Oliver Lake: The Whole World

Oliver Lake (b. 1942) is an American jazz musician, composer and poet whose storied career you can read about here. Regardless, on May 21, 2013 he celebrated the release of his second big band album entitled Wheels. This eight track opus is a tour de force of style, compositional prowess, command performances, and outside the box thinking and hearing.

The responsible parties joining Oliver Lake in this endeavor are: Jason Marshall (baritone sax), Darius Jones (alto sax), Bruce Williams (alto sax), Mike Lee (tenor sax), James Stewart (tenor sax), Waldron Ricks (trumpet), Freddie Hendrix (trumpet), Nabate Isles (trumpet), E.J. Allen (trumpet), Aaron Johson (trombone), Stafford Hunter (trombone), Alfred Patterson (trombone), Terry Greene (trombone), Yoichi Uzeki (piano), Marc Cary (piano solo track 6), Robert Sabin (bass), and Chris Beck (drums).

This album caught my attention because of Oliver Lake's deft arrangement of the Outkast song The Whole World. It seemed like such a natural choice for big band interpretation that it's amazing it took this long to happen. However, what I enjoy most about Lake's arrangement isn't just that it's a head melody and then virtuosic blowing across the changes, but rather that the artists go to great lengths to involve the original vocal cadences from the rapped verses. It's an impressive showing of due diligence and one you need to hear.

Check out the track below and then read on for the full album and prerequisit Oliver Lake social media links. You dig?


Martin Zarzar: Libre

Martin Zarzar is an accomplished man. Born in Lima, Peru and raised in South America, Europe, and the United States, he currently calls Portland Oregon home. He is a Berklee alumni, an accomplished multi-instrumentalist as a guitarist, percussionist, vocalist, and arranger, and has ten years of collaboration with the acclaimed ensemble Pink Martini. In addition, he has released two albums of solo works, Two Dollars To Ride The Train, and Libre which was released on June 26th of this year. Tonight, August 22, 2013, there will be a CD release concert for that album at the Alberta Rose Theatra on 3000 NE Alberta St in Portland OR. The concert begins at 8:00 and you can RSVP via Facebook and then let Martin know you'll be coming to the show by sending him a tweet.

The show will feature performances by The BrazillionairesWomen Of The World, a guest acrobatic appearance by Pendulum Arial Arts performer Sarah Hardy, and of course Martin Zarzar and friends which include musicians Paul Mazzio, David Evans, Stan Bock, Dan Gaynor, Al Criado, Israel Annoh, Simon Lucas. The evening promises to be a unique and fulfilling multi-cultural musical experience. Read on for my review of Libre and I will see you tonight Portland. You dig?


Vikesh Kapoor: I Dreamt Blues

Vikesh Kapoor is set to release his debut album in the growing family of the Portland based Mama Bird Recording Co. this October 15th. It will be entitled The Ballad of Willy Robbins. Drawing inspiration from his family roots in rural Pennsylvania, Vikesh Kapoor writes material which centralizes around the hardship of the working class American, but expressed through the character study of Willy Robbins. In other words, the character is the vehicle for his compositions and stories. In this way Vikesh Kapoor is continuing the tradition of American troubadours like Woody Guthrie and Tom Waits.

In the single I Dreamt Blues, Vikesh paints the picture of a seemingly endless work cycle and the feelings of apathy or insignificance in the face of great power which can accompany that lifestyle. His lyrics are poignant, beautifully written, and should give you pause for repose when considered. Please read on for my full thoughts.


Pay The Devil: Money For Old Rope EP

Since 2011, friends of the Dig Pay The Devil have worked to become a regular component of the Milwaukee Wisconsin music scene. The four piece band is comprised of Ivan Eisenberg on banjo, harmonica, and vocals, Ivan Wayne Baker III on guitar, and vocals, Matt Gibbons on mandolin, and vocals, and finally Kent Heberling on spoons, kick drum, and snare. Their newest EP is entitled Money For Old Rope and was released this week on August 6, 2013. True to their nature, it is a mix of Bluegrass, Americana, and  new compositions which speak to the audience through the filter of traditional music.

Read on for my complete thoughts. You dig?


J Roddy Walston & The Business: Essential Tremors

People that know the music of J Roddy Walston and the Business know that they are the face of rock and roll in the 21st Century, and people that are still learning are about to agree. Building on the success of their previous two albums, signing to ATO Records, and now poised to release their third album Essential Tremors this September 10th, this juggernaut band with a charismatic, whiskey swilling, hard singing, Jerry Lee Lewis inspired piano playing front man is knocking down doors and demanding your attention.

In preparation for forthcoming release of Essential Tremors, the band has is streaming Marigold from the album. As read in Kyle McGovern's well written article for Spin this morning, Walston boils the song down like this: "'Marigold' is a dance song about the classic 'Girl meets boy who is pretending to be a girl, who is poor and an artist and dabbling in drug usage because it's all art and his trust fund says so,' story." Read on for my complete thoughts as well as a teaser video.


Widower: Fool Moon

LA based Widower is the latest addition to the Mama Bird Recording Company family. With the release of his album Fool Moon yesterday and in the company of musicians like Denver, SaintSeneca, Barna Howard, and Quiet Life, Widower is in a prime position to have a landmark year. Widower is the singer/songwriter moniker which front man Kevin Large has taken on for the last decade. On this album he is also joined by the enviable cast of musicians Brian Wright, Jeff Fielder, Ty Bailie, William Moore, and vocalist Kaylee Cole

Check out the single Oh Catherine, My Catherine below and then read on for my full thoughts.