Rhapsody Streamnotes: January 19, 2014

First Rhapsody Streamnotes column since I decided to suspend Jazz Prospecting and Recycled Goods and fold anything I did in either of those categories into it. In theory, that should reduce my effort and coverage, but this month that seems to have just increased the count here. I had always considered the possibility of posting Streamnotes more than once a month, and that seemed like an especially good idea as this month's draft file started looking like it would exceed 100 records. As it turns out, I held back pretty much everything I've written since Monday's "Music Week" post (but there are a few things here I hadn't reported in the "Music Week" lists, since they were written earlier).

What follows is a mix of new 2014 jazz albums -- some written up a month or two ago and held back for their release dates, but now that I'm no longer Jazz Prospecting weekly I figure I'll do them whenever I get to them -- and stragglers from 2013 lists (or in a couple cases things I stumbled upon without any list help). I'll write a bit more about the metacritic file and Pazz & Jop in this coming Monday's Music Week. I don't have time to unpack that now, but I've started to sort out the data here, so if you're so inclined, you might find something to chew on there.

One thing I will say is that the declining voting population -- Pazz & Jop is down to 457 voters, which is fewer than in 1998 (498) -- has made the results more erratic, and I think more narrow than what I get from the metacritic file. To pick a couple examples, metal does better in P&J, and electronica does much worse. Also, P&J voters are more likely to provide token crossover support for a handful of hip-hop, country, and world albums without offering much depth in any of those. (Jazz is an exception here, probably because I track a lot of jazz sources in the metacritic file, and very few P&J voters pick jazz records.) Much more could be said there, and I probably won't get around to it. After all, I'm trying to move on.

These are short notes/reviews based on streaming records from Rhapsody. They are snap judgments based on one or two plays, accumulated since my last post along these lines, back on December 29. Past reviews and more information are available here (4247 records).

New Releases (More or Less)

T.K. Blue: A Warm Embrace (2013 [2014], Blujazz): Aka Talib Kibwe, plays sax (alto/soprano) and flute (featured in three of four photos); sixth album since 1999, previous one heavily Latin but this is pretty mainstream, with James Weidman (piano), Essiet Essiet (bass), Winard Harper (drums), and Ron Jackson or Russell Malone (guitar). I hate having to pick on flute: it has its place in the orchestral palette and doesn't have no place in jazz, but this goes from pleasant to something else when he put down the sax and picks up a flute. B- [cd]

Dean Blunt: The Redeemer (2013, Hippos in Tanks): British DJ, has a checkered career working under various pseudonyms like Hype Williams. Very rough and unsettled, odd spikes. B

JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound: Howl (2013, Bloodshot): Chicago soul man on a punk-Americana label, his band neither here nor there. B

Ari Brown: Groove Awakening (2013, Delmark): Tenor saxophonist from Chicago, started in R&B bands and always seemed a pat for free jazz groups, but he finds his groove here with Kirk Brown on piano and Dr. Guz adding extra percussion. B+(***) [cd]

Buika: La Noche Más Larga (2013, Warner Music Latina): Flamenco singer, Concha Buika, born in Spain with Guinean roots, writes half her songs but also does Billie Holiday and Abbey Lincoln and a Jacques Brel song I associate more with Nina Simone ("Ne Me Quitte Pas"). B+(*)

George Cables: Icons & Influences (2013 [2014], HighNote): Pianist, has been recording since the mid-1970s, including some of the finest albums of Art Pepper's last fling. Without a horn, his trios -- this is one with Dezron Douglas and Victor Lewis -- never quite blow me away but he's a quintessential jazz pianist, capable of stretching out past an hour without ever a slack spot. B+(***) [cd]

Rosanne Cash: The River & the Thread (2014, Blue Note): Singer-songwriter, this new batch of songs co-signed by spouse John Leventhal so they tend to look out rather than in. Lolls along easily, like those rivers that drain her neck of the woods. B+(**)

Glenn Cashman's Southland Nonet: Music Without Borders (2012 [2013], Primrose Lane): Tenor saxophonist, has a previous LA-based big band album, this group only slightly smaller with three brass, three reeds, piano, bass, and drums. Dedicated to Doctors Without Borders, this is dashing from the start. B+(**) [cd]

Checkpoint Rock: Canciones Desde Palestina (2009, Talka): Audio for a Spanish video of Palestinian resistance songs -- the video probably helps, especially for the closer where DAM teaches his "I Don't Have Freedom" to the "Children of Lod." I like the raps better than the rockers and the more trad pieces, and I'm glad that Manu Chao joined for the title song -- otherwise I doubt I would have found this. B+(**)

The Child of Lov: The Child of Lov (2013, Domino): Martijn William Zimri Teerlinck, aka Cole Williams, born in Belgium but based in Amsterdam, and dead at age 26, a few months after this one album came out. He interacts with various semi-famous hip-hop luminaries -- DOOM and Damon Albarn get "feat." credits -- producing an unsettled work that may never come clear. B+(*)

The Computers: Love Triangles Hate Squares (2013, One Little Indian): You've heard of post-punk? Alex Kershaw's group plays post-pub-rock, recycling the rock of ages but limited through a vocal prism that can't see beyond Elvis Costello or Graham Parker -- music this upbeat should be more fun, not to mention memorable. B

Steve Davis: For Real (2013 [2014], Posi-Tone): Mainstream trombonist, nearly 20 albums since 1996, picks up one song from pianist Larry Willis, wrote the rest. Gets a big lift from tenor saxophonist Abraham Burton, and some Latin tinge from drummer Billy Williams. B+(**) [cd]

Rob Derke & the NY Jazz Quartet: Blue Divide (2013 [2014], Zoho): NYJAZZ seems to be related to a larger organization, but let's stick with this quartet. First album for Derke, who plays soprano saxophone with surprising vigor. Bassist Carlo De Rosa wrote a couple pieces; Aruán Ortiz plays piano, and Eric McPherson drums. B+(***) [cd]

John Di Fiore: Yellow Petals (2013 [2014], Third Freedom Music): Drummer-led piano trio, with Billy Test on piano and Adrian Morning on bass. Di Fiore, who hails from NJ, wrote all the pieces, and if he mixes the drums up a bit, he makes that work as well. B+(***) [cd]

Donato Dozzy: Plays Bee Mask (2013, Spectrum Spools): Bee Mask is electronica producer Chris Madak, and he released a two-cut LP in 2012 including a 13:23 track called "Vaporware"; Italian DJ Dozzy's album has seven numbered "Vaporware" tracks, running 3:39-8:54, with a nice ambient feel, plus a little tinkle. B+(**)

Dub Club: Foundation Come Again (2013, Stones Throw): LA DJ Tom Chasteen rounds up and recycles some old-fashioned reggae -- names include Big Youth, Dillinger, and Josey Wales -- with all the excess echo you expect. B+(**)

Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio: Follow the Sun (2013, Delmark): Percussionist from Chicago, his long-running trio features Ari Brown on tenor sax and Junius Paul on bass, and they add two guests here: a second tenor saxophonist, Brown's mentor Doug Payne (also plays bagpipes), and singer Dwight Trible. Tempting to say the problem is Trible's overwrought vocals, but his segue into "Body and Soul" is masterful. B+(**) [cd]

The Fat Babies: 18th & Racine (2013, Delmark): Trad jazz band from Chicago, second album, bassist Beau Sample is the nominal leader but Andy Schumm (cornet, alto sax) wrote the one original and arranged most of the rest, favoring the late '20s over the later swing era. B+(***) [cd]

The Front Bottoms: Talon of the Hawk (2013, Bar/None): Indie rock duo from New Jersey, singer has quite a sneer, smart as in aleck, but the barbed hooks are catchy. B+(**)

Laurel Halo: Chance of Rain (2013, Hyperdub): From Ann Arbor, second album, electronica, reminds me a little of Drexciya but the underwater shtick isn't as nicely developed. B+(*)

Fareed Haque: Trance Hypothesis (2013, Delmark): Guitarist, born in Chicago of Pakistani and Chilean descent, starts with organ for a taste of soul jazz but touches on fusion and works in exotic spices -- actually, oud, tabla, two vocalists with Indian/Pakistani names who could just be scatting. Reminds me of Wes Montgomery -- not the real one so many other still try to sound like, but an imaginary one who saw the world and moved on. B+(**) [cd]

Taylor Haskins: Fuzzy Logic (2011-13 [2014], Sunnyside): Trumpet player, fourth album, backed by strings -- guitar, violin, viola, cello, bass -- and drums. The trumpet parts are fine, but he also plays "native american drone flute" and melodica, and the strings are undistinguished and murky. I see in his bio that he recently received a US patent for "helping to develop proprietary music software that implemented artificial intelligence-based technology." I won't dock him for that, but probably should. B- [cd]

Angel Haze: Dirty Gold (2013, Republic): Raykeea Wilson, rapper, broke through with a good mixtape last year, got a label deal but wound up with a December 30 release, missing the big sales season and any chance for year-end notice. A-

David Helbock's Random/Control: Think of Two (2013 [2014], Traumton): German pianist, has a couple previous records, plays various toys and electronics in addition to piano, in a trio with Johannes Bar (horns from trumpet to sousaphone and didgeridoo) and Andreas Broger (similar range of reeds), everyone pitching in on percussion. Playful. B+(**) [cd]

Honey Island Swamp Band: Cane Sugar (2013, Louisiana Red Hot): Louisiana band, guitar-wise they admire the Allmans, vocals easy-going although they can approximate a blues feel or a boogie beat; a little too sweet and gritless to care much about. B

Hookworms: Pearl Mystic (2013, Weird World): British group, from Leeds, has made surprise advances in year-end lists, no doubt because anyone who masters the tension-tone riffs the Velvet Underground bequeathed to alt-indiedom is going to sound timelessly classic -- even bands that don't last any longer than the Perfect Disaster or Lower Dens. This is another one of those. A-

Carolyn Lee Jones: The Performer (2013, Cat'nround Sound): Standards singer, second or third album (not sure what to call Live in Dallas), has a long list of musicians shuffling in and out, including a saxophonist I like and a flautist I don't mind. As usual, this rises and falls with the songs -- give me "Old Devil Moon" any time -- but she gets more mileage than most out of "Let's Get Lost" and goes for pure seductiveness after that. B+(***) [cd]

Juicy J: Stay Trippy (2013, Taylor Gang/Kemosabe/Columbia): Jordan Michael Houston, started in Three 6 Mafia, third solo joint, feats on more songs than not with Wiz Khalifa the norm. B+(*)

Manika Kaur: Satnam Waheguru: The True Name (2013 [2014], self-released): Kirtan singer -- rooted in Sikh tradition, although I gather the form is more widespread -- born in Australia, based in Abu Dhabi: strikes me as low-key, lulling, just short of hypnotic. B+(**) [cd]

Kool A.D.: Not O.K. (2013, self-released): The less reliable half of Das Racist gets goofier, often pausing before his rhyme word as if solving some sort of real-time multiple choice test, so, sure, not the great rapper he claims, but he keeps finding new ways to throw you off. A- [bc]

Kool and Kass: Peaceful Solutions (2013, self-released): Rapper Kool A.D. ("my flow is odder than an otter with three daughters") and drummer Kassa Overall, who keeps the beats real and helps steady his peripatetic partner. A- [bc]

Greg Lewis: Organ Monk: American Standard (2013 [2014], self-released): Organ player, tackled the Thelonious Monk songbook in his first album and has kept that title as sort of a brand name, although judging from the type it belongs as part of the title. Mostly standards here -- "Nice Work if You Can Get It," "Tea for Two," "Everything Happens to Me," "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea." Trio expanded to quintet with Riley Mullins on trumpet and Reggie Woods on tenor sax. B+(*) [cd]

Logos: Cold Mission (2013, Keysound): James Parker, background seems to be dubstep, gets something quasi-industrial here, the accents staggered line spent shell casings, the ups and downs more impressive than pleasing -- cold, indeed. B+(*)

London Grammar: If You Wait (2013, Warner/Chappell): British group, from Nottingham actually, built around singer Hannah Reid -- slow, brooding, sort of a trip-hop vibe. B+(*)

Lucius: Wildewoman (2013, Mom + Pop Music): Brooklyn band, two women (Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig) singing, in front of three blokes playing drums and guitars. B+(*)

Zara McFarlane: If You Knew Her (2013 [2014], Brownswood): British jazz singer, parents from Jamaica, second album, takes everything slow with her plaintive voice, most touching on "Police & Thieves" but less so when there's nothing more than love at stake. B [cd]

Cava Menzies/Nick Phillips: Moment to Moment (2013 [2014], self-released): Leaders play piano and trumpet, respectively, backed by bass and drums. First album I can find by either. To call it a ballad album slights its smoky makeout appeal. B+(***) [cd]

Pete Mills: Sweet Shadow (2013 [2014], Cellar Live): Tenor saxophonist, originally from Toronto but based in Columbus [OH], fourth album. Fluid at high speed, has a nice tone on ballads, backed by both piano and guitar, but Pete McCann has most of the memorable spots. B+(***) [cd]

Juana Molina: Wed 21 (2013, Crammed Discs): Argentine singer-songwriter, lived in exile in Paris early on, takes her musical cues from electronica producers. B+(**)

No Joy: Wait to Pleasure (2013, Mexican Summer): Montreal group, name begs contrast with Too Much Joy, which needless to say were a lot more fun. Drone-heavy shoegaze around female vocals -- Jasamine White-Gluz and/or Laura Lloyd. Not bad, but you will have to wait. B+(*)

Jeremy Pelt: Face Forward, Jeremy (2013 [2014], High Note): Trumpet player, had impressive chops from the start but has rarely turned them into good albums, and seems almost defeated here, with Roxy Cross even more subdued on reeds, David Bryant playing way too much Fender Rhodes, three vocal cuts that signify nothing, some electric bass and drum programming that at least keeps it all moving. B- [cd]

Katy Perry: Prism (2013, Capitol): Megastar, can afford the whole megapop production experience and it suits her fine -- anything else would risk getting personal. But it can get to be a bit much. B+(*)

The Danny Petroni Blue Project: The Blue Project (2013 [2014], DPS): Post-Sandy blues from the former New Jersey shore. Petroni plays guitar, subcontracting the vocals to Frank Lacy -- you're more likely to know him for his trombone and maybe even flumpet, but he's a forthright blues shouter and that's all this set calls for. B+(***) [cd]

Pharmakon: Abandon (2013, Sacred Bones, EP): Margaret Chardiet promised an EP, so I discarded Rhapsody's 27:07 "bonus cut," settling for four tracks totalling 26:49, which for a noise album built from blood-curdling cries and lots of dense fuzz is plenty. Not without a redeeming musical quality, although I wouldn't push that line too hard. B+(*)

Robert Prester: Dogtown (2013 [2014], Commonwealth Ave. Productions): Pianist, probably his first album, with trumpet on four tracks, vocals on three, extra percussion to keep it loose and jumpy. B [cd]

Quadron: Avalanche (2013, Vested in Culture): Danish duo, singer Coco O (Coco Maja Hastrup Karshřj) and producer Robin Hannibal (né Braun), second album. She has a light soul accent, about half way to Diana Ross, in which case his slinky soul arrangements are half way to Babyface, not that they come off as coming up short -- they make you wonder if the problem with so much "nu soul" isn't that they overdo it. B+(**)

Radical Dads: Rapid Reality (2013, Uninhabitable Mansions): A drummer from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and two guitarists, with one -- non-dad Lindsay Baker -- doing most of the singing, giving them a little shrillness to go with the postpunk thrash, and irony enough to be radical indeed. A-

Lee Ranaldo and the Dust: Last Night on Earth (2013, Matador): Sonic Youth guitarist, has a string of avant-oriented solo albums going back to the late 1980s, but since the breakup has tried to evolved into a mainstream singer-songwriter with occasional guitar twinges, and doesn't even achieve that here. B

The Rempis/Daisy Duo: Second Spring (2013 [2014], Aerophonic): Free jazz duets, Chicago jazzmen (and Vandermark 5 alumni) Dave Rempis on alto, tenor, and baritone sax, and Tim Daisy on drums. The saxophonist is formidable as ever, but the drummer often opts for an understated or oblique tack, and that throws the sax off a bit -- too mild if he follows, too brusque if doesn't. B+(***) [cd]

Dave Rempis/Joshua Abrams/Avreeayl Ra: Aphelion (2013 [2014], Aerophonic): Free sax trio, bassist Abrams also playing guimbri and small harp, which gets him more solo space, and takes away from the leader's often fierce sax runs. B+(***) [cd]

Matt Renzi: Rise and Shine (2012 [2014], Three P's): Tenor saxophonist, eighth album since 1998, starts with a trio and adds bits here and there -- Ralph Alessi trumpet, A.R. Balaskandan mridangam -- and switches off to clarinet, oboe, and flute. Not all of that works, a shame given how poised he is on sax. B+(**) [cd]

LeAnn Rimes: Spitfire (2013, Curb): Child star at 14, which was 17 years and 12 albums ago; co-writes most of her songs, not the same as the best of her songs. B+(*)

Pete Robbins: Pyramid (2013 [2014], Hate Laugh Music): Alto saxophonist, AMG lists five albums since 2002 but that's too few, a postbop player with some edge and a terrific quartet here -- Vijay Iyer on piano, Eivind Opsvik on bass, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums. B+(***) [cd]

Rich Rosenthal: Falling Up (2012 [2014], Muse-Eek): Guitarist, b. 1964, first album as leader, discography shows one side credit, in Joe Giardullo Open Ensemble. Giardullo returns the favor here, playing soprano and sopranino sax, nudging the quartet into free territory. The leader both follows along and takes some surprising turns on his own. B+(***) [cd]

Brandon Ross/Stomu Takeishi: For Living Lovers: Revealing Essence (2013 [2014], Sunnyside): Guitarist and bassist, the latter's acoustic bass guitar is so deeply buried I'm reluctant to call these duets, but the guitar is also acoustic, and nearly as subdued. B [cd]

Anton Schwartz: Flash Mob (2013 [2014], Anton Jazz): Tenor saxophonist, fifth album since 1998, postbopper leading a hard bop group -- Dominick Farinacci on trumpet, Taylor Eigsti on piano -- talented players who somehow never do anything interesting. B [cd]

Archie Shepp: Attica Blues Orchestra Live: I Hear the Sound (2013 [2014], Archieball): Tenor saxophonist, cut Attica Blues back in 1971 when Rockefeller's massacre of prisoners and guards was news, and still carries the flame, in part because he pioneered a meeting of black folk and avant-jazz specific to the era and still resonant today. But his sax has mellowed over the years, as has his anger, and the singers that lead most of this revival meeting, not least Cecile McLorin Salvant, are just pros. B+(***) [cd]

Edward Simon: Venezuelan Suite (2012 [2014], Sunnyside): Pianist, from Venezuela, a dozen (or more) albums since 1993 -- most often trios but here he expands to a nine-piece group, with cuatro and flutes, extra percussion and Edmar Castaneda's harp. First four (of five) pieces comprise the title suite. B+(**) [cd]

Sly5thAve: Sly 5th Ave Presents Akuma (2012 [2014], self-released): Tenor saxophonist, original name Sylvester Uzoma Onyejiaka II, from Austin, TX; studied at UNT; has toured with Prince, and in his list of musicians he's performed and/or recorded with -- normally something I skip over -- I did notice some hip-hop names like Freddie Gibbs, Homeboy Sandman, and Blu among the usual pop (Gladys Knight) and jazz (three Marsalis brothers, Maceo Parker, but also Brad Leali) names. First album, some African themes and plenty of Latin tinge. B+(**) [cd]

E. Doctor Smith: Quantum (2013, Edgetone): Drummer by trade, credited with synths here, his transition marked by his invention of a synth-drum called the Drummstick. Wikipedia's list of his studio albums starts with True Blue, The Breakfast Club, and Like a Prayer -- two of those are more commonly attributed to Madonna, so I'd say his proper discography starts in 2001 with The Drummstick and moves on to this slab of bass-heavy fusion. Starts off that way, anyway, but then sorta piddles out. B [cd]

1032K: That Which Is Planted: Live in Buffalo and Rochester (2013, Passin' Thru): Trio: Kevin Ray on bass, Andrew Drury on drums, and Ku-umba Frank Lacy on trombone, flumpet, voice, and percussion. The vocal preaches a text familiar to anyone who grew up on the Bible (or the Byrds), one that sticks in my craw because I doubt that there's ever a justifiable "time for war" -- but the music is Mingus, with Ayler, McCall, and Threadgill also given respect. Lacy has been around a long time but only has three albums under his name. Terrific to see him the focal point here. A- [cd]

Randy Travis: The Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am (2013, Warner Brothers): He sure isn't aging gracefully: age 54 when this was released, his previous eighteen months saw three arrests, hospitalization for heart problems and a stroke, and his voice took a beating too. Covers, some awkward, some brave, some touching, none you'll take over the originals, and not just because he risks Lefty Frizzell and Louis Armstrong. B

Steve Treseler Group: Center Song (2013 [2014], Creative Music Adventures): Saxophonist, mostly tenor, some clarinet, based in Seattle, second album, group varies but usually includes piano (9 of 13 tracks), often guitar (6) and/or cello (5), and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen gets a featuring credit on the front cover. B+(*) [cd]

Tropic of Cancer: Restless Idylls (2013, Blackest Ever Black): Dense waves of synth drone, lacklustre wails of palpably if not audibly anguished vocals, any given 20 second passage is listenable by itself, but over an hour they add up into something oppressive. B-

Mikolaj Trzaska/Devin Hoff/Michael Zerang: Sleepless in Chicago (2011-12 [2013], NoBusiness): Free jazz sax trio, the Polish alto saxophonist has impressed every time I've heard him, and his pick-up band in Chicago know the drill. Short enough for LP, limited to 300 copies, presumably because the market knows best. B+(***) [cdr]

Ken Vandermark/The Resonance Ensemble: Head Above Water/Feet Out of the Fire (2012-13 [2013], Not Two, 2CD): This is Ken Vandermark's third (or fourth) generation big band project, slimmed down a bit from his Territory Band -- three brass, four reeds, doubled up at bass and drums -- but the group name befits the rich sound he gets, rare cohesiveness, harmony even, in such a large free-for-all. A-

Frank Wess: Magic 201 (2011 [2014], IPO): A sequal to last year's Magic 101, cut a couple months later with a similar group -- Kenny Barron and Winard Harper are on both, Rufus Reid takes over at bass here, and Russell Malone joins on guitar -- a real plus. The other change is that Wess plays some flute here, not just tenor sax as before. But since his death last fall at 91, this is all the more poignant -- would be even if it didn't close with "If It's the Last Thing I Do." B+(***) [cd]

The White Buffalo: Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways (2013, Unison Music): Jake Smith, rocks hard for a folksinger, seems like he's more inspired by Springsteen than Seeger, but he's got stories, doesn't like the military, and feels like he learned that lesson the hard way, even though he's probably just smart. B+(**)

Matt Wilson Quartet + John Medeski: Gathering Call (2013 [2014], Palmetto): Pianoless quartet plus piano player, the split horn roles filled admirably by Jeff Lederer (reeds) and Kirk Knuffke (cornet), playing two Ellington riff pieces and a bunch of the drummer's originals. The guest is neither here nor there. B+(***) [cd]

Nils Wogram Root 70 With Strings: Riomar (2012 [2014], NWOG): German trombonist, has two dozen albums since 1994 including one called Root 70 with this quartet -- Hayden Chisholm (alto sax), Matt Penman (bass), Jochen Rueckert (drums). This adds strings (one each: violin, viola, cello), purring quietly in the background or sawing away when they get the chance. B+(*) [cd]

Old Releases

Barry Guy/London Jazz Composers' Orchestra/Irčne Schweizer: Theoria (1991 [1992], Intakt): I don't think LJCO has ever been anything but bassist Guy's big sandbox: the five reeds and six brass can play sweet for a minute or two but like to rumble in ways that may (or may not) make sense. What does help here is the pivotal role of Swiss pianist Schweizer, who imposes her will over much of the single-piece hour. B+(*)

Barry Guy/London Jazz Composers Orcheatra/Irčne Schweizer/Marilyn Crispell/Pierre Favre: Double Trouble Two (1995 [1998], Intakt): The doubling is at piano, worth noting that Schweizer and Crispell also have a duet album together, so have had a chance to work this out without the distraction of the monster free jazz orch, as unruly as ever, perhaps even more magnificent at times (like the ending of "Part IV"), irritating at others: in short, the whole package. B+(**)

Cecil Taylor: Air (1960, Candid): Early album, although Taylor's rhythmic idiosyncrasy is already well developed, enough to deny tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp anything resembling a secure footing, and Taylor is so explosive his own solos often venture further out. A-

Cecil Taylor-Buell Neidlinger: New York City R&B (1961, Candid): Originally issued under the bassist's name, Taylor's name added later, but the pianist is the draw, especially on the two shorter trio cuts with Billy Higgins; the other two cuts add horns: Archie Shepp (tenor sax) on both; Clark Terry (trumpet), Steve Lacy (soprano sax), Roswell Rudd (trombone), and Charles Davis (baritone sax) on the closer. B+(***)

Cecil Taylor: Cell Walk for Celeste (1961, Candid): Outtakes from the New York City R&B and Jumpin' Punkins sessions that didn't appear in album form until 1988, most quartet with Shepp, Neidlinger, and Dennis Charles, but two tracks with the extra horn quartet, with Steve Lacy's soprano sax by far the most noteworthy. B+(**)


Records I looked for but didn't find on Rhapsody:

  • Daniel Avery: Drone Logic (2013, Because)
  • Juliana Barwick: Nepenthe (2013, Dead Oceans)
  • Frog Eyes: Carey's Cold Spring (2013, self-released)
  • John Wizards: John Wizards (2013, Planet Mu)

Revised Grades

Sometimes further listening leads me to change an initial grade, usually either because I move on to a real copy, or because someone else's review or list makes me want to check it again:

Jon Hopkins: Immunity (2013, Domino): Thick waves with long decays, too harmonically complex for minimalism even if that seems to be the idea -- or maybe ambient is the more current term, certainly the operative word for the ending note, but even more suggestive of something that sneaks up on you. [was: B+(***)] A-


Everything streamed from Rhapsody, except as noted in brackets following the grade:

  • [cd] based on physical cd (but made most sense to review here)
  • [bc] available at bandcamp.com
  • [sc] available at soundcloud.com
  • [dl] something I was able to download from the web; may be freely available, or may be a promo deal