John Shand | Music & Other Spheres Posts

April 7, 2019 / Concert Reviews

Blacktown Workers Club, March 29 7.5/10 It’s a fine line between the good and the great, and Cuba’s Juan de Marcos Gonzalez has worked both sides of that line. In the 1970s he formed the exceptional Sierra Maestra (whom some will remember at the Basement in the 1990s), and then…

April 6, 2019 / Album Reviews

STRICTLY SWINGING (www.danbarnett.com.au/) 7.5/10 This recording has such presence as to plant you smack in the middle of Balmain’s Unity Hall Hotel, where Dan Barnett’s 13-piece band nailed these arrangements of swing classics before a live (and excited) audience. The band is choc-full of gifted improvisers above and beyond Barnett’s…

April 3, 2019 / Features

It all happened in a flash. In 1964, aged 14, Emilio Castillo took up the tenor saxophone. Just four years later, when San Francisco was better known for turning hippy hair into flower-arrangements, he formed Tower of Power, the band that has remained a benchmark for super-funky soul for 51…