Sunday Big Note – Listening Session #2

It would be another year – the last week of April and the early weeks of May 1973 – before the Mahavishnu Orchestra found themselves on the road opening for Frank Zappa and the Mothers Of Invention on the tour promoting Zappa‘s Over-Nite Sensation album. Yet, as the above clip of Ruth Underwood illustrates, the Mahavishnu Orchestra had a profound effect upon Zappa and the direction which his music took.
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Jean-Luc Ponty in 1972

Rare footage of Jean-Luc Ponty from 1972. Performing his only original composition from his album King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa. While the album version goes 7:12 in length, this version (it is surmised that this recording is from a German TV Archive – can anyone confirm this?) goes 10:13. Though recorded under the Ponty name, King Kong is largely considered a Zappa record by fans.

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Jazz Ain’t Dead — Duke/Cobham

In the above clip, from Dutch TV in 2003, George Duke and friends perform “Brazilian Love Affair”, with a closing part of “Echidna’s Arf”.

George Duke (piano/vocals)
Lori Perry (vocals)
Robert Brookings (keyboards)
Ray Fuller (guitar)
Mike Manson (bass)
Gordon Campbell (drums)

In the second clip, the Billy Cobham/George Duke Band perform Cobham’s “Stratus” at the 1998 Montreux Jazz Festival.

Billy Cobham (drums)
George Duke (keyboards)
Carl Orr (guitar)
Stefan Rademacher (bass)

While missing the original flavor of Alphonso Johnson on bass, and John Scofield on guitar, both Orr and Rademacher rise up to the challenge left by their predecessors.

Keneally Minnemann Beller (KMB)

In 2008, Mike Keneally (guitar, keyboards), Marco Minnemann (drums), and Bryan Beller (bass) formed the jazz rock fusion power trio, Keneally Minnemann Beller (KMB) and began touring.

Keneally cut his teeth as the stunt guitarist in Frank Zappa‘s 1988 band. He went on to record over a dozen of his own albums and appeared on dozens more by Zappa, Steve Vai, Henry Kaiser, and many more. Keneally is the National Music Director of the Paul Green School of Rock, and the Music Director of the new San Diego branch. The All Music Guide considers Keneally “the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era.”

When asked by the San Diego Reader in a recent interview to describe his music, Keneally said:

“It’s essentially rock, with equal emphasis on improvisation and strictly composed things. There’s a lot of guitar in it. I’m mainly known as a guitarist, although keyboard was my first instrument, and I play a lot of different instruments on my recordings. Dynamically, melodically, rhythmically, and lyrically, it’s real diverse and eclectic. I love a lot of different musical styles, and it all gets mashed in.”

Minnemann’s career began in his native Germany and has toured with the likes of Nina Hagen, the Buddy Rich Big Band, Necrophagist, Terry Bozzio, and now, Keneally Minnemann Beller. He is known for his amazing four-way independence, along with his unusual drum kit set up (multiple foot pedals, a gong, electronics and unique cymbal configurations).

Bryan Beller landed a gig with Dweezil and Ahmet Zappa’s tweaked rock project Z, straight out of Berklee College in 1993. Also on board was Mike Keneally, and in a lasting gesture of solidarity with his avant-garde pop/rock/fusion musical vision, Beller left Z when Keneally did in 1996. Twelve years, seven albums, and countless tours later, their musical partnership continues to this day. He still found the time to work and tour with Steve Vai and Wayne Kramer, has released two solo albums, and is a Contributing Editor for Bass Player magazine.

In the first video, (KMB) perform Keneally’s classic instrumental “Cheddar” (Hat, 1992) live at The Baked Potato in Studio City, CA on November 1, 2008. In the second and third videos, KMB perform “Dolphins” and “Bullys” (both from ‘Boil That Dust Speck‘, 1994) live at Channel-25, El Cajon, CA, July 20, 2008.

These are really quite amazing videos. To paraphrase a very famous quote, “Jazz rock fusion isn’t dead, it’s lurking somewhere in California under the name of Keneally Minnemann Beller. To view other KMB videos click here.

As an extra related tidbit of trivia, does anyone recognize the narrator in the following Chris Opperman track, “Ain’t Got No Beef”(Oppy Music Vol.1: Purple, Crayon, 1998):

Gil Scott-Heron at Wolfgang’s Vault

Activist poet and musician, Gil Scott-Heron’s musical career began in the late ’60s. He quickly emerged as a sharp, intelligent critic of contemporary culture, boasting terrific jazz-styled accompaniment. By the late ’70s, Scott-Heron’s sound had adopted a bit more of a contemporary R&B aesthetic, but his jazz roots remain clear. He hasn’t released any new recorded material since 1994’s Spirits, and in the early ’00s, faced prison time for drug possession charges. He has since been released, and as of early 2009, he is working on a new record, and still makes occasional live appearances.

Playing the Madison Square Garden stage on September 23rd, 1979, taking part in the famous series of “No Nukes” concerts organized by the Musicians United for Safe Energy, he reveals not just his politics yet a driving fusion between his worlds of jazz, poetry, and R&B.

Gil Scott-Heron – vocals

Robert Gordon – bass

Tony Green – drums

Carl Cornwell – saxophone

Ed Brady – guitar

Just click here to sign up and register for a free account to listen to this and other great concerts.

As an added bonus, the two following tracks are from Gil Scott-Heron’s seminal album, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1974):

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Home Is Where The Hatred Is

Satisfaction Injection – Solaris (outtake)

I recently came across this new band, Satisfaction Injection, while trolling around looking for new music. They consist of Matthijs Tuijn (guitar/tenor saxophone), Bas Warner (guitar), Kim Bots (alto saxophone/clarinet), Jonathan Roorda (bass guitar/piano) and Laurens Roorda (drums/soprano saxophone). They first began as a jamming formation that has grown to a band with own material and an extensive cover repetoire. Jazz forms the basis of their music which experiments with funk, fusion and post-rock. Jazz like John Coltrane, and progressive rock bands like The Brecker Brothers, Caravan, and Frank Zappa are also inspirations and influence. To hear more, check out their page at

George Duke — My Soul (4CD-Box Set)

Just received my 4CD-compilation box set of George Duke jazz fusion from Promising Music: My Soul — The Complete MPS Fusion Recordings. This compilation includes the original MPS albums “Faces In Reflection”, “Feel”, “The Aura Will Prevail”, “I Love The Blues, She Heard My Cry” and “Liberated Fantasies”…plus the two recordings “The Inner Source” and “Solus”, that could originally be found on a double vinyl album set entitled “The Inner Source”.

Track list:

CD 1
1. Au Right 3:23
2. Love Reborn 7:21
3. Peace 7:29
4. So There You Go 5:11
5. The Followers 5:13
6. Solus 9:00
7. Nigerian Numberuma 2:45
8. My Soul 4:39
9. The Inner Source 6:10
10. Life 5:44
11. Sometime Ago 5:07
12. Feels So Good 6:57
13. Manya 3:33
CD 2
1. Sweet Bite 3:29
2. Twenty-Five 4:57
3. Always Constant 6:49
4. The Opening 3:19
5. Capricorn 5:07
6. Piano Solo No.1 1:16
7. Piano Solo No.2 1:07
8. Psychocomatic Dung 5:04
9. Faces In Reflection No.1 3:41
10. Maria Tres Filhos 5:09
11. North Beach 6:19
12. Da Somba 6:18
13. Faces In Reflection No.2 2:23
14. Funny Funk 5:18
15. Love 6:05
16. The Once Over 4:43
CD 3
1. Feel 5:38
2. Cora Jobege 2:47
3. Old Slippers 5:37
4. Theme From The Opera “Tzina” 2:01
5. Yana Aminah 4:34
6. Rashid 3:36
7. Statement 1:16
8. Chariot 2:59
9. Look Into Her Eyes 3:24
10. Sister Serene 4:33
11. That’s What She Said 4:29
12. Mashavu 1:48
13. Rokkinrowl, I Don’t Know 3:25
14. Prepare Yourself 5:26
15. Giant Child Within Us – Ego 6:37
16. Someday 2:41
17. I Love The Blues, She Heard My Cry 5:26
CD 4
1. Dawn 4:57
2. For Love (I Come Your Friend) 4:41
3. Foosh 3:11
4. Floop De Loop 6:46
5. Malibu 4:06
6. Fools 4:35
7. Echidna’s Arf 3:35
8. Uncle Remus 5:11
9. The Aura 1:26
10. Don’t Be Shy 3:00
11. Seeing You 4:32
12. Back To Where We Never Left 6:27
13. What The… 0:33
14. Tryin’ & Cryin’ 5:47
15. I C’n Hear That 5:18
16. After The Love 2:32
17. Tzina 2:32
18. Liberated Fantasies 9:22

While the packaging is certainly a no frills affair (4 discs inside one fold-out hard plastic case, which includes a booklet of liner notes outlining all the various musicians involved in the recording of each song on each one of the albums), the remastered sound of these tracks is absolutely outstanding. Compared to the only other compilation which had been available on the market before now, Three Originals, there simply is no comparison. An absolute must have for any 70s jazz fusion fans.

Update from Promising Music Infodesk — Monday, July 7th, 2008:

a) The George Duke — My Soul (4CD Box Set) is not a Promising Music release, but done by Universal Germany (hence the “standard packaging”). We just included it as a “service title” in our web shop.

b) Universal Germany raised prices (they call it “adjust”) on their box sets, so it’s no longer at 25plus Euros, but 30sth Euros for non-EU fellows (inside EU VAT has to be added, making it 36 flat) by now.

Keep it up!
Your promising music team