On her new DVD Leslie Pintchik Quartet Live In Concert, pianist and composer Pintchik enlists her long-time band-mates Scott Hardy, Mark Dodge and Satoshi Takeishi; four strong originals and three very intriguing arrangements of well-known tunes make for a terrific playlist by this vibrant quarte…
Frequently classified as the first album by the group Mountain, which was named after it, Leslie West's initial solo album featured bass/keyboard player Felix Pappalardi, who also produced it and co-wrote eight of its 11 songs, and drummer N.D. Smart II. (This trio did, indeed, tour under the name Mountain shortly after the album's release, even performing at Woodstock, though Smart was replaced by Corky Laing and Steve Knight was added as keyboard player for the formal recording debut of the group, Mountain Climbing!, released in February 1970.) Pappalardi had been Cream's producer, and that power trio, as well as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, were the models for this rock set, which was dominated by West's throaty roar of a voice and inventive blues-rock guitar playing. Though West had led the Vagrants for years and cut a handful of singles with them, this was his first album release, and it made for an auspicious debut, instantly establishing him as a guitar hero and setting the style of Mountain's subsequent recordings.
Leslie West 's Blue Me, is a collection of blues standards done in the inimitable West style. Blue Me contains the kind of guttural vocals and soulful bluesy guitar playing that have established Leslie as one of the greatest talents in the history of rock and roll and delivers the kind of high level performance, which West fans have come to expect.
Originally released in 1989 on IRS' Illegal Records imprint, Leslie West's Alligator seemed then and still seems now, as evidenced by this straight reissue from Voiceprint Records, to be mostly West treading water. He plays some hot guitar here, of course, but then not as much as one might like, and he sings a lot here, too, perhaps more than one might like. It all adds up to a rather ho hum album without a single track that really takes your head off, although the flashy "Hall of the Mountain King/Theme from Exodus" mini-suite sure aims for sonic decapitation, as does the screeching "Whiskey" (featuring bass by Stanley Clarke), and West's cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" is certainly atmospheric enough, but in the end it all seems more like cage rattling than a substantial musical statement. Stick to the early Mountain records for West at his best.