James Brown: Love Power Peace: Live at the Olympia, Paris, 1971
Polydor/Sundazed 5470 (3 LPs). 2014. James Brown, prod., mix; Ron Lenhoff, eng., mix; Bob Irwin, mastering. AAA.? TT: 92:50
In the one scene in the new James Brown biopic, Get On Up, that's actually about his music, JB, who began his career in music as a drummer, tells his horn section to "sound like a drum." It also shows him being dictatorial and harsh, traits that contributed to his losing several bands' worth of key musicians over the years. Perched on the edge of such a precipice were the shows in Paris, at the Olympia Theatre, in March 1971, one of which was recorded by King Records.
Musicians whose careers were derailed by personal demons is a very old tale. Write about music and after a couple decades they all begin to have a similar ring: someone got addicted to something and began blowing off gigs, trashing friendships, and generally lying to themselves and everyone close to them. It usually doesn’t end well. And after they’re gone, “far too soon” (to use the usual bromide), everyone thinks about their own issues while tsk tsk’ing about what could have been done and how awash in self-loathing and focused on ending it all the deceased had eventually become.
Every once in awhile an old friend on this path turns it around and I’m very happy to say that my old friend from Tucson singer/songwriter Billy Sedlmayr has done just that. . .
I know folks, dedicated jazz fans no less, who cannot be dragged into piano and bass duo gigs. Something about not having a drummer spells boredom for them. Not enough going on I guess. Or more likely, there isn't a horn at work. While jazz virtuosity is most often thought of in terms of the more ostentatious sounds of saxophones and trumpets, and the most common perception of jazz groups is quartets or quintets, it's the duo format, at its most pure piano and bass, that has always inspired a special vocabulary and sonic signature. Just a pair of instrumental voices and musical visions engenders the kind of special chemistry and quiet connections that can be heard on the new Kenny Barron and Dave Holland project, the appropriately named The Art of Conversation.
The story is familiar. The British Invasion caused a deadly tsunami in the American music scene. Established stars, from Elvis to John Lee Hooker to Tony Bennett, saw their careers swept away in a matter of months in 1964. Few groups were impacted quite like the Beach Boys, whose resident genius, Brian Wilson, went into an emotional tailspin trying to compete with the Beatles . . .
Fifty-four years after it was recorded, Hank Mobley's immortal Soul Station has become a tale of two LPs.
One, the original pressing (mono or stereo), is an artifact, an insanely valuable antique, the object of fevered jazz collectors the world over.
The other is a fresh vinyl reissue, cut from a high-resolution digital remastering of the original master tapes, that's meant to bring in younger listeners, or those interested enough in the music that they'll pay $19.95 for a new LP.