Monday, October 30, 2017

Music Week

Music: Current count 28813 [28799] rated (+14), 405 [398] unrated (+7).

Rated count is the lowest of any week this year -- you probably have to go back to a travel week to find one lower, although this month has been consistently low: 18 last week, 15 the week before, 17 the week before that. Three major reasons/excuses for this week: I took a day off cooking dinner on my birthday (old family favorites, keeping it relatively simple this year); I spent three days playing pretty much nothing but a 5-CD box, American Epic: The Collection; and I hurt myself rather badly, probably strains from moving some heavy (for me, these days) equipment. I'm still feeling pretty crippled, which is why yesterday's Weekend Roundup was so late and short, and this too will be brief. Also brief will be tomorrow's October-ending Streamnotes -- brief because of the light rated weeks all month long, but I doubt I'll write much introduction either.

The equipment story: I finally replaced an old Yamaha receiver with a new Harmon-Kardon unit. The Yamaha had developed an annoying buzz, which I've suffered through for many months now. A friend came over and conclusively proved that it was the Yamaha's fault, and recommended the new unit. I'm very happy with it, but swapping it in wasn't easy. The whole setup is in a large piece of furniture I built back when I lived in New York, so close to forty years ago. It's taller than I am, much wider, deeper too, and weighted down with all of my residual LP collection (about 400 albums). It originally had three equipment shelves: one for the turntable, one for one of those wedge-shaped Nakamichi tape decks, and one on top for an integrated amplifier and tuner. The gear it was built for has expired and been replaced, with one shelf returned to albums, an old turntable resting on top of a CD changer, and now the new receiver filling half of the top.

The problem was moving it all away from the wall to get access to the wires in the back. I also had to add a power strip, since the new receiver doesn't have secondary outlets. And, of course, it all needed cleaning. I still don't have it all put back together. Meanwhile, we have another equipment crisis: local wi-fi has been increasingly flaky. I've planned on replacing it for quite some time, buying a new wi-fi router appliance but never installing it. Looks like I need to do that soon. Unfortunately, it involves getting down on the floor and moving cables. It also means reconfiguring the firewall/router, and ultimately decommissioning a very old Linux box (one I built in NJ before moving to Kansas in 1999). So, some point next week everything breaks, then we scramble to put it back together again.

I thought I might get away for a brief road trip this week, but the way things are going I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever go anywhere again. Might not be so bad if I could report progress on book projects, but all I can claim for last week are new ideas I haven't done anything about. For instance, I thought a bit about writing an essay in the form of "A Letter to the Democrats" -- partly reaction to reading Mark Lilla's short and unconvincing The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics, and partly revulsion with much of what I hear from the all-too-loyal opposition party spokespeople in Washington. (Although, not that anyone cares, the Casey Yingling story here in Kansas could offer a rich lode of material.)

Meanwhile, I've made no progress even on the most pedestrian of all of my projects, the Jazz Guides. Still only 53% through the last of the monster database files.

New records rated this week:

  • Banda Magda: Tigre (2017, GroundUP Music): [r]: B+(*)
  • Peter Bernstein: Signs LIVE! (2015 [2017], Smoke Sessions, 2CD): [r]: B+(**)
  • Cortex: Avant-Garde Party Music (2017, Clean Feed): [r]: B+(***)
  • Dylan Hicks: Ad Out (2017, Soft Launch): [r]: B+(**)
  • Danny Janklow: Elevation (2015 [2017], Outside In Music): [cd]: B
  • Roberto Magris Sextet: Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery (2015 [2017], JMood): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Nicole Mitchell and Haki Madhubuti: Liberation Narratives (2016-17 [2017], Black Earth Music): [cd]: A-
  • Paul Moran: Smokin' B3 Vol. 2: Still Smokin' (2017, Prudential): [cd]: B-
  • Marta Sánchez Quintet: Danza Imposible (2017, Fresh Sound New Talent): [cd]: B+(**)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:

  • American Epic: The Collection (1916-36 [2017], Third Man/Columbia/Legacy, 5CD): [cd]: A
  • American Epic: The Best of Blues (1927-36 [2017], Third Man/Columbia/Legacy): [r]: B+(***)
  • American Epic: The Best of Country (1927-34 [2017], Third Man/Columbia/Legacy): [r]: A-
  • Sky Music: A Tribute to Terje Rypdal (2016 [2017], Rune Grammofon): [cd]: B+(*)

Old music rated this week:

  • Jack DeJohnette: Made in Chicago (2013 [2015], ECM): [dl]: A-
  • Fats Domino: Alive and Kickin' (2000 [2006], Tipitina's): [r]: A-

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Derek Bailey & Greg Goodman: Extracting Fish-Bones From the Back of the Despoiler (1992, The Beak Doctor): vinyl, November 1
  • Rahsaan Barber: The Music in the Night (Jazz Music City): November 3
  • Michelle Coltrane: Awakening (Blujazz)
  • John Gruntfest & Greg Goodman: In This Land All the Birds Wore Hats and Spurs (1984-2008, The Beak Doctor): vinyl, November 1
  • Taylor Haskins & Green Empire: The Point (Recombination): November 7
  • Markley & Balmer: Standards & Covers (Soona Songs)
  • Delfeayo Marsalis: Kalamazoo (Troubadour Jass)
  • Frank Perowsky Jazz Orchestra: Gowanus (Jazzkey)
  • Daniel Rosenthal: Music in the Room (American Melody): November 14
  • Galen Weston: The Space Between (Blujazz)
  • Eric Wyatt: Look to the Sky (Whaling City Sound)
  • Dave Zinno Unisphere: River of January (Whaling City Sound)