November Album Recommendations

In our monthly list of album recommendations, the teachers at MSOM have once again surprised us all with the variety of stuff they are interested in. Enjoy!

Dave: Dave Holland- Prism
This album rocks, it swings, it's funky, it's catchy, it's "out"; it's basically everything that I love about music. Prism is a perfect balance of individuality and group unity. It's hard to believe that this group has only worked together a handful of times. Although every band member deserves praise (Dave Holland bass, Kevin Eubanks guitar, Eric Harland drums, Craig Tabor keys), as a piano player I'll take a moment to expound on the virtues of Craig Taborn. Known as a first-call Rhodes player, it's easy to see why. The Rhodes piano is a surprisingly tough instrument to play, but Taborn sounds unbelievably natural on it. It's also interesting to hear the variety he gets out of his other keyboards throughout the session. His soloing utilizes great note choice, timbre, and rhythm in ways that are truly unique, his comping behind the other musicians is fascinating, and the fact that he also lends several compositions to the outing really defines him as an all-around great musician. This album has been in steady rotation for me since it came out almost a year ago.

Jason: Screaming Headless Torsos- Code Red
Dave Fiuczynski is one of my favorite modern rock/fusion/jazz/microtonal/whatever guitarists. He exhibits a true commitment to bettering his knowledge and skill on the guitar while also maintaining a teaching position up at Berklee in Boston. Fiuczyinski first appeared on the scene in 1994 and has been a sideman or featured performer on many recordings since then, but by far my favorite project of his is the Screaming Headless Torsos, which he leads and composes for. They've been MIA for quite some time, but have returned this year with "Code Red." Imagine metal, funk, fusion, jazz, punk, avant garde, and microtonal Indian music all (tastefully) thrown into one band, and you have an inkling of what makes up this group. Definitely not easy listening, but amazing nonetheless.

Matt: Steely Dan- Aja 
As a fan of jazz and a fan of rock and pop music, this is the album where you can absolutely bridge the two genres.  There is no traditional swing or classic rock going on, but Steely Dan took what most artist's were doing, and starting changing up the chords, adding exstentions, and getting away from the cliche world of rock.  They had a revolving door of musicians that played on the album, notably using drummers like Bernard Purdie and Steve Gadd.  Each song flows right into the next one, and the unique nature at which these songs were written makes this album one of those albums I could not live without.

Tom: (see October. I think he's waiting for a Miley Cyrus Ventures tribute)

Winston: Don Patterson- Dem New York Dues
This amazing session went overlooked in my bin of records for a long time. Anytime you see an organ record with multiple horns you have cause to be leery. Some of these jam sessions were probably fun to be at, but really they only served as a fodder for a segment of the record industry that was trying to make up revenue in a declining market. Nonetheless, even if this record started out this way, the level of the players on this date overcomes the occasional jam session mediocrity and raises it to the high standards that all of the musicians heard here are used to. Much of the credit goes to the trio backing this date, Patterson's working group of Pat Martino on guitar, Billy James on drums and himself on organ. This was a regular group for many years, and the symbiotic playing that comes from hundreds, if not thousands, of shared gigs is apparent in everything that they do. Martino and Patterson showcase their mastery of the single note line while James keeps it bumping underneath. Drummers take note; Billy James might be the most underrated drummer in jazz. That man can swing a quarter note! One other great thing about this album is that it was originally slated as two releases, so the current version of it has sixteen tracks and clocks in at just over two hours of music; plenty to get your fill.

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