miles davis - jack johnson

Miles Davis: Jack Johnson (1971)

A quick one as I prepare to leave for the weekend (which means no review tomorrow…I’m okay with that). Miles Davis has always been a towering figure for me in music: he was my gateway into jazz, and his evolution served as touchpoint for my own growth as a listener. The connection to his music is even stronger now that my son joined his schools jazz ensemble and in what is now his 7th year playing trumpet opted to get his own for Christmas. So we’ve been exploring the man’s work, and today as we drove to school I put on Jack Johnson to show Davis’s skill at improvising over a repeated lick, and his use of a mute, which my son is also starting to utilize.

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alphataurus - alphataurus

Alphataurus: Alphataurus (1973)

Another day, another Italian prog album celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The self-titled debut from Alphataurus was pretty much a one-shot: after their debut the band, formed out of some like-minded musicians in Milan broke up before completing their second album. But that one is enough for me – this is more bombastic and rocking that the previous albums we’ve covered so far, and I remember it also being the first album I checked out from the Sea of Tranquility primer (yeah, I know…I’m linking to this a lot), namely because the list was alphabetical. But whatever the course it took to discover, it’s here, in my hands and on my turntable and the rush of sound is both exciting and calming, putting me in the familiar waters of prog and getting steadily settled in the Italian vibe.

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banco - io sono nato libero

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso: Io sono nato libero (1973)

I was originally going to write about about failure, about how 2022 basically ground me to dust and left me lost…a failure inside, weak in body and spirit, and sick. By giving myself writing goals and objectives and deadlines I turned this outlet, a channel for my passions and joy into just another job, and I don’t need that…don’t want that. It’s just one more thing that puts me further in the dark.

There. That’s the post. Now let’s just listen to an album and record some thoughts about it. And try it again the next day, and the day after that. I’d been meaning to get to the loads of Italian prog I had purchased over the last few months… my post on Arti + Mestieri was just the start of it. So why not kick off 2023 with an album celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the third release from Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, the complex bag of tricks known as Io sono nato libero.

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elvis costello - my aim is true cover art

Elvis Costello: My Aim Is True (1977)

I’ve been away for a while, I know. I have been writing, whether it’s the 30+ reviews I wrote over at Cinema Dual for the annual Hooptober horror marathon, or the twice-weekly posts for Nine Circles to help out while we slowly start to build up staffing. But writing purely for myself has been rare, and I want to come back and find my voice, find myself again where there are no parameters or guidelines for what I have to write about (well, except it would be music-related). So I came up with an idea, something that will probably take a couple of years before it’s done, and I’ll kick that off in the next couple of weeks here on the site. In the meantime, I’m going to spend some time writing about my favorite records, the ones that have become a part of my DNA. And for no reason other than the fact I grabbed it off the shelf today, we’re going to start with My Aim Is True, the debut from the one, the only, Elvis Costello.

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arti+mestieri - tilt

Arti + Mestieri: Tilt (1974)

It was a rare opportunity: I managed to take two weeks off from work and spend time with family, doing one week in Mexico with my in-laws and another week in Daytona with my brother. Normally that means nothing but classic rock and sunny beach tunes to keep my mind relaxed, but thanks to another Sea of Tranquility video I started getting caught up in 70s Italian Prog. There was one band that I couldn’t readily find streaming (turns out you can find here on Spotify), and so here we are with another impulse buy, Tilt, the debut by Arti + Mestieri, which loosely translates to “Arts and Crafts”. We’re going in blind (or deaf) here, so let’s do this…

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hawkwind - doremi fasol latido

Hawkwind: Doremi Fasol Latido (1972)

It took forever to find a good copy of Doremi Fasol Latido, the third album from space rock pioneers Hawkwind for a price that wasn’t outrageous. The band’s third studio album – and the first to feature one Mr. Ian Fraser Kilmister on bass – marks the change of emphasis of their signature space rock sound from the “space” to the “rock” but I feel like the album gets a bit of short shrift since the live album that documents the touring cycle of the record might be one of the greatest live albums ever recorded. It’s definitely the place where I first heard most of these sings. But the studio effort has a lot going for it, so for me it’s still a part of the band’s essential discography.

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