THE BEST OF ALICE IN CHAINS, the band which has lived twice

 

Alice in Chains is a band which has lived twice. After the hiatus, the issues realated to drug abuses and the tragedy that has struck the band in a crucial moment of their career, the guys from Seattle were able to emerge from their ashes and find a way to overcome the loss of their iconic lead singer Layne Staley. As a matter of fact, within the family of the legendary bands that marked the golden age of grunge at the end of the last century, Alice in Chains are among the very few which managed to maintain their status until today, and this is mainly because of the objectively high level of quality of the music that they have continued to produce and release even after the peak of their career.

This year the band has released a new LP, Rainier Fog, the sixth full-lenght studio album of their discography, the third with William DuVall as co-lead vocalist and guitarist. In some way this record marks a sort of milestone in the band’s history: 3 albums with Layne Stayley and 3 albums without.

AIC with LS 1300.jpg
Alice in Chains performing live in 1996 (with Layne Staley)
AIC with WDV 1300
Alice in Chains performing live in 2017 (with William DuVall)

In order to celebrate this special chapter in the career of Alice in Chains I decided to make a compilation with all my favorite songs from their impressive production. The mixtape features 18 songs which cover a timespan from 1990 to 2018.

The complete playlist of the compilation is the following:

  • Rainier Fog
  • Check My Brain
  • Again
  • Grind
  • Pretty Done
  • Them Bones
  • A Looking In View
  • Rain When I Die
  • Down In A Hole
  • Get Born Again
  • Angry Chair
  • Hollow
  • So Far Under
  • We Die Young
  • Would
  • Nutshell
  • Brother
  • Black Gives Way To Blue

I’m sure you will enjoy this selection of songs, and please feel free to write me for any comment on the playlist or if you are interested to get the file of the mixtape (which is also good for running). Long life to Alice in Chains!


 

THE ART OF THE TRIO, a retrospective of the importance of the Trio in Contemporary Jazz with a selection of the latest and best releases

Jazz lovers know very well the importance of Trio in moder music and also how many good albums are released today with this particular setting of musicians. As a matter of fact, the Jazz Trio seems to be one of the preferred format for a large number of renowned and established musicians, presumably for the possibility they have to be at the same time the leader of the ensemble but also leaving to the other musicians the chances to unleash all their creativity and, as such, to optimize the contribution of each player to the final musical result.

To celebrate this special type of Jazz I recently started assembling a playlist on Spotiy with the best ensembles and the best songs that are released for Trios. This is going to be a “living” point of collection for all the new Jazz that will be published from now on, so my recommendation is to follow the playlist and check it regularly for new exciting updates. On my side, I obviously commit myself to include only those works that truly deserve your attention.

Below I’ve also put a few excerpts from two interesting articles that provide a more formal analysis of the importance and the advantages of Jazz Trios in modern music. Visit these pages for getting adequate background and explanations.

 


 

The Trio Advantage

(from University of Michigan‘s blog)

The trio strikes a delicate balance. The larger the band, the more limited the possibilities for each musician. Each instrument needs to find its place in the sonic palette and rhythmic scheme. The smaller the band the more limited the varieties of timbre. Each instrument needs to provide enough variety of sounds and phrases to keep the listeners interest.

By reducing the number of musicians, a trio opens more space in the sonic texture for each musician to explore. In larger ensembles each musician can be forced into pre-determined roles by the very nature that each instrument must compete for space in the sound spectrum. Without careful orchestration of parts the group easily descends into a cacophony of chaos (though at times chaos may be a desired effect).


 

The Trio Format

(Ned Judy)

Jazz piano trio has become a popular ensemble format in the modern era. This setting includes bass and drums, however the piano is usually featured. The pianist plays most of the principal themes, and improvises solos in nearly every piece. While this ensemble format is now common, trios featuring piano were rare in the early years of jazz, and often included a wind instrument for which the pianist provided accompaniment. The development of the jazz piano trio occurred over a period of decades, across a span of several jazz styles, and with significant changes in instrumentation. Ultimately, the trio has become a powerful vehicle for expression for the jazz pianist, providing him with the support of a rhythm section, while allowing him great freedom. Most modern jazz pianists have led trios, and some pianists from earlier periods, who established their careers before the widespread use of this format, have led trios in more recent times.


 

“Three guys from Trondheim, Norway making noise”, the Best of MOTORPSYCHO (a Spotify Compilation)

Motorpsycho is by far one of the most inventive, respected and influential bands in modern rock music.

Their biography is long and articulated, and their career has seen the band moving through different phases and a few lineup changes. Their impressive discography has touched many different musical styles and genres including progressive rock, hard rock, psychedelia, and also heavy metal.

Inspired by their latest and wonderful album The Tower, I’ve created a Spotify playlist which collects together the best songs within their long production. Such a selection can’t be (and doesn’t aim to be) complete and exhaustive, it’s more a way to represent how variegated and inspired is their music.

 


 

The Voice of the Desert, a retrospective on the career and contributions of John Garcia to stoner music

Inspired by the fantastic album that the legendary singer ans songwriter published on last January, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues, we collected in this playlist some of his most beautiful songs. The selection includes hits from his solo project but also famous songs by Kyuss and Vista Chino. If the desert could have a voice, it would be John Garcia’s.