May 2021 Notebook
Index
Latest

2021
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2020
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2019
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2018
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2017
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2016
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2015
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2014
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2013
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2012
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2011
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2010
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2009
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2008
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2007
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2006
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2005
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2004
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2003
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2002
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2001
  Dec
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb

Monday, May 03, 2021

Music Week

Expanded blog post, May archive (in progress).

Music: Current count 35336 [35287] rated (+49), 220 [220] unrated (+0).

The music part is easy enough to introduce. Early in the week, I pulled enough new music from the demo queue to keep the backlog count even. I tried to grab things that were already available, but I went ahead with Simon Moullier (out June 11) after I inadvertently slapped it on. The other future release is the new James Brandon Lewis, coming out later this week. I couldn't wait.

I did a little work last week adding jazz records to my tracking file, so that suggested some of the new non-CD records, and leaves me more for the future. First time I did that this year, but the list currently has 109 unheard records (almost all jazz), in addition to the 226 records I have rated (or have in my queue). Still far from exhaustive. (I've only made it about 50% of the way through Discogs 2021 jazz list, and have only picked out records that struck me as interesting.)

More old music again. I lost track of where I was with my file of albums that Christgau has graded but I haven't heard, so started again at the top, with Asleep at the Wheel and Asylum Street Spankers. I like the former's more recent Bob Wills tributes (Ride With Bob and Still the King), also the Spankers' The Last Laugh, but had heard little of their earlier work. I also had totally missed Sam Baker. Still working on him.

Before that I took a dive into Jorge Ben, who Christgau hasn't reviewed (except for Gil E Jorge). I had listened to a fair amount of Gilberto Gil recently, which led to the Ben recommendation. I had two unrated Ben albums in my database: Tropical and Samba Nova, both on Mango in 1976, but I couldn't find the LPs. I did find the former on YouTube, but not the latter -- a comp from 1970-74 albums, but I couldn't find enough of them to assemble a songlist, so I wound up dropping it from my unrated list.

While researching the Ben albums, I was surprised to find Wikipedia citing my grades for albums I had never heard before. Turns out the grades came from a notebook entry, where I had squirreled away a multi-part "Jorge Ben Projeto" that Rodney Taylor had posted on the now-defunct MSN Expert Witness forum. Taylor covers everything there, but it turns out he later revised and greatly expanded his piece, available on his Brazil Beat blog. Someone should alert Wikipedia and get them to credit the grades properly. They definitely shouldn't drop them, nor should they substitute (or even include) my new grades, which are little more than guesses from someone who knows very little about Brazilian music, who doesn't speak or follow the language, and who has rarely heard these records more than once or twice.

For resources on Brazilian music, I should also mention Cam Patteron's Brazil Project, which also dates from MSN EW days (2011), and I've long hosted in my "guests" space. Knowing a little bit more now than I did then, I should revisit the piece and check out some of his recommendations.

Still not finding much new non-jazz that appeals to me, but I'm not looking very hard. Just notice Phil Overeem's Most Euphonious Fruit of First Quarter, 2021, so I have work to do catching up, but will note that his 3 and 5 picks are new jazz: James Brandon Lewis's Jesup Wagon and Miguel Zenon's Law Years, which rank pretty high on my 2021 list.

Christgau wrote a nice, ungraded review of Peter Stampfel's 20th Century in 100 Songs. I slogged through the Bandcamp a while back, and gave it a B+(**). Chances are that in CD-sized chunks, with the nice packaging and extensive documentation, it might rate better -- although I may have already cut him some slack.


Bought a new printer, and I'm already hugely annoyed at HP for insisting that it be connected to the Internet and not to my computer for set up. Supposedly I get eight months of "free ink," but looks like I have to sign up for a subscription to get that. We hardly ever print anything, so this involves a lot of speculation. Trying to clean up and reorganize as I go on, so that's another excuse to take it slow.

Made trivial progress on memoir last week, a bit more on collecting the blog posts into a Trump era book. I need to be very selective with the latter, to compress 2800 pages into something like 300. I find I'm doing a lot of rewriting as I proceed -- not that I need to change my arguments so much as I'm seeing easy ways to squeeze sentences into more compact form. At least, until I ran into the RNC in July, 2016 post, which includes a long intro that is too kind to Trump. At the time, I stressed that Trump was no worse than his rivals. I haven't changed my mind -- thank God we don't four years led by Cruz, Rubio, or Kasich for comparison -- but didn't stress enough how low that bar was.

Sometimes I miss writing about politics, but I sure don't miss the pressure on Sundays. I'm pretty happy with Biden so far. Two things: he recognizes that real answers come from the left these days; and he recalls that Obama's bipartisan outreach fell into a trap, and that Republicans cannot be trusted. Those are big things, and they're not things you would have predicted from him, either based on his 2020 campaign or on his 50-year track record of dealing with the devil. I could rag on him over foreign policy, but it looks like he's taking a circuitous route to progress on Iran and North Korea, and the hot air on China and Russia seems to be just that.

No doubt if I dug deeper, I'd find things to get upset over, but I'm too old to sweat that many details. Jeffrey St. Clair is still trying, but even he is losing much of his vitriol. ("One hundred days of platitudes" is something we should be alarmed by?)

I should write up answers to whatever questions I have pending. I don't have many. Some are mere suggestions, which I may follow up on and maybe even report. Also, questions about specific album grades aren't very interesting. However, if there is something you're curious about, or just want to prod me into expanding on something, now would be a good time to use the form.


New records reviewed this week:

  • Lina Allemano Four: Vegetables (2020 [2021], Lumo): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Chris Corsano & Bill Orcutt: Made Out of Sound (2020 [2021], Palilalia): [bc]: B+(**)
  • David Friesen & Bob Ravenscroft: Passage (2015-20 [2021], Origin): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Vincent Herring: Preaching to the Choir (2021, Smoke Sessions): [r]: B+(***)
  • James Brandon Lewis Red Lily Quintet: Jesup Wagon (2020 [2021], Tao Forms): [cd]: A- [05-07]
  • Damon Locks/Black Monument Ensemble: Now (2020 [2021], International Anthem): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Simon Moullier Trio: Countdown (2020 [2021], Fresh Sound New Talent): [cd]: B+(**) [06-11]
  • Natural Information Society/Evan Parker: Descension (Out of Our Constrictions) (2019 [2021], Aguirre/Eremite): [r]: B+(***)
  • Evan Parker Quartet: All Knavery and Collusion (2019 [2021], Cadillac): [r]: B+(*)
  • Nicki Parrott: If You Could Read My Mind (2021, Arbors): [r]: B+(**)
  • Rich Pellegrin: Solitude: Solo Improvisations (2019 [2021], OA2): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Ruben Reinaldo & Kely Garcia: Acuarel (2019 [2020], Free Code): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Jeff Rosenstock: Ska Dream (2021, Polyvinyl): [r]: B+(*)
  • Greg Skaff: Polaris (2020 [2021], Smoke Sessions): [r]: B
  • Alexa Tarantino: Firefly (2021, Posi-Tone): [r]: B+(**)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:

  • Henry Franklin: The Skipper (1972 [2021], Black Jazz/Real Gone Music): [r]: B+(***)
  • Henry Franklin: The Skipper at Home (1974, Black Jazz): [r]: B+(*)
  • Chester Thompson: Powerhouse (1971 [2021], Black Jazz/Real Gone Music): [r]: B+(*)

Old music:

  • Asleep at the Wheel: Comin' Right at Ya (1973, United Artists): [r]: A-
  • Asleep at the Wheel: Asleep at the Wheel (1974, Columbia): [r]: B+(**)
  • Asleep at the Wheel: Texas Gold (1975, Capitol): [r]: B+(**)
  • Asleep at the Wheel: Wheelin' and Dealin' (1976, Capitol): [r]: B+(*)
  • Asleep at the Wheel: The Wheel (1977, Capitol): [r]: B+(***)
  • Asleep at the Wheel: Collision Course (1978, Capitol): [r]: B
  • Asleep at the Wheel: Western Standard Time (1988, Columbia): [r]: B+(*)
  • The Asylum Street Spankers: Spanker Madness (2000, Spanks-a-Lot): [r]: A-
  • Asylum Street Spankers: Mercurial (2004, Yellow Dog): [r]: B+(***)
  • Asylum Street Spankers: What? And Give Up Show Biz? (2008, Yellow Dog, 2CD): [r]: B+(***)
  • Au Pairs: Sense and Sensuality (1982, Kamera): [r]: B
  • Average White Band: AWB (1974, Atlantic): [r]: B+(**)
  • Eric B. & Rakim: Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em (1990, MCA): [r]: B+(***)
  • Sam Baker: Mercy (2003 [2004], Blue Lime Stone): [r]: A-
  • Sam Baker: Pretty World (2006 [2007], Blue Lime Stone): [r]: A-
  • Sam Baker: Cotton (2009, Music Road): [r]: B+(***)
  • Jorge Ben: Samba Esquema Novo (1963, Philips): [r]: B+(***)
  • Jorge Ben: Sacundin Ben Samba (1964, Philips): [r]: B+(**)
  • Jorge Ben: Big Ben (1965, Philips): [r]: B+(*)
  • Jorge Ben: O Bidú: Silêncio No Brooklin (1967, Artistas Unidos): [yt]: B+(***)
  • Jorge Ben: Jorge Ben (1969, Philips): [r]: A-
  • Jorge Ben: Negro É Lindo (1971, Philips): [yt]: B+(***)
  • Jorge Ben: A Tábua De Esmeralda (1974, Philips): [r]: B+(***)
  • Jorge Ben: Solta O Pavão (1975, Philips): [r]: A-
  • Jorge Ben: África Brasil (1976, Philips): [yt]: A-
  • Jorge Ben: Tropical (1976, Mango): [yt]: B
  • Jorge Ben: Alô Alô, Como Vai? (1980, Som Livre): [r]: B+(**)
  • Jorge Ben: Dádiva (1983, Som Livre): [r]: B+(**)
  • Gilberto Gil: Refavela (1977, Philips): [r]: B+(***)
  • Charles Tolliver Music Inc: Live in Tokyo (1973, Strata-East): [yt]: B+(**)


Further Sampling:

Records I played parts of, but not enough to grade: -- means no interest, - not bad but not a prospect, + some chance, ++ likely prospect.

  • Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society: Mandatory Reality (2017 [2021], Eremite): [bc]: +
  • Hedvig Mollestad Trio: Ding Dong. You're Dead. (2021, Rune Grammofon): [bc]: +


Grade (or other) changes:

  • Gilberto Gil/Jorge Ben: Gil E Jorge (1975 [1992], Verve): [yt]: [was: B] A-


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Alchemy Sound Project: Afrika Love (ARC) [05-14]
  • Flow Trio With Joe McPhee: Winter Garden (ESP-Disk)
  • Satoko Fujii Tokyo Trio: Moon on the Lake (Libra) [05-07]
  • Noah Haidu/Buster Williams/Billy Hart: Slowly: Song for Keith Jarrett (An Die Musik) [05-08]
  • Liudas Mockunas/Arfvydad Kaziauskas: Purvs (Jersika -2LP)
  • Dave Rempis/Tomeka Reid/Joshua Abrams/Tim Daisy/Tyler Damon: The Covid Tapes: Solos, Duos, & Trios (Aerophonic, 2CD) [06-15]
  • Almog Sharvit: Get Up or Cry (Unit) [05-28]
  • Jen Shyu & Jade Tongue: Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses (Pi)


Apr 2021