Fans of Kurt Baker are getting their first taste of his forthcoming album this week.
Baker premiered his new single, ‘Anchors Up‘ and its video Tuesday. The song and its video are the first from Baker’s upcoming album, Rock ‘N’ Roll. The album’s release date is under consideration.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Anchors Up’ is a catchy, up-beat pop rock style composition. According to Baker himself, he made the song with inspiration from the likes of The Kinks and Green Day in mind.
“‘Anchors Up’ started around an idea I had while living in Spain during the lockdown confinement,” Baker said. “Being confined to your house was not a great experience, but I remember I used to take my guitar and play it next to my window, to get some sunlight. I guess the rays of sunshine brought a happy upbeat melody to my mind, definitely with the flavor of something Green Day might have recorded on their ‘Warning’ album, or maybe even the Kinks, which coincidently, I think Green Day was listening to a lot when they recorded ‘Warning’.
Baker added, the lyrics changed over time due to input from Wicked Cool Records founder Little Steven.
“When I sent it to Little Steven to listen to he told me straight up that the song was way too “happy” sounding! I’m very fortunate to have the ability to work with somebody like Steven, who knows his music, and his feedback and critique of my ideas are so extremely valuable,” Baker said. “The song took another direction, once I sat down with my best buddy Geoff Palmer to work on the lyrics. Now the track has this sort of ‘Sloop John B’ vibe to it. Almost a bit of a maritime thing going.. Anchors, drunk captains… You know, I’m from Maine so I’ve been on a boat, and I’ve been around a lot of drunk captains and captainesses, or so they say they are! I’m very very excited for ‘Anchors Up’ to be the lead kick-off single for my new album ‘Rock N Roll Club’. Dig it!”
The video for ‘Anchors Up’ follows Baker as he makes his way down a coastal road, meeting up with friends along the way as the song plays over and Baker sings along. The video ends as the group reaches the beach, the sun setting in the distance.
In other news, Kurt Baker has a series of tour dates coming up starting June 1 in Portland, ME. The current dates are noted below:
6/17 – Portland, ME @ Bunker Brewery
7/1 – Madison, WI @ Mickey’s
9/29 – Boston, MA TBA Album Release Party
9/30 – New York, NY TBA Album Release Party
10/21 – 11/1 JAPANESE TOUR MORE INFO SOON
11/24 – Portland, ME @ Geno’s Rock Club
Baker premiered another, standalone single last month in the form of ‘Secrets‘ Friday. The standalone single is a fun, catchy composition that is driven equally through its guitar line, keyboard composition and infectious beat.
The poppy, up-tempo composition’s arrangement works well with its lyrical theme, which comes across as a love song of sorts. This is inferred as the song’s subject urges his/her love interest to share his/her secrets just between them. The playful approach to the declaration that no one is listening makes that especially the case.
Baker talked about the song’s musical approach in a prepared statement.
“‘Secrets’ is a song that was influenced by classic Motown-James Jamerson basslines, mixed with a bit of Big Star high-volume guitar…,” Baker said. “I love writing and recording catchy pop songs, and the KB Band does it really well, so here’s another great example of us, doing what we do, and playing what we play. Rock on and enjoy the tune!”
More information on Kurt Baker’s new single is available along with all of his latest news at:
Gears debuted its latest single over the weekend along with a companion video.
The band premiered its new single, ‘All Or Nothing’ Friday, along with its companion video. The premieres come less than two months after the band debuted its then latest single, ‘Fix What’s Broken‘ and its companion video. That song and video came three months after the premiere of the band’s then latest single, ‘Lost Again.’
The musical arrangement featured in Gears’ new single is a stark contrast from the arrangements in most of the band’s existing songs. That is because instead of the so familiar Sevendust style approaches that the band has taken, the band instead opts for something much heavier in the aggro-rock vein. There are breakdowns throughout the song, as a matter of fact, that lend themselves to comparison to works from Korn while the sound and style of the verses is more of an original melodic hard rock composition.
No information about the song’s lyrical theme was provided in the press release announcing the premiere of the new single and video. Lyrics were not provided with the song’s video, either. In listening to the song, the seeming theme is that of someone who is stuck in a toxic relationship. That is just this critic’s interpretation.
The song’s video is very similar, stylistically to that of the previous single. It features front man Trip Sixx in front of a random background, performing his part of the song and cuts occasionally to his band mates playing their respective parts for the song.
More information on Gears; latest single, video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
A new figure will take up the mantle of vampire slayer this summer in Boom! Studios’ Buffy The Last Vampire Slayer #1.
Set for release in August (its exact release date is under consideration), the new series follows the events of the Buffy: The Last Vampire Slayer special. It finds Thessaly taking on the mantle of the vampire slayer. At the same time that she faces off against all sorts of dark forces, Thessaly, also has all the familiar issues facing a woman in her 20s — romance and balancing her job with her secondary responsibilities facing the forces of darkness.
Buffy The Last Vampire Slayer #1 was written by Casey Gilley (Star Wars Adventures, My Little Pony: Generations, You Died, Femme Magnifique). The issue’s main cover was designed by Ario Anindito (Star Wars: The High Republic). Its variant covers were designed by Susperia Vilchez (Vampirella Strikes) and Francesco Frankavilla (Night of the Ghoul).
Elizabeth Brei is the series’ editor.
More information on this and other titles from Boom! Studios is available at:
Boom! Studios will release the second issue of its new comic book series, Ghost Lore next month.
The forthcoming issue, scheduled for release June 14, picks up where the debut issue left off. Harmony and her preacher father are still taking in the events of the crash that claimed the lives of Chris, Harmony’s younger brother, and their mother (who was not named in the series’ debut issue). The pair has to come to terms with the tragedy and its impact on them both mentally and emotionally, especially due to the spirits who cross their paths.
Ghostlore is written by Cullen Bunn. The series art is handled by the team of artist “Leomacs” (Basketful of Heads), colorist Jason Wordie (Abbott, Wasted Space), and letterist ED Dukeshire (Once & Future) along with guest artist Danny Luckert (The Red Mother).
The main cover for Ghostlore #2 was designed by Leomacs. The variant covers were desinged by Danny Luckert (House of Slaughter), and Javier Rodriguez (Batman: The The Brave and the Bold).
More information on this and other titles from Boom! Studios is available at:
Independent progressive metal act The Anchoret is giving audiences a new preview of its new album.
The preview came Wednesday in the form of its new single, ‘Until The Sun Illuminates.’ The song is featured in the band’s forthcoming album, It All Began With Loneliness, which is scheduled for release June 23 through Willowtip Records. The band premiered its new single through online magazine Invisible Oranges. It follows the premiere recently of the album’s lead single, ‘Forsaken.’
The song’s musical arrangement is a unique presentation. It exhibits influences of Dream Theater, Fates Warning, and Leprous. The use of the saxophone later in the song adds its own unique touch to the whole making for even more engagement and entertainment.
The band said during its interview with Invisible Oranges, the song’s lyrical theme touches on a heavy topic.
“It is a song about the loss of innocence and how the light in our lives slowly fades away with time,” the band said.
The track listing for The Anchoret’s new album is noted below:
This Friday, Journey founding member and guitarist Neal Schon will release his new live recording, Journey Through Time through Frontiers Music s.r.l. The recording features a performance by Schon and fellow musicians Greg Rolie (keyboards, vocals), Marco Mendoza (bass), Dean Castronovo (drums) and John Varn (keyboards, vocals) captured Feb. 9, 2018 at The Independent in San Francisco, CA. The concert was held as a fundraising event to benefit for people impacted by fires in the area in October 2017, according to information provided about the recording. Planned for release on separate 3CD/DVD and Blu-ray platforms, the 29-song concert event is a slightly mixed bag presentation that is imperfect but entertaining. The recording’s success comes in large part through its noted extensive set list, which will be discussed shortly. The one major issue with the recording is its audio mix. This matter will be addressed a little later. Knowing the concerns raised by the audio mix are not enough to doom the recording, the band’s overall performance of the concert rounds out its most important elements. It will also be examined later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording. All things considered the concert is a presentation that is sure to appeal primarily to many of Schon’s (and Journey’s) most devoted audiences.
Neal Schon’s new forthcoming live recording, Journey Through Time, is an interesting new offering from the Journey guitarist and founding member. It is a presentation that is imperfect but still largely enjoyable. One of the main positives of the new recording is its featured set list. The 29-song set list (yes, 29 songs) is spread across three discs on the recording’s 3-CD/DVD combo pack. It pulls from nine of Journey’s 15 total albums while also presenting two other songs made popular by two other equally well-known acts in the form of Fleetwood Mac and Tito Puente. The set list reaches all the way back to Journey’s 1975 self-titled debut album and reaches all the way up to its 1996 album, Trial By Fire. It should be fully clarified here that Trial By Fire is represented in this concert set list through a performance of that album’s title track. That track is part of a three-song medley that also included ‘Patiently and ‘Stay Awhile.’ So even while the set list does reach up to 1996, it should be noted that not every one of Journey’s albums up to that point are represented. Trial By Fire’s predecessor, Raised on Radio (1986) is not represented in the set list. Why that is the case is anyone’s guess, considering Schon and then front man Steve Perry were both involved in the album’s creation. That anomaly aside, the set list featured here pulls quite liberally from what are Journey’s early core albums. They represent the moment in time before the band’s lineup really started to change, which is perhaps why those records were specifically chosen for this set. They represent the most familiar period of the band’s catalog for most fans. To that end, the set list is certain to appeal to plenty of audiences and in turn forms a strong foundation for the recording overall.
While the set list featured herein is clearly a strong positive for the record, the presentation is not perfect. Audiences will note that throughout the recording, there is a very severe issue with the concert’s audio mix. From one song to the next, there are points throughout the concert in which the vocals find themselves washed out by the instrumentation. At some moments, the issue is thankfully only temporary, but at others, it lasts a much longer amount of time. This aesthetic element detracts considerably from the overall engagement and entertainment considering that audiences want to be able to see and hear concerts from beginning to end. It is as if at some points, those responsible for the concert’s post-production got lazy (albeit unintentionally) or there simply was no way to fully address the venue’s audio. If in fact, there was no way to address the impact of the venue’s acoustics then maybe the concert should not have even seen the light of day. If however, the acoustics were not the issue, then more time could have and should have been spent further cleaning up the audio. This continued occurrence of the recording’s audio issues weakens the foundation formed by the set list but luckily for fans, is not enough to doom the recording. Keeping that in mind, there is still one more positive to note. That positive is the band’s performance of the set list.
Considering the semi-intimate setting in which Schon and company held its concert, there was clearly not a lot of room to run around and be overly active. That is a stark contrast to the arenas that Journey has typically filled throughout its decades-long life. Even with that in mind, the band puts forth its fullest effort in the set’s slower, moments and in its heavier, more energetic moments. Watching the band, the full focus is there from each performer in each song. In other words, this concert was not just Schon and company phoning it in. Rather the entire group gave its all throughout the concert. The energy and emotion that the group puts forth in each song’s performance will connect even with audiences at home, to the end that the collective performance will immerse said audiences in its own right along with the set list. When this positive is considered along with the extensive set list of fan favorite songs, the whole makes the recording overall a presentation that despite being imperfect, is still largely entertaining and engaging.
Neal Schon’s new live recording, Journey Through Time, is an interesting new live offering from the Journey guitarist and founding member. It is a positive offering in that its 29-song set list pulls largely from the band’s formative years, before the band’s lineup started changing along with its sound and style. It features many of the band’s most popular and beloved songs, which came from that era. While the set list featured in the concert forms a strong foundation for the recording, the concert’s audio mix is slightly problematic. There are points throughout the concert at which the vocals do get washed out. It does not happen in every song, but it is frequent enough to note that it does happen. Luckily it does not happen enough to doom the recording. To that end, audiences will note the band’s overall performance here. Each member of the group gives his all to each performance, thus further immersing audiences in the concert and making it that much more enjoyable for audiences. Keeping in mind the engagement and entertainment that the group’s performance ensures along with the concert’s set list, the whole therein is more than reason enough for audiences to take in this recording and consider it among the best of this year’s new live recordings.
Journey Through Time is scheduled for release Friday through Frontiers Music s.r.l. More information on the recording is available at:
The musical arrangement featured in the band’s new single stands apart from its predecessors both in sound and style. The over the top guitars, the operatic vocals and the keyboards blend influences of Dragonforce and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The use of the voice modulation and keyboards, at the same time, conjures thoughts of some of the electronic music from the 80s. The whole makes the arrangement quite the unique presentation that is sure to engage listeners.
No information was provided about the song’s lyrical content. The lyrics provided in the video come across as familiar power metal fare. It comes across as celebrating all things power metal. That is just this critic’s interpretation. The lyrics are presented over images from the album’s cover and booklet as the song plays over the visualization.
In other news, Battle Born recently announced a tour in support of its new album. The UK tour is scheduled to launch May 17 in Cambridge, UK and to run through June 3 in London, UK.
The tour’s schedule is noted below:
Blood, Fire, Magic and Steel UK Tour
17 May – The Six Six – Cambridge, UK
18 May – The Underground – Bradford, UK
19 May – Ivory Blacks – Glasgow, UK
20 May – Legends – Edinburgh, UK
21 May – The Fulford Arms – York, UK
22 May – Network – Sheffield, UK
24 May – Satan’s Hollow – Manchester, UK
25 May – The Underground – Stoke, UK
26 May – The Flapper – Birmingham, UK
27 May – The Hairy Dog – Derby, UK
28 May – Manorfest – Towcester, UK
29 May – Duffy’s Bar – Leicester, UK
31 May – The Gryphon – Bristol, UK
1 June – Fuel – Cardiff, UK
2 June – The Joiners – Southampton, UK
3 June – The Dome – London, UK
Battle Born’s debut album will come less than a year after the band re-issued its self-titled debut EP through Prosthetic Records. The re-issue produced the single, ‘Bring The Metal Back‘ and its video.
The track listing for the band’s new album is noted below:
Blood, Fire, Magic and Steeltracklist: 1. Wind Caller 2. Dragon Heart 3. Blood and Fire 4. Power Force 5. When Empires Die 6. The Endless Grey 7. Fire Storm 8. Down Your Drinks and Raise Your Swords 9. Meridia 10. Ride North for Winterhold 11. Sky Guard You
More information on Battle Born’s new album and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Independent rock band Horizon Theory kicked off the weekend by premiering its new single and video.
The band premiered its new single, ‘December‘ and the song’s companion video Friday. The single’s premiere came more than a month after the premiere of its then latest single, ‘Past Life‘.
The musical arrangement featured in the band’s new single is an intriguing presentation. For the most part, the arrangement follows a familiar brooding melodic hard rock formula, as is evidenced through the sound and style of the song’s guitar line and the contemplative sound and style of the vocal delivery. That approach is contrasted at points, with some metalcore style vocals. The two vocal sides make for quite the interesting contrast and is sure to engage listeners, along with the song’s overall instrumentation.
According to front man Josh Harrington, the song’s lyrical theme addresses mental health from a personal perspective.
‘While writing “December”, I kind of had one thing in mind: at times, everyone gets to a point in their life where they just don’t know if they can go on anymore,” Harrington said. “We play this fictitious role that only we know isn’t true. We try to fulfill those things that people think we are supposed to do and be, and I had reached that point myself. It was time to start being myself – that’s when I really started to see who and what really mattered in my life.”
Harrington added, the song took on a whole new meaning later when he fell ill and was forced to sit out the band’s tour. The situation led him to become depressed and that as he overcame his illness and depression, the song helped him recover from both matters. He said he hopes the song will help listeners as much as it did him.
The video for Horizon Theory’s new single is a straight forward presentation. It features the band performing its new single on a sound stage meant to show how the band looks on stage in person. The song plays over the visualization.
In other news, Horizon Theory is scheduled to perform at this year’s Capulet Fest, which is scheduled to be held July 1/2 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Thompson, CT. Also on the schedule for this year’s Capulet Fest are the likes of Memphis May Fire, Norma Jean, and Saul. Tickets and more information are available here.
For more than half a century, strange things have been happening at the infamous Gorman Ranch in Uintah County, Utah.
Also known as the “Skinwalker Ranch” it has become the focus of one of History Channel’s popular conspiracy theory shows, The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch. It also has been the focus of a book titled Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah.
The popularity of that book has led officials at Boom! Studios to launch a new fundraising campaign for the creation of an expanded book and graphic novel focused on the paranormal events that continue to happen at the ranch titled Hunt for the Skinwalker. The campaign has already raised more than $9,300 as of Tuesday afternoon.
The new comic book series and graphic novel were created by Zac Thompson (X-Men Unlimited, Undone By Blood) and illustrated by Valeria Burzo (Castle Full of Blackbirds).
The fundraiser campaign will run for 30 days total. People who donate to the campaign will have the chance to receive special product reveals, stretch goals and other surprises.
More information on this and other titles from Boom! Studios is available at:
It goes without saying that Duke Ellington is among the greatest and most revered names not only in the jazz community but also in the musical universe. The songs that he and his orchestra composed and performed remain some of the greatest of their kind to this day, having been covered countless times by artists and acts from across the music community, not just from the jazz realm. Ellington’s legacy was bolstered even more late this past April with the re-issue of the previously out-of-print two-part presentation, Love You Madly/A Concert of Sacred Music at Grace Cathedral. Released through a partnership between Mercury Studios and Jazz Casual Productions, Inc. the hybrid documentary/concert is a must have just as much for any Ellington fan and any casual jazz fan. The booklet that accompanies the presentation sets the foundation for what audiences get to see in the documentary and concert. It will be discussed shortly. The documentary itself is definitely of its own interest and will be discussed a little later. The concert feature is also important to note because it is just as enjoyable as the documentary. It will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the overall presentation. All things considered they make Love You Madly/A Concert of Sacred Music at Grace Cathedral a thoroughly engaging and entertaining work that Ellington fans and casual jazz fans alike will appreciate.
Mercury Studios and Jazz Casual Productions, Inc.’s recently unearthed out-of-print presentation, Love You Madly/A Concert of Sacred Music at Grace Cathedral, is a wonderful new offering for any jazz and Ellington fan alike. Its appeal begins before audiences even start watching, thanks to the booklet that accompanies the main presentation. The booklet opens with a brief introduction by Toby Gleason, son of the presentation’s creator, Ralph Gleason. The younger Gleason writes in his liner notes that as a child he himself was so moved by Ellington’s music (thanks to his dad) that even he was converted into a fan. He further qualifies the presentation’s engagement and entertainment by pointing out that his dad’s work was so appreciated by Ellington himself that Ellington praised the hybrid work in his autobiography, Music Is My Mistress. Gleason goes so far as to directly cite Ellington’s statements about his father’s work to help viewers understand and appreciate what they are about to watch.
From there, author Ashley Kahn takes the lead, composing the remainder of the booklet’s liner notes. She picks up where Tony Gleason left off, noting “Gleason’s first love was jazz, an ardor grounded by an insider’s appreciation of the reality of gigs and sessions and making ends meet.” As she continues her working, Kahn points out that Gleason himself was turned onto the work of Ellington and company when he was a child, just like his own son. That makes for even more interest in the story that these two presentations offer. Yet another interesting note that Kahn adds is that in 1965 (the same year from which the featured presentations rose), Ellington had been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and that it marked the first time that a jazz composer had ever been nominated for the prize in the award’s music category. According to Kahn’s notes, Ellington never won the award, despite the nomination, and that caused quite a bit of controversy. She leaves the story there. In researching the story further, it is found that the controversy stemmed from the Pulitzer Board not even awarding an award in the music category that year rather than allow an African American to be recognized for his work. So therein is the controversy. In essence, he was denied, allegedly, purely out of racism from those in positions of power. That Kahn leads audiences to make the discovery on their own is actually a very good thing. It shows that she leaves audiences wanting more in the best way possible. That that end, kudos are in order for Kahn.
As Kahn continues her discussion, she lays the groundwork for the concert at Grace Cathedral, offering the historical background. She explains that Ellington was not the first composer or musician to perform at the church, but the performance put on by Ellington and his orchestra was still a monumental presentation. As Kahn points out, the performance would go on to be just the first of his Sacred Music performances. He and the group would go on to perform the far-reaching presentation at New York City’s Presbyterian Church and at other locations at cities nationwide. Between all of this and so much more presented by Kahn and by Gleason’s son, the overall picture painted by the pair in the liner notes is fully immersive. It sets a solid foundation for the presentation featured in each work that gives audiences much to anticipate in a positive way.
Once audiences transition from the set’s liner notes to the first of the features, the documentary Love You Madly, the very first thing that they get is a vintage, black and white documentary of Ellington and company in intimate settings, such as the Monterey Jazz Festival, at the Basin Street West Jazz Club and even the Grace Cathedral, which itself is, again, presented in full as the second feature. Throughout the course of the performances, Gleason talks one on one with Ellington about how he composed various songs. Ellington is so eloquent as he talks about how he composed the songs that made him famous. Audiences will be fully engaged in his conversations with Gleason. Case in point is his discussion early on about the inspiration behind ‘Far East Suite.’ Ellington explains to Gleason, the composition rose from the group’s trip to the Middle East. This is more proof of the importance of having background information for any instrumental music. Considering the song’s title is ‘Far East Suite,’ the first thing that likely would come to mind is Asia. However as Ellington explains, again, that was not the case. This leaves no room for misinterpretation. The percussive approach on the clarinet and the subdued but steady drums really helps listeners get the picture of the camels, minarets and other items so commonly associated with that region of the world.
On yet another note, Ellington’s discussion on how he developed the arrangement for ‘In My Solitude’ is interesting in its own way. He explains he wrote the song while waiting for another act to finish recording a song in a studio. The gentle, flowing fashion of the song, of which audiences get a clip, makes more sense in understanding that back story. On yet another note, he explains that ‘Sophisticated Lady’ — another of the greatest songs Ellington ever composed — it took him a month to compose that song. It certainly would have been interesting to get even more story on that topic. It is yet more proof of the interest that Ellington’s discussion brings to Love You Madly. Between these discussions and so many others offered throughout the documentary (and the rich performances from his orchestra), what audiences get in whole is such an immersive documentary.
That the documentary was originally presented in 1965, its audio and video have clearly stood the test of time quite well. The rich sound of the stand up bass in some of the song and the equally powerful sounds from the horns in the performances are collectively so powerful. Perhaps the only downside to the audio overall, is that during the course of Ellington’s discussions, audiences will find they have to adjust the volume upwards in order to better hear him. That is a minor inconvenience, though. Overall, the documentary gives audiences so much to appreciate from beginning to end.
While the documentary, Love You Madly, offers viewers so much to enjoy it is just one of the parts of this collective that makes the whole engaging and entertaining. The secondary program, the full concert presentation of A Concert of Sacred Music At Grace Cathedral, presents just as much for viewers to enjoy. This is especially after audiences are taken into the cathedral with Ellington and Gleason near the end of Love You Madly. That portion of the documentary really serves well to set the stage for the concert (no pun intended). The simple presentation, ‘In The Beginning, God’ is so powerful in its simplicity. The hybrid spoken word/sung vocals alongside the subtle piano line, percussion and bass line early on creates a fully engaging work in its own right. Just as interesting is the manner in which the song so subtly switches between its more bluesy leanings and a more modern classical approach in Ellington’s performance on piano during that portion of the opus. The transitions back and forth are incredible in their fluidity. The big band sound that comes later in the composition is just as certain to keep listeners engaged. The whole is such an incredible work that will move any listener.
On another note, the balance of jazz and gospel in ‘Ain’t But The One’ makes for its own interest. It is half the time as ‘In The Beginning, God,’ but still packs a great punch in its shorter presentation. What’s more, it is more direct in the noted balance. What that means is that not only do audiences get diversity in this song, but diversity between the concert’s first two songs. The diversity continues in the fully instrumental composition, ‘New World A-Coming,’ which opens with a decidedly Gershwin-esque piano flare from Ellington. As the song progresses, Ellington puts his own influence to the presentation. The result is a song that is just as engaging and entertaining as any of the concert’s other works.
As if the noted performances are not enough, the vocal talents of Esther Marrow in ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ and ‘Come Sunday’ are powerhouses. There is something incredible about the power of her vocals as she just stands there so simply. It puts forth a display of effortless talent. The tap dancing of Bunny Briggs and the scatting of Jimmy McPhail on the concert’s finale, ‘David Danced Before The Lord’ is yet another incredible moment especially considering the length of the song. Briggs’ skill with his talent is beyond words. It goes without saying that to be able to go as long as he did, putting accents in all the right places along the way, means he had to have had some very strong leg muscles. McPhail’s scatting, that percussive performance, pairs with his smoother, velvety soft vocals to make his performance just as enjoyable as those put on by the duo’s friends in the group. Simply put, whether in this finale, at the other points discussed or any of the concert’s other moments, the whole of the concert proves fully engaging and entertaining thanks to the expert talent displayed by all involved. When all of this is considered along with everything presented in the documentary, Love You Madly, the whole makes for even more enjoyment. All things considered, this dual presentation is a wonderful gem that is a wonderful, welcome offering for any jazz and Ellington fan alike.
Mercury Studios and Jazz Casual Productions, Inc.’s recently released documentary/concert presentation, Duke Ellington: Love You Madly/A Concert of Sacred Music at Grace Cathedral is a powerful, immersive presentation that Ellington’s most devoted fans and casual jazz fans alike are sure to enjoy. That is due in part to the foundation formed by the set’s liner notes. The liner notes are composed in part of the song of the original documentary and concert’s producer, Ralph Gleason and also by author Ashley Kahn. The information the pair provides paints a rich picture of the documentary and concert contained within the presentation. The documentary portion of the set presents a wonderfully intimate picture of Ellington. For lack of better wording, it personalizes him…humanizes him. It shows that even being so revered in the upper echelons of the musical universe, he really is just another person. It makes him all the more respected. The concert at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco puts the finishing touch to the set. That is because it presents a side of Ellington and company that at the time (and since) few if any audiences had and have known. The balance of the secular and non throughout the concert is impressive to say the least. The sound and video is just as impressive, especially considering the age of the footage. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this collection. All things considered they make Duke Ellington: Love You Madly/A Concert of Sacred Music at Grace Cathedral a work that Ellington’s most devoted fans will appreciate just as much as more casual jazz fans.
Duke Ellington: Love You Madly/A Concert of Sacred Music at Grace Cathedral is available now. More information on the recording is available along with other titles from Mercury Studios at: