This week's Sound Check features a collaborative recording from master drummer Anton Fig, a concert DVD from Katy Perry and a recent solo album from longtime Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre. Enjoy!
'Figments,' Anton Fig (Planula Records, HHH 1/2)
This recording, which hit stores Aug. 14, is former "Late Show With David Letterman" drummer/session ace Anton Fig's first "solo" album, with many collaborators on board: Brian Wilson, Blondie Chaplin, Ivan Neville, the late Richie Havens, Paul Shaffer, Ace Frehley, Al Kooper, Duck Dunn, Chris Spedding, Chris Botti and more.
There is high-quality percussion-powered music from all over the map, even if most is not my bag. My favorites include the Peter Gabriel-flavored "Home," the crunching "Know Where You Go" (with Sebastian Bach), the instrumental "Tears" and the cinematic "KWYG II," featuring a surprising choral ending. Good music for many listeners.
'The Prismatic World Tour Live,' Katy Perry (Eagle Rock Entertainment, HHHH)
This Oct. 30 DVD/Blu-Ray/digital release presents a concert filmed in Sydney last December as part of a record-breaking tour that began May 2014 and just wrapped up. Katy, her dancers and her band are surrounded by purposely over-the-top visuals at all times with numerous costume changes, like Broadway with catchy pop songs.
My favorite segment "Cat-oure" is preceded by a fiery "I Kissed a Girl" and features funny cat videos, including cats cruising to "Gin and Juice."
The acoustic segment includes "By The Grace of God," "The One That Got Away/Thinking of You" and a sincere-sounding "Unconditionally," leading back to the insistent beats. "Wide Awake," "Teenage Dream" and more of your favorite hits are here as well. Perry fans and curiosity seekers should snag this.
'Back To Steel,' Martin Barre (Garage Records, HHHH)
Martin was lead guitarist in Jethro Tull from album two ("Stand Up") until Ian Anderson began organizing tours under his own banner. I reviewed an earlier Barre solo album ("Stage Left") along with a cool 'phoner.
This recording seems like a lost Tull album. Even the covers (an altered "Eleanor Rigby" and a progressive version of Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack") feel Tull-ish.
Two Anderson tunes (a heavier "Skating Away" and "Slow Marching Band") confirm that Martin was an extremely important factor in Tull's music. My other favorites are the tempo-shifting "It's Getting Better" and three instrumentals: "Chasing Shadows," "Hammer" and "Calafel."
Fans of great guitar and listenable progressive music will dig this one. Martin and his band will be touring soon.
'Perfectamundo' Tour News
ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons is hitting the road in support of his Latin-flavored album "Perfectamundo," which was reviewed Oct. 23. Billy and the BFGs will appear Dec. 1 at the Orpheum Theatre in New Orleans, after playing four Florida shows in late November.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.