Originally released in 1988, this album marked one of the truly successful world fusion creations, which Rhythm Magazine said symbolizes "the birth of a new era in music". It's a direct, transcendent exchange between six acclaimed musicians from diverse cultures, including L. Shankar, Zakir Hussain, Nicky Skopelitis, Daniel Ponce, Aiyb Dieng and producer/bassist Bill Laswell. This CD is a true American melting pot of deeply tangled roots, merging East and West to create a new music soundscape. At it's core, there's Indian music, and somewhere underneath lies flashes of the slow rustic lope of American country music.
Call it an aggregation of some of the best contemporary percussionists: Trilok Gurtu, Zakir Hussain, and Asian Underground star Talvin Singh combine under the sonic washes of producer Bill Laswell to show the possibilities of Indian percussion. It's definitely a beatfest, but one of subtlety, where what is being said isn't as important as the way it's being stated, and the dialogue between hands includes a lot of silences. Gurtu comes from a more jazz tradition, Hussein a classical background, and Singh represents the brash young things of the dance floor. Mostly Laswell leaves it to them to provide the sonic entertainment, which is as it should be with delicate swathes of sound barely intruding, just coloring the proceedings. While it's not for everyone, those who love Indian percussion in all its forms will find this album a complete joy.
Persuaded by Laswell to continue working throughout the second half of 1980s, drummer Ginger Baker produced some of his most stimulating collections, not least of which were the Laswell produced Middle Passage and this 1986 set. The drummer is rock-solid throughout, which means that most of the compositions become a showcase for an impressive lineup of guest musicians that reads like a list of the Bill Laswell all-stars. Even when pared down to an all-rhythm trio on "Mountain Time," Baker, though undeniably effective, remains the big beat behind Daniel Ponce and Aiyb Dieng's percussion display.
Originally recorded in 1957, these sessions turned out to be the last the legendary Big Bill Broonzy would record; only a little over a year later, he succumbed to lung cancer. This collection consists not of fan or producer favorites, but Broonzy favorites, and includes a variety of blues, folk, and devotional music. Though he was instrumental to the development of the blues and the Chicago sound, much of the material on this three-disc set reaches back to the music that the blues came from, with a lot of drop-in help from Broonzy's friends, of which there were many. That makes these recordings not only recordings, but documentation, a testament to a bluesman who was at once musician and historian.
For their second CD for Tzadik, this fabulous trio takes a step toward tradition with a heavy CD of music for the classic format of guitar, bass and drums. Recorded at Bill Laswell’s Orange Studio by James Dellatacoma, the sound is as intense and powerful as the music. Les Rhinocéros II is a strong second release by this tight and razor sharp new band of musical renegades.
The band has a core rhythm section, but features a revolving combination of all-star guest front men and women. These recordings feature the talents of Gary Brooker, Georgie Fame, Albert Lee, Andy Fairweather Low, Chris Rea, Beverley Skeete, Mick Taylor and George Harrison (amongst his last recordings) on an intriguing and varied selection of covers and originals.