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Thread: AAJ Review: King Crimson, Live in Vienna 2016, December 1, 2016 (UK Edition)

  1. #1

    AAJ Review: King Crimson, Live in Vienna 2016, December 1, 2016 (UK Edition)



    My review of King Crimson's Live in Vienna 2016, December 1, 2016 (UK Edition), today at All About Jazz.

    Another year, another live King Crimson set? True, perhaps. But since reforming in a slightly shifting but conceptually constant form in 2013 to begin touring in the fall of the following year, the band's forward-looking, ever-growing repertoire of new music and revisitation of old music (from across its nearly half century career) made new again has been documented solely through live recordings. It's entirely appropriate, in fact, given the band's only remaining co-founder, guitarist/keyboardist Robert Fripp's longtime assertion that Crimson's studio albums are "love letters," its live recordings "hot dates."

    Some, like the teasing taunt of 2015's vinyl length Live at the Orpheum (Panegyric) and 2016's three-CD/Blu Ray (and/or two-DVD) audio/video summation of the band circa 2015, Radical Action (to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind (Panegyric), have been formally mixed from live multi-track recordings.

    But, in order to capture and release particularly fine live shows in shorter order, the band has also been alternating those more time-consuming productions with rawer, more direct and complete "warts and all" shows taken directly from the front of house soundboard mix, including Live in Toronto: Queen Elizabeth Theatre, November 20, 2015 (Panegyric) and 2017's Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017 (DGM Live)). Add to that the EP-length Heroes (Panegyric, 2017), also culled from live recordings (including the titular David Bowie song from 1977, to which Fripp contributed what has become some truly classic guitar work), and the current Crimson has released five live recordings of varying lengths in just over three years.

    Except that there was actually a sixth live album that documented another complete, particularly strong concert. Live in Vienna 2016 + Live in Tokyo 2015 (Panegyric) was only released in Japan in the fall of 2017: a three-CD set including the full December,1, 2016 Museumsquartier show on the first two discs, with the third containing a selection of songs from the group's 2015 tour of Japan. The international release of Live in Vienna (UK Edition) represents King Crimson's first document of a full show mixed from the multi-tracks rather than the front-of-house soundboard mix. But in addition to Vienna being an especially compelling show, the band has nixed the original third disc and replaced it with something far more appealing; well, truth be told, actually containing, amidst its six tracks, a single piece for which many (most) Crimson fans have been waiting ever since the group reformed. There's more to recommend the third disc as well, however; more about that later,

    The foundational concepts of the current Crimson have, indeed, remained constant. Most notably, its three-drummer front-line--initially including Pat Mastelotto, Bill Rieflin (who also played keyboards alongside, on occasion, Fripp) and Gavin Harrison (responsible for the detailed drum arrangements)--was a rare and significant decision, one which has provided this Crimson lineup as close to orchestral potential as it has ever achieved. The back-line, too, has remained largely constant and given the band more instrumental potential than any of its previous incarnations. Joining Fripp in the back-line: Jakko M. Jakszyk, a superb guitarist who is also the group's lead singer; longtime (off and largely, since the 1980s, on) Crimson bassist/background singer, Tony Levin; and, back in the band for the first time in 41 years and four recordings with the band (documented in great detail on the recent Sailors' Tales 1970-1972 (Panegyric, 2017) box set), reed and woodwind multi-instrumentalist Mel Collins.

    Continue reading here...
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  2. #2
    Bump.
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  3. #3
    Another great and thorough review John - thanks!

    I keep thinking I may have to stop reading your KC reviews though, as they have a way of persuading me that I need to buy things I'd otherwise decided not to get! Don't I have enough live Crimson by now dammit?? Fracture and the soundscapes collages would be the main draw for me here, of course.
    “your ognna pay pay with my wrath of ballbat”

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  4. #4
    Good review, and I pre-ordered the album largely because of it. But it's not without the usual over-praise and hyperbole, especially this:

    "Jakszyk was always the perfect choice as this lineup's singer, but over the past couple of years he has emerged as the only Crimson vocalist capable of handling a diverse repertoire that draws, now, on every single Crimson studio release, barring 1983's Three of a Perfect Pair. "

    Jakko is a mediocre singer, at best adequate and ordinary. Even you know this. Calling him "perfect" and the "only vocalist capable" robs you of credibility. I love Crimson, too, but come on, man. The vocals are easily the weakest aspect of this incarnation. (That said, Jakko's a wonderful guitarist, and it's not his fault that Robert Fripp hired him to sing.)

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by The Crimson King View Post
    Good review, and I pre-ordered the album largely because of it. But it's not without the usual over-praise and hyperbole, especially this:

    "Jakszyk was always the perfect choice as this lineup's singer, but over the past couple of years he has emerged as the only Crimson vocalist capable of handling a diverse repertoire that draws, now, on every single Crimson studio release, barring 1983's Three of a Perfect Pair. "

    Jakko is a mediocre singer, at best adequate and ordinary. Even you know this. Calling him "perfect" and the "only vocalist capable" robs you of credibility. I love Crimson, too, but come on, man. The vocals are easily the weakest aspect of this incarnation. (That said, Jakko's a wonderful guitarist, and it's not his fault that Robert Fripp hired him to sing.)
    Damn. I wrote a lengthy reply but somehow lost it. Ok, in a nutshell (well, my version of a nutshell ):

    1. You've no idea what I think, so suggesting that "Even [I] know this" is both off-base and offensive to me. Have I ever suggested otherwise? Have we ever spoken, on or offline, about this subject?
    2. You need to recognize that this is an opinion, and that just because someone disagrees with yours doesn't render it hyperbole or over-praise. Now, I can support my opinion, and will. But just so you know....

    But before that: everything I write is either factually correct (and if not, I appreciate folks who point out any factual errors...in fact, I need to go in today as someone has pointed out that Live in Toronto was NOT a soundboard mix, but a proper post-show mix from the multi-tracks by the FOH engineer and David Singleton) or, if an opinion, absolutely what I believe. Your suggestion that i impact my credibility because I write what I know is an untruth is truly offensive. You can disagree with me, and I've no issue. But please do not ever suggest that what I write is motivated by anything other than my desire to report what I believe to be true.

    Now, as for why I think Jakko is the absolute best choice for this band? Well, before some empiricals, let's make that a conditional: best living choice. Not only did Belew (who I still love!) not want to sing earlier Crimson material, I don't believe he'd have been able to do so with credibility. Beyond being American making the oh-so-British music of Crimson's early years, I just don't think the quality of his voice (perfect for the material he writes) would be a good fit.

    Lake, Wetton and Boz are all no longer with us but, even so, while Lake might have been able to manage it, but Wetton had persistent pitch problems, especially in his upper range (every singer has the occasional bad night, but if I have to hear one more live recording of "Exiles," where Wetton misses the mark more than once, I'll be a happy guy). Boz was great for the Islands material, but not my singer of choice for the pre-Islands stuff, though he was, at least, a very good singer, so this comes down to personal taste. Haskell would not be able to handle the breadth of material from the perspective of range; even though I enjoyed his singing on Lizard immensely, I can't picture him singing "Islands" or "The Letters."

    Jakko, on the other hand, has pretty consistently strong pitch, and not always in the easiest of circumstances. While it may seem deceptively simply to sing, "Dawn Song," from Lizard's "Battle of the Glass Tears," is a big challenge, because not only does it demand a singer hold good pitch at the low end of their vocal range (much harder than at the upper end), it demands he/she do so at a very quiet volume, which makes it even harder. Both documents of Jakko singing this piece are very, very good in this regard; though he's a touch pitchy in the Chicago show it's well within acceptable limits (at least, for my ears); in Vienna he's smack on. Add to that his ability to sing with a piercing scream and quieter, brooding quality ("The Letters"), his capability of delivering relentless power and range ("Pictures of a City"), and, even more, taking a song where he knew he'd not be appropriate if trying to be reverent and, therefore, created a completely different (and more personal) interpretation ("Indiscipline"). These are only some of the reasons why I think he's absolutely the best singer for the job. He's also a great guitarist, you're right; but has Fripp (or anyone else in the band) suggested that that was his real reason for being recruited, with his voice a secondary benefit?

    So, I;d appreciate your not putting words in my mouth. You don't have to agree with me, but don't ever think that anything I write is anything but heartfelt and, for me, completely honest.
    Last edited by jkelman; 03-31-2018 at 02:45 PM.
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Mascodagama View Post
    Another great and thorough review John - thanks!

    I keep thinking I may have to stop reading your KC reviews though, as they have a way of persuading me that I need to buy things I'd otherwise decided not to get! Don't I have enough live Crimson by now dammit?? Fracture and the soundscapes collages would be the main draw for me here, of course.
    I'll take that as a compliment Seriously, thanks for the kind words.
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  7. #7
    That third disc is the major selling point, and it is a killer selling point indeed!

    I wanna say every other song in the set has been live released by the 2014-present crim, so just a bonus to have another killer take of those songs!

    Credit where credit is due - every live album this band has released has had both killer performances and some songs never before released by this version of the band. It is awesome how each package therefore ends up being unique and totally justifiable to purchase - I can’t wait for my copy next week!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by kenticus View Post
    That third disc is the major selling point, and it is a killer selling point indeed!

    I wanna say every other song in the set has been live released by the 2014-present crim, so just a bonus to have another killer take of those songs!
    True, but I maintain hearing songs in different orders make a real diff. The introduction of just "Dawn Song," from Lizard's "Battle of the Glass Tears," for example, really works as the lead-in to "Suitable Grounds for the Blues." Add to that how some songs really do vary night to night in a significant way, and the fact that some of these songs have been in almost every setlist released as a live document really matters not; you're getting very different things happening with each one, "Easy Money" being a particularly good example, I'd say.

    Quote Originally Posted by kenticus View Post
    Credit where credit is due - every live album this band has released has had both killer performances and some songs never before released by this version of the band. It is awesome how each package therefore ends up being unique and totally justifiable to purchase - I can’t wait for my copy next week!
    I'm with ya!!!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Damn. I wrote a lengthy reply but somehow lost it. Ok, in a nutshell (well, my version of a nutshell ):

    1. You've no idea what I think, so suggesting that "Even [I] know this" is both off-base and offensive to me. Have I ever suggested otherwise? Have we ever spoken, on or offline, about this subject?
    2. You need to recognize that this is an opinion, and that just because someone disagrees with yours doesn't render it hyperbole or over-praise. Now, I can support my opinion, and will. But just so you know....

    But before that: everything I write is either factually correct (and if not, I appreciate folks who point out any factual errors...in fact, I need to go in today as someone has pointed out that Live in Toronto was NOT a soundboard mix, but a proper post-show mix from the multi-tracks by the FOH engineer and David Singleton) or, if an opinion, absolutely what I believe. Your suggestion that i impact my credibility because I write what I know is an untruth is truly offensive. You can disagree with me, and I've no issue. But please do not ever suggest that what I write is motivated by anything other than my desire to report what I believe to be true.

    ...

    So, I;d appreciate your not putting words in my mouth. You don't have to agree with me, but don't ever think that anything I write is anything but heartfelt and, for me, completely honest.
    You bumped your own post after nobody initially responded to it, and then took deep offense to one of the two people who responded to the bump, and who began his response with "good review."

    And people call *me* contentious, LOL.
    Last edited by Facelift; 03-31-2018 at 07:50 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Facelift View Post
    You bumped your own post after nobody initially responded to it, and then took deep offense to one of the two people who responded to the bump, and who began his response with "good review."

    And people call *me* contentious, LOL.
    If you didn't see past the "good review," where the poster, suggesting my praise of Jakszyk's singing was hyperbole and over-praise (that's his opinion, fine)... and that not only is Jakko "mediocre, at best adequate and ordinary" (fine, also, as his opinion), but that "even [I] knew this" (not fine...how does he know this, but worse) suggests, in no uncertain terms, that I knowingly tell untruths in my writing?

    Well, I guess you didn't read his entire post or consider its implications. Any compliment - or apology, for that matter - followed by the word "but" is neither a compliment nor an apology. A lesson my wife taught me early in our relationship that has held up pretty well for a quarter century.

    This has nothing to do with being "contentious" and everything to do with countering the suggestion that this poster (a) knows my "true" (i.e. his) feelings about Jakszyk, and (b) that I therefore am lying to those who read my reviews. Both are complete untruths and I had every reason to counter them.

    I've no issue if someone disagrees with me or (heavens!) doesn't like my writing. But suggesting that what I write and what I believe are two different things? Sorry, man, but if you don't see that for the insult it is then you're just doing what you do best: trolling. It's also why you're on my ignore list and why I should not have succumbed to viewing a post from you on a thread I started; I should have known better. I'll not make that mistake again.
    Last edited by jkelman; 03-31-2018 at 11:30 PM.
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  11. #11
    Well now...now that that's been dispensed with, anyone wanna talk about Crimson? Honestly, y'all can disagree with me even!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  12. #12
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    I don't have the album yet so I can't comment on the vox but I enjoyed the review and, based on what I've heard of the live shows, am eager to experience this. Especially that third disc.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  13. #13
    John - thanks for the link to this review, which was a pleasure to read as always. And I hope this finds you in reasonable health - I'm sure I speak for many around here when I say that the commitment that you so evidently make to your writing, & your willingness to engage in such depth with the music & with the discussion, is particularly appreciated given what you're having to endure with your health.

    I can't comment on this new record yet, as I haven't had a chance to listen to it - suffice to say that, even if I hadn't pre-ordered this one, your review would have prompted me to do so.

    With regards to JJ's singing - I have to admit that I wasn't a big fan when I first heard him singing KC tunes - his voice lacked the power that Lake, Wetton & Belew all had in their different ways. However, I think his live singing has grown stronger over the last two or three years of touring; & I really like his takes on the Boz & Haskell tunes - he handles them in some ways more effectively than the originals.

    But, whatever one's preferences, I think there is a fundamental truth in John's claim that JJ is more or less uniquely able to cover effectively the material from each of the band's different eras - & that being able to do so is both a significant achievement, but also one of the things that makes the current iteration of the band possible. In fact, I'd argue that JJ's facility with these multiple demands on his singing has been of equal importance to the band's ability to explore so many of the highways & byways of the KC back catalogue as the distinctive instrumental array of this current iteration.

  14. #14
    I wish there was a way to just buy disc three by itself. Hard to justify the overall price when the actual show is the part I'd (I suspect) barely touch.

    To be fair, mediocrity in the vocal department has always been KC's rule more than the exception--or if that's not quite the right word, then... unexceptionality? Greg and John were the notably talented singers, though GL's tone was always a bit too naturally gentle for the music and JW went for excessive balls-out volume as default too often.

    Few of us would call Jakko a great singer, but the opinion above was that he's perfect for this band. The word 'perfect' adds to the hyperbole, maybe, but I'd agree he's got the right kind of unexceptional all-around competence for the job he's doing on the old-old-school songs. It's certainly possible he could give a similar read on the Belew-era stuff, judging by the one chorus we have to go on so far.
    Last edited by Spiral; 04-01-2018 at 09:43 AM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Spiral View Post
    I wish there was a way to just buy disc three by itself. Hard to justify the overall price when the actual show is the part I'd (I suspect) barely touch.
    The price of the cd from Burning Shed is £12.99. That's pretty much in line with what one might expect to pay for a new "single" cd. You could always look at it as £12.99 for the single disc with the soundscapes, etc, with a bonus double cd with the formal mix of the multi-track recording of the Vienna show.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by per anporth View Post
    The price of the cd from Burning Shed is £12.99. That's pretty much in line with what one might expect to pay for a new "single" cd.
    Shrug. With US shipping it's close to $20. I wouldn't rule it out, but things are tight these days. It'd be different if this one also included "Discipline" instead of that godawful take on "Indiscipline" again, but it sadly hadn't appeared yet.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Spiral View Post
    I wish there was a way to just buy disc three by itself. Hard to justify the overall price when the actual show is the part I'd (I suspect) barely touch.
    Don't be so sure... wait'll you hear it. It's another top drawer show from the band, plus a chance to hear, for those not in Europe, the Stacey version of the seven-piece, before Rieflin rejoined. It really is worthwhile, even if the third disc is what renders the set absolutely essential. But "justify the overall price?" You know I respect you (and value your readership...you too, Per & Jerjo, BTW!), but consider this. Here, at Amazon US, it's a little over $21. How many cups of coffee do you buy each week, or how many beers or glasses of wine? All very fleeting things that likely add up to more than the cost of this 3CD set, which will be with you for the rest o your life?

    That's how, at least, I justify the money I spend on music.

    A story: back when my wife, Rio, and I were first getting together, she was a smoker (I'd quit a few years prior). A month after we moved into the first house we bought, it was broken into while we were out, and most of my then-700 (this was 1992) CDs were stolen, along with a boom box. When the insurance company settled (I had and still have a complete list of every CD, DVD and Blu Ray I own) the CDs for something like $16,000, she kinda freaked. "I can't believe you've spent that much money on music," she exclaimed. I replied: "ok, let's see...you smoke a carton of cigarettes every week, which is [then] about $60/week. That's over $3,000 a year on something that, once you smoke it, is gone. I've accumulated this music over the course of [again, then] 8 years, lasts a lifetime and averages out to less than $2,000/year." That put it into perspective for her and she never griped again. Of course, now I spend far more on music and other media, (!), but she quit smoking and now does too..so we're one happy, media-crazy couple!!

    Anyway, just something to consider when thinking of the cost of this set. I'm sure you consume things that are for enjoyment but are fleeting. This will be with you forever!

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiral View Post
    To be fair, mediocrity in the vocal department has always been KC's rule more than the exception--or if that's not quite the right word, then... unexceptionality? Greg and John were the notably talented singers, though GL's tone was always a bit too naturally gentle for the music and JW went for excessive balls-out volume as default too often.

    Few of us would call Jakko a great singer, but the opinion above was that he's perfect for this band. The word 'perfect' adds to the hyperbole, maybe, but I'd agree he's got the right kind of unexceptional all-around competence for the job he's doing on the old-old-school songs. It's certainly possible he could give a similar read on the Belew-era stuff, judging by the one chorus we have to go on so far.
    While I disagree with you about Jakko (and Wetton - he could be good, but live - the only way we get to hear Jakko - his pitch often missed the mark; Lake was, IMO, a better singer, as was Boz when it comes to the technical aspects of being a good vocalist), I appreciate your being more balanced about it. That said, I maintain that he's now grown into the best singer the band has ever had, in particular for the challenge of covering material across almost the band's entire career. As for mediocre? I don't know how you measure, that but for me he's got good pitch, chops, an appealing tonality and more. So I think he's far better than mediocre, but I respect others' right to feel otherwise. My initial issue with Crimson King was hid suggesting that I wrote untruths in my review, and that I will not take.

    But we all hear things differently, and different things appeal (or not) to us in different ways. So, while I don't believe my suggesting Jakko is Crimson's best singer is in any way hyperbole, I absolutely respect anyone's thinking otherwise.

    Cheers!
    John
    Last edited by jkelman; 04-01-2018 at 12:40 PM.
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  18. #18
    Well, there are some interesting thoughts. Thanks as always for engaging in such detail.

    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    a chance to hear, for those not in Europe, the Stacey version of the seven-piece, before Rieflin rejoined. ... But "justify the overall price?" You know I respect you (and value your readership...you too, Per & Jerjo, BTW!), but consider this. Here, at Amazon US, it's a little over $21. How many cups of coffee do you buy each week, or how many beers or glasses of wine? All very fleeting things that likely add up to more than the cost of this 3CD set, which will be with you for the rest o your life?

    That's how, at least, I justify the money I spend on music.
    Oh, I didn’t mean it’s bad value at all. The thing is probably underpriced in light of how much work went into it. I was talking purely about how urgent it seems to me in my circumstances. There’s just not a whole lot to spare for music (and coffee and wine, fwiw) some weeks. A little of this Crimson is plenty for me, and it’s been covered with loads of live stuff and Hot Tickles (including a few hours’ worth from this 2016 septet) already—very little of it really sounds “made new again” to my ears, so it’s not a lineup where I’d need to compare everything available as with 72-74 or 00-03. I’d shell out plenty at DGM when things start going better, but this set won’t take priority over a Nik Bartsch’s Ronin ticket for the same price.

    While I disagree with you about Jakko ... I maintain that he's now grown into the best singer the band has ever had, in particular for the challenge of covering material across almost the band's entire career. As for mediocre? I don't know how you measure, that but for me he's got good pitch, chops, an appealing tonality and more. So I think he's far better than mediocre
    Well, as I said above, that really isn’t the word for it. I’m just not sure what is. Anyone have a thesaurus?

    I’d say that where you could consider Wetton a singer who also wrote songs and played guitar/bass, Jakko is mainly a guitarist/producer who also sings. Nothing against his voice or what he does with it; it’s simply not a natural talent of his as it was with Greg Lake. He uses it well for what it is. If that means the vocals are (often) a serviceable part of the whole, maybe less important than the compositions and instrumental work, then that still puts him right alongside Belew in that regard.

    I dunno. Maybe I just don’t care for most of the songs he’s singing, but it sounds like solidly decent work—not bad at all, just not outstanding and not the most crucial thing anyway. I wasn’t even arguing with anyone above, just saying that lyrics and vocals have always felt like the least important element in any Crimson, so this one is really no different.

  19. #19
    For me the vocals and the lyrics are my nagging reservation about this version of the group. Not because I have a problem with the way JJ delivers the songs, which I generally think is good, but the very style of vocal delivery that these songs have always had and really demand feels dated, frozen in time in the early seventies. Likewise most of the lyrics have not aged well. The music on the other hand feels timeless.

    Overall this is not a huge gripe - I still like the band, have seen them live and bought and enjoyed several of the releases - but in my heart of hearts I think I would really enjoy them more if they did everything as instrumentals.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Spiral View Post
    Well, there are some interesting thoughts. Thanks as always for engaging in such detail.
    It's all I know how to do

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiral View Post
    Oh, I didn’t mean it’s bad value at all. The thing is probably underpriced in light of how much work went into it. I was talking purely about how urgent it seems to me in my circumstances. There’s just not a whole lot to spare for music (and coffee and wine, fwiw) some weeks. A little of this Crimson is plenty for me, and it’s been covered with loads of live stuff and Hot Tickles (including a few hours’ worth from this 2016 septet) already—very little of it really sounds “made new again” to my ears, so it’s not a lineup where I’d need to compare everything available as with 72-74 or 00-03. I’d shell out plenty at DGM when things start going better, but this set won’t take priority over a Nik Bartsch’s Ronin ticket for the same price.
    Fair enough!

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiral View Post
    I’d say that where you could consider Wetton a singer who also wrote songs and played guitar/bass, Jakko is mainly a guitarist/producer who also sings. Nothing against his voice or what he does with it; it’s simply not a natural talent of his as it was with Greg Lake. He uses it well for what it is. If that means the vocals are (often) a serviceable part of the whole, maybe less important than the compositions and instrumental work, then that still puts him right alongside Belew in that regard.
    That's not entirely true. Jakko has released albums under his own name (Bruised Romantic Glee Club being the best example, where one disc was covers, the other original vocal music), as Jakszyk, Fripp & Collins (where he took improvisations with Fripp and turned them into songs) and with Dizrhythmia (two albums), as just three examples of how he is, indeed, a singer/songwriter as well as a guitarist/producer.

    As far as it not being a "natural talent"? Well, to each their own, but you must, I am sure, realize, that this is an opinion and not some kind of hard fact. I think, also, that what touring with Crimson has done, over the past four years (really, this is the fifth) is that he's improved significantly as a vocalist in that time. Compare his voice on Live at the Orpheum to Live in Chicago, and (at least to my ears), he has really grown into the role in a big way...that's the benefit of being able to get out on the road and play regularly. If you've any aptitude for it, playing 144 dates with the band since 2014, plus the 44 current bookings for this year and you just can't help but get better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiral View Post
    I dunno. Maybe I just don’t care for most of the songs he’s singing, but it sounds like solidly decent work—not bad at all, just not outstanding and not the most crucial thing anyway. I wasn’t even arguing with anyone above, just saying that lyrics and vocals have always felt like the least important element in any Crimson, so this one is really no different.
    Well, we disagree on his being just "solidly decent" and "not outstanding," but, as before, your opinion holds as much weight as mine and so I can't argue with that, even if I don't at all agree. My issue is when folks start talking about him being a bad singer. From a purely technical perspective, he is absolutely a good singer, with good pitch, a pretty damn decent range, a well-used and, more importantly, well-controlled vibrato (rather than some singers, who just wobble all over the place and use it as a means to cover up poor pitch) and certainly (admittedly, this being more subjective) possesses a pretty darn reasonable ability to get to the heart of a song from an emotional/emotive perspective.

    But folks may not find his voice one that stands out particularly for them, and that's totally fine, as we all have different ears and different hearts, so different musicians and music reach us (or not!) in different ways. But from a purely technical perspective, I'll challenge anyone as to whether he's a good (i.e. skilled, capable) singer, and defend him on that front without hesitation. Using actual measurements that relate to skill, he ticks off pretty much all of the boxes. After that, it comes down to taste, and that's not something that can be argued; it just is. Personally, I've liked his voice since I first heard and reviewed (me, being a relative latecomer to Jakko) Bruised Romantic Glee Club back in 2006, after which I went back and heard him with 21stCSB, and was equally impressed.

    Cheers!
    John
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  21. #21
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Great review John. I was totally smitten with Chicago, so I will probably pull the trigger even if its just to hear "Frakcture", but I know I will dig the whole burrito. Thanks man.
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Great review John. I was totally smitten with Chicago, so I will probably pull the trigger even if its just to hear "Frakcture", but I know I will dig the whole burrito. Thanks man.
    Always a pleasure! Fracture will knock your socks off; the three collages will blow you away (in a subtle and often quiet way)....and the Vienna show will, I'm sure, impress as well!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  23. #23
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Jakko has released albums under his own name (Bruised Romantic Glee Club being the best example, where one disc was covers, the other original vocal music), as Jakszyk, Fripp & Collins (where he took improvisations with Fripp and turned them into songs) and with Dizrhythmia (two albums), as just three examples of how he is, indeed, a singer/songwriter as well as a guitarist/producer.
    The first time I heard of Jakko was during a visit to England in 1989, when browsing through a bin of random 45s I found a single credited to simply "Jakko" of Anthony Moore's "Judy Get Down." I love that song, and was amazed that a cover of it existed, so of course I picked it up. A portent of things to come was that the drummer is one Gavin Harrison! Also present is Dave Stewart on keyboards.
    New album THE HIPCRIME VOCAB available now!
    https://michaelpdawson.bandcamp.com

  24. #24
    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Great review John. I was totally smitten with Chicago, so I will probably pull the trigger even if its just to hear "Frakcture", but I know I will dig the whole burrito. Thanks man.
    Yeah, my thoughts exactly.

    Every release has gotten better by this lineup. Time to spin Chicago again.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    The first time I heard of Jakko was during a visit to England in 1989, when browsing through a bin of random 45s I found a single credited to simply "Jakko" of Anthony Moore's "Judy Get Down." I love that song, and was amazed that a cover of it existed, so of course I picked it up. A portent of things to come was that the drummer is one Gavin Harrison! Also present is Dave Stewart on keyboards.
    Lucky you. I have, over the past decade, dug into Jakko's past and picked up a fair bit of his work, mostly with others. One of those musicians who's been around for a long time but is, only now, getting the attention he deserves.
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

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