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Monday, November 25, 2019

Music Week

Expanded blog post, November archive (finished).

Music: Current count 32388 [32371] rated (+17), 221 [221] unrated (+0).

Took ill late last week, spending a couple days doing nothing more ambitious than watching the remains of television series Laura had already given up on (The Durrells in Corfu, which I enjoyed very much, and Press, which barely kept me going). I'll add that we recently finished the latest seasons of Orange Is the New Black and Succession, which among other things remind us that class persists in quantum orbits so isolated that it's hard for most of us to imagine life like that.

No Weekend Roundup yesterday. I have a few links saved up for next time I manage to write one. Not much Music Week here either. The one thing I am trying to keep up with is tabulating ballots for this year's NPR Jazz Critics Poll. That pointed me to several records this week, no doubt more next week. (Playing Johnathan Blake's Trion at the moment, and it's sounding like a pretty solid A-.) Spent a lot of time early in the week just trying to round up the various pieces of Allen Lowe's box set, and wound up guessing a bit.

I still haven't finalized my ballot yet, but you can see a very rough draft here.


New records reviewed this week:

  • Ilia Belorukov & Vasco Trilla: Laniakea (2017 [2019], Astral Spirits): [bc]: B-
  • Leonard Cohen: Thanks for the Dance (2016 [2019], Columbia/Legacy): [r]: A-
  • The Last Poets: Transcending Toxic Times (2019, Ropeadope, 2CD): [r]: B+(**)
  • Quiana Lynell: A Little Love (2019, Concord Jazz): [r]: B
  • Aurora Nealand/Steve Marquette/Anton Hatwich/Paul Thibodeaux: Kobra Quartet (2018 [2019], Astral Spirits): [bc]: B+(*)
  • Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp/William Parker/Bobby Kapp: Ineffable Joy (2018 [2019], ESP-Disk): [r]: B+(***)
  • Charlie Porter: Immigration Nation (2019, OA2): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Wallace Roney: Blue Dawn-Blue Nights (2019, HighNote): [r]: B+(***)
  • Toh-Kichi: Baikamo (2019, Libra): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Torbjörn Zetterberg & the Great Question: Live (2017 [2019], Corbett vs. Dempsey): [bc]: A-

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:

  • Georg Graewe/Ernest Reijseger/Gerry Hemingway: Kammern I-V (2009 [2019], Auricle): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Allen Lowe: Jews & Roots/Radical Jewish Acculturation: An Avant Garde of Our Own: Disconnected Works 1980-2018 (1980-2018 [2019], Constant Sorrow/ESP-Disk, 8CD): [r/bc]: B+(***)
  • Dudu Pukwana/Han Bennink/Misha Mengelberg: Yi Yole (1978 [2019], Corbett vs. Dempsey): [bc]: B+(**)
  • David S. Ware New Quartet: Théâtre Garonne, 2008 (2008 [2019], AUM Fidelity): [r]: A-
  • Mary Lou Williams: Mary Lou Williams (1962-63 [2019], Smithsonian Folkways): [r]: B+(*)

Old music:

    Georg Graewe/Ernest Reijseger/Gerry Hemingway: Continuum (2005 [2006], Winter & Winter): [r]: B+(*)


Grade (or other) changes:

  • Jeffrey Lewis & the Voltage: Bad Wiring (2019, Don Giovanni): [r]: [was: B+(***)] A-

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Carol Albert: Stronger Now (Cahara) [01-30]
  • Frank Colón: Latin Lounge (Technoprimal Music) [01-01]
  • Elena Gilliam/Michael Le Van: Then Another Turns (Blujazz)
  • Danny Lerman: Ice Cat (Blujazz)

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Link Cache

I'm skipping Weekend Roundup this week, but thought I'd cache some links for next week.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Music Week

Expanded blog post, November archive (in progress).

Music: Current count 32371 [32345] rated (+26), 221 [221] unrated (+0).

I've been dreading this date for more than a month now. I should be feeling relief that the worst-case scenario has been avoided, but I'm still feeling pretty shaken and tattered. Thought I'd celebrate by rustling up a fairly simple dinner on Tuesday -- a big pot of paella plus something for dessert -- for a small group, figuring that's the one thing I can still depend on my competency for. But at the moment I'm feeling overwhelmed by pressing work -- including lots of things I've been putting off.

Indeed, I had quite a bit I wanted to write about here, but will have to cut very short. One thing that will seem obvious from the list below is that Robert Christgau's Consumer Guide: November 2019 came out on Wednesday. As the column currently depends on paid subscribers, I've held back the grade schematic from previous news rolls, but I will note a few things here: three pick hits are albums I previously graded A- (Raphael Saadiq: Jimmy Lee; Rachid Taha: Je Suis Africain; Jamila Woods: Legacy! Legacy!). Three more I came up short on, but revised my grades below: Kim Gordon: No Home Record; Sonic Youth: Battery Park; and That Dog: Old LP. I don't often change my grades after a Christgau review -- the only other time it's happened this year was The Coathangers: The Devil You Know.

My initial assessments of the first two were pretty close to the mark, but at the time I didn't feel like giving them the extra play they needed, and took that as a sign. That left one new record I hadn't gotten to (Ed Sheeran's -- well, more if you count the HMs, where I struck out), and two old ones where I was familiar with the music from other packages: I have two Spaniels CDs on Collectables which match the 2-CD Jasmine compilation closely, and I've heard all of the music on the 8-CD Bud Powell bargain box -- my previous grades (I have the two Trio albums on Roost combined on a single Roulette CD):

  1. Bud Powell Trio (1951) -- in The Bud Powell Trio Plays (1947-53, Roulette) [A-]
  2. The Amazing Bud Powell (1951) -- (1949-51, Blue Note) [A]
  3. The Amazing Bud Powell Volume 2 (1953) -- (1951-53, Blue Note) [A-]
  4. Bud Powell Trio Volume 2 (1953) -- in The Bud Powell Trio Plays (1947-53, Roulette) [A-]
  5. The Amazing Bud Powell Volume 3: Bud! (1957) -- (1957, Blue Note) [B+]
  6. The Amazing Bud Powell Volume 4: Time Waits (1958) -- (1958, Blue Note) [A-]
  7. Blues in the Closet (1958) -- (1956, Verve) [B+(**)]
  8. The Amazing Bud Powell Volume 5: The Scene Changes (1959) -- (1958, Blue Note) [A-]

I should note that my 2019 ratings and music tracking files have continued to grow (927 new releases rated so far, 3167 records listed). I've also done a very preliminary sort of my top-rated jazz and non-jazz records, showing 67 A/A- jazz records vs. 54 non-jazz. Last year at this time the split was 46-46, which I noted at the time was unusually balanced. Not easy to dig up stats on previous years, but I suspect 2016 was more typical, with a 61-41 jazz/non-jazz split. In most years, the numbers eventually even out, but I typically hold off on non-jazz records until I see them show up in EOY lists. One thing I should emphasize here is that the current lists are a first pass, and I expect the rank order to shift a lot in the near future. The other thing is that I will keep adding to (and otherwise reshuffling) those two files well into 2020 (as I've done in years past).

I should also note that my metacritic list is still growing. I started this file with mid-year lists, then added points based on grades (mostly as reported by AOTY and Metacritic). I don't have any actual EOY lists factored in (the first usually show up just before Thanksgiving, so . . . next week), but have added new records as they come out. First place has tottered between Sharon Van Etten and Billie Eilish all years, with Van Etten recently back on top. If I had time, I'd speculate on where I see the EOY lists going, based on this research (factoring in certain data artifacts), but will have to skip that for now.

Final point I wanted to make is that Francis Davis is running his 14th Annual Jazz Critics Poll, and once again I'll try to help out. I also don't have time to speculate on likely standings there -- indeed, I've given the subject very little thought, and doubt my metacritic file sheds much light on it at this point. One thing I do want to pass along from the invite letter is this:

One last request. I need your help to expand the poll's voter base. If you can recommend any writers, bloggers, broadcasters, or podcasters you believe are qualified but believe I've overlooked, please let me know as soon as possible.

I'd be happy to forward any critic nominations.


New records reviewed this week:

  • Lolly Allen: Coming Home (2016 [2019], OA2): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Jon Batiste: Anatomy of Angels: Live at the Village Vanguard (2018 [2019], Verve): [r]: B+(*)
  • Jon Batiste: Chronology of a Dream: Live at the Village Vanguard (2018 [2019], Verve): [r]: B+(*)
  • Gerald Cleaver & Violet Hour: Live at Firehouse 12 (2019, Sunnyside): [r]: B+(**)
  • The DIVA Jazz Orchestra: DIVA + the Boys (2017 [2019], MCG Jazz): [cd]: B+(*)
  • DJ Shadow: Our Pathetic Age (2019, Mass Appeal, 2CD): [r]: B+(**)
  • FKA Twigs: Magdalene (2019, Young Turks): [r]: B
  • Gauche: A People's History of Gauche (2016-18 [2019], Merge): [r]: B+(***)
  • Charles Gayle/Giovanni Barcella/Manolo Cabras: The Alto Sessions (2017 [2019], El Negocito): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Ben Goldberg: Good Day for Cloud Fishing (2017 [2019], Pyroclastic): [r]: B
  • Laura Jurd: Stepping Back, Jumping In (2019, Edition): [r]: B
  • Kneebody: Chapters (2018-19 [2019], Edition): [r]: B+(*)
  • Kodian Trio: III (2019, Trost): [r]: B+(***)
  • Konstrukt + Ken Vandermark: Kozmik Bazaar (2018 [2019], Karlrecords): [r]: B+(**)
  • Liquid Quintet [Agustí Fernández/Artur Majewski/Albert Cirera/Rafal Mazur/Ramon Prats]: Flux (2017 [2019], Fundacja Sluchaj): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Made to Break: F4 Fake (2017 [2019], Trost): [r]: A-
  • Rachel Musson/Pat Thomas/Mark Sanders: Shifa: Live at Cafe Oto (2019, 577): [r]: B+(**)
  • Bob Ravenscroft & Inner Journeys: Phantasmagoria (2019, OA2): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Bria Skonberg: Nothing Never Happens (2019, self-released): [r]: B+(***)
  • SLD Trio: El Contorno Del Espacio (2018 [2019], Fundacja Sluchaj): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Tierney Sutton Band: ScreenPlay (2019, BFM Jazz): [r]: B+(***)
  • Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band: Obiaa! (2019, Strut): [r]: B+(**)
  • Threnody [Johan Berthling/Martin Küchen/Steve Noble]: A Paradigm of Suspicion (2018 [2019], Trost): [r]: B+(***)
  • Jonah Tolchin: Fires for the Cold (2019, Yep Roc): [r]: B+(*)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:

  • Future: Monster (2014 [2019], Freebandz): [r]: B+(***)
  • ICP Orchestra: ICP Orchestra in Albuquerque: The Outpost Performance Space, March 17th, 2003 (2003 [2019], ICP): [bc]: B+(**)

Old music:

  • Charles Gayle/Giovani Barcella/Manolo Cabras: Live in Belgium (2015 [2017], El Negocito): [bc]: B+(***)


Grade (or other) changes:

  • Kim Gordon: No Home Record (2019, Matador): [r]: [was: B+(***)] A-
  • Sonic Youth: Battery Park, NYC, July 4th 2008 (2008 [2019], Matador): [r]: [was: B+(***)] A-
  • That Dog: Old LP (2019, UMe): [r]: [was: B+(**)]: A-


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Georg Graewe/Ernest Reijseger/Gerry Hemingway: Kammern I-V (2009, Auricle)
  • Isabelle Olivier/Rez Abbasi: OASIS (Enja/Yellowbird) [12-06]
  • Sonar With David Torn: Tranceportation (Volume 1) (RareNoise): cdr [11-29]

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Weekend Roundup

Once again, no time for introduction.


Some scattered links this week:

  • Zeeshan Aleem: Trump just issued multiple war crime pardons. Experts think it's a bad idea.

  • Andrew Bacevich: Trump isn't really trying to end America's wars.

  • David Bromwich: The medium is the mistake: Review of James Poniewozik: Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America, and Matt Taibbi: Hate Inc.: Why Today's Media Makes Us Despise One Another. I got a lot out of the former book, and think it gets raked unfairly here -- not that I won't give Bromwich a couple of his points (The Beverly Hillbillies, Playboy). I've seen some parts of Taibbi's book, but didn't read them closely, and don't have a clear picture of the whole. Taibbi's first book on campaigning, Spanking the Donkey, was very sharp, not just on the candidates but on the press covering them (that's where he wrote up his Wimblehack brackets). Since then he's developed his own idiosyncratic version of "fair and balanced" centrism, which sometimes wears my patience thin. By the way, Bromwich has a recent book I hadn't noticed, but should take a look at: American Breakdown: The Trump Years and How They Befell Us. I'm also intrigued by parts of his earlier Moral Imagination: Essays. Just to pick one almost random quote from the latter's preface:

    We ought to describe as "terrorist" any act of deliberate violence that compasses the deaths of innocent persons in order to achieve a political end. State terror, such as Britain practiced in Kenya, Russia in Chechnya and the U.S. in Iraq -- state terror, as exemplified by our own state among others -- differs morally in no way from the terror of the people we are in the habit of calling terrorists. Moral imagination affirms the kinship in evil of these two sorts of violence.

  • Laura Bult/Liz Scheltens: America's wilderness is for sale.

  • Jonathan Chait:

  • Isaac Chotiner: How a Trump administration proposal could worsen public health: "Now, the Trump administration has proposed a new measure that would limit the research that the Environmental Protection Agency can use when regulating public health." Interview with Douglas Dockery.

  • Jason Del Rey: The Seattle politician Amazon tried to oust has declared victory: Kshama Sawant.

  • Masha Gessen:

  • David Graeber: Against economics: Review of Robert Skidelsky: Money and Government: The Past and Future of Economics. Skidelsky is best known as Keynes' biographer, and wrote what was for all intents and purposes Keynes' reply to the 2008 collapse (Keynes: The Return of the Master), but seems to venture further here -- which Graeber, an anarchist-anthropologist whose most famous book was called Debt, applauds. Lots of interesting points here, including a discussion of money which echoes some points Art Protin's tried to convince me of last week. Of course, the following nugget helped convince me they're on solid ground:

    Surely there's nothing wrong with creating simplified models. Arguably, this is how any science of human affairs has to proceed. But an empirical science then goes on to test those models against what people actually do, and adjust them accordingly. This is precisely what economists did not do. Instead, they discovered that, if one encased those models in mathematical formulae completely impenetrable to the noninitiate, it would be possible to create a universe in which those premises could never be refuted. . . .

    The problem, as Skidelsky emphasizes, is that if your initial assumptions are absurd, multiplying them a thousandfold will hardly make them less so. Or, as he puts it, rather less gently, "lunatic premises lead to mad conclusions." . . .

    Economic theory as it exists increasingly resembles a shed full of broken tools. This is not to say there are no useful insights here, but fundamentally the existing discipline is designed to solve another century's problems. The problem of how to determine the optimal distribution of work and resources to create high levels of economic growth is simply not the same problem we are now facing: i.e., how to deal with increasing technological productivity, decreasing real demand for labor, and the effective management of care work, without also destroying the Earth. This demands a different science.

  • Michael M Grynbaum: Blloomberg's teamcalls his crude remarks on women 'wrong'.

  • Jeet Heer: The foreign policy establishment is hijacking impeachment. Trump has done hundreds of things that I would be happy to impeach him for, but to be real, impeachment needs a broad consensus, and the FPE has expanded that from roughly half of the Democrats in the House to all of them. So that puts them first in line to level charges, even if they pick a few that I wouldn't prioritize.

  • Sean Illing:

    • The post-truth prophets: "Postmodernism predicted our post-truth hellscape. Everyone still hates it." Not his usual interview, although it's likely he's done interviews in this vein. I stopped paying attention to social theory around 1975, so I missed Lyotard's 1979 book where he coined the term postmodernism -- I did read precursors like Baudrillard, Foucault, and Lacan, but can't say as I ever got much out of them. The term meant nothing to me for a long time, before I came up with my own definition, using it to describe a world that had lost all sense of direction -- the one thing modernism promised -- and therefore let any damn thing go. I saw this most clearly in architecture, eventually in other arts, but it always remained something of a grab bag. What it might possibly mean for politics is especially hard to pin down, maybe because none of the rival claimants for a modernist politics ever got close to their intrinsic limits.

    • Did Trump just commit witness tampering? I asked 7 legal experts. "Probably not, but here's why it likely doesn't matter anyway."

    • Why we need a more forgiving legal system: Interview with Martha Minow, author of When Should Law Forgive?

  • Alex Isenstadt: Louisiana delivers Trump a black eye: "The president lost two of three gubernatorial elections in conservative Southern states, raising questions about his standing heading into 2020." Louisiana just re-elected Democrat John Bel Edwards to a second term as governor.

  • Molly Jong-Fast: Why Trump attacked Marie Yovanovitch: "He can't help but go after women, even when doing so hurts his cause."

  • Ed Kilgore:

    • Warren proposes two-step plan to implement Medicare for All. I see this as a fair and reasoned bow to the inevitable, not that I have any problem with Sanders sticking with his full-blown plan: how to get there matters, but not as much as knowing where you want to go. I could imagine even more steps along the way. M4A faces two major challenges: one is the money that is currently paid to private insurance companies over to the public program (most of that money is controlled by employers, who would like to keep it themselves); the other is getting the providers integrated into the M4A network, preferably on terms that allow M4A to better manage costs without reducing service. Warren's "head tax" is one way of dealing with the former (not an ideal solution, but should work as a bridge gap). Few people talk about the latter, probably because Medicare already has a large service network, but even there Advantage plans limit the network, and similar limits are common with private insurance plans. On the other hand, M4A would be more efficient (which is to say affordable) if providers dealt exclusively with it. I think this opens up three ideas that I've never seen really discussed. The first key is realizing that for well into the future private insurers will still be able to sell supplemental insurance plans. I'm on Medicare, but I still buy a "Medigap" private health insurance policy, which picks up virtually all of the deductibles and miscellaneous charges Medicare sticks you with. Sanders wants to eliminate all of those charges, but anything short of his plan will leave the insurance companies a viable market. Most practical implementations of M4A will leave a role for supplemental insurance. Doesn't this imply that M4A won't totally end the need for private insurance, but will simply shift it from primary to supplemental coverage? This opens up another way to incrementally shift to M4A: start by insuring everyone for certain conditions, and expand that list as you build up a general tax base to support it (part of the tax could be on private insurance premiums, which could be cost-neutral for the insurance companies). Some obvious candidates for the initial list: ER trauma, vaccinations, pre-natal care and deliveries. Another idea would be to start investing more funds into non-profit provider networks (which could be built around existing public providers, like the VA). Under M4A Medicaid wouldn't be needed as a second-class insurer, but could be repurposed to build affordable and accessible clinics, which would compete effectively with for-profit providers, and thereby help manage costs.

    • Bevin concedes after Republicans decline to help him steal the election.

    • Deval Patrick is officially running for President. Two-term governor of Massachusetts, a black politician who's open for business, so much so that after politics he went to work for Mitt Romney's vulture capital firm, Bain Capital. I recall that Thomas Frank, in Listen, Liberal: Or What Ever Happened to the Part of the People, looked past the Clintons to single Patrick out, along with Andrew Cuomo and Rahm Emmanuel, as prominent Democrats always eager to sell out to business interests. Patrick's hat in the ring tells us that certain donors are spooked by Warren and Sanders, are convinced Biden will collapse, realize that none of the Senators (Booker, Harris, Klobuchar) have attracted enough interest, and doubt Buttigieg can expand beyond his niche. Those donors have been pushing several names recently, including Bloomberg (who has even more negatives), but Patrick is the first to nibble. The problem is that unless you're looking for financial favors, it's hard to see any reason for anyone to pick Patrick over anyone else in the middle of the Democratic Party road. Also on Patrick: Matt Taibbi: Deval Patrick's candidacy is another chapter in the Democrats' 2020 clown car disaster.

    • Nikki Haley's skillful and opportunistic MAGA balancing act: "Once again, Nikki Haley has figured out how to keep herself in the news as a potential Trump-Pence successor while declaring her Trumpist loyalties."

    • Is Buttigieg's presidential bid buoyed by male privilege? Amy Klobuchar seems to think so. I don't doubt that lots of people have lots of prejudices governing their preferences, but such a claim isn't going to change anything. Among moderate ("no we can't") candidates, maybe Buttigieg and Biden have advantages other than sex -- one's an old establishment figure, the other is a complete outsider not tainted by past failures. Besides, didn't Hillary break the "glass ceiling" for wimpy moderates (at least in the Democratic primaries)? You could just as well argue that Cory Booker hasn't taken off due to white privilege, but Obama didn't seem to have that problem.

  • German Lopez:

  • Alec MacGillis: The case against Boeing. Specifically, regarding the 737 MAX. One can make lots of other cases against Boeing, perhaps not all "proving that the company put profit over safety," but profit is never far from management's thinking.

  • Ian Millhiser: 3 ways the Supreme Court could decide DACA's fate.

  • Andrew Prokop:

  • Emily Raboteau: Lessons in survival: Review of two books: Elizabeth Rush: Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, and Gilbert M Gaul: The Geography of Risk: Epic Storms, Rising Seas, and the Cost of America's Coasts.

    Both make the controversial case for managed retreat as our best defense, given the scale of the problem. This approach calls for withdrawing rather than rebuilding after disasters, and would include government buyout programs to finance the resettlement of homeowners from vulnerable areas.

  • Robert Reich: Warren doesn't just frighten billionaires -- she scares the whole establishment.

  • David Roberts: With impeachment, America's epistemic crisis as arrived: "Can the right-wing machine hold the base in an alternate reality long enough to get through the next election?"

    They [the right] are working with a few key tools and advantages. The first is a strong tendency, especially among low-information, relatively disengaged voters (and political reporters), to view consensus as a signal of legitimacy. It's an easy and appealing heuristic: If something is a good idea, it would have at least a few people from both sides supporting it. That's why "bipartisan" has been such a magic word in US politics this century, even as the reality of bipartisanship has faded.

    Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell was very canny in recognizing this tendency and working it it ruthlessly to his advantage. He realized before Obama ever set foot in office that if he could keep Republicans unified in opposition, refusing any cooperation on anything, he could make Obama appear "polarizing." His great insight, as ruthlessly effective as it was morally bankrupt, was that he could unilaterally deny Obama the ability to be a uniter, a leader, or a deal maker. Through nothing but sheer obstinance, he could make politics into an endless, frustrating, fruitless shitshow, diminishing both parties in voters' eyes.

    This is what Republicans need more than anything on impeachment: for the general public to see it as just another round of partisan squabbling, another illustration of how "Washington" is broken. They need to prevent any hint of bipartisan consensus from emerging.

    Roberts refers to several previous articles, worth collecting here, starting with his own:

  • Aaron Rupar:

  • Dominic Rushe: Boo-hoo billionaires: why America's super-wealthy are afraid for 2020.

  • Dylan Scott: Trump's big veterans health care plan has hit a snag. The "big plan" is to privatize health care services for veterans who don't live close enough to heavily used VA facilities. Once again, the privateers have overestimated the competency of the private sector, and underestimated its rapacity.

  • Emily Stewart: "ok billionaire": Elizabeth Warren is leaning into her billionaire battle.

  • Matt Stieb:

  • Jim Tankersley/Peter Eavis/Ben Casselman: How FedEx cut its tax bill to $0: "The company, like much of corporate America, has not made good on its promised investment surge from President Trump's 2017 tax cuts."

  • Peter Wade: 'You're done': Conservative radio host fired mid-show for criticizing Trump.

  • Alex Ward: The one big policy change 2020 Democrats want to make for veterans, explained.

  • Matthew Yglesias:

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Daily Log

Robert Christgau published his November 2019 Consumer Guide today. One of the records reviewed there was Bud Powell: Eight Classic Albums (Real Gone -4CD). The eight albums are:

  1. Bud Powell Trio (1951) -- in The Bud Powell Trio Plays (1947-53, Roulette) [A-]
  2. The Amazing Bud Powell (1951) -- (1949-51, Blue Note) [A]
  3. The Amazing Bud Powell Volume 2 (1953) -- (1951-53, Blue Note) [A-]
  4. Bud Powell Trio Volume 2 (1953) -- in The Bud Powell Trio Plays (1947-53, Roulette) [A-]
  5. The Amazing Bud Powell Volume 3: Bud! (1957) -- (1957, Blue Note) [B+]
  6. The Amazing Bud Powell Volume 4: Time Waits (1958) -- (1958, Blue Note) [A-]
  7. Blues in the Closet (1958) -- (1956, Verve) [B+(**)]
  8. The Amazing Bud Powell Volume 5: The Scene Changes (1959) -- (1958, Blue Note) [A-]

Monday, November 11, 2019

Music Week

Expanded blog post, November archive (in progress).

Music: Current count 32345 [32307] rated (+38), 221 [220] unrated (+1).

Pressure continues to build on my psych crisis. Hoped for a break today, but may have underestimated the holiday. Maybe tomorrow? I've been in a rut for nearly a month, getting damn little done. Still, might as well knock this out. Don't actually have much to say about it, anyway.

Next week will either be much better . . . or worse.


New records reviewed this week:

  • Ben Allison/Steve Cardenas/Ted Nash: Quiet Revolution (2018, Sonic Camera): [r]: B+(***)
  • Byron Asher: Byron Asher's Skrontch Music (2018 [2019], Sinking City): [r]: B+(**)
  • The Bad Plus: Activate Infinity (2019, Edition): [r]: B+(**)
  • Kenny Barron & Mulgrew Miller: The Art of Piano Duo: Live (2005-11 [2019], Sunnyside): [r]: A-
  • Harold Danko/Kirk Knuffke: Play Date (2018 [2019], SteepleChase): [r]: B+(***)
  • David Friesen Circle 3 Trio: Interaction (2018 [2019], Origin, 2CD): [cd]: B+(***) [11-15]
  • Andy Fusco: Vortex (2017 [2019], SteepleChase): [r]: B+(**)
  • Mary Halvorson & John Dieterich: A Tangle of Stars (2018 [2019], New Amsterdam): [r]: B+(**)
  • Kevin Hays/Mark Turner/Marc Miralta: Where Are You (2018 [2019], Fresh Sound New Talent): [r]: B+(***)
  • Zlatko Kaucic Quintet: Morning Patches (2018 [2019], Fundacja Sluchaj): [bc]: B+(*)
  • Michael Kiwanuka: Kiwanuka (2019, Polydor): [r]: B+(*)
  • Kronos Quartet: Terry Riley: Sun Rings (2019, Nonesuch): [r]: B
  • Travis Laplante: Human (2018 [2019], New Amsterdam): [r]: B
  • Jeffrey Lewis & the Voltage: Bad Wiring (2019, Don Giovanni): [r]: B+(***)
  • Joe Morris & Evan Parker: The Village (2014 [2019], Fundacja Sluchaj): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Ted Nash/Steve Cardenas/Ben Allison: Somewhere Else: West Side Story Songs (2019, Plastic Sax): [r]: B+(**)
  • One O'Clock Lab Band: Lab 2019 (2019, North Texas Jazz): [cd]: B+(*) [11-22]
  • Evan Parker/Lotte Anker/Torben Snekkestad: Inferences (2016 [2019], Fundacja Sluchaj): [bc]: B+(*)
  • Marta Sánchez Quintet: El Rayo De Luz (2019, Fresh Sound New Talent): [cd]: A-
  • Sirkis/Bialas IQ: Our New Earth (2018 [2019], Moonjune, 2CD): [cd]: B+(**)
  • That Dog: Old LP (2019, UMe): [r]: B+(**)
  • Jeremy Udden: Three in Paris (2018 [2019], Sunnyside): [r]: B+(***)
  • Michael Zilber: East West: Music for Big Bands (2018 [2019], Origin, 2CD): [cd]: B+(*) [11-15]

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:

  • Bulawayo Blue Yodel (1950s [2019], Olvido): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Lloyd McNeill: Treasures (1970 [2019], Soul Jazz): [r]: B+(**)
  • Lee Moses: How Much Longer Must I Wait? Singles & Rarities 1965-1972 (1965-72 [2019], Light in the Attic): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Phil Ranelin: Collected 2003-2019 (2003-19 [2019], Wide Hive, 2CD): [r]: A-
  • Tribe: Hometown: Detroit Sessions 1990-2014 (1990-2014 [2019], Art Yard/Strut): [r]: B+(***)

Old music:

  • Ben Allison: The Stars Look Very Different Today (2013, Sonic Camera): [r]: B+(*)
  • Ben Allison: Layers of the City (2017, Sonic Camera): [r]: B+(**)
  • Harold Danko: After the Rain (1994 [1995], SteepleChase): [r]: B+(**)
  • Harold Danko Quartet: Tidal Breeze (1995-96 [1997], SteepleChase): [r]: B+(***)
  • Lloyd McNeill and Marshall Hawkins: Tanner Suite (1969 [2015], Universal Sound): [r]: B+(*)
  • Lee Moses: Time and Place (1971, Maple): [r]: B+(***)
  • Phil Ranelin: A Close Encounter of the Very Best Kind (1996, Lifeforce): [r]: B+(***)
  • Phil Ranelin: Living a New Day (2005, Wide hive): [r]: B+(**)
  • Phil Ranelin & Tribe Renaissance: Reminiscence: Live! (2009, Wide Hive): [r]: B+(***)
  • Phil Ranelin: Portrait in Blue (2015, Wide Hive): [r]: B+(***)
  • Pamela Samiha Wise: A New Message From the Tribe (2017, Tribe): [r]: B+(**)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Lolly Allen: Coming Home (OA2) [11-15]
  • The Diva Jazz Orchestra: Diva + the Boys (MCG Jazz)
  • Rozina Pátkai: Taladim (Tom-Tom)
  • Charlie Porter: Immigration Nation (OA2) [11-15]
  • Bob Ravenscroft & Inner Journeys: Phantasmagoria (OA2) [11-15]
  • Toh-Kichi: Baikamo (Libra)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Weekend Roundup

Another "going through the motions" week, so no introduction. I noted a friend of a friend commenting that people don't realize how much time it's going to take after the 2020 election to undo the damage Trump has inflicted (and is continuing to, no doubt with a special flurry after he gets beat, including a bunch of pre-emptive pardons). This person was citing the difficulties Laura Kelly has faced since becoming governor of Kansas, but it's a general rule. For me, the best election news last week was the defeat of Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell, who spent his term making shady deals with real estate developers. One of those was to wreck McLean Boulevard, which used to hug the river from 13th North to Pawnee (23rd South), but now will have its downtown passage moved so realtors can offer exclusive river views. Unlikely that would ever have passed a public vote, but it's also unlikely that the new mayor will be able to undo the blight. Of course, a big part of Kelly's problem is that the state legislature is still controlled by Republicans. The bigger the Democratic wave in 2020, but more a new president will be able to do. But still, the task list is daunting, and growing every day.


Some scattered links this week:

Monday, November 04, 2019

Music Week

Expanded blog post, November archive (in progress).

Music: current count 32307 [32276] rated (+31), 220 [224] unrated (-4).

Not as physically miserable on waking up this morning as last, but more deeply troubled. Figured I'd get even by doing a long groan and rant here, but 9-10 hours later, when I finally got started, all I wanted was the day to be over with. So I'll spare you the details on two major personal crises, other than to note that one I made some headway on today, and the other I sensibly put off until tomorrow. That leaves two or three technical problems that are easier to talk about. The one that bothers me most is the new computer.

To recap, I order a bunch of parts to build a new computer:

  • AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 8-Core 3.2GHz CPU
  • ASRock X570 Steel Legend Motherboard
  • G.SKILL TridentZ RGB Series 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3000 SDRAM
  • XFX Radeon RX 570 RS 8Gb Graphics Card
  • Intel 660p Series M.2 1TB Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • Lite-On DVD Burner SATA
  • Corsair RM Series 750W Full Modular Power Supply
  • Fractal Design Focus G Mid Tower ATX Computer Case
  • AmazonBasics DisplayPort 6 Foot Cable
  • Logitech M705 Cordless Mouse
  • Samsung 32-Inch UJ59 UHD 3840x2160 Monitor

I'm reusing a Logitech K740 Mechanical Keyboard, plus (for now) a pretty cheap set of speakers -- gear originally attached to an old (and pathetically slow) machine that will be retired (or maybe used as a print server, as it's the last machine standing with a parallel port for my HP Laser Printer). Originally I misread the motherboard specs and thought I could make do with onboard video, but turned out that was dependent on a different CPU, so I had to add the video card. When I did install the card, the machine came up nicely, and I loaded Xubuntu 18.04 LTS easily enough.

Main problem I ran into then was that the default fonts were awful small on the high-resolution monitor, so I've had to find the various places where they are defined and tweak them up. The new machine is as powerful as I expected. However, I ran into a problem: the machine freezes after some period of inactivity. I've spent 3-4 days chasing after this problem, and still don't have a handle on it.

The obvious suspect is the power save and screen lock functions of the window manager. I've scaled them back (and eliminated light-locker all together). That eliminated the blank screen, but the system would leave either just wallpaper or the full workspace window when it freezes (in which state neither mouse nor keyboard wakes it up). I wondered whether parts of the window manager crashed, in which case it should be possible to ssh in from another machine -- but active ssh sessions are disconnected when the machine freezes. I've poured through syslogs, but have yet to find anything enlightening (obviously have more of that to do). The box felt a bit warm to me, so I wondered about thermal. Inserting an instant read thermometer through the back grill registers 93F, which doesn't strike me as unusually hot. Also, the timing always follows inactivity -- I played music for about 5 hours last night, then it shut down a few minutes after the music stopped.

Good news, I suppose, is that reset wakes it up, and reboot is pretty quick. Still, the most vexing problem I've run across in 6-8 computer builds -- rather dispiriting given my age and psychic frailty. Also, I shot way pass my original budget, so I'm extra reluctant to swap in extra new hardware. Plus this has come at a time when I'm also having to deal with repair/replace questions on dishwasher and car. One bit of good news is that I seem to have managed to repair the dishwasher leak.

[PS: I have ascertained that the freeze is a kernel panic, more specifically a watchdog timer detecting a soft lockup during a system call (timeout is 20 seconds). This indicates a bug in a kernel module, although I suppose it could be caused by a hardware fault. I need to better understand the context to figure out how to fix the problem or work around it. It would be helpful to get a call trace, which would map the source back to an application program.]


Not much to say about this week's music. Swapping out the old computer before getting the new one working forced me to spend more time working off the promo queue than streaming. As for the "old music," I picked up a friendly download of Carmen McRae's Live at the Dug -- one of the few records recommended in Will Friedland's The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums I hadn't heard), and thought I'd check out a few more promising albums without taking a deep dive.

In recent weeks I've been the best-reviewed new albums plus identifying other new ones of exceptional interest. Not much to report on that front this week: top-rated this week was Michael Kiwanuka: Kiwanuka (12), followed by Miranda Lambert: Wildcard (7), and Sudan Archives: Athena (4). The other new release that looks most promising is: Jeffrey Lewis & the Voltage: Bad Wiring.

Among records I previously reviewed, the best to finally appear last week were: Roger Kellaway: The Many Open Minds of Roger Kellaway [A-]; and Roberto Magris: Sun Stone [***].


New records reviewed this week:

  • Areni Agbabian: Bloom (2016 [2019], ECM): [r]: B
  • The Carter Family: Across Generations (2019, Reviver Legacy): [r]: B
  • Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Ghosteen (2019, Ghosteen/Bad Seeds): [r]: B
  • Clipping.: There Existed an Addiction to Blood (2019, Sub Pop): [r]: B+(*)
  • Dave Douglas: Engage (2018 [2019], Greenleaf Music): [cd]: A- [11-08]
  • Nick Dunston: Atlantic Extraction (2019, Out of Your Head): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Lorenzo Feliciati/Michele Rabbia: Antikythera (2019, RareNoise): [cdr]: B+(**)
  • Floating Points: Crush (2019, Ninja Tune): [r]: B+(**)
  • Calabria Foti: Prelude to a Kiss (2019, Moco): [cd]: B
  • Hal Galper Trio: The Zone: Live at the Yardbird Suite (2016 [2019], Origin): [cd]: A- [11-15]
  • Francesco Guerri: Su Mimmi Non Si Spara! (2019, RareNoise): [cdr]: B+(**)
  • Jerome Jennings: Solidarity (2019, Iola): [cd]: B+(***) [11-09]
  • Per Texas Johansson: Stråk På Himlen Och Stora Hus (2019, Moserobie): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Lakou Mizik: HaitiaNola (2019, Cumbancha): [r]: B+(*)
  • Miranda Lambert: Wildcard (2019, RCA Nashville): [r]: A-
  • João Lencastre's Communion 3: Song(s) of Hope (2019, Clean Feed): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Chris Lightcap: SuperBigmouth (2019, Pyroclastic): [r]: B
  • Lil Tjay: True 2 Myself (2019, Columbia): [r]: B+(*)
  • Fredrik Ljungkvist Trio: Atlantis (2019, Moserobie): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Maurice Louca: Elephantine (2019, Northern Spy): [r]: B+(*)
  • Nellie McKay: Bagatelles (2019, Palmetto, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • MIKE: Tears of Joy (2019, 10k): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Mute: Mute (2018 [2019], Fresh Sound New Talent): [cd]: A- [12-13]
  • The Niro Featuring Gary Lucas: The Complete Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas Songbook (2019, Esordisco): [cd]: B [11-08]
  • Northern Ranger: Eastern Stranger (2019, self-released, EP): [cdr]: B+(**)
  • Nicholas Payton: Relaxin' With Nick (2019, Smoke Sessions, 2CD): [r]: B+(**)
  • Roberta Piket: Domestic Harmony: Piket Plays Mintz (2019, Thirteenth Note): [cd]: B+(**) [12-06]
  • Polo G: Die a Legend (2019, Columbia): [r]: B+(**)
  • Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Colorado (2019, Reprise): [r]: B+(***)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:

  • James Brown: Live at Home With His Bad Self (1969 [2019], Polydor): [r]: A-
  • Johnny Griffin & Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis: Ow! Live at the Penthouse (1962 [2019], Reel to Reel): [cd]: A-

Old music:

  • Carmen McRae: Torchy (1955, Decca): [r]: B+(**)
  • Carmen McRae: Sings Lover Man and Other Billie Holiday Classics (1961 [1962,1997], Columbia/Legacy): [r]: B+(***)
  • Carmen McRae: As Time Goes By: Carmen McRae Alone Live at the Dug (1973 [1974], Victor): [r]: B+(***)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • David Friesen Circle 3 Trio: Interaction (Origin, 2CD) [11-15]
  • Hal Galper Trio: The Zone: Live at the Yardbird Suite (Origin) [11-15]
  • Roberta Piket: Domestic Harmony: Piket Plays Mintz (Thirteenth Note) [12-06]
  • Marta Sánchez Quintet: El Rayo De Luz (Fresh Sound New Talent) [11-22]
  • Jim Snidero: Project-K (Savant) [01-24-2020]
  • Sirkis/Ballas IQ: Our New Earth (Moonjune)
  • Michael Zilber: East West: Music for Big Bands (Origin, 2CD) [11-15]

Daily Log

Got a "summons for jury service" from the 18th Judicial District Court, Sedgwick County, Kansas. Filling the form out online, and on paper.

"The clerk may be contacted by telephone at (316) 660-9101, by fax at (316) 941-5355, by email at jury@dc18.org, or via the Kansas Relay Center at 1-800-766-3777."

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Weekend Roundup

Late getting into this, and beset by more problems than I can cope with these days, so no introduction. Nothing fundamentally different. Just lots more of the same old shit.


Some scattered links this week:

Etc.

Picked up the following link during my search, before realizing that it was old:


Oct 2019 Dec 2019