MTV Unplugged by Bryan Adams

Todays recommendation from the unsolicited music recommendation service is, MTV Unplugged by Bryan Adams.

One suspects than an unwritten rule of MTV sessions is the requirement to open with the big hit regardless of its suitability for the ‘unplugged’ treatment. Consequently Summer of ‘69 opens this album in a fairly unremarkable way but it is worth pushing on.

The track Back to You makes fair better use of the unplugged instrumentation while the version of Cuts Like A Knife is one of the best live recordings made of that track. I’m Ready and Fits Ya Good continue with interesting arrangements and treatments.

A significant change in feel happens with the track When You Love Someone featuring well captured and arranged strings. The backing vocals are also delivered with great sensitivity as well as the instrumental solos. Though the ending is perhaps a little disappointing.

The interesting use of the strings continues into the track 18 Till I Die with the strings driving the entire track even covering the typical guitar solo. The reworking of tracks continues with I Think About You to great effect.

The blues versions of If Ya Wanna Be Bad - Ya Gotta Be Good / Let’s Make It A Night To Remember is a welcome shift in feel but lacks the interest of the other tracks. Likewise the track The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You is perhaps a little bland as well and A Little Love is perhaps entirely miss-able.

As the album concludes there is a fear, especially if you have not checked the liner notes, that that song is on the way. Fear not an initially sensitive version of Heaven leads to the concluding track I’ll Always Be Right There.

Throughout the album the playing of Keith Scott is as always exceptional, However the performance specific contributions of Michael Kamen and Davy Spillane (Bagpipes) really stand out.

If you use Apple Music you can listen to MTV Unplugged.

Koln Concert by Keith Jarrett

Todays recommendation from the unsolicited music recommendation service is, Koln Concert by Keith Jarrett.

The 1975 Koln concert recording by Keith Jarrett is one of my favorite solo piano recordings and possibly my favorite live recording as well.

Listening to the tracks individually would be a disservice to concert nd consequently I shall only mention my thoughts regarding the entire album.

The piano playing as you would expect is tuning with an exciting array of motifs, delivered with great consideration and craft. The performance is even more impressive in light of the later revelation that the piano was not the one intended for the performance and was used despite is poor state.

The recording is beautifully captured and I particularly like the rawness of the captured pedal, foot noises and the occasional vocalisations of the audience and performer.

A stunning recording of a beautiful concert and well worth a listen to it.

Let Go by Avril Lavigne

Todays recommendation from the unsolicited music recommendation service is, Let Go by Avril Lavigne.

The 2002 album Let Go was the debut album of Avril Lavigne and possible one of my favorite guilty pleasures.

Perhaps you already know a number of the tracks on the album as I suspected that this is possibly one of the most successful albums that has featured on my unsolicited music recommendation service. That being said lets enjoy the highlights.

While a good opener, sometimes I skip Losing Grip!

A stunning single which perhaps introduced many to Avril Lavigne Complicated offers a good insight in to what is to come. Catchy lyrics and a chorus that just demands to by sung along with.

Perhaps the highlight of the album Sk8er Boi combines stunning song writing with interesting instrumental flourish delivered by the entire band to great effective. Just considered the variations in the transitions between the sections.

At this point Avril Lavigne feels the need to get a little more serious with the heartfelt I’m With You. Perhaps it is a little heavy handed but the guitars have a great blend and the vocals are committed in performance.

Mobile quickly gestures the album back to a more upbeat feel and features some well crafted gestures between the sections.

Taking a more heavy sound Unwanted is perhaps a little strained but the variations in shade within the track make it interesting to listen.

After the heavy guitars the stripped down initial mix of Tomorrow is a welcome variation and the vocal performance while exposed features interesting processing and multi tracking.

Another shift in feel Anything But Ordinary feels a little pedestrian in comparison with the other tracks. I do however enjoy the variations in the vocal performance. I must confess that some of the lyrics to see a little contrived such as,

Let down your defenses
Use no common sense
If you look you will see
That this world is a beautiful
Accident turbulent succulent
Opulent permanent, no way
I want to taste it
Don't want to waste it away

What every your thoughts regarding Anything But Ordinary the moment the guitars for Things I’ll Never Say start all is forgiven. In particular I love the vocal rhythm around the lyrics,

If I could say what I want to say
I'd say I want to blow you, away

Ok so My World is just a little to bright but anyway…

Another change in feel with Nobody’s Fool, an interesting sonic space and a variety of approaches to vocal processing. While not as catchy as some of the previous tracks it is a surprisingly mature track on the album and not one to be missed.

The album closes out with Too Much To Ask and Naked both competent tracks.

If you use Apple Music you can listen to Let Go.

A little bonus fact I am pretty certain that I saw Avril Lavigne perform live on March 21, 2003 in Manchester at the (then Carling) Apollo.

In fact I think my friend Jax bought me a poster!

The Art of the Trio Volume 2 by Brad Mehldau

Todays recommendation from the unsolicited music recommendation service is, The Art of the Trio Volume 2 by Brad Mehldau.

The 1998 album The Art of the Trio Volume 2 is a beautiful jazz trio album and one of my favorites.

The album features the stunning playing of Larry Grenadier, Jorge Rossy and of course Brad Mehldau.

Rather than mention every track by name allow me a little more efficiency in review. The opening series of entries within the first track It’s Alright With Me are indicative of the quality of what is to follow.

If you use Apple Music you can listen to The Art of the Trio Volume 2.

Crosby, Stills and Nash by Crosby, Stills and Nash

Todays recommendation from the unsolicited music recommendation service is, Crosby, Stills & Nash by Crosby, Stills & Nash.

The 1969 eponymous album Crosby, Stills & Nash is a stunning example of folk rock at is most considered.

The album opens with Suite: Judy Blue Eyes an upbeat opener with well crafted guitar parts and interesting lyrics.

The album continues with Marrakesh Express upbeat again but with an unexpected sonic landscape within a pleasing structure and a great vocal performance.

Guinnevere features some of the most weirdly catchy lyrics and a fascinating vocal performance.

Like yours, mi'lady like yours

You Don’t Have To Cry features interesting supporting instrumental lines with a pleasing structure and well crafted vocal parts which build to a satisfactory end.

The album continues on with Pre-Road Downs with is its interesting instrumental features and Wooden Ships offers a more reflective instrumentation and mood.

Lady Of The Island continues with a beautiful melody supported by a delicate accompaniment. Absolutely spectacular.

The reflective nature of the album continues on with Helplessly Hoping with its hint of hope.

The more fuzzy guitar sounds of Long Time Gone are a refreshing break from the somber mood of the tracks previously and gives the album a great sense of shape. It also has the most interesting conclusion of all the tracks on this album.

I most confess that 49 Bye-Byes the final track on the album is a little disappointing for me. In fact I typically skip it (sorry)!

If you use Apple Music you can listen to Crosby, Stills & Nash.