This is a good collection of piano-accompanied vocals sporting bluesmen who worked the lumber camps and oil fields of rural Texas, as well as the red-light districts of cities like Galveston and Houston. Big Boy Knox shows a strong city influence in his decorative right-hand work, as does Robert Cooper, whose playing points to the influence of Fats Waller. Joe Pullem is on board with his hit, "Black Gal," which is perhaps overstated by three takes and a variation. The vocals are good, however, and the piano playing is uniformly excellent. Stylistically, this music falls somewhere between ragtime, blues, and vaudeville.
There's perhaps a touch of irony in the title of Dutch pianist and composer Jeroen van Veen's box set Minimal Piano Collection because at nine discs, it's a pretty massive collection. The program booklet notes that he recorded the entire set, which includes more than ten hours of music, in only six days, an astounding feat. In the program notes, van Veen offers a remarkably clear and concise history of minimalism in music. He defines it broadly enough (following the lead of composer and critic Tom Johnson) to include works by Friedrich Nietzsche and Satie. Philip Glass is the composer most widely represented, with three of the set's nine CDs devoted to his music originally for piano, as well as transcriptions from his film scores and operas. Two discs are given to van Veen's mammoth 24 Préludes, organized according to the framework of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. Other composers range from the very well known, such as Michael Nyman, John Adams, Terry Riley, Arvo Pärt, and John Cage, to the familiar-to-specialists, like Tom Johnson, Wim Mertens, and Jacob ter Veldhuis, to those little-known to American audiences, like Klaas de Vries, Simeon ten Holt, John Borstlap, Yann Tiersen, and Carlos Micháns.
Five of the best southern territory bands of the 1920s are represented on this intriguing CD: Blue Steele, Slim Lamar, Mart Britt, Sunny Clapp, and Phil Baxter. The only sidemen who became known a little bit later on were cornetist Tony Almerico, clarinetist Sidney Arodin, and pianist Terry Shand (with guests Hoagy Carmichael and guitarist Roy Smeck), but the musicianship is pretty decent and the music generally swings well. Serious 1920s jazz collectors will want this CD, which is full of worthy obscurities.
Texas Rhody Blues, featuring Jimmie Vaughan and Duke Robillard, is the third Knickerbocker All-Stars CD release. This CD has its roots in The Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals of the late 1950s and early ‘60s which turned many white soul searchers on to blues, rhythm and blues, and jump blues…
With over a dozen dates under their belts Crimson were really hitting their stride, playing a high-energy show and unveiling new material such as The Night Watch, Lament and Fracture. In the latter’s case, it’s so new that the paint is still wet with a couple of sticky moments evident around the intro. However, the real surprise comes around the 6.30 mark in Fracture - with an unreleased section they later discarded, propelled by a mighty Wetton bass line that reappears on Red’s Starless. An improvised section prior to those familiar rasping chords adds a pinch of wonder to this tale of the unexpected, making it a glimpse of an alternative Fracture.