KBB — Age of Pain
(Arcangelo ARC-1162, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-09-20It’s been a while since we’ve heard something new by this Japanese instrumental quartet featuring the whiplash violin of Akihisa Tsuboy and the keyboard prowess of Toshimitsu Takahashi. There is no guitarist in the band (there is no air left in the room with those two), but the adept rhythm section of Dani (bass) and Shirou Sugano (drums) are a superb support unit in almost any style the band takes on, and this time there is certainly a lot more variation in the styles that they blend together. There’s a heaping helping of ripping jazz-rock as well as some gentler Stéphane Grappelli type moments, along with some folky and traditional touches and a dollop of classical savvy blended in across the board, sometimes all going to varying degrees at the same time. Across all of the disc’s eight tracks, the keyword here is tasty; the stylistic approach to each piece is very different and that keeps it interesting, but the result is always excellence. The slow-builder “Lythrum” is a case in point – it’s a slow pastoral tune with a very strong melody, led by violin with beautiful embellishments on piano. Follow that up with “Kernel,” a launch into a fusion of the band’s traditional influences and some mind-blowing jazz-rock that recalls Jerry Goodman in his days with Mahavishnu Orchestra mixed with a little Return to Forever circa Where Have I Known You Before. Just a couple examples. With KBB there’s always something exciting and unpredictable around the next turn.
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more