Mike & The Mechanics have announced that they’ll release a new album this spring. It’s titled Out Of The Blue and it’ll launch on April 5 on CD, Deluxe CD, LP and on digital and streaming platforms. The album will feature re-workings of some of the band’s best-loved tracks, including The Living Years and Over My Shoulder, along with three brand new songs: One Way, What Would You Do and the new single Out Of The Blue.
This 2-CD set contains two BBC live concerts from 1973 and 1978. The 1973 concert is previously unreleased. The 1978 concert is the same one released as In Concert (BBC Radio 1), but it is complete (including Funny Ways) and has the songs in the right order. I find the sound quality very good like most of the BBC recordings. Maybe a little bit dry, but that fits quiet well with GG.
On Out of the Loop, Randy and Michael Brecker stepped up to the plate with their second long-player of the '90s, 20 years after their first foray into the jazz-funk-fusion realm. The album is surprisingly strong, and any fears of a paint-by-numbers attempt to cash in on past glories are quickly dispelled with the opening "Slang," which is reminiscent of Amandla-era Miles. Here, as throughout the disc, Michael's sax solo burns with abandon, while brother Randy's trumpet glides across a tastefully smooth and melodic terrain.
Steve Hackett has earned the reputation of being one of Britain's finest composers and guitarists. Peter Gabriel invited him to join Genesis in 1970 and his involvement led to 8 albums. His complex and distinctive playing contributed heavily to their early success, developing an elegance and sophistication which have become his trademark and he has since achieved consistent solo success internationally.
Hackett's newest symphonic progressive rock albums may be one of his best. The music here is basically a terrific amalgamation of his entire careers' work, and it all works so wonderfully together and still seems fresh after all these years…
These elements [i.e. a rather zany sense of homour and an oblique, Monk-like compositional sense, which often makes use of folk and popular elements in a highly original way] are in place again on Out Of The Tradition. Walrath opens "Out Of This World" with a strange North African scale and non-tempered sounds blown on a detached trumpet mouthpiece. There are hints of Coltrane's version in what follows, but they are used as stepping stones, not as a final destination. Walrath has located his playing outside the tradition and is constantly working towards points of departure. That is dramatized in Mingus's "So Long, Eric," on which Coryell and Green play a large part, and it comes across in the cod Bach of "Wake Up And Wash It Off," a pun too complicated to merit unpicking here. Walrath's now regular Pops feature comes on "Cabin In The Sky," one of his best recent performances, and he then drops back into gentler mode for "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You." It's done no harm to doff the cap-and-bells for a while; this is a terrific jazz album.