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Sunday, 01 July 2007 |  Written by Scott Yanow  | 
Arturo Sandoval - Rumba Palace format:    16-bit CD performance:    6 sound:    7 released:    2007 label:    Telarc reviewer:    Scott Yanow Arturo Sandoval has long been one of the greatest jazz trumpeters around. His remarkable range, which reaches up into the stratosphere, his warm tone, and his mastery of both bebop and various Cuban styles have always made him a potential giant. In addition, he is a skilled pianist, an enthusiastic timbales player and an exuberant scat vocalist. At 57, he is at the peak of his powers. Sandoval, who defected from his native Cuba in 1990, has reached some great heights in his recording career since then, along with a few misfires. While his main musical hero is Dizzy Gillespie (with whom he recorded, in addition to playing in his United Nation Orchestra), he has never forgotten his musical roots nor been shy to stretch himself. Recently, Sandoval formed a Cuban orchestra he ...
Sunday, 01 July 2007 |  Written by Matt Fink  | 
Amy Winehouse - Back to Black format:    16-bit CD performance:    7 sound:    9 released:    2007 label:    Island reviewer:    Matt Fink Though their legacies loom over popular music and continue to define their respective eras, today it seems utterly contradictory that personalities as big as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley hardly produced a self-penned song between them. First and foremost, they were personalities and performers, not craftsman, and it’s a true testament to their skills as interpreters of other people’s songs that so many listeners believed they had lived the songs they sung. But for those of us raised after Bob Dylan and the Beatles entered the pop music milieu, championing the idea that an artist could make autobiographical art – confessional music that wasn’t designed only to sate the cravings of the masses – the persona of the songwriter plays a role in the overall enjoyment of an artist’s work. From John ...
Friday, 01 June 2007 |  Written by John Sutton-Smith  | 
Various Artists - Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten format:    16-bit CD performance:    9 sound:    7 release year:    2007 label:    Epic/Legacy reviewed by:    John Sutton-Smith Thirty years ago this spring, “White Riot,” the debut single from the Clash, was released in the U.K., setting off a musical firestorm of politically-conscious punk rock that has never been equaled or imitated. Frontman and lyricist, Joe Strummer was really the political compass for the Clash, and his stature and influence only continued to grow in the post-Clash years until his death in 2002. British film and video director Julien Temple (Absolute Beginners, The Great Rock ‘n Roll Swindle, The Filth and the Fury, among many others) has chronicled Strummer’s life – the turbulence and turmoil, the tragedy and triumph – in a new biographical documentary called Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten, and its soundtrack stands up very much on its own as a musical testament to Strummer’s ...
Friday, 01 June 2007 |  Written by Matt Fink  | 
Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank format:    16-bit CD performance:    8 sound:    8 release year:    2007 label:    Sony reviewed by:    Matt Fink A product of the old indie rock mindset, where Top 40 success is a symptom of a lack of creative integrity and pop music is a term associated with musicians who only want to appeal to the largest number of listeners, Isaac Brock isn’t comfortable with Modest Mouse’s status as chart-topping rock band. In fact, when I interviewed him last December, he practically refused to discuss any aspects of his band’s success, contending that he’d never really considered how unlikely it was to hear his music blaring out of car stereos across the country. When I asked him if he was becoming more and more of a pop craftsman, he bristled. “Are you?” he shot back nonsensically, leaving me to say that since I don’t write songs, the question doesn’t ...
Friday, 01 June 2007 |  Written by K L Poore  | 
Linkin Park - Minutes to Midnight format:    16-bit CD performance:    5 sound:    5 release year:    2007 label:    Warner Bros. reviewed by:    K L Poore The good news for Linkin Park’s enormous fan base is that Minutes to Midnight, their third release (not including remixes), is filled with the melodic grindy, whiny, proto-metallic rapcore that will fill them with angst and have them railing against the unfairness of it all before heading out to their local Pinkberry. The bad news for everyone else is that Linkin Park has unleashed their third release (not counting remixes), Minutes to Midnight. Okay, that’s probably a smidgen unfair as Minutes to Midnight is by far their most relevant effort, and it’s easy to see they’ve taken a lot of time to try and capture their expanding and maturing emotions and convey them to that core audience, as if to say “Let’s grow up a bit.” My problem with ...
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