Thu Feb. 22, 2018

Michael Landau Liquid Quartet (USA)

Michael Landau: guitar
David Frazee: guitar, vocals
Andy Hess: bass
Ian Thomas: drums

“In the world of music, every so often a player comes along with a unique voice and style that turns your head around. Guitarist Michael Landau is just such a player. His natural touch, palette of tones, timbres, and sounds; his original style, and formidable chops are only outdone by the tasteful way he puts it all together. I am a fan of accompanists, and rhythm guitarists in particular, and Mike’s list of sideman CD credits is a testament to his mastery in that area. But what a lot of people aren’t aware of is the amazing CD’s he has done as a solo artist – check him out and let him turn your head around.” (Chuck Loeb)

Composer, songwriter and instrumental artist Michael Landau was born and raised in Los Angeles. He is also a prolific session guitarist who has played on hundreds of records since the 1980’s. Some session highlights over the years include: Pink Floyd, Miles Davis, B.B. King, Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Michael Jackson and Rod Stewart to name a few. In 1993 he won the readers poll for Best Studio Guitarist in Guitar Player Magazine.

In 2016, Michael received a Grammy nomination as a member of the The Steve Gadd Band, and has been involved with several band projects over the years: Renegade Creation (with Robben Ford), The Ringers (with Jimmy Herring and Wayne Krantz), The Raging Honkies, Burning Water and his own project The Michael Landau Group. With several releases under his own name, the latest being the critically acclaimed ‘Organic Instrumentals’, his music continues to flow intensely.

Michael grew up with the music of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Cream. His grandfather was an arranger, playing woodwinds with the Dorsey Brothers and Benny Goodman during the swing era. In his early teens, Michael immersed himself in jazz and electric jazz fusion: Weather Report, Pat Martino and Jaco Pastorius were some of his early obsessions. From this diverse blend of influences his sound and path began to take shape. His current group focuses on improvisation and the spontaneity of live performance. “I live for those moments live when the sound and emotion become a force bigger than the sum of the individual musicians. The music becomes a unique creation with its own personality, a true moment in time, exciting yet calming. It’s difficult to speak about music but I am surely addicted to it, I’d be lost without it.”

His latest project, The Michael Landau Liquid Quartet, is a blend of styles ranging from haunting instrumental ballads to blues based soul-rock with vocals. Listing Landau’s lengthy credits is one thing, but it doesn’t fully do him justice. It’s one thing to note his resume, but it’s quite another to watch him live, that’s when you get the full scope of Landau’s mastery of the guitar. It’s a spiritual ride, music for the soul, and it’s mind blowing.

This all-star band features Andy Hess on bass (John Scofield, Gov’t Mule, The Black Crows) and David Frazee on vocals and guitar (formally of Burning Water). (Pressetext)

Michael Landau is perhaps the most widely respected session guitarist of all time. On "Organic Instrumentals", he once again proves to be the ultimate connoisseur of taste and tone as he navigates a cinematic assortment of musical landscapes.

Well, I'm sitting here listening to the New Michael Landau CD "Organic Instrumentals" and I'm totally chillin' to the first tune "Delano". The song starts out w/ a cool breezy acoustic jazzy-type melody line and as the song progresses, it moves into a groovy electric guitar vibe with some of the best cutting distortion lead blues tone I've heard in awhile. One moment you are floating on some contemporary jazz ala George Benson and in a blink of an eye you are visiting Electric Lady Land... The electric guitar-vibe is a cross between Hendrix and Stevie Ray. The main melody line sounds like it could be the musical theme to a hit television show like "Friends” or “Cheers" or something in that realm of music... I’m totally dig'n the contrast of soundz here.

Sneaker Wave – Now this is definitely out there in left field... The guitar soundz are out of this world. Landau goes from hippy-trippy hypnotic melodies to wide open reverberated harmonic chord progressions that remind me allot of Eric Johnson. The lead lines are dynamic, exciting and soulful. This is inspiring to say the least.

Spider Time - Backward guitarz and again a Hendrixy sounding melodic chord- structure with one single straight-ahead beat on the ol’ toms. Man oh man, this kat Landau has got some chops. This has an early Mark Knofler feel to it. The Keys on this are also top-notch. I love that Wurlitzer sound. The music is moving and has a very reflective vibe in itz mist.
Landau constructs some of the most melodically beautiful phrases ever recorded with passion drenched guitar solos, resulting in a guitar tour de force that must be heard to be believed.

The Big Black Bear - I think the words here are “g-force”... The music pulls you one minute and then propels you the next. You actually pull some g-forces on this one while listening. The lead lines couldn’t get any sweeter sounding either. I feel a little dizzy after this flight in the aural skies of Landau and company.

Karen Mellow - I can say one thing for sure. Michael Landau is DEEP ! I mean his music reaches the deepest levels of my unconsciousness real-estate that I thought I never had. No kiddin' right ...?! I don't know what kind of amps he uses, but his guitars sounds are so smooth and classy. The music has many highs and lows in it. The sounds go from very mellow to bombastically loud in an instance, giving you a rollercoaster type of effect.
Acting as both engineer and producer, Landau is a master craftsman, working the recording console with the same artistry with which he approaches playing the guitar.
As far as the rest of the Album goes, there are plenty more interesting arrangements and impressive guitar-hero type playing. The music is all rock/blues oriented with jazz- fusion undertones, laced and interwoven into to Landau's fabric of sound. Moreover, if "Tone" is your thing, then this CD is Pure Tone Paradise.

There is know denying it, Michael Landau is a Master Harmonic Craftsman of Sound with a guitar in his hands. I highly recommend this CD for your listening pleasure. (Michael Landau - "Organic Instrumentals" CD Review by Scott Thomas)

“Michael Landau may not have actually been born holding a guitar but once he picked it up he never put it down (how does he bathe?). He can lay down a concrete foundation, hang a mobile in space or light up the flame-thrower and scorch the rubble. While it has been an honor to have him apply his genius to my music these many years, Michael shines brightest on his own creation: ultimate chops in the service of a startling and deep artistic vision. A quiet man with only one avenue of escape; he is the complete virtuoso.” (James Taylor)