Monday, May 11, 2015


Music Week

Music: Current count 24940 [24909] rated (+31), 402 [407] unrated (-5).

Did a count check late last night and was at 29 -- tempting to cut off there since that seems to be my number, but I filed two more discs before getting around to reshuffling the bits this afternoon. I made some progress sorting through the CDs in my work area, finding a lot of things I haven't seen in years -- even some CDs that I never managed to list in the database. Still have five baskets on the floor for sorting, but that should reduce to one for the incoming queue, or I might even manage to slip them into a mostly empty shelf right in front of me. Next step after that will be to clear off the desktop clutter. When I was working, I used to regard anyone with a clear desk as unproductive (to say the least), but it is nice to periodically get to the bottom of it all and clear out the most useless crud.

This week's new jazz mostly confirms old favorites, although I should note that five former A-list artists fell a bit short (David Berkman, Steve Coleman, Dave Douglas, Claire Ritter, Elliott Sharp; I haven't heard anything previous by Nisse Sandström, but Jonas Kullhammar is on the record). The Coleman and Douglas records will certainly have their fans, and will fare better in year-end polls than Crispell/Hemingway or Rempis.

As for old jazz, Red Allen's World on a String (RCA) is an old favorite, and accounts for the first half of the Hawkins/Allen compilation. Turns out I had heard, and almost certainly underrated, nearly all of the rest. I've often shied away from playing Fresh Sound's reissues -- often things like 4 LPs on 2 CDs -- on Rhapsody because it's hard to focus over such length. (At least with real CDs it's normal to absorb box sets piecemeal, but the extra work that demands when streaming usually defeats me.) Otherwise, they have a lot of recent releases that would tempt me (that I might even buy if the dollar was stronger and I was in an acquisitive mood): especially the 4-CD Lars Gullin: Portrait of the Legendary Baritone Saxophonist: Complete 1956-1960 Studio Recordings -- based on what I've heard, quite possibly a solid A. They also have two collections of George Russell's early work: the 2-CD Complete 1956-1960 Smalltet & Orchestra Recordings and the 4-CD Sextet & Septet: The Complete 1960-1962 Decca & Riverside Album Collection. You can find grades for most of the constituent LPs in my database, starting with the solid A (and long out-of-print) 1956 Jazz Workshop.

Most of the non-jazz below was suggested by Spin's Overlooked Albums Report. I didn't A-list anything there, but Ciara and LoneLady came real close, followed by Shlohmo and Young Guv. Nothing bad on Spin's list. I've started to include some limited grade info in the 2015 Music Tracking file, although there's little chance that I'll keep it up to date. Does help to give me hints as to what to look for.

Expect a Rhapsody Streamnotes tomorrow (or something like that). Draft file currently has 118 records, so if anything it's overdue. Note that I'm probably two (maybe three) weeks away from crossing the 25,000 rated albums mark.


New records rated this week:

  • Thomas Bergeron: Sacred Feast (2015, self-released): [cd]: C+
  • David Berkman: Old Friends and New Friends (2014 [2015], Palmetto): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Joshua Breakstone: 2nd Avenue (2014 [2015], Capri): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Chicago Reed Quartet: Western Automatic (2014 [2015], Aerophonic): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Christine and the Queens: Saint Claude (2015, Neon Gold, EP): [r]: B+(**)
  • Ciara: Jackie (2015, Epic): [r]: B+(***)
  • Steve Coleman and the Council of Balance: Synovial Joints (2014 [2015], Pi): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Marilyn Crispell/Gerry Hemingway: Table of Changes (2013 [2015], Intakt): [cd]: A-
  • Death Grips: The Powers That B (2015, Electro Magnetic/Harvest, 2CD): [r]: B+(*)
  • Dave Douglas: High Risk (2014 [2015], Greenleaf Music): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Lauren Henderson: A La Madrugada (2015, self-released): [cd]: B+(**)
  • LoneLady: Hinterland (2015, Warp): [r]: B+(***)
  • Lord Huron: Strange Trails (2015, Iamsound): [r]: B+(**)
  • Phil Maturano: At Home Everywhere (2015, self-released): [r]: B+(*)
  • Jure Pukl: The Life Sound Pictures of Jure Pukl (2014, Fresh Sound New Talent): [r]: B+(**)
  • Billie Rainbird: Deep Blue (2015, Phantom): [cd]: B+(*)
  • The Rempis Percussion Quartet: Cash and Carry (2014 [2015], Aerophonic): [cd]: A-
  • Claire Ritter: Soho Solo (2014 [2015], Zoning): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Harvie S/Sheryl Bailey: Plucky Strum (2014 [2015], Whaling City Sound): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Marta Sánchez Quintet: Partenika (2014 [2015], Fresh Sound New Talent): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Nisse Sandström Quintet: Live at Crescendo (2014 [2015], Moserobie): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Elliott Sharp: Octal: Book Three (2013 [2015], Clean Feed): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Shlohmo: Dark Red (2015, True Panther Sounds): [r]: B+(***)
  • Steve Smith and Vital Information NYC Edition: Viewpoint (2011 [2015], BFM Jazz): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Toro y Moi: What For? (2015, Carpark): [r]: B+(*)
  • Viet Cong: Viet Cong (2015, Jagjaguwar): [r]: B+(**)
  • Katharina Weber/Fred Frith/Fredy Studer: It Rolls (2014 [2015], Intakt): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Young Guv: Ripe 4 Luv (2015, Slumberland): [r]: B+(***)
  • Zun Zun Egui: Shackles' Gift (2015, Bella Union): [r]: B+(*)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:

  • PC Music Volume 1 (2013-15 [2015], PC Music): [r]: B+(**)

Old records rated this week:

  • Coleman Hawkins/Henry "Red" Allen: Reunion in Hi-Fi: The Complete Classic Sessions (1957-58 [2009], Lone Hill Jazz, 2CD): [r]: A-
  • Manfred Schulze Bläser Quintett: Nummer 12 (1985 [1986], FMP): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Stooges Brass Band: It's About Time (2003, The Gruve Label): [r]: B+(**)
  • Cecil Taylor Workshop Ensemble: Legba Crossing (1988 [1989], FPM): [bc]: B+(***)


Grade changes:

  • Coleman Hawkins/Henry "Red" Allen: Standards and Warhorses (1957-58 [1987], Jass): Playing Lone Hill Jazz's reissue of these sessions convinces me I underrated the record. Still, until I recheck the actual CD -- maybe there's something bad in the mastering? -- I'll upgrade cautiously. [was B] B+


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Alessio Alberghini: Inverso (Floating Forest): June 1
  • Aimée Allen: Matter of Time (Azuline)
  • Priscilla Badhwar: Mademoiselle (self-released): May 26
  • Lorin Cohen: Home (Origin)
  • Eugenie Jones: Come Out Swingin' (Openmic): May 12
  • Enoch Smith Jr.: Misfits II (Misfitme Music): May 19
  • Jeff Richman: Hotwire (Nefer): May 19
  • Henry Threadgill Zooid: In for a Penny, In for a Pound (Pi, 2CD): May 26