Sunday, April 9, 2017


Music Week

First, a couple more links I missed last night:

I should also note that there will be a special election here in Kansas to pick the successor to Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Koch), who has moved on to become Trump's CIA Director. The favored Republican is Ron Estes, who combines the worst aspects of Pompeo and predecessor Todd Tiahrt (R-Boeing) with a markedly lower IQ -- I wouldn't want to pick on someone just because he looks stupid, but all evidence suggests Estes is the real deal. Republicans have plowed a lot of money into this race, but all they've come up with are smears that attack Democrat James Thompson for supporting "late-term abortion" ("he's too extreme for Kansas") and split screens with Nancy Pelosi. Republicans have held the seat since 1994, usually with big margins, and their base has grown as the district has spread out from Wichita. The Nation finally took note of Thompson: see John Nichols: A Berniecrat Takes on Trump and the Koch Brothers in Kansas. I will add that Thompson hasn't tried to make this a referendum on Trump nor does his advertising cite Bernie Sanders. I think he missed an opportunity there, but he has a strong personal story, and his ads have a lot of guns, so we'll see how that plays out.

There are also special elections to fill House vacancies in Georgia and Montana. See: Charlie May: A blue wave begins? Republicans may be in trouble in Kansas, Montana and Georgia elections.


Music: Current count 28009 [27981] rated (+28), 404 [400] unrated (+4).

Round number notice, as I passed 28,000 records rated. At 30/week it takes 8-9 months to accumulate a thousand, so unless I slow down I'll probably hit 29,000 around the end of the year, and 30,000 close to Labor Day 2018. Big assumption. I've certainly slowed down going through the new jazz queue, mostly because this week's four A-listed records on Intakt and Cuneiform got four or more plays each. On the other hand, the records I downloaded or checked out on Napster got much less attention -- usually a single play, which is what kept the week from being a major wipeout.

The old music by Herbie Hancock, Freddy Hubbard, and Pete La Roca was suggested as I was slogging through the database adding entries to the jazz guides (currently 590 + 299 pages, so +5 and +13 over the week -- damn slow progress).

For Hancock and Hubbard, I stopped after the Blue Notes ran out (well, I included one Hubbard MPS, which had gotten some Critics Poll reissue votes last year). Both artists declined afterwards, and I figured I had heard enough for now. La Roca had two widely spaced Blue Notes and one outlier, and I wound up most impressed by the latter (John Gilmore is the secret ingredient, as he so often was).

Other recent jazz albums were suggested by the Downbeat Critics Poll album ballot (Cameron Graves, Heads of State, Derrick Hodge, Kneebody, Julian Lage, One for All, Bria Skonberg, Nate Smith -- Trio 3 and JLCO were also on the ballot but unrated in my queue). Can't say as I had missed much, but now I can say I didn't. I took the time to compile my usual notes. The invite from Downbeat's editor claimed that some critics can fill out the 20-page ballot in 25 minutes, but it took me over six hours, and that only because I skimmed through the backstretch, most often repeating last year's picks rather than taking the extra time to rethink everything. Horrible experience.

The non-jazz records were suggested by Robert Chrisgau's latest: obviously, I like the New Pornographers and Shins considerably less, but was pleasantly surprised by Conor Oberst's neo-Dylanisms. I had previously given Old 97's' Graveyard Whistling a B+(***). Still need to check out that Craig Finn record.


New records rated this week:

  • Chicago-London Underground: A Night Walking Through Mirrors (2016 [2017], Cuneiform): [cdr]: A-
  • Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra: Invitation (2016 [2017], OA2): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Tom Dempsey/Tim Ferguson Quartet: Waltz New (2015 [2017], OA2): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Cameron Graves: Planetary Prince (2017, Mack Avenue): [r]: B-
  • Heads of State: Four in One (2017, Smoke Sessions): [r]: B+(**)
  • Oscar Hernández & Alma Libre: The Art of Latin Jazz (2016 [2017], Origin): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Derrick Hodge: The Second (2016, Blue Note): [r]: B-
  • The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra: The Music of John Lewis (2013 [2017], Blue Engine): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Kneebody: Anti-Hero (2017, Motéma): [r]: B
  • Julian Lage: Live in Los Angeles (2016, Mack Avenue, EP): [r]: B
  • The Microscopic Septet: Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play the Blues (2016 [2017], Cuneiform): [cdr]: A-
  • The New Pornographers: Whiteout Conditions (2017, Collected Works/Concord): [r]: B+(***)
  • Conor Oberst: Ruminations (2016, Nonesuch): [r]: B+(**)
  • Conor Oberst: Salutations (2017, Nonesuch): [r]: A-
  • One for All: The Third Decade (2015 [2016], Smoke Sessions): [r]: B+(**)
  • Matt Otto With Ensemble Ibérica: Ibérica (2016 [2017], Origin): [cd]: B+(**)
  • The Ed Palermo Big Band: The Great Un-American Songbook: Volumes I & II (2016 [2017], Cuneiform, 2CD): [cdr]: B+(*)
  • The Shins: Heartworms (2017, Columbia): [r]: B+(*)
  • Bria Skonberg: Bria (2016, Okeh/Masterworks): [r]: B+(***)
  • Nate Smith: Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere (2017, Ropeadope): [r]: B
  • Spoon: Hot Thoughts (2017, Matador): [r]: B+(***)
  • Trio 3: Visiting Texture (2016 [2017], Intakt): [cd]: A-
  • Trio Heinz Herbert: The Willisau Concert (2016 [2017], Intakt): [cd]: A-

Old music rated this week:

  • Herbie Hancock: Cantaloupe Island (1962-65 [1994], Blue Note): [r]: B+(***)
  • Herbie Hancock: Speak Like a Child (1968, [2005], Blue Note): [r]: B+(*)
  • Herbie Hancock: The Prisoner (1969 [2000], Blue Note): [r]: B+(**)
  • Freddie Hubbard: Goin' Up (1960 [1961], Blue Note): [r]: B+(***)
  • Freddie Hubbard: Hub Cap (1961, Blue Note): [r]: B+(**)
  • Freddie Hubbard: The Hub of Hubbard (1969 [1971], MPS): [r]: B+(*)
  • Pete La Roca: Basra (1965 [1995], Blue Note): [r]: A-
  • Pete La Roca: Turkish Women at the Bath (1967 [2004], Fresh Sound): [r]: A-
  • Pete (LaRoca) Sims: SwingTime (1997, Blue Note): [r]: B


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Buffalo Jazz Octet: PausaLive (Cadence Jazz)
  • Peter Campbell: Loving You: Celebrating Shirley Horn (self-released)
  • Oliver Lake Featuring Flux Quartet: Right Up On (Passin' Thru): April 21
  • Gregory Lewis: Organ Monk: The Breathe Suite (self-released): May 5
  • Jason Miles: Kind of New 2: Blue Is Paris (Lightyear): advance, May 12
  • Jared Sims: Change of Address (self-released): April 14
  • Günter Baby Sommer: Le Piccole Cose: Live at Theater Gütersloh (Intuition)
  • Trichotomy: Known-Unknown (Challenge)
  • Ronny Whyte: Shades of Whyte (Audiophile): May 5
  • Alex Wintz: Life Cycle (Culture Shock Music): May 19