Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pre-Release CD Review: Steve Madaio and Tom Keenlyside Release "Slices"


Question: What do you get when you put a world class trumpet master with a world class flute master and then mix them together with eight great songs from the sixties and seventies? The answer is "Slices" one of the best CD's I have heard in many years!

It is with great pride and pleasure that I had the opportunity to review a new CD from two of my favorite musicians and friends from the Coachella Valley in  the California Desert. This CD has been cooking in the minds and hearts of Trumpeter Extraordinaire Steve Madaio and  the Great Flutist and wind player Tom Keenlyside for a long time. Both of these highly talented musicians earned their musical stripes playing and listening to the music of the sixties and seventies. Although their talents  expanded since that time, there is still something about the songs of that period that never left them.
Indeed, if you enjoyed the sixties and seventies, I won't have to say anything more about the 8 wonderful classic songs that Steve and Tom have selected for their first album.  Every song on this CD is a dream catchers for this generation. These songs revive fond memories about our life experiences during these times. There were hundreds of songs that could have been chosen for this CD but Steve and Tom spent over two years culling the potential list of songs down to just the absolute eight best songs.

The CD begins with a perfect mix of Trumpet and Flute playing the Procol Harum classic, "A Whiter Shade of Pale".  This song recorded in 1968 was and still is a classic sound of the sixties. I admit that I  have no idea what the lyrics mean but hearing the song now as an instrumental, leaves no doubt that the melody is still a gem!

The second cut on the CD is the Rolling Stones Classic, "Sympathy For The Devil" written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. My guess is that this unusual song was picked by Steve since his relationship with "The Stones" goes way back to early 1960s when he joined "The Stones" on their European tour. I would love to hear the reaction from Jagger and Richards after they hear this rendition of their song!

Next up was the popular hit for Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, "The Lonely Bull" written in 1962 and still wonderful to hear today especially the warm tones from Steve's Trumpet.

The forth cut is the "Steppenwolf's" 1968 hit "Born To Be Wild". This song represents much of the culture of the sixties for teens who yearned for more personal freedom in their lives.

The fifth cut is "Theme From A Summer Place" recorded in 1960 by Percy Faith and his orchestra for the film of the same name. "A Summer Place" starred Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue and everyone experiencing this period knows and loves this song. The recording won a Grammy for the Record of the Year.

The sixth song on the CD is "Lowrider" recorded by the band "War" in 1975.  This remarkable song has been featured in 14 movies which speaks to its attractions for this generation of kids.

The seventh song is "Memphis Underground" that was recorded by jazz flutist Herbie Man in 1969. You can bet this song had special meaning for Tom in his musical development.  To me this song is  the combination of Rhythm and Blues with a big dose of "Cool"!

The last song "Ode To Billy Joe" was written and recorded by Bobbie Gentry in 1967.  Her recording received 8 Grammy nominations resulting in 3 wins and one win for the arranger, Jammie Haskell.

And there you have it, 8 wonderful songs full of vivid memories for all of us to rediscover again and again.

This wonderful album was perfectly produced, arranged and mixed by Steve Madaio and Tom Keenlyside with Tom Keenlyside on the Flute, all Keyboards, and programing.  Steve Madaio on Trumpet.

Also, Doug Stephenson on guitar on "The Lonely Bull", Born To Be Wild" and Lowrider.  The great Brian Nova on guitar on "A Whiter Shade of Pale".  Michale O'Neill on guitar on "Sympathy For The Devil", "Ode To Billy Joe" and "Memphis Underground".

If you were around during the sixties and seventies, you absolutely need to get this CD which will be available right after the first of the year. Steve and Tom are just wonderful playing together on this CD.  At times, Steve's Trumpet and Tom's Flute join together almost as one, leaving the listener to immerse himself in the magical sounds of Trumpet and Flute.

I hope this is only the first of a series of CDs from Steve and Tom. In my opinion, this CD deserves Grammy recognition and I bet it will get a nomination or two. It's that good!

You can decide how good this CD is for yourself because on Tuesday, April 16, Steve and Tom will be playing songs from their CD with the Coachella Valley Symphony.  You need to call to get tickets quickly because this concert is nearly sold out.  Call 760-360-2222 for tickets and details.

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