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

Bradford, in the north of England, known for their working class pride and also for their musical storytellers. This brings us to the pairing of Nick Toczek & Signia Alpha for the album, The Columbus Memoirs, released on the 4th of June. Nick Toczek is a ranting poet (as in they emotionally air their grievances in angry monologue and normally in the form of free verse), while Signia Alpha is Matt Webster, supported by a revolving retinue of musicians, creating post-punk style music incoporating funk, jazz and indie rock.

The first track “The Hour Glass” is literally about time and how there is never enough of it. The guitars wail in a cacophony of noise and it is wonderful plus I am sure I heard a flute. There is a near aching colonial sadness in “Another Shoreline” as the music ebbs and flows as a ship on the ocean. A track about the movement of slaves for the advancement of Imperialism and capital gain which comes with a loss of culture and identity. There might be a slight nod to the sound track War Of The Worlds, especially in mentioning H.G.Wells with the track “Time Tripper” in the wandering guitars and it is not aliens but rather can the Earth survive the human race’s selfish ways.

The psych-funk is strong in “Threads” with amazing bass thumping through the track as Toczek contemplates how technology has changed the world and everyone is being watched. The tempo changes and swings before we are given the next piece, “Dead Lines” because while the print press was huge at the end of a second world war, there is an air of live for now and excess…maybe they were dead inside and the music reflects the era of glamorous jazz filled soirees, at high end bars. “Just For A Moment” is a simple lament for a lost one and the sax reaches into your soul to touch that memory, so real.

With “Moonwatchers“, for me is like, looking at the night sky and the moon as a child, with a wild imagination that conjures up all sorts of stories, which some of us never grow out of. A lightness and joy in reveling in the darkness, the edge of where reality and lore meet in the inky hours. The 60s funk is dripping through with “Four And A Half“, a tale of youth and a telling of past experiences with near fatal consequences, sucking you in with the true events. For the title track, “The Columbus Memoirs“, North America is similar to a pop-up book, watching a strange amalgamation of that nation’s history, the oddities that make it what it is. I don’t think Columbus would recognise the America he first stood on to claim for Spain. I listen to this and cannot help to hear a line from a song of the band, The Church, Oh Columbus, I never should have let you go. The final track, “Dignity“, is straight out sleazy rock. A song for the survivors, the refugees, the tortured and maimed, to whom the world turns a blind eye and yet deserve so much more than being told they are a burden and should be grateful for a handful of dust.

The level of musicianship is stellar. Webster has really got some top notch talent to help out, which includes Paul Gray (The Damned) playing on four of the tracks. It is political at times and that is the raw punk edge showing but also wistful and even tender tinged sadness, all by using voice of a wordsmith while the music gives those words greater weight and emotional depth. I think the poetry is masterfully woven throughout and the instruments given their own voice in a story, that as of yet, has not an end.

The Columbus Memoirs | Nick Toczek & Signia Alpha (bandcamp.com)

Nick Toczek & Signia Alpha | Facebook

Signia Alpha | Facebook