New Music – A Review of Herb Alpert’s New Album, Music Volume 1

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Herb Alpert’s ‘Music Volume 1’

A living legend is back with his sixth album in the past seven years. Herb Alpert, the famed trumpeter and former record company executive, works with producer Jochem van der Saag on the new album Music Volume 1.  The combination of these two talents is masterful and satisfying, and it produces a collection that will please several generations of fans.

The album features primarily cover songs with new treatments that emphasize rhythms and backbeats, and this review not only takes a look at the new album, but also offers a peek at Alpert’s phenomenal success in the music industry. It was 55 years ago this year, for example, that Alpert and his Tijuana Brass began conquering the charts with his first hit album and single, The Lonely Bull.

Music Volume 1 features unique renditions on some familiar classics such as the Beatles “Michelle,” John Lennon’s “Imagine,” and Nate King Cole’s “Unforgettable” as well as new version of Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” Alpert also brings back one the TJB’s early hits, Flamingo,” the album’s first single.

Alpert received a Grammy nomination for the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for his 2016 work, Human Nature.  In many ways, Music Vol. 1 is a superior collection, and should not only receive a 2017 nomination, which would be his 25th, but he can be considered a strong early favorite.

Lessons in Rock and Roll and Jazz Music – Guitarist Doug Jackson of Ambrosia Talks about His Craft

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Doug Jackson’s 2016 solo album ‘The Performance’

Doug Jackson is the guitarist for the progressive rock group Ambrosia, which hit the singles and albums charts in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.  The bands biggest hits include “How Much I Feel” from the 1978 album Life Beyond L.A., and “Biggest Part of Me” and “You’re the Only Woman (You and I)” from the 1980 album One Eighty.  Jackson permanently joined the group in 2000 after founding member David Pack had left to work on other projects.

In this conversation, Jackson talks about his musical roots as well as how his training as a jazz musician has enabled him to play alongside some of the best classic rock artists in the industry. More about Jackson can be found at his website, www.dougjacksonguitar.com.

David Bowie – Changes: Retrospective of a Rock Icon

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About this Episode

David Bowie

On January 10, 2016, the music world was surprised and saddened to learn one of the biggest rock and roll icons of the last four decades had died. Due to his desire for privacy, the public was unaware that David Bowie had been diagnosed with liver cancer 18 months prior, and two days after his 69th birthday – and the release of his final studio album – he died of the disease at his New York home.

This special episode of the Documenting Popular Music takes a look at Bowie’s career, which began in the late 1960s, when his music wasn’t initially understood.  However, the British performer’s unique way of presenting songs eventually caught on and led to a long and successful career that garnered millions of fans around the globe.

Bowie was more than a rock singer and songwriter, and his theatrical nature helped him produce albums that were more than simply music. There were back stories and avant-garde characters, such as Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke, which offered fans something they couldn’t find elsewhere.

And while he had a love for rock and roll, he was also drawn to blues, jazz, dance, grunge and a long list of other genres, which he incorporated into his music.

He also loved to put drama in his music, and that point was made clear on his last album, Blackstar, which deals with the subject of death, as Bowie seemed to write about his own ending in the same theatrical style he’d always loved.

Rock and Roll History – Jazz Musician Ron Aprea Talks about Recording with John Lennon

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Ron Aprea’s jazz album pays tribute to John Lennon and the Beatles

Having played with some of the greats on the big band scene, saxophonist Ron Aprea has carved out a long and successful career as a jazz musician. He has also been part of rock and roll history as one of a small group of horn players to record with John Lennon on the former Beatle’s 1974 Walls and Bridges album.

In this interview with Robert Neil, Aprea talks about his recent tribute album to Lennon and the Beatles as well as what it was like to record with Lennon (including a story about Lennon photocopying his face). Notably, Aprea’s album features a version of “Imagine,” where he is joined by trumpeter Steve Madaio, one of the other original musicians from the Walls and Bridges sessions. (More information about Aprea and his album can be found at RonAprea.com.)

Urban Country: The Country/Pop Music Phenomenon of the Early 1980s

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About this Episode

‘Urban Cowboy’ soundtrack album

In the late 70s, a music trend began to take shape as Top 40 radio stations started playing more and more songs by artists that had usually been proprietary to county stations. By the early 80s, a legitimate country/pop phenomenon was under way, and numerous country songs and performers were receiving mainstream acceptance.

This radio documentary spotlights some of the prominent artists involved in the shift and examines the reasons behind the changes. Included in this presentation are thoughts from Professor Jocelyn Neal, from the University North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who has written several books on popular music, including Country Music: A Cultural and Stylistic History.

 

Artists covered in this feature include:

Kenny Rogers

Dolly Parton

Juice Newton

Willie Nelson

Ronnie Milsap

Eddie Rabbitt

Emmylou Harris

and the movie Urban Cowboy

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