Bobby Watson’s New LP Is Another Mostly Successful Addition To 2022’s Field Of New Jazz Albums

Courtesy: Smoke Sessions Records

Jazz saxophonist Bobby Watson released his latest album, Back Home in Kansas City Friday through Smoke Sessions Records.  The 11-song record is his 21st as a band leader and fourth to be released through Smoke Sessions Records and comes two years after the release of his then latest album, Keepin’ It Real.  The 65-minute record is a wonderful introduction to Watson and his work for new audiences and just as welcome among his established audiences.  That is proven through each of the record’s diverse compositions beginning with the record’s opener, ‘Back Home in Kansas City.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  The relaxed vibes of ‘Celestial’ make it just as notable as ‘Back Home in Kansas City’.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Blues For Alto,’ the record’s closer, is yet another enjoyable addition to Watson’s new LP and will also be discussed later.  Each song examined here is important in its own way to the whole of Back Home in Kansas City.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s equally engaging and entertaining works, the whole makes the album overall not only one of the best of this year’s new jazz albums field, but also one of the year’s best new albums overall.

Back Home in Kansas City, the latest album from Bobby Watson, is a wonderfully enjoyable new offering from the veteran jazz saxophonist that is appealing on so many levels and will appeal to so many audiences.  Its appeal is made clear right from its outset in the record’s opener/title track.  Right from the song’s outset, the light bouncy vibe that Watson and his fellow musicians – Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Cyrus Chestnut (piano), Curtis Lundy (bass), Victor Jones (drums) – create immediately lends itself to comparison to ‘Lester Leaps In.’  That song was crafted by another saxophonist many decades ago, Lester Young.  Given the two songs sound different, but the overall stylistic approach taken in the title track here is really that close in style and sound.  That this song still maintains its own identity even with that in mind makes the composition all the more enjoyable.  Sadly, the liner notes featured in this album, which were penned by Academy Award®-winning film director and screenwriter Kevin Willmott does not offer any background on the song (or any of the album’s songs for that matter), but thankfully at least the media received some background in a press release announcing the album’s release.  The release notes of the song that apparently uses the melody from the old Dixieland take of ‘Back Home in Indiana’ and Charlie Parker’s ‘Donna Lee’ for its structure.  That is a unique background to consider, again, considering the noted stylistic similarity to ‘Lester Leaps In.’  It really makes for so much more interest in this song while perhaps renewing interest in the other songs and makes this just one of the songs that stands out in Watson’s new record.

Another song that stands out in this record comes in the form of Celestial.’  As noted already, the liner notes featured with the album sadly offer no background on any of the album’s songs.  The information provided to the media about the album also has no background on this song.  It is quite the polar opposite of ‘Back Home In Kansas City.’  Where that song is so upbeat and energetic, this song is so relaxed and subdued.  It is really one of those Make-Believe Ballroom type works that is so danceable.  The subtle use of the drums against the horns and piano leads to visions of the old upscale jazz clubs from the 1940s, the big band orchestra in its seats as people dressed in their finest dance hand in hand.  Watson’s solo here is so rich in its controlled approach, too.  There is so much warmth in his performance that audiences cannot help but remain engaged.  Much the same can be said of Pelt’s performance during his solo.  Going back to the fact that there is no background available about this song at all, the first thought that comes to mind in listening to this song and reading its title, is that of someone sitting outside on a warm night, looking up at the stars as they come out.  That likely is not the backstory here, but to that end, it shows the importance of liner notes.  Smoke Sessions Records is typically much better about presenting background about songs in albums released by its artists.  It is disappointing that such background is not here.

Getting back on the subject at hand, there is at least one more song here to note.  That song is the album’s closer, ‘Blues For Alto.’  The information provided to the media about this song is quite limited.  The news release states only that the song is “self-explanatory.”  There is nothing else.  Listening to the six minute-plus song, it does have a nice, bluesy touch thanks to Watson’s work as he leads the way.  Jones’ gentle brush strokes on the snare and time keeping on the hi-hat add just the right touch to the whole, as does Lundy’s work on the bass solo.  Yes, even he gets his moment to shine in this record.    Once again, it certainly would have been nice to have had some more background on the song (and the rest of the album’s entries), but either way, the song is enjoyable in its own right what with its bluesy jazz approach and sound.  It makes the song a welcome finale for Watson’s new record that will leave audiences smiling, wanting more in the best way possible.  When it is considered alongside the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album in general one more welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Back Home In Kansas City, the new album from Bobby Watson, is a mostly successful new offering from the veteran jazz saxophonist.  That is proven from one song to the next.  The diversity in the arrangements and the sequencing thereof is certain to make the album a favorite among jazz fans.  The songs examined here do well to make that clear, even sans any background on the songs.  When these songs and the rest of the record’s entries, the whole makes the LP one more of the year’s top new jazz albums and potentially one of the year’s top new albums overall.

Back Home in Kansas City is available through Smoke Sessions Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of Bobby Watson’s latest news at:

Website: https://bobbywatson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bobbywatson251

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.   

‘Star Trek Picard: Season 2’ Struggles To Survive

Courtesy: Paramount/CBS DVD

Hardcore fans of the seemingly ever-expanding Star Trek universe got some good news this year when it was announced that Star Trek Picard, which focuses on legendary Federation Captain turned Admiral Jean Luc Picard, would get a third season run.  The wait for the series’ third and final season will not be too long for said audiences, either, as it is currently planned to stream on Paramount+ from Feb. 16 to April 20, 2023 over 10 episodes.  While audiences wait for the series’ final season, they can take in the series’ second season on DVD and Blu-ray now in a new three-disc set released through CBS DVD.  Of course, this latest installment in the series sadly has little to applaud, save for a couple of high points.  The most notable of the high points is the fact that it relies far less on the foul language and blood and gore of the first season.  This will be discussed shortly.  On the other hand, though, there is a lot to dislike about the season’s story and the packaging for the season’s home release.  This will be examined a little later. The only other positive to this season is the surprise season finale, which will be discussed but not given away here.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the season’s presentation.  All things considered they make the second season of Picard an intriguing presentation that is worth watching at least once regardless of audiences’ devotion to the Star Trek universe.

Star Trek Picard: Season 2 is an intriguing continuation of the series, which focuses on the one and only Jean Luc Picard.  That is because of its overall mixed presentation.  One of the few positives to this season is that it relies so much less on the violence and foul language that was incorporated into the series’ debut season.  The writers relied far too much on that content in Season One, almost as if they knew that otherwise Season One would not work.  Yes, there are some moments of foul language peppered throughout the season, but its presence is so much less in this case than in Season One.  The worst of the bloodshed comes late in the season’s run this time as Seven is run through by the Queen Borg/Agnes (not to give away too much for those who have yet to see this season).  Rios gets injured by one of the borg drones that Dr. Soong uses, but even in that case, the writers kept the bloodshed to a minimum.  It is a nice change of stylistic approach that while still could have been minimalized even more, was still a welcome change in comparison to the level of violence in Season 1.

While the clearly decreased level of violence and foul language incorporated into the second season of Picard makes it more worth watching, this season still fails in so many ways, not the least of which is its story.  The story in question finds Q (John De Lancie) sending Jean Luc and his friends back in time to the 21st century, apparently out of his own bizarre sense of something.  He admits in the end that he just wanted Jean Luc to learn a lesson about forgiving himself (once again, not to give away too much), but he does this at the risk of history being changed forever.  Yes, there is even an alternate timeline bit tied into the season.  What’s more, there is even an indirect reference to none other than Quantum Leap as part of the story.  That really is what audiences get here.  Picard and company go back in time and have to ensure history’s safety, this time all because Q has some quirky fascination with Jean Luc even as he (Q) is dying. 

Complicating matters even more is that Picard and his rogue’s gallery of friends have to ensure that the borg queen, who essentially possesses Agnes, does not manage to take over 21st century Earth and turn it into a borg planet.  Adding even more to the complication is Dr. Soong and his role in everything.  He lets his selfish desire for fame and immortality (literal and figurative) blind him and makes things even more difficult for Jean Luc and company.  Considering that Jean Luc already had to battle the Borg in Star Trek First Contact in order to preserve history, this whole story arc becomes all the less original.  The only difference is that instead of making sure that first contact is made, he has to ensure that his ancestor precedes that moment and joins the flight to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons.

As if all of this was not problematic enough, the writers incorporate a completely cheesy and unnecessary romance subplot between Rios and a young, single mother who runs her own clinic in Los Angeles.  Obviously, Rios’ own future is set early on and audiences know what will happen here.

The fact that the writers drag out this season’s story as much as they do over 10 episodes, ensuring that Jean Luc keeps getting into so many tough spots, using so much exposition as he recalls his childhood that led him to become the stoic person her became known as during his life, makes for even more problem.  It makes the season feel so much longer than it really is.  To that end, if Season One failed to live up to expectations, then all of this together makes this season fail to live up to expectations even more so because of its overall

The writing is just one of the very problematic issues that Season Two faces.  The season’s packaging proves problematic in its own way.  The three discs over which the season’s 10 episodes are spread are poorly packaged for starters.  Disc One sits on its own spot inside the Blu-ray case while Disc two sits atop Disc three with nothing to protect Disc two from getting marred by Disc 3.  This greatly decreases the potential longevity of at least one of the discs if not both, depending on which one ends up sitting atop the other from one point to another.

Adding to the problems of the packaging is the fact that there is no hint of an episode guide anywhere in the packaging.  The episode titles are printed on the discs, but that is the extent of what audiences get here.  The result is that audiences who have not yet seen Season Two will just have to sit and wait to find out what happens from one episode to the next.  What’s more, even those who are familiar with the series might forget each episode specifically, so even they might end up having to go through just to remember which episode has what aspect of the story.  This greatly diminishes the general effect of Season Two along with the massive writing problems that plague this season.

Keeping all of this in mind, there is at least one aspect of the story that does work.  That aspect is the season’s surprising finale, which actually ties (at least indirectly) back to the story element from Season One involving the Borg.  Audiences who have seen Season One will recall that Jean Luc made the revelation that the Borg were more victims than the monsters that they were made out to be for so much time.  That realization likely led to Picard to ultimately make the decision to give talks with the Borg the chance to talk in the first place in the season premiere (and finale).  The revelation that is made at season’s end is sure to play into the coming third and final season.  It makes all of the slow boil buildup to that point at least somewhat bearable.  Keeping that in mind, this final aspect of the season works with the lessened violence and foul language to make the season worth watching at least once.

The second season of Star Trek Picard is hardly the presentation that it clearly could have been.  It could have done so much right, but sadly did so much else.  That is not to say that it is a total failure.  It succeeds in that it uses far less foul language and overt violence (including bloodshed) than was used in Season One.  The surprise finale to Season Two makes for its own interest, too.  It is certain to shock plenty of longtime Star Trek fans.  These two elements make up at least somewhat for all of the failures that are so prevalent throughout Season Two’s writing and packaging, which are so problematic in themselves and collectively.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the second season of Picard.  All things considered they make Star Trek Picard: Season 2 come up even shorter than the series’ first season.

Star Trek Picard: Season 2 is available now on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on Star TrekPicard is available along with all of CBS All Access’ latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.cbs.com/allaccess

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/CBSAllAccess

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/cbs

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.

Saxon Announces New Live Dates; Premieres New Single, Video

Courtesy: Silver Linings Music

Saxon is gearing up to hit the road next month for a trip across Europe.

The band recently announced it will launch the European leg of its “Seize The Day World Tour” Sunday in Paris, France. The tour is scheduled to run through Nov. 26 in London, England, and is in support of Saxon’s latest album, Carpe Diem, which was released in February through Silver Linings Music.

The tour’s schedule is noted below. Tickets for the tour’s EU dates are available here. Tickets for the UK leg are available here.

SEIZE THE DAY WORLD TOUR:

EUROPE:

2 October – FRANCE – Paris, Trianon
3 October – NETHERLANDS – Tilburg, 013
4 October – GERMANY – Hannover, Capitol
6 October – GERMANY – Berlin, Admiralspalast
7 October – GERMANY – Munich, Muffathalle
8 October – GERMANY – Offenbach, Capitol
10 October – ITALY – Milan, Alcatraz
11 October – SWITZERLAND – Pratteln Z7
12 October – BELGIUM – Antwerp, Trix
13 October – NETHERLANDS – Haarlem, Patronaat
15 October – DENMARK – Aarhus, Train
17 October – SWEDEN – Gothenburg, Pustervik
18 October – NORWAY – Oslo, Rockefeller
19 October – DENMARK – Copenhagen, Amager Bio
21 October – NETHERLANDS – Zwolle, Hedon
22 October – FRANCE – Metz, La Bam
23 October – SWITZERLAND – Lausanne, Les Docks

UK:

11 November – Ipswich, Regent Theatre
12 November – Southampton O2 Guildhall
13 November – Bexhill, De La Warr Pavilion
14 November – Cardiff, St. David’s Hall
15 November – Bath, Forum
16 November – Cambridge, Corn Exchange
18 November – Newcastle, O2 City Hall

19 November – Blackburn, King George’s Hall
20 November – Aberdeen, Music Hall
21 November – Glasgow, Barrowland
22 November – Hull, City Hall
23 November – York, Barbican
25 November – Leicester, De Montfort Hall
26 November – London, Roundhouse

In related news, Saxon debuted the video for its latest single from Carpe Diem, ‘Black is the Night’ Sept. 21. Its debut follows that of the video for another single from the album, ‘Remember The Fallen.’ That video and single premiered Jan. 11.

The video for ‘Black is the Night’ blends footage of the band performing its new single with the story of a man in a forest, having to fend for himself against the elements. The musical arrangement in the song blends elements of the band’s power metal leanings with a bluesy guitar solo to make the whole a powerful presentation in its own right.

No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme.

 More information on Saxon’s new tour schedule, its new video, single, and album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttp://www.saxon747.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/saxon

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/SaxonOfficial

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.

Howdytoons’ Latest LP Is A Blast About Creatures From The Past

Courtesy: Howdytoons Productions, Inc.

Family music act Howdytoons is scheduled to release its latest album, Dinosaurs & Monsters Friday through its own label, Howdytoons Productions, Inc.  The band’s fourth album in its ongoing “dinosaur rock” series of releases, the nine-song album is a fun new offering for the entire family.  That is due in part to its featured musical arrangements.  They will be examined shortly.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements makes for its own interest and will be examined a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record’s presentation.  All things considered they make the album just one more enjoyable addition to this year’s field of family music albums.

Dinosaurs & Monsters, the latest new album from family music act Howdytoons, only runs nine songs deep, but in that spread, it offers plenty for audiences to appreciate, beginning with the album’s musical content.  The musical content comes largely in the form of some hard rocking compositions that are still mostly family friendly.  There is a touch of some ska and reggae to mix things up a bit, too.  The whole thing opens with a Soundgarden-esque composition in ‘Allosuarus.’  That comparison is most evident in the song’s verses.  More specifically, the comparison is to Soundgarden’s hit song, ‘Spoonman.’  At the same time though, the chromatic scale used in the guitar line in the verses is also comparable to Filter’s hit single, ‘Hey Man, Nice Shot.’  ‘Dimetrodon,’ which immediately follows immediately conjures thoughts of works from System of a Down.  ‘Brachiosaurus’ is just as easily comparable to Marilyn Manson’s cover of the Eurhythmics’ single, ‘Sweet Dreams.’  So right here in this first trio of songs, grown-ups get songs that will appeal to them while also introducing young listeners to some fun rocking compositions.  ‘Brontosaurs is Back’ changes things up with its ska approach and gives way to the even easier moving reggae style composition, ‘Diplodocus.’  From there, things pull back even more with the folk style Stegosaurus.’  Things gradually pick back up after that song, carrying listeners through to the album’s end with three more rocking songs in the kindie-rock of ‘I’m a Pterodactyl,’ and the much heavier ‘The Kraken’ and ‘Kronosaurus.’  The short and simple of these arrangements is this:  From one to the next, the styles and sounds of the arrangements offer a certain level of variety.  The songs will appeal just as much to grown-ups as to their younger counterparts.  To that end, they form a strong foundation for the record.

Building on the strength thereof is the lyrical content that accompanies that musical content.  The lyrical content featured here is, as the album’s title suggests, about dinosaurs and at least one monster, the kraken.  From the Stegosaurus to the Dimetrodon to the perhaps lesser-known Kronosaurus (which was a real, sea-going dinosaur) and more, the album teaches listeners of all ages about a variety of dinosaurs.  Believe it or not, there are plenty of adults who remember very little about different dinosaurs (and other topics), so to that end, this content serves as a great review for those grown-ups and an equally welcome introduction for young listeners.  What’s more, kids love dinosaurs in general.  So, adding fun rocking songs to lessons about dinosaurs will just get kids enjoying learning about them even more.  Keeping that in mind, this simple, straight forward lyrical content from one song to the next, as it follows one, central theme makes the lyrical side of this record just as appealing as the album’s musical content.

While the content featured in Dinosaurs & Monsters clearly does plenty to make the album enjoyable, their sequencing puts the finishing touch to the presentation.  As noted already, the sounds and styles featured in the arrangements changes ever so much from one to the next, at least in regards to the heavier content.  The placement of the more pop-oriented songs in the middle of the album shows even more the time and thought that went into the album’s sequencing.  It shows the band did not want audiences to grow tired of the album.  That effort paid off, too.  That is because it ensures the stability of the album’s energy even as the sounds and styles of the songs change from one to the next.  Keeping that in mind, the album’s sequencing puts the finishing touch to the presentation.  When the positive general effect ensured by the sequencing is considered along with the album’s content, the whole makes the album an enjoyable presentation for audiences of all ages.

Dinosaurs & Monsters, the latest album from family music act Howdytoons, is a presentation that the entire family will find enjoyable.  That is due in part to its musical content, which provides some fun rocking tunes that grown-ups will find familiar and that younger audiences will find a great introduction to the rock realm.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements is straight forward.  It centers on…well…dinosaurs, as with its three predecessors.  That straight forward, accessible presentation ensures audiences’ engagement throughout the album in its own right.  The sequencing of that content brings everything full circle and completes the album’s presentation.  That is because it ensures the album’s energy remains stable even as the sounds and styles of the arrangements changes ever so much throughout the album.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered they make Dinosaurs & Monsters a blast about the past for future generations of audiences.

Dinosaurs & Monsters is scheduled for release Friday through Howdytoons’ own label, Howdytoons Productions, Inc.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/howdytoons.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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

BMG’s Re-Issue Of Motorhead’s ‘Iron Fist’ Is A Mostly Successful Offering

Courtesy: BMG

Motorhead’s 1982 album, Iron Fist, is among the more important entries in the band’s expansive catalog of studio recordings.  The band’s fifth album, it was the last that featured the band’s original lineup of front man Lemmy Kilmister, drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” and guitarist Eddie Clarke.  It was also a presentation that has come to be known as one of the band’s more controversial records.  That is because of the back story of its production.  Originally produced by Vic Maile, its production would eventually be completed by Clarke.  The discussions on the changeup have shown different thoughts and explanations on what happened, but even Kilmister himself said in 2000 of the record, that it was among his least favorite albums because of the production.  Now four decades after the album’s release, it has received another re-issue, its second following one re-issue in 1996 through Castle Communications and a second in 2005 through Sanctuary Records.  This latest re-issue comes through BMG.  It is accented by two discs of bonus content and new liner notes.  This will all be addressed shortly.  While the bonus content featured in this new re-issue anchors its presentation, the production of the original album really does prove somewhat problematic, proving Kilmister right.  It will be addressed a little later.  The various platforms on which the record has been made available are of their own note and will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this re-issue.  All things considered they make the 40th Anniversary re-issue of Motorhead’s Iron Fist an interesting presentation that most of the band’s fans will find worth adding to their libraries.

BMG’s new 40th anniversary re-issue of Motorhead’s Iron Fist is a presentation that casual fans and the band’s most devoted fans will find worth adding to their libraries.  The presentation here is anchored by the bonus content featured with the re-issue.  The bonus content is being marketed as being previously unreleased, but that is not entirely the case.  Some of the bonus content featured here was previously released in the album’s 1996 Castle Communications re-issue of the album.  Among the bonus content carried over from that re-issue are ‘(Don’t Let ‘Em) Grind You Down’ (Alternative Edition) and ‘Young and Crazy’ (Alternative take of ‘Sex & Outrage’).  ‘Lemmy Goes to the Pub’ (Alternative take of ‘Heart of Stone’) is also included here, carried over from the Castle Recordings re-issue.  ‘Same Old Song, I’m Gone’ (Alternate take of ‘Remember Me, I’m Gone’) is also here along with ‘Remember Me, I’m Gone,’ which was also a Castle Recordings bonus track.  The previously unreleased content comes primarily in the form of the instrumental tracks, ‘Spongecake,’ ‘Ripsaw Teardown’ and the ‘Peter Gunn’ theme song.  That track is quite interesting in itself.  The amped up take on the popular song is a fun, rocking composition that stands out strongly on its own positives.  The same can be said of ‘Spongecake.’  The gritty sound of the bass and guitar together alongside the drums gives the song such a great garage punk sound and style that anyone will appreciate.  When it, ‘Peter Gunn’ and ‘Ripsaw Teardown’ are considered together, the trio of instrumentals make for plenty of engagement and entertainment in their own right.  When they are considered along with the other previously released bonus tracks, that collective makes the bonus content all the more a positive for this presentation.

Another bonus that comes with the album’s new re-issue is a “media booklet” that comes with plenty of liner notes and pictures.  Sadly the booklet was not included with media copies of the re-issue so that item cannot be examined.

While the bonus content that accompanies the album’s latest re-issue is important to its presentation, being the likely difficulty in finding the previous re-issues, the overall presentation is not perfect.  As noted earlier, Kilmister noted in an older interview that he was not overly happy with the final product that was Iron Fist because of the production.  In listening to the original album that is part of the overall presentation, the production is questionable.  Klimister’s vocals are washed out in comparison to the instrumentation.  It honestly sounds like his vocals were recorded at a distance while the instruments were quite airy in their own right.  Simply put, the production here is less than perfect.  The thing is though, as questionable as the album’s production is, it serves, to a point, as a historical point for the band.  It shows the band’s growth in terms of that aspect of its records.  So again, while the production is hardly perfect, hearing the problems with this item makes for more appreciation for how far the band came over time following that record’s release.  It is clear that the band learned an important lesson from the album’s production, and in turn improved from one record to the next in this aspect.

Knowing that the production of the album itself does not doom the record, there is still one more item to examine here.  That item is the overall availability of the re-issue.  According to information on the band’s official web store, it is available as part of eight separate packages.  Among those packages is the presentation of the re-issue in a 2-CD set with media book, a 3-disc vinyl set with media book, 2-CD/media book set with t-shirts, and even a complete deluxe set that includes the re-issue on both vinyl and CD, as well as the t-shirts and media book.  The deluxe set is listed at $253 while the simplest package (the 2-CD set) is listed at $20.  The vinyl set is listed at $60.  The 2-CD set with media book and t-shirts is listed at $79.  This is all important to note in that even with shipping and handling, that means most audiences who are likely to buy one of these sets, will pay less than $100 for the complete set.  What’s more, the 2-CD set without the tour t-shirts averages at $22.23 through Target, Walmart, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  Amazon and Target each list the 2-CD set below that average at $19.79, so even with shipping and handling, the final price will still be just over $20.  By comparison, shipping and handling for the 2-CD set with tour shirts will average slightly more, closer to $30.  The bigger picture is this:  Most audiences are likely to purchase the 2-CD or 2-disc vinyl set.  That set comes with the media book, so audiences will not break the bank on the most basic presentation whether through Amazon or Target.  Meanwhile, audiences who are maybe more devoted will be just as open to paying higher prices.  So again, in the end, the wide variety of packages through which the re-issue is available doe prove to be just as positive as the re-issue’s bonus content.  Keeping that in mind, those two items and even the historical importance of the album’s production make this re-issue a presentation that plenty of Motorhead (and rock fans in general) will find worth owning.

BMG’s brand new re-issue of Motorhead’s Iron Fist is an interesting presentation from the company, which has also re-issued records from the likes of Sepultura, Saxon, and Overkill in the past year or so.  Its interest comes in part through its bonus content.  Most of the bonus content was previously released, unlike how it is being marketed.  There is also some previously unreleased content.  Having all of that content in one place makes for its own appeal.  The production of the album itself is questionable, just as Kilmister had said so many years ago before his passing.  At the same time, that production does serve an important historical purpose, so it is still important in its own right.  The widespread availability of the re-issue in terms of various packages (and the outlets through which it is available) rounds out the most important of the re-issue’s elements.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the re-issue’s presentation.  All things considered they make BMG’s re-issue of Iron Fist a work that most Motorhead fans and rock fans in general will find appealing.

Iron Fist is available now. More information on BMG’s latest Motorhead re-issue is available along with all of the latest Motorhead news at:

Websitehttps://www.motorhead.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialMotorhead

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/myMotorhead

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.  

Hearing Jesse Jukebox’s New Album Is Worth Every Second

Courtesy: Waldmania PR

Family music entertainer Jesse Friedberg (a.k.a. Jesse Jukebox) released his latest album, Just a Minute early this month.  His fourth album, it is a fun new offering for the whole family regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Friedberg and his work.  That is due in part to the album’s musical content, which will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical material is just as important to the album’s presentation as that primary content.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and finishes the album’s presentation.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered they make Just a Minute a presentation whose 28-minute run time is worth every second.

Just a Minute, Jesse Friedberg’s fourth album, is a fun album for the whole family, regardless of audiences’ familiarity with him and his work.  The record’s enjoyment comes in part through its musical arrangements.  Right from the album’s outset, audiences get an intriguing work in ‘One Minute Song.’  The instrumentation is a garage punk style work that throws back to the sounds of the late 80s and early 90s.  Meanwhile, Friedberg’s vocals are akin to those of the late great Tom Petty.  It is an intriguing mix that somehow works. Right after that, audiences get a work in the vein of Sugar Ray in ‘How Long?’  ‘Groovy Kangaroo’ meanwhile gives audiences a touch of funk.  Throughout the course of the album’s remaining songs (there are 28 songs in all), the diversity in the sounds and styles continues solidly from one to the next.  There’s literally a polka at the center of ‘Pierogi Polka,’ a touch of hip-hop in ‘The Beat is Back’ and some rockabilly a la Rev. Horton Heat in ‘(Swindled By a) Possum.’  Again, what audiences get in this record’s musical content is so much diversity in the album’s musical side.  To that end, that diversity makes for more than enough reason for families to take in this record.

As much as the musical content does for Just a Minute, it is just one part of what makes the album so enjoyable.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content make for their own interest.  That is due to their own diversity.  Throughout the course of the album’s nearly 30-minute run time, Friedberg presents audiences with so many themes.  ‘It’s OK to Not Be Ok’ is exactly what the song’s title infers.  It addresses the ongoing mental health concerns plaguing the world.  What’s more he does it in a way that makes it fully accessible to young audiences and does so in barely more than a minute.  On another note, Friedberg encourages his young audiences to embrace themselves in terms of their personalities.  In short he presents a song here that focuses on the all too familiar topic of self-confidence.  This as he tells young listeners that “it’s okay to be weird.”  This, interestingly enough, ties directly into the noted topic of mental health among children.  On yet another note, Friedberg tackles the topic of childhood literacy in ‘Library.’  On the surface, the song finds Friedberg singing about the joy of going to a library and picking out a book, reading it in one’s little nook there at the building.  He sings about the different kinds of books from which readers can choose.  It is just one more example of the diversity in the album’s lyrical themes.  When these themes are considered alongside the rest of the album’s themes, the whole strengthens the album’s presentation that much more.

Keeping in mind all that the album’s primary and secondary content does for the record’s presentation, there is still one more item to examine.  That item is the sequencing of that content.  The sequencing is important to note because of its role in the album’s general effect.  It takes into account, the diversity of the overall content and ensures that as the album progresses, the energy in the album’s musical content remains stable even as the sounds and styles change.  At the same time, it also ensures that the lyrical themes change up from one to the next throughout.  The end result is a presentation that succeeds just as much for the presentation of its content as for its content.  To that end, the album in whole proves to be yet another welcome addition to this year’s field of new family music albums.

Just a Minute, the latest album from Jesse Jukebox (a.k.a. Jesse Friedberg), is an enjoyable new offering from Friedberg that the whole family will appreciate.  That is due in part to the diversity featured in the album’s musical arrangements.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content are just as diverse as said material.  It makes for its own interest.  The sequencing of that content brings everything together and completes the album’s presentation.  When it and the content are all considered together, the whole makes the album overall another welcome addition to this year’s field of new family music albums that the entire family will enjoy and appreciate.

Just a Minute is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Jesse Jukebox’s latest news at:

Website: https://jessejukebox.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JesseJukebox

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jjkidsongs

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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

Yellowjackets Offers Audiences Another Mostly Successful Album In ‘Parallel Motion’

Courtesy: Mack Avenue Music Group

Late this past August, legendary jazz outfit Yellowjackets released its latest album, Parallel Motion through Mack Avenue Music Group.  The band’s 23rd (yes, 23rd) studio recording, it was released Aug. 26, less than two years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Jackets XL.  That record was itself quite the appealing presentation, being well-deserving of all of its accolades.  This record is just as deserving of praise in its own right, as its featured musical arrangements make clear.  They will be discussed shortly.  For all that the album’s musical content does to make it appealing, the lack of any background information on the songs does detract from the album’s engagement and entertainment to a point.  That detraction is not enough to doom the album but is still of some concern.  This will be addressed a little later.  The record’s production works with its content to put the finishing touch to its presentation and make the album all the more appealing.  When it is considered alongside the musical content, the whole therein makes the album overall yet another mostly successful offering from Yellowjackets.

Parallel Motion, the latest album from veteran jazz collective Yellowjackets, is another mostly successful offering from the group.  Its success comes in large part through its featured musical arrangements.  The nine total songs that make up the record’s body are diverse throughout.  The album’s title track, for instance, is an enjoyable modern jazz work that also shows some influence from the likes of Weather Report.  That influence is especially evidenced through the pairing of Russell Ferrante’s work on piano and Bob Mintzer’s work on saxophone.  There is something about the sound and style that the duo exudes that points right back to Weather Report’s music.  Drummer Will Kennedy’s very tight, short beats point even more to that influence, making for even more interest.

‘Onyx Manor,’ which immediately follows, changes things up quite noticeably, this time offering audiences something of a more hip-hop infused approach and sound.  Kennedy and Ferrante lead the way in this nearly nine-minute opus.  The fun, mid-tempo edge that the pair gives the song even throws in some vintage funk and R&B influence along the way to make for even more interest.  It is completely unlike ‘Parallel Motion’ and the album’s other entries, and no less entertaining and engaging, too.  It is just one more example of the diversity in the album’s musical arrangements and the enjoyment that said diversity brings.

‘Resilience,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is yet another example of the noted diversity in the album’s musical content.  This five-minute-plus opus lends itself to comparison to works from the band’s 1997 album, Blue Hats.  That is evidenced through the collective of the group’s performance.  Mintzer’s work on the saxophone and Ferrante’s light performance on piano joins with Kennedy’s steady time keeping to make the song such a fun, light composition.  Even with its stylistic similarity to works from Blue Hats, it still boasts its own unique identity that makes for its own engagement and entertainment.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes clear, the diversity in the album’s musical content.  That diversity and the general effect therein forms a strong foundation for the album’s presentation.

As much as the album’s musical content does to make it so enjoyable, the lack of any background on the songs weakens that foundation to a point.  Some brief discussions on the songs’ histories are provided in information provided to the media, but even in that case, it is limited.  To that end, audiences will be able to enjoy each of the album’s songs, regardless, but only to a point.  This critic has pointed out countless times that with any instrumental music (jazz and otherwise) there is always an influence and a story.  Having that story, even in the album’s liner notes, adds so much to the engagement and entertainment. Not having that information allows enjoyment only on a surface level.  To that end, the lack thereof does not doom the album, but it certainly does not do any favors for the overall engagement and entertainment.  Keeping that in mind, there is still at least one more positive to note in the album’s presentation, that positive being the album’s production.

The production that went into the album’s is important to examine because of its role in the album’s general effect.  As noted, the songs featured throughout the album are diverse from one another.  Their sounds and styles are all unique.  That means that plenty of attention had to be paid to each song to ensure the best is brought out in each unique work.  Whether in a quiet, relaxed work, such as ‘Early’ (which closes the album), a slightly more up-tempo but still relaxed work, such as ‘Samaritan’ or even something slightly livelier, such as ‘Challenging Times,’ the best is brought out in each work.  The band, which self-produced the album, ensured each musician got his own moments in the proverbial spotlight in each song.  The result is that each musician’s work expertly compliments that of his counterparts from beginning to end.  In turn, the emotional impact of each song is fully felt.  When the resulting positive general effect herein is considered along with the effect of the songs’ diversity, the whole results in the album being a mostly successful and enjoyable Yellowjackets offering.

Parallel Motion, the latest album from the veteran jazz outfit Yellowjackets, is a mostly positive offering from the group.  Its appeal comes largely from its musical content, which offers plenty of diversity for audiences to enjoy.  While the musical content that makes up the record’s main body forms a strong foundation for the album, the lack of any background on that content weakens that foundation to a certain point.  That detraction is not enough to doom the album, but certainly does not help it any.  The production of the album’s musical content works with said material to round out the album’s most important elements.  Their pairing of the content and its production creates a largely positive general effect that will ensure even more, listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  When this is kept in mind, the result is that the album becomes another largely successful offering from the group and another welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz offerings.

Parallel Motion is available now through Mack Avenue Music Group. More information on Parallel Motion is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.yellowjackets.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/yellowjacketsmusic

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.  

ECM Records Offers Audiences Yet Another Unique Record In Marcin Wasilewski Trio’s ‘En attendant’

Courtesy: ECM Records

Jazz artist Marcin Wasilewski released his latest record this week under the moniker of the Marcin Wasilewski Trio.  The record, En attendant, is a presentation that will appeal to a very targeted audience what with its blend of originals and covers.  The most notable of its originals is its three-part opus, ‘In Motion.’  It will be discussed shortly.  The cover of legendary classical composer J.S. Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variation 25.’  It will be examined a little later.  ‘Glimmer of Hope,’ which comes late in the record’s 43-minute run time, is yet another intriguing original featured in the album’s body.  It will also be examined later.  When it and the other songs noted here are considered along with the album’s remaining works, the whole makes En attendant a presentation that is worth hearing at least once.

En attendant, the new album from Marcin Wasilewski Trio, is an intriguing new offering from ECM Records.  One listen through the nearly 45-minute album reveals it to be in its sound and style, so much like so many records released through the label by other acts.  That is to say that each of its featured works is very quiet and subdued.  To that end, the album, whose title allegedly translates roughly from Danish to Waiting, will find a very targeted audience through its featured songs.  The three-part original composition, ‘In Motion’ serves well to support those statements.  Spread out across the album, its three movements clock in between five-and-a-half minutes and nearly seven minutes.  The first movement pays a very subtle, brief tribute to Miles Davis’ timeless record, Kind of Blue at one point as Marcilewski gently makes his way across the piano.  His work, alongside that of bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz, gives the first movement overall something of a rather melancholy mood at points while at others, changes the mood somewhat.  Michael Miskiewicz’s work on the drums adds just enough controlled flare to make things interesting in that movement.

The song’s second movement, which serves as part of the record’s midpoint alongside the original, ‘Vashkar,’ changes things up notably.  Kurkiewicz and Miskiewicz take the lead this time in this decidedly rhythmically based work.  The subtleties in the duo’s performance here really demands audiences fully engage themselves in the composition in order to fully appreciate it.  There are light taps on the cymbals, equally subtle rim knocks on the snare, and notes played on the double bass that when paired with the percussion, gives the song in general something of an expressionist sound and style.  Wasilewski’s occasional strains on the piano add even more to that sense.

The third and final movement, which also serves as the album’s finale, changes things up yet again.  Wasilewski takes the lead here again, but also allows his fellow musicians their own moments to shine throughout the gentle, flowing composition.  Wasilewski’s performance on the piano pairs with those of his fellow performers to paint a picture (at least in this critic’s mind) of a quiet forest scene or a lea. A creek gently flows through the forest scene while in the other, the sun is coming up slowly and everything is waking up from the night.  It is such a stark contrast to the song’s other two movements but when considered alongside them, makes the overall song that much more interesting.  The three movements collectively make the song overall the album’s highest point.

‘In Motion’ is just one of the works that makes En attendant a unique new offering from Marcin Wasilewski trio.  The trio’s take of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variation 25’ is of its own interest.  In the case of this song’s performance, Wasilewski works well to stay true to the source material.  The gentle, reserved nature that Bach intended in his work is on full display here.  Wasilewski does a very good job of echoing the emotional depth of Bach’s original thanks to that dedication.  Miskiewicz’s very controlled cymbal rolls add even more to that emotional depth while Wasilewski’s pairing with Kurkiewicz also adds its own unique touch to the whole through the subtle harmony that the pair create.  Overall, this update of a timeless classical composition is a unique presentation that definitely is well worth hearing in this case.

‘Glimmer of Hope,’ another of the album’s featured originals, is just as intriguing as the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s entries.  While original, clearly, it conjures thoughts of prog-rock trio Liquid Tension Experiment’s song, ‘State of Grace.’  That is because the two songs two have such a similar style and sound in their bodies.  Given there’s no guitar in this song, but the use of the piano and bass together really put forward so much of that similarity.  It comes across just as much as a saccharine, romantic ballad type work as ‘State of Grace.’  To that end, it is another unique addition to En attendant that further makes this record worth hearing.  When it is considered alongside the other songs examined here and with the album’s other entries, the whole makes the album overall worth hearing at least once.

En attendant, the brand-new album from Marcin Wasilewski Trio, is an intriguing record that will find itself a very targeted audience.  That is evidenced through each of its featured works.  The songs examined here make that clear in their diversity.  Each boasts its own unique identity from its counterparts, and they are just as different from the album’s other works as from one another.  That uniqueness in each composition makes the album worth hearing at least once and another intriguing new offering from ECM Records.

En attendant is available now through ECM Records.  More information on this and other titles from ECM Records is available at:

Websitehttps://ecmrecords.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ecmrecords

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.  

Katie Dwyer Succeeds Again On Her Latest LP

Courtesy: West Side Rose

A little more than two years after the release of her debut album, Music Makes Me Happy, family music entertainer Katie Dwyer followed up its release with her sophomore album, Let’s Move Friday.  Released through West Side Rose, the 24-song record is a successful new offering from the up-and-coming songwriter/musician.  That is due in no small part to the musical content featured throughout the record’s body.  This will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical content make for their own interest and will be discussed a little later.  The sequencing of that collective content brings everything together and completes the album’s presentation.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item addressed is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered they make the record another enjoyable addition to this year’s field of new family music albums.

Let’s Move, the new, sophomore album from Katie Dwyer, is an interesting presentation that the whole family will find appealing.  That is due in no small part to its featured collective musical arrangements.  The arrangements are diverse from the record’s beginning to its end in their sounds and styles.  Right from the record’s outset, audiences get an up-tempo pop rock arrangement akin to something from the 1980s in ‘Dance, Dance, Dance.’  That is evident through the pairing of the keyboard line and the electronically created claps and the steady beat on the hi-hat.  That overall instrumentation immediately throws back to the sounds and styles of the age, and thankfully does so without being as overly poppy as so many of the works from that age.  ‘Ahoy There, Matey,’ which comes a little later, changes things up with its obvious sea shanty style sound and approach, complete with penny whistle and what sounds like an accordion.  On yet another note, a song, such as ‘Big Bear Poe’ gives listeners a little bluesy approach very much in the vein of the timeless song, ‘The Cat Came Back.’  There’s even a little tropical vibe a la Jimmy Buffet in ‘Tooper, The Turtle.’  So again, what audiences get throughout the album in terms of its musical content is plenty of variety and in turn, reason enough to hear the album at least once.

For all that the diverse musical content does to make Let’s Move appealing, it is just part of what makes the album engaging and entertaining.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements add to that appeal even more.  That is because they are just as diverse.  The album’s title track, for instance, is a song that promotes healthy, active living.  What’s interesting here is that the arrangement that pairs with that theme is a relaxed, reggae-style composition (showing yet again, the diversity in the record’s musical content).  Considering that the song’s lyrical theme promotes active, healthy living one might have expected the arrangement to be more energetic, but who knows, with this pairing, maybe Dwyer was working the song as a sort of yoga type work.  Regardless, that theme is just one of so many presented throughout the album.  ‘Got A New Canoe,’ what with its semi-New Orleans jazz style a la Dr. John (once again, more diversity in the arrangements), is a straightforward song about taking a trip down a river in a canoe.  ‘Let’s Rock,’ which comes even later in the record’s 55-minute run time, further shows the diversity in the album’s lyrical themes (and musical content).  The song is a simple celebration of music and the joy that it brings.  This as Dwyer sings that “it’s good for my soul…come on everybody/Let’s rock.”  The happy, celebratory rockabilly approach to the song’s musical arrangement further illustrates that message and does so in such welcome fashion, too.  This is just one more example of the diversity in the album’s lyrical themes.  When it and the other songs examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the diversity in said content becomes all the clearer.  In turn, it also makes clearer, the importance of that diversity.

The diversity in the record’s musical and lyrical content is taken fully into account in examining the album’s sequencing, which rounds out the most important of its elements.  From beginning to end, the sequencing ensures that the energy in the album’s overall body remains stable even as the styles and sounds change from one song to the next.  At the same time, the lyrical themes change up just enough from one song to the next to keep things interesting, too.  The result here is that the sequencing ensures the record’s appeal just as much as the album’s content.  That is because of the role that it takes in making the overall content present a positive general effect for the record.  To that end, the whole of all of this makes Let’s Move a successful new offering from Katie Dwyer and another welcome addition to this year’s field of new family music albums.

Let’s Move, the sophomore album from Katie Dwyer, is a positive new offering from the up-and-coming family music entertainer.  That is due in part to its musical arrangements.  The arrangements are divers in their sounds and styles and offer reason enough for audiences to hear the record.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements are just as diverse, covering just as much ground if not more than the musical arrangements.  The sequencing of that collective content takes all of the content into account and keeps things interesting for listeners throughout.  The result is a positive general effect that puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered they make Let’s Move a successful new outing for Katie Dwyer.

Let’s Move is available now through West Side Rose.  More information on the album is available along with all of Katie Dwyer’s latest music at:

Website: https://katiedwyermusic.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatieDwyerMusicNYC

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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

Audiences Will Reflect Fondly On Foster’s Latest LP

Courtesy: Smoke Sessions Records

Early this year, renowned jazz drummer Al Foster celebrated a big milestone when he celebrated his 79th birthday.  That was back in January.  Now as the year slowly inches toward its end, Foster has another reason to celebrate.  That reason is his brand-new album, Reflections.  His second for Smoke Sessions Records and his seventh as a bandleader, the 11-song record is an enjoyable collection of originals and covers.  The covers pay tribute to the likes of Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, and Joe Henderson (all of whom he has worked with during his expansive career) while the originals offer their own share of engagement and entertainment.  Among the most notable of the covers is that of Rollins’ ‘Pent-up House,’ which comes early in the album’s hour-plus run.  To be precise, the album clocks in at one hour, seven minutes.  Among the most notable of the album’s originals is ‘Six,’ which comes just at the album’s midpoint.  It will be examined a little later.  Another notable addition to the album is its finale, ‘Monk’s Bossa,’ which obviously pays tribute to another legendary jazz artist, Thelonius Monk.  All three songs noted here are key in their own way to the album’s presentation.  When they are considered alongside the rest of the album’s entries, the whole becomes a thoroughly enjoyable offering that every jazz fan will find enjoyable.

Reflections, the latest album from famed drummer Al Foster, is an enjoyable presentation that any jazz aficionado will find enjoyable.  That is proven throughout its blend of originals and covers.  Among the most notable of the record’s covers is that of Sonny Rollins’ ‘Pent-Up House.’  Rollins’ original was featured as part of his 1956 album, Sonny Rollins Plus 4.  Foster and his fellow musicians – Nicholas Payton (trumpet), Chris Potter (saxophone), Kevin Hays (piano), and Vicente Archer (bass) – stay true to the source material here.  Right from the song’s outset, Payton leads the way with his light but still energetic performance.  Given, Rollins’ original tops the eight-minute mark while Foster and company’s take on the song is much shorter at five minutes, five seconds, but it still pays the fullest possible tribute to the work of Rollins and his then band mates.  Potter’s work on saxophone takes the place of the solos from the original and does so quite well at that.  There are also some solos in the original performed by Foster’s fellow famed drummer Max Roach that are omitted in the updated rendition, but that is beside the point.  This group’s take will still leave listeners fulfilled by its finale.  It is just as enjoyable in its own right as the original song.

Among the most notable of the album’s originals is ‘Six,’ which serves as part of the record’s midpoint.  Composed by Payton, the eight-minute-plus composition starts out in a very subtle, contemplative fashion before giving way to a more vintage funk style approach.  That throwback style is evident through the use of the horns and keyboards.  Foster’s equally funky time keeping pairs with those instruments to really give the song the sense of a work from the likes of Stevie Wonder.  Considering the amount of information in the album’s expansive liner notes, it is difficult to know for certain if there is any discussion on the song, though many of the other songs are discussed.  That aside, the song is still such an enjoyable work.  The pairing of Payton and Potter alongside Hays (whose work on the keyboards really adds even more to that feeling) really makes the composition all the richer.  It stands out so starkly from any of the album’s other works, original and otherwise and it just one more of the notable additions to the album.  ‘Monk’s Bossa,’ which serves as the album’s finale, is one more interesting original featured as part of the album’s body.

‘Monk’s Bossa’ is an interesting work what with its sort of lounge style presentation.  Hays leads the way with his work on the keys here while Foster’s light touches on the toms expertly compliments that work.  That is because his playing is so gentle.  He adds just enough, making sure to let Hays have his moment here.  Potter and Payton each get their own moments to shine, too, making the most of their performances, too.  The whole of the performances makes this song just as enjoyable as any other in the record.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Foster’s latest album engaging and entertaining and another welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Al Foster’s newly released album, Reflections, is an aptly titled record that so many jazz fans will find enjoyable.  That is proven throughout its hour-plus body through its originals and covers alike.  The songs examined here do well in their own right to make that clear.  When they are considered with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Reflections another welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Reflections is available now through Smoke Sessions Records. More information on this and other titles from Smoke Sessions Records is available at:

Websitehttps://www.smokesessionsrecords.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/SmokeSessionsRecords   

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/smokejazzclub

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.