Deep Purple/ Whoosh!, Rock, earMusic
Obviously, on the new Deep Purple album Whoosh!, vocalist Ian Gillan doesn’t sing the high-pitched notes he did in the 1970s. But he’s 75 now, and to be fair, he controls his voice remarkably and knows his range perfectly.
Whoosh! thus consists of a set of tight songs that aren’t complex in their structure and are ideal for car rides. And while old-time drummer Ian Paice and bassist Roger Glover tightly manage the rhythm section, there’s a lot of wizardry from the later entrants, guitarist Steve Morse and keyboardist Don Airey.
One may argue that an out-and-out anthem is missing, but that’s a tough call for a band that’s created so many marvels over the years. Yet, there are some great tracks, most specifically the progressive, keyboard-dominated ‘Nothing To Say’ and the sing-along beauty ‘Step By Step’.
‘Throw My Bones’ is the standard opener, ‘Drop The Bomb’ is a powerful number about violence control, and ‘Man Alive’ has that scorching Morse solo. The instrumental ‘And The Address’, written by former members Jon Lord and Richie Blackmore, has a Cream-like intro and lovely keyboard-guitar interaction. For the third Purple album in succession, Bob Ezrin of Pink Floyd’s The Wall fame chips in as producer. He adds the haze to the purple.
Rating- 8/ 10
Rumer/ Nashville Tears, Country, Self-released
When UK-bred singer Rumer spent time in the US, she got exposed to the Tennessee region’s country music. That’s when she and producer Fred Mollin decided to explore the world of songwriter Hugh Prestwood.
The result is Nashville Tears, a set of 15 songs that are beautifully written and expressed. Some of these tunes have been recorded earlier by the likes of Trisha Yearwood, Randy Travis, and Alison Kraus, but Rumer lends her own touch. Without the expected twang of country music, she possesses a style more rooted in British folk and also influenced by Karen Carpenter, but yet using country fiddles, acoustic guitars, steel guitars, and lush string arrangements.
After setting the tempo with the rootsy ‘Fate Of The Fireflies’ and ‘June It’s Gonna Come’, she has melodic winners in ‘Bristlecone Pine’, the marvelous sing-along ‘Ghost In This House’ and the uptempo country-blues piece ‘Deep Summer In The Deep South’, which has an extended outro.
Some might feel that 15 songs are a bit much, but Rumer’s idea was to explore Prestwood’s repertoire extensively, and she best brings that out on ‘The Song Remembers When’ and ‘Half The Moon’. Nashville Tears is a sharp contrast to her brilliant 2010 debut Seasons of the Soul and showcases her versatility.
Rating- 9/ 10
Gloria Estefan/ Brazil305, Latino-Pop, Sony Music
Hindi film lovers would have probably heard of Cuban-American star Gloria Estefan, because her song ‘Rhythm Is Gonna Get You’ inspired the Tridev hit ‘Oye Oye’. On her own, she’s been at the forefront of the Latino-pop movement, a decade before Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, and Shakira.
On her new release Brazil305, 63-year-old Estefan has mainly reworked her older hits, using additional samba elements. It’s a trilingual album, with a good mix of Spanish and English, and one song ‘Magdalena’ in Portuguese.
Besides popular hits like ‘Rhythm Is Gonna Get You’, ‘Get On Your Feet’ and ‘Cuts Both Ways’, she’s used Colombian rhythms on the famous ‘Samba’, which she first performed with her earlier group Miami Sound Machine. This song comes with a fresh video.
We also have Spanish and English versions of Maria Rita’s well-known Portuguese tune ‘O Homem Falou’, the salsa number ‘Ayer’ and the new Spanish love song ‘Quando Hay Amor’. The album comes seven years after Estefan released her collection of standards. This time, she makes sure the Latino-pop rhythm is gonna get you.
Rating- 8/ 10
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers/ Just Coolin’, Jazz, Blue Note Records
Besides being a prolific American jazz drummer, Art Blakey was hugely respected as a bandleader who encouraged lots of younger talent. His pet project was The Jazz Messengers, and they did some phenomenal albums and shows.
With that background, tune in to Just Coolin’, a previously-unreleased Messengers album that Blue Note Records recently put out. It contains six tracks recorded in 1959, a year which had landmark releases by Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Sonny Rollins, and Ornette Coleman.
In many ways, this album belongs to trumpeter Lee Morgan, who plays some incredible solos throughout. Saxophonist Hank Mobley, pianist Bobby Timmons, and bassist Jymie Merritt, complete the quintet.
The sound is typical of the hard bop of the late 1950s, with ‘Close Your Eyes’ reminiscent of Miles Davis compositions during that period. Blakey’s drum solo on ‘Jimerick’, smart portions by Morgan and Mobley on ‘Hipsippy Blues’ and ‘Quick Trick’, and the overall brilliance of all five musicians on the title track are the highlights of this incredible set.