Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin — Green and Blue
(BRCDLP-05, 2009, CD)
Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin — Hour Moon
(Broken BRCDEP-01, 2009, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2010-07-01
The first new set of music in over 15 years from sophisticated pop duo keyboardist Dave Stewart and vocalist Barbara Gaskin is a strong reason for celebration. The two have not lost step with their niche of carving out well crafted songs with that deceptive chord combination and more than a few familiar nods to a checkered prog past. "Walnut Tree Walk" is one of those pieces that ambles along nicely, giving a humming refrain that you can't get out of your head. Stewart's vast arrangement vocabulary is particularly poignant on the late night jazzy ballads "Let Me Sleep Tonight" and "Bed of Leaves." Stewart's fitting piano and light synthesizer backing indicates attention to atmospheric detail and simple melodic structure. Covering Lennon and McCartney, especially a Sgt. Pepper track like Lennon's "Good Morning Good Morning," is a risky venture, but in the capable hands of this keyboardist it is turned to a tour de force complete with animal sounds. Also on board for the entire session are Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison and long time guitarist Andy Reynolds. Harrison's high energy propulsion drives the trademark train down the hard rocking track on "Any Guru." Recording dates are suspiciously absent for the collection of pieces but that doesn't taint the performance or high caliber recording quality. "Red Circus" is easily the most boisterous track on the disc with Reynolds' lead guitar riffing away opposite Stewart's prodding monster organ lines. Closing the disc is the two part "Sweetwater Sea," which contains a stellar prose reading from Peter Blegvad.
The EP called Hour Moon features a few old tidbits as well, including the pretty hard rocking "Shakin' All Over" (the Johnny Kidd & the Pirates song famously covered by The Who). Stewart is always one to eschew camp in light of his wide musical palette on "Telstar" and the sweet radical funky intro rework of the classic "Harry and James." One can only hope more product will be forthcoming from the duo before they truly call it a day.
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more