The Metal Files

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Archive for the ‘fusion’ Category

Chick Corea & Bela Fleck Concert Review, Austin, TX, April 15, 2016

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I’m a pretty big fan of the late 60s/early 70s heavy fusion jazz movement that Chick Corea was a huge part of.  I caught the Return to Forever reunion show weveral years ago and it was great.  I’d also seen Bela Fleck and the Flecktones several times back in Virginia as his bassist, Victor Wooten, was from my hometown area.  They played there often.

When I first saw the show announcement I jumped on tickets, not paying attention to the fact that it was just Chick and Bela and no backing band.  Oh well.  Man, was I surprised when the show started.  It was incredible.

Two master musicians whose respective instruments worked well together.  Perfectly even.  It really was a great show.  I stayed through half of the second set as I had some late night dinner plans and yet another show to see closer to my house.

I highly recommend going to see this tour if you like either musician.  Thankfully no pictures are allowed inside the venue during performances.  I was able to just zone out and listen to some beautiful music.

 

Written by The Metal Files

April 16, 2016 at 1:49 pm

John Macey – More Notes For Your Money (1987)

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I uploaded John’s first album a while back and was contacted by a former student of his and also a family member.  One of them shared John’s followup album from 1987.  This is good stuff.  Here are the covers and the link to download.

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October 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm

John Macey – Eclipse (1981)

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As I mentioned in a previous blog, I had this album given to me when I was about 15 (1985) or so.  I listened to it quite often back then and always enjoyed the quirky, funky instrumentals on here.  A friend of mine recently converted my vinyl to digital format and I am putting it up on here for your listening pleasure.

This album came out in 1981 and sounds very mid-70s.  Macey is a very competent player as are all of the members in the band.  It was released on 51 West Records which was a sub of CBS.  There’s some good funky, jazz/fusion, 70s shred in parts of this that some of it sounds like it should be background music in a 70s car chase movie.  Until today, I don’t think I have listened to this album in about 20 years and it still sounds great to my ears.

Enjoy it.

Tracks:

  1. Eclipse
  2. Skyblue Dream
  3. Peter Pan
  4. Bent Metal
  5. F Hole Fantasy
  6. Star Piece

Written by The Metal Files

May 30, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Concert Review – Al Di Meola 4/3/11

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I’m the first to admit that I haven’t bought anything by Di Meola since his 1996 “…Plays Piazzolla” CD.  For me, 1983’s “Scenario” was my last favorite of the “electric era” and all those before it were all great.  Al is the man.  He’s got it all: technique, feel, speed, originality.  It wasn’t long after 1983 that he went more acoustic than electric style and really put out a lot of the world music stuff.  It just wasn’t my thing.  Sure it was Al playing some good stuff, but I loved that classic fusion analog stuff from the 70s and early 80s that he did.

I mentioned in another post about seeing Return To Forever a few years back and how great it was and also about missing a Di Meola show in Norfolk because he canceled the day of the show.  Luckily he didn’t cancel tonight.

Tonight’s show at the One World Theatre proved once again that this is one of the greatest places to see a show.  Great seating, great sound, intimate.  I was fortunate to score 2 seats on the center aisle, 2nd row and we had no one sitting in front of us.  Perfection.  My guitarist, Doug Morrison, attended with me.

Al comes on at about 6:10PM, says hello to the crowd, cracks a joke or 2 (Is Willie still here?”) and they go right into their set, opening with a song called Fire On Babylon.  He was on the acoustic for almost the entire set until they went into Midnight Tango and he strapped on his Paul Reed Smith and played electric for the end of the set and for the encore.  He was great.  Period.  His band was awesome (standup electric bass, drums, rhythm acoustic guitar, drums, percussion, accordion) and filled with all non-Americans except for his percussionist.  The real standout member was his accordion player, Fausto.  I’m rather neutral on how I feel about that instrument in general, but this guy was quite incredible.  The whole band was.  Al put down the shred on both the acoustic and electric like only he can do it.  He picks almost every note and his precision is incredible.  It was quite exhilarating to be sitting 10 feet from a musician that I have respected for about 20+ years now.

Even being unfamiliar with most of the material from tonight’s show, it didn’t really matter.  It was as I expected and more.  I’m looking forward to his next tour already.

I grabbed a setlist from the stage and this is the what was listed as “1st Set”.  There was another set to be performed at 8:30PM and I wonder if it was going to be any different.

  1. Fire on Babylon
  2. Brave New World
  3. Misterio
  4. Double Concerto
  5. Turquoise
  6. Oblivion
  7. Full Frontal Contrapuntal
  8. Capouiera
  9. Midnight Tango/One Night Last June
  10. Race With The Devil On A Spanish Highway (encore)

Written by The Metal Files

April 3, 2011 at 9:21 pm

John McLaughlin – Austin, TX – Nov. 24, 2010

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Back around 1985/86 one of the guys from my church had given me and a few of us metalhead kids some records to listen to.  It was jazz stuff.  The 2 that stood out for me were John Macey’s Eclipse (would love to

The Master.

find this somewhere) and Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Birds of Fire.  Bird’s of Fire quickly became an album near and dear to my heart and still listen to it often.  I really like a lot of that early 70s jazz/fusion stuff and thanks to Pat, it opened my mind up to some other music outside of hard rock and metal.  Hell, just throw some distortion in some of this stuff and it would be metal.

About 2 or so years ago I saw an advertisement on Stubb’s website for John McLaughlin and freaked out.  I nabbed 2 tickets and the day of the show Doug and I were walking up on the venue and noticed that the crowd was very young.  I was a bit perplexed.  Why would all these kids want to see John McLaughlin?  Then I saw the show poster stapled on the outside wall.  “Jon” McLaughlin was playing that night.  Some young kid and an acoustic guitar.  D’oh!  I felt pretty stupid.  What a monkey!  We ended up just giving our tickets to someone in line.  They were pretty inexpensive so it was no big deal.  The 2 kids were appreciative.

A month or so ago I was fortunate enough to see Mahavishnu’s Billy Cobham at the beautiful One World Theatre.  It was quite awesome as was the venue.  Even prior to buying my Cobham tickets, my guitar player had snagged us 2 tickets to see John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension.  In case you didn’t know, John created Mahavishnu Orchestra after playing with Miles Davis (Bitches Brew).  Miles told him to form his own band and he did.  What a band he formed!

We get to the theatre around 7 and hang out for a bit.  It’s pretty rare for this venue to have an opening act on stage but they did for John’s 2 night stand.  It was 2 Argentinian brothers who call themselves Seis Cuerdas (6 strings in English).  They played a short set of latin/flamenco/jazz/almost metal stuff on 2 acoustic guitars.  They were pretty damned good but I was there to see John and his band.

The band comes out to a standing ovation and John greets the crowd an the music starts.  My God.  For as blown away as I was by Cobham’s show, this was even more intense.  John’s playing was awesome and having never watched any video of him before, I was blown away by his playing style.  His fretting and picking style reminded me a lot of Tony Iommi in that it was very limited motion.  You hear a lot of things being played but you don’t see them.  No wasted motion.  It was quite awesome to see.  John didn’t talk much between songs nor did he need to.  The music surely did the talking.

His backup band was great as well.  He had Etienne Mbappe on bass.  This dude was awesome.  First time I had seen a bass player wear gloves.  There were some great moments where he and John were playing off of each other and playing the same runs together.  Just awesome.  Gary Husband handled the keyboard duties and did a great job.  He also did some drums trade-off stuff with main-drummer Mark Mondesir.  Holy hell, this dude was quite possibly one of the most incredible drummers I have ever seen live.  It could have easily been a clinic in power-jazz drumming.  He was awesome and I enjoyed his performance even over Billy Cobham’s.  This guy is just awesome and seemingly can play anything.  I recommend looking him up on YouTube.  For as awesome as the bands was as a whole, Mark’s drumming made the night for me.  I’ll always be a drummer on the inside even if I am unable to play them nowadays.  Just awesome.

I was really hoping that they would do a meet and greet after the show like Cobham did, but no luck.  It was another great experience watching a stage full of great musicians doing their thing.  Next up there for me is Al Dimeola.  That one will be my “freak out” show.  Al is in my top guitar players of all time.  Having only seen him with Return to Forever a few years ago, I am pretty excited to see him up close (2nd row center aisle seats…same ones for Cobham and McLaughlin).

 

Thank you and goodnight!

Written by The Metal Files

November 25, 2010 at 11:20 am

Billy Cobham – Concert Review – Austin, TX – October 13, 2010

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I hate printable tickets!

 

 

Sometime in the mid-80s, I think, a friend of mine turned me on to some jazz stuff and the one band that stuck with me was Mahavishnu Orchestra.  Their album Birds of Fire remains the greatest jazz/fusion album I have ever heard.  Part of the reason, a big part really, was because of the drummer, Billy Cobham.  He was a very musical drummer and I loved his work on his first solo album, Spectrum and the Miles Davis albums Bitches Brew and Live-Evil.  He’s just a man-beast of a drummer in his chops, but he plays such a light fluid style.

That Mahavishnu album is very special to me.  When I was still drumming (84-2000), I used to practice along with Birds of Fire quite often.  No, I wasn’t able to play a lot of the stuff he was doing on there, but I tried my damnedest to play along and keep up.  It was good practice.

When I saw that he was playing at the One World Theatre here in Austin, I had to go.  I was able to score second row seats on the center aisle.  Doug Morrison came along.  I’d never been to this place but Doug mentioned several times how small and awesome it is.  He was right.  You almost feel like you’re in your own house watching a band with perfect acoustics.  The place is pretty awesome.  The sound was great.

Billy’s band consists of all foreigners, including Billy.  I never knew he was Panamanian.  The whole band was just great and one would expect no less.  But then there’s Billy.  I’ve never seen such a big drummer with such a soft style.  He proved all night that power drumming has absolutely nothing to do with how hard one hits.  He was so fluid and solid.  He did hit harder for accent in spots, but it wasn’t his main thing.  It was quite awesome to watch how he was conducting things from behind the kit.  Normally he’d play with his eyes closed, but when they were opened, it was usually to give someone a cue as to what was coming next.  In one spot he looked over to the bassist and guitar player and just said, “four” and they just nodded and smiled.  Some of the stuff they played really had that early 70s Mahavishnu feel to it.

He is so musical of a drummer and it really took me back to my playing days.  It made me miss it badly.  Not that I was even remotely a jazz/fusion style drummer, but I did try to be a little musical about it instead of just keeping the beat.  Both Doug and I sat there in awe.  For 64 years old, he is still incredibly awesome.

After the show Billy was doing an autograph signing and I didn’t bring anything as I didn’t expect him to come out and hang out.  I did have him sign my ticket and he was gracious enough to do a photo with me.  They didn’t allow cameras during the show so I have no photos of the band.  Pity.  But I do have the awesome shot below!

If this tour comes anywhere near you and you even remotely like jazz/fusion, you will not be disappointed.  Just go!  I’m even more excited about seeing John McLaughlin, Colin Hay and Al Dimeola there in the coming months.

 

Billy Cobham and yours truly. I'm obviously more excited than he is.