Monday, May 6, 2024

Music Week

May archive (in progress).

Music: Current count 42249 [42200] rated (+49), 29 [31] unrated (-2).

Pretty substantial Speaking of Which last night, updated today to 208 links, 12085 words. Mostly got the updates from Twitter and Facebook, which I hadn't had much time for in the crush.

I'll forego any attempt at an introduction here, hoping to get this up before the storm line hits (6-7 PM CDT). No reports of tornadoes in Kansas yet, but there are some in Oklahoma, and that's where this is coming from.

One note I will make is that I've refined the problem with Cox email a bit more. It now looks like any email that I send with any HTML link to is generating the AUP#CXSNDR error. I'm curious whether any email from other domains with links to my website are generating similar errors. I need to do some research on email block lists, and how to fight them. Cox is pretty useless, and they're working to dump all of their email customers on Yahoo, which seems to have an even worse reputation. For now, I'm avoiding the problem by watching what I say.

New records reviewed this week:

Melissa Aldana: Echoes of the Inner Prophet (2024, Blue Note): Tenor saxophonist, from Chile, seventh album since 2010, second on Blue Note, quintet with piano (Fabian Almazan), guitar (Lage Lund), bass, and drums. B+(**) [sp]

Karrin Allyson: A Kiss for Brazil (2023 [2024], Origin): Jazz singer, originally from Kansas but she's given her heart to Brazil, and she's credible enough for this native Kansan. Cover notes Rosa Passos as "special guest," but credits only show two vocals and one rhythm guitar track. The essential guitarist is Yotam Silberstein, with Harvie S on bass, Vitor Gonçalves keyboards, and Rafael Barrata percussion. B+(**) [cd] [05-17]

Roxana Amed: Becoming Human (2024, Sony Music Latin): Jazz singer from Argentina, half-dozen albums since 2004, based in US since 2013, originals in English and Spanish, backed by piano (Martin Bejerano), sax (Mark Small), trombone (Kendall Moore), bass, and drums. One choice cut here is "We Built a Home," which reminds me of Roswell Rudd and Sheila Jordan. B+(***) [cd]

Byron Asher's Skrontch Music: Lord, When You Send the Rain (2022 [2024], Sinking City): Clarinetist, originally from Maryland, based in New Orleans since 2011, group name from a 2019 album, credit here is "reeds," same for three others, brass section is cornet-trombone-sousaphone, rhythm piano-bass-drums-live electronics. B+(**) [bc]

Black Lives: People of Earth (2024, Jammin' Colors): A "large and humanistic ensemble" combining musicians from "the U.S., Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe," bassist Reggie Washington seems to have been the catalyst, assembling the album Black Lives: From Generation to Generation in 2021 in response to the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. He took the evolving group on tour of Europe in 2022-23, and they returned with this second album. Mostly names I recognize, but too many to list here (start with Cheick Tidiane Seck and Immanuel Wilkins, with seven more vocals/spoken word artists). B+(***) [sp]

Carsie Blanton: After the Revolution (2024, self-released): American singer-songwriter, based in New Orleans, albums since 2005, lefty politics, no complaints from me on that score, but I wish there more songs like "Cool Kids" I don't have to think about. B+(***) [sp]

Carsie Blanton: The Red Album Vol. 1 (2024, self-released, EP): Six songs, 13:25, first appeared as a thing (I think) as a bonus CD packed along with the LP of After the Revolution, though it may have had some virtual existence earlier -- "Rich People" has reportedly "gone viral," which Blanton herself claims didn't earn her a dime. Jazzy, explicitly political (first two songs are "Ugly Nasty Commie Bitch" and "You Ain't Done Nothing (If You Ain't Been Called a Red", but the one about "Democrats" shooting in you in the back hits ever harder. I don't know whether she wrote or found them, but I'd like to hear more. B+(***) [yt]

Cedric Burnside: Hill Country Love (2024, Provogue): Blues singer-songwriter, grandson of R.L. Burnside, his debut was their 2001 Burnside on Burnside, started as a drummer but plays guitar here, as does Luther Dickinson. B+(**) [sp]

Nicola Caminiti: Vivid Tales of a Blurry Self-Portrait (2022 [2024], self-released): Italian saxophonist (alto/soprano), born in Messina, several side credits from 2018 but this appears to be his first album leading. Quartet with piano (Lex Korten), bass (Ben Tiberiti), and drums (Miguel Russell). Impressive. B+(***) [cd] [05-10]

James Carter: Un (Unaccompanied Baritone Saxophone) (2023 [2024], J.M.I.): Originally a tenor saxophonist, emerged as a prodigiuos star in the 1990s, but (unlike David Murray, similarly dominant in the 1980s) allowed himself to be limited by major labels with their focus on fewer, fancier releases, and struggled when the labels dried up on him -- he has little to show under his own name since his last EmArcy in 2011 (other than a 2018 Organ Trio as his one shot on Blue Note). But he's still working, still impressive when he gets an airing. Along the way, he picked up every other saxophone, and developed enough of a reputation for baritone that that's the one slot he regularly places high in DownBeat's polls. Hence this solo album, eight tracks, 41:06, pretty much as awesome and aggravating as you'd expect. B+(**) [sp]

Yelena Eckemoff: Romance of the Moon (2023 [2024], L&H Production): Russian pianist, moved to US in 1991, got into jazz and has recorded regularly since 2010. Very nice quintet, "inspired by the poems of Federico Garcia Lorca," recorded in Italy with Paolo Fresu (trumpet), Riccardo Bertozzi (guitar), Luca Bulgarelli (bass), and Stefano Bagnoli (drums). B+(***) [cd] [05-10]

Nicole Glover: Plays (2024, Savant): Tenor saxophonist, from Oregon, First Record self-released in 2015, this is her second on Savant, trio with Tyrone Allen and Kayvon Gordon plus guest Steve Nelson (vibes). Found line fits: "a deep, rich tone, but also lots of modern edges." Opens strong, but holds you with ballads. A- [sp]

Aaron Yale Heisler: Zoot's Soprano EP [Alternate Takes and Remixes From the Bechet Century] (2022-23 [2024], Bathurst Manor, EP): Guitarist, from Toronto, released an album called The Bechet Century in 2023, on the 100th anniversary of the soprano saxophonist's first recordings. Solo guitar with some vocals, mostly leftovers, nine tracks, 20:49, not that close to the model anyway (or maybe I just have trouble imaging Bechet without his rhythm?). B [sp]

Aaron Yale Heisler: Guitar Sketches (Toronto 2008-24) (2008-24 [2024], Bathurst Manor): Solo guitar again, with a bit of vocal, did a Sidney Bechet tribute last time, adds Charles Gayle to his list of inspirations, which he handles in a uniquely low-key way. B+(***) [sp]

Jazz at the Ballroom: Flying High: Big Band Canaries Who Soared (2024, Jazz at the Ballroom): Standards from the big band era, open with an instrumental "On the Sunny Side of the Street," followed by fourteen songs by six vocalists: Gretje Angel, Carmen Bradford, Olivia Chindamo, Jane Monheit, Vanessa Perea, and Champian Fulton, who plays piano throughout, leading two bass-drums trios. B+(***) [cd]

Dawn Landes: The Liberated Woman's Songbook (2024, Fun Machine Music): Folkie singer-songwriter, debut 2005, moved from Kentucky to NYC to North Carolina, found these eleven songs, going as far back as 1830, in a book published in 1971, and finds them "as timely today as they were then." B+(**) [sp]

Lauren Alaina: Unlocked (2023, Big Loud, EP): Country singer-songwriter, from Georgia, real name continues: Kristine Suddeth, had a run on American Idol at 17, got her an album that year (2011), two more since (one I panned), now this credible-sounding six song, 18:40 EP. Sample: "you ain't in the heels she's walkin' in, so don't judge a book by its cover." B+(**) [sp]

Li'l Andy: The Complete Recordings of Hezekiah Procter (1925-1930) (2022, Back-to-Wax): This is the work of Canadian Andrew McClellan, touted as "Montreal's best country songwriter," his music as "roots-based Americana that actually deserves to be made." Procter is a fiction, the hero of the singer's debut novel, who not only wrote all of this "two-disc, 29-song box set" (ok, not all -- not "Lovesick Blues," and I'm not sure what else), but took pains to get the primitive sound by recording it on a 1937-vintage Webster-Chicago wire recorder (with eleven songs also recorded on a Tascam 38 half-inch analog tape machine, if you care to compare). I'm quite impressed, but also a bit overwhelmed, and not having the box leaves me tempted to hedge a bit. B+(***) [sp]

Dua Lipa: Radical Optimism (2024, Warner): Albanian, moved to London to model, switched to dance-pop for her multi-platinum 2017 debut, third album preceded by the breakout single "Houdini." Eleven snappy, upbeat songs, just fine for 36:35. A- [sp]

Lloyiso: Seasons (2023, Universal, EP): South African singer-songwriter, Loyiso Gijana, singles since 2018, first album but just seven songs, 23:02, slow, soulful ballads. B+(*) [sp]

Leyla McCalla: Sun Without the Heat (2024, Anti-): Folk singer-songwriter, born in New York, raised in New Jersey, parents from Haiti, played cello and banjo in Carolina Chocolate Drops and Our Native Daughters, fifth solo album. But doesn't folk music need some roots to locate itself? I'm not sure I recognize any here, which may make it more interesting but less immediately satisfying. For that, you need the message. Title expands to "you want the crops without the plow/ you want the rain without the thunder/ you want the ocean without the roar of its waters, can't have the sun without the heat"; also: "And there's so much wrong/ only we can change ourselves." And finally: "I want to believe in the light/ I have been given." A- [sp]

Charles McPherson: Reverence (2023 [2024], Smoke Sessions): Alto saxophonist, started with Charles Mingus and Barry Harris in 1961, first album as leader was Bebop Revisited! (1965), has worked steadily ever since, recording this date at 83, still revisiting bebop, with Terell Stafford (trumpet), Jeb Patton (piano), David Wong (bass), and Billy Drummond (drums). Ends with his "Ode to Barry." B+(***) [sp]

Mdou Moctar: Funeral for Justice (2024, Matador): Multiple sources refer to artist as a band, but name started as an alias for its leader, a Tuareg guitarist-singer from Niger, Mahamadou Souleymane, with albums starting on Sahel Sounds in 2013, then breaking out on American indie label Matador in 2021, with this one racking up a Metacritic 91 from 12 reviews in its first week. Reviews use words like "incendiary" and "blazing," which make me wonder how long they've been following. B+(***) [sp]

Mike Monford: The Cloth I'm Cut From (2021 [2024], self-released): Alto saxophonist, with spoken word, from Detroit (I gather; sorry but I can't read anything on the CD, and I'm not doing much better with the hype sheet). Website adds Composer and Jazz Historian, and notes "over 30 years to practicing, performing, and experimenting with the universal language of music," but I'm only seeing one previous album. This one is billed as "a musical autobiography," a live set most certainly, because that's where social music comes from. Special credit for the violin solos. A- [cd] [05-04]

Mute: After You've Gone (2021 [2024], Endectomorph Music): Quartet of Kevin Sun (C melody sax/clarinet/suona), Christian Li (piano), Jeonglim Yang (bass), Dayeon Seok (drums); second album, song credits scattered, including a standard for the title, a nice touch. B+(***) [cdr] [05-13]

Pierrick Pédron/Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Pedron Rubalcaba (2022 [2023], Gazebo): French alto saxophonist, dozen-plus albums since 2001, duets with the Cuban pianist, who started in the 1980 with Orquesta Aragón and has long been based in Florida. Nice mix and match here. B+(***) [sp]

Jeremy Pelt: Tomorrow's Another Day (2024, Highnote): Trumpet player, debut 2002, a regular on this label since 2010, mainstream player with considerable chops, calls this his "most experimental recording to-date." That involves electric as well as acoustic bass (Leighton McKinley Harrell) and keyboards (Frank LoCastro), with vibes (Jalen Baker) and drums (Allan Mednard or Deantoni Parks). B+(*) [sp]

Pet Shop Boys: Nonetheless (2024, Parlophone): Fifteenth studio album, since 1986. Formula by now, but it's a great formula, dancey and dreamy, clever and profound, their best in some time, most likely. A- [sp]

Jeanfrançois Prins: Blue Note Mode (2024, GAM): Belgian guitarist, debut 1993 with Judy Niemack, "sharing his time between NYC and Berlin for over 20 years," moved back to Brussels in 2016. Sees this as a tribute marking the 85th anniversary of the Blue Note label, "the centennial of Rudy Van Gelder, and the 65th anniversary of his mythical studio." So he convened a hard bop revival -- Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Jaleel Shaw (alto sax), Danny Grissett (piano), Jay Anderson (bass), and E.J. Strickland (drums) -- mediated with guitar. B+(**) [sp]

Tutu Puoane: Wrapped in Rhythm, Vol. 1 (2023 [2024], SoulFactory): South African singer-songwriter, based in Brussels, debut album 2007, lyrics taken from South African poet Lebo Mashile's anthology, In a Ribbon of Rhythm. Band is mostly Belgian, plus Larry Goldings (organ). B+(*) [sp]

Xavier Richardeau: A Caribbean Thing (2023, Continuo Jazz): French baritone/soprano saxophonist, albums back to 1996, seventh per Discogs, joined here by Jocelyn Ménard (tenor sax) and a suitably evocative rhythm section. B+(*) [sp]

Luke Stewart Silt Trio: Unknown Rivers (2022-23 [2024], Pi): Bassist, works in a number of DC-based groups, most notably Irreversible Entanglements. Second Silt Trio album, with Brian Settles (tenor sax) and either Trae Crudup or Chad Taylor on drums (second half here is a live set with Taylor). A- [cd]

Rosie Tucker: Utopia Now! (2024, Sentimental): Singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, fifth album since 2015, alt-rock guitar with some hook craft. B+(**) [sp]

Christopher Zuar Orchestra: Exuberance (2021 [2024], self-released): Second album, 22-piece orchestra. Nominally a love story, with the final song featuring lyrics by Zuar's wife Anne, sung by Emma Frank. B+(**) [cd] [05-11]

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:

Afrika Muye Muye! Tanzanian Rumba & Muziki Wa Dansi 1968-1970 (1968-70 [2023], Recordiana): South African reprint label, ventures into Tanzania for a narrowly sourced but quite pleasant "dance music" (to translate the Swahili) collection: six groups, 17 songs (5 by Nuta Jazz). B+(***) [bc]

Les Belgicains: Na Tango Ya Covadia 1964-70 (1964-70 [2024], Covadia): Covadia was a Belgian label founded by Nikiforos Cavvadias, a Greek who had produced records in Congo for the Ngoma label. In Belgium, he organized groups of Congolese students, releasing singles, a selection of which are featured in this revived label sampler. B+(**) [bc]

Old music:

Carmen Bradford: Home With You (2004, Azica): Jazz singer, daughter of trumpet player Bobby Bradford, her grandfather, Melvin Moore, sang with big bands and the Ink Spots in the 1940s. She has a half-dozen albums since 1992, following side credits with Count Basie and Benny Carter, but I didn't really notice her until the Jazz at the Ballroom album. This is the only album of hers I could stream. She's accompanied here by pianist Shelly Berg. Remarkable voice, a bit strained here, and not really the ideal set of songs and support (though this does have its moments) -- but I'd like to hear more. B+(**) [sp]

Dicks: These People/Peace? (1984-85 [2012], Alternative Tentacles): Austin-based punk band, recorded two albums 1983-85, plus some singles and EPs -- this tacks a three-track EP from 1984 onto their second album. I decided to check this out after leader Gary Floyd's death -- superb jazz critic Tim Niland named their first album, Kill From the Heart (1983), as an all-time favorite, but I already had it at B+(***). Choice cut is from the EP: "No Fuckin' War." B+(***) [sp]

Dicks: 1980-1986 (1980-86 [2010], Alternative Tentacles): Career-spanning compilation, starts with their first single ("Dicks Hate the Police"), samples their two albums (5 and 6 tracks), their 1984 EP ("No Fuckin' War" and "I Hope You Get Drafted"), plus some previously unreleased tracks. Total: 21 songs, 51:23, which can get a bit excessive. B+(**) [sp]

Nicole Glover & Nic Cacioppo: Literature (2020, self-released?): Tenor sax and drums duo, 14 pieces in 30:32, not her first album (that was 2015, titled First Record), also not in any discography I can find (but does appear on a couple of streaming sites), so I'm guessing here. What I do know is that she grew up in Portland; studied at William Patterson in NJ; "is on the faculty at Manhattan School of Music, Princeton University, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music"; plays in Christian McBride's quintet and in "supergroup" Artemis; has two later albums on Savant; and gets confused by Google with "a writer of historical fantasy and other speculative fiction" -- presumably a different Nicole Glover. This is considerably more free than her résumé suggests, but she clearly has the talent to go anywhere she wants. B+(***) [sp]

Nicole Glover: Strange Lands (2020 [2021], Savant): Tenor sax trio, with Daniel Duke (bass) and Nic Cacioppo (drums), plus "special guest" George Cables (piano) on four tracks (on one of those, the bass and drums drop out). Mostly a solid mainstream outing, but gets exciting for a couple stretches where they break free. B+(***) [sp]

Grand Kallé & African Jazz: Joseph Kabaselle and the Creation of Surboum African Jazz (1960-1963) (1960-63 [2021], Planet Ilunga): Congolese bandleader Kabaselle, aka Grand Kallé, led one of the first major soukous bands, its ranks including Dr. Nico, Rochereau, and Manu Dibango -- the latter evidently featured here. Surboum African Jazz was a label which released these singles and compiled them into albums in the 1970s. I'm not sure how these intersect with the later Sonodisc compilations, or the 2-CD Sterns set from 2013, Le Grand Kallé: His Life, His Music, which most likely is still the one to look for. B+(***) [bc]

Li'l Andy & Karaoke Cowboy: Home in Landfill Acres (2008, self-released): Montreal country singer-songwriter Andrew McClellan, first album, set in a (probably fictitious) town "where the straightened street meets the knotted pine." Not just trad, with pedal steel and such, but almost old-timey. B+(**) [sp]

Li'l Andy: All Who Thirst Come to the Waters (2010, self-released): Second album, still country but ventures into gospel in a dark vein. B+(*) [sp]

Li'l Andy: While the Engines Burn (2014, self-released): Third album, sounds less country but the concepts are rustic, one song dated 1917, another "Fin De Siècle," with several referencing trains and the cover picturing a smoke-belching, steam-driven tractor -- a massive engine with wheels. As a songwriter, he's starting to remind me of Sufjan Stevens, but not yet in a good way. B [sp]

Li'l Andy: All the Love Songs Lied to Us (2019, self-released): The country touches help, although it's all rather subtle, and seriously historical. B+(**) [sp]

Mike Monford: Perseverance (2012, self-released): Alto saxophonist from Detroit, first album although he must have some history to get to that title, not much to go on but Herb Boyd's liner notes, which identify Marc Cary (piano/organ), Tarus Mateen (bass), Steve Williams (drums), and Rayse Biggs (trumpet). Solid groove, with spiritual jazz flashes. B+(**) [sp]

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • The Bobby Broom Organi-sation: Jamalot Live (Steele) [05-24]
  • Live Edge Trio With Steve Nelson: Closing Time (OA2) [05-17]
  • William Parker/Cooper-Moore/Hamid Drake: Heart Trio (AUM Fidelity) [06-21]
  • William Parker & Ellen Christi: Cereal Music (AUM Fidelity) [06-21]
  • Ben Patterson Jazz Orchestra: Groove Junkies (Origin) [05-17]
  • Angela Verbrugge: Somewhere (OA2) [05-17]
  • Alan Walker: A Little Too Late (Aunt Mimi's) [06-28]
  • Matt Wilson: Matt Wilson's Good Trouble (Palmetto) [06-14]
  • Mark Winkler: The Rules Don't Apply (Cafe Pacific) [01-12]

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