Letters

Letters 07-25-2016

Remember Bush-Cheney Does anyone remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? They were president and vice president a mere eight years ago. Does anyone out there remember the way things were at the end of their duo? It was terrible...

Mass Shootings And Gun Control The largest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred December 29,1890, when 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in South Dakota were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms...

Families Need Representation When one party dominates the Michigan administration and legislature, half of Michigan families are not represented on the important issues that face our state. When a policy affects the non-voting K-12 students, they too are left out, especially when it comes to graduation requirements...

Raise The Minimum Wage I wanted to offer a different perspective on the issue of raising the minimum wage. The argument that raising the minimum wage will result in job loss is a bogus scare tactic. The need for labor will not change, just the cost of it, which will be passed on to the consumer, as it always has...

Make Cherryland Respect Renewable Cherryland Electric is about to change their net metering policy. In a nutshell, they want to buy the electricity from those of us who produce clean renewable electric at a rate far below the rate they buy electricity from other sources. They believe very few people have an interest in renewable energy...

Settled Science Climate change science is based on the accumulated evidence gained from studying the greenhouse effect for 200 years. The greenhouse effect keeps our planet 50 degrees warmer due to heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. Basic principles of physics and chemistry dictate that Earth will warm as concentrations of greenhouse gases increase...

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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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