Monday, July 4, 2022

Music Week

July archive (in progress).

Music: Current count 38282 [38227] rated (+55), 78 [87] unrated (-9).

Posted a rather substantial Speaking of Which yesterday. (Added one more link today, after finding a tab I had opened but missed.) After complaining about no Facebook reaction last week, I finally got a like, a comment, and a message from an old Boston friend, so let's dedicate this one to her. I was torn at first between writing one and starting to jot down my latest book thinking. I decided I could do the latter in the end section of the post, but it turns out I never got that far. I had two things I wanted to write about: first was Robert Christgau's Hillary Clinton Lookback; second was further correspondence with Crocodile Chuck, following my last week Q&A. After that it was mostly a matter of filling in the sections on Ukraine, SCOTUS, and the January 6 Committee. As I went through my paces, I found a few more topics to note, and wound up including a couple pages I didn't have much to say about, but felt like bookmarking anyway (e.g., Elizabeth Nelson on Anthony Bourdain, Annie Proulx on swamps).

By the way, I ordered the two Tariq Ali books (on Churchill and Afghanistan). I'm also through the first section of the Millhiser book (Injustices). I was already familiar with a number of the 19th century cases in that section from reading Jack Beatty's Age of Betrayal: The Triumph of Money in America, 1865-1900, but Millhiser's description of the conditions is remarkably good. Millhiser also has a more recent (2021) but shorter (143 pp) book: The Agenda: How a Republican Supreme Court Is Reshaping America, and has written a lot more since then in Vox. Another promising book on the recent Supreme Court is Adam Cohen's Supreme Inequalilty: The Supreme Court's Fifty-Year Battle for a More Unjust America. (Cohen previously wrote a whole book on the Carrie Buck case, which Millhiser presents in 4-5 pages.)

Another valuable critic of the right-wing takeover of the Court is Erwin Chemerinsky, who has a number of books on the subject. The only one I've read so far fits into a slightly different genre: books that offer close readings of America's founding documents and find them compatible with progressive reform. Chemerinsky's is We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century. A similar book is Danielle S Allen's Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality. I recommend them both (Allen's is especially appropriate on this 4th of July), and even more so Ganesh Sitaraman's The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution. I'll also note that two of our greatest historians have found progressive kernels in the Constitution: Gordon S Wood, in The Radicalism of the American Revolution, and Eric Foner, in The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution. I'm fully aware that every step forward is met with vitriol and retrenchment from self-proclaimed conservatives, and that they have often been successful, but when we look back on our history, the moments we're proudest of, and most inspired by, have always aspired toward more universal justice.

I suppose I should note that I started out as a devout believer in what I saw as American ideals, the consistent application of which led me toward a peculiarly individualized understanding of the left. One early step for me was reading Staughton Lynd's Intellectual Origins of American Radicalism (1968). I was so taken by the book that I wrote a defensive letter to Eugene Genovese, who had written a brutal review of Lind's book in The New York Review of Books. Genovese kindly replied, and suggested I read some of his work (which aside from papers at the time was just The Political Economy of Slavery). I did, and that was my introduction to Marxism. I came to understand Genovese's critique, but doubt I ever lost my initial sympathy for Lind -- or for the idea that a better America could draw on the ideals of the Revolution and Reconstruction.

I wrote the above last night, without particularly realizing that today is the 4th of July. We have no holiday plans. I probably won't even bother walking down the block to where the big fireworks show should be visible. I don't mind celebrating the holiday so much -- as I said above, the Declaration of Independence still resonates for me -- but I've come to hate the idea of celebrating by blowing things up.

I don't have much to say about music this week. I'm still trying to track down my long-time unrated list, which is the only reason I bothered with two Christmas albums this week. The top "old music" find this week was an LP I noticed while looking for something else. It turned out to be unrated but not in my unrated list, so finding it was dumb luck. Makes me wonder how many more there are. Otherwise, I've been following tips from more lists than I can keep track of. Some came from mid-year lists, links here.

As we've hit mid-year, I suppose I could offer you a list. The usual full one is here, but to focus a bit, let's omit the jazz (about half of the A-list, more like two-thirds of the overall list), and also omit records Robert Christgau has already reviewed/graded (since you probably know them already). That leaves us with this:

  1. Gonora Sounds: Hard Times Never Kill (The Vital Record)
  2. The Regrettes: Further Joy (Warner)
  3. Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul: Topical Dancer (Deewee/Because Music)
  4. Saba: Few Good Things (Saba Pivot)
  5. Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents the Price of Life (Ghost Theatre)
  6. Nilüfer Yanya: Painless (ATO)
  7. Regina Spektor: Home, Before and After (Sire)
  8. Rosalía: Motomami (Columbia)
  9. Hailey Whitters: Raised (Big Loud/Pigasus)
  10. Craig Finn: A Legacy of Rentals (Positive Jams)
  11. Camila Cabello: Familia (Epic)
  12. Etran de L'Aïr: Agadez (Sahel Sounds)
  13. Wiz Khalifa/Big KRIT/Smoke DZA/Girl Talk: Full Court Press (Asylum/Taylor Gang)
  14. Mxmtoon: Rising (AWAL)
  15. Lady Wray: Piece of Me (Big Crown)
  16. Lyrics Born: Mobile Homies Season 1 (Mobile Home)
  17. Charli XCX: Crash (Asylum)
  18. Kae Tempest: The Line Is a Curve (Republic)
  19. Corb Lund: Songs My Friends Wrote (New West)
  20. Lalalar: Bi Cinnete Bakar (Bongo Joe)
  21. Elza Soares: Elza Ao Vivo No Municipal (Deck)
  22. Freakons: Freakons (Fluff & Gravy)
  23. Nova Twins: Supernova (333 Wreckords Crew)
  24. Pastor Champion: I Just Want to Be a Good Man (Luaka Bop)
  25. Ian Noe: River Fools & Mountain Saints (Thirty Tigers)
  26. Buck 65: King of Drums (self-released)
  27. Moor Mother: Jazz Codes (Anti-)
  28. Fulu Miziki: Ngbaka EP (Moshi Moshi, EP)
  29. Bob Vylan: We Live Here (Deluxe) (Venn, EP -21)

I imagine a couple of those will appear in July's Consumer Guide, but don't dare guess which. Two are items I only wrote up today, too late for this post, so they'll be part of next week's (but I'll give you the album covers anyway).

New records reviewed this week:

Angles: A Muted Reality (2021 [2022], Clean Feed): Octet, led by Swedish alto saxophonist Martin Küchen, who has used the group name for a number of projects, usually qualified by the number of players, from 3-9. Three pieces, 38:26. Takes a while to find the track, but impressive when they do. B+(***) [bc]

Avalanche Kaito: Avalanche Kaito (2022, Glitterbeat): "A Burkinabe urban griot [Kaito Winse] meets a Brussels noise punk duo" [Benjamin Chavel on drums/electronics, Amaud Paquotte bass]. A sign of the times, if not much more than that. B+(*) [bc]

Camille Bertault & David Helbock: Playground (2021 [2022], ACT): French jazz singer, fourth album, wrote three songs here, four more coming from the Austrian pianist, with widely scattered covers (Monk, Scriabine, Gismonti, Björk, "Good Morning Heartache"). B+(**) [sp]

Daniel Carter/Matthew Shipp/William Parker/Gerald Cleaver: Welcome Adventure! Vol. 2 (2019 [2022], 577): Label likes to do these staged 2-volume deals, with Vol. 1 out back in 2020. Carter is credited with saxophones and clarinet; the others you know (piano, bass, drums). B+(**) [dl]

Daniel Carter/Patrick Holmes/Matthew Putnam/Hilliard Greene/Federico Ughi: Telepatica (2018 [2022], 577): Leader plays saxes, clarinet, and trumpet; others: clarinet, piano, bass, drums. B+(*) [dl]

Roxy Coss: Disparate Parts (2022, Outside In Music): Tenor saxophonist, fifth album, backed by guitar (Alex Wintz), piano (Miki Yamanaka), bass and drums. B+(**) [sp]

Amalie Dahl: Dafnie (2022, Sonic Transmissions): Danish saxophonist (alto/baritone, also clarinet), based in Trondheim, first album, group listed as Amalie Dahl's Dafnie, but cover parses as above. Quintet with trumpet, trombone, bass, and drums. B+(**) [sp]

Glenn Dickson: Wider Than the Sky (2021 [2022], Naftule's Dream): Klezmer clarinetist, first album under his own name, after group albums with Shirim Klezmer Orchestra and Naftule's Dream. Solo, accompanied by loops. B+(**) [cd] [07-08]

Signe Emmeluth/Dag Erik Knedal Andersen/Magnus Skavhaug Nergaard: The A-Z of Microwave Cookery (2020 [2022], Astral Spirits): Norwegian sax/bass/piano trio, alto/tenor. Joint improv, loses a bit when they slow down, but not much. B+(***) [bc]

David Francis: Sings Songs of the Twenties (2022, Blujazz, EP): Seattle-based standards singer, opens with "Honeysuckle Rose," touches on "Oh, Lady Be Good" and "Rockin' Chair," finishing seven songs in 19:17, not bad, been done better. B [cd]

GoGo Penguin: Between Two Waves (2022, XXIM, EP): British piano trio (Chris Illingworth, Nick Blacka, Jon Scott), albums since 2012, build off a snappy rhythm. Five songs, 24:41. B+(**) [sp]

Hard Bop Messengers: Live at the Last Hotel (2022, Pacific Coast Jazz): Group from St. Louis led by John Covelli (trombone), with Ben Shafer (sax/flute), Luke Sailor (piano), bass, drums, and lounge lizard singer Matt Krieg. Not as hard bop as you'd expect, but they swing some. B+(*) [sp]

Landaeus Trio: A Crisis of Perception (2019 [2022], Clean Feed): Piano trio led by Mathias Landaeus (also some interesting electronics), with Johnny Aman (bass) and Cornelia Nilsson (drums). Pianist has albums going back to 1996, and Trio has appeared on several albums backing up Martin Küchen. B+(***) [bc]

Magnus Lindgren/Georg Breinschmid: Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic XIII: Celebrating Mingus 100 (2022, ACT): Six Mingus classics, four arranged by Lindgren (baritone sax/bass clarinet, from Sweden), the others by Breinschmid (bass, from Austria), both with 20+ year careers that lean toward big bands. Group is an octet (plus vocalist Camille Bertault on one song), which splits the difference between the big bands that have flocked to Mingus since his death and the quintets that Mingus somehow whipped up into sounding even larger. B+(***) [sp]

Jeremy Manasia Trio: Butcher Block Ballet (2021 [2022], Blujazz): Straightforward piano trio, with Ugonna Okegwo (bass) and Charles Ruggiero (drums). B+(*) [cd]

Moskus: Papirfuglen (2020 [2022], Hubro): Norwegian group, albums since 2012, started as a piano (Anja Lauvdal), bass (Fredrik Luh Dietrichson), and drums (Hans Hulbaekmo) trio, but vary their sound more here, adding: synths/cembalo/vocoder, cello/mandolin, jews harp/drum machine/glockenspiel/recorder. B+(**) [bc]

OK:KO: Liesu (2022, We Jazz): Finnish quartet, led by drummer Okko Saastamoinen, with sax (Jarno Tikka), piano, and bass. B+(**) [bc]

Samo Salamon/Arild Andersen/Ra Kalam Bob Moses: Pure and Simple (2021 [2022], Samo): Slovenian guitarist, sends me most of his work, which I'm quite fond of, but rarely this much. The elders on bass and drums are more than inspiring. A- [cd]

Samo Salamon/Sabir Mateen: Joy and Sorrow (2020 [2022], Klopotec): Date given as "a couple years ago." Guitar and tenor sax/clarinet duo. Short (4 tracks, 35:50), some power. B+(***) [bc]

Samo Salamon/Cene Resnik/Urban Kusar: Takt Ars Sessions: Vol. 3 (2022, Samo): Guitar/tenor sax/drums, free improv set, new drummer this time after Jaka Berger on first two volumes. B+(***) [bc]

Linda Sikhakhane: Isambulo (2022, Ropeadope): South African saxophonist (tenor/soprano), studied in New York (Billy Harper was a mentor), based in Norway, third album. His sax has a spiritual (as in Coltrane) vibe to it. Parras and Anna Widauer vocals not so much. B+(**)

Soccer Mommy: Sometimes Forever (2022, Loma Vista): Singer-songwriter Sophie Allison, born in Zürich, grew up in Nashville, third album, starting to lose me. B+(*)

Günter Baby Sommer & the Lucaciu 3: Karawane (2022, Intakt): Venerable German drummer, says here "at the height of his musical career," but he's 78, born in Dresden shortly before the March 1945 fire-bombing that burned much of the city and killed 25,000 (revised estimate, I recall much higher numbers), old enough that he adopted his nickname in honor of Baby Dodds. Still pretty vigorous here. The Lucacius are Antonio (sax), Simon (piano), and Robert (bass), much younger (Antonio was born in 1987), also German (from Plauen). They get better when Sommer lights a fire under them. One highlight is a jive vocal, Sommer again. B+(***) [sp]

Regina Spektor: Home, Before and After (2022, Sire): Singer-songwriter, pianist, born in Moscow, came to US in 1989, and released her first album in 2001. This is number eight. Every song is striking, most lyrics are memorable. A-

The Sun Sawed in 1/2: Before the Fall (2022, self-released, EP): Neo-psychedelic pop outfit from St. Louis, founded 1990 by brothers Ken and Tim Rose, recorded five albums through 2000, one more in 2013, several EPs since 2021. This one is 6 songs, 25:09. B [bc]

Tarbaby Feat. Oliver Lake: Dance of the Evil Toys (2022, Clean Feed): Group a piano trio led by Orrin Evans with Eric Revis (bass) and Nasheet Waits (drums), appeared originally in 2009 on a short eponymous album, with three more albums through 2013, including one with alto saxophonist Lake as a guest. This one also adds Josh Lawrence (trumpet) and extra percussion (Dana Murray) on the title track. Evans' vocal on the opener threw me, but Lake gives another strong performance. B+(**) [bc]

TEIP Trio: TEIP Trio (2020 [2022], Sonic Transmissions): Free jazz trio ("with heavy rock elements") from Trondheim, Norway: Jens-Jonas Francis Roberts (clarinet), Arne Bredesen (guitar), Nicolas Leirtrø (baritone guitar). Closer to ambient, but on the creepy side. B+(*) [bc]

Crystal Thomas: Now Dig This! (2021, Dialtone): Blues singer, plays some trombone, old-fashioned enough the album is in mono, band led by Lucky Peterson on organ, with Johnny Moeller on guitar, plus bass and drums. No originals: writing credits include Albert King, Shirley Scott, Jerry Williams Jr., Janis Joplin. B+(***) [sp]

Kobe Van Cauwenberghe: Ghost Trance Septet Plays Anthony Braxton (2021 [2022], El Negocito): Guitarist, also credited with synths and voice, from Belgium (Antwerp), has a couple albums, including Ghost Trance Solos on this same music. Septet here covers a nice range with trumpet/euphonium, tenor sax/bass clarinet, piano, violin, bass, and drums (no names I recall running into). Four pieces, each 22-25 minutes. I've somehow managed to miss all of Braxton's Ghost Trance Music (GTM) recordings, so entered this with no particular expectations. But for tarters, most pieces are pretty bouncy, in that stilted way of old classical music (Bach?), but much less predictable, and much more interesting. B+(***) [dl]

Bugge Wesseltoft: Be Am (2021 [2022], Jazzland): Norwegian pianist, ventured into electronics with his New Conception of Jazz records. This, however, is mostly solo piano (acoustic, but some electric, kalimba, and effects), with tenor sax (Håkon Kornstad) on two tracks. B+(*) [sp]

Wild Up: Julius Eastman Vol. 2: Joy Boy (2022, New Amsterdam): Large group base in Los Angeles, lots of strings with twice as many reeds as brass, and voices as needed. Did Femenine for their first volume of Eastman compositions, expect to release seven volumes before they're done. The previously unrecorded title piece is especially interesting. B+(**)

Tom Zé: Língua Brasileira (2022, Sesc): Iconoclastic Brazilian singer-songwriter, started in the late 1960s with the Tropicália movement, slipped into obscurity but Americans discovered him through two 1990-04 Luaka Bop compilations. I've been up and down on him, and find this one even more confusing than most. B+(**) [sp]

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:

A Chant About the Beauty of the Moon at Night: Hawaiian Steel Guitar Masters: Lost + Rare Performances 1913-1921 (1913-21 [2022], Magnificent Sounds): Title about covers it. Sound on the thin side, but could be worse given the dates. An interesting curio. B [bc]

Ingebrigt Håker Flaten/Rolf-Erik Nystrøm: El Sistema (2000 [2021], Sonic Transmissions): Norwegian bass and sax duo, no spec on the saxophone(s), but alto seems to be his first choice. The combination usually favors the saxophonist, but more often than not the bassist is out front. B+(***) [bc]

Malik's Emerging Force Art Trio: Time and Condition (1982 [2022], Moved-by-Sound): Alto saxophonist Maurice Malik King, from St. Louis, first and possibly only album, trio with Zimbabwe Nkenya (bass violin) and Qaiyim Shabazz (congas). B+(***) [bc]

Asha Puthli: The Essential Asha Puthli (1968-80 [2022], Mr. Bongo): Indian singer and actress, early singles with a group called the Surfers (including covers of "Sound of Silence," "Sunny," and "Fever"), appeared on Ornette Coleman's Science Fiction (2 tracks here), at least four albums for CBS in the 1970s (as far as this album goes). Hard to tell much from such scattered examples, but I rather like her disco phase. B+(***) [bc]

Sirone: Artistry (1978 [2022], Moved-by-Sound): Bassist Norris Jones (1940-2009), from Georgia, best known as a member of the Revolutionary Ensemble (with Leroy Jenkins and Jerome Cooper). First of only several albums as leader, with James Newton (flute), Muneer Bernard Fennell (cello), and Don Moye (percussion). B+(*) [bc]

Old music:

Ray Charles: True to Life (1977, Atlantic): On his return to Atlantic, he tries to turn on the genius, and scores some minor successes. B+(**) [yt]

Jason Paul Curtis: These Christmas Days (2017, self-released): Jazz singer, based in Virginia near DC, fourth album (turns out I got the title wrong of the one I've heard). Mostly originals, half done with a big band called Swing Shift, the other half with a 4-piece combo called Swinglab. B- [cd]

Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition: Irresistible Forces (1987, MCA/Impulse): Drummer, used this group name for six albums (1981-91), here a sextet including "special guest" Nana Vasconcelos (percussion). The others are Greg Osby (alto/soprano sax), Gary Thomas (tenor sax/flute), Mick Goodrick (guitar), and Lonnie Plaxico (bass). B+(**) [lp]

Johnny Dyani Quartet: Song for Biko (1978 [1979], SteepleChase): Bassist, one of the Blue Notes exiled from South Africa, settled in Denmark, where he found Don Cherry (cornet), joined here by two more South Africans: Dudu Pukwana (alto sax), and Makaya Ntshoko (drums). The titles may look back to Africa, but the music plunges head first into freedom. A- [lp]

Kansas: Miracles Out of Nowhere (2015, Epic): Prog-rock band out of Topeka, appeared in 1974 with a lousy album featuring an iconic John Brown painting on the cover (part of a mural in the Kansas State Capitol building). Some time later, I wrote a review making fun of them -- I never was very happy with that piece, because it was built on prejudices, but it went over well with my Voice audience -- and never listened to them again -- even after I got this deluxe package, a CD plus a Blue Ray and DVD of a documentary movie about the band (still haven't watched it, and doubt I ever will). I'm only bothering with the CD now because it's on my checklist. It includes spoken word bits, mostly working as intros to the overblown but not always awful music. C+

Steve Lacy: The Door (1988 [1989], Novus): Soprano saxophonist, started in Dixieland, bypassed bebop for the avant-garde, although he often looked back to Monk and Herbie Nichols -- he plays pieces by Monk, George Handy, and Strayhorn/Ellington here, along with three originals. Two duos here, three quintet pieces (with Steve Potts on alto sax and Bobby Few on piano), adding Irène Aëbi (violin) and a second drummer, Sam Woodyard (in one of his last performances), for the Ellington. B+(***) [lp]

Michael Mantler/Carla Bley: 13 & 3/4 (1975, Watt): German trumpet player, the former Lovella May Borg's second famous musician husband -- she started touring as Carla Borg in the late 1950s, then married Paul Bley and kept the name. She made her mark initially as a composer, with George Russell and Jimmy Giuffre recording her pieces. Her and Mantler founded the New Music Distribution Service, for artist-owned small labels (theirs was Watt, named for the Samuel Beckett novel), and the Jazz Composers Orchestra, which recorded notable albums by a rotating cast of leaders (Roswell Rudd's Numatik Swing Band is a personal favorite), including Bley's big opera (Escalator Over the Hill in 1971). This album gave each artist a side to compose and conduct, with Bley's band big (19), and Mantler's humongous (56). Both pieces are ambitious, but Mantler's stands out, not just for its grandeur but for Bley's exceptional piano solo midway. Probably no surprise that Mantler wound up doing soundtracks. B+(**) [lp]

Motohiro Nakashima: And I Went to Sleep (2004, Lo): Japanese electronica producer, Discogs lists four albums (2004-09), this the first, but Bandcamp has more recent material. Plays guitar, keyboards, picks up some folk influence, keeps a nice flow. B+(*) [cd]

Sun Ra and His Interglactic Solar Arkestra: Soundtrack to the Film Space Is the Place (1972 [1993], Evidence): Sixteen tracks for a 1974 sci-fi film directed by John Coney, and written by Ra and Joshua Smith, recycling the title of the group's 1973 Impulse album (5 tracks, 42:51; 2 titles appear in both, but in different versions). Not much mood music, but some vocals help with story hints, or are amusing in their own right. B+(**) [cd]

The U.S. Army Blues: Swinging in the Holidays (2017, self-released): Feels stupid to be listening to Christmas music in July, but feels stupid in December too, and this band always gets my blood up, even when they don't personally deserve it. C [cd]

Cedar Walton: Spectrum (1968, Prestige): Pianist (1934-2013), played in the Benny Golson-Art Farmer Jazztet 1958-61, then with Art Blakey (1961-64), led his own albums from 1967, also the group Eastern Rebellion. Second album, one trio track with Richard Davis (bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums), four more with Blue Mitchell (trumpet) and Clifford Jordan (tenor sax). B+(**)

Cedar Walton: The Electric Boogaloo Song (1969, Prestige): Quintet, same horns (Blue Mitchell and Clifford Jordan), different bass and drums (Bob Cranshaw and Mickey Roker), with Walton opening on electric piano for the title cut. B

Cedar Walton: Spectrum (1968-69 [1994], Prestige): Twofer CD, adds The Electric Boogaloo Song to the original album (69:26 total). B+(*)

Cedar Walton: Soul Cycle (1970, Prestige): With James Moody (tenor sax), Rudy Stevenson (guitar), Reggie Workman (bass), and Tootie Heath (drums), again opening electric some kind of soul jazz gesture, but acquits himself better on acoustic. B+(*)

Cedar Walton Quartet: Third Set (1977 [1983], SteepleChase): Walton did much of his best work with sax quartets, especially the 1976 album Eastern Rebellion with George Coleman, Sam Jones, and Billy Higgins. He kept the group name, releasing an Eastern Rebellion 2 in 1977 with Bob Berg taking over at tenor sax, and continued using it into the 1990s with Ralph Moore. This is the quartet with Berg, the third from Montmartre in Copenhagen (Second Set is a favorite). Starts with a Higgins tune, followed by two Walton originals, winding up with two shorter Monk pieces. B+(***)

Cedar Walton: Among Friends (1982 [1992], Evidence): This is a trio, with Buster Williams (bass) and Billy Higgins (drums), plus a guest spot for Bobby Hutcherson (vibes). B+(**) [cd]

Cedar Walton Trio: Cedar (1985 [1990], Timeless): Piano trio, five Walton originals plus one each from David Williams (bass) and Billy Higgins (drums). B+(***) [sp]

The Phil Woods Quintet: Heaven (1984 [1996], Evidence): Alto saxophonist, also plays some clarinet here, started in the early 1950s as one of "Bird's children," much later was often found in the company of Benny Carter or Lee Konitz. This comes off as a hard bop quintet, with Tom Harrell (trumpet/flugelhorn) and Hal Galper (piano) giving him a run for the money. B+(***) [cd]

Tom Zé: Grande Liquidação (1968 [2011], Mr. Bongo): Brazilian singer-songwriter Antônio José Santana Martins, discovered for Americans by David Byrne, who packed his 1973-75 singles into Brazil Classics 4: The Best of Tom Zé. This was his first album, from when he was close to the Tropicália movement. Even then, this is odd enough to be called psychedelic, not that I have any idea what that means. Album was originally released as Tom Zé, as was his next two. B+(**) [bc]

Tom Zé: Tom Zé (1970 [2014], Mr. Bongo): Second album, has retained its original eponymous title. Cover suggests a simple singer-songwriter, but nothing with this guy goes quite the way you expect. B+(***) [bc]

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Kevin Cerovich: Aging Millennial (CVJ)
  • William Flynn: Seaside (OA2) [07-15]
  • Meridian Odyssey: Earthshine (Origin) [07-15]
  • Tobin Mueller: Prestidigitation (self-released) [06-22]
  • Samo Salamon/Arild Andersen/Ra Kalam Bob Moses: Pure and Simple (Samo) [06-01]

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