Streamnotes: May 29, 2023

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 24. Past reviews and more information are available here (21814 records).

Recent Releases

Alaska & Steel Tipped Dove: The Structural Dynamics of Flow (2023, Fused Arrow): Latter is Joseph Fusaro, a beats producer in New York. The former appears to be rapper Tim Baker, also of New York, connected through Atoms Family. Short album (11 tracks, 31:15), underground vibe. "You want to change the world/raise a kid that's not an asshole." B+(**) [sp]

Nia Archives: Sunrise Bang Ur Head Against Tha Wall (2023, Island, EP): British electropop (drum and bass?) producer, has several EPs. Six tracks, 17:04. B+(*) [sp]

Artemis: In Real Time (2023, Blue Note): All female supergroup -- Alexa Tarentino (alto/soprano sax, flute), Nicole Glover (tenor sax), Renee Rosnes (piano/keyboards), Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), Noriko Ueda (bass), Allison Miller (drums) -- down one (Anat Cohen) plus guest vocals (Cécile McLorin Salvant) on their second album, with Rosnes the lead (but not only) arranger. Still lots of talent, but such fancy postbop is wasted on me. B+(*) [sp]

Bas Jan: Baby U Know (2022, Lost Map): British band, "experimental post-punk," four women, Serafina Steet the main lyricist, all four credited with vocals (which are often spoken, sometimes didactic). Second album plus a remix and a bunch of EPs. B+(***) [sp]

William Bell: One Day Closer to Home (2023, Wilbe): Soul man, originally from Memphis, signed to Stax in 1961, moved to Atlanta in 1970, had his biggest hit in 1976 ("Tryin' to Love Two"). Should be 83 now, doesn't sound (or look) like it: he still goes to parties, and still sings a classic ballad. B+(**) [sp]

Richard X Bennett & Matt Parker: Parker Plays X (2021 [2023], BYNK): Pianist and saxophonist, names that are hard to search, but I'm still flummoxed that I can't find either on Discogs (in my database, this is my third Bennett album, while I have three more under Parker, so these guys shouldn't be obscure -- ok, he's Matt Parker (4), but only one album listed). Bennett compositions, some designed specifically for Parker, backed by bass and drums, not avant but a bit out there. B+(***) [cd]

Tim Berne/Hank Roberts/Aurora Nealand: Oceans And (2022 [2023], Intakt): Alto saxophonist, goes way back, here with cello and accordion/bass clarinet/voice. Chamber jazz? B [sp]

Eric Bibb: Ridin' (2023, Stony Plain): Blues singer-songwriter, cut a couple albums 1972-83, picked up the pace from 1997 on. One of his stronger albums. B+(***) [sp]

Big Joanie: Back Home (2022, Kill Rock Stars): Postpunk trio, three second-generation British women, cite the Ronettes as their model, but "filtered through '80s DIY and Riot Grrrl with a sprinkling of dashikis" (and, notably, no Spector). Second album. Seems solid, then starts to catch you up. B+(***) [sp]

David Binney: Tomorrow's Journey (2022, Ghost Note): Alto saxophonist, early records from 1990, picked up the pace after 2001. Postbop guy, impressive chops, gets a little fancy for my taste. Group includes trumpet, trombone, two pianists (Luca Mendoza also on organ), two bassists, drums, and Kenny Wollesen (bowed vibes/percussion). B+(*) [sp]

Michael Blake: Dance of the Mystic Bliss (2020 [2023], P&M): Saxophonist (tenor/soprano, also flute), from Montreal, based in New York, albums since 1997, with guitar (Guilherme Monteiro), percussion/marimba (Mauro Refosco and Rogerio Boccato), bass (Michael Bates), and strings (violin and cello). Not his first Latin/Brazilian turn. B+(*) [cd]

Rory Block: Ain't Nobody Worried: Celebrating Great Women of Song (2022, Stony Plain): Country blues singer, plays guitar, first album in 1967 was a duet with Stefan Grossman. Career picked up with signing to Rounder in 1981. Since joining Stony Plain in 2008, she's released a series of tributes -- six volumes in her "Mentor Series" (from Son House to Bukka White), and three now in "Power Women of the Blues" (first was Bessie Smith). This one picks eleven scattered pop hits from the 1960s into the early 1970s ("My Guy," "I'll Take You There," "You've Got a Friend"). B+(**) [sp]

Blue Moon Marquee: Scream, Holler & Howl (2021 [2022], Ilda): Blues group, fourth album since 2014, principally A.W. Cardinal (vocals, guitar) and Jasmine Colette (vocals, bass), with a half-dozen guests including Duke Robillard. B+(*) [sp]

Joe Bonamassa: Tales of Time (2023, J&R Adventures): Blues guitarist-singer, thirty-some albums since 2000, more live than studio. This is one of the live ones. Heavy handed, not a great voice, reminds me of why arena rock sucks. B- [sp]

Patrick Brennan Sonic Openings: Tilting Curvaceous (2021 [2023], Clean Feed): Alto saxophonist, from Detroit, debut 1999, has a couple albums as/with Sonic Openings Under Pressure. This iteration has Brian Groder (trumpet), Rod Williams (piano), Hilliard Greene (bass), and Michael T.A. Thompson (drums). B+(**) [bc]

Peter Brötzmann/Majid Bekkas/Hamid Drake: Catching Ghosts (2022 [2023], ACT): A founder of the German avant-garde, here 81, still strong on tenor sax and clarinet, but takes a back seat here to Moroccan Gnaoua adept Bekkas, who chant-sings and plays guembri, with Drake's drums offering perfect support. This live set recalls another superb 2019 album, The Catch of a Ghost, with Gnaouan master Maâlem Moukhtar Gania joining Brötzmann and Drake -- itself a reprisal of work they did as far back as 1996. A- [sp]

Buck 65: 14 KT Gold (2023, self-released, EP): Halifax rapper, teasing us with 5 tracks (10:59) of extra scraps from his Super Dope album sessions. Among other lines: "where do you run when no one is chasing you?" B+(**) [bc]

Buck 65: Super Dope (2023, self-released): This grabbed me from the first scratches -- having started way back in 1986, he's sounding pretty old school -- beyond which numerous clever lines shoot across the horizon. A- [bc]

Daniel Caesar: Never Enough (2023, Republic): Canadian soul singer-songwriter Ashton Simmonds, third album. Soft and slinky. B+(*) [sp]

Lewis Capaldi: Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent (2023, Captiol): Scottish pop phenom, second album, first was a big hit in UK and a minor one in US. Most likely this will do as well or better. I sort of get the appeal, but find it overblown, again. B+(*) [sp]

Brandy Clark: Brandy Clark (2023, Warner): Country singer-songwriter, made her reputation as a songwriter well before her 2013 debut. Fourth album, another solid bunch of songs, although the final ballad drags a bit much. B+(***) [sp]

George Coleman: Live at Smalls Jazz Club (2022 [2023], Cellar): Tenor saxophonist, best known as the younger guy Wayne Shorter replaced in the Miles Davis Quintet, although he's turned in a few masterpieces over the years -- the first (and most classic) Eastern Rebellion (1976), My Horns of Plenty (1991), and A Master Speaks (2016) -- and still retains one of the instrument's most recognizable voices. His set here includes an original blues and seven standards (starting with Davis, and including a Jobim), backed by Spike Wilner (piano), Peter Washington (bass), and Joe Farnsworth (drums). Few have ever made great sound easier. A- [cd]

Luke Combs: Gettin' Old (2023, River House Artists): Country singer-songwriter, called his third album Growin' Up, so probably figured this title comes next, but at 33 he ain't seen nuthin' yet. What he does have is a classic country voice, and more songs than he knows what to do with. They're not all his, either, as evinced by Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car." B+(*) [sp]

Sylvie Courvoisier & Cory Smythe: The Rite of Spring/Spectre D'Un Songe (2021 [2023], Pyroclastic): Two pianists, playing two pieces from Stravinsky's "Le sacre du printemps" (34:29), plus Courvoisier's second title piece (29:16). B+(**) [cd]

Theo Croker: Live in Paris (2021 [2022], Masterworks, EP): Trumpeter, from Florida, has some funk crossover angles but the best thing I've heard from him in a Miles Davis tribute. Three tracks, 18:56. B+(*) [sp]

Rodney Crowell: The Chicago Sessions (2023, New West): Country singer, emerged as a thoughtful songwriter with his 1978 debut, seems like his albums have only gotten easier over the years. This was recorded in Jeff Tweedy's Chicago studio, and came so easy they didn't even bother thinking up a title for it. B+(**) [sp] [Later: A-]

Cydnee With a C: Confessions of a Fangirl (2023, Bread & Butter, EP): From Los Angeles, light and bubbly pop though maybe more to the lyrics. Six songs, 13:42. B+(*) [sp]

Day & Taxi: Live in Baden (2021 [2023], Clean Feed): Saxophonist (soprano/alto/c-melody) Christoph Gallio, with Silvan Jeger (bass) and Gerry Hemingway (drums), group with a dozen albums going back to 1997 (various lineups, Gallio the only constant). B+(***) [sp]

Defprez: It's Always a Time Like This (2023, Closed Sessions, EP): Chicago hip-hop crew -- Crashprez, Defcee, Knowsthetime -- has a 2021 album, return with this 10-track, 23:46 mini. B+(**) [sp]

Orhan Demir: Solo Guitar: Freedom in Jazz (2019, Hittite): B. 1954 in Istanbul, Turkey; moved to Canada in 1977, where he picked up the guitar. This is solo, the first of three volumes (so far). It remains consistently interesting for more than an hour. B+(***) [cd]

Orhan Demir: Solo Guitar: Freedom in Jazz Vol. 2 (2020, Hittite): Not exactly more of the same -- a bit more delicate -- but close. B+(**) [cd]

Orhan Demir: Solo Guitar: Freedom in Jazz Vol. 3 (2022 [2023], Hittite): Wraps up this series in fine fashion. B+(***) [cd]

Fatoumata Diawara: London Ko (2023, Wagram Music): Singer-songwriter, born in Côte D'Ivoire, parents from Mali, fifth album since 2011, also has an acting career. B+(*) [sp]

Mark Dresser: Tines of Change (2019-22 [2023], Pyroclastic): Bassist, came to prominence in Anthony Braxton's Quartet (1986-97), has several dozen albums as leader and many more side-credits. This one is solo, using a number of gadgets and tricks that expand the instrument's sonic range. B+(***) [cd]

EABS Meets Jaubi: In Search of a Better Tomorrow (2023, Astigmatic): Polish group, acronym for Electro-Acoustic Beat Sessions, six albums since 2016 including tributes to Krzysztof Komeda and Sun Ra, mash up here with a Lahore-based Pakistani group, although both have previous albums on this Polish label, and EABS keyboardist Latamik (Marek Pedziwiatr) appeared on Jaubi's excellent Nafs at Peace. B+(***) [sp]

Rachel Eckroth: One (2022 [2023], Blackbird Sessions): Pianist, albums since 2014, sings elsewhere but this is solo piano, originals except for an Ellington and one by Joshua Redman. B+(*) [cd]

Eluvium: (Whirring Marvels In) Consensus Reality (2023, Temporary Residence): Ambient electronica producer Matthew Cooper, originally from Tennessee, based in Portland, Oregon. More than a dozen records under this alias since 2003. Occasional frills suggest he'd like this to be taken seriously as classical music. I don't care about that, but they do give it a bit of character. B+(*) [sp]

Kahil El'Zabar's Ethnic Heritage Ensemble: Spirit Gatherer: Tribute to Don Cherry (2022 [2023], Spiritmuse): Percussionist-led trio, goes way back but currently Corey Wilkes (trumpet) and Alex Harding (baritone sax), joined by featured guests here Dwight Trible (voice) and David Ornette Cherry (piano/melodica/douss'n gouni) -- the latter was Cherry's eldest son. Covers often evoking what came to be called "spiritual jazz," from Cherry, Coleman, Coltrane, Monk, and Sanders. I'd prefer fewer vocals. B+(*) [sp]

Avalon Emerson: & the Charm (2023, Another Dove): Electronica DJ/producer, from San Francisco, moved on to Berlin, has a DJ-Kicks and bunches of EPs and remixes -- nothing I've heard, but reportedly makes this LP debut a changeup. B+(***) [sp]

Wayne Escoffery: Like Minds (2022 [2023], Smoke Sessions): Tenor saxophonist, born in London, moved to US at 11, studied under Jackie McLean, eleventh album since 2001. Mainstream quartet with David Kikoski (piano), Ugonna Okegwo (bass), and Mark Whitfield Jr (drums), plus guest slots for Gregory Porter (vocals on 2 tracks, "Rivers of Babylon" especially awful), Tom Harrell (trumpet on 2), and Mike Moreno (guitar on 4), and Daniel Sadownick (percussion on 1). An often impressive player who could be making better albums. B- [sp]

Everything but the Girl: Fuse (2023, Buzzin' Fly/Virgin): British electropop duo, Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt, had a run 1984-00, went off to pursue solo careers (five albums for Thorn, four for Watt, none you'd call hits), back after 24 years with a reunion album. B+(*) [sp]

Joe Farnsworth: In What Direction Are You Headed? (2022 [2023], Smoke Sessions): Much in demand mainstream drummer, dozen-plus albums since 1998, close to 200 side-credits since 1992, most often with Eric Alexander. Quintet with Immanuel Wilkins (alto sax), Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar), Julius Rodriguez (piano), and Robert Hurst (bass). Wilkins continues to impress. B+(*) [sp]

Fire! Orchestra: Echoes (2022 [2023], Rune Grammofon, 2CD): Scandinavian group started as a trio in 2009 (Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling, Andreas Werlin), expanded to orchestra size in 2013, and has continued to sprawl, reaching 43 members on this 2-hour epic. Four vocalists appear on one track each (of 14 total). B+(***) [sp]

Ruthie Foster: Healing Time (2022, Blue Corn Music): Blues/folk singer-songwriter from Texas, comes from a family of gospel singers, ninth album since 1997. Strong vocals and decent sentiments. B [sp]

Fred Again/Brian Eno: Secret Life (2023, Text): Fred Gibson, English DJ/electronica producer, has three volumes of Actual Life that are quite listenable, teams up with the godfather of ambient and dissolves into his black hole. Closes with a muffled but touching cover of "Come On Home." B [sp]

Fruit Bats: A River Running to Your Heart (2023, Merge): Indie band from Chicago, principally Eric D. Johnson, debut 2001, have a couple albums I've liked -- The Ruminant Band (2009), Tripper (2011) -- carry on with yet another tuneful, pleasing album. B+(*) [sp]

Satoko Fujii: Torrent: Piano Solo (2022 [2023], Libra): Japanese avant-pianist, many albums, this her ninth solo and fifth in the last six years. Starts out strong, as expected, then meanders a bit much, through six original pieces, a couple quite long. B+(**) [cd] [06-02]

Champian Fulton: Meet Me at Birdland (2022 [2023], Champian): Standards singer, plays piano, from Oklahoma, based in New York, 16th album since 2007, a live set backed by Hide Tanaka (bass) and Fukushi Tainaka (drums). B+(**) [sp]

Asher Gamedze: Turbulence and Pulse (2020-21 [2023], International Anthem/Mushroom Hour): South African drummer, debut 2020. With Robin Fassie (trumpet), Buddy Wells (tenor sax, and Thembinoski Mavimbela (bass), plus some voice and guest spots -- enough to detract from an otherwise fine album. B+(***) [sp]

Alison Goldfrapp: The Love Invention (2023, Skint/BMG): English singer-songwriter, the vocal half of the synthpop duo Goldfrapp (with Will Gregory) since 2000, first solo album. B+(***) [sp]

Frank Gratkowski/Simon Nabatov: Tender Mercies (2022 [2023], Clean Feed): German saxophonist (alto, plus flute, clarinet, bass clarinet) and Russia pianist (based in Germany), a duo. The piano breaks up the ugliness, but doesn't quite overcome it. B+(*) [sp]

Devin Gray: Most Definitely (2023, Rataplan): Drummer, has a couple dozen credits since 2005, half on the top line, but this is his first solo. Runs long (over 71 minutes). B+(**) [cdr] [06-09]

Gordon Grdina/Mat Maneri/Christian Lillinger: Live at the Armoury (2023, Clean Feed): Guitar and oud player from Vancouver, where this trio with viola and drums was recorded. No recording date given, but trio first met in 2018. B+(*) [bc]

Wolfgang Haffner: Silent World (2022 [2023], ACT): German drummer, dozens of albums since 1989, many more side-credits. Core group of trumpet, keyboards, and bass, plus a dozen guest spots, for a rich and varied but rather gentle and quite lovely texture. B+(***) [sp]

Gerrit Hatcher: Solo Five (2021 [2023], Kettle Hole): Tenor saxophonist from Chicago, has produced quite a lot since 2017, but this is my first acquaintance. Solo, reportedly his fifth solo album. Comes out strong, playing up the struggle that the instrument embodies, then closes after 33:05. B+(***) [cd]

Hamish Hawk: Angel Numbers (2023, Post Electric): Scottish singer-songwriter, fourth album since 2014, catchy enough but he does lay it on thick. B [sp]

Lauren Henderson: Conjuring (2023, Brontosaurus): Jazz singer, sometime songwriter (5 of 10 songs here), eighth album since 2011. The covers are most striking, especially "That Old Black Magic," and two takes of "It's Magic" (one in Spanish, as "Es Magia"). Band features Joel Ross on vibraphone. B+(***) [cd]

James Holden: Imagine This Is a High Dimensional Space of All Possibilities (2023, Border Community): British electronica producer, fifth album since 2006. Lot of shimmer and space. B+(*) [sp]

François Houle Genera Sextet: In Memoriam (2022 [2023], Clean Feed): Canadian clarinetist, from Quebec, several dozen albums since 1992, dedicates this one to his friend Ken Pickering (1952-2018), who organized concerts in Vancouver. Sextet with Marco von Orelli (cornet/trumpet), Samuel Blaser (trombone), Benoît Delbecq (piano), Michael Bates (bass), and Harris Eisenstadt (drums). B+(**) [bc]

Ice Spice: Like . . ? (2023, 10K Projects/Capitol, EP): Bronx rapper Isis Gaston, six-song, 13:08 EP following a raft of singles, expanded to 16:01 with a second mix of "Princess Diana" (with Nicki Minaj). B+(*) [sp]

Kara Jackson: Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love? (2023, September): Poet, singer-songwriter, plays guitar, keeps it folkishly simple. B+(*) [sp]

Jeremiah Johnson: Hi-Fi Drive By (2022, Ruf): From St. Louis, plays guitar, sings, probably writes, eighth album since 2003, slotted as blues these days but drop the horns and backing singers and he could've passed for rockabilly. Starts with a vintage car some ("'68 Coupe Deville"). Unfortunately, that's the high point. B [sp]

Durand Jones: Wait Til I Get Over (2023, Dead Oceans): Soul singer, has three albums as Durand Jones & the Indications, just his name on the cover here. Way over-orchestrated for my taste, but has moments that really promise something. B+(*) [sp]

Marc Jordan: Waiting for the Sun to Rise (2023, Linus Entertainment): Has a rep, with John Capek, as a songwriter, less so for his albums, fifteen since 1978. Plays guitar, but relies mostly on strings. B+(*) [cd]

Sass Jordan: Bitches Blues (2022, Stony Plain): British-born (1962) blues/rock singer, name Sarah, moved to Montreal when she was three, tenth album since 1988. Has some depth and grit. B+(*) [sp]

Wesley Joseph: Glow (2023, Secretly Canadian, EP): UK rapper/producer, released a short debut album in 2021 (26:06), goes even shorter here (8 songs, 23:36). B [sp]

Faten Kanaan: Afterpoem (2023, Fire): Brooklyn-based electronica producer, uses analog synthesizers, fifth album, draws on baroque as well as minimalism. B+(*) [sp]

Kaytraminé [Aminé/Kaytranada]: Kaytraminé (2023, Venice Music): Two fairly well established solo artists mash their handles together, the former a rapper since 2015, the latter also known as a producer. Plenty of flow, plus some big name guests. B+(***) [sp]

Jason Keiser: Shaw's Groove (2022 [2023], OA2): Guitarist, from San Jose, Bandcamp has a couple previous albums but Discogs hasn't noticed him yet. Woody Shaw pieces, with Erik Jekabson (trumpet), Aaron Lington (baritone sax), a second guitarist (John Stowell), bass, and drums. B+(*) [cd]

Tyler Keith & the Apostles: Hell to Pay (2023, Black & Wyatt): Memphis garage rock group, back in 2001 Keith called his group the Preachers Kids. B+(**) [sp]

Kesha: Gag Order (2023, Kemosabe): Pop singer, last name Sebert, fifth studio album since 2010, first four charted top 10. Too early to tell with this one, which strikes me as a mixed bag, a bit too slow to take off. B+(*) [sp]

Kid Koala: Creatures of the Late Afternoon (2023, Envision): Canadian DJ/electronica producer Eric San, albums from 1996, including group projects Bullfrog and Deltron 3030. A bit jumbled, with an ongoing robot-hotel shtick. B+(**) [sp]

Kiko El Crazy: Pila'e Teteo (2023, Rimas): Dominican toaster Jose Alberto Peralta, second album, style known as dembow, not far removed from reggaeton. B+(**) [sp]

Elle King: Come Get Your Wife (2023, RCA): Singer-songwriter from from Los Angeles or New York, daughter of comedian Rob Schneider, took her mother's name, started as an actress in 1999, recorded an EP in 2012, followed by an album in 2015, with this her third, and most country, right down to the trailer cliché. B+(**) [sp]

Toshinori Kondo/Massimo Pupillo/Tony Buck: Eternal Triangle (2019 [2022], I Dischi Di Angelica): Japanese electric trumpet player (1948-2019), probably best known from Peter Brötzmann's Die Like a Dog quartet, with electric bass/electronics and drums. B+(*) [bc]

Yazmin Lacey: Voice Notes (2023, On Your Own/Believe): British soul singer, first album after a 2017 EP and several singles. Light touch, the opposite of gospel-inspired oversinging. B+(**) [sp]

Lankum: False Lankum (2023, Rough Trade): Irish folk group with postmodernist overtones (like drone), originally recorded as Lynched (2014), third album since they changed their name. B+(**) [sp]

The Adam Larson Trio: With Love, From New York (2022 [2023], Outside In Music): Tenor saxophonist, eighth album, third in his series of With Love, From albums: this one with Obed Calvaire (bass) and Matt Clohesy (drums). Nice lively set. B+(**) [sp]

The Adam Larson Trio: With Love, From Kansas City (2021 [2022], Outside In Music): Second of his traveling trio albums, after With Love, From Chicago. This one picks up locals Ben Leifer (bass) and John Kizilarmut (drums), performing six originals and Charlie Parker's "Chi Chi." B+(**) [sp]

Le Boeuf Brothers: Hush (2021 [2023], Soundspore): From California, Remy Le Boeuf (sax/clarinet) and Pascal Le Boeuf (piano), fifth (or sixth) album together, as well as several on their own. Quintet with Dayna Stephens (tenor sax), Linda May Han Oh (bass), and Christian Euman (drums). Tends to be quiet, almost meditative. B+(**) [cd]

Joëlle Léandre/Craig Taborn/Mat Maneri: hEARoes (2022 [2023], RogueArt): Bass, piano, and viola, a 39:15 improv piece in seven parts, the piano most impressive but picks its spots. B+(***) [cd]

Jinx Lennon: Walk Lightly When the Jug Is Full (2023, Septic Tiger): Formally, an Irish folk singer-songwriter, but rough enough around the edges for punk. B+(**) [sp]

Asbjřrn Lerheim/Roger Arntzen/Michiyo Yagi/Tamaya Honda: Chrome Hill Duo Meets Dojo: Live at Aketa No Mise (2020 [2023], Clean Feed): Chrome Hill is a Norwegian quartet led by Lerheim (guitar) with Arntzen (bass), with four records 2008-20. Dojo is a Japanese duo of Yagi (electric 21-string koto/electronics) and Honda (drums). B+(*) [bc]

Max Light: Henceforth (2022 [2023], SteepleChase): American guitarist, studied in Boston and New York, second album (plus side credits with Jason Palmer, Noah Preminger, and Kevin Sun). This is a nice postbop quartet with Preminger (tenor sax), Kim Cass (bass), and Dan Weiss (drums). B+(**) [cd] [06-16]

Johan Lindström/Norrbotten Big Band: Johan Lindström & Norrbotten Big Band (2020 [2023], Moserobie): Swedish big band, has 25 albums since 1989, most featuring guest leaders, like the guitarist, who was "composer in residence" in 2020 -- the only date given, although this was conducted by Joakim Milder, who took over as artistic director in 2023. B+(**) [cd]

Aynsley Lister: Along for the Ride (2022, Straight Talkin'): British blues singer-songwriter, from Manchester, dozen-plus albums since 1996, doesn't strike me as all that bluesy. B [sp]

Logic: College Park (2023, Three Oh One/BMG): Rapper Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, eighth album since 2014, first six charted 1-4. Runs long (67:25), with a series of skits on the road to a gig in DC. B+(*) [sp]

London Brew: London Brew (2020 [2023], Concord, 2CD): British jazz group assembled by guitarist Martin Terefe many top London players, including Nubya Garcia and Shabaka Hutchings (saxes), Theon Cross (tuba), and Tom Skinner (drums), aiming for an update of Bitches Brew on its 50th anniversary. B+(***) [sp]

Luis Lopes Abyss Mirrors: Echoisms (2022 [2023], Clean Feed): Portuguese guitarist, has put together an impressive discography since 2007. Large group here (tentet), with a second guitarist (Flak), two saxophonists, two electronics credits, electric bass, and three strings (violin, viola, cello). B+(**) [bc]

Brandon Lopez Trio: Matanzas (2023, Relative Pitch): Avant-bassist, very active since 2017, trio with Steve Baczkowski (sax) and Gerald Cleaver (drums). Bass lays down industrial-grade noise, which the sax eventually builds on. B+(**) [sp]

Alex LoRe & Weirdear: Evening Will Find Itself (2021 [2023], Whirlwind): Alto saxophonist, based in Brooklyn, looks like his fourth album (debut 2014), quartet with Glenn Zaleski (piano), Desmond White (bass), and Allan Mednard (drums). B+(**) [cdr]

Russ Lossing: Alternate Side Parking Music (2019 [2023], Aqua Piazza): Pianist, from Ohio, based in New York, close to thirty albums since 1990, gives a fair amount of space to electronic keyboards. Quartet with Adam Kolker (tenor/soprano sax, bass clarinet), Matt Pavolka (bass), and Dayeon Seok (drums). This was reportedly composed while sitting in his car, waiting for parking spaces to open up -- an experience which, improbably enough, seems to have put him into a whimsical mood. B+(***) [cd] [07-07]

Joe Lovano Trio Tapestry [Marilyn Crispell/Carmen Castaldi]: Our Daily Bread (2022 [2023], ECM): Tenor saxophonist, also credited with tarogato and gongs, third group album with piano and drums. Fairly quiet, solemn even. B+(*) [sp]

Allen Lowe and the Constant Sorrow Orchestra: America: The Rough Cut (2014-22 [2023], ESP-Disk): Saxophonist, a trade he's plied erratically (but sometimes voluminously) since 1988, while writing some of the deepest and broadest surveys of American music. His erudition gives him plenty of references for sprinkling about ("gospel formulations," "pre-blues ruminations," "Hank Williams-directed honky tonk," "Heavy Metal," "anti-tribute to Earl Hines," "hail Jelly Roll Morton," "old-time hillbilly rag," "my own statement on the fallibility of free jazz"), while adding "a personal appeal for a MacArthur." No doubt he deserves one, not least because the reward is meant not just to honor past work but to subsidize further. Nonetheless, I enjoy this record much less than I admire it. Blame that, if you will, on too much metal in the too much guitar. Ends with a stray piece from 2014 which kicks up the horns (Roswell Rudd and Ray Anderson on trombone, Randy Sandke on trumpet, Darius Jones on alto sax) without feeling one bit out of place. A- [cd]

Allen Lowe and the Constant Sorrow Orchestra: In the Dark (2022 [2023], ESP-Disk, 3CD): Lowe's been complaining a lot lately about the state of avant-jazz composition, and seems to think he's found the solution here. I don't begin to understand it technically. It just sounds like he's overcome the modernist impulse and just decided to mix it all together. To that end, he's recruited previously trad players like Ken Peplowski and Lisa Parott, as well as esteemed musicologist Lewis Porter, plus many others I've barely heard of if at all. Casual listening just washes over me, but he's bothered to break this up into 31 pieces, most with historical referents if not baggage. A- [cd]

Baaba Maal: Being (2023, Marathon Artists): Singer from Senegal, his 1989 US debut (Djam Leeli, with Mansour Seck) was one of the era's most fetching releases. This dials it up, then back down again. B+(**) [sp]

Taj Mahal: Savoy (2023, Stony Plain): Eclectic roots bluesman Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, started in 1965 in a group with Ry Cooder called Rising Sons, reunited last year in a Sonny Terry/Brownie McGhee tribute. Goes back even earlier here, reminiscing about Chick Webb in the Savoy Ballroom (some years before he was born in 1942). He sticks to top shelf songs here, risking comparison to Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, Jimmy Rushing -- even on the sureshot Maria Muldaur duet, "Baby, It's Cold Outside." B+(**) [Later: 2306-1][sp]

Denman Maroney/Scott Walton/Denis Fournier: O KOΣMOΣ META (2021 [2022], RogueArt): Piano-bass-drums trio, recorded in France, which may explain the credit of "piano" instead of the "hyperpiano" Maroney invented way back when -- presumably it's not something easy to schlep around, although he still gets sounds beyond the expected. B+(***) [cd]

Bill Mays: Autumn Serenade (2023, Sunnyside): Pianist, from Sacramento, twenty-some albums since 1976, more side credits (early on with Bud Shank). Trio with Dean Johnson (bass) and Ron Vincent (drums), playing nine autumn-themed songs (six with "autumn" in the title). Mays sings two, the second a duet with Judy Kirtley. B+(**) [sp]

Sei Miguel Unit Core: Road Music (2016-21 [2023], Clean Feed): Pocket trumpet player, scattered pieces with Fala Mariam (alto trombone), Bruno Silva (electric guitar), and Pedro Castello Lopes (triangle, clave, pandeiro, kalengo -- one track each). B [bc]

Sei Miguel: The Original Drum (2015-21 [2023], Clean Feed): Four more scattered tracks, with various lineups -- aside from the leader's pocket trumpet, the only other constant is Fala Mariam's alto trombone. Third track includes more horns, including Rodrigo Amado on tenor sax, but it's no more beguiling than the final piece, with minimal trumpet and trombone winding over a basic drum track. B+(*) [bc]

Luiz Millan: Brazilian Match (2022 [2023], Jazz Station): Brazilian singer-songwriter, plays piano (though maybe not here; Michel Freidenson has most of the credits, as well as arranger and conductor), fifth album since 2011, many guest credits, especially for vocals. Mostly sambas, some very nice (the female voices), some a bit too lilting and/or swimmy for my taste. B+(**) [cd]

Dominic Miller: Vagabond (2021 [2023], ECM): Guitarist, born in Argentina to Irish mother and American father, moved to London to study. Eighteen albums since 1984, numerous side-credits, especially with Sting. With piano/keyboards, bass, and drums. B+(*) [sp]

Steve Millhouse: The Unwinding (2022 [2023], SteepleChase): Bassist, possibly his first album (although he has side credits back to the 1990s), plays six-string contrabass guitar here, with Rich Perry (tenor sax) and Eric Halvorson (drums). B+(***) [sp]

Matt Mitchell: Oblong Aplomb (2022 [2023], Out of Your Head, 2CD): Pianist, two sets of percussion duos, "Oblong" with Kate Gentile (drums), "Aplomb" with Ches Smith (vibes and gongs as well as drums). Both make a strong case. B+(***) [cd]

Mud Morganfield: Portrait (2022, Delmark): Father McKinley Morganfield, legendary as Muddy Waters, grew up with his mother as Larry Williams, only took up the family trade in 2008, well after his father's death. (Same for his younger brother, now known as Big Bill Morganfield, who cut his first -- and probably best -- album in 1999.) Still, Mud's vocal likeness is uncanny. He also claims eight (of 14) writing credits (one for his father, and one for John Lee Williamson, aka Sonny Boy I). A- [sp]

Van Morrison: Moving on Skiffle (2023, Exile/Virgin, 2CD): You know him, but you may have avoided as his libertarianism morphed into right-wing crankdom. You might note that he's the right age to have gotten turned on by the skiffle movement before he discovered rock and roll and invented Celtic soul. You might even recall that's recorded with skiffle icons like Lonnie Donegan. But while there's probably some intersection here, the 23 covers here are more often old country and blues standards, and few rise even to today's diminished expectations. B [sp]

Move: The City (2022 [2023], Clean Feed): Intense Portuguese avant-jazz trio: Felipe Zenicola (electric bass), Yedo Gibson (saxophones), and Joăo Valinho (drums). B+(**) [sp]

Matt Muntz: Phantom Islands (2023, Orenda): New York bassist, also plays bagpipes (primorski meh, "a traditional bagpipe from the Croatian coast"), debut album after a half-dozen side credits. Original pieces based on folk melodies. Group with tenor sax (Xavier Del Castillo), oboe, clarinets, guitar, and drums. Pretty tedious, even without the annoying bagpipes. B- [sp]

Graham Nash: Now (2023, BMG): Singer-songwriter from England, now 81, with Allan Clarke founded the Hollies in 1962, had a bunch of hit singles like "Bus Stop" in 1966, left to join David Crosby (Byrds) and Steve Stills (Buffalo Springfield) in one of the first supergroups (one that got better when Neil Young joined, and got worse when he left). Seventh solo album since 1971 -- none reputable enough that I bothered checking them out (his 1971 debut peaked at 15 on the US charts, followed by a 34 in 1974, and a 93 in 2016). Pleased to note that there are passable echoes of the Hollies. Just not very many. B- [sp]

The National: First Two Pages of Frankenstein (2023, 4AD): Mild-mannered band from Cincinnati, singer-songwriter is Matt Berninger, 9th album, very pleasant. B+(**) [sp]

Natural Information Society: Since Time Is Gravity (2021 [2023], Aguirre/Eremite): Chicago bassist Joshua Abrams, debut 2002, fifth album since 2015 with variants of this group, expanded here to eleven, including Ari Brown (tenor sax) and Hamid Drake (percussion). The key to the group has always been its ability to sustain a groove while doing interesting things with it. More horns here steers it back a bit toward a more conventional jazz sound, so that's what's interesting this time. A- [sp]

Navy Blue: Ways of Knowing (2023, Def Jam): Rapper Sage Elsesser, ten EPs 2015-19, seventh studio album since 2020, this his major label debut, has also done production for MIKE and Mach-Hommy. Underground, beats ambling seductively, words knowing. Featured spot for Kelly Moonstone a highlight. A- [sp]

Naya Bazz [Rez Abbasi/Josh Feinberg]: Charm (2021-22 [2023], Whirlwind): Artist names on cover, small print above group name and title. Abbasi is a Pakistani guitarist who grew up in California. Feinberg is a New Yorker who plays classical Hindustani sitar. They are backed by Jennifer Vincent (cello) and Satoshi Takeishi (drums). B+(**) [cd]

Joy Oladokun: Proof of Life (2023, Amigo/Verve Forecast/Republic): Singer-songwriter, born in Arizona, parents from Nigeria, fourth album, follow up to the highly recommended In Defense of My Own Happiness. Another batch of superb songs, which fit comfortably between guests ranging from Chris Stapleton to Maxo Kream. A- [sp]

Bill Orcutt: Jump on It (2023, Palilalia): Guitarist, started out in a hardcore band called Harry Pussy, as a solo artist settled into what's called American primitivism (looking back to John Fahey), idiosyncratic improvisations based on folk guitar. B+(*) [sp]

Aruán Ortiz Trio: Serranias: Sketchbook for Piano Trio (2022 [2023], Intakt): Cuban pianist, in US for twenty years now, with Brad Jones (bass) and John Betsch (drums). Starts flashy, ends pensive. B+(**) [sp]

Kassa Overall: Animals (2023, Warp): Drummer, has some jazz cred but his own records lean toward hip-hop, as this one does in scattered, sometimes interesting but rarely compelling ways. B+(*) [sp]

Afonso Pais/Tomás Marques: The Inner Colours of Bogin's Outline (2022 [2023], Clean Feed): Guitar and alto sax duo, Portuguese, the guitarist released a debut album in 2004. Five improvised pieces. B [sp]

Paramore: This Is Why (2023, Atlantic): Indie pop group from Tennessee, Hayley Williams the singer and only constant member since 2004, although founding drummer Zac Farro returned in 2017. Sixth studio album. B+(*) [sp]

Parannoul: After the Magic (2023, Top Shelf): South Korean, has also released albums as Laststar and Mydreamfever, considered shoegaze/emo, which is to say shrouded in a deep guitar haze. B [sp]

Arlo Parks: My Soft Machine (2023, Transgressive): British neo-soul singer, parents Nigerian and French-Chadian, second album. A- [sp]

Ed Partyka Jazz Orchestra: Hold Your Fire (2022 [2023], Neuklang): Trombonist, from Chicago, formed his big band in 2001 to support Bob Brookmeyer, fourth album since, this particular edition recorded in Zürich, mostly German musicians, including singer Julia Oschewsky (in English). B+(*) [sp]

Jeremy Pelt: The Art of Intimacy, Vol. 2: His Muse (2023, HighNote): Mainstream trumpet player, steady stream of albums since 2002, his Vol. 1 came out in 2020, a trio with bass and drums. Different players for this quintet -- Victor Gould (piano), Buster Williams (bass), Billy Hart (drums), Chico Pinheiro (guitar) -- plus occasional and unnecessary strings. B+(*) [sp]

Ivo Perelman/Elliott Sharp: Artificial Intelligence (2022 [2023], Mahakala Music): Brazilian tenor saxophonist, has tons of albums, many duos, including a particularly good one last year with guitarist Joe Morris (Elliptic Time), follows that up with another guitarist duo, this time with stray electronics, which work just as well. A- [sp]

Ivo Perelman/Dave Burrell/Bobby Kapp: Trichotomy (2021 [2023], Mahakala Music): Tenor sax trio, with piano and drums, veterans who go way back. Kapp is the least well known, but played on 1967-68 albums for Gato Barbieri, Marion Brown, and Noah Howard, and played on Burrell's most famous album in 1976. He appeared on two recent albums with Perelman, Matthew Shipp, and William Parker, so this lineup squares a circle. Two long blowouts, with details that matter. A- [sp]

Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp/Jeff Cosgrove: Live in Carrboro (2017 [2023], Soul City Sounds): Live shot, tenor sax trio with his favorite pianist and a relatively unsung free drummer -- from the same year as the trio's Live in Baltimore appeared. B+(***) [bc]

Ivo Perelman/Ray Anderson/Joe Morris/Reggie Nicholson: Molten Gold (2022 [2023], Fundacja Sluchaj): Tenor sax, trombone, bass, and drums. Anderson turns out to be a great accompanist here. A- [dl]

John Pizzarelli: Stage & Screen (2021 [2023], Palmetto): Guitarist-turned-standards singer, many albums since 1992 (including some with his trad-minded guitarist father Bucky Pizzarelli), backed here by the impressive swing and boogie of Isaiah J. Thompson (piano) and Michael Karn (bass). Primo songs help, too. B+(***) [cd]

Iggy Pop: Every Loser (2023, Gold Tooth/Atlantic): Punk progenitor, Last name Oserberg, first band the Stooges, did his best work 1976-77 for David Bowie, has only once gone more than four years between records (six years to 2009). Still can rock, and still has a distinctive voice. B+(*) [sp]

Popcaan: Great Is He (2023, OVO Sound): Dancehall DJ Andre Sutherland, fourth and most ambitious album since 2014. B+(**) [sp]

John Primer: Teardrops for Magic Slim: Live at Rosa's Lounge (2022 [2023], Blues House): Blues guitarist-singer, born in Mississippi, grew up in Chicago, has recorded steadily since 1991. Live set, all covers, most familiar (two from Elmore James), down pat. B+(***) [sp]

Princess Nokia: I Love You but This Is Goodbye (2023, Arista, EP): New York rapper Destiny Nicole Frasqueri, adds a short and sharp break up EP (seven song, 18:04) to her four albums catalog. B+(**) [sp]

Bruno Rĺberg: Solo Bass: Look Inside (2022 [2023], Orbis Music): Swedish bassist, debut 1976, about 15 albums and 25 side credits. Solo, relatively quiet and short (37:49), touches on pieces by Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and the Gershwins. B+(*) [cd]

Rae Sremmurd: Sremm 4 Life (2023, Eardruma/Interscope): Two brothers from Tupelo, Mississippi, surname Brown, go as Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee, 2015 debut a breakout hit, fourth album. B+(*) [sp]

Raye: My 21st Century Blues (2023, Human Re Sources): British pop singer-songwriter Rachel Keen, first album after several EPs and a mini, a substantial UK hit (2), less so in US (58). B+(**) [sp]

Eric Reed: Black, Brown, and Blue (2022 [2023], Smoke Sessions): Mainstream pianist, dedicated his 1991 debut to Art Blakey, played with Wynton Marsalis through the 1990s. Trio with Luca Alemanno (bass) and Reggie Quinerly (drums), one song each, standards from Ellington to Monk to Silver to Tyner, and two vocal spots: Calvin B. Rhone for "Lean on Me" (Bill Withers), and David Daughtry for "Pastime Paradise" (Stevie Wonder). B+(**) [sp]

Dave Rempis/Elisabeth Harnik/Fred Lonberg-Holm/Tim Daisy: Earscratcher (2022 [2023], Aerophonic): Alto sax, piano, cello/electronics, and drums/percussion. Group was put together to focus on Harnik, who plays outstanding free jazz here, wrapped in complex layers of sound. A- [dl]

Mike Richmond: Turn Out the Stars (2023, SteepleChase): Bassist, albums back to 1978, plays cello here, with Andy Laverne (piano), Jay Anderson (bass), and Anthony Pimciotti (drums), on what is mostly a set of Bill Evans songs. B+(**) [sp]

Diego Rivera: Love & Peace (2023, Posi-Tone): Tenor/soprano saxophonist, born in Ann Arbor, teaches at Michigan State, half-dozen albums since 2013. Lively quartet here with Art Hirahara (piano), Boris Kozlov (bass), and Rudy Royston (drums), all up for more than a little Latin tinge. B+(**) [sp]

Roots Magic Sextet: Long Old Road: Retold Pasts and Present Day Musings (2022 [2023], Clean Feed): Italian group, fourth album, started as a quintet with Alberto Popolla (clarinet), Errico de Fabritis (alto/baritone sax), Gianfranco Tedeschi (bass), and Fabrizio Spera (drums) continuing, plus Eugenio Colombo (soprano sax/flutes) and Francesco Lo Cascio (vibes/percussion) making six. Leads with a strong groove, riffs on top of that, tries some change of pace. B+(***) [sp]

Whitney Rose: Rosie (2023, MCG): Singer-songwriter, from Prince Edward Island up in Canada, country since she moved to Austin. Fifth studio album since 2012 (plus an EP Christgau praised while skipping the rest). Nice set of songs, both minding pain and escaping from it. B+(***) [sp]

Dan Rosenboom: Polarity (2022 [2023], Orenda): Trumpet player, albums since 2005, this one a quintet with Gavin Templeton (alto/baritone sax), John Escreet (piano/keyboards), Billy Mohler (bass), and Damion Reid (drums). B+(***) [cd]

Rough Image: Rough Image (2023, WV Sorcerer): Instrumental rock group from northeast China (Changchun). Long pieces with tight grooves and industrial klang and exotica, occasionally a bit of chatter. B+(***) [bc]

Rudy Royston Flatbed Buggy: Day (2022 [2023], Greenleaf Music): Drummer, several albums as leader plus many more side-credits, released one in 2018 called Flatbed Buggy, and returns with that group here: John Ellis (bass clarinet), Hank Roberts (cello), Gary Versace (accordion), and Joe Martin (bass). Has a soft chamber jazz feel, centered on the cello. B+(*) [cd]

Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble: Home Is Here (2022 [2023], Tapestry): Tenor saxophonist, from Brazil, teaches in Massachusetts, eighth album since 2007, two with "Suite" in title, this the third with his nineteen-piece big band, eight of whom are listed as "featured." Latin (Brazilian, at least) touches, sophisticated arranging, solo spots, even a bit of voice (but not too much). B+(**) [cd]

SBTRKT: The Rat Road (2023, Save Yourself): British electronica producer Aaron Jerome, third album under this alias after one under his own name. B [sp]

Brandon Seabrook: Brutalovechamp (2022 [2023], Pyroclastic): Guitarist, also plays mandolin and banjo, usually adds a little noise to the mix, but shows off as a composer here, with an eight-piece group, including cello, electronics, and a fair amount of arty voice. B+(**) [cd]

Sexmob: The Hard Way (2023, Corbett vs. Dempsey): Quartet -- Steven Bernstein (slide trumpet), Briggan Krauss (alto/baritone sax, guitar), Tony Scherr (bass, guitar), and Kenny Wolleson (drums) -- goes way back (mostly 1998-2005, occasional records since), here with producer Scotty Hard (beats, synth bass) and scattered guests (John Medeski, Vijay Iyer, DJ Olive). B+(***) [sp]

Matthew Shipp/Mark Helias: The New Syntax (2020 [2022], RogueArt): Piano and bass duo, both long-established but I'm not sure they've played together before. Nice balance to it, with scattered flashes of brilliance. B+(***) [cd]

The Shootouts: Stampede (2023, Soundly Music): Country music group, from Ohio, possibly the worst group name since Lady Antebellum, third album (after Quick Draw and Bullseye), but co-produced by Ray Benson, whose band gets a guest spot, as does Marty Stuart, Buddy Miller, and others, bringing the bluegrass and western swing. Fairly good songs too, but no idea who wrote them. B+(***) [sp]

Lauritz Skeidsvoll & Isach Skeidsvoll Duo: Chanting Moon, Dancing Sun: Live at Molde International Jazz Festival (2020 [2023], Clean Feed): Norwegian saxophone and piano duo, brothers, have some side-credits, but this could count as a debut. B+(**) [bc]

Skyzoo & the Other Guys: The Mind of a Saint (2023, First Generation Rich): New York rapper, dozen-plus albums since 2006, ties this one to the FX series Snowfall, about the 1980s crack epidemic in Los Angeles -- the central character there was a young drug dealer named Franklin Saint, who is given center stage here. The Other Guys are a DC-based crew with a half dozen albums since 2014. B+(***) [sp]

Steve Smith and Vital Information: Time Flies (2022 [2023], Wounded Bird, 2CD): Drummer-led fusion group, named for their 1983 debut album, principally Manuel Valera (keyboards) and Janek Gwizdolo (electric bass), with guest spots for George Garzone (tenor sax) and Mike Mainieri (vibes). Garzone is always an imposing soloist, especially on the bonus disc, which features him throughout. B+(**) [cd]

Alan Sondheim: Galut: Ballads of Wadi-Sabi (2023, ESP-Disk): Wikipedia page describes him as "a poet, critic, musician, artist, and theorist of cyberspace," then talks mostly about the latter: his online writing community, codework concept, aesthetics of virtual environments, his place among postmodernist philosophers. In music, he recorded a couple albums for ESP-Disk in 1967-68, resuming around 2005, especially with his partner Azure Carter (credited here with vocals and anything songlike). Runs long (76 minutes) given a lot of meandering, some with Edward Schneider (alto sax) and/or Rachel Rosenkrantz (bass). Sondheim's own credit is "various instruments." B+(**) [cd]

Star Feminine Band: In Paris (2022, Born Bad): Group of seven girls from Natitingou, in Benin, ages 10-17 (at least when their 2020 debut appeared), sing in French and at least four native languages (Waama, Peul, Bariba, Ditamari). B+(**) [sp]

Bobo Stenson Trio: Sphere (2022 [2023], ECM): Swedish pianist (b. 1944). I was always a big fan of his 1973 album with Jan Garbarek, Witchi-Tai-To. This is a trio with Anders Jormin (bass) and Jon Fält (drums), with Jormin composing or arranging four (of 9) tracks, with others coming from Per Nřrigärd, Sven-Erik Bäck, and Jean Sibelius (and nary a hint of my first thought, Monk). B+(*) [sp]

Angela Strehli: Ace of Blues (2022, Antone's/New West): Originally from Lubbock, moved to Austin and worked as stage manager at Antone's. There she released an album in 1987, and was part of the trio Dreams Come True in 1990. Since then she's recorded occasionally (including an album as The Blues Broads with Tracy Nelson and two others), while running a blues club in Marin County, California. Now 77, this is her first since 2005, twelve golden oldies united by guitar and voice that stands up to the originals, even when eclipsing them is impossible. A- [sp]

Sunny War: Anarchist Gospel (2023, New West): Nashville-based singer-songwriter, plays guitar drawing on country blues and punk (she started with a band called the Anus Kings). Seventh album since 2015. Don't know whether the gospel overtones are new or just part of her shtick. B+(***) [sp]

Brit Taylor: Kentucky Blue (2023, Cut a Shine): Country singer-songwriter from Kentucky, second album, a fresh voice from the hills, with a lot of fiddle. B+(***) [sp]

Joanne Shaw Taylor: Nobody's Fool (2022, Keeping the Blues Alive): British singer-songwriter, identifies as blues, plays guitar, tenth album since 2009. B+(*) [sp]

Henry Threadgill Ensemble: The Other One (2022 [2023], Pi): Leader just composes and conducts here, directing a 12-piece group through three long movements (60:36) of a piece called "Of Valence." This setting fits into the jazz as advanced classical music model, a scaled up version of chamber jazz. The group includes three saxophones/clarinets, two bassoons, no brass (other than Jose Davila's tuba), piano (David Virelles), and strings (violin, viola, two cellos), but no bass or drums. Not a style I'm easily impressed with, nor one I'm every likely to get excited about, but within those limits, this is interesting all the way through, surprising even. A- [cd]

Erik Truffaz: Rollin' (2023, Blue Note): Swiss trumpet player, albums since 1997, accompanied here by Marcello Giuliani (electric & acoustic bass); don't see the credits, but also piano and drums, with a couple vocal spots. B+(**) [sp]

Billy Valentine: Billy Valentine and the Universal Truth (2020-22 [2023], Acid Jazz/Flying Dutchman): Blues/jazz/soul singer, recorded as half of the Valentine Brothers 1977-87, made a comeback in 2017 with a collection called Brit Eyed Soul (Beatles to Clash). Relaunches Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman label here, with a set of soul covers (Mayfield to Prince), with a couple nods to the label's old catalog (Gil Scott-Heron, Leon Thomas). B+(***) [sp]

Ken Vandermark & Hamid Drake: Eternal River (2021 [2023], Corbett vs. Dempsey): Tenor sax and drums duo, their first together although they've played in larger groups. Program consists of two medleys of Don Cherry pieces. B+(***) [bc]

Ally Venable: Real Gone (2023, Ruf): Young blues-rock singer-songwriter from Texas, plays a mean guitar, will kick your ass. B+(*) [sp]

Ramana Vieira: Tudo De Mim (All of Me) (2023, self-released): Traditional fado singer, plays piano, born in California of Portuguese parents, sixth album since 2000. B+(*) [cd]

Joe Louis Walker: Weight of the World (2023, Forty Below): Blues singer-songwriter, has recorded quite a bit since 1986's Cold Is the Night. B [sp]

Doug Wamble: Blues in the Present Tense (2022, Halcyonic): Singer-songwriter, fourth album since 2003, this showed up on a blues list, but has a reputation as a jazz guitarist, and adds to that here, backed by Eric Revis (bass) and Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums), with Prometheus Jenkins on saxophone (which gets the band much more excited than Wamble's vocals do). B+(**) [sp]

Jessie Ware: That! Feels Good! (2023, PMR/EMI): British singer-songwriter, several albums, goes hard disco for this one, proclaiming "pleasure is a right." A little glitzy. Sometimes I'm reminded of Chic, then find myself missing the signature bass lines. But most songs are pure pleasure. A- [sp]

Wednesday: Rat Saw God (2023, Dead Oceans): Rock band from Asheville, North Carolina, with singer Karly Hartzman. Fifth album since 2018. Defaults to a fairly standard Velvets-style alt/indie base, but they can bring considerable noise on top, not always welcome. B+(*) [sp]

Alex Weitz: Rule of Thirds (2022 [2023], Outside In Music): Saxophonist (mostly tenor), has a previous self-released album, quartet here with piano (Tal Cohen), bass (Ben Tiberio), and drums (Michael Piolet), eight original compositions plus "Love for Sale." Has a sound that's prepared to soar, or perhaps just swing. B+(***) [cd]

Gaia Wilmer Large Ensemble: Folia: The Music of Egberto Gismonti (2023, Sunnyside): Brazilian alto saxophonist, has a previous octet album, raised an 18-piece big band for this project, plus three guests, including the 75-year-old composer on piano for two tracks. (My own experience with Gismonti doesn't extend much beyond his work with Charlie Haden and Jan Garbarek, where he mostly played guitar.) B+(**) [sp]

Withered Hand: How to Love (2023, Reveal): Dan Willson, singer-songwriter qua band from Edinburgh, two previous albums from 2009 and 2014. As I understand the back story, he's a recovering Jehovah's Witness, still seeking to find redemption in love, the subject of these deadly serious but strangely gorgeous songs. I'm impressed, but also doubt I'll want to hear this again. B+(***) [sp]

Billy Woods & Kenny Segal: Maps (2023, Backwoodz Studioz): New York rapper, half of Armand Hammer, albums since 2003, father was a Marxist writer who moved the family to Zimbabwe for the revolution. Second album with LA-based producer Segal. I've been nibbling around his albums for a while without finding one compelling, but figure I might as well bite here. A- [sp]

Yonic South: Devo Challenge Cup (2023, Wild Honey, EP): Garage punk group, principally Damiano Negrisoli, fourth EP, covers one DEVO song, writes a couple more in a similar vein, basically a medley split into six songs, 12:59. B+(*) [sp]

Jacob Young/Mats Eilertsen/Audun Kleive: Eventually (2021 [2023], ECM): Norwegian guitarist, dozen-plus albums since 1995, this his fourth on ECM, backed by bass and drums. B+(**) [sp]

Brandee Younger: Brand New Life (2023, Impulse): Harp player, several previous albums, makes a crossover move here, with production by Makaya McCraven (plus 9th Wonder on one track), plus she sings a couple songs, in a soft r&b groove. Four songs co-written by Dorothy Ashby, who was the definitive jazz harpist before Younger came along. B+(*) [sp]

Recent Reissues, Compilations, Vault Discoveries

Ruth Anderson/Annea Lockwood: Tęte-Ŕ-Tęte (1974-2020 [2023], Ergot): Electronic music pioneer (1928-2019), founder and director of Hunter College's Electronic Music Studio 1968-79. In 1973, Lockwood fell in love with Anderson, and lived and worked together for five decades. This memorial collects two previously unreleased Anderson pieces: one a subtle drone piece from 1983 (17:12), the other pasted together from intimate conversations from 1974 (18:36), then concludes with Lockwood's later elegy, "For Ruth." B+(*) [sp]

Thomas Anderson: The Debris Field: Lo-Fi Flotsam and Ragged Recriminations, 2000-2021 (2000-21 [2023], Out There): Singer-songwriter from Oklahoma, been throwing out his homemade records since 1989, the barrel scrapings often more compelling than his first-run albums. A- [sp]

William Bell: Never Like This Before: The Complete 'Blue' Stax Singles 1961-1968 (1961-68 [2022], Kent Soul): Soul singer, from Memphis, last name Yarborough, recorded for Stax 1961-74 but hits were infrequent and modest -- his 1961 debut, "You Don't Miss Your Water," may be his best remembered song. Not great, but he was pretty consistent. B+(**) [sp]

William Bell: The Man in the Street: The Complete 'Yellow' Stax Solo Singles 1968-1974 (1968-74 [2023], Kent Soul): A bit less consistent, following the times. B+(**) [sp]

Ray Charles: Live in Stockholm 1972 (1972 [2022], Tangerine): Credit continues in small print: "his Orchestra and The Raelettes." (Just eight songs, with intros and applause 38:37, half classic, if that's what you're looking for. B+(*) [sp]

Ornette Coleman: Genius of Genius: The Contemporary Albums (1958-59 [2022], Craft, 2CD): Coleman's first two albums, Something Else!!!! and Tomorrow Is the Question!, repackaged deluxe vinyl but also on CD and digital. Approached after hearing the later Atlantics (The Shape of Jazz to Come, Change of the Century, etc.) they seemed less than earthshaking (despite the titles and all the exclamation marks), which is to say not quite what you'd instantly recognize as Ornette! Don Cherry is on both, but the former even has a piano (Walter Norris), with long-forgotten Don Payne on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. The second drops the piano, divided bass between Percy Heath (?) and Red Mitchell (??), and has Shelly Manne on drums. B+(***) [sp]

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis With Shirley Scott: Cookin' With Jaws and the Queen: The Legendary Prestige Cookbook Albums (1958 [2023], Craft): Reissues label, main business is putting old sides onto shiny new vinyl, but they also show up on streaming sources. This boxes up four albums, all recorded in 1958 but they spaced out the releases. Jerome Richardson's flute is prominent early, present to the end. Scott's organ gains both groove and subtlety over time. The tenor saxophonist is bluesy and soulful, as fits the material. [Individual notes under Old Music] B+(**) [sp]

Les DeMerle Sound 67: Once in a Lifetime (1967 [2023], Origin): Drummer, backdates his debut a couple years to when he was 21, with a group that featured Randy Brecker (trumpet), a couple cuts with Genya Ravan singing, one more from the Mike Douglas show with Rosemary Clooney. B+(**) [cd]

DreddFoole and the Din: Songs in Heat 1982 (1982 [2023], Corbett vs. Dempsey): Dan Ireton, guitar and vocals, leading a postpunk/noise group that included Roger Miller (Mission of Burma) on organ and guitar, plus a third guitarist (Clint Conley), prepared bass (Martin Swope), and drums (Peter Prescott). Looks like only two of these tracks were released at the time. They are joined by extra tracks from two sessions (one studio, one live), including covers of "Sister Ray" and "Final Solution." More volumes are coming. B+(*) [bc]

Bill Evans: Treasures: Solo, Trio & Orchestral Recordings From Denmark (1965-1969) (1965-69 [2023], Elemental, 2CD): The trio recordings are typically brilliant, same for the slightly less compelling solo set, but then there's the "Orchestral Suite," played by the Royal Danish Symphony Orchestra and the Danish Radio Big Band, featuring Palle Mikkelborg, burying several Evans tunes in lush. B+(**) [sp]

Buddy Guy & Junior Wells: Live From Chicago Blues Festival 1964 (1964 [2022], Good Time): Chicago blues duo, guitar and harmonica, destined to become big stars but their debut albums were 1966-68, and their breakthrough was 1972. A bit on the murky side, which is almost an aesthetic. B+(***) [r]

Galcher Lustwerk: 100% Galcher (2013 [2022], Ghostly International): DJ/producer Chris Sherron, first "promomix" -- all original pieces, basic beat tracks with scant adornment. B+(**) [sp]

Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens: Music Inferno: The Indestructible Beat Tour 1988-89 (1988-89 [2023], Umsakazo): Breakout stars from the 1986 compilation The Indestructible Beat of Soweto, followed by superb albums by each and together -- his groan gains most from the collaboration, and a justly revered live album from Paris. This was scraped together from several stops in Britain at the time, and is as catchy and moving as you'd expect. A- [sp]

Evan Parker/X-Jazz Ensemble: A Schist Story (2012 [2022], JACC): A single 46:04 piece, recorded "as final result of a full week artistic residency at Schist Villages," in Portugal. Parker is credited with "conduction and saxophone," among 18 musicians, including Luis Vicente (trumpet), Rodrigo Amado (sax), and Luis Lopes (guitar), with cello, viola, and harp. B+(*) [bc]

Oscar Peterson: On a Clear Day: The Oscar Peterson Trio - Live in Zurich, 1971 (1971 [2022], Mack Avenue): Pianist, plus Niels-Henning Řrsted Pedersen (bass) and Louis Hayes (drums), with a previously unreleased live set. Sparkling as ever, but didn't retain much on one quick play. B+(**) [sp]

Abbey Rader/Davey Williams: In One Is All (1999 [2023], Abray): Drummer, part of the 1970s loft scene in New York, moved to Europe but returned in 1989. Williams (1952-2019) was a guitarist, released thirty-some albums from 1977 on, often with LaDonna Smith, Andrea Centazzo, and/or Gunter Christmann. One previous duo with Rader dates from this year. This is a single 52:32 track. B+(**) [bc]

Pharoah Sanders Quartet: Live at Fabrik: Hamburg 1980 (1980 [2023], Jazzline): Tenor saxophonist, followed Coltrane into the avant-garde, establishing himself in a series of 1966-73 Impulse records. He struggled businesswise after that, with a half-dozen albums on Theresa disappearing from print, before returning with several masterpieces in the 1990s, remaining a revered figure up to his death in 2022. But he could still tour, and sounds terrific here on four originals (including "The Creator Has a Master Plan") and a standard, backed by John Hicks (piano), Curtis Lundy (bass), and Idris Muhammad (drums). A- [sp]

Shirley Scott: Queen Talk: Live at the Left Bank (1972 [2023], Reel to Real): Organ player, probably best known for her work/marriage with Stanley Turrentine, leads a very hot trio here with George Coleman (tenor sax) and Bobby Durham (drums), recorded live at the Famous Ballroom in Baltimore. Trio covers three LP sides (73:13), then singer Ernie Andrews joins for the final side (24:58), and he's no less inspired. A- [sp]

Tolerance: Anonym (1979 [2023], Mesh-Key): First of two albums by Japanese keyboardist Junko Tange, with guitar by Masami Yoshikawa adding a metallic klang. B+(**) [sp]

Tolerance: Divin (1981 [2023], Mesh-Key): Second (and last) album. More focus on beats and groove, less extraneous noise, which strikes me as a good tradeoff. B+(***) [sp]

Old Music

Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society: Mandatory Reality (2017 [2019], Eremite, 2CD): Octet led by Joshua Abrams, who is credited not with his usual bass but with guimbri and flute (actually, everyone gets a flute credit on the last, and shortest, track). At this stage (their third album), the band is clearly into minimalism, with subtle variations on rmesmerizing rhythmic patterns, extended in four pieces to 81:39. B+(***) [sp]

Bas Jan: Yes I Jan (2018, Lost Map): First album, with original (and soon to be ex-) members Sarah Anderson and Jenny Moore backing Serafina Steer's songs, adding more vocal harmony, and often a lift to the music. At their best, they remind me of a short-lived, 1990s vocal group, the Shams. B+(***) [sp]

Bas Jan: Yes We Jan (2018, Lost Map): Remix of Yes I Jan, originally offered as a bonus, then sold separately. Mostly useless, although Gameshow Outpatient's "Dream of You" remix finds a way to fit its subject. B [sp]

Dave Brubeck Quartet: Park Avenue South (2002 [2003], Telarc): Live album at a Starbucks in Manhattan, this edition of the pianist's Quartet with Bobby Militello (alto sax/flute), Michael Moore (bass), and Randy Jones (drums). Starts with a terrific piano intro to "On the Sunny Side of the Street," before Militello swings into action. And, of course, "Take Five" is as great as ever, but who expected the drum solo to nail it? A- [yt]

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis: The Eddie "Lockjaw" Cookbook (1958, Prestige): With Shirley Scott (organ) and Jerome Richardson (flute), who take up a lot of space. B [sp]

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis: The Eddie "Lockjaw" Cookbook Vol. 2 (1958 [1959], Prestige): "Featuring Shirley Scott & Jerome Richardson." But the tenor sax leads, more like it. B+(**) [sp]

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis With Shirley Scott: The Eddie "Lockjaw" Cookbook, Volume 3 (1958 [1961], Prestige): Finally beginning to appreciate Jerome Richardson's flute, in doses limited enough they dropped him from cover credit. B+(**) [sp]

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis With Shirley Scott: Smokin' (1958 [1963], Prestige): Possibly the best of the bunch, or maybe just the bluesiest. B+(***) [sp]

Day & Taxi: Less and More (1997 [1999], Unit): Group led by soprano/alto saxophonist Christoph Gallio, second album, with Dominique Girod (bass) and Dieter Ulrich (drums). B+(**) [sp]

Noah Howard: At Judson Hall (1966 [1968], ESP-Disk): Alto saxophonist (1943-2010), second of two early albums for this label, went on to record a couple dozen more but remained obscure. Sextet with Dave Burrell (piano), others less famous on trumpet, cello, bass, and percussion. B+(**) [sp]

Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble: Drum Dance to the Motherland (1972 [2017], Eremite): Born Warren Cheeseboro (1946-2022), played vibraphone and marimba, still appeared on DownBeat "rising star" ballots into his 70s, after his last album (2009). This was his first, released 1973 on Dogtown, with him and drummer Dwight James also playing scratchy clarinet, backed by guitar, bass, and a second drummer with African percussion. B+(***) [sp]

Tuli Kupferberg: No Deposit No Return (1967, ESP-Disk): Beat poet (1923-2010), not an important one but part of the New York pacifist-anarchist scene, best known as a founder of the Fugs (with Ed Sanders). I remember him fondly for two short Grove Press books: 1001 Ways to Beat the Draft, and 1001 Ways to Live Without Working. He recorded two albums under his own name, one in 1989 called Tuli and Friends that is MIA from my collection, and this "album of popular poetry." Well, not that popular. B+(*) [sp]

Mike Lipskin: Spreadin' Rhythm Around (2002, Buskirk): Stride pianist, someone I hadn't noticed until Allen Lowe mentioned him, but I found a co-credit in my database, Stride Piano Summit (with Ralph Sutton, Jay McShann, and Sweets Edison). Perhaps better known as a producer, especially of RCA reissues. Mostly solo, with Leon Oakley (trumpet) on five tracks. B+(***) [sp]

Star Feminine Band: Star Feminine Band (2020, Born Bad): From Benin, seven girls age 10-17, first album, recorded at Musée Régional De Natitingou and marketed out of France. Both a bit cruder and a bit more charming than their later In Paris. B+(**) [sp]

Music Weeks

Music: Current count 40292 [40078] rated (+214), 38 [49] unrated (-11).

Excerpts from this month's Music Week posts:

May 1, 2023

Music: Current count 40117 [40078] rated (+39), 48 [49] unrated (-1: 20 new, 28 old).

A few weeks ago, Rick Mitchell asked me to participate in a podcast for the Jazz Journalists Association. The topic was to be jazz polls. Of late, I've been running the Francis Davis Jazz Poll, and in vote in a couple others (DownBeat, El Intruso). The original idea was to pair me with Frank Alkyer (DownBeat editor). After a no-show, Geoffrey Himes agreed to join in. We talked last week, and they posted the Jazz Buzz podcast today. I've never done anything like that, and had little sense of how well it went. I'll revisit it later, and try to write some more: no doubt I'll want to clarify a few points. If you have any comments, questions, or just wish to express outrage, please write me through the usual channels. (Note that there is a "Contact" button in the navigation bar.)

Last week, I also got my invite to vote in DownBeat's Critics Poll, so I'll take a look at that later in the week. I should also point out that the Jazz Journalists Association's 2023 Awards nominees have been announced, broken down to Performance & Recordings and Journalism & Media. I've never been a member of JJA, so I have no involvement there, and had to pass when their poll came up in the podcast. As I recall, they do an awards schmooze fest, which makes them more like the Grammys, minus the TV contract glitz. The nominee lists strike me as short (3-6 per category, just 4 for new albums) and pretty mainstream. I couldn't find any reference lists for who has won in the past, even in the "lifetime achievement" categories (this year's musicians are George Coleman, Keith Jarrett, Charles Lloyd, and Wadada Leo Smith, so presumably they hadn't won before).

By the way, while poking around the JJA site, I was sad to see that Ken Franckling died on March 24. He's been a long-time contributor to our poll, and his Jazz Notes blog has always been a delight.

Records this week are almost all jazz (Brit Taylor the exception). I tried to play down my queue, but other than that my prospecting system had a lot more jazz prioritized than anything else, and with all the writing, I just went for whatever was easiest to find.

May 8, 2023

Music: Current count 40158 [40117] rated (+41), 44 [48] unrated (-4: 16 new, 28 old).

Two side projects are relevant here. Last week, I pointed out that Rick Mitchell had interviewed me and Geoffrey Himes for his JJA Buzz podcast. The topic was About Jazz Polls. I was pretty nervous about something I've never done before, but some kind souls have assured me it came out ok (a couple better than that). I figured the least I could do was collect my preliminary notes, which are here.

In the meantime, I filled out my DownBeat Critics Poll ballot (all 49 sections), and collected my notes and ruminations here. DownBeat doesn't publish individual voter ballots, so without this cross reference you'll never know how little my single ballot counts for. I will note that I spent more time this year than I've done in a while, but still far less work than I put into the first polls I was invited for.

One consequence of the DownBeat exercise is that I went on a blues kick this week. They had nominated 33 blues albums from April 2022 through March 2023, and I had heard 7 of them (21.2%, which without checking I'd guess is slightly more than usual). I checked out another 16 of them this week, which gets to 69.6%. I found two A- records there (which is two more than I had, so it wipes out my ballot), and two B+(***). Unclear whether I'll search out more, as returns have been diminishing.

I also checked out the Shirley Scott Queen Talk album, which, figuring it belongs with her other queen-sized set, I scooped out of next week's stash to include here.

On Allen Lowe, auteur of this week's two best albums (well, except for Queen Talk), see Phil Overeem's interview, I Will Not Stop Til They Bury Me. Phil also recommended Lowe's book Letter to Esperanza, so I ordered a copy.

May 15, 2023

Music: Current count 40204 [40158] rated (+46), 42 [44] unrated (-2: 14 new, 28 old).

Nice selection across the board this week. The three new albums all have recommended antecedents: Brötzmann-Drake is their second Moroccan album, following The Catch of a Ghost with Maâlem Moukhtar Gania (a more famous Ganaoua master than Bekkas); Buck 65 follows up on last year's King of Drums with a consistency that's defined its own take on old school; Dave Rempis and Elisabeth Harnik collaborated on an earlier album, Astragaloi (2022, with Michael Zerang).

Same could be said for the reissue/vault finds: Thomas Anderson has a number of fine albums, the most comparable her being 2012's The Moon in Transit: Four-Track Demos, 1996-2009. Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens have another live album from the same tour, 1988's Paris-Soweto. While I can't point to a comparable Pharoah Sanders live album, he has notable earlier albums (like 1967's Tauhid) and even better later albums (1988's Africa, 1990's Welcome to Love, and 1992's Crescent With Love).

Of the high B+ albums, I should note two long (2-CD) sets that cut short, despite the sense that multiple plays might lift the grades a notch: Fire! Orchestra's Echoes, and Matt Mitchell's Oblong Aplomb. I suppose I could say the same thing about Withered Hand, which was impressive enough to grade higher, but didn't have enough personal appeal to make me want to. Robert Christgau gave the record a full A -- he's consistently much more taken with this artist than I am. Christgau also gave full A's to Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens, and to Boygenius -- the latter's The Record I dismissed as a B first time through, although pretty much everyone else loves it.

Noticed that I hadn't done the indexing for the April Streamnotes, so I knocked that out.

May 23, 2023

Music: Current count 40245 [40204] rated (+41), 42 [42] unrated (+0: 14 new, 28 old).

Worn out after writing yesterday's Speaking of Which. Actually, worn out before I rushed that out, only to catch the last quarter of Heat-Celtics, with the B-teams nursing a 30-point blowout.

Nothing much to add to the music below, which is short on jazz, especially up top -- but I have more catching up elsewhere. Ware was a late promotion, one I'm still a bit iffy about. Oladokun was brought forward from next week. Brubeck got a chance when I saw I was about to go another week with no Old Music. Skyzoo could have made the A-list on sound alone, but I was less satisfied with the story concept -- something I rarely notice, so perhaps that should have been a positive.

I've started working on a website overhaul, but don't have much to show for it yet. The idea is to create a parallel structure I can copy old content into. Hopefully it will be better organized, less ramschackle. But mainly it's meant to give me a fresh start on the book projects (discarding the old attempts).

I also have some small home projects to get to, before it gets too hot -- which is sometimes the case already.

May 29, 2023

Music: Current count 40292 [40245] rated (+47), 38 [42] unrated (-4: 11 new, 27 old).

I had a fairly productive week listening to new records, although I often struggled coming up with albums to play next. Only two clear A- records this week, and I apologize in advance for not even trying to write a serious note on Arlo Parks. I did play the record three times, and I liked her 2021 album Collapsed Into Sunbeams as much. About it, I wrote:

Arlo Parks: Collapsed Into Sunbeams (2021, Transgressive): Semi-pop singer-songwriter from London, given name Anaďs Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho, ancestors from Nigeria, Chad, and France, first album after two EPs. I, for one, find "Hope" remarkably reassuring, and less for the lyrics than for the music, something few others have been able to do (Stevie Wonder, I guess). I wouldn't have held it for the sixth single, but it probably wouldn't have been my first pick either. A-

Of the high B+ albums, the ones that came closest were those by Avalon Emerson and Asher Gamedze.

I've done the indexing on the May archive, but haven't added the introductions yet. The haul for May is 212 albums.


Sources noted as follows:

  • [cd] based on physical cd
  • [cdr] based on an advance or promo cd or cdr
  • [bc] available at
  • [r] available at (formerly Rhapsody)
  • [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