And you thought they didnt make them like this anymore. Shimmer melds pop and soul influences from the 70s through the 90s. Comparisons to Train are apt, as frontman Skip Peris vocal timbre sounds quite similar to Pat Monahan. Where Monahan has matured into one of rocks more reliable and engaging vocalists, Peri is not yet, well, mature. And thats one of his strengths. Still a bit bratty in their attitude and musical approach, but possessed of a great sense of smarts, the trio (which includes Sean Siner on drums and Evan Brubaker on bass) has produced an album of 10 catchy, singable pop-rock songs that all clock in between three-and-a-half and four-and-a-half minutes. This would have sounded quite at home in the New Age 80s alongside the Police and the Knack.
Al Kooper Black Coffee (Favored Nations)
Al (dont call me Alice) Kooper is a celebrated rock icon, but not necessarily a well-known one. Thats despite the fact he wrote This Diamond Ring, played organ on Dylans Like A Rolling Stone, founded and was the original lead singer for Blood, Sweat and Tears, produced the Tubes, discovered Lynrd Skynrd, and wrote for, produced, and/or performed with hundreds of other artists over his 40-year career. Black Coffee finds him performing mostly new originals with the Funky Faculty, a like-minded band of fellow instructors from Berklee College of Music. Koopers voice, never his strong suit, is getting ever-thinner, but the songs, arrangements, and performances elevate this beyond mere curiosity. Vaguely reminiscent at times of Child Is Father To The Man, the lone BS album he appeared on.
Tim Ries The Rolling Stones Project (ESL Music)
As the rock icons tour yet again, here is a Stones album like no other. The bands longtime saxophonist has crafted a jazz album featuring some of their most famous tunes. Satisfaction is updated in an almost-swinging vibe, with luminaries John Scofield, Larry Goldings and John Pattituci lending their talents. Honky Tonk Women features Charlie Watts on drums while Keith Richards and Ron Wood and almost-Stone Darryl Jones guest as well on the following Slippin Away, and again on Honky Tonk Women (Keiths Version). Sheryl Crow, Bill Frisell and Norah Jones are among the others on what is a surprisingly successful outing. Highlights besides Satisfaction are Street Fighting Man and a version of Paint It Black that veers from chamber jazz to a stunning electric guitar solo by Frisell.
Suzanne Ciani Silver Ship (Artistry Music)
Ciani has been one of the darlings of the electronic and new age music scenes for over 20 years, and Silver Ship shows ample evidence why. Her stirring melodies remain intact, often stated by piano with her banks of synthesizers providing harmonies and backgrounds. She enlists some of her usual cohorts, including Paul McCandless on oboe, Teja Bell on guitar, and Michael Manring on bass. On Stromboli, for example, her piano duets with McCandless on the simple, repetitious theme, while on the following Capri she essays a descending theme before handing it off to Matt Eakles flute which then pairs off with Joe Heberts cello. All the while Ciani keeps the mood flowing with electronic beats and an entire synthesized rhythm section.