US musician, Richard D. Ruttenberg, has attended the Berklee School of Music, is a composer of film scores and is involved in two trans Atlantic projects, RIZE and Delicate Droids, both signed to the Superfreq Records label, but recently he brought forth, his latest solo album, Raviv 6000.

You might ask yourself what qualifications do I have to talk about jazz. Erm, well I was brought up on old school jazz such as Benny Goodman, Count Basie Orchestra, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller, Fats Domino and a lot of Fats Waller (because we’re all bums when the wagon comes, I mean, this joint is jumpin’). Thus, I am on my musical adventure and decided to choose a few tasty morsels, also known as tracks, as well as facts to share with you.

Raviv 6000 has many notable guest artists helping out. There is Jimmy Haslip, whom is the bassist for the Yellowjackets, has worked with other famous musicians and been nominated for twenty-two Grammys, winning three of them. Engineer/producer, Joe Berger, is a rock fusion guitarist with forty years in the industry, also playing with and mixing some major talents. Teacher and recording artist in his own right, Eddie Kohen is a Berklee taught bassist, whom is also a sought after session musician. If you have seen Smokey Robinson live or noticed the sax playing in a Salt’N’Pepper or Mary J. Blige song, then it is a good chance you have been listening to Carl Cox. He has played over the years with a myriad of artists. Just how many more horrendously talented people could appear…. well there is also guitar whiz Nick Kellie, whose debut album was released on Steve Vai’s label, Digital Nations. Another skilled music educator, Igor Fedotov, a saxophone player and recording artist, with a degree in music from the Russian Federation and there is the highly coveted session bass player Andrew Austin. Last but not least is Peter Dutch with programming and Ruttenberg’s co-conspirator in Delicate Droids. He is a DJ, recording artist and also a humanitarian.

Joe Berger features on “Ice Flames (A Wizard’s Tale)!“, which bubbles like a cauldron, with the popping electronics and Berger’s guitar slides and twists in a most extraordinary way, summoning musical magic into the air. There is the psychedelic groove of ” Double Secret Octopus!” and the curious electro wow sound that is your constant companion, while the guitar sings in the seabed of a foreign ocean, which again is Berger. The funky vibes are strong when you have “Visitors In The Backyard“. They might be here to probe you but before that happens, you have Fedotov laying down the smooth saxophone with what I think is the Korg Karma. So, it is a journey into both space and sound as the sax sweeps you along on the journey.

It is an album that is both experimental and futuristic, combining rock, 6 electronica, with a bit of funky psychedelia as the glitter on top. Some people who are unfamiliar with jazz tend to think it all horns and changing rhythmic time signatures, but there is a lot more to it. Without jazz, we would not have rock music, nor some of the amazing musicians that have influenced generations. The recently departed Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones originally started as a jazz drummer, and it is of note that many of their tracks would not have sound the same without his wonderful talent and technique. This is true of Raviv 6000, with its beautiful production and flawless execution by the musicians. I encourage you to have a listen to this jazz fusion by Ruttenberg because you just never know, you might find yourself on a flight of a lifetime. Post script – do check out the cool videos for all the tracks!

https://rdruttenberg.bandcamp.com/album/raviv-6000

https://www.facebook.com/RuttenbergFUSION?mibextid=ZbWKwL

James Lees’ project, Ghostwoods, began in the Covid lockdowns of 2020, gaining members and releasing an EP. Based just outside of Brisbane, Ghostwoods is back with a new single, “Terminal Bliss” and with the rather exciting news, that they have been signed to the label 4000 Records. Lees provides drums, Mark Angel on electric guitar, Karl O’Shea on bass, Andrew Garton & Andrew Saragossi sharing the duties with saxophone/clarinet/flute and James Halloran & Rohan Seekers tickling the keys/synths.

Photo by Sam Scoufos

There is a finality to “Terminal Bliss“…. it could be slow and steady beats or the saxophone that wails its discontent with the world. The guitar strums its way gently through the demonstrative sax, courting the piano along the way, wending until its ultimate demise.

In contrast, “Brighter Soon” is a more ethereal affair, creeping beautiful darkness, echoing in pulsating loops of electronics that caress your ears, luring you into another plane of existence. The piano hypnotically runs up and down, keeping you rooted in the here and now.

Dark electronics, fused with jazz sensibilities, makes up “Terminal Bliss“, while “Brighter Soon” is a sophisticated track, that catches you off guard with a certain degree of crystal clarity. As always, Ghostwoods paints emotion filled pictures without words or boundaries. The best bit is that in the new year, a new album should be ready.

https://ghostwoodsau.bandcamp.com/

https://4000records.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ghostwoodsmusic

https://www.facebook.com/fourthousand