Although Manassas only released two albums in their brief history as a band – the double album, Manassas, released on April 12th, 1972, and Down The Road on April 23rd, 1973 – the impact of these two albums is really quite undeniable. There are many who consider Manassas’ debut album somewhat of a masterpiece, and even though I wouldn’t go quite that far with that assumption, myself, Manassas were a very unique ensemble to say the least. As Stephen Stills comments in the above interview, he and his assembled musicians were able to accomplish a lot musically under the banner of Manassas. Continue reading “Sunday Big Note — Listening Session #23”
Usually, when most think of the Irish hard rock band, Thin Lizzy, formed in Dublin in 1969, songs like “Whiskey in the Jar”, “Jailbreak” and especially “The Boys Are Back in Town” come to mind. Not surprising since these songs are still staples of hard rock and classic rock stations. Yet, as a hard rock band, peculiarly enough, it wasn’t until their fifth album, Fighting, in 1975, and the advent of their twin guitar sound that they really began to achieve lasting success as a group, followed by their breakthrough album, Jailbreak, in 1976. Continue reading “Sunday Big Note — Listening Session #22”
Back on Friday, March 28th, 2008 I published the post, Live Albums — Dead or Alive? in which I listed many of my favourite live albums: Zappa In New York (1978); Super Session (1968) with Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Stephen Stills; and Warren Zevon’s Stand In The Fire (1980/2007) just to name a few. Among them, though, was also an absolute favourite live album of mine which has long stood the test of time. That artist and album being John Mayall’s 1969 live release The Turning Point. Continue reading “Sunday Big Note — Listening Session #21”
I was first introduced to the music of Astor Piazzolla on a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, back in 2005. Almost instantly, I realized that I had stumbled upon something incredibly powerful. Filled with melancholy, and while rooted firmly in the traditional Argentine tango genre, Piazzolla’s work is at the same time intensely influenced by North-American jazz and modern classical music. As with Frank Zappa, Astor Piazzolla’s music defies categorization.
Unlike many of their contemporaries, British group Gentle Giant‘s classical influences ranged beyond the Romantic to incorporate elements of mediaeval, baroque, and modernist chamber music. Undoubtedly, this was what drew Frank Zappa to their music – that, and their elaborate arrangements, complex instrumental parts, and odd meters, too. I know, that was certainly what drew me to the music of Gentle Giant, too: a band made up of multi-instrumentalists who combined diverse elements from rock, classical, jazz, soul, blues, and the avante-garde, playing more than thirty instruments. Continue reading “Sunday Big Note – Listening Session #18”
The Mats/Morgan Band featuring drummer and composer Morgan Ågren and keyboard player and composer Mats Öberg were no doubt one of Zappa’s most eclectic musical discoveries when he invited them to perform with him and his 1988 band as guests at their Stockholm performance on January 5th, 1988. Indeed, Mats and Morgan played an integral part in the series of Zappa tribute concerts which made up Zappa’s Universe. They’ve also revealed their virtuosic “chops” performing the music of the late Don Van Vliet with Freddie Wadling and Denny Walley on The Music of Captain Beefheart – live. Any fan of Zappa or Beefheart’s music will find Mats and Morgan’s music extremely appealing, and like both those icons, the music of the The Mats/Morgan Band is difficult, if not impossible, to categorize containing juxtaposing elements of jazz, electronic music, fusion, waltz, dance music, avant garde/free jazz, techno, rock, metal, progressive, and modern classical music. Continue reading “Sunday Big Note – Listening Session #16”