Monday, August 17, 2009

Michael Brook: Ambient Jazz

Michael Brook (guitar)

Michael Brook is one of those extremely underrated and under recorded artists whom most people immediately become addicted to once they hear one of his (only) four albums. He is mostly known for his collaboration and production work with Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan but has contributed and scored a number of soundtracks including Albino Alligator and An Inconvenient Truth.

Michael Brook shares a stylistic philosophy similar to that of Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Harold Budd, ethereal and melodic but yet you enjoy the journey on which he takes you with each record. All four of his albums are still widely available but I would suggest starting with his second album Cobalt Blue (4ad). Cobalt Blue features elements of guitar, electronic and percussive manipulation that not even the best known guitarists like a John Scofield or Pat Mathney could conjure up.

While most people upon listening may not view this as jazz, I believe it fits neatly into the pocket of Carlos Santana or John McLaughlin, with a mixture of eastern and western instrumentation. Cobalt Blue as well as the live album, Cobalt Blue Live At The Aquarium are available of iTunes.

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