Monday, March 21, 2016

The Monkees to Celebrate 50th Anniversary This Year with New Album and Tour

Hey, hey, they’re The Monkees, you never know where they’ll be found, so you’d better get ready, they may be comin’ to your town.

You heard that right. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the classic music/comedy TV series that birthed the “Prefab Four,” Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith are recording a new Monkees album called Good Times! (which is scheduled to be released on June 10).

In addition, Dolenz and Tork will hit the road for a Monkees tour from May through October.

Good Times! is the first new Monkees album in 20 years and the third Monkees reunion album in 29 years, following Pool It! from 1987 (featuring Dolenz, Tork, and the late Davy Jones) and Justus from 1996 (featuring all four Monkees).

--Raj Manoharan

Sir George Martin (1926-2016)

Of all the Fifth Beatles, you, Sir, were the classiest.

--Raj Manoharan

CD Review – Coming Home, by Peter Jennison

Veteran American soldier and pianist Peter Jennison's second album is just as moving and poignant as his first, perhaps even more so.

Like his previous release, the new entry was written during Jennison's tour of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, resulting in a thoughtful musical perspective unlike most.

The tone of the record is very reverent and almost elegiac, thanks especially to Jennison's intricate, lyrical compositions and masterfully understated performance style.

The highlight of the album is Jennison's amazing take on “Taps,” with the horn part really stretched out and Jennison filling in the spaces with his ivory reverie. This is the most beautiful version of the song I've heard. Jennison really makes it his own, giving it dramatic breadth and turning it into a breathtaking work of brilliant radiance.

In addition to Jennison, the CD features the talents of producer Will Ackerman on guitar, Charlie Bisharat on violin, engineer Tom Eaton on bass and keyboards, Eugene Friesen on cello, Jill Haley on English horn, Jeff Haynes on percussion, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, and Noah Wilding, Heather Rankin, and Rory Sullivan on vocals.

--Raj Manoharan

Sunday, March 6, 2016

CD Review – Moments from the Life Stories of Strangers, Part One, by Steven Chesne with the Luminous World Orchestra

Accomplished Hollywood film and television composer Steven Chesne returns with another entrancing edition of his illuminating Luminous World Orchestra.

While the album contains some traditional orchestral sounds, this is far from your typical classical music. Chesne composes, arranges, and conducts a melange of melodies and instruments from around the world, resulting in a genuine confluence of sonic world culture.

The combination of familiar and exotic techniques and out-of-the-music-box thinking make this a kaleidoscopic and sensory delight for the ears.

--Raj Manoharan