Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

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4Play

Ross Boissoneau - April 13th, 2006
Robert Berry – Prime Cuts (Magna Carta)
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Robert Berry is a prime mover on Magna Carta’s series of tribute albums, and here you can hear his versions of Yes’s “Roundabout,” “Karn Evil 9” by ELP, Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage,” even Ambrosia’s “Life Beyond LA.” Problem is, despite his brilliant mimicry of these and other famous prog artists, you don’t really hear enough of Berry. He plays everything, from drums to bass to guitar and keyboards, he sings, and produces. He even made a fun Christmas album where he used his one-man band approach to update holiday fare in the styles of King Crimson, Kansas, and others. He’s got the tools, as his previous solo discs and stints in the Three alongside Emerson and Palmer and in post-David Pack Ambrosia demonstrate, but “Prime Cuts” is just an excuse to hear him sound like his inspirations. Great fun though . . .

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones – The Hidden Land (Columbia)
Jazz’s preeminent banjoist – okay, pretty much jazz’s only banjoist – returns more than three years after his group’s last album, and “The Hidden Land” is one of its strongest efforts. The Flecktones rearrange and reimagine Bach’s Fugue, while “P’lod in the House” is fairly straightahead jazz. Jeff Coffin gets most of the lead lines here, alternating among sax, flute, even clarinet, so much so that you start to long for Fleck to essay a foggy mountain breakdown. That doesn’t happen till “Weed Whacker,” and then Fleck follows his solo with some comping on wah-wah banjo. “Labyrinth” has a bluesy, call-and-response feel as Fleck and Coffin trade the melody, before Victor Wooten steps out for a typically audacious bass solo, while his brother, Future Man, serves as drummer for the band through a variety of percussive sounds. It’s obvious there is no one else out there who sounds like the Flecktones.

Duke Robillard – Guitar Groove-A-Rama (Stony Plain Records)
Guitarist Duke Robillard formed the acclaimed Roomful of Blues at the tender age of 17 and later replaced Jimmie Vaughan in the Fabulous Thunderbirds. His solo career has encapsulated numerous blues styles, and as the title suggests, he romps through many of them here. The titles often tell the tale: “Do the Memphis Grind,” “Gambler Blues,” “I’ll Do Anything But Work” show Robillard as a canny, soulful guitarist (and occasionally a singer of distinction as well). “Sunday Morning” has quotes from “I’m In The Money,” along with soulful lines from Doug James on bari sax. Robillard  plays it straight on “Danny Boy” before doubling the pace halfway through, allowing him to bend a few notes. The 16-minute “Blues-A-Rama” allows Robillard to stretch out as he emulates the styles of several of his influences and favorite players, from Johnny Guitar Watson to Lowell Fulsom and Freddie, B.B. and Albert King, among others. All told, this is one groovy disc.

Incognito – Eleven (Narada Jazz)
Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick’s latest brings together his sense of funky melody, his ultra-tight band, and great vocals from Maysa Leak, Tony Momrelle and others. Incognito has always brought together 70s funk and soul, colorful vocals, and snazzy horns, with an acid-jazz beat, and “Eleven” is no exception. “Come Away With Me” melds an urgent melody with percussion, keyboard breaks and a shouting horn section, the beat driving the song ahead while Maysa’s effortless vocals keep pace. “When Tomorrow Brings You Down” is a tale of heartbreak so soulful you almost can’t wait for it to happen. The second half of the album starts to drag, however, as “Show Me Love” gets repetitive, and “I’ll Get By” suffers from a desultory melody line. The concluding cuts get Bluey and band back on track, though, making “Eleven” enjoyable if not among the band’s best.
 
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