Streamnotes: July 30, 2016

First order of business: I've dropped "Rhapsody" from the column name because the streaming service changed their name to Napster. I started writing these notes in 2007 when Rhapsody kindly gave me a free subscription (I had done some work for them converting Robert Christgau's Consumer Guide reviews so they could use them). That ran out a year later and there's a break in coverage until the following August when I broke down and paid for the service. One of the better investments I've made, the most obvious ROI being that it broke me of the habit of buying CDs just to check them out, only to discover they weren't things I would want to return to. The second effect was that I wound up checking out a lot of stuff I never would have paid for -- some did pan out, and many didn't.

I later decided to cut back on my column writing, bringing to a close Recycled Goods and Jazz Prospecting as separate entities by folding the records I would have reviewed there into here. These days, the default below (the case not otherwise marked) is something streamed on Rhapsody/Napster. Other records are marked with a note in brackets -- [cd] for CDs (mostly promos), [cdr] for advance/bootleg CDs (all promos), [bc] for Bandcamp, [dl] for some other download (or streaming) source. Needless to say, these sources are not all created equal, either in terms of sound quality or personal convenience. Each column has a legend explaining this.

As you may recall, I missed a big chunk of June travelling, so that month's haul was much shorter than usual (66). This month's is probably longer than usual (135). The "new releases" generally came out in the last 2-3 years, with most being 2016 releases. The "recent reissues, compilations, vault discoveries" were also released in the last 2-3 years, but usually are older music (recorded more than ten years ago), but I sometimes slip in more recent "various artist" compilations (like the Blind Willie Johnson tribute this month). The "old music" section contains older releases that I'm late getting to -- mostly catch-ups on artists or labels I've been thinking about and found on Rhapsody (er, Napster, hate that name), plus the occasional stray that I just happened to notice. This section was very slim this month until at the last moment I decided to dive into old Fred Hersch records.

Most of these are short notes/reviews based on streaming records from Rhapsody (other sources are noted in brackets). They are snap judgments based on one or two plays, accumulated since my last post along these lines, back on June 30. Past reviews and more information are available here (8364 records).

Recent Releases

The 1975: I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It (2016, Dirty Hit/Interscope): British guitar band, second album. No denying that some of this is catchy, bouncy, sharp, smart, but it's also extremely long at 73:55 (17 songs). B+(*)

Anohni: Hopelessness (2016, Secretly Canadian): Antony Hegarty, formerly of Antony and the Johnsons, name change seems to be related to a gender change. Produced by Hudson Mohawke, with input from Oneohtrix Point Never, so the protest music is devoid of folky cliché. He/she oversings -- some things are beyond change. B+(*)

The Avalanches: Wildflower (2016, Astralwerks): Australian group, built their first album wholly from samples (2000's Since I Left You) -- about the time when they reportedly started working on this second album, finally released 16 years later. Ridiculously mixed bag here, the calypso-oom-pah mashup "Frankie Sinatra" is amusing enough, but other jokes wear thin, if indeed they are funny at all. B

Ricardo Bacelar: Concerto Para Moviola: Ao Vivo (2015 [2016], Bacelar): Brazilian pianist, a live recording from the Guaramiranga Jazz and Blues Festival in Ceara, Brazil; draws on 1970s pop/fusion like Weather Report and Yellowjackets and throws in some Jobim, of course. Flows, lilts, even rocks out a bit. B+(*) [cd]

Jon Balke: Warp (2014 [2016], ECM): Norwegian pianist, more than a dozen albums since 1991. Solo piano, slow and thoughtful enough for Manfred Eicher, also credits for field recordings and vocals but nothing I much noticed. B+(*) [dl]

Aaron Bennett/Darren Johnston/Lisa Mezzacappa/Tim Rosaly: Shipwreck 4 (2015 [2016], NoBusiness): Tenor sax, trumpet, bass, drums -- your basic two-horn avant quartet, no chordal instrument to harmonize the horns. Should be freewheeling, but isn't quite. B+(*) [cd]

James Blake: The Colour in Anything (2016, Polydor): British electronica artist, gained a lot of attention for a series of dubstep-influenced EPs c. 2010, which he's followed up with a pair of much hyped (but to my ears underwhelming) albums. Blake picked up help here from Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Rick Rubin, stretching the album out to a monumental 76:13. I can see why some people are impressed, but I find it dreary and depressing -- not something I look for in pop music. B-

Carla Bley/Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow: Andando el Tiempo (2015 [2016], ECM): Piano, tenor/soprano sax, bass, playing five Bley compositions. Swallow is Bley's third famous husband (after Paul Bley and Michael Mantler). Sheppard is a Brit who produced some exciting albums from the late 1980s, and has been close to Bley for well over a decade now. Like their previous Trios, a lovely piece of chamber jazz. B+(***) [dl]

Blood Orange: Freetown Sound (2016, Domino): Dev Hynes, previously recorded as Lightspeed Champion, now has his third album as Blood Orange. R&B, slick beats and soft croon but it all comes out twisted in various ways. A-

The Michael Blum Quartet: Chasin' Oscar: A Tribute to Oscar Peterson (2015 [2016], self-released): Guitarist, won Downbeat's Rising Star a year ago in something of a scandal (he didn't finish in the top 21 this year). Quartet includes piano (Brad Smith), bass (Jim Stinnett), and drums (Dom Moio). The Oscar Peterson theme offers easy standards (plus two originals by Stinnett), and Blum sings a couple -- not very well, but not without charm. B+(*) [cd]

Bobby Bradford/Hafez Modirzadeh: Live at the Open Gate (2013 [2016], NoBusiness): Trumpet and alto sax, respectively, with Mark Dresser on bass and Alex Cline on drums, a perfectly enjoyable but unspectacular avant set. B+(**) [cdr]

Brazzamerica: Brazzamerica (2016, self-released): Brazilian (or Brazilian-American? -- this album, presumably their debut, was recorded in New York) piano trio: Leco Reis (bass), Cidinho Teixeira (piano), Edson Ferreira (percussion). Engagingly upbeat, very pleasant. B+(**) [cd]

Brothers Osborne: Pawn Shop (2016, EMI Nashville): John and T.J., country-rockers transplanted to Nashville from Maryland, not to be confused with Kentucky bluegrassers Sonny and Bobby, aka the Osborne Brothers. First album, country rock with emphasis on the latter, but country for their clearly articulated down home themes -- almost a little too clear, nothing you'd think twice about. B+(*)

Toronzo Cannon: The Chicago Way (2016, Alligator): Chicago bluesman, fourth album since 2007 getting a late start -- he's now 48, basically a journeyman working in a long tradition. B+(*)

Car Seat Headrest: Teens of Denial (2016, Matador): Singer-songwriter Will Toledo, wrote eleven homemade albums worth of songs in four years before landing an indie label contract. His debut featured re-recorded old songs, but this sophomore effort is newer and bigger, his twelve songs running 69:16, nearly everyone with substantial crunch and hook -- so much meatier than anything from his lo-fi days. Can't say as I care yet, but I am impressed. B+(***)

Cavanaugh: Time and Materials (2015 [2016], Mello Music): Underground rap duo, Open Mike Eagle and Serengeti, beats are subtle, raps representing characters -- as usual I have trouble following, but what I do hear is interesting. Eight tracks, 25:56. B+(**)

Corey Christensen: Factory Girl (2015 [2016], Origin): Guitarist, has a handful of grooveful albums, group includes Zach Lapidus on keyboards, plus bass, drums, and extra percussion. B+(**) [cd]

Brandy Clark: Big Day in a Small Town (2016, Warner Brothers): Quite some songwriter, storyteller too, but she turns so many clever phrases with heaven and hell (e.g., "since you've gone to heaven the whole world's gone to hell") and love lost and scorned ("if you want the girl next door, go next door . . . and don't look back"). A-

Frankie Cosmos: Next Thing (2016, Bayonnet): Greta Kline's second album, at 28:28 still considered an EP by Rhapsody but anything with fifteen songs deserves more respect. (Her previous Zentropy finished ten songs in 17:16.) Better than lo-fi sound, better than DIY songs too. B+(***)

Sylvie Courvoisier/Mark Feldman/Ikue Mori/Evan Parker: Miller's Tale (2015 [2016], Intakt): Piano, violin, electronics, soprano and tenor sax, respectively. Feldman is the most classical-sounding of jazz violinists and seems to dominate at first, but the more you listen the more interesting the fractured piano and sax become. Still not sure about the electronics. B+(***) [cd]

Dan Cray: Outside In (2015 [2016], Origin): Pianist, sixth album since 2002, a quartet with Dayna Stephens (tenor sax), Clark Sommers (bass), and Mark Ferber (drums). Four originals, three covers (Bud Powell, "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing," "Where Are You"), nothing too settled or pat. B+(**) [cd]

Theo Croker: Escape Velocity (2015 [2016], Okeh): Trumpet player, grandson of Doc Cheatham -- would have been 11 when the New Orleans trumpet legend died at 91, but Donald Byrd is the more explicit reference. Like Byrd, Croker aims for jazz-funk as if he's on the verge of a commercial breakthrough. Drawing on a wider range of funk, he gets a bit closer aesthetically, but in today's marketplace still remains marginal, even with the Dee Dee Bridgewater vocal. B+(*)

Orbert Davis' Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble: Havana Blue (2013 [2016], 3Sixteen): Big band plus some strings, the bulk of the record taken up by "Havana Blue Suite" followed by a few standards (including "Manteca"). The suite has a delicate air. B+(**) [cd]

Suzanne Dean: Come to Paradise (2016, Ship's Bell Music): More songwriter than singer -- credit here is "background vocals and ukulele"; lead vocals are by Nicole Zuraitis -- with the songs in a folk-rock vein (paradise and dreams and such), starting with guitar then gradually adding in keyboards (Rich Ruttenberg) and horns (John Daversa and Bob Sheppard). B [cd]

Debo Band: Ere Gobez (2016, FPE): Boston band led by Ethiopian singer Bruck Tesfaye and saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, doing a fair approximation of Ethiopian pop/Ethio-jazz. B+(*)

The Diva Jazz Orchestra: Special Kay! (2013 [2016], self-released): Drummer Sherrie Maricle's all-female big band "celebrates the life and music of Stanley Kay" -- last name Kaufman, also a drummer, died in 2010 at 86 after a "70+ year career" which included a stint as Entertainment Director for the New York Yankees, but he's also credited as founder (in 1992) and "creative force behind" the Orchestra. He also composed the ten pieces, which swing ferociously. Done live, with lots of shout-outs to the soloists. B+(**) [cd]

Drake: Views (2016, Cash Money): Canadian rapper, took a fairly modest underground style and blew it up into a big hit, and keeps spitting it out although I've never found much reason to care. Runs 79:45. B+(*)

The Evenfall Quartet: Evenfall (2015 [2016], Blue Duchess): Boston group, first album, very mainstream tenor sax (Mark Earley), piano (Joe "Sonny" Barbato), bass (Brad Hallen), drums (Jerzy "Jurek" Glod) outfit. All standards, leading with "That Old Black Magic," passing through "Time After Time" and "Old Devil Moon" and "After You're Gone" to wrap up with "Stardust." Earley's background is playing in blues bands (Duke Robillard, Roomful of Blues) and he doesn't have the rich vibrato of a Bob Rockwell much less Ben Webster, nor does the band aspire to anything retro (like a Scott Hamilton). In short, as a critic I should insist on them working harder, doing something more ambitious, but in fact my idea of a perfectly lovely album. A- [cd]

Fail Better!: Owt (2014 [2016], NoBusiness): Avant-jazz quintet from Portugal -- Marco dos Reis (guitar), Luis Vicente (trumpet), João Guimarães (alto sax), José Miguel Pereira (double bass), João Pais Filipe (drums) -- recorded live at Coimbra. The guitar generally leads here. B+(**) [cdr]

Alan Ferber: Roots & Transitions (2016, Sunnyside): Postbop trombonist, assembled a nonet here to fill out his compositions, thick and more than a little turgid. B

Cheryl Fisher: Quietly There (2015 [2016], OA2): Standards singer (wrote one song here), from Canada, eighth album since 2004, quietly sneaks up on you, in large part because the band -- Seattle musicians from John Bishop's crew -- provides subtle support in all the right places. B+(**) [cd]

Anat Fort Trio/Gianluigi Trovesi: Birdwatching (2013 [2016], ECM): Pianist, born in Israel, based in New York, fourth album since 1999, trio means Gary Wang (bass) and Roland Schneider (drums), together at least since 2009. Trovesi plays alto clarinet, returning to the lineup of her 2007 ECM debut. B+(***) [dl]

Dori Freeman: Dori Freeman (2015 [2016], Free Dirt): Folky singer-songwriter from Appalachia doesn't make a show of her roots or authenticity but lets them quietly seep through her songs, produced by Teddy Thompson, most effectively when he slips in a rock band, or lets her take a work song with nothing but finger snaps. A-

Fresh Cut Orchestra: Mind Behind Closed Eyes (2016, Ropeadope): Ten-piece group from Philadelphia led by Josh Lawrence (trumpet), Jason Fraticelli (bass & cuatro), and Anwar Marshall (drums), who share writing credits pretty evenly. Latin tinge, much emphasis on rhythm, especially irresistible on the closer "Gallo y Gallina." B+(***) [cd]

Fresh Cut Orchestra: From the Vine (2015, self-released): First album, mostly consists of the seven-part "Mother's Suite," starting off with irritating bird sounds then gets symphonic. Mixed bag after that, including passages that show a lot of promise (and not just the fast ones). B+(*) [bc]

Fred Frith Trio: Another Day in Fucking Paradise (2015 [2016], Intakt): Guitarist, many albums since his early Guitar Solos (1974) when he staked his avant-garde claims by working with prepared guitar. This is still fairly far out, scratchy avant guitar backed by Jason Hoopes (electric and double bass) and Jordan Glenn (drums, percussion). Some slavic-sounding voice, but it doesn't stick around. B+(***) [cdr]

Fruit Bats: Absolute Loser (2016, Easy Sound): Chicago alt/indie band, starts with the Velvets' guitar sound and adds some pop sparkle, with Eric D. Johnson writing neat little songs. B+(**)

Gaudi: EP (2016, RareNoise, EP): Daniele Gaudi Cenacchi, b. 1963 in Italy, based in London, has a dozen albums since 1991 and many more shorter forms. Plays minimoog and other keyboards here, also credited with programming, for two cuts, 15:39, backed by 5-6 musicians (no intersection, the better known ones like Bill Laswell and Merzbow are on "Electronic impromptu in E-flat Minor." Groove spins off easily enough you wouldn't mind him running longer. B+(**) [cdr]

Sara Gazarek/Josh Nelson: Dream in the Blue (2015 [2016], Steel Bird): Nelson plays piano -- has a couple albums on his own. Gazarek sings, mostly standards but Nelson wrote three songs, two with Gazarek. A fairly intimate affair, never really takes off. B [cd]

Domo Genesis: Genesis (2016, Odd Future): LA rapper, Dominique Marquis Cole, debut album after several mixtapes. Good chance this could grow on me, given how many times the first pass reminded me of Stevie Wonder. B+(***)

Robert Glasper: Everything's Beautiful (2016, Legacy): Co-credited to Miles Davis, who is extensively sampled (or reproduced) for a tie-in with Don Cheadle's movie, Miles Ahead. Still, Davis died 25 years ago, and while it's amusing to imagine what he might have made of hip-hop, the result is clearly the work of someone who grew up straddling both worlds. More polished than previous efforts, with some imagination but also a tendency to let the soundtrack unwound. B+(**)

André Gonçalves: Currents & Riptides (2016, Shhpuma): From Portugal, plays keyboards, guitar and computer, but they mostly boil down to electronics. Two long tracks, one with Pedro Boavida joining in on Fender Rhodes, the other with bass (Rodrigo Dias) and guitar (Gonçalo Silva). The quirky first piece is especially enticing. The second is more ambient drone, but that goes down easy too. B+(***)

The Goon Sax: Up to Anything (2016, Chapter Music): Australian alt/indie trio, basically lo-fi guitar jangle and voice, with occasional echoes of the Go-Betweens, perhaps expected in a band led by Robert Forster's son Louis. B+(***)

Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman (2016, Republic): Pop star, got her start as a teenage TV star, third album -- another pile of glitz with a vast array of writers and producers and featured guests (Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Macy Gray, Future), which should be good for some ear candy but rarely rises to that level, let alone portends the promised danger. B+(*)

David Greenberger, Keith Spring, and Dinty Child: Take Me Where I Don't Know I Am (2016, Pel Pel): More spoken word texts from conversations at a nursing home in Jamaica Plain, MA 1979-83 -- back far enough you get a good story about Joe Louis. The others (and Keiji Hashimoto) provide the music, which is jazzy for the opener on "Three Spaniels" and moodier toward the end, not least for the nonogenarian who hopes to die soon. A- [cd]

Tord Gustavsen: What Was Said (2015 [2016], ECM): Norwegian pianist, working with vocalist Simin Tander and pianist-drummer Jarle Vespestad. The voice is arresting, and without the voice the piano grows even grander. B+(**) [dl]

Rich Halley 5: The Outlier (2015 [2016], Pine Eagle): Tenor saxophonist, has an impressive run of albums since he retired from his day job, mostly quartet affairs with Michael Vlatkovich on trombone, Clyde Reed on bass, and son Carson Haley on drums. The fifth here is Vinny Golia (baritone sax, bass clarinet) -- one of Halley's early albums was recorded on Golia's Nine Winds label. This is something of a mess, but frequently turns magnificent, as if rising up from chaos is a good thing. Guess it is. A- [cd]

Hard Working Americans: Rest in Chaos (2016, Melvin): Todd Snider and several guys with long resumes in bands I never bothered with -- sort of Nashville's answer to the Waco Brothers, but they rarely live up to the concept. B+(**)

Tim Hecker: Love Streams (2016, 4AD/Paper Bag): Ambient electronica artist, his electronics finding a fair amount of what sounds like radio static and given a sacred music aura by the Icelandic Choir Ensemble -- none of which I find especially appealing, even when it's oddly moving. B

Fred Hersch: Solo (2014 [2015], Palmetto): Didn't get this last year when it polled well -- guess the publicist knew that I rarely fell for solo piano albums, even by pianists I've long admired. Starts with a Jobim, then "Caravan," two originals, "The Song Is You," "In Walked Bud," "Both Sides Now" -- each taken at a leisurely stroll for no less than 7:30, where it just envelops you with warmth and feeling. Good chance that if it wasn't so difficult to deal with downloads I'd like it even more. A- [dl]

The Fred Hersch Trio: Sunday Night at the Vanguard (2016, Palmetto): The pianist's fourth Vanguard title, although when I saw this title I flashed not on his own previous efforts but on Bill Evans' justly legendary Sunday at the Village Vanguard -- Hersch has always had a thing for Evans, but in the liner notes he only mentions the first time he sat foot in the Village Vanguard, in 1976 for Dexter Gordon's homecoming (the only time I ever went there). Trio with John Hébert and Eric McPherson mostly staying out of the way -- not my recipe for for a great piano trio but the pianist is on such a roll he's fascinating anyway. A- [cd]

Marquis Hill: The Way We Play (2016, Concord Jazz): Trumpeter, won a Monk prize in 2014 which carries with it Concord's commitment to release an album. This revisits the hard bop tradition (Gryce, Silver, Monk, Hancock, Byrd, some standards), in a group with Christopher McBride on sax and Justin Thomas on vibes in lieu of piano, with Makaya McCraven's drums lighter and fleeter than any hard bop drummer. Meagan McNeal introduces the band, and Hill drops a couple rhymes. B+(***)

Hinds: Leave Me Alone (2016, Mom + Pop): All-female garage rock band from Spain, a little too grungy to pass for pop -- or maybe I just mean out of tune. B

Mike Jones Trio: Roaring (2015 [2016], Capri): Mainstream pianist, cites Dave McKenna as his main inspiration, his early albums on Chiaroscuro (longtime home of Ralph Sutton). Trio with Katie Thiroux (bass) and Matt Witek (drums), a bunch of swing-ready standards. B+(**) [cd]

Joonsam: A Door (2014 [2016], Origin): Bassist, last name Lee, from South Korea, first album, all originals, key player is pianist Aaron Parks, although you also get guest spots by Ralph Alessi (trumpet, 5 cuts), Ben Monder (guitar, 2), and Yeahwon Shin (vocal, 1). B+(*) [cd]

The Julie Ruin: Hit Reset (2016, Hardly Art): Third album by Kathleen Hanna under this name: after a one-shot in 1998 and a second thought in 2013. Hanna's previous bands were Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, and this continues their grrrl punk legacy even while it sounds more pop than ever -- punk is just the backbone. A-

Kaytranada: 99.9% (2016, XL): Louis Kevin Celestin, born in Haiti in 1992, grew up in Montreal, his current base. First album after more than a dozen remixes. Strikes me as a less gloomy though not quite happy take on trip-hop, a pleasant beat-album one can repeatedly fall back on. In 2016, I guess that's something. A-

The Corey Kendrick Trio: Rootless (2016, self-released): Piano trio, with Joe Vasquez on bass and Nick Bracewell on drums, from Michigan, a mix of standards and Kendrick originals. Postbop, has some zip to it. B+(*) [cd]

King: We Are King (2016, King Creative): Vocal trio, twins Amber and Paris Strother and Anita Bias -- first album. Soft soul, rather dreamy. B+(*)

Ron King: Triumph (2016, self-released): Los Angeles trumpet/flugelhorn/keyboard player, first album as far as I can tell but he has a lot of movie/tv/soundtrack work including a Grammy nomination. Not quite pop jazz, but upbeat with little empty space, and his horn does stand out. B [cd]

Lefteris Kordis: Mediterrana (Goddess of Light) (2013-15 [2016], Inner Circle Music): Greek pianist, has several albums, this a relatively nice one with richly evocative piano and lush support. B+(*) [cd]

Peter Kuhn Trio: The Other Shore (2015 [2016], NoBusiness): Kuhn plays b-sharp and bass clarinet, tenor and alto sax, backed here by Kyle Motl on bass and Nathan Hubbard on drums. He came out of the late '70s loft scene, recorded obscure albums with Arthur Williams and/or Denis Charles (recently reissued by NoBusiness), and mostly vanished after 1982, until recently. This picks up where the old records left off, and while it won't shock or startle, this is the sort of inside creativity one listens to free jazz for. A- [cd]

Peter Kuhn/Dave Sewelson/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Roland: Our Earth/Our World (2015 [2016], pfMentum): Kuhn plays more sax (alto, tenor) than clarinet here, with Sewelson weaving below (baritone sax) and above (sopranino). Three long pieces, rougher than Kuhn's trio, more given to squeals and growls, but also more propulsive (note drummer). A- [bc]

Elektra Kurtis & Ensemble Elektra: Bridges From the East (2016, Elektra Sound Works/Milo): Violinist, "of Greek origin," raised in Poland, studied in Finland, wound up in New York. Most resumes are inflated but I'm struck by the mix of names in hers, including Edward Vesala, Max Roach, Simon Shaheen, Gerry Mulligan, Israel "Cachao" Lopez, Nona Hendrix, Butch Morris, Billy Bang, Steve Coleman, and Nas. Not sure how old she is but many names on that list are dead, and her Ensemble Elektra has an album dated 2000. Group includes a second violin, clarinet, bass, and drums. Music comes from all over her map, with Greek and Polish folk themes merging into tango and a little M-Base does Bartok. B+(***) [cd]

Mathias Landaeus: From the Piano (2016, Moserobie): Swedish painist, has ten or so albums since 1996. Claims he's "using only sounds from his 1919 Steinway Moderno Grand Piano," but many don't sound like piano at all -- various plucked string resonances and percussion, gives it an avant-electronica feel but not evidently synthetic. And the piano bits are lovely. B+(***) [cd]

Jessy Lanza: Oh No (2016, Hyperdub): Singer/electronica producer from Canada, started singing backup for Junior Boys and gets production help from Jeremy Greenspan on her second album here. One bass riff reminds me of Chic, but more often she works over elemental synth beats, a winning combination. A-

Låpsley: Long Way Home (2016, XL): Singer-songwriter from Britain, dropped a gratuitous accent onto her middle name for a Scandinavian effect; still in her teens but well beyond teen pop on her first album after two EPs. Mid-tempo electro-beats, arty voice, most striking song is called "Hurt Me" to show you she's tough enough to take it. B+(*)

Alison Lewis: Seven (2016, self-released): Standards singer. Second in a row to start off with "Blackbird" (cf. Sara Gazarek), which she paws at more mischievously yet ultimately makes it even more annoying. She follows that up with comparably tortured versions of "Cheek to Cheek" and "Like a Rolling Stone." Somewhat better are two originals. B- [cd]

Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord: Play All the Notes (2016, Hot Cup, EP): The third of four promised EPs this year, to be rolled up into a box later this year. Group has two formidable saxophonists -- Jon Irabagon (alto) and Bryan Murray (tenor, prepared tenor, and balto, here dba Balto Exclamationpoint) -- with MOPDTK leader Moppa Elliott on bass and Dan Monaghan on drums. Probably the best of the series thus far, not least for the leader's strong solos, but I still have qualms about the marketing concept, and it's short (three tracks, 26:44). A- [cdr]

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: This Unruly Mess I've Made (2016, Macklemore): Second album by Seattle hip-hop duo, the first a surprise hit when its fourth single went viral. This, as advertised, an unruly mess with several songs kneejerk reactions to a success he's none too comfortable with, mixed in with speed raps, light opera, inadvertent comedy, and other oddities I can't get too worked up about. B+(*)

Magnet Animals: Butterfly Killer (2016, Rare Noise): Guitarist Todd Clouser project, he wrote all the pieces, sings (or speaks), more alt-rock than jazz but has jazzy touches, not really fusion. With Eyal Maoz (guitar), Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz (bass), and Jorge Servin (drums). B+(**) [cdr]

René Marie: Sound of Red (2015 [2016], Motéma Music): Jazz singer, started late, in her 40s, but quickly established herself, showing great range. Not sure about credits, but she wrote all these songs, with "This Is (Not) a Protest Song" touching and unsatisfying. B+(*)

Tina Marx: Shades of Love (2007 [2016], self-released): Standards singer, seems to be her first album, group is billed online as Tina Marx & the Millionaires. This builds on basics: good songs, a nicely unaffected voice, and a band that understand how to swing. B+(**) [cd]

Vic Mensa: There's Alot Going On (2016, Roc Nation): Chicago rapper, original name Vic Mensah. This is billed as a prelude to his first studio album, and at seven cuts, 32:53 sometimes gets slagged as an EP. Doesn't feel short. Standout track is "16 Shots" on the police killing of Laquan McDonald. B+(***)

Michete: Cool Tricks (2015, self-released, EP): Foul mouthed trans rapper from Spokane, key cuts are "#Fuckboy" and "Me & My Bitches," pretty amazing for four, maybe five, cuts ("Closet Case Fags"), but could use some remix to flesh out the back half. Nine cuts, 24:07. B+(***)

Michete: Cool Tricks 2 (2016, self-released, EP): The torrent of obscenities abates as he/she/whatever works harder at being cleverer, maybe even approaching the realm of storytelling -- and needless to say, that stretches the nine tracks out to something (29:33) I wouldn't call an EP except that it's a sequel to one. I should be impressed by the newfound maturity (if fantasizing about sucking FDR's dick qualifies) but I got more of a kick from the debut's puerile enthusiasm. B+(**)

Joel Miller With Sienna Dahlen: Dream Cassette (2014 [2016], Origin): Dahlen sings, but so does Miller, who also plays sax, piano, acoustic guitar, tanpura and percussion, plus he composed all the songs (except one he added lyrics to, but Dahlen is credited with lyrics elsewhere). Jazz label, but I'm hearing echoes of Smile-era Beach Boys, other harder to pin down art rock, and some pretty decent sax wails. B+(***) [cd]

Russ Miller and the Jazz Orchestra: You and the Night and the Music (2015 [2016], Doctheory): Big band, leader plays alto sax and flute, standard horns and rhythm section plus extra percussion when they want to do that Latin tinge thing. Jeannine Course-Miller sings appealingly, though the standards which sound so luscious at first wear a bit thin by the end. B+(*) [cd]

Bob Mintzer: All L.A. Band (2016, Fuzzy Music): Tenor saxophonist, longtime member of the Yellowjackets, a group I'm not terribly fond of but the bright spot in their records is invariably his sax. He also has a couple dozen albums under his own name, many big band efforts. This one revisits his big band writing, produced by drummer Peter Erskine. Band includes the usual suspects, which in LA means Bob Sheppard on sax and Larry Koonse on guitar. B+(*) [cd]

Mitski: Puberty 2 (2016, Dead Oceans): First-name artist, last name Miyawaki, born in Japan; lived in Congo, Malaysia, China, and Turkey before settling in New York. Indulges in harsh effects but doesn't need them -- can just as well inhabit a cushy ballad. Reminds me a bit of PJ Harvey (but beware I'm not much of a fan). One shouldn't underestimate her. B+(*)

Modern Baseball: The Nameless Ranger (2011, Lame-O, EP): Faked out by Rhapsody's 2015 date, turns out this five song, 14:54 EP is the Philadelphia alt/indie group's debut. Ragged sound, but that's a good start. B+(*)

Modern Baseball: Holy Ghost (2016, Run for Cover): Rhapsody flags this one as an EP at 27:20, but eleven songs generally makes for an album. Punkish thrash, short songs, probably not about baseball. B+(**)

Maren Morris: Hero (2016, Columbia Nashville): Texas country singer-songwriter with a big voice gets the big Nashville production treatment, which overwhelms whatever redeeming social value she has to offer. B

Anthony E. Nelson Jr.: Swift to Hear, Slow to Speak (2016, Music Stand): Saxophonist (soprano/tenor), fourth album, a sextet with trumpet, alto sax, piano, bass, and drums. Slick postbop, easy on the ears. B+(*) [cd]

Bryan Nichols: Looking North (2016, Shifting Paradigm): Pianist, based in Minneapolis, first album (I think), a solo affair, thoughtful and rigorous. B+(**) [cd]

Os Clavelitos: Arriving (2016, self-released): New York-based samba band, mixed sextet of American, Brazilian, and Japanese musicians (singer Sheiko Honda and percussionist Arei Sekiguchi). B- [cd]

The Paranoid Style: Rolling Disclosure (2016, Bar/None): Guitarist from the Mendoza Line, a clever reference for a band that barely got by, and singer-songwriter Elizabeth Nelson, first LP (if nine songs, 28:56 counts) after three EPs. Not sure I get the political analysis ("a society seized with crushing economic inequality, a smug, feckless and entrenches political class, and an emotionally suicidal relationship to total immersion in divertissement," sure, but the lyrics are more like "I am not a pacifist . . . I will never stop fighting the last war" and "you know that I'll suck anything that doesn't fuck me first" and "it can't all be that bad because it's also entertaining"), but the vigorous thrash lifts me up -- not bad for divertissement. A-

Jeff Parker: The New Breed (2015 [2016], International Anthem): Chicago guitarist, probably best known as a member of post-rock Tortoise although I know him better as an avant-leaning jazz guitarist. Splits the distance here, playing a lot of keyboards and samplers with electric bass (Paul Bryan), drums (Jamire Williams), a slippery sax solo by Josh Johnson, and daughter Ruby singing one. B

William Parker: Stan's Hat Flapping in the Wind (2015 [2016], Centering/AUM Fidelity): Actually just Parker's compositions, performed by Lisa Sokolov (voice) and Cooper-Moore (piano), with a bit of cello on a piece dedicated to the late David S. Ware (other dedications for Miguel Piñero, Ornette Coleman, and Butch Morris). Remarkable singer, although Parker's songs may be too straightforward for her. Helluva pianist, too. B+(**)

Joey Purp: iiiDrops (2016, self-released): Another Chicago rapper, like Vic Mensa a founder of Savemoney, also one half of the Leather Corduroys. His second mixtape, a mixed bag, where the raps are sharp and the pounding blare on some songs annoying -- I like a couple more stripped down beat tracks much better. B+(***) [dl]

Marc Ribot/The Young Philadelphians: Live in Tokyo (2014 [2016], Yellowbird): In theory, a fusion of two divergent strains from the mid/late 1970s, disco and Ornette Coleman's harmolodic funk. For authenticity, Ribot recruited bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and drummer G. Calvin Weston from Coleman's old Prime Time outfit, Mary Halvorson for a second guitarist, and a Japanese string section, to play a set of disco hits -- like "Love Epidemic," "Fly Robin Fly," "TSOP," "Love Rollercoaster," "The Hustle." In practice, the hits triumph, and the harmolodics just seem messy. No one takes credit for the vocals, nor should they: they sound like something you'd shout out yourself on the dance floor, confident not even your partner could hear you. B+(**) [cd]

Rent Romus' Life's Blood Ensemble: Rising Colossus (2015 [2016], Edgetone): Alto saxophonist, I've become a big fan of his work in recent years. Here he goes big, with a septet that sounds larger still, doing pieces "he's commissioned from younger Bay Area artists," fellow altoists John Tchicai and Anthony Braxton, plus one original. Hits a couple nubs that gave me pause, but ultimately they power through everything. A- [cd]

Daniel Schmitz/Johannes Schmitz/Jörg Fischer: Botanic Mob (2016, Sporeprint): Trumpet, electric guitar, drums, respectively, scratchy and choppy as is often the case when avant-jazzers tangle. B+(**) [cd]

Sheer Mag: II 7" (2015, Wilsuns RC/Katorga Works, EP): Philadelphia punk group, releases four-song digital albums they suggest are 7-inchers -- this one runs 14:13, which is fair EP length before hyperinflation. Sound's a little harsh, particularly when whoever is singing. B [bc]

Sheer Mag: III 7" (2016, Wilsuns RC/Static Shock, EP): Four more songs, 13:37, sound a bit cleaner and guitar plenty sharp, but the singer still escapes me -- although "Nobody's Baby" doesn't. B+(*) [bc]

Skepta: Konnichiwa (2016, Boy Better Know): Joseph Junior Adenuga, English grime rapper, Nigerian descent, brother is JME, called his first album Greatest Hits, has four plus some mixtapes now. B+(***)

Slavic Soul Party: Plays Duke Ellington's Far East Suite (2014 [2016], Ropeadope): New York jazz guys started this Slavic dance band on a lark, have six albums now, but as I said, despite various lineup changes they're still New York jazz guys. This lineup is a nonet with accordion, tuba, and Matt Moran playing percussion instruments I'm unfamiliar with. Still, they stay pretty close to the text -- one of my all-time favorite suites of music. I miss Johnny Hodges, of course, but still find this irresistible. The original, of course, is greater still. A- [cd]

Tommy Smith: Modern Jacobite (2015 [2016], Spartacus): Tenor saxophonist, playing with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, opening with something awful by Rachmaninoff (5:57), followed by Smith's multi-part title suite (29:57) and a quick skewering of Chick Corea's "Children's Songs" (11:15, co-credit to Smith). The Orchestra is fully geared for classical music, and for once the sax isn't quite able to overcome the ballast. B- [cd]

Jim Snidero: MD66 (2016, Savant): Mainstream/postbop alto saxophonist, has at least 17 albums since 1987, some I like a lot. This one is a classic quintet, with Alex Sipiagin on trumpet, Andy LaVerne on bass, Ugonna Okegwo on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums. Comes in a bit below average unless you're a huge fan of the trumpeter, who hogs the spotlight. B+(**) [cdr]

Sound Underground: Quiet Spaces (2016, Tiny Music): Tempting to call this no-drums, no-bass trio a chamber jazz group, especially when the horns wax harmonically. Consists of alto sax (David Leon), trumpet (Alex Aldred), and guitar (Jonah Udall). B+(*) [cd]

Peggy Stern: Z Octet (2015 [2016], Estrella Productions): Pianist, a dozen albums since 1985. Septet actually, oriented for gentle flow (clarinet, flute, trombone, cello, bass, drums) plus singer Suzi Stern on a couple tracks that slouch toward choral music. B+(*) [cd]

Tegan and Sara: Love You to Death (2016, Vapor): Sister act, started folkie (low budget) in the late 1990s but has gradually drifted into electropop. This suits them well, adding sparkle and drive to their usual insightful relationship songs. A-

Todd Terje/The Olsens: The Big Cover-Up (2016, Olsen): Synth orchestrator, born Terje Olsen, with drummer Olaf Olsen leading the band assembled for Terje's live concerts. I've seen this billed as an EP, and you can make that case for the first slab of vinyl (4 songs, 25:48), but it also comes with a second disc of remixes, adding another 4 cuts, 26:09, and Discogs shows two more cuts (both "Untitled"). First cut seems ham-fisted, but everything else is pretty danceable. B+(**)

Thumbscrew: Convallaria (2015 [2016], Cuneiform): All-star trio -- Mary Halvorson (guitar), Michael Formanek (bass), Tomas Fujiwara (drums) -- adopting the title of their 2014 album as group name. Dicey guitar, reflecting the unpinnedness of the rhythm, impressive as such things go, but never quite transcends the basic concept, something extra the debut had. B+(***) [dl]

Tweet: Charlene (2016, eOne): Born Charlene Keys, had two albums 2002-05, the former with a modest hit single featuring Missy Elliott -- who gets another feature here, a break from the soft soul dreaminess Timbaland massaged. B+(**)

Two Fresh: Torch (2015, self-released, EP): Hip-hop production duo, twin brothers, reportedly "a nationally-ranked tennis doubles team before beginning their career in music. Six pieces, 19:22, some seriously deranged beats featuring Joey Purp, Vic Mensa, and a few others I know even less about. B+(*)

Carrie Underwood: Storyteller (2015, 19/Arista Nashville): Hints of songcraft here as several pieces start basic before the volume swells and the kitchen sink production becomes oppressive. B-

Leon Vynehall: Rojus (Designed to Dance) (2016, Running Back): British "deep house" producer, second album plus the usual smattering of shorter forms. Dance music, starts pretty hard and cranks it up even further, the last cuts irresistible (to my ears at least). A-

Brahja Waldman: Wisdomatic (2016, Fast Speaking Music): Alto saxophonist, also plays synth here, has several albums, this a quintet with Adam Kinner on tenor sax, D Shadrach Hankoff on piano, Martin Heslop on bass, and Daniel Gelinas on drums. Most songs build off a mechanical up-down, push-pull rhythm, just enough framework to elaborate something enticing on. A- [cdr]

Wet: Don't You (2016, Columbia): Brooklyn trio behind singer Kelly Zutrau, considered "indie pop" or "indie electronic" but not sounding like much of either ("indie," sure) -- a little mopey, thin, pale, deprived of sunshine. B

Wire: Nocturnal Koreans (2016, Pink Flag, EP): Leftovers from the recording sessions that produced last year's eponymous Wire, comes to eight songs, 25:55, all sounding almost perfectly like you'd expect the original post-punk band to sound nearly forty years after they first emerged -- almost as if they've recycled and found lost outtakes from, well, not Pink Flag, but maybe Chairs Missing. A-

Nate Wooley/Hugo Antunes/Jorge Queijo/Mario Costa/Chris Corsano: Purple Patio (2012 [2016], NoBusiness): Prolific avant trumpet player goes to Portugal, picks up a band with bass (Antunes) and three drummers. Still, everyone seems to be waiting for the star to do something, and all he does is his usual scratchy shtick, leaving holes the drummers don't know how to fill. B [cdr]

Young Thug: I'm Up (2016, 300 Entertainment/Atlantic): Considered a mixtape, available as download product, yet is short enough -- 9 songs, 38:03 -- they could released it on vinyl. Most songs feature someone I haven't heard of, but they flow and are tight and catchy. A-

Young Thug: Slime Season 3 (2016, 300 Entertainment/Atlantic, EP): Yet another mixtape, three weeks after I'm Up, but this one seems to be grabbing all the attention -- I didn't know about I'm Up until I looked this one up -- despite being shorter (8 cuts, 28:20) and, well, not as good. Actually, the beats are comparable, so maybe it's the rapper -- presumably YT as the "featuring" count is way down. B+(**)

Recent Reissues, Compilations, Vault Discoveries

Angry Angles: Angry Angles (2005 [2016], Goner): Memphis punk band, formed by James Lee Lindsey (aka Jay Reatard) and Alix Brown, released a handful of singles before breaking up, with Lindsey going on to cut a smattering of albums before his early death in 2010 (age 29). This sweeps up everything the group recorded: 16 songs plus an unreleased take of the single "Things Are Moving." Band had real promise, but is stretched thin here. B+(**)

The Cucumbers: The Fake Doom Years (1983-1986) (1983-86 [2016], Lifeforce): Two EPs and a 10-cut album that came out before the New Jersey group's eponymous coming out, one of my favorite albums of 1987. The EPs offer glimpses of the their masterpiece, and brighten up the not-quite ready debut album, and it's nice to have them all together. A- [dl]

God Don't Ever Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson (2016, Alligator): Tom Waits at his grizzliest is the only singer here who comes close to Johnson's raw, gruff force, but everyone steps up to the challenge, with Lucinda Williams (like Waits) earning an encore. A-

Peter Kuhn: No Coming, No Going: The Music of Peter Kuhn, 1978-1979 (1978-79 [2016], NoBusiness, 2CD): Plays clarinet, bass clarinet, and tenor sax. Another reissue from the New York "loft scene" years, when avant-jazz went underground, that period after most US jazz labels folded or slunk into fusion and before European labels like Hat and Soul Note picked up the slack (Kuhn, by the way, has 1981-82 albums on both, but little after that). First disc is from same group that recorded Arthur Williams' Forgiveness Suite -- Williams and Toshinori Kondo on trumpet, William Parker on bass, and Denis Charles on drums -- is often bracing, a solid effort. Second disc is just Kuhn with Charles, a better showcase for each. Comes with a substantial booklet helping us recover valuable history. A- [cd]

Hailu Mergia: Wede Harer Guzo (1978 [2016], Awesome Tapes From Africa): Ethiopian keyboard player, organ here, with a group called Dahlak Band that some sources co-credit. Third reissue from this label, all quite delightful in their loping flow, just enough edge to stay out of the background. A-

Putumayo Presents: Blues Party (1968-2013 [2016], Putumayo World Music): Modern blues compilation, oldest cut seems to be Magic Sam's, newest Lurrie Bell's, a distance of damn few Chicago blocks, with nearly everything upbeat (first song "I Feel So Good," last "Have a Good Time"), and most cuts coming from the 1990s "chitlin circuit" down south. B+(**) [cdr]

The Rough Guide to South African Jazz [Second Edition] ([2016], World Music Network): The original 2000 edition spanned the years 1958-98. As usual, it's difficult-to-impossible to track down these thirteen tracks (e.g., the opener by African Jazz Pioneers, a group dating from the late 1950s, was on a 1989 album on Kaz which I suspect was a compilation of older material; on the other hand, the second track is by a pianist born in 1986). South African jazz builds on local pop traditions much like swing built on American pop songs, and many of those roots are irresistibly catchy. Still, this reboot sounds less classic than the first edition -- probably because it is newer and glitzier. A-

Carrie Underwood: Greatest Hits: Decade #1 (2005-14 [2015], Arista Nashville, 2CD): American Idol winner, with voice enough to hold her own against the most overblown arena productions Nashville has to offer. Her decade spans four albums, eighteen top-ten singles (twelve number ones), rounded up to 25 cuts, 100:10 here with a Brad Paisley lead and six previously unreleased (three worktapes where she finally lets down her guard). C-

Arthur Williams: Forgiveness Suite (1979 [2016], NoBusiness): One from the vaults of New York's "loft era," a trumpet player who shows up in various groups with William Parker, Jemeel Moondoc, and Frank Lowe, but this may be the only item under his name. Quintet with a second trumpet (Toshinori Kondo), sax (Peter Kuhn), bass (Parker), and drums (Denis Charles). A little somber, but a welcome find. B+(**) [cdr]

Jürgen Wuchner/Rudi Mahall/Jörg Fischer: In Memoriam: Buschi Niebergall (1997 [2016], Sporeprint): Niebergall was a German avant-bassist, 1938-90, played in Globe Unity Orchestra and many key groups of the early German avant-garde (Brötzmann, Hampel, Rolf Kühn, Mangelsdorff, Schlippenbach, Schoof, other household names), although I don't think he ever quite qualified as a leader. The leader is a bassist in the same vein, helped out here by Mahall on bass clarinet and Fischer on drums. B+(***) [cd]

Old Music

Clay Harper: Old Airport Road (2013, Terminus): Owner of an Atlanta pizza chain and sometime musician, started in the 1980s with the Coolies, then moved on to Lester Square, Ottoman Empire, most recently Plus Sized Dan, with a solo album in 1997 and this follow-up 16 years later. Still, for a "solo" album he doesn't establish any reliable presence here, yielding the stage to various guests ranging from "an Arabic-singing massage therapist" to a female rapper praising Red Lobster, or just vamping indeterminately. In a more innocent time, this would be called "eclectic." A-

Fred Hersch/Charlie Haden/Joey Baron: Sarabande (1986 [1987], Sunnyside): Mainstream pianist, not afraid to show his sensitive side, which his famous bandmates were suckers for. Of course, they're also able to keep up when he threatens to run away. A-

Fred Hersch/Steve LaSpina/Jeff Hirshfield: ETC (1988, RED): Piano trio, all covers including two Cole Porters, jazz pieces from Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Frank Foster, and Sam Jones. Sharp, lively. B+(***)

The Fred Hersch Trio: Dancing in the Dark (1992 [1993], Chesky): Piano trio with Drew Gress (bass) and Tom Rainey (drums). All standards, common fare but stretched out in unfamiliar ways. B+(**)

Fred Hersch: The Fred Hersch Trio Plays . . . (1994, Chesky): Cover order: Coleman, Coltrane, Davis, Ellington, Gillespie, Hancock, Hersch, Monk, Rollins, Shorter, Strayhorn, and adds "with Drew Gress & Tom Rainey." Hersch's own piece is "Evanessence," the title of his 1990 Bill Evans tribute. B+(**)

Fred Hersch: Point in Time (1995, Enja): Five trio cuts with Drew Gress and Tom Rainey, plus five more with horns -- Rich Perry on tenor sax and Dave Douglas on trumpet. Still, the latter don't carry much weight, almost as if Hersch is trying to make the point that they're unnecessary. B+(*)

The Fred Hersch Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard (2002 [2003], Palmetto): The pianist's first live album from New York's famous jazz club -- at least the first with Vanguard in the title -- a trio with Drew Gress and Nasheet Waits. Starts with a rousing "Bemsha Swing" showing you how sharp the group can be at full tilt. B+(***)

Fred Hersch/Norma Winstone: Songs & Lullabies (2002 [2003], Sunnyside): British singer, started in the 1960s and wound up with a MBE, has a clear voice not given to idiosyncrasy, given substantial support by the pianist, plus vibraphonist Gary Burton on three cuts. B+(**)

Fred Hersch Trio: Everybody's Song but My Own (2011, Venus): With John Hébert (misspelled on cover) and Eric McPherson, recorded in New York, standards as advertised including two Porters and the title tune from Kenny Wheeler. Takes nearly everything fast, which they can do. B+(***)

Michael Moore/Fred Hersch: This We Know (2008, Palmetto): Moore, who plays clarinet and alto sax, is an American based in Amsterdam, a longtime member of ICP Orchestra with a couple dozen albums on his own Ramboy label. He rarely shows up on American labels, but here you get a duo with the pianist, lovely chamber stuff. B+(**)

Red Fox Chasers: I'm Going Down to North Carolina: The Complete Recordings of the Red Fox Chasers (1928-31) (1928-31 [2009], Tompkins Square, 2CD): String band from North Carolina, a quartet of Guy Brooks (fiddle), Bob Cranford (harmonica), Paul Miles (banjo), and A.P. Thompson (guitar), some (or all) singing. The tunes are twangy folk ballads, some traditional, few exceptional, the remastering scratchy. B+(**)

Revised Grades

Sometimes further listening leads me to change an initial grade, usually either because I move on to a real copy, or because someone else's review or list makes me want to check it again:

Todd Snider: Live: The Storyteller (2010 [2011], Aimless, 2CD): Live double, a staple in my traveling case, so I think one can say it's stood the test of time. [Was: A-] A

Additional Consumer News:

Previous grades on artists in the old music section.

  • Fred Hersch: At Maybeck [Maybeck Recital Hall Series Vol. 31] (1993, Concord): B+
  • Fred Hersch: Last Night When We Were Young (1994, Classical Action): B
  • Fred Hersch: Plays Rodgers and Hammerstein (1996, Nonesuch): B+(***)
  • Fred Hersch: Thelonious: Fred Hersch Plays Monk (1997, Nonesuch): B+
  • Fred Hersch: Songs Without Words (2000 [2001], Nonesuch, 3CD): B+
  • Fred Hersch: In Amsterdam: Live at the Bimhuis (2003 [2006], Palmetto): B
  • Fred Hersch: The Fred Hersch Trio + 2 (2004, Palmetto): B+
  • Fred Hersch: Leaves of Grass (2005, Palmetto): B-
  • Fred Hersch: Night and the Music (2006 [2007], Palmetto): B
  • Fred Hersch: Live at the Jazz Standard (2008 [2009], Sunnyside): B+(**)
  • Fred Hersch: Plays Jobim (2009, Sunnyside): B+(*)
  • Fred Hersch: Whirl (2010, Palmetto): A-
  • Fred Hersch: Alone at the Vanguard (2010 [2011], Palmetto): B+(*)
  • Fred Hersch: Alive at the Vanguard (2012, Palmetto, 2CD): B+(**)
  • Fred Hersch: Floating (2014, Palmetto): A-


Everything streamed from 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
  • [sc] available at
  • [os] some other stream source
  • [dl] something I was able to download from the web; may be freely available, may be a bootleg someone made available, or may be a publicist promo