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Streamnotes: October 31, 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 September 26. Past reviews and more information are available here (20461 records).
The 1975: Being Funny in a Foreign Language (2022, Dirty Hit): English alt/indie band, fifth album since 2013, got a critical rep early which I never quite heard, but this has a sunny appeal that only comes when you craft something catchy. B+(***) [sp]
Claudia Acuña: Duo (2022, Ropeadope): Singer from Chile, based in New York since 1995, presents nine songs, featuring jazz notables like Kenny Barron, Christian McBride, Fred Hersch, Regina Carter, and Russell Malone. Remarkable singer, working in her native Spanish. I find her a bit too operatic, but one can't help being impressed. B+(*) [cd]
Ahanes: Petrichor (2021 , Clean Feed): Three Greek jazz musicians -- Nicky Kokkoli (sax), Giannis Arapis (guitar), and Alex Zethson (keyboard) -- ventured to Stockholm for a winter festival, picked up three locals for this sextet: Mats Åleklint (trombone), Torbjörn Zetterberg (bass), and Nils Agnas (drums). B+(**) [sp]
The Airport 77s: We Realize You Have a Choice (2022, Jem): Indie band from Maryland's DC suburbs, guitar-bass-drums with a bit of keyb, longer follow-up to their 2021 (8 songs, 25:56) debut. Chunky rhythms, some hooks, closer to rockabilly than to punk. B+(*) [sp]
Akusmi: Fleeting Future (2022, Tonal Union): French producer Pascal Bideau, first album under this alias, plays alto sax, flute, keyboards, guitar, bass guitar, percussion, with a group that also includes saxophonist Ruth Velten, plus trombone and drums -- sort of a jazz band playing dance music riffs. B+(**) [sp]
Al-Qasar: Who Are We? (2022, Glitterbeat): Moroccan vocalist Jaouad El Garouge fronts this Paris-based, mostly French group playing mostly Arabic instruments, with Thomas Attar Bellier the composers and electric saz/guitar player, and guest spots including Lee Ranaldo and Jello Biafra. B+(***) [sp]
Alvvays: Blue Rev (2022, Polyvinyl): Canadian indie pop group, Molly Rankin sings and plays guitar, third album, nice, upbeat appeal. B+(**) [sp]
Zoh Amba: Bhakti (2022, Mahakala Music): Young tenor saxophonist from Tennessee, started this year with albums on Tzadik and 577 that I haven't heard but have heard much about. She got a feature in the New York Times recently, so she's the very definition of a rising star. Three long and noisy pieces here (60:08), easy to hear what the excitement is about, with a superb rhythm section: Micah Thomas (piano), Tyshawn Sorey (drums), and Matt Hollenberg (guitar). B+(***) [sp]
Oren Ambarchi: Shebang (2022, Drag City): Australian guitarist, started as a drummer, close to 60 albums since 1998. Basically a jangle rhythm piece (nominally four parts, 35:00), with guests adding minor coloring and Joe Talia on drums. B+(***) [sp]
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley: Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and Hi-Life Jazz (2022, Agogo): Saxophonist from Ghana, bandleader since 1973, his debut album defined a genre, Simigwa, but his roots are in high-life, which he's messed with enough to be called "the godfather of hiplife." I'm not seeing credits or dates, but this seems to be new (he is 75 this year), and not better for the postmodern effects. B [sp]
Arild Andersen Group: Affirmation (2021 , ECM): Norwegian bassist, started as a George Russell protégé in the late 1960s, has had a long and fruitful career. Quartet here with Marius Neset (tenor sax), Helge Lien (piano), and Håkon Måjset Johansen (drums), the multipart title piece jointly credited, plus his own "Short Story." Remarkable balance and poise. A- [sp]
Horace Andy: Midnight Scorchers (2022, On-U Sound): Journeyman reggae singer, perhaps best known for his 1972 hit "Skylarking," nicely summed up by his 1970-76 comp Feel Good All Over, may have hit a peak with 1977's In the Light, but never let up, so he has dozens of later albums I haven't heard. The one I have heard was this year's much-touted "comeback" (after a 3-year gap) Midnight Rocker. Nice record, but this one turns up the heat considerably, earning its title. B+(***) [sp]
The Bad Plus: The Bad Plus (2021 , Edition): Established as a piano-bass-drums trio in 2000, after bassist Reid Anderson and pianist Ethan Iverson had released several very strong albums, while drummer Dave King had developed a style that satisfied both jazz and rock fans without wholly belonging to one or the other. They were remarkably successful as jazz groups go, most famous for their occasional covers of rock songs (initially Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit"), filling an ecological niche that E.S.T. proved popular in Europe, but which no other American group came close to. When Iverson left in 2017, Anderson and King tapped Orrin Evans to fill the piano chair, but Evans left in 2021 to return to his own substantial, multi-faceted career. Here they take a different tack, reintroducing themselves as a pianoless quartet, with Chris Speed (tenor sax) and Ben Monder (guitar) -- well-established names in their own right, though a little too buttoned down -- playing eight songs, with Anderson and King writing four each. B+(**) [sp]
Kenny Beats: Louie (2022, XL): Producer Kenneth Blume III, first album under his name only -- he has at least four more co-credited to rappers, and is producer for many more. B+(*) [sp]
Benjamin Tod: Songs I Swore I'd Never Sing (2022, Anti-Corp): Country singer-songwriter, last name Flippo, third solo album, also has a group called Lost Dog Street Band. Original songs, but passed by for other projects, presented here as guitar-and-voice demos. B+(*) [sp]
Kristin Berardi: The Light & the Dark (2019 , Earshift Music): Australian jazz singer, writes her own songs, albums since 2006. This one recorded in New York, with Ingrid Jensen on trumpet, Miro Sprague on piano, plus bass and drums, and a couple guest spots. B+(*) [cd]
Tim Berne/Matt Mitchell: One More, Please (2021 , Intakt): Alto sax and piano duo, their first duo record 2017's Førage, this the fifth by my count, but the only other one I've managed to hear is 2020's Spiders, still a slight preference although most likely they're all quite close, high-level collaborations. B+(***) [sp]
Bi Ba Doom: Graceful Collision (2022, Astral Spirits): Free jazz trio, first album as such but musicians are fairly well established: Chris Pitsiokos (alto sax), Luke Stewart (bass), and Jason Nazary (drums), everyone also electronics. B+(***) [bc]
Bibio: Bib10 (2022, Warp): Electronica producer Stephen Wilkinson, from England, tenth album since 2005, has a similar number of EPs. B+(*) [sp]
Crow Billiken: If I Don't Have Red I Use Blue (2022, self-released, EP): Rapper R.A.P. Ferreira delivers a short country blues album (6 songs, 21:37). "Alvin Youngblood Hart, Skippy James, Robert Petway, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Leroy Stewart Sr all contributed compositionally." B+(*) [bc]
Bitchin Bajas: Bajascillators (2022, Drag City): Cooper Crain, nominally a solo side project, but he has close to twice as many albums here (11 since 2010) as with his psychedelic drone group Cave (6 since 2008). It probably helps that these are conceptually simpler: four pieces ranging between 9:42 and 14:30, most attractive groove patterns drawn out. B+(**) [sp]
Björk: Fossora (2022, One Little Independent): Iceland's superstar, albums since 1993, first track got me thinking about how charming her quirky rhythms can be. Much of the rest reminded me how cloying her operatic/art song side can be. Well, not quite, as it almost works this time, and that hasn't always been the case. B [sp]
Owen Broder: Hodges: Front and Center, Vol. 1 (2021 , Outside In Music): Saxophonist, one previous album plus appearances with Anat Cohen and in Cowboys and Frenchmen, mostly plays alto here, plus a bit of baritone on a piece Gerry Mulligan wrote for an album with Johnny Hodges. I wasn't much impressed by his exploration of Appalachian roots music, but this I find thoroughly delightful. I don't even feel the desire to refer back to the classics. A- [cdr]
Sarah Buechi/Franz Hellmueller/Rafael Jerjen: Moon Trail (2021 , Intakt): Swiss vocalist, titles in English (except for one in French, one in German), modestly backed with guitar and bass. She sings with rare poise, although the best known standards (like "I Thought About You") can feel tortured. B+(**) [sp]
Burial: Streetlands (2022, Hyperdub, EP): William Bevan, electronica producer since 2005, niche ambient. He mostly releases EPs: this 3-track job runs long enough at 34:27 but the concept is so small we might as well label it accordingly. B [bc]
Alina Bzhezhinska & HipHarpCollective: Reflections (2022, BBE): Harpist, born in Ukraine, based in London, has at least one previous record, Bandcamp credits this to AlinaHipHarp. Credits unclear, but there is some sax (Tony Kofi), trumpet (Jay Phelps), bass, percussion, vocals (rap), and violin/viola (Ying Xue). B+(*) [sp]
Tito Carrillo: Urbanessence (2021 , Origin): Trumpet player, from Chicago, second album, original pieces, played by a sextet with sax (Troy Roberts), piano (Ben Lewis), bass, drums, and congas. B+(*) [sp]
Dan Cavanagh and James Miley With John Hollenbeck: Another Life (2019-21 , S/N Alliance): Two pianists, three compositions each (plus two standards and an improvisation), both also play synthesizers, plus drums. Remarkably sparkling, especially on the Jerome Kern/Radiohead opener. B+(**) [cdr]
Tyler Childers: Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven? (2022, Hickman Holler/RCA, 3CD): Country singer-songwriter, from Kentucky, has an impressive string of albums, often touching on religious themes. This one offers eight more songs on religion, some gospel and some more tentative (does God allow hunting on "His grounds"?), rendered three times each on discs labeled "Hallelujah," "Jubilee," and "Joyful Noise." The first two aren't much different, with "Jubilee" perhaps a bit brighter and clearer. The third doesn't strike me as joyful at all: darker and denser, stiff keyboard rhythm and little refrain, disturbing but I doubt I'd give it a second thought if it came to me as electronica. Not that religion doesn't disturb me when I think about it, but like Kant I usually assume it's a benign tonic for the masses (unlike Kant I don't think we really need one). B+(*) [sp]
Corey Christiansen: Standards (2022, self-released): Guitarist, from Utah, from 2000-07 worked as "senior editor ad guitar clinician" for Mel Bay Publications, and released his first album and books there. Since then he released six albums on Origin, and now this crowdfunded trio with Ben Williams (bass) and Carl Allen (drums). B+(**) [sp]
The Claudettes: The Claudettes Go Out! (2022, Forty Below): Indie band from Chicago, founded by keyboardist Johnny Iguana in 2013, singer Berit Ulseth, fifth album. B+(*) [sp]
Anat Cohen: Quartetinho (2021 , Anzic): Israeli clarinet player, based in New York, has long been drawn to Brazilian music, delivered mostly by Vitor Gonçalves (piano, accordion, Fender Rhodes) here, the quartet fleshed out by Tal Mashiach (bass, guitar) and James Shipp (vibraphone, percussion, glockenspiel, analog synth). B+(**) [sp]
Tommy Crane: We're All Improvisers Now (2020-21 , Whirlwind): Montreal/New York-based drummer, has a couple albums, also plays keyboards and synth bass here, augmented by occasional guests: saxophonists Charlotte Greve, Logan Richardson, and Chris Speed get one track each, guitarist Simon Angell three, electric bassist Jordan Brooks six, French horn (Pietro Amato) two. Lives up to its billing as "tranquil yet propulsive," but not to its title. B+(*) [sp]
Criolo: Sobre Viver (2022, Oloko): Brazilian singer-songwriter Kleber Cavalcante Gomes, raps some, eighth album since 2006. B+(**) [sp]
Zella Day: Sunday in Heaven (2022, Concord): Indie pop singer-songwriter from Arizona, self-released an album at 14 in 2009, second album since. B+(*) [sp]
Death Cab for Cutie: Asphalt Meadows (2022, Atlantic): Indie rock band from Washington state, debut 1997, 14th album, easy enough, but easily forgotten. B [sp]
James Devane: Beauty Is Useless (2022, Umeboshi): Electronica producer, second solo album (first was 2008), has four more in the duo En. Beats with a little extra fuzz -- wouldn't want anyone thinking this is too pretty. B+(*) [bc]
Whit Dickey Quartet: Root Perspectives (2022, Tao Forms): Drummer, worked with pianist Matthew Shipp from the early 1990s, both in and out of the David S. Ware Quartet. Produces yet another variation of that here, with Tony Malaby on tenor sax and Brandon Lopez on bass. Kicks off loud, and rarely lets up, but Malaby doesn't sound quite right: like he's straining to channel Ware. B+(**) [cd]
John Dikeman/Stefan Gonzalez/Ingebrigt Håker Flaten/Jonathan F Horne: Texas Butt Biters (2019 , Astral Spirits): Sax. drums, bass, guitar, recorded in Amsterdam (Dikeman's home turf), although the others have ties to Texas. B+(*) [bc]
DJ Marz Y Los Flying Turntables/DJ Jester the Filipino Fist: Made in USA (2022, self-released): Mixtape, the DJs based in Texas (Austin and/or San Antonio), almost zero chance the samples got cleared. Looks like three cuts/one side each, the same title covering everything. The sort of thing that's only as good as it's funny. B+(**) [bc]
Dodie: Hot Mess (2022, Doddleoddle, EP): English singer-songwriter Dorothy Clark, mostly EPs since 2016 plus one album in 2021. Four tracks, 12:36. B [sp]
Charlotte Dos Santos: Morfo (2022, Because Music): Pop singer, born in Oslo, father Brazilian, mother Norwegian, studied as a jazz singer at Berklee, based in Berlin, first album after a 2017 EP. B+(***) [sp]
Dr. John: Things Happen That Way (2017 , Rounder): New Orleans pianist Mac Rebennack, had a few days as a pop star in the late 1960s, after which he returned to roots and they saw him through to his death in 2019. This is revealed as his final studio album, amid controversy over post-production. A batch of mostly-country covers, unclear how much piano he plays, but on this material his voice is his calling card. Reminds me a bit of Louis Armstrong's last records, when he couldn't play trumpet, and his voice had withered, but he could still get by on charisma. B+(*) [sp]
Kaja Draksler/Susana Santos Silva: Grow (2021 , Intakt): Piano and trumpet duo, from Slovenia and Portugal, both have been very active of late, including a previous duo in 2015 (This Love, on Clean Feed). Has an uncomfortably industrial feel, not expected given the instruments. B [sp]
Dry Cleaning: Stumpwork (2022, 4AD): English post-punk band, second album after an acclaimed debut, Florence Shaw vocalist (mostly spoken word). It's a vibe I'm hopelessly attracted to, even if I never seem able to parse it. A- [sp]
Jens Düppe: Ego_D (2022, Enja/Yellowbird): German drummer, has a few albums since 2004, also plays piano (like a drum), possibly everything else here, including some (but not all) of the spoken word, which starts with "the beat." B+(***) [sp]
Open Mike Eagle: Component System With the Auto Reverse (2022, Auto Reverse): Chicago rapper, born with the name Michael Eagle, eighth album since 2010, reportedly a revue of his whole oeuvre, hard for me to ascertain even though I'm something of a fan. I just enjoy the ride. A- [sp]
Eliane Elias: Quietude (2022, Candid): Brazilian pianist-singer, back in São Paulo immersed in dreamy samba. B+(**) [sp]
Brian Eno: Forever and Ever No More (2022, Verve): Cover squeezes all the spaces out from the all-caps title -- a conceit I decided not to humor after finding that my first attempt at typing the title came out wrong. One of his few albums lately to offer lyrics, but the music is drearily ambient, probably to fit the gloom of the words, but vice versa is also possible. B+(*) [sp]
John Escreet: Seismic Shift (2022, Whirlwind): English pianist, eighth album since 2008, trio with Eric Revis (bass) and Damion Reid (drums), original pieces, kicks it up a notch (or two). B+(***) [cd]
Amina Figarova: Joy (2022, AmFi): Pianist, born in Baku (now Azerbaijan), trained in classical music, moved to Rotterdam in 1988, then studied at Berklee and switched to jazz. Dozen-plus albums since 1993. Husband Bart Platteau plays flute, in a band that includes trumpet (Alez Pope Morris) and saxophone (Wayne Escoffery), with a vocal guest spot. B+(*) [cd]
Flohio: Out of Heart (2022, AWAL): London rapper Funmi Ohiosumah, billed as her debut album (although Discogs lists another, from 2020). B+(**) [sp]
Fox Green: Holy Souls (2022, self-released): Mild-mannered rock band from Little Rock, probably wouldn't have given them a second listen but for knowing the guitarist. But the extra listens helped, especially once the Howlin' Wolf tribute caught my ear, and each song on the second side came into focus. A- [sp]
Paolo Fresu/Dino Rubino/Daniele Di Bonaventura/Marco Bardoscia: Ferlinghetti (2022, Tuk Music): Trumpet/flugelhorn player, originally from Sardinia, many albums since 1985, this is soundtrack music for a documentary about famed beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. With piano, bandoneon, and bass. B+(***) [sp]
John Fullbright: The Liar (2022, Blue Dirt/Thirty Tigers): Country singer-songwriter, born in/near Woody Guthrie's home town in Oklahoma, debuted at the Folk Festival there, moved on to the Turnpike Troubadours. Fourth solo album. Mixed bag of songs. When he turns to God he can get real creepy ("Stars"), but when he focuses on human foibles he can be insightful and amusing ("Social Skills"). B+(**) [sp]
Freddie Gibbs: $oul $old $eparately (2022, Warner/ESGN): Rapper Fredrick Tipton, albums since 2013. Do British rappers incorporate pound signs into their titles, or is that a peculiarly American fetish? The album itself is nowhere near that shallow. B+(***) [sp]
Gogol Bordello: Solidaritine (2022, Cooking Vinyl): Gypsy-punk band from New York, led by Ukrainian singer-songwriter Eugene Hütz, the only continuous member since their 1999 debut, although Russian violinist Sergey Ryabtsev comes close. I'm not catching every word, but the raw energy and rustic rage makes a fine soundtrack for writing my thoughts on the Ukraine War. A- [sp]
Lincoln Goines: The Art of the Bass Choir (2020-21 , Origin): Bassist, seems like he's been around a while but his may be his first leader album. Employs 10 bassists, but usually in duos, with a drummer (of four total), cello on two cuts, voices on two more (one an Adam Nussbaum rap, praising Jaco Pastorius). Cites "Steve Swallow's upper register explorations" as an inspiration, so much of this sounds like guitar. B+(*) [sp]
Gunna: DS4EVER (2022, YSL/300 Entertainment): Rapper Sergio Giavanni Kitchens, from Georgia, associated with Young Thug (e.g., Slime Language 2), third album. B+(**) [sp]
Darryl Harper: Chamber Made (2022, Stricker Street): Clarinet player, has been around a while, although there is little on him in sources like Discogs (at least that I can find; he's cut a number of albums as The Onus). This starts with a "Suite for Clarinet and String Quartet" written by Ryan Truesdell. The album is filled out with pieces written by others (Stevie Wonder is the only one that qualifies as a cover), further exercising the "chamber jazz" idea. B+(*) [cd]
Paul Heaton + Jacqui Abbott: N.K-Pop (2022, EMI): Formerly of the Beautiful South, he the main writer/singer (first noticed in the Housemartins), but she added another dimension, and still helps. It's been some time since they were as good as they used to be, but stick around long enough and they'll pay off. B+(***) [sp]
Hellbound Glory: The Immortal Hellbound Glory: Nobody Knows You (2022, Black Country): Country rock band, principally Leroy Virgil, founded the band in Reno, Nevada, their first album called Scumbag Country (2008). Title refers to a 1920s song that never seems to go out of style. B+(*) [sp]
Hickeys: Fragile Structure (2022, self-released): Spanish rock group, four women, sing in English (I think), a little darker and harder than indie pop. B+(**) [sp]
Dylan Hicks & Small Screens: Airport Sparrows (2022, Soft Launch): Singer-songwriter from Minneapolis, occasional albums since 1996, has written a couple novels. B+(**) [sp]
Jason Kao Hwang/J.A. Deane [Dino Duo]: Uncharted Faith (2021 , Tone Science Music/Blue Coast Music): Violin/electronics duo, started with violin solos which Deane (aka Dino) added to remotely while suffering from throat cancer, dying before release. I wasn't familiar with Deane, but Discogs credits him with a dozen albums (1986-2011). B+(**) [sp]
Dieter Ilg: Dedication (2020 , ACT): German bassist, more than two dozen albums since 1989, at least if you count group efforts, especially with Marc Copland and Charlie Mariano. Solo bass, twelve original pieces, although he cites inspirations on three: Bach, Beethoven, and Nat Adderley. Solo bass albums have inevitable limits, but this one remained engaging and interesting, even while I was working on other stuff. B+(**) [sp]
Dieter Ilg: Ravel (2021 , ACT): He has been leaning toward classical composers lately, with volumes on Bach and Beethoven. This trio -- Rainer Böhm (piano) and Patrice Héral (drums) plays eleven pieces by Maurice Ravel, a name but not music I know, but evidently able to craft fetching melodies. B+(*) [sp]
Eric Jacobson: Discover (2022, Origin): Trumpet player, leads a hard bop quintet, with Geof Bradfield (tenor sax), Bruce Barth (piano), bass, and drums, playing half originals, plus covers including Dizzy Gillespie and Blue Mitchell. B+(**) [sp]
Loraine James: Building Something Beautiful for Me (2022, Phantom Limb): British electronica producer, aka Whatever the Weather, fashioned this as an homage to the music of Julius Eastman, who's receiving renewed interest well after his short and troubled life (1940-90). There's a compositional sophistication here that rarely shows up in electronica, but also a layer of electronic glitz that the chamber groups that have been reviving Eastman lately haven't imagined. Makes me wonder what she might do with Harry Partch. A- [sp]
Keith Jarrett: Bordeaux Concert (2016 , ECM): The best-selling pianist in jazz history has recorded nothing since his 2018 stroke, but his label has kept him current by releasing older tapes each year. This is the third solo set from his 2016 tour of Europe (following Munich 2016 and Budapest Concert). With over two dozen solo albums, I've given up on comparing them, so any grade is just a momentary impression. He is, of course, a great pianist, but he's also slowed down a bit. B+(**) [sp]
Carly Rae Jepsen: The Loneliest Time (2022, Interscope): Canadian pop singer, sixth album, light and catchy, works with a bunch of producers and gets something out of all of them. Weak spot is Rufus Wainwright's help on the title track. A- [sp]
Laura Jurd: The Big Friendly Album (2021 , Big Friendly): British trumpet player, best known for her band Dinosaur, has a couple albums on her own. Group here extends the brass with euphonium and tuba, plus guitar (Alex Haines), bass, and drums, with Jurd playing some piano, plus several guest spots (strings, soprano sax, and Frode Haltli's accordion on five tracks. Has a playful feel, almost circusy. B+(**) [sp]
Ka: Languish Arts (2022, Iron Works, EP): New York rapper Kaseem Ryan, day job as a firefighter captain, named his label for first album title (2008). Came up with two short download-only albums this year, each 10 tracks, this one 28:23. Low-key, easy roll, underground. B+(***) [yt]
Ka: Woeful Studies (2022, Iron Works, EP): Ten more tracks, 26:27. B+(**) [yt]
Keith Kirchoff/Dominic Lash/Steve Noble: Christian Wolff: Exercises and Explorations (2013 , Spoonhunt): Wolff is an avant-classical composer (b. 1934 in France; his parents were German book publishers Kurt and Helen Wolff, who fled Nazi Germany and wound up in New York, where they helped found Pantheon Books). Wolff's was associated with John Cage and Merce Cunningham in the 1950s. His later work often had political references, like the piece dedicated to Marxist economist Harry Braverman. He doesn't play here, so I moved his headline name to the title and credited the work to the musicians, who play piano, bass, and drums (in the Vortex, a London jazz club). B+(***) [sp]
Ted Kooshian: Hubub! (2022, Summit): Pianist, sometimes plays electric, leads a quintet with trumpet (John Bailey), tenor sax (Jeff Lederer), bass, and drums, with occasional guests, including a vocal (Jim Mola). Originals (aside from "Somewhere"), bright and sunny. B+(**) [cd]
Benjamin Lackner: Last Decade (2021 , ECM): German pianist, albums since 2003 (mostly as Benny). This is a quartet with Matthias Eick (trumpet), Jérôme Regard (bass), and Manu Katché (drums). B+(**) [sp]
Nikki Lane: Denim & Diamonds (2022, New West): Country singer-songwriter, fourth album since 2011. B+(**) [sp]
Pablo Lanouguere Quintet: Altar (2022, Piano Piano): Bassist, from Buenos Aires, based in New York, at least one previous album, leads a string-dominated quintet with violin (Meg Okura), guitar (Federico Diaz), piano (Emilio Teubal), and drums, with bandoneon on two tracks and vocals on two more. And yes, I hear tango. B+(**) [cd]
Ari Lennox: Age/Sex/Location (2022, Dreamville/Interscope): R&B singer Courtney Salter, from DC, second album. B+(**) [sp]
Yosef Gutman Levitt: Upside Down Mountain (2022, self-released): Bassist from South Africa, based in Jerusalem, plays acoustic bass guitar, doc sometimes omits "Levitt" from his name. Has a few albums, this one with Omri More (piano) and Ofri Nehemya (drums). Nice ambiance to it. B+(**) [cd]
Tove Lo: Dirt Femme (2022, Pretty Swede): Swedish pop singer, original name Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson, fifth album since 2014. Has a reputation for dark and dirty, but this is pretty snappy. "Love can forget a lot/ it's why we go on at all." A- [sp]
M Feat. Ben Stapp/Fred Lonberg-Holm/Marco Colonna/Steve Swell: Broken Songs (2022, Fundacja Sluchaj): Alias for Polish jazz guitarist Marcin Olak, who wrote and sung these throwback blues songs, also credited with blues harp and percussion. The others -- all established jazz names -- add some frills on 3-6 songs each (respectively: tuba, cello, sax/flute, trombone). B+(**) [bc]
Maddie & Tae: Through the Madness (2022, Mercury Nashville, EP): Country vocal duo, last names Font (née Marlow) and Kerr (née Dye), two albums, several EPs, this one retroactively dubbed Vol. 1, but not on the packaging. Eight songs, 27:04. B+(*) [sp]
Maddie & Tae: Through the Madness Vol. 2 (2022, Mercury Nashville, EP): No guests this time, but it picks up a bit on the closer ("Spring Cleaning"). Eight more songs, 25:23. B+(*) [sp]
Michael Marcus: Abstractions in Lime Caverns (2021 , ESP-Disk): Plays reed instruments (here: soprano/tenor sax, alto tarogato, G clarinet, bass flute, gong), discography starts 1990, including Cosmosamatics (with Sonny Simmons, 9 albums) and Duology (with Ted Daniel, 4 albums). These are duos with drummer Jay Rosen, expanded to trios (2 tracks) or quartets (3) with Frank Lacy (French horn) and/or Tarus Mateen (bass). B+(***) [cd]
Marxist Love Disco Ensemble: MLDE (2022, Mr Bongo): Italian group, seeks to resurrect the cheesy Euro-disco of the mid-1970s (they cite Patrick Juvet as an inspiration -- a name I recall, but not well enough to include when I constructed my original grade list), or maybe to mock it, or perhaps just to embue it with political meaning, although the titles suggest their politics were formed around the same historical moment. B+(**) [sp]
Bennie Maupin/Adam Rudolph: Symphonic Tone Poem for Brother Yusef (2022, Strut): For Yusef Lateef, who had a significant import for both musicians, including a long association with Rudolph. Just a duo here, with Maupin playing various reeds and flutes, and Rudolph keyboards and a long list of percussion. Set up as five movements, the middle drags a bit as if trying to find its way out of something dark and foreboding -- which it eventually does. A- [sp]
Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet: Spirit to All (2022, Wirlwind): Polish bassist, mostly works through this Quintet -- tenor sax (Marek Pospiezalski), trumpet (Oskar Torok), piano (Joana Duda), and drums (Oba Janicki) -- which over 10+ years has earned the right to go by the initials WMQ. I rarely mention composers because everyone does that these days, but what's outstanding here isn't the individual performances (note-perfect as they are), but the flow and texture. A- [sp]
Ashley McBryde: Presents: Lindeville (2022, Warner Music Nashville): Country singer-songwriter from Arkansas, "presents" a concept album based in a fictional town named for Dennis Linde (1943-2006 -- been a while since I've thought of him), with guest artists playing various roles, taking over most of the songs, for better or worse. B+(***) [sp]
John McCowen: Models of Duration (2020 , Dinzu Artefacts/Astral Spirits): Contrabass clarinet player, has several albums, this one solo, nothing electronic but sounds like a cross of Stuart Dempster's deep drones and an amplifier feedback album like Metal Machine Music. I don't think he's trying to be annoying, but the title suggests a test of endurance. B [bc]
M.I.A.: Mata (2022, Island): London-born Mathangi Arulpragasam, parents from Sri Lanka, burst on the scene with a Diplo-produced mixtape in 2004, then major albums in 2005-07. Sixth album, all short titles, album a trim 33:02. Not sure about the words or meanings, but the beats are clearly something I've been craving lately. A-
Midlake: For the Sake of Bethel Woods (2022, ATO): Folk-rock band, four albums 2004-13, this is their fifth. B [sp]
Rhett Miller: The Misfit (2022, ATO): Singer-songwriter for Old 97's, with a long-running string of solo albums on the side: this is the eighth since 2002, all but an eponymous 2009 effort with definite article titles (The Believer, The Dreamer, The Messenger, etc.). Allows him to pursue his more personal idiosyncrasies. B+(***) [sp]
Momma: Household Name (2022, Lucky Number): Indie band from Los Angeles, Etta Friedman and Allegra Weingarten, third album after an EP. Nice enough. B+(*) [sp]
Marc Mommaas: The Impressionist (2021 , Sunnyside): Dutch saxophonist (tenor/soprano), based in New York, sixth album since 2003 on label. Quartet with Gary Versace (piano), Nate Radley (guitar), and Jay Anderson (bass). B+(**) [sp]
Louis Moutin/Jowee Omicil/François Moutin: M.O.M. (2022, Laborie Jazz): The French brothers play drums and bass, usually in groups like Moutin Réunion Quartet or Moutin Factory Quintet. Trio here, with Omicil -- born in Montreal of Haitian descent, studied at Berklee, divides his time between Miami and Paris -- playing sax and clarinet, most impressively. B+(***) [cd]
Carlos Niño & Friends: Extra Presence (2019 , International Anthem): Percussionist, based in Los Angeles, also does electronics, released an album in 2020 called Actual Presence, which is expanded and remixed here from 10 to 18 tracks. Opens jazzy with Devin Daniels on alto sax, but later pieces shade into ambience. B+(*) [sp]
Mali Obomsawin: Sweet Tooth (2022, Out of Your Head): Bassist, from the Wabanaki First Nation of Canada, also sings and plays hand drums, organized her debut albums as three movements, drawing on folk tales and jazz musicians, including co-producer Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet/flugelhorn), saxophonists Noah Campbell and Allison Burik (also bass clarinet), guitarist Miriam Elhajli (also sings), and Savannah Harris (drums). A- [cd]
Off!: Free LSD (2022, Fat Possum): Hardcore band, I liked their 2010 compilation The First Four EPs quite a lot, returns after an 8-year gap with two (of 4) original members (vocalist Keith Morris and guitarist Dimitri Coats) and their longest album ever (20 songs, 38:23). B+(**) [sp]
The Ogún Meji Duo: Freedom Suite (2021 , CFG Multimedia): Columbus-based duo of Eddie Bayard (sax) and Mark Lomax II (drums), have a long-term partnership not limited to the seven albums they're released under this name. This takes off from Sonny Rollins' 1958 album. Hard to say how closely this adheres, as Rollins has never had a drummer who can solo like Lomax, and Bayard is one of the few saxophonists up to the task. A- [os]
J.S. Ondara: Spanish Villager No: 3 (2022, Verve Forecast): Folk singer-songwriter, actual name Moses Mauti Junior, born and raised in Kenya before moving to Minneapolis. B+(*) [sp]
Beth Orton: Weather Alive (2022, Partisan): English singer-songwriter, debut album 1993, six-year gap before this one ties her longest previous gap. B+(**) [sp]
Margaux Oswald: Dysphotic Zone (2021 , Clean Feed): Pianist, born in Geneva, based in Copenhagen, first solo album after a couple co-credits, short (2 pieces, 32:50). Leans heavy into the instrument. B+(*) [sp]
The Paranoyds: Talk Talk Talk (2022, Third Man): Like Momma, another Los Angeles indie band with a couple albums. Their fuzz sounds much better to start, but it wears off. B+(*) [sp]
Christopher Parker & the Band of Guardian Angels: Soul Food (2019 , Mahakala Music): Pianist, from Little Rock, but recorded this group in Brooklyn, with Jaimie Branch (trumpet), Daniel Carter (winds), William Parker (bass), Gerald Cleaver (drums), and wife Kelley Hurt (vocals). I could do without the vocals, but the band lives up to its reputation. B+(**) [sp]
John Patitucci Trio: Live in Italy (2022, Three Faces): Bassist, website lists 17 albums since 1988, skipping over a long list of side-credits, including long stints with Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter. He did a previous Trio album in 2009, with Joe Lovano (tenor sax) and Brian Blade (drums). This one has Chris Potter ably taking over the saxophone spot. B+(**) [sp]
Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp: Fruition (2021 , ESP-Disk): Tenor sax and piano duo, they have well more than a dozen, starting with 1996's Bendito of Santa Cruz, and the obsessive documentation of every encounter can grow numbing. For many years I was sent all of them, and tried my best to figure sort them out. All of Perelman's records are good, and many are outstanding, and same for Shipp. But for me at least, the torrent has slowed down, even as Perelman's ambitions have grown: I never heard last year's 9-CD Brass and Ivory Tales or the Special Edition Box (only 1-CD + Blue-Ray + book, with Shipp) or this year's 2-CD Magic Dust or this week's Reed Rapture (duets with 12 famous saxophonists that would fill up as many CDs). On the other hand, this single (11 tracks, 60:13) really hits the spot. A- [cd]
Barre Phillips/György Kurtág Jr.: Face à Face (2020-21 , ECM): Bass and electronics duo. Phillips has albums going back to 1969, including a bass duo with Dave Holland in 1971. Kurtág's father is a famous Hungarian composer (b. 1926, so 96). B [sp]
Photay With Carlos Niño: An Offering (2021 , International Anthem): Electronica producer Evan Shornstein, has several albums and EPs since 2014, self-released this collaboration with percussionist Niño in 2021, has an ambient feel with a lot of shimmer. B [sp]
Kerry Politzer: In a Heartbeat (2022, P.Ice): Pianist, teaches in Portland, half-dozen albums since 2000, original compositions here, quintet with trumpet (Thomas Barber), sax/flute (Joe Mains, bass, and drums (husband George Colligan, a major pianist in his own right). B+(**) [cd]
Marek Pospieszalski Quartet: Dürer's Mother (2019 , Clean Feed): Polish tenor saxophonist, has several albums and side projects, quartet here with piano (Elias Stemseder), bass, and drums. Original pieces inspired by "composers, from Schubert to Britten to Lachenmann." B+(***) [sp]
Charlie Puth: Charlie (2022, Atlantic): American pop singer-songwriter, third album. Catchy enough it seems like there must be a boy band in his past, but not really a surprise there isn't. B+(**)
Kristjan Randalu/New Wind Jazz Orchestra: Sisu (2021 , Whirlwind): Pianist from Estonia, albums since 2002. The 11-piece Orchestra is directed by Wolf Kerschek, with a couple of famous guests (Ingrid Jensen, Ben Monder) added for one track each. B
The Red Microphone: A Bleeding in Black Leather (2022, ESP-Disk): Group formed in 2010, with John Pietaro reading Bertolt Brecht to avant-sax (Ras Moshe and Rocco John Iacovone), bass (Laurie Towers), and percussion (Pietaro), reconvened here with some extras (mostly guitar), with Pietaro reading his own poetry (also published in book form). Several stories stand out, including a history of bebop and one on a New York neighborhood that turns tragic. "Punk Jazz" earns its title. Ivan Julian produced. A- [cdr]
Susan Reed: Thousands of Ways (2021 , OA2): Violinist, also sings (3 songs here?), has a couple books and several albums (some oriented to children), is grooming her daughters for a string band. All originals, backed by guitar, bass (David Friesen), and drums. B+(***) [cd]
Jussi Reijonen: Three Seconds [Kolme Toista] (2021 , Challenge): Finnish guitarist, also plays oud, has lived in the Middle East, Tanzania, and the US. Second album, international cast. B+(**) [cd]
Iara Rennó: Oríkì (2022, Dobra Discos): Brazilian, started in DonaZica (2003-05), fifth album since 2008, sings and produces, but starts with an instrumental. B+(**) [sp]
Eve Risser/Red Desert Orchestra: Eurythmia (2021 , Clean Feed): French pianist, albums since 2008, one from 2016 leading a White Desert Orchestra. Afro-European fusion, group includes five horn players, electric guitar and bass, plus a Mali component with balafon and djembe. B+(***) [sp]
Jeremy Rose & the Earshift Orchestra: Disruption! The Voice of the Drums (2022, Earshift Music): Tenor saxophonist, also bass clarinet, from Australia, started in a "world-roots jazz group" called the Vampires (four albums 2012-19). This features drummers Simon Barker and Chloe Kim, who share writing credits. B+(**) [cd]
The Daniel Rotem Quartet: Wise One: Celebrating the Music of John Coltrane: Live at Bluewhale (2020 , self-released): Saxophonist from Israel, based in Los Angeles, looks like his fourth album since 2018. With Billy Childs (piano), Darek Oles (bass), and Christian Euman (drums). Coltrane songs (one trad., "Song of the Underground Railroad"). B+(**) [sp]
Harvie S & Roni Ben-Hur With Sylvia Cuenca: Wondering (2022, Dot Time): Bass, guitar, and drums. The guitarist suggests a cross between Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery, the former's precision and he latter's effortless groove. The leaders have done this before with another drummer, but this one deserves more than afterthought billing. B+(***) [cd]
The Angelica Sanchez Trio: Sparkle Beings (2022, Sunnyside): Pianist, from Arizona, debut 2003, this a trio with Michael Formanek (bass) and Billy Hart (drums). B+(**) [sp]
Collin Sherman: Organism Made Luminous (2022, Ex-Tol/Blujazz): Alto saxophonist, based in New York, bills this as "experimental electro-acoustic jazz, ambient, drone, noise." Not sure where he gets the latter categories, though the heavy synths, guitar, and drum programming -- all credited to himself -- suggest a fusion base, without quite feeling bound to it. Discogs lists only one previous album, but his Bandcamp page offers more (and describes this as his 14th release). B+(***) [cd]
Collin Sherman: Suitable Benchmarks of Reform (2022, Ex-Tol): His 13th release, should file it above the more recent album, but got to it second, and should probably work my way further back. Again, he plays everything, including clarinets and oboe as well as the rhythm section (the drums programmed), but that's just background to riff his alto sax against. The loss in group spontaneity pales under his prowess. B+(***) [bc]
Shygirl: Nymph (2022, Because Music): Blane Muise, from England, more singer than rapper, first album after a couple EPs. B+(*) [sp]
Oliver Sim: Hideous Bastard (2022, Young/XL): Bassist-vocalist from the XX, first solo album. B+(*) [sp]
Todd Snider: Live: Return of the Storyteller (2021 , Aimless, 2CD): This one is easy. I doubt I'll ever like it as much as his 2011 Live: The Storyteller -- I recognize fewer of the songs (as much as I like his recent albums, I don't know them nearly as well as the ones from East Nashville Skyline through The Devil You Know), and the stories seem more random. But I enjoy them nonetheless, and most of all the pacing, which I doubt anyone else can match. A- [sp]
Günter Baby Sommer & Raymond MacDonald: Sounds, Songs & Other Noises (2016-19 , Clean Feed): Drums and sax (alto/soprano) duo, the latter from Glasgow. Seems like I should be more familiar with him, but most of his albums are improv duos, including a previous one with Sommer. B+(**) [sp]
SonnyJim & the Purist: White Girl Wasted (2022, Daupe, EP): British rapper, Sonny Sathi, has released a lot of material since 2008, mostly co-credits, this one with Lawrence Lord, who also has a long list of credits. Includes a piece featuring MF Doom & Jay Electronica. A quick play (8 tracks, 20:41). B+(*) [sp]
Jason Stein/Damon Smith/Adam Shead: Volumes & Surfaces (2021 , Balance Point Acoustics): Bass clarinet player, based in Chicago since 2005, has had a string of superb albums. Backed by bass and drums. B+(**) [sp]
Sun Ra Arkestra Directed by Marshall Allen: Living Sky (2022, Omni Sound): Sun Ra died in 1993, so you could count this as a ghost band, but his long-time alto saxophonist is no ghost, still carrying the flame at age 98. The big band is bigger than ever (20 pieces, including a string quartet). Mostly extended vamp pieces, background music that swings gently and/or roils, highlighted by a scratchy alto sax -- presumably Allen, just enough to rough up the edges. A- [sp]
Sunny Sweeney: Married Alone (2022, Aunt Daddy): Country singer-songwriter, has a great voice and solid-plus songs. B+(***) [sp]
Taylor Swift: Midnights (2022, Republic): Tenth album, I'm listening to the 13-track, 44:02 "Standard Edition," but two longer versions are available. Serious people are studying this like the pop event of the year (at least, post-Beyoncé, who got a similar treatment). I've heard all of her albums, and mostly liked them, but I couldn't recall a single song on Rob Sheffield's top-50 ranking (not that I would do any better with a Beyoncé list). But I can say that this seems real fine as background while I'm trying to write, and when I stop a minute to tune in, it just gets better. But I can't begin to tell you how good this really is, or how it stacks up against any of her other good albums. A- [sp]
Tegan and Sara: Crybaby (2022, Mom + Pop): Twin sisters, last name Quin, from Canada, tenth album since 1999. Gloomy song titles, but otherwise pretty jaunty. I must be missing something. B+(***) [sp]
Thick: Happy Now (2022, Epitaph): New York punk girl band, second album after a bunch of EPs. B+(**) [sp]
Bernardo Tinoco & Tom Maciel: NoMad Nenúfar (2022, Clean Feed): Saxophonist (alto/tenor), also credited with duduk and flute, has a previous album leading the group Garfo. Duo with Maciel playing piano, synths, and drum machine, although they add a live drummer (João Pereira) for three (of 5) tracks. B+(*) [sp]
Steve Turre: Generations (2022, Smoke Sessions): Trombonist, also plays shells, leads a quintet with a trumpet player named Wallace Roney Jr. -- son of the famed trumpet player who died at 59 in 2020, and also of the late pianist Geri Allen (who passed in 2017) -- and a drummer named Orion Turre (the leader's son, also via cellist Akua Dixon). Also a long list of "special guests." B+(**) [sp]
Valerie June: Under Cover (2022, Fantasy, EP): Last name Hockett, five albums since 2006, this 8-song, 28:28 effort cast as an EP, doesn't register as soul or country, so gets slotted as Americana. Covers, scattered from Nick Drake to Nick Cave, only "Imagine" overly familiar. B [sp]
Andrés Vial: When Is Ancient? (2020 , Chromatic Audio): Pianist, from Montreal, third album, trio with Martin Heslop (bass) and Tommy Crane (drums), names on the cover but parsed below the title. Original pieces, nice, engaging. B+(**) [cd]
Bilana Voutchkova/Susana Santos Silva: Bagra (2021 , Relative Pitch): Bulgarian violinist, 10+ albums since 2013, duets with the even more prolific Portuguese trumpet player. Both also credited with "objects," which include something flute-like. Free improv, often too subliminal for my ears. B [sp]
Walking Cliché Sextet: Suite Chase Reflex (2019 , self-released, EP): Korean-born, New York-based bassist SeaJun Kwon, debuts with a single 26:15, leading a sextet with tenor sax (Jacob Shulman), alto sax (Aaron Dutton), trombone (Michael Prentky), piano (Erez Dessel), and drums (Charles Weller). B+(*) [bc]
Walking Cliché Sextet [SeaJun Kwon]: Micro-Nap (2020-21 , Endectomorph Music): Aside from part-time subs on piano and drums, same group for a 50:33 program, starts with piano intro before rousing the horns, before finally smoothing out with the 15:31 "Suite Transient." B+(***) [cd]
RA Washington/Jah Nada: In Search of Our Father's Gardens (2021 , Astral Spirits): Washington, from Mourning (A) Blkstar (an Ohio-based "gender and genre non-conforming amalgam of Black Culture"), plays piano, drums, and sings; Nada, from other Ohio groups (the only one I've heard of is Obnox) plays bass, synths, and drums; others from their circle add horns, guitars, and vocals. B+(*) [bc]
Bobby Watson: Back Home in Kansas City (2022, Smoke Sessions): Alto saxophonist, grew up in Kansas City, joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, recorded several masterpieces in the 1990s (mostly on the Italian RED label), returned as Director of Jazz Studies at UMKC in 2000, retiring 20 years later. Leads a quintet here not far removed from Blakey's, with Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Cyrus Chestnut (piano), Curtis Lundy (bass), and Victor Jones (drums), with a guest spot for singer Carmen Lundy. B+(*) [sp]
Brodie West Quintet: Meadow of Dreams (2020 , Astral Spirits): Alto saxophonist, from Toronto, has a couple previous albums going back to 2003, including a duo and a trio with Han Bennink. This one has piano (Tania Gill), bass (Josh Cole), and drums (Nick Fraser), plus wild card Evan Cartwright (credits: drums, vibraphone, and guitar). B+(*) [bc]
Hannah White: About Time (2022, Paper Blue): English singer-songwriter, evidently there's a "UK Americana" niche she fits in, second album. Slow, touching, doesn't flinch from tragedy or hardships. B+(***) [sp]
Chris Williams/Patrick Shiroishi: Sans Soleil II (2022, Astral Spirits): Trumpet and saxophone duo, both play related instruments and other "objects" and, yes, they've done this before. B+(*) [bc]
Billy Woods: Church (2022, Backwoodz Studioz): Rapper, born in DC, parents were academics, spent the 1980s in Zimbabwe, returned in 1989 and started making music in the late 1990s. Messiah Musik produced. Dense, both in beats and words, and most likely ideas. Some day I should put more time and effort. B+(***) [sp]
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Cool It Down (2022, Secretly Canadian): Indie rock group, Karen Orzolek singer, released four albums 2003-13, returns with their fifth. B+(**) [sp]
Recent Reissues, Compilations, Vault Discoveries
Biluka Y Los Canibales: Leaf-Playing in Quito, 1960-1965 (1960-65 , Honest Jon's): Brazilain Dilson de Souza, traveled to Ecuador, where he learned to play a picked ficus leaf. No idea what that should sound like, unless it's the flute over the jaunty organ grind and percussion. B+(**) [sp]
Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes (2014-21 , In+Out): Bassist, probably holds the record for most albums anyone has played on (Wikipedia says 2,221 recording sessions). Title is from a 2014 "autobiography" which has Dan Ouellette's name on the cover, and was the basis for a PBS documentary, to which this is the official soundtrack (the 2-LP adds one song and reorders others). Although he has a substantial number of albums as leader (or co-, Wikipedia count is 61), he spent his career (still active at 85) making other people sound good. This starts way down the road, at 74, the tracks picked less for representativeness than to support views of him soloing, or playing in small groups (like duos with Bill Frisell or Jon Batiste). B+(**) [sp]
Lionel Hampton Orchestra: 1958: The Mess Is Here Revisited (1958 , Ezz-Thetics): Started as Louis Armstrong's drummer, but soon switched to the vibraphone, which he established as a jazz instrument. His late-1930s studio sessions introduced Dizzy Gillespie and bebop, and his 1940s big band (with Illinois Jacquet) deserves at least an assist for inventing rock and roll. He continued recording well into the 1990s. This is a big band he put together in Germany, with power horns, dazzling vibes, a strong blues vocal from Cornelius James, ending with an upbeat "Hamp's Boogie Woogie." B+(***) [bc]
Andrew Hill: Point of Departure to Compulsion!!!!! Revisited (1965 , Ezz-Thetics): Two of the pianist's Blue Note albums squeezed onto a single CD. Point of Departure has long been counted as a high point, with saxophonists Eric Dolphy ad Joe Henderson, Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Richard Davis (bass) and Tony Williams (drums). The later album may have been picked to fit -- a tight squeeze at 79:47, helped by using a couple alternate takes -- but is another essential album, with John Gilmore (tenor sax/bass clarinet), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), bass, drums, percussion (including African thumb piano). I'm not a big fan of the label's reissuing of albums that are already widely available, but I can't quarrel with the music. A- [bc]
The Jazz Passengers: Reunited (2010 , Enja/Yellowbird): Group founded in 1987 by Roy Nathanson (sax) and Curtis Fowlkes (trombone), with Bill Ware (vibes), Sam Bardfield (violin), Brad Jones (bass), and EJ Rodriguez (drums), recording regularly through 1998, less often since (most recently 2017). Group here adds guests Marc Ribot (guitar, 1-6), and spots three vocalists: Elvis Costello, Deborah Harry, and Susi Hyldgaard (but not on "Reunited," which sounds odd enough to be Nathanson and Fowlkes). Reissue adds two tracks. B+(**) [bc]
Luciano Luciani Y Sus Mulatos: Mulata, Vamos A La Salsa (1970 , Vampisoul): Alto saxophonist from Italy, moved to Peru and put this band together, with Benny del Solar and Kiko Fuentes on vocals, and lots of percussion, combining his interest in cumbias and Nuyorican salsa. First album, after a couple singles, released another in 1975 but is hard to find. B+(***) [bc]
William Parker: Universal Tonality (2002 , Centering/AUM Fidelity, 2CD): From 1994-2006, Parker recorded a number of albums with his big band, the Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra. This isn't credited as such, but the 17 musicians here overlap considerably, but this seems more star-laden (two violinists: Billy Bang and Jason Kao Hwang), with vocalist Loreena Conquest featured, reminding us: "Hope is relentless/ it never dies." A [cd]
Rocket From the Tombs: That's How You Play Rock Music: 4AD, Diskmuide, Belgium: Dec 15 2015 (2015 , Ubu Projex): Cleveland band 1974-75, post-punk before punk was invented, singer David Thomas (aka Crocus Behemoth) and Peter Laughner (d. 1977) left to form Pere Ubu, while Gene O'Connor (aka Cheetah Chrome) and Johnny Madansky (aka Johnny Blitz) went to the Dead Boys, and Craig Bell to a group called Saucers. Thomas revived the group in 2003, with O'Connor, Bell, and Richard Lloyd, but juggled it with solo and Pere Ubu albums. This iteration is down to Thomas and Bell, plus two guitarists and a drummer. Helps when they pick up the pace and/or play something familiar. B+(*) [bc]
Archie Shepp: Fire Music to Mama Too Tight Revisited (1965-66 [2022, Ezz-Thetics): Tenor saxophonist, made his initial mark 1963-64 in Denmark with New York Contemporary Five, followed by a wave of explosive albums on Impulse! -- starting with Four for Coltrane and Fire Music, and continuing to 1973. This collects two albums on one CD, starting with Fire Music -- a sextet with Marion Brown (alto ax), Ted Curson (trumpet), trombone, bass, and drums -- and tacking on Mama Too Tight, an octet several albums down the road. I suspect the latter was picked because it's short enough to fit (78:28 total). The roster looks impressive on paper -- Perry Robinson (clarinet), Tommy Turrentine (trumpet), Roswell Rudd and Grachan Moncur III (trombones), Howard Johnson (tuba), Charlie Haden (bass), and Beaver Harris (drums) -- but it doesn't quite cohere. B+(**) [bc]
Sun Ra & His Blue Universe Arkestra: Universe in Blue (1971 , Cosmic Myth): Dates unknown, "probably live in California, ca. August 1971," released on LP with two different covers in 1972, and neglected since. Starts with sludgy blues organ, then a June Tyson vocal on "When the Black Man Rules This Land." Adds two bonus tracks, a plus, especially when John Gilmore gets cranked up. B+(**) [sp]
Sun Ra Arkestra/Salah Ragab/The Cairo Jazz Band: The Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt (1983 , Strut): "First ever official reissue," unfortunately the Bandcamp page doesn't do much to clarify who's playing what when. The earlier Praxis (1983) release does attribute the first album side to Sun Ra, with drummer Ragab's quintet playing the middle track on the B-side, sandwiched between two longer Cairo Jazz Band tracks (also led by Ragab). Impressive as the Arkestra is, the Egyptians more than hold up their end. B+(***) [sp]
Horace Tapscott Quintet: The Quintet (1969 , Mr Bongo): Piano great, the central figure in the Los Angeles jazz scene, recorded this for Flying Dutchman to follow his debut A Giant Is Awakened, but somehow it didn't get released. With Arthur Blythe (alto sax), Everett Brown Jr. (drums), and two bassists (David Bryant and Walter Savage Jr.). B+(***) [sp]
Mal Waldron: Searching in Grenoble: The 1978 Solo Piano Concert (1978 , Tompkins Square): Pianist, was long remembered as Billie Holiday's last accompanist, but did brilliant work throughout a long career (1956-2002). B+(***) [sp]
Amina Baraka/The Red Microphone: Amina Baraka & the Red Microphone (2017, ESP-Disk): Née Sylvia Robinson, mother and grandfather were union organizers, she was a founder of the Newark Art Society in 1963, before she married writer Amiri Baraka in 1966. She is a poet in her own right, and here ventures into spoken word over avant-jazz. The group was organized by percussionist John Pietaro, with two saxophonists (Ras Moshe Burnett and Rocco Jon Iacovone), and bass guitar (Laurie Towers). "The Things I Love" is easy to love, but she doesn't flinch from harsher fare, like "The Fascist," which gives the band reason to drill down. A- [sp]
Ronnie Boykins: The Will Come, Is Now (1975 , ESP-Disk): Bassist from Chicago, died young (1935-80), best known in Sun Ra Arkestra, recorded this one album as leader, untitled at first, named for its lead song in a 2002 reissue. With three saxophones (alto and soprano, plus flute), trombone, and congas (no one I've ever heard of), but the bass leads are most intriguing. B+(**) [sp]
Detail [Johnny Dyani/Frode Gjerstad/John Stevens]: Backwards and Forwards: First Detail (1982 , Impetus): Avant-jazz trio (bass, alto sax, drums), first record together (and Gjerstad's first ever), group continued at least to Last Detail in 1996 (with Kent Carter after Dyani died in 1986). Also note that while the cover bills this as "First Detail," the 2015 Rune Grammofon album First Detail was recorded nine days earlier, and "First Detail" returned as a song on their Last Detail album. B+(**) [bc]
Detail [Frode Gjerstad/Johnny Dyani/John Stevens] + Paul Rutherford/Barry Guy: A Concert: Detail + (1983 , Circulasione Totale): Cover lists last names, and not in the order given above, which inserts Rutherford/Guy after Gjerstad (who, by the way, plays soprano and tenor sax instead of his usual alto). B+(***) [bc]
Detail/Bobby Bradford: In Time Was (1986 , Circulasione Totale): Live recording from Bracknell Jazz Festival, with Johnny Dyani on bass, a few months before he died, plus Frode Gjerstad (sax) and John Stevens (drums), plus Bradford on cornet, who is the star here. B+(***) [bc]
Detail/Billy Bang: Detail + Billy Bang (1989 , Circulasione Totale): After Johnny Dyani died in 1986, Kent Carter took over bass in the trio with Frode Gjerstad (tenor sax) and John Stevens (drums). This adds violinist Billy Bang for a 49:41 improv. B+(***) [bc]
Frode Gjerstad Trio: Remember to Forget (1997 , Circulasione Totale): Norwegian alto saxophonist, started with the group Detail in 1982, has by now a large discography of his own, and more side credits. Recorded this at Cafe String, Stavanger, when William Parker and Hamid Drake were visiting. B+(***) [bc]
Frode Gjerstad Trio: Mothers & Fathers & (2005 , Circulasione Totale): Part of a large stash of live tapes Gjerstad put up on Bandcamp. Gjerstad plays alto-, bass-sax, and clarinet, with Jon Rune Strøm on bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums. B+(***) [bc]
Frode Gjerstad/Louis Moholo-Moholo: MIR-13 (2013 , Circulasione Totale): Sax and drums duo, live shot from a club in Oslo (MIR). B+(*) [bc]
Frode Gjerstad Trio With Steve Swell: At Constellation (2014 , Circulasione Totale): Leader credited with "reeds," backed by Jon Rune Strøm (bass) and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums), from an appearance in Chicago, with the trombonist chiming in. B+(***) [bc]
Matt Lavelle & Reggie Sylvester: Retrograde (2018, ESP-Disk): Duo with drums, Lavelle playing trumpet, flugelhorn, and alto clarinet. B+(***) [bc]
Michael Marcus: Sunwheels (2000 , Justin Time): Cover extends the credit: "with Rahn Burton/Nasheet Waits/& Special Guest Carlos 'Patato' Valdes." Back cover just lists Marcus, shown with tenor and soprano saxophones, the others playing organ, drums, and congas. B+(***) [sp]
Michael Marcus Trio: Blue Reality (2001 , Soul Note): Plays alto sax and saxello here, with Taurus Mateen (bass, electric bass, percussion) and Jay Rosen (drums). Album title was resurrected by Marcus and Rosen for their Blue Reality Quartet! in 2020, which missed having a bassist tie things together like Mateen does here. (The Quartet doubled up on reeds and drums with Joe McPhee and Warren Smith.) A- [sp]
Michael Marcus: Speakin' Out (2001-02 , Drimala): Solo album, mixes it up by playing clarinet, tenor sax, alto sax, saxello, and bass clarinet. This has the usual limits, but Marcus has spent most of his career working with minimal support, so he's well prepared to go it alone. B+(**) [sp]
Michael Marcus: Stone Jump (2019-20 , Not Two): Five more names on the cover, but over several sessions we're mostly looking at quartets, with piano (John Austria on electric, or Denton Darien on acoustic), bass (Tyler Mitchell), and drums (Warren Smith), with Lawrence Feldman's alto flute on two tracks. By his usual standards, this feels rather luxe -- even has ballads. B+(**) [sp]
Mary McCaslin: Way Out West (1973, Philo): Folk singer-songwriter, born in Indianapolis but raised in California, where she developed a fondness for western ballads. Second album, the first to get much notice. While I missed it at the time, I recognize half of the songs from her 1992 The Best of Mary McCaslin: Things We Said Today, and the other half could fit just as well. A- [sp]
Mary McCaslin: A Life and Time (1981, Flying Fish): Last album of her 1973-81 prime period, only to be followed by a couple of distant additions (1994, 2006). Voice is prime, songs (only three originals, plus one by husband Jim Ringer) are pretty good, too. B+(***)
The Ogún Meji Duo: For Those Who Have Gone, but Still Remain (2018, CFG Multimedia): Sax and drums duo, Edwin Bayard and Mark Lomax II. Not much info beyond "pay homage to artistic Ancestors," of which Albert Ayler, Sunny Murray, and Charlie Cook (?) are named in titles, the other piece called "Each Passing Moment." Short (34:48) but dense. B+(***) [sp]
Old 97's: Hitchhike to Rhome (1994, Big Iron): Country-rock band from Dallas, Rhett Miller was (or still is, as of 2020) the main singer-songwriter, for a strong, lively set, with a Merle Haggard cover. B+(**) [sp]
Old 97's: Wreck Your Life (1995, Bloodshot): Here they move to what at the time was becoming the best alt-country label anywhere. B+(***) [sp]
Old 97's: Hit by a Train: The Best of Old 97's (1994-2001 , Rhino): I wasn't aware of this until Robert Christgau asked me to post his liner notes. Rhino had become a Warner subsidiary, so had access to the group's Elektra albums, a finite set seeing as how the band had moved on to New West, so this leans on Fight Songs and Satellite Rides (their best albums), but starts off with four early songs. A-
Jowee Omicil: Let's Do This (2006, Jowee Juise): First album, just has "Jowee" on the cover, with a picture of the artist with soprano sax pointed to the heavens. Also also plays clarinet and alto sax, with Darren Barrett on trumpet, and a groove-oriented rhythm section. B [sp]
Jowee Omicil: Let's Bash (2017, Jazz Village): Fourth album, doubles down on the funk concept, adds some narration, and at times waxes elegant. B+(*) [sp]
The Red Microphone: And I Became of the Dark (2020 , ESP-Disk): The group from the Amina Baraka album, formed a decade earlier to support a Brecht reading, but this seems to be the first album they did on their own, with percussionist John Pietaro providing words ("provocative, political poetry") and vocals, and Dave Ross joining on guitar. First track, "Revenge of the Atom Spies," is fast enough you can say he's singing. B+(***) [bc]
Jim Ringer: Waitin' for the Hard Times to Go (1972, Folk-Legacy): Folk singer-songwriter from Arkansas (1936-92), married Mary McCaslin, released six albums 1972-81, including one duo album with McCaslin (The Bramble & the Rose). This was his first, mild-mannered and easy-going, and smart enough to sneak in a John Prine cover. B+(*) [bc]
Jim Ringer: The Band of Jesse James: Best of Jim Ringer (1973-81 , Rounder): Nothing here from Ringer's first album, but all the rest are sampled liberally, with Mary McCaslin two duets from The Bramble & the Rose sorted to the end. McCaslin wrote the liner notes, a few years after Ringer's death. B+(*) [sp]
Rocket From the Tombs: The Day the Earth Met the . . . Rocket From the Tombs (1975 , Smog Veil): Legendary Cleveland punk rock band, nothing released during their 1974-75 lifetime: singer David Thomas and guitarist Peter Laughner moved on to Pere Ubu (Laughner died young, leaving "Life Stinks!"), while a couple others wound up in Dead Boys (long-forgotten, but for a while they were the more famous group). These live tapes surfaced in 2002, just before Thomas organized a revival of the band. The high points are songs I know from Pere Ubu, which quickly developed into a more nuanced band. Still, this sounds pretty remarkable. A- [sp]
Archie Shepp/Attica Blues Big Band: Paris: Live at the Palais Des Glaces (1979 , Blue Marge): Circa 1970, there was a brief period when avant-jazz met black nationalism and tried to merge into a semi-popular community music. Shepp exemplified the concept, especially with his 1969 Kwanza and 1972 Attica Blues. The latter inspired this big band, with Ray Copeland directing and several vocalists. B+(***) [bc]
Music: Current count 38944  rated (+176), 43  unrated (+0).
Excerpts from this month's Music Week posts:
Music: Current count 38804  rated (+36), 43  unrated (-1: 15 new, 28 old).
Made very little progress on my promised books post last week, but wrote another Speaking of Which yesterday, mostly because the war in Ukraine took a couple of nasty turns. Zelensky and his more hawkish backers seem convinced that as long as the arms spigot remain open full bore they can drive Russia from pre-2014 Ukrainian territory and hand Putin a complete defeat, the humiliation of which should drive his top Kremlin lackeys to sweep him from office. Putin, in turn, has called up reinforcements, and (again) threatened to use nuclear weapons: the message there is that Russia cannot be defeated, at least as imagined by his enemies. I believe that he is correct, even if he is not as insane as many of his opponents claim. (If I am right, his sanity may never be forced to a test. However, I do question the sanity of those who think the West can afford to prolong the war indefinitely.) Still, all the more reason to negotiate a ceasefire and start to resolve the remaining issues. Beware that anyone not talking in those terms is totally full of shit.
I don't subscribe to The Atlantic -- well, actually, my wife doesn't; I don't subscribe to anything, but she does and I get a free ride sometimes -- but if I did it would probably prove a rich source of references for Speaking of Which, both for insights and bad examples. In the latter category is a James Kirchick piece that Paul Woodward cited, provocatively titled How the anti-war camp went intellectually bankrupt. I know I shouldn't feel defensive when the author's lead example of "the anti-war camp" is Ron Paul, but he fails even to deal with that case honestly or accurately. There is, in fact, a long history of "Russophobic bloodlust" in the interstices of American foreign policy -- that was precisely the point of backing the mujahideen in Afghanistan -- and while "the last dead Ukrainian" has the brevity of a snappy talking point, it's hardly "specious": it is the logical endpoint of all proxy wars (of which this is one, even if that's not the only thing this war is). I suppose I should expect pieces like this: every war starts off with slanders against its critics. Not only does this pave the way for escalation, it lays a foundation for excuses after a war turns disastrous ("who would have thought?").
By the way, I looked up Kirchick, who Google describes as "a conservative or neoconservative." One recent article I found by him was The Sanctification of George Soros. Consider this line in the sixth paragraph: "Soros, in case you couldn't tell, happens to be Jewish, a fact that has absolutely nothing to do with his ideas about criminal justice reform, or with Rubio's opposition to them." I can't say for sure about Rubio, but I think it's pretty certain that most of the right-wingers who depict Soros as an ultrarich puppet master behind the left's nefarious schemes not only know that he is Jewish but fully understand the resonance of 150 years of antisemitic propaganda. That's precisely why they single him out.
I finally did the indexing for September Streamnotes, adding in the month's Music Week intros. I found myself hating that bit of busy work more than ever, spending the whole time thinking about how I don't want to keep doing this. I suppose I'll hang on until the end of 2022, but that's likely to be it.
Birthday coming up toward the end of October, which has me thinking about my annual dinner ritual. Even modest dinner efforts have been prohibitively painful, so it's tempting to call it quits there, too. But as I think about it, one possible approach would be to recruit some help to largely take over, and a fallback would be to do one that is so simplified I can still do it myself. (The latter involves chicken and dumplings.)
Not a lot of records this week, but a high percentage of them are very good. As usual, Phil Overeem's latest list helped.
Music: Current count 38847  rated (+43), 38  unrated (-5: 10 new, 28 old).
This will be real short, because I got other things I need to do this afternoon, and the less I leave hanging over my head the better. I went crazy writing another Speaking of Which yesterday, and I think it's better -- at least in the sense of giving you things to think about -- than anything I can do in my present mental state.
I spent the entire week feeling especially down about my music writing, so I'm surprised that I wound up with as many records as I did. I got to most of them while working on "Speaking," so can't claim I was paying close attention. Chances are a couple of the high B+ records deserve better. I'll leave it to others to sort that out -- Christian Iszchak is already on the case.
Unpacking is incomplete, so the drop in unrated is temporary. I'll catch up later.
Got some cooking and carpentry to do today. Weather should be pretty nice.
Music: Current count 38880  rated (+33), 41  unrated (+3: 13 new, 28 old).
Spent a fair chunk of time last week working on my construction project (something I should have been able to do in 2 days, finished, but given my decrepit and disorganized state took 7 days, scattered over 12, with no finish. The notebook has a gruesome blow-by-blow recounting, but no pictures.) Still need to clean up the space, and start using it. No interest or constructive suggestions on my Facebook post about magazines and jigsaw puzzles, so the magazines at least will be put in next week's recycle bin. I do much appreciate Clifford Ocheltree's note of sympathy.
I also reposted some AI-transformed photographs of my sister done by her son, Ram Lama Hull. You can also check out his artwork (beware that when I typed his name into Google, I was offered a chance to change my "parental controls") on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook. It looks like his website has lapsed, so we need to work on that.
By the way, although most of my Facebook posts are public, my only reason for having an account there is to follow family and old personal friends. I almost never publicize my writing there, so I tend to ignore friend requests of people I don't know personally (although I've let a few "virtual friends" through based on personal email interactions). I gather it's possible to follow someone on Facebook without getting approval as "friends," so that would seem to be an option if you have some peculiar interest in what I do there.
I always announce new writing on Twitter, and occasionally make other posts there, so suggest you follow me there. I appreciate your interest there. Latest writing, by the way, was yesterday's Speaking of Which. Didn't start it until Sunday noon, and still came up with a decent-sized post.
I heard from Chris Monsen a few days ago that Frode Gjerstad is taking down his Bandcamp account, so made a mad rush to listen to a few things I had missed. All good records, many live sets posted in 2019, but none I spent enough time with to get to really like, and many more I didn't get to at all. No links, as indeed they are gone now.
Robert Christgau published his October Consumer Guide last week. Nothing there I hadn't already heard, although I had two full-A albums at much lower grades (Amanda Shires: **; Harry Styles: B). I also left the A- Beths at ***, the same grade I went with for Christgau's B+ Ezra Furman and Rhett Miller. (For whatever it's worth, I also had the A- Styles at B, and the ** Styles at C+.) But I had A- grades for A-listed Gogol Bordello, Sudan Archives, and Loudon Wainwright III (and also for *** Charli XCX), and various shades of B+ for everything else (though never exactly the same).
After that, I was scrounging, which always slows me down and bums me out. I'm thinking now that I'll stop the tracking files after this year, and settle into a life of playing old stuff (of which I still have thousands of CDs). Still, it's hard to go cold turkey. One thing that will keep me going this year is that I'll be running this year's edition of the Jazz Critics Poll that Francis Davis started up at the Village Voice back in 2006. I should be able to send ballot requests out mid-November, with a probable deadline of December 11. If anyone has thoughts on this project, please contact me directly by email. I doubt there will be many changes from last year. The tools for tabulating the ballots work very well, but there is a lot of work getting people to vote and writing things up.
I expect next week will be another slack one, as I need to spend more time on housekeeping issues, including some cooking. I also need to figure out my way around a new Chromebook. If it works out, I won't be so tied down to my desk.
Odds are finally better than 50-50 that I will manage a Book Roundup this week. I have enough material, but just need to sort and prioritize it.
Music: Current count 38918  rated (+38), 43  unrated (+2: 15 new, 28 old).
I spent a lot of time working on my Book Roundup post, which got rushed out late Saturday. I suppose it wouldn't tip my hand severely if I linked to my Books: Next Draft file, which is where I've been organizing the column. The "Main" and "Secondary" sections should be empty after each post. "Draft" contains entries I've written a bit about: I may be planning to return and write more, or they simply didn't make the cut, but they may show up in a future "Main" section. Similarly, "Noted" missed the "Secondary" cut, but could be expanded into "Main" section entries later (or grouped under other "Main" section entries).
That left me Sunday to scratch together a Speaking of Which. Considering the late start and limited time, and the fact that I posted before midnight, I feel like I came up with quite a bit. I wrote half of the introduction to start, then finished it at the end. As we get closer to the election, I feel more like spelling out the obvious.
I have very little to add on the music, except that I found out about Mary McCaslin's death last week, which sent me back to pick up the ones I missed. The others are here. I played Swift and Jepsen today, in that order, while trying to write, so I wasn't hanging on every word (not that I ever am, but they got three plays each). Swift is higher on the list, and more likely to go up than down (unlike Jepsen, which tails off a bit toward the end -- maybe because I wound up listening to the longer version).
One more thing here, and it's important (at least to me): if you've voted in Francis Davis's Jazz Critics Poll in the past, and you would like to help out with my organization of this year's poll, send me an email to express your interest. I want to set up a mailing list, and need some people to test it out on before I send out the actual ballot invitations (around mid-November, with a mid-December deadline). I'll also explain some of the mechanics of how the poll works, and how I see using the website as a voter reference (e.g., I'd like to add a FAQ). I'd welcome comments and questions, but I'm not asking a lot: mostly just tolerate getting some test email. Also, as per recent years, if you want to nominate a voter, or nominate yourself, please let me know.
Need to get this up and out of the way early, so I can get on with cooking birthday dinner. Going with some favorite comfort foods this year, not least because I expect that will reduce wear and tear.
Music: Current count 38944  rated (+26), 47  unrated (+4: 19 new, 28 old).
Rated count the lowest in quite some time (3rd lowest in 2022, after a 0 and a 21), mostly because I spent two days cooking birthday dinner (if you're interested, there's a writeup in the notebook), and took a while after that to get back to work. I did catch up some while working on Speaking of Which, but had trouble thinking of things to search out.
I got a kind note from Don Malcolm suggesting I write more about the late Mike Davis, but I haven't read that much by him -- in particular, I don't have his Los Angeles books, and I have very little personal experience with the city or the area, so I've always wondered how much I'd get out of them. But I did manage to collect some links, including an interview from shortly before he died. One thing I was struck by was how often he was identified as a Marxist historian. As far as I can tell, that's not something he wrote much about (although he was often published by Verso Books, and one recent title there was Old Gods, New Enigmas: Marx's Lost Theory). But I know from my own experience that once you get the key ideas from Marx and his followers, you can go anywhere and examine anything and find fresh insights. That's what Davis did -- and also what Barbara Ehrenreich did, although somewhat less obviously.
Best thing about my birthday was hearing from several friends and relatives I've been missing. I still have a lot of catching up to do.
I saw a newspaper article last week explaining that despite reports to the contrary, Jerry Lee Lewis was still alive. Next day, he died, at 86. I'll listen to some more albums in the next week, but for now here's my list. Although Rhino's Original Sun Greatest Hits is the A+, the one I return to most often is a later live album called Rockin' My Life Away.
I got zero response to my Jazz Critics Poll request last week, so I'm just going ahead. I'll set up the website framework and mailing list later this week, and should be ready to send out the ballot invites mid-November. I have one probable sponsor lined up, which is one more than I minimally need, so I expect it to go fairly smoothly.
I got my copy of Rick Lopez's magnificent The Sam Rivers Sessionography: A Work in Progress, so let's go ahead and put it in my book scroll. Lopez has been producing extraordinary sessionographies for 20+ years -- I first ran across him when I was writing my William Parker/Matthew Shipp Consumer Guide in 2003, where I raved about his "treasure troves of information, some of the finest scholarship available on the internet today." I should have gone farther and pointed out that this is what the Internet was built for, and what vulture capitalists have denied us with their relentless monetization. Few people are more worthy of your support (and, as I said, the book is gorgeous). By the way, you can find an excerpt at Perfect Sound Forever.
Everything streamed from Napster (ex Rhapsody), except as noted in brackets following the grade: