Monday, January 27, 2014

Music – Debut Album from Andy Summers and Circa Zero Available at Amazon

Circus Hero, the debut album from Police guitarist Andy Summers' new rock band Circa Zero, is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Named after a radio DJ's mispronunciation of the band's name during an interview with Summers, the CD is scheduled for release by 429 Records on March 25, 2014.

In addition to Summers, Circa Zero features Los Angeles multi-instrumentalist and Rescues' leader Rob Giles and Canadian drummer Emmanuelle Caplette.

For more information on Circa Zero, visit,, and

--Raj Manoharan

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Congratulations to Laura Sullivan on Her Grammy Win!

Congratulations to Laura Sullivan on her album Love's River winning Best New Age Album of the Year at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. In honor of this momentous occasion, I am reposting my March 31, 2013, review of Laura's winning album:

CD Review – Love’s River, by Laura Sullivan

Laura Sullivan’s sixth release is a study in subtlety, providing much-needed and welcome respite from the amplified noise of everyday life.
The eleven original piano compositions penned by Sullivan are elegant and gorgeous, profuse in the fluidity of passion suggested by the title.
In addition to Sullivan’s piano and synthesized orchestrations, the rich sound mix includes guitar by Will Ackerman (producer on four tracks), trumpet and flugelhorn by Jeff Oster, cello by Eugene Friesen, oboe and English horn by Nancy Rumbel, and oboe and English horn by Jill Haley.
This is a perfect CD to take along anytime you want to sojourn down love’s river.
--Raj Manoharan

Sunday, January 19, 2014

CD Review – Reflections, by Danny Wright

Danny Wright reflects on his nearly three-decade career with this collection of 17 originals and one cover, each dedicated to an individual who was instrumental in the pianist's life and calling.

In his liner notes, Wright draws attention to Ann Nestler (to whom the cover song “Moonlight in Vermont” is dedicated) for playing his music exclusively in her Primrose Garden gift store in Vermont beginning in 1985.

The album represents the breadth and range of Wright's composing and performing capabilities, which are tremendous. All of the compositions are inspired (and not just by those to whom they're dedicated), showcasing Wright's musical creativity, sensitivity, and thoughtfulness. And the playing is top-notch, a result of Wright's masterful command of the keyboard.

Those who enjoy classy, elegant solo piano music will not be disappointed.

--Raj Manoharan

Monday, January 13, 2014

CD Review – The Reality of the Fantasy, by James Sera

On his debut disc, James Sera takes the art of solo acoustic fingerstyle guitar in bold new directions.

Sera is an accomplished player who is also a guitar instructor. However, he is also adept at spinning compelling six-string yarns.

The compositions are intricate and delicate, but they also have an edge that is often not found in this kind of recording. This is due to Sera's use of alternate tunings and his unique arrangement of intros, bridges, and chord progressions.

Often, Sera's smooth, effortless playing will draw you in and set you up to think you know what's coming up next. That's where Sera shakes things up, charting unexpected paths that are ultimately satisfying and thrilling.
This is definitely an acoustic excursion worth taking, especially for enthusiasts of solo acoustic fingerstyle guitar.
--Raj Manoharan