Filles De Kilimanjaro ($5 SPECIAL)

"Since it's billed as "Directions in Music by Miles Davis," it should come as little surprise that Filles de Kilimanjaro is the beginning of a new phase for Miles, the place that he begins to dive headfirst into jazz-rock fusion. It also happens to be the swan song for his second classic quintet, arguably the finest collective of musicians he ever worked with, and what makes this album so fascinating is that it's possible to hear the breaking point -- though his quintet all followed him into fusion (three of his supporting players were on In a Silent Way), it's possible to hear them all break with the conventional notions of what constituted even adventurous jazz, turning into something new. According to Miles, the change in "direction" was as much inspired by a desire to return to something earthy and bluesy as it was to find new musical territory, and Filles de Kilimanjaro bears him out. Though the album sports inexplicable, rather ridiculous French song titles, this is music that is unpretentiously adventurous, grounded in driving, mildly funky rhythms and bluesy growls from Miles, graced with weird, colorful flourishes from the band. Where Miles in the Sky meandered a bit, this is considerably more focused, even on the three songs that run over ten minutes, yet it still feels transitional. Not tentative (which In the Sky was), but certainly the music that would spring full bloom on In a Silent Way was still in the gestation phase, and despite the rock-blues-n-funk touches here, the music doesn't fly and search the way that Nefertiti did. But that's not a bad thing -- this middle ground between the adventurous bop of the mid-'60s and the fusion of the late '60s is rewarding in its own right, since it's possible to hear great musicians find the foundation of a new form. For that alone, Filles de Kilimanjaro is necessary listening." - All Music Guide

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  • "When Gregg Allman was asked why Dickey Betts was kicked out of the Allman Brothers Band in the spring of 2000, he is reported to have suggested the answer lay in the tapes from the group's two-week stand at the Beacon Theatre in New York. That makes it surprising that the Allmans would turn to those tapes to assemble their first new album release in five and a half years, Peakin' at the Beacon. Happily, however, there is no evidence of Betts' alleged shortcomings on the disc, though it must be admitted that, since he is one of two lead guitarists (the other being Derek Trucks, making his recorded debut with the band), it isn't always easy to tell who is playing. There is plenty of guitar work, and it is up to the Allmans' usual standard. Following the instrumental opener, Gregg Allman sings lead on seven straight songs, all of which come from the band's first three studio albums. Betts finally appears as a vocalist on the ninth track, the 1990 folk-country tune "Seven Turns." Finally, there is a 27-and-a-half-minute version of the 1975 Betts instrumental "High Falls," a typical extended workout complete with jazzy interludes and a lengthy percussion section. the Allmans may not have been due for another live album (two of their last three releases being concert recordings), but the series of Beacon shows has become an annual event, and the disc serves as a souvenir from the March 2000 shows. Fans who attended those shows, or who just want to be reassured that the Allmans sound much the same as ever, may enjoy the album; less devoted listeners probably shouldn't bother." - Allmusic
    $5.00
  • New reissue of one of the great prog metal albums of the 90s. Eldritch are now more of a thrash band but their first three discs were as good as any prog metal band ever recorded. Seeds Of Rage is their first and essential for any fan of Dream Theater. Great vocals from Terrance Holler and keyboard work from Oleg Smirnov. This new edition is remastered, housed in a slipcase and features five bonus tracks indlcuing a rehearsal session from 2006, and previously unreleased songs from their 1990 and 1991 demos. This edition is limited to 3,000 copies worldwide. One thing I know about LMP - when they say it's limited they mean it.
    $5.00
  • Wow!  This Canadian band sure has a thing for Pink Floyd.  Led by vocalist/songwriter Phil Burton, Innerspace definitely channel Gilmour and Co.  Notice how I phrased it.  Burton's vocals sound very much like David Gilmour and lead guitarist Simon Arsenault has more than a little of that characteristic sound to his playing as well.  Compositionally this is VERY much derived from Floyd.  There are bits that crop up that will remind you of Meddle, DSOTM, Animals, and even as late as The Division Bell.  Where they really stray from the Floyd sound is with keyboardist Paul Aubrey who is much more active a keyboardist than Rick Wright - lots of cool noodly synth soloing.  While its all original compositions this one was like a fun trip down memory lane through the Pink Floyd catalog.  There aren't a lot of bands out there that are so overtly influenced by the British legends.  I can honestly say that Innerspace do it about as well as it can be done.  Highly recommended.
    $12.00
  • Although Jeff Lynne found fame and fortune in the later years of ELO, it was the early albums that featured some great and innovative progressive rock. Originally conceived as an offshoot project of The Move, ELO featured Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne (of The Idle Race). The two had a falling out over the direction of the band and Wood split to form Wizzard. After the mixed bag that was ELO II, Lynne found firm footing with On The Third Day. It's a fantastic fusion of classical, pop, and prog. The Beatles are an obvious influence but it was ELO's use of cellos and violin within the context of rock music that made them stand out (OK - they were not the first to do this but they were the best). This is a remastered edition that features a number of bonus tracks including unreleased material. Perhaps I'm nostalgic about this album as it was part of my formative years of listening to progressive rock. File under highly recommended.
    $5.00
  • The Italian band The Watch are probably the pre-eminent prog band to capture the classic Gabriel-era sound of Genesis.  While the band tours doing covers of Genesis tunes hey write original material that could easily have been lifted from Nursery Cryme.  Tracks From The Alps is their latest.  It includes all original compositions except their reinterpretation of "Going Out To Get You", a track from Genesis' debut album.  If you like "the sound" The Watch will be indispensible.  I consider them a guilty pleasure and have enjoyed all of their releases.  Highly recommended.
    $17.00
  • Norwegian prog revivalists Tusmorke have returned with their second album.  The band has moved on from Termo Records and has now found a home at the up and coming Svart Records label.  On this release the band sings in three different languages with English thankfully being one of them.  Lots of splashes of organ and even some symphonic sounding keys.  Overall the band's sound draws heavily from the British prog scene of the 70s.  You'll definitely hear the imprint of Jethro Tull and Incredible String Band with the former more prominent than the later.  Highly recommended."Norwegian group Tusmorke ("Twilight") is a strange beast. With roots stretching deep into the Scandinavian neo-progressive rock underground of the early nineties.The identical Momrak twins recorded a Tusmorke demo in 1997 but soon put the band on hiatus for several years.Tusmorke returned in 2009 with a full electric lineup and the debut album "Underjordisk Tusmorke" appeared three years later.May 2014 sees the dark minstrels return with a sophomore album "Riset Bak Speilet" ("The wand behind the mirror").A 50-minute transmission from the heart of the darkest northern forests, the album skillfully channels the spirit of classic British acid folk rock and soaks it in a black witches cauldron.The spellbinding concoction is at times reminiscent of classic acts like Jethro Tull and Incredible String band, and also not entirely far off from modern forest magicians such as Hexvessel and Wolf People."Time is an illusion when the music of Tusmorke is played: it ceases to exist. The listener loses her grip, our knowledge no longer stems from social media or printed newspapers: everything the modern world has made us believe, evaporates.Our ears grow into cones, blood turns thin.""
    $8.00
  • "In an odd bit of programming, Columbia placed the ballads from Miles Davis' February 12, 1964, concert on My Funny Valentine and the uptempo romps on this LP. Davis, probably a bit bored by some of his repertoire and energized by the teenage Tony Williams' drumming, performed many of his standards at an increasingly faster pace as time went on. These versions of "So What," "Walkin'," "Four," "Joshua," "Seven Steps to Heaven," and even "There Is No Greater Love" are remarkably rapid, with the themes quickly thrown out before Davis, George Coleman, and Herbie Hancock take their solos. Highly recommended and rather exciting music, it's one of the last times Davis would be documented playing a full set of standards." - Allmusic
    $5.00
  • Beautiful second CD from this Greek band formerly known as Will-o The Wisp.  The band continues their with their retro hard rock sound.  Heavy organ and guitar runs with a sombre, doomy vibe lends some comparisons to Black Sabbath and Deep Purple.  The band still makes a prog move here and there for good measure.  Highly recommended.Manticore's Breath continue to torture retailers worldwide with their packaging.  The CD packaging is a rather fragile affair and quite gorgeous.  Its an embossed textured cover with beautiful artwork by Harry Clarke that will remind you a bit of Arthur Rackham.  Oh yeah - a limited number edition of 400 tops it all off. 
    $23.00
  • Bjorn Riis isn't exactly a household name but if you are a fan of the Norwegian band Airbag he's more familiar than you realize.  Riis is the band's lead guitarist.  For his debut solo album he's enlisted members of Airbag in all aspects of the production.  Riis himself says that the sound doesn't stray too far from Airbag but its a more personal affair.  This is pretty accurate.  Riis is an avowed disciple of David Gilmour.  In fact he set up a website dedicated to Gilmour and his iconic (and easily recognizable) guitar sound.Many aspects of Airbag's three albums owe a heavy debt to Pink Floyd and Riis' solo album fits neatly into the same box.  The album consists of six tracks - three of which run 10+ minutes.  The easiest and most concise way to describe "Lullabies" is that it sounds like a head on collision between Wish You Were Here and The Division Bell.  Nothing wrong with that!  BUY OR DIE! 
    $16.00
  • Finally on CD! Association P.C. is the jazz rock ensemble helmed by drummer Pierre Courbois but also featured the talents of Tot Blanke (guitar), Joachim Kuhn (electric piano), Siggi Busch (bass). This was the last album released by the band. It is a live set the band performed in Germany in 1973. At the time the band was touring with American flautist Jeremy Steig, who is heavily featured on the session. At times the music gets a touch free but basically this is intense jazz rock that would definitely appeal to fans of Soft Machine and Canterbury in general. This gorgeously executed release arrives in a gatefold mini-LP sleeve with detailed liner notes and photos as well as 24 bit mastering. Highly recommended.
    $19.00
  • "Insurgentes is the new documentary film about Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) directed by Lasse Hoile. Porcupine Tree are currently enjoying massive success across the world with their latest album, The Incident. Insurgentes is a musical road movie that follows the making of his solo record of the same name, and is a portrait of an increasingly rare artist who works with music and media out of love and not for fame and fortune, persisting in making art on his own terms in a world where 'throw away' mentality is increasingly becoming the norm. The film features footage of Wilson with other artists and friends including Mikael Akerfeldt from Opeth, Jonas Renkse from Katatonia, the Israeli superstar Aviv Geffen, and the legendary producer Trevor Horn."
    $9.00
  • Dial is the new project put together by Kristoffer Gildenlow upon his departure from Pain Of Salvation. His partners are Liselotte Hegt and Rommert van der Meer, formerly of Dutch prog metal band Cirrha Niva. The music has a modern feel with emphasis on mood and textures. I'm reminded a bit of Kate Bush. Some nice male/female harmonies. The band is rounded out by Elegy drummer Dirk Bruinenberg with contributions on vocals by Devon Graves (Dead Soul Tribe). Certainly a bit different and nothing at all like PoS.
    $3.00
  • "Once upon a time there was a guitar god who had grown bored with all his fame, riches and glory. He longed for something more than another multi-platinum selling record. He desired not simply acclaim, but respect. He knew to get it he would have to walk away from the distinctive style that made him popular and wealthy. It was a risk to confuse his band and his fans by making a radical change in his musical direction. But he did it anyway and broke up the classic version of his band, alienating much of his audience in the process.It must have seemed worth it at the time to Carlos Santana. Appearing at Woodstock had announced to the world there was a new guitar hero on the scene, a skinny Mexican who fused elements of rock, Latin, jazz and funky R&B in one soul-stirring stew. Santana delivered on the promise with a trilogy of terrific albums.The initial effort in Santana's amazing adventures in fusion, Caravanserai (Columbia, 1972), is the sound of a band uncertain of its music and its leader equally uncertain of the direction he wants to take them. Following Santana III (Columbia, 1971), it must have puzzled executives at Columbia when Santana presented it to them. While it has its definite highs, the low points of Caravanserai are very low.Gregg Rolle was skillful on the organ, acceptable as a vocalist and totally out of his league trying to fake it as a jazz musician. Rolle simply lacked the feel for this dense, hook-free tunes and soon would leave to form Journey, taking guitarist Neal Schon with him.The record is disjointed as Santana can't fully let go of the Latin rock that made him wealthy and famous. Never the strongest vocalist, Rolle sings on three unmemorable songs. The songs aren't strong and neither is the playing. You can almost feel Santana's frustration. If he were going to succeed in this new path he was on he would need something conspicuous in its absence from Caravanserai.He would need better musicians to play the way he wanted and better music for them to play. Carlos took the first step when he joined with guitarist John McLaughlin for Love, Devotion and Surrender (Columbia, 1972). Santana brought along members of his band and teamed with McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra to produce an eclectic electric guitar summit that perplexed fans, critics and record executives.Welcome solved both problems. David Brown (bass) and Michael Carabello (percussion) were already out by that time and Rollie and Schon were eyeballing the exit sign as well.Santana has always fused the spiritual with the secular and Welcome is as close as the guitarist has ever come to the former with no regard for the latter. Welcome yielded no hit singles and was never conceived as an album rock radio would play. This is Santana's John Coltrane/A Love Supreme moment: creating transcendent, reverent, passionate music conceived and executed by a virtuoso artist without the slightest trace of concern for commercial considerations.The opening drone of the two organs on "Going Home" played by Tom Coster and Richard Kermode build gradually and soar high with grandeur. Santana lays out here and frequently fades into the background entirely. He is finally secure in his own playing and doesn't have to take the lead. His new-found confidence comes from knowing he finally has a band capable of delivering the goods and they do. Welcome is every bit as much of a classic as the first three Santana albums. It sounds great nearly 40 years after its release.The only comparable rock guitarist who altered his sound as drastically as Santana did with Welcome is Jeff Beck, with his career-altering Blow by Blow (Epic, 1975). The critical difference is Beck was taking the next step after a series of unremarkable bands and records that had flopped. Santana was at the peak of his fame when he drastically altered course and followed the path of A Love Supreme in seeking to make music that satisfied his soul, not a record company's ledger sheet.Even Robert Christgau, the noted (and notorious) rock critic/curmudgeon, and former music editor of The Village Voice smiled upon Welcome."More confident and hence more fun than Caravanserai, this proves that a communion of multipercussive rock and transcendentalist jazz can move the unenlightened—me, for instance. Good themes, good playing, good beat, and let us not forget good singing—Leon Thomas's muscular spirituality grounds each side so firmly that not even Flora Purim can send it out the window."Not everybody completely "got" Welcome in 1973. It wasn't slightly different like Caravanserai, with one foot still in rock and another with a toe dipping lightly into not only jazz fusion, but even free jazz. The signature sizzling guitar solos were there, but more restrained and at times even submerged within the collective of the group.The secret weapon is Michael Shrieve's energetic drumming and the dual keyboard attack of Coster and Kermode. They push and pull Santana to go beyond and stop holding back. Some have called the album disappointingly thin and self-indulgent, but that's a harsh assessment. There are no hit singles or any concessions made to radio here. Maybe an adventuresome jazz station would play "Samba De Sausalito," but even the vocal tracks, "When I Look Into Your Eyes" and "Light of Life" feature Leon Thomas' vocals. Alternating between soulful singing and off-the-wall yodeling, Thomas is perhaps the most polarizing of the many Santana vocalists.The other unique aspect to Welcome band was the band's first female member, Wendy Haas, a vocalist and keyboard player Santana plucked from Azteca, the same band he found a hot-shot 17-yr-old guitarist named Neal Schon, the future guitarist of Journey.If Welcome is the summit of Santana's jazz fusion era, Lotus (Columbia, 1974) and Borboletta (Columbia, 1974) are the sound of that era falling off a cliff. Lotus was a mammoth three-record live set that was only available as a high-priced import, but in 1991 Columbia released it domestically whittling it down to two CDs. It's brilliant, messy and at times, total overkill in overlength and Thomas is inept trying to front Santana standards such as "Black Magic Woman." Borboletta showcases a sullen Santana fronting an equally lethargic band and cursed by the ugliest cover art ever to appear on a Santana record. It's the splat of the band finally hitting the proverbial wall.frustrated by tepid record sales, Santana ditched his dalliance with jazz and returned to Latin rock glory with Amigos (Columbia, 1976). Though he was still billed as "Devadip" Carlos Santana he was drifting away from his guru, Sri Chimoy, and would leave both him and jazz behind for the rest of his career. Blues For Salvador (Columbia, 1987) won a Grammy for Best Instrumental and Santana Brothers (Universal/Polygram, 1994) is good, but these are primarily instrumental recordings and not really jazz.The Swing of Delight (Columbia, 1980) pairs Santana with trumpeter Miles Davis' classic quintet colleagues Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Ron Carter and Wayne Shorter, with Santana's blistering guitar leads replacing the lonely fire of Davis' trumpet, but the result isn't as incendiary as might have been hoped for. Most of the songs on The Swing of Delight are merely star-filled jam sessions lacking the structure and passion of Welcome.Santana has continued to release instrumental albums, but they aren't jazz and since the 15 million-selling Supernatural granted him late career superstar status on him in 1999, he has wasted the better part of a decade chasing similar success minus similar results. The bottom of the barrel is Guitar Heaven, which sounds like the name for a video game but is a pandering mess of classic rock covers.At this point in his life, Santana should be financially secure and has married his second wife, jazz drummer Cindy Blackman. In May he released the 22nd Santana album, Shape Shifter (Starfaith, 2012). With the exception of one vocal track it is a recording of instrumentals exclusively, with just the man and his band and no awkward guest stars crow-barred in except his son Salvador playing keyboards.In an interview, Santana explained why he was taking a break from his overly commercial direction of the past decade."In a lot of ways, yes, because I don't need to accommodate lyrics, and I don't need to accommodate artists. I say this in a funny way, but it's more about letting a Mexican play the guitar, you know?""I'm never going to wait so long to brew 'em like this anymore. I'm going to make sure that I do one album like this and then another kind. I remember reading that John Coltrane would do one Pursuance album, and then he'd do a ballads album where he'd hardly play a solo—he'd just play the melody verbatim."Shape Shifter may be a slight retreat for Santana from pop music and a return to pulling power chords from his guitar, but it's not going to be "Welcome: The Sequel." That was a different man making different music in a different time. The Santana of 1973 is not the Santana of 2012, but that man would not be the one he is now had he not chased his inner Coltrane and made a record as bold, brave and eternally beautiful as Welcome."- All About Jazz
    $7.00
  • "What I thought, upon first listen, was going to be yet another Gothic Metal release in the vein of Epica, Midnattsol, Imperia, et al, turns out to be a bit more than that. Portugal's Enchantya touch most of the genre's clich├ęs, from the band's name to the all-black look, the female lead singer and the haunting album art. But where the rubber hits the road, i.e. the songwriting, they brought a little extra to the table. Singer Rute Fevereiro has the requisite operatic voice and while not the match of a Tarja Turunen, she does a fine job with the material on Dark Rising, the band's first full-length album. Rather than settling for being just another Gothic Metal band, Enchantya's keyboardist brings a few Progressive Metal riffs to songs like the opening instrumental, "Unwavering Faith," and the solo of "Your Tattoo." The band wisely limits this trick using it just enough to give Dark Rising a distinct personality. "No Stars in the Sky" is a solid, up-tempo number, showing off some Nightwish worship, but also that Enchantya knows what goes into writing a good song. There are harsh vocals throughout the album, providing a nice balance to the sweetness of Fevereiro's singing. "Winter Dreams" is a beautifully melodic ballad while "Ocean Drops" successfully combines both the heavier and softer sides of the band. There are missteps, like the awful chorus on "She-Devil," but they are minimal and all is forgiven when the fantastic title track comes on. "Dark Rising" has wonderful melodies and a bright chorus and is sure to be a staple of the band's live set for years to come.Dark Rising isn't going to make people forget about Nightwish's Wishmaster or Autumn's Altitude but it is a strong debut with just enough individuality to stand out from the crowd. Gothic and Symphonic Metal fans will want to put Enchantya on the radar screen for the foreseeable future." - The Metal Crypt
    $5.00