In addition to the mini film score reviews, you will find some of my technical reviews of products for film composers and sound designers. In the pipeline is a series on using Apple Logic for film music and sound design and interviews with some of today's top film composers. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!
Friday, January 1, 2016
CD Review: Manna/Mirage by Blue Dogs
The Muffins are a Washington DC area band that has been together since the early 70's. While their sound is grounded in the Canterbury rock/jazz school (Soft Machine, Gong and Caravan, for example), this spin-off group leans a bit more towards mainstream and big band jazz.
The compositions and arrangements are refreshing and tight. There is a worthy and fitting homage to Ellington jazz but, in true Canterbury style, there are also whimsical moments to put a smile on your face and even a nod or two to Frank Zappa.
There is quite a range stylistically, from the dreamy "Lost in a Photograph" to the rock/jazz energy of "Blind Eye". My other favorites are "Shwang Time," with its driving New Orleans party vibe and "Rovian Cue", which ends the album with an upbeat soaring horn arrangement and Dave's piano firmly in the driver's seat.
The cool harmonies and rhythmic interplay are crystal clear -- no easy feat given the complexity of some of the arrangements. Kudos to the recording team at Abin Sur Studios in New Market, MD and mixing/post production at Orion Studios in Baltimore. My only wish is that the album were longer but apparently a followup is already in the works.
1. Canterbury Bells (4:50)
2. Duke Street (4:47)
3. Muffin Man Redux (7:23)
4. Lost in a Photograph (4:21)
5. Blind Eye (4:56)
6. Shwang Time (4:58)
7. Rovian Cue (4:10)
Dave Newhouse – keyboards, woodwinds, drums
Billy Swann – bass
Paul Sears – drums
Mark Stanley – guitar
George Newhouse – drums
Steve Pastena – French horn
Additional info and CD available at: