Reviews: Paradise Swamp from Catherine Delgadillo; Transformation from Tal Wilkenfeld

I recently downloaded two new releases, both by ax–wielding women, Catherine Delgadillo, a guitarist, and bassist Tal Wilkenfeld, who started out on guitar before switching instruments. Both of these young women show promise, poise and maturity on these, their debut releases.

Delgadillo’s Paradise Swamp is a fusion offering that treads very heavily in progressive instrumental rock territory. She possesses a sound that owes a bit of gratitude to both Frank Gambale and Alan Holdsworth; nice and raw, edgy and melodic – she’s a shredder but it never gets monotonous. She has a lot of good ideas, as evidenced by her compositions, which are very interesting and well developed. Paradise Swamp has a big sound, which had me continuously cranking up the volume on my iPod, thanks in no small part to her husband, Kevin, on drums. Besides electric and acoustic guitar, Catherine also handles the keyboards as well. The other musicians are Bill Hare and Mark Hokenson who split duties on bass. Stand out tracks are “Paradise Swamp” and “Catch Me.”
**Note – in the late eighties, there was a monster of a progressive fusion band out of Buffalo, NY named Gamalon, which released five recordings; Catherine Delgadillo conjures up memories of this incredible, but under recognized band.

While Delgadillo plays on the rock side of the pool (or is it swamp?), Tal Wilkenfeld jumps in the jazz waters headfirst. From the first few bars of Transformation, it’s apparent where this woman is headed – and she never looks back. This is a debut full of heady, well-composed jazz fusion with a healthy dose of straight ahead styling, courtesy of Geoff Keezer on keys and Seamus Blake on tenor sax. Wilkenfeld’s compositions, arrangements and overall production sensibilities remind me of gems I’ve heard from the likes of John Patitucci, John Scofield, the Yellowjackets and the late Michael Brecker – not such bad company to keep. This Australian’s talents have attracted the attention of Jeff Beck, where she is a member of his touring band, and Chick Corea, whom she toured her home country with in a band along with Frank Gambale and Antonio Sanchez. The other musicians on Transformation are Keith Carlock on drums and the highly accomplished, yet underrated Wayne Krantz on guitar. Both of these recordings were a pleasant discovery and I hope we will be hearing more from these ax–wielding ladies in the not too distant future.

On the Web:
Catherine Delgadillo | Catherine on MySpace

Tal Wilkenfeld Official Site | Tal on MySpace

Buy the Paradise Swamp CD from Amazon.com!
Buy the Paradise Swamp download from iTunes!

Buy the Transformation CD from Amazon.com!
Buy the Transformation download from iTunes!

Chick Corea Elektric Band Concert Report

Chick CoreaJohn Vidor recently caught one of the few Chick Corea Elektric Band Reunion concerts at The Blue Note in NYC on October 26. John has been kind enough to write this report and supply the pictures below. Thanks, John!

“Having lived in the New York City area for over 15 years until 1985, and now living in upstate New York, it is always a pleasure going back for a visit, especially when going to see a jazz show. On Saturday, October 26, my wife Gladys and I had the pleasure of attending the reunion concert of the Chick Corea Elektric Band at The Blue Note. Chick was joined by Eric Marienthal, Frank Gambale, Jimmy Earl, and Dave Weckl. To say that the show was one of the finest we ever saw would be an understatement. The fact that we were sitting only one seat back from stage-center in this hallowed center of jazz only added to the enjoyment. From this vantage point, one can see the drops of sweat, the popping veins, and the intense concentration of the band members as they perform. Chick’s choice of the term “Elektric” for this band not only refers to the instrumentation, but, at least in my opinion, to the charged atmosphere created by group as they play. It was a full house at the Blue Note last Saturday, with people of various ethnic backgrounds coming together to enjoy the show. I heard Brazilian, German, Russian, Swedish, and Spanish being spoken. The band has international appeal. Another couple sitting with us at our table came all the way from Cleveland, Ohio. Chick and the guys played a number of songs from their various releases. My personal favorite was “Blue Miles”, an in-your-face funk tune off the band’s Paint the World release. In addition, there were duets with Chick and Eric, and Chick and Frank (on acoustic guitar). Dave Weckl provided incredible drum work, and Jimmy Earl’s contribution on bass was astounding. There was plenty of opportunity for soloing by all of the members, and each member took full advantage to show off their chops. After the show, I had the pleasure of taking a couple of pictures with Chick. I asked him if a new Elektric Band release was planned. Chick was a bit evasive, but my guess is that if the boys are met with the response at the other venues they will be appearing at, is the same as at The Blue Note last Saturday, get ready for some more “elektricity” from this super-band.”

Chick Corea live Chick Corea live Chick Corea live Chick Corea live Chick Corea live

Review: Is Love Enough? from George Duke

Is Love Enough? from George Duke

George Duke says he “stretched a little more into the funk area on this one because I had so many people ask me to.” Think he’s kidding? The first half of Is Love Enough?, which is much more like his previous Warner Bros. albums Snapshot and Illusions than last year’s Muir Woods Suite, is heavy on the funk and slow jams. On the opening of “Kinda Low,” Duke, bassist Byron Miller, and drummer Ndugu Chancler declare “Once ya funky, ya always funky!” The groove is deep, with the sole exception of the sweet “Fill the Need.” Duke gets jazzier after the instrumental “Time and Space” interlude (futuristic instrumentals open and close the album). After Duke’s uptempo “Back in the Day” instrumental, he lets Jonathan Butler and Dianne Reeves take over “This Place I Call Home.” Dori Caymmi is featured on “Whatever Happened To…” Duke pulls in many of his frequent partners, including Everette Harp, Rachelle Ferrell, Phil Perry, and George Howard. Also appearing on the album are Doc Powell and Norman Brown. Of his fellow musicians, Duke says “each of you brought gourmet dishes to the musical table.” Is Love Enough? features a table with equal portions of funk and contemporary jazz. Whether you enjoy one or the other, or both, you’ll feel satisfied.

> Buy the CD/download MP3 tracks from Amazon.com