Music for 6/30/21!!! Nikolaj Hess, Steve Perry, Raoul Vignal

@@@ Nikolaj Hess: Ravel Reflections (Sunnyside, 2021) I’m checking out this record because I’m a fan of the jazz releases this label puts out. I can’t think of any off the top of my head but I’m not lying. I’m not checking out the track clipped below but a previous one and I’m really liking it. Ambient with upright bass and a barely perceptible string drone. I can see immediately why a jazz label would put this recording out. Oy, Apple Music has it slotted as jazz so I guess All Music boned the genre reveal! Now that I’ve sampled a bit more this music sits right in the middle of the road where classical and jazz meet. The tune below is a 12+ minute banger that evokes both classical and jazz feels. The level of playing here is high and there are passages I find pretty compelling and I liked the first piece the most by a fair bit. It was called ‘Piece’.

@@@ Steve Perry: No Erasin’ (Concord, 2019) I read a huge ass interview article with Steve Perry, the former lead singer of Journey. It’s an updated classic rock sound but fully fleshed out with tons of background vocals and a crispier modern sound. Perry sounds a bit more mournful than he did when he was full rockstar with Journey. Lines about being in the back seat of his car with a woman from his past, it’s an interesting vocal hook. No erasin’, our love won’t just let go. The bridge gets prog-orchestral and that’s definitely a more sophisticated peek into his musicianship before he gets back into the power chord/vocal hook. The guitar pounding is my least favorite element here and the vocals are my favorite part. The hook is a bit meh, but that goes with the genre.

@@@ Raoul Vignal: Red Fresco (TALITRES, 2021) I think I got to this via last week’s All Music notable release email. This is the 4th track of the record and it opens with some brisk arpeggiated guitar fingerpicking. It’s a pretty formal, old school folk formula, a man, his guitar and minimalist accompaniment. There’s a second guitar and some background vocals. I let the player click through as I wanted to sample a bit more of what’s on offer. Vignal’s voice is classic — kinda updated hippie kindness and gentleness. A bit washed out for me but as my wifes says I’m dead inside. If you love his voice you’re probably going to love the rest of the record as the arrangements are solid and the guitar playing is particularly well done. Me I’m agnostic on his voice so I’m agnostic on the record.

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