I’m a lover of all things music and all things vinyl, as you shall soon discover…
Faith No More plus Trey Spruance!
1995’s ‘King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime was Faith No More’s third album with Mike Patton as lead vocalist. By this time, Patton was crooning, screaming, singing, shrieking, and basically doing everything the human voice is capable of. This made their music ever more interesting. Unfortunately their original guitarist Jim Martin didn’t like the direction they were going in and quit. Fortunately however, Faith No More made a brilliant move in hiring Mr. Bungle and Secret Chiefs 3 guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Trey Spruance to cover guitar duties for ‘King For A Day…’. The addition of Spruance is immediately apparent. His distorted sound is heavier than Jim Martin’s and his clean tone is something almost unheard of in previous Faith No More albums. There’s practically no style that Spruance can’t play (and play very well), and as a result, this album contains jazz guitar, soul/r&b wah-wah playing, and of course all of the aggressive rock/metal you’d expect from this band. Interestingly, Roddy Bottum’s keyboards are noticeably absent from much of the album, and while this does take away some of the “grandeur” of the sound they had been known for, these songs have an immediacy and an attack that makes up for that.
Masterful and influential
Faith No More’s 1992 bizarre metal masterpiece ‘Angel Dust’ has been called one of the most influential alternative rock/metal albums of all-time. The reason for this could be due to the breadth of musical ground they covered within the framework of two genres that were generally fairly straightforward. Perhaps it was the way Roddy Bottum wrote his keyboard parts (or the mere fact that a band this heavy used keyboards and synths) or the versatility and range of Mike Patton’s vocals (not to mention lyrics), or yet again just the fearless way that the group attacked all of the ideas presented – nothing is done halfway. This is an essential album.
Unique would be an understatement
Mr. Bungle’s self-titled 1991 label-released debut is a roller-coaster ride of an album. It literally sounds like an amusement park/circus where all of the performers are slightly demented metal and jazz musicians. Produced by avante-garde mastermind John Zorn, the group lineup for the debut was made of guitarist Trey Spruance, bassist Trevor Dunn, Mike Patton on vocals, Danny Heifetz playing drums, and a horn section of Theo Lengyel and Clinton McKinnon on alto-sax and tenor-sax/clarinet respectively. Having played together for about six years by 1991, the band is effortlessly in-synch within the stop-on-a-dime, hairpin turn, genre-hopping song arrangements. A fun and rewarding listen.
Great and gone too soon
The great Clifford Brown, considered to be on par with like of Davis, Gillespie, and Morgan was touring with Lionel Hampton’s Orchestra in paris when he recorded a couple of sessions with the alto-sax player Gigi Gryce and a hard-swinging rhythm section of Henri Renaud on piano, drummer Jean-Louis Vale, guitarist Jimmy Gourley and bassist Pierre Michelot. This album, released in 1953, captures Brown only four albums in as a leader and it’s already apparent that he was an immense talent.
Two players who changed jazz forever
‘Song X’ is a meeting of two players in Metheny and Coleman who impacted the direction of jazz. Coleman, with the release of ‘The Shape of Jazz to Come’ in 1959 would be recognized as the leader of the avante-garde free jazz movement. Metheny would begin asserting his influence with his debut album ‘Bright Size Life’. His tone and style were immediately unlike anyone else and remain so to this day. ‘Song X’ is a fairly intense affair, with several of the cuts finding all players more or less soloing at the same time, but with such skill that room is left for them each to be heard and have their moment.
Consolidated! Their 1989 debut EP sounded like nothing else at the time. It was industrial-dance-hip-hop. They were extremely political and super talented. They talked about issues in a way that no one else did at the time. All social and political issues were fair game for them: homophobia, women’s rights, racism, animal rights, corporate greed, government oppression, and it didn’t stop there. Wish this band was still around.
This album, from 1965, is just about as graceful as it gets. Ella is in top form and the Ellington band gives her all the space she needs. When the soloists get their turn at the fore, they do not disappoint, with Paul Gonsalves, Johnny Hodges, Cat Anderson and Cootie Williams offering fantastic compliments to the singer. Side A is a mostly mellow affair (and my favorite of the two sides) while side B picks up the pace and finds the band really swinging and Ella putting in some wound-up performances.