CD Reviews

Peter Sprague

Lucy in the Sky

Ever the versatile and prodigious musician, jazz guitarist Peter Sprague has been on a strong creative streak, with the relatively recent release of his fine collaboration with vocalist/ percussionist Leonard Patton Dream Walking (2016) and the 2017 issue of his collaboration with singer Rebecca Jade, the superlative Planet Cole Porter. The respective releases reveal again […]

Wayne Riker

Soulfully Sliding

Slide guitars are seductive. The rough-edged sound of glass or metal in contact with a guitar string is both unworldly and oh so human. A good slide player can make his guitar sound like the utterances of aliens exiting from their mother ship or a blues singer growling in the depths of his despair over […]

Marie Haddad

Stories from Atlantis

American artists, composers, and musicians have traditionally shied away from delving into the mysterious. The makers of our popular music—jazz, folk, rock, etc.—have felt comfortable in the world of the apparent. It wasn’t until the progressive rockers of the sixties that mystery became a component of popular music. Taking their cues from the Beatles, bands […]

Bobby Cressey & Friends

Cali Native

Organ master Bobby Cressey has assembled quite the debut album—featuring more than 20 players from the Southern California scene, including a myriad of rhythm sections and virtuosi soloists. Cressey has an undeniable flair for arranging dynamic and exciting horn charts and I found this album to be irrepressibly upbeat—primarily on the strength of those arrangements. […]

John Batdorf

Next Stop, Willoughby

The latest album from John Batdorf is Next Stop, Willoughby. He has been in the music biz for 50 years, doing just about everything—as a hot new talent with a big label contract, a session musician with artists as varied as Jefferson Starship, Rod Stewart, Motley Crue, and Adele, and working as a staff writer […]

Zzymzzy Quartet

Petite Fleur

The summer of 2017 thus far has heard a good amount of loud, crashing, dynamic music coming from my apartment—speed metal, hard rock and hard bebop, fast and infuriating. Understandably, noise complaints, frayed nerves, and headaches ensued before long, necessitating a change of music, both in tunes, tone, and mood. Rather handily, Petite Fleur by […]

Back to the Garden

Love Elemental

Back to the Garden are likely familiar to many roots fans. Guitarists Jim Soldi and Marc Twang Intravaia, keyboardist Sharon Whyte, bassist Rick Nash, and Larry Grano on drums have all played in the Eve Selis band for years; here, John Rekevics adds horns. Whyte, Soldi, Intravaia, and Grano all perform lead vocals on the […]


Time Songs

From the county’s back country near Julian, the band Haywire has a new CD, Time Songs. Billing itself as an “eclectic folk band,” with sources as varied as Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, and Neil Young, they come across on many of the tracks as a musical and lyrical throwback to the golden age of hippie […]

Moth & Sons

sign of the times

The electric guitar has always been kind of a “outsider” in modern jazz, and the notion of a jazz group that feature two guitarists is unusual, to say the least. There are, of course, exceptions—such as the pairing of Bill Frisell and John Scofield in Marc Johnson’s Bass Desires; or the dual six-stringers in Paul […]