Pianist Al Haig, a veteran of the bebop era, plays pretty modern on this quartet date which is co-led by guitarist Jimmy Raney. With backing by bassist Jamil Nasser and drummer Frank Gant, Haig and Raney interpret two bop standards and such later material as Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance" and Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance." Haig and Raney inspire each other to stretch out, including on an 11-minute version of "'Round Midnight." Thought-provoking music well worth hearing several times.
Vocalist/cornet player Al Basile's longtime friend Duke Robillard gets front cover billing, as well he should, as co-producer and guitarist on this impressive outing. The album, Basile's fifth, was even recorded at the guitarist's Pawtucket, RI studio called the Mood Room, hence the album's title. Musically, it's a combination of old-school R&B ("Baby Sister," "Be a Woman"), swamp-tinged rock & roll ("I'm in a Mood"), mid-tempo, Chuck Berry styled groovers ("Coffee and Cadillacs"), grinding blues ("Picked to Click") and even a jump blues throwback to the duo's Roomful of Blues days ("She's on the Mainline"). Robillard keeps the sound full yet stripped down – most of the tracks feature a standard three-piece – bass/drums/guitar setup – which leaves space for Basile's sly vocals and snappy lyrics. Basile, a teacher and fiction author who also has a Master's degree in creative writing, not surprisingly crafts lyrics that are far more imaginative and original than most blues artists'. But they never detract from these melodies that glide along sparked by Robillard's tasty licks.
US jazz bassist. Also trained as a classical pianist. A onetime member of Ornette Coleman's Prime Time Band, and among the generation of bassists strongly influenced by the Stanley Clarke/Jaco Pastorius school, which emphasizes playing the electric bass like a lead guitar rather than a rhythm instrument. MacDowell is capable of booming, rapid-fire licks, flickering riffs, and sizzling rhythms. As a leader, his albums have been erratic, due mainly to compositional defects, though occasional songs reflect his sizable playing prowess.
Documentary series that reveals how a secret pact formed a cartel that controls the world's oil. Throughout the region's modern history, since the discovery of oil, the Seven Sisters have sought to control the balance of power. They have supported monarchies in Iran and Saudi Arabia, opposed the creation of OPEC, profiting from the Iran-Iraq war, leading to the ultimate destruction of Saddam Hussein and Iraq. At the end of the 1960s, the Seven Sisters, the major oil companies, controlled 85 percent of the world's oil reserves. Today, they control just 10 percent. New hunting grounds are therefore required, and the Sisters have turned their gaze towards Africa. With peak oil, wars in the Middle East, and the rise in crude prices, Africa is the oil companies' new battleground.