Mighty Rearranger, by Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation [www.robertplant.com]
Once the mighty voice of rock legend Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant continues to make vital music. From the late ’60s to the beginning of the 21st century, Plant has always been a somewhat elusive, beguiling and mystical figure, who has maintained his unique voice, literally and creatively, to represent his eclectic musical vision. On his new CD, Mighty Rearranger, Plant packs some the sonic muscle of old, along with Middle Eastern textures that have captivated his attention for so many years. The feeling of otherworldliness that slithers through this recording is a perfect counterpoint to the exuberant raw power that his talented new band, the Strange Sensation, radiates. Songs such as “All the King’s Horses,” “The Enchanter” and the brilliant “Shine it All Around” are intriguing, lyrically engaging and well produced. Aging gracefully at age 56, Plant is showing the younglings of the world how it’s done. Mighty Rearranger is a latter day career peak for Plant. On “Shine It All Around,” he sings, “These are the days of my life/ Bright, strong and golden.” It will be exciting to see and hear how much further he can climb. Highly recommended.
Guitar Meditations Vol. II, by Soulfood, featuring Billy McLaughlin [www.soulfoodmusic.com]
Guitar Meditations Vol. II follows the acclaimed musical formula and successful footsteps of its best-selling predecessor, Guitar Meditations. Yet, on this engaging outing, the sound is more expansive and fully realized. Joining the original team of guitarist extraordinaire Billy McLaughlin and Soulfood are mastermind DJ Free, keyboardist Peter Schimke and guitarists Dan Schwartz and Ron Cohen (EmmyÂ® Winning composer of Ra Music fame), who collectively create a very special recording. Brimming with tranquil and meditative songs such as “Into the Light,” “Endless World” and “Looking for the Good,” Guitar Meditations Vol.II supplies the welcomed and peaceful soundscape your ears desire.
In the P.M., by Peter Martin [www.maxjazz.com]
Respected Jazz label Maxx Jazz has high musical standards that are reflected in its continual release of superior product, showcasing today’s hottest jazz talent. Peter Martin is a gifted musician whose well-developed piano skills are amply displayed on his welcomed second release for MaxJazz, In the P.M. His fellow musicians are a wonder to behold, with Ruben Rogers’ impassioned bass playing supple and pure, and drummer Greg Hutchison’s prestigious talent and authoritative presence is evident throughout, especially on the enticing opening track “Never Let Me Go.” Highlights include creative interpretations of Stevie Wonder’s classic “If It’s Magic,” Cole Porter’s “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” (complemented with a stylish guest vocal by Erin Bode), and Peter Martin’s own well-crafted composition “The Answer.” There is a driving force that propels the music of this impressive recording ever forward, and its sonic propulsion is gratefully never ambling or hurried. That force is Peter Martin, and his remarkable CD In the P.M. is perfect anytime.