Micha Schellhaas — Double Take
((Not on label) no#, 2015, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2016-03-21
There’s a long tradition of non-American guitarists making a pilgrimage of sorts to the United States to get in touch with some of the roots of their instrument. German guitarist Micha Schellhaas, after years of session work in Europe, decided to move to the US and delve into the history of blues, country, and rock guitar. On Double Take, he’s teamed up with Chad Wackerman (drums), Dave Marotta (bass), Jim Cox (keyboards), and Carl Verheyen (production and additional guitar). Wackerman needs no introduction here, as we’ve been covering his work for years. Cox has played with a wide variety of artists, from straight jazz to Barry Manilow and Weird Al. Marotta and Verheyen are also studio veterans, with Verheyen a member of latter-day Supertramp. On these nine tracks, Schellhaas displays expertise and taste on idioms ranging from the blues to New Orleans funk to hot countryish picking to slick jazz. In addition to his own solos on acoustic, electric, and slide guitar, Schellhaas leaves room for Cox lay out some tasty organ and piano (acoustic and electric). I’m often reminded of Harvey Mandel’s work in the 70s – guitar playing that (often) transcended genre limitations, inventive though not outrageously flashy in a technical sense. So don’t expect any flurries of 64th notes or tricky workouts in odd meters (except on the aptly titled “5&6”). This is just a really well done guitar album rooted in the blues but willing to wander a little ways outside the strict confines. Along with the previously mentioned Mandel, Steve Morse is a good reference. With Double Take, Micha Schellhaas proves that he’s got the styles down – now he needs to move on and develop a distinct style of his own.
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more