Saturday, June 30, 2018


Streamnotes (June 2018)

One last chore to do and I can forget about June 2018, hopefully forever -- it's beginning to make sense why dementia victims forget the most recent shit first. I haven't run the stats, but looks like a pretty average month. The big problem has been working around my major computer crash, but so many things have been going so badly that's a mere highlight.

The reviews below mostly speak for themselves. Nothing systematic in the Old Music section. The Rolling Stones came up almost by accident shortly after the computer crash. I needed to test my Grade List script, and the Rolling Stones were my first test case. I noticed that I had never graded my copy of Black and Blue, so figured that would be an easy unrated record to knock off -- certainly much easier to find on Napster than in the vast disarray of my shelves and bins. I noticed a few other later albums I'd been warned off of, and some more live albums I had missed. Finally, I went back through the separate UK releases of their 1960s albums -- I had all of the US releases already in my database. As you may recall, when the Beatles appeared on CD, they decided to treat the UK releases as canonical, which made a lot of technical and aesthetic sense. (In particular, the UK Help! was a full album of songs, where the US version just included the songs from the movie, separated with stretches of background music.) So when Abkco did a major Stones remaster job, they decided to offer both UK and US versions of common titles. The main difference there was that the US label (London) didn't want to leave any hit singles off the albums (as UK labels often did in the 1960s), and that generally made for better albums. Perhaps had I understood that before I started, I wouldn't have bothered. As it was, I decided not to bother working up cover images for the A/A- UK releases, seeing them as basically inferior to my previosuly graded US versions. (Possible exception there is Between the Buttons, as explained below.)

Among the new music, the album that gave me fits was the new Lily Allen (No Shame). As Michael Tatum wrote to me, "wow, what a falloff." I didn't care for the early single leaks, nor did I enjoy a performance on one of the late night shows. Had I given it a single play -- as I did, e.g., Chvrches (which Tatum likes) -- I probably would have dismissed it with a B. However, her previous album (Sheezus topped my 2014 list) and its predecessor, It's Not Me, It's You is easily my favorite record of this century, so I gave it more chances -- eventually a lot of chances. I found a few things I liked, and gradually set aside several reservations. With my deadline approaching, I gave it one more spin, and wrote it up at B+(**). Next morning, I added a third star. However, over the last few days, I kept running two or three melodies through my head, before eventually realizing they were hers. And that, I figured, was remarkable enough that I should nudge it over the cusp to A-.

Closest analogy I can think of is Steely Dan, who started with three brilliant albums, turned in a troubled fourth that was still terrific, then fell unaccountably flat on their fifth (The Royal Scam). In retrospect they were looking to change their stripes, which they managed on their two later albums (Aja more so than Gaucho; one of those has the line "so sue me if I play too long"). Anyhow, I put a lot of effort into trying to like The Royal Scam, and at least partly succeeded, in large part because they always managed to sound much like themselves.

Another record that benefitted this time from extra plays was the Dave Alvin/Jimmie Dale Gilmore one: clicked on the third or fourth play. But most of the A-list records get 2-3 plays -- two that satisfied me with a single play were Anthony Braxton's Arista Years and the new John Coltrane vault gem. Usually when I get to B+(***) on the first play, I'll give the record another chance to see if it gets any better. The main exception this time was Kamasi Washington, who created something bigger and better than The Epic without convincing me that it's something I'm ever going to care about. It's currently one of the top-rated records of the year at Metacritic and AOTY, and may well deserve to be. But I figure I've already cut it enough slack, and will let that be.


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 May 31. Past reviews and more information are available here (11306 records).


Recent Releases

700 Bliss: Spa 700 (2018, Halcyon Veil/Don Giovanni, EP): Philadelphia hip-hop experiment: lyrics by Moor Mother, production by Haram, mixed by Hprism, mastered by Ase Manual. Five cuts, 13:48. B+(**) [bc]

JD Allen: Love Stone (2018, Savant): Tenor saxophonist, originally from Detroit, has mostly recorded trios with Gregg August (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums), adding guitarist Liberty Ellman here. Has a huge, remarkably clear sound, obvious from the start, but slides into a ballad on the second track and never really returns. B+(**)

Lily Allen: No Shame (2018, Parlophone): Change of pace record after three aces -- the last two tops on my 2009 and 2014 annual lists -- eschewing the "euphoric choruses and monstrous drops" that put Sheezus over the top, aiming for more of "an audio diary." Three singles I sampled early on Napster were underwhelming, but the first official one, "Trigger Bang," is just fine. But she got help there, and indeed two other songs with feat. guests stand out. Elsewhere, takes a while to sink in that the voice in "Three" is her daughter's. And while the last two songs are catchy enough, they're vamps built on obvious clichés. I've given this a lot of time, and I'm disappointed, but I still adore her. And lately I've found myself with a couple of her songs wedged in my cranium. Only other record this month I can say that for is Between the Buttons, and it had a 50 year head start. A-

Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Downey to Lubbock (2018, Yep Roc): Two aging and never more than marginal stars in the alt-Americana niche -- though from my vantage point each has a half-dozen essential albums, especially if you factor in former groups, the Blasters and the Flatlanders -- trying to prop each other up, stretching two new Alvin songs out with mostly obscure covers -- the few you readily recognize seem most desperate, but great songs out in the end. Especially when sung by great voices, and bolstered by a lot of guitar. A-

Rodrigo Amado: A History of Nothing (2017 [2018], Trost): Tenor saxophonist, from Portugal, led a group called Lisbon Improvisation Players around 2000, emerging as one of the top avant-saxophonists of the young century. With Joe McPhee (pocket trumpet/soprano sax), Kent Kessler (bass), and Chris Corsano (drums) bringing the noise, he holds this set together, while having a little fun. A- [cd]

Angles 3: Parede (2016 [2018], Clean Feed): Swedish saxophonist Martin Küchen (tenor/soprano), recorded his first Angles group in 2007, a sextet, later expanding it to Angles 8 and Angles 9, here cut back to a trio -- different from his 2007 Trio and later Trespass Trio. This one has Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (bass) and Kjell Nordeson (drums), with the saxophonist straining and wailing, even turning free jazz into something catchy. A-

Courtney Barnett: Tell Me How You Really Feel (2018, Mom + Pop Music): Australian singer-songwriter, started folkie but distinguished herself on guitar last album. Strong guitar here, too. B+(***)

Jamie Baum Septet+: Bridges (2018, Sunnyside): Flute player, based in New York, sixth album, formed her original septet in 1999, website lists eight members -- most notably Amir ElSaffar (trumpet), Sam Sadigursky (alto sax/bass clarinet), Brad Shepik (guitar), and John Escreet (piano) -- album credits ten (adding two extra percussionists). Explores "deep connections" between Jewish, Arabic, and South Indian music, the flute blending in while the trumpet stands out. B+(*)

Bombino: Deran (2018, Partisan): Omara Moctar, a Tuareg from northeast Niger, plays guitar-driven Saharan rock, an easily mesmerizing groove music. B+(***)

Craig Brann: Lineage (2017 [2018], SteepleChase): Guitarist, originally from Maine, based in New York since 1996, fourth album, quintet with John Raymond (trumpet), Ethan Herr (piano), bass, and drums. B+(**)

Toni Braxton: Sex & Cigarettes (2018, Def Jam): R&B singer, an ingenue on her 1993 eponymous debut, maturing into a powerful voice and personality. B+(**)

Busdriver: Electricity Is on Our Side (2018, Temporary Forever): Rapper-beatmaker Regan Farquhar, more than a dozen albums since 1999, very erratic, as the weird shit often escapes me (or just doesn't seem worth the trouble). B-

Lynn Cassiers: Imaginary Band (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): Born in Antwerp, Belgium, 1984; vocalist-composer, also credited with electronics. Discography lists a couple dozen items since 2008, but this seems to be the first album under her own name. Group is a septet with violin, soprano/tenor sax, euphonium, piano, double bass, drums. Rather abstract and arty. B+(*)

Chrome Hill: The Explorer (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): Norwegian quartet, all pieces composed by Asbjørn Lerheim (baritone guitar), with Atle Nymo (tenor sax), Roger Antzen (double bass), Torstein Lofthus (drums). B+(*)

Chromeo: Head Over Heels (2018, Big Beat/WEA): Dance pop duo, David Macklovitch ("Dave 1") and Patrick Gemayel (P-Thugg), from Montreal, "the only Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture," fifth album since 2004. Not sure why so many critics dismiss this as retro. I find their big beat dance grooves more fun than bubblegum. A-

Chvrches: Love Is Dead (2018, Glassnote): Scottish synth-pop band, upbeat and flashy despite the title, as Pitchfork put it: "uncomplicated, unsurprising." B+(*)

Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba: Routes (2018, Twelve/Eight): Senegalese kora master, based in North Carolina, plus his American band, which does a pretty fair rendering of the deep Mande roots while adding to the leader's cosmopolitanism. He, in turn, approximates into a kinder, gentler Youssou N'Dour. A- [dl]

Scott Clark: ToNow (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): Drummer, from Virginia, second album, quintet with Bob Miller (trumpet), Jason Scott (sax), Toby Summerfield (guitar), and Cameron Ralston (bass). Four tracks. Interesting when the guitar riffs against the horn backdrop, more so when they all kick in ("Red, White, Yellow"). B+(*)

Sean Conly: Hard Knocks (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): Bassist, has a couple albums, this one a trio with Michaël Attias on alto sax and Satoshi Takeishi on drums. Lovely work from Attias, never straying far from or crowding out the bass melodies. B+(***)

Ronnie Cuber: Ronnie's Trio (2017 [2018], SteepleChase): Baritone saxophonist, born 1941, worked in big bands, with George Benson, with Lee Konitz, with Billy Joel, plus sixteen (or so) albums as leader, his best title still his debut, Cuber Libre. Trio with Jay Anderson (bass) and Adam Nussbaum (drums), 72:45 of jazz standards -- Ellington, Waller, Porter, Kern, two Silvers, "St. Thomas," a Jobim. B+(*)

Benje Daneman Searchparty: Light in the Darkness (2017 [2018], ACI): Trumpet player, at least one previous album, group includes Greg Ward on alto sax, Rob Clearfield on piano, plus bass, drums, and voice (Ashley Daneman). Don't care for the latter, not so much due to the voice itself but the dramatic airs that arrive with it. C+ [cd]

Daphne & Celeste: Daphne & Celeste Save the World (2018, Balatonic): Electropop duo, Karen ("Daphne") DiConcetto and Celeste Cruz, originally formed when they were teens for a 2000 album (a couple of singles charted in UK and NZ), regrouped in 2015 leading to this second effort. Upbeat but wears thin, making you wonder: saves the world from what? B

Detroit Bop Quintet: Two Birds (2014 [2018], TQM, EP): Hard bop quintet with Dwight Adams on trumpet and Pete Mills on sax. Not even an EP: just two songs, both by Charlie Parker, "Bluebird" and "Another Hairdo." Play like their models, although no one here is going to be mistaken for Parker, Gillespie, or for that matter a real Detroit legend like Hank Jones. B [cd]

Fatoumata Diawara: Fenfo: Something to Say (2018, Shanachie): Singer, born in Côte d'Ivoire, parents Wassoulou from Mali, moved on to France, where she also acts. Nice groove here, grabbed me from the start, gradually let me go. b+(**)

Olegario Diaz: I Remember Chet (2017 [2018], SteepleChase): Pianist, from Venezuela, based in New York, fifth album on this label, has written at least that many books -- titles like Latin Jazz Piano Technique, Herbie Hancock: The Blue Note Years, 240 Chromatic Exercises + 1165 Jazz Lines Phrases for Bass Clef Instrument Players. Title song and "Rise and Fall Baker" are his only originals here; the covers not things I particularly associate with Baker, although I wouldn't be surprised to find some links. Quintet, with the horns -- Alex Sipiagin on trumpet/flugelhorn and Seamus Blake on tenor sax -- trying to keep cool, Scott Colley on bass and Bill Stewart drums. B+(***)

Pierre Dørge: Soundscapes (2017 [2018], SteepleChase): Danish guitarist, now past 70, usually leads a large band called the New Jungle Orchestra, inspired by most Ellington and Johnny Dyani. Sextet here, most with label associations: Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Stephen Riley (tenor sax), Conrad Herwig (trombone), Jay Anderson (bass), and Adam Nussbaum (drums). All originals, opening with pieces that namecheck Mingus and Sun Ra, plus one for Dyani. Dørge usually blends into the rhythm, but offers some tasty leads here. B+(***)

Elina Duni: Partir (2017 [2018], ECM): Albanian jazz/folk singer, based in Switzerland, accompanies herself on piano, uitar, and percussion. B+(*)

Marty Ehrlich: Trio Exaltation (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): Mostly plays alto sax, but also clarinet, bass clarinet, and wooden flute. With John Hebert on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums. Original pieces, one dedicated to Ornette Coleman. B+(***)

Enemy: Enemy (2016 [2018], Edition): British piano trio, with Frans Petter Eldh (bass), Kit Downes (piano), and James Maddren (drums). Bright, sharp, tuneful, a slightly more energetic E.S.T. B+(**)

The English Beat [Dave Wakeling]: Here We Go Love (2018, Here We Go): A great ska band for three albums 1980-82, known as The Beat in the UK, the English Beat in the US. The two singers, Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger going on to uneventful solo careers (including a second joint group, General Public) before recently returning to their old brand name in two separate incarnations, Roger releasing an album in 2016, and now this one "starring Dave Wakeling." Tries to rekindle the old excitement, but feels off, not least because the ska groove has become domesticated beyond recognition. B-

Román Filiú: Quarteria (2018, Sunnyside): Alto saxophonist from Cuba, based in New York since 2011, plays in Henry Threadgill's recent groups. Group here is a septet: Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Dayna Stephens (tenor sax), David Virelles (piano), Matt Brewer (bass), Craig Weinrib (drums), Yusnier Sanchez (percussion). Has a curious abstractness to it, all sharp edges, zigs and zags. B+(*)

Erik Friedlander: Artemisia (2017 [2018], Skipstone): Cellist, calls this quartet Throw a Glass, "sparked by a viewing of Pablo Picasso's mysterious absinthe glass sculptures": Uri Caine (piano), Mark Helias (bass), Ches Smith (drums). The pianist is most impressive here, sparkling amidst the dense swirl of cello and bass. B+(**)

Satoko Fujii/Joe Fonda/Gianni Mimmo: Triad (2017 [2018], Long Song): Continuing the pianist's 60th birthday celebration, a trio with bass and soprano saxophone, the latter getting a slow start but ultimately carrying the record. B+(***) [cd]

Tia Fuller: Diamond Cut (2018, Mack Avenue): Alto saxophonist, from Colorado, fifth album since 2005, teaches at Berklee, tours with Beyoncé. Produced by Terri Lyne Carrington, split between two rhythm sections (Dave Holland/Jack DeJohnette and James Genus/Bill Stewart), with occasional guitar and/or organ. Strong, boppish sax -- impresses but doesn't surprise. B+(*)

Gift of Gab: Rejoice! Rappers Are Rapping Again! (2018, Giftstribution Unlimited, EP): Blackalicious rapper Timothy Parker, has solo projects going back to 1994. Six cuts, 21:16, most superb (especially "The Gentrification Song", "Aspire"). A-

Ginkgoa: One Time (2018, self-released, EP): Electropop duo from Paris, with New York-born singer Nicolle Rochelle and producer Antoine Chatenet. Five cuts (time?), dance beats with a soupçon of swing. First three cuts hooked me, last two let me sit down. B+(**) [dl]

Vinny Golia/Steph Richards/Bert Turetzky: Trio Music (2017 [2018], PfMentum): Golia's credit reads "woodwinds and ethnic aerophones"; Richards (elsewhere known as Stephanie) trumpet/flugelhorn; Turetzky, who has a long association with Golia: contrabass. B+(*) [bc]

Jon Hassell: Listening to Pictures (Pentimento Volume One) (2018, Ndeya): Trumpet player, but that's always taken a backseat role to his intricately layered electronics, guitar, and percussion -- a formula Brian Eno helped him market as "Fourth World: Possible Musics." He's released little since 2000, but following his 80th birthday he's come up with a new album on his own label, and promises more coming both new and old. This one wobbles a bit, but is cooly entrancing. A-

Phil Haynes & Free Country: 60/69: My Favorite Things (2014 [2018], Corner Store Jazz, 2CD): Drummer, born in 1961 so he doesn't remember the 1960s the same way I do. For one thing, his over picks skew to the end of the decade, starting with three Jimi Hendrix songs -- "Surfer Girl" and "Walk On By" go back to 1963, only one of six Beatles songs predates 1968 (1964's "And I Love Her"). Two standards date from earlier ("Somewhere" and "My Favorite Things," though it's instantly clear that the model is John Coltrane's 1960 version). Group includes Jim Yanda (guitar), Drew Gress (bass), and Hank Roberts (cello), with Roberts singing on close to half of the songs (not very well). Roberts also arranged "People Are Strange," trying to make it as strange as possible, but his cello is lovely on "Both Sides Now." Haynes arranged all but one of the others, seemingly confused over whether he wants pop nostalgia or new jazz standards, and not quite getting either. B+(*) [cd]

Honest John w/ Ab Baars: Treem (2016 [2018], Clean Feed): Norwegian quintet, Klaus Ellerhusen Holm (alto sax/clarinet) leads, with violin, guitar/banjo, bass, and drums, joined here by the Dutch avant saxophonist. B+(*)

Imarhan: Temet (2018, City Slang): Yet another Tuareg guitar band, this one from Algeria, which seems to mean they're not related to the Imarhan Timbuktu group I noticed in 2014. Christgau argues that this is "faster" than the norm, danceable even, but I don't hear that at all. Rather, a mild groove that charms more with its ease and comfort. B+(***)

Gene Jackson Trio NuYorx: Power of Love (2017 [2018], Whirlwind): Drummer-led piano trio, Gabriel Guerrero on piano, Carlo De Rosa on bass. All three wrote pieces, plus two Monks and one from Cole Porter. B+(*) [cd]

Wilko Johnson: Blow Your Mind (2018, Chess): British singer-songwriter, led Dr. Feelgood, a 1975-77 pub rock band that seemed poised to be the next big thing but got blind-sided by punk. (Johnson wrote most of the songs but Lee Brilleaux was the singer. The band carried on after Johnson's departure, and still does, but Brilleaux died in 1994.) Played out his string, helming his eponymous band until diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011, but improbably beat that and cut a 2014 comeback album co-headlined by fellow has-been Roger Daltrey. Four-square blues-rock with harmonica and keyboards, as unspectacular but indelible as ever. B+(***)

Vic Juris: Eye Contact (2016 [2018], SteepleChase): Guitarist, from New Jersey, simplified his name from Jurusz, has a tone that is metallic but silky smooth -- of the list of influences Jim Hall and Jimmy Rainey strike me as closest. Trio with Jay Anderson and Adam Nussbaum, with three originals, a Monk, an Evans, two Shorters, and standards like "Sweet and Lovely." B+(**)

Lana Trio: Lana Trio With Sofia Jernberg (2016 [2018], Clean Feed): Norwegian free jazz trio, eponymous debut had two girls on the cover but group consists of Kjetil Jerve (piano), Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø (trombone), and Andreas Wildhagen (drums). Jernberg is a singer, born in Ethiopia but based in Sweden. She makes things difficult, but the band treats that as a challenge. b+(**)

Allegra Levy: Looking at the Moon (2018, SteepleChase): Website declares: "Most jazz vocalists sing standards. Allegra Levy writes her oen." Still, most of these moon songs are familiar: "Moon River," "Harvest Moon," "Blue Moon," "Moonlight in Vermont," "No Moon at All," "Polkadots and Moonbeams," "It's Only a Paper Moon," "I'll Be Seeing You." Latter is the charm. Backed by piano trio featuring Carmen Staaf. B+(**)

Lykke Li: So Sad So Sexy (2018, RCA): Singer-songwriter, born in Sweden but not blonde, full name Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson, mother a photographer, father played in a punk-reggae band, lived while growing up in Portugal, Morocco, Nepal, India, Brooklyn. Fourth album, synthpop but that's just her medium. Sad? Sure. Sexy? That's the easy part. B+(*)

Low Cut Connie: "Dirty Pictures" (Part 2) (2018, Contender): Adam Weiner's Philadelphia bar band, fifth album, last year's Part 1 was the first to disappoint me. While I like this one better, they do seem to be going through the motions. B+(**)

Joe Magnarelli: Magic Trick (2017 [2018], SteepleChase): Mainstream trumpet player, co-founded New York Hard Bop Quintet in 1991, ninth album since 1995: a quintet with Andy Fusco (alto sax), John Hart (guitar), Ben Wolfe (bass), and Byron Landon (drums). Four originals, six standards, nice mix. B+(**)

Nellie McKay: Sister Orchid (2018, Palmetto): Seems to have given up on writing with her third straight covers album, this the first on a jazz label, and the dustiest set of standards. She takes them slow, giving me pause even before recognizing songs as familiar as "Where or When" and "The Nearness of You." Two takes of "My Romance," the second even woozier than the first. B+(**)

Brad Mehldau: After Bach (2017 [2018], Nonesuch): Solo piano, five pieces from Bach's "The Well-Tempered Clavier," interleaved with often longer originals in the same vein. I don't doubt his craft or dedication, but not my thing, even if pleasant enough. B

Brad Mehldau: Seymour Reads the Constitution! (2018, Nonesuch): Piano trio, only one I can recall him with: Larry Grenadier (bass) and Jeff Ballard (drums). Starts with two originals, winds up with six covers from all over the place, which all sound more like his After Bach than the originals. B+(*)

Melody's Echo Chamber: Bon Voyage (2018, Fat Possum): French singer-songwriter Melody Prochet, released a debut album in 2012, with this her second. Dreamy synthpop, some in French, some in English, with scattered snippets of spoken word which occasionally had me wondering whether my computer was mixing audio streams. B

Marieann Meringolo: Between Yesterday and Tomorrow: The Songs of Alan & Marilyn Bergman (2017 [2018], Blujazz): Standards singer, based in New York, at least two previous albums. The Bermans wrote lyrics to melodies, most often from Michel Legrand or Marvin Hamlisch. I can't particularly recommend any of them. C+ [cd]

MIKE: Black Soap (2018, Lex, EP): Name doesn't make it easy to search, but seems to be "Mike (408)" at Discogs: Michael Bonema, "a 19-year-old rapper living in Brooklyn," "childhood hometown of London," I recall his 2017 record May God Bless Your Hustle but evidently didn't play it. Seven track, 21:18, very experimental, first track sounds like Japanese with almost no rhythm. Can't confirm his age, but if true they sure don't make teens like they used to. B+(*)

MIKE: Renaissance Man (2018, Lex): Second full-length album, although the twelve cuts merge into a blur, and total only 33:04. Still having trouble getting a handle on him. B+(*)

Mdou Moctar/Elite Beat: Mdou Moctar Meets Elite Beat in a Budget Dancehall (2017 [2018], Boomarm Nation): Only thing I know about Elite Beat is that he/it involves Jesse Munro Johnson, who also does business as Gulls. No band credits, although the sharp metallic guitar is certainly Moctar's (a Tuareg from Niger), cutting a swath through the extended keyb/drum vamps. Three "raw, unedited, live recordings" (38:12), no voices to speak of. A- [bc]

Molly Tigre: Molly Tigre (2018, Very Special): Brooklyn band, saxophonists Mitch Marcus and Chris Hiatt up front, bassist Ezra Gale the prime writer (along with Marcus), various presumably African percussionists -- Ethiopia, maybe also Mali, with a nod toward Bollywood. B+(***)

No Fast Food: Settings for Three (2016 [2018], Corner Store Jazz): Trio, names listed alphabetically -- Drew Gress (bass), Phil Haynes (drums), Dave Liebman (woodwinds) -- but Haynes is the leader and composer. Still, a tour de force for Liebman, whose Coltrane-ish freebop has rarely sounded better. Dedicated to the late avant trumpet player Paul Smoker. Haynes played on his last records, and they're dandies. A- [cd]

Jason Palmer: At Wally's: Volume 1 (2016 [2018], SteepleChase): Postbop trumpet player, originally from North Carolina, based in Boston. Mostly quintet (plus Fender Rhodes on one cut), with Noah Preminger (tenor sax) and Max Light (guitar). All Palmer pieces, impressive chops. B+(*)

Jason Palmer: At Wally's: Volume 2 (2016 [2018], SteepleChase): More from same group, probably same date -- pianist Chris McCarthy seems to play more, not that he makes much difference. B

Parliament: Medicaid Fraud Dogg (2018, C Kunspyruhzy): So George Clinton revives his most popular front group 38 years after he mothballed it, promising this last tour "after which the Parliament-Funkadelic legendary juggernaut will continue on its own without Clinton." I'd say he'll be missed, but he hasn't been present: his last "solo" album in my database came out in 1996 (looks like I missed George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love in 2008), but I did notice a Funkadelic revival in 2014. Some trademark funk here, in his later mode when not even slinkier: "Kool Aid" would be filler on Motor Booty Affair (or the single on Trombipulation), but the singer on the single "I'm Gon Make U Sick O'Me" makes me think of Bill Cosby, and that after a fat-shaming song that would have been the first of several songs I would have cut. B

Alberto Pinton Noi Siamo: Opus Facere (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): Italian baritone saxophonist (also alto sax, clarinet, and bass clarinet), based in Sweden, two-horn quartet with Niklas Barnö on trumpet, Torbjörn Zetterberg on bass, and KonradAgnas on drums. He's used this group name before, on Resiliency (2016), highly recommended. This one runs hots and cold, impressive but not consistently so. B+(**)

Jure Pukl: Doubtless (2017 [2018], Whirlwind): Tenor saxophonist, from Slovenia, based in New York, several previous albums, this one a quartet with Melissa Aldana also on tenor sax, plus Joe Sanders on bass and Gregory Hutchinson on drums. Mainstream postbop, the second sax adding a curious shadowing. B+(**) [cd]

Jure Pukl/Matija Dedic: Hybrid (2016 [2017], Whirlwind): Last year's record, Pukl playing soprano sax and bass clarinet as well as tenor sax, with Croatian pianist Dedic, Matt Brewer on bass, and Johnathan Blake on drums, with Melissa Aldana on tenor sax on two tracks. B+(***) [bc]

Pusha T: Daytona (2018, GOOD/Def Jam, EP): First of five planned seven-cut mini-albums to be produced by Kanye West this year, runs 21:08, gangsta converging on business, as always. B+(**)

Joshua Redman/Ron Miles/Scott Colley/Brian Blade: Still Dreaming (2018, Nonesuch): Postbop quartet, no piano or guitar, which should make the horns more freewheeling. I'm more impressed by the cornet than by the tenor sax. B+(**)

Bebe Rexha: Expectations (2018. Warner Brothers): Singer-songwriter born in Brooklyn, of Albanian heritage, has had some success songwriting for artists from G-Eazy to Florida-Georgia Line. Still, odd flow appending latter to an otherwise pretty fair pop album. Doesn't say much for the role of marketing in art. B+(*)

Stephanie Richards: Fullmoon (2018, Relative Pitch): Trumpet player, from Canada, based in New York, first album, close to solo (only other credit is Dino J.A. Deane: sampler). She also appears in Henry Threadgill's Kestra and on Trio Music with Vinny Golia. Dense, dark, deliberate. B+(**) [bc]

Rolling Blackouts C.F.: Hope Downs (2018, Sub Pop): Australian guitar band, from Melbourne, released a couple of widely praised EPs, picked up by influential alt/indie label Sub Pop, with this their first LP. Their guitar jangle is mesmerizing, with faint echoes of the Go-Betweens, and the lyrics I notice smart (though not as touching). Still, impressive. A-

J. Peter Schwalm: How We Fall (2017 [2018], RareNoise): German composer, plays guitar, piano, electronics, started "experimental electro-jazz" Projekt Slop Shop in 1990s, two co-credited albums with Brian Eno 2000-01. Fourth solo album since 2006, with Eivind Aarset (guitar) and/or Tim Harries (bass) joining in on most cuts. Somewhat industrial. B+(*) [cdr]

Elza Soares: Deus É Mulher (2018, Deckdisc): Brazilian samba singer, discography goes back to 1960 although I didn't notice her until 2016's A Mulher Do Fim Do Mundo). The back catalog may be worth a trawl, but moving forward, at 80 she's clearly not intent on fitting into anyone else's genre. Raps some, rocks more. A-

Mark Soskin: Upper West Side Stories (2017 [2018], SteepleChase): New York pianist, one I hadn't noticed much despite a discography going back to 1976. Trio with Jay Anderson (bass) and Adam Nussbaum (drums), who've been showing up a lot on SteepleChase records recently. Only two originals, counting his extension to Billy Strayhorn's "UMMG" -- covers range from the Frank Loesser opener to "Ugly Beauty" and "Un Poco Loco." B+(**)

Ebo Taylor: Yen Ara (2018, Mr. Bongo): Highlife bandleader from Ghana, had a collection of his 1973-80 hits compiled by Strut in 2012, which brought him back to the studio, even as he turned 80 -- still upbeat, often joyous. B+(**)

Chris Thile/Brad Mehldau: Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau (2017, Nonesuch): Mandolin-piano duets, both also credited with vocals. Thile started out in bluegrass, joining Nickel Creek as a pre-teen -- his father played bass at the time -- recording five albums 1993-2005 plus a sixth for a 2014 reunion. All the time he also recorded solo albums, duets with Mike Marshall and Edgar Meyer, and a set with Yo-Yo Ma. Half originals, the covers include Dylan and Mitchell songs, plus an "I Cover the Waterfront" that puts the singer in especially harsh light. The pianist is a dutiful accompanist, the mandolin fragile, the voices not even that. B-

This Is It!: 1538 (2018, Libra): Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii, with Natsuki Tamura (trumpet) and Takashi Itani (drums), her basic trio, and a fair showing of her range and dynamics as a pianist. That should be welcome after a series of large-scale works that sidelined her instrument, and often is, but maybe fatigue is setting in as her album every month grind starts to wear down. B+(***) [cd]

Thumbscrew: Ours (2017 [2018], Cuneiform): Trio adopting the title of their 2014 album -- Mary Halvorson (guitar), Michael Formanek (bass), Tomas Fujiwara (drums) -- developed this music during a residency in Pittsburgh last year. My copy came shrinkwrapped with a second album, Theirs, but looks more like two separate albums now -- the distinction original pieces here, covers there. Would have been easier to grade as a single item, as the second is pretty much more of the same. I'm not one of Halvorson's more complete fans, but this is the combo I find her most interesting in. A-

Thumbscrew: Theirs (2017 [2018], Cuneiform): Maybe a bit catchier, which may make it a bit less fascinating to follow, or just more simply pleasurable. A-

Rafael Toral/Hugo Antunes/João Pais Filipe/Ricardo Webbens: Space Quartet (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): Bassist Antunes is the only name I recognize here. Filipe plays drums/percussion, the others various electronics -- Toral the big name with 27 albums since 1994. Interesting squiggles over basic free rhythm. B+(**)

Sidi Touré: Toubalbero (2018, Thrill Jockey): Singer-songwriter from northern Mali, started in Songhaï Stars in 1976, released first solo album in 1996, at least four since then. On the folk/blues end of the pop spectrum. B+(**)

Joshua Trinidad: In November (2015 [2018], RareNoise): Trumpeter player, based in Denver, went to Norway for this dose of Nordic cool, a trio with Jacob Young (guitar) and Stale Liavik Solberg (drums). B+(*) [cdr]

Will Vinson: It's Alright With Three (2017 [2018], Criss Cross): Alto saxophonist, also soprano, half-dozen albums since 2008, strips down to a trio here with Gilad Hekselman (guitar) and Antonio Sanchez (drums). Three originals, five covers -- one from Marc Johnson, the others from the trad songbook. B+(**)

Jerry Vivino: Coast to Coast (2005-17 [2018], Blujazz): Alto saxophonist, mainstreamer, stitched this together from four sessions, with two cuts dating back to 2005, one from 2014. Mostly originals, but he takes a vocal on "Honeysuckle Rose," and offers a shout out to Bucky Pizzarelli before a solo that couldn't possibly be by anyone else. B+(**) [cd]

Tim Warfield: Jazzland (2017 [2018], Criss Cross): Tenor saxophonist, also soprano, impressed me hugely when he first appeared in the late 1990s but has appeared erratically since. Looks for a hybrid here, part hard bop, bigger part soul jazz. With Terrell Stafford trumpet, Pat Bianchi organ, drums and extra percussion. B+(*)

Kamasi Washington: Heaven and Earth (2018, Young Turks, 2CD): Tenor saxophonist, big, deep tone, seemed on his way to becoming a very respectable jazz musician before he took a Flying Lotus turn on The Epic in 2015 and became a crossover pop star -- while managing to retain a good deal of jazz respect. Not sure where he lands after this effort, which is no less epic: if anything, more diverse, more pop, more richly textured, maybe even danceable. I can't say as I feel the need for anything so grandiose, but it's here if you want it. B+(***)

Kanye West: Ye (2018, Def Jam/GOOD Music, EP): Seven tracks, 23:41, thus far digital only. Initially I wondered if this was a publicity stunt to cash in on the rapper's recent inroads with the Trump base, but I doubt they'll get it any more than I do, or even care. If you think he's a genius, you might be impressed by his production savvy. If you think he's a fool, well, there's evidence for that too. He starts off talking about committing murder, justifying it because he thinks about suicide, "and I love myself much more than I love you." Later on: "That's why I fuck with you . . . that's my superpower." B+(*)

WorldService Project: Serve (2017 [2018], Rare Noise): British quintet, bills itself as "jazz-punk," not really either, with two horns (tenor sax and trombone) merely adding to the synth noise, the pompous riffs and bellowing vocals the antithesis of punk. C- [cdr]

Recent Reissues, Compilations, Vault Discoveries

Anthony Braxton: The Essential Anthony Braxton: The Arista Years (1974-80 [2018], Arista/Legacy, 2CD): A surprise add to Sony/Legacy's long-running (mostly) 2-CD sampler series -- launched in 2001 with Columbia artists like Bob Dylan and Miles Davis (also illy Joel and Neil Diamond), eventually picking up other labels like RCA and Arista as they were acquired by Sony. Arista, founded by ex-Columbia honcho Clive Davis, made a couple of interesting forays into jazz in the 1970s, including signing a hot young AACM saxophonist named Anthony Braxton. Those records went out of print long before Arista sold out to RCA, until Mosaic reissued them in an 8-CD box in 2008, and unavailable separately until Legacy offered them digital-only last year. This, too, is only on digital. More a wide-ranging sampler than a best-of, the highlights are still amazing, the explorations daring, the faux pas -- well, that happens. A-

Gene Clark: Gene Clark Sings for You (1967 [2018], Omnivore): Byrds founder (guitar/vocals), left to pursue a solo career, releasing Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers in 1967, followed by two Dillard & Clark albums, and various reunions with Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman. Not sure if this "acetate" has appeared before -- a couple songs appear on Echoes, released after his death at age 46 in 1991. Not much more than folkie demos here, the voice familiar, the songs unmemorable. B

John Coltrane: Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album (1963 [2018], Impulse, 2CD): Recorded March 8, 1963 with his famous quartet, unreleased, the master destroyed in some senseless housekeeping. However, a second copy recently surfaced among his first wife's (Naima's) things, and is organized here with multiple takes, including four of "Impressions" (the title track, recorded earlier, of an album released later in 1963). Nothing here markedly different from the year's major releases -- certainly no reason to prioritize this over Live at Birdland or Crescent or the live Afro Blue Impressions, although I would rank it above John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman and Impressions itself. A-

Lee Konitz: Prisma: By Guenter Buhles (2000 [2018], QFTF): "Concerto for alto saxophone and orchestra," composed by Buhles at Konitz's request, runs through four parts in 17:01 backed by the strings of the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt -- awful, of course, but the saxophone is lovely, even when stuck in Buhles' melodies. The album is filled out with three standards (16:57), in a duo with pianist Frank Wunsch. B

Ernie Krivda and Swing City: A Bright and Shining Moment (1998-2002 [2018], Capri): Tenor saxophonist, cut these pieces -- five originals and eleven standards arranged by the leader -- in three sessions with near-identical septets: trumpet (Steve Enos), trombone (Chris Anderson or Gary Carney), piano (James Hunter), guitar, bass, and drums. As advertised, they swing. B+(**) [cd]

Professor Rhythm: Professor 3 ([2018], Awesome Tapes From Africa): From South Africa, Thami Mduli's third album, six very rhythmic tracks (28:40), reminds me of pennywhistle or township jive, some catchy instrumentals, some adding even catchier vocals. Somewhat earlier than last year's Awesome find, Bafana Bafana. A-

The Rough Guide to the Best Country Blues You've Never Heard (1927-36 [2018], World Music Network): Twenty-five tracks, suitably primitive, and sufficiently obscure: I was able to locate every song, thanks to the Austrian Document label, but I think only two artists managed to fill up a complete CD: J.T. "Funny Paper" Smith and Charlie McCoy. Maybe a third of the songs show up on various Yazoo compilations, including at least one I own. I don't own Allen Lowe's 36-CD blues set, but he must have heard a bunch of them. B+(***)

The Savory Collection, Vol. 4: Embraceable You: Bobby Hackett and Friends (1938-40 [2018], National Jazz Museum of Harlem): Three previous volumes are well regarded by critics who've heard them -- featuring Coleman Hawkins, Count Basie/Lester Young, and Fats Waller, I can well believe their rep, but can't confirm it. Unfortunately, they're only available on Apple Music, although I've seen promise of an expensive 5-CD box on Mosaic later this year. I'm working off a download from the publicist, who ignored my request for the previous volumes, and I'm more than a little aggravated, given that it took a couple of hours to unpack the archive and rename and reorganize the files so I could finally play all fifteen tracks in order. Also note that Hackett (trumpet) only appears on seven tracks, only one under his own name -- the others are by a group led by clarinetist Joe Marsala, plus you get three tracks by Teddy Wilson, two by Jack Teagarden, and three by Glenn Miller. The Wilson tracks, with Ben Webster on tenor sax, are the real prizes, but everything else is first-rate traditional jazz, and Miller's "The Mood" is a rousing finish. The tracks were recorded by Bill Savory from ballrooms and broadcasts. He's evidently a legend among audio engineers, and everything here is sharp and clear. I'm tempted to slam the (lack of) packaging, but love the music too much. A- [dl]

Esbjörn Svensson Trio: E.S.T. Live in London (2005 [2018], ACT, 2CD): Swedish piano trio, with Dan Berglund on bass and Magnus Öström on drums, formed in 1993 and until the pianist's death in 2008 probably the world's most popular jazz group, at least in Europe -- the Bad Plus attempted to fill a similar niche in the US. Nothing spectacular here, but a fine example of what made they so appealing. B+(**)

Old Music

Rodrigo Amado/Carlos Zíngaro/Ken Filiano: The Space Between (2002 [2003], Clean Feed): Tenor sax, violin, and bass, Zíngaro the senior and most distinctive member, the others early into distinguished careers. The concept was "real-time composition," one way to view their edgy music, but sometimes one wishes for a drummer to hurry them along a bit. B+(**) [bc]

Gene Clark: Gene Clark With the Gosdin Brothers (1967, Columbia): Clark's first post-Byrds album. Vern and Rex Gosdin were unknown at the time -- their only other album appeared in 1968, but Vern had played with Chris Hillman in the Hillmen and went on to chart 41 singles on Billboard's country charts 1976-93 (3 at number one, 10 more top-ten). The Gosdins only add backing vocals to Clark's leads, but the studio band includes Hillman, Glen Campbell, Leon Russell, Van Dyke Parks, Jim Gordon, and Michael Clarke, with spots for Doug Dillard and Clarence White. Aside from a strings faux pas, the band impresses, and the Gosdins blend in so neatly you hardly notice they're here. B+(*)

Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen: We've Got a Live One Here (1976, Warner Brothers): George Frayne's pioneering good-timey country-rock band, formed in 1967 in Ann Arbor, scored a novelty hit off their 1971 debut, followed that up with a collection of Trucker's Favorites that remains a personal favorite. In 1976 Geoffrey Stokes wrote a fine book about their ill-fated struggle for stardom (Star Making Machinery), but the band was winding down, releasing their second live album in two year as they broke up. Long set, pretty much sums up their career, although not as exciting as they could be. B+(**)

Pierre Dørge Quartet: Ballad Round the Left Corner (1979 [1980], SteepleChase): Danish guitarist, early album before his long-running New Jungle Orchestra, with John Tchicai on alto sax, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen on bass, and Billy Hart on drums. Free jazz with bop elements, nice balance between guitar and sax. B+(**)

Pierre Dørge/Harry Beckett/Marilyn Mazur/Klavs Hovman: Echoez Of . . . (1990, Olufsen): Discogs lists Beckett, a trumpet player from Barbados who moved to the UK as a teenager in 1954, first, but I copied the top-to-bottom from the cover, where they were listed below the title. The song credits are split 4-4. Mazur plays drums, Hovman bass (they are, by the way, married). B+(**)

Pierre Dørge & New Jungle Orchestra: Zim Zag Zimfoni (2000 [2001], Stunt): Danish guitarist-led ten piece group (plus a few guests), see the world as their oyster, ripe for the picking, with one title exemplifying their roots ("Ellingtonian Space Is the Place") and others evoking Arab and African lands ("Arab Klap" is a rousing intro). [6/11 tracks] B+(**)

Pierre Dørge: Blui (2014 [2015], SteepleChase): The Danish guitarist and New Jungle Band leader drops back to a quartet here -- a format he hadn't used since 36 years before -- with Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Thommy Andersson (bass), and Hamid Drake (drums). Faintly exotic but fairly minimal, the cornet a bright spot. B+(**)

Lisbon Improvisation Players: Live_LxMeskla (2000 [2002], Clean Feed): Portuguese free jazz group, three saxophonists -- Rodrigo Amado (alto/baritone), Paulo Curado (alto/soprano), and Marco Franco (soprano) -- plus bass and drums. The first of three albums to 2006, with Amado going on to an especially distinguished solo career. B+(**)

MIKE: May God Bless Your Hustle (2017, self-released): Promising debut mixtape, beats very underground, has some flow but not obvious, draws "feat." spots on 7/16 but no one I've heard of. B+(**)

The Rolling Stones: The Rolling Stones [UK] (1964, Decca): Like the Beatles, the Stones' early albums were released in different configurations in the UK and US. Their debut landed in the US as The Rolling Stones (England's Newest Hitmakers) six weeks later, the only change swapping in the Buddy Holly cover Not Fade Away" for a terrific version of Bo Diddley's "Mona." Nine covers, three originals (including a Phil Spector co-credit), no actual hits (although "Not Fade Away" went to 3 in UK). Remarkable touch for r&b covers, but the one Jagger-Richard credit points to the future ("Tell Me"). A-

The Rolling Stones: The Rolling Stones No. 2 [UK] (1965, Decca): Starts to get messy here, as London rushed a second US album out in October 1964 before this second UK album came out in January 1965 -- followed a month later by a third US release, The Rolling Stones, Now! Again, nine covers and three new originals, all sharp but no classics. The two US releases are, if anything, both a shade better. B+(***)

The Rolling Stones: Out of Our Heads [UK] (1965, Decca): US release came first, on July 30, followed by UK on September 24, then the US-only December's Children (And Everybody's) (with the UK Out of Our Heads cover pic). Eschewing singles (aside from the US hit "Heart of Stone"), the UK version contains four originals and eight covers, while the US version split six-to-six, adding "The Last Time," "Play With Fire" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." A-

The Rolling Stones: Aftermath [UK] (1966, Decca): First album with nothing but Jagger-Richards songs, the 14-cut, 53:20 UK edition appeared on April 15, 1966. That must have seemed overly generous to the US label: for their June 20 release, they dropped four songs (including the singles "Mother's Little Helper" and "Out of Time"), then added the latest hit, "Paint It Black." A-

The Rolling Stones: Between the Buttons [UK] (1967, Decca): The last of the UK albums reshuffled by the US label, dropping two songs ("Back Street Girl" and "Please Go Home") in favor of two hit singles ("Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Ruby Tuesday" -- both reappeared on the US-only Flowers later in 1967, along with the missing songs, a couple other singles, two US-dropped songs from Aftermath, and a couple of previously unreleased tunes). That should favor the US version, but this was the first Stones album I bought (after a bunch of singles and the Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass compilation) and I wound up playing it to death, reveling in every nuance (of which there were many). Also, the two missing songs, equally familiar through Flowers, fit better. Whoever dropped "Please Go Home" needs their head examined. A

The Rolling Stones: Got Live if You Want It! (1963-66 [1966], Abkco): Short (33:25) live album, filled a marketing gap but was later disowned by the band. Mostly from their post-Aftermath tour, plus a couple of older tracks (the earliest a cover of "Fortune Teller." All but their change-of-pace hit "Lady Jane" are hard and sharp, including a couple of my favorites from the day. Lots of audience noise to remind you how popular they were. B+(***)

The Rolling Stones: The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (1968 [1996], Abkco): Soundtrack to an "ill-fated 1968 TV special," meant to promote Beggars Banquet by staging a circus with various guest acts, including Jethro Tull, the Who, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, and the Dirty Mac (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and Mitch Mitchell, joined with an amusing Yoko Ono screech on one cut). The Stones open in circus spirit with a bit of "Entry of the Gladiators," followed by their guests mostly for one song each, winding up with a six recent/new Stones songs -- which tower over everything else. B+(**)

The Rolling Stones: Made in the Shade (1969-74 [1975], Rolling Stones): Not quite "the best of the Mick Taylor years" -- the guitarist, formerly of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, joined the band for Let It Bleed. But Decca owned it, so it got slotted into Abkco's Hot Rocks 1971-72 compilations, and this picks up from there: three songs each from two of their greatest albums (Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street), two each trying to salvage singles from the group's first descent into mediocre self-parody (Goat's Head Soup and It's Only Rock 'n' Roll) -- not especially interesting picks in either case, just conventionally canonical. B+(**)

The Rolling Stones: Black and Blue (1976, Rolling Stones): After 1972's Exile on Main Street, the Stones seemed to be stuck in a mid-life crisis. Ron Wood replaced Mick Taylor here, and that seems to have put them more into a partying mood. Still, just eight tracks including a cover of "Cherry Oh Baby" to lend a whiff of Jamaica, and two decent but minor singles ("Hot Stuff," which won't dislodge Donna Summer from your brain, and "Fool to Cry"), one pleasant surprise ("Hand of Fate"), and one called "Memory Motel" which suggests early-onset dementia. B+(**)

The Rolling Stones: Still Life (American Concert 1981) (1981 [1982], Rolling Stones/Virgin): Amusing nod to America to use "Take the A Train" as intro and Hendrix's arrangement of "Star Spangled Banner" as outro, but both are very brief. Four newish (1978-81) songs, including a very energetic "Start Me Up" (from Tattoo You), with old songs from the mid-1960s ("Satisfaction" through "Under My Thumb") plus a Motown remake they could have done then, but nothing from their elf-proclaimed "greatest" era. Sounds about right. B+(***)

The Rolling Stones: Undercover (1983, Rolling Stones): Still an impressive sounding band, but not a single song stuck with me (even the single, full title: "Undercover of the Night"), except for the one about chainsaws, which was unwelcome. B

The Rolling Stones: Flashpoint (1989-90 [1991], Rolling Stones/Virgin): Another live one, a full 76 minutes including two new studio tracks at the end. The tour (Bill Wyman's last) was in support of Steel Wheels, which landed three (of 14) songs, the others fairly evenly distributed from "Satisfaction" to "Start Me Up." Dense and hard -- probably what gets the best response in the arenas they habituate, but the new songs are hard and dense too. B+(*)

The Rolling Stones: Voodoo Lounge (1994, Virgin): The five-year studio album gap since Steel Wheels was their longest yet -- note that Jagger and Richards both released solo albums during the hiatus -- although their later gaps were 3, 8, and 11 years (and the latter was a blues cover album). Feels like they're just going through the motions, but it's not like they don't know how to do this. B+(*)

The Rolling Stones: Bridges to Babylon (1997, Virgin): As the live albums show, from the mid-1970s on their arena act has only gotten harder, denser, and ultimately more brittle, especially on new songs which you've never heard any other way, and most likely won't remember anyway. Here they finally seem to be developing a sense of nuance -- something they've never had much interest in before, or for that matter much need of. Does help a bit. Actually, pretty good: Already Over Me." B+(**)

The Rolling Stones: Live Licks (2002-03 [2004], Virgin, 2CD): Another of their periodic live releases: previous ones came out in 1966, 1970, 1977, 1982, 1991, 1995 (the acoustic Stripped), and 1998, with another in 2008 before they started dumping out bootlegs (14 from 2011-17). Not having a new album, the tour was packaged around the compilation 40 Licks, with the live album split between one disc of perennials and one of relative rarities (though second-tier songs from Some Girls aren't my idea of rarities, nor is "Rocks Off" second-tier, even on Exile). B+(**)

Skadedyr: Kongekrabbe (2013, Hubro): Norwegian jazz band, twelve-pieces, self-described as "democratic-anarchistic," first album. Leaders play tuba and keyboards. I don't get much out of the vocals, but the eclectic music has its intriguing moments. B

Skadedyr: Culturen (2016, Hubro): Second album, same group -- although Ina Sagstuen's vocals are much reduced, leaving a much more atmospheric form of anarchism. B+(*)

John Tchicai & Pierre Dørge: Ball at Louisiana (1981 [1983], SteepleChase): Duo, alto sax and guitar, both also credited with voice and percussion, recorded live at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark. B+(*)

Sidi Touré: Hoga (1996, Sterns Africa): First album -- at least the first noticed this far from Mali, a fairly classic slice of Sahel blues, or something like that. B+(***)

Sidi Touré: Alafia (2013, Thrill Jockey): More, goes down easy but hard to make worthwhile distinctions. B+(**)

Whirl: Revolving Rapidly Around an Axis (2014 [2015], Den): Tenor sax/clarinet (Tobias Delius), double bass (Adrian Fiskum Myhr), trombone (Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø). Avant, difficult, but not lacking the intended momentum. B+(**) [bc]

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
  • [bc] available at bandcamp.com
  • [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