THE GLORIOUS CORNER
Story By: G. H. HARDING
MAROON’S V --- Adam Levine and his Maroon 5 are on an enviable ride for sure. Just saw them on today’s Today show, tub-thumping their new album V out tomorrow; (they performed their new single “Maps” and “One More Night.”) Levine, just married, has also just begun the next cycle of his TV show The Voice (this time with Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams); and, just had his debut movie Once Again come out and he was terrific in it.
Levine and crew are just writing and producing some of the best music around right now. I’m a die-hard fan and actually became one when the group had just released their Hands All Over album (September 2010) and on it was the song “No Curtain Call” that convinced me this was a group to watch. The song was multi-layered, with a chorus that was orchestral, operatic even, to a degree and sounded just terrific.
Their performance today was pretty sensational despite some initial sound issues. Levine’s voice is astonishingly good; fluid and melodic and in his many interviews he always cites none other than Stevie Wonder as a major influence and true to his words, his voice does borrow many of Wonder’s best moves.
If I was a songwriter today, I'd go directly to the entire Maroon 5 catalog to assess what’s working and what doesn't. Terrific work for sure.
BRUCE’S RAILS --- Jack Bruce, bassist for the all-enduring power Cream returns with a new solo album, his first in 10 years, titled Silver Rails on the Esoteric Antenna record label, and, is just sensational. With the likes of Robin Trower on guitar; Phil Manzanera from Roxy Music … he weaves one of the most consistent and likable albums I've heard in years.
The album opens with a jazzy and brass laden Candlelight and features Manzanera on guitar laying down a solo that gets into the bones and suffuses the listener with warmth. The Hammond-organ in the back provides richness but the star of the song is Bruce’s vocal – unmistakable and surprisingly powerful for a love song.
Reach For The Night is a Bruce/Brown collaboration and the spoken vocals are chilling – there are images of a life passing by, speeding to an inevitable end and filled with dread at that end. Derek Nash delivers a great sax solo but again it is Bruce’s vocals and some remarkable lyrics that steal the show.
In anyone else’s hands this might be an overblown affair, all sweeping emotion and massive strings but Bruce understates the music and the result is much, much more than just another valedictory song.
The album isn't small or underplayed at any point but the album is scaled and paced perfectly to suit the song and there isn't a moment when you feel that Jack Bruce is taking the easy route – just the right one.
Jack Bruce: vital then … vital now.
HARI’S APPLE YEARS --- Still no official word yet, but a listing for George Harrison: The Apple Ltd. Years has popped up on Amazon.co.uk in England, but not yet in the U. S. The early listing with no cover images shows no price in the U. K., but 74.65 euros (roughly $100 USD). The release date is shown in the Italian listing to be Sept. 23, which is about what has been previously reported. The British listing says there will be nine discs. Stay tuned.
CLOSING NOTES --- Fashion week starts Thursday here in NYC ...
The U. K.'s Kate Bush dominated the British Albums chart this week, placing two albums in the top ten, eight in the top 40 and eleven in the top 50.
The resurgence comes as she opens her residency in London, her first concerts in 35 years. The shows and the publicity surrounding them have propelled her entire catalog into the top 50.
SIGHTINGS --- Music-promo-kingpin Brad LeBeau at China Blue in Tribeca.