For audio samples you'll 
need the RealPlayer

JULY / AUGUST 2003

 

     
 

 
STEVE WINWOOD


CONSPIRACY


B.B. KING

 
GEORGE USHER
 
JOOLS HOLLAND
 
DAVID LEMASTERS
 
     
  STEVE WINWOOD
About Time
(Wincraft)

Rock legend and founding member of Traffic, Blind Faith and Spencer Davis Group, Steve Winwood returned in a big way in 2003 with a new album, a new band and a new record label. Released on his own Wincraft Music, About Time is a grand return to form from the recently elusive rock hero who seemed to be laying low since his final late ‘90s album for Virgin Records, Junction 7. For About Time Winwood has constructed a remarkable trio sound with Brazilian guitarist Jose Neto and drummer Walfredo Reyes Jr. with the results being the most organic and original sounding disc possibly since his final album with the original Traffic lineup in 1974, When The Eagle Flies. Neto’s subtle, yet fiery Brazilian flavored acoustic-electric guitar work spices up the musical mood on About Time. For instance, regarding the Winwood-Neto song “Cigano (For The Gypsies)” Winwood adds, “The song itself has a rock beat but the middle section goes into a very specific rhythm from Northern Brazil with the triangle and Brazilian chord changes. Then it goes back into the rock structure and that really intrigued me.” From start to finish, the CD is filled with great musical anecdotes like that and those who followed Winwood’s career since the mid ‘60s will be delighted by how creative and well constructed the album sounds. Concerning his current return to the musical high life again in 2003 Winwood adds, “I am looking forward to playing more of my repertoire live than ever before, including songs from my past that I’ve rarely played on stage." The 2003 release of About Time, in addition to the latest CD reissues by his pioneering ‘60s band Traffic—including Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory, When The Eagle Flies and On The Roadon Universal Chronicles places Winwood’s unique contributions to rock in a different light indeed. www.SteveWinwood.com


 
 

CONSPIRACY
The Unknown
(IOMA)

Commenting on his latest musical project with Yes legend Chris Squire, Billy Sherwood adds, “It was after Open Your Eyes where we started talking about how we should really put this together as some sort of off shoot project of Yes, if you will, like a spin-off and call it Conspiracy, since it’s the two of us conspiring over all these years trying to get this music together.” Squire and Sherwood have been mixing musical ideas since the end of the ‘80s and thankfully, much of the music on the 2003 release of The Unknown sounds inspired by Squire’s playing with Yes on Magnification as well as from the first self titled 2000 Conspiracy album. Squire’s latest CD with Sherwood is possibly the best album yet from the progressive masters at the Pittsburgh-based InsideOutMusicAmerica (IOMA). Featuring expert drumming from Jay Schellen, The Unknown is an all around winner with standout tracks being “Conspiracy”—a killer lead-off track that really breaks new ground with it’s breakneck time signature and meter while “1/2 A World Away” is another Yes-inspired work. The Unknown is proof anything Yes-related brings good fortune so let’s hope Squire and Sherwood conspire on and finally get to bring in those unique guest contributors they alluded to earlier. www.nfte.org / www.insideoutmusic.com


 
  B.B. KING
Reflections
(MCA)

"I’ve longed loved the R&B and pop standards on this package, and now I’ve finally had the opportunity to record these great songs. Despite everything, it certainly can be a wonderful world.” As he aptly describes it above, B.B. King is joined by Eric Clapton producer Simon Climie and vintage session players like Joe Sample (keyboards), Nathan East (bass) and Abe Laboriel (drums) as well as guitarist Doyle Bramhall III. On the 13 track Reflections B.B. dusts off and puts a new sheen on memorable songs, made famous by legends in decades past by Louie Armstrong, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Vinton and Django Reinhardt to name a few. In addition to impressive performances like “I Want A Little Girl”—made famous decades ago by Count Basie and Big Joe Turner, and the set closing cover of Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World”—King even covers himself on a 2003 version of “On My Word Of Honor”, a song he first recorded in the early ‘70s. A stellar showcase for King’s powerful guitar and vocal impressions, Reflections is a classic blues homage to a nearly forgotten and indefinable pop format. www.bbking.com


 
  GEORGE USHER
Fire Garden
(
Parasol)

NYC-based pop pundit George Usher is right at home on his latest CD for Parasol Label Group. Noted for his work with the early punk-pop group group The Bongos, Usher has over the years emerged as a singer-songwriter of the highest regard and happily Fire Garden may be his best yet. On Fire Garden, Usher and his group, with the icing being some excellent mixing from Mitch Easter, extrapolate from early influences like Notorious Byrd Brother-era Byrds or mid ‘70s ELO. It’s that good and armed with killer songs like “Are You Coming Or Going” or the late period Lennon vibe of “The Return Of Your Loved Ones In Dreams”, Usher proves the skeptics wrong and comes up with another pop masterpiece. www.parasol.com


 
  JOOLS HOLLAND
More Friends
(Rhino)

The 2003 U.S. release of the new Jools Holland & his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra CD on Rhino Records follows on the heels of Holland’s multi-platinum album, Big Band Rhythm & Blues, which was a historic release mostly for the inclusion of the final song from George Harrison. Although this album doesn’t feature a Beatle there are still some incredible Holland-arranged big band flavored originals as well as some well picked cover renditions of vintage favorites by some of the hottest names in music. The key here is atmosphere and classic artists like Robert Plant, Bryan Ferry, Chrissie Hynde, Tom Jones, Marianne Faithfull, Dionne Warwick, Bono and Kink’s legend Ray Davies (performing a new hilarious composition “Yours Truly, Confused N10”) mix things up with tracks from up and coming bands like Badly Drawn Boy, Huey & Fun Lovin’ Criminals and the currently hot Norah Jones. For guitar fans there’s also a couple of tracks featuring a new instrumental from Jeff Beck and a track featuring the guitar and vocals of George Benson. On More Friends Holland and producer Laurie Latham have produced another star-studded musical masterpiece. The photo packed CD booklet features a complete lyric sheet and the credits list all the many players appearing. www.joolsholland.com



 
  DAVID LEMASTERS
Reason To Be
(DL)

Singer songwriter David Lemasters released his solo album Reason To Be in 2003. Somewhat of a local musical hero in the Youngstown, Ohio area, Lemasters proves his worth as both an inventive singer-songwriter and a guitarist on his latest CD. Songs like the excellent lead off track “Personality Pro” and “The World Is Around You” really stay with you. Lemasters has opened for greats like Cheap Trick, Foghat and BTO, and supported here by some excellent players, he implements the finest elements of bands like those above while also raising the bar with his distinctive approach to modern pop-rock songwriting. www.members.aol.com/dmaster261




 
 
 
   
Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by mwe3.com. Send to: MWE3.com CD Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein, P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249
 e-mail:
info@mwe3.com
   
 
CD Reviews Feature Reviews & Features Archive Photo Archive Contact MWE3 Home
Email: Info@mwe3.com 

 

Copyright 2000-2002 MWE3.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved