Monday, February 19, 2018

Music Week

Music: current count 29386 [29345] rated (+41), 375 [375] unrated (+0).

Only one record from my jazz queue this week, and only two other "new" records: a guitar band from Niger recommended by Christgau, and a slice (two of three CDs) from the first serious effort to cash in on Ornette Coleman's death -- courtesy of a reader who didn't think the third leg of this stool was worth the trouble. I played the latter at least three times before deciding that it would be recommended if you didn't have to pay much more than I did -- but I certainly can't see forking over $100 for the "budget" edition. Makes me wonder if Benardo has been taking business correspondence courses along with the world's most demanding home schooling on the drums.

Only one recent reissue/compilation, too, sort of a consolation prize as the new Youssou N'Dour bootleg Christgau recommended in the same post proved too elusive for my hacking talents (or, rather, beyond my patience). Maybe it, too, will someday show up unbidden in my post. Meanwhile, I've been playing old jazz, partly because I've been working hard on my Jazz Guides, and partly because it was easier than thinking up (or, ugh, researching) new things to check out.

There is, actually, a small bit of logic to the old picks. I started by looking for old jazz records marked in my database with a U: stands for "ungraded," the initial default state of my new mail, but also used for old records that I haven't played since I started keeping grades, and otherwise don't remember well enough to specify. These constitute most of the "375 unrated" noted above, and it occurred to me that it would be easier to stream them than to dig the LPs out (assuming I still have them), dust off the old turntable, and flip the damn things over.

Then, once I played the unrated Kenny Barron record (Scratch), I noticed a PG 4-star album by Barron (Green Chimneys), and found it as well. Everyone else on the old music list had at least one unrated album (although I didn't actually find any of the unrated DeJohnettes). How many more depended on how quickly my interest waned, with the exercise not yielding much to crow about. Still, I'll most likely keep poking around a bit as I try to wrap up the Jazz Guide(s). Next on my search list is Ricky Ford, but neither of his two unrated records are on Napster. Still, pointed me to a Mal Waldron record I missed. Alas, not a great one.

Substantial progress on the Jazz Guide(s) last week. I finished going through the gigantic Jazz 00's file, and started working back through a scratch file of Streamnotes reviews, including the year-and-a-half's worth written since I started compiling the book(s). I've worked backwards through about four months of them. This brings my page totals to 1616 (21st Century) + 756 (20th Century). Both files are growing at this point, the newer one 4-5 times as fast as the older -- but given that I have to jump around to add each entry, "fast" really isn't the right word. I have no way of estimating how much longer this mop-up phase will take. I also need to look through my JCG/JP/RG file to see if there are any marginal entries I missed, and I need to take another pass through compilations and archival releases. Still, at this point I'm not trying to be too perfectionist. I just want to get to a point where I can say I've packaged what I've written over the past fifteen years, and this is what it looks like. Turning that into a real book (or books) and/or a website, cleaning up the writing, filling in holes, etc., is a next stage thing, hard even to imagine at this point. Before I move on, I'd at least like to be able to distribute what I have, at least to a few friends and associates. How I do that? Right now I have no real idea.

New records rated this week:

  • Ornette Coleman: Celebrate Ornette: Brooklyn Prospect Park (2014 [2016], Song X, 2CD): [cdr]: A-
  • Samo Salamon/Howard Levy: Peaks of Light (2017 [2018], Sazas): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Tal National: Tantabara (2018, Fat Cat): [r]: B+(***)

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

  • Youssou N'Dour: Africa Rekk: RÚÚdition (2016 [2017], Jive/Epic): [r]: B+(**)

Old music rated this week:

  • Kenny Barron: Scratch (1985, Enja): [r]: B+(**)
  • Kenny Barron: Green Chimneys (1983-87 [1988], Criss Cross): [r]: B+(***)
  • Carla Bley: Tropic Appetites (1973-74 [1974], Watt): [r]: B+(*)
  • Carla Bley: Dinner Music (1976 [1977], Watt): [r]: B+(**)
  • Carla Bley: Social Studies (1980 [1981], Watt): [r]: B+(*)
  • Carla Bley: Live (1981 [1982], Watt/ECM): [r]: A-
  • Carla Bley: Heavy Heart (1983 [1984], Watt/ECM): [r]: B+(**)
  • The Carla Bley Band: I Hate to Sing (1981-83 [1984], Watt/ECM): [r]: B+(***)
  • Carla Bley: Night-glo (1985, Watt/ECM): [r]: B-
  • Carla Bley: Sextet (1986-87 [1987], Watt/ECM): [r]: B+(*)
  • Carla Bley: Fleur Carnivore (1988 [1989], Watt/ECM): [r]: B+(***)
  • Carla Bley/Steve Swallow: Go Together (1992 [1993], Watt/ECM): [r]: B+(*)
  • Carla Bley: Big Band Theory (1992 [1993], Watt/ECM): [r]: B+(**)
  • Carla Bley/Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow: Songs With Legs (1994 [1996], Watt/ECM): [r]: B+(**)
  • The Carla Bley Big Band: Goes to Church (1996, Watt/ECM): [r]: B+(*)
  • Carla Bley: Fancy Chamber Music (1997 [1998], Watt/ECM): [r]: B
  • Carla Bley/Steve Swallow: Are We There Yet? (1998 [1999], Watt/ECM): [r]: B+(*)
  • Carla Bley: 4X4 (1999 [2000], Watt/ECM): [r]: B+(*)
  • Jack DeJohnette: The DeJohnette Complex (1968 [1969], Milestone): [r]: B
  • Jack DeJohnette: Pictures (1976 [1977], ECM): [r]: B-
  • Jack DeJohnette: New Directions (1978, ECM): [r]: B+(*)
  • Jack DeJohnette: Special Edition (1979 [1980], ECM): [r]: B+(**)
  • Jack DeJohnette New Directions: In Europe (1979 [1980], ECM): [r]: B+(*)
  • Any Denio/Pavel Fajt/Csaba Hajnˇczy/Gabi Kenderesi: The Danubians (1999 [2000], Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Keith Jarrett/Jack DeJohnette: Ruta and Daitya (1971 [1973], ECM): [r]: B+(**)
  • Keith Jarrett: Facing You (1971 [1972], ECM): [r]: B+(**)
  • Keith Jarrett: Arbour Zena (1975 [1976], ECM): [r]: B-
  • Keith Jarrett: The Survivor's Suite (1976 [1977], ECM): [r]: B+(**)
  • Keith Jarrett: Nude Ants (1979 [1980], ECM, 2CD): [r]: B+(**)
  • Keith Jarrett: Personal Mountains (1979 [1989], ECM): [r]: B+(**)
  • Michael Mantler: Something There (1983, Watt/ECM): [r]: B
  • Michael Mantler With Don Preston: Alien (1985, Watt/ECM): [r]: B+(*)
  • Michael Mantler: Live (1987, Watt/ECM): [r]: B-
  • Michael Mantler: Many Have No Speech (1987 [1988], Watt/ECM): [r]: C+
  • Michael Mantler: Folly Seeing All This (1992 [1993], ECM): [r]: B
  • Michael Mantler: Cerco Un Paese Innocente (1994 [1995], ECM): [r]: B+(*)

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Heather Bennett: Lazy Afternoon (Summit)
  • Dogwood: Hecate's Hounds (
  • Thomas Johansson: Home Alone (Tammt Z)
  • Lucas Niggli: Alchemia Garden (Intakt): March 16
  • Aruńn Ortiz Trio: Live in ZŘrich (Intakt): March 16
  • Sara Serpa: Close Up (Clean Feed): March 18
  • Bill Warfield Big Band: For Lew (1990-2014, Planet Arts): March 9