DIO — HOLY DIVER (1983)
140 Gram Translucent Red Vinyl LP • Start Your Ear Off Right 2018 Exclusive • Remastered • Limited to 3500 • Released by @wbr@rhino_records ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Following his brief stint as lead singer of Black Sabbath, the legendary Ronnie James Dio formed his own band and channeled words and melodies from the depths of hell to craft a heavy metal debut album for the ages. “Holy Diver” is an undeniable classic. 🤘
Gene Russell - "New Direction" (Black Jazz, 1971)
No, there's no mistake. That really is the back cover. Early on, Black Jazz front and back covers were identical but upside down for... reasons. Something about always having all the information right in front of you. This album, the first for Russell and also for his new label, sets the tone for things to come. Bass fixture Henry Franklin is present, though he is swapped out for Monk associate Larry Gales on two tracks. On drums is Steve Clover, and congas are played by a "Tony William". Add the 's' at the end, and you've fixed the error. Yes, it really is THAT Tony Williams, making his only appearance that I know of not behind the drum set. Black Jazz often had stars of this caliber participating, which speaks to their belief in Russell's overall vision. Russell's second album, "Talk to my Lady", is a fuzzy, Rhodes-filled adventure through a jazzy haze, but he sticks to acoustic piano on this one, and he isn't a very traditional soloist. Russell seems to take his solo space as a chance to experiment with bizarre types of comping. It forces the rest of the band, all of whom are playing more rhythmically-centered instruments than Russell, to try to twist and turn to stay out of his way, and the result is a cool but not-very-memorable adventure in group interplay within the confines of groove-based jazz. Russell did not write a single one of these pieces, which means we don't get any chance to see what his comp-soloing is like when he can frame it against his own ideas. While his second album is pretty much perfect, I feel like this one needed some blowing horns. Worth picking up, to be sure, but Black Jazz has a pretty high median for quality that this falls a bit short of from where I'm standing.