Barry Cleveland — Volcano
(Bandcamp no#, 2004, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2005-03-01
For this outing, San Francisco Bay Area guitarist Barry Cleveland has enlisted a troop of comrades in his effort to bridge the gulf between western musical idioms and those beyond these shores. Though all are characterized by rhythmic grooves derived from non-Western sources, be it African, Latin, or Middle Eastern, each of these 10 tracks takes on a unique flavor of its own. This begins with the arsenal and artistry of percussionist Michael Pluznick who (along with an occasional army of percussionists) joins Cleveland on the basic tracks, joined by bass god Michael Manring, whose work throughout is nothing less than astounding. Witness his amazing playing on the title track or the lightning fast lines on "Rhumbatism."
Cleveland's guitar provides many of the leads and textures, ranging from frisky African lines ("Makanda") to buzzing Frippian leads ("Ophidian Waves") to waves of soundscapes ("Obsidian Night"), though he never takes the spotlight exclusively for himself. Joining him on many pieces is flute and reeds wizard Norbert Stachel who delivers performances that are very jazz-informed while remaining fresh and primal. Lygia Ferra lends deeply sensual vocals to two songs, best captured in the sweaty intensity of "Dervish Circles," where she is joined by Maxwell Taylor for a performance that I'll bet left everyone reaching for a cigarette once it was over.
Though his contributions are often overshadowed by his guests (Manring especially), this is nonetheless a remarkable collection, and further establishes Barry Cleveland as one of the most creative guitarists of our time.
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more