Here's the thing. Mike Gordon is the bass player from Phish. Even though he is also a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, filmmaker, and a whole lot of other things, and has several solo albums and other projects under his belt, the frame of reference for Gordon is always going to be Phish, in the same way that whatever Ringo Starr does is always backlit by the fact that he was the drummer for the Beatles. Helping this perception along, though, is Gordon's penchant for mixing the same elements into his solo albums as Phish always did, crafting songs that ride on thick grooves, always shifting and expanding, full of space and turns, and lyrics as whimsical and fleeting as rainbow smoke.
Scarcely three decades old, the enduring appeal of novelist Stephen King's horror oeuvre has already begun to foster remakes of the films and TV productions already based on his most popular works. This cable TV redux of King's 1975 tale of a small hamlet beset by vampires features an ominous, brooding orchestral and choral score that's a winning collaboration between newcomer Christopher Gordon and former Dead Can Dance mainstay cum film scorer Lisa Gerrard. The gothic seasoning she imparted to her previous collaborations with Hans Zimmer (most notably Gladiator) comes to the forefront on this score's haunting title aria (composed by Gerrard and partner Patrick Cassidy) and tracks like "Bloody Pirates" and "Free in Spirit." But it's the music of newcomer Gordon (Master and Commander) whose sheer scale and ambition belie the small screen format it was written for at nearly every turn.
Incantations is the fourth record album by Mike Oldfield, released in late 1978 on Virgin Records. After a two-year pause following Boxed, Mike Oldfield released a new epic project, this one spread over four vinyl sides and devoted to Native American themes rather than hewing once more toward the Celtic end of the spectrum. Included was Oldfield's musical adaptation of "The Song of Hiawatha," which had a nice sense of the dramatic when it came to dynamic range. After this, Oldfield would not return to album-length concepts for quite some time.
On AwwlRight!, his eighth outing at the Hammond B3 for Savant Records, pianist-turned-organist Mike LeDonne uses the same personnel and prescription that have worked so well for him in the past, guiding his sure-handed Groover Quartet through its paces in a series of bracing tunes that are all but guaranteed to quicken the mind and enliven the soul of anyone who admires and appreciates robust and well-designed contemporary jazz.
A Classics collection of tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon, 1947-1952 features some of the mellow jazzman's most identifiable recordings from that period. Beginning with an extended version of "The Duel," the disc also includes Gordon's epic tenor battle with Wardell Gray on "The Chase."
With 1984's Discovery, Mike Oldfield seems to be back on track, utilizing the vocal power of Maggie Reilly and the drum playing of Simon Phillips to create some rather appealing selections. "The Lake" is a simply gorgeous instrumental inspired by Switzerland's Lake Geneva, the location in which the album was recorded, while "To France" is a powerful pop/rock tune based on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. Both Reilly and Barry Palmer share the vocal duties throughout the tracks, signifying Oldfield's subtle emergence into a more pop-infused atmosphere. "Tricks of the Light" is a wonderful instrumental that relies on the keyboard to give it energy, while even so-so efforts like the title track and "Poison Arrows" come off as upbeat and inspired. Discovery peaked at number 15 in the U.K., and even though it didn't garner much attention elsewhere, it serves as one of Mike Oldfield's most entertaining releases from the decade.