08 December 08 - Gustavo Zecharies (Montreal), to
Japhlet Bire Attias
I have been fortunate enough to get a copy of Japhlet Bire Attias' new CD, and I guess the least I can do is to share with you some comments. I had seen some of Japhlet's work in the past through the links that appeared in several of his postings in this site, but the material just released was surprisingly good, the sort some will most probably consider as a reference.
Beyond the good music, precise playing and great sound, the CD evidently has a lot of energy and time invested on it. The songs are filled with arrangements that (I believe) are the results of hours of work and dedication to deliver excellent results.
While some of us look beyond the sound of the Stick to "paint" our music (Synths, effects, etc.), it is very refreshing to see how Japhet works his music leaving the Stick's signature sound pretty much intact, and recurs to his extensive playing abilities to deliver his material.
As I would recommend a good book I totally recommend this CD, not only for the Stickists here but for musicians in general.
Good job Japhlet!
29 May 08 - Ray Lavigne (NH), to Stickwire:
Songs from the Home Planet
Yesterday I received your new CD "Songs from the Home Planet" from SE. I LOVE this disk Larry, totally love it!!!! Novi is great (needless to say), so is your drummer, and I really am blown away by some of the Stick and string arrangements. They seem so interwoven at times and yet without overpowering each other. The two of you can sure make a lot of music. And of course I've seen the YouTube videos as well - awesome! I also have your "Though the Gates" CD so I've really become a big fan!
17 January 08 - Ray Lavigne (NH), to Stickwire:
Peering Over Clouds
On the way to work this eveing I listened to some of Don Schiff's Peering Over Clouds. Seeing I have an NS Stick on order with SE, I was very interested to see what Don put together on this disk. I have to say after only having time to listen to the first 3 tunes, I'm totally BLOWN AWAY!!!! Don put together some amazing prog-rock songs and the sounds and tones he coaxed out of the NS Stick are unbelieveable. I'm now more excited then ever to get the NS Stick I ordered. Thank you Don for the inspiration. Expect 1000 questions about the tones you got from me!
9 January 07 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire:
Adventures in Stickology
Ohhhh I second and third that. I just got the (Adventures in Stickology) CD yesterday with Steve, the handsome stylin' kinda guy on the cover. Nice artwork on the back too. Now in the middle there's just great high pro glow music. All tunes have the "professional's" playing edge to all performances. You have to have "played" and been a musician with a lot of experience to pull off those kind of nuances. Sure, you can copy stuff but Steve and company pull off their music from the heart and in the spirit of "being" a player. There's no substitute for that.
I really enjoyed the track with Tony Levin (OKAY okay I'm a bassist at heart, forgive me). Steve lays a solid foundation while Tony put that smooth lead distortion bass line over top. Just deluxe really. I also enjoyed Steve's bass work (did I mention the bassist at heart thing?). He really came forward with that. The beauty of being a Stickist is that no matter where your frame of reference came from, you end up grasping the totality of the Stick range and what to do with it. You become a "Stickist". Wonderful guitar playing as well, excellent selection of diverse players.
30 January 06 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
I had almost forgotten that one of my all time favorite "pop" records made by Stick players was the last release by Third Door Down, "Refraction." A wonderful collection of songs crafted by Casey (Stick) and Kira (vocals) Arrillaga with additional Stick work by Colin Jenkenson.
24 December 06 - Japhlet Bire Attias (MN), to Stickwire:
I just received my Greg Howard CDs and was nicely surprised. The DVD on Ether Ore, even though short, was breathtaking! I need to see more of that. On Sol, Grillo was also a great surprise, simple and classic. Both CD's are consistently great in quality, sound and musically.
09 December 06 - Barry Silverman (OR), to Stickwire:
Peering Over Clouds
Don is way too humble when he intimates that the slide sound is all NS/Stick. IT ISN'T. It is 100% Don Schiff. I have a NS.Stick. I have played Don's NS/Stick. And he has played mine. My NS/Stick can't do it! Not in my hands, that is, but no problem in Don's hands. The setups are almost exactly the same, and yes, the setup is somewhere between the ultra low action of a Stick and the typical setup of a guitar. He uses a generic climbing carabiner in his right hand to both trigger the note and then "slide" it. He is NOT plucking the note and then using the slide in the traditional manner. He can therefore play the slide at the same time as playing bass lines or chords, (or, damn him, both at the same time!) Don has the kind of "soft" hands that Jaco was known for. Long fingers, great hand strength, amazing flexibility and his hands are always as relaxed as his road diaries. I was as jealous of his dexterity and style as I was of his amazing playing. The guy is way too underrated in my book and deserving of all our praise and attention. The album is brilliant!
29 September 05 - John Edmonds (NM), to StickWire:
I like the Stick/duo format. I've worked in Stick/drums and Stick/flute duos more than once. The duo format is ideal in that the synergy between two listening players is more than one player alone can bring to the music. Cool piece, Art. Have you heard Tony Levin's album "World Diary"? Lots of duets with him on Stick or bass plus other folks on other instruments. He recorded much of it in hotels rooms while on tour. Right up your alley.
17 September 05 - Irene Orleansky (Israel), to Stickwire:
Thank you so much for your review, Arthur! "All human music ultimately begins with the voice, with song" (quote from Art Durkee's review). Also with the Stick, the second most natural instrument after the voice for me, because when my fingers touch it the music starts flowing by itself (thanks, Emmett!). Working with Kirill and Guillermo is something out of this world! Such wild talents! I am so lucky to have such collaborators! Oh, and of course all my music is about love, as banal as it may sound, but only and always about love!
12 April 05 - Mike Baran (OH), to Stickwire:
As a big Greg Howard fan, "Ether Ore" is another milestone effort that when listened to closely shows the dedication and pure talent it takes to improvise on Stick. The effects Greg uses are only a canvas for the brilliant brush strokes that only a seasoned Stick player can paint.
19 March 05 - Rob Martino (IL), to Stickwire:
I'll second Clint's recommendation for "Ether Ore". As I mentioned after a Miller's gig review last summer, this really demonstrates Greg's improv skills and sonic mastery of The Stick at a new level. If you liked "Water on the Moon" you'll love this. With no MIDI pickup, the variety of timbres and synthesizer-like sounds is pretty amazing. When a musician has gotten to a point where the instrument has become a sort of natural extension of their mind and body and their spontaneous musical thoughts seem to come out almost effortlessly, it's a great thing to witness. The performances on this CD capture that.
19 March 05 - Clint Allen (KY), to Stickwire:
I picked up a copy of Greg's new CD "Ether Ore" and I've been listening to it for a while now as I update my travel journal. What an inspirational CD! For me at least, it continues on and well above my old favorite "Water on the Moon". I continue to be astounded by Greg's work and it certainly gives me something to think about as I apprehensively now pick up my own Stick and contemplate making a sound or two.
22 September 04 - Irene Orleansky (Israel), to Stickwire:
I have played my Stick for eight months, and I must admit that I'm not Greg Howard either. (James, there is a chance we'll never be a Greg Howard.) The good news is that I'm still Irene and that these eight months with my Stick have been full of joy of discovering this wonderful instrument and really FULL of music. My album is about to be released in a few weeks, and here is a piece of music for you from the album, it's kind of a solo on the Stick: http://www.musicbrothersrecords.com/Meditation.mp3 And thanks again and again to Emmett and Yuta, you give so much joy to people! And thanks to everybody here on the list for your support and advice, and just for being such a great community! Happy Jewish New Year to everyone!
8 July 04 - Steven Lamphear (AL), to Stickwire:
I received the new Tom Griesgraber CD "A Whisper in the Thunder" today, and I must say....this is some amazing music, not just amazing Stick playing. This CD really made me think a lot about the article that has been in recent discussion here concerning the demonstrator vs. the artist. His solo composition "El Prado" speaks volumes of experience and knowledge, but never regresses to a mere technical display. There are enough odd meters to keep the overbearing prog fan inside me content, some of the greatest examples being the wondrous 7/4 and 13/8 sections of "77 Times". There are also atmospheres galore, as the whole CD is at the same time both moving and picturesque. I can't speak highly enough of this music, not to mention the amazing Stick playing (and the drumming!!!).
6 May 04 - Chuck Reynolds (VA), to StickWire:
I just wanted everyone here to know that Glenn Poorman's "Frantic Nature of Your Call" video clip was one of the real deciding factors in my Stick purchase. Those of you who are interested in The Stick, and not sure what it can do for you, or those of you new to the instrument, need to watch this clip (www.121normal.com). I just had to post this message because this clip consistently kicks me in the tail every time I watch it. Even knowing what the Stick was, seeing this clip from Glenn's site (in the visuals section) was what made it all sink in for me. I've shown this to just about everyone I know! Jaws just drop to the floor. Every musician says, "Oh, if I could just touch one person...", well, I'm touched.
26 March 04 - Greg Howard (VA), to StickWire:
I chose The Stick because of the newness of it, and because I wanted to "have it all" as much as possible. I wanted the expressiveness and intimacy keyboards didn't give me, and I wanted the arrangement capabilities the sax didn't have. So I set aside the keyboards and the sax, and started recording Stick Figures. This process, which took almost a year and around 500 hours of recording takes, messing them up, and recording takes again, was how I learned to play. I guess I just felt that sharpening my focus was the one thing I wasn't doing in my life up to that point, and that it was time to do so. I was 27, time to get busy. I haven't regretted my choice for a minute.
19 March 04 - Paul Frields (VA), to StickWire:
It (the"AcouStick") is a brilliant sounding instrument that really captures the tonal characteristics of the wood the way acoustic guitars do, and applies that to the characteristic Stick attack. And remember that he (Bob Culbertson) has an album available of AcouStick tunes as well, "AcouStick Dawn."
4 March 04 - Jim Kam (TX), to StickWire:
To me the best example of unaffected natural honest-to-goodness Stick tone in a recording is Greg Howard's "Stick Figures". I still go back and listen to it every now and again when I need some inspiration.
2 February 04 - Pete Gonzales (AZ), to StickWire:
Jim Lampi really impressed me at the San Jose Seminar, so I had to order his last 2 CD's. Both are very impressive with a lot of great material. Young Lions is a great collecion of stories put to music with great lyrics and really great playing. Greazy is in my opinion a whole 'nother world, by far one of the most impressive recordings I've heard in quite some time. This album is one of those that is "over the top"! From the first tune Jim hit's you with some really cool groves and poweful dramatic sounds. The vocal contributions on this CD are of a different nature, mostly supportive as most of the CD is instrumental with vocal improvisations throughout. I honestly can't say that there is any one tune better or more interesting than the others. I like them all - a lot! Jim should be very proud of this CD. If you haven't heard it, you owe it to yourself to give it a listen.
2 November 03 - Paul Frields (VA), to StickWire:
"Stick Figures" is one of a small number of Stick-centric albums that several friends and associates of mine have bought after hearing it. It speaks worlds for any musical work when it breaks out beyond artificial boundaries, and speaks to people from all different walks of life.
2 November 03 - Steven Lamphear (AL), to Stick Enterprises:
My favorite Stick-based recording, and one of my absolute favorite albums of all time, has got to be the first Gordian Knot album (which Bob mentioned earlier). I can't decide whether I like this album or "Emergent" (the second Gordian Knot album) more, but the first GK album has significantly more Stick playing than the latter (though the latter has my favorite song - "Singing Deep Mountain"). I can't possibly recommend this album enough to anybody with ears. I also highly recommend Greg Howard's "Lift" which I believe shows how well the Stick can work in a fusion setting. The songs are amazing, the performances are flawless, and the overall sound is just wonderful. These are not only two of my favorite albums, but these are also the two main reasons why I have ordered my Stick (which should be ready next month!). One thing must be said for the Stick: those who wish to follow its path certainly won't have a hard time finding inspiration.
8 August 03 - Paul Frields (VA), re Greg Howard's "Stick Figures" CD, to Stickwire:
Paul P. put together a really nice review. There are a lot of really fine recordings in the world of Stick-based composers, but "Stick Figures" seems to keep me coming back for more every year. It also seems that almost everyone for whom I play it is immediately interested in getting a copy of it for themselves, and I think that speaks to the fact that Greg, although obviously a pre-eminent Stickist, is not a Stickist first and a composer/musician second -- rather, it's the other way around. The Stick just happens to be the vehicle he's chosen as best for his music, and one at which he excels! If Greg had never recorded another album this one would (in my opinion) be one on which you could stake an entire reputation. I'm glad he didn't stop there, though, and I would recommend each and every one of his other albums without reservation! I bring my CD's to work and have burned them to MP3's on a jukebox system, which I run in the office most days. Thanks Greg, for (literally) countless hours of listening pleasure.
21 June 03 - Greg Howard (VA), to Sticknews:
I used to engineer sessions in my home studio to help pay for gear, including doing Dave Matthews' first four song demo, which included Stick on a couple of tunes. Now I occasionally engineer or master projects for friends. The experience is always valuable, as anything you can do to learn more about recording will help you when you work on your own projects. "Lift" was the first of my records with an engineer at the console, so I could just focus on making music. This was an unusual experience for me. I liked the freedom of it, but having that extra step of communication was something that took a little getting used to. Recording your own music is a skill just like performing, and if you want to be good at it you should practice before you go into the studio, when the $$$ flow like water.
20 June 03 - Greg Howard (VA), re. Bob Culbertson's "AcouStick Dawn" CD, to Stickwire:
From the first measure, it is clearly a new Bob, and his best recording to date by far. Even if you were not a fan of Bob's music before, you should check out this record. There's no question in my mind that he has finally found his true voice on this new instrument. I can only imagine where it will take him in the years to come. Congratulations, Bob! Truly a milestone.
6 June 03 - Glenn Poorman (MI), re. Bob Culbertson's "AcouStick Dawn" CD, to Stickwire:
Personally, I think this CD is a killer. The recording of the acoustic instrument is superb and that, combined with Bob's stellar performance, makes this (opinion of course) my favorite of all the Culbertson CDs so far. Makes me itch to get hold of one of these instruments too!
8 May 03 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
A while back, I was involved in a discussion where someone said the Stick wasn't exactly something that turned up on mainstream records. I countered with the following list culled from the Stick Discography: Belinda Carlisle, Howard Jones, John Paul Jones, Kajagoogoo, Kittyhawk, Cirque du Solei, Ryuichi Sakamoto, California Guitar Trio, King Crimson, David Sylvian, Toyah Wilcox, Midnight Oil, Aerosmith, Tangerine Dream, Blue Man Group, The Dave Matthews Band, Laurie Anderson, Al DiMeola, Tim Finn, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Robbie Robertson, Richard Thompson, David Torn, Yes, Grant Geissman, Dream Theater, Amy Grant, Oak Ridge Boys. Just to name a few.
8 February 02 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire
I would tend to agree that when someone wants a clear picture of what the instrument sounds like minus any processing, "Stick Figures" is an obvious choice to hand over. Another recording that I feel the same way about is Larry Tuttle's "Through the Gates". He strikes me as an amazing player that I don't hear people talk about nearly enough.
December 01 - Jim Reilly (Canada) interview of Nick Beggs for Talking Sticks:
NB: Well, it wasn't my main instrument in Kajagoogoo and it wasn't my main instrument in the next band I had. I had a band called Ellis, Beggs and Howard. We were writing the material and I kept on getting The Stick out. They said, "Put that away, stay down in the low end." And I said, "Look, if you want me to find a voice, I'm going to have to use this instrument." Finally, I came up with this riff and this progression which was the middle eight of a single that hadn't been such a big hit for Kajagoogoo. We worked it up into a song and it was a hit for Ellis, Beggs and Howard. It was a hit in Europe. So from then on they said, "No don't pick up the bass guitar, pick up The Chapman Stick."
JR: What was that tune?
NB: It was called "Big Bubbles, No troubles."
15 November 01 - Eric Wallack (OH), to Stickwire:
For me, it's not the instrument, it's the musician. I've been listening a lot to Steve Adelson's "The Answer's Inside" (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!), and was blown away by his ability to not sound like a Stick. He's got a punchy jazz bass-like tone on the bass side, and a great, fat, "classic" jazz guitar tone on the melody side. He's simultaneously walkin', compin', and soloin' and functioning appropriately in his jazz combo. I didn't hear "Stick", I heard bass and guitar - I heard MUSIC (great music, actually!)
23 October 01 - Kevin Ramsey (Japan), to Stickwire:
I picked up the Greg Howard Band's "Lift" in Tokyo this weekend, and have been enjoying it almost non-stop during non-working hours for the past 3 days. The 4th track, "Still Water", in particular stands out, with a soothing yet haunting melody that managed to simultaneously bring a smile to my face and a tear in my eye. Other favorites are "Dissent", "Cross Country", "The Offering", and the updated "Blues for Ayman". Although I'm not very familiar with Weather Report (Heavy Weather is the only WR CD I own and have listened to), I find the Greg Howard Band to be in a similar vein of "pop jazz". Great music, Greg!
July 01 - David Ashcraft review of The Greg Howard Band's "Lift" CD in Expose Magazine:
If you have any doubts that Greg Howard is a true Stick aficionado simply check out his last album which is an hour-long live solo Stick improvisation. This time around Howard surrounds himself with an excellent band of Dutch musicians, creating an extremely cohesive unit with a diverse sound. The music recalls the Stick/bass sound from the Tony Levin version of King Crimson or perhaps a jazzier version of Gordian Knot. Interestingly five of the eleven tracks are group improvisations, but the band is so talented and emphatic that even these have a finished quality to them. After recording seven CD's on his own Espresso label since 1993, Greg Howard has put his skilled Stick playing and strong compositions into a group context that gels beautifully. Lift is highly recommended for fans of melodic jazz-fusion and for Stick lovers everywhere.
February/March 01 - Carlye Archbeque on the "Independent Review Site" re the Greg Howard Band's CD, "Lift":
"Lift" the debut CD from the new Greg Howard Band is a collection of soundscapes blending the sounds of jazz-fusion and progressive rock with elements of world music and electronic manipulation. The result is a unique new sound for Chapman Stickist and band namesake Greg Howard, an artist with a diverse musical background and a dozen recordings to his credit.
22 February 01 - Artur de Sousa Rocha (Poland), to Stick Enterprises:
Even though "Tappistry Volume II" is a compilation of many styles and artists, it is very consistent and stays so no matter how you select and order tracks for listening. This proves that Casey Arillaga is not only a talented Stickist, but also has a talent for arranging musical material created by others like and unlike him. As I write these words I'm listening to the CD for the fifth time, and I've only had it for less than 24 hours. It is now one of the most important albums in my vast collection, which I hope to be dominated by Stick recordings one day.
16 February 01 - Johannes Korn (Germany), to Stickwire:
Last week I received my copy of "Lift" by the Greg Howard Band, and although I've had it for a short while only, it's already among my favorite Stick CD's. I think the version of "Still Water" alone is worth the price of the CD. The combination of Stick and fretless bass sounds great, and their interplay is perfect. Lots of beautiful melodies by the soprano sax, and the drums and percussion provide more than just a backdrop for the other musicians.
14 December 00 - Eric Wallack (OH), to Stickwire:
Greg Howard's "Water on the Moon" comes to mind as a great example of a Stickist pushing the boundaries not only of his instrument and physical stamina, but of his creativity as well (quite successfully too! - I love it, Greg!).
14 December 00 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
My copy of "Lift" (Greg Howard's newest) arrived yesterday. One thing I've liked about Greg's CDs is that every release seems to be completely different from the last. This one is no exception. Another thing I've enjoyed about Greg's body of work is that it seems like, with each release, the recordings become less and less about Greg the Stick player and more about the music itself. This release is no exception and continues farther in that direction. In addition to the usual great Stick playing, the saxophone and basses take on equally important and impressive roles on the new record. I've spun this one from front to back twice now and I really, really like it. There's not a single track that I want to fast forward through.
9 October 00 - Steve Morgan (SD), to Stick Enterprises:
I've watched the Stick Night '99 video about 50 times now and I'm still not sick of it. It must feel great to have so many outstanding musicians playing your instruments. Most of those guys could probably get endorsements from many other companies, but they chose yours instead. I'll be at the NAMM show this winter; I was wondering if you had a Stick Night planned that I could get a ticket for.
8 July 00 - Pete Gonzales (AZ), re Freeway Philharmonic, to Stickwire:
OK, maybe it isn't a brand new release. But, I just had a chance to listen to it, man was I impressed! What a neurobic activity listening to this CD. I can't remember another CD that has such amazing clarity and crispness. Larry Tuttle's Stick sounds so clear and shines through nicely!
18 February 00 - Dave Dixon (VA), to Stickwire:
I played Water on the Moon (Greg Howard) for my father the other day - my dad's been a jazz and rock guitarist as long as I've been alive and beyond, and upon a good listen he was as stunned and amazed as I was... cheers Greg. Some of the riffs you rip out put to shame the greatest guitarists, bassists and the like I've ever heard.
Summer/Fall 99 - "Larry Tuttle: Through The Gates", a review by David Taylor, Progression Magazine:
If you weren't quite sure what a Stick could do, or how it sounded, here are 40 minutes of solos, mostly in the three-minute range, to demonstrate. The care taken in Tuttle's composition and arrangements is comparable to Steve Howe's for his own solo work.
Spring/Summer 99 - "Guillermo Cides: Primitivo", review by John Collinge, Progression Magazine:
This Argentinian Stick player is simply incredible. The way he creates bright sound layers via electronic looping and chime-y, multi-octave plucking, places him in the realm of one-man orchestra. And on Primitivo, he expands the palette exponentially with occasional accompaniment by the Caturga Percussion Group, a tabla/gamelan player, a flute player, vocalist, and on one track a six-member Stick ensemble. Primitivo is an exotic musical juncture where progressive, world music, classical, ambient and jazz converge. Irresistible stuff! I just wish it was twice as long.
27 May 99 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire:
I recently got my copy of Parallel Galaxy. It is absolutely FANTASTIC, The "Sgt. Pepper" of Stick recordings. Emmett's playing has the little voice in the back of my head saying "hey, how'd he do that, must be one of the inventor's tricks we don't know about." Stunning Stick playing. Oh sure it's not enough that he invents the instrument but is truly an "Artist" on the instrument and in composition. The album was recorded in 1985 I believe yet I speak of it as if it were just recorded. It is beyond a standard recording we should all have, it is something I will continue to strive for in my playing and artistry as well. To be able to define a picture of one's soul in music. Emmett's style is LARGE, you can pick out an "Emmett sound, arrangement or lick" out of any line up.
May 99 - Steve Robey, Expose' Magazine issue #17:
Bob Culbertson - "A Moment in Time": Wasn't it our tempestuous president Theodore Roosevelt who uttered the classic line, "Speak softly, and carry a big stick?" Bay area musician Bob Culbertson has taken these words to heart, and produced a lovely, pastoral, solo performance on the Chapman Stick, "A Moment in Time." Culbertson favors the higher registers of this resonant instrument; at times he sounds quite like an acoustic guitar duet. Indeed, one friend asked me, "Who are these guys?" while I was playing it. The CD booklet bills the music as a "romantic journey of sound," which flows easily between Spanish, Celtic, and other folk elements.
May 99 - Mike Ezzo, Expose' Magazine issue #17:
Various Artists - "Tappistry": Here are fifteen other players, none of whom I have ever heard. Perhaps the greatest virtue of "Tappistry" is that each individual player has something different to say. I was expecting a lot of clones stylistically and that is exactly what I didn't find.
24 July 97 - Chris Puglisi (Australia), to Stick Enterprises:
Your (Emmett's) video (Hands Across the Board) is both entertaining and educational. It is very inspiring to hear your music, which is unlike any other I have heard. As you say, new music is born from the new instrument and approach and I found yours quite beautiful and eye opening.