Streamnotes: June 26, 2024

Most of these are short notes/reviews based on streaming records from Napster (formerly Rhapsody; other sources are noted in brackets). They are snap judgments, usually based on one or two plays, accumulated since my last post along these lines, back on May 27. Past reviews and more information are available here (24095 records).

Recent Releases

Actress: Statik (2024, Smalltown Supersound): British electronica producer Darren Cunningham, tenth album since 2008. B+(*) [sp]

Africatown, AL: Ancestor Sounds (2024, Free Dirt): Oral history from a neighborhood in Mobile, Alabama, which traces its ancestry back to a slave ship in 1807, conceived by producer Ian Brennan (Tinariwen, Zomba Prison Project) and his wife, Italian-Rwandan filmmaker and photographer Marilena Umuhoza Delli. B+(**) [sp]

Allie X: Girl With No Face (2024, Twin Music): Canadian electropop singer-songwriter Alexandra Hughes, third album since 2017, but her career started a decade earlier, perhaps why this seems darker and gloomier than pop utopia. B+(***) [sp]

Altus: Mythos (2024, Biophilia): Quintet, based in New York, inspired by "the Greek myth of Prometheus and the Yoruba myth of Oludumare," of Dave Adewumi (trumpet), Isaac Levien (bass), Neta Raanan (tenor sax), Nathan Reising (alto sax), and Ryan Sands (drums). B+(***) [cdr]

Oren Ambarchi/Johan Berthling/Andreas Werlin: Ghosted II (2024, Drag City): Australian guitarist, started as a drummer, very prolific since 1999, trio here with bass and drums, following Ghosted from 2022. Four pieces, from 7:36 to 13:15, "jazz-funk heads, polyrhythmic skeletons, ambient pastorals, post-kraut drones and shimmering soundtrack reveries." B+(***) [sp]

Anycia: Princess Pop That (2024, United Masters): Rapper, first album, 14 tracks (27:20), nice complement to Tierra Whack. B+(***) [sp]

Bab L' Bluz: Swaken (2024, Real World): French-Moroccan "power quartet," second album. B+(*) [sp]

Evan Nicole Bell: Runaway Girl (2024, Humingbird, EP): Guitar featured on cover and, well, everywhere, kicking off with an Albert King blues, but that's probably not her destiny, just a kicking off point. Three songs plus a longer mix, 17:15. B+(*) [sp]

Bruna Black/John Finbury: Vă Revelaçăo (2024, Green Flash): Brazilian singer, wrote some lyrics to Finbury's pleasantly engaging compositions, played by a star-studded group of Vitor Gonçalves (piano/accordion), Chico Pinheiro (guitar), John Patitucci (bass), Duduka Da Fonseca (drums), and Rogerio Boccato (percussion). B+(**) [cd]

Blue Lab Beats: Blue Eclipse (2024, Blue Adventure): UK jazztronica duo, producer NK-OK (Namali Kwaten) and multi-instrumentalist Mr DM (David Mrakpor), fourth album, some sources have label as Decca or Blue Note. Guest vocals, some rapped. B [sp]

Aziza Brahim: Mawja (2024, Glitterbeat): Sahrawi singer and actress, born in a refugee camp in Algeria, got a scholarship when she was 11 to study in Cuba, eventually wound up in Spain. Fifth album since 2012, nice, steady flow. B+(**) [sp]

Anthony Branker & Imagine: Songs My Mom Liked (2024, Origin): Original pieces, so Mom must really like her boy. Plenty of reason to. Group has six name musicians (Donny McCaslin, Philip Dizack, Fabian Almazan, Linda May Han Oh, Rudy Royston, Pete McGann) plus lightly used vocalist Aubrey Johnson. B+(***) [cd]

Cakes Da Killa: Black Sheep (2024, Young Art): Rapper Rashard Bradshaw, from New Jersey, got some notice for 2011-14 mixtapes, less so for later albums, this the third. B+(**) [sp]

Etienne Charles: Creole Orchestra (2018 [2024], Culture Shock): Trumpet player, albums since 2006 frequently refer to "creole," this a big band with lots of extras, including vocals, which I find rather hit-and-miss. B+(*) [cd]

Charli XCX: Brat (2024, Atlantic): British pop star, Charlotte Aitchison, sixth album since 2013, all hits but none huge, with this one getting extra hype and/or anticipation. That come with a big budget, which sometimes pays off, or offers a cushion to soften and blur out the weak spots, which my reticence suggests must be here somewhere, as I'm still on the fence after five plays. B+(***) [sp]

Chief Keef: Almighty So 2 (2024, 43B): Chicago rapper Keith Cozart, fifth studio album since 2012 (Finally Rich, his only record to go platinum), plus many mixtapes, this a sequel to one from 2013. I've never paid much attention to him, so I wasn't aware of this hard drill attitude. B+(***) [sp]

Jamale Davis: Run With the Hunted (2024, SteepleChase): Bassist, has a couple previous albums, this one with John Mosca (trombone), Dario Terzuolo (tenor sax), Mferghu (piano), and Ben Zweig (drums/pandeiro). B+(**) [sp]

On Ka'a Davis: Here's to Another Day and Night for the LWA of the Woke (2024, Tzadik): Guitarist, has a couple previous records going back to 2001, trio here with Ali Ali (trumpet) and Donald Sturge McKenzie II (drums). Shades of Sonny Sharrock, but it can wear thin. B+(*) [sp]

Devouring the Guilt: Not to Want to Say (2021 [2024], Kettle Hole): Free jazz trio, based in Chicago, of Bill Harris (drums), Gerrit Hatcher (tenor sax), and Eli Namay (bass). Two tracks (40:55). Hatcher has a couple of previous albums much like this one. B+(***) [sp]

Madi Diaz: Weird Faith (2024, Anti-): Singer-songwriter, born in Connecticut, mother Peruvian, father Danish (Eric Svalgĺrd), home-schooled, went to Berklee, moved to LA, first album 2007, this is her sixth. I'm rarely so captivated by a set of confessional and meditative songs that I pay enough attention to gather in the details. The song that earned the album a replay was "KFM," for "kill, fuck, marry." One might also note the Lori McKenna co-credit, and the Kacey Musgraves feature. A- [sp]

DJ Anderson do Paraiso: Queridăo (2023 [2024], Nyege Nyege Tapes): DJ from Belo Horizonte, "downtempo and dark baile funk," seems like a fair description, although it doesn't quite convey how gloomy this sounds. B [sp]

Ducks Ltd.: Harm's Way (2024, Carpark): Indie rock duo from Toronto, Tom McGreevy (vocals/rhythm guitar) and Evan Lewis (lead guitar), originally from UK and Australia, second album after a 2019 EP. B+(**) [sp]

Ekko Astral: Pink Balloons (2024, Topshelf): DC-based postpunk band, "pioneers of 'mascara moshpit' music," or "a complex mesh of bubblegum noise punk and no-wave art rock, Jael Holzman the singer, with extra guitar and percussion, first album. Sounds pretty great until they slow it down and pump it up. B+(***) [sp]

John Escreet: The Epicenter of Your Dreams (2023 [2024], Blue Room Music): Pianist, albums since 2008, "a powerhouse band reflecting the thriving L.A. scene," with Mark Turner (tenor sax), Eric Revis (bass), and Damion Reid (drums). B+(***) [cd]

Maria Faust Jazz Catastrophe: 3rd Mutation: Moth (2023 [2024], Bush Flash): Alto saxophonist, from Estonia, based in Copenhagen, albums since 2008, Jazz Catstrophe released a big band album in 2013, this "mutation" appears to be a trio, with guitar (Lars Bech Pilgaard) and drums (Anders Vestergaard) but sounds bigger. Am I missing something? A- [sp]

Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti & Frank Rosaly: Mestizk (2023 [2024], International Anthem): Singer from Bolivia, married to the drummer, who I always thought of as a Chicago underground guy but I now find identifies as Puerto Rican, the pair of them based in Amsterdam these days. Helping out are various names familiar from other label projects. B+(***) [sp]

Sierra Ferrell: Trail of Flowers (2024, Rounder): Bluegrass singer-songwriter from West Virginia, plays fiddle as well as guitar, self-released two albums before landing on Rounder for 2021's Long Time Coming. This one's nearly as good. B+(***) [sp]

Fox Green: Light Over Darkness (2024, self-released): Alt/indie band from Little Rock, third album since 2020, Wade Derden is the singer and co-writer with Cam Patterson, both on guitar (and mandolin), backed with keyboards, bass, and drums, the production detailed but not cluttered with bits of horns, strings, and backup singers. First take suggests a clear distillation of the Allmans, but that may just be for lack of comparable referents, for what they lack in guitar power they make up for ballad touch and song smarts -- the latter drawing on Jesus, the Devil, and Sleepy John Estes. A- [cd]

Joel Futterman/William Parker: Why (2020 [2024], Soul City Sounds): Piano and bass duo. Futterman started in Chicago, moved to Virginia Beach in 1972, and started recording in 1979, becoming increasingly prolific in the 1990s. He's a very distinctive pianist, and Parker is as robust as ever. B+(***) [sp]

Myriam Gendron: Mayday (2024, Thrill Jockey): Canadian folkie singer-songwriter, from Quebec, mostly in French, drums help. B+(**) [sp]

Margaret Glaspy: The Sun Doesn't Think (2024, ATO, EP): Singer-songwriter with a strong track record, coming off her excellent 2023 album Echo the Diamond, with a new one scheduled for August. Meanwhile: five songs, 20:09. Practically demos, just guitar and voice, yet somehow enough. B+(***) [sp]

Phillip Golub: Abiding Memory (2024, Endectomorph Music): Pianist, has a couple previous albums, quintet with guitar, cello, bass, and drums, leaving the piano very clearly in charge. Liner notes by Vijay Iyer. B+(**) [cd]

Grandaddy: Blu Wav (2024, Dangerbird): Indie rock band from Modesto, California, principally Jason Lytle, eighth album since 1994, with a break 2006-17. Doesn't feel like there's much here. B [sp]

Ariana Grande: Eternal Sunshine (2024, Republic): Pop singer-songwriter, went platinum with her 2013 debut, seventh album, four years after her sixth. B+(**) [sp]

Andrea Grossi Blend 3 + Jim Black: Axes (2023 [2024], We Insist!): Italian bassist, second group album with Manuel Caliumi (alto sax) and Michele Bonifati (guitar), plus a drummer this time -- a really good one. B+(***) [sp]

The Haas Company [Featuring Andy Timmons]: Vol. 1: Galactic Tide (2024, Psychiatric): Following the publicist's hype sheet, I originally had artist and title swapped. This makes more sense, although the cover typography is less than clear, and the spine is less than that. Leader seems to be drummer Steve Haas (first listed credit), and Timmons plays heavy fusion guitar, but keyboardist Pete Drungle is credited with "musical direction." Band also uses bass (Kirwan Brown or Al MacDowell) and sax (Pete Gallo), with a couple guest spots. Powerhouse fusion. B [cd]

Marika Hackman: Big Sigh (2024, Chrysalis): English singer-songwriter, sixth album since 2015 (after two EPs). No shortage of post-pandemic stress here, a slow start that gradually gains strength and stature. B+(**) [sp]

Jared Hall: Influences (2022 [2024], Origin): Trumper player, based in Seattle, third album, quartet with piano (Tal Cohen), bass (Michael Glynn), and drums (John Bishop), playing originals plus one tune from Gigi Gryce. B+(***) [cd]

Alex Harding/Lucian Ban: Blutopia (2024, Sunnyside): Baritone saxophonist and pianist, they have several albums together going back to a quintet in 2002, and including one from 2005 where Blutopia was the group name. This is another quintet, with viola (Mat Maneri), tuba (Bob Stewart), and drums (Brandon Lewis). B+(**) [sp]

Jihee Heo: Flow (2023 [2024], OA2): South Korean pianist, studied in Amsterdam before landing in New York, second album, mostly trio (Alexander Claffy and Joe Farnsworth), nicely done, with a bonus: Vincent Herring (alto sax) joining for two tracks. B+(**) [cd]

Hermanos Gutiérrez: Sonido Cósmico (2024, Easy Eye Sound): Brothers Alejandro (guitar/lap steel) and Estevan (guitar/percussion), names and much of their music deriving from an Ecuadorian mother, but their father is Swiss, and they at least grew up in and are based in Zurich. After four self-released albums, Dan Auerbach (Black Keys) signed them to his Nashville label, and released El Bueno y el Malo in 2022. More in this sequel, as calming as new age hoped for, with just enough Latin tinge and other cosmic exotica to keep it fascinating. A- [sp]

Jake Hertzog: Longing to Meet You (2024, self-released): Guitarist, leads a postbop quartet with sax (Matt Woroshyl), bass (Perrin Grace), and drums (Joe Peri). B+(**) [cd]

Gilbert Holmström: Peak (2023 [2024], Moserobie): Swedish tenor saxophonist, b. 1937, debut as leader in 1965 with a free jazz quintet, led a fusion group in the 1970s called Mount Everest. Not a lot of records over the years, but they're fairly evenly spaced out. This, at 86, is a quintet with trumpet (Erik Kimestad), piano (Mathias Landćus), bass, and drums, playing four freebop originals and two Ennio Morricone themes. A- [cd]

Mike Holober & the Gotham Jazz Orchestra: This Rock We're On: Imaginary Letters (2023 [2024], Palmetto, 2CD): Pianist, based in New York, mostly big bands, this perhaps his most grandiose project ever, certainly in terms of vocals. B [cd]

Home Counties: Exactly as It Seems (2024, Submarine Cat): British group, sextet, first album after an EP (or two). Pretty catchy, not that that matters much. B+(*) [sp]

Homeboy Sandman: Rich II (2024, self-released): New York rapper Angel Del Villar II, lots since 2007, mostly short like this (11 tracks, 26:56) sequel to 2023's Rich. B+(**) [sp]

Daniel Humair/Samuel Blaser/Heiri Känzig [Helveticus]: Our Way (2022 [2024], Blaser Music): Drums, trombone, bass, really Blaser (42) communing with the elders (85 and 66, in effect three generations). Bandcamp page doesn't list the group name, but it's clear at top of cover, with musician surnames at bottom. Trio have a previous album together, sans group name (1291). Both albums mix new pieces with trad Swiss and jazz classics, this one focusing on Ellington and Monk. B+(***) [sp]

I Am Three: In Other Words (2022 [2024], Leo): Nikolaus Neuser (trumpet), Silke Eberhard (alto sax/percussion), and Christian Marlen (drums), song credits split 4-2-5. Group name comes from Mingus, the subject of their two previous albums: Mingus Mingus Mingus (2015) and Mingus' Sound of Love (2018, with Maggie Nichols). A- [sp]

Arushi Jain: Delight (2024, Leaving): Based in Brooklyn, plays synths and sings, having trained in India as a classical vocalist, is interested in "instrument design and sonic experimentation with a focus on linking western and eastern musicology." Result is you're engulfed in thick layers of sonic texture, searching for even the faintest hint of beat, which is faint indeed. B- [sp]

Kaytranada: Timeless (2024, RCA): Haitian electropop producer, grew up in Montreal, sings, raps, fourth album since 2016 (including 2023's Aminé mashup, Kaytraminé). Grows on you. B+(***) [sp]

Simone Keller: Hidden Heartache (2022 [2024], Intakt): Swiss pianist, side credits since 2009, including Kukuruz Quartet, first album on her own, subtitle "100 Minutes of Piano Music from the Last 100 Years in the Context of Social Inequality and Unequal Power Relations," which makes me wish I had followed it better, but I'm not that much into close, critical listening. Mostly solo, but scattered side credits for oud, bassoon, trombone, and toy piano. Composers include Julius Eastman -- Kukuruz did a whole album of his work -- and Lil Hardin Armstrong. B+(**) [sp]

Izumi Kimura/Barry Guy/Gerry Hemingway: Six Hands Open as One (2023 [2024], Fundacja Sluchaj): Japanese pianist, based in Ireland, first album (2010) drew on trad pieces from both homelands, eight albums since with shared credits, second with this trio, but Guy (bass) appears on three others, plus she has a duo with Hemingway (drums). B+(***) [cd]

Lola Kirke: Country Curious (2024, One Riot, EP): Born in London, raised in New York, she has much more on her acting resume (since 2011) than in her discography (four titles, most EPs like this, 4 songs, 12:13, leading off with an LA twist on "All My Exes." [PS: Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? adds the title song for 15:43. Discogs includes both EPs under the Country Curious title.] B+(*) [sp]

Kneecap: Fine Art (2024, Heavenly): Bilingual Irish hip-hop group from West Belfast (Mo Chara, Móglai Bap, DJ Próval), billed as their first album (aside from an 8-song, 31:03, self-released mixtape from 2021). Sounded more post-punk at first, but the cadences eventually signify, and the energy is compounded. Words? Hell if I know, but they have a rep as political. A- [sp]

Jim Kweskin: Never Too Late: Duets With Friends (2024, Storysound): Folksinger and guitarist, best known for his 1963-70 Jug Band, which introduced us to Geoff & Maria Muldaur -- she is the first of his featured friends here to appear here. Lots of friends, lots of songs. B+(***) [sp]

Jon Langford: Gubbins (2023, self-released): This seems to be an "odds & sods" compilation -- "songs that fell between the cracks" -- but without further documentation we might as well treat it as a new album. Eleven songs, 45:29, all interesting, valuable, not quite essential. B+(***) [sp]

Jon Langford & the Men of Gwent: Lost on Land & Sea (2023, Country Mile): The Waco Brothers return as a Welsh bar band. Multiple plays prove this to be tuneful and thoughtful but most of all consistent, so it's hard to fault the notion that this is a great album, but if it really was, wouldn't I have noticed by now? B+(***) [bc]

Jon Langford & the Bright Shiners: Where It Really Starts (2024, Tiny Global Productions): Nominally an Austin band (or maybe found in northern California), led by the peripatetic Welshman, offhandedly countryish. B+(**) [bc]

The Libertines: All Quiet on the Eastern Esplanada (2024, Casablanca/Republic): British rock group, seemed like they may be a big deal with their 2002 debut, folded after their 2004 follow up, returned for a 2015 comeback, and again for this fourth album, slowing down with age. B [sp]

The Bruce Lofgren Group: Earthly and Cosmic Tales (2024, Night Bird): Guitarist, has a Jazz Orchestra album from 1999, side credits back to 1972 (ranging from Buddy Rich to Loggins & Messina). Group includes clarinet, cello, vibes, bass, percussion, on eight originals plus covers of Van Dyke Parks and Stevie Wonder. Not unpleasant. B [cd]

Lucy Rose: This Ain't the Way You Go Out (2024, Communion): English singer-songwriter, last name Parton, fifth album since 2012. B+(*) [sp]

Old Man Luedecke: She Told Me Where to Go (2024, Outside): Singer-songwriter from Nova Scotia, tenth album since 2003, put his banjo aside and recorded this in the Bahamas. So, kind of a vacation. B [sp]

Mach-Hommy: #Richaxxhaitian (2024, Mach-Hommy): Rapper from New Jersey, Haitian descent looms large, EPs start in 2011, albums from 2013 (with one 2004 exception), prolific since then. B+(***) [sp]

Rob Mazurek: Milan (2023 [2024], Clean Feed): Trumpet player, long based in Chicago, where one of his major groups is called Chicago Underground, goes solo here while playing a variety of instruments -- piano, flute, electronics, percussion, voice. B+(**) [sp]

Joe McPhee With Ken Vandermark: Musings of a Bahamian Son: Poems and Other Words (2021 [2024], Corbett vs. Dempsey): Mostly as advertised, which is not something I often get into, but pretty interesting spoken word, with little bits of soprano sax by McPhee, or clarinet/bass clarinet by Vandermark, which are always welcome. B+(*) [bc]

Raul Midón: Lost & Found (2024, ReKondite ReKords): Guitarist, singer-songwriter, from New Mexico, father from Argentina, has done session work on Latin albums, dabbled in jazz, doesn't show much in either here. C+ [sp]

MIKE & Tony Seltzer: Pinball (2024, 10k, EP): Rapper Michael Bonema, born in New Jersey, grew up in the Bronx, has released quite a bit since 2015, first album with producer Seltzer, who also has credits back to 2015. Short album: 11 tracks, 21:29. B+(*) [sp]

Andy Milne and Unison: Time Will Tell (2024, Sunnyside): Pianist, from Canada, based in New York, albums since 1997, previous group album from 2019 with John Hébert (bass) and Clarence Penn (drums), adding Ingrid Laubrock (tenor sax) and/or Yoko Reikano Kimura (koto) on several tracks here. B+(**) [sp]

Mk.gee: Two Star & the Dream Police (2024, R&R Digital): Singer-songwriter Michael Gordon, from New Jersey, plays guitar and piano, first studio album after two EPs and a mixtape. No obvious category here, the rhythm a bit funk, or maybe just a bit odd, with nothing sticking too far out, but he keeps you wondering. B+(**) [sp]

Jesus Molina: Selah (2024, Dynamo Production): Pianist, from Colombia, studied at Berklee, fifth album since 2017. He has considerable chops and range, at various times experimenting with electronics, strings, chorus, and can turn on the Latin tinge, but doesn't depend on it. Results mixed. B [sp]

Kacey Musgraves: Deeper Well (2024, MCA Nashville): Country singer-songwriter, sixth album since 2013, including a couple that went platinum. This was mostly written with two collaborators (Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk), fourteen songs simply produced, frames her voice nicely, well thought out with surprising depth. A- [sp]

Willie Nelson: The Border (2024, Legacy): Age 91, 75th studio album, title song (plus an old one) by Rodney Crowell, four originals (with producer Buddy Cannon, who co-wrote one more). Voice seems a bit off, but the songs are first rate, especially the meta "How Much Does It Cost?" A- [sp]

Nubiyan Twist: Find Your Flame (2024, Strut): British jazz-funk group, fourth album since 2015. B+(*) [sp]

Ol' Burger Beats: 74: Out of Time (2024, Coalmine): Norwegian dj/producer Ole-Birger Neergĺrd, a dozen-plus albums since 2015, also released an instrumentals version, but this one features a dozen guest rappers, very underground (but mostly names I recognize, like Billy Woods, Tha God Fahim, Yungmorpheus, Quelle Chris, Fly Anakin, Pink Siifu), easy going over slacker beats. B+(**) [sp]

Alicia and Michael Olatuja: Olatuja (2022-24 [2024], Whirlwind): He plays bass and keyboards, composes, was born in London, raised in Lagos, is based in New York, married to her, the former Alicia Miles, from St. Louis, with a couple records each. B+(*) [sp]

Old Mountain: Another State of Rhythm (2023 [2024], Clean Feed): Portuguese group, principally Pedro Branco (piano) and Joăo Sousa (drums), with two bassists (Joăo Hasselberg and Hernâni Faustino), reportedly their third album (but none yet in Discogs), this one featuring tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby. Opens with an abstract based on "Good Night Irene," followed by originals. B+(**) [sp]

One for All: Big George (2022 [2024], Smoke Sessions): Mainstream sextet, pretty much all stars: Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Jim Rotondi (trumpet), Steve Davis (trombone), David Hazeltine (piano), John Webber (bass), Joe Farnsworth (drums). Discogs lists 19 albums since 1997, open with three tracks for the first LP side, then George Coleman joins for more on the back side, with three George-less bonus tracks added to the CD. Coleman doesn't make much of a splash here. B+(*) [sp]

Fabiana Palladino: Fabiana Palladino (2024, Paul Institute/XL): British pop singer, songwriter I assume, first album, although singles credits go back to a 2011 feature for Ghostpoet, has some kind of relationship with the elusive Jai Paul (he had a 2013 album that was leaked to much fanfare in 2019). B+(***) [sp]

William Parker/Cooper-Moore/Hamid Drake: Heart Trio (2021 [2024], AUM Fidelity): Longtime collaborators, three-fourths of a quartet called In Order to Survive, where they played bass, piano, and drums. Here they focus on percussion and exotica, with Parker on doson ngoni, shakuhachi, bass dudek, ney and Serbian flute, with Cooper-Moore on his ashimba and hoe-handle harp, and Drake on frame drum as well as his usual kit. For world-class virtuosi, it's a bit underwhelming, but that seems to be the point. A- [cd]

William Parker & Ellen Christi: Cereal Music (2024, AUM Fidelity): No recording dates given, but this feels like it was patiently assembled, starting with Parker's words, mostly spoken with some Christi vocals and whatever sound design she came up with, supplemented with Parker's bass and flutes, and a few other samples. B+(***) [cd]

Rob Parton's Ensemble 9+: Relentless (2023 [2024], Calligram): Trumpet player, mostly big band records starting around 1991. Lists 19 musicians here, mostly in groups with two trumpets, three saxophones, and two trombones, plus various piano-bass-drums, but adds a third trumpet on 4 tracks, vocals on 2, with 7 arranger credits. Deft layering, less focus on solos, some Latin tinge. B+(*) [cd]

Bolis Popul: Letter to Yu (2024, Deewee): Belgian electropop producer, Boris Zeebroek, mother Chinese, may explain his first band name, Hong Kong Dong. First album as leader, although he shared a slugline with Charlotte Adigéry for Topical Dancer, one of 2022's best albums. B+(***) [sp]

Porij: Teething (2024, Play It Again Sam): British electropop band, from Manchester, first album after a 2020 EP. B+(**) [sp]

Pouty: Forget About Me (2024, Get Better): This is Rachel Gagliardi, co-founder of the bratpunk duo Slutever in 2010 is singer-songwriter here, first album under this alias, nine songs (26:11), not so bratty or punkish these days -- but pouty? sure -- her previous rants turning into questions, like "is there anything left to give a shit about?" B+(**) [sp]

Yvonnick Prené/Geoff Keezer: Jobim's World (2023 [2024], Sunnyside): French chromatic harmonica player, based in New York, debut 2013, duo here with the pianist, playing five Jobim tunes, two more Brazilian standards, and two originals. B+(*) [sp]

Pylon Reenactment Society: Magnet Factory (2024, Strolling Bones): Pylon was an Athens, GA postpunk/new wave band, less famous than the B-52s, but recorded EPs and two very respected albums 1979-83, with various reunions up to Randall Bewley's death in 2009, but only one more album (1990's Chain). This is a new group with original singer Vanessa Briscoe Hay, doing a pretty good job of extending their original sound. B+(***) [sp]

Bruno Rĺberg Tentet: Evolver (2023 [2024], Orbis Music): Swedish bassist, first album 1976, steady since he named his label after his 1998 album Orbis. Tentet doesn't count "special guests" Kris Davis (piano/prepared piano on 6 of 10 tracks) and Walter Smith III (tenor sax on 4). B+(**) [sp]

Rapsody: Please Don't Cry (2024, Jamla/Roc Nation): Rapper Marlanna Evans, from North Carolina, fourth album since 2012. Much to enjoy here, but it's a long and winding road. B+(**) [sp]

Raze Regal & White Denim: Raze Regal & White Denim Inc. (2023, Bella Union): James Petralli, leader of the garage rock band White Denim (2008-21?), co-wrote this batch of songs with the guitarist, who was a childhood friend and has side credits since 2009 (Stalkers, Planes of Satori, Once & Future Band, Nolan Potter's Nightmare Band). B [sp]

Kenny Reichert: Switch (2023 [2024], Calligram): Guitarist, based in Chicago, has a couple previous albums, the first self-released in 2015, leads a quartet here with alto sax (Lenard Simpson), bass (Ethan Philion), and drums (Devin Drobka), plus a guest spot for Geof Bradfield (tenor sax) and voice (Alyssa Algood, 3 tracks, her lyrics, some spoken word). Has some very strong and/or appealing passages. B+(**) [cd]

Terre Roche: Inner Adult (2024, self-released): Middle sister in the Roches, started as a duo with Maggie Roche in 1975, adding younger sister Suzzy in 1979 for a dozen-plus albums up to 1995, after which she has a couple solo albums, also a book or two, which may or may not include this title (label/publishing details unclear to me). B+(**) [sp]

Brandon Ross Phantom Station: Off the End (2024, Sunnyside): Guitarist, early side credits start in 1975 with Archie Shepp, Marion Brown, and Oliver Lake; group efforts as Harriet Tubman in 1998; and his own albums from 2004. Group here with Graham Haynes (cornet/electronics), David Virelles (keyboards), JT Lewis (drums), and Hardedge (sound design). B+(**) [sp]

A. Savage: The Loft Sessions (2024, Rough Trade, EP): Parquet Courts frontman, initial stands for Andrew, has a couple of solo albums other group fans like much more than I do. Four songs, 13:58, scattered covers I didn't recognize and don't know what to make of. B+(*) [sp]

Shaboozey: Where I've Been, Isn't Where I'm Going (2024, Republic/Empire): Singer-songwriter from Virginia, parents from Nigeria, original name Collins Obinna Chibueze, third album, slotted alt-country (got him a guest spot with Beyoncé). Not so obvious, but is closer than hip-hop (despite a rap) or afrobeat. B+(*) [sp]

Shygirl: Club Shy (2024, Because Music, EP): British dance-pop singer-rapper Blane Muise, has a 2022 album, several EPs since 2018, and remixes of most of them. Six tracks, 15:32. B+(*) [sp]

Flavio Silva: Eko (2024, Break Free): Brazilian guitarist, based in New York, several albums, title means "lesson" in Yoruba, nice little quartet with keyboards, bass, and drums. B+(**) [cd]

Ballaké Sissoko/Derek Gripper: Ballaké Cissoko & Derek Gripper (2024, Matsuli Music): Kora player from Mali, dozen-plus albums since 2000, surprised not to find him in my database so far. Duo here with the South African guitarist, who has a comparable career since 2003 (also under my radar). B+(***) [sp]

Connie Smith: Love, Prison, Wisdom and Heartaches (2024, Fat Possum): Country singer, had a string of hits on RCA from 1964-72 (although I can't recommend The Essential Connie Smith, from the label's usually dependable best-of series), continued with Columbia and Monument through 1978, dabbled a bit in gospel, had enough of a rep to get comeback shots in 1998 (on Warner Nashville), 2011 (Sugar Hill), and 2021 (Fat Possum). Second album on the latter, framed retro, twelve covers that probably go way back (the ones I recognize sure do, including "End of the World," "The Fugitive," "The Wayward Wind," and an obscure Loretta Lynn gem), sung and played right fine. B+(**) [sp]

Omar Souleyman: Erbil (2024, Mad Decent): Syrian dabke artist, started as a wedding singer, several albums since 2006, based in Turkey since 2011. Undaunted. B+(***) [sp]

Split System: Vol I (2022, Legless): Garage rock band from Melbourne, Australia. This appears to collect three EPs, all from 2022, so is equivalent to a new release. Very sharp and consistent, within its limits. Eleven tracks (31:46). B+(***) [sp]

Split System: Vol II (2024, Legless): Eleven more fast, sharp, short tracks (33:03). B+(***) [sp]

Vince Staples: Dark Times (2024, Def Jam/Blacksmith): Rapper from Long Beach, sixth album since 2015, all hits but none huge, some critical rep as well but I've always found turn offs despite his skills. But no real annoyances this time. B+(***) [sp]

Star Splitter [Gabriele Mitelli/Rob Mazurek]: Medea (2022 [2024], We Insist!): Trumpet players (alternatively cornet or pocket trumpet), also credited with electronics and voice, did an album together in 2019 called Star Splitter. Rather tough going. B [sp]

Swamp Dogg: Blackgrass: From West Virginia to 125th St (2024, Oh Boy): Little Jerry Williams when he cut his first record at 12 in 1954, he grew up to be an Atlantic producer in the 1960s, and Swamp Dogg in 1970, with Total Destruction to Your Mind, an album so deep he spent decades afterwards trying to crack jokes. His latest was called I Need a Job . . . So I Can Buy More Auto-Tune. But while he's always had a fair bit of country in him, he waited until he turned 80 to indulge it here. B+(***) [sp]

TGB: Room 4 (2022 [2024], Clean Feed): Portuguese trio, stands for Tuba (Sérgio Carolino), Guitarra (Mário Delgado), Bateria (Alexandre Frazăo); fourth album since 2004. B+(**) [sp]

Oded Tzur: My Prophet (2023 [2024], ECM): Tenor saxophonist, from Israel, based in New York since 2011, fifth album, third on ECM, quartet with Nitai Hershkovits (piano), Petros Klampanis (bass), and Cyrano Almeida (drums). A warm tone against the ECM chill. B+(**) [sp]

Uncle Waffles: Solace (2023, Ko-Sign/Encore): Swazi-born DJ and amapiano producer Lungelihle Zwane, third EP, this one 7 songs, 42:52 (which makes it an album in my book). B+(**) [sp]

Kiki Valera: Vacilón Santiaguero (2024, Circle 9 Music): Trad Cuban music, leader plays cuatro, guitar, bass, and percussion, second US album, backed by more percussion, with lead vocals split four ways, and many guest spots involving trumpet. B+(***) [cd]

Peter Van Huffel's Callisto: Meandering Demons (2022 [2024], Clean Feed): Baritone saxophonist, Canadian, with Belgian roots, living in Berlin, with various albums since 2007 -- Gorilla Mask is one of his groups. Quartet here with Lina Allemano (trumpet), Antonis Anissegos (piano/electronics), and Joe Hertenstein (drums). B+(***) [sp]

Kamasi Washington: Fearless Movement (2024, Young): Tenor saxophonist, started in Gerald Wilson Orchestra (2005-11), also Throttle Elevator Music (2012-21); prominent side credits like Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar, Run the Jewels, Thundercat; fifth solo album: The Epic, from 2015, was a crossover smash, and this one is getting similar buzz, especially with features guests like George Clinton and André 3000. I have mixed views on much of this, but no doubt that he can be a tremendously imposing saxophonist. Massive: 12 tracks, 86:16. B+(***) [sp]

Faye Webster: Underdressed at the Symphony (2024, Secretly Canadian): Singer-songwriter from Atlanta, self-released debut in 2013, fourth album since. Has a light touch I find appealing. B+(*) [sp]

Amber Weekes: A Lady With a Song: Amber Weekes Celebrates Nancy Wilson (2024, Amber Inn): Standards singer, has a couple previous, not especially compelling, albums. As for Wilson (1937-2018), I've only lightly sampled her work, and never been all that impressed. Still, when the song is up to snuff, Weekes can deliver it. B+(*) [cd]

Kelly Willis/Melissa Carper/Brennen Leigh: Wonder Women of Country (2024, Brooklyn Basement, EP): Most sources flip the group and title names, but this way makes more sense. Three country singer-songwriters, Willis produced a series of solid albums in the 1990s, the others started headlining recently (although Carper, who also plays bass, has credits back to 1996). Six songs, 17:57, no reason to doubt they could do much more. B+(**) [sp]

Matt Wilson: Matt Wilson's Good Trouble (2023 [2024], Palmetto): Drummer, originally from Illinois, studied at Wichita State, moved to NYC in 1992, and quickly established himself as a sideman and leader. I recall a DownBeat blindfold test where he not only grasped everything they threw at him, but went to extraordinary lengths to recognize and appreciate the mindset of whoever's music it was. His records can be very eclectic, but the best ones have featured edgy tenor saxophonist Jeff Lederer, as this one does, along with longtime ally Ben Allison on bass, and novel ingredients Tia Fuller (alto sax) and Dawn Clement (piano and some vocals, including the jazziest John Denver cover ever). Title is from a John Lewis quote. Not yet the group name, but they'll be welcome any time. A- [cdr]

WoochieWobbler: Is My Future Bright? (2024, 3455092 DK, EP): Six songs, 12:34, I know nothing about the artist(s), but figures as atmospheric hip-hop ("lush, preachy"). B+(**) [sp]

Recent Reissues, Compilations, Vault Discoveries

Broadcast: Spell Blanket: Collected Demos 2006-2009 (2006-09 [2024], Warp): British electropop group, more or less, principally Trish Keenan (vocals/keyboards/guitar) and James Cargill (bass), produced three albums 2000-05, plus these demos for an unreleased fourth album. B [sp]

Stan Getz: Unissued Session: Copenhagen 1977 (1977 [2024], SteepleChase): Starts with a studio session recorded just after the live sets that were released as Live at Montmartre, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2: Stan Getz Quartet, filled out with a couple extra live tracks. Quartet with Joanne Brackeen (piano), Niels-Henning Řrsted Pedersen (bass), and Billy Hart (drums). B+(**) [sp]

The Jazz Dispensary: The Freedom Sound! The People Arise (1963-76 [2024], Craft): Jazz Dispensary seems to be a store and/or a label for "top shelf vinyl," although I also see their records out on Craft, which is a reissues company that supplements its LPs with digital releases (sometimes also CDs). This "Record Day Special" picks up some interesting tracks from what we might call the Black Power period, with tracks from Joe Henderson, Gary Bartz, Azar Lawrence, and Ran Blake, with a couple of earlier obscurities (A.K. Salim, The Dungills). B+(**) [sp]

Love Child: Never Meant to Be 1988-1993 (1988-93 [2024], 12XU): NYC-based punk/no-wave band, singers Will Baum and Rebecca Odes on guitar/drums and bass, with Alan Licht (drums/guitar), self-released an album in 1988, got more attention with their 1991 album Okay?, released one more after that, which this 26-cut 2-LP sums up. B+(***) [sp]

Tony Oxley Quintet: Angular Apron (1992 [2024], Corbett vs. Dempsey): British avant-jazz drummer (1938-2023), his 1969 The Baptised Traveler is a Penguin Guide crown album, the piece here (64:42) dates from the early 1970s, this previously unreleased take from the Ruhr Jazz Festival, with Larry Stabbins (soprano/tenor sax), Manfred Schoof (trumpet/flugelhorn), Pat Thomas (piano/electronics), and Sirone (bass). B+(***) [bc]

The Power of the Heart: A Tribute to Lou Reed (2024, Light in the Attic): Reissue label, has recently been sifting through Reed's archives, supplements their offerings with this collection of covers, presumably new versions although many of the artists go well back -- starting with Keith Richards, doing "I'm Waiting for the Man." Leads off with rockers, odder matches in the middle -- Mary Gauthier doing "Coney Island Baby" for 7:13 is actually pretty great -- then tails off toward the end. B+(**) [sp]

Tomasz Stanko Quartet: September Night (2004 [2024], ECM): Polish trumpet player (1942-2018), well known even before the Iron Curtain fell, a spare live tape with what at the time was referred to as his "young Polish quartet," rather than stumbling over the names Marcin Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, and Michal Miskiewicz. B+(***) [sp]

Mars Williams & Hamid Drake: I Know You Are but What Am I (1996 [2024], Corbett vs. Dempsey): The late saxophonist (1955-2023, credited here with "reeds"), started with Hal Russell and continued his NRG Ensemble after Russell's death, bringing in Ken Vandermark for reinforcements, leading to his work in the first edition of the Vandermark 5. Williams' avant-gardism branched out into rock and acid jazz (Liquid Soul), as well as more esoteric ventures (like multiple volumes of An Ayler Xmas). This tape with exceptional drums is just what friends and fans most remember him for. A- [bc]

Mars Williams/Darin Gray/Chris Corsano: Elastic (2012 [2024], Corbett vs. Dempsey): Leader credited with "reeds, toys," joined by bass and drums for an improv set (43:51). Peaks points are intense and thrilling. The same year Williams founded a similar trio, Boneshaker, with Kent Kessler and Paal Nilssen-Love. B+(***) [bc]

Old Music

Gary Bartz Quintet: Libra (1967 [1968], Milestone): The alto saxophonist's first album, with Jimmy Owens (trumpet/flugelhorn), Albert Dailey (piano), Richard Davis (bass), and Billy Higgins (drums). B+(*) [yt]

Gary Bartz NTU Troop: Home! (1969 [1970], Milestone): Third album, live from Left Bank Jazz Society in Baltimore, another quintet -- Woody Shaw (trumpet), Albert Dailey (piano), Bob Cunningham (bass), Rashied Ali (drums) -- first in 1969-74 series to use this group name. Four originals and an Ellington cover. B+(**) [yt]

Gary Bartz Quintet: Reflections on Monk: The Final Frontier (1988 [1989], SteepleChase): Plays alto and soprano sax, "Quintet" on spine but not front cover, which lists names: Bob Butta (piano), Geoff Harper (bass), Billy Hart (drums), Eddie Henderson (trumpet). Songs by Thelonious Monk, aside from a 2:04 bit of Bartz, and extra lyrics, one song each for Jenelle Fisher and Mekea Keith (not my favorite part). B+(***) [sp]

Ran Blake: The Blue Potato and Other Outrages . . . Solo Piano by Ran Blake (1969, Milestone): He's made a career out of minor little records like this. B+(**) [sp]

Peter Brötzmann/William Parker/Hamid Drake: Song Sentimentale (2015 [2016], Otoroku): The bassist and drummer are inventive as ever, while the tenor saxophonist blasts away, even when he switches up on clarinet or tarogato. Nothing obviously sentimental about it. B+(***) [bc]

Rob Brown Trio: Breath Rhyme (1989, Silkheart): Alto saxophonist, first album as leader here (following a duo with Matthew Shipp), with William Parker (bass) and Denis Charles (drums). He has a distinctive tone and flow, which he would go on to use to great effect in Parker's quartets and other projects, in many other associated groups, and sometimes, as here, as a leader. B+(**) [r]

Rob Brown Quartet: The Big Picture (2003 [2004], Marge): Alto saxophonist, with Roy Campbell (trumpet), William Parker (bass), and Hamid Drake (drums). B+(**) [r]

Dave Cappello & Jeff Albert With William Parker: New Normal (2015 [2016], Breakfast 4 Dinner): Drummer, doesn't have much except for duo and quartet work with the trombonist (who I know mostly from a group he co-led with Jeb Bishop), but evidently he got started playing with guitarist Bern Nix (who goes back to the 1970s Loft Scene, but is best known for his work with Ornette Coleman, and maybe James Chance). So Nix, who died in 2017, might have provided a connection to Parker, who adds bass and wood flute, elevating everyone's game. B+(***) [sp]

Kevin Coyne/Jon Langford/The Pine Valley Cosmonauts: One Day in Chicago (2002 [2005], Spinney): An oddball British singer-songwriter from the early 1970s, I'm surprised to only find one of his albums in my database (1974's Marjory Razor Blade, a B+, but a memorable one) as I'm sure I've heard more. He never made it big, but recorded pretty regularly up to his death in 2004, and surely rates a compilation, even if one would be hard-pressed to agree on a "best of." At this point I have no idea whether it would improve on this delightful live set, with a band of fans he found in Chicago. B+(***) [sp]

Jeremy Danneman: Lady Boom Boom (2013 [2015], Ropeadope): Saxophonist, played alto, tenor, clarinet, and more in three sessions that produced as many albums, released on a label that appreciates a good groove and is careless about who played what when in which order. But the personnel could do that and more: William Parker (not just bass), Anders Nilsson (guitar), and Timothy Keiper (drums). B+(***) [sp]

Jeremy Danneman: Help (2013 [2015], Ropeadope): More from the same sessions. B+(**) [sp]

Jeremy Danneman: Lost Signals (2013 [2016], Ropeadope): Same group, same sessions for a third album, with groove appeal informed by third world interests. A- [sp]

Jeremy Danneman and Sophie Nzayisenga: Honey Wine (2015 [2017], Ropeadope): The saxophonist has an organization/project called "Parade of One," slogan "engaging the international community with street performance." He met Nzayisenga in Rwanda, where she plays inanga and sings, and arranged to bring her to New York to record. Visa problems delayed that until here, where they are joined by William Parker (bass) and Tim Keiper (drums). A groove delight. A- [sp]

Jeremy Danneman and the Down on Me: The Big Fruit Salad (2022, Ropeadope): One more album (so far), wrote and sung lyrics, which reduces the saxophone/clarinet. Also lost the bass and drums, so less groove to brag about, but Anders Nilsson returns on guitar, and Joe Exley's sousaphone saves with swing. For singer-songwriter comps, the first two that pop into mind are Thomas Anderson and Ed Hammel. He's not as good (or maybe I just mean as funny) as either, but he's interesting in similar ways. Choice cut: "Tomato." B+(*) [sp]

Die Like a Dog Quartet Featuring Roy Campbell: From Valley to Valley (1998 [1999], Eremite): Peter Brötzmann quartet, name derives from their 1993 album, originally with Toshinori Kondo (trumpet), William Parker (bass), and Hamid Drake (drums), but on this particular date -- recorded in Amherst, MA -- Campbell replaces Kondon on trumpet. B+(*) [sp]

Sophia Domancich/Hamid Drake/William Parker: Washed Away: Live at the Sunside (2008 [2009], Marge): French pianist, side credits start in 1983, with her first trio in 1991. Another trio here, as can happen when famous Americans wander about Europe. Set of three pieces: one joint credit, one from Mal Waldron, and no less than 36:37 of "Lonely Woman." B+(***) [sp]

Hamid Drake & Sabir Mateen: Brothers Together (2000 [2002], Eremite): Duo, Drake plays frame and trap drums, Mateen is credited with clarinets, flute, alto sax, tenor sax, vocals. Terrific. A- [sp]

Ducks Ltd.: Get Bleak (2019 [2021], Carpark, EP): Toronto indie rock duo, immigrants from Australia and UK-via-US, debut four-song EP, expanded to seven (21:48) to complement their 2021 debut. Open with jangly guitar, then a ballad, then more jangle. Go-Betweens comparisons aren't way off base, but not sufficient, either. B+(**) [sp]

The Dungills: Africa Calling (1963, Vee-Jay): Discogs list this as African, but elsewhere I see them desribed as a "Chicago family act." Recorded this one album together, with one song included in a Jazz Dispensary compilation. B- [sp]

Farmers by Nature [Gerald Cleaver/William Parker/Craig Taborn]: Love and Ghosts (2011 [2014], AUM Fidelity, 2CD): Drums-bass-piano trio, group name from their 2009 album, third group album, all pieces joint credits so presumably improvised, this from two days in France, 133 minutes. Long, some major high stretches. B+(***) [sp]

Billy Gault: When Destiny Calls: The Music of Billy Gault (1974 [1975], SteepleChase): Pianist, only has this one album, from a period when he was playing with Jackie McLean (he wrote the title track to Ode for Super). Six more of his songs here. Relative unknowns in the group: Billy Skinner (trumpet), Bill Saxton (tenor sax), James 'Fish' Benjamin (bass), best known is Michael Carvin (drums), but that just focuses on the piano -- and the vocalists (Ellen DeLeston and Jon Lee Wilson), who come off as awkward and sometimes poignant. B+(**) [sp]

Big Walter Horton: In Session: From Memphis to Chicago 1951-1955 (1951-55 [2019], Jasmine): Blues harmonica player and singer, born 1921 in Mississippi, grew up in Memphis, made his way to Chicago in the 1950s and died there in 1981. His discography is very scattered, with a 1964 LP, collabs and a Fleetwood Mac jam session in 1969, and more odds and ends in the 1970s. This picks up a couple early singles, fleshed out with side-credits with Johnny Shines, Tampa Red, Otis Rush, Sunnyland Slim, Jimmy Rogers, and others, the vocals varying but the unified by his exuberant, rowdy harmonica. A- [cd]

Daniel Humair: Quatre Fois Trois (1996-97 [1997], Label Bleu): Swiss drummer, started 1960, leads four trios here for 2-3 tracks each (total: 66 minutes; there's also a 1998 edition with a second CD that I haven't heard): Jean-François Jenny-Clark (bass) & Dave Liebman (sax); Marc Ducret (guitar) & Bruno Chevillon (bass); Michel Portal (bass clarinet) & Joachim Kühn (piano); George Garzone (tenor sax) & Hal Crook (trombone). B+(***) [sp]

Daniel Humair/Jerry Bergonzi/J.-F. Jenny-Clark: Open Architecture (1993, Ninety-One): Drummer listed up top, same font size but different color from the alto saxophonist and the bassist. Bergonzi is an American who spent most of his 1990s in freewheeling trios on European labels (especially RED), before taking a more mainstream course after 2000. B+(**) [sp]

Daniel Humair/Samuel Blaser/Heiri Känzig: 1291 (2020, Outnote): Multigenerational drums-trombone-bass trio, Swiss, called themselves Helveticus on their follow up, but cover here just lists the three surnames. Originals from all three mixed in with trad jazz (ODJB, Bechet, Ory, "High Society") and Swiss folk tunes. B+(**) [sp]

Floyd Jones/Eddie Taylor: Masters of Modern Blues (1966 [1994], Testament): Chicago blues guitarist-singers, the original LP "Volume 3" in the label's series, allocated one side each, with Taylor (guitar), Big Walter Horton (harmonica), Otis Spann (piano), and Fred Below (drums) on both sides, with Jones switching to bass on Taylor's side. CD expands from 11 to 16 tracks, offering alternates and mixing them up. B+(***) [sp]

Peter Kuhn: Ghost of a Trance (1979-80 [1981], Hat Hut): Clarinet/saxophone player, was consistently excellent in William Parker circles 1978-81, vanished after that until 2015, when he released another series of superb albums. This combines two sessions, one fairly abstract 19:00 clarinet piece with Phillip Wilson on percussion and Parker on tuba, the other a more typical free jazz outing with Dave Sewelson on alto/bari sax, plus guitar, piano, and vibes (but no drums). B+(**) [yt]

Jon Langford & the Men of Gwent: The Legend of LL (2015, Country Mile): Mekons founder, moved from Leeds to Chicago in 1992 without severing his ties, but had already run through several side projects like the Three Johns and the Killer Shrews, adding the Waco Brothers and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts in Chicago. This group is described as "Newport-based" (but otherwise I don't know squat about them, but Newport seems to be Langford's original home town in Wales). This was their debut, and strikes me as not just fresher but wilder and woolier than their latest (which was first for me). A- [bc]

Jon Langford & the Men of Gwent: President of Wales (2019, Country Mile): If only the Waco Brothers had been Welsh. B+(***) [bc]

Larry Levan: The Sleeping Bag Sessions (1982-86 [2017], Sleeping Bag): Famous DJ/producer (1954-92), in 2006 Rhino released a 2-CD compilation of his work, Journey Into Paradise: The Larry Levan Story, with other compilations surfacing here and there. Sleeping Bag Records was a UK label (1981-92), which I remember as having a Jamaican influence, but looking at their catalog now, the biggest name was rap group EPMD, followed by Mantronix and Joyce Sims. This is one of the few items available under Levan's name: seven mixes of four songs, 44:21. B+(**) [sp]

Jackie McLean Featuring Gary Bartz: Ode to Super (1973, SteepleChase): Quintet, two dynamic alto saxophonists cut loose in Copenhagen with Thomas Clausen (piano), Bo Stief (bass), and Alex Riel (drums); five tracks, ending with 12:01 of "Red Cross." B+(***) [sp]

Jemeel Moondoc Quintet: Nostalgia in Times Square (1985 [1986], Soul Note): Alto saxophonist (1946-2021), his group Muntu made a splash in the late-1970s New York avant-garde, retains bassist William Parker here, joined by Rahn Burton (piano), Bern Nix (guitar), and Dennis Charles (drums). Title piece from Mingus. The others are credited to Moondoc, but "In Walked Monk" sounds kind of familiar (as in Monk's "In Walked Bud"), and "Dance of the Clowns" has at least a whiff of Mingus. B+(***) [r]

Jemeel Moondoc Vtet: Revolt of the Negro Lawn Jockeys (2000, Eremite): Alto saxophonist-led quintet, with Nethan Breedlove (trumpet), Khan Jamal (vibes), John Voigt (bass), and Cody Moffett (drums). B+(**) [sp]

Jemeel Moondoc & the Jus Grew Orchestra: Spirit House (2000, Eremite): The alto saxophonist conducts a strong group of horns here: trumpets (Lewis Barnes, Roy Campbell Jr.), trombones (Steve Swell, Tyrone Hill), saxophones (plus Zane Massey on tenor, Michael Marcus on baritone), with a guitar-bass-drums rhythm section (Bern Nix, John Voigt, Codaryl Moffett). Not quite a big band, but they pack a lot of power, fly free, and even swing some. A- [sp]

Jameel Moondoc With Dennis Charles: We Don't (1981 [2003], Eremite): Alto sax, with the drummer (1933-98, from Virgin Islands, also played with Billy Bang and Cecil Taylor). Challenging free jazz. B+(***) [sp]

Joe Morris/William Parker/Gerald Cleaver: Altitude (2011 [2012], AUM Fidelity): Guitar-bass-drums trio, with Parker switching to sintir (a Moroccan bass lute), live improv recorded one night at the Stone in NYC, four tracks stretched out to 72:27. B+(**) [sp]

Maggie Nicols/Silke Eberhard/Nikolaus Neuser/Christian Marten: I Am Three & Me: Mingus' Sounds of Love (2018 [2019], Leo): Multiple options for parsing this cover: the singer earns top billing, but the trio -- tenor sax, trumpet, drums -- has a previous Mingus tribute, Mingus Mingus Mingus (2015) under their Mingus-inspired group name, I Am Three. Nicols supplies one lyric, the rest attributed to the composer, including detailed instructions on toilet-training your cat. I always find vocals like this awkward -- arty and disjointed, which is what she does -- but the music is often amazing, and their take of "The Clown" is amazing and definitive. So while all Mingus always sounds great, this adds something new. A- [sp]

William Parker & the Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra: Mass for the Healing of the World (1998 [2003], Black Saint): The bassist's 15-piece big band, less brass and more sax, an explosive rhythm section (Cooper-Moore on piano, Susie Ibarra on drums, and Parker), plus vocalist Aleta Heyes for the mass-like bits (not many). A- [sp]

William Parker Quartet: Live in Wroclove (2012 [2013], ForTune): The bassist's "pianoless" quartet, which dates back at least to 2001's O'Neal's Porch, with two freewheeling horns -- Lewis Barnes' trumpet and Rob Brown's alto sax -- and great Hamid Drake on drums. So this is a great band, with some interesting music -- starting with a 47:33 set called "Kalaparusha Dancing on the Edge of the Horizon" -- but it's also a concert, where they pace themselves to set up the moments fans will recall. It's also kind of a big deal for a label that mostly documents the local scene -- in this case, better known as Wroclaw. But it's a tad less compelling than the group's studio albums. B+(***) [sp]

William Parker: For Those Who Are, Still (2000-13 [2013], AUM Fidelity, 3CD): By this time, Parker has become so prolific he's building boxes from scattered sets: this one is formally organized into three albums from five sessions: "For Fannie Hammer" from 2000; "Vermeer," with Leena Conquest, from 2011; "Red Giraffe With Dreadlocks," with Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay, from 2012; a Charles Gayle trio, to open "Ceremonies for Those Who Are Still," with NFM Orchestra and Choir. A- [r]

William Parker/David Budbill: What I Saw This Morning 2014 [2016], AUM Fidelity): Budbill (1940-2016) was mostly a writer, posthumously named "the people's poet of Vermont," also wrote plays, two novels, a libretto, and recorded three albums of spoken word with William Parker providing the music, here mostly using his exotic instruments. Comparable to David Greenberger, but more intimate and personal. [Streamed 14/35 tracks.] B+(***) [bc]

Shikamoo Jazz: Chela Chela Vol. 1 (1993-95 [1995], RetroAfric): Tanzanian group, formed 1993, its members veterans of "dance bands of the '60s and '70s," including Kenyan star Fundi Konde, playing their standards. No dates given, and no singles discography I can find. B+(***) [sp]

Shikamoo Jazz: East African Legends Live (1995 [2022], RetroTan): Only date given is July 1995, but the eleven tracks are credited to four permutations (Shilamoo Jazz, Fundi Konde & SJ, Bi Kidude & SJ, SJ + Fan Fan), although they flow together just fine, with oodles of that shimmering groove Earthworks immortalized in their famous Guitar Paradise of East Africa compilation. A- [sp]

Swamp Dogg: Little Jerry Williams Anthology (1954-1969) (1954-69 [2000], SEDG): Juvenilia, starting at age 12 but extending to maturity at 27, by which time he was a producer at Atlantic with a little bit on the side, which he then reconceptualized as Swamp Dogg for his proper 1970 debut (the brilliant Total Destruction to Your Mind). Aside from the title, the cover adds "AKA Swamp Dogg," which is close enough for me -- not unlike those rappers who drop their real names into their titles. This collects 28 songs, dates not provided, but leads off with "1965 Kingsize Nicotine Blues," so they didn't go with chronological. Still finding himself. One highlight is his Little Richard impression on "Hum Baby." B+(***) [bc]

Swamp Dogg: I Need a Job . . . So I Can Buy More Auto-Tune (2022, Don Giovanni): Second title of his to mention Auto-Tune (after 2018's Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune). I have no opinion on the aesthetics or economics of the audio processing technology. B+(**) [sp]

The Cecil Taylor Unit: Live in Bologna (1987 [1988], Leo): Avant-pianist, group was his quintet (more or less, long defined by saxophonist Jimmy Lyons, who died in 1986, leaving a large gap for Carlos Ward to try to fill. Also with Leroy Jenkins (violin), William Parker (bass), and Thurman Baker (drums/marimba). Ward lurks until the rhythm drives him to deliver. A- [r]

The Cecil Taylor Unit: Live in Vienna (1987 [1988], Leo): Same group, recorded four days later, again one long piece, a bit longer at 71:21, but hacked up for the original 2-LP. While I understand that every performance is different, that doesn't make them all cost-effective, even at this level. B+(***) [r]

Cecil Taylor: Tzotzil Mummers Tzotzil (1987 [1988], Leo): The same group a week later in Paris, last stop on the tour, sandwiched between some poetry recorded a few days later in London. I find the poetry exceptionally hard to follow. B+(*) [sp]

Eddie Taylor: In Session: Diary of a Chicago Bluesman 1953-1957 (1953-57 [2016], Jasmine): Blues guitarist and singer (1923-85), up from Mississippi to Chicago, recorded a few albums from 1967 on, before that was best known playing for Jimmy Reed (just 3 tracks here), but also John Brim (4), Sunnyland Slim (4), Floyd Jones (3), Little Willie Foster (2), and John Lee Hooker (3), leaving 10 tracks under his own name -- a couple memorable, the rest pretty good. This took me a while, but I woke up with Reed and Hooker songs in my head, plus one of Taylor's ("Big Town Playboy"). A- [cd]

Eddie Taylor: I Feel So Bad (1972, Advent): Solid Chicago blues album, recorded in Hollywood. B+(**) [sp]

David S. Ware Trio: Passage to Music (1988, Silkheart): Tenor saxophone great, started in the 1970s but didn't really take off until he organized this group, with William Parker (bass) and Marc Edwards (drums), soon to be a quartet with the addition of pianist Matthew Shipp. Already quite impressive. B+(***) [r]

David S. Ware Quartet: Cryptology (1994 [1995], Homestead): The one Quartet album that slipped past me, with Matthew Shipp (piano), William Parker (bass), and Whit Dickey (drums), as intense as any in a very remarkable series. This seems to have been where Steven Joerg entered the picture, before his AUM Fidelity label provided Ware and Parker a long-term home. A- [yt]

David S. Ware: Organica (Solo Saxophones, Volume 2) (2010 [2011], AUM Fidelity): Ware's kidneys started to fail in 1999, and he was near death ten years later when he was rescued by a kidney transplant. He died in 2012 of an infection fueled by immunosuppresant meds, but over his last couple years he recorded a wide variety of works, including two solo volumes -- Saturnian from late a late 2009 set, plus two sets here, each opening with a piece on sopranino sax, followed by one on tenor. Usual caveats apply, but interesting as these things go. B+(**) [r]

Jody Williams: In Session: Diary of a Chicago Bluesman 1954-1962 (1954-62 [2018], Jasmine): Joseph Leon Williams (1935-2018), originally from Mobile, moved to Chicago, where his guitar ("marked by flamboyant string-bending, imaginative chord voicings and a distinctive tone") got him studio work with Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Bo Diddley, and Jimmy Rogers -- to pick out the most obvious hits on the front half here -- as well as the occasional single (some as Little Joe Lee). That first half is remarkable enough, but the obscurities on the second half -- especially his "Lucky Lou" instrumental -- are the real payoff here. A- [cd]

Music Weeks

Music: Current count 42549 [42377] rated (+172), 22 [31] unrated (-9).

Excerpts from this month's Music Week posts:

June 3, 2024

Music: Current count 42421 [42377] rated (+44), 36 [31] unrated (+5).

I had a really miserable night and morning. I often complain about my eyesight, but get along ok, as long as I don't try to read CD booklets (one excuse why my reviews have gotten sparer) or try to file CDs alphabetical-by-artist (one reason everything is such a mess). I went to the eye doctor in April, and he told me I should consider cataract surgery. They set up an appointment, but couldn't with their preferred partner get one until June 3, and then couldn't get me an afternoon appointment. I knew it was coming up this week, but didn't realize it was Monday until the day before. I had put off paperwork and research, figuring it could wait until my usual posts, then had to rush out Speaking of Which, to get a bit of time to prepare.

I hate morning appointments: not only does it cut into my normal sleep schedule, simply knowing that I will have to get up early keeps me from getting any sleep at all. It also didn't help that we had thunderstorms rolling through into the morning. When the alarm went off, I was exhausted and exasperated. Then my wife found a phone message saying that the surgeon's office had a power outage, so they had moved all of their appointments to a different location, ten miles farther east, so a 5-minute drive would become 35-40 minutes. My wife called and canceled the appointment. When I finally got up, I called them. They offered me the same appointment time in the distant place, but wouldn't allow me the time to get there. So we rescheduled, pushing the fateful date back to July 29, but at least I got an afternoon appointment.

I probably shouldn't dread this like I do. We know lots of other people who have had the surgery and come out better for it -- Some with adverse side-effects, but as far as I know, all of those were temporary. And I'm less ignorant about what's involved than I was 24 hours ago -- although much of it does seem to depend on the actual examination. I'm not able to go back to sleep, so will spend the rest of the day feeling jet-lagged and irritable. But before long I should rest up, and put it out of mind, at least until the next panic on July 28.

The early start means I should get this posted at a reasonable hour, although other factors could lead me to use the rest of the day. I've added two small items to Speaking of Which as of 3pm, and more are likely. I also have some catch up bookkeeping to do. And I would like to fiddle with the metacritic file a bit. [PS: One thing I did manage to do was to count albums listed by Christian Iszchak and Steve Pick in their respective Substacks.

Seems like a very high ratio of B+(***) to A- this week (21-2), suggesting that some of those could have benefited from a bit more attention. (I did give two plays for at least a third of the 21; another third could just as easily have landed lower, but got the benefit of doubt; Anycia, Ferragutti, and Popul are the ones I may still wonder about.)

It always pains me when I see zombie birthday notices on Facebook friends, but "Bill Xcix Phillips's birthday is today" always hits me hardest, not only because he was a dear friend and great mentor but because I first heard of his passing when I wished him a "happy" in response to one of those notices. Facebook is a hideous thing in oh so many ways, but these residual bits of long-distance connection are what keep pulling me back in.

June 10, 2024

Music: Current count 42460 [42421] rated (+39), 31 [36] unrated (-5).

I published a pretty long Speaking of Which Sunday night (209 links, 12260 words). I fixed a couple typos, added a few more items, and a lot of words today -- the latter mostly came from extensive quotes of two articles I had flagged to include but didn't get to in time. I've also been including links to music pieces, which lately have mostly been mid-year lists I've factored into my metacritic file.

I lost a couple days of listening time when I fixed a couple of small dinners, one mostly Chinese, the second more Italian. I rarely cook, let alone entertain, these days, so it's nice to see that I still have some skills.

When I did manage to listen, I racked up records fast, possibly because I did more EPs than usual (7), and also because quite a few records inspired minimal commentary.

I mentioned it in Speaking of Which, but let me add an extra plug for the return of Michael Tatum's A Downloader's Diary, this one (52). In the aforementioned metacritic file, I'm giving his grades the same weight I give Robert Christgau's and my own's (although I haven't added many in yet).

June 17, 2024

Music: Current count 42503 [42460] rated (+43), 22 [31] unrated (-9).

Going through a very busy stretch, but not sure what I really have to talk about here. I do have a fairly hefty bunch of records to report on, partly aided by recent consumer guides by Robert Christgau, Christian Iszchak, Brad Luen, and Michael Tatum. Still, I'm not sure I've caught up with any of them. I barely got through the I Am Three records Chris Monsen recommended -- their first album I previously had at B+(***) but it, too, sounds terrific, as is often the case with freewheeling Mingus.

The Jasmine In Session comps were recommended by Clifford Ocheltree. I resisted the Eddie Taylor until this morning, when I woke up with songs from it in my head. The recommendation list goes deeper, but so far that's all I've sprung for.

I have a request to write something about William Parker, on the occasion of his Vision Fest Lifetime Achievement Award. Back in 2003 I wrote a fairly extensive consumer guide to the work of Parker and/or Matthew Shipp (who was more my initial interest), and I've tried to keep up since then, including his two new albums below. So I figured: write 3-4 paragraphs of glowing intro, then tack on a dozen (or two) capsule reviews. Whether it's as easily done as said remains to be seen. All I've done so far has been to collect the reviews from the work files: current count is 249, but at the moment I'm listening to a 2009 record I had missed, and I'll probably come up with a few more. (RogueArt sent out email highlighting their 15 Parker albums, of which I've only heard 3 -- thanks mostly to Steve Swell).

What research I've done so far has mostly been humbling. Parker has four volumes of Conversations that I can't begin to get to. I just ordered a copy of Cisco Bradley's Universal Tonality: The Life and Music of William Parker, but won't have time to get very deep into. I do have a copy of Rick Lopez's marvelous The William Parker Sessionography (to 2014; also online, but only up to 2020). But I could easily fritter away all of my scant remaining time just checking items off -- although the annotation is so distracting I might never finish.

Meanwhile, I've burned up a fair amount of time with my metacritic file, to which I've started to add mid-year best-of ("so far") lists. It's still pretty spotty at present, and skewed toward the Christgau-friendly Expert Witness critics -- which has paid off in elevating Waxahatchee over Smile, with Billie Eilish and Beyoncé gaining ground, followed by Vampire Weekend, Adrianne Lenker, Hurray for the Riff Raff, and Maggie Rogers. I only have three A-list albums in the top ten, but Christgau has five in the top six (even though I haven't factored his grades in yet).

The mid-year lists I have are noted in the legend. While the first ones started showing up around June 1, in past years they've peaked in late June, with a few stragglers in July. I haven't noticed any jazz lists yet, so I'm thinking about running my own. I have the mailing list and software from the Francis Davis Jazz Critics Poll, and evidently have time to kill.

The biggest time-kill remains Speaking of Which, which again topped 10,000 words on Sunday, with minor additions today.

June 26, 2024

Music: Current count 42549 [42503] rated (+46), 22 [22] unrated (+0).


Sources noted as follows:

  • [cd] based on physical cd
  • [cdr] based on an advance or promo cd or cdr
  • [bc] available at
  • [r] available at (formerly Rhapsody)
  • [sp] available at
  • [yt] available at

Grades are probably self-explanatory, aside from B+, which is subdivided 1-2-3 stars, because most records that come my way are pretty good, but they're not all that good.