Streamnotes: May 30, 2022

Most of these are short notes/reviews based on streaming records from Napster (formerly Rhapsody; other sources are noted in brackets). They are snap judgments, usually based on one or two plays, accumulated since my last post along these lines, back on April 25. Past reviews and more information are available here (19508 records).

Recent Releases

Poppy Ajudha: The Power in Us (2022, Virgin): British pop singer-songwriter, has some edge in the music, politics too. B+(*)

Deborah Allen: The Art of Dreaming (2022, BFD): Country singer-songwriter, had a couple minor hits in the 1980s (although none that I recall). Eleven years since her last (unless you count Rockin' Little Christmas, from 2013). Overblown, takes a song like "Lyin' Lips" to cut through that. B

Oren Ambarchi/Johan Berthling/Andreas Werliin: Ghosted (2018 [2022], Drag City): Australian experimental musician, mostly plays guitar and drums, many albums since 2008 (Discogs lists 83). The others are Swedish, play bass and drums, also play in jazz groups Angles and Fire! Orchestra (Berthling has much the longer resumé, with over 100 album credits). Four pieces, compelling bass lines with improvised guitar flares, very attractive. A-

Anitta: Versions of Me (2022, Warner): Brazilian pop singer Larissa de Macedo Machado, fifth album since 2013. Starts with two hot rhythm tracks (in Portuguese, presumably, although the rhythm is more reggaeton, then switches to English for a slim funk track that should be a hit ("I'd Rather Have Sex"), then throws out more looks and vibes, including a fair amount of hip-hop. B+(***)

Arcade Fire: We (2022, Columbia): Canadian indie juggernaut, sixth album since 2004. I was surprised to find that I rated their last four albums A- (after a B+ for their 2004 debut, Funeral), given that I've had zero interest in playing any of them again, and zero anticipation of this album. Also surprised it sounds as good as it does, but not by my inability to decipher the lyrics, or wind up caring. But the structure makes me wonder: four multi-part sets with important-sounding titles ("Age of Anxiety," "End of the Empire," "The Lightning," "Unconditional"), followed by the title song. So could be their greatest ever, but I'll never know. B+(***)

Aurora: The Gods We Can Touch (2022, Glassnote): Norwegian singer-songwriter, last name Aksnes, third album, has an ethereal vibe that floats away from nominal electropop. B

Jon Balke/Siwan: Hafla (2021 [2022], ECM): Norwegian pianist, albums since 1991, one called Siwan in 2009 with texts from Al-Andalus with Arabic vocals, strings, and percussion. Second album since then to adopt the group name, this time with Algerian singer Mona Boutchebak. B

Jonathan Barber & Vision Ahead: Poetic (2022, Vision Ahead): Drummer, released the album Vision Ahead in 2018, kept the title as his group name for next two albums. With alto sax (Godwin Louis), guitar (Andrew Renfroe), electric piano (Taber Gable), and bass (Matt Dwonszyk). B+(*) [cd]

Bastille: Give Me the Future (2022, Virgin/EMI): British indie band, fourth album. Blah blah blah. B

Martin Bejerano: #Cubanamerican (2021 [2022], Figgland): Pianist, born in Florida, father Cuban, fourth album since 2007, backed by bass, drums, and extra percussion (Samuel Torres), with Roxana Amed singing "Mi Cafetad." B+(**) [cd]

Belle and Sebastian: A Bit of Previous (2022, Matador): Scottish group, formed 1996, five (of 7) current members date from then. This seems livelier than the last few, but runs pretty long. B+(**)

Will Bernard: Pond Life (2022, Dreck to Disk): Guitarist, started in a group led by Peter Apfelbaum, was part of a band called T.J. Kirk (name-checks James Brown, Thelonious Monk, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk), dozen albums since 1998. I think of him as a mild-mannered fusion guy, but here he's hanging out in a much rougher neighborhood, with Chris Lightcap (bass) and Ches Smith (drums), plus Tim Berne (alto sax) and/or John Medeski (piano/organ, 4 tracks each, 2 in common, so just 2 tracks are trio, which he aces). A- [cd]

Steven Bernstein & the Hot 9: Manifesto of Henryisms (Community Music Vol. 3) (2020 [2022], Royal Potato Family): "Henryisms" derive from New Orleans pianist Henry Butler (1949-2018), who played in Bernstein's Kansas City band, and was the leader of a 2014 album Bernstein arranged, Viper's Drag. The arrangements here distribute the "Henryisms" to the band, built around old pieces from Morton and Armstrong to Ellington. Oddly, the Hot 9 left doesn't include a pianist, but guests John Medeski and Arturo O'Farrill fill in. B+(***)

The Black Keys: Dropout Boogie (2022, Nonesuch/Easy Eye Sound): Blues rock duo, Dan Auerbach (guitar/vocals) and Patrick Carney (drums), 11th album since 2002, about as straight as rock gets these days. Gives them a niche, and makes sure they're stuck in it. B

Bladee/Ecco2k: Crest (2022, Year0001): Swedish rappers Benjamin Reichwald and Zak Arogundade Gaterud (latter was born in London, Nigerian father, moved to Stockholm at age 2), members of Drain Gang, third album together, others apart. B+(*)

Bonobo: Fragments (2022, Ninja Tune): Simon Green, British DJ/producer based in Los Angeles, 7th album since 2000. B+(*)

The Kevin Brady Electric Quartet: Plan B (2020 [2021], Ubuntu Music): Drummer from Dublin, has a couple previous albums (back to 2007), group here with Seamus Blake (sax), Bill Carrothers (electric piano), and Dave Redmond (electric bass), with five pieces by Brady, three by Carrothers. B+(***)

Bright Dog Red: Under the Porch (2022, Ropeadope): Improvising collective from Albany, founded and led by drummer Joe Pignato, fifth album since 2018, personnel varies but Eric Person (sax/flute) and Tyreek Jackson (guitar) have been on last three, plus this time Matt Coonan (rapper), a second saxophonist (Mike LaBombard), Cody Davies ("sounds"), and various bassists. B+(*)

Bruch: The Fool (2020, Cut Surface/Trost): Austrian singer-songwriter Philipp Hanich, fourth album, plays his own guitar, synthesizer, sampler, and drums, has additional vocals on two tracks. Songs in English, voice and demeanor about midway between Craig Finn and Stephin Merritt. Thus far I'm less taken by his songwriting, but that hardly matters when he cranks the guitar up. B+(***) [bc]

Chris Byars: Rhythm and Blues of the 20s (2022, SteepleChase): Tenor saxophonist, a retro-bop guy much as Scott Hamilton is retro-swing, but for once looks a bit farther back, but it's sometimes hard to tell with original compositions. Sextet with Zaid Nasser (alto sax), Stefano Doglioni (bass clarinet), John Mosca (trombone), bass, and drums. B+(**)

Camila Cabello: Familia (2022, Epic): Cuban-born pop singer-songwriter, came to US when she was six, started in girl group Fifth Harmony (3 albums 2015-17), third solo album. This is about half Spanish, half English, the former up front to establish the rhythm, but once you're in the mood, it's nice to be able to follow the lyrics. A-

Ethel Cain: Preacher's Daughter (2022, Daughters of Cain): Singer-songwriter from Tallahassee, Florida; original name Hayden Silas Anhedönia, father was a Southern Baptist deacon, she sang in choir, came out first as gay then as transgender, left the church but carries lots of baggage, and churns up a lot of drama. B+(*)

Calexico: El Mirador (2022, Anti-): Band from Tucson, twelfth album since 1996 (although Discogs lists twice as many), Joey Burns (vocals/guitar) and John Convertino (drums) founders and constant members, with some Mexican influence, including the occasional song in Spanish. B+(*)

Cat Power: Covers (2022, Domino): Chan Marshall, 11th album since 1995, usually writes her own songs but this is her third album of other folks' songs (after The Covers Record in 2000 and Jukebox in 2008). Most intriguing song here is "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," but it's also one of the most disappointing. She does better with Nick Cave. B

Erich Cawalla: The Great American Songbook (2022, BluJazz): Standards singer, plays alto sax, first album, but has been in The Uptown Band since 2005. I can't read the fine print, but one original, big band, a couple guest spots (like Randy Brecker), maybe some strings. B [cd]

Che Noir: Food for Thought (2022, TCF Music Group): Buffalo-based rapper, several albums since 2016, including a duo with Apollo Brown. B+(***) [sp]

Rachel Chinouriri: Better Off Without (2022, Parlophone/Atlas, EP): Pop singer-songwriter, born in London, parents from Zimbabwe, young enough she lists Lily Allen as an influence. Third EP, 4 songs plotting a break-up over 13:00. B+(*)

Gerald Clayton: Bells on Sand (2022, Blue Note): Pianist, son of John Clayton and nephew of Jeff Clayton, sixth album since 2009, wrote 5 (of 10) pieces. Feature spots for MORO (vocals, 2 tracks), John Clayton (bass, 3), Charles Lloyd (tenor sax, 1, by far the best thing here). B [sp]

Isaiah Collier & the Chosen Few: Lift Every Voice (2020 [2022], Division 81, EP): Saxophonist, plays soprano here, first appeared in Ernest Dawkins' Young Masters Quartet. Backed by piano, bass, and drums here, two songs (21:15). B+(*) [bc]

Congotronics International: Where's the One (2022, Crammed Discs, 2CD): Supergroup, combining members of Konono No. 1 and Kasai All Stars. Still love the junk instruments, but a little de trop. B+(**) [sp]

Cool Sweetness Sextet: Shoehorn Shuffle (2022, Storyville): Danish retro-swing group, leader seems to be Anders Jacobsen (trombone), who did most of the writing, joined by Mĺrten Lundgren (trumpet), Jens Sřndergaard (tenor sax), Pelle von Bülow (guitar), bass, and drums. B+(*) [bc]

Cool Sweetness Sextet: Shoehorn Shuffle (2022, Storyville): Danish retro-swing group, leader seems to be Anders Jacobsen (trombone), who did most of the writing, joined by Mĺrten Lundgren (trumpet), Jens Sřndergaard (tenor sax), Pelle von Bülow (guitar), bass, and drums. B+(*) [bc]

Max Cooper: Unspoken Words (2022, Mesh): From Belfast in Northern Island, got a PhD in computational biology while working as a DJ in a local techno club. Pursued the latter as a career, producing seven albums since 2014. Uses some word samples, but mostly beats -- which are superb when not complicated by avalanches of sound. B+(***)

George Cotsirilos Quartet: Refuge (2021 [2022], OA2): Bay Area guitarist, handful of albums since 2003, this a quartet with piano, bass, and drums, doing original pieces. B+(*) [cd]

Tomasz Dabrowski: Tomasz Dabrowski & the Individual Beings (2021 [2022], April): Polish trumpet player, also credited with electronics, albums since 2012, septet with two saxophonists, piano/keyboards (Grzegorz Tarwid), bass, and two drummers. Group name, and much else, inspired to Tomasz Stanko. B+(***)

Digga D: Noughty by Nature (2022, CGM/EGA): British rapper Rhys Herbert, "one of the pioneers of the UK drill scene," third mixtape at 21, has been in and out of jail, and subject to a CBO (Criminal Behavior Order) which among other restrictions allows police to ban his videos. B+(*)

Chris Dingman: Journeys Vol. 1 (2022, self-released): Vibraphonist, albums since 2011, solo album seems to have been a pandemic project, with some overtones above the tinkle. B+(*) [sp]

DJ Maphorisa X Kabza De Small: Scorpion Kings (2019, Blaqboy): South African record producers, associated with amapiano but neither on the Amapiano Now compilation that introduced the genre to me last year (although Teno Afrika was). The former is Themba Sonnyboy Sekowe. Unclear on discography, as there seems to be much more on streaming services than in Discogs (usually pretty quick to catalog house music). Christgau singled this one out, presumably after due diligence. Seems like a good start. Covers says "ep," but Spotify stream offers 12 tracks (one marked as a bonus), 76:40. A- [sp]

DJ Maphorisa/Kabza De Small: Scorpion Kings Live (2020, New Money Gang): Little here to suggest that live is any different from the studio, or indeed whatever computer they're splicing on. Aside from the remixes that bump the length to 93:24, they stick to the same 5:56-6:47 length for studio cuts. B+(***)

DJ Maphorisa X Kabza De Small: Scorpion Kings Live 2: Once Upon a Time in Lockdown (2020, Sound African): Cover isn't clear about Live 2, and this is the duo's third album (at least), but the individual names are still on the cover, each a growing brand name, at least in their part of the world. Much like the others, and if it seems a bit less, that's how repetition plays out. B+(**)

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters: Mercy Me (2022, Stony Plain): Blues guitarist, doesn't sing much (Diane Blue takes the occasional vocal), albums go back to 1983. Organ prominent, with some sax I don't see a credit for. The guitar intro to "Please Send Me Someone to Love" is tasty, and Blue nails the vocal. She also aces "The Sun Shines Brightly," which I take to be an answer record to "The Sky Is Crying," then ends with "Higher and Higher" (which is what happened to my grade). B+(***)

Yelena Eckemoff: I Am a Stranger in This World (2016-20 [2022], L&H Production, 2CD): Pianist, switched from classical to jazz when she moved to US in 1991. Pieces inspired by Biblical Psalms (this is identified as the "instrumental version"). Mostly with Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Adam Rogers (guitar), Drew Gress (bass), and Nasheet Waits (drums), with the occasional sub. B+(*) [cd]

Sture Ericson/Pat Thomas/Raymond Strid: Bagman Live at Cafe Oto (2019, 577): Tenor/soprano sax, piano/electronics, and drums. Slow start, but Thomas continues to impress. B+(**) [cd] [07-22]

Esthesis Quartet: Esthesis Quartet (2021 [2022], Orenda): Zoom-connected quartet -- Dawn Clement (piano), Elsa Nilsson (flute), Emma Dayhuff (bass), Tina Raymond (drums) -- one from each US timezone, finally met up in Los Angeles to record this. I don't see a vocal credit, but Clement has sung on previous albums. B [cd]

Father John Misty: Chloë and the Next 20th Century (2022, Sub Pop): Singer-songwriter Josh Tillman, started recording as J. Tillman in 2003, changed his name in 2012 and soon became much more popular (although a brief stint as drummer for Fleet Foxes may have helped). Soft rock shaded with old-fashioned crooning, not unpleasant, but I still find him a little creepy. B

Bryan Ferry: Love Letters (2022, BMG, EP): Four covers, 14:19: "Love Letters," "I Just Don't Know What to Do," "Fooled Around and Fellin Love," "The Very Thought of You." Not as daring as his early covers, but as poignant as age demands. B+(*)

Craig Finn: A Legacy of Rentals (2022, Positive Jams): Singer-songwriter, leads the Hold Steady and has run five solo albums on the side. A peerless storyteller, an ear for characters, pays a lot of attention to women. A fine voice, as musical talking as singing. A-

Nick Finzer: Out of Focus (2021, Outside In Music): Trombonist, albums since 2012, mostly New York but teaches now at UNT. Much unclear about credits here: some solo or duo, two tracks with a quartet (Xavier Davis on piano), a 15-trombone finale -- the fourth Ellington piece. B+(*)

Florence + the Machine: Dance Fever (2022, Polydor): English singer Florence Welch and backing band, fifth album since 2009, all bestsellers in UK and US. Jack Antonoff and Dave Bayley split the co-writing and production roles. Mechanical, but not much for dance. B

Fontaines D.C.: Skinty Fia (2022, Partisan): Irish band, slotted as post-punk for reasons unclear, third album, kind of a big deal. They do have a sound. B+(*)

Bruce Forman With John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton: Reunion! (2021, B4Man Music): Guitarist, records (for Muse and Concord) start in 1981. This was advertised as The Poll Winners Revisited, a reference to the 1950s guitar-bass-drums trios of Barney Kessel, Ray Brown, and Shelly Manne, which "established the guitar trio as a viable jazz ensemble." B+(**)

Manel Fortiá: Despertar (2022, Segell Microscopi): Bassist, from Barcelona, based in New York, second album, wrote all the pieces for a trio with Marco Mezquida (piano) and Raphaël Pannier (drums). Pieces long on rhythm, the piano dazzling, even through the exceptional bits (where the others shine). A- [cd]

Erik Friedlander: A Queen's Firefly (2021 [2022], Skipstone): Cellist, many albums since 1995, as well as quite a few with John Zorn. Quartet here, with Uri Caine (piano), Mark Helias (bass), and Ches Smith (drums). B+(***) [cd]

David Friend & Jerome Begin: Post- (2022, New Amsterdam): Begin composed, Friend plays piano, Begin processed through live electronics ("breaking the bounds of traditional solo piano music"). B+(*)

Anthony Fung: What Does It Mean to Be Free? (2022, self-released): Drummer, from Canada, based in Los Angeles, has a couple previous albums, wrote all but the Wayne Shorter tune here. Quartet with David Binney (alto sax), Luca Mendoza (piano), and Luca Alemanno (bass), plus guest spots. Especially good use of Binney here. B+(***) [cd]

Becky G: Esquemas (2022, Kemosabe/RCA): Rebecca Marie Gomez, from California, second album, after singles going back to when she was 15. In Spanish, sounds like reggaeton. B+(***)

Gang of Youths: Angel in Realtime (2022, Warner): Australian rock group, from Sydney, fourth album, fairly diverse, with singer David Le'aupepe "of Samoan and Austrian-Jewish descent," lead guitarist Korean-American, and others from Britain, New Zealand, and Poland. Still strike me as a rather mainstream group, albeit a rather adept one. B+(*)

Girlpool: Forgiveness (2022, Anti-): Indie band from Los Angeles, dream pop (I suppose), Avery Tucker and Harmony Tividad plus hired help, fourth album, goes nowhere. B

Larry Goldings/Peter Bernstein/Bill Stewart: Perpetual Pendulum (2021 [2022], Smoke Sessions): Organ-guitar-drums trio, a soul jazz staple, trio goes back to Goldings' first album (1991, a trio plus Fathead Newman on two tracks). B+(**)

Tee Grizzley: Half Tee Half Beast (2022, Grizzley Gang/300 Entertainment): Detroit rapper Terry Wallace, three albums, fourth mixtape. Hard beats, fast words, more cynical than I'd like: "It's too late to make a smart decision." B+(***)

Russell Gunn & the Royal Krunk Jazz Orchestra: The Sirius Mystery Opus 4 No. 1 (2020 [2021], Ropeadope): Trumpet player, started in 1990s incorporating electronics with a nod to hip-hop. Refers back to a 2016 album. Big band plus extras, spoken word as far out as Sun Ra. Four tracks, 33:55. B+(**)

Keith Hall: Made in Kalamazoo: Trios and Duos (2019 [2022], Zoom Out): Drummer, opens with a tribute to Billy Hart, then seven trio pieces -- with Andrew Rathbun (tenor/soprano sax, bass clarinet, electroniccs) and Robert Hurst III (bass), an interlude, a set of duos with Rathbun, and a final piece for Max Roach. B+(***) [cd] [06-24]

Mary Halvorson: Amaryllis (2022, Nonesuch): Guitarist, Anthony Braxton protégé, wide range of albums since 2004 (some I like a lot, some very little at all), won a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant," now gets a double-album major label debut. This one is a six-song suite (37:52) for sextet -- Adam O'Farrill (trumpet), Jacob Garchik (trombone), Patricia Brennan (vibes), Nick Dunston (bass), and Tomas Fujiwara (drums), adding the Mivos String Quartet on three songs. The horns help, the rhythm typically quirky, the strings unnecessary. B+(***)

Mary Halvorson: Belladonna (2022, Nonesuch): Five songs (37:18), just guitar plus string quartet (Mivos). Halvorson started on violin before switching to guitar (credit Jimi Hendrix), but she's retained a fondness for strings -- one I rarely appreciate. I find they drag here, although the writing is clever enough to pique one's interest, and they have a strong moment toward the end. I expect EOY list compilers will want to combine the two. B+(*)

Tigran Hamasyan: Stand Art (2022, Nonesuch): Pianist, from Armenia, moved to California at 16, eventually returned to Yerevan. Eleventh album since 2006, a collection of standards, with trio (Matt Brewer on bass and Justin Brown on drums), plus guest spots (Ambrose Akinmusire, Joshua Redman, Mark Turner). Most sources elide the title, but words are separate on cover. B+(*)

Stephen Philip Harvey Jazz Orchestra: Smash! (2021 [2022], Next Level): Conventional big band, leader a saxophonist but doesn't play here, offers an "homage to comic book adventures," with plenty of "boom" and "pow" as well as "smash." B [cd] [06-17]

Oscar Hernández & Alma Libre: Visión (2022, Ovation): Pianist, born in New York, third group album since 2016, with Justo Almario (sax/flute), bass, drums, congas, and some guests (notably Joe Locke on vibes). B+(*)

Heroes Are Gang Leaders: LeAutoRoiOgraphy (2019 [2022], 577): Spoken word poet Thomas Sayres Ellis, with James Brandon Lewis (tenor sax) co-credited on the music, and ten more credited musicians and poets. Live set recorded in Paris, in support of their release that year of The Amiri Baraka Sessions, the source of 4 (of 5) tracks here. The studio album was partly recorded with Baraka before he died in 2014, a direct link turned tribute here. The studio album was my favorite that year, but this harder to follow. B+(***) [cd] [06-17]

Amanda Irarrázabal/Miriam van Boer Salmón: Fauces (2019 [2022], 577): Chilean bassist, several albums since 2012, duo with violin, a bit hard to get into. B [cd] [07-15]

Bob James Trio: Feel Like Making Live! (2022, Evolution): Pianist, released a debut called Bold Conceptions in 1963, followed it up with an avant-sounding ESP-Disk (Explosions), then settled into a long and undistinguished pop jazz career, in and out of the group Fourplay. B [sp]

Japanese Television: Space Fruit Vineyard (2022, Tip Top): British instrumental rock group, surf-to-space guitar (Tim Jones), second album. Not much to it, and what there is gets rather tedious. B-

Willie Jones III: Fallen Heroes (2020 [2021], WJ3): Drummer, seventh album since 2000, fair number of mainstream side credits. Opens with a solo piece here. Occasional spots for George Cables (piano), Sherman Irby (alto sax), and others. Renee Neufville sings. B+(*)

Kehlani: Blue Water Road (2022, Atlantic): Last name Parrish, r&b singer-songwriter, third album after mixtapes and lots of singles. B+(***)

Milen Kirov: Spatium (2019 [2022], Independent Creative Sound and Music): Pianist, from Bulgaria, came to US to study at University of Nevada, currently based in Los Angeles. Seems to be his first album, solo, runs over 77 minutes. B+(*) [cd] [06-05]

Koffee: Gifted (2022, RCA): Jamaican singer-songwriter, Mikayla Simpson, first album after a Grammy-winning EP and more than a dozen singles, short (10 songs, 29:06). B+(**)

Anders Koppel: Mulberry Street Symphony (2021 [2022], Cowbell Music, 2CD): Danish composer, father a classical composer, started in 1967 in a rock group (Savage Rose), has gone on to compose for ballets, films, plays, and this at least counts as jazz, with its soloists -- son Benjamin Koppel (sax), Scott Colley (bass), and Brian Blade (drums) -- on top of the Odense Symphony Orchestra. The sax is the star, but he's got a lot to work with. B+(***) [sp]

Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers (2022, Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope, 2CD): Los Angeles rapper, fifth album since 2011, first album went gold but second was the breakthroughs, as he followed Kanye West as the one rapper every critic had to take seriously. I tried, playing these 18 tracks (73:05) twice, and I'm more than normally perplexed, just doubtful that some of this stuff ever belongs on an A-list album. Then it ends with a song so good ("Mirror") you wonder what else you missed. B+(***)

Miranda Lambert: Palomino (2022, Vanner, RCA Nashville): Country singer-songwriter, ninth album, not sure there's a merely good album in the sequence. Covers a Mick Jagger song, three songs recycled from The Marfa Tapes, co-wrote the rest, most with Luke Dick and Natalie Hemby. Special treat: the B-52s backing up "Music City Queen." A-

Jessy Lanza: DJ-Kicks (2021, !K7): Canadian electronica producer, studied jazz (clarinet and piano), sings, three albums since 2013, plus her contribution to this remix series. B+(*)

Ingrid Laubrock + Andy Milne: Fragile (2021 [2022], Intakt): German saxophonist (tenor/soprano), based in New York, third recent duo album she's done with a pianist (the others were with Aki Takase and Kris Davis). B+(***)

Brennen Leigh: Obsessed With the West (2022, Signature Sounds): Country singer-songwriter from North Dakota, based in Austin, tenth album since 2002, gets a lift here from Asleep at the Wheel. B+(***)

Leikeli47: Shape Up (2022, Hardcover/RCA): Brooklyn rapper, wore a mask for her first two albums, reveals a bit of jaw line on the cover here (assuming that's her). Compelling as long as she keeps it hard. B+(**)

MJ Lenderman: Boat Songs (2022, Dear Life): Singer-songwriter from Asheville, North Carolina; second album. Aside from a little twang, I don't hear the country, but I do hear some Pavement. B+(**)

Jinx Lennon: Pet Rent (2022, Septic Tiger): Irish punk poet, many albums since 2000, voice and words remind me of Craig Finn, except that Finn writes real tunes, while Lennon makes do with volume, beats, noise, and vitriol. He's super upset here, coming up with 25 rants -- even for punk, that runs long. B+(***)

Let's Eat Grandma: Two Ribbons (2022, Transgressive): British "experimental sludge pop" group led by Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth, third album since 2016. B+(*)

The Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel Band: Both Ways (2017 [2021], self-released): Fringe-folk supergroup, both leaders have multiple albums I love, so their collaboration should delight, but their eponymous 2013 album fell flat for me (though Christgau and others celebrated it). No idea why they shelved this sequel, but as "lost albums" go it hasn't sat long. But with only 3 (of 26) cuts on Bandcamp, and unavailable via streaming, all I did was a "limited sampling" note (++). It wound up the only album on Christgau's Dean's List I didn't hear, until a reader kindly sent me a copy. Lots of minor annoyances here, especially in the first half. But it does pick up with "The New Old Georgia Stomp" (song 17, a public Bandcamp cut), and it's ok-to-good from there out, including covers of the Beachnuts, Hawkwind, and Television, "Heroin" rewritten as "Internet," and a pair of anti-Trump songs (one on tax forms, another that with a "the cat grabbed back" refrain). Lewis's 2020 Tapes and 2021 Tapes ("shelter-at-home recordings & pandemos") are also locked down, so he seems to be the marketing genius preserving their obscurity. B+(**) [dl]

Corb Lund: Songs My Friends Wrote (2022, New West): Country singer from Alberta, eleventh album since 1995. A pretty fair songwriter in his own right, some of his friends are even better, most famously Hayes Carll and Todd Snider, but he picks out gems from half a dozen more. A-

Lyrics Born: Lyrics Born Presents: Mobile Homies Season 1 (2022, Mobile Home): California rapper Tom Shimura, lists 15 collaborators on the cover (starting with Dan the Automator and Blackalicious -- the late Gift of Gab is a huge presence here), seems to be a pandemic project, maybe some kind of touching-base podcast. Big beats and soaring riffs are plentiful, his signature. A-

Taj Mahal & Ry Cooder: Get on Board: The Songs of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee (2022, Nonesuch): Traditionalists even in their youth, in the 1970s each found fame providing a gentle slant on old songs and new ones that sounded old. Still, it was a bit of a surprise to find out they had recorded together in 1965-66 in a group called Rising Sons, but the records disappointed. First glance at this album cover looks like an archival find, except the faces are old and grizzled, as we soon find also are the voices. B+(**)

Johnny Marr: Fever Dreams Pts 1-4 (2021-22 [2022], BMG): Former member of the Smiths (1984-87), the The (1989-92), Electronic (1991-99), Modest Mouse (2007-09), the Cribs (2009), 7 Worlds Collide (2001-09), fifth album as leader. Or maybe it should be treated as a compilation, as it picks up three recent 4-song EPs, adding a fourth. Lots of solid, catchy rockers. B+(*)

Leyla McCalla: Breaking the Thermometer (2022, Anti-): Folkie singer-songwriter, born in New York, parents from Haiti, played cello in Carolina Chocolate Drops and Our Native Daughters, fourth solo album. Leans toward Haitian creole songs. B+(***)

Tate McRae: I Used to Think I Could Fly (2022, RCA): Canadian pop singer-songwriter, 18, first album after two EPs and who knows how much else -- Wikipedia credits her "years active" a starting in 2011, and divides her "Life and career" into five periods. I'm not quite blown away, but "You're So [Fucking] Cool" comes close. B+(***)

Metronomy: Small World (2022, Because Music): English electropop group, principally Joseph Mount, seventh album since 2006. B+(**)

Anaďs Mitchell: Anaďs Mitchell (2022, BMG): Folkie singer-songwriter, eighth album since 2002, not counting the folk supergroup Bonny Light Horseman (2020). Nice album. B+(**)

Charnett Moffett Trio: Live (2021, Motéma, EP): Bassist, played electric as much as acoustic, died in April at 54. This was recorded last July, at Yoshi's, five songs (20:13), the cover continuing: "featuring Jana Herzen [guitar/vocals] with Corey Garcia [drums]." Opens with a smoky "Summertime," but when the striking vocals end, the set slides into background. B+(**)

Billy Mohler: Anatomy (2021 [2022], Contagious Music): Bassist, second album, freewheeling quartet with two horns -- trumpet (Shane Endsley) and tenor sax (Chris Speed) -- plus drums (Nate Wood). A- [cd] [06-10]

Kevin Morby: This Is a Photograph (2022, Dead Oceans): American singer-songwriter, born in Lubbock but not particularly attuned to the Flatlanders (or anything country). Still has some song sense, citing Lou Reed as well as Bob Dylan among inspirations. B+(*)

Van Morrison: What's It Gonna Take? (2022, Exile): More prolific longer than any of his generational cohort, this is his 43rd studio album (vs. 41 for Neil Young, way ahead if you count live albums). He still has his voice, and a band that can play his trademark skiffle/swing. But it's got to be a bad sign when the first review offered by Google is from National Review. I wasn't curious enough to look there, but the first review I did look at summed it up: "the Belfast Blowhard continues to rant like your drunk redneck uncle." Actually, he's a lot more coherent than my late Uncle James ever was. Many isolated lines make sense to me, and a few I find amusing. Samples: "government keeps on lying/ everyone is just sad"; or "sometimes you can't have any pleasure/ sometimes it's just so ridiculous"; or "watching morons on TV"; or "this is just my opinion." And if you can tune out the rest, the music is warm and affirming, if not exceptionally so. B+(*)

Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Adrian Younge: Jazz Is Dead 011 (2022, Jazz Is Dead): Hip-hop producers, started this series a couple years ago, with most volumes featuring a notable (still living, but rarely still famous) 1970s figure. This one runs the gamut, with 8 tracks (36:26): Henry Franklin, Lonnie Liston Smith/Loren Oden, Phil Ranelin/Wendell Harrison, Katalyst, Jean Carne, Tony Allen, Garnett Saracho, The Midnight Hour. B+(*) [sp]

Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Adrian Younge: Jazz Is Dead 012: Jean Carne (2022, Jazz Is Dead, EP): Originally Sarah Jean Perkins, married 1970s jazz pianist Doug Carn, sang on his records then went solo, moving on to disco. Not sure when she picked up the 'e' (maybe when she dropped the husband). She plays along with the producers' slick grooves. Back to EP length (7 tracks, 24:36). B+(*) [bc]

David Murray/Brad Jones/Hamid Drake Brave New World Trio: Seriana Promethea (2021 [2022], Intakt): Cover a mass of big type where the small title gets lost, and the "with" used on the Bandcamp page to separate off the bassist and drummer is nowhere to be seen. Opens with bass clarinet before switching to tenor sax. Murray was very prolific, especially with DIW 1985-98, slowed down to about a record/year the following decade (mostly with Justin Time to 2009), then less frequently with Motéma (to 2018). This is his third album on Intakt -- after a duo with Aki Takase and a rather rough one with Dave Gisler and Jaimie Branch -- but his first where he belongs, leading a superb trio. A-

Mxmtoon: Rising (2022, AWAL): Singer-songwriter from Oakland, based in New York, second album after a much-streamed 2018 EP. A very chipper pop album, with more than a little capacity for reflection. My favorite song here is about growing up: "Everything's gonna get better/ everything's gonna get worse/ when it gets hard, remember that's the way it always works." But that's hardly the only one. A-

Randy Napoleon: Puppets: The Music of Gregg Hill (2022, OA2): Guitarist, grew up in Michigan, teaches at Michigan State, which gives him a connection to composer Hill and bassist Rodney Whitaker (who has his own Hill tribute, which Napoleon plays on). Aubrey Johnson sings, which I don't particularly enjoy. B [cd]

Willie Nelson: A Beautiful Time (2022, Legacy): Seventy-second studio album, released on his 89th birthday. Five original songs, co-authored by Buddy Cannon, including two memorable ones that reflect his seniority ("I Don't Go to Funerals," "Live Every Day" -- "like it may be your last, because some day it will be"). Two covers seem like mis-steps but grow on you: "Tower of Song" (Leonard Cohen, the "golden voice" line less of a joke) and "With a Little Help From My Friends" (Beatles). The rest fits in nicely. A-

Nikara: Nikara Presents Black Wall Street (2021, Railroad Hart): Last name Warren, which may or may not belong in the credit. From Brooklyn, plays vibes, sings (or someone does), Bandcamp tags: hip hop, jazz, r&b, soul. Has elements of each without settling anywhere. No band credits, but Kenny Barron is featured on two tracks. B+(*) [bc]

Elsa Nilsson: Atlas of Sound: Coast Redwoods: 41°32'09.8"N 124°04'35.5"W (2022, Ears & Eyes): Flute player, not the classical violinist nor the Swedish pop singer (aka Tove Lo), although she is Swedish, based in New York, but draws inspiration here from a very specific location in the Trinity Alps of Northern California. Seems to be her first album, backed by piano (Jon Cowherd) and Chris Morrissey (bass). B [cd]

Yu Nishiyama: A Lotus in the Mud (2020 [2022], Next Level): Japanese composer/arranger, studied at UNT, teaches in New Jersey, not sure where he rounded up this crackling band. B+(*) [cd]

Mark O'Connor: Markology II (2017-20 [2021], OMAC): Started off as a champion bluegrass fiddler (first album was titled: National Junior Fiddling Champion), also plays mandolin and guitar (his instrument here, title referring back to a 1978 album). B+(*)

Miles Okazaki: Thisness (2021 [2022], Pi): Guitarist, 10th album since 2006. Quartet with Matt Mitchell (keyboards), Anthony Tidd (electric bass), and Sean Rickman (drums). Four pieces average 10 minutes. B+(***) [cd]

Old Crow Medicine Show: Paint This Town (2022, ATO): Folk band based in Nashville, 12th album since 2000. They lay it on thick, tromping through their clichés, although I rather like the scuffed up "Hillboy Boy." B

Michael Orenstein: Aperture (2021 [2022], Origin): Pianist, from Berkley, based in Los Angeles, first album, trio with extras on 5 (of 10) songs, using three saxophonists, vibes, and guitar. B+(**) [cd]

Ulysses Owens Jr. Big Band: Soul Conversations (2021, Outside In Music): Drummer, from Florida, half-dozen albums since 2012, experience in several big bands, comes out swinging here, conventional big band with vibes (Stefon Harris) but no guitar (Takeishi Ohbayashi on piano), with vocals by Charles Turner III. B+(*)

Jason Palmer: Con Alma (2022, SteepleChase): Trumpet player, over a dozen albums since 2014. Quartet with Leo Genovese (keyboards), Joe Martin (bass), and Kendrick Scott (drums). B+(**)

Orville Peck: Bronco (2022, Columbia): Masked gay country singer-songwriter, from Johannesburg via Canada, second album. Deep, flexible voice ("a stunningly low baritone with a penchant for a pretty falsetto"), stretches it around dramatic arrangements, which work better than I'd expect (until it doesn't). B+(*)

Jeremy Pelt: Soundtrack (2021 [2022], HighNote): Trumpet player, immediately impressed with his chops, couple dozen albums since 2002. Less flash here, the title camouflage hiding a cornucopia of groove and mood pieces. B+(**)

Enrico Pieranunzi: Something Tomorrow (2022, Storyville): Italian pianist, many albums since 1975, leading his Eurostars Trio with Thomas Fonnesbaek (bass) and André Ceccarelli (drums). B+(**)

Samora Pinderhughes: Grief (2022, Ropeadope): Singer-songwriter from Bay Area, based in New York, plays piano, arranges strings, first album, sister Elena Pinderhughes plays flute, saxes help (Lucas Pino, Immanuel Wilkins). I suppose there might be something subtle here I'm not recognizing. B

Placebo: Never Let Me Go (2022, So/Elevator Lady): British rock band, principally singer-guitarist Brian Molko, debut 1996, nine year gap before this eighth album. B+(*)

Porridge Radio: Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky (2022, Secretly Canadian): British indie band, led by Dana Margolin (vocals/guitar), with keyboard (Georgie Scott) prominent in the mix. Albums since 2012, second one on a label I recognize. B+(*)

Potsa Lotsa XL & Youjin Sung: Gaya (2021 [2022], Trouble in the East): German alto saxophonist Silke Eberhard's band in its 10-piece ("XL") configuration, with gayageum (a plucked Korean zither) player Sung. B+(*) [bc]

Quelle Chris: Deathframe (2022, Mello Music Group): Rapper Gavin Tenille, albums since 2011. Underground, lazy beats and sly rhymes. B+(*)

Bonnie Raitt: Just Like That . . . (2022, Redwing): Bluesy singer-songwriter, developed a strong following in the early 1970s but didn't really sell well until 1989's Nick of Time. Releases slowed down to every 3-4 years after 1991, the last three appearing after 7-4-6 year gaps. The extra time goes into the songs, and the production looks back to her youth. B+(***)

Redveil: Learn 2 Swim (2022, self-released): Young (b. 2004) rapper Marcus Morton, from Prince Georges County, Maryland, has a couple previous albums. Fairly slippery, but I lost patience. B [sp]

Eli "Paperboy" Reed: Down Every Road (2022, Yep Roc): Original name Husock, moved from Massachusetts to Mississippi in 2002, in a blues authenticity move which on his seventh album takes a detour here through the Merle Haggard song book. B-

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: Endless Rooms (2022, Sub Pop): Australian jangle pop band, third album, needs more jangle. B

Daniel Rossen: You Belong There (2022, Warp): Singer-songwriter, guitarist from Grizzly Bear, first solo album. B-

RZA Vs. Bobby Digital: Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater (2022, MNRK, EP): Wu-Tang rapper Robert Diggs, appeared as "Bobby Digital" on a 1998 album. Seven tracks, 26:19, cover notes "Produced by DJ Scratch" (co-credited by Discogs). B+(**)

Oumou Sangaré: Timbuktu (2022, World Circuit): Wassoulou singer from Bamako, the capital of Mali. Her parents were musicians, and she's been a big star since her debut in 1990. B+(***)

Sasami: Squeeze (2022, Domino): Singer-songwriter Sasami Ashworth, from Los Angeles, formerly played in Cherry Glazerr, second album, riding on hard beats and a bit of noise. B+(**)

Scary Goldings: Scary Goldings IV (2021, Pockets): Fourth collaboration between LA-based jazz-funk group Scary Pockets -- unclear who's in them, but they've released a lot since 2017 -- and organ player Larry Goldings, presumably their fourth. Notable guest here is John Scofield (guitar, ft. on 6/10 songs). B+(*) [sp]

J. Peter Schwalm & Stephan Thelen: Transneptunian Planets (2020-21 [2022], RareNoise): Synthesizers and guitars, lineup also includes Eivind Aarset (guitars), bass guitar, drums, and voice samples. Well equipped for their extraterrestrial ventures. B+(**) [cdr] [06-03]

John Scofield: John Scofield (2021 [2022], ECM): Guitarist, many albums since 1978, but this is his first solo album. Five original pieces, eight standards, ending with "You Win Again." B+(*)

Sea Power: Everything Was Forever (2022, Golden Chariot): British group, long known as British Sea Power -- not without a bit of irony, as their 2003 debut was The Decline of British Sea Power -- but this time decided to distance further from "a rise in a certain kind of nationalism in this world -- an isolationist, antagonistic nationalism." B

Secret People: Secret People (2019 [2022], Out of Your Head): Trio of Nathaniel Morgan (alto sax), Dustin Carlson (guitar/bass VI), and Kate Gentile (drums/vibes). Free rhythm, rather choppy, gets more interesting if you give it a chance. B+(**) [bc]

Aaron Seeber: First Move (2021 [2022], Cellar): Drummer, based in New York, first album, a live set at Ornithology Jazz Club in Brooklyn, the title track the only original, but he rounded up a name band: Warren Wolf (vibes), Tim Green (alto sax), Sullivan Fortner (piano), and Aaron Seeger (drums). B+(**) [cd]

SFJazz Collective: New Works Reflecting the Moment (2021 [2022], SFJazz): Founded 2004, Discogs lists 21 albums, personnel has varied over the years, currently nine (including two singers: Martin Luther McCoy and Gretchen Parlato), who either wrote (8 pieces) or arranged (3, including "Lift Every Voice & Sing" and "What's Going On"). Chris Potter plays large, but I weary of the vocals, even when they're good for me. B+(*)

Sigrid: How to Let Go (2022, Island): Norwegian pop singer-songwriter, last name Rabbe, second album after a couple EPs. Catchy enough, a bit overpowering. B+(*)

Harry Skoler: Living in Sound: The Music of Charles Mingus (2021 [2022], Sunnyside): Clarinet player, first album 1995, most recent one (which I panned severely) 2009. No more direct relationship to Mingus than seeing him perform, but resolved to make this record after surviving a ruptured artery in 2018. He got some help arranging pieces for string quartet, and rounded up an all-star group: Kenny Barron (piano), Christian McBride (bass), Johnathan Blake (drums), Nicholas Payton (trumpet), and Jazzmeia Horn (vocals). The clarinet and strings play up how lovely the melodies could be, but losing the energy and anger that drove Mingus (and that he often used to terrorize his bands, which often played much bigger than they were). B+(**)

The Smile: A Light for Attracting Attention (2022, XL): English rock band, described as Radiohead (Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood) with a better drummer (Tom Skinner, from Sons of Kemet). B+(*)

Sofi Tukker: Wet Tennis (2022, Ultra Music): Electropop duo, Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern, second album. Choice cuts: "Larry Byrd," "Freak." B+(**)

Soul Glo: Diaspora Problems (2022, Epitaph): Hardcore band from Philadelphia, or "post-hardcore," or (more descriptively) "screamo." Mostly black, including screamer Pierce Jordan (exception is the white drummer), which I only mention because I'm confused by the group name. Otherwise, the only thing "post-" about them is that they've doubled down on the intensity. B+(*)

Becca Stevens: Becca Stevens & the Secret Trio (2021, GroundUp Music): Jazz/folk singer-songwriter, half-dozen albums since 2008, fair number of side-credits. The trio is Middle Eastern: Ara Dinkjian (oud), Ismail Lumanovski (clarinet), Tamer Pinarbasi (kanun). There is an odd delicacy to this, one I'm not very comfortable with. B

Harry Styles: Harry's House (2022, Columbia): English pop star, started on X Factor, joined boy band One Direction, has done some acting and hosted Saturday Night Live, third solo album, all bestsellers. Not bad, but only "Love of My Life" stuck with me. B

Sunflower Bean: Headful of Sugar (2022, Mom + Pop): New York indie band, fronted by singer-bassist Julia Cumming, with Nick Kivlen (guitar) and Olive Faber (drums). B+(**)

Tierney Sutton: Paris Sessions 2 (2022, BFM Jazz): Standards singer, albums since 1998, this a return to the format of her 2014 Paris Sessions, recorded with French guitarist (and since 2019 husband) Serge Merlaud and bassist Kevin Axt. This adds a bit of flute from Hubert Laws ("recorded remotely from his home studio"). Slow and intimate, turns on the song selection, unfortunate to open ("Triste," a medley of "April in Paris" and "Free Man in Paris," "Zingaro") although "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" works better. B

Syd: Broken Hearts Club (2022, Columbia): Sydney Bennett, initially Syd Tha Kid, uncle a reggae producer, joined Odd Future collective, second album. Thin voice, stripped down beats. I liked her debut, then forgot about it. Probably same here. B+(***)

Tears for Fears: The Tipping Point (2022, Concord): British band, debut 1983, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith the regulars (although Smith checked out for most of the 1990s), seventh album returns them to the top-5 of the UK charts, which they hadn't done since 1993 (first US top-10 since 1989). Overblown but cushy, feels like there must be a story being told but nothing interesting enough to demand the effort. B-

Kae Tempest: The Line Is a Curve (2022, Republic): Formerly Kate, fifth album, has published a novel, three plays, and six poetry collections. The lit cred shifts this from rap to spoken word, the minimal beats neither hip nor hop, but the effect remains subtle and sonorous. Smart, too. A-

Tomberlin: I Don't Know Who Needs to Hear This . . . (2022, Saddle Creek): Singer-songwriter, goes by last name, dropping Sarah Beth. Father was a Baptist preacher. Second album. Delicate songs, helped by occasional shows of strength. B+(*)

Trombone Shorty: Lifted (2022, Blue Note): New Orleans trombonist Troy Andrews, debut 2002, moved to Verve 2010, on to Blue Note 2017. His records have always disappointed as jazz. Ups the funk quotient here, bringing more voices to the fore, brass to the back. B

Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway: Crooked Tree (2022, Nonesuch): Second-generation bluegrass singer-songwriter, from California, at 13 recorded an album of duets with her father (AJ Tuttle), soon joined the family band (The Tuttles). Third solo album. B+(***)

UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra: Last Dance: New Music for Jazz Orchestra by Ed Partyka (2020 [2022], Neuklang): Finnish big band, founded 1975 by Heikki Sarmanto and Esko Linnavalli, initials translate to New Music Orchestra, "Helsinki" inserted in 2018. Partyka is a trombonist from Chicago, has worked in big bands and led large groups. Four pieces, 47:58. B+(*)

The United States Air Force Band Airmen of Note: The 2022 Jazz Heritage Series (2022, self-released): Opens with "Alright, Okay, You Win" (vocal MSgt Paige Wroble), which after the arty shit I had just listened to sounded real fine. I guess they're not awful, no matter how much I loathe the concept. After that, you get guest spots for Sean Jones (trumpet), Ted Nash (sax), and Diane Schuur (vocals), and a bonus "Besame Mucho" with Jones and Nash. None inspired, none awful. It's a waste, but they've been known to spend your tax dollars on much worse. B- [cd]

Sharon Van Etten: We've Been Going About This All Wrong (2022, Jagjaguwar): American singer-songwriter, sixth album since 2009. Too many songs fade into background, but not all of them. B+(*)

Sachal Vasandani/Romain Collin: Midnight Shelter (2021, Edition): American jazz singer, several records back to 2007 released under first name only. Backed here by piano only, not much for such a plain voice. B-

Kurt Vile: (Watch My Moves) (2022, Verve Forecast): Singer-songwriter from Pennsylvania, actual name, ninth album since 2008's Constant Hitmaker, which is something he's never been (although he started enjoying modest success with 2013's Wakin on a Pretty Daze). Recorded this leisurely at home but with a band, eventually accumulating 15 songs (73:44). B+(***)

Daniel Villarreal: Panamá 77 (2022, International Anthem): Chicago-based drummer, originally from Panama, makes a nice groove record. B+(**) [sp]

David Virelles: Nuna (2020 [2022], Pi): Pianist, from Cuba, moved to Canada, from there to New York. Appeared on Jane Bunnett's Cuban albums of 2001-02, on his own albums since 2008. Solo here, or duo with percussionist Julio Barretto (three songs). B+(**) [cd]

Warpaint: Radiate Like This (2022, Virgin): Indie band from Los Angeles, four women, three lead vocalists, fourth album since 2010. Dream pop, fades fast. B+(*)

Cory Weeds: O Sole Mio! Music From the Motherland (2019 [2021], Cellar Music): Canadian alto saxophonist, owns the Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver, the source of most of the records on his Cellar Live label, as well as a dozen of his own since 2010. Not sure what his claims to Sicily are, as the songs here mostly come from Americans (with names like Mancini, Marmarosa, Martino, Corea, and Chambers). But it's bright and bouncy, with organist Mike LeDonne's Groover Quartet -- Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Joe Farnsworth (drums). B+(**)

Cory Weeds With Strings: What Is There to Say? (2021, Cellar Music): Tenor sax this time, with piano (Phil Dwyer), bass, drums, and a phalanx of strings. B+(*)

Cory Weeds Quartet: Just Coolin' (2021 [2022], Cellar Live): Tenor sax, with piano (Tilden Webb), bass, and drums. Nice mainstream effort. B+(**)

Wilco: Cruel Country (2022, dBpm): A likable group led by likable Jeff Tweedy, churning out albums since 1995, this 12th one extra long at 77:04. Not as country-ish as the title suggests, but you can also read it as political: "I love my country like a little boy/ I love my country cruel and stupid/ All you have to do is sing in the choir." In another song, he adds "we'd rather kill than compromise" -- not specifically about Ukraine, but the shoe fits. B+(***)

Lucy Yeghiazaryan/Vanisha Gould: In Her Words (2021, La Reserve): Two vocalists, one from Armenia, the other California, alternating songs, backed by fractured guitar and wispy strings.

Recent Reissues, Compilations, Vault Discoveries

África Negra: Antologia Vol. 1 (1981-95 [2022], Bongo Joe): Band from Sao Tome & Principe, on or off the coast between Nigeria and Congo, dates not totally clear but they recorded at least 10 albums 1981-95, broke up, reformed 2012. My first guess was geographical, a fusion of highlife with soukous highlights, but that's close enough the King Sunny Adé's juju. I doubt they'd hold up head-to-head, but at the moment they're sounding pretty great. A-

Chet Baker: Tune Up: Live in Paris (1980 [2022], Circle): Live set, originally released in 1981, group includes guitar (Karl Ratzer), flute (Nicola Stillo), bass, and drums. Three long pieces, stretches of rhythm with occasional patches of poignant trumpet. Baker doesn't sing, but scats aimlessly on the opener. B+(*)

Jim Black: My Choice (2000-13 [2021], Winter & Winter): Drummer, originally from Seattle, studied at Berklee, based in Brooklyn and/or Berlin, many notable side credits since 1993 (when he appeared on Robert Dick's Third Stone From the Sun), most notably with Tim Berne and Ellery Eskelin. Led the quartet AlasNoAxis -- Chris Speed (tenor sax/clarinet), Hilmar Jensson (guitar), Skúli Sverrisson (bass guitar) -- through the six albums selected from here. Fusion instrumentation, but much more slippery. B+(**)

Peter Brötzmann/Fred Van Hove/Han Bennink: Jazz in Der Kammer Nr. 71: Deutsches Theater/Berlin/GDR/04/11/1974 (1974 [2022], Trost): Classic free jazz trio: tenor sax/clarinet, piano, and percussion. Piano is often dazzling, but the sax can rub you raw. B+(***) [bc]

Doug Carn: Adam's Apple (1974 [2021], Black Jazz/Real Gone Music): Pianist, fourth album since 1971, last for this label, turns toward gospel, or social relevancs -- lots of voices (notably Jean Carn). B+(*)

Dexter Gordon: Soul Sister (1962-63 [2022], SteepleChase): Tenor saxophonist, early work (1943-47) on Savoy and Dial marked him as a major figure, but he struggled (drugs and jail) until he signed with Blue Note (1961-65) and produced some of his greatest work. He moved to Europe during that period, first to Paris then Copenhagen. He continued to record for Prestige (1966-73), then (like many American expats) for the Danish label SteepleChase, which picked up a bunch of his older tapes. This picks up (I think for the first time) two sessions with different piano-bass-drums, one a radio shot from Oslo, the other a live set from Copenhagen. B+(***)

Pat Matshikiza/Kippie Moketsi: Tshona! (1975 [2022], As-Shams): South African jazz, leaders play piano and alto sax, backed by bass (Alec Khaoli) and drums (Sipho Mabuse), with Basil Coetzee (tenor sax) on the side. The longer pieces are classics of township jive, especially "Umgababa." A- [bc]

Pat Matshikiza Featuring Kippie Moketsi: Sikiza Matshikiza (1976 [2022], As-Shams): Septet, first two cuts are near-perfect township jazz, with the alto sax gliding over the piano rhythm. Second side strays a bit, ending with a blues. B+(***) [bc]

Koichi Matsukaze Trio Featuring Ryojiro Furusawa: At the Room 427 (1975 [2022], BBE): Japanese saxophonist, plays alto and tenor, leads a trio with Koichi Yamazaki (bass) and Furusawa (drums), the 9th album in the label's J Jazz Masterclass Series, originally released in 1976 on ALM. Exceptional freebop. A- [bc]

John McLaughlin: The Montreux Years (1978-2016 [2022], BMG): Fifth installment in a series that started in 2021, 8 tracks from 5 festivals (82:00; CD drops the one from 1978), with various lineups: 1978 with L. Shankar; 1984 Mahavishnu; 1987 with Paco de Lucia; 1998 with Gary Thomas; 2016 4th Dimension Band. B+(**) [sp]

Charles Mingus: The Lost Album: From Ronnie Scott's (1972 [2022], Resonance, 3CD): Two sets, 2.5 hours of music, recorded for possible release by Columbia, but shelved in 1973 when they killed off their jazz division (keeping only Miles Davis). Mingus struggled after a big year 1964, and there is little from him until live sets pick up in 1970. His studio album for Columbia in 1972 (Let My Children Hear Music) is possibly his worst ever. In 1974, he put a new band together and released a couple of masterpieces, before ALS started to disable him, leading to his death in 1979. This is rather a mess, but not the sort of thing that careful editing could fix: indeed, on his centenary this reminds us that much of his genius was outrageous spontaneity. Not one of his great bands -- a septet with 19-year-old Jon Faddis on trumpet, saxophonists Charles McPherson and Bobby Jones, John Foster on piano (also sings a couple), Roy Brooks on drums (a rare set without Dannie Richmond) -- but few bandleaders could whip up more frenzy. Big booklet. B+(***) [cd]

Kippie Moeketsi/Hal Singer: Blue Stompin' (1977 [2021], As-Shams): South African alto saxophonist (1925-83), started with Abdullah Ibrahim, featured with Pat Matshikiza (who plays piano on one track here). Singer (tenor sax) only appears on the title track here -- the title of his 1959 album. The other three tracks have Duku Makasi on tenor sax, the last two with Jabu Nkosi (piano) and Enock Mthaleni (guitar). B+(**) [bc]

Ephat Mujuru & the Spirit of the People: Mbavaira (1983 [2021], Awesome Tapes From Africa, EP): Mbira master from Zimbabwe (1950-2001), a Shona, left a handful of recordings, of which this short one (4 tracks, 22:57 is relatively early). B+(*) [bc]

Papé Nziengui: Kadi Yombo (1989 [2022], Awesome Tapes From Africa): From Gabon, sings and plays ngombi (harp) and nkendo (bells), with others on guitar, keyboards, ngomo (drum), and backing vocals. B+(***) [bc]

Ann Peebles & the Hi Rhythm Section: Live in Memphis (1992 [2022], Memphis International): Soul singer, from St. Louis, started with Hi Records in Memphis in 1969, had some hits like "Part Time Love" and "I Can't Stand the Rain." Her Greatest Hits, spanning 1969-77, is essential, but some of the earlier LPs are also superb. Most of her hits are here, but not a sharp as the originals. B+(**)

Lionel Pillay: Shrimp Boats (1979-80 [2022], As-Shams): South African pianist, cover adds "Featuring Basil 'Mannenberg' Coetzee," the tenor saxophonist who only plays on the title cut (25:07). The other side (3 tracks, 22:27) were recorded later, a quintet with Barney Rachabane (alto sax) and Duku Makasi (tenor sax). B+(**) [bc]

The Rolling Stones: Live at the El Mocambo (1977 [2022], Polydor, 2CD): Rare live sets from a "tiny" (300-seat) club in Toronto, where they were billed as the Cockroaches, playing 23 songs (most of which anyone could identify, although I had forgotten a few, like "Melody" and "Luxury"). B+(***)

George Russell: Ezz-thetics & The Stratus Seekers (1961-62 [2022], Ezz-Thetics): Two important albums by one of the most important figures in jazz history. The former, the namesake for this Swiss reissue label, is a sextet with Eric Dolphy (alto sax/bass clarinet) and Don Ellis (trumpet), David Baker (trombone), Steve Swallow (bass), and Joe Hunt (drums). The latter acknowledges that it takes two saxophonists to replace Dolphy. The albums are hard to peg, easy to underestimate, rich and varied and always a step ahead of you. A- [bc]

Cathy Segal-Garcia & Phillip Strange: Live in Japan (1992 [2022], Origin, 2CD): Standards singer, backed by piano. Discogs credits her with five albums from 2002, but this goes back a decade further. Not an especially distinctive singer, and the song selection (including three Xmas songs) leaves a lot to be desired. C+ [cd]

Sonic Youth: In/Out/In (2000-10 [2022], Three Lobed): Five previously unreleased recordings, mostly instrumental, totalling 44:45. Nothing special, but does a good job of presenting their sound, which is what they've always been most about. B+(**)

Spontaneous Music Ensemble: Question and Answer 1966 (1966 [2021], Rhythm & Blues, 2CD): Early British avant-jazz group, principally John Stevens (drums) and Trevor Watts (tenor sax), also Bruce Cale (bass), with Paul Rutherford (trombone) on the longer (June 22) session. Title derives from a 31:59 intermission at the end of the first disc where the band field rather technical questions from the audience. They resume with their most inspired playing to open the second disc. B+(**) [yt]

Mavis Staples & Levon Helm: Carry Me Home (2011 [2022], Anti-): Helm was drummer and sometime singer for the Band, recorded some solo albums 1977-82, lost his voice to throat cancer in 1998, recovered for two 2007-09 albums, and died at 71 in 2012. Staples started in her family vocal group, went solo in 1969, and had in 2007 released her best album: the Ry Cooder-produced civil rights anthems, We'll Never Turn Back. Both brought full bands, Helm's including a Steven Bernstein-led horn section, to this session in Helm's studio, broadcast live, but unaccountably unreleased until now. They find common ground in twelve songs, starting with "This Is My Country" and ending with "The Weight." Only wonder here is that this isn't as great as it should be. B+(**)

Norma Tanega: I'm the Sky: Studio and Demo Recordings 1964-1971 (1964-71 [2022], Anthology): Singer-songwriter, had a minor hit in 1966 ("Walkin' My Cat Named Dog"), turned that into an album, released another in 1971, turned to art later but was involved in several more music projects from the 1990s, died in 2019 (80). This collects the two albums and miscellaneous tracks. I find it grows tedious, but I do like the single. B-

They Shall Not Pass/No Pasaran! [Trost Live Series] (2007-22 [2022], Trost): Austrian free jazz label, decided they wanted to do a Ukraine benefit album, so they solicited live tracks from their roster: the ones I'm most familiar with are Schlippenbach, Full Blast [Brötzmann], Leandre, Amado, Vandermark, The Thing, Jim O'Rourke, with others (Bruch is the most surprising, possibly because it's rock) adding up to 18 tracks (126:31). Title refers to a Spanish Civil War slogan. Proceeds go to a Ukrainian artist collective Vandermark vouched for. Mixed bag, but interesting. B+(*) [bc]

Irma Thomas: Full Time Woman: The Lost Cotillion Album (1972 [2022], Real Gone Music): Aka Soul Queen of New Orleans, first singles 1959, Wikipedia doesn't show much chart action but any comp of her 1961-66 Minit and Imperial sides is prime. She struggled in the 1970s, finally staged a "living legend" comeback in the 1990s, and is still ticking. This was recorded for Atlantic, but unreleased until 2014. Great singer, but not a very good album. B

Irma Thomas: Live! New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 1976 (1976 [2022], Good Time): Originally released in 1977 by Island, reissued several times since. Starts with the memorably titled "You Can Have My Husband (But Please Don't Mess With My Man)." Runs through several of her big 1960s hits ("Ruler of My Heart," "It's Raining"), followed by some 1970s hits by others ("Shame, Shame, Shame," "Lady Marmalade"). Highlight is the closer, "Wish Someone Would Care," where she really works the crowd. B+(***)

Eberhard Weber: Once Upon a Time: Live in Avignon (1994 [2021], ECM): German bassist, a signature artist for the label since his 1974 debut, hasn't recorded since a 2007 stroke. Since then ECM released a couple albums of reprocessed bass solos, but this is the first live album they've pulled off the shelf. It's a solo performance, but has a light touch and melodic flair that is exceptional. B+(***)

Barney Wilen: La Note Bleue (1987 [2021], Elemental): French tenor saxophonist, established himself in the late 1950s and 1960s, stopped recording after 1972, then started again in 1987 with a remarkable series of albums, including this one. Kicks off with a marvelous "Besame Mucho. [PS: Slightly confused about the editions. Mine has the original album plus three alternate takes not in Discogs, but not the 1989 live album tacked onto the box.] B+(***) [sp]

Neil Young: Royce Hall 1971 (1971 [2022], Reprise): Solo performance on January 30, in Los Angeles. B+(**)

Neil Young: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion 1971 (1971 [2022], Reprise): Another solo performance, two days later, also in Los Angeles. This one seems to be much bootlegged (Discogs lists 32 releases through 1975; the cover reproduces artwork from one, with the title "I'm Happy That Y'all Came Down"). I give this one a slight edge, mostly built on the edifice of "Sugar Mountain." B+(***)

Neil Young: Citizen Kane Jr. Blues (1974 [2022], Reprise): Another solo performance, this one at the Bottom Line in New York, also much bootlegged under various titles (Discogs lists 11). Songbook has moved on, including a fair slice of On the Beach. B+(**)

Old Music

Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band: Tales of a Courtesan (Oirantan) (1976, RCA): Japanese pianist, the first to study at Berklee, formed this 16-piece big band after she married sax/flute player Tabackin and moved to Los Angeles (dozen-plus albums 1974-82). This is one of the better known albums, exceptionally punchy, but seems like a lot of flute. B+(***) [yt]

Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony (1955-2001 [2003], ATO): Soundtrack to a documentary, which doubles as a sweeping musical history of the South African struggle against Apartheid, with 29 short tracks. Miriam Makeba highlights, Abdullah Ibrahim provides the connecting background, and various choirs form the backbone. The latter isn't my favorite bit, but provides critical mass for the film. B+(**) [cd]

Louis Armstrong: 'Country & Western' (1970, Avco Embassy): Last released album before he died in 1971, most sources include the artist name in the title like the quote was a nickname, and Discogs credits it that way. I often drop quote marks from titles, but let's keep the equivocation here. Armstrong was as much a genius as Ray Charles, but this one came too late. The pre-recorded tracks offer him little to work with (although "You Can Have Her" gets some brass swing going). Armstrong doesn't play, and his singing can get strained. You still get glimpses of his charm and humor, but on songs like "Running Bear" and "Wolverton Mountain" the yucks are inadvertent. B- [yt]

Theresia Bothe/Peter Croton: I'll Sing a Song for You (2008, Zah Zah): She sings, he plays guitar (and sings some too). Billed as "a unique blend of folk, pop & jazz." I'm not sure it's any of those things. They did several albums together, the first spelling out their agenda: Love Songs From Five Centuries: From Baroque to Folk. B- [cd]

Milton Brown and the Musical Brownies: The Complete Recordings of the Father of Western Swing 1932-1937 (1932-37 [1995], Texas Rose, 5CD): Early Western Swing bandleader and vocalist, started in 1930 when he joined Bob Wills and Herman Arnsparger in the Wills Fiddle Band. In 1931 he joined W. Lee O'Daniel's Light Crust Doughboys, which had a regular radio gig, but Brown wanted to play dances, and to be paid, so he left to form his own band. He died in 1936 after a car accident, leaving a bunch of recordings that were released through 1937. Best known musicians in the group were Bob Dunn (steel guitar) and Cliff Bruner (fiddle), who went on to form the Texas Wanderers (with Moon Mullican). Wills soon followed with his Texas Playboys in 1934, and is best remembered today, but Brown was the real deal. A single-disc selection would be welcome, but owning it all lets you play random discs, with equal pleasure. Nice booklet. A- [cd]

Chris Byars: Jasmine Flower (2013, SteepleChase): Perhaps the most impressive of the young bop-oriented musicians featured on Luke Kaven's short-lived Smalls label, the saxophonist (here playing alto) found a later home on this Danish label, not that it's made him better known. Fifth album here (only the 2nd I've managed to find, after his Lucky Thompson tribute from 2011), mostly quintet with Stefano Doglioni (bass clarinet), John Mosca (trombone), Ari Roland (bass), and Phil Stewart (drums), plus James Bryars (English horn) on five cuts, piano on one. B+(**) [sp]

Chris Byars: The Music of Duke Jordan (2014, SteepleChase): Jordan was a bebop pianist from New York, played in Charlie Parker's 1947-48 quintet (with Miles Davis), married one of the great jazz singers of all time (Sheila took his name, but didn't have much of a career until after they divorced in 1962), recorded a couple dozen albums for the Danish label SteepleChase from 1973. Includes one vocal track with Yaala Ballin, and one piano solo by Mine Sadrazam. B+(***) [sp]

Chris Byars: A Hundred Years From Today (2017 [2019], SteepleChase): Sextet album I missed from a couple years back, same group as the new one, similar formula even though the titles are a couple centuries apart. Original pieces, written to honor old (but unnamed, as far as I can tell) masters. B+(***) [sp]

John Clark: I Will (1996 [1997], Postcards): French horn player, mostly played in big bands (Gil Evans, Carla Bley, Mike Gibbs, McCoy Tyner, George Russell, Bob Mintzer), led four albums 1980-97. Various front lines here, mostly anchored by Pete Levin (keyboards), Mike Richmond (bass), and Bruce Ditmas (drums). Deep into his horn, even while constructing elaborate framing. B+(**) [bc]

Tony Conrad With Faust: Outside the Dream Syndicate [30th Anniversary Edition] (1972 [2002], Table of the Elements, 2CD): Dabbled in lots of things, what we'd call multimedia now, including minimalist composition and/or drone music. In the 1960s he was part of the Theatre of Eternal Music (aka The Dream Syndicate), where he played violin along with La Monte Young and John Cale (whose viola bled into the Velvet Underground). The original LP had two side-long pieces (53:36 total), which fit on the first CD here. The 1993 CD added a third piece (edited down to 20:04), The second CD here offers a complete version (31:09) plus a couple of short pieces (6:54). The music is basically staunch beat and Velvet Underground drone, toned down to dark ambient. Comes in a small box with a nice booklet, plus a larger catalog of the label's other products: a useful overview of the whole scene. Conrad plays violin, with the krautrock group adding guitar/keybs, bass, and drums. A- [cd]

Bing Crosby: Bing Crosby and Some Jazz Friends (1934-51 [1991], GRP/Decca): He started singing in jazz orchestras in 1927, scoring hits with Paul Whiteman, Frankie Trumbauer, the Dorsey Brothers, even Duke Ellington (in 1930). His first movie appearace was in 1930, as a singer in King of Jazz, but by the time he moved to Decca in 1934 he had become a mainstream movie star. Still, he occasionally tapped his jazz roots. I remember being especially touched by a movie scene, where he heartily welcomes a line of black jazz musicians entering his palatial mansion -- here the biggest star in white America was paying homage to real talent. Not to deny his talent, which adds a smooth contrast to Louis Jordan, Louis Armstrong, and Connie Boswell here, but his timing and phrasing works equally well on his own, especially backed by Eddie Condon (four tracks here, vs. two max for anyone else) or Lionel Hampton (whose two tracks are highlights here). A-

Bing Crosby: A Centennial Anthology of His Decca Recordings (1931-57 [2003], MCA/Decca, 2CD): Fifth songs, most you know from other people, but during this quarter-century most Americans learned them from Crosby, with his incomparable talent for making us feel better about ourselves. One intersection with his Jazz Friends comp ("Yes, Indeed"). Four Christmas songs. He owns all four. A-

Dopplereffekt: Gesamtkunstwerk (1995-97 [1999], International Deejay Gigolo): Despite German alias/title, this is Detroit techno producer Gerald Donald's post-Drexciya project, collecting a series of EPs plus a couple stray tracks. Vocals presumably his partner, To-Nhan. Lyrics not a strong suit. B+(**)

Ricky Ford: Looking Ahead (1987, Muse): Tenor saxophonist, I probably noticed him first with Abdullah Ibrahim, recorded 10 albums (1979-89) for Muse, this is number eight, with James Spaulding (alto sax/flute) and John Sass (tuba) on 4 tracks, Kirk Lightsey (piano), Cecil McBee (bass), and Freddie Watts (drums) on all eight. B+(**) [lp]

Ricky Ford: Saxotic Stomp (1988, Muse): Another sextet, with Spaulding and Lightsey returning, plus Charles Davis (baritone sax), Ray Drummond (bass), and Jimmy Cobb (drums). Strong sax leads, as usual. B+(**) [lp]

Jars of Clay: The Essential Jars of Clay (1995-2006 [2007], Essential/Legacy, 2CD): Christian rock group from Nashville, 12 studio albums to present, 7 up to when this compilation appeared. There is probably no genre I've avoided more assiduously (classical, metal, and new age included), so this could have spent more than 15 years on my unplayed shelf but for a housekeeping urge. Not that I'm inclined to reject professions of Christianity in country, blues, soul, or hip-hop, but making it your identity suggests a lack of worldly inspiration, or perhaps a cynical marketing tactic. Still, fairly innocuous. C+ [cd]

Jit -- The Movie (1991, Earthworks): Six songs from the movie, and six more for good measure, an exemplary compilation from Zimbabwe bypassing Thomas Mapfumo: Oliver Mutukudzi gets four (of 12) songs, John Chibadura and Robson Banda are also included. No song dates I can see, but the last song is by Tobias Areketa, who died in 1990. A- [cd]

Miranda Lambert: Kerosene (2005, Epic Nashville): Second album, follows a self-released eponymous joint when she was 18, but 3.5 years later she's on a major label, going platinum, and she's never had reason to look back. Does't quite have control of her production, but no shortage of voice or grit. B+(**)

Brennen Leigh: Too Thin to Plow (2004, Down Time): Nice twang for North Dakota, mandolin too, mostly covers demonstrating good taste and smarts. Smartest of all is "Single Girl." Title, of course, refers to the Mississippi ("too thick to navigate"). B+(**)

Brennen Leigh: The Box (2010, self-released): Unfamiliar songs, don't know whether she wrote them, but they ease along, with a dark vibe. Best is the closer, "Unbroken Line." B+(**)

Brennen Leigh: Brennen Leigh Sings Lefty Frizell (2015, self-released): No one ever sung them better, but the band is superb, she acquits herself well on the half that are indelibly etched in my mind, and the other half are obscure enough she just has to handle them adroitly, which she does. B+(***)

Brennen Leigh: Prairie Love Letter (2020, self-released): Includes a couple songs about her early homes in North Dakota and Minnesota, and gets some help from Robbie Fulks. B+(**)

Jens Lekman: Oh You're So Silent Jens (2002-03 [2005], Secretly Canadian): Swedish singer-songwriter, often compared to Jonathan Richman, Stephin Merritt and/or Scott Walker. Early material, collected from self-released EPs after his 2004 debut album. I think I can hear why people like him, but I'm not comfortable with him yet. B+(**)

Jens Lekman: The Cherry Trees Are Still in Blossom (2002-03 [2022], Secretly Canadian): Reissue of Oh You're So Silent Jens, with a different title, same art work, some extras. B+(**)

The Mercenaries: Locks, Looks and Hooks (2006, Melted Vinyl): American rock band, first of nine by this name listed in Discogs (plus at least 12 article-less Mercenaries). This one released 5 albums 2001-09, of which this is number four. Actually, fairly good, not that anyone cares anymore. B+(*) [cd]

Charles Mingus: Mingus (1960 [1961], Candid): Second album for Candid, recorded a month after Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus. This expands on the quartet -- Ted Curson (trumpet), Eric Dolphy (alto sax/bass clarinet), and Dannie Richmond (drums) -- with a second trumpet, two trombones, two more saxes (Charles McPherson and Booker Ervin), and piano (Nico Bunink or Paul Bley). Opens with a 19:49 "M.D.M. (Monk, Duke and Me)." Second side starts with 13:23 of "Stormy Weather," then reflects on his psychiatric experience in "Lock 'Em Up (Hellview of Bellevue)." A- [sp]

Charles Mingus: Charles Mingus and Friends in Concert (1972 [1996], Columbia/Legacy, 2CD): Recorded at Philharmonic Hall on February 4, six months before the "lost" Ronnie Scott's session reviewed above, and released on 2-LP (87:49) later that fall, expanded to 130:36 for 2-CD. Same core group, except Joe Chambers on drums, plus lots of extras, including: trumpets (Eddie Preston, Lloyd Michaels, Lonnie Hilyer), trombone (Eddie Bert), French horns (Dick Berg, Sharon Moe), tuba (Bob Stewart), saxophones (Gene Ammons, Gerry Mulligan, George Dorsey, Richie Perri, Howard Johnson), even a second bassist (Milt Hinton), and vocals (Honey Gordon on three tracks; announcer Bill Cosby and writer Dizzy Gillespie on "Ool-Ya-Koo"). I also see solos for James Moody, and Randy Weston. Some great pieces, but doesn't feel like Mingus is really in charge. B+(**) [sp]

Charles Mingus: Three or Four Shades of Blues (1977, Atlantic): Late album, opens up with new takes of "Better Get Hit in Your Soul" and "Goodbye Porkpie Hat," plus three lesser pieces. Group with Jack Walrath (trumpet), Ricky Ford (tenor sax), and Dannie Richmond (drums), plus various piano and guitar, bass help although the solos are all credited to Mingus. B+(*) [sp]

Charles Mingus: Thirteen Pictures: The Charles Mingus Anthology (1952-77 [1993], Rhino, 2CD): Part of a series of 2-CD jazz comps, each a handsome book in a hard box, a clever move back when we thought of CD boxes as prestige items. Jazz has rarely seemed right for the "greatest hits" treatment: even at best, think of them as introductory samplers. I had to build a playlist here, but first surprise here is that this ranges way beyond the Atlantic sides the label owns, picking up such obvious peaks as "Haitian Fight Song" and "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" but atypical pieces like a Jackie Paris vocal and a Duke Ellington piano trio. It also packs two long pieces: "Meditations on Integration" (24:50), and "Cumbia & Jazz Fusion" (27:52, one of his last records, one that I panned, although it sounds pretty good here). A-

Mxmtoon: The Masquerade (2019, House Arrest): She identifies as "a young bisexual woman of color from a family of immigrants," the "color" coming from her Chinese-American mother (as opposed to her German-Scottish father). She started making YouTube videos at 17, self-released this debut album at 19, a batch of clever lo-fi tunes. [PS: Didn't bother with the acoustic versions, which on the digital are presented as CD2.] B+(*)

Mxmtoon: Dawn & Dusk (2020, AWAL): Combines two EPs (7 songs each, 20:40 + 22:44), so not technically her second album, but marks a transition to better production. Sample lyric: "everybody needs a different point of view." B+(**) [sp]

Ann Peebles: This Is Ann Peebles (1969, Hi): First album, produced a couple low-charting singles, plus another song that made Greatest Hits. Seems odd today that both sides end with Aretha Franklin classics, which were only a year or two old at the time. Promising that they don't miss by much. B+(***)

Ann Peebles: Greatest Hits (1966-78 [2015], Hi/Fat Possum): Memphis soul great, a tier below Aretha Franklin (as her covers prove, not that she missed by much). I'm quite happy with her 12-track 1988 Ann Peebles' Greatest Hits, but no complaints about getting four extra songs here. A-

Placebo: Meds (2006, Virgin): Fifth album, probably should be in my list of unheard Christgau A-list albums, but he never assigned a grade to it (wrote an ungraded essay, included it in his 2006 Dean's List, but only 78 of 81). B+(***)

Guillermo Portabales: El Creador De La Guajira De Salon 1937-1943: Al Vaivén de Mi Carreta (1937-43 [1996], Tumbao): Cuban singer-songwriter, popularized the guajira style in these early recordings, some just with his own guitar, picks up a bit when he gets some backup, both vocal and percussion. Still, it is his voice which transcends the language barrier. A- [sp]

Guillermo Portabales: El Carretero (1962-70 [1996], World Circuit): Late recordings, some from 1962-63 in Miami, more from 1967-68 in New York, one song from a month before his death in 1970 (at 59). B+(**) [sp]

Vi Redd: Bird Call (1962, United Artists): Sings and plays alto sax, recorded two albums 1962-63, another with Mary McPartland in 1977, and has since picked up some awards, but I hadn't heard of her until she popped up on DownBeat's HOF ballot, at age 93. Mix of standards (including "Summertime") and bebop. Her vocals are fine, but her sax is more persuasive. The vibes (Roy Ayers) are often a plus. B+(***)

Vi Redd: Lady Soul (1963, Atco): Second album, organ (mostly Dick Hyman) and guitar (Bucky Pizzarelli or Barney Kessel) marks a move toward soul jazz. Shows more poise as a singer, but plays her saxophone less (Bill Perkins helps out). B+(**)

András Schiff: Ludwig von Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas: Volume III: Sonatas opp. 14, 22 and 49 (2006, ECM New Series): Pianist, from Hungary, based in Britain, has a large discography of classical music from 1973 on. As you probably know, I hate classical music, and even when I don't hate it, I don't appreciate it. Got this as a promo, and played it because it's been sitting around too long. Played it twice, and only got annoyed when I forced myself to write this interview. Otherwise, it's pleasant, disengaging background, aside from the occasional moments when it hits a point where you can imagine the maestro standing up to bask in the applause. Thankfully, there is none of that. B+(*) [cd]

Sufis at the Cinema: 50 Years of Bollywood Qawwali and Sufi Song 1958-2007 (1958-2007 [2011], Times Square, 2CD): One tends to think of Bollywood as Hindi cinema -- indeed, that's the redirection in Wikipedia -- centered in Mumbai, but this makes a case for music drawn from Urdu traditions, including the most famous Qawwali artist of all, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Hard to tell just how typical this is. B+(**) [cd]

Luis Villegas: Guitarras De Navidad (2007, Tenure): Guitarist, born in Los Angeles, parents from Mexico, best known for Grammy-nominated 1998 [New Age] album Cafe Olé. Later led Heavy Mellow, a flamenco band that played "heavy metal classics." Starts with delicately plucked holiday tunes, then brings in a big band for a mariachi "Jingle Bells." You could find yourself stuck with worse for Christmas. B [cd]

Following the death of Art Rupe, I reviewed several compilations from Specialty Records. Thought it might be best to group them together rather than scatter them about.

Rock 'n' Roll Fever! The Wildest From Specialty (1956-59 [1993], Specialty): The wildest was Little Richard, but this opts for obscurities -- Jerry Byrne's "Lights Out" is the one I'm most familiar with, followed by pieces from the bottom tier of artists with single-CD compilations (Don & Dewey, Larry Williams, Floyd Dixon), and a cover of Huey Smith's "Don't You Just Know It." B+(**)

Specialty Legends of Boogie Woogie (1947-51 [1992], Specialty): Song selection here is easy: look for songs with "boogie" in the title (18 of 19 here, not counting two "unidentified" pieces, leaving as the sole exception "Rock That Voot"), then make sure you hear the tinkle in the piano, even on what would otherwise be a plain jump blues. "Woogie" optional (3 titles). The star here is Camille Howard (8 pieces), followed by Willard McDaniel (4). B+(***)

The Specialty Story (1944-64 [1994], Specialty, 5CD): Art Rupe (né Goldberg) died on April 15, age 104. Among rock and roll's founding entrepreneurs, he's less famous than Sam Phillips, Leonard Chess, or Ahmet Ertegun, but starting in Los Angeles in 1944, with a later pipeline to New Orleans (thanks to Johnny Vincent), he released as many great records as anyone else in the business. His catalog got picked up by Fantasy, which in the early 1990s repackaged it into several dozen critically important CDs. I bought so many that I skipped this flagship box set as redundant, but on his death it looks perfect for a wake. You might fault it for focusing too much on stars you already know (e.g., 19 Little Richard tracks), or you might deem that a feature. A-

Specialty Records Greatest Hits (1946-58 [2001], Specialty): Single-CD selection, all hits, 20 songs from 10 artists, nicely balanced between early jump blues and later rockers, although the latter is dominated by Little Richard (5 songs). Essential music, but note that eight of those 10 artists also own an A/A- single-CD compilation (Jimmy Liggins has two). A

Rip It Up: The Best of Specialty Records (1946-58 [2021], Craft): Repeats 18 songs from Specialty Records Greatest Hits, but let's dock it for dropping two great ones: "Thrill Me" (Roy Milton and Camille Howard), and "Good Golly Miss Molly" (Little Richard). So you can also fault them for lack of imagination, but the label exists to restore indelible classics to vinyl, and that's what they do here. A-

Music Weeks

Music: Current count 38015 [37777] rated (+238), 107 [127] unrated (-20).

Excerpts from this month's Music Week posts:

May 2, 2021

Music: Current count 37831 [37777] rated (+54), 127 [127] unrated (-0).

It's been a very frustrating week for reading the news, with one story after another provoking rage and a sense of doom. I hit some sort of breaking point on Saturday, when I felt the last iota of hope drain from my body. Previously, I might try to document these feelings in a blog post, but I don't feel like indulging in that much self-abuse. I will note that the story that pushed me over the edge was one about Kansas Republicans on the verge of passing a bill legalizing sports betting, taxing the bets at 10%, and dedicating 80% of the revenues to luring professional sports teams to Kansas. I hate betting in all forms, but recognize it's better legal and regulated than left as a cash cow for organized crime, and there's always public needs that could be addressed with additional tax revenues. (Same can be said for drugs, but that seems to be a bigger cognitive problem with local Republicans. When I was growing up, gambling was every bit the sin, but Republicans have come around, probably due to the way it fetishizes money.) The problem is the italicized bit: sports teams are invariably owned by some of the most ridiculously wealthy people in the world -- the KC major league teams are owned by the Hunt and Walton heirs -- so it's especially insane to dedicate a major tax revenue stream to their benefit. Evidently Democratic Governor Kelly is on board with this disgusting scheme. (I'll spare you the rant on the graft involved in Wichita's recent minor league ballpark disaster, which should be cautionary lesson enough.) At the same time, both parties are interested in cutting sales taxes on food, but no one is suggesting making up the difference with the sports-gambling revenues (let alone legalizing marijuana, which would be much more popular).

I'm already starting to forget many of the other outrages in the newspaper lately. An article finally popped up on how Elon Musk plans to recover his sunken investment in Twitter by firing employees and making other service cuts. (As an aside, I saw a graph Musk evidently put out placing himself on a left-right continuum over time. He stays in the same position, but extends the "woke left" line enormously, as if the left is getting more extreme, and is pulling the center past him, moving him from left-of-center to right-of-center. It doesn't take much genius to realize that what's really happening is that he's moving right, reflecting his increasing wealth, but can't see beyond his own ego.)

There's a whole bunch of economic news. Amazon is slipping because they overbuilt warehouses and shipping during the pandemic, and Apple is slipping due to supply chain issues, and Netflix stock collapsed when they lost a few subscribers (which they hope to remedy by kicking freeloaders off). All three companies were hugely overvalued, but we assume markets price stock correctly, so normal corrections look like catastrophes. Speaking of which, Twitter is even more overvalued, but having found a greater fool in Musk, but now, having locked in a price, the only thing they can do is squeeze and devalue. What we need to be doing is figuring out how to stand up free services that compete with big tech but don't do the data mining and brokering they do to make money off your attention. But nobody's talking about that (except Kim Stanley Robinson, but that's science fiction).

There's a story about crypto getting "the regulator they want," which probably means worse than no regulation at all. Then there's the bizarre stuff about GDP shrinking while the Fed is contemplating a half-point interest rate increase, which will lead to disastrous losses abroad as well -- at the same time global supply is being crippled by the Ukraine war and attendant sanctions. Meanwhile, those involved in Ukraine are doubling down, getting even more bloody-minded, which is great for the arms and oil industries, and ominous for everyone else. (Meanwhile, there was another paean to Madeline Albright today.)

And of course there are the usual run of political stories, most involving Trump's involvement in Republican primaries, because the news industry would much prefer talking about Trump than Biden, and have no interest whatsoever in issues other than the culture war flashpoints. (I think only once have I read something about Florida's infamous "don't say gay" bill that pointed out what I take to be the real problem: that the law incentivizes "parents" to file frivolous lawsuits against teachers and school boards. The right seems to feel that, having packed the courts, the best way to advance their claims is to flood them with suits.)

OK, that's too many words for explaining why I decided not to write about this shit anymore. But at least I didn't burn up two days digging up links you're unlikely to follow anyway (not least because so many of them are behind fucking paywalls). How can we have a democracy when information is so exclusively partitioned? A quick look around suggests maybe we don't.

May 9, 2021

Music: Current count 37881 [37831] rated (+50), 126 [127] unrated (-1).

I have very little to say about this week's batch of records. The way things have been going, I was surprised to find two A- records in my jazz demo pile. I'll also note that I enjoyed some of the B+(***) records a lot, only to decide not to give them the extra play that might have put them over.

May 16, 2021

Music: Current count 37925 [37881] rated (+44), 120 [126] unrated (-6).

Only "new" A- record below came from Robert Christgau's May Consumer Guide, the quotes because it actually came out in 2019. Aside from Bobby Digital vs. RZA (see below), Scorpion Kings was the only new record reviewed this month I hadn't already weighed in on. (You might quibble about Ann Peebles' Greatest Hits: I have the 12-song 1988 MCA version at A, vs. Christgau's A- for the 16-song 2015 on Hi.) I had four (of six) Christgau A/A- picks at A- (Mary J. Blige, Kady Diarra, Miranda Lambert, Willie Nelson), with slightly lower B+(***) grades for Oumou Sangaré and Wet Leg. I also had his B+/HM picks at similar grades (Linda Lindas, Taj Mahal/Ry Cooder, Muslims, Dolly Parton, the live Ann Peebles). It's rare that I'm out front on so many releases, and that our grades are so similar.

I wound up with six B+(***) new music grades this week (plus two new compilations of old music) -- probably not an exceptional number, but they loom large with the shortest A-list so far this year. Three of them got 2-3 plays: Heroes Are Gang Leaders (their Amiri Baraka Sessions was my top album of 2019); Kendrick Lamar (with a 98/10 rating at AOTY); and Arcade Fire, which probably came closest before I reflected that I had probably overrated their last two, given my lack of subsequent interest. (Actually, the closest was Scorpion Kings Live, which I hedged down for redundancy.)

In Old Music, the Akiyoshi-Tabackin and Armstrong records were recommended on a Facebook group, so I thought I'd check them out. I stumbled across the Crosby comp while looking for something more appetizing from Armstrong. I should have gone on to check out A Centennial Anthology of His Decca Recordings (a Christgau A).

I've just recently seen this bit of interview with Brian Eno on Russia and Ukraine [from 04-09]. I'm skeptical of the usefulness of the book he recommends -- Sebastian Haffner's Defying Hitler: A Memoir, but also a history of how the Nazis took power -- although I'm tempted to order a copy.

PS: Added Ann Peebles: Greatest Hits after deadline, because I mentioned it above. Same for the Crosby Centennial Anthology. Adjusted the rated counts, including some unpacking I had initially missed.

May 23, 2021

Music: Current count 37953 [37925] rated (+28), 114 [120] unrated (-6).

Count is down significantly from recent weeks (which would suggest that it is possible, but not quite probable, that I will pass 38,000 next week). Main reason for the slowdown is that my niece Rachel visited for a couple days last week, and I got very little listening in while she was here. Also lost a good chunk of a previous day shopping, and another chunk of a day with a medical thing. Also had a bit of trouble deciding what to listen to -- which led me to a number of less-than-promising albums that ranked relatively high in the metacritic file. (By the way, just discovered that a lot of records had been dropped. Many of the references can be fixed up easily enough, but very likely I'm still missing some. Results are at best approximate, but they give me some sense of what's out there, of what other people think, and whether I should care.)

Spent a fair chunk of time with my niece talking about death and what to do with the detritus we'll leave behind. We wrote up wills and filled out notebooks. She will be the executor. My basic attitude is that after death none of this is my problem anymore, but thinking about it brought some order to my current state assessment, as well as a challenge to my engineering skill. I can draw on what little I learned from my first wife's death, my parents, my father-in-law, Laura's sister, and my sister, as well as numerous other deaths of family and dear friends. Helps, I think, that my mind is uncluttered by religion. (We've been watching Under the Banner of Heaven, which presents the Mormon afterlife framed as a pretty picture but feeling more like an eternal burden.)

The money, assuming there still is some, is the easy part. The stuff is harder to deal with, and I was hoping for help there: who wants what, and what to do with the rest, especially stuff nobody wants. (I'm the sort reluctant to throw away anything that could be useful to someone else, but figuring out ways to distribute it is never easy.) The part we didn't spend much time on is what for lack of a better term we'll call "intellectual property": my writings, most of which are on my websites. I'm sure the estate will want to cut the financial bleed (to say nothing of the admin headaches) of my dedicated server, so I'll need to come up with a plan to roll back and consolidate, folding everything into a single website which could be kept publicly available. I guess that's my legacy, so something I'll need to work on.

I did manage to make one nice meal while my niece was here. She gave me little direction as to what to fix, so I went to the grocery store with only vague ideas. I picked up a chicken -- I've generally been oblivious to rising food prices, but was rather taken aback to pay $20 for a chicken -- and a scattering of vegetables, including an eggplant, zucchini, green beans, brussels sprouts, a bag of small potatoes, tomatoes, onions, asparagus, romaine lettuce. When I got home, I looked at the pile, and the most straightforward menu seemed to be: roasted chicken with samfaina, and salade niçoise. (I had the latter in mind when I stopped at World Market, and picked up some nice canned tuna.)

Samfaina is a Catallan ragout with onion, red bell pepper, eggplant, zucchini, and tomato. You cook it down to marmalade consistency, then add the roasted chicken pieces: a very simple but magnificent recipe, with an easy parallel workflow, which only had to be reheated at the end. I boiled the whole bag of potatoes, keeping four for the salad. The rest I flattened, painted with duck fat, and roasted as a side, along with the brussels sprouts. I boiled the asparagus, then sauteed them with bacon and onion. I also made a batch of gougčres to kick things off. I mixed the salad with the vinaigrette, then scooped it out onto a bed of romaine. So I wound up with only one dish on the stovetop, plus the gougčres in one oven, the potatoes and brussels sprouts in the other. Should have been easy, but the pain caught up to me, and I was a mess at the end. Had a lot of food left over -- aside from the potatoes, which went fast.

For dessert, I made tiramisu (based on a sponge cake and a can of "double espresso") and chocolate mousse. For former was a bit runny (something wrong with the mascarpone), and the latter too stiff (but remedied nicely by folding in a large dollop of whipped cream). I got tired of trying to shave chocolate to garnish the tiramisu, so threw some chips into the mini-chopper -- an effective hack.

We spent some time going through some family memorabilia. Rachel has the idea of hiring a private investigator to try to figure out my mother's movements before she met my father in 1948-49. I dug up a batch of old postcards, which were mostly blank but some offered various addresses. Rachel looked up some census records, and found out something I didn't know: the 1930 census listed Mom, two of her older siblings, and her parents in Oklahoma. I had always assumed that Ben and Mary Brown stayed on their farm in Arkansas until he died in 1936, and that Mom (but no other siblings) was still with them. Then, after Ben's death, Mom and her mother (Mary) moved to Oklahoma, where they stayed with two older sisters (Lola and Edith). I suppose I thought this because Ben and Mary were buried in Flutey Cemetery in Arkansas, along with a number of other relatives (including two of my uncles, Allen and Ted).

But them moving to Oklahoma before 1930 makes sense of some other things I had heard, like that Edith, who was 20 when she married, had met her husband in Oklahoma. Lola (and Melvin Stiner) had moved to Oklahoma around 1926 (their first son had been born in Arkansas in 1925, but their second was born in Oklahoma in 1927). This also gave Mom a longer period in Oklahoma, including some teen years -- she was 17 in 1930. She had some trauma there, which would make more sense if she was younger. They were living in Creek County, which is where Lola and Melvin originally settled. (They later had a farm east of Stroud, close to the county line.) It's possible that Ben and Mary moved back to Arkansas before he died in 1936, but by then Edith was married, and Allen had moved to Kansas (he got married to a Kansas girl in 1939). Mom remained single until 1948, when she married Dad (she was 35; he was a month shy of 26).

What Mom did between 1930 and 1940, when the census showed her living in Augusta, KS, with her sister Ruby, is mostly unknown to us. We also have questions about the 1940s -- one of the postcards I found was dated 1943 and addressed to her in Atlantic City. Rachel recalls Edith bringing up a story about Mom in Chicago, which Mom shut down immediately, and refused to talk about when Rachel tried interviewing her shortly before Mom died. It seems likely now that Mom reinvented herself around 1941, when she started going by Bea (instead of Bessie, which her family never tired of calling her), and again after she got married, and turned into a classic 1950s housewife (and domineering mother -- that, at least, is something I know much about, but hadn't thought about it as a transformation until much later).

This new information means I'll have to do some editing on my memoir manuscript. I got stuck a year ago in trying to make the transition from my family background to my own memories (which should have been easier, but nevermind). A week or two ago, I started to try to make an end run around that block by jotting down annotated lists of things (like all the cars we've owned, or all the games we played), with people and events to follow. These discoveries convinced me I need to go back into the archives and transcribe what's there, sorting out all the people and places. (I know who Evelyn was, but who's Jack?).

I've been putting off a lot of things. Need to start again this coming week.

Seems like I'm running into more B records lately: things that I don't mind, may even enjoy for a while, but don't pique my interest, or seem worth pursuing further. Yet they rarely sink below that level. My current EOY list has a mere 9 B- records (2 this week), and nothing lower (well, one C+ among the archival releases). I'm sure I could find more if I went looking for them, but life's too short for that kind of waste.

Not many new jazz records from my demo queue this week. Everything I have left is scheduled for June or July release, so hasn't seemed like a priority.

Did a last-minute Speaking of Which yesterday, then updated it last night. Left a broken tag that messed up the format, but that's fixed now.

May 30, 2021

Music: Current count 38015 [37953] rated (+62), 107 [114] unrated (-7).

After finishing last week with a mere 28 newly rated records, I ventured that "it is possible, but not quite probable, that I will pass 38,000 next week." It turns out I did so easily, with the highest new rating count in recent memory. I spent a fair amount of time last week bringing my metacritic file up to date, so the easiest thing to do was to pick off unheard albums from the upper reaches of the list.

I don't have a cached copy of last week's list, but working from this week's reviews I picked up (sorted by current rank; i.e., at the moment of writing): Kurt Vile (40), Sunflower Bean (50), Warpaint (51), Anaďs Mitchell (57), Kevin Morby (59), Porridge Radio (60), Sasami (62), Sea Power (63), Aurora (66), Ethel Cain (67), Tomerlin (73), Gang of Youths (80), Johnny Marr (84), Daniel Rossen (87), Bastille (105), Metronomy (119), Soul Glo (126), Che Noir (160), Max Cooper (194). Needless to say, I didn't spend a lot of time on these (although Vile and Cooper were pleasant surprises; the lower grades would probably sink even lower with more exposure). Ranked (top 200) late-May releases omitted above: Harry Styles (39), Craig Finn (114), Wilco (155), Mxmtoon (180). Tate McRae is (211), and Van Morrison is unranked (my 1 point will put him on the list, but thus far I've only added my points to albums on the list for other reasons).

That leave as my top-ranked unheard releases: Just Mustard (54: 05-27, playing now), Band of Horses (92), Destroyer (97), Boris (108), Eels (112), Everything Everything (113), Pup (121), Shamir (124), Eddie Vedder (129), Blossoms (132), Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard (133), Grace Cummings (136), Empath (138), Hatchie (141), Melt Yourself Down (142), Midlake (143), The Mysterines (145), Pillow Queens (148), The Regrettes (149), Voivod (153), Orlando Weeks (154), Bloc Party (157), Camp Cope (158), Cave In (159), Crows (162), Liam Gallagher (170), Ghost (171) Kathryn Joseph (176) Lykke Li (178), and most records from (181: Rammstein) on down. Scanning that list, the only ones (besides Just Mustard, which is sounding like a low B+) I'm likely to hit next week are Pup and Shamir (well, maybe Hatchie and/or Everything Everything).

I'm rather pleased with the range of this week's A- records. Also that I took a bite out of the unrated list, and that three of them turned out to be so good (if in totally different ways). I'd really like to cut the list way down, but it's proving difficult to even find the remaining albums. Daunting boxes are a lesser problem, as they'll take a big chunk of time: Richard Pryor (9CD), Frank Sinatra (14CD, but mostly albums I've already graded), Neil Young (10CD), plus another half-dozen in the 3-4CD range. On the other hand, about half of what's left I'd just as soon forget I have.

Highly recommended music history link: Phil Overeem's "Groundbreaking Women in U.S. Music: A History in 150 [or so] Albums": Greatest Hits From Two Essay Assignments.

With five weeks in May, I've added 241 records to the ratings database. See link up top for the monthly archive. I've done the indexing, but haven't yet added the Music Week introductions.


Everything streamed from Napster (ex Rhapsody), except as noted in brackets following the grade:

  • [cd] based on physical cd
  • [cdr] based on an advance or promo cd or cdr
  • [lp] based on physical lp (vinyl)
  • [bc] available at
  • [sp] available at
  • [yt] available at
  • [dl] something I was able to download from the web; may be freely available, may be a bootleg someone made available, or may be a publicist promo