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Archive for January 14th, 2013

Dusty Groove Label Returns From Real Gone Music with Steig, Humphrey, Harris

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Jeremy Steig - Wayfaring Stranger

The venerable Blue Note Records label was founded in 1939, and from the late 1940s onward emphasized what was most modern about jazz.  Blue Note became well known, of course, for the hard bop classics recorded under its aegis.  But the varied influences that created hard bop led Blue Note to explore how the avenues of soul, rock and blues intersected with that of jazz.  Three new releases from Real Gone Music and the reactivated Dusty Groove Records label explore three sonically-diverse titles from the storied Blue Note catalogue circa the early 1970s.

Jeremy Steig, Wayfaring Stranger (RGM-0109, originally released 1970)

There’s an intimate, up close and personal feel to Wayfaring Stranger, the lone Blue Note LP by the flautist.  The album takes its title from the traditional tune, heard here in Steig’s expansive arrangement.  Though joined on the LP by Don Alias on drums, Eddie Gomez on bass and Sam Brown on guitar, Steig’s exotic, alluring flute alone opens the album.  It’s almost two minutes before the rest of the band kicks in, but it’s soon clear that Wayfaring Stranger is a collaborative effort.

As produced by Sonny Lester, there are plenty of highlights in just six tracks.  The album’s first side is entirely self-penned, or in the case of the title track, self-arranged, whereas all of Side Two was co-written by the simpatico pair of Steig and Gomez.  In the new liner notes by Pat Thomas, Steig remarks that the album was created based on live improvisation.  While the entire unit is tight, the emphasis is on the interplay between the funky, howling flute and soulful bass. Torrid rock drums from Alias kick off “Mint Tea,” which also blends R&B and bop influences into its 5+ minutes.  Brown’s haunting guitar accents meld with Steig’s more grounded if no less dexterous flute on 11-minute “Wayfaring Stranger.”  You can even hear a bit of Gershwin-esque Americana in Steig’s lyrical statement of the folk melody before it veers into funk territory.  Gomez, a stalwart also known for his work with the legendary Bill Evans, holds the quartet together as Steig’s flute soars and Alias offers fine brushwork.  (Steig had an Evans connection, too.  1969’s What’s New was recorded by the pair as co-leaders.)  Gomez’ bass is liquid on the rock groove of “Waves,” while the lengthy “All is One” offers a darker atmosphere with spare interplay.  The album closer, “Space,” is an appropriately stately conclusion.

Real Gone’s new reissue doesn’t add any bonus tracks, but contains the original album artwork plus the aforementioned liner notes from Pat Thomas.  (This formula is adhered to on all three reissues.)  Wayfaring Stranger has been subtly remastered by Kevin Bartley at Capitol Mastering.

After the jump: a look at new reissues from Bobbi Humphrey and Gene Harris! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 14, 2013 at 13:03

Getting Away with It: Sumner and Marr’s “Electronic” Gets a Confusing Expansion

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Electronic-Electronic-Special-EditionIt’s not enough for Johnny Marr to be one of the greatest guitarists of the modern era (one with a solo album bowing today in the U.K.); this March, his acclaimed foray into dance music with Bernard Sumner will be reissued. But brace yourself, fans: it’s a little weird.

Frustrated by New Order’s resistance to a more synth-based direction, Sumner began work on the Electronic by himself, but called longtime friend Marr – whose departure from The Smiths caused the band to dissolve – to collaborate. Their first single, “Getting Away with It,” a U.K. Top 20 hit in 1988, featured additional star power in the form of co-writing and vocals by Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys. (Tenant and his bandmate Chris Lowe wrote album cut “Patience of a Saint” with Sumner and Marr.)

The band’s self-titled debut LP took a year to record (not counting additional time supporting Depeche Mode on their World Violation Tour) and was released by Factory Records in 1991. (Parlophone would handle all future releases, including reissues of Electronic, after Factory folded.) Sumner, Marr and Tennant collaborated again on the band’s 1992 single “Disappointed” (their biggest hit), but subsequent albums did not enjoy the same critical success. 1999’s Twisted Tenderness would be their final full-length release, with Sumner and Marr amicably moving on to other projects.

What makes this forthcoming expansion of Electronic frustrating is the haphazard nature of the bonus material on the second disc. “Disappointed,” its B-side “Idiot Country Two” and the instrumental of “Getting Away with It” are featured, but the remaining tracks are unreleased mixes or (in most cases) edits of tracks from subsequent Electronic projects. Compare that to the dozen period B-sides and remixes included on a U.K.-only, digital-only expansion of the album in 2007, and you have quite an unusual situation, indeed.

But for the curious, it’s out on March 11 in England. (Thanks to super-reader Don for the tip!) Here’s what you’ll get:

Electronic: Special Edition (EMI Catalogue (U.K.), 2013)

(Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Disc 1: Remastered LP (originally released as Factory FACT 290 (U.K.)/Warner Bros. 26387, 1991)

  1. Idiot Country
  2. Reality
  3. Tighten Up
  4. The Patience of a Saint
  5. Getting Away with It
  6. Gangster
  7. Soviet
  8. Get the Message
  9. Try All You Want
  10. Some Distant Memory
  11. Feel Every Beat

Disc 2: Bonus material

  1. Disappointed (Stephen Hague 7” Version) (single A-side – Parlophone R-6311, 1992)
  2. Second to None (Edit) *
  3. Lean to the Inside (Edit) *
  4. Twisted Tenderness (Guitar/Vocal Mix) *
  5. Idiot Country Two (12” Version) (B-side to “Disappointed” – Parlophone 12R-6311, 1992)
  6. Free Will (Edit) *
  7. Until the End of Time (Edit) *
  8. Feel Every Beat (Edit) *
  9. Getting Away with It (Instrumental) (CD single B-side – Factory FACD 257, 1989)
  10. Turning Point (Edit) (B-side to “Second Nature” – Parlophone CDR-6455, 1997)
  11. Visit Me (Edit) *
  12. Twisted Tenderness (Instrumental) *

* denotes previously unreleased edit/mix. Original versions of Tracks 2-3 were B-sides to “Feel Every Beat” (Factory, 1991). Original versions of Tracks 4 and 12 from Twisted Tenderness (Parlophone, 1999). Original version of Track 6 was a B-side to “Get the Message” (Factory, 1991). Original version of Tracks 7 and 11 from Raise the Pressure (Parlophone, 1995). Original version of Track 8 from original LP.

Written by Mike Duquette

January 14, 2013 at 11:38