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Choice Cuts by Eric Harabadian

Chris Standring, Electric Wonderland (Ultimate Vibe UVR005): Standring is a contemporary jazz guitarist that captures the essence of the classic LA studio sound and updates it for modern ears. It’s a somewhat laid back sound that walks the path between chill and ambient territories. He’s an amazing arranger and orchestrator as well as evidenced by tracks like “Almost September” and “All That Glitters.” A lot of pop and crossover styles utilize a ton of programming and synthetic sounds and, while some of that is apparent here, the use of a real string section for the orchestral parts is a revelation. There also is a brilliant use of organic and sequenced sounds on cuts like the heavily syncopated “Oliver’s Twist” and “Wishful Thinking.” What further adds to the relaxed feel of this record is Standring’s seamless Wes Montgomery meets Dennis Coffey technique; it’s the perfect storm! ###

The Beatles, et al., Strange Fruit (DVD, Sexy Intellectual SIDVD570): In 1967, after the success of albums like Rubber Soul and Revolver, the Beatles were doing very well financially and decided to retire from live touring in order to devote more time to studio work. Facing the specter of immense taxation that loomed over their heads in Britain at the time, they were advised to invest and diversify their assets. The Beatles decided to start a record label/publishing company and, hence, began the story behind the formation of Apple Records. Exhausted with the stodgy and staid practices of traditional major record labels, the Fab Four’s intent was to create a label that would be artist-friendly and about the music. Apple Records had a run from the late ‘60s through the early ‘70s and, in that period, signed quite an array of burgeoning acts, including James Taylor, Mary Hopkin, Jackie Lomax, Billy Preston, The Iveys and Badfinger. This is a fascinating view into the social and musical culture going on at the time and a thorough document of the arc and descent of a utopian business model. 162 minutes in length, this action packed film includes new interviews with members of Badfinger, The Iveys and Jackie Lomax, musician and Beatles expert Chris Ingham, MOJO magazine’s Mark Paytress and Apple biographer Stefan Granados. There’s also tons of archival footage, rare Beatles and related artists video clips and much more. An extremely well done film, indeed! ###

april 2012 dlm  

Detroits favorite live music monthly

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