Category: Reviews

John Akapo – Paradise Blues

‘Big John’ Akapo comes from Hawaii and reportedly has delta blues and American Samoan in his DNA. Here he performs originals in with a few versions that show where he is coming from. Like many of us, John’s parents did not care for his music.

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The Blues Messengers – Uncut

This act comprises ‘Sir’ Oliver Mally, Alex Meik and Peter Muller. Guitar, stand-up bass and drums and a relaxed feel as starting cut Devil’s Gone Fishing rolls in on an Al Green groove.

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Liv Austen – A Moment Of Your Time

With some EP releases and several live performances under her belt including Cornbury Music Festival at C2C Music Festival in London to name a few, Liv Austen has released her debut album entitled ‘A Moment Of Your Time’.

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The Struts – YOUNG&DANGEROUS

I’m not overly familiar with The Struts I must admit. I have read about them in the music press and how when they opened for the Foo Fighters the band’s frontman Dave Grohl stated that “they’re the best opening band they’ve ever had” and that the rock legend that is Alice Cooper made a cameo in one of their music videos but that is really it.

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Katie Melua – Ultimate Collection

This is a pretty comprehensive round-up of Melua gems plus a few new efforts on a double-album, with some cool monochrome imagery in a fold-out digipak format and a decent booklet. Melua’s DNA has traces of folk, blues, rock and of course her Georgian roots.

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Michael Armstrong – Looking For The World (Single)

A new single from the Surrey songsmith and taken from a second album long in gestation but out in a few weeks. Armstrong writes on guitar and keyboards and is in the tradition of Billy Joel, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Don Fagen, Leo Sayer and Tiny Tim…just kidding with the last one, Mike!

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Lara Smiles – All For You

Working with Jamie Grashion and with input from Michael Rendall and Youth, no less this collection finds Smiles singing and playing guitar on a set of fresh material.

The band embraces drummer Sara Leigh and bassist Joe Singfield.

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Ben Poole – Anytime You Need Me

Poole returns with a new studio album, almost entirely own material therein and production by drum ace Wayne Proctor. I think I have known Proctor some twenty years now and his forte is capturing a crisp but rich sound for many artists, in the studio. He listens to the songs and creates an enhancement for each composition, working much in the manner of a tailor fashioning a garment from cloth.

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Tony Joe White – Bad Mouthin’

Our man heads straight back to elemental blues for this release. His voice if anything is even deeper and more grizzled than before and his mainly electric guitar rich and spiky. Some tracks have drums and some are acoustic. His son Jody engineers.

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Rod Stewart – Blood Red Roses

A new album from The RodFather – as daughter Ruby calls him – and we are not trawling through The Great American Songbook…it’s his 30th studio album. Ten of the cuts are Stewart originals, Kevin Savigar co-produces. Rod’s general philosophy is that he makes records for ‘a few friends’ and it’s a bonus if others like them. A bit different from Stock Aitkin Waterman eh? It means that Stewart can create more personal songs, avoiding sloganeering, automatic beats and Vocoders.

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Austin Gold – Our Blues Top Ten

Pete Sargeant asked English blues-rockers Austin Gold to tell JLTT which recordings really turned them on, so here are their picks. Pete is a champion of democracy, so it’s two from each group member. Thanks, lads!

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Callaghan – Callaghan

We have followed and indeed featured this songstress and performer for some time now, as she criss-crosses the Atlantic to write, rehearse, record and collaborate on her music. Which is best described as country-inflected songs and balladry that..well, travels.

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Glen Matlock – Good To Go

This album rocks like a bitch, but allows for some more tender music. Some of my favourite albums – from The Doors’ Strange Days onwards – pretty much fit that description and this collection is joining them. Matlock is aware of the past but doesn’t live there – most of this record is new or recent material, the one version included is an inspired choice.

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Billy F. Gibbons – Big Bad Blues

When recently having the pleasure of reviewing a box set of the second five ZZ Top albums, I was reminded of their organic assimilation of the finest elements of The Blues. The band is able to approach rock and blues music from any direction and pull it off, such is their musical skill and ability to invent but stay melodic.

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Sari Schorr – Never Say Never

One of the first things that strikes the listener when playing this new album is the quality of and deft playing of the band members – keys ace Bob Fridzema, guitarist Ash Wilson, bass man Mat Beable and drummer Roy Martin.

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Josh Taerk – Beautiful Tragedy

Josh Taerk is a Canadian singer-songwriter and this is his first album since his Here’s To Change set three years back. He has co-produced this collection with Teddy Morgan, utilising facilities in Nashville and Toronto.

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Gus McKay – Talisman

The musicians featured here include McKay on guitar and harp, Ronan Charles drums sax and keys, Phil Waldron bass banjo cello trumpet fiddle and pedal steel (lazy sod), Paul Andrews on sax – all on a set of Mackay-penned numbers.

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Curse Of Lono – As I Fell

Felix and crew return with a second album, created with the benefit of many stage performances which have given the ensemble a truly organic musical dynamic presence without blunting their edge. Not a bad place to have attained!

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Elevation Falls – What Will Be

Put together by Hazel Jade Rogers back in 2012, Elevation Falls’ name really does invite mention of ups and downs from sub-editors. This record has core players of Hazel, Christopher Richard Young guitars, Gabriel Greco bass and drummer Darragh Shields, though there are guest performers on various instruments.

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Dan Webster – Devil Sky

This songwriter is described as pretty much writing Americana-style material with a British twist…probably a ruse for a hack to suggest the pigeonhole him as Anglicana.

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Big Apple Blues – Manhattan Alley

Recorded at Sear Sound in Manhattan, this NY crew, this follow-up album to Energy Harrison is drummer, Zach Zunis plays guitar, Jim Alfredson mans the keys and Anthony Kane is on harp. Some guests appear hear and there. The act records in one room, for that intimate/organic feel.

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Afterhere – Addict

This act is a creative outlet for Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17 renown and more and keyboard queen and singer Berenice Scott, who as well as doing studio work has not only played with Heaven 17 but also on the Holy Holy project which involves various Bowie acolytes including Gregory.

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Peter French – Ducks In Flight

Trust German label Repertoire to make another lost gem available once more. Here on 1978 recordings we find ace singer French teaming up with Small Faces and The Faces drummer Kenney Jones, bassist Dave Markee, guitarsllnger Brian Robertson and other notables.

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The Magpie Salute – High Water I

In conversation, Rich Robinson is a thoughtful, considered and focussed character. If he decides to make a project work out, it probably will. Not because he strikes one as egocentric, rather he seems to believe in the potency of an aggregation that is well-chosen to create and excite.

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John Oates and The Good Road Band – Arkansas

When you are one-half of a multi-million selling American pop duo it would be very easy to just tour the world year after year performing the radio hits that people across the world know and love. To be fair Hall and Oates have done this by embarking on huge dates in arenas in North America, London, and Dublin in recent years.

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Paul Rodgers – Free Spirit

So here is the original Free vocalist leading a band celebrating the music created by Free. Whilst the band are not Free, Rodgers leads them through these much-loved selections with..well, spirit is the word I guess.

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Rivers – My Little Baby

Rivers is the stage name of Rachel Early. Working with musician and producer Chris Corney, she has created a set of songs that take the listener on a journey through her head, concerns, feelings and hopes.

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Dan Tyminski – Southern Gothic

You have likely heard this man’s voice – Dan provided the George Clooney singing parts to the tongue in cheek country comedy film ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ This new album gives a vivid sampling of his art, his composing talents and his approach to life, the world today and all its tensions.

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Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy – Live

This is a live performance CD and DVD set,with a twist on the ELP songbook and more – and helmed by none other than drummer Carl Palmer! The shows are from Tralf Music Hall in Buffalo, New York for the CD and the Olympia Theater in Miami for the later DVD performance.

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Jack Carty & Gus Gardiner – Hospital Hill

This is a special project from Carty and Gardiner, recorded out in Sydney. The pair have worked together on many occasions, so this collection has the working relationship already established and hence the concentration here is on the impact of the material, Members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra are heard during the programme

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Austin Gold – Before Dark Clouds

This English ensemble comprises David James Smith on guitar and vocals, Jack Cable on guitars, Lee Churchill on bass, Russell Hill keys plus drummer Chris Ogden. They have taken the roadwork route, to hone their songs and grow an audience. The liner notes give mention of Vanquish guitars

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Robin McKelle – Melodic Canvas

Singer-songwriter McKelle found she had much to write about, after the last US Election. For this collection, she felt she could enhance the compositions by leaning in an acoustic direction and adding percussion touches to frame the vocals.

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The Sharpeez – Wild One

Bill Mead and crew always sound so purposeful, but not jaded. Powerful, but refined. Their exciting stage brew of rock, R &B, rockabilly and country rock makes for absorbing and rhythmic shows.

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Desert Mountain Tribe – Om Parvat Mystery

This outfit came together in 2012, grouping Jonty Balls on guitar/vocal, Philipp Jann on bass and Frank Van Der Ploeg on drums. Roadwork has honed their act and songs and this new album reflects the sound of a working band. These cuts were recorded in London and on The Faroe Islands.

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Hatful Of Rain – Songs Of The Lost & Found

I love the name of this group – it conjures up a street busker keeping on performing in inclement weather. So here is a new album, the sonic ingredients including vocals, the expected roots instrumentation plus lyrics that hinge on a lot of current concerns – I WILL not use the word ‘issues’! – make up the brew captured here.

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Imarhan – Temet

This edgy Algerian Tuareg desert rock five-piece came together in 2006, down in Tamanrasset. To this listener, the group – like Tinariwen – weave a magical sound that seems to combine the reflective with pure propulsion and enough refinement to lift the music to heights one might not anticipate.

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Zialand – Unbridled & Ablaze

This Norwegian singer-songwriter tends to get straight to the heart of the dilemmas and situations she opts to write about. A good case in point is the song Running Cold, about an acquaintance with deep troubles.

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Joan Armatrading – Not Too Far Away

One of our leading and most grounded singer-songwriters returns with a brand-new set of songs. Armatrading remains the illuminator of human dilemmas, the midwife of melodies. Her subject matter never seems to stray too far from the personal, the heartfelt, the relatable.

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Tom Bailey – Science Fiction

A long time a-coming, this one – but now Thompson Twins singer Bailey is releasing this set of songs. Seven Top 40 hits in the UK and USA back in the 80s means Tom can tour on those for the duration but can he still connect with the public via these new efforts?

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Just Loud – Electrified (Single)

When a band or artist comes along with a name which does not include the genre or style in it that really does help them. The reason is that it doesn’t restrict your material as if you were could the Joe Bloggs Rock Community and one day you decided you wanted to record a funk number it would come across as slightly confusing and possibly difficult to market. 

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Judith Owen – redisCOVERed

Owen is one of our favourite artists here at Just Listen To This – on account of her imagination, musical skills, choice of accompanists, beguiling voice, bravery and waspish humour.

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Jaki Graham – When A Woman Loves

British soul singer Jaki Graham has been in the music business for over forty years and she just has not stopped. Still touring today, Graham is the first black British female solo artist to have six consecutive Top 20 hits and now she has a brand new full-length studio album ‘When A Woman Loves’ to share with the world.

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The Nectars – Sci-Fi Television

The Nectars are a female-fronted band from New Jersey who went to New York and made a name for themselves in the underground music scene. The band are formed of vocalist Jessica Kenny, Mike Montalbano (drums/vocals), Jon Paul (bass) and Michael Baron (guitar).

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Hailey Tuck – Junk

I enjoy various genres and styles of music and I don’t really have a ‘favourite’ per se. However, I do like jazz and have been a fan of artists such as Gregory Porter and Jamie Cullum for several years. It seems like such ‘free’ genre of music which can take a listener to several places both psychologically and emotionally.

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Jon Allen – Blue Flame

Easily one of our favourite songwriters, Allen has a husky, soulful voice to be envied and a way with a tune. Females love his intimate delivery and the chaps marvel at his melodic and emphatic guitar playing and slivers of harp.

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My Indigo -My Indigo

There’s a rather unusual inspiration to this release, leading to an album that both had to be made and is something of a left turn. The act is fronted by Sharon den Adel, star vocalist and songwriter with Within Temptation, well-known to conneisseurs of Female Fronted Symphonic Metal groups.

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Mike Zito – First Class Life

Zito doesn’t go for that racing around, foot on the monitor, extreme face-pulling style of guitar. He just plays out and keeps his cool, channelling soul through his fingertips. Better still he doesn’t shout or groan, he actually sings..and if these comments puzzle you, you should hear a lot of the stuff we receive to review.

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Finbar Furey – Don’t Stop This Now

Long and deservedly a folk icon in Ireland and globally, hearing this very varied set of new songs from Finbar Furey is not just refreshing but really an intriguing pile of aural postcards that make the listener think as well as enjoy the singing, the melodies, the contribution of the players.

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Bernard Allison – Let It Go

Allison’s latest release arrives amidst extensive plans to tour. He’s never far from a stage and like dad Luther this seems to be his natural habitat, a chance to sing, play and connect with established fans and the uninitiated.

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John Mayall – Three For The Road

This release finds veteran Mayall leading a trio-format crew on various stages for this live album. Something of a departure as John usually has a hotshot lead guitarist on board, but this decision does mean that the three musicians have to adapt to the configuration and play out and it does bring something fresh out of the songs included.

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Simon Kent – In Another Life

When this singer-songwriter first came to our attention a few years back, we made a point of going to see him perform and have a chat with him. There are several influences wove into Kent’s individual style, one of which I thought was the edgy pop melodic roll of early Duran Duran.

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A Wrinkle In Time – O.S.T

A brand new Disney fantasy film arrives and with it a soundtrack album embracing the original scores for scenes by Ramin Djawadi and various key and supplementary tracks by a clutch of popular artists. The film release will take the story and all the music around the globe.

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Danny Bryant – Revelation

With Richard Hammerton again helming production, Bryant returns with a new studio album and digs deep for lyrical inspiration. Perhaps absolution, of a kind. His fiery and flexible guitar work is to the fore and again he is playing with colleagues who work for the song every time.

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Liv Austen – Don’t Regret A Single One (Single)

Austen’s bright country-influenced music was heard loud and clear at the recent Country2Country Festival out at London’s 02. With a sharp band behind her, a lot of empathy and accent on melody make the act listenable but retain the necessary punch to make this strand of music effective and crowd-friendly.

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Jesse Terry – Natural

This collection finds singer-songwriter Terry featuring many female singers is a set of duets. I recall the great Tony Joe White doing this a few years ago and it resulted in one of his best ever albums.

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Lydian Collect/ve – Adventure

This grouping comprises Aaron Wheeler, Todd Baker, Ida Hollis and Sophie Alloway with composition, production, recording and mastering down to Wheeler and Baker. There are guest singers and players on this release.

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Vanja Sky – Bad Penny

Ruf is a label has always had talented females on their roster. Vanja is from Zagreb in Croatia and started playing guitar five years ago. These recordings are the result of sessions in Stantonville and in Berlin with the renowned and experienced Mike Zito and Sky credits him with endless tips and help in getting these cuts down.

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Angel Forrest – Electric Love

This album release has two discs – both live – and mixing Angel’s own compositions with he own favourites from others. Forrest is a Canadian artist BUT has Irish, Welsh and Italian strands in her DNA.

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Jamie Williams And The Roots Collective – Diff’rent Gravy

One of the independent acts under the 3ms Music banner, this ensemble has singer and guitarist Williams as spearhead and stars harpist Nick Garner, guitarist Dave Milligan, son Jake Milligan as bassist and drummer Paul Madden. Jamie has a stockpile of own songs. The entire record has no shallow nods to trendiness or fashion, but centres on skilful band playing.

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Dita Von Teese – Dita Von Teese

I last saw Ms Von Teese in an alluring erotic outfit – her, not me – sitting in a large champagne glass at an event in London. She is to many devastatingly attractive..and she knows it. A queen of burlesque, she represents a glamorously retro classic feminine look but is definitely in complete control of her life and career.

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DeWolff – Thrust

A power trio from the southern part of The Netherlands, the personnel of this outfit comprises guitarist and singer Pablo and drummer Luka van de Poel with the brothers joined by Robin Piso on Hammond. The group name comes from a character in the film Pulp Fiction.

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Jimi Hendrix -Both Sides Of The Sky

Nearly fifty years after the guitar adventurer’s passing, a new Jimi Hendrix record release is still – potentially – an exciting event for fans. The last one put out was the terrific Machine Gun live set with the Band Of Gypsys crew, sounding rich and powerful with a sparky set of tunes.

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Dan Patlansky – Perfection Kills

From the eyecatching artwork to the recording depth and clarity – especially on Dan’s vocals – to the adventurous and fresh songs themselves, Perfection Kills represents quite a jump forward in impact and appeal of his recordings, for this listener. Elsewhere on this site he explains the story behind this collection of songs in a new Q & A session.

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Elise LeGrow – Playing Chess

Intriguing, sharply-honed, impactful…and so is her record. Having met this Canadian songstress in London to talk this release, listening to it makes more and more sense. For this chanteuse has her own twist on personality, looks and music.

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Matthews Southern Comfort – Like A Radio

Out of the blue and with a band of Dutch musicians whose grip on this artist’s feel for roots and folk music and vintage and modern Americana is eminently displayed here…a new album from Iain Matthews and the new Matthews Southern Comfort!

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The Bad Flowers – Starting Gun

All the songs on this debut album by the hard rock trio are group compositions. Guitarist and singer Tom Leighton fronts the act, Karl Selickis plays drums and bass and backing vocals come from Dale Tonks.

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Laurence Jones – The Truth

Jones is touring with his four-piece lineup and this new album overall explores contemporary rock elements rather than the rock-blues material upon which he has risen in the field as a live draw.

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Matt Patershuk – Same As I Ever Have Been

Produced by Steve Dawson, this Canadian release stars Matt Patershuk as – going by the tongue-twister titles as chief wordysmith. Sometimes You’ve Got To Do Bad Things To Do Good ( Adolf Hitler – 1944) kicks things off with a dirty girt tone that evokes R L Burnside.

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Sterling Ball, John Ferraro and Jim Cox – The Mutual Admiration Society

In which these three gentlemen – BFC as I am now naming them, to save time – create an album called The Mutual Admiration Society. Tongue in cheek title? Or straight? A lot of familiar numbers, a lot of familiar guests. The collection turns out to be a set of instrumentals of quite staggering variety, on which BFC make everybody sound fine. Skill of this strength is always going to make for an entertaining listen.

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The Koch Marshall Trio – Toby Arrives

Under the label’s The Players Club imprint, this collection immediately rolls into earshot with a Medeski-meets-Jimmy Smith groove in the shape of Toby Arrives. I’d be very surprised if Milwaukee guitarist wasn’t a fan of Harvey Mandel.

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