Saturday, March 14, 2015

CD Review: Music Legends Art Pepper, Les McCann And Bill Nelson Revisit Classic Albums

On March 10th, Omnivore Recordings is rolling out volume 2 of Art Pepper's "Neon Art" series, which focuses on unreleased live music from the jazz great. Volume 1 covered an unused recording of a show Pepper performed in 1981 in Seattle, WA (review here: This latest installment features three songs recorded during his tour of Japan in 1981. Beginning with the near 19-minute version of "Mambo Koyama," the band is very energized as the pace of the song certain gave the musicians one heck of a work out. The pace was quick and led by Pepper's sax throughout the entire jam. The melody slows down for a fourteen-minute version of the famous classic "Over The Rainbow" as Pepper's solo introduces the song and makes it almost as beautiful as the original. The disc closes with nine-minutes of be-bop jazz with the up-tempo jump of "Allen's Alley." Look for the third installment in the series to be released in early April. To find out more about Art Pepper's "Neon Art: Volume Two," please visit

American jazz pianist Les McCann has released over fifty albums throughout his forty year career. One of his most pivotal albums was the 1972 release of "Invitation To Openness." The 26-minute opening number alone made you stand up and take notice as he combined many different aspect of jazz into this one song. On March 3rd, Omnivore Recordings re-introduced the world to Les McCann's "Invitation To Openness" by re-releasing it on CD for the first time in over a decade. The original three song album get a bonus track of Les and his band performing "Compared To What" live in 1975. Like I said, the opening track, "The Lovers," is the highlight of the set as Les McCann takes you on a journey of moods and sounds as he explores the many different avenues of jazz music. The steady rhythm of "Beaux J. Poo Boo" allows McCann to roam, while the funk backdrop of "Poo Pye McGoochie" helped lead the way for others to follow as one of the innovators of the use of the electric piano and synthesizers. The five-minute bonus track "Compared To What?" is pure energy as the pace is quick and to the point. To find out more about the great newly released version of Les McCann's 1972 album "Invitation To Openness," please visit

English experimental musician Bill Nelson has been celebrating a 45 year career in music. With almost 100 albums in his repertoire, Nelson has recorded everything from rock to jazz to blues and one of his stand-out releases is the 1995 album "After The Satellite Sings." As part of the celebration of Nelson's extensive musical career, Cherry Red Records has re-released the album on CD. This newly remastered version of the album showcases Nelson pushing the boundaries of his music, adding dance beats to his jazzy/rock guitar as in "Streamliner." His music reflects that of mid-nineties David Bowie as the songs revolve around a good rhythm as Nelson lets loose on this guitar in "Ordinary Idiots," but not before the dream-like feel of "Beautiful Nudes." Nelson's album should be considered one of the decade defining moments as he experimented with every sound in order to create some exceptional music. To find out more about this newly released version of Bill Nelson's album "After The Satellite Sings," please visit

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