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NOVEMBER /
DECEMBER 2003

 

     
 

 
JACK BRUCE


JETHRO TULL


WARREN ZANES

 
NEAL MORSE
 
WARREN ZEVON
 
MARSHALL CRENSHAW
 
     
  JACK BRUCE
More Jack Then God
(Sanctuary)

The second in a planned trilogy of Afro-Caribbean influenced albums, the 2003 CD release of More Jack Than God follows Jack’s 2001 album Shadows In The Air. Jack’s critically acclaimed solo albums were always overshadowed by his legendary recordings with the ‘60s rock pioneers Cream. A multi-instrumentalist who can do it all, Bruce was never comfortable with the virtuoso tag adding, “The bass is just one of the instruments I play. I suppose my greatest prowess is on the bass, but that gets the most attention since that’s what I played in Cream.” Produced by Jack and long time Bruce cohort Kip Hanrahan, the 14 track More Jack Than God finds Bruce in the company of long time lyricist, the great Pete Brown, guitarists Vernon Reid and Godfrey Townsend, jazz-rock keyboard legend Bernie Worrell (Hammond), Jack’s son Malcolm Bruce (guitar, piano) along with three percussionists including drummer Robby Ameen. According to Bruce, “There's more of an organic feeling to this record, and there's more unity to the music, especially lyrically. With Shadows in the Air I was trying to find the direction I was going to be taking, and this one is more on the money." Bolstered by an assortment of memorable new Bruce tracks, More Jack Than God also features new 2003 versions of several Cream classics—one from each of the fabled trio’s first three studio albums—including “I Feel Free” (“a nifty Afro-Cuban version of this much-covered song”) “We’re Going Wrong” and “Politician”. Bruce is already planning the third album in the series adding, “I'd love to record the third album in Cuba and use some local musicians, but politically speaking that might be difficult.” Recorded in NYC and England, More Jack Than God lives up to all the expectations fans have come to expect from this living legend. www.jackbruce.com / www.sanctuaryrecordsgroup.com


 
 

JETHRO TULL
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
(Fuel 2000)

2003 has turned out to be a stellar year for Jethro Tull fans. Their U.S. label Fuel 2000 released new solo albums from Tull founder Ian Anderson, entitled Rupi’s Dance and group guitarist Martin Barre, entitled Stage Left. The label closes out the year with the first ever Tull Christmas album. Anderson, Barre and company always had a festive holiday spirit in their music going back early Jethro Tull tracks like “A Christmas Song” at the close of the ‘60s and “Ring Out Solstice Bells” from the early ‘70s. Happily, Tull offer new renditions of those two classics and serve up an array of new pieces on their 2003 Christmas release on Fuel 2000. From the liner notes of The Jethro Tull Christmas Album Anderson claims, “The aim was to find some uplifting traditional Christmas Carols, some new songs and to rerecord some old Tull pieces on the Christmas topic.” The current Tull lineup of Anderson, Barre, Andrew Giddings (keyboards), Jonathan Noyce (bass) and Doane Perry (drums) put it all together their Christmas CD on Fuel 2000. In addition to a round of new Ian Anderson-penned tracks (check out “First Snow On Brooklyn”) and a Tull version of Martin’s Barre’s lush instrumental “Winter Snowscapes”—other highlights neoclassical Tull-flavored instrumental versions of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, “Greensleeved” and of course that ever popular Tull classic, “Bouree”. Tull have mellowed over the years, yet they really recapture the band’s seasonal and celebratory spirit on The Jethro Tull Christmas Album. www.j-tull.com


 
  WARREN ZANES
Memory Girls
(Dualtone)

The original guitarist in the ‘80s band, The Del Fuegos, Warren Zanes released his first ever solo album on Dualtone Records. Backed by a tight band, including the crisp guitar work from co-producer Angelo and backup vocals from Emmylou Harris, Memory Girls has a country-rock flair to it, but it’s roots are also in the spirit of ‘60s pop. His first solo album is a long time in the making and Zanes doesn’t disappoint. Sounding inspired by pop icons like The Beatles, Randy Newman and Tom Petty, Zanes knows the value of a solid pop hook especially on standout tracks like “World Of Concrete” and “Sidewalk Sale”. Along the way, Zanes picked up two masters degrees and a doctoral and he was recently hired by the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland as their VP of Education. Regarding his new position at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Zanes adds, “This is a dream job for me. For several years I’ve managed to write about music, make music, and teach the at the university level, but only at a unique place like the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame will my various interests all pertain to one job.” As well as assuming his new post in 2003, Zanes also recently completed a book about the making of Dusty In Memphis, from singer Dusty Springfield. With the release of Memory Girls, Zanes has recorded one of the outstanding pop surprises of 2003. www.dualtone.com


 
  NEAL MORSE
Testimony
(
Radiant / Metal Blade)

About a year after Spock’s Beard released their double CD Snow, Spock mainman, singer-songwriter Neal Morse is back on the scene with a new solo double CD of his own. For anyone who has followed the band, the comparison of Testimony to Snow will be impossible to avoid. Performed by some of the ablest musicians alive, both double CD masterpieces are filled with that legendary Morse approach to progressive rock and tuneful melodies that makes for such a powerful mixture. With Morse currently out of the Spock’s Beard lineup, the 2003 release of his latest solo album, Testimony is a the perfect platform to espouse his Christian theology. Mostly uplifting and driving symphonic rock, however, the references to Jesus Christ are hewn with enough pop magnetism to even make it palatable for the rest of us heathen agnostics. Performing much of the guitar work and keyboards, Morse is truly in his element, stretching out with a prolific smorgasbord of rock tunes and instrumentals—one memorable song after another. Big names like Kerry Livgren and his drummer and bandmate in the group Transatlantic, Mike Portnoy helps bring the whole album up another notch, making Testimony an essential spin for prog-rockers of all ages. www.nealmorse.com

 


 
  WARREN ZEVON
The Wind
(Artemis)

Like George Harrison and Johnny Cash before him, famed singer-songwriter Warren Zevon recently passed away leaving us a final album in the aftermath. The Wind is Zevon’s third and final studio album for Artemis Records. In August 2002—following his May 2002 Artemis release My Ride’s Here—Zevon was told of his failing health and with the remaining time he thought of no better way to leave his family and friends than by recording the music that turned out to become The Wind. In September 2002 Zevon headed into the studio with producer Jorge Calderone and a host of friends such as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, guitarists Joe Walsh, Mike Campbell, Ry Cooder and David Lindley and drumming ace Jim Keltner to begin sessions for The Wind. In the spirit of those final albums from both Harrison (Brainwashed) and Cash (The Man Comes Around), The Wind is quintessential Zevon. Fittingly, Zevon lived long enough to see his grandchildren—twin boys—born to his his daughter Ariel and thankfully he lived to see The Wind released on August 26th 2003 before passing away on September 7th, 2003. Composing his final array of catchy melodies and heartbreaking, reflective lyrics, Zevon lived to consummate his “Dirty Life & Times” with a sound and a sneer second to none. The Wind a most fitting testimony to Zevon’s stature as one of rock’s most eloquent and excitable champions. www.warrenzevon.com



 
  MARSHALL CRENSHAW
What's In The Bag?
(Razor & Tie)

Commenting on his 2003 Razor & Tie CD, pop veteran and guitar ace Marshall Crenshaw states, “Maturity is a good thing. These days, I think I’m a little bit better at everything I do compared to when I was young. In a way this record is a testament to that.” Always renowned for 80’s album classics such as Mary Jean & 9 Others and his all time ‘90 classic, Life’s Too Short, Crenshaw delivers the goods once again on What’s In The Bag? Featuring fine contributions from a number of players, including drummer Diego Voglino, the eleven track CD draws from the well of Crenshaw’s gifted pop songwriting and vocal abilities yet it also cracks new ground with a pair of guitar-based pop instrumental tunes that explains Crenshaw’s ongoing affinity for instro guitarist heroes from Hank Marvin to Bill Frisell. Amid the striking pop sophistication and guitar instros are a couple of covers of Bootsy Collins and Prince—both tunes that also reveal Crenshaw’s love of R&B and soul music. Commenting on the album’s wide pop scope, and humorous title, Crenshaw adds, “It’s supposed to suggest the disc is a cornucopia of moods, sounds and emotions.” Recorded in N.Y. and N.J, What’s In The Bag? is classic Crenshaw all the way through. www.razorandtie.com




 
 
 
   
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