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Manzanera, Phil and The Sound of Blue Band: Live in Japan

Out of all the former members of Roxy Music it has been Phil Manzanera that has remained the most prolific releasing a steady stream of solo records since 1975’s Diamond Head. The last few years has seen the artist revitalized with his Sound of Blue Band. I’m sure their youthful energy has rubbed off on Manzanera in all the right ways. The new album is a two disc set titled Live In Japan.

The disc covers songs throughout Manzanera’s solo output as well as a few Roxy Music favourites and even delves into some 801 stuff. The first disc begins with the more recent “Lagrima” built on a repeating keyboard line and Manzanera’s biting lead guitar. It’s not fast but man does the man have great feel. With “TNK” (Tomorrow Never Knows), the band delves into the 801 days ramping up the intensity on this Beatle’s classic unveiling more great guitar work. “6PM” is another stunner this time featuring an outstanding keyboard solo. On “Out Of The Blue” lead vocalist Sonia Bernardo does a nice job, although I do prefer Ferry’s voice on the Roxy stuff, but the band puts in a scintillating performance with Manzanera’s guitar taking center stage. By song’s end the band is on fire. On “In Every Dreamhome A Heartache” the lead guitar and saxophone are highlights. More great sax can be found on “Sozinho” and “Bala De Plata”, although I am not found of the rap vocals on the latter. Then it’s time to mess with perfection tackling the Roxy classic “More Than This”. They stay pretty true to the original version with more emphasis on the guitar and while I do prefer Ferry’s vocals, the voice of Bernardo isn’t terrible and has grown on me over time.

The second disc opens with the rocking 801 tune “East Of Asteroid”, a fine slice of burning psychedelic rock. The bass is full and vibrant and the drumming is outstanding with great fills, tempo changes and off kilter beats. The mood laden middle section is soft and trippy with the keyboards and guitar intertwining for great effect, slowly taking us back into heavy rock. A couple tracks from the Diamond Head album are great choices; the catchy guitar riffs and electric piano in the ripping “Frontera” and the pretty title track where the guitar floats like a dream. For me the best two tracks are “Take A Chance With Me”, the intro is absolutely stunning as are the organ, keyboard and guitar solos and “Love Is The Drug” with its tasty bass and organ grooves.

Phil Manzanera has really given his career a jolt since forming his ‘Blue’ band. They have great chemistry and are just a lot of fun. Would love to see these cats live but Live in Japan will have to be the next best thing. Highly recommended.

Track Listing:
1. Lagrima
2. TNK
3. 6PM
4. Out Of The Blue
5. In Every Dreamhouse A Heartache
6. I Want You Back
7. Magdalena
8. Sozinho
9. Bala De Plata
10. More Than This
11. High Atlas

CD 2
1. East Of Asteroid
2. Amazona
3. I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You
4. Frontera
5. Diamond Head
6. Stormy Weather
7. Take A Chance With Me
8. Love Is The Drug
9. No Church In The Wild
10. Let’s Stick Together
11. Chan Chan
Bonus Track
12. Chan Chan (studio version)

Added: October 8th 2018
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 196
Language: english

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