Monday, February 23, 2009

Alice Coltrane: Lord of Lords

Lord of Lords was Alice Coltrane's last record for Impulse! prior to her brief stint with Warner Bros. She made a remarkable musical transformation in the years following her husband's untimely death. By the time of this particular recording, like a lot of jazz artists, Alice Coltrane was crossing over, but not to fusion, funk or disco: rather she was crossing over into another realm altogether. The music seems to have much more in common with Western classical music (her fascination with Stravinsky and with lush string section accompaniment should be one strong hint), and arguably Indian classical music. The selections sound much more scored than improvised, but somehow no matter what the context there beats the heart of a jazzer. If you're new to Alice Coltrane's work, I'd strongly suggest trying out her earlier Impulse! albums before listening to this one - in particular Ptah the El Daoud and Journey in Satchidananda. This recording is more for the seasoned fan or completist, and ideally those open to her subsequent musical output for Warner Bros.

1. Andromeda's Suffering (9:04)
2. Sri Rama Ohnedaruth (6:12)
3. Excerpts From The Firebird (5:43)
4. Lord Of Lords (11:17)
5. Going Home (10:02)

Bass - Charlie Haden
Cello - Anne Goodman , Edgar Lustgarten (2) , Jan Kelly , Jerry Kessler , Jesse Ehrlich , Raphael Kramer , Ray Kelley
Drums, Percussion - Ben Riley
Harp, Piano, Organ, Tympani, Percussion - Alice Coltrane
Producer - Ed Michel
Viola - David Schwartz , Leonard Selic , Marilyn Baker , Myra Kestenbaum , Rollice Dale , Samuel Boghosian
Violin - Bernard Kundell , Gerald Vinci , Gordon Marron , James Getzoff , Janice Gower , Leonard Malarsky , Lou Klass , Murray Adler , Nathan Kaproff , Ronald Folsom , Sidney Sharp , William Henderson (2)

Music arranged and conducted by Alice Coltrane
Produced by Ed Michel under the direction and inspiration of Alice Coltrane
Recorded and mixed at The Village Recorder, Los Angeles, from July 5 to July 13, 1972
Engineering by Baker Bigsby

Dowload Lord of Lords

Jah Wobble: Heaven and Earth

This is an interesting album in part because of Pharoah Sanders' appearance on a couple tracks. An AMG review which seems reasonably fair and accurate:
Fusing Eastern and Western classical influences with elements of ambient, dub and hip-hop, Jah Wobble has created a truly brilliant pancultural concept album. The title track opens the LP with a near-orchestral range of dynamic emotions centered around Zi Lan Liao's vocals and violin, Kui Hsuing Li's soaring bamboo flute, and Wobble's percolating tribal drums. "A Love Song" is a hypnotic dub track showcasing the vocal talents of Natacha Atlas, whose Middle Eastern melody lends a sultry feel perfectly matched by the sensual bassline. Bill Laswell lends his distinctive touch "Gone to Croatan" and "Hit Me," which perfectly match hip-hop beats and turntable wizardry provided by DJs DXT and Rob Swift with Pharoah Sanders' mind-bending flute and horn solos and Bernie Worrell's synth textures. But the piece de resistance is "Om Namah Shiva," which combines Najma Akhtar's nimble vocal calisthenics and Inder Matharu's dazzling tabla rhythms with programmed percussion and Wobble's botton-end bass wallop to create highly effective world/dance track. Laswell himself calls Heaven & Earth "the best thing Jah Wobble has ever recorded. Who are we to argue?
Tracks and credits:

1 Heaven & Earth (8:41)
Congas, Bells - Neville Murray
Keyboards - Mark Ferda
Vocals, Zither [Ku Cheng] - Zi Lan Liao

2 A Love Song (7:23)
Guitar - Justin Adams
Vocals - Natacha Atlas

3 Dying Over Europe (3:11)

4 Divine Mother (11:12)

5 Gone To Croatan (15:30)
Drums - Jerome 'Bigfoot' Brailey*
Guitar - Nicky Skopelitis
Keyboards - Bernie Worrell
Percussion - Aiyb Dieng
Producer - Bill Laswell
Saxophone [Soprano], Flute - Pharoah Sanders
Scratches - Rob Swift

6 Hit Me (7:42)
Drums - Jerome 'Bigfoot' Brailey*
Guitar - Nicky Skopelitis
Keyboards, Synthesizer - Bernie Worrell
Percussion - Aiyb Dieng
Producer - Bill Laswell
Saxophone [Tenor] - Pharoah Sanders
Scratches - DXT , Rob Swift

7 Om Namah Shiva (4:47)
Drum Programming, Keyboards - Mark Ferda
Guitar, Backing Vocals - Justin Adams
Tabla [Tablas] - Inder 'Goldfinger' Matharu*
Vocals - Najma Akhtar

Jah Wobble handles production (except tracks 5 and 6), bass, drums, percussion, and keyboards on the various tracks. This isn't the only time that Wobble has played or collaborated with jazz artists. I have another album that I'll share at some point.

Note: Between a busy January interterm teaching load, the start of the Spring Semester, and a school board candidacy (which I ultimately lost), I've been just a bit swamped. There are some recordings in the pipeline, so as always, stay tuned!

Download Heaven and Earth