Monday, August 7, 2023

Music Week

August archive (in progress).

Music: Current count 40662 [40636] rated (+26), 12 [14] unrated (-2).

I published another Speaking of Which yesterday (5691 words, 93 links). Could have written much more, but couldn't find the time, and by Sunday evening the will was flagging as well.

I have even less to say about this week's music, or for that matter this past week. I'm making minor progress on my technical projects, but still have a lot more to do. Posting this early will open up some time on Monday. One thing I did get done last week was a trip to Thai Binh, as I was running low on hoisin sauce. While there, I picked up some pork and eggplants, so I need to cook dinner on Tuesday, and make time for all that entails. At last, a project with a reasonable expectation of completion.

Christian Iszchak wrote a longer review of Flang Dang. I heard the mid-1970s albums when they came out, but haven't played them in ages, and probably only have them on vinyl (if that). I had the record in my tracking file, but hadn't pursued it. But I had checked out a couple of his more recent albums. I also remember his earlier group, Amen Corner, but didn't register anything by it in my database.

I didn't get July's indexing done (or at least I don't remember doing it), so maybe next week.

New records reviewed this week:

Aline's Etoile Magique: Eclipse (2023, Elastic): Violinist Aline Homzy, from Montreal, based in New York. Quintet with vibes, guitar, bass, and percussion, plus some guest spots. B+(**) [cd] [08-25]

Bdrmm: I Don't Know (2023, Rock Action): British shoegaze band, Ryan Smith the vocalist, second album. Influences "drawn from a wider range of sounds," blended together nice but indecisively. B+(*) [sp]

Gordon Beeferman/Michael Evans/Michael Foster/Shelley Hirsch: Glow (2021 [2023], Tripticks Tapes): Keyboard player, half-dozen albums back to 2001, with drums and tenor/soprano sax, with Hirsch's improvised vocals. B+(*) [bc]

Will Bernard & Beth Custer: Sky (2023, Dreck to Disk): Guitar and clarinet duo, with Custer singing a couple (like "John Brown's Body"). Low key and down home. B+(*) [cd] [09-05]

Geof Bradfield Quintet: Quaver (2021 [2023], Calligram): Tenor saxophonist, born in Houston, based in Chicago, albums since 2008 plus a fair number of side credits. Quintet with Russ Johnson (trumpet), Scott Hesse (guitar), Clark Sommers (bass), and Dana Hall (drums). B+(***) [cd]

The Clientele: I Am Not There Anymore (2023, Merge): British indie rock band, founded 1991 but first album not until 2000, this only their second since 2010. B+(*) [sp]

Bethany Cosentino: Natural Disaster (2023, Concord): Singer for Best Coast, four albums 2010-20, first solo album, amps up the pop riffs, finding excitement in topical events that would bum most people out. B+(***) [sp]

Ember: August in March (2023, Imani): Brooklyn trio, fronted by Caleb Wheeler Curtis (strich, trumpet, reed trumpet -- never heard of the latter, but his native instrument is alto sax), with bass (Noah Garabedian) and drums (Vincent Sperrazza), group has a 2021 album with Orrin Evans. One of many terrific free sax trios this year, with a neat twist. A- [cd] [08-11]

Foo Fighters: But Here We Are (2023, Roswell/RCA): Grunge band from Seattle, formed 1994 by ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, who switched over to guitar and vocals. Eleventh studio album, fifth I've heard, having skipped the last three. No rush on this one either, but it showed up on three mid-year lists, and is probably the highest-rated non-metal album that I hadn't bothered with (86/31 at AOTY). Starts off tolerable enough, but the anguish is communicable. B- [sp]

Michael Foster: The Industrious Tongue of Michael Foster (2022, Relative Pitch): Saxophonist (tenor/soprano), produces his inevitable solo album, aided by sampler and oscillators, featuring more tongue effects than outright blowing. B+(*) [sp]

Leo Genovese/Demian Cabaud/Marcos Cavaleiro: Estrellero (2023, Sunnyside): Piano-bass-drums trio, the first two Argentines who studied at Berklee, with Cabaud moving on to Portugal, where he met the drummer. B+(**) [sp]

Georgia: Euphoric (2023, Domino): British pop singer Georgia Barnes, third album. B+(***) [sp]

The Ghost: Vanished Pleasures (2023, Relative Pitch): Tenor/soprano saxophonist Michael Foster, leading a free jazz trio with bass (Jared Radichel) and drums (Joey Sullivan). Quite a few albums since 2013, a couple under this name (but with different players). B+(***) [sp]

Cory Hanson: Western Cum (2023, Drag City): Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, third album, previous titles The Unborn Capitalist From Limbo and Pale Horse Rider. Leads with guitar, which remains dominant even when buried in the band sound. B+(*) [sp]

J Hus: Beautiful and Brutal Yard (2023, Black Butter): British rapper Momodou Jallow, parents Gambian, third album. B+(**) [sp]

Mike Jones Trio: Are You Sure You Three Guys Know What You're Doing? (2022 [2023], Capri): Pianist, goes back to the 1990s, with Penn Jillette (bass) and Jeff Hamilton (drums). Standards, everything from "Perdido" to Jobim, closing with an original. B+(**) [cd] [08-18]

Andy Fairweather Low: Flang Dang (2023, Last Music): Welsh singer-songwriter, recorded three low-key but remarkably catchy albums 1974-76, but virtually nothing after 1980 up to 2006 (exception is the 1983 Moments of Madness, credited to Local Boys). Since then he's turned out several live albums, coasting on his reputation, such as it is. But it appears the lockdown got him to concentrate, to write some new songs and play everything but the drums. The label calls this "a remarkable return to form," but it's also a disarmingly engaging return to basics. A- [sp]

Lowcountry: Lowcountry (2023, Ropeadope): A group of Gullah singers and storytellers from South Carolina, led by trumpeter/composer Matt White and percussionist Quentin E. Baxter, talk and sing some, rooted in one of the few American communities that retains much of its African past, framed by a a string quartet and a jazz combo, including ringer Chris Potter on tenor sax. B+(***) [cd]

Chad McCullough: The Charm of Impossibilities (2022 [2023], Calligram): Seattle-based trumpet player, albums since 2009 including several groups. Cut this one in Chicago, with Jon Irabagon (tenor/soprano sax), Larry Kohut (bass), and Jon Deitemyer (drums), with Tim Hagans co-producing. Credits Olivier Messiaen's "Techniques of My Musical Language," while finding his own. A- [cd]

Jesper Nordberg: Trio (2023, Gotta Let It Out): Danish bassist, first album, trio with violin (Stefan Pōntinen) and Ruhi Erdogan (trumpet). Good use of these pairings. B+(***) [bc]

Kresten Osgood/Bob Moses/Tisziji Muñoz: Spiritual Drum Kingship (2022 [2023], Gotta Let It Out): Two drummers plus electric guitar. The latter is an American, born in Brooklyn, released an album on India Navigation in 1978, but didn't really produce much until the late 1990s, when he recorded albums with Moses, Pharoah Sanders, Dave Liebman, Marilyn Crispellm, and Rashied Ali. Moses is of similar age, not just a drummer but a student of percussion everywhere. Osgood is younger, from Denmark, started around 2002, starting with Sam Rivers, Oliver Lake, and other notables. Such a tour de force by the guitarist that it takes two very fast drummers to keep up, and these two make the album. A- [bc]

Chuck Owen and the WDR Big Band: Renderings (2019-21 [2023], MAMA): Arranger/conductor, composer of three (of eight) tracks here, teaches at University of South Florida, has seven previous albums since 1995 with his group, the Jazz Surge. German big band here, with a featured spot for Sara Caswell (violin). B+(***) [cd]

Susanne Sundfør: Blómi (2023, Bella Union): Norwegian singer-songwriter, sixth studio album since 2007. Dedicated to her theologian grandfather and to her daughter, title from Old Norse (to bloom), only partly in English. B+(*) [sp]

Tainy: Data (2023, Neon16): Puerto Rican reggaeton producer Marcos Efrain Masis Fernández, first album (other than a co-credit from 2006), nineteen tracks have co-credits including some fairly major ones (Bad Bunny, Julieta Venegas, Myke Towers, Skrillex). B+(*) [sp]

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:

Abdul Wadud: By Myself: Solo Cello (1977 [2023], Gotta Groove): Cellist, originally Ronald DeVaughn (1947-2022), very little under his own name, but his duos with Julius Hemphill are well remembered. B+(**) [bc]

Old music:

Ember With Orrin Evans: No One Is Any One (2020 [2021], Sunnyside): Alto saxophonist Caleb Wheeler Curtis, formed this trio with Noah Garabedian (bass) and Vinnie Sperrazza (drums), and caught the ear of the pianist, who joins in on the back stretch (four tracks, of ten), slowing things down. B+(**) [bc]

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Adam Birnbaum: Preludes (Chelsea Music Festival) [10-10]
  • Itamar Borochov: Arba (Greenleaf Music) [09-09]
  • Christian Dillingham: Cascades (Greenleaf Music) [09-01]
  • Darrel Grant's MJ New: Our Mr. Jackson (Lair Hill) [10-06]
  • Chuck Owen and the WDR Big Band: Renderings (MAMA) [07-21]
  • Claudia Villela: Cartas Ao Vento (Taina Music) [09-08]

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