Rhapsody Streamnotes: October 31, 2014

Three weeks on the road put a crimp into this month's output: I pushed the deadline out to the end of the month and still only came up with 62 records. Not a lot of finds either, although it's possible that the A-list is getting so full so early -- I currently have 100 records listed (I expected to wind up around 120, but hit 147 last year, after 131 in 2012, 132 in 2011, 132 in 2010, so maybe I'm not that far ahead) -- that I'm starting to think twice before letting anything the least bit marginal in. On the other hand, the two jazz records didn't get in by much, nor did Allo Darlin'. A larger problem is likely the breakdown of my scoutinig network, especially with the demise of Odyshape. Nor has Christgau's return been much help -- he fell so far behind I had heard most of what he's written about (with the usual adjustments up and down).

Most of the old music this month is by Oscar Peterson. I started playing him on the road when I got some flak from over some avant jazz from a piano jazz fan -- figured who could object? I held this month to records up to 1962, chiefly from the 1959 Song Book series (usually composers Peterson surveyed in 1952-54, which many reissues tack onto the later albums). Peterson is a marvelous piano player but he tends to stay in his own comfort zone, using his spectacular technique to dress up rather than deconstruct standards. He raced through the 1954 and 1959 sessions so quickly that he rarely came up with anything new, and when you listen to a lot of them the initial dazzle quickly wears off: so while those albums are uniformly good, none are really great. So the grade average is a bit off, but that's also because I skipped previously graded records, including these A- efforts: At the Concertgebouw (1957); Night Train (1962). I tried to identify Song Book reissues that pick up the 1952-54 material as a bonus, and chose not to split them apart -- in part because the early albums don't seem to be in print anywhere (although you'd think European copyright laws would allow that).

One more thing about Peterson: he was an exceptional accompanist, as is clear from albums like the following:

  • Benny Carter: Cosmpolite: The Oscar Peterson Sessions (1952-54 [1994], Verve) A
  • Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong: Ella and Louis (1956 [1985], Verve) A
  • Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong: Ella and Louis Again (1957 [1990], Verve) A+
  • Coleman Hawkins: The Genius of Coleman Hawkins (1957 [1997], Verve) A-
  • Coleman Hawkins: Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster (1957 [1992], Verve) A+
  • Clark Terry: Oscar Peterson Trio + One: Clark Terry (1964 [1984], Emarcy) A
  • Ben Webster: Soulville (1957 [1989], Verve) A
  • Ben Webster: Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson (1959 [1991], Verve) A-
  • Lester Young: The President Plays With the Oscar Peterson Trio (1952 [1997], Verve) A

Peterson remained very productive well into the 1990s, and there is a lot of material on Pablo (his reunion with Norman Granz) that I haven't heard.

The odd-record-out in the old music is the Richmond Fontaine that Christgau singled out in a recent EW post. It's more or less as he says, but my two plays lean toward less, not enough to get me to dig through a catalog with a dozen titles, especially knowing that The High Country only hit B.

Recent compilations include two Rough Guides, a label I continue to loathe -- but it helps me (if not you) that I've largely given up trying to figure when the music comes from. It looks like everything they do now is coming out as 2CD sets. Their pricing suggests grading the first disc alone under its title, then their bonus disc separately as its original release. I'm not sure how well this will work out, or how much I can find, or how much I can stand, but that's working theory for now.

I bought the Spruill set on the recommendation of an EW-fan who declared it the best compilation to have come out in this millennium. I don't quite agree with that judgment, but my wife does.

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 September 30. Past reviews and more information are available here (5468 records).

New Releases (More or Less)

Jhené Aiko: Souled Out (2014, Def Jam): Slotted as an r&b singer, she doesn't really have the voice, but manages to turn that into a charm, at least as long as the beats hold up. B+(*)

Allo Darlin': We Came From the Same Place (2014, Slumberland): Brit guitar-rock group led by Australian singer Elizabeth Morris, third album, all at a very high level. A-

Marcia Ball: The Tattooed Lady and the Alligator Man (2014, Alligator): Blues-singing boogie-woogie pianist from Texas although she's also at home in New Orleans -- check out how Hot Springs is "way up in Arkansas." Always starts with a fast one, and rarely lets up. B+(*)

Kenny Barron/Dave Holland: The Art of Conversation (2014, Blue Note): Piano-bass duets, both masters who have been working since the 1960s -- Barron perhaps most famous for accompanying Stan Getz, Holland associated with Miles Davis and Anthony Braxton, but also a major bandleader of late. Despite both principals having long songbooks on their own, interesting how the Monk pieces stand out. B+(***)

David Binney: Anacapa (2014, Criss Cross): Saxophonist -- lists alto ahead of tenor then soprano and throws in some synths -- backed by John Escreet (piano, FR), two guitarists (Wayne Krantz and Adam Rogers), and electric bass (Matt Brewer). The electronic soup is neither here nor there -- neither grove-centered nor postboppy -- but sometimes the sax prevails. B+(*)

Samuel Blaser/Paul Motian: Consort in Motion (2010 [2011], Kind of Blue): Trombone quartet, with Russ Lossing (piano) and Thomas Morgan (bass). The trombone offers a sort of gruff determination, but by the end everyone is dancing, gingerly, to the drummer's off-kilter riddim. The others help out without being too conspicuous about it. B+(***)

Buck 65: Neverlove (2014, WEA Canada): Canadian rapper, a legend in these parts, turns in an album streaked with his usual brilliance but it's also a major bummer of a breakup album, with "Gates of Hell" opening into "That's the Way Love Dies" and "Love Will Fuck You Up" and more until "She Fades." More often he's rapping against a female vocal backdrop -- Francesca Anderson or Tiger Rosa -- which with his voice veers toward Eminem, who's much clearer about his fucked up relationship(s). B+(**)

François Carrier/Michel Lambert/Alexey Lapin: The Russian Concerts Volume 2 (2013 [2014], FMR): Alto sax, drums, piano, respectively -- the first two close collaborators from Quebec going back to the 1990s, the pianist joining them on five albums now. This one is a shade less consistent and/or impressive than Volume 1 (came out earlier this year). B+(***) [cd]

Jack Clement: For Once and for All (2014, IRS Nashville): Died in 2013, leaving this as his fourth album, including one from 1978 and another credited to Cowboy Jack Clement in 2004 -- if the name seems vaguely familiar, it's probably because he worked as Sam Phillips' engineer during Sun Records' heyday and went on to become an important Nashville producer. This record stakes his claim as a songwriter -- not a lot of classics here, but a couple songs I know well ("Miller's Cave," "Just a Girl I Used to Know") and solid fare, done with a light, gracious touch. B+(***)

Neil Cowley Trio: Touch and Flee (2014, Naim Jazz): British pianist, has a fine touch and rhythmic command that reminds me of semipopular groups like EST -- notable that he cites James Brown as an influence, ahead of Erroll Garner and Ahmad Jamal. Evan Jones (drums) has offered steady support for more than a decade now. B+(*)

Lajos Dudas Quartet: Live at Salzburger Jazzherbst (2012 [2013], Jazz Sick): Clarinetist, b. 1941 in Budapest, Hungary, studied at conservatories named for Béla Bartók and Franz Liszt, long based in Germany. Quartet features longtime collaborator Philipp van Endert on guitar, plus Kurt Billker on drums and Jochen Büttner on percussion. Slow start but ultimately quite lovely, some tasty guitar, and the rhythm helps. A- [cd]

Lajos Dudas Trio: Live at Porgy & Bess (2009 [2013], Jazz Sick): Back cover says "20 Years of Lajos with Philipp, 1993-2013 / The Jubilee CD" but all of this comes from a single date in Vienna, with Philipp van Endert on guitar and Leonard Jones on bass. Four originals, two pieces from Attila Zoller, standards from Monk, Gershwin, and Porter. B+(***) [cd]

Chris Dundas: Oslo Odyssey (2014, BLM, 2CD): Pianist, from Los Angeles, one previous album back in 2000, picks up a band in Norway with bassist Arild Andersen, Patrice Heral on drums, and Bendik Hofseth on tenor sax, and runs on for 1:44:21. The Dundas-composed first disc opens up gracefully for the sax. The improvised second takes a bit longer to find its métier. B+(***) [cd]

Mark Elf: Returns 2014 (2013 [2014], Jen Bay Jazz): Jazz guitarist, has more than a dozen albums since 1987; sounds like he's picked up on the early generation of bop-oriented guitarists, like Herb Ellis and Barney Kessel (or Tal Farlow, the one he has a tribute album for). Backed by a dream band: David Hazletine, Peter Washington, and Lewis Nash, plus some extra percussion on one track. B+(**)

El-P/Killer Mike: Run the Jewels (2013, Fat Beats): Producer and rapper, respectively, the former's deeply shrouded beats sometimes run away with the flow, otherwise are sharp and heavy, while the rapper tries to get his political points in. B+(***)

El-P/Killer Mike: Run the Jewels 2 (2014, Mass Appeal): Usual sequel problems: longer, trying to make up for having shot their best material on the debut. Beats still hard and sharp, and Mike still has things that piss him off. Don't really make him for a killer, though. B+(**)

Bill Frisell: Guitar in the Space Age (2014, Okeh): Aside from two retro-originals, all these songs are buried deep in the 1960s, so the first point that occurs to me is that Frisell is acknowledging that the "space age" is a thing of the now-distant past. You still hear the cliche that "if we can put a man on the moon, we can do x and y," but we haven't put anyone on the moon in more than forty years, so how sure can you be that we still can? Isn't it possible that we've lost that skill to the new Dark Ages? Frisell is old enough to recall when the Space Age meant the future -- I know because I'm his age -- but now it means "Rebel Rouser" and "Pipeline" and "Telstar." That isn't nostalgia, except for a time when we felt like we had a future. B+(***)

Alice Gerrard: Follow the Music (2014, Tompkins Square): Folksinger, up around 80 these days, belonged to the Strange Creek Singers back in the 1960s along with Mike Seeger and Hazel Dickens, but is best known for her duet albums with Dickens, starting with the 1965 classic Pioneering Women of Bluegrass. Way back when her voice moderated Dickens' deep drawl, but as she's started to put together a modest solo career since 1996, Gerrard's voice has gotten strangely distinctive in its own right, especially when she goes a cappella. B+(***)

David Hazeltine: For All We Know (2014, Smoke Sessions): A fine mainstream piano player, his trio the perfect framework for tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake. B+(***)

Benjamin Herman: Trouble (2013 [2014], Dox): Dutch sax trio expanded with piano/keyboards and vocals by Daniel von Piekartz, listened as "featuring" on the cover. The vocals are rather ambiguous sexually, stretched and sentimental -- the sax too, but so much clearer. B+(*)

Darrell Katz and the JCA Orchestra: Why Do You Ride? (2013 [2014], Leo): A big band arranger whose work has been buried on avant labels -- first record on Cadence Jazz in 1993 -- although it's less than clear why: nothing very free here other than his desire to go his own way. This one is built around texts, often involving Albert Einstein, sung by Rebecca Shrimpton, but the most compelling music doesn't have to carry the weight of the words. B+(*) [cd]

Tove Lo: Queen of the Clouds (2014, Island): Swedish electro-pop singer, upbeat but not much fun, nothing much sticks. B

The Mike Longo Trio: Celebrates Oscar Peterson: Live (2013 [2014], CAP): Pianist, worked for Dizzy Gillespie 1966-73, and earlier still studied with Oscar Peterson and played with Red Allen and Coleman Hawkins -- cover has a picture Peterson embracing the young pianist. Celebrating here means playing standards -- fair game since Peterson played all of them with everyone -- so from "Love You Madly" through "Daahoud" the songs carry the album. With Paul West on bass and Ray Mosca on drums. B+(**) [cd]

Branford Marsalis: In My Solitude: Live at Grace Cathedral (2012 [2014], Okeh): Solo sax, no evidence of the Ellington tune but the idea remains, with no effort to stretch the instrument's boundaries, to play up the percussion or such. Rather, you get a very nice "Stardust," an adapted "Sonata in A Minor for Oboe," four minor improvs, and warm applause. B+(**)

Tineke Postma/Greg Osby: Sonic Halo (2013 [2014], Challenge): Two alto saxophonists -- Osby was something of a big deal when he first appeared but he's receded somewhat, possibly because he's taken second billing on a number of albums. (Friendly Fire with Joe Lovano was one of the first.) Here he's meshed completely with Postma. Quintet is superb all around with Matt Mitchell especially striking on piano, Linda Oh on bass, and Dan Weiss on drums. B+(***)

Angaleena Presley: American Middle Class (2014, Saddle Creek): Debut album from the last third of the Pistol Annies to make the move, and probably the best of the bunch. Noteworthy that the title song sees union membership as the key to middle class identity. A-

Prince: Art Official Age (2014, Warner Brothers): For some reason seems like an artist far removed from present concerns, even though I have to look back less than a decade to find not one but two A- records (2004's Musicology and 2006's 3121) -- it's just that I have no recollection of either, so I'm reluctant to grant too much to the perfunctory funk tracks here. B+(**)

Prince/3rdEyeGirl: Plectrum Electrum (2014, Warner Brothers): Could be the "all-female power trio" should get top billing -- I've seen this printed both ways. "Power trio" seems to mean they've memorized all of Cream's bass lines but they're less monumental when they sing. B+(*)

Joshua Redman: Trios Live (2009-13 [2014], Nonesuch): Sax trios, from two sets (hence two token soprano cuts), both with Gregory Hutchinson on drums, Matt Penman and Reuben Rodgers the bassists. After various conceptual missteps, nice to just hear him blow. [Rhapsody has 5/7 tracks]. B+(**)

Sylvain Rifflet & Jon Irabagon: Perpetual Motion: A Celebration of Moondog (2013 [2014], Jazz Village): Louis Hardin (1916-99), aka the Viking of 6th Avenue, aka Moondog, is a SFFR (Subject For Future Research), someone I've long meant to check out but never have. Like Hardin, both leaders play tenor sax, Rifflet with a couple albums, Irabagon with a more auspicious resume. The instrumental passages are intriguing, the saxes strong, but I'm unclear how the chorus should fit in -- seems like a distraction so far. B+(*)

Rafael Rosa: Portrait (2014, self-released): Puerto Rican guitarist, based in Brooklyn, seems to be his first album, runs warm and lyrical, playing up the guest spots and leaving plenty room for saxophonist Edmar Colon. B+(**)

Matthew Shipp: I've Been to Many Places (2014, Thirsty Ear): One of the great jazz pianist of the last thirty-so years, with yet another solo album -- I must admit I'm getting a little tired of those, not necessarily because this one seems to be thicker and heavier than usual. B+(*)

Wadada Leo Smith/Bill Laswell: The Stone (Akashic Meditation) (2014, MOD Technologies): Trumpet-bass duo, one 38-minute cut, stark and meditative. B+(*)

Spoke: (R)anthems (2013 [2014], River): Two-horn quartet -- Andy Hunter (trombone), Justin Wood (alto sax, flute) -- backed with bass and drums, plus congas on two cuts. Tightly knit postbop, including covers from Mingus and Monk (and the unspeakable "Blackbird"). B+(*) [cd]

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives: Saturday Night/Sunday Morning (2014, Superlatone, 2CD): Ralph Stanley used the same concept and title c. 1992, but bluegrass is always looking back. The band earns its name especially on the upbeat first disc, while the singer (presumably Stuart) does a fairly grizzled Jerry Lee impression. The gospel side generally avoids the obvious, and sometimes suggests they're not really done with Saturday night. B+(*)

Tricky: Adrian Thaws (2014, !K7): Not the first alias to release an album after his original name -- Richard D. James came first to mind, but Marshall Mathers is more famous. Touches on most of his career, throwing out such a range of poses it's hard to tell who's putting on whom. B+(***)

Ulf Wakenius: Solo: Momento Magico (2013 [2014], ACT): Swedish guitarist, played with Oscar Peterson, has a couple fine albums dedicated to pianists so he has a fine sense of melody. Solo he goes for thick chords, adding gravitas to an intrinsically lite album. B+(*)

Ezra Weiss Sextet: Before You Know It: Live in Portland (2013 [2014], Roark): Pianist, based in Portland, sixth album since 2003, including some "children's musicals" I've neglected and The Shirley Horn Suite (which I rather liked). What lifts this above the postbop norm is some growl and fury in the horns (Farnell Newton on trumpet, John Nastos on alto sax, Devin Phillips on tenor). And after they warm up the joint, he closes with a really lovely ballad. A- [cd]

Dann Zinn: Shangri La (2014, self-released): Tenor saxophonist, also plays processed sax and wood flute here, cut his first album in 1996. This one is a trio with Chris Robinson on guitar (etc.) and Peter Erskine on drums (etc.). Originals except for Brahms, Puccini, and Green Day -- not much appeal there. B [cd]

Reissues, Compilations, Vault Discoveries

Charlie Haden/Jim Hall: Charlie Haden/Jim Hall (1990 [2014], Impulse): Guitarist Hall died last year, followed by bassist Haden this year, so some nostalgia is in order. This was recorded at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 1990, a year after the many volumes of The Montreal Tapes, a festival that recapitulated much of the bassist's career. Haden has done guitar duets -- Egberto Gismonti (1989) and Pat Metheny (1996) -- but he is especially tuned into Hall, whose often understated style ripens luxuriously here. A-

Jerry Heldman: Revelation(s) (1973-74 [2014], Origin, 2CD): Credited here with acoustic bass, piano, flute, and vocals), a longtime fixture on the Seattle jazz scene, died in 2013 at age 76. Not sure if any of his work had previously been released -- cursory search suggests not. Starts with a Bible reading (I could do without), then saunters into some period fusion with Sam Lipuma on guitar and bassist David Friesen sometimes taking over the piano. B [cd]

Oscar Peterson: Plays the Harry Warren & Vincent Youmans Song Books (1952-59 [2014], Solar, 2CD): Between July 19 and August 9, 1959, Peterson's trio -- Ray Brown on bass and Ed Thigpen on drums -- recorded virtually the whole of the "songbooks" series, a pace which didn't produce much innovation but showcased their chops and let the songs shine. It was his second troll through Warren and Youmans, the first occurring for a pair of 1954 LPs with Brown and Barney Kessel or Herb Ellis on guitar, so those LPs are the source of most of the "bonus tracks" -- the other find is a 12:52 "Tea for Two" from a live shot in 1952. B+(***)

Oscar Peterson: Plays the Richard Rodgers Song Book (1954-59 [2014], Solar): Most likely the same deal, with his 1954 Plays Richard Rodgers tacked on as a bonus to the 1959 frog march through the hits, although I'm not sure that's all -- e.g., where did the odd vocal come from? B+(**)

Oscar Peterson: Plays the Irving Berlin Song Book (1952-59 [2014], Solar): Mostly such marvelous songs that Peterson's magical touch adds surprisingly little, while the occasional slip makes you wonder how such a thing could happen. Again, looks like two albums tacked together, the 1957 (recorded 1952) Plays Irving Berlin tacked onto the 1960 (recorded 1959) songbook album. B+(***)

Oscar Peterson: Plays the Jimmy McHugh Song Book (1954-59 [2014], Solar): Tunes written for the Cotton Club in the 1920s are highlights here, again given two treatments, one with bass and guitar from 1954 and the later one with bass and drums. B+(**)

The Rough Guide to Arabic Jazz ([2014], World Music Network, 2CD): Traditional Arabic music has long had an affinity to jazz, but that prospect has only sporadically been developed in recent years, leading to this skimpy and eclectic collection: the best known musicians here are Lebanese oudist Rabih Abou-Khalil and French bassist Renaud Garcia Fons, aside from Cuban percussionist Roberto Rodriguez (exploring a Sephardic riff with Tunisian pianist Maurice El Médioni -- the highpoint of the album but the least Arabic thing here). B+(*)
Bonus Disc: Hijaz: Chemsi (2011, Zephyrus): Based in Belgium, with Moufadhel Adhoum on oud providing the Arabic component, Niko Deman on piano, Vincent Noiret on bass, and Chryster Aerts on drums, plus various guests on violin, duduk, ney, tabla, and percussion. B+(**)

The Rough Guide to Bollywood Disco (1965-93 [2014], World Music Network, 2CD): Film music, but given how often Bollywood breaks out in dance it must not have been hard to program an ear-opening compilation. Also, for once, relatively easy to check the dates, since the songs are keyed to films. The pre-disco Manna Dey is a highlight, suggesting that some day we'll see a Rough Guide to Bollywood Twist and Shout. B+(***)
Bonus disc: Kishore Kumar: The Rough Guide to Kishore Kumar ([2014], World Music Network): Kumar (1929-87) scored three songs on the main disc. Don't know where or when these come from. B+(**)

Wild Jimmy Spruill: Scratchin': The Wild Jimmy Spruill Story (1956-63 [2014], GVC, 2CD): An r&b guitarist (1934-96), Spruill cut a few sides under his own name but his story is spread out in session work, especially for producers Danny and Bobby Robinson at Fire, Fury, and other New York labels. This collects 61 songs, bracketted by two Wilbert Harrison songs, his big hit "Kansas City" and eventual sequel, "Goodbye Kansas City." Not much else here is as famous, although Solomon Burke and the Shirelles show hints of major talent, but unfamiliarity opens up the era to fresh ears. A

Lester Young: Boston, 1950 (1950 [2013], Uptown): Recently discovered radio shots, with Jesse Drakes on trumpet, Kenny Drew on piano, Connie Kay on drums, various bassists, running through standards with Steve Allison or Symphony Sid as MC. B+(*)

Old Music

Oscar Peterson: The Oscar Peterson Trio at Zardi's (1955 [1994], Pablo/OJC, 2CD): Live trio with Herb Ellis on guitar (and occasional percussive effects) and Ray Brown on bass. Hard to quibble with, or to fault Ellis when he manages to break loose. A-

Oscar Peterson: Plays My Fair Lady (1958, Verve): Piano trio, with Ray Brown and Gene Gammage, playing songs from Lerner and Loewe's hit musical. B+(**)

Oscar Peterson: Plays the Harold Arlen Song Book (1954-59 [2001], Verve): The prototype for the recent Solar reissues above, combining Peterson's 1954 Plays Harold Arlen with his 1959 Plays the Harold Arlen Song Book, replacing guitarist Herb Ellis with drummer Ed Thigpen for the latter. B+(**)

Oscar Peterson: Plays the Cole Porter Song Book (1959 [1990], Verve): Just the 12-cut album from the 1959 "song book" round, although I imagine it's only a matter of time before someone pads this out with cuts from 1951-52's Plays Cole Porter -- the first such album Peterson cut. Actually, the brevity is a relief after listening to many songbook combos, but one still feels that the mass production of the 1959 sessions missed some opportunities. B+(***)

Oscar Peterson: Plays the George Gershwin Song Book (1952-59 [1996], Verve): Padded to 24 cuts with the 1954 Plays George Gershwin packed onto one disc. The early sessions with Barney Kessel (guitar) stand out. B+(***)

Oscar Peterson: Plays the Duke Ellington Song Book (1952-59 [1999], Verve): Another twofer, picking up the 1952 Plays Duke Ellington (with Barney Kessel on guitar) along with the 1959 trio sessions. B+(***)

Oscar Peterson: A Jazz Portrait of Frank Sinatra (1959 [1990], Verve): Twelve songs, so snappy most don't top three minutes and only one makes it to 3:41 (total: 25:25). Sinatra needed a full big band to swing these tunes, but the trio is more than enough, the piano so bright you hardly miss the vocals -- in part because you're bound to sing along. B+(***)

The Oscar Peterson Trio: Fiorello (1960, Verve): Songs from the Broadway musical -- add an exclamation mark for the title -- by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock based on the life of New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. B+(*)

Oscar Peterson Trio: West Side Story (1962, Verve): Songs from the hit Broadway musical by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, although the only one you run across much in the standards repertoire is "Somewhere." B

Oscar Peterson: The Jazz Soul of Oscar Peterson/Affinity (1959-62 [1996], Verve): Two trio albums -- Ray Brown on bass, Ed Thigpen on drums -- packed onto a single CD, with much more of the bright, fast postbop they've always excelled in. B+(**)

Richmond Fontaine: Winnemucca (2002, El Cortez): After reviewing a pile of Willy Vlautin novels, Christgau jotted down a HM squib for Vlautin's female-fronted Delines debut, then decided this old Vlautin-fronted album was the prize of more than a dozen dating back to 1997. Off and on it is, but Colfax impressed me more. B+(***)

Matthew Shipp/Guillermo E. Brown: Telephone Popcorn (2005 [2008], Nu Bop): Piano-drums duo, two members of David S. Ware Quartet at the time. B+(*)

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:

Oscar Peterson: Plays the Jerome Kern Song Book (1959 [2009], Verve): One of the best sets to roll off the 1959 assembly line, perhaps because the juxtaposition of the bright fast ones and the delicate slow ones works to benefit both. [was: B+(**)] B+(***)


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

  • [cd] based on physical cd
  • [cdr] based on an advance or promo cd or cdr
  • [bc] available at bandcamp.com
  • [sc] available at soundcloud.com
  • [os] some other stream source
  • [dl] something I was able to download from the web; may be freely available, may be a bootleg someone made available, or may be a publicist promo