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new records of blues and jazz • Stereo.ru

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The most interesting thing happens in improvisational music. That’s why she’s improvisational in order to be constantly updated: will her audience listen to clichés? The same jazz and blues are filled with new content in the form of good songs. Young people sound wise, old people sound fresh.

This is confirmed by four recent albums, which, on the one hand, are made within the genre, on the other – all sorts of frames completely rejected. The Moscow singer sings strong verses to the accompaniment of avant-garde jazz musicians; the American bluesman almost alone records a folk album at home, in which the lyrics are as interesting as the catchy guitar touches; Steve Wei invented another monster-guitar freak, but he plays almost blues motifs. And the patriarch of British blues John Mayoll is now listened to almost more relevant than modern stars of the genre. But about all in order.

Corey Harris «Insurrection Blues»

Let’s start with the chronology. I will not lie, the album is not the newest – the fall of 2021. But to miss it would be somehow insulting. The artist is not very well known in our region – reviews of him flashed 10 years ago, and I myself wrote something else for paper Stereo & Video.

Meanwhile, the musician is swearing and evolving. Does everything with extraordinary ease and precision – an indicator of skill. Stylistically it is folk blues, with its recognizable handwriting.

Again, the pandemic home album Tw Twelve Gates to the City does not hide that it is a home recording, and even as if bragging about it, uses it as an artistic technique: “crushed” vocals with deliberate stumbling. Allegedly, everything is born in the process.

But the guitar strokes and sound extraction are accurate, the filigree finger style is polyphony! But “Some of These Days” is already a normal record – so to speak, by industry standard. And the song itself is strong – a kind of soft guitar blues. Hit!

“When Did You Leave Heaven” says that the song titles and lyrics here are a separate joke. But also an interesting sound, some non-blues tones like a combination of mandolin and guitar with nylon strings. Timbre spice, whatever it is.

“Sinjata” is like a folk, dance, playful melody. By the way, Corey studied African languages ​​at university as a young man and got a grant for an internship in Africa, but there he was, of course, engaged in music. This is how he still treats the blues – as the ancient music of several continents. “Afton Mountain Blues” is a song without human words: a virtuoso harmonica sings and tells a story.

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Steve Vai «Inviolate»

What a cool guitar is on the cover of the new one – the first in six years! – Steve Vay’s album. As if a mockery of his love of strange unique instruments and manner of play. After all, any of his guitars is more than just an instrument, but this chimera… she is real!!

Yes, yes, three fretboards, a bunch of strings, frets, no frets – in short, play what you want. For this monster, he also invented new game techniques, as if his avant-garde techniques for working with tremolo, flagellates, fret games, and so on were few.

Eccentric? Outrage? “And I like the role of an entertainer, an artist-inventor,” admits Steve Wei in a recent interview. – I do not necessarily try to act in such a role, but just go on about my interests. I’m not coming up with new game techniques to prove something to anyone – I’m just interested, but as a result it turns out that it entertains people! “

And here’s the paradox: with all this virtuoso-avant-garde circus, the album is quite beautiful, whole, romantic, and just nice. It is, of course, a matter of taste and perception, and for a completely unprepared listener to listen to nine instrumental tracks is too much, but emotionally it is quite clear. Songs without words are such a noble genre. And if you really listen – it’s like listening to space.

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Svetlana Volkova “Dare”

Are there any songs in which high poetry is combined with virtuoso jazz, and the compositions themselves are not a stupid “couplet-chorus”, but something out of format? If you remember, we tried to find one at the festival in Rybinsk last summer.

Svetlana Volkova did not perform there, but she is the hero of this nascent style – jazz in Russian. Svetlana – singer, composer, pianist and poet – when recording the album “Dare” set a titanic task: “Jazz, but not too far-fetched; rock, but not on three chords; romance, but without the aplomb of Turgenev’s girl! “

Of course, Volkova is not such a girl at all. “Dare” – in the spirit of something closer to modernism, the beginning of the tragic twentieth century. Hurricane improvisations of the best jazz musicians of the country, penetrating philosophical poems (including poetry by Marina Tsvetaeva and Taffy) – and all this in the form of songs.

Songs: capacious, beautiful, with a “golden section”, but also with a “violation” of form. A highlight! The mixture of moods is already in the title track “Dare”, where the recitative goes under Kruglov’s romantic alto saxophone, but also the ominously disturbing drum rhythms of Peter Ivshin. And “Two Suns” is played in a rare size for pop-rock music 12/8.

Quite a cunning form and structure are revealed in the composition “Living and Dead Water”: insidious piano introduction rubato, dense groove rhythm section, change of tempo, marching fraction on a small drum; the singer “enters”, then “leaves”, jumping from one musical theme and returning from another – and this is surprisingly harmonious.

That is, Volkova, we can say, somewhere even re-invented the pop song. You can also refer to the genre of art song – there was such a thing in British music culture. Our romances on the poems of great poets are the closest to that.

It’s easy and hard to listen to this album at the same time. Easy – thanks to its “technical” qualities, which are given above: everything is done very cool, with taste and symmetry, and it is easy to “come in”. Comes to consciousness – and you start thinking with your head. I want to quote everyone!

Svetlana Volkova’s band are the best jazz musicians in the country. And this is not a figure of speech: they have long established themselves in a variety of projects – from pop music to the avant-garde. These are drummer Peter Ivshin, bassist Anton Gorbunov, guitarist Maxim Shibin saxophonist Alexei Kruglov. Collaboration with Kruglov began on the album “Pirate” of the project “Silver Age”. He brought the other musicians to the band.

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John Mayall «The Sun Is Shining Down»

Let me end the review with a cool position: John Mayoll’s new album. There’s a lot to be said here – mostly about the greatness of the father of British blues and his contribution to music – and nothing to say.

Here is another album of the 88-year-old patriarch. As usual, with guests. Guitarist Mike Campbell of The Heartbreakers, 25-year-old bright bluesman Marcus King (Grammy nominee), Chicago Patriarch Melvin Taylor… In general, a dream team.

Well, what is there to disassemble and criticize? The highest quality, Meyoll is Meyol. It is gratifying that he is so energetic, sensitive – and sings well. Blues alive, as they say.

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