At the height of glam rock, when sequins, velvet capes and spandex jumpsuits were de rigueur for rock 'n' rollers, the Nick Lowe -fronted Brinsley Schwarz were busy trying to make stadium stages safe again for denim and flannel. Their unabashed love for American R&B and redneck country defined the pub rock sound of the 70s and helped pave the way for the punk rebellion. It's also interesting to note that Lowe was an early proponent of recycling, as indicated by the live BBC recordings documented on the Brinsleys' Cruel To Be Kind (Hux) CD. For the previously unissued I'm Gonna Make You Love Me, Lowe astutely reuses the title of an overlooked Jim Ford tune, and then boldly jacks the riff from La Bamba for Give Me Back My Love - which also incorporates a familiar couplet from a Martha and the Vandellas classic. Of course, Lowe would later overhaul Cruel To Be Kind - downplaying the disco rhythm - for his first real chart hit. Expect to hear more clever reworks when Lowe hits Lee's Palace Wednesday (September 15).
More Perfect Sound?
It's a mystery why Universal hasn't more fully taken advantage of the huge stockpile of vintage European jazz treasures locked away in the SABA/MPS label vault. A hopeful sign that someone at the label realizes they're sitting on a gold mine is the appearance of MPS - The Jazz Reworks Series (Universal) letting contemporary producers/remixers - like Frankfurt's Soul Patrol , Matthew Herbert and G-Stone 's DJ DSL - play with forgotten jazz-fusion joints for a run of 12-inch EPs. The best so far is Vol. 2, on which Moonstarr rachets up Hans Koller 's The Twister, but hopefully Two Banks of Four , Spacek and King Britt will come up with the goods for the MPS - The Jazz Reworks double-disc album due imminently.
Jazz Italian style
Speaking of Euro jazz, DJ/producer Nicola Conte has just had his debut jazz combo recording, Other Directions, released by Blue Note , making the Bari guitarist/bandleader the first jazz artist based in Italy to be signed by the venerable jazz label. And Conte's sensational recording proves worthy of the historic honour. Other Directions isn't any sort of corny lounge foolery à la St. Germain . It's a hard-swinging update of the classic Clarke-Boland Sextet sound, played with deep passion and serious improv skill. Certain to be among the year's best.