Tag Archives: jazz-rock

Artist Profiles: Guadalquivir

Guadalquivir

The seeds of Guadalquivir emerged from the idea of ​​Seville guitarists Andrés Olaegui and Luis Cobo “Manglis.” The two musicians coincided while serving together in the Spanish military as conscripts in Cerro Muriano (Córdoba).  While at basic camp in Cerro Muriano, they listened to Miles Davis, the Mahavishnu Orchestra and other cutting edge jazz fusion acts. In their spare time they started to exchange their ideas, experimenting with American blues and emergent jazz-rock.

Later, the two friends were transferred to the 14th Artillery Regiment based in Seville, assigned to the unit’s military band. Although they had known each other previously, a sincere friendship was born and since then the two musicians became inseparable friends. They came up with the idea of forming a powerful jazz-rock band with Andalusian roots.

In Seville, Andres and Luis formed a band called Manantial together with Willie and Tony de Trujillo, two American musicians who were great instrumentalists, had a studio and very good gear. These brothers had parents from Seville but were born and grew up in New York. Manantial also featured Puerto Rican David Rodríguez.

Manantial performed only two concerts and the most significant was a live performance on TVE’s show Popgrama, directed by Gonzalo García Pelayo, who was reporting about the Seville music scene in 1974.

After completing their military service, Manglis and Andrés Olaegui decided to relocate to Madrid with Manantial to try their luck, and after a month without achieving the objectives set for the group, Willie and Tony returned to Seville, and Manglis and Olaegui, decided to stay in Madrid to keep trying.

At that time, they frequented the Balboa Jazz Club, where they met and became friends with three highly influential musicians: flamenco jazz saxophonist Jorge Pardo, singer and drummer Pedro Ruy-Blas and percussionist José Antonio Galicia, who played at the club every day, and delved into what was the world of jazz in the capital of Spain.

One night in January 1978, José Valera, who was the first manager of the band Triana, talked to Luis Cobo “Manglis” at Club Raíces, in Madrid, where Manglis was playing. José proposed that Luis set up a group to participate in a festival with Andalusian rock bands that he was organizing with Triana as headliner. It was the opportunity Manglis and Andres had been waiting for.  They created the long-awaited dream band with original compositions. The two guitarists recruited Pedro Ontiveros (sax and flute), Larry Martín (drums) and Jaime Casado (bass).

I had just returned from playing in Ibiza and recently arrived from Munich where I had been invited to collaborate with German group Embryo and that’s how Guadalquivir was born,” said Manglis. “A month later we debuted in this festival before 7,000 people and from there everything was as fast as gunpowder.”

In February 1978, after twenty days of marathon ten-hour rehearsals, Guadalquivir debuted before 7,000 people at the Festival of Andalusian groups at the Móstoles Sports Center near Madrid, along with Triana, Iman – Caifato Independiente and Storm.

That same year, Spanish rock star Miguel Rios organized a large tour that was called La Noche Roja (The Red Night), with Triana as a headliner and featuring Guadalquivir as well.  The concerts attracted over 100,000 concertgoers and featured a state of the art PA system and laser show.

Guadalquivir – Guadalquivir

Guadalquivir signed with EMI Records and released its self-titled debut album “Guadalquivir” in 1978.  The color of the vinyl was green and became known by collectors as the green album. Guadalquivir became an essential act in Andalusian rock. They appeared at numerous festivals.

Guadalquivir – Camino del Concierto

In 1980 the band recorded its second LP, “Camino del Concierto.” (EMI, 1980). After finishing the tour to promote the second album, in 1981, Manglis left the group due to disagreements with some members of the band, and embarked on a solo career. He founded the band Manglis with which he recorded two albums; while at the same time Triana recruited him as guitarist, in 1981.

Guadalquivir, released a third LP Después del Silencio (After the Silence) in 1983) on the Caskabel label. By then, two of the founders, Manglis and Pedro Ontiveros had left. After various concerts and a tour of Poland, the group disbanded in 1984.

The compilation Guadalquivir, Todas sus Grabaciones en EMI included the two EMI recordings.

Nearly thirty years after Guadalquivir was founded, Manglis reorganized the band again with Andrés Olaegui and Pedro Ontiveros and reappeared at various festivals and tributes to Andalusian rock during 2006-2008.

Discography:

Guadalquivir (EMI, 1978)
Camino del Concierto (EMI, 1980)
Después del Silencio (Caskabel, 1983)
Guadalquivir, Todas sus Grabaciones en EMI (Rama Lama, 1999)

BangTower, Instrumental Rock Powerhouse

BangTower – With N With Out

BangTower – With N With Out (Declassified Records, 2016)

BangTower is a progressive music outfit that features superb instrumentalists. With N With Out is the band’s second album, released in 2016. It showcases a powerful mix of virtuosic jazz-rock, progressive rock, instrumental rock and blues.

The band features guitarist, keyboardist and singer Neil Citron, famed bassist Percy Jones (Brand X), and drummer Walter Garces. Guest musicians include Frankie Banali on drums; Robby “Pag” Pagliari on bass; Jon Pomplin on keyboards and bass; Rodger Carter on drums; Joan Fraley on bass and backing vocals; Josh Greenbaum on drums; Chris Colovas on bass; and Justin Stone on piano.

BangTower first recording was “Casting Shadows” (2010).  The band’s third album “Hey, Where’d Everybody Go?” came out in 2017.

Buy With N With Out   

Exceptionally Good Jazz-Rock Fusion from Jukka Iisakkila

Jukka Iisakkila – Clocks and Clouds (Eclipse Music, 2018)

Clocks and Clouds is the superb solo album by Finnish multi-instrumentalist Jukka Iisakkila. Although he is best known as an acclaimed classical music orchestra conductor, he has deep passion for progressive rock and jazz-rock fusion as evidenced by Clocks and Clouds.

Jukka Iisakkila – Clocks and Cloud

This remarkable set of instrumental pieces highlights Iisakkila skill as a guitarist, keyboardist and masterful arranger. His influences include Frank Zappa, Pekka Pohjola and various guitar heroes, such as Steve Vai.

Jukka Iisakkila plays practically all instruments except the drums, performed by Ilkka Saarikoski.

Clocks and Clouds is an outstanding electric fusion album with a Finnish twist by a versatile and talented instrumentalist and composer.

Buy the Clocks and Clouds download from amazon or the CD from eclipsemusicrecordlabel.bandcamp.com

Progressive Fury and Quirky Humor

Lucas Lee – Lowered Expectations ( Lucas Lee Music, 2019)

Lucas Lee delivers a remarkable, high energy combination of progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion and quirky avant-garde influences on Lowered Expectations. As the title indicates, the album revolves around lowered expectations, making references to celebrity culture, poor parenting, exclusion, ethnic stereotypes, etc.

There are zany references to the music and humor of the great Frank Zappa plus Canterbury connections as well, primarily National Health.

Lucas Lee – Lowered Expectations

Although Lucas Lee plays the majority of the instruments superbly, he brought in a first class drummer that is well know in the msuic progressive music scene: Marco Minnemann.

Lineup: Lucas Lee on guitar, bass, keyboards, Merlin dulcimer, voice over performances and engineering; Marco Minnemann on drum arrangements, drums performances and drums engineering.

Buy Lowered Expectations

Fusion and Electronics Around the Drums

Manu Katché ‎– The Scope (Anteprima Productions, 2019)

French drummer, singer, songwriter and composer explores various genres on his ninth album, The Scope. The biggest innovation on The Scope is the addition of various forms of electronica.

Manu Katché ‎– The Scope

The highlights include the superb opening instrumental piece, “Keep Connexion,” where jazz fusion meets funk and West African kora; “Glow,” a track where soulful male and female vocals combine funk jazz with chamber strings; “Overlooking,” a piece where jazz fusion meets chilled electronica and Latin jazz; the exquisite and mesmerizing trip hop meets funk jazz song “Please Do”; the song “Don’t U Worry” where rock, edgy electronica and neosoul are intertwined; and the bluesy “Goodbye For Now.”

On the downside, the prerequisite, annoying hip hop song and a cheesy electropop bonus track.

The lineup includes Jerome Regard on bass; Manu Katché on drums and vocals; Patrick Manouguian on guitar; and Jim Henderson on keyboards and programming.

Guests include Jim Grandcamp on guitar; Kandia Kouyaté on kora; Faada Freddy on vocals; Jazzy Bazz on vocals; Jonatha Brooke on vocals; Frédéric Kret on cello; Michael Nguyen on viola; Hugues Borsarello on violin; Kayla Galland on vocals; and Alexandre Tassel on flugelhorn.

Drummer Jerry Marotta Releases The Bucket List and New Security Project Album

Jerry Marotta

Progressive music drummer Jerry Marotta has released The Bucket List recording with Tony Levin and Phil Keaggy.

Marotta also has a new album titled Slowburn with Security Project. Slowburn is an 8 song set with live versions of Peter Gabriel and Genesis classics including “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”, “Slowburn” and “Mother of Violence”. Keyboardist David Jameson’s medley of early Genesis tracks will also be featured on the new live album.

Interview with World Class Fusion Drummer Dali Mraz

Czech drummer Dali Mraz has released a spectacular new album titled Level 25. Mraz delivers a set of masterful creative drumming performances accompanied by world class collaborators from various European countries and the USA.

Level 25 is a beautifully-packaged wonderland of jazz-rock fusion, progressive rock and classical influences. The masterfully-crafted instrumentation is classic fusion: drums, electric bass, keyboards and guitars, along with some outstanding vocals. Thankfully, there is no smooth jazz saxophone anywhere to be seen.

Musical influences range from Return to Forever, Joe Zawinul and Alan Holdsworth to funk and cinematic symphonic rock.

The list of musicians onLevel 25 is truly impressive: Scott Kinsey (Tribal Tech) on keyboards; Marius Pop on guitar; Anton Davidyants (Virgil Donati) on bass; Martin Miller on guitar; Federico Malaman on bass; Romain Labaye (Scott Henderson) on bass; Junior Braguinha (Virgil Donati) on bass; Lawrence Lina (Sideburn) on guitar; Mike Gotthard (Electric Shock) on guitar; Kolta Gergely (European Mantra) on bass; Veronika Stalder on vocals; Gyöngyösi Gábor on keyboards; Maria Nagyova (Ludove Mladistva) on vocals; Diana Minarovicova (Ludove Mladistva) on vocals; Terezia Jarosová (Ludove Mladistva) on vocals; ato Ivan on bass; Dano Soltis on vibraphone; Elis on vocals; Gergo Borlai on bass; and Valeriy Stepanov on keyboards.

Dali Mraz

What are your fondest musical memories?

I like to remember any creative process that I had. The moment, when you turn into a child and let your fantasies go. I experience every each creative process like these differently and that’s what is beautiful about the whole thing. Besides, all of this is written down in the music as a memory. When I listen to various moments from the recording process, I remember moods and even fragrances.

What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?

My music comes a lot from classical pieces. I choose elements, that I like and try to put them together in all ways. The most of the parts that I write are composed behind the piano. It is a royal instrument for me and that’s why the composed parts project into all instruments, even the drums.

How did your musical ideas evolve throughout the years from your debut album to your new recording?

In my case, there were two different worlds walking besides each its own line. The drums as an amusement and unlimited toy store, where I could play as many notes as I wanted and where I wanted. And a classical and film music, where I had to capture very subtle emotions and a basic line, almost inaudible. When I was 23 I started to fuse those worlds and finally put them together on Level 25.

Dali Mraz with Drumeo team

You used a crowd funding tool to fund Level 25. How was the experience and how did you attract people to fund it?

I tried it because I was in need to finish the album to its end. I was putting a lot of finances to it and I had to ask people for help when I was short on resources. Thanks to those that had helped me I could finish the album. I was surprised with their interest and with the fact, that we had gained more than 100% of the needed money. It was an honor to me, that DRUMEO had supported me with another amount of money, which had helped a lot.

Of course I asked for lesser amount of money on Indiegogo, than I really needed, to produce the album, because I was worrying that I couldn’t reach it. But it happened and different people from different countries supported me. We have sent the album to more than 40 countries on all continents after releasing.

Dali Mraz – Level 25

The album contains high-energy fusion featuring electric guitar and keyboards (which are ones we prefer). Are these the solo instruments you like the most?

As I mentioned before I spend a lot of times behind the piano/keyboard because of the possibilities which are almost endless.

Musicians who appear on Dali Mraz’s Level 25

Your album features quite a few excellent musicians from central Europe. Tell us a little about the guests and their background.

I knew some of them as we played together, some of them as friends and some of them became my friends on the internet before we met in person. I tried to put the list of guests together so the result is a really colorful fusion of cultures and to follow a specific concept of the album. We were tuning the details of the album for the whole three years and the number of letters and messages, that we have sent to each other is huge. I would like to record the next album in the studio.

How’s the fusion and progressive rock scene in the Czech Republic and nearby countries?

I guess it’s growing. Fusion doesn’t have tradition here and will take some time till people will start going to such concerts. However, the fact that my music comes out of classical stuff, which has tradition here, could make it easier for me.

Dali Mraz

Drum kits vary a lot. What drum set do you normally play and what’s your favorite configuration?

I like to use 22″ bassdrum + 2 rack toms + 2 floor toms + 1 gong drum + snare drum of course. If I play my own music, it is better to have a bigger set, to be able to express all the colors and orchestrations. Of course you can play it on a small kit too, but bigger kit means more colorful, in this case.

What is your advice to improve the hands technique?

Hands are a hard time. I tell everyone who asks me to set a workout exercise ideally for an hour and practice every day, just on a snare drum with a towel or a shirt on it.

What is your advice to improve the feet’s technique?

A lot of patience and a similar approach as with hands. I work with these problems a lot and I prepare a new app, which will have various workouts for drummers. It should be released at the end on June.

What is your advice to improve more speed on the drum kit?

If the player realizes that some of the exercises on the kit are almost identical with sports training, it is a key to mastering it. It is good to look for the inspiration out of music business in certain disciplines of the drums.

Dali Mraz

Who are your 10 favorite drummers and why?

Ronald Brunner – He can always surprise me.
Buddy Rich – He managed to fascinate the crowds and he made the drum set dominant in the big band.
Todd Sucherman – His precise play and the insight of all the notes, that he uses to play with bands, is incredible.
Thomas Pridgen – His directness.
Keith Carlock – His sound and flow.
Steve Gadd- His life journey and willingful playing.
Billy Cobham – His story and approach.
Gene Krupa – His ideas and motives.
Bernard “Pretty” Purdie – You gotta love him.
Virgil Donati – He was a big influence to me with his perception of music and approach to the instrument.

Mainstream media normally ignores progressive music. How do you promote your music?

The whole team and musicians who contribute on the music promotes it on our websites and the music slowly spreads into more fusion and mainly prog communities and that really makes us happy. We do what we love and we are gracious for every feedback. It’s not a mainstream thing, but it’s our happiness. That’s why we put so much energy to it.

If you could gather any additional musicians or musical groups to collaborate with, whom would that be?

There’s a whole bunch of musicians, that I would like to connect with and continue in collaborations. Currently we are working on a video with MohiniDey and I prepare two more projects, so I think that the guests will be a surprise.

Aside from the new album, do you have any additional upcoming projects to share with us?

Yes. I prepare three projects. Two musical and one educational. They will have premiere soon and we want to start to work with vocalists a push our music further again. We look forward to that a lot.

To purchase the album and learn more about Dali Mraz, go to www.dalimraz.com

Strat Andriotis and Jerry Goodman, a Remarkable Collaboration

Strat Andriotis – Night Manager (Dekatria Records, 2018)

Canadian guitar virtuoso Strat Andriotis collaborates with iconic musicians from the jazz and fusion world on Night Manager. The guests are legendary violinist Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra), famed Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and pianist Adrean Farrugia.

Strat Andriotis – Night Manager

The album includes masterful and captivating electro-acoustic interactions between Andriotis’ guitars, Jerry Goodman’s violin and Rubalcaba’s piano. The music easily crosses boundaries between contemporary jazz, classical, progressive jazz-rock and Gypsy violin.

Night Manager follows Strat’s 2015 and 2017 respective releases of Liars Incorporated and Less Off Patient.

Night Manager is an impeccable example of contemporary jazz craftsmanship.

Frank Zappa’s Live Double Album ‘Zappa in New York’ Reissued as an Expanded Anniversary Edition

Frank Zappa’s enduring 1978 album Zappa In New York Deluxe

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, Frank Zappa’s enduring 1978 album Zappa In New York Deluxe, was released today as a suite of expanded anniversary editions.

Supervised by the Zappa Family Trust and produced by Ahmet Zappa and Vaultmeister Joe Travers, the versions include a deluxe 5 CD boxed set, 3 LP on 180-gram audiophile grade vinyl, and digitally. The 5-disc collection, which is enclosed in a limited-edition metal tin shaped like a New York City street manhole cover and complete with a replica ticket from one of the shows, includes the main album in its original mix, newly remastered by Bob Ludwig in 2018 and available for the first time since its debut.

The four additional discs are packed with significant Vault nuggets and more than three hours of unreleased live performances from the NYC Palladium concerts, representing every composition played during the concerts and the best alternate performances of every tune Zappa chose for the original album, all newly mixed in 2018.

To achieve the highest-level sound quality, the audio team went back to the original two-inch 24-track multi-track master tapes and transferred every reel at 96kHz 24-bit wavs.

“We are excited to bring you this new Deluxe version of Zappa in New York: an opportunity to re-examine and celebrate the source material of a great album while exploring the events of Frank’s life in late December 1976, Collections like these really show of the work ethic of a musical genius,” says the Zappa Family Trust in the album notes.

Zappa In New York includes expanded packaging which features previously unseen live photos by Gail Zappa together with extensive liner notes by band members Ruth Underwood and Ray White (who were part of Zappa’s band for these shows) as well as a perceptive essay by Joe Travers with Australian writer Jen Jewel Brown. Underwood also contributes a solo piano version of “The Black Page” that has been newly recorded for this special edition.

‘The Black Page’ has proven to be one of Frank Zappa’s most intriguing and enduring compositions. It is performed in many kinds of venues all over the world. It is taught and studied in schools. Perhaps most exciting is that it is adaptable and lends itself to a variety of orchestrations and re-workings, as Frank Zappa himself demonstrated. I am proud that after forty years, mine is finally among them. It is my love letter to Frank and Gail,” Underwood writes in the liner notes.

Purchase Zappa In New York Deluxe

GroundUp Music Festival 2019


The GroundUp Music Festival

The GroundUp Music Festival will take place this weekend, February 8-10, 2019 at the North Beach Bandshell. Snarky Puppy will play all three nights, and music fans will also get a chance to see Andrew Bird, David Crosby, Tank & the Bangas, Richard Bona, Lalah Hathaway, and many more.

Snarky Puppy’s discography includes Live at Uncommon Ground (2005), The Only Constant (2006), The World Is Getting Smaller (2007), Bring Us the Bright (2008), Tell Your Friends (2010), groundUP (2012), Amkeni with Bukuru Celestin (2013), Family Dinner – Volume 1 (2013), We Like It Here (2014), Sylva with Metropole Orkest (2015), Family Dinner – Volume 2 (2016) and Culcha Vulcha (2016).

Click here for more details and a link to buy tickets. The North Beach Bandshell is located at 7275 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33141.