Streamnotes: August 31, 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 July 27. Past reviews and more information are available here (15321 records).

Recent Releases

The 1975: Notes on a Conditional Form (2020, Dirty Hit): British group, fourth album since 2013, eponymous debut opened at number one on UK charts, other three albums also cracked top five in US. Starts with soft electronics framing a Greta Thunberg message ("Either we prevent a 1.5 degree of warming, or we don't/ Either we avoid setting off that irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, or we don't/ Either we choose to go on as a civilization, or we don't"), then the band breaks out like the Clash ("Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!"). Of course, they aren't the Clash, so the remaining 73 minutes is filled with their usual postmodern pop, though not without occasional interest. B+(***)

Rez Abbasi: Django-shift (2019 [2020], Whirlwind): Guitarist, with Neil Alexander (organ/electronics) and Michael Sarin (drums), playing seven Django Reinhardt pieces and two others ("Anniversary Song" and "September Song"). Steers clear of the Hot Club formula, for better or worse. B+(**) [cd]

Abraham Inc.: Together We Stand (2019, Table Pounding): Second group album: Klezmer clarinetist David Krakauer, funk trombonist Fred Wesley, and master sampler Socalled, with friends filling in guitar-bass-drums, horns (Eddie Allen trumpet and Jay Rodriguez sax), and adding raps (Taron Benson, Fat Tony, Sarah MK). About what you'd expect from the concept. B+(***) [bc]

Idris Ackamoor & the Pyramids: Shaman! (2020, Strut): Originally Bruce Baker, saxophonist from Chicago, played with Cecil Taylor's Black Music Ensemble in the 1970s, has led this group at least since 1998. Fifth album. Full-bodied sax over a rippling rhythm. Good enough for a party, and then some consciousness. A-

Aminé: Limbo (2020, Republic): Portland rapper Adam Daniel, goes by his middle name, parents from Ethiopia and Eritrea, second album, marking his adulthood from the death of Kobe Bryant, although I suspect the daughter had more to do with it. A-

Arbor Labor Union: New Petal Instants (2020, Arrowhawk): Alt/indie band from Atlanta, influenced by "DIY punk" and classic rock and Walt Whitman and Woody Guthrie. B+(**)

Arca: @@@@@ (2020, XL): I ignored this when it came, out, seeing it flagged as a "single." Indeed, a single track, but 62 minutes, as jumbled at a typical album. B+(*)

Armand Hammer: Shrines (2020, Backwoodz Studioz): New York hip-hop duo, rapper Billy Woods and producer Elucid, fourth album. Pretty sharp. B+(***) [bc]

Gregg August: Dialogues on Race: Volume One (2020, Iacuessa): Bassist, probably best known as part of JD Allen's trio, but fourth album as leader since 2003, a composition written in 2009, reflecting on the 1955 murder of Emmett Till after Barack Obama got elected president. Many murders later, he's revived the piece, with 10+ musicians (one track adds strings, a couple more have vocals and/or extra percussion. Really like most of the music (except the strings thing); don't care for the vocals, though the message matters here. B+(***)>

Mandy Barnett: A Nashville Songbook (2020, BMG): Stage singer, built her career on portraying Patsy Cline, something she does remarkably well. Thirteen "iconic country and pop standards . . . that made Music Row famous," you know she's shooting for the rafters when she trots out Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley. B+(**)

David Berkman: Plays Music by John Coltrane and Pete Seeger: Solo Piano (2020, Without): Pianist, from Cleveland, early albums (1998-2000) most impressive. "Music by" isn't restricted to their own compositions: Seeger covered the folk tradition, so you get extras like "Goodnight Irene" and "We Shall Overcome," and you get a "Body and Soul" too. The Seeger parts are more evocative, probably because they're the ones I recognize. B+(**) [cd]

Max Bessesen: Trouble (2020, Ropeadope): Alto saxophonist, originally from Denver, based in Chicago, records in both places for his debut album, adding Colorado-based trumpet player Ron Miles for the Denver set. With Eric Krouse on piano, plus bass and drums. Nice postbop. B+(**) [09-04]

The Beths: Jump Rope Gazers (2020, Carpark): Alt/indie band from New Zealand, second album, harmony voices led by Elizabeth Stokes, guitar-bass-drums. B+(*)

The Big Bad Bones Featuring Scott Whitfield: Emergency Vehicle Blues (2019 [2020], Summit): Four trombonists -- Whitfield, Brett Stamps, Pete Madsen, and Steve Wilson on bass trombone -- backed by a Big Bad Rhythm Section (keyboards, bass, drums), effectively a big band minus trumpet and reed sections. Stamps wrote all the pieces. B+(*) [cd]

Black Art Jazz Collective: Ascension (2020, HighNote): Sextet, third album, horns return -- Wayne Escoffery (tenor sax), Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), James Burton III (trombone) -- but with a new rhythm section: Victor Gould (piano), Rashaan Carter (bass), Mark Whitfield Jr. (drums). Title track is a Gould original. Could have stuck with hard bop, especially with Pelt's chops, but progressively leans into postbop, getting slicker and slicker. B+(*)

Boldy James & the Alchemist: The Price of Tea in China (2020, ALC/Boldy James): Rapper James Jones III, born in Atlanta, grew up in Detroit, second album, both with Daniel Maman co-writing and producing. B+(***)

BROM: Dance With an Idiot (2019 [2020], Trost): Free jazz group, from Moscow, ninth album since 2008 -- Anton Ponomarev (alto sax), Dmitry Lapshin (bass guitar), and Yaroslav Kurilo (drums) appear to be long-time members, with Felix Mikensky (electronics, guitar) joining here, modulating the raw furor a bit, even making it a bit tuneful. B+(***)

Lisa Cameron/Tom Carter/Ingebrigt Håker Flaten: Tau Ceti (2019 [2020], Astral Spirits): Last names only on cover, no instrument credits, but figure drums-guitar-bass, split between an "acoustic side," which feels like treading water, and an "electric side," which raises the ante. B+(*) [bc]

Jenna Camille: The Time Is NOW (2020, self-released): Singer-songwriter, plays keyboards, born in Atlanta, based in DC, last name may be Henderson, self-released an album in 2014, sixth release per Bandcamp. Politics first, experimentation always, finally settling into ambient groove. B+(*) [bc]

City Girls: City on Lock (2020, Quality Control/Motown): Hip-hop duo from Miami, Caresha Brownlee (Yung Miami) and Jatavia Johnson (JT), both with too much street cred/scars too soon. Second album after a mixtape. Most frequent word: pussy, probably followed by N* and bitch (especially when they host a male guest). Over the top, but so are the trap beats. A-

Shirley Collins: Heart's Ease (2020, Domino): English folk singer, 85, MBE, I remember her from Albion Dance Band in the 1970s but didn't get anything into the database. Her debut was actually 1959, and she retired in 1980, but came back with a very solid album in 2016 (Lodestar, high B+). Voice is worn, gravity helps. B+(**)

Crazy Doberman: Illusory Expansion (2019 [2020], Astral Spirits): Collective improv group, has recorded extensively since 2017 (or, as Doberman, 2014). This, which lists 16 musicians, is the first on a label I've heard of. Mix of industrial ambient and free jazz. B+(*) [bc]

Charley Crockett: Welcome to Hard Times (2020, Son of Davy): Americana singer-songwriter from San Benito, Texas; grew up in Dallas, busked in New Orleans and New York, wound up in Austin, eighth album since 2015. More Western than country. B+(*)

Emily Duff: Born on the Ground (2020, Mr Mudshow Music): Singer-songwriter from Queens, couple albums but pretty low profile, has picked up a bit of drawl in her voice, giving her some appeal to country/Americans afficionados, picks up a roots-rock producer to sharpen her rockabilly edge. B+(***)

Duotrio: In the Bright and Deep (2020, Blujazz): "A modular chamber music ensemble" led by trumpeter Daniel Nissenbaum, configured as two bands, neither trios: one based in Holland (quintet), the other in Philadelphia (quartet plus strings/orchestra, vocals on one piece, guitar on another). Sounds semi-classical to me, not to my taste. B- [cd]

Justin Townes Earle: The Saint of Lost Causes (2019, New West): Singer-songwriter, dead at 38, cause not disclosed. Father was Steve Earle, absent from 2 to 12, the age he got into drugs. Toured with his father, started writing his own songs, a mix of country and blues, although he never impressed me much. This his ninth and evidently last album -- one I skipped when it came out. Turns out it's pretty good. B+(***)

Endless Field: Alive in the Wilderness (2020, Biophilia): Guitar (Jesse Lewis) and bass (Ike Sturm) duo, Sturm listed first here but I filed their 2017 album under Lewis (lead name there). Nice, intimate interchange. [Package but no CD.] B+(**)

Falkner Evans: Marbles (2019 [2020], CAP): Pianist, based in New York, handful of albums since 2001, aims big here with a sextet -- Michael Blake and Ted Nash (saxes), Ron Horton (trumpet), bass, and drums -- plus vibes (Steve Nelson) on three cuts. All originals, elegant postbop. B+(**) [cd]

John Fedchock NY Sextet: Into the Shadows (2019 [2020], Summit): Trombonist, probably best known for his big bands, scales down nicely, with Scott Wendholt (trumpet) and Walt Weiskopf (tenor sax), plus piano-bass-drums. B+(**) [cd]

Paul Flaherty/Randall Colbourne/James Chumley Hunt/Mike Roberson: Borrowed From Children (2020, 577): Avant saxophonist, b. 1948, plays alto and tenor, has over three dozen albums since 1990 but this (somehow) is the first I've picked up. The others play drums, trumpet/cornet, and electric guitar. B+(**)

Bill Frisell: Valentine (2020, Blue Note): Guitarist, trio with Thomas Morgan (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums). Opens with a piece from Mali. Closes with "We Shall Overcome. Originals inside, aside from the pairing of "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing" and "What the World Needs Now Is Love." B+(**)

Nubya Garcia: Source (2020, Concord): British tenor saxophonist, mother from Guyana, father from Trinidad, second album, also group efforts with Maisha and Nérija and side credits, including with Joe Armon-Jones -- piano here, in a quartet with bass and drums, plus extras, including trumpet (Ms. Maurice) on three cuts, vocals on too many. Strong sax over crossover beats. B+(**)

Gato Libre: Koneko (2019 [2020], Libra): Japanese trumpeter Natsuki Tamura's group, a trio with Yasuko Kaneko on trombone and wife Satoko Fujii on accordion. Eighth group album, with 2006's Nomad my favorite (by far). Interesting enough, but seems a bit slow. B+(**) [cd]

Sue Anne Gershenzon: You Must Believe in Spring (2020, self-released): Standards singer, seems to be her first album, support includes Joel Frahm (tenor sax) and Ryan Keberle (trombone), a pianist-arranger hard on my eyes (Glafkos Kontemeniotis?), and occasional strings. Nice take on title track. B [cd]

Jimmy Heath: Love Letter (2019 [2020], Verve): Tenor saxophonist from Philadelphia, died at 93 in January, recorded with Kenny Dorham and Clifford Brown in 1953, led his first album in 1959, stood a mere 5 foot, 3 inches but called one of his best albums Really Big! With piano (Kenny Barron), guitar (Russell Malone), vibes, bass, and drums, a guest spot for Wynton Marsalis, also singers Cécile McLorin Salvant and Gregory Porter -- names fitting a legend, but it comes off rather dreamy, and the singers don't help. B+(*)

Eddie Henderson: Shuffle and Deal (2019 [2020], Smoke Sessions): Trumpet player, I think of him as a hard bop guy but he started in fusion around 1973, has a lot of side credits but as he approaches 80, has more than two dozens albums under his own name. In his groove here with Donald Harrison (alto sax), Kenny Barron (piano), bass, and drums. B+(**)

Tyler Higgins: Broken Blues (2016 [2020], Shhpuma): Guitarist, also plays organ, describes this as "experimental music that draws on folk/blues/jazz traditions," third album, short one (29:47), trio with upright bass and drums. Gospel pieces like "Yes Jesus Loves Me" are the clearest cases, turned into dense walls of sound with nothing especially improvisational about them. B+(**)

John Hollenbeck: Songs You Like a Lot (2019 [2020], Flexatonic): Drummer, mastermind bnehind the Claudia Project, Large Ensemble impressario, presents his third album of likable songs, with Theo Bleckmann and Kate McGarry singing, Gary Versace on piano, and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band. Mostly songs I don't much like, but he also manages to spoil "God Only Knows" -- and not just by twisting it into "Only God Knows." B-

Johnny Iguana: Johnny Iguana's Chicago Spectacular (2019 [2020], Delmark): Blues pianist, grew up in Philadelphia but always belonged in Chicago. This sports ten more names on the cover, and a substitle: A Grand and Upright Celebration of Chicago Blues Piano. B+(**)

Christoph Irniger Trio: Open City (2020, Intakt): Swiss tenor saxophonist, backed by Raffaele Bossard (bass) and Ziv Ravitz (drums), with guests Loren Stillman (alto sax) and Nils Wogram (trombone). B+(***)

Camden Joy: American Love (2020, self-released): Tom Adelman, a novelist before singer-songwriter, follows up his EP with a full-length album, 14 songs, lots of historical figures from the suffragists and William Jennings Bryan to Johnny Paycheck: "A lot of famous dead Amerians collide with a lot of dying American musical styles." Musically, reminds me a bit of Thomas Anderson, with less twang. B+(**)

Jyoti: Mama, You Can Bet (2020, SomeOthaShip): Singer-songwriter Georgia Anne Muldrow, has quite a few albums since 2006, using Jyoti (a name given to her by Alice Coltrane) for her more jazz-oriented releases (this is her third). Obscurantist funk, hard to get a handle on it all. B+(**)

Kate NV: Room for the Moon (2020, RVNG Intl): Russian singer-songwriter, Ekaterina Shilonosova, from Kazan, singer in the postpunk band Glintshake, third solo album. Electronics and voice, "conjured from unlived memories of 70s and 80s Russian and Japanese pop music and film." Pretty delightful combination. A-

Kehlani: It Was Good Until It Wasn't (2020, Atlantic): Sometime around the turn of the century, r&b went slack, turning away from the dominant church-based wail to its opposite. While I'm not a big fan of the former (at least for lesser artists than Aretha), I've long had trouble getting into the latter. Three plays in, I'm barely with her, the bits of rap helping. Sex, too. A-

Jon-Erik Kellso: Sweet Fruits Salty Roots (2020, Jazzology): Trad jazz cornet player, first record 1993, cover says "Recorded in New Orleans" and lists more names: Evan Christopher, Don Vappie, Peter Harris (that would be clarinet, banjo, and bass). A bit understated, but very nice old-time jazz. B+(***)

Eva Kess: Sternschnuppen: Falling Stars (2019 [2020], Neuklang): Swiss/German bassist, real name seems to be Kesselring, has a couple previous albums. String quartet plus jazz piano trio, strings on edge, rhythm centers and propels. B+(***)

Keys & Screws [Thomas Borgmann/Jan Roder/Willi Kellers]: Some More Jazz (2017 [2020], NoBusiness): Sax-bass-drums trio, leader playing tenor and soprano, also "toy-melodica." Nice, edgy free jazz, backing smartly away from the abyss. A- [cdr]

Kenny Kotwitz & the LA Jazz Quintet: When Lights Are Low (2020, PMRecords): Leader plays accordion and celeste. Rest of the quintet adds guitar (John Chiodini), vibraphone, bass, and drums. All standards, the title cut from Benny Carter, reprised at the end. Not as schmaltzy as one might expect, but a little. B+(*) [cd]

David Krakauer & Kathleeen Tagg: Breath & Hammer (2020, Table Pounding): Clarinet player (also bass clarinet), klezmer specialist (1995 debut was Klezmer Madness), duets with piano, although pieces are built up in layers to form a "piano orchestra." B+(**) [bc]

Martin Küchen & Landaeus Trio: Mind the Gap of Silence (2019 [2020], Clean Feed): Pianist Mathias Landaeus's trio, plus the saxophonist (soprano, alto, tenor). Fourth album together (counting the compilation Vinyl), mostly Küchen's songs. Some very strong passages. B+(***)

Lianne La Havas: Lianne La Havas (2020, Nonesuch): British singer-songwriter, third album, Matthew Hales shares most writing credits, the only cover song from Radiohead. B+(*)

Jessy Lanza: All the Time (2020, Hyperdub): Canadian electropop singer-songwriter, third album. B+(*)

Ingrid Laubrock + Kris Davis: Blood Moon (2019 [2020], Intakt): Sax/piano duo, Laubrock playing tenor and soprano. Both well known, often in each other's company, at least since their Paradoxical Frog trio (2010). Feels a bit sketchy. B+(**)

Allegra Levy: Lose My Number (2020, SteepleChase): Jazz singer, fourth album, normally writes her own songs but this time started with music by John McNeil (who plays trumpet on three cuts) and added her lyrics. Backed by piano trio, with Pierre Dørge the featured guest on "Ukelele Tune." Shades of vocalese. B+(**) [cd]

Roberto Magris: Suite! (2018 [2020], JMood, 2CD): Pianist from Italy, couple dozen albums since 1990. Quintet with trumpet (Eric Jacobson), tenor sax (Mark Colby), bass, and drums, with spoken vocals by PJ Aubree Collins -- little treatises that break up the flow, but just as well. Filled out with three pop covers. B+(**) [cdr]

Mako Sica/Hamid Drake: Balancing Tear (2020, Astral Spirits): Chicago group, dates from 2008 with Przemyslaw Krys Drazek (trumpet, guitar), Brent Fuscaldo (voice, electric bass, classical guitar, harmonica, percussion), and Chaetan Newell (keyboards, cello, viola, drums, ukulele, upright bass), plus the guest drummer. Group has rock roots, but vocals are atrophied, and they more properly belong in some kind of post-rock orbit. B+(*) [bc]

Makaya McCraven: Universal Beings E&F Sides (2017-18 [2020], International Anthem): Drummer, second generation, born in Paris, grew up in Massachusetts, 2018 album was a crossover hit, had four sides: one each recorded in New York, Chicago, London, and Los Angeles. These look and feel like outtakes from the same sessions. B+(**)

Paulette McWilliams: A Woman's Story (2020, Blujazz): Standards singer, had an album and a couple singles c. 1977, a couple more since 2001. Closes with a strong "Both Sides Now." B+(*) [cd]

Mekons: Exquisite (2020, self-released): Surprise release, pieced together following the formula of a surrealist game "cadavre exquis," with each remotely locked down member adding their bits remotely. Easily recaptures the sound and feel of Mekons albums everywhere. B+(***) [bc]

Simon Moullier: Spirit Song (2017-20 [2020], Outside In Music): Vibraphone player (also credited with "balafon, percussions, synths"), first record, recorded over four sessions, with bass (Luca Alemano) and drums (Jongkuk Kim), most tracks adding piano and/or sax (Dayna Stephens or Morgan Guerin). I particularly like the balafon closer. B+(***) [10-09]

Dawn Oberg: 2020 Revision (2020, self-released, EP): San Francisco-based Singer-songwriter, plays piano, flirted with jazz, turned political with her Nothing Rhymes With Orange EP, offers 3 more songs here (8:52), including a lame takedown of "Mitch McConnell." B- [bc]

Larry Ochs/Aram Shelton Quartet: Continental Drift (2012-18 [2020], Clean Feed): Two saxophonists (tenor/sopranino and alto), plus bass (Mark Dresser on six cuts from 2012, Scott Walton on two from 2018) and drums (Kjell Nordeson). A-

Protoje: In Search of Lost Time (2020, RCA): Reggae singer, Oje Ken Ollivierre, sixth album since 2011. Light touch, nice beats. B+(**)

Protomartyr: Ultimate Success Today (2020, Domino): Detroit band, Joe Casey the singer, backed with guitar-bass-drums, plus the occasional guest -- two names that jump out at me are Jemeel Moondoc (alto sax) and Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello), avant-jazz guys. Fifth album, always solid. B+(**)

Bruno Råberg/Jason Robinson/Bob Weiner: The Urgency of Now (2017-18 [2020], Creative Nation Music): Bass, reeds (tenor/soprano sax, alto flute), drums. Joint credits, except for one Råberg solo credit, and a closer from John Tchicai. Nothing very fancy here, but balance is key with free jazz, especially if you don't just blast through it. A- [cd]

The Rails: Cancel the Sun (2019, Psychonaut): English group, principally James Walbourne and Kami Thompson -- daughter of Richard and Linda, sister of Teddy Thompson, so tempting to call this folk-rock, but tries hard to escape. One song goes: "save the planet/ kill yourself/ it's the least that you could do," then flips that around to "kill the planet/ save yourself." B+(*)

Jose Rizo's Mongorama: Mariposas Cantan (2018-19 [2020], Saungu): Rizo is a DJ, songwriter, and (here) bandleader, based in Los Angeles. This, obviously, is a tribute band to Mongo Santamaria, reprising his songbook, with typical flair. B+(**) [09-16]

Jason Robinson & Eric Hofbauer: Two Hours Early, Ten Minutes Late: Duo Music of Ken Aldcroft (2018 [2020], Accretions): Aldcroft was a Toronto guitarist, died at 46 in 2016, left a pretty scattered legacy, ranging from AIMToronto to his Hat & Beard duo. I don't see a direct connection to the two Americans playing these duets -- tenor sax and guitar -- but they have a disjointed, somewhat Monkian aspect. B+(**) [cd]

Christian Rønn/Aram Shelton: Multiring (2018 [2020], Astral Spirits): Danish keyboard player, doesn't really seem to be a jazz guy -- 6 years studying church organ, with sides in electronic music, ambient drone, microtonal composition, and soundtracks -- provides an engaging counterpoint for the latter's alto sax. B+(**) [bc]

Roots Magic: Take Root Among the Stars (2019 [2020], Clean Feed): Italian quartet, third album: Alberto Popolla (clarinets), Errico De Fabritiis (alto/baritone sax), bass, and drums, plus guest flute on two tracks, vibes on one. Starts off with an irresistible rhythm track, covers blues (Skip James, Charley Patton) and jazz (Sun Ra, Ornette Coleman, Kalaparusha, John Carter, Charles Tyler), with the occasional hot spot. B+(***)

Benny Rubin Jr. Quartet: Know Say or See (2019 [2020], Benny Jr. Music): Saxophonist (tenor/alto), from Flint, MI; second album, quartet with piano-bass-drums, hard bop with harder leads. B+(***) [cdr]

Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra: Data Lords (2019 [2020], ArtistShare, 2CD): Composer/conductor, ninth album since 1994, runs an 18-piece big band including guitar and accordion, mostly famous names, almost universally praised, at least since 2004's Concert in the Garden. Two discs: "The Digital World" and "Our Natural World." Not much difference between them. Her instrument is orchestra, showing her mastery of moving the pieces around for dramatic effect and just to set moods. I've never found that very appealing, even when I've been momentarily impressed. B+(**) [cd]

Radam Schwartz Organ Big Band: Message From Groove and GW (2020, Arabesque): Organ player, half-dozen records going back as far as 1988. The big band is short on trombones (but they do get a lot of solo space), with an organ-guitar-drums rhythm section -- cover gives drummer David F. Gibson a shout out, but doesn't mention guitarist Charlie Sigler. "GW" is a nod to the late Gerald Wilson, who once played with Richard Holmes, nicknamed Groove, pretty descriptive there and here. B+(***) [cd]

Andy Shauf: The Neon Skyline (2020, Anti-): Canadian singer-songwriter, sixth album since 2006. B+(**)

Lawrence Sieberth Quartet: An Evening in Paris (2020, Musik Blöc): Pianist, based in New Orleans, handful of albums going back to the 1980s. Recorded this one in Paris, with Stephane Guillaume (sax), Michel Benita (bass), and Jeff Boudreaux (drums). B+(**) [cd] [09-24]

Somi With Frankfurt Radio Big Band: Holy Room: Live at Alte Oper (2019 [2020], Salon Africana): Jazz singer-songwriter Laura Kabasomi Kakoma, born in Illinois, parents from Uganda and Rwanda, half-dozen albums since 2003, gets big band backing here, arranged by John Beasley, featuring Hervé Samb (guitar) and Toru Dodo (piano). Good singer, runs long. B+(*) [cd]

Sparks: A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip (2020, BMG): Brothers Ron and Russell Mael, new wave pop band from Los Angeles, released their debut as Halfnelson in 1971, their best title in 1973 (A Woofer in Tweeter's Clothing), then got picked up by Island for three albums. I was briefly infatuated with them, but quickly grew annoyed and held a long-term grudge as they've cranked out new albums every few years. This is their highest US chart since 1974's Propaganda. Still annoying. C+

Speaker Music: Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry (2020, Planet Mu): DeForrest Brown Jr., "a New York-based theorist, journalist, and curator . . . a representative of the Make Techno Black Again campaign." Maia Sanaa's opening testimony of powerful and touching. A second tract is more pragmatic and less inspired. The beats hold up on their own, at least until the final track rattles my nerves. It's called "It is the Negro Who Represents the Revolutionary Struggles for a Classless Society." Comes with a 45 page PDF, which I haven't seen. A-

Speaker Music: Of Desire, Longing (2019, Planet Mu): DeForrest Brown Jr., raised in the deep South, moved to New York 7 years ago, first album, two 23-minute pieces, "With Empathy," and "Without Excess." B+(**) [bc]

Speaker Music: Processing Intimacy (2019-20 [2020], Planet Mu): A "reassessment" of material from Of Desire, Longing, five parts squeezed into a single 45:51 track. Bits of industrial warble, scales up nicely. B+(***) [bc]

Speaker Music: Percussive Therapy (2020, Planet Mu, EP): Four tracks, 17:50. Starts with more focus on the drums (or whatever they are), but ends up in the electronic ether. B+(**) [bc]

Thumbscrew: The Anthony Braxton Project (2019 [2020], Cuneiform): Trio, fifth album, the subject a natural given that Tomas Fujiwara (drums/vibraphone) and Mary Halvorson (guitar) studied under him, and Michael Formanek (bass) played in Braxton's legendary 1980s Quartet. Braxton's compositions have always been opaque to me, leaving me with the fascination of his playing around them. Halvorson has that same effect. A- [dl]

Charles Tolliver: Connect (2019 [2020], Gearbox): Trumpet player, main period recording was 1968-88, though he returned with two 2007-09 records, and now this one. Started out on the left fringe of hard bop, and hasn't budged much. Recorded this in England with Jesse Davis (alto sax) and Keith Brown (piano), adding Binker Golding (tenor sax) for 2 (of 4) tracks. B+(***)

Trio Linguale [Kevin Woods/John Stowell/Miles Black]: Signals (2019 [2020], Origin): Trumpet, guitar, piano, no rhythm section, so they offer a leisurely meander. The guitar, from a veteran master, is most distinctive. B+(*) [cd]

Tropos: Axioms // 75 AB (2019 [2020], Biophilia): Quintet: Laila Smith (voice), Raef Sengupta (alto sax), Phillip Golub (piano), Zachary Lavine (bass), Mario Layne Fabrizio (drums). First album, celebrating Anthony Braxton's 75th birthday with a mix of his songs and original pieces. While the music is fascinating, Braxton doesn't have much of a future in karaoke. [Package but no CD.] B+(*)

Matt Ulery: Pollinator (2019 [2020], Woolgathering): Chicago bassist, tenth album since 2012, plays sousaphone here, in a sextet with trumpet, trombone, tenor sax, piano, and drums. Has an upbeat party vibe, before it gets too serious. B++(**)

Colter Wall: Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs (2020, La Honda): Canadian alt-country singer-songwriter, works in some oldies. B+(**)

The Trevor Watts Quartet: The Real Intention (2019 [2020], Fundacja Sluchaj): British alto/soprano saxophonist, leader of Amalgam back in the 1970s, backed by Veryan Weston (piano), John Edwards (bass), and Mark Sanders (drums). Free jazz, testy early but builds up considerable energy by the end. B+(**) [bc]

Paul Weller: On Sunset (2020, Polydor): Singer-songwriter from England, led the Jam (1976-82) and the Style Council (1983-89), went solo with an eponymous album in 1992, 14 more studio albums since then -- all 15 charted in UK (debut peaked at 8, one 5, one 4, rest either 1 or 2), only one cracked the US charts (Sonik Kicks at 166 in 2012). B

Kamaal Williams: Wu Hen (2020, Black Focus): British keyboardist, second studio album under his own name, also has a DJ-Kicks mixtape, and several records as Henry Wu, something this title plays on. Saxophonist Quinn Mason lifts this out of its pop jazz groove, but without him it keeps sliding back. B+(*)

Matt Wilson Quartet: Hug! (2019 [2020], Palmetto): Drummer, many records, adventurous quartet with Jeff Lederer (saxes), Kirk Knuffke (cornet), and Chris Lightcap (bass). Interesting music, including covers from Abdullah Ibrahim and Roger Miller. One spoil moment samples Donald Trump announcing the Space Force, which segues into Sun Ra with the band singing "Interplanetary Music." B+(**) [cd]

Otomo Yoshihide/Chris Pitsiokis: Live in Florence (2018 [2020], Astral Spirits): Prolific Japanese guitarist, also turntables here, Discogs lists 119 albums since 1989; duets with alto saxophonist, also credited with electronics. Experimental, rather ragged and harsh, but has some appeal. B+(*) [dl]

Recent Reissues, Compilations, Vault Discoveries

Harry Beckett: Joy Unlimited (1974 [2020], Cadillac): Trumpet player (1935-2010), originally from Barbados, moved to UK in 1954, played in a number of important British jazz bands. With Ray Russell (guitar), Brian Miller (piano), bass, and drums. Opens with tension and edge, eventually settling for groove. B+(**)

Doug Hammond/David Durrah/Charles Burnham: Reflections in the Sea of Nurnen (1975 [2020], Tribe): Drummer, sings some, first album, original cover listed eight musicians, Hammond and Durrah (keyboards) first, Burnham (violin) well down the list. B

Bob James: Once Upon a Time: The Lost 1965 New York Studio Sessions (1965 [2020], Resonance): Pianist, has long been a smooth jazz fixture, especially with his group Fourplay, but had a few misadventures as a youth, including a 1965 ESP-Disk album called Explosions, which was impressively avant. These two previously unreleased sessions, both trios, date from the same year, but are more mainstream, and fairly impressive as well. B+(**) [cd]

Nkem Njoku & Ozzobia Brothers: Ozobia Special (1980s [2020], BBE): Igbo highlife, presumably from Nigeria, seems to be only album, leader sings, no one named Ozzobia (or Ozobia) in the credits. Draws on Ghanian highlife, touted as a classic album, not as slick as Lagos juju, but catchy as can be. A- [bc]

Nublu Orchestra Conducted by Butch Morris: Live in Sao Paulo (2008 [2020], Nublu): Morris (1947-2013) came up with a system of conducted improvisations (conduction), and applied it extensively in his 1988-95 10-CD box Testament. He organized this group for a stand at Nublu, a club in Manhattan's Lower East Side, and they released an album in 2007, before going on tour. Plan now is to release a dozen live albums at monthly intervals. This is the second, looks like most of the 9 musicians and 4 vocalists were picked up in Brazil. Only two horns -- Graham Haynes on cornet and Ilhan Ersahin on tenor sax -- keyboards, and double guitar-bass-drums. B+(*)

Oneness of Juju: African Rhythms 1970-1982 (1970-82 [2020], Black Fire, 2CD): African-inspired group based in Richmond, Virginia, led by saxophonist James "Plunky" Branch, simply called Juju early on (1970-74). Aside from the drums, they mostly come off as a funk group, with a bit of sax. B+(**)

Hideto Sasaki-Toshiyuki Sekine Quartet Plus 1: Stop Over (1976 [2020], BBE): Japanese group, leaders play trumpet and piano, accompanied by alto sax (Noriyasu Watanabe), bass, and drums. Hard bop with a lush overgrowth, comparison given is to Kenny Dorham. B+(**) [bc]

Shirley Scott: One for Me (1974 [2020], Arc): Organ player (1934-2002), known as "Queen of the Organ," 45 LPs starting with Great Scott! in 1958, slowed down after leaving Impulse! in 1967 and divorced Stanley Turrentine in 1971, recording this for Strata East. With Harold Vick (tenor sax, in fine form) and Billy Higgins (drums). B+(***) [bc]

Sleaford Mods: All That Glue (2013-20 [2020], Rough Trade): British duo, James Williamson and Andrew Fearn, spoken word over punkish strum and drums, got noticed for their working class rage, their biggest hit last year's Eton Alive. They cash in here with a compilation of odds and sods ("a collection of songs spanning the last seven years of the bands career"). Unsure of dates, but most that I can pin down were 2013-15 singles. Good to hear them angry again. B+(***)

The Stooges: Live at Goose Lake: August 8th, 1970 (1970 [2020], Third Man): A month (and a day) after their second album, Fun House, dropped, reprising all seven songs, and nothing else. Awkward, sloppy, has some cathartic moments in "Fun House," then blows up. B

Horace Tapscott With the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra: Ancestral Echoes: The Covina Sessions, 1976 (1976 [2020], Dark Tree): Pianist, a major figure in Los Angeles jazz, his large group here more a scene than a mere band. A- [cd]

Luiz Carlos Vinhas: O Som Psicodélico De L.C.V. (1968 [2020], Mad About): Brazilian pianist, made his mark in bossa nova from 1963, takes a stab at psychedelica here. B+(*) [bc]

Gillian Welch: Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs, Vol. 1 (2002 [2020], Acony): Folksinger, turned some heads with her 1996 album Revival (A- in my book), although Christgau was quick to pan her (B-). Boots seems to be her authorized bootleg series, begun in 2016 with outtakes from Revival. These songs were reportedly recorded to wrap up a record contract, but went lost along the way. B+(*)

Zam Groove: Music From Zambia ([2020], SWP): "2 deep trance tracks by xylophone master Crispin Mutanuka, 3 shining examples of the Barotse Guitar style by the Lipa Band and Libala Band, and 2 sparkling tracks with the kalimba and golden voice of Mufrika Edward." Adds up to 7 tracks, 34:36, collected by Zambian-born field-recordist Michael Baird, and that's all I know. B+(*) [bc]

Old Music

Ewa Bem With Swing Session: Be a Man [Polish Jazz Vol. 65] (1981 [1982], Polskie Nagrania Muza): Singer, backed by trumpeter Henryk Majewski's swing band. First side in English, starting with a six-song medley and adding four more standards from "Misty" to "Groovin' High." She's very good at this. Second side is in Polish, no less swinging. B+(**)

Bilal: Love for Sale (2001-03 [2006], bootleg): Neo-soul singer-songwriter Bilal Sayeed Oliver, from Philadelphia, first album 2001, three more 2010-15, this would-be second effort shelved as too avant but leaked in 2006. Seems like an extreme example of the slack and disjointed rhythm the genre the leaning into at the time, minus the usual slickness. "Hollywood" is a good example. B+(**) [yt]

Ian Carr With Nucleus: Solar Plexus (1971, UMC): Scottish trumpet player (1933-2009), best known for his quintet co-led by Don Rendell (1964-69) and his fusion group Nucleus (1969-89). Fairly large group with either Harry Beckett or Kenny Wheeler joining on trumpet, three saxes (Karl Jenkins also played oboe and keyboard, as did Keith Winter), guitar (Chris Spedding), two basses, drums (John Marshall), although many other folks passed through the band at some point. Third group album (first with Carr's name singled out). B+(**)

Nucleus: Elastic Rock (1970, Vertigo): Debut of Ian Carr's fusion band, a sextet, mostly players with long and distinguished careers in British jazz: leader played trumpet, Karl Jenkins (bari sax, oboe, keyboards), Brian Smith (tenor/soprano sax, flute), Chris Speeding (guitar), Jeff Clyne (electric bass), John Marshall (drums). Slightly exotic, nothing revolutionary. B+(*)

Nucleus: We'll Talk About It Later (1970 [1971], Vertigo): Same group, Jenkins is the principal writer (4.5 songs), followed by Carr and Cline (2 co-credits) and Marshall (1 half). Both energy and chops advance. Last two songs have vocals. Don't see a credit, but both are Carr co-writes, and they're actually pretty good. B+(***)

Ian Carr With Nucleus Plus: Labyrinth (1973, Vertigo): Artist list after Plus: Kenny Wheeler, Brian Smith, Tony Levin, Roy Babbington, Clive Thacker, Tony Coe, Gordon Beck, Norma Winstone, Dave MacRae, Trevor Tomkins -- only one not in that list is Carr. The guests pull the band in various ways -- especially Winstone, to the atmospherics her voice usually dwells in. B+(*)

Ian Carr's Nucleus: Roots (1973, Vertigo): Band stripped back down to a sextet plus singer (Joy Yates), with only Carr and Brian Smith (reeds) returning from more than one album back. B+(*)

Nucleus: Under the Sun (1974, Vertigo): Sixth album, considerable churn in the lineup, with Bob Bertles on sax, Gordon Beck and Geoff Castle on keyboards, two guitars, the bassist and drummer writing one song each. Still Carr's band, and best when he takes charge. Starting to lose interest otherwise. B

Nucleus: Snakehips Etcetera (1975, Vertigo): Last of eight 1970-75 albums for Vertigo: band lasted a few more years, with various labels, and has regrouped for occasional live gigs. Playing out the string here, faithful to the core fusion verities of power and propulsion, with maybe a bit of outer space. B+(*)

Nucleus: Alleycat (1975, Vertigo): Cover image looks like a leopard. Ian Carr's band is back down to six: saxes (Bob Bertles), guitar (Ken Shaw), keyboards (Geoff Castle), bass guitar (Roger Sutton), drums (Roger Sellers), with Carr playing synthesizer as well as trumpet and flugelhorn. B+(*)

Nucleus & Ian Carr: Torrid Zone: The Vertigo Recordings 1970-1975 (1970-75 [2019], Esoteric, 6CD): Having listened to all of this piecemeal (9 albums), I can pretend to having listened to the box. The mainstream jazz market collapsed in the late 1960s, and fusion (cf. Miles Davis and/or John McLaughlin) seemed like a way out, although few other artists really distinguished themselves. The early albums were most vital, with several musicians moving on to take over Soft Machine, while leader Ian Carr plugged on, producing records that weren't all that inspired, but no worse than what Weather Report in the US. A lot of important musicians passed through this band, but few did their best work here. Wish I could claim more historical value, but fusion repeatedly turned into a dead-end genre, even though the impulse is eternal, and occasionally shakes us up. B+(*)

John Chibadura: The Best of John Chibadura ([1986], ZMC): From Zimbabwe (1957-99), original surname Nyamukokoko, nickname refers to his guitar prowess (impressive, indeed), recorded an album with Sunguru Boys in 1985, more with Tembo Brothers. Discogs has nothing before 1983, and I can't place these ten titles. Fast and catchy, more like a single slice than a career retrospective -- this appears to have been released just as his short career was starting. A-

Shirley Collins: Sweet England (1959, Argo): English folksinger, sings and plays banjo, first album, Alan Lomax produced. High, lonesome voice, pretty basic guitar and banjo, still comes back to haunt you. B+(**)

Shirley Collins: False True Lovers (1959, Folkways): Cover text: "A collection of British love songs about love, adapted and sung by Shirley Elizabeth Collins of Sussex, England, with guitar and five-string banjo accompaniment by John Halsted, Ralph Rinzler, Guy Carawan and Miss Collins. With notes by Alan Lomax." B+(*)

Shirley Collins/Davy Graham: Folk Roots, New Routes (1964, Decca): Graham plays guitar -- indeed, his first (1963) album was called The Guitar Player. More elegant, but I rather miss the banjo. B+(*)

Shirley Collins and the Albion Country Band: No Roses (1971, Pegasus): English folksinger, perhaps the most famed of the age, introduces a large band which later sported leader Ashley Hutchings' moniker, and continued to record with Collins through 1980, when she retired (until her 2016 return). Band lists 25 names, including some like Lol Coxhill I know from jazz. Indeed, my favorite thing here is the horns, but then I've never been much of an English folk fan. B+(***)

Ducks Deluxe: Side Tracks & Smokers (1973-2009 [2010], Jungle): Six "rough mixes" from the eponymous debut sessions, sound great not least because they're looser than the final takes; two b-sides; eight live tracks from the Sean Tyla-Martin Belmont reunion band -- two Dylans I'd drop, three more bar band covers, two basic Tylas, a 9:19 "Teenage Head." B+(**)

Extra Ball: Birthday [Polish Jazz Vol. 48] (1976, Polskie Nagrania Muza): Polish fusion band, first of six albums 1976-83, led by guitarist Jaroslaw Smietana, with tenor sax, keyboards, bass, and drums. B

Michael Garrick Trio: Moonscape (1964 [2007], Trunk, EP): British pianist (1933-2011), first recorded in 1958, played with Ian Carr and Don Rendell in their 1965-69 quintet, occasionally recorded under his own name up to 1978, took a break, returned in 1994. Early trio with Dave Green on bass (John Taylor 1 cut) and Colin Barnes on drums. Short, six tracks, 23:28. Fine pianist, makes quite an impression. B+(***)

Michael Garrick Sextet With Don Rendell and Ian Carr: Prelude to Heart Is a Lotus (1968 [2014], Gearbox): The Heart Is a Lotus is a 1970 Garrick album, on Vocalion. This precursor was cut for BBC Jazz, with four members of the Rendell/Carr Quintet, Coleridge Goode taking over bass, and Jim Philip on flute. Long on texture. B+(**) [bc]

Michael Garrick: The New Quartet (2001 [2002], Jazz Academy): Garrick returned from a 15-year hiatus in 1993 with a trio, then produced a few big band records during the 1990s. Small group here with Martin Hathaway (soprano/alto sax), Paul Moylan (bass), and Alan Jackson (drums). Four originals, four more from the band, covers of Benny Golson, Joe Harriott, Duke Ellington, and Jaco Pastorius. A lot going on here. Surprised the saxophonist hasn't had a more of a career. A-

Garricks' Strings Quartet: Green and Pleasant Land (2003, Jazz Academy): The plural reflects two Garricks in the lineup, pianist Michael and his son Chris Garrick on violin, the group rounded out with guitar (Dominic Ashworth) and bass (Paul Moylan), so not your typical string quartet, but a right fair piece of chamber jazz. Closes with a nice Anita Wardell vocal. B+(*)

The Michael Garrick Trio: Gigs: Introducing Mick Garrett . . . ([2008], Jazz Academy): No info on when this was recorded, but title and picture mark it as early. Trios with bass (Dave Green, Paul Moylan) and drums (Trevor Tomkins, Alan Jackson) -- Green and Tomkins played with him in the Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet (1965-69), and they continued in his groups through 1973 (Green goes back at least to 1962); Jackson was in a 1978 quartet, and returned in the 2001 New Quartet, which is where Moylan finally appears. B+(*)

Johnny Griffin/Steve Grossman: Johnny Griffin & Steve Grossman Quintet (2000 [2001], Dreyfus): Two tenor saxophonists, the elder a seasoned brawler in such contexts, backed by piano (Michael Weiss), bass (Pierre Michelot), and drums (Alvin Queen), selected from three nights in Paris. Title cut is one of three Grossman songs, matched by three from Griffin, with one from Weiss, two standards. Spirited jousts, nice ballad turns. [Napster has this as Take the "D" Train, but no evidence of that on cover. It is the lead song title.] B+(***)

Steve Grossman: Some Shapes to Come (1973 [1974], PM): Tenor saxophonist, played for Miles Davis in his early 1970s fusion bands, so plays some soprano as well. With electric piano (Jan Hammer), electric bass (Gene Perla), and percussion (Don Alias), this builds on a fusion groove, but the saxophonist takes charge and delivers on his ambitious title. A-

Steve Grossman: Terra Firma (1975-76 [1977], PM): Same quartet, bassist Gene Perla produces and wrote two pieces, vs. one for percussionist Don Alias, four for the tenor saxophonist, wailing strong over fusion beats. B+(***)

Steve Grossman: Way Out East, Volume 1 (1984, RED): Tenor sax trio with Juni Booth (bass) and Joe Chambers (drums). He's turned away from fusion and become a mainstream player, relying on his tone and dynamics, with one original, seven standards. B+(**)

Steve Grossman: Way Out East, Volume 2 (1984, RED): Continues with the second of two days at Studio 7 in Milan. More standards ("Body and Soul," "Trane's Slow Blues," "Soultrane," etc.). B+(**)

Steve Grossman: Love Is the Thing (1985 [1986], RED): Quartet with Cedar Walton (piano), David Williams (bass), and Billy Higgins (drums). B+(***)

Steve Grossman Trio: Bouncing With Mr. A.T. (1989 [1996], Dreyfus): Refers to drummer Art Taylor (1929-95), who's led albums with Mr. A.T. in the title, and who's bounced with everyone from Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk through Jackie McLean, John Coltrane, Gene Ammons, up to the tenor saxophonist here. With Tyler Mitchell on bass, A.T. brings out the saxophonist's uproarious best. A-

Steve Grossman: Live at Café Praga (1990 [1991], Timeless): Quartet, recorded live in Bologna with piano (Fred Henke), bass, and drums. Five extended pieces. B+(***)

Steve Grossman: My Second Prime (1990 [1991], RED): Discogs shows a steady stream of albums from his 1974 debut up to 1994, when he begins to slow down. Recorded at Spezia Jazz Festival on Dec. 17, probably why they picked "The Christmas Song"), with piano (Fred Henke), bass, and drums. Two originals, one from Henke, and three covers, ranging fast and slow, averaging 10 minutes. B+(*)

Steve Grossman: Do It (1991, Dreyfus): Tenor sax quartet with Barry Harris (piano), Reggie Johnson (bass), and Art Taylor (drums). Back to bebop roots (if not his, then A.T.'s), with three Powells, two Monks, one Dameron (a gorgeous "Soultrane"). Opens with "Cherokee," closes with Charlie Parker's "Chi Chi." B+(***)

Steve Grossman Quintet Featuring Harold Land: I'm Confessin' (1992 [2007], Dreyfus): Two tenor saxophonists, each lay out one track. Backed by Fred Henke (piano), Reggie Johnson (bass), and Jimmy Cobb (drums). B+(**)

Steve Grossman + Cedar Walton Trio: A Small Hotel (1993, Dreyfus): With Walton on piano, David Williams (bass) and Billy Higgins (drums). B+(***)

Steve Grossman/Michel Petrucciani: Quartet (1998 [1999], Dreyfus): Tenor saxophonist in much larger type, followed by the French pianist, without listing Andy McKee (bass) and Joe Farnsworth (drums). One original each, rest standards, mostly ballads, often lovely. B+(***)

Hagaw: Do You Love Hagaw? [Polish Jazz Vol. 12] (1967, Polskie Nagrania Muza): Polish trad jazz band led by banjo player Gregorz Brudko, with trumpet, trombone, sax, violin, bass, and drums, tilts the balance toward the strings. Asocjacja Hagaw recorded ten albums through 1986. B+(**)

Steve Harris: ZAUM (2002, Slam): British drummer (1948-2008), played in a rock band in the late 1960s (Woody Kern), a jazz-funk outfit from 1987 on (Pinski Zoo), formed this group in 2001, named after a Russian Futurist concept. With Cathy Stevens (six string violectra, viola), Geoff Hearn (tenor, soprano sax), Karen Wimhurst (clarinet, bass clarinet), Udo Dzierzanowski (guitar). "Instant compositions" -- works in large part because the group is so intricately balanced. A-

Steve Harris/ZAUM: Above Our Heads the Sky Splits Open (2004 [2007], Amazon): This record was awarded a Penguin Guide crown in their 8th edition, and may be the only crown album I never picked up. Sax, clarinet, two guitars, a sampler, a bunch of strings. The simplest rhythmic-focused tracks are terrific (e.g., "Trouble at house-for-one"), but the strings lack such immediate appeal -- at least until the 19:43 closer ("White pass ink black moon") puts it all together. A- [bc]

Steve Harris/ZAUM: The Little Flash of Letting Go (2004-05 [2005], Spitz Live): Band is stripped down a bit here: one horn (Geoff Hearn on tenor sax), two guitars, the strings reduced to Cathy Stevens (viola, electric violin). Also sampler on two tracks. Again, best track comes last. B+(***) [bc]

Steve Harris/ZAUM: A Is for Ox (2006-07 [2008], Amazon): Live tracks, group has extra guitar and piano, meanders some, takes shape with Geoff Hearn's saxophones. B+(***) [bc]

Jimmy Heath: The Quota (1961 [1995], Riverside/OJC): Tenor saxophonist, from Philadelphia, part of a very talented family, including two famous brothers here: Percy (bass) and Albert (drums, aka Tootie). Sextet, with Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Julius Watkins (French horn), and Cedar Walton (piano). Shows a flair for arranging here. B+(**)

Jimmy Heath: Triple Threat (1962 [1998], Riverside/OJC): "Featuring the compositions, arrangements and tenor sax of," with the same sextet. B+(**)

Jimmy Heath: Nice People: The Riverside Collection (1959-64 [1988], Riverside/OJC): Eight songs from as many sessions, from six albums, mostly groups of 5 or 6, with 4 and 9 outliers. [CD adds two more tracks.] Not an especially flashy player, he put a lot of effort into arranging his group sound. The differences add a bit of variation while never breaking the flow. A-

Jimmy Heath: Picture of Heath (1975, Xanadu): His records thin out after his 1959-64 Riversides, aside from a series on Columbia and Antilles from 1978-81 as the Heath Brothers. Don Schlitten's label picked up a lot of name artists quick in 1975, but few returned for more albums. This is a one-shot with Barry Harris (piano), Sam Jones (bass), and Billy Higgins (drums). One time he really gets to play. A-

Jimmy Heath: Peer Pleasure (1987, Landmark): Last of three 1974-87 albums released on Landmark. Heath plays soprao and alto as well as his usual tenor sax. With Tony Purrone (guitar), Larry Willis (piano, 4/7 tracks), Stafford James (bass), and Akira Tana (drums), plus Tom Williams (trumpet/flugelhorn) on three tracks. B+(**)

Jimmy Heath Quartet: You've Changed (1991 [1992], SteepleChase): First of two albums Heath recorded for the Danish label, with guitar (Tony Purrone), bass (Ben Brown), and drums (Albert Heath). Three originals, four standards. Guitar's a nice touch, very compatible with his tone. B+(***)

Jimmy Heath Quartet: You or Me (1995, SteepleChase): Another straightforward quartet, same guitar and drums, new bassist (Kiyoshi Kitagawa). Slight shift toward ballads, with four originals, covers from Ellington, Dameron, Duke Pearson, and Blue Mitchell. A very nice one. A-

The Jimmy Heath Big Band: Turn Up the Heath (2004-06 [2006], Planet Arts): He always fancied himself as an arranger, so big bands were a natural expansion -- starting with 1992's Little Man Big Band. Two sessions and guest slots, so there's a lot of churn in the credits: constants include lead horn players -- Frank Greene (trumpet), Mark Gross (alto sax), John Mosca (trombone) -- Jeb Patton (piano), Peter Washington (bass), and Lewis Nash (drums). B+(**)

The Heath Brothers: Marchin' On! (1976, Strata-East): From Philadelpha, each famous in their own right: Jimmy Heath (flute, tenor/soprano sax), Percy Heath (bass), Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums), played together on Jimmy's early albums but inaugurated this group here, recording seven albums through 1981, three more later. Band is rounded out with Stanley Cowell (piano), who gets featuring credit on the cover. Starts out with Albert playing flute on an Ellington piece, but doesn't pick up until Percy's infections "The Watergate Blues." B+(**) [yt]

Heath Brothers: Brotherly Love (1981 [1982], Antilles): After their Strata-East debut and four 1978-80 albums on Columbia, the brothers landed on Island's spinoff label for two records. Just Jimmy and Percy here -- Albert is missing (just Jimmy and Percy on the cover), replaced by Akira Tana on drums, with Tony Purrone on guitar and Stanley Cowell on keyboards. B+(*)

Heath Brothers: As We Were Saying . . . (1997, Concord): Long break before they resurfaced, Tootie back on drums, with either Sir Roland Hanna or Stanley Cowell on piano, trumpet and trombone on three tracks (Jon Faddis and Slide Hampton), guitar (Mark Elf) on four, percussion (James Mtume) on one. Bouncy, vibrant, a bit slick. B+(**)

Heath Brothers: Endurance (2008 [2009], Jazz Legacy): Percy Heath, the eldest brother, died at 81 in 2005, so here they're back down to two: Jimmy and Tootie. Joined by Jeb Patton (piano) and David Wong (bass). B+(**)

High Society: High Society [Polish Jazz Vol. 18] (1969 [1970], Polskie Nagrania Muza): Trad jazz group from Gliwice, septet, seems to be their only album, not much about the musicians, although Witold Wertel (soprano sax) and Leszek Furman (piano) are the only ones with writing/arranging credits, and the banjo (Jan Piecha) is strong throughout. B+(***)

The Keith Ingham-Harry Allen Quintet: My Little Brown Book: A Celebration of Billy Strayhorn's Music, Volume One (1993 [1994], Progressive): English pianist, retro swing player from the late 1970s on, moved to New York in 1978, often starring on other folks' albums -- Marty Grosz's Unsaturated Fats (1990) is a favorite. Here with a fresh-faced tenor saxophonist, doing what they love most, with guitar (Chris Flory), bass (Denis Irwin), and drums (Chuck Riggs). A-

The Harry Allen-Keith Ingham Quintet: The Intimacy of the Blues: A Celebration of Billy Strayhorn's Music, Volume Two (1993 [1994], Progressive): Swapped the credit around, but same band, same three-day session. Caveat here is that Napster only has 7/16 tracks, but I'd be surprised if I ever find a more drop-dead gorgeous take of "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing," and I've heard plenty. Note: the focus on ballads here actually does bring Allen to the fore. B+(***)

Keith Ingham: Rockin' in Rhythm (2010 [2011], Arbors): Piano trio with Frank Tate (bass) and Steve Little (drums), nice set of standards including some bop-era jazz pieces (Powell, Lewis, Shorter, Walton). B+(*)

Jazz Band Ball Orchestra: Jazz Band Ball Orchestra [Polish Jazz Vol. 8] (1966, Polskie Nagrania Muza): Trad jazz septet led by pianist Jan Boba, who wrote nearly half of the pieces. The other main composer was Zbigniew Raj, not in the band, otherwise best known for soundtracks. Bright, strong group. B+(***)

Kate NV: Binasu (2017, Orange Milk): First album, shows considerable pop sense. B+(***)

Kate NV: For (2018, RVNG Intl): Half of album title, which like all ten songs is two 3-letter words, the second all caps in English, the first presumably Russian. Symmetry is the concept. The pieces are all instrumental, pretty minimal, and work as such. B+(*)

Krzysztof Komeda-Trzcinski: Komeda [Polish Radio Jazz Archives 04] (1957-62 [2013], Polskie Radio): Poland's most famous jazz composer, legendary long past his early death (at 37 in 1969), even known abroad for his film scores (mostly for Roman Polanski). Trzcinski was his last name, added to some credits here, mostly writing. He was also a MD, so originally used Komeda as a stage name to keep his careers distinct. These are radio shots: four sextet tracks from 1957, three live tracks with Swedish saxophonist Bernt Rosengren, four piano trio tracks from a 1962 concert. Each slice impresses. I haven't figured out why he seems so coherent, but he does. A-

Krzysztof Komeda: Ballet Etudes (1963, Metronome): Title continues: The Music of Komeda: A Jazz Message From Poland Presented by an International Quintet. Recorded in Copenhagen, with Komeda on piano, Jan Wroblewski (tenor sax), Allan Botschinsky (trumpet), Roman Dylag (bass), and Rune Carlsson (drums). The title piece(s) run 21:56. Trumpet drops out on the second side, with long takes of "Crazy Girl" and "Alea" (12:58 + 7:06). A-

Mieczyslaw Kosz: Reminiscence [Polish Jazz Vol. 25] (1971 [1972], Polskie Nagrania Muza): Pianist, died young (age 29 in 1973), only recorded a couple more albums. Backed here by Bronislaw Suchanek (bass) and Janusz Stefanski (drums). Two originals, one from Suchanek, covers from Borodin, Chopin, Liszt, and Lennon/McCartney. Nice, thoughtful touch. Bet he loved Bill Evans. B+(*)

Andrzej Kurylewicz Quintet: Go Right (1963, Polskie Nagrania Muza): Trumpet player (1932-2007), leading a quintet with Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski (tenor sax/flute), Wojciech Karolak (piano), bass, and drums -- songs from the leader and first two. Contemporary bop, strong performances, especially the saxophonist. B+(***)

Andrzej Kurylewicz: Polish Radio Big Band [Polish Jazz Vol. 2] (1964 [1965], Polskie Nagrania Muza): Plays valve trombone here, piano elsewhere, leading a 19-piece big band, mostly wrote "serious music" after 1970, shows some knack for arranging here, with nice charts and solos. B+(**)

Adam Makowicz: Live Embers [Polish Jazz Vol. 43] (1975, Polskie Nagrania Muza): Pianist, born Andrzej Matyszkowicz, clasically trained but more impressed by Art Tatum. Moved to New York in 1978, and wound up in Toronto, so he's relatively well known here. Solo piano, two Scott Joplin tunes, two Coltrane, rest originals. B+(*)

Mieczyslaw Mazur: Rag Swing Time [Polish Jazz Vol. 27] (1971, Polskie Nagrania Muza): Pianist, seems to be his only album, but he also appeared in Ragtime Jazz Band and Old Timers. Delivers on his title, especially with the solo rags to open and close. Adds banjo, guitar, bass, and drums for most cuts. B+(**)

Jerzy Milian Trio: Baazaar [Polish Jazz Vol. 17] (1969 [1970], Polskie Nagrania Muza): Vibraphone/marimba player (1935-2018), recorded a couple dozen albums. Trio presumably with bass and drums, but there are also some flute and vocals (Ewa Wanat). He sounds nothing like the swingers who popularized the instrument, or the tinklers who followed them, or even the later ones who edged into the avant-garde -- moody, I guess. B+(*)

The Wlodzimierz Nahorny Trio: Heart [Polish Jazz Vol. 15] (1967 [1968], Polskie Nagrania Muza): Leader plays alto sax and piano, most distinctly the former, has had a pretty substantial career, which as far as I can tell starts here. Avant, backed by bass and drums, makes a strong impression. B+(***)

Zbigniew Namyslowski: Zbigniew Namyslowski Quartet [Polish Jazz Vol. 6] (1966, Polskie Nagrania Muza): Alto saxophonist, in the 1965 group that recorded Krzysztof Komeda's masterpiece Astigmatic, a prominent Polish jazz figure ever since -- best known to me for his 1973 album Winobranie. Quartet with the future Adam Makowicz on piano, plus bass and drums. A-

Zbigniew Namyslowski Quintet: Kujaviak Goes Funky [Polish Jazz Vol. 46] (1975, Polskie Nagrania Muza): Adds a second saxophonist, Tomasz Szukalski (soprano/tenor), and electric piano (Wojciech Karolak) and lots of bass to go funky. A-

Zbigniew Namyslowski: Zbigniew Namyslowski (1977, Polskie Nagrania Muza): Alto sax quartet, plus extras all the way up to orchestra, nudging them into fusion or something. Scattered, redeemed by occasional sax solos. B

Zbigniew Namyslowski: Standards (2003, Quartet): Quartet plus guest trumpet on one track, trombone on three, all standards starting with "After You've Gone." B+(***)

Zbigniew Namyslowski: Assymetry (2006, Quartet): Quintet, the leader playing soprano as well as his usual alto sax, with trombone, piano, bass, and drums, on all original material. B+(**)

Zbigniew Namyslowski Quintet: Polish Jazz - Yes! [Polish Jazz Vol. 77] (2016, Warner Music Poland): Plays soprano as well as tenor sax, with piano, two guitars, and trombone. B+(**)

NOVI: Bossa Nova [Polish Jazz Vol. 13] (1967, Polskie Nagrania Muza): Vocal group, three male and one female, acronym for New Original Vocal Instruments, also known as NOVI Singers. First of ten albums through 1981. Inspiration may be Brazilian, hinted at in the rhythm, but all original credits, mostly scat blending into choral, with piano-guitar-bass-drums, or sometimes strings. B

Polish Jazz Quartet: Polish Jazz Quartet [Polish Jazz Vol. 3] (1964 [1965], Polskie Nagrania Muza): Polish names are notoriously difficult for English speakers, which has led some to shorten Polish names, or simply to punt, e.g., Polish Notation (PN) for the scheme worked out by Jan Lukasiewicz. Not sure if that's at play here, but here are the names: Jan "Ptaszyn" Wroblewski (tenor sax), Wojciech Karolak (piano), Juliusz Sandecki (bass), and Andrzej Dabrowski (drums). The bassist produced little after this, but the others went on to substantial careers, with Wroblewski touted as "the godfather of Polish jazz." Contemporary bop, well done. B+(**)

The Ragtime Jazz Band: The Ragtime Jazz Band [Polish Jazz Vol. 7] (1966, Polskie Nagrania Muza): Closer to what I think of as trad jazz than to ragtime. Octet, led by cornet player Wladyslaw Dobrowolski, with trumpet, trombone, tuba, clarinet, banjo, piano, and drums. All titles in Polish, credited to band members. B+(**)

Don Rendell: Meet Don Rendell (1954-55 (2001), Jasmine): British tenor saxophonist (1926-2015), started in Johnny Dankworth's band, early recordings as leader: the title comes from a 10-inch LP released on Tempo in 1955, sandwiched here between seven earlier sextet tracks (a bit more trad-oriented) and four later quintet tracks. Nice cool tone, with some swing. B+(***) [yt]

Don Rendell/Bobby Jaspar: Rencontre A Paris (1955, Swing, EP): Two tenor saxophonists, from England and Belgium, in a septet, with French horn (Dave Amram), guitar, piano, bass, and drums, for a six track, 10-inch LP (27:12). [Reissued 2015 on Trunk as Don Rendell Meets Bobby Jasper.] B+(**)

Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet: Shades of Blue (1965, Columbia): Co-led this group with the trumpet player, first of five albums through 1969. With Colin Purbrook (piano), Dave Green (bass), and Trevor Tomkins (drums). Mainstream, shaded blue. B+(*)

Don Rendell/Ian Carr 5tet: Dusk Fire (1966, Columbia): Michael Garrick, a notable British jazz figure in his own right, takes over the piano slot, and writes three songs to Rendell's four (Carr has a co-credit with each). B

Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet: Phase III (1967 [1968], Columbia): Garrick is settling in nicely here, adding energy and clarity, although as jazz goes this remains pretty atmospheric. B+(**)

Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet: Live (1968 [1969], Columbia): Actually recorded in Lansdowne Recording Studios in London, presumably in "live" takes. Rendell plays a fair amount of flute and clarinet in addition to his tenor/soprano saxes, adding atmosphere to the persistent rhythm. B+(***)

Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet: Change Is (1969, Columbia): A final studio album, same group except for Jeff Clyne playing bass on one (of six) tracks. I haven't had much to say about Carr, but the fact that he plays flugelhorn as well as trumpet puts him in a line between Art Farmer and Kenny Wheeler -- perhaps too subtle for his own good, but he comes through nicely here. B+(***)

Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet: The Complete Lansdowne Recordings (1965-1969 [2018], Jazzman): This is also available in box form, at least in vinyl (5-LP), only CD I can confirm is a single-disc sampler promo. Group got steadily better, especially as pianist Michael Garrick developed, but were so understated it took me a while, suggesting I've underrated the early albums. Lansdowne, by the way, was the studio they recorded in. The albums were originally released on Columbia [UK]. B+(**)

The Don Rendell Five Featuring Barbara Thompson: Just Music (1974 [1976], Spotlite): Thompson's first record -- like Rendell, she plays tenor sax, soprano, and flute (Rendell also plays clarinet and alto flute). Backed by Peter Lemer (keyboards), bass, and drums. B+(**)

Don Rendell/Ian Carr/Michael Garrick: Reunion (2001 [2002], Spotlite): One of the last things in Rendell's discography, although he wound up living longer than his younger colleagues. With trombone, bass, and drums. Eases into the traffic, but speeds up and before long they're enjoying themselves, ending with old standbys "How Deep Is the Ocean" and "Struttin' With Some Barbecue." B+(***)

Annie Ross: Sings a Handful of Songs (1963, Everest): Singer was British, had joined Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks for their vocalese trio 1956-62, was back in London when she recorded this splashy set of standards with Johnny Spence & His Orchestra. B

Annie Ross & Pony Poindexter: Recorded at the Tenth German Jazz Festival in Frankfurt (1966, SABA): Credit (or title) continues: "With the Berlin All Stars Feat. Carmell Jones and Leo Wright." Poindexter plays alto/soprano sax and sings, Jones trumpet, Wright alto sax and flute, and the others (piano-guitar-bass-drums) are less stellar. Opens with Poindexter leading a Louis Jordan song, closes with Ross doing "Twisted." B+(*)

Wayne Shorter: Introducing Wayne Shorter (1959 [1960], Vee-Jay): Tenor saxophonist, had graduated from NYU, served in the army, and played for Maynard Ferguson before joining Art Blakey in 1959. This was recorded the day before Blakey's Africaine, with Lee Morgan (trumpet) on both and a different but impressive rhythm section: Wynton Kelly (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Jimmy Cobb (drums). Original 37-minute album is an impressive hard bop debut. If I had to factor in the outtakes added to the CD, I might quibble more. A-

Wayne Shorter: Second Genesis (1960 [1974], Vee-Jay): Second album, albeit one that didn't appear until well after the fact. Another quartet, with Cedar Walton (piano), Bob Cranshaw (bass), and Art Blakey (drums). Five originals, three standards. B+(*)

Wayne Shorter: Etcetera (1965 [1980], Blue Note): Shorter left Art Blakey for Miles Davis in 1964, staying to 1970, during which time he also recorded 11 albums for Blue Note. I've heard most of them, giving Night Dreamer an A- and his 2-CD retrospective The Classic Blue Note Recordings an A, while having various reservations about the others. This is one I missed: a quartet with Herbie Hancock (piano), Cecil McBee (bass), and Joe Chambers (drums), not released until 1980. B+(***)

Wayne Shorter: Schizophrenia (1967, Blue Note): Sextet, with James Spaulding (alto sax/flute), Curtis Fuller (trombone), and a rhythm section of Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Joe Chambers. Mixed bag: hard bop, post-bop, maybe something further out, or just slicker. B+(**)

Wayne Shorter: Moto Grosso Feio (1970 [1974], Blue Note): Recorded a month after Shorter's last appearance with Miles Davis, mostly with Davis alumni: John McLaughlin (guitar), Ron Carter and Dave Holland (bass), Chick Corea (percussion). Only cover is a Nascimento song -- title track is a Shorter original. Aims for a bit of exotica. B+(*)

Wayne Shorter: Odyssey of Iskra (1970 [1971], Blue Note): As Miles Davis reinvented himself in fusion, Shorter jumped ship, and found his own path, recording this just before joining Weather Report. With guitar (Gene Bertoncini), double bass and drums, and more percussion, Shorter is pictured on the cover with his soprano sax. Still, he's not there yet, relying more on tension than groove. B+(**)

Wayne Shorter: Atlantis (1985, Columbia): Shorter only recorded one album on the side during the 1970-85 span of Weather Report -- 1974's Native Dancer. Then he released this, with Jim Walker on flute, Michael Hoenig on synthesizer, electric bass and keybs, Latin percussion, and vocalists. It's hard to pick the leader out from this mess, especially when he plays soprano. C+

Wayne Shorter: Phantom Navigator (1986 [1987], Columbia): Even more credits here (15), although all but the leader fall into four buckets (keyboards, bass, percussion, vocals), so they were most likely slotted interchangeably. Big name is Chick Corea, but he's slumming like the rest. C

Wayne Shorter: Joy Rider (1988, Columbia): Fewer and better musicians here -- Patrice Rushen, Geri Allen, and Herbie Hancock split the keyboard slot, and Dianne Reeves gets the only vocal track. Still doesn't help (but taking a sax solo does). C+

Wayne Shorter: Alegria (2002 [2003], Verve): After a long period of floundering, Shorter revived in 2001 when he put a brilliant new quartet together for his Footprints Live! album, with Danilo Perez (piano), John Patitucci (bass), and Brian Blade (drums). That quartet returns for three tracks here, with a couple dozen more joining in elsewhere, including Robert Sadin as conductor on 4 tracks. Sounds to me like he outsmarted himself. B

Tomasz Stanko Quintet: Music for K (1970 [2004], Polskie Nagrania Muza): Polish trumpeter, had played in Krzysztof Komeda's group in the 1960s, and Globe Unity Orchestra in 1970. This was his first album as leader, a quintet with two saxes, bass, and drums. Free jazz, pretty sharp all around, especially trumpet. Presumably K was Komeda, who died the year before, at 38. A-

Tomasz Stanko: Music 81 [Polish Jazz Vol. 69] (1982 [1984], Polskie Nazrania Muza): Trumpet player, leads an impressive quartet with piano-bass-drums. B+(***)

Andrzej Trzaskowski: The Andrzej Trzaskowski Quintet [Polish Jazz Vol. 4] (1965, Polskie Nagrania Muza): Pianist (1933-98), backed by bass and drums, with Tomasz Stanko (trumpet) and Janusz Muniak (alto/soprano sax). Contemporary bop, starts strong, both on piano and trumpet. B+(**)

Michal Urbaniak's Group: Live Recording [Polish Jazz Vol. 24] (1971, Polskie Nagrania Muza): Violinist, also plays soprano/tenor/baritone saxes. Started in a Dixieland band, played with Komeda and Namyslowski in the 1960s. Moved to New York in 1973, adopted the group name Fusion, but ranges widely. Quartet with Adam Makowicz on piano, starting with the riotous 21:12 "Suite - Jazz Jamboree 70," followed by covers of Komeda's "Crazy Girl" and "Body and Soul." B+(***)

Warsaw Stompers: New Olreans Stompers [Polish Jazz Vol. 1] (1959-64 [1965], Polskie Nagrania Muza): Polish jazz was first noticed in the West through Krzysztof Komeda's soundtracks and Tomasz Stanko joining avant-jazz groups like Globe Unity Orchestra, but it always made sense that there would be some trad jazz bands in the background -- Europe's first introduction to jazz was when the Original Dixieland Jazz Band toured England, and trad jazz remained the dominant form there through the 1950s, spreading elsewhere in Europe wherever you looked. I took a blind chance on a later album by trumpeter Henryk Majewski, clearly out of this tradition, and one of the stars here. This was assembled from six sessions over five years with various lineups -- the only constants are Majewski and Bogdan Ignatowski (banjo). As bright as anything out of London (or New Orleans) at the time. A-

Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski Quartet: Flyin' Lady [Polish Jazz Vol. 55] (1978, Polskie Nagrania Muza): Tenor saxophonist, played in Polish Jazz Quartet (1964), remained important enough to be nicknamed "the godfather of Polish Jazz." Backed by guitar, bass, and drums, hard bop with the occasional funk riff. B+(***)

Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski Sextet: Komeda: Moja Slodka Europejska Ojczyzna [Polish Jazz Vol. 80] (2013 [2018], Warner Music Poland, 2CD): Live tribute, presumably songs from Krzyzstof Komeda, the patron saint of Polish jazz, led by his former tenor saxophonist (albeit 50 years earlier). With Robert Majewski (trumpet), Henryk Miskiewicz (alto sax), Wojciech Niedziela (piano), bass, and drums. Exhaustive, although it does have sweet spots, even majestic ones. B+(**)

Janusz Zabieglinski: Janusz Zabieglinski and His Swinget [Polish Jazz Vol. 9] (1967, Polskie Nagrania Muza): Leader plays clarinet and alto sax, only other album I can find of his is Tribute to Duke (1997), but he was part of the long-running Old Timers group. Sextet, with guitar, piano, bass, drums, and (most distinctively) vibraphone. 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:

Steve Grossman: Time to Smile (1993 [1994], Dreyfus): Quintet with Tom Harrell on trumpet, Willy Pickens on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, but drummer Elvin Jones gets the big print. Probably took exception to Harrell's harmonizing, but the sax is often great, and the rhythm swings. [was: B] B+(**)

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). Gets a little rough in spots, but the guitar is remarkable, and I always like Amado. [was: B+(***)] A- [cd]

Music Weeks

Current count 33914 [33697] rated (+217), 215 [220] unrated (-5).

Excerpts from this month's Music List posts:

August 4, 2020

Music: Current count 33729 [33697] rated (+32), 223 [220] unrated (+3).

After a month-plus of regularly hitting 40+ records per week, my energy and/or patience flagged last week. I started most days with something from the travel cases, or Tougher Than Tough: The Story of Jamaican Music (long out of sight, found it on a top shelf up stairs, along with Fats Waller's If You Got to Ask, You Ain't Got It box. Didn't unpack until Monday, and spent the rest of the day muddling through metacritic lists. After that, didn't feel like writing anything, so put that off a day. Still don't, but will try to touch a few bases.

August 10, 2020

Music: Current count 33774 [33729] rated (+45), 218 [223] unrated (-5).

Most of this week's haul is tied to a question I tried to answer a couple days back. I've done a little editing on my answer since its initial post. Always good to get back and tune some more -- something I rarely manage these days. The big questions concerned British jazz from the 1960s-70s, and also Polish jazz. The question mentioned a list of British and South African musicians by name. My review counts for them are: Joe Harriott (6), Michael Garrick (2), Don Rendell (0), Ian Carr (0), Mike Osborne (2), Tony Coe (4), Harry Beckett (2), Tubby Hayes (6), Chris McGregor (4), Dudu Pukwana (5), Mongezi Feza (1), Johnny Dyani (3), Louis Moholo (6), Annie Whitehead (0), Lindsay Cooper (0). That illuminates some holes in my listening.

I thought I might come up with a reference list of British jazz musicians, but both Google and Wikipedia failed badly -- e.g., neither mentioned Evan Parker, who would certainly top my list with 48 albums. After Parker, my most reviewed British jazz musicians are: Barry Guy (32), John McLaughlin (32), John Surman (27), Dave Holland (25), Tommy Smith (19), John Butcher (17), Paul Dunmall (16), Marian McPartland (15), Billy Jenkins (14), Andy Sheppard (11), Trevor Watts (11), Derek Bailey (10), Elton Dean (9), Alexander Hawkins (9), Stan Tracey (9), Chris Barber (8), Tony Oxley (8), John Taylor (8), Keith Tippett (8). Very likely I've forgotton a few. Further down, you get important musicians like Howard Riley (6), Gordon Beck (5), Paul Rutherford (5), Iain Ballamy (3), Humphrey Lyttleton (3), Ronnie Scott (3), Alan Skidmore (3), Mike Westbrook (3), Acker Bilk (2), Spike Hughes (2), Ken Colyer (1). I've probably slighted most of them.

But rather than try to catch up with British jazz musicians I've missed, I spent much of the week with Polish ones. Mostly it was just easier: Polskie Nagrania Muza (now owned by Warner Music Poland) has a series of 80 volumes of "Polish Jazz," and that's most of what you get when you do a title search for "Polish jazz" on Napster. The immediate appeal was a couple albums I had missed by Tomasz Stanko, and a couple more by Zbigniew Namyslowski -- I've long been a fan of his 1973 album, Winobranie. Most of this week's haul comes from that series, with a few more to come next week (although my interest is finally starting to flag). I wasn't surprised to find a bunch of trad jazz titles, but was pleased to note how well done they were. Indeed, the bop groups were also pretty sophisticated. The only genre that fell short of contemporary standards was 1970s fusion -- which, you may recall, could be pretty bad everywhere.

Two other clusters in the "old music": I started the week with English folksinger Shirley Collins' latest, and thought I'd sample some of her early records (especially one with Albion Dance Band which I used to own, but couldn't find). That didn't last long. The second cluster is from English drummer Steve Harris. I was reminded of him while looking at my list of Penguin Guide crown albums, and his was the only one I hadn't heard. Turns out that both it and a bunch more have recently (2018) been released on Bandcamp. I wound up liking the 2002 ZAUM album even more.

For new music, I worked a few things off my queue -- some of which won't be released until the Fall (it's hard to pace myself with them). Also spent a fair amount of time on the fence over DeForrest Brown Jr.'s latest album, so I wound up listening to his other releases. Listening order below, not release order.

I'll try to get around to some old British jazz this week. See if anything really clicks. Would be great if I could find my old Blue Notes for Monghezi LP, still unrated. Also been looking at the Bandcamp lists, which suggested Speaker Music (also Jenna Camille and Hideto Sasaki).

August 17, 2020

Music: Current count 33814 [33774] rated (+40), 221 [218] unrated (+3).

I thought this was going to be a lax week, but ran the numbers and came up with 40 again. Started off with more Polish jazz left over from last week, plus another ZAUM album. Then Robert Christgau published his August Consumer Guide. As I noted in a tweet, I had previously graded several albums: Car Seat Headrest (A-), Dream Wife (A-), Haim (**), Lori McKenna (A-), X (*). Picked up almost all of the rest below. That leaves Birds of Prey, Deap Vally, and the Boswell Sisters -- I have Sony's That's How Rhythm Was Born (1931-34) in my database (B+); Christgau's pick isn't on Napster, but there are several alternatives. Three of this week's A- records come from Christgau, although only John Chibadura was an easy call -- City Girls and Kehlani could have gone either way, and probably would have fallen short without the encouragement and extra time.

Other suggestions came from all over. A couple were recommended in an Expert Witness Facebook post asking for items on Bandcamp. I can't say as they were particularly good, but they led indirectly to the new Mekons album, which is. I played a couple things I downloaded, and searched for a recent batch of Clean Feed releases. One I looked for but didn't find is a new WHO Trio album of Strayhorn/Ellington compositions. When I saw the Keith Ingham/Harry Allen records, I just had to check them out. When in doubt, I look at Napster's "featured" records, and decided to check out the live Stooges set. That reminded me of two albums I used to have but hadn't entered into the database. I probably should have looked and given them a fresh listen, but the memories were clear enough.

A couple other albums were suggested by working on Christgau Consumer Guides from September last year. Christgau wants to impose an eight month delay on them to give subscribers a sense of exclusivity, so I haven't been in any hurry to tackle them. Anyhow, finally started entering them into my private copy of the website last week. Still not sure what to do about enforcing the delay. I've long had code for handling timelocks on regular pages, so those are working on the CG columns, but I've never imposed delays on database fetches, so that will require new code. It seems to me that the way it should work would be to set up an account management system synched to Christgau's subscription newsletter, so that paid subscribers could also see restricted content on the website, but that would take a lot of work, and it's not clear how to keep the two sites in synch.

I should note that Steve Grossman died last week. I knew him mostly as one of a cluster of mainstream tenor saxophonists from the 1990s -- Bennie Wallace is the one I followed most closely, but I especially liked Grossman's 1991 In New York. Rather surprised to find that I only had one more of his albums in my database. I'll write up more next week. I'm especially glad that I started with his 1973 debut, Some Changes to Come. That dates from his tenure in Miles Davis's great fusion band, and builds thereupon.

August 24, 2020

Music: Current count 33865 [33814] rated (+51), 225 [221] unrated (+4).

Started off last week playing old albums by the late tenor saxophonist Steve Grossman. (I only had two in my database, fondly remembering 1991's In New York.) Turns out I had missed quite a bit. Consistently strong albums, especially in the 1990's, with the Quartet with Michel Petrucciani perhaps closest to the cusp.

Then I went after a long list of British jazz albums suggested by a recent Q&A query: Don Rendell, Ian Carr, and Michael Garrick. I had noticed but didn't pursue recent box sets of the 1965-69 Rendell-Carr Quintet and the Carr's 1970-75 Nucleus group, but as I had listened to everything on separate albums, I figured I could summarize the boxes and assign them a grade. I haven't seen the packaging, so no extra credit there, nor for the convenience of keeping everything together. Garrick, who played a lot with Rendell and/or Carr, is the more significant talent, and also the one I've missed most by. One not below I can heartily recommend is his For Love of Duke . . . and Ronnie (1995-97 [1998], Jazz Academy).

These old jazz albums went fast, but by Friday, when I turned my attention to Weekend Roundup, I hadn't listened to a single new album. I promised to sort my input queue by release date and start picking off the oldest releases, but didn't get to that, and when I did pick out the most promising release I had seen reviewed, Matt Wilson's Hug!, I discovered it's not out until next week. I'll try again next week.

The only things in the Q&A queue are suggestions for artists to explore. One is Jimmy Heath (1926-2020). I only had two of his records in my database before adding his latest/final this week. I'm surprised I don't have his 1992 Little Man Big Band listed -- pretty sure I owned that, although I doubt I've played it since it was new. Heath didn't record as much as others I think of as his peers (Benny Golson, Johnny Griffin, Joe Henderson, Clifford Jordan, maybe Hank Mobley and/or Wayne Shorter), but my sampling -- even against my "shopping list" -- has been relatively sparse. Something to look into.

Another suggestion is Bilal's Love for Sale, recorded 2001-03 and unreleased but leaked in 2006, and evidently pretty easy to find. The guy who wrote up my Wikipedia page has written up an extremely detailed one on this album.

Looking through the week's deaths, I see several familiar musicians: Justin Townes Earle (38, singer-songwriter, son of Steve Earle), Peter King (80, English saxophonist), Charlie Persip (91, drummer), Hal Singer (100, saxophonist). I tracked down several of Singer's albums back in June. I belatedly played Earle's 2019 album, and it's pretty good (see below).

August 31, 2020

Music: Current count 33914 [33865] rated (+49), 215 [225] unrated (-10).

Another big week, closing out a huge five-week month -- the August Streamnotes (link above) collected 216 records, which is close to the record (something I don't have time to research at the moment). Fairly significant dives into old jazz, triggered either by questions or deaths, really pumped up the total. This week the subjects are Wayne Shorter and the late Jimmy Heath (whose new album came out shortly after his death). That left 92 new music albums, plus 14 new compilations of older music. This week I finally took a crack at my demo queue, reducing it by half.

Very few questions of late, but I did post some notes on Heath and Shorter.

Don't have time to write much more. I did save an obituary link for Japanese trumpet player Itaru Oki (1941-2020). I have two of his records in my database. I've also factored Phil Overeem's latest list into my metacritic rankings. One of the new records there (number 2 on the old music list) is Allen Lowe's latest book, packaged with 30 CDs.


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
  • [bc] available at
  • [yt] available at
  • [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