Streamnotes: June 24, 2024


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 May 27. Past reviews and more information are available here (23921+ records).


Recent Releases

Actress: Statik (2024, Smalltown Supersound): British electronica producer Darren Cunningham, tenth album since 2008. B+(*) [sp]

Africatown, AL: Ancestor Sounds (2024, Free Dirt): Oral history from a neighborhood in Mobile, Alabama, which traces its ancestry back to a slave ship in 1807, conceived by producer Ian Brennan (Tinariwen, Zomba Prison Project) and his wife, Italian-Rwandan filmmaker and photographer Marilena Umuhoza Delli. B+(**) [sp]

Allie X: Girl With No Face (2024, Twin Music): Canadian electropop singer-songwriter Alexandra Hughes, third album since 2017, but her career started a decade earlier, perhaps why this seems darker and gloomier than pop utopia. B+(***) [sp]

Altus: Mythos (2024, Biophilia): Quintet, based in New York, inspired by "the Greek myth of Prometheus and the Yoruba myth of Oludumare," of Dave Adewumi (trumpet), Isaac Levien (bass), Neta Raanan (tenor sax), Nathan Reising (alto sax), and Ryan Sands (drums). B+(***) [cdr]

Oren Ambarchi/Johan Berthling/Andreas Werlin: Ghosted II (2024, Drag City): Australian guitarist, started as a drummer, very prolific since 1999, trio here with bass and drums, following Ghosted from 2022. Four pieces, from 7:36 to 13:15, "jazz-funk heads, polyrhythmic skeletons, ambient pastorals, post-kraut drones and shimmering soundtrack reveries." B+(***) [sp]

Anycia: Princess Pop That (2024, United Masters): Rapper, first album, 14 tracks (27:20), nice complement to Tierra Whack. B+(***) [sp]

Bab L' Bluz: Swaken (2024, Real World): French-Moroccan "power quartet," second album. B+(*) [sp]

Evan Nicole Bell: Runaway Girl (2024, Humingbird, EP): Guitar featured on cover and, well, everywhere, kicking off with an Albert King blues, but that's probably not her destiny, just a kicking off point. Three songs plus a longer mix, 17:15. B+(*) [sp]

Bruna Black/John Finbury: Vã Revelação (2024, Green Flash): Brazilian singer, wrote some lyrics to Finbury's pleasantly engaging compositions, played by a star-studded group of Vitor Gonçalves (piano/accordion), Chico Pinheiro (guitar), John Patitucci (bass), Duduka Da Fonseca (drums), and Rogerio Boccato (percussion). B+(**) [cd]

Blue Lab Beats: Blue Eclipse (2024, Blue Adventure): UK jazztronica duo, producer NK-OK (Namali Kwaten) and multi-instrumentalist Mr DM (David Mrakpor), fourth album, some sources have label as Decca or Blue Note. Guest vocals, some rapped. B [sp]

Aziza Brahim: Mawja (2024, Glitterbeat): Sahrawi singer and actress, born in a refugee camp in Algeria, got a scholarship when she was 11 to study in Cuba, eventually wound up in Spain. Fifth album since 2012, nice, steady flow. B+(**) [sp]

Anthony Branker & Imagine: Songs My Mom Liked (2024, Origin): Original pieces, so Mom must really like her boy. Plenty of reason to. Group has six name musicians (Donny McCaslin, Philip Dizack, Fabian Almazan, Linda May Han Oh, Rudy Royston, Pete McGann) plus lightly used vocalist Aubrey Johnson. B+(***) [cd] [06-21]

Cakes Da Killa: Black Sheep (2024, Young Art): Rapper Rashard Bradshaw, from New Jersey, got some notice for 2011-14 mixtapes, less so for later albums, this the third. B+(**) [sp]

Etienne Charles: Creole Orchestra (2018 [2024], Culture Shock): Trumpet player, albums since 2006 frequently refer to "creole," this a big band with lots of extras, including vocals, which I find rather hit-and-miss. B+(*) [cd]

Charli XCX: Brat (2024, Atlantic): British pop star, Charlotte Aitchison, sixth album since 2013, all hits but none huge, with this one getting extra hype and/or anticipation. That come with a big budget, which sometimes pays off, or offers a cushion to soften and blur out the weak spots, which my reticence suggests must be here somewhere, as I'm still on the fence after five plays. B+(***) [sp]

Chief Keef: Almighty So 2 (2024, 43B): Chicago rapper Keith Cozart, fifth studio album since 2012 (Finally Rich, his only record to go platinum), plus many mixtapes, this a sequel to one from 2013. I've never paid much attention to him, so I wasn't aware of this hard drill attitude. B+(***) [sp]

Jamale Davis: Run With the Hunted (2024, SteepleChase): Bassist, has a couple previous albums, this one with John Mosca (trombone), Dario Terzuolo (tenor sax), Mferghu (piano), and Ben Zweig (drums/pandeiro). B+(**) [sp]

On Ka'a Davis: Here's to Another Day and Night for the LWA of the Woke (2024, Tzadik): Guitarist, has a couple previous records going back to 2001, trio here with Ali Ali (trumpet) and Donald Sturge McKenzie II (drums). Shades of Sonny Sharrock, but it can wear thin. B+(*) [sp]

Devouring the Guilt: Not to Want to Say (2021 [2024], Kettle Hole): Free jazz trio, based in Chicago, of Bill Harris (drums), Gerrit Hatcher (tenor sax), and Eli Namay (bass). Two tracks (40:55). Hatcher has a couple of previous albums much like this one. B+(***) [sp]

Madi Diaz: Weird Faith (2024, Anti-): Singer-songwriter, born in Connecticut, mother Peruvian, father Danish (Eric Svalgård), home-schooled, went to Berklee, moved to LA, first album 2007, this is her sixth. I'm rarely so captivated by a set of confessional and meditative songs that I pay enough attention to gather in the details. The song that earned the album a replay was "KFM," for "kill, fuck, marry." One might also note the Lori McKenna co-credit, and the Kacey Musgraves feature. A- [sp]

DJ Anderson do Paraiso: Queridão (2023 [2024], Nyege Nyege Tapes): DJ from Belo Horizonte, "downtempo and dark baile funk," seems like a fair description, although it doesn't quite convey how gloomy this sounds. B [sp]

Ducks Ltd.: Harm's Way (2024, Carpark): Indie rock duo from Toronto, Tom McGreevy (vocals/rhythm guitar) and Evan Lewis (lead guitar), originally from UK and Australia, second album after a 2019 EP. B+(**) [sp]

Ekko Astral: Pink Balloons (2024, Topshelf): DC-based postpunk band, "pioneers of 'mascara moshpit' music," or "a complex mesh of bubblegum noise punk and no-wave art rock, Jael Holzman the singer, with extra guitar and percussion, first album. Sounds pretty great until they slow it down and pump it up. B+(***) [sp]

John Escreet: The Epicenter of Your Dreams (2023 [2024], Blue Room Music): Pianist, albums since 2008, "a powerhouse band reflecting the thriving L.A. scene," with Mark Turner (tenor sax), Eric Revis (bass), and Damion Reid (drums). B+(***) [cd]

Maria Faust Jazz Catastrophe: 3rd Mutation: Moth (2023 [2024], Bush Flash): Alto saxophonist, from Estonia, based in Copenhagen, albums since 2008, Jazz Catstrophe released a big band album in 2013, this "mutation" appears to be a trio, with guitar (Lars Bech Pilgaard) and drums (Anders Vestergaard) but sounds bigger. Am I missing something? A- [sp]

Sierra Ferrell: Trail of Flowers (2024, Rounder): Bluegrass singer-songwriter from West Virginia, plays fiddle as well as guitar, self-released two albums before landing on Rounder for 2021's Long Time Coming. This one's nearly as good. B+(***) [sp]

Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti & Frank Rosaly: Mestizk (2023 [2024], International Anthem): Singer from Bolivia, married to the drummer, who I always thought of as a Chicago underground guy but I now find identifies as Puerto Rican, the pair of them based in Amsterdam these days. Helping out are various names familiar from other label projects. B+(***) [sp]

Joel Futterman/William Parker: Why (2020 [2024], Soul City Sounds): Piano and bass duo. Futterman started in Chicago, moved to Virginia Beach in 1972, and started recording in 1979, becoming increasingly prolific in the 1990s. [sp]

Myriam Gendron: Mayday (2024, Thrill Jockey): Canadian folkie singer-songwriter, from Quebec, mostly in French, drums help. B+(**) [sp]

Margaret Glaspy: The Sun Doesn't Think (2024, ATO, EP): Singer-songwriter with a strong track record, coming off her excellent 2023 album Echo the Diamond, with a new one scheduled for August. Meanwhile: five songs, 20:09. Practically demos, just guitar and voice, yet somehow enough. B+(***) [sp]

Phillip Golub: Abiding Memory (2024, Endectomorph Music): Pianist, has a couple previous albums, quintet with guitar, cello, bass, and drums, leaving the piano very clearly in charge. Liner notes by Vijay Iyer. B+(**) [cd] [06-21]

Grandaddy: Blu Wav (2024, Dangerbird): Indie rock band from Modesto, California, principally Jason Lytle, eighth album since 1994, with a break 2006-17. Doesn't feel like there's much here. B [sp]

Ariana Grande: Eternal Sunshine (2024, Republic): Pop singer-songwriter, went platinum with her 2013 debut, seventh album, four years after her sixth. B+(**) [sp]

Andrea Grossi Blend 3 + Jim Black: Axes (2023 [2024], We Insist!): Italian bassist, second group album with Manuel Caliumi (alto sax) and Michele Bonifati (guitar), plus a drummer this time -- a really good one. B+(***) [sp]

The Haas Company [Featuring Andy Timmons]: Vol. 1: Galactic Tide (2024, Psychiatric): Following the publicist's hype sheet, I originally had artist and title swapped. This makes more sense, although the cover typography is less than clear, and the spine is less than that. Leader seems to be drummer Steve Haas (first listed credit), and Timmons plays heavy fusion guitar, but keyboardist Pete Drungle is credited with "musical direction." Band also uses bass (Kirwan Brown or Al MacDowell) and sax (Pete Gallo), with a couple guest spots. Powerhouse fusion. B [cd]

Marika Hackman: Big Sigh (2024, Chrysalis): English singer-songwriter, sixth album since 2015 (after two EPs). No shortage of post-pandemic stress here, a slow start that gradually gains strength and stature. B+(**) [sp]

Alex Harding/Lucian Ban: Blutopia (2024, Sunnyside): Baritone saxophonist and pianist, they have several albums together going back to a quintet in 2002, and including one from 2005 where Blutopia was the group name. This is another quintet, with viola (Mat Maneri), tuba (Bob Stewart), and drums (Brandon Lewis). B+(**) [sp]

Hermanos Gutiérrez: Sonido Cósmico (2024, Easy Eye Sound): Brothers Alejandro (guitar/lap steel) and Estevan (guitar/percussion), names and much of their music deriving from an Ecuadorian mother, but their father is Swiss, and they at least grew up in and are based in Zurich. After four self-released albums, Dan Auerbach (Black Keys) signed them to his Nashville label, and released El Bueno y el Malo in 2022. More in this sequel, as calming as new age hoped for, with just enough Latin tinge and other cosmic exotica to keep it fascinating. A- [sp]

Jake Hertzog: Longing to Meet You (2024, self-released): Guitarist, leads a postbop quartet with sax (Matt Woroshyl), bass (Perrin Grace), and drums (Joe Peri). B+(**) [cd]

Gilbert Holmström: Peak (2023 [2024], Moserobie): Swedish tenor saxophonist, b. 1937, debut as leader in 1965 with a free jazz quintet, led a fusion group in the 1970s called Mount Everest. Not a lot of records over the years, but they're fairly evenly spaced out. This, at 86, is a quintet with trumpet (Erik Kimestad), piano (Mathias Landæus), bass, and drums, playing four freebop originals and two Ennio Morricone themes. A- [cd]

Mike Holober & the Gotham Jazz Orchestra: This Rock We're On: Imaginary Letters (2023 [2024], Palmetto, 2CD): Pianist, based in New York, mostly big bands, this perhaps his most grandiose project ever, certainly in terms of vocals. B [cd]

Home Counties: Exactly as It Seems (2024, Submarine Cat): British group, sextet, first album after an EP (or two). Pretty catchy, not that that matters much. B+(*) [sp]

Homeboy Sandman: Rich II (2024, self-released): New York rapper Angel Del Villar II, lots since 2007, mostly short like this (11 tracks, 26:56) sequel to 2023's Rich. B+(**) [sp]

Daniel Humair/Samuel Blaser/Heiri Känzig [Helveticus]: Our Way (2022 [2024], Blaser Music): Drums, trombone, bass, really Blaser (42) communing with the elders (85 and 66, in effect three generations). Bandcamp page doesn't list the group name, but it's clear at top of cover, with musician surnames at bottom. Trio have a previous album together, sans group name (1291). Both albums mix new pieces with trad Swiss and jazz classics, this one focusing on Ellington and Monk. B+(***) [sp]

I Am Three: In Other Words (2022 [2024], Leo): Nikolaus Neuser (trumpet), Silke Eberhard (alto sax/percussion), and Christian Marlen (drums), song credits split 4-2-5. Group name comes from Mingus, the subject of their two previous albums: Mingus Mingus Mingus (2015) and Mingus' Sound of Love (2018, with Maggie Nichols). A- [sp]

Kaytranada: Timeless (2024, RCA): Haitian electropop producer, grew up in Montreal, sings, raps, fourth album since 2016 (including 2023's Aminé mashup, Kaytraminé). Grows on you. B+(***) [sp]

Simone Keller: Hidden Heartache (2022 [2024], Intakt): Swiss pianist, side credits since 2009, including Kukuruz Quartet, first album on her own, subtitle "100 Minutes of Piano Music from the Last 100 Years in the Context of Social Inequality and Unequal Power Relations," which makes me wish I had followed it better, but I'm not that much into close, critical listening. Mostly solo, but scattered side credits for oud, bassoon, trombone, and toy piano. Composers include Julius Eastman -- Kukuruz did a whole album of his work -- and Lil Hardin Armstrong. B+(**) [sp]

Izumi Kimura/Barry Guy/Gerry Hemingway: Six Hands Open as One (2023 [2024], Fundacja Sluchaj): Japanese pianist, based in Ireland, first album (2010) drew on trad pieces from both homelands, eight albums since with shared credits, second with this trio, but Guy (bass) appears on three others, plus she has a duo with Hemingway (drums). B+(***) [cd]

Lola Kirke: Country Curious (2024, One Riot, EP): Born in London, raised in New York, she has much more on her acting resume (since 2011) than in her discography (four titles, most EPs like this, 4 songs, 12:13, leading off with an LA twist on "All My Exes." [PS: Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? adds the title song for 15:43. Discogs includes both EPs under the Country Curious title.] B+(*) [sp]

Jon Langford & the Men of Gwent: Lost on Land & Sea (2023, Country Mile): The Waco Brothers return as a Welsh bar band. B+(**) [bc]

The Libertines: All Quiet on the Eastern Esplanada (2024, Casablanca/Republic): British rock group, seemed like they may be a big deal with their 2002 debut, folded after their 2004 follow up, returned for a 2015 comeback, and again for this fourth album, slowing down with age. B [sp]

The Bruce Lofgren Group: Earthly and Cosmic Tales (2024, Night Bird): Guitarist, has a Jazz Orchestra album from 1999, side credits back to 1972 (ranging from Buddy Rich to Loggins & Messina). Group includes clarinet, cello, vibes, bass, percussion, on eight originals plus covers of Van Dyke Parks and Stevie Wonder. Not unpleasant. B [cd]

Raul Midón: Lost & Found (2024, ReKondite ReKords): Guitarist, singer-songwriter, from New Mexico, father from Argentina, has done session work on Latin albums, dabbled in jazz, doesn't show much in either here. C+ [sp]

Lucy Rose: This Ain't the Way You Go Out (2024, Communion): English singer-songwriter, last name Parton, fifth album since 2012. B+(*) [sp]

Old Man Luedecke: She Told Me Where to Go (2024, Outside): Singer-songwriter from Nova Scotia, tenth album since 2003, put his banjo aside and recorded this in the Bahamas. So, kind of a vacation. B [sp]

Mach-Hommy: #Richaxxhaitian (2024, Mach-Hommy): Rapper from New Jersey, Haitian descent looms large, EPs start in 2011, albums from 2013 (with one 2004 exception), prolific since then. B+(***) [sp]

Rob Mazurek: Milan (2023 [2024], Clean Feed): Trumpet player, long based in Chicago, where one of his major groups is called Chicago Underground, goes solo here while playing a variety of instruments -- piano, flute, electronics, percussion, voice. B+(**) [sp]

MIKE & Tony Seltzer: Pinball (2024, 10k, EP): Rapper Michael Bonema, born in New Jersey, grew up in the Bronx, has released quite a bit since 2015, first album with producer Seltzer, who also has credits back to 2015. Short album: 11 tracks, 21:29. B+(*) [sp]

Andy Milne and Unison: Time Will Tell (2024, Sunnyside): Pianist, from Canada, based in New York, albums since 1997, previous group album from 2019 with John Hébert (bass) and Clarence Penn (drums), adding Ingrid Laubrock (tenor sax) and/or Yoko Reikano Kimura (koto) on several tracks here. B+(**) [sp]

Mk.gee: Two Star & the Dream Police (2024, R&R Digital): Singer-songwriter Michael Gordon, from New Jersey, plays guitar and piano, first studio album after two EPs and a mixtape. No obvious category here, the rhythm a bit funk, or maybe just a bit odd, with nothing sticking too far out, but he keeps you wondering. B+(**) [sp]

Jesus Molina: Selah (2024, Dynamo Production): Pianist, from Colombia, studied at Berklee, fifth album since 2017. He has considerable chops and range, at various times experimenting with electronics, strings, chorus, and can turn on the Latin tinge, but doesn't depend on it. Results mixed. B [sp]

Kacey Musgraves: Deeper Well (2024, MCA Nashville): Country singer-songwriter, sixth album since 2013, including a couple that went platinum. This was mostly written with two collaborators (Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk), fourteen songs simply produced, frames her voice nicely, well thought out with surprising depth. A- [sp]

Willie Nelson: The Border (2024, Legacy): Age 91, 75th studio album, title song (plus an old one) by Rodney Crowell, four originals (with producer Buddy Cannon, who co-wrote one more). Voice seems a bit off, but the songs are first rate, especially the meta "How Much Does It Cost?" A- [sp]

Nubiyan Twist: Find Your Flame (2024, Strut): British jazz-funk group, fourth album since 2015. B+(*) [sp]

Ol' Burger Beats: 74: Out of Time (2024, Coalmine): Norwegian dj/producer Ole-Birger Neergård, a dozen-plus albums since 2015, also released an instrumentals version, but this one features a dozen guest rappers, very underground (but mostly names I recognize, like Billy Woods, Tha God Fahim, Yungmorpheus, Quelle Chris, Fly Anakin, Pink Siifu), easy going over slacker beats. B+(**) [sp]

Alicia and Michael Olatuja: Olatuja (2022-24 [2024], Whirlwind): He plays bass and keyboards, composes, was born in London, raised in Lagos, is based in New York, married to her, the former Alicia Miles, from St. Louis, with a couple records each. B+(*) [sp]

Old Mountain: Another State of Rhythm (2023 [2024], Clean Feed): Portuguese group, principally Pedro Branco (piano) and João Sousa (drums), with two bassists (João Hasselberg and Hernâni Faustino), reportedly their third album (but none yet in Discogs), this one featuring tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby. Opens with an abstract based on "Good Night Irene," followed by originals. B+(**) [sp]

One for All: Big George (2022 [2024], Smoke Sessions): Mainstream sextet, pretty much all stars: Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Jim Rotondi (trumpet), Steve Davis (trombone), David Hazeltine (piano), John Webber (bass), Joe Farnsworth (drums). Discogs lists 19 albums since 1997, open with three tracks for the first LP side, then George Coleman joins for more on the back side, with three George-less bonus tracks added to the CD. Coleman doesn't make much of a splash here. B+(*) [sp]

Fabiana Palladino: Fabiana Palladino (2024, Paul Institute/XL): British pop singer, songwriter I assume, first album, although singles credits go back to a 2011 feature for Ghostpoet, has some kind of relationship with the elusive Jai Paul (he had a 2013 album that was leaked to much fanfare in 2019). B+(***) [sp]

William Parker/Cooper-Moore/Hamid Drake: Heart Trio (2021 [2024], AUM Fidelity): Longtime collaborators, three-fourths of a quartet called In Order to Survive, where they played bass, piano, and drums. Here they focus on percussion and exotica, with Parker on doson ngoni, shakuhachi, bass dudek, ney and Serbian flute, with Cooper-Moore on his ashimba and hoe-handle harp, and Drake on frame drum as well as his usual kit. For world-class virtuosi, it's a bit underwhelming, but that seems to be the point. A- [cd] [06-21]

William Parker & Ellen Christi: Cereal Music (2024, AUM Fidelity): No recording dates given, but this feels like it was patiently assembled, starting with Parker's words, mostly spoken with some Christi vocals and whatever sound design she came up with, supplemented with Parker's bass and flutes, and a few other samples. B+(***) [cd] [06-21]

Rob Parton's Ensemble 9+: Relentless (2023 [2024], Calligram): Trumpet player, mostly big band records starting around 1991. Lists 19 musicians here, mostly in groups with two trumpets, three saxophones, and two trombones, plus various piano-bass-drums, but adds a third trumpet on 4 tracks, vocals on 2, with 7 arranger credits. Deft layering, less focus on solos, some Latin tinge. B+(*) [cd]

Bolis Popul: Letter to Yu (2024, Deewee): Belgian electropop producer, Boris Zeebroek, mother Chinese, may explain his first band name, Hong Kong Dong. First album as leader, although he shared a slugline with Charlotte Adigéry for Topical Dancer, one of 2022's best albums. B+(***) [sp]

Porij: Teething (2024, Play It Again Sam): British electropop band, from Manchester, first album after a 2020 EP. B+(**) [sp]

Pouty: Forget About Me (2024, Get Better): This is Rachel Gagliardi, co-founder of the bratpunk duo Slutever in 2010 is singer-songwriter here, first album under this alias, nine songs (26:11), not so bratty or punkish these days -- but pouty? sure -- her previous rants turning into questions, like "is there anything left to give a shit about?" B+(**) [sp]

Yvonnick Prené/Geoff Keezer: Jobim's World (2023 [2024], Sunnyside): French chromatic harmonica player, based in New York, debut 2013, duo here with the pianist, playing five Jobim tunes, two more Brazilian standards, and two originals. B+(*) [sp]

Pylon Reenactment Society: Magnet Factory (2024, Strolling Bones): Pylon was an Athens, GA postpunk/new wave band, less famous than the B-52s, but recorded EPs and two very respected albums 1979-83, with various reunions up to Randall Bewley's death in 2009, but only one more album (1990's Chain). This is a new group with original singer Vanessa Briscoe Hay, doing a pretty good job of extending their original sound. B+(***) [sp]

Bruno Råberg Tentet: Evolver (2023 [2024], Orbis Music): Swedish bassist, first album 1976, steady since he named his label after his 1998 album Orbis. Tentet doesn't count "special guests" Kris Davis (piano/prepared piano on 6 of 10 tracks) and Walter Smith III (tenor sax on 4). B+(**) [sp]

Rapsody: Please Don't Cry (2024, Jamla/Roc Nation): Rapper Marlanna Evans, from North Carolina, fourth album since 2012. Much to enjoy here, but it's a long and winding road. B+(**) [sp]

Raze Regal & White Denim: Raze Regal & White Denim Inc. (2023, Bella Union): James Petralli, leader of the garage rock band White Denim (2008-21?), co-wrote this batch of songs with the guitarist, who was a childhood friend and has side credits since 2009 (Stalkers, Planes of Satori, Once & Future Band, Nolan Potter's Nightmare Band). B [sp]

Kenny Reichert: Switch (2023 [2024], Calligram): Guitarist, based in Chicago, has a couple previous albums, the first self-released in 2015, leads a quartet here with alto sax (Lenard Simpson), bass (Ethan Philion), and drums (Devin Drobka), plus a guest spot for Geof Bradfield (tenor sax) and voice (Alyssa Algood, 3 tracks, her lyrics, some spoken word). Has some very strong and/or appealing passages. B+(**) [cd]

Terre Roche: Inner Adult (2024, self-released): Middle sister in the Roches, started as a duo with Maggie Roche in 1975, adding younger sister Suzzy in 1979 for a dozen-plus albums up to 1995, after which she has a couple solo albums, also a book or two, which may or may not include this title (label/publishing details unclear to me). B+(**) [sp]

Brandon Ross Phantom Station: Off the End (2024, Sunnyside): Guitarist, early side credits start in 1975 with Archie Shepp, Marion Brown, and Oliver Lake; group efforts as Harriet Tubman in 1998; and his own albums from 2004. Group here with Graham Haynes (cornet/electronics), David Virelles (keyboards), JT Lewis (drums), and Hardedge (sound design). B+(**) [sp]

A. Savage: The Loft Sessions (2024, Rough Trade, EP): Parquet Courts frontman, initial stands for Andrew, has a couple of solo albums other group fans like much more than I do. Four songs, 13:58, scattered covers I didn't recognize and don't know what to make of. B+(*) [sp]

Shaboozey: Where I've Been, Isn't Where I'm Going (2024, Republic/Empire): Singer-songwriter from Virginia, parents from Nigeria, original name Collins Obinna Chibueze, third album, slotted alt-country (got him a guest spot with Beyoncé). Not so obvious, but is closer than hip-hop (despite a rap) or afrobeat. B+(*) [sp]

Shygirl: Club Shy (2024, Because Music, EP): British dance-pop singer-rapper Blane Muise, has a 2022 album, several EPs since 2018, and remixes of most of them. Six tracks, 15:32. B+(*) [sp]

Flavio Silva: Eko (2024, Break Free): Brazilian guitarist, based in New York, several albums, title means "lesson" in Yoruba, nice little quartet with keyboards, bass, and drums. B+(**) [cd]

Ballaké Sissoko/Derek Gripper: Ballaké Cissoko & Derek Gripper (2024, Matsuli Music): Kora player from Mali, dozen-plus albums since 2000, surprised not to find him in my database so far. Duo here with the South African guitarist, who has a comparable career since 2003 (also under my radar). B+(***) [sp]

Connie Smith: Love, Prison, Wisdom and Heartaches (2024, Fat Possum): Country singer, had a string of hits on RCA from 1964-72 (although I can't recommend The Essential Connie Smith, from the label's usually dependable best-of series), continued with Columbia and Monument through 1978, dabbled a bit in gospel, had enough of a rep to get comeback shots in 1998 (on Warner Nashville), 2011 (Sugar Hill), and 2021 (Fat Possum). Second album on the latter, framed retro, twelve covers that probably go way back (the ones I recognize sure do, including "End of the World," "The Fugitive," "The Wayward Wind," and an obscure Loretta Lynn gem), sung and played right fine. B+(**) [sp]

Omar Souleyman: Erbil (2024, Mad Decent): Syrian dabke artist, started as a wedding singer, several albums since 2006, based in Turkey since 2011. Undaunted. B+(***) [sp]

Split System: Vol I (2022, Legless): Garage rock band from Melbourne, Australia. This appears to collect three EPs, all from 2022, so is equivalent to a new release. Very sharp and consistent, within its limits. Eleven tracks (31:46). B+(***) [sp]

Split System: Vol II (2024, Legless): Eleven more fast, sharp, short tracks (33:03). B+(***) [sp]

Vince Staples: Dark Times (2024, Def Jam/Blacksmith): Rapper from Long Beach, sixth album since 2015, all hits but none huge, some critical rep as well but I've always found turn offs despite his skills. But no real annoyances this time. B+(***) [sp]

Star Splitter [Gabriele Mitelli/Rob Mazurek]: Medea (2022 [2024], We Insist!): Trumpet players (alternatively cornet or pocket trumpet), also credited with electronics and voice, did an album together in 2019 called Star Splitter. Rather tough going. B [sp]

Swamp Dogg: Blackgrass: From West Virginia to 125th St (2024, Oh Boy): Little Jerry Williams when he cut his first record at 12 in 1954, he grew up to be an Atlantic producer in the 1960s, and Swamp Dogg in 1970, with Total Destruction to Your Mind, an album so deep he spent decades afterwards trying to crack jokes. His latest was called I Need a Job . . . So I Can Buy More Auto-Tune. But while he's always had a fair bit of country in him, he waited until he turned 80 to indulge it here. B+(***) [sp]

TGB: Room 4 (2022 [2024], Clean Feed): Portuguese trio, stands for Tuba (Sérgio Carolino), Guitarra (Mário Delgado), Bateria (Alexandre Frazão); fourth album since 2004. B+(**) [sp]

Oded Tzur: My Prophet (2023 [2024], ECM): Tenor saxophonist, from Israel, based in New York since 2011, fifth album, third on ECM, quartet with Nitai Hershkovits (piano), Petros Klampanis (bass), and Cyrano Almeida (drums). A warm tone against the ECM chill. B+(**) [sp]

Uncle Waffles: Solace (2023, Ko-Sign/Encore): Swazi-born DJ and amapiano producer Lungelihle Zwane, third EP, this one 7 songs, 42:52 (which makes it an album in my book). B+(**) [sp]

Kiki Valera: Vacilón Santiaguero (2024, Circle 9 Music): Trad Cuban music, leader plays cuatro, guitar, bass, and percussion, second US album, backed by more percussion, with lead vocals split four ways, and many guest spots involving trumpet. B+(***) [cd]

Peter Van Huffel's Callisto: Meandering Demons (2022 [2024], Clean Feed): Baritone saxophonist, Canadian, with Belgian roots, living in Berlin, with various albums since 2007 -- Gorilla Mask is one of his groups. Quartet here with Lina Allemano (trumpet), Antonis Anissegos (piano/electronics), and Joe Hertenstein (drums). B+(***) [sp]

Kamasi Washington: Fearless Movement (2024, Young): Tenor saxophonist, started in Gerald Wilson Orchestra (2005-11), also Throttle Elevator Music (2012-21); prominent side credits like Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar, Run the Jewels, Thundercat; fifth solo album: The Epic, from 2015, was a crossover smash, and this one is getting similar buzz, especially with features guests like George Clinton and André 3000. I have mixed views on much of this, but no doubt that he can be a tremendously imposing saxophonist. Massive: 12 tracks, 86:16. B+(***) [sp]

Faye Webster: Underdressed at the Symphony (2024, Secretly Canadian): Singer-songwriter from Atlanta, self-released debut in 2013, fourth album since. Has a light touch I find appealing. B+(*) [sp]

Amber Weekes: A Lady With a Song: Amber Weekes Celebrates Nancy Wilson (2024, Amber Inn): Standards singer, has a couple previous, not especially compelling, albums. As for Wilson (1937-2018), I've only lightly sampled her work, and never been all that impressed. Still, when the song is up to snuff, Weekes can deliver it. B+(*) [cd]

Kelly Willis/Melissa Carper/Brennen Leigh: Wonder Women of Country (2024, Brooklyn Basement, EP): Most sources flip the group and title names, but this way makes more sense. Three country singer-songwriters, Willis produced a series of solid albums in the 1990s, the others started headlining recently (although Carper, who also plays bass, has credits back to 1996). Six songs, 17:57, no reason to doubt they could do much more. B+(**) [sp]

Matt Wilson: Matt Wilson's Good Trouble (2023 [2024], Palmetto): Drummer, originally from Illinois, studied at Wichita State, moved to NYC in 1992, and quickly established himself as a sideman and leader. I recall a DownBeat blindfold test where he not only grasped everything they threw at him, but went to extraordinary lengths to recognize and appreciate the mindset of whoever's music it was. His records can be very eclectic, but the best ones have featured edgy tenor saxophonist Jeff Lederer, as this one does, along with longtime ally Ben Allison on bass, and novel ingredients Tia Fuller (alto sax) and Dawn Clement (piano and some vocals, including the jazziest John Denver cover ever). Title is from a John Lewis quote. Not yet the group name, but they'll be welcome any time. A- [cdr]

WoochieWobbler: Is My Future Bright? (2024, 3455092 DK, EP): Six songs, 12:34, I know nothing about the artist(s), but figures as atmospheric hip-hop ("lush, preachy"). B+(**) [sp]

Recent Reissues, Compilations, Vault Discoveries

Broadcast: Spell Blanket: Collected Demos 2006-2009 (2006-09 [2024], Warp): British electropop group, more or less, principally Trish Keenan (vocals/keyboards/guitar) and James Cargill (bass), produced three albums 2000-05, plus these demos for an unreleased fourth album. B [sp]

Stan Getz: Unissued Session: Copenhagen 1977 (1977 [2024], SteepleChase): Starts with a studio session recorded just after the live sets that were released as Live at Montmartre, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2: Stan Getz Quartet, filled out with a couple extra live tracks. Quartet with Joanne Brackeen (piano), Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), and Billy Hart (drums). B+(**) [sp]

The Jazz Dispensary: The Freedom Sound! The People Arise (1963-76 [2024], Craft): Jazz Dispensary seems to be a store and/or a label for "top shelf vinyl," although I also see their records out on Craft, which is a reissues company that supplements its LPs with digital releases (sometimes also CDs). This "Record Day Special" picks up some interesting tracks from what we might call the Black Power period, with tracks from Joe Henderson, Gary Bartz, Azar Lawrence, and Ran Blake, with a couple of earlier obscurities (A.K. Salim, The Dungills). B+(**) [sp]

Love Child: Never Meant to Be 1988-1993 (1988-93 [2024], 12XU): NYC-based punk/no-wave band, singers Will Baum and Rebecca Odes on guitar/drums and bass, with Alan Licht (drums/guitar), self-released an album in 1988, got more attention with their 1991 album Okay?, released one more after that, which this 26-cut 2-LP sums up. B+(***) [sp]

The Power of the Heart: A Tribute to Lou Reed (2024, Light in the Attic): Reissue label, has recently been sifting through Reed's archives, supplements their offerings with this collection of covers, presumably new versions although many of the artists go well back -- starting with Keith Richards, doing "I'm Waiting for the Man." Leads off with rockers, odder matches in the middle -- Mary Gauthier doing "Coney Island Baby" for 7:13 is actually pretty great -- then tails off toward the end. B+(**) [sp]

Mars Williams & Hamid Drake: I Know You Are but What Am I (1996 [2024], Corbett vs. Dempsey): The late saxophonist (1955-2023, credited here with "reeds"), started with Hal Russell and continued his NRG Ensemble after Russell's death, bringing in Ken Vandermark for reinforcements, leading to his work in the first edition of the Vandermark 5. Williams' avant-gardism branched out into rock and acid jazz (Liquid Soul), as well as more esoteric ventures (like multiple volumes of An Ayler Xmas). This tape with exceptional drums is just what friends and fans most remember him for. A- [bc]

Old Music

Gary Bartz Quintet: Libra (1967 [1968], Milestone): The alto saxophonist's first album, with Jimmy Owens (trumpet/flugelhorn), Albert Dailey (piano), Richard Davis (bass), and Billy Higgins (drums). B+(*) [yt]

Gary Bartz NTU Troop: Home! (1969 [1970], Milestone): Third album, live from Left Bank Jazz Society in Baltimore, another quintet -- Woody Shaw (trumpet), Albert Dailey (piano), Bob Cunningham (bass), Rashied Ali (drums) -- first in 1969-74 series to use this group name. Four originals and an Ellington cover. B+(**) [yt]

Gary Bartz Quintet: Reflections on Monk: The Final Frontier (1988 [1989], SteepleChase): Plays alto and soprano sax, "Quintet" on spine but not front cover, which lists names: Bob Butta (piano), Geoff Harper (bass), Billy Hart (drums), Eddie Henderson (trumpet). Songs by Thelonious Monk, aside from a 2:04 bit of Bartz, and extra lyrics, one song each for Jenelle Fisher and Mekea Keith (not my favorite part). B+(***) [sp]

Ran Blake: The Blue Potato and Other Outrages . . . Solo Piano by Ran Blake (1969, Milestone): He's made a career out of minor little records like this. B+(**) [sp]

Sophia Domancich/Hamid Drake/William Parker: Washed Away: Live at the Sunside (2008 [2009], Marge): French pianist, side credits start in 1983, with her first trio in 1991. Another trio here, as can happen when famous Americans wander about Europe. Set of three pieces: one joint credit, one from Mal Waldron, and no less than 36:37 of "Lonely Woman." B+(***) [sp]

Hamid Drake & Sabir Mateen: Brothers Together (2000 [2002], Eremite): Duo, Drake plays frame and trap drums, Mateen is credited with clarinets, flute, alto sax, tenor sax, vocals. Terrific. A- [sp]

Ducks Ltd.: Get Bleak (2019 [2021], Carpark, EP): Toronto indie rock duo, immigrants from Australia and UK-via-US, debut four-song EP, expanded to seven (21:48) to complement their 2021 debut. Open with jangly guitar, then a ballad, then more jangle. Go-Betweens comparisons aren't way off base, but not sufficient, either. B+(**) [sp]

The Dungills: Africa Calling (1963, Vee-Jay): Discogs list this as African, but elsewhere I see them desribed as a "Chicago family act." Recorded this one album together, with one song included in a Jazz Dispensary compilation. B- [sp]

Billy Gault: When Destiny Calls: The Music of Billy Gault (1974 [1975], SteepleChase): Pianist, only has this one album, from a period when he was playing with Jackie McLean (he wrote the title track to Ode for Super). Six more of his songs here. Relative unknowns in the group: Billy Skinner (trumpet), Bill Saxton (tenor sax), James 'Fish' Benjamin (bass), best known is Michael Carvin (drums), but that just focuses on the piano -- and the vocalists (Ellen DeLeston and Jon Lee Wilson), who come off as awkward and sometimes poignant. B+(**) [sp]

Big Walter Horton: In Session: From Memphis to Chicago 1951-1955 (1951-55 [2019], Jasmine): Blues harmonica player and singer, born 1921 in Mississippi, grew up in Memphis, made his way to Chicago in the 1950s and died there in 1981. His discography is very scattered, with a 1964 LP, collabs and a Fleetwood Mac jam session in 1969, and more odds and ends in the 1970s. This picks up a couple early singles, fleshed out with side-credits with Johnny Shines, Tampa Red, Otis Rush, Sunnyland Slim, Jimmy Rogers, and others, the vocals varying but the unified by his exuberant, rowdy harmonica. A- [cd]

Daniel Humair: Quatre Fois Trois (1996-97 [1997], Label Bleu): Swiss drummer, started 1960, leads four trios here for 2-3 tracks each (total: 66 minutes; there's also a 1998 edition with a second CD that I haven't heard): Jean-François Jenny-Clark (bass) & Dave Liebman (sax); Marc Ducret (guitar) & Bruno Chevillon (bass); Michel Portal (bass clarinet) & Joachim Kühn (piano); George Garzone (tenor sax) & Hal Crook (trombone). B+(***) [sp]

Daniel Humair/Jerry Bergonzi/J.-F. Jenny-Clark: Open Architecture (1993, Ninety-One): Drummer listed up top, same font size but different color from the alto saxophonist and the bassist. Bergonzi is an American who spent most of his 1990s in freewheeling trios on European labels (especially RED), before taking a more mainstream course after 2000. B+(**) [sp]

Daniel Humair/Samuel Blaser/Heiri Känzig: 1291 (2020, Outnote): Multigenerational drums-trombone-bass trio, Swiss, called themselves Helveticus on their follow up, but cover here just lists the three surnames. Originals from all three mixed in with trad jazz (ODJB, Bechet, Ory, "High Society") and Swiss folk tunes. B+(**) [sp]

Floyd Jones/Eddie Taylor: Masters of Modern Blues (1966 [1994], Testament): Chicago blues guitarist-singers, the original LP "Volume 3" in the label's series, allocated one side each, with Taylor (guitar), Big Walter Horton (harmonica), Otis Spann (piano), and Fred Below (drums) on both sides, with Jones switching to bass on Taylor's side. CD expands from 11 to 16 tracks, offering alternates and mixing them up. B+(***) [sp]

Larry Levan: The Sleeping Bag Sessions (1982-86 [2017], Sleeping Bag): Famous DJ/producer (1954-92), in 2006 Rhino released a 2-CD compilation of his work, Journey Into Paradise: The Larry Levan Story, with other compilations surfacing here and there. Sleeping Bag Records was a UK label (1981-92), which I remember as having a Jamaican influence, but looking at their catalog now, the biggest name was rap group EPMD, followed by Mantronix and Joyce Sims. This is one of the few items available under Levan's name: seven mixes of four songs, 44:21. B+(**) [sp]

Jackie McLean Featuring Gary Bartz: Ode to Super (1973, SteepleChase): Quintet, two dynamic alto saxophonists cut loose in Copenhagen with Thomas Clausen (piano), Bo Stief (bass), and Alex Riel (drums); five tracks, ending with 12:01 of "Red Cross." B+(***) [sp]

Maggie Nicols/Silke Eberhard/Nikolaus Neuser/Christian Marten: I Am Three & Me: Mingus' Sounds of Love (2018 [2019], Leo): Multiple options for parsing this cover: the singer earns top billing, but the trio -- tenor sax, trumpet, drums -- has a previous Mingus tribute, Mingus Mingus Mingus (2015) under their Mingus-inspired group name, I Am Three. Nicols supplies one lyric, the rest attributed to the composer, including detailed instructions on toilet-training your cat. I always find vocals like this awkward -- arty and disjointed, which is what she does -- but the music is often amazing, and their take of "The Clown" is amazing and definitive. So while all Mingus always sounds great, this adds something new. A- [sp]

Shikamoo Jazz: Chela Chela Vol. 1 (1993-95 [1995], RetroAfric): Tanzanian group, formed 1993, its members veterans of "dance bands of the '60s and '70s," including Kenyan star Fundi Konde, playing their standards. No dates given, and no singles discography I can find. B+(***) [sp]

Maggie Nicols/Silke Eberhard/Nikolaus Neuser/Christian Marten: I Am Three & Me: Mingus' Sounds of Love (2018 [2019], Leo): Multiple options for parsing this cover: the singer earns top billing, but the trio -- tenor sax, trumpet, drums -- has a previous Mingus tribute, Mingus Mingus Mingus (2015) under their Mingus-inspired group name, I Am Three. Nicols supplies one lyric, the rest attributed to the composer, including detailed instructions on toilet-training your cat. I always find vocals like this awkward -- arty and disjointed, which is what she does -- but the music is often amazing, and their take of "The Clown" is amazing and definitive. So while all Mingus always sounds great, this adds something new. A- [sp]

Shikamoo Jazz: Chela Chela Vol. 1 (1993-95 [1995], RetroAfric): Tanzanian group, formed 1993, its members veterans of "dance bands of the '60s and '70s," including Kenyan star Fundi Konde, playing their standards. No dates given, and no singles discography I can find. B+(***) [sp]

Shikamoo Jazz: East African Legends Live (1995 [2022], RetroTan): Only date given is July 1995, but the eleven tracks are credited to four permutations (Shilamoo Jazz, Fundi Konde & SJ, Bi Kidude & SJ, SJ + Fan Fan), although they flow together just fine, with oodles of that shimmering groove Earthworks immortalized in their famous Guitar Paradise of East Africa compilation. A- [sp]

Swamp Dogg: Little Jerry Williams Anthology (1954-1969) (1954-69 [2000], SEDG): Juvenilia, starting at age 12 but extending to maturity at 27, by which time he was a producer at Atlantic with a little bit on the side, which he then reconceptualized as Swamp Dogg for his proper 1970 debut (the brilliant Total Destruction to Your Mind). Aside from the title, the cover adds "AKA Swamp Dogg," which is close enough for me -- not unlike those rappers who drop their real names into their titles. This collects 28 songs, dates not provided, but leads off with "1965 Kingsize Nicotine Blues," so they didn't go with chronological. Still finding himself. One highlight is his Little Richard impression on "Hum Baby." B+(***) [bc]

Swamp Dogg: I Need a Job . . . So I Can Buy More Auto-Tune (2022, Don Giovanni): Second title of his to mention Auto-Tune (after 2018's Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune). I have no opinion on the aesthetics or economics of the audio processing technology. B+(**) [sp]

Eddie Taylor: In Session: Diary of a Chicago Bluesman 1953-1957 (1953-57 [2016], Jasmine): Blues guitarist and singer (1923-85), up from Mississippi to Chicago, recorded a few albums from 1967 on, before that was best known playing for Jimmy Reed (just 3 tracks here), but also John Brim (4), Sunnyland Slim (4), Floyd Jones (3), Little Willie Foster (2), and John Lee Hooker (3), leaving 10 tracks under his own name -- a couple memorable, the rest pretty good. This took me a while, but I woke up with Reed and Hooker songs in my head, plus one of Taylor's ("Big Town Playboy"). A- [cd]

Eddie Taylor: I Feel So Bad (1972, Advent): Solid Chicago blues album, recorded in Hollywood. B+(**) [sp]

Jody Williams: In Session: Diary of a Chicago Bluesman 1954-1962 (1954-62 [2018], Jasmine): Joseph Leon Williams (1935-2018), originally from Mobile, moved to Chicago, where his guitar ("marked by flamboyant string-bending, imaginative chord voicings and a distinctive tone") got him studio work with Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Bo Diddley, and Jimmy Rogers -- to pick out the most obvious hits on the front half here -- as well as the occasional single (some as Little Joe Lee). That first half is remarkable enough, but the obscurities on the second half -- especially his "Lucky Lou" instrumental -- are the real payoff here. A- [cd]

Limited Sampling

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

Grade (or other) Changes

Sometimes further listening leads me to change an initial grade, usually either because I move on to a real copy, or because someone else's review or list makes me want to check it again. Also some old albums extracted from further listening:


Additional Consumer News:

Verve's Finest Hour series:

  • Cannonball Adderley (2001)
  • Fred Astaire (2003)
  • Gato Barbieri (2000)
  • Count Basie (2002)
  • Willie Bobo (2003)
  • Clifford Brown (2000)
  • Betty Carter (2003)
  • The Crusaders (2000)
  • Duke Ellington (2002)
  • Bill Evans (2001)
  • Tal Farlow (2001)
  • Errol Garner (2003)
  • Stan Getz (2000)
  • Astrud Gilberto (2001)
  • Woody Herman (2001)
  • Antonio Carlos Jobim (2000)
  • Quincy Jones (2000)
  • Roland Kirk (2001)
  • Ramsey Lewis (2000)
  • Chuck Mangione (2000)
  • Carmen McBride (2000)
  • Charles Mingus (2002)
  • Wes Montgomery (2000)
  • Anita O'Day (2000) A-
  • Oscar Peterson (2000)
  • Sonny Rollins (2002)
  • Nina Simone (2000)
  • Jimmy Smith (2000)
  • Art Tatum (2000)
  • Mel Tormé (2001)
  • Sarah Vaughan (2000)
  • Dinah Washington (2000)
  • Ben Webster (2000)
  • Joe Williams (2001)

Grades on artists in the old music section.

Music Weeks

Music: Current count 36534 [36534] rated (+0), 149 [149] unrated (+0).

Excerpts from this month's Music Week posts:

Notes

Sources noted as follows:

  • [cd] based on physical cd
  • [cdr] based on an advance or promo cd or cdr
  • [lp] based on physical lp (vinyl)
  • [dvd] based on physical dvd (rated more for music than video)
  • [bc] available at bandcamp.com
  • [r] available at napster.com (formerly Rhapsody)
  • [sc] available at soundcloud.com
  • [sp] available at spotify.com
  • [yt] available at youtube.com
  • [os] some other stream source
  • [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

Grades are probably self-explanatory, aside from B+, which is subdivided 1-2-3 stars, because most records that come my way are pretty good, but they're not all that good.