Monday, April 3, 2017


Music Week

Music: Current count 27981 [27951] rated (+30), 400 [397] unrated (+3).

Most of this week's records were rolled up in the March Streamnotes, and for that matter look there for tips on how I found what. As you'll see, one event that set me off searching for albums was the death of alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe. I'm not sure why, but a reader in Australia (chpowell) sent me a letter with a batch of links -- all to AMG, which I'm boycotting at present, but if you're not (my grades where I have them):

As these links suggest, it would be nice to have a more comprehensive Blythe discography. I was unaware of the two Roots albums that showed up on Napster and are listed below. I checked Spotify and they have a couple items I couldn't find on Napster. At some point I need to decide whether to sign up for their "premium" service, but I've never found much there not on Napster (not that searching is any easier). They do, for instance, have the Joey Baron album I've heard, but not the one I haven't.

One grade below will probably prove controversial, if not downright offensive. Pretty much everyone I know likes the Magnetic Fields' 50 Song Memoir -- Christgau, Tatum, Ryan Maffei posted that "50 Song Memoir sampler is an A+." I finally looked it up on Napster and found that they only had 16 songs posted, so I played them. Probably not a sufficient sample to proclaim anything a masterpiece -- rule of thumb is the stuff they leave out isn't as good as what they're pitching you with -- but I disliked it so thoroughly I figure the sample is good enough for a (low) grade. Admittedly, not without its occasional charm, and possibly catchy if you can acclimate yourself to his voice, but it left me with no desire to pursue the matter further. Even made me suspect I've overrated him in the past. (I'm certainly not as fond of 69 Love Songs as my A- grade suggests, though I should also note that my wife, who has impeccable taste in music, adores all of it, and probably enjoyed what she heard of the new one much more than I did.)

Jazz Guide compilation continues sporadically -- haven't touched it for a couple days around Weekend Roundup and this post -- currently at 575 pages (20th century) and 272 pages (21st century). Next artist in the 1960s jazz file is Freddie Hubbard.

Apologies for dragging my feet on new jazz. Pending queue is up to 46 now, and I've mostly been handling it FIFO. I'm reminded of this because Tim Niland is up to Volume 4 of the six Ivo Perelman-Matthew Shipp CDs, and he's broken that series up to review a couple AUM Fidelity releases I wasn't at all aware of (one with Shipp, the other by William Parker).

By the way, if anyone can offer some pointers on converting the Christgau website to a smartphone app, please send them my way. Seems like a reasonable thing to do, but right now I'm at the wrong end of the learning curve.


Recommended music links:


New records rated this week:

  • Iro Haarla: Ante Lucem (2012 [2016], ECM): [dl]: B+(**)
  • Jü: Summa (2016 [2017], Rare Noise): [cdr]: B
  • The Magnetic Fields: 50 Song Memoir (2017, Nonesuch, 5CD): [r]: B-
  • Laura Marling: Semper Femina (2017, More Alarming): [r]: B+(*)
  • MEM3: Circles (2011 [2017], self-released): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Bill O'Connell: Monk's Cha Cha: Live at the Carnegie-Farian Room (2016 [2017], Savant): [cd]: B
  • Orchestra Baobab: Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng (2017, Nonesuch/World Circuit): [r]: A-
  • Rocco John: Peace and Love (2014 [2016], Unseen Rain): [cd]: A-
  • Trygve Seim: Rumi Songs (2015 [2016], ECM): [dl]: B
  • University of Toronto Jazz Orcherstra: Sweet Ruby Suite (2016 [2017], UofT Jazz): [cd]: B+(*)
  • University of Toronto 12Tet: Trillium Falls (2016 [2017], UofT Jazz): [cd]: B
  • David Virelles: Antenna (2016, ECM, EP): [dl]: B+(**)
  • Daniel Weltlinger: Samoreau: A Tribute to the Fans of Django Reinhardt (2016 [2017], Rectify): [r]: B+(**)
  • Jim Yanda Trio: Home Road (2016 [2017], Corner Store Jazz, 2CD): [cd]: B+(*)

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

  • Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari: Tales of Mozambique (1970-75 [2016], Soul Jazz) **
  • Nigeria Soul Power: Afro Funk, Disco and Boogie (1970s-80s [2016], Soul Jazz): [r]: B+(*)
  • Jim Yanda Trio: Regional Cookin' (1987 [2017], Corner Store Jazz): [cd]: B+(*)

Old music rated this week:

  • John Abercrombie/Arthur Blythe/Terri Lyne Carrington/Anthony Cox/Mark Feldman/Gust Tsilis: Echoes (1996 [2005], Alessa): [r]: B+(*)
  • Arthur Blythe: Put Sunshine in It (1985, Columbia): [r]: B
  • Lester Bowie: The 5th Power (1978, Black Saint): [r]: C+
  • Herbie Hancock: Inventions & Dimensions (1963 [1964], Blue Note): [r]: B+(*)
  • The Leaders: Unforseen Blessings (1988 [1989], Soul Note): [r]: B+(*)
  • Roots [Arthur Blythe/Sam Rivers/Nathan Davis/Chico Freeman/Don Pullen/Santi Debriano/Tommy Campbell]: Salutes the Saxophone (1991 [1992], In+Out): [r]: A-
  • Roots: Stablemates (1992 [1993], In+Out): [r]: A-
  • Gust William Tsilis & Alithea With Arthur Blythe: Pale Fire (1988, Enja): [r]: B


Grade changes:

  • Syd: Fin (2017, Epic): [r]: [was: B+(***)] A-


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Chris Greene Quartet: Boundary Issues (Single Malt): April 14
  • Larry Ham/Woody Witt: Presence (Blujazz)
  • Allegra Levy: Cities Between Us (SteepleChase)
  • Jesse Lewis/Ike Sturm: Endless Field (Biophilia)
  • Mas Que Nada: Sea Journey (Blujazz)
  • Michael Morreale: Love and Influence (Blujazz)
  • Renaud Penant: In the Mood for a Classic (ITI Music): April 7
  • Torben Waldorff: Holiday on Fire (ArtistShare): April 30