Ron Wynn

Ron’s Contributions

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January/February 2006    Books

Black Notes: Essays of a Musician Writing in a Post-Album Age
William C. Banfield

Despite being deeply troubled by much of what he sees and hears, William C. Banfield avoids churning out another of those "things were so much better in my day" volumes. Instead, this comprehensive and insightful collection of essays celebrates past glories...

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January/February 2006    Books

Elegant Soul: The Life and Music of Gene Harris
Janie Harris and Bob Evancho

Janie Harris' loving, poignant memoir Elegant Soul doesn't ignore the considerable musical achievements of her late husband, Gene Harris. But Bob Evancho's participation ensures that Harris' talents are completely illuminated, from his flair for the blues...

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January/February 2006    Books

The Language of the Blues
Debra DeSalvo

The blues is both an art form and a lifestyle. It's a wondrous, fascinating, perplexing and magnificent sound, and often the music's greatest exponents aren't necessarily the finest technical players or singers. Journalist and musician Debra DeSalvo understands...

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January/February 2006    DVDs

New Guitar Summit: Live at the Stoneham Theatre
Jay Geils, Duke Robillard and Gerry Beaudoin

Guitarist Jay Geils is more associated with sprawling bar-band numbers and updated renditions of Chicago blues standards than participating in jam sessions like the splendid three-part ax-harmony date spotlighted on New Guitar Summit. But those who only...

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January/February 2006    DVDs

King of the Vibes
Lionel Hampton

Lionel Hampton brought the percussive dynamics and flexibility of a great drummer (which he was) to the vibes, showing that it could be far more than a novelty instrument within the jazz ranks. His explosive, teeming solos and willingness to allow his band...

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January/February 2006    DVDs

Spontaneous Inventions
Bobby McFerrin

The phase "improvising vocalist" more accurately describes Bobby McFerrin than the term "jazz singer." From his uncanny ability to imitate instruments to his fluidity with lyrics, charisma on stage and rhythmic skills, McFerrin is a dominant performer. This...

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January/February 2006    DVDs

A Special Evening With Duke Robillard and Friends
Duke Robillard

Guitarist Duke Robillard can deliver supple, disciplined riffs for swing arrangements, extensive and intricate solos for exacting jazz pieces or stinging accompaniment for blues and R&B shouters. A Special Evening links all these aspects of his musical personality...

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December 2005    Fused

Undefined Psych-Chromatic G.R.I.D.
John Carey

Bass virtuoso John Carey calls his music "organized chaos" in the CD liner notes, and this live date ventures outside about as far as anything that's come my way in recent memory. Indeed, benchmarks commonly used to evaluate improvisational sessions don...

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December 2005    Fused

The King Crimson Songbook, Vol. One
The Crimson Jazz Trio

The Crimson Jazz Trio's lineup of pianist Jody Nardone, bassist Tim Landers and drummer Ian Wallace has been careful not to distort King Crimson's melodies, but they do lots of tinkering, restructuring and harmonic adjustments on Songbook. Songs like "21st...

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December 2005    Fused

Soleil 12
The Forgas Band Phenomena

The Forgas Band Phenomena's latest release blurs idiomatic considerations so extensively they render stylistic definitions irrelevant. No one can accuse bandleader and principal composer Patrick Forgas of being tame or conservative in his writing and arrangements...

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December 2005    Fused

Blueberry Cave
Garaj Mahal

The San Francisco band Garaj Mahal will never be accused of stylistic timidity. Indeed, they try so many things on Blueberry Cave that sometimes they get too ambitious. Kai Eckhardt is a fantastic bassist, one of fusion's finest groove players, but he's...

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December 2005    Fused

Thanks for Flying With Us
The Mats/Morgan Band

Swedish multi-instrumentalists Mats Oberg and Morgan Agren mix funky, groove-oriented influences with aspects of trance, rock, jam band and 4/4 jazz on Thanks for Flying With Us. The 16-track CD contains studio and live cuts, and the best pieces are those...

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December 2005    Fused

Airback
NDIO

Former Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper's current band, NDIO, offers some exciting pieces on Airback, though the insertion of distracting samples sometimes detracts from rather than improves the composition. That's particularly true on "Stromboli," where...

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December 2005    Fused

Organik
Niacin

At its best, Niacin's surging, highly personalized music is almost as frenetic and sophisticated as that crafted by the late B3 master Larry Young. While that's high praise, there are at least 10 tracks among the 13 featured selections from Organik that...

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December 2005    Fused

Love Press Ex-Curio
Charlie Peacock

Nashville keyboardist and bandleader Charlie Peacock has amassed such a reputation as a gospel and pop producer as well as a session player that his early roots in jazz aren't widely known. Peacock revisits his jazz heritage here with a set that won't excite...

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December 2005    Fused

Gospel for J.F.P. III:Tribute to Jaco Pastorius
Various Artists

The songs on this tribute that will most remind listeners of electric-bass giant Jaco Pastorius' greatness are those featuring guitarist Hiram Bullock or bassists John Patitucci and Marcus Miller. Bullock teams with fellow guitarist Bireli Lagrene and the...

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About Ron Wynn

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