Kansas — There's Know Place Like Home
(Star City SCR 10907, 2009, CD)
by Dan Marsh, Published 2010-07-01
Classic Kansas with an orchestra! Kansas celebrated their 35th anniversary in February 2009 by appearing with the Washburn University Symphony Orchestra in Topeka, Kansas. Unlike many rock / orchestra pairings, this one was actually thought out and scored to get maximum use out of the orchestra. Strings dominate such Kansas staples as “Song for America,” “Hold On” and “Miracles out of Nowhere.” For this show, the orchestra is a partner with the band rather than just a prop (the Metallica experiment comes to mind here). The older songs are given a new lease on life and the band is in top form. Yes, I could do without hearing “Dust in the Wind” again, but that is a minor complaint. Richard Williams, as the only guitar player in the band, has chops that we have not heard before. The violin of David Ragsdale is splendid and Phil Ehart’s drumming continues to push the band as he has for years. Add to that guest appearances by Kerry Livgren and Steve Morse and you have a very enjoyable 80-minute CD. It’s good to know that one of the old warhorses can still give us a fine night of music. If you have not listened to Kansas recently, this would be a good way to start.
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more