The Queen’s Carnival (Album and Single)

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What they’re saying:

“Unquestionably one of the year’s best albums!” – Mac Wire
“An inspired album…a work of ensemble genius!” – Music Existence
“A uniquely affecting work…impossibly memorable!” – No Depression
“A uniquely powerful work!” – Gashouse Radio
“A sonic cavalcade of different shades and textures!” – IndieMunity
“An album of wide ranging taste and distinction!” – Indie Music Reviews
“Smart, stylish and sophisticated!” – Beach Sloth

Lo que están diciendo:

“Sin lugar a dudas uno de los mejores discos del año!” – Mac Wire
“Un disco inspirado … una obra de genio conjunto!” – Música Existencia
“Un trabajo que afecta de forma única … increíblemente memorable!” – No Depression
“Una única y poderosa trabajo!” – Gashouse Radio
“Una cabalgata sonora de diferentes tonos y texturas!” – IndieMunity
“Un disco de gran alcance gusto y distinción!” – Indie Music Reviews
“Pequeño, elegante y sofisticado!” – Playa pereza

 

The Mac Wire

G.H. Harding headshot_winchester1

MILLER’s CARNIVAL (8/12/16) — A week from today, the fourth album from Robert Miller and his Project Grand Slam aggregation is officially released: entitled The Queen’s Carnival, and though we’ve documented Miller and the band in this column before, we found this new album to be unquestionably his best work yet and unquestionably one of the year’s best.  Not merely going through the motions, Miller and his band produce such a dazzling array of sounds, recorded and produced beautifully, that you don’t miss a vocalist at all. Lucy Woodward’s sumptuous vocals on The Kink’s classic “You Really Got Me” serve to enhance the entire production of the track. MILLERGREEN

Miller’s bass playing, with echoes of Jack Bruce and Tim Bogart throughout, is quite stunning. Rather than just laying down a standard bass pattern, Miller’s playing is almost what a lead guitar would do; harmonic and rhythmic; just exemplary. Guitarist Yasser Tejeda and keyboardist Marcello Casagrandi are nothing short of brilliant as well and Mario Castro on the sax just tremendous. Miller has chosen his co-horts well and the results are uniformly excellent. We loved “Gorilla,” “The Queen’s Carnival” and “Beyond Forever,” which immediately reminded this writer of Chick Corea’s brilliant Return To Forever group.

Jazz-fusion got a bad rap back in the day; and, The Queen’s Carnival, Miler’s newest Project Grand Slam release, could bring it back, bigger than ever. His dedication to the form is refreshing. The album is brilliant throughout. A standout this year for certain.

Indie Music Reviews

Music Existence

Project Grand Slam – The Queen’s Carnival

Robert Miller’s long-standing Project Grand Slam unit has recently released their fourth full length studio album, The Queen’s Carnival, and it likely represents the peak so far of the band’s recording career. Unlike many bands operating within the same general musical area, Miller’s Project Grand Slam seldom indulges in covers unless they are able to bring something new, even extraordinary, to the work. The last two albums have been marked by an example in this vein. Their recasting of the iconic Jimi Hendrix rocker “Fire” was quite excellent. The Queen’s Carnival features another unusual reimagining. It is far more than just a gimmick album, however. Like all Project Grand Slam releases, it’s one part a love letter to Miller’s musical influences, another part searing personal musical journey, and another part work of ensemble genius. The latest album neatly fills all of those niches.

Listeners will know they are in good, confident hands from the start. “Beyond Forever” is a shot across the bridge of your nose to make sure that you’re awake. The fiery guitar work from six string slinger Yasser Tejeda is worth listening to the song for alone, but Miller and the rest of the band score big as well. It is a fireball opening and the band backs off very little on the second track and album’s first single, “The Rescue”. While this isn’t the all out assault that “Beyond Forever” sometimes embodies, the music certainly invokes all of the desperation implied by its title, but a certain resoluteness as well. The cover of the Ray Davies penned Kinks classic “You Really Got Me” is nothing less than an astonishing remodeling of the older band’s legendary grinding rocker. Miller’s rearranging approximates that same grinding feel within a much different instrumental context, but a handful of passages directly attempt aping the original, so there’s much that is recognizable here too. The inspired choice of guest vocalist Lucy Woodward to belt out the lyrics is the track’s crowning achievement.

Miller’s continued blending of rock and jazz motifs reaches a new peak on “Gorilla”. This is another song that gives guitarist Tejeda a chance to shine, but he’s cut from the same cloth as the other band members and wisely never attempts to overshadow their contributions. “New Folk Song” is another example of the band’s versatility. This is a far more overtly deliberate offering than heard previously on the album and has a strong dramatic quality. “Slap Shot” and “Lucky Seven” are studies in contrast. The first song is much more a direct mix of funk and jazz with few discernible rock strains in the mix and it is one of the album’s more stylish efforts. The second song, however, has a much more ponderous beat than much of the earlier material and even a lightly experimental edge. The song’s attempt to truly bring jazz, funk, and rock posturing into accord with each other comes off nicely, but requires multiple listens to appreciate its full effect. This is an inspired album in a way few albums are inspired these days – there’s a feeling of absolute freedom, unfettered from past, present, or future, and the powerful feeling of being present comes through in every song.

9 out of 10 stars.

LISTEN TIDAL – https://listen.tidal.com/artist/3523120

 

Gashouse Radio

Project Grand Slam – The Queen’s Carnival

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Project Grand Slam – The Queen’s Carnival

URL: http://projectgrandslam.com/

Since its formation in 2007, Project Grand Slam has been the vehicle through which bassist and band leader Robert Miller realizes his musical ambitions. Their fourth album, The Queen’s Carnival, marks the closest that Miller himself feels he’s come yet to realizing the goal of marrying rock and jazz under one all-encompassing banner. His influences and own prodigious talents lay the groundwork for making that possible. It isn’t difficult to hear the sway that legendary Cream bassist and solo artist Jack Bruce holds over Miller’s playing, but the American born bassist has taken things into his own personal direction. Miller’s bass lines are often much more muscular than those of his heroes and he’s quite capable of making eyepopping mood shifts in a blink. It spices up the eleven songs on Project Grand Slam’s latest release and those before it with sharp, if understated, edge of unpredictability that never leaves the songwriting.

“Beyond Forever” has a title that suggests a nod to iconic 70’s fusion band Return to Forever and there’s more than a little about the music’s often full throttle, intricate attack that suggests the connection might be real. This is a powerhouse opening to the album and the uptempo energy continues on its second track. “The Rescue” takes fewer risks and, overall, rates as much more traditionally minded fare, but it otherwise seethes with the same keyed up pulse. The most impressive aspect about this one-two punch opening things is how, despite the breathless pace it often sets for the band, they retain total control throughout. The band’s cover of The Kinks’ :You Really Got Me” is far from a slavish carbon copy. Miller shows off his arranging skills with a crackling reimagining that essentially claims the track as their own – the mark of any good cover. Guest vocalist Lucy Woodward underscores the utter freedom the band has with this performance with her lively, emphatic singing.

The Afro-Cuban rhythms powering the title song are an absolute delight and another peak on the album. The band has fleet-footed movement as musicians – no style is frankly beyond their reach and they pull off this seeming stretch without a single note of strain showing in the songwriting or individual performances. “It’s the Beat” continues experimenting with tempos and time signatures in a more generalized way, but it’s largely a jazz/funk blend that locks into a variety of grooves throughout its duration and seamlessly shifts between each passage. The last peak on the album, “Lucky Seven”, takes on a much slower tempo than we are accustomed to Project Grand Slam pursuing, but they blend a bit of rock dynamics with jazz textures to an ideal end and the song accumulates undeniable tension as it progresses.

The Queen’s Carnival certainly lives up to Robert Miller’s hype of it being the fullest realization of Project Grand Slam’s potential to date. This is an uniquely powerful work that reflects the process of refinement over the previous three album reaching fruition at a pivotal moment. There’s so much good here that the merit likely sets the table for the band’s next decade of work. They have a formidable discography to cull from for their live work and future studio releases will likely consolidate and further refine the brilliance here.

9 out of 10 stars.

JAZZNBLUES: http://jazznblues.club/viewtopic.php?t=9584

Montey Zike

 

Jamsphere

IndieMunity

No Depression

Beach Sloth

Project Grand Slam – The Queen’s Carnival

On “The Queen’s Carnival” Project Grand Slam offers a refreshing and unique take on jazz rock fusion. Full of spirit these are songs that are played with pure passion. Such a wide variety of styles are woven together into the mix: elements of the blues, funk, even a slight hint of lounge reveals itself. Most of this is delivered without uttering a word. It is a testament to the album’s strong sense of purpose that over its duration a narrative begins to emerge, as each song plays off the last.

“Beyond Forever” begins the album off on a strong and solid note. Deserving to be played as loud as possible the piece is simply stunning. Opting for a subtler approach is the incredibly nimble “The Rescue” where Mario Castro’s saxophone and Marcello Casagrandi’s keyboards interact beautifully creating a slightly crazed atmosphere. Slowing things down is the Kinks cover of “You Really Got Me” with Lucy Woodward’s vocal delivery giving the song a whole other feel. Celebratory in nature is the title track “The Queen’s Carnival”. With a slight hint of funk is the stripped down, far-out sound of “It’s The Beat”. This funky approach continues on “Slap Shot” where the craftsmanship is impeccable. Easily the highlight of the album is the driving rhythm of “Lucky Seven” which sprawls out ever so gracefully. Bringing everything to a close is the mellow vibe of “Lullaby For Julesy”.

Smart, stylish, and sophisticated “The Queen’s Carnival” shows off the undeniably talented jazz fusion experts Project Grand Slam.

Skope Magazine

BVS Reviews

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Valhalla

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