Streamnotes: July 25, 2022


Most of these are short notes/reviews based on streaming records from Napster (formerly Rhapsody; other sources are noted in brackets). They are snap judgments, usually based on one or two plays, accumulated since my last post along these lines, back on June 27. Past reviews and more information are available here (19878 records).


Recent Releases

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]

Caterina Barbieri: Spirit Exit (2022, Light-Years): Italian electronica producer, fifth album since 2017, adds strings, guitar, and vocals to her usual synths. B+(**) [sp]

Bedouin/DakhaBrakha: The Bedouin Reworks of DakhaBrakha (2022, Human by Default, EP): Brooklyn-based DJs Rami Abousabe and Tamer Malki, who have a bunch of singles/EPs since 2014, add synth beats to four songs (28:37) from a Ukrainian folk quartet. B+(**) [sp]

Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Love for Sale (2021, Columbia/Interscope): Ancient crooner (95) and former pop phenom (35), did an album of standards in 2013, return to formula here, focusing on Cole Porter songs, because, well, they're the top. Usual string arrangements that swing a little but not a lot, two capable voices, no reason to complain, but not much to crow about either. B+(**) [sp]

Sarah Bernstein: Veer Quartet (2022, New Focus): Violinist, leads a string quartet with second violin, viola, and cello. Music not without interest, but I've often found the sound unappealing, and this is a sustained example. B [cd] [09-02]

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]

Burna Boy: Love, Damini (2022, Atlantic): Nigerian singer-songwriter Damini Ogulu, studied in London and Oxford before returning to Lagos. He seems to have kept his UK and US connections, producing a hip-hop fusion that travels effortlessly. First time I heard him was on a Madonna album. This album includes spots for a wide range of guests, from Ed Sheeran to Popcaan, J Balvin to Hus, Blxst and Kehlani. B+(**) [sp]

Tia Carroll: You Gotta Have It (2021, Little Village Foundation): Blues singer, based in California (Bay Area), second album, wrote 3 (of 11) songs. 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]

Cyrus Chestnut: My Father's Hands (2021 [2022], HighNote): Mainstream piano trio, with Peter Washington (bass) and Lewis Nash (drums), aside from a solo "I Must Tell Jesus." Four originals, six covers, "Yesterday" the least valuable. B+(*) [cd]

Columbia Icefield: Ancient Songs of Burlap Heroes (2021 [2022], Pyroclastic): Group name from trumpeter Nate Wooley's 2019 album, also with Susan Alcorn (pedal steel guitar), Mary Halvorson (guitar), and Ryan Sawyer (drums), with Wooley doing the electronics that leave long stretches of barren and desolate ambience. Mat Maneri (viola) and Trevor Dunn (electric bass) also play on one track each. B+(**) [cd]

Bob Corritore & Friends: Spider in My Stew (2021, SWMAF/VizzTone): Blues harmonica player, based in Chicago, many albums since 2007, usually sharing the bill with someone like John Primer or Tail Dragger, or with various mixes of his Friends -- he uses eight bass players here, five drummers, four keyboard players, a bunch of singers. B+(**) [sp]

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]

Guy Davis: Be Ready When I Call You (2021, M.C.): Country blues singer, shades of Taj Mahal, early albums in 1978 and 1984, a regular stream from 1993 on. Sharpest song here is "Flint River Blues"; sappiest is "Palestine, Oh Palestine," or maybe "I Looked Around," but credit for trying. B+(***) [sp]

Mark de Clive-Lowe & Friends: Freedom: Celebrating the Music of Pharoah Sanders (2022, Soul Bank): Keyboard player from New Zealand, albums since 1997. Pays due respect to the music, with Teodross Avery capturing the gravel in the sax, but Dwight Trible struggles with the vocals -- never a great idea. B+(**) [bc]

Randal Despommier: A Midsummer Odyssey (2021 [2022], Sunnyside): Alto saxophonist, from Louisiana, duo with guitarist Ben Monder (listed as "featuring" on cover), playing nine pieces, as the fine print notes "The Music of Lars Gullin." If you don't know Gullin, you have some catching up to do: a baritone saxophonist, he was one of Sweden's most eminent jazz musicians from the early 1950s to his death in 1976. This is brief (34:06), surprising, and lovely. B+(***) [cd]

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]

Elucid: I Told Bessie (2022, Backwoodz Studioz): New York rapper Chaz Hall, probably best known as half of Armand Hammer, has a number of solo albums/mixtapes since 2007. Dedicates this one to his late grandmother. B+(**) [sp]

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]

Yuko Fujiyama/Graham Haynes/Ikue Mori: Quiet Passion (2019 [2022], Intakt): Japanese pianist, probably based in New York, has a short discography going back at least to 1996. With cornet and percussion, some voice. Delivers fair enough on the title. B+(**) [sp]

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]

Vinny Golia/Bernard Santacruz/Cristiano Calcagnile: To Live and Breathe (2017 [2022], Dark Tree): Soprano sax and piccolo -- I have my reservations about the latter, but they're easily forgotten as this masterful performance continues. With bass and drums that captivate even on their own. A- [cd]

David Greenberger & the Waldameer Players: Today! (2022, Pel Pel): Spoken word artist (among other talents), born in Chicago (1954), grew up in Erie, PA, but seems more familiar with Massachusetts these days. Played bass in the band Men & Volts, which connected him with co-producers Sam Kulik, Michael Evans, and Jeff Arnal. Words come from stories told by residents in various senior care homes, and they're often fascinating, even when they wax philosophical ("how is it that we have so much knowledge, and so little wisdom?"; "whatever time is left to you, you have to enjoy it, enjoy every minute"). I've heard a few of these, and they're consistently interesting. If this one is exceptional, it's probably because the music is more than just background. A- [cd]

Sonny Green: Found! One Soul Singer (2020, Little Village Foundation): Soul singer with some grit in his voice, first album at 77, Discogs credits him with ten singles 1969-75. Reminds one of Z.Z. Hill, a bit of Bobby Bland tool, maybe a dash of Wilson Pickett -- which seemed familiar way back when, but these days you take what you can get. B+(***)

Gwenno: Tresor (2022, Heavenly): Singer-songwriter from Wales, last name Saunders, third album, sings in Welsh and Cornish. 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]

Tom Harrell: Oak Tree (2020 [2022], HighNote): Postbop trumpet/flugelhorn player, long and steady career since his debut in 1976. Quartet with Luis Perdomo (piano), Ugonna Okegwo (bass), and Adam Cruz (drums). B+(**) [cd]

Joshua Hedley: Neon Blue (2022, New West): Country singer-songwriter from Florida, plays violin as well as guitar, second album. B+(**) [sp]

Christone Kingfish Ingram: 662 (2021, Alligator): Blues singer-guitarist from Clarksdale, Mississippi, young (b. 1999), second album. Has some chops. B+(*) [sp]

Colin James: Open Road (2021, Stony Plain): Canadian blues singer-songwriter, guitarist, dropped last name Munn, debut 1988, I liked his second Little Big Band album (1998), but hadn't heard anything since (a gap of 10 albums). B+(*) [sp]

Eva Kess: Inter-Musical Love Letter (2021 [2022], Unit): Bassist, from Berlin, started her career as a ballet dancer in Brazil, has a couple albums. I was impressed by her mostly strings Sternschnuppen, but thrown by this one, where she doubles the band size, adding some horns and vocals (Mirjam Hässig). Easy enough to blame the latter, but now seems more like an excess of ambition, which can too readily lead to opera. B+(*) [cd]

EG Kight: The Trio Sessions (2021, Blue South): Blues singer-songwriter from Georgia (if you care, white and female, initials for Eugenia Gail), Wikipedia links her to Chicago but doesn't explain why. Debut 1997, I was floored by her third album (Southern Comfort) but rarely noticed later ones. Trio has Kight on acoustic guitar, Ken Wynn on guitar and dobro, Gary Porter on drums. I have mixed feelings about the closer, "Hallelujah." B+(**) [sp]

Kirk Knuffke Trio: Gravity Without Airs (2022, Tao Forms, 2CD): Cornet player, many albums since 2009, composed 14 pieces here (90:17), backed by Michael Bisio (bass) and Matthew Shipp (piano), who really keep this moving. A-

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]

Travis Laplante: Wild Tapestry (2021 [2022], Out of Your Head): Saxophonist, has a few albums since 2011, also in group Battle Trance. One 30:40 piece, for nine-piece group with flute, trumpet, trombone, guitar, harp, bass, and two percussionists. B+(**) [cd]

Joy Lapps: Girl in the Yard (2022, self-released): Steel pans player, based in Toronto, wrote everything here, "first full-length album" (but several more on her website), draws on African as well as Caribbean sources. Upbeat, flashy, ends strong. B+(**) [cd]

Veronica Lewis: You Ain't Unlucky (2021, Blue Heart): Boogie piano-playing blues singer, young (18), from New Orleans, first album, wrote 6 (of 8) songs. She isn't quite right for one of the covers (Louis Jordan's "Is You Is My Baby"), but her piano is fast and furious (including an "Ode to Jerry Lee" that doesn't leave you thinking the wrong Lewis is playing), and she gets a lot of help from the sax (mostly Don Davis). B+(***) [sp]

Yaroslav Likhachev Quartet: Occasional Sketches (2021 [2022], Clean Feed): Russian-born tenor saxophonist, based in Germany, leads a quartet with piano, bass, and drums. 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]

Lisbeth Quartett: Release (2021 [2022], Intakt): German saxophonist Charlotte Greve, with Manuel Schmiedel (piano), Marc Muelbauer (bass), and Moritz Baumgärtner (drums). Sixth group album, going back to 2009, they fit very easily together. Greve wrote all but one piece, from the bassist. B+(***) [sp]

Janiva Magness: Hard to Kill (2022, Fathead): Blues singer-songwriter, from Detroit, grew up in foster homes after both parents committed suicide, cut records in 1991 and 1997 before picking up the pace, including a stretch (2008-12) with Alligator. "Strong as Steel" lives up to its title, but doesn't stay that hard. B [sp]

Mammoth Penguins: There's No Fight We Can't Both Win (2019, Fika): British indie pop band, led by Emma Kupa (formerly of Standard Fare). Third album. B+(**) [sp]

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

Metric: Formentera (2022, Metric Music International): Canadian electropop band, debug 2003, principally Emily Haines (vocals, keyboards) and James Shaw (guitar). B+(**) [sp]

John Minnock: Simplicity (2022, Dot Time): Jazz singer, classic crooner voice, writes some lyrics, second album, pianist Mathis Picard writes some of the music, Dave Liebman is featured on soprano sax. More drama than I typically care for, but gets his point across. Closes with "You Don't Know What Love Is." B+(*) [cd]

Tumi Mogorosi: Group Theory: Black Music (2021 [2022], Mushroom Hour Half Hour/New Soil): Drummer, from South Africa, plays in Shabaka & the Ancestors, second album as headliner. I'm often impressed by the music, but don't think the vocals add any value. B [bc]

Moor Mother: Jazz Codes (2022, Anti-): Philadelphia poet Camae Ayewa, fronts the jazz group Irreversible Entanglements, uses this alias for more hip-hop projects, although the genres are pretty fluid for her, as are melodies and beats. Lots of guests here in her expanding universe, making it more complex than art needs to be, but still not as messy as real life. [sp]

PJ Morton: Watch the Sun (2022, Morton/Empire): New Orleans-based soul singer, solo debut 2005, also plays keyboards in Maroon 5 (since 2012). Racks up some serious guest power here (Nas, Stevie Wonder, Wale, Jill Scott, El Debarge). Treats them well. B+(**) [sp]

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]

Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity: Elastic Wave (2021 [2022], ECM): Norwegian drummer, runs a couple groups, fourth album with this one, with André Roligheten (reeds) and Petter Eldh (bass). All three contribute pieces. B+(***) [sp]

Ian Noe: River Fools & Mountain Saints (2022, Thirty Tigers): Country singer-songwriter, from Kentucky, second album. Hooked me with the song that sounded like John Prine, and even though the rest don't quite ring that bell, they're all pretty good. A- [sp]

Matt North: Bullies in the Backyard (2022, self-released): Nashville-based drummer, singer-songwriter, second album (first one, Above Ground Fools, was a good one). B+(***) [sp]

North Mississippi Allstars: Set Sail (2022, New West): Southern blues-rock band, debut 2000, founded by two sons of Memphis legend Jim Dickinson (Luther and Cody), 13th album. Leans toward funk, but barely registers. B+(*)

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

Ol' Savannah: They Lie in Wait (2022, Anticapital): Canadian folk group, based in Montreal, albums since 2011. I was skeptical at first, but "Which Side Are You On?" won me over. B+(**) [bc]

Katy J Pearson: Sound of the Morning (2022, Heavenly): UK singer-songwriter, started out as half of Ardyn (two albums 2015-16), second album, produced by Ali Chant (Yard Act) and Dan Carey (Fontaines DC). B+(*) [sp]

John Primer & Bob Corritore: The Gypsy Woman Told Me (2020, SWMAF/VizzTone): Chicago bluesman, born in Mississippi, played behind Junior Wells and Muddy Waters before he moved out front in 1991, and has several dozen albums since. Corritore plays harmonica, third album with Primer, many more albums either listed second or as "Bob Corritore & Friends." First I've heard by him/them, but it sounds classic, hitting the mark every time out. A-

The Duke Robillard Band: They Called It Rhythm & Blues (2022, Stoney Plain): Blues guitarist, sometime singer, co-founder of Roomful of Blues, many albums since 1978, including some where he wanders into jazz. Mostly jump blues songs from the 1940-50s, with 14 guests listed on the front cover. B+(**) [sp]

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]

Curtis Salgado: Damage Control (2021, Alligator): Blues singer, harmonica player, from Everett, Washington, based in Oregon, close to a dozen albums since 1991. Survived liver cancer with a transplant, and came back singing, "the longer that I live, the older I want to get" B+(*) [sp]

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]

Tyshawn Sorey Trio: Mesmerism (2021 [2022], Pi): Drummer-led trio, with Aaron Diehl (piano) and Matt Brewer (bass). Sorey first appeared in groups led by Vijay Iyer and Steve Lehman. His 2007 debut sprawled over two CDs, including a long stretch on piano, which helped cement his reputation as a composer: ten years later he won a MacArthur "genius" grant, and five years since have revealed a dizzying range of moves, including this mild-mannered, unassuming, yet lovely set of covers. B+(***) [bc]

Space Quartet: Freedom of Tomorrow (2019-21 [2022], Clean Feed): Fourth album by group led by Rafael Toral, who promises "electronic music with a human touch," aided by alto sax (Nuno Torres), bass (Hugo Antunes), and drums (Nuno Morão). B+(**) [bc]

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-

Elias Stemeseder: Piano Solo (2021 [2022], Intakt): Austrian pianist, based in New York, has appeared in groups with Jim Black, Christian Lillinger, Anna Webber, and others, a couple as leader. This is solo, originals except for a trad piece. B+(**) [sp]

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]

Ziv Taubenfeld's Full Sun: Out of the Beast Came Honey (2020 [2022], Clean Feed): Bass clarinetist, from Israel, based in Netherlands, band name from his 2020 album. Sextet with Michael Moore (clarinet/alto sax), Joost Buis (trombone), piano, bass, and drums. B+(**) [bc]

Joanne Shaw Taylor: Blues From the Heart: Live (2022, KTBA): British blues-rocker, ninth album since her 2009 debut, also on DVD. Has the guitar. Also has Joe Bonamassa (3 tracks). B+(*) [sp]

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]

There Be Monsters: Rubikon (2021 [2022], Klopotec): Slovenian saxophonist Bostjan Simon, third album for his group, with Mirko Cisilino (trumpet/trombone), Goran Krmmac (tuba), vibes, and drums. 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]

Toro Y Moi: Mahal (2022, Dead Oceans): Chaz Bundick, from South Carolina, a dozen or so albums since 2009, producing a style of electropop called chillwave, although I've also seen this filed as psychedelia. At any rate, not very chill. 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]

Laura Veirs: Found Light (2022, Bella Union): Folkie singer-songwriter from Colorado, majored in geology, based in Portland, debut 1999, married producer Tucker Martine (2000-19), did a vocal trio album with Neko Case and KD Lang. B+(**) [sp]

Viagra Boys: Cave World (2022, Year0001): Swedish post-punk band, fronted by English-singing singer Sebastian Murphy, third album. B+(*)

Wee Willie Walker and the Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra: Not in My Lifetime (2021, Blue Dot): Born in Mississippi, grew up in Memphis, moved to Minneapolis in 1959, sang gospel switching to soul, died at 77 in 2019, so title is pretty literal. Cut some singles as far back as 1959, but the albums only start in 2004. B+(***) [sp]

Steve Washington: Just a Matter of Time (2020, JSP): Soul/blues singer, plays drums and organ, first album, features Lucky Peterson (piano), seems like they go back a fair ways. Not much grit, but that works too. B+(**) [sp]

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+(**)

Hank Williams Jr.: Rich White Honky Blues (2022, Easy Eye Sound): Three years old when his namesake father died, who gave him a nickname (Bocephus) after a ventriloquist dummy, like everything else he both embraced and struggled with. He's 45 years older now than his father was when he died, and while he's never been as intensely productive as his father, he's accumulated 56 albums to date. Only one I count as a winner -- Hank Williams and Friends, from 1975, after a near-death experience -- but I haven't listened to that many, especially since he slowed down after 2000 (this is only his sixth this century). (I've probably heard more by Hank III -- evidently the voice skipped a generation.) Title song boasts that he "knows how to play the blues," despite the obvious handicaps, and namechecks a long list of blues masters, although he no more knew Robert Johnson than he did his father. He sounds more like he's been cribbing his blues from ZZ Top, but that's actually pretty satisfying. B+(***) [sp]

Wu-Lu: Loggerhead (2022, Warp): UK singer-songwriter Miles Romans-Hopcraft, first album was electronic/instrumental, but this third album is chock full of vocals, some rapped, some choral, with scattered sounds, a mix of trip-hop and industrial though rarely anything in particular. B+(*) [sp]

Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad: Jazz Is Dead 13: Katalyst (2022, Jazz Is Dead): With 7 songs stretched to 37:55, we'll dispense with the EP designation. The series is usually good enough to make the title ironic, but never great. I've been trying to find a consistent credits parsing, and this is the one that makes the most sense, but looking back I've struggled. The order of the two producers flips back and forth. The number is formatted with or without leading '0's, and many are tempted to credit the featured artist (although JID 001 didn't have just one). Until this one, they all feature still-living artists who made their mark in the 1970s. Katalyst is different: they have one 2020 album, and have mostly worked as the studio band on the other Jazz Is Dead releases. Their specialty is funk-fusion, not far removed from what you might find in a 1970s time capsule. B+(*) [sp]

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 it's hard to explain what works and what doesn't. This one, with its slippery melodies and off-kilter beats, ends on an up. A- [sp]

Zola Jesus: Arkhon (2022, Sacred Bones): Goth singer-songwriter Nicole Hummel, aka Nika Roza Danilova (grandparents immigrated from Ukraine, and she liked the Slavic name), born in Arizona, grew up in Wisconsin, first album 2009, this her sixth. B+(**)

Recent Reissues, Compilations, 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]

Bob Corritore & Friends: Down Home Blues Revue (1995-2012 [2022], SWMAF/VizzTone): Chicago harmonica player, doesn't sing, which he makes up for by rotating his many friends. He has four previous albums designated as such, but many more collaborations. This plumbs his vault for 13 songs with 10 friends, the dupes T-Model Ford and Robert "Bilbo" Walker. B+(**) [sp]

Bob Dowe: Build Me Up (1973-78 [2021], Trojan/Sanctuary): Reggae singer (1946-2006), best known for the Melodians, but released this 1974 album under his own name, a second in 1981, and many singles. Reissue, which matches the first disc of a Doctor Bird 2-CD, adds a dozen bonus tracks, which if anything up the ante (though nothing quite rises to the level of the alternate mix of "Girl I've Got a Date," which you know from the group). B+(**) [sp]

Bob Dowe/The Melodians: Build Me Up/Pre-Meditation (1968-78 [2021], Doctor Bird, 2CD): Heard this twofer reissue split into pieces, but easy enough to sum it up. B+(***) [sp]

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]

Madonna: Finally Enough Love (1982-2019 [2022], Warner): A remix best-of, 16 tracks, an advance teaser for the 50 Number Ones (a record, but the fine print notes we're only talking about dance charts) coming out in August. Hard to know how to judge remixes, but compared to You Can Dance or The Immaculate Collection, this shades late, which lets me feel this is a bit less indispensible. B+(***)

The Melodians: Pre-Meditation (1968-78 [2021], Trojan/Sanctuary): Legendary Jamaican vocal group, third album from 1978 (which included a couple cuts from 1968) plus extras, on 2-CD with Bob Dowe's Build Me Up from Doctor Bird but digital is split. B+(***) [sp]

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]

Orchestre Massako: Orchestre Massako (1979-86 [2022], Analog Africa, EP): Orchestra and band from Gabon, recorded a dozen or so albums 1979-87, founded a decade earlier by Jean-Christian Mboumba Mackaya (aka Mack-Joss), directed by the military. Scant info on when these four tracks (25:33) were recorded. B+(*) [bc]

Orchestre Volta-Jazz: Air Volta (1974-77 [2022], Numero Group): Group from Upper Volta, a landlocked French colony in West Africa, between Ghana and Mali, renamed Burkina Faso in 1984. Discogs lists these 9 songs as singles, but only provides a couple of dates. Early cuts Sound like junkyard percussion, but that could just be the recording. A slow one ("Djougou Toro") is especially nice. B+(**) [sp]

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]

Horace Tapscott Quintet: Legacies of Our Grandchildren (1995 [2022], Dark Tree): French label named for Tapscott's greatest album, but nearly everything he does rises to that standard, as each new discovery of an old tape reaffirms. Saxophonist Michael Session is terrific here, trombonist Thurman Green holds up his end, and the piano is frequently miraculous. Only doubt arises with the vocals on two pieces, but why fault Dwight Trible for being too passionate? A- [cd]

The Trypes: Music for Neighbors (1984 [2022], Pravda): New Jersey band, related to the Feelies, released a 4-track EP in 1984, recorded some other stuff collected here -- a somewhat nebulous concept, given that the Spotify stream has 12 tracks, while the CD reportedly has 16 (including two 2017 reunion tracks), and Bandcamp has more B+(**) [sp]

Neil Young With Crazy Horse: Toast (2001 [2022], Reprise): Previously unreleased 7-song album, from between Silver and Gold and Are You Passionate?, which are both pretty good if not quite landmark albums. B+(**)

Old Music


Lotte Anker/Craig Taborn/Gerald Cleaver: Triptych (2003 [2005], Leo): Danish saxophonist (tenor/soprano), debut 1996, backed by piano and drums, recorded in Denmark, the first of at least three records they did together. B+(***) [sp]

Lotte Anker/Sylvie Courvoisier/Ikue Mori: Alien Huddle (2006 [2009], Intakt): Anker plays soprano, alto, and tenor sax, backed by piano and electronics -- latter can get noisy. B+(**) [sp]

Francis Bebey: Nandola/With Love: Works: 1963-1994 (1963-94 [1995], Original Music): Born in Cameroon 1929, died in Paris 2001, in between distinguished himself not just as a musician but as a poet, novelist, folklorist, and historian. He studied math to start, but an interest in broadcasting took him to Paris and New York before Kwame Nkrumah persuaded him to move to Ghana, newly independent in 1957. He sang, played guitar and flute, drawing on a wide range of African music, but also got into electronics. This ranges widely, nothing that really blows you away, but interesting pieces abound, and the notes (by John Storm Roberts) help. B+(***) [cd]

Sathima Bea Benjamin: Memories and Dreams (1983 [1986], Ekapa/Blackhawk): South African jazz singer, not sure of her race (father from St. Helena; mother "had roots in Mauritius and the Philippines"), but she left South Africa for Europe with future husband Abdullah Ibraham in 1960, after the Sharpeville Massacre, and lived most of the rest of her life in New York -- where this was recorded, with Onaje Allan Gumbs (piano), Buster Williams (bass), Carlos Ward (sax/flute), and on drums either Billy Higgins or Ben Riley. First side is her chronicle of the struggle against apartheid, "Liberation Suite." Second side has four covers, including two Ellington pieces. B+(***) [lp]

Marion Brown: Duets (1970-73 [1975], Arista/Freedom): Alto saxophonist (1935-2010), from Atlanta, recorded a couple free jazz classics in the 1960s. Two sets of duets: the first with Leo Smith (trumpet), with both adding percussion; the other with Elliott Schwartz (piano/synth), where Brown also plays some clarinet and piano. B+(*) [lp]

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]

Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition: Audio-Visualscapes (1988, Impulse): Drummer-led quintet, also plays keyboards, same group as above but more electric bass (and probably more flute). Long (74:05), feels muddled. B- [cd]

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]

Eliane Elias: Cross Currents (1987 [1988], Blue Note): Brazilian pianist, studied in New York at Juilliard, debut 1985, has had two famous husbands (Randy Brecker, co-producer here, and later bassist Marc Johnson), in what's mostly a trio session with Eddie Gomez (bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums). She wrote four originals here, but opens with Bud Powell, and closes with "When You Wish Upon a Star." B+(*) [lp]

Pierre Favre: Window Steps (1995 [1996], ECM): Swiss drummer, debut 1964, as a leader 1970 but more often in duos and small groups. Composed the first four pieces here, the other three by band members: Kenny Wheeler (trumpet/flugelhorn), Roberto Ottaviano (soprano sax), David Darling (cello), and Steve Swallow (bass). B+(*) [sp]

Pierre Favre: Saxophones (2003 [2004], Intakt): With ARTE Quartett (four saxophones) and Michel Godard (tuba/serpent). The horns form a choir, which can swell beyond their usual ambient backdrop. The percussion is more interesting when left alone. B+(*) [sp]

Pierre Favre Ensemble: Le Voyage (2010, Intakt): Large group, ten members, includes a saxophone quartet, an extra clarinet, trombone, guitar, bass guitar, bass, and the leader on drums/percussion. Ends strong. B+(**) [sp]

Pierre Favre: Drums and Dreams (1970-78 [2012], Intakt, 3CD): Reissues three early solo drum/percussion albums. B+(**) [sp]

Gabriela Friedli Trio: Started (2010 [2012], Intakt): Swiss pianist, handful of albums since 2003, cover credit for Daniel Studer (bass) and Dieter Ulrich (drums). B+(**) [sp]

David Greenberger/Glenn Jones/Chris Corsano: An Idea in Everything (2013 [2016], Okraïna/Pel Pel): Twenty-eight brief bits of his usual second-hand spoken word wisdom, which are no more or less remarkable than usual, but Jones' banjo renders them folkier than usual, as does Corsano's harmonica and drums. A- [bc]

Barry Guy/Howard Riley/John Stevens/Trevor Watts: Endgame (1979, Japo): British bassist, founded London Jazz Composers Orchestra in 1970 and led them through dozens of albums. Quartet adds piano, drums (and cornet), and alto/soprano sax. B+(**) [sp]

Barry Guy/Marilyn Crispell/Paul Lytton: Odyssey (1999 [2001], Intakt): Bassist-led piano trio, Guy wrote five pieces, the other four are jointly credited. B+(***) [sp]

Barry Guy/Marilyn Crispell/Paul Lytton: Ithaca (2003 [2004], Intakt): Bassist-led piano trio, again, title from a George Vaughan painting. Perhaps too many bass solos, but at best they are mesmerizing. In any case, they spread out the piano explosions, some of Crispell's most dynamic work. A- [sp]

Michael Jaeger Kerouac: Outdoors (2009 [2010], Intakt): Swiss saxophonist, don't know the story behind the group name but this is the second of three 2006-13 albums. Group was originally a quartet with piano (Vincent Membrez), bass (Luca Sisera), and drums (Norbert Pfammatter). This one adds Greg Osby (alto sax on 4/8 tracks), and Philipp Schaufelberger (guitar on 6). B+(**) [sp]

Michael Jaeger Kerouac: Dance Around in Your Bones (2013, Intakt): Third group album, back to original quartet. B+(**) [sp]

The Jazz Singers (1919-94 [1998], Smithsonian, 5CD): Free to choose almost anything over the whole history of recorded jazz (up to release date), this is certain to remind you of dozens of historically significant songs. But in toto, this reminds me of how peripheral vocals have become in jazz. And while one could complain that this slights the later evolution of jazz vocals -- we have, for instance, two songs by Betty Carter, one by Cassandra Wilson, one short one by Jeanne Lee, but no Sheila Jordan, and I could list dozens more -- their inclusion would only remind us that jazz singers have become even more marginal of late. Aside from the occasional jazz musician to have graduated to pop star (like Louis Armstrong and Louis Jordan), he only time vocalists were integral was during the swing era, which a few rare individuals (like Ella Fitzgerald) were able to extend beyond its sell-by date. They also count the blues singers (like Bessie Smith) who dominate the first disc, rounded out with some gospel. But adding Marvin Gaye and Al Green is wishful thinking. Organizing by topics is a mixed blessing, as is the final category of "Novelties and Take-Offs." B+(**) [cd]

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+

Hans Koch/Martin Schütz/Marco Käppeli: Accélération (1987 [1988], ECM): Swiss saxophoninst (tenor/soprano), also plays clarinet and bass clarinet; one of his first records, backed with bass/cello and drums. B+(***)

Hans Koch: Uluru (1989, Intakt): Solo album, 18 pieces, opens on soprano sax, then tenor, then bass clarinet (3 pieces), the back to soprano and tenor. Solo albums always strike me as limited, but he keeps it interesting. B+(**) [sp]

Hans Koch/Stephan Wittwer/Martin Schütz/Jacques Demierre/Andreas Marti/Fredy Studer: Chockshut (1991 [1992], Intakt): Sax and bass clarinet, guitar, cello, piano, trombone, drums. Koch wrote 6 (of 10) pieces, Schütz 3, Demierre 1. The guitar adds a rock component that lifts this up and sometimes lets it down. B+(**) [sp]

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]

Oliver Lake/Christian Weber/Dieter Ulrich: For a Little Dancin' (2009 [2010], Intakt): Alto sax, bass, and drums, the latter two the rhythm section visiting stars can look for in Zürich. (Lake returned to do another album with them in 2013, All Decks.) Seems a bit tentative at first, then Lake breaks out, and the other keep pace. B+(***)

Urs Leimgruber/Christy Doran/Bobby Burri/Fredy Studer: OM Willisau (2008 [2010], Intakt): Swiss quartet, as OM cut four 1976-80 albums for Japo (belongs to ECM), then disbanded to regroup here, 30 years later, so it would be fair to attribute this to the group, but the top banner lists the individual artist names, with the group and title in the same small print at the bottom, under an illustration that superimposes letters 'O' and 'M'. Soprano/tenor sax, guitar, bass/electronics, drums. B+(***) [sp]

Les Diaboliques [Irène Schweizer/Maggie Nicols/Joëlle Léandre]: Splitting Image (1994 [1997], Intakt): Second group album, I filed the first one under first-mentioned vocalist Nicols, still central here, backed by piano and bass. Difficult music, something I have less patience for from a vocalist. B [sp]

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]

Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky/Michael Griener: The Salmon (2005 [2007], Intakt): Alto saxophonist, also plays clarinet, b. 1933, was one of the founders of avant-jazz in East Germany, although he was often hidden in groups, like BBQ, Globe Unity, and especially Zentralquartett. He does, however, stand out in this duo with drummer Griener. A- [sp]

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]

Paul Rutherford/Derek Bailey/Barry Guy: ISKRA 1903: Chapter One (1970-72 [2000], Emanem, 3CD): Trombone, guitar, bass: three major figures in the British avant-garde, early in their careers (aside from this, Bailey's debut was 1970, Guy's 1972, Rutherford 1975). Originally a 2-LP with 11 Improvisations, the CD reissue adds Offcut 1-3, Extra 1-3, and 38:55 of "On Tour." Abstract and scratchy as you'd expect if you know these remarkable musicians. Rutherford went on to use ISKRA variants for a number of albums, later replacing Bailey with Philipp Wachsmann. B+(***) [cd]

Barbara Thompson: Heavenly Bodies (1986, VeraBra): British saxophonist, in the late 1960s played in pioneering fusion band Colosseum (whose drummer, Jon Hiseman, she married, and who went on to produce and play on most of her albums). Her main group from 1972 to about 2000, when she was diagnosed with Parkinson's, was Barbara Thompson's Paraphernalia. This is a side project, with strings and trumpets on several quasi-classical cuts. B+(*) [sp]

Barbara Thompson: Songs From the Center of the Earth (1991, Black Sun): Solo saxophone (soprano, alto, tenor), trad pieces (or based on trad themes?), starts and ends Irish, followed by two from 12th century Europe, others from Wales and Germany and Spain and Greece, and points further (Syria, Brazil, Uruguay, Jamaica, Bahamas). B+(*) [sp]

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]

Wildflowers: The New York Loft Jazz Sessions: Complete (1976 [1999], Knitting Factory, 3CD): The 1970s were a dark age for jazz. Key figures died (founders like Armstrong, Ellington, Hawkins, and Webster, and younger lions like Coltrane, Ayler, and Powell), with many more slipping into obscurity. Major labels floundered and in many cases shut down. Miles Davis was an exception, forging a path into jazz-rock fusion that many followed but few found. In the 1980s, a younger generation of jazz musicians seemed to pick up where the late-1960s tailed off, but had to go to Europe or Japan to find labels. That generation gestated in the lofts of New York, especially in Sam Rivers' Rivbea Studios, where these sessions were recorded over 10 days. The roster reads "all-stars" today, but few were widely remembered from the 1960s (Rivers, Marion Brown, Sunny Murray), plus a few who had made a mark in the early 1970s (Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Jimmy Lyons). A- [cd]

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]


Grade (or other) changes:

Tommy Womack: I Thought I Was Fine (2021, Schoolkids): Singer-songwriter from Kentucky, based in Nashville, started in a band called Government Cheese, solo albums since 1998, surprises with a couple of covers here ("That Lucky Old Sun," "Miss Otis Regrets"). A straight rocker with some stories, including one about a minister buying ice cream, and another about Elvis. [was: B+(***)] A- [sp]

Music Weeks

Music: Current count 38383 [38227] rated (+156), 77 [87] unrated (-10).

Excerpts from this month's Music Week posts:

July 4, 2022

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

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.

July 11, 2022

I expected the rated count to slip this week, and it did a bit, but recovered when Clifford Ocheltree recommended some blues albums, then pointed out that he got many of his picks from Living Blues annual charts, like this one for 2021. I like classic blues as much as anyone, but I'm not easily impressed by newcomers, so I tend to miss them. Blues is still a category at DownBeat, so I often don't even hear about blues albums until they turn up in their Critics Poll, by which point I find myself having heard only 10-20% of the nominees. I will note that from this particular list, I already had a couple albums listed:

  1. Selwyn Birchwood: Living in a Burning House (Alligator) [*]
  2. Sue Foley: Pinky's Blues (Stony Plain) [A-]
  3. GA-20: GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor: Try It . . . You Might Like It! (Karma Chief/Alligator) [**]
  4. Crystal Thomas: Now Dig This! (Dialtone) [***]
  5. Carolyn Wonderland: Tempting Fate (Alligator) [**]
  6. New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers: Volume 2 (2007, Stony Plain) [**]
  7. Robert Finley: Sharecropper's Son (Easy Eye Sound) [***]
  8. Maria Muldaur With Tuba Skinny: Let's Get Happy Together (Stony Plain) [A-]
  9. Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band: Dance Songs for Hard Times (Family Owned) [A-]
  10. Ghalia Volt: One Woman Band (Ruf) [**]
  11. The Black Keys: Delta Kream (Nonesuch) [**]

I voted for the Muldaur album in the DownBeat poll. I've also rated 2021 blues albums not on this list (more than I would have expected; I didn't keep stats or the nominee list this year, as I have done some while back):

  • Eric Bibb: Dear America (Provogue) [**]
  • Big Chief Monk Boudreux: Bloodstains & Teardrops (Whiskey Bayou) [*]
  • Cedric Burnside: I Be Trying (Single Lock) [**]
  • Steve Cropper: Fire It Up (Provogue) [**]
  • Corey Harris: Insurrection Blues (CRS) [**]
  • Queen Esther: Gild the Black Lily (EL) [A-]

I've almost completely switched over to Spotify this week from Napster. Main reason is I still get a lot of hangs and interruptions from Napster, plus their new interface makes it no easier to browse than Spotify, and maybe a bit worse (which is pretty bad). I went to Napster six times below, especially for the Neil Young album. More disturbing are reports of Napster getting into crypto, which I regard as a terminal mark of stupidity if not (yet) much worse.

I had to deal with a "denial of service" attack at the Robert Christgau website last week. As a result, most people saw "out of resource" errors for about 12 hours. They exploited a security hole I was aware of but had been slow to fix. I've plugged the most obvious one, but still have more programming to do to clean up the rest. Meanwhile, I'm monitoring the situation, and blocking IP addresses that look malicious. I sent out a more detailed explanation to the tech mail list.

Following up, I took a look at several nagging problems with my own server. It's mostly been a slow and painstaking learning process, with one issue resolved and another I may just continue to live with.

Thought I was making some progress on the unrated count, but that was wiped out by an unusually large mail haul. Still, I've found a few things I've been wondering about, so I'll get to them next week.

July 25, 2022

Music: Current count 38383 [38330] rated (+53), 77 [78] unrated (-1).

Notes

Everything streamed from Napster (ex Rhapsody), except as noted in brackets following the grade:

  • [cd] based on physical cd
  • [lp] based on physical lp (vinyl)
  • [bc] available at bandcamp.com
  • [sp] available at spotify.com
  • [yt] available at youtube.com
  • [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