CLARENCE CLEMONS – Can The Big Man Be His Own Hero?

Originally published by Robin Tolleson for BAM

August 1, 1985

The tenor sax sound seems to be dismantling my car stereo as it drives Aretha Franklin’s “Freeway Of Love.” I’m straining against afternoon traffic to avoid being late for the 30 minutes management has set aside for me with Clarence Clemons, that same tenor sax player who is right now wreaking havoc on the small […]

Blindfold Test – Carlos Santana

Originally published by Robin Tolleson for Down Beat

August 1, 1985

[Note: Kenny Burrell’s “Blues for Wes” isn’t on Spotify or Youtube, so I’ve shared the title track from the same album, which is on Youtube.] This guitar chameleon was taking his first Blindfold Test quite seriously. He sat on the floor of the music room in his home on Mount Tamalpaias, a short drive from […]

Bobby Hutcherson

Originally published by Robin Tolleson for down beat

July 1, 1985

SAN FRANCISCO—Vibist Bobby Hutcherson seems to belong to no particular era—or, actually, quite a few eras. He is as creative as he is prolific, and after 20 albums for a variety of record companies that‘s saying a lot. His new record, Good Bait, ropes together three generations of jazz musicians and celebrates the arrival of a new jazz label, Orrin Keepnews’ […]

SHANKAR – Song For Everyone

Originally published by Robin Tolleson for BAM

June 21, 1985

ECM This record combines Indian classical and tuturisti sounds from L. Shankar’s electric violin, his comrades’ tablas, bells, splashes, and spronks, and the silky soprano and tenor sax of ECM mainstay Jan Garbarek, creating a feeling of spaciousness that soothes but also challenges the ear. Aggressive music, to be sure, but in the most finely-tuned […]

KAZUMI WATANABE – Great American Music Hall

Originally published by Robin Tolleson for BAM

June 21, 1985

May 8 He’s something of a household name in Japan — Swing Journal’s #1 guitarist for several years, guest with Yellow Magic Orchestra, Steps Ahead, Jaco Pastorius, and leader of his own Kazumi Band. Choosing to play in a trio setting on his first US tour, Watanabe had a lot of people in this full […]

The Divided Spirit Of Carlos Santana

Originally published by Robin Tolleson for BAM

June 7, 1985

Midway Between Disneyland And The Barrio SAN FRANCISCO — “I still feel like I just landed in this country from Tijuana, and it’s been like a non—stop Disneyland,” says Carlos Santana, checking the incense that burns nearby as he sits cross-legged on the floor. “I’m a kid and I’m having a lot of fun.” Santana […]

George Duke on Producing Jeffrey Osborne

Originally published by Robin Tolleson for Mix

June 1, 1985

With his third solo record, Jeffrey Osborne pretty much throws out the formula, and he emerges all the stronger for it. In a year when he could have been buried on the charts by the likes of Lionel Richie, Prince, Michael Jackson, Billy Ocean, Phillip Bailey and Al Jarreau, he put out Don’t Stop, which […]

David Sanborn Live: From the Heart

Originally published by Robin Tolleson for Mix

June 1, 1985

David Sanborn Straight To The Heart Warner Brothers 25150-1 Produced by Marcus Miller; engineered by Elliot Scheiner; recorded live at S.I.R. Studio, New York, by Le Mobile; additional recording at Greene Street Recording, A&R Recording, New York, and Amigos Studios, North Hollywood; additional engineering by Marti Robertson, Guy Charbonneau, Paul Brown and Jerry Soloman. Saxman […]

Sheila E. – Glamorous and Live

Originally published by Robin Tolleson for Bam

April 1, 1985

SAN FRANCISCO — A lot of it is new to Sheila — having to stop rehearsals to do interviews, refusing to be photographed, not being able to stay at home when performing in town, answering questions from fans and media about her love life. She grew up in show biz, working with her father, percussionist/vocalist […]

Bobby Hutcherson – Street Vibes

Originally published by Robin Tolleson for ---

March 1, 1985

As Bobby Hutcherson’s all-star band lays a sizzling foundation behind him, the vibist hits a delightful three-note blues lick, and likes it so much that he plays it again and again. The last time, he hits it so hard that he sends one of his red mallet tips flying into the crowd, which loves it. […]