to much depth to the scenes, and pulls audiences in even more when coupled with the story that unfolds throughout.  The same can be said of the revelations from David’s friends about their own past interactions with the Nazis.  One reveals how an SS officer corralled his parents and a group of other Jews into a synagogue and burned them alive, while another reveals he lost his sight when another SS officer hit him repeatedly in the eye in a bar in China.  Both men could have so easily hammed it up and overly emoted, but instead used a similar subtlety as they told their stories.  The result is that each story makes each character that much more sympathetic, and in turn ensures even more viewers’ engagement.  Even Antje Traue adds her own touch as she intently listens to David’s recollections of his efforts to survive in the POW camp.  Whether in the more emotional moments of his testimony or some of the more lighthearted moments, Traue’s reactions to David’s testimony is spot on.  Considering this and the other noted cast members’ work on camera (including that work not noted here), it can be said with ease that the work of the movie’s cast adds its own depth to the story; depth that in turn ensures even more, viewers’ engagement.  Considering this along with the engagement insured through the movie’s story, and audiences see even more why Bye Bye Germany is well worth the watch.  These elements are not the last of the movie’s most important elements.  Its overall look rounds out its most important elements.

IMDB.com notes in its outline for Bye Bye Germany that in making sure the look of the movie was fully believable, the set design crew made certain to only use certain material that were period accurate, right down to the concrete and wood.  That applied to the movie’s main set, the crossroad.  Just as important to note is the look of Bermann’s store.  The broken windows and dimly lit interior, with its empty floors and walls, collectively do a good job of showing what the Nazis did to the store.  In the final act, Elsa (Jeanne Werner – Tied, Before The Winter Chill, Invisible Sue) sits on a bombed out part of the crossroad that looks just like the pictures taken from the war.  Even here, it is obvious that the set/art design crew wanted to get things right so as to ensure even more, viewers’ engagement through suspension of disbelief.  As if all of that is not enough, the cinematic effects used in the movie’s post production add their own interesting element to the movie’s look.  It seems like there is a slight sepia-tone effect similar to that used in The Cohen Brothers’ hit movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? Used here to add to the general effect and look.  That subtle addition to the movie’s presentation makes for even more interest.  When it is considered along with the other general effect items noted here (and those not directly noted), the overall result is a presentation that is just as visually enjoyable as it is for the rest of its content.  When it is all joined together, the noted elements make Bye Bye Germany a surprisingly enjoyable presentation whose overall appeal makes it one of this year’s hidden cinematic gems.

Bye Bye Germany is one of the most welcome cinematic surprises of this year.  While it originally debuted in its home nation in 2017, its domestic debut this past April – and home domestic release in August – makes it a new release for American audiences.  Keeping that in mind, it is one of this year’s best new imports and independent offerings at the same time.  That is proven through an original two-part story that is certain in itself to keep audiences fully engaged from start to finish.  The work of the movie’s cast does just as much to keep viewers engaged and entertained, as has been noted already.  The work of the movie’s art/set design crew rounds out the movie’s most important elements.  Their work does just as much to pull audiences into the movie as that of the writers and cast.  Each item is important in its own right to the movie’s overall presentation.  All things considered, they make Bye Bye Germany a movie to which so many audiences will want to say, “hello.”

More information on this and other titles from Film Movement is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://filmmovement.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Film_Movement

 

 

 

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

‘The Jazz Ambassadors’ Tells A Surprising Story Of Music, Politics Colliding

Courtesy: PBS

When most people think of jazz, they think of a musical genre that has stayed to itself throughout America’s history.  They think it is a genre that, like classical, has been aimed at a very specific audience.  However, in the mid 1950s and early 1960s, jazz took to the world stage thanks to the cold war and other global issues.  In the process, its rise around the world also helped to bring more attention not only to itself, but to the racial disparity and civil rights movement that was growing back home.  That story of jazz’s global reach is the basis for PBS’ recently released documentary The Jazz Ambassadors.  Released late this past June, the documentary’s story is the most important of its elements.  It will be discussed shortly.  The story’s transitions play their own crucial part to its overall presentation, and will be discussed a little later.  The interviews, pictures and footage used to help tell the story round out its most important elements.  Each item noted here is important in its own way.  All things considered, they make The Jazz Ambassadors a far-reaching presentation that will appeal to students and lovers of music, politics and jazz alike.

PBS’ recently released documentary The Jazz Ambassadors is a far-reaching documentary about the relationship between the worlds of jazz and politics that is certain to appeal to students and lovers of both realms.  That is due in no small part to the 90-minute documentary’s story.  As already noted, the story at the center of this program focuses on the unlikely relationship between the worlds of jazz and global politics during the mid 1950s and early 1960s.  The story starts at the start of the Cold War, with Russia pointing out the blatant racism that plagued America, and the attempt by American political forces to change that view.  The American government’s response was to send some of the biggest names in the jazz world to Russia, India, Africa and other nations as “ambassadors.”  The reaction from those acts – many of which were desegregated – actually had unintended results.  By sending acts such as Duke Ellington, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Dizzie Gillespie and others overseas, their music brought more attention to the plight of African-Americans at the time while also raising the profile of jazz around the world.  Audiences will be surprised to find out that one act in particular – Louis Armstrong – even clashed with the government at one point over its efforts.  Not to give away too much, but at one point, Armstrong had some very strong words for Ike Eisenhower.  These are just some of the interesting elements that make Jazz Ambassadors’ story so interesting.  The revelation that Armstrong unwittingly helped the American government in a conflict in Africa is just as interesting to note, as is then President John F. Kennedy’s reaction to the Civil Rights Movement.  This is included in the final chapter of the documentary.  Between all of this and so much more presented from start to finish, the story at the center of The Jazz Ambassadors gives the already noted audiences plenty to appreciate.  It is of course just one of the elements that makes the documentary stand out.  The story’s transitions play their own important role in the doc’s presentation.

The transitions used throughout the course of the story are subtle, but do so much for the doc’s overall presentation.  It is not obvious at first, but the transitions appear in the form of quotes in white, set against a black background.  Those quotes set the scene for each of the program’s chapters.  At first glance, the quotes don’t seem like much, but in hindsight, they make plenty of sense as each segment progresses.  Case in point, the final segment introducing Duke Ellington’s role in the government’s PR efforts.  It opens with a quote from Ellington about being able to speak about the government’s actions if one disagrees with what is going on.  This plays into the segment as the interviewees talk about Ellington’s trip to India with his orchestra and what happened while they were there.  The quotes from the Polish and Russian musicians that lead into the segments focusing on their reaction to meeting the American jazz stars work just as well, as those stories are told, as are the other quotes and their segments.  Keeping all of this in mind, the break points are not only placed well, but fully functional, too.  To that end, they help keep the program moving fluidly while also proving key to each segment in their own right.  When this is considered along with the story itself, both elements go a long way toward keeping the program engaging throughout.  While they do plenty collectively to keep audiences entertained, they are not the only elements to note in examining the program’s presentation.  The collected interviews, footage and pictures used to tell the story round out the most important of its elements.

The interviews, footage and pictures included in The Jazz Ambassadors are collectively, the foundation of the program.  Without their inclusion in the program, there would be no program to speak of.  From academics, authors and ordinary musicians who had first-hand encounters with the noted celebrities to the artists’ family and fellow musicians, viewers are offered plenty of engaging insights and stories about the international trips taken by Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong and others “employed” by the U.S. government.  The footage gives audiences a rare chance to hear the noted audiences in settings outside the studio, both in interview and performing settings.  Those moments create their own entertainment and engagement, too.  The archived photos add even more interest and depth to the program because they serve to illustrate the items discussed by the interviewees.  As minor as it may seem in itself, it does plenty to keep viewers engaged, especially considering the sometimes slower pace of the story.  To that end, those visual aids, coupled with the discussions, prove hugely important to the program’s presentation.  When they are coupled with that noted archived footage, the whole of those elements proves critical to the program’s presentation.  Next to the story itself, they are among the most important of the program’s whole.  When they are considered along with the program’s transitions, all three elements together make The Jazz Ambassadors an important presentation about not only the history of jazz, but of political history, too.  In other words, it proves to be a far-reaching presentation that will appeal to plenty of audiences.

PBS’ recently released historical work The Jazz Ambassadors is an intriguing presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  It is a program that outlines a key period in the history of jazz and the history of America’s political and social upheaval.  This is done by outlining how the two worlds collided in unlikely fashion, ultimately leading to a growth of jazz’s popularity globally and of the importance of the civil rights movement in America.  The stories and insight offered by the interviewees ensure audiences’ engagement and entertainment throughout the story.  The same can be said of the transitions used to divide the program’s segments and keep the program moving.  When they are all combined, they make the program in whole a presentation that the noted audiences will agree is an important addition to their libraries and classrooms.  It is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other titles from PBS is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pbs

 

 

 

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The Jamie Lawrence Sextet’s Debut LP Was Well Worth The Nearly 30 Year Wait

Courtesy: Good Mood Records

The best comes to those who wait.  Everyone has said and heard that old adage at one point or another in life.  It is an adage that definitely applies in the case of The Jamie Lawrence Sextet’s debut album New York Suite.  Lawrence started work on the album almost 30 years ago, but had put it on the back-burner so many times throughout his career.  That sounds like something right out of Mr. Holland’s Opus does it not?  The similarities are purely coincidental, but cannot be ignored.  Getting back on topic, the five-song, 43-minute record from the Emmy and Clio Award-winning producer, composer and music director is a strong effort that proves to have been well worth the wait.  That is proven in part through the album’s extensive title track and opener.  It will be discussed shortly.  Its finale, ‘Tongue Twister,’ also serves to support that statement, and will be discussed a little bit later.  ‘Beluga Triangle’ is yet another example of what makes New York Suite such a surprising first effort from Lawrence.  When it is considered along with the record’s title track/opener,

The Jamie Lawrence Sextet is scheduled to release its debut album New York Suite next month.  Scheduled to be released independently Oct. 5, the five-song, 43-minute record is a surprisingly enjoyable work for jazz enthusiasts and the most devoted aficionados alike.  That is proven in part through the varied arrangements presented throughout the record.  The album’s opener, which is also its longest work at just over 21 minutes, conjures thoughts of the free jazz sounds of the 1950s and 60s.  More specifically, listeners can almost instantly hear the influences of the likes of Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler and other similar acts through Lawrence’s own work on the piano as it is joined with the musicianship of famed drummer Peter Erskine and fellow musicians Marty Ehrlich (alto sax, clarinet), J.D. Parran (tenor sax, clarinet, alto clarinet) and Jim Pugh (trombone).  Bassist Carlos Henriquez even conjures thoughts of Charles Mingus circa 1959 with his own work.

Those collective talents keep the song completely engaging from start to end thanks to little things like the call and response of the saxes and horns presented early on in the song.  The addition of special guest Ed Bialek’s harmonica line to the mix makes the song even more engaging thanks to his light, almost playful approach.  The controlled chaos of the group that follows (and gives each member of the group his own moment in the limelight) paints a vivid picture of New York City that any listener will appreciate.  It does this through the use of a series of movements that are clearly defined throughout the song.  The first of those movements melds into the second movement just before the six-minute mark and the second.  What’s interesting here is the subtle way in which that progression happens.  That subtlety lets listeners know that something is changing, but doesn’t just push it in listeners’ faces and ears.  That same subtlety is used as the song’s second “movement” progresses into its third.  One could argue that a fourth “movement” closes out the overall arrangement in its final minutes.  It is executed through a solo from Henriquez that is eventually complimented by his fellow musicians to finish off the song, and is just as engaging as the song’s other sections.  From start to end, listeners will find themselves getting images of a busy 42nd Street, filled with cabs, the laid back vibes of Central Park and more in each movement.  That Lawrence and company can create such a rich picture of life in New York’s various areas (including even the subway) is a tribute to their talents.  It also serves to show that not only is it a strong first impression from Lawrence and company, but how much the album has to offer listeners.  It is not the only work that stands out in the record’s overall presentation.  The record’s closer, ‘Tongue Twister’ boasts its own merits.

‘Tongue Twister,’ the record’s closer, switches things up a bit by crossing the group’s already familiar free jazz styling and crossing it with a little bit of a Latin jazz vibe.  Even more interesting is that the use of the electric bass here generates a sort of fusion vibe.  One might not think that grouping Latin, fusion and free jazz would work in one composition, but they are expertly balanced throughout.  The end result is a work that presents its own sense of chaotic yet enjoyable chaos.  That is due not only to the work of Lawrence and his fellow musicians, but also to the attention put into balancing each musician’s talents with those of his counterparts.  Case in point is the balance between Lawrence’s work on the piano, Jon Faddis’ trumpet line and Parker’s time keeping.  All three lines are prominent throughout the majority of the song, but are not the only notable additions to the arrangement.  When sax players George Young and Lou Marini join the mix, their funky, upbeat arrangements mix just as well with their band mates to create a fun whole that is certain to have any listener on his or her feet.  To that end, the whole group together creates what is a solid finale to this record and one more example of what makes New York Suite such an enjoyable offering from the Jamie Lawrence Sextet.  It still is not the last of the record’s most notable tracks.  ‘Beluga Triangle’ is one more positive addition to the album.

‘Beluga Triangle’ stands out because it paints a picture that is so dramatically different from its counterparts on this album.  It presents a more nuanced, focused feel than those songs, and one that is more emotional, too.  That is evidenced early on through the balance of Lawrence’s piano line and the work of his fellow musicians.  Saxophonist Eddie Daniels’ John Coltrane-esque performance and drummer Ronnie Zito’s subtle yet solid time keeping make for a wonderful juxtaposition that adds so much to the song’s whole.  When they join with Lawrence’s piano line and trombonist Jim Pugh’s own work, the whole of the group’s work becomes a work that is just as engaging as New York Suite’s other works because of that balance.  As a matter of fact, the overall subtlety in the composition and the balance in the lines creates an atmosphere that could be argued to be even more engaging than the record’s other offerings.  It’s one of those works that proves the old adage true that less is more.  When this is considered along with the engagement and entertainment offered through the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of the album proves to be a surprisingly enjoyable work that jazz fans of all levels will appreciate.

The Jamie Lawrence Sextet’s debut album New York Suite is one of the most surprising releases of this year’s new jazz offerings.  It is a record that continues to show the expansive talents of its namesake, who has spent decades making music for television, and his fellow musicians.  From the rich picture painted in the record’s opener and title track — which gives listeners a vivid picture of life in New York City — to the equally engaging Latin/free jazz sound of ‘Tongue Twister’ to the moving ‘Beluga Triangle’ and more, this 43 minute record is a solid start for Lawrence and company.  By the time it’s over, jazz fans of all levels will agree that hopefully it will be just the beginning for Lawrence and company.  The album is currently scheduled to be released Oct. 5.  More information on New York Suite is available online now along with Jamie Lawrence’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://jamielawrenceproductions.squarespace.com

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

 

 

 

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