Profile for Kenneth Mackenzie > Reviews


Kenneth Mackenzie's Profile

Customer Reviews: 6
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Helpful Votes: 16

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Canned Funk
Canned Funk
15 used & new from $17.78

2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious and uninteresting - try Outback or Moon Germs, December 19, 2013
This review is from: Canned Funk (Audio CD)
I'm both a CTI nut and a big Joe Farrell fan. If you are looking for another killer album from Joe, this is not it. If you're thinking about dropping $30-$60 on a rare copy - you've been warned. The main problem with this album is the material. The compositions begin as if they are going to be heady and full of variety, but after a minute in you realize they are not going to fulfill their own promise - particularly harmonically. I don't mind good ol' rock jams, but these are downright boring; with Joe Beck, Herb Bushler and Jim Madison seriously contributing to the yawn-fest.

There are fleeting moments of interest, one or two very complex unison lines (one is actually astonishing, a quote from Dizzy Gillespie's "Bebop" at lightning speed) but they don't make up for all else that's lacking. The title track isn't bad...if you can get through the first 2 minutes of pentatonic blahs. "Animal" reminded me of music morally conscious tv shows in the 70's would play during a club scene with drug-crazed hippies cavorting. The best track would be "Spoken Silence" where Joe's tenor sound is absolutely great, and his playing is spot on. The song makes no pretense about being anything other than a pretty 2-chord jam. Still, what could have been wonderful moments when the song breaks and releases into a new 2-chord sequence are completely marred by Bushler's rhythmically messy (and loud) noodling. Not Joe Becks finest hour, either. Incidentally, nothing on the album is really that funky.

I would heartily recommend "Moon Germs", "Outback", and even "Joe Farrell Quartet" if you don't mind the occasional freak-out or Chick Corea in his "Circle" phase. "Penny Arcade" is mixed kinda funny (thin sax sound) but also has plenty of memorable songs and performances. This one... not so much.

Gilberto With Turrentine
Gilberto With Turrentine
Offered by Big_Box_Bargains
Price: $30.26
25 used & new from $0.59

2.0 out of 5 stars Original recording amazing - CD release sounds horrible, March 19, 2013
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As another reviewer has pointed out - the mixes on the cd release are a travesty, and nearly ruin the album. My advise would be to find a pristine vinyl copy.

I just picked up a used copy of the late 80's cd pressing. The mixes are so horrible I could cry. The vinyl version of this album is by far one of the best sounding, arranged and produced CTI albums, but you'd never know it from this. CBS seemed to have something against reverb and delay - most of it is gone on the cd, leaving Gilberto bare and exposed, too 'up front'. It's almost like owning a different album.

I first noticed it on track 2 "Brazilian Tapestry". I thought, boy this sounds so lame, so I did a side by side comparison of the vinyl to the cd. The congas, by Airto no less, are gone. Not lower, gone! The triangle is now the main instrument, Astrud is dry as a bone, the strings have been moved from the center (1 o'clock, really) to hard right and hard left via some processing.

Don't judge this album by the cd pressing! They took a sonically delightful 70's album and robbed it of ALL it's charm. Shocking. What could possibly make anyone think a Rudy Van Gelder mix needed improving? Ugh.

Find the vinyl or just listen to it on youtube.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 18, 2013 1:48 PM PDT

High Energy / Liquid Love / Windjammer
High Energy / Liquid Love / Windjammer
Price: $19.88
17 used & new from $9.70

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Isn't the controversy over by now?, December 27, 2012
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The remasters sound great, the packaging is good and the liner notes are very informative. I already had "High Energy" but this was totally worth it to get "Liquid Love" and "Windjammer". Some 35 years have gone by now, and I think we can all accept the various reasons why artists chose the fusion/funk route. I, for one, love it, and Freddie is the master. Nearly every track in this collection warrants repeating. The real surprises for me were the quality and jazziness of "Liquid Love" and even "Windjammer". The maligned versions of "Dream Weaver" and "Midnight At the Oasis" are both highly listenable, and there is much more improv going on than the liner notes would have you believe. Highlights of "Liquid Love" are the last 4 out of 6 tracks with compositions by Benny Golson, George Cables and 2 winners from Hubbard - the title track and the African percussion infused "Kuntu" - a brilliant outing. All tracks have ample moments of harmonic interest that should satisfy any jazz lover, and for crying out loud - Freddy is at the very top of his game. "Windjammer" has the Hubbard composition "Neo Terra" which is worth the price of the whole set, and a remarkably likeable version of Morris Albert's dreaded 70's staple "Feelings". Other highlights are the title track and the aforementioned "Dreamweaver". As the liner notes assert, Freddie was definitely trying to hit a money market here; the more important attribute is not only that he did (#3 jazz chart, top 10 r&b chart) but that it is so satisfying musically and in performance. Along with George Cables we have Steve Gadd, Andy Newmark, Harvery Mason and Carl Burnett on drums (!!), Chuck Rainey on bass, Junior Cook on sax & flute, Victor Feldman, Joe Sample, Bob James (arranged & produced Windjammer album) Ernie Watts, Dean Parks, Steve Khan, Dave Spinozza, Eric Gale, Hubert Laws, Phil Bodner etc etc. Just get it!! I wouldn't expect this to be in print for very long... I sure hope they continue to put out the Columbia releases.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 23, 2013 12:59 AM PST

Original Album Classics
Original Album Classics
Price: $14.99
47 used & new from $12.89

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of blues and some gimmickry but the 1st and last cd make it worthwhile!, December 27, 2012
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This review is from: Original Album Classics (Audio CD)
Most of us already have "Time Out", but if you don't then this is a steal. It's a steal anyway! The 3 'Time' albums following "Time Out" were a bit disappointing to me - more than half of the numbers are some type of 12 bar blues, (on one album this is intentional), and the composition quality is mediocre - in other words, good! but not up to Brubeck's normal level. Also, Paul Desmond takes a major back seat in these albums and is missed. Brubeck sounds more than a bit sloppy on a few tracks. The last album "Time In", however, is a huge leap in a positive direction with powerful, interesting melodies & ideas and brilliant usage of intriguing rhythms. I understand from some of the other reviewers that 1 or 2 of these albums haven't been released on cd before - so a boon for collectors. Regarding the mini album sleeves: they are indeed very fun and cool; but the liner notes on the back are so small they are literally impossible to read. This would get one less star from me, but it's got "Time Out" - one of the most enjoyable jazz albums of all time!!

Anita O'Day - The Life Of A Jazz Singer
Anita O'Day - The Life Of A Jazz Singer
DVD ~ Anita O'Day
Price: $19.99
16 used & new from $9.31

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly informative, insightful and evocative., September 19, 2009
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I became an instant fan of Anita's after watching this. A distinguished voice, very natural phrasing right up there with Frank and Billie, and a highly creative mind that among other things enabled her to re-invent herself a few times - you'll learn and see all of this on this engaging documentary/bio. I recommend this dvd over any other similar jazz bio. It's never tedious, does not skim over important details, does not distractingly interrupt the performances, does not shrink from the painful, and the musical and life triumphant rewards are abundant. A must!

Soul Bird: Whiffenpoof
Soul Bird: Whiffenpoof
12 used & new from $16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the other "Soul" titles, January 10, 2009
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This review is from: Soul Bird: Whiffenpoof (Audio CD)
I would have bought it anyway, but I had high hopes on this cd after reading the other user reviews here, so I thought I'd give another view. This album comes between the popular "Soul Sauce" and the stellar and superior "Soul Burst". It has little in common with either - with some of the lineup from "Soul Sauce" but none of the verve (no pun intended) and little improvisation. Another reviewer wrote "concise"; terse might be a better description. Half of the songs don't make it to the 3:00 mark, some simply just state the theme nonchalantly and end or fade.

Cal is mostly not to blame here for the overall blandness, (although he seems far less enthused than normal here), he still plays great (when does he not?), and this is a Creed Taylor production after all. The vibes sound mushy (Phil Ramone to blame?) and don't sparkle as on finer Tjader discs. Richard Davis on bass is solid but seriously boring, same for drummer Sol Gubin. Pianist Paul Griffin is ok and is obviously into it, but a bit too sweet at times, often sounding hokey on the funky tunes, and at times might as well be a 1970s honky-tonk country & western pianist - for me he ruins some of the tracks, particularly "Doxy" - which was not off to a good start anyway with a questionable arrangement.

"The Whiffenpoof Song", "Soul Bird (Tin Tin Deo)", and "The Prophet" are all good, not great. "Samba de Orfeu" wins the prize for shortness with the quickest AABABA statement ever - a solo would've made it so much nicer. The best song is the one with the better line-up - "Reza", with Lonnie Hewitt and John Rae giving Cal some infusion of actual life. "Shiny Silk Stockings" comes in second with a pleasant breezey rendition; perfect background music for smiling and shopping, with a nice Cal solo and no solo from Griffin.

The special packaging is cool for retro enthusiasts but not so much if you want the retrospective low down on the recording, with only the original and somewhat stupid liner notes.

Not the disc to experience Cal Tjader for the first time - go to "Soul Burst" or even "Black Orchid" which has some seriously fiery sessions from 1959 that are not to be missed. If you are looking to fill in the holes of your Tjader collection - this one might dissapoint, although I wouldn't call it bad - just meh.

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