Every year we get newly discovered classics or hidden gems from artists, and while very often these are out-takes, cutting room floor scraps, and other ‘cash grab’ items … every now and then there is a real gem. ‘Looking For The Next One’ from the saxophone trio of John Surman, Mike Osborne, Alan Skidmore is one such gem.Read more
Over the last week we’ve lost two visionary artists in very different musical genres; two men whose names might not have been household names and who might never have burned up the pop charts, but their impact was broad and far-reaching, and who will be sorely missed. Those men were jazz drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson and rock musician Lou Reed.Read more
When you bring together masters like King Crimson bassist/stick-master Tony Levin, Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess and maniac drummer Marco Minneman, you know the results will be a shred-fest. But will it be any good? Rest assured, not only is this CD a humbling listen for musicians, it is a high-quality and rewarding journey through modern-day instrumental rock.Read more
Back at CES one of the cool things IK Multimedia announced was iRig BlueBoard, a Bluetooth pedalboard that works with any app on your iPhone, iPad or Mac that supports Apple’s Core MIDI protocol. IK announced iRig BlueBoard for pre-order back in August, and today they announced that BlueBoard is now shipping! Look for my hands-on review
Tribute albums always make me cringe, because I have heard way too many that either feel indulgent or like a cash-in. But more and more I am hearing tributes that are smart and thoughtful and pay real tribute to great artists. ‘Jazz and All That’ is such a tribute, going far beyond just being a Dave Brubeck tribute album.
I gave up on Apple and fully switched to PC in the mid-90s, the biggest task was moving a decade of digital music from MotU Performer to Cakewalk. Cakewalk remains atop of PC music-making software, with Sonar in heavy use by studios and hobbyists. Gibson Brands has bought Cakewalk, but don’t expect it to be like their mid-90s OpCodeRead more
I thought I had done a review of the original WiFi2HiFi, but I’d actually just complained about the ordeal getting the copy I’d won in a website giveaway. But the app itself was good enough that when the new version was announced I was interested in trying it. My experience was not very good, with unexplained lost connections and dropouts.Read more
I have made no secret of my love for Rdio. We also use Spotify and Slacker, but I always go to Rdio. It started with having Mary Halvorson’s trio album, and has progressed from there to just being a service that works well for me. Recently they added ‘ultra-personalized’ radio stations, and now they are launching a free music service!Read more
Along with a rather anemic product announcement keynote, Tim Cook reiterated the upcoming release of iOS 7, and with it iTunes Radio. While some have called Apple ‘late to market’ with iTunes Radio, I would say they are launching at the perfect time. Some of the reasons include the established user base of iTunes, and profit struggles of streaming services.Read more
Just to be honest, my initial exposure to WiFi2HiFi was anything but positive. I had won a copy in a website contest, but actually getting the company deliver took more than a month. But the app itself was pretty cool and provided useful functionality, and now they have released a new upgraded version, cleverly called WiFi2HiFi 2.
Although jazz is my favored genre, I love great musicians who show a love for their instrument and craft. Dream Theater is a prog-metal band with some of the best musicians in all of rock. Mike Petrucci and Jordan Rudess have won countless awards on their instruments over the years, and the new album sounds extremely promising!
I had a
When you name an artist as one of your favorite emerging guitarists and composers, and remarking each release has improved upon the last, it sets a high standard for any new release. And while ‘Illusionary Sea’ doesn’t topple ‘Bending Bridges’ as my favorite, it’s a solid album with excellent compositions and great musicianship, and a great addition to her catalog.Read more
The word ‘synergy’ is often thrown at any attempt to work together. True collaboration is much rarer, and results in a whole greater than the sum of parts. And that describes my feelings about ‘It’s Not That Far’ from the Matthew Finck-Jonathon Ball Project. Two great musicians with a solid band and great guest makes some magical music.
Covering technology means never being surprised, except when you are. Today we get the surprising announcement of iRig Pro, an all-in-one interface that my son described as ‘every iRig interface you’re reviewed stuffed into one small box’. That is about right, and at $149.99 I think they have a real winner with iRig Pro shipping later this month!
In a rather surprising move, music app maker FL Studio has launched a new app called ‘FL Studio Groove’ … and they launched it for Windows RT first! The app provides an easy interface for creating grooves and chaining them together to build songs. The app is on sale for $4.99, and will come to iOS and Android eventually.Read more
The iKlip Stand is the next in the line of high-quality iPad stands for musical applications. The original was a microphone stand attachment for iPad and iPhone, and the iKlip Studio provides a portable stand for the iPad. The new iKlip Stand is a robust desk stand that is the best of all worlds, just use caution when assembling!
Seamless integration has been a catch phrase since Apple introduced Airplay – launch on one device, continue on another. With Chromecast Google has somewhat joined in, and now Spotify seeks seamless integration with their new Connect system. Connect allows you to stream music from any source and transfer control from one device to the next for seamless playback.
Malik & Pettite are an acoustic duo from Coventry UK, and are releasing a 4-song EP October 7th, and have the lead song on YouTube to give fans a taste. What really struck me was how much this reminded me of great acts like The Lilac Time or The Railway Children. I’m definitely getting this EP, check it out!
PJ Rasmussen makes it clear from the very first notes that he is an up-and-coming force on the electric guitar. His Kickstarter-funded album ‘Adventures in Flight’ sought to create music for TV and Film in the jazz genre, also accessible by general audiences. But while the music is solid and Rasmussen shines, the overall impact is uninspired.
Musical Genre: Jazz
My family stayed up late watching the Video Music Awards (VMA) on MTV to unwind after a busy weekend; my wife and sons had people they wanted to see. What struck me was how in a world full of diverse music and musicians, there were only a dozen or so in a narrow brand of accessible pop music on display.Read more
This week I wrote about the QuNeo pad controller from Keith McMillen Instruments;. Here’s the QuNeo in action. As I noted in my review, it offers a level of expression and control not found in most pad controllers even more expensive ones! Check out my hands on review using the QuNeo, an iPad 2 and the Korg iMS-20.Read more
Innovating in a crowded space is never easy, but there is always room for a talented artist to create an impression even within an established genre. That is exactly what Craig Hartley does with his ‘Books on Tape Vol. 1′ piano trio recording. Great compositions, improvisation and playing; my favorite piano trio yet this year.
Musical Genre: Jazz
Being a Kickstarter darling has its ups and downs. QuNeo earned more than 10 times its funding goal of $15,000 then struggled through manufacturing problems, partner changes, and delays before finally launching. The end result shows that being patient and steadfast paid off with a product that is iPad compatible, high quality, affordable, and totally musical!
QuNeo is the
The O’Farrill Brothers remind me of seeing Harrison / Blanchard in New York City and buying their debut CD ‘Nascence’ – there are interesting songs, a certain rawness and rough edges, an abundance of talent, and apparent influences on display. And like ‘Nascence’, I expect greater and more mature work in the future, but that doesn’t diminish this fun andRead more
Artists seldom revisit their work, and too often when they do it is a disappointment. Jazz legend John Scofield wanted to take his Uberjam in a new direction, and the resulting UberJam Deux show the mark of everything he had done before or since, and represent a new horizon for the jam-band jazz style he pioneered. Don’t miss it!