Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 19

This weekend’s Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 19 has stretches of diversification to their representative genres that make your ear stand up and take notice in a variety of ways.  An independent thinking saxophonist and composer uses his fearlessness and global reach to put together one of the year’s most encompassing jazz recordings.  Then we step into rock-jazz-fusion with a multi-talented vocalist, drummer and producer at the helm that loves to assemble supergroups to bring new expressions of sound to the music multiverse, and this one’s as deep as the list of players.  Then we take an absolute risk on an album that has that kind of album cover, name, and album title that you kind of have a feeling you’re in for a very different industrial music and soundscape experience, and it certainly lives up to all the mystique that made us pick it.  It’s time to traverse these three albums on Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 19.

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION
[Mark Kuligowski & Panelist The Grateful Dude discuss these (3) albums + adds two (2) more reviews!]

 

 

Kamasi WashingtonFearless Movement

Kamasi Washington has stepped full on into a Robert Glasper-ian jazz making experience on Fearless Movement.  The award winning, extremely talented, saxophonist and under-appreciated composer, has crafted a wonderful mesh and diversified jazz recording that truly masters flow but also reaches a truthful, unforced combination of intersection genres without destroying a single fabric of listening.  What the hell am I talking about here?  Simply put, whether his saxophone is at the helm or completely missing from some of the compositions, the scales of musicianship that entrances, beguiles and fearlessly exorcise the blending of hip/hop, be-bop, soul-jazz, classic jazz, funk, and electronic age varietals and a whole lot more is truly ear-stounding!  Not to mention the attention to the lyrical expressions that, while it is the largest stretch for a jazz ear, does have a true connection even though purest will probably cringe.  Don’t give in.  Listen to the genius of it.  The way the instruments keep it framed like ‘Get Lit’ and that lovely flute that pierces as fine as the rap flow and lyrics.

Don’t worry, Fearless Movement does not dwell or rest upon one area or arena of music.  ‘Dream State,’ a modern masterpiece of jazz saxophone meets electronic-ambient that features Andre 3000 is probably the moment on the record of truest realization of the accomplishment at hand.  This is one of the most thrilling movements of fearlessness, and probably one in which these two artists should attempt to expand upon like that of Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, as it is elegant, electronic and ambiently blended to truly offer something that only few in the music multiverse have attempted.  The album does orchestrate more jazz fusion moments with funk and progressive rock elements as the rest unfurls, including a band-like approach in ‘Interstellar Peace’ which feels like a background of Radiohead in the Ok Computer realm.  All of this consistently allows the saxophone to become all kinds of tempos and emotions (whether played by Kamasi Washington or not) while the artists surrounding it tap dance, free flow, and jam in-and-out of moments and movements.

This album clearly illustrates that reach, scope and accompaniment power of jazz in the hands of those with fearless expressionism.  Every instrument and style is as important as the genre blending that’s being improvised and appreciated.  The music is all-together moving in audio and in soulfulness.  This is not a solitary listen to grasp this, unless you are a jazz musician, and even then there are going to be standards that need to be withdrawn and allowed to move through your ear so that you can truly appreciate every inch of this lovely accomplishment.  This is definitely a jazz album contender for best albums of this year, and one that I hope more people will continue to explore and move toward in the future of elevating jazz in all culture and genres.

The Band

  • Kamasi Washington – tenor saxophone (all tracks), alto saxophone (track 6)
  • Brandon Coleman – keyboards, organ (all tracks); key bass (tracks 3, 6, 10), vocoder (5)
  • Cameron Graves – piano (tracks 1–3, 5, 7–12)
  • Dontae Winslow – trumpet (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7–12)
  • Ronald Bruner Jr. – drums (tracks 1, 2, 4, 7–12)
  • Ryan Porter – trombone (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7–12)
  • Tony Austin – drums (tracks 1, 2, 5–12)
  • Allakoi Peete – percussion (tracks 1, 2, 5, 7–12)
  • Kahlil Cummings – percussion (tracks 1, 2, 5, 7–12)
  • Miles Mosley – double bass (tracks 1, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12)
  • Patrice Quinn – vocals (tracks 1, 2, 5, 8, 11)
  • Woody Aplanalp – guitar (tracks 1, 5, 9)
  • Carlos Niño – percussion (track 1)
  • Banchamlak Abegase – vocals (track 1)
  • Henok Elias – vocals (track 1)
  • Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner – electric bass (tracks 2, 4)
  • DJ Battlecat – turntables (track 2), talk box (5)
  • Taj Austin – vocals (track 2)
  • Ras Austin – vocals (track 2)
  • Terrace Martin – alto saxophone (track 3)
  • Rickey Washington – flute (tracks 4, 8, 11)
  • George Clinton – vocals (track 4)
  • D Smoke – vocals (track 4)
  • Joel Whitley – guitar (track 4)
  • Robert Miller – drums (track 5)
  • André 3000 – flutes (track 6)
  • Mono/Poly – synthesizer (track 6)
  • Ben Williams – upright bass (track 7)
  • Dwight Trible – vocals (tracks 8, 11)
  • BJ the Chicago Kid – vocals (track 10)

Fearless Movement Tracklisting

  1. Lesanu
  2. Asha The First (feat. Thundercat, Taj Austin & Ras Austin)
  3. Computer Love (feat. Patrice Quinn, DJ Battlecat & Brandon Coleman)
  4. The Visionary (feat. Terrace Martin)
  5. Get Lit (feat. George Clinton & D Smoke)
  6. Dream State (feat. Andre 3000)
  7. Together (feat. BJ the Chicago Kid)
  8. The Garden Path
  9. Road to Self (KO)
  10. Interstellar Peace (The Last Stance)
  11. Lines in the Sand
  12. Prologue

 

Mandoki Soulmates – A Memory of Our Future

I was not familiar with this supergroup or László “Leslie” Mándoki (German-Hungarian percussionist, vocalist, producer and composer of supergroups), but that’s why I do this Beyond Your Radio thing.  Another music media outlet was giving a brief discussion of the type of music this was, and a little bit of history, and of course (for fear of missing out) I was intrigued.  Now, I could have listened to this and just put it out there as #album4today that I post, but I decided I’d put it out on Album Review Saturdays this weekend, giving my panelists an opportunity to listen and report on.  So, before I get into the album, let’s just give you a bit on Mr. Mandoki and his reason for being able to pull the likes of Al Di Meola, Ian Anderson, and Bill Evans when he asks.  While studying percussion and music in Budapest, Leslie was smitten with Cream and Jethro Tull (yeah, I get that immediately).  He enters Eurovision 1979 in a six person band, Dschinghis Khan, as the German entry.  Fourth place ain’t bad, and he took further, discovering progressive rock and jazz, until it became production love, helping with the likes of Lionel Richie, Engelbert Humperdinck, and Phil Collins.  He also made music compositions for companies like Disney and Audi as well, so his musical scope and attention to audio detail is probably what leads him to the respectability of what would become making the band, Mandoki Soulmates.

Who is the original collective here?  Well Mandoki of course, but let’s bring in that Jethro Tull dude Ian AndersonRobin GibbJack BruceSteve LukatherBobby KimballMidge UreNik KershawAl Di MeolaMichael and Randy BreckerTill Brönner and Eric Burdon  just to have a little band (right)?  Can you imagine the sounds and scope of genre inclusion in this progressive jazz, rock fusion ensemble!?  It’s like the Avengers for Christ’s sake!  And, on A Memory of Our Future, the amazement of how the artists assemble and move in and out of the jamming, improvisation, and orchestrated sessions is something to truly enjoy.  On this outing, we have the three usual suspects that you automatically can hear (Ian, Al and Leslie), but we also have Bill Evans, Mike Stern, with the return of Till Brönner and Randy Becker as well.  As well as more in the cast (you can read below).  The music ranges from a Dave Matthews like jam session in ‘The Big Quit’ to the progressive fluting rocker eighties-like ‘Devil’s Encyclopedia’ to the Mahavishnu like ‘Age of Thought.’  There is something for every instrument lover, and a complete absorption into each other’s leads, sounds, and emotive playing.  It’s truly a remarkably made record, and there are even such subtle tendencies in the layers that you just don’t pick up on the very first listen (okay, there are those of you that will hear it immediately and just love that they didn’t just go to the bridge easily).  The album can be tender, lyrical, and bombastic, which is not something you experience too often in the music multiverse.

I am very glad that a mere mention of the band and a hint of what it sounds like from Sea of Tranquility’s “Professor’s Picks” lead me to this album, and its appearance here on Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 19.  There’s a lot of music on this one hour and eighteen minute progressive jazz-rock fusion album, exploring all kinds of connective genres and soloing from rock guitar to flamenco guitar, from piano to bouncy keyboards, to a fistful of flute (wonder who that was), and even vocal deliveries that go a bit Floydian to pop.  Give this one a big long spin, and I am sure you’ll find a lot to love (especially if you love Mahavishnu, Chicago, and Jethro Tull).  The memory of all our futures in jazz and all it touches is in very good, capable present and future hands and minds.  They bang it out in all analog, too (should have mentioned that I guess)!  Stay loud my friends and enjoy!

The Band

  • Leslie Mandoki – Vocals, percussion(s)
  • Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) – Vocals, Flute
  • Mike Stern – Guitar(s)
  • Al di Meola – Guitar(s)
  • Randy Brecker – Trumpet
  • Till Brönner – Trumpet, Fugelhorn
  • Bill Evans – Piano
  • John Helliwell (Supertramp) – Saxophone, Keyboard
  • Cory Henry – Organs, Keyboard
  • Richard Bona – Bass
  • Steve Bailey – Bass
  • Simon Phillips (Toto) – Drums
  • Tony Carey (Rainbow) – Keyboards, Guitar, Bass, Vocals
  • Nick van Eede (Cutting Crew) – Vocals (song-writing I assume, too)
  • Jesse Siebenberg (Supertramp) –  Keyboards, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
  • Mark Hart (Supertramp) – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Bass

A Memory of Our Future Tracklisting

  1. Blood in the Water
  2. Enigma of Reason
  3. The Wanderer
  4. The Big Quit
  5. Devil’s Encyclopedia
  6. A Memory of My Future
  7. I Am Because You Are
  8. My Share of Your Life
  9. Age of Thought
  10. Matchbox Racing
  11. We Stay Loud
  12. Melting Pot

 

 

Bossk – .4

Okay, so here we go.  Deathwish Records (check).  I’m assuming the band is named after one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy?  Yes, Star Wars lovers start squealing, Bossk and getting out your Wookie-pedia.  That was not checkmark I was expecting.  Apparently, I didn’t pay that close attention to the bounty hunters past Boba Fett, which the spell check knew (which is whole level of disturbance in the force, if you catch my telepathic drift).  What we have here is a merky album cover that could actually be a swamp on Dagoba (good they didn’t spell check that one -oh my Lord Vader-they did), it’s actually Dagobah.  And, finally a sparse title of only a mere decimal point shy of half — half of something or half of nothing, we embark into the unknown of this album.

First off, you understand that we’re in the midst of throwdown of industrial meets cinema soundscapes and complex orchestration at the helm of a well, post-metal band maybe?  Yes, in fact that’s somewhat a starting point to catch their cool, dark industrial metal drift.  The Ashford England boys are hitting you with some viciously cool riffs and soundtrack industrial instrumentals that have a generous amount of crescendo-like modes and flow like the ‘The Reverie II x Crown Lands’ and its progressive eight minute plus epic progressive, industrial romp.  Not to mention the addition of metalcore grind-vocal moments to spice things up another notch or two in the album.  You’ve definitely entered a darker melodic realm, but not one that sacrifices the sound quality for over-effect.  This is very well composed and accented music from start to finish that is gripping and edgy.  It deserves more attention and ears beyond that of cool bounty hunter name.  I believe in their structure, the future of their progressive nature, and the way in which the weaved the entire record, calling on some cool, unique outside influences to join in on the melay of murky metal and dark audio terror-like feelings that bubbled up from the troubled sound surface.

I look forward to moving back into their catalog and exploring where they came to this from.  Maybe I’ll find…‘Truth’… part one (or is that just Truth)?  I have a feeling there’s an entire saga there and to come from Bossk.

The Band

  • Tom Begley – bass
  • Nick Corney – drums
  • Simon Wright – vocals
  • Alex Hamilton – guitar
  • Rob Vaughan – guitar, vocals

.4 Tracklisting

  1. Kobe x Pijn
  2. Truth II
  3. Albert
  4. Events Occur In Real Time
  5. White Stork x Endon
  6. I (Reuben Gotto 2006 Remix)
  7. The Reverie x Maybeshewill
  8. The Reverie II x Crown Lands (feat. Crown Lands)
  9. 181 To Beulah 0
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