Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler

May 31, 2012

It is very nice to remember good old days.

I used to listen Dire Straits a lot. It was already my favorite band, during my 14 years old. Lover Over Gold and Making Movies were the works I liked the most. Extended duration tracks with several pace variations attracted me. These two specific albums weren’t (and aren’t) the mainstream Dire Straits. The band was always a kind of Sultans of Swing and Brother in Arms synonym.
20 years ago, while still living with my parents, I met this new CD release in a TV commercial. I went to a CD/Vinyl store and bought it. This is something I still love to do, despite the fact I’m ordering more frequently from internet.
On Every Street is not the most known Dire Straits album as well. It was the last studio recording from the band and did not reach expressive sales. Only those who know the Mark Knopler’s style will be able to enjoy this work on its fullness.

This album followed me during many years, so, I don’t feel comfortable with critics. I used to make duets with my brother (guitar + keyboard) and we played some riffs from this work.
A point that attracted my attention in that time was the steel guitar. A kind of laid electric guitar played with a slide in the finger’s musician, adding a country dressing to the compositions.
Years ago, while living alone, with more audio equipments, I took this CD off the shelf and realized the strong orange art of the disc, memories from the past came to my mind and I put it put play again.
When I inserted it to my Rega CD Player, connected to my cute tube amplifier, I found again a very good quality recording hidden within it. It was a nice surprise which was waiting for in this specific moment, for this near future, to make the record unforgettable by me.

Few more years later, already married, already father, even more equipped, walking around a CD store, I found this solo work by Mark Knopfler. Not only by him, but also by other friends from the last phase.
When I heard this work I became very happy. It is a recent recording, from a musician that was part of many past moments of my life. All Mark Knopfler’s marks and On Every Street legacy are still there. If in the past it had steel guitar, now there is a violin, adding folk features to the album.

And here the history goes again…

How is good to remember old times, and how is even better to live nice and renewed days.

Thank you for reading.
Leonardo

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Di Meola plays Piazzolla (Bluemoon Records)

April 25, 2011

I have been to Buenos Aires in 2010 for vacation and near the hotel there was an avenue with many CD shops. I spent almost one day digging good stuff there and this album is a result of that. When I found this CD two things caught my attention: It’s an Al Di Meola work and it’s from Bluemoon records. I already have some records from this company and they are really good.
Many countries have its own music icons. Brazil has Tom Jobin and Villa Lobos. Argentina has Astor Piazzolla (among others, for both countries, of course). I listened to this CD recently, after deciding to listen my entire collection in alphabetical order. I like to do that because we end up re-discovering goods things that were hidden for long time.

This is a very easy to listen work. The guitar, the accordion and the classical guitar combination provides a very soft timbre allowing us to increase the volume. Despite the fact that this record is made basically by three instruments, with a few percussion in some tracks, when I started the audition I thought that I would listen only two or three musics, skipping some to avoid a possible sleepiness. Far away from that, I listened this work end-to-end, each chord, totally focused on the Piazzolla’s music richness translated by Al Di Meola.

The tracks 4, 7 and 9 are my favorites. The last two has a superb recording quality and 4 (Tango Suite part II) shows the Di Meola’s contemporary fusionism. In track 9 (Milonga Del Angel), he plays a solo guitar showing us why he left the electric guitar for a while.

Thank you
Leonardo

Hello All

February 22, 2011

My apologies about being a bit lazy in the last months. I’m not having enough time to write about my discs. I hope coming back soon.
I’m using twitter to write some brief things I’m doing and listening: @Leo_MP

thanks!
Leonardo

Larry Carlton – Fire Wire (Bluebird RCA)

February 13, 2010

Larry Carlton, veteran guitar player. He was already a studio musician, recorded with Michael Jackson, Steely Dan and much more.
He is most known as a jazz blues musician. Replaced Lee Ritenour in Fourplay. This band might be more popular than Larry himself, by the way. Fourplay is almost my favorite style, except by the fact that their music is very quiet and so well behaved but has my own respect despite that.
Perhaps, that was the reason why Larry Carlton decided to make Fire Wire? If you like Guitar Heroes (aka virtuous guitar player and not the video-game, ok?) you will enjoy this record a lot.
With a truly rock punch, guitar with more overdrive effects than usual, with blues, jazz and funk dressing.
Maybe Larry Carlton wanted to rebel himself against the so well behaved sound of Fourplay and decided to put all that into Fire Wire? The music are very nice. Reminded me the Satriani work I already commented here.
Another interesting point is as we go listening to music and trying to evaluate them, we become more familiar to the sound engineers than the artists (or musicians, since the good sound engs. are artists as well). Doug Sax was the responsible for the mastering (thanks God this guy is always present). He made a very interesting mastering, putting all the parts together, without creating much air gap between the instruments. A very typical rock’n roll mastering.
I ended this text up with the guy responsible for the mastering here. Is he an artist, or not?

Best Wishes
Leonardo

Joe Satriani – Joe Satriani (Legacy)

January 21, 2010

This CD is somewhat curious. It has no title, just called “Joe Satriani”. Usually this type of title (with the artist’s name) is used in the first work, but this was done in 1995 and he had already released other solo albums before that.
Maybe he has used it to create a remarkable single work in his career, it is an album quite different from the others.
Many don’t like this work because it is not exactly a Guitar Hero album. There are no killer solos and guitar electronic effects. He has simply used a slight distortion of a Marshall amplifier. To make things better (or worst, depending on your preference), is a work where the blues, rock and jazz are highlighted and not the Rock / Metal.
I personally don’t like Guitar Heroes, but I appreciate good guitar players and this CD fits perfectly in my musical taste.
With nice compositions, blues touch, rock and jazz. Satriani has shown that he is much more than just a musician that performs guitar solos. He knew how to explore the compositions, the grooves and rhythms.
To increase the good features and put this work many steps up, the recording quality was very meticulous. Excellent ambience/capture of drums and a dignified mastering, well balanced and extremely hifi.
I had this CD since the release in 1995 and got many scratches that I couldn’t hardly put to play. I ordered another copy from CD Universe for pocket money months ago.

hugs
Leonardo

St. Germain – Tourist – Blue Note

January 19, 2010

Whenever I hear this CD, recommended by my friend Demetrius, I get myself impressed. I’m not totally a fan of electronic music, but there are some records with lots of good content that end up occupying a good position in my collection. Who could imagine that the Blue Note Finest Jazz Since 1939, home of many strong names of traditional jazz would bet on electronic music? The answer is straightforward, it is an electro-jazz with great quality and an amazing recording.
I always listens to the entire CD. A very tasty beat, despite the many samples and loops, the improvisation of Jazz is 1st category and the range of solos instruments is the main feature of this work.
Using a well integrated subwoofer one can feel those pleasant smooth deep bass, in addition to the quality of the songs.
The track 7 has a Rhodes keyboard line, with a timbre very strong and texturized, and I appreciate that a lot. That track alone is worth the entire CD.

Best wishes,
Leonardo

A Cappella

January 19, 2010

A Cappella is not really a musical style, but a kind of musical formation which do not use musical instruments except the human voice.
I Write here two works in the same formation, but with significant differences.

Take 6 – So Cool (Reprise Records HDCD) Take 6 – So Cool (Reprise Records HDCD)

The major feature of this CD is the sound resolution of the voices. It is not a minimalist recording, neither ambience recording. It has many effects and electronics involved in the production, but still is a delight for the ears.
Another remarkable point of this CD are the bass singer who makes the extremelly low voices. Sweet illusion that he does it alone without any electronic resource, but it is worth the same way.
It is a very smooth CD, sweet songs and good taste.
There are 6 members who make all the chords, melodies, rhythms and percussion with voices and, occasionally, put some tools together.
I always enjoyed their music, but never noticed the messages of the songs, they are a Gospel band.
I started paying more attention to the letters, which are very beautiful and convey a lot of peace. Usually when I’m feeling down or discouraged, I listen to their work, makes me feel better, somehow.

Well, unlike the tip I gave above:

The Persuasions – A Cappella Dreams (Chesky Records) The Persuasions – A Cappella Dreams (Chesky Records)

This is not an a high-tech cappella band. It is much simpler and has 5 senior members, singing together for over 40 years.
The amazing thing is the voice tone of that guys. There is no effect in the recording, which is made from high-resolution 96/24 and what we hear is exactly as if they were performing live in front of us without any microphone. Chesky, is Chesky. It is a disc recorded in St. Peter Church 2003 / NY.
If the bass of Take 6 has electronic help, this one hasn’t. It doesn’t go far down, but it is realistic, and severe texturized. Between the two this is my preference, but both are worth every penny.

Thanks a lot
Leonardo