Streamnotes: April 27, 2020


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 March 30. Past reviews and more information are available here (14424+ records).


Recent Releases

Against All Logic: 2017-2019 (2017-19 [2020], Other People): Nicolas Jaar, electronica producer in New York, records under aliases as well as his own name, this the second compilation of his work as AAL. B+(***)

Robby Ameen: Diluvio (2019 [2020], Origin): Drummer, from Connecticut, plays Afro-Cuban jazz, third album as leader, broke in with Dizzy Gillespie in 1984, many side credits (e.g., with Ruben Blades, Dave Valentin, Conrad Herwig, Kip Hanrahan). High octane. B+(*) [cd]

John Anderson: Years (2020, Easy Eye Sound): Country singer, looks pretty weathered on the cover although he's still five years younger than me. His voice is still in good shape, and he has Dan Auerbach producing, a solid album. B+(**)

Thomas Anderson: Analog Summer (Four-Tracks and Then Some) (2020, Out There): Singer-songwriter from Oklahoma, has been releasing quality albums since 1988 (or '89 or '90, sources vary; Discogs counts 5, Wikipedia 7, I have 10 in my database). Subtitle suggests this is a continuation of his Four-Track Demos from 2012 and Four-Track Love Songs from 2013. Seems sloughed off until he finds a band for "You Should Be With Me" and "Johnny Wah-Wah." B+(**)

Erlend Apneseth: Fragmentarium (2019 [2020], Hubro): Norwegian, plays Hardanger fiddle, a folk instrument and not the only one here (Ida Lřvli Hidle plays accordion, Stein Urheim plays fretless bouzouki as well as guitar). But they don't fall into customary grooves, their jazz touches keeping the tension palpable. B+(***)

Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters (2020, Epic): Singer-songwriter, fifth album since 1996, increasing elapsed times between albums: 3, 6, 7, 8 years. Previous albums built around her piano, but this one is drums, practically all drums, even the vocals arranged as chants. Probably the best-received album so far this year, but while I have to credit its distinctiveness, I don't particularly get it (or expect to). B+(***) [Later: A-]

Harrison Argatoff: Toronto Streets Tour (2019 [2020], self-released): Tenor saxophonist, based in Toronto, second album this year after a quartet with Harry Vetro called Harrison˛: Trout in Swimwear. This one is solo, with a couple bits of voice neither helping nor hurting. Fairly long at 70:45. B+(*)

Omer Avital Qantar: New York Experience (2019 [2020], Jazz & People): Israeli bassist, long based in New York, group named for his 2016 album, with two tenor saxophonists (Asaf Yuria and Alexander Levin), piano (Eden Ladin), and drums. Big, sweeping sound, strikes me as overly splashy but has its moments. B+(*)

Jeich Ould Badou: Music From Saharan WhatsApp 03 (2020, Sahel Sounds, EP): From Mauritania, plays tidnit (a form of lute), accompanied by drum machine, recorded at home on an iPhone 7. Part of a monthly series of EPs that seems to be vanishing as fast as they appear. B+(*) [bc]

Kelsea Ballerini: Kelsea (2020, Black River): Pop-country singer-songwriter, from Knoxville, TN, third album. B+(*)

#Bloomerangs: Moments and Fragments (2020, Instru Dash Mental): Piano trio (Clay Wulbrecht, Stefan Lenthe, Chris Parker) plus guitar/banjo (Rodrigo Cotelo), the latter providing most of the writing credits and listed as producer, with everyone else claiming a song or two. B+(*)

The Ian Carey Quintet + 1: Fire in My Head: The Anxiety Suite (2019 [2020], Slow & Steady): Trumpet player, Bay Area, seventh album, lively postbop sextet with alto sax, bass clarinet, keyboards, bass, and drums. B+(**)

Marshall Chapman: Songs I Can't Live Without (2020, Tall Girl): Country singer-songwriter, alt before that was a thing, did three albums on Epic, one on Rounder, then found herself on her own label. Past 70 now, with a bucket list set of nine covers. Opens with Leonard Cohen's "Tower of Song," spends time from Nashville to Memphis, closes with "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" -- tailored for today. B+(**)

The Chats: High Risk Behaviour (2020, Bargain Bin): Australian punk group, founded 2016, bassist Eamon Sandwith sings, closest they've come to an album (14 songs, 28:08). Got form, clear too, so you can understand when they get muddled. B+(*)

Chicago Underground Quartet: Good Days (2018-19 [2020], Astral Spirits): Long running duo, Rob Mazurek (trumpet, electronics) and Chad Taylor (drums), with 7 albums 1998-2014, sometimes Trio (4 albums 1999-2007), one previous Quartet album (2001) -- guitarist Jeff Parker returns here, with along with newcomer Josh Johnson (synth bass, organ, piano). Played this a lot, and keep bouncing up and down on it. B+(***) [cd]

Childish Gambino: 3.15.20 (2020, RCA): Rapper/TV star Donald Glover, fourth album since 2011, has twice as many mixtapes. No titles, just time markers in what coceptually is a single track. Music feels like a spoof on the Beach Boys, but doesn't work as such, and I'm not getting much of anything else out of it. B

Gerald Cleaver: Signs (2017-19 [2020], 577): Drummer, from Detroit, tries his hand at electronics. His strong suit is rhythm, and the album flags when he forgets that. B

Avishai Cohen Big Vicious: Big Vicious (2020, ECM): Trumpet player, from Israel, based in New York, formed band -- with guitar, electric bass, two drummers -- six years ago, first album. Shiny but not so splashy, long on texture, with a bit of funk bass moving it along. Vicious? Big? B+(**)

Alex Cunningham & Claire Rousay: Specifically the Water (2020, Astral Spirits): Violin and drums duo, free jazz at its most elemental, abstract and rather scratchy. B+(*) [cd]

Jennifer Curtis & Tyshawn Sorey: Invisible Ritual (2020, New Focus): Violin and drums duo. B+(**) [bc]

Chris Dingman: Embrace (2020, Inner Arts Initiative): Vibraphone player, third album, quite a few side credits (including Steve Lehman). Trio with Linda May Han Oh (bass) and Tim Keiper (drums). B+(*) [bc]

Kaja Draksler Octet: Out for Stars (2019 [2020], Clean Feed): Slovenian pianist, half-dozen albums since 2008, second Octet effort, again with two singers, two reeds (Ab Baars, Ada Rave), viola, bass, and drums. Strikes me as scattered and aimless, which I blame the vocals for (gets better when they shut up, but still leans operatic). B-

Jay Electronica: A Written Testimony (2020, Roc Nation): From New Orleans, age 43, Wikipedia gives his name as Elpadaro F Electronica Allah, but likely some of that came with conversion to Islam. Released a mixtape in 2007, has various guest appearances but this is his first album. B+(*)

The Exbats: Kicks, Hits and Fits (2020, Burger): Twelve punk anthems, not sure what the breakdown is between new and old songs ("I Got the Hots for Charlie Watts" was a 2018 album title but not a song thereon). B+(***)

Colin Fisher Quartet: Living Midnight (2019, Astral Spirits): Bio describes him as North American multi-instrumentalist, probably Canadian, plays saxophone (tenor/alto) here, guitar elsewhere, has a couple previous albums and a dozen-plus side credits. Quartet, with Daniel Carter on sax (clarinet/flute), Brandon Lopez (bass), and Marc Edwards (drums). Avant, three long pieces (71:37). B+(***) [cd]

Nick Fraser/Kris Davis/Tony Malaby: Zoning (2019, Astral Spirits): Canadian drummer and pianist, the saxophonist a long-time associate of Davis; two more names in smaller type and half of the pieces: Ingrid Laubrock (tenor sax) and Lina Allemano (trumpet). Rather abstract. B+(**)

Gordon Grdina Septet: Resist (2017 [2020], Irabbagast): Canadian guitar/oud player, builds this group around East Van Strings -- well-known jazz musicians Jesse Zubot (violin), Eyvind Kang (viola), Peggy Lee (cello), and Tommy Babin (drums) -- adding saxophonist Jon Irabagon and drummer Kenton Loewen. B+(*)

Jimmy Greene: While Looking Up (2020, Mack Avenue): Saxophonist, from and based in Connecticut (teaches at Wesleyan), was a bit younger than the "tough young tenors" lionized in the 1990s but fits in nicely -- first album was a SteepleChase Jam Session with Mark Turner and Don Braden. Got unwanted fame when his daughter was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, and he responded with a well-received album Beautiful Life -- I much preferred his 2017 album, Flowers: Beautiful Life Volume 2. Plays soprano on three cuts here, tenor on seven, flute, clarinet, and bass clarinet. Backed by Aaron Goldberg (piano), Lage Lund (guitar), Reuben Rogers (bass), Kendrick Scott (drums), with marimba/vibes on two tracks (Stefon Harris). The soprano may be closer to heaven, but the tenor is more soulful, which is what matters here. B+(***)

Grrrl Gang: Here to Stay (2017-18 [2020], Damnably, EP): Indonesian group, from Yogyakarta, in English, three members, one female, short compilation of previously released singles and 5-cut "mini-album": still only adds up to eight songs (two takes of "Dream Grrrl"), 25:52. Less punk than the alt-side of pop. B+(**)

Jeff Hamilton Trio: Catch Me If You Can (2019 [2020], Capri): Drummer, co-leader of the Clayton-Hamilton big band, half-dozen albums as a leader, most (or all?) piano trios like this one. You have to open the gatefold to find out who he's playing with: Tamir Hendelman and Jon Hamar. Eight standards, two from Hamar. B+(*) [07-17]

Alexander Hawkins/Tomeka Reid: Shards and Constellations (2019 [2020], Intakt): Piano-cello duo, from London and Chicago. B+(**)

Kirby Heard: Mama's Biscuits (2019, self-released): Folk singer-songwriter, formerly from "a big city in the Midwest," now settled into "a sleepy southern town," first album aside from a bluegrass duo with "Bob." Seems a little vague, but I'll hang onto "I guess you don't have to know Jesus to write a gospel song." B+(**)

Heroes Are Gang Leaders: Artificial Happiness Button (2020, Ropeadope): Jazz-poetry group, the latter mostly Thomas Sayers Ellis, although other voices predominate (most female). Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis is the other principal here, with four more names on the second line, and various guests (including William Parker and Jaimie Branch). Reminds me of Funkadelic as a community, but the funk is much bent and twisted, the messages mixed and sometimes oblique, but the interludes are transcendent. A-

Lilly Hiatt: Walking Proof (2020, New West): Singer-songwriter, father John Hiatt, grew up in Nashville, fourth album. B+(**)

Jasper Hřiby: Planet B (2019 [2020], Edition): Danish bassist, based in UK, best known for group Phronesis. Trio with Josh Arcoleo (sax) and Marc Michel (drums). Spoken word intro is politically astute -- one of his groups, Fellow Creatures, derives from a Naomi Klein book -- and the music follows, impressively. A- [bc]

Sigurd Hole: Lys/Mřrke (2019 [2020], Eivesang, 2CD): Norwegian bassist, tenth record, second solo, divided into "Light" and "Dark" sides. B+(*)

Large Unit/Fendika: EthioBraz (2018 [2019], PNL): Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love's avant big band plus elements from Ethiopia and Brazil, notably the Ethiopian group Fendika, its singers and dancers, Brazilian percussionists, and guitarist Terrie Ex. Closer to world music than to jazz, but the edginess is quite remarkable. A- [bc]

Gabe Lee: Farmland (2019, Torrez Music Group): Nashville singer-songwriter, first album, DIY folkie production, can do a pretty good John Prine voice, throwing in the occasional Dylan inflection. B+(**)

Gabe Lee: Honky Tonk Hell (2020, Torrez Music Group): He's got a band this time, and blasts out of the gate, sounding more like rockabilly than honky tonk. Eventually reverts to form, just louder. B+(**)

James Brandon Lewis/Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau (2019 [2020], Intakt): Terrific tenor saxophonist, although the raw tone wears thin on me here and there. Pretty good drummer, too, in some ways even more impressive here. Note that every time he switches to mbira something special happens. A-

Luís Lopes Humanization 4tet: Believe, Believe (2018 [2020], Clean Feed): Portuguese guitarist, group name from the title of a 2008 album, although the group is unchanged, and everyone writes: Rodrigo Amado (tenor sax), Aaron Gonzalez (bass), and Stefan Gonzalez (drums). B+(***)

Grégoire Maret/Romain Collin/Bill Frisell: Americana (2020, ACT Music): First two names (harmonica and keyboards) above the title, guitarist below, drummer Clarence Penn in the fine print on the back. The European leaders (from Switzerland and France) don't dig very deep for their "Americana": covering Mark Knopfler and Jimmy Webb, borrowing two from Frisell, and writing the rest in a similar vein, which they breathe extra life into. B+(**) [cd]

Laura Marling: Song for Our Daughter (2020, Chrysalis/Partisan): British singer-songwriter, seventh album since 2008. "Features more sparse and minimal arrangements to create an intimate sound." Never sounded more like Joni Mitchell, although my favorite Mitchell albums have a bit more spunk. B+(**)

Brian Marsella: Gatos Do Sul (2020, Tzadik): Pianist, American (I think) but closely linked to Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista, who sets the groove here, fluffed up by acoustic guitar, accordion, violin, voice, and flutes. B [dl]

Ashley McBryde: Never Will (2020, Warner Nashville): Country singer-songwriter from Arkansas, based in Nashville, second album (or fourth counting two self-released efforts). Strong voice, big production. B+(**)

Joe McPhee/Dave Rempis/Tomeka Reid/Brandon Lopez/Paal Nilssen-Love: Of Things Beyond Thule Vol. 1 (2018 [2020], Aerophonic): Two saxophonist (McPhee also plays pocket trumpet), cello, bass, and drums, limited edition vinyl from a show at the Hungry Brain in Chicago. B+(**) [dl]

Hailu Mergia: Yene Mircha (2020, Awesome Tapes From Africa): Ethiopian keyboard player, part of the Walias Band in the 1970s, toured the US in 1981 and stayed, spending many years driving a DC taxi cab. Rebooted his career after this label released some of his old tapes. Trio with bass guitar and drums, playing candy-colored groove pieces. B+(**)

Ras Michael: Live by the Spirit (2020, Hen House Studios): Michael George Henry, from Jamaica, Rastafarian, learned nyabinghi drumming, alled his 1970s-80s band Sons of Negus. He's always projected a remarkable calmness, and at 76 has slowed down even more -- most obvious on his remake of a classic, "By the Rivers of Babylon." B+(**)

Mono: Before the Past: Live From Electrical Audio (2019, Temporary Residence): Instrumental rock group from Japan, founded 1999, three pieces here, LP-length (29:27) but not in any hurry, slowly building, gently fading away. B+(*) [bc]

The Mountain Goats: Songs for Pierre Chuvin (2020, Merge): Front cover continues: "10 new songs. March 2020." John Darneile's alias, operating solo here, 18th album since 1994, a short one (27:17). B+(**)

Mr. Wrong: Create a Place (2020, Water Wing, EP): Portland punk trio, three women, first "album" called Babes in Boyland, this another short one at nine songs, 15:33, fun as it goes. B+(***) [bc]

Mythic Sunship: Changing Shapes: Live at Roadburn (2019 [2020], El Paraiso): Danish "space rock" band, eighth record since 2010, previous titles include Another Shape of Psychedelic Music. No vocals, four 7-12 minute tracks, could pass for fusion but they'd rather go for dense and heavy than anything transcendent. B+(**)

Simon Nabatov: Time Labyrinth (2019 [2020], Leo): Russian pianist, moved to America, long based in Cologne, Germany; many records since 1988. Septet here, four horns, no drums, so it fractures and meanders a lot. B

Simon Nabatov: Plain (2019 [2020], Clean Feed): Cover continues: "with Chris Speed [tenor sax, clarinet], Herb Robertson [trumpet, cornet, voice], John Hébert [bass], Tom Rainey [drums]." B+(*)

The Necks: Three (2020, Northern Spy): Long-running Australian piano trio, formed 1987, with Chris Abrahams (piano), Tony Buck (bass), and Lloyd Swanton (drums). Three long pieces (21:00-22:46), the first especially strong on rhythm. B+(**)

Farnell Newton: Rippin' & Rumblin' (2020, Posi-Tone): Trumpet player, originally from Miami, moved on through Philadelphia and Denver to Portland, where he got his degree. Fourth album since 2011. Earns its title, with Brandon Wright even hotter at tenor sax, Brian Charette on organ, and Rudy Royston on drums. B+(**)

Gard Nilssen's Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully the Music Is Yours (2019 [2020], Odin): Norwegian drummer, mostly in his Acoustic Unity project although I probably noticed him first in Cortex. Goes big here with ten horns (seven saxophones and three brass), three bassists, and three drummers. Lives up to their name. A-

Onipa: We No Be Machine (2020, Strut): London group, name connects to Ghana as does vocalist KOG (Kweku of Ghana), paired with guitarist Tom Excell (Nubiyan Twist), plus synth bass, drums, and electronics. Title song is ironically mechanical, but most songs pick up the slack, with South African idioms bleeding into West. B+(***)

Grant Peeples: Bad Wife (2020, Rootball): Another folkish singer-songwriter from Florida, claims to have learned the words to every Roger Miller song by the time he turned twelve (that would be 1969), Discogs lists three albums but his store has close to a dozen. Eleven songs "written by women I've worked with in one way or another," though it wasn't easy to find the credits. B+(*)

Chris Poland: Resistance (2020, Ropeadope): Guitarist, started out in thrash metal band Megadeth, more recently led fusion bands OHM and OHMphrey, occasional solo albums since 1990. Lead song starts with some vocal then a Rhymefest rap, but nothing else follows in that vein. Finds its groove with a nice, spacey "Maiden Voyage" (Herbie Hancock). B+(*) [cd]

Porridge Radio: Every Bad (2020, Secretly Canadian): British indie band, singer-songwriter-guitarist Dana Margolin, fifth album since 2015 (although this is the first on a label anyone might notice). Can get a bit dense, but "Long" is a song where they make that work. B+(*)

Tineke Postma: Freya (2018 [2020], Edition): Dutch saxophonist (alto/soprano here), seventh album, quintet recorded in New York with Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Kris Davis (piano), Matthew Brewer (bass), and Dan Weiss (drums). B+(**)

Princess Nokia: Everything Is Beautiful (2020, Platoon): New York rapper Destiny Frasqueri, her 1992 Deluxe much praised ("the most complete New Yorker to hit hip-hop since Heems if not Nas"), splits her follow-up into two, divided by good/bad and/or nice/naughty tropes. Leans toward the former, but so offhanded it's hard to tell. 12 tracks, 31:07. B+(***)

Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks (2020, Platoon): Slightly shorter (10 tracks, 24:41), more mischievous early on, although by midway she's just doing her thing. Either/both could grow on me if I made the effort. B+(**)

Quelle Chris & Chris Keys: Innocent Country 2 (2020, Mello Music Group): Detroit rapper Gavin Tennille, eighth album since 2012, offers a sequel to his 2015 album, also with SF producer Keys. B+(***)

Tom Rainey/Ingrid Laubrock: Stir Crazy (2020, self-released): Drum and sax duo, based in Brooklyn, started recording and releasing weekly improv pieces at home during the lockdown, this rolling up the the first four (57:18), with a fifth installment also on their Bandcamp, and most likely more to come. Nice rapport. B+(**) [bc]

Jessie Reyez: Before Love Came to Kill Us (2020, Island): Canadian singer-songwriter (lyrics anyway), parents Colombian, first album after two EPs, pop with some hip-hop, including a couple of featured big name rappers (Eminem, 6lack). B+(**)

Andreas Rřysum Ensemble: Andreas Rřysum Ensemble (2020, Motvind): Norwegian clarinet player, composer, individually credited with middle name Hoem. Most pieces run 8-9 pieces, one short one dropping down to reed quartet. Opens with a swirling dervish of sound, compelling until it breaks down in cacophony near the end. B+(**)

Samo Salamon/Igor Matkovic/Kristijan Krajncan: Common Flow (2019 [2020], Sazas): Slovenian guitarist, wrote all the songs here, is joined by trumpet and drums. Keeps a moderate pace going, letting the trumpet shine, clear and lucid. A- [cd]

Samo Salamon/Igor Matkovic/Kristijan Krajncan: Rare Ebb (2019 [2020], Sazas): Same group, recorded same day, saving the more atmospheric pieces. B+(**) [cd]

Rina Sawayama: Sawayama (2020, Dirty Hit): Pop singer, born in Japan, family moved to London when she was five, has done some modeling and acting, first album after the EP Rina. Music aims for arena rock, sometimes with a bit of dissonance, but that doesn't help either. B-

Diane Schuur: Running on Faith (2020, Jazzheads): Standards singer, 25 or so albums since 1982, starts with two Percy Mayfield songs, mostly goes with rock-era songs (Carole King, Paul Simon, "Let It Be"), the lesser knowns more striking, and stronger as it ends with "Swing Low Sweet Chariot." With Ernie Watts on tenor sax, as co-producer. B+(***) [05-08]

Serengeti: Ajai (2020, Cohn): Chicago rapper David Cohn, many albums since 2002, this one produced by Kenny Segal. B+(**)

Matthew Shipp/Mark Helias/Gordon Grdina: Skin and Bones (2018 [2019], Not Two): Piano/bass/guitar (or oud) trio. Piano and bass lock together tightly, much as I'd expect, the guitar another dimension. B+(***)

Skepta, Chip and Young Adz: Insomnia (2020, SKC M29): British MC Joseph Junior Adenuga, sixth album, joined by two more rappers, keeping it sharp and pithy. B+(**)

Viktor Skokic Sextett: Basement Music (2020, Jazzland): Swedish bassist, born in Gothenburg, father Croatian, first album as leader, wrote all the music. Group has trumpet, two reed players (bass clarinet), piano, and drums. Fractured postbop, sly, sneaks up on you. B+(***) [cd]

Torben Snekkestad/Agustí Fernández/Barry Guy: The Swiftest Traveler (2018 [2020], Trost): Norwegian, plays tenor and soprano sax, trumpet, and clarinet, backed by piano and bass. Joint improv, except for a bit at the end credited to Paul Hindemith. B+(**)

Soccer Mommy: Color Theory (2020, Loma Vista): Sophie Allison, born in Switzerland, grew up in Nashville, singer-songwriter, has some solid songs. B+(***)

Emilio Solla Tango Jazz Orchestra: Puertos: Music From International Waters (2019, Avantango): Pianist, from Argentina, based in New York, debut was a quartet album in 2010, not sure how much more he has. Large ensemble here, mostly NY names although Pablo Aslan (bass) and Julien Labro (bandoneon, accordion) are experts. Leans toward lush. B+(**)

Sufjan Stevens & Lowell Brams: Aporia (2020, Asthmatic Kitty): Stevens is a vastly talented singer-songwriter who once planned on making an album for every state in the union, but never got past his Illinois masterpiece. Brams is his stepfather and business partner, whose 2009 album was called Library Catalog Music Series: Music for Insomnia. This was sorted from jam sessions, is all instrumental, billed as "new age." I'd say resplendent background music, won't put you to sleep, wake you up either. B+(*)

STRFKR: Future Past Life (2020, Polyvinyl): Portland, Oregon group, released 2008 eponymous debut as Starfucker, shortened name for fourth album (2013, the only one that charted). Light vocals, a lot of shimmer to the guitar(s), can enjoy riding out a riff. B+(**)

The Strokes: The New Abnormal (2020, Cult/RCA): A big deal c. 2000, especially in New York, diminishing returns after their debut, with Julian Casablancas' solo career dead-on-arrival. First album since a 2013 effort I didn't bother with after giving their 2011 album a C-. New one has a great title for the moment, and an opener that reëstablishes their groove cred. On the other hand, the singer can still get on my nerves. B+(*)

Nora Jane Struthers: Bright Lights, Long Drives, First Words (2020, Blue Pig Music): Nashville singer-songwriter, born in Virginia but grew up in New Jersey. Fifth album since 2010, plus two in a duo with her father, Alan Struthers.

Dave Stryker With Bob Mintzer and the WDR Big Band: Blue Soul (2019 [2020], Strikezone): Guitarist, long resume, in front of a standard big band with Mintzer arranging and conducting as well as featured on tenor sax. One song each from the leaders, the cover standards including Marvin Gaye, Prince, and "Wichita Lineman." B+(*) [06-05]

Superposition: Superposition (2018-19 [2020], We Jazz): Finnish group, led by drummer Olavi Louhivuori, with two saxophoists -- Adele Sauros (tenor) and Linda Fredriksson (alto/baritone) -- and Mikael Saastamoinen (bass). First album. They sound great out of the gate, then inexplicably slow things down. Eventually they make something of that, too. B+(***)

Tamikrest: Tamotaďt (2020, Glitterbeat): Tuareg group, from deep in the Algerian Sahara, got some notice at the Festival au Désert in 2008, toured Europe in 2010 and started recording, this their sixth album -- even one piece in English, but mostly notable for their take on the Saharan guitar grind. B+(**)

Sophie Tassignon: Mysteries Unfold (2020, RareNoise): Singer, born in Belgium, based in Berlin, backed by her own electronics and overtracked voice for a classical choral effect. Eclectic song choice. The one I'm most familiar with is "Jolene" -- deep and gloomy. B+(*) [cdr] [04-24]

The Tender Things: How to Make a Fool (2020, Spaceflight): Austin-based country group, Jessie Esbaugh the singer-songwriter, originally from Kentucky, aiming at Gram Parsons. B

Thundercat: It Is What It Is (2020, Brainfeeder): Singer-songwriter Stephen Bruner, has dabbled in punk and funk and settled in whatever this is, some obscure but surprisingly popular postmodern strain of pop. B

The TNEK Jazz Quintet: Plays the Music of Sam Jones (2020, TNEK Jazz): Jones (1924-81) was an important hard bop bassist, led a dozen albums, played on hundreds, especially with Cannonball Adderley. This group covers six of his songs, plus one from Kenny Barron. The front cover lists bassist Kent Miller first, followed by drums, piano, two saxophonists. B+(*)

Yves Tumor: Heaven to a Tortured Mind (2020, Warp): Sean Bowie, born in Miami, raised in Knoxville, now based in Turin, Italy. Fourth album. I have him filed under electronica, but he's far outgrown that niche, projecting like an arena rock star, like Bowie in the 1970s but, fitting our changing times, at once grander and more ephemeral. That, at least, is my impression on one hearing. If I were serious about covering pop/rock trends these days, I'd have to give him many more. B+(**)

Stein Urheim: Downhill Uplift (2018 [2020], Hubro): Norwegian guitarist, plays many other instruments and sings some, tenth or so album since 2009. B

Lou Volpe: Before & After (2020, Jazz Guitar): Guitarist, from New York, recorded an album in 1973, another in 2006, not much more. No explanation of title, but front cover has pictures now and as a child with a toy guitar, back cover as a young man. Two covers, rest originals, various bass and drum combos suggest this has been recorded over some time, but no details. Nice, sweet sound. B+(**)

Wako: Wako (2019 [2020], Řra Fonogram): Norwegian quartet: Martin Myhre Olsen (sax), Kjetil André Mulelid (piano), Bárđur Reinert Poulsen (bass), and Simon Olderskog Albertsen (drums). Fourth album since 2015. Feel varies considerably, especially with the guests -- including some lush strings. B+(*)

Anne Waldman: Sciamachy (2020, Fast Speaking Music): Poet, 40-some books, recorded an album with John Giorno in 1977, has several more since 2011 with nephew Devin Brahja Waldman producing and playing sax, with spots here for Ambrose Bye (synth), William Parker (n'goni), Laurie Anderson (violin), and others. B+(**) [sc]

Lucinda Williams: Good Souls Better Angels (2020, Highway 20): Singer-songwriter from Louisiana, father a poet and literature professor so she grew up with words, although at this point she probably likes her guitars more. After a long string of brilliant albums, I couldn't find her post-2011 albums, so I was initially shocked at how worn her voice had become, and how much fury she expressed. Several plays later she's still fraying my nerves, but this feels pretty damn substantial. A-

Recent Reissues, Compilations, Vault Discoveries

African Head Charge: Churchical Chant of the Iyabinghi (1991-94 [2020], On-U Sound): Adrain Sherwood's dub group, outtakes from the period's albums (Songs of Praise, In Pursuit of Shashamane Land), 10-13 years after their debut. Beats and echo, as if that's all you need in this world. B+(**) [bc]

Tony Allen/Hugh Masekela: Rejoice (2010 [2020], World Circuit): Nigerian drummer (started with Fela Anikulapo Kuti) and the late (d. 2018) South African trumpet player, a worldwide jazz star. About what you'd hope for: a strong afrobeat ensemble with extra brass lustre and stellar solos. A-

Cadence Revolution: Disques Debs International Vol. 2 (1970s [2020], Disques Debs/Strut): Zouk from the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, selected from the archives of Henri Debs' label, which was founded in the 1950s and released over 100 records in the 1970s. One of my favorite records is the Earthworks 1988 compilation Hurricane Zouk, and this reminds me enough (as it happens, I just replayed it yesterday) to recommend it. A- [bc]

Future/Zaytoven: Beast Mode (2015 [2020], Epic/Freebandz): Short mixtape by rapper Nayvadius Wilburn, working with producer Xavier Dotson. B+(**)

Noah Howard: Live in Europe Vol. 1 (1975 [2020], Sconsolato): Alto saxophonist, originally from New Orleans, released two fiery avant records on ESP-Disk in 1966, moved to Europe, died in France in 2010. Quintet with Takashi Kako on piano, Kent Carter on bass, and two drummers, playing less avant fare, like "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and a 12:04 take of Coltrane's "Olé." B+(**) [bc]

Jamaica All Stars [Studio One] (1970-74 [2020], Studio One): Reissues two label samplers, Vol. 1 from 1972, Vol. 2 from 1974. Not sure how far they look back, but those I've managed to track down are fairly recent. And while I recognize most of the names, the songs aren't classics (ok, "Happy Go Lucky Girl" is pretty classic). B+(*)

Léve Léve: Sao Tomé and Principe Sounds 70s-80s (1970s-80s [2020], Bongo Joe): Two small islands in the Gulf of Guinea, uninhabited until colonized by Portugal from 1493, turning them into slave depots and sugar plantations. They gained independence in 1975, their music African but with pan-Portuguese (especially Brazilian) airs. Sixteen songs from ten groups (Africa Negra tops with three), 5 minutes the median. B+(***)

Ana Mazzotti: Ninguem Vai Me Segurar (1974 [2019], Far Out): Brazilian singer, recorded two jazz-inflected samba albums 1974-77, this the first, produced by José Roberto Bertrami. Starts nice and bouncy, with a change of pace for a cover of "Feel Like Making Love." B+(**)

Ana Mazzotti: Ana Mazzotti (1977 [2019], Far Out): A second album, short and sweet. B+(***)

Ranil Y Su Conjunto Tropical: (Limited Dance Edition) ([2020], Analog Africa): Cumbia group from Iquitos on the Amazonian side of Peru, led by singer Raúl Llerena Vásquez, aka Ranil. No dates on these songs -- indeed, Discogs has no dates for 13 albums, only one date for his singles (1977), and one previous compilation (2010). Wish I knew more about this, but unclear to me even whether Vásquez is still alive. But the music is, seductive too. A- [bc]

Ranil Y Su Conjunto Tropical: Stay Safe and Sound Ranil Selection!! ([2020], Analog Africa): This one is even less clear, running 10 songs, 28:10 (vs. 14, 40:01 above), evidently available as a free sampler (but no dupes from other volume). B+(***) [bc]

Lennie Tristano: The Duo Sessions (1968 [2020], Dot Time): Pianist, went his own way in the 1940s when everyone else was chasing Bird, Diz, Bud, and Monk, snaring a few acolytes like Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz. Previously unreleased, not sure when recorded but after he stopped performing in 1968, before he died in 1978. Six duets with tenor saxophonist Lenny Popkin (much like Marsh), two with pianist Connie Crothers (who often played with Popkin), and eight with drummer Roger Mancuso. B+(**)

Yabby You: King Tubby's Prophecies of Dub (1976 [2020], Pressure Sound): Little agreement on who did this or what the title is: cover looks like The Prophets, elsewhere I've seen The Aggrovators -- both group names Vivian Jackson (aka Yabby You) has used. Bandcamp page drops King Tubby's from the title (clear on the cover), pointing out that Pat Kelly was the enginer, and that "Tubby had partly stepped back from mixing work, but was still credited with most of the music coming out of his studio." Still, sounds like vintage King Tubby. B+(***) [bc]

Old Music

Blue Lu Barker: 1946-1949 (1946-49 [2000], Classics): Jazz/blues singer from New Orleans, married to guitarist Danny Barker (whose Sextet is credited with the first eight songs here), recorded for Decca 1938-39 (on Classics 704), for Apollo in 1946 and Capitol 1948-49 -- the later ones are collected here, including her best-known song, "Don't You Feel My Leg." A- [dl]

Arnett Cobb and His Orchestra: 1946-1947 (1946-47 [1999], Classics): The Texas Tenor's first recordings as a leader, prefaced by four credited to various leaders with "the Hamptone All Stars" -- Cobb started playing in Lionel Hampton's band in 1942. Mostly jump blues, a few with vocals, already a powerhouse. B+(***)

Arnett Cobb: Smooth Sailing (1959, Prestige): Tenor saxophonist from Texas, came up in big bands in the 1930s, succeeding Illinois Jacquet in Lionel Hampton's band (1942), nicknamed "the wild man of the tenor sax." He cut eight LPs for Prestige 1959-62 -- best known his Party Time and the four-sax jam Very Saxy. This seems to be his first with Prestige, a quintet with trombone, organ, bass, and drums. Soul jazz with some muscle. A-

Arnett Cobb: Movin' Right Along (1960, Prestige): Backed by piano trio -- mostly Bobby Timmons, but one cut with Tommy Flanagan -- plus congas. Less "wild man," more ballads, but "Exactly Like You" has never been done so jaunty. A-

Arnett Cobb With the Red Garland Trio: Blue and Sentimental (1960 [1993], Prestige): Reissue combines two albums, Sizzlin' and Ballads by Cobb, both with Garland on piano and J.C. Heard on drums, bass split between George Tucker and George Duvivier. The former sizzles less than Cobb's norm. His ballads are gorgeous, but the pianist could have been anyone. B+(***)

Arnett Cobb: Deep Purple [The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions] (1973 [1995], Black & Blue): Recorded in Toulouse, with Milt Buckner (organ), Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (guitar), and Michael Silva (drums), originally released as Again With Milt Buckner, reissue moves the title song up front and adds one extra. Not great organ, but the saxophonist easily transcends such limits. B+(***)

Arnett Cobb: Jumpin' at the Woodside [The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions] (1974 [2001], Black & Blue): Live shot in Paris, with Lloyd Glenn (piano), Tiny Grimes (guitar/vocal), Roland Lobligeois (bass), and Panama Francis (drums). Originally a 6-cut LP, expanded here to 11. Cobb sounds terrific here, his blues jumping, his ballads soaring. A-

Arnett Cobb: The Wild Man From Texas [The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions] (1976 [1997], Black & Blue): Cobb has several compilations with this title, mostly early work from his post-Basie juke box days. He was less wild as he aged, but developed his knack for ballads. From Paris and Toulouse, nine musicians, including a second tenor sax (Eddie Chamblee), Earl Warren (alto sax), Milt Buckner (organ), and Panama Francis (drums). B+(***)

Arnett Cobb/Jimmy Heath/Joe Henderson: Tenor Tribute Vol. 2 (1988 [1993], Soul Note): Five more songs from the same 1988 session that produced Tenor Tribute (released 1990), including three every tenor saxophonist must know but few dare: "Cotton Tail," "Tenor Madness," "Flying Home" (on the other hand, everyone's played "'Round About Midnight"). Three tenor saxes (nearly as impressive as the quartet, including Cobb, on Very Saxy), backed by piano trio (Benny Green). B+(***)

Miles Davis/Stan Getz/Gerry Mulligan/Lee Konitz/Sonny Rollins/Zoot Sims: Conception (1949-51 [1956], Prestige): Various artists compilation, starts with a 6-song 10-inch Lee Konitz LP (New Sounds), followed by two-sided singles from Davis, Getz, and Mulligan, with Davis appearing on four of the Konitz sides (along with Sal Mosca, Billy Bauer, Arnold Fishkin, and Max Roach; the other two are duets with the guitarist), with Rollins on the Davis tracks, and Sims on one of the Mulligan tracks (along with JJ Johnson and Kai Winding, so go figure). The Konitz tracks are intriguingly off kilter, the others more conventionally boppish/cool. B+(**)

Disques Debs International Volume 1: An Island Story: Biguine, Afro Latin & Musique Antillaise 1960-1972 (1960-72 [2018], Disques Debs/Strut): Hugo Mendez (Sofrito) and Emile Omar (Radio Nova) compiled this selection from Henri Debs' label, following the evolution of music in the French Caribbean from folk and neighboring influences into its own distinctive style, marked chiefly by infectious rhythm, chanting voices, and splashy horns. B+(***) [bc]

Duke Ellington: At the Hollywood Empire (1949 [2004], Storyville): I haven't listened to much live ELlington from the late 1940s, although between The Treasury Shows and the Carnegie Hall Concerts there is quite a lot to choose from. This is a live radio shot, 17 songs, 71 minutes, an announcer introducing songs and identifying soloists -- especially triple threat Ray Nance (trumpet, violin, vocal, much bluesier than Al Hibbler's croon). B+(***)

Bill Evans Trio With Lee Konitz & Warne Marsh: Crosscurrents (1977 [1992], Fantasy/OJC): With Eddie Gomez on bass and Eliot Zigmund on drums plus the two saxophonists, on six standards (the CD reissue expanded with three alternate takes). B+(***)

Dexter Gordon: Jazz at Highschool (1967 [2002], Storyville): A "jazz clinic" for music students at Magleaas High School, picked up and broadcast by Danish National Radio. Gordon had moved to Denmark, found American expats Kenny Drew and Al Heath available, and was joined by Denmark's most famous bassist, Niels-Henning Řrsted Pedersen. B+(***)

Lil Green: Romance in the Dark: 1940-1946 (1940-46 [1971], RCA): Blues singer, born in Mississippi, moved to Chicago, where she started recording in 1940, and died young (34?) in 1954. Wrote her two most famous songs here ("Romance in the Dark," "Knockin' Myself Out"), most of the others by Joe McCoy or Big Bill Bronzy (who plays on most of them, along with piano and bass; the final "Blowtop Blues" uses a big band). A-

Al Grey/Arnett Cobb: Ain't That Funk for You (1977 [2002], Black & Blue): Trombone and tenor sax, backed by Ray Bryant (piano), John Duke (bass), and JC Heard (drums). Closer to blues and swing than funk, but who's complaining? B+(***)

Orüj Güvenç & Tümata: Rivers of One (1997, Interworld): Turkish clinical psychologist, musicologist, and Sufi sheik, group possibly an acronym for "Group for the Research and Promotion of Turkish Music." His 1995 Ocean of Remembrance was my sister's favorite album ever, much praised for calming the spirits -- something I'm naturally skeptical of, but can attest to nonetheless. Played ney, oud, and rebab, and sung a little. Three more pieces here, nothing hurried, not a problem. A-

Jasper Hřiby: Fellow Creatures (2016, Edition): UK-based Danish bassist, cites Naomi Klein for title. Quintet with Mark Lockheart (sax), Laura Jurd (trumpet), piano, and drums. Slippery postbop with intriguing horn figures. B+(***) [bc]

Mike Huckaby: The Jazz Republic (1997, Cross Section, EP): Searching for something by the late Detroit DJ, I found this 4 track, 27:18 mix, all beat. B+(**)

Illinois Jacquet Quartet: Live at Schaffhausen, Switzerland March 18, 1978 (1978 [2015], Storyville): Texas tenor, always a jazz swinger but back in the 1940s spawned a wave of honking saxes that broke into r&b jukeboxes. Quartet with Hank Jones (piano), George Duvivier (bass), and J.C. Heard (drums), with Jacquet singing several songs. Runs 77 minutes, with breaks for piano and bass solos, and some patter. B+(***) [bc]

Lee Konitz: At Storyville (1954 [1988], Black Lion): Alto saxophonist, early in a career that only ended at 92 this year, a disciple of Lennie Tristano and one of the inventors of cool jazz. Live shot from Storyville Club in Boston, a quartet with Ronnie Ball (piano), Percy Heath (bass), and Alan Levitt (drums). Some stock patter, but Ball impresses, and Konitz is light as a feather. A-

Lee Konitz: Konitz (1954 [1989], Black Lion): In the label's Storyville series, but actually a studio session in New York, with Ronnie Ball (piano) plus bass and drums. Padded out with alternate takes -- the last six first appearing on CD. B+(**)

Lee Konitz: Body and Soul (1954 [2003], Black Lion): Same group as on Konitz, more New York City sessions, started as a 10-inch LP, eventually padded to 48:13 with alternate takes, including three of "Bop Goes the Leesel," where the play on the title matches the twists in the music, and four equally twisted takes on "Nursery Rhyme." B+(***)

Lee Konitz: The Real Lee Konitz (1957, Atlantic): Quartet with Billy Bauer on guitar, plus bass (Peter Ind) and drums (Dick Scott), with trumpet added for two songs. Three originals, the rest covers including "You Go to My Head," "My Melancholy Baby," "Sweet and Lovely," and "Easy Livin'." A-

Lee Konitz: Very Cool (1957, Verve): With Don Ferrara on trumpet, who also wrote two (of six) songs (vs. one for Konitz), and Sal Mosca on piano. Ends with an upbeat but not especially interesting "Billie's Bounce." B+(*)

The Lee Konitz Quartet: Tranquility (1957, Verve): With Billy Bauer on guitar, Henry Grimes on bass, and Dave Bailey on drums, playing one original each by Konitz and Bauer, "Lennie Bird" by Tristano, and some typically subtle standards. B+(***)

Lee Konitz: An Image: Lee Konitz With Strings (1958, Verve): Arrangements and orchestra conducted by William Russo, with the alto saxophonist featured throughout. Working with strings seems to have been on every saxophonist's bucket list. Strings here are slightly above average, but Konitz is less consistent in topping them. B

Lee Konitz: You and Lee (1959 [1960], Verve): Large ensemble, arranged by Jimmy Giuffre, with 5-6 brass but Konitz's alto sax is the only reed, Bill Evans (piano) plays on half, Jim Hall (guitar) on the other, plus bass (Sonny Dallas) and drums (Roy Haynes). B

Lee Konitz Quintet: Peacemeal (1969 [1970], Milestone): Label founder Dick Katz produces, plays keyboards, contributed three songs -- matching Konitz himself and Bela Bartok, with "Lester Leaps In" and "Body and Soul" the covers. With Marshall Brown (valve trombone), Eddie Gomez, and Jack DeJohnette. I don't get much of anything from Bartok, but the covers and "Subconscious-Lee," sure. B+(*)

Lee Konitz: Spirits (1971 [1972], Milestone): Discogs gets the credits backwards here: they read the (*) cuts as adding Sal Mosca (piano), but in fact they are the ones that were recorded in a second sessions, adding bass and drums. The three other tracks are alto sax/piano duos, all Lennie Tristano pieces. Tristano dominates the album, with five of his pieces, one by Warne Marsh, plus three by Konitz. The duos are sharp line drawings, but only fleshed out with the full band. B+(***)

Lee Konitz: Lone-Lee (1974 [1987], SteepleChase): Solo alto sax, two songs, "The Song Is You" and "Cherokee," the former 19:25 on the 1976 LP but stretched to 38:41 for the CD, the latter 17:47. B+(**)

Lee Konitz: Lee Konitz Nonet (1977, Chiaroscuro): Inconsistent packaging, the front cover centering a smaller "Nonet" under the artist name, like that alone is the title, but the back cover offers an eponymous The Lee Konitz Nonet. This is the second of four 1976-79 Nonet albums: two trumpets, two trombones, two saxes, piano-bass-drums. The large group swallows him while building on group effort. B+(***)

Lee Konitz: Tenorlee (1977 [1978], Candid): Plays tenor sax for a change, backed by Jimmy Rowles (piano) and Michael Moore (bass) -- the title song a short Konitz original, the rest standards. Rowles excels, but Konitz could just as well be someone else. B+(*)

Lee Konitz Nonet: Yes, Yes, Nonet (1979 [1986], SteepleChase): Trombonist Jimmy Knepper is the workhorse here, contributing four (of seven) songs. B+(**)

Lee Konitz Quartet: New York Album (1987 [1988], Soul Note): Napster misfiles this under pianist Harold Danko -- for no reason I can see, but most of their albums wind up in the wrong bins. Also with Marc Johnson (bass) and Adam Nussbaum (drums). B+(***)

Lee Konitz: Zounds (1990 [1992], Soul Note): Quartet with Kenny Werner (piano/synth), Ron McClure (bass), and Bill Stewart (drums). Seems typically idiosyncratic, the sweet spots coming toward the end when they're least concerned with breaking ground ("Taking a Chance on Love," "Piece for My Dad," "Soft Lee"). B+(**)

Lee Konitz Trio: Free With Lee (1993, Philology): Alto sax with two guitarists (Augusto Mancinelli and Donovan Mixon), playing standards (most from jazz figures like Brubeck, Davis, Ellington, Evans, and Shorter), plus the joint improv title track (two takes). B+(**)

Lee Konitz/Renato Sellani: Speakin' Lowly (1993 [1994], Philology): Duets, alto sax and piano, all standards, mostly ballads, starting with "Laura" and "Speak Low," ending with "My Funny Valentine" and "Yesterdays." Nicely paced, quite lovely. A-

Lee Konitz: It's You (1996, SteepleChase): Trio with Ron McClure (bass) and Billy Hart (drums), four Konitz originals, one from McClure, "Angel Eyes" the only cover. B+(***)

Lee Konitz: Dearly Beloved (1996 [1997], SteepleChase): Quartet, with Harold Danko (piano), Jay Anderson (bass), and Billy Drummond (drums) -- probably his most standard group for the decade, playing six standards, all stretched out between 7:45 and 14:24. A-

Lee Konitz: Pride (1999 [2000], SteepleChase): Quartet, with George Colligan (piano/organ), Doug Weiss (bass), and Darren Beckett (drums). Two Jobim songs, oblique originals, sentimental standards. B+(***)

Lee Konitz: Parallels (2001, Chesky): Quintet, with Mark Turner (tenor sax), Peter Bernstein (guitar), bass and drums. B+(**)

Giuseppi Logan: More (1965 [1966], ESP-Disk): Alto saxophonist, from Philadelphia, recorded two avant-jazz albums for ESP-Disk in 1964-65, nothing much for a long time, then surfaced for a couple more in the 2010's. This is his second, also playing flute and bass clarinet, with Don Pullen on piano, Milford Graves on drums, and either Eddie Gomez or Reggie Johnson on bass. Pullen is pretty young here (21), but turns some heads. B+(***)

Myra Melford/Zeena Parkins/Miya Masaoka: MZM (2014-16 [2017], Infrequent Seams): Piano (some prepared), harp/electronics, 21-string koto. Saw a review of this as a new record and sought it out, but looks to be several years old. Deeply fractured sound earns its obscurity, as well as your attention. B+(*)

Mr. Wrong: Babes in Boyland (2017, Water Wing, EP): First short album, not counting their 2016 Distraction Demo (only 2 of 7 songs on Bandcamp). This one has nine songs, 17:57. Ends strong. B+(**) [bc]

Papa Bue's Viking Jazzband: Greatest Hits (1958-70 [1989], Storyville): Danish trombonist Arne Bue Jensen founded this trad jazz band in 1956, died in 2011, recorded a couple dozen albums (some with visiting heroes like George Lewis, Wingy Manone, Edmond Hall, Wild Bill Davison). There's a story that Shel Silverstein gave them their name (he called them "Danish Vikings") in a review where he noted that they play New Orleans and Chicago jazz better than any American band. Not sure I'd go that far, but they're pretty impressive. Even sold a million copies of one of their hits here ("Schlafe Mein Prinzchen"). B+(***) [bc]

Sun Ra: Celestial Love (1984 [2015], Enterplanetary Koncepts): Originally released 1984, I count 11 musicians plus singer June Tyson on two cuts -- pretty straightforward standards ("Sometimes I'm Happy," "Smile"). They also do two Ellington pieces. [CD reissue 2020, Modern Harmonic] B+(*)

Sarah Riedel/Carl Svensson/Viktor Skokic: Perfectly Still (2012, Footprint): Swedish jazz singer, wrote two songs here, three from bassist Skokic, one from guitarist Svensson, guest spots for reeds and percussion, other covers (notably "Surabaya Johnny," "All or Nothing at All"), all but one in English. [4/12 tracks on Napster, others on label website] B+(*)

Buddy Tate: Celebrity Club Orchestra (1954 [2016], Black & Blue): Tenor saxophonist from Texas, played with Andy Kirk in the 1930s, and Count Basie 1939-48. Same title as a 1968 album, causing much confusion: both were recorded in Paris, this one with a septet plus occasional singer Inez Washington, a swing throwback where the saxophonist sounds exceptionally poised. A-

Buddy Tate/Claude Hopkins: Buddy and Claude (1960 [1999], Prestige): Hopkins was a stride pianist, spent a couple years in Paris with Josephine Baker and Sidney Bechet, returned to the US and led bands in the 1930s, and continued playing well into the 1970s. He led a 1960 album with Tate (tenor sax) and Emmett Berry (trumpet), Yes Indeed!, which is combined here with another 1960 album, headlined by Tate and featuring Clark Terry (trumpet), but no piano. B+(**)

Buddy Tate/Milton Buckner: When I'm Blue [The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions] (1967 [1995], Black & Blue): Buckner plays organ and vocalizes (a lot) -- neither very inspired, even if he does seem awfully pleased with himself. With Wallace Bishop on drums, and some tasty tenor sax. B+(*)

Buddy Tate: Buddy Tate & His Celebrity Club Orchestra [The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions] (1968 [2002], Black & Blue): Live shot from Paris, not the 1954 Celebrity Club Orchestra which Black & Blue also released. With Bud Bascomb (trumpet), Ben Richardson (flute, alto/baritone sax), Dicky Wells (trombone), Skip Hall (piano/organ), John Williams (bass), Billy Stewart (drums). Well steeped in the blues. B+(***)

Buddy Tate: Buddy Tate and His Buddies (1973, Chiaroscuro): All-star session, joining Tate is fellow Texas Tenor Illinois Jacquet, with Roy Eldridge (trumpet), Mary Lou Williams (piano), Steve Jordan (guitar), Milt Hinton (bass), and Gus Johnson (drums). B+(***)

Buddy Tate: The Texas Twister (1975 [1987], New World): A studio session in February of a year when he ultimately produced a lot of live records while touring Europe. Paul Quinichette offers a second tenor sax, allowing Tate to also play clarinet and sing (he's a pretty good blues belter). With Cliff Smalls (piano), Major Holley (bass), and Jackie Williams (drums). B+(***)

Buddy Tate: The Texas Tenor (1975 [2014], Storyville, 2CD): Two sets, one Live at La Fontaine with a European band (with Tete Montoliu on piano), the other from Antibes with a group that billed itself as All Stars Jive at Five: Doc Cheatham (trumpet), Vic Dickenson (trombone/vocal), Johnny Guarnieri (piano), George Duvivier (bass), and Oliver Jackson (drums). The Stars do shine, but Tate is often better without the competition. [NB: These sets were previously released as Tate A Tete at La Fontaine and Jive at Five.] B+(**)

Buddy Tate: Body and Soul: Live in Dublin 1976 (1976, [2008], Nagel Heyer): Live set, backed with what looks like a local piano trio (Tony Drennan, Jimmy McKay, Jack Daly), sounds as distinctive as ever on the slow ones, but still enjoys hard swing. B+(**)

Buddy Tate/Abdullah Ibrahim: Buddy Tate Meets Abdullah Ibrahim: The Legendary 1977 Encounter (1977 [1996], Chiaroscuro): Five quartet tracks, with Cecil McBee (bass) and Roy Brooks (drums), tenor sax and piano. No piano on the first tracks, no sax on the last two. B+(**)

Lucinda Williams: The Ghosts of Highway 20 (2016, Highway 20, 2CD): Fourteen leisurely songs, runs 86:13, including long side-closers at 9:05 and 12:44, for a rather low-key, easy-going album. Starts with words from her father, Miller Williams, then from Woody Guthrie, includes two songs invoking heaven (the more insistent one goes "open up the doors of heaven/let me in"), and ends trad. ("Faith & Grace"). B+(***)

Music Weeks

Current count 33007 [33007] rated (+0), 219 [219] unrated (-0).

Excerpts from this month's Music List posts:

Notes

Everything streamed from Napster (ex Rhapsody), except as noted in brackets following the grade:

  • [cd] based on physical cd
  • [cdr] based on an advance or promo cd or cdr
  • -
  • [dvd] based on physical dvd (rated more for music than video)
  • [bc] available at bandcamp.com
  • [sc] available at soundcloud.com
  • -
  • [sp] available at spotify.com
  • -
  • [yt] available at youtube.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