As I've mentioned previously in this here blog space, I've largely gotten out of the album review game. Unless a record really moves or I have something I really need to say, I'm gonna just wait to the customary year-end period to share my thoughts. But if you're impatient, you can always subscribe to my in-progress Spotify playlist. That said, here's a rundown of some records released in 2012 that I've been digging on, either a little or a lot (along with song clips where appropriate). The Beach Boys, That's Why God Made the Radio Django Django, Django Django Air, Le voyage dans la lune Ryan Shaw, Real Love Prong, Carved Into Stone Rush, Clockwork Angels Storm Corrosion, Storm Corrosion Jack White, Blunderbuss Imperial State Electric, Pop War Lambchop, Mr. M The Ex...
Mother's Day is typically a time for celebration and joy. But for many, it's a time of reflection and even sadness. This week's edition of Sunday Jazz is, in my estimation, a bit of both. "Tribute" is the final track on Robert Glasper's fantastic 2007 release, In My Element. It was written for Glasper's mother, Kim Yvette Glasper Dobbs, who along with her husband Brian was murdered in April 2004. Kim's impact on her son's life and on his music was incalculable, and so it was only fitting that he recorded and released "Tribute" for her. The song is beautiful any way you approach it, but what elevates it from pure melancholy to joy is the inclusion of Rev. Joe Ratliff's eulogy, delivered at Brentwood Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. I would kill the spirit of his moving words by analy...
Here’s a fresh batch of some quality interweb finds I’ve come across over the last 7 days (it's been a slow week): Ever wanted to lick Professor Dumbledore? Now's your chance, with the latest set of stamps from the Royal Mail celebrating famous wizards and witches. (Guardian) It's nice when journalists agree with everything I say; like Michael J. West, who agrees with me that artists like Robert Glasper represent jazz's best hopes for the future. (Washington CityPaper) If there is one good thing to come from the latest YouTube viral abomination — and there is just one thing so far — it's this Bob Dylan-esque cover of tone-deaf tween singer Rebecca Black's insipid good-time anthem, "Friday." (StumbleUpon via YouTube) I helped retrieve a lost World War II-era tank from a bog th
I swear that each year I have less and less time to spend listening to new music. It seems like a losing battle anymore to keep up with all the new albums coming out, but I have to keep trying. So rather than pontificate on the albums of the past year - as I've been known to do - I'm going for brevity in an attempt to get more done. And I'm adding one new feature to this year's year-end music wrapup (and future releases as well), by introducing a grading system. Here's the rundown: Dig It - You can safely part with your hard-earned money for this and not feel like a sucker. Download It - Still worth a listen, but you'll probably want to just download it and cherry-pick the best tracks. Ditch It - If you can find something of lasting value, you're a better person than I. Got
Before I unleash my awe-inspiring year-end album wrapup, I thought I'd share with you a mixtape featuring ten of my favorite songs from 2009. The only restriction I'm placing on myself here is that I won't be double-dipping from any artists, although some could have easily taken up half this list. And away we go! (more…)
Man, I take a short break from updating the site and, just like that, I'm buried under a pile of new music releases. Not to mention, of course, the Beatles remasters. So with no big preamble, let's get right into it... Ace Frehley - Anomaly (Brooklyn Born Records) Peter Criss couldn't do it, Paul Stanley almost did it, and who the hell knows what Gene Simmons was trying to do. I'm speaking, of course, about original Kiss members putting out a solo album this decade that even approached their best work from previous decades. So how does the Spaceman fare on his first release since George Bush Sr. was president? Pretty decently, by and large. Sure the album art is...well, it sucks. It's just bad. But who even notices such things anymore? The music's the thing, and Ace acqu
Patrick Jarenwattananon over at NPR's A Blog Supreme posits a most interesting challenge - name five albums I'd recommend to someone looking to get into jazz. The twist is that the list needs to made up of recording from the last decade or so, in order to showcase what jazz is about today rather than in its heyday. In other words, no Kind of Blue or Time Out (even 50th anniversary reissues). Hmmmmm.... So here's my list in no particular order, in case anyone reading this is looking for one collection of high-quality, contemporary jazz. 1. Robert Glasper, In My Element (Blue Note, 2007) - As much as I do like Glasper's latest offering I think it would be too jarring for someone just getting into jazz. In My Element showcases Glasper's ability to meld his muscular yet cerebral styl
It is tempting and easy to interpret the meaning behind the track order and title of Robert Glasper's latest album, Double Booked, as being a presentation of the artist's two separate sides - jazz and hip hop/R&B. Certainly, given that the first half of the record is billed to the Robert Glasper Trio while the second is credited to the Robert Glasper Experiment, that conclusion seems inescapable. But to look at it this way would be to miss the statement that Glasper has been making with his music since his 2003 recorded debut, Mood - jazz, R&B, and hip hop are not disparate elements to be combined or mixed by Glasper for mere novelty or effect; they are both integral and inseparable parts of his artistic vision. It's that vision, combined with his prodigious talent, that mak
I might as well offer my two cents on Terry Teachout's recent editorial for the Wall Street Journal, "Can Jazz Be Saved?", since so many others already have. In it, Teachout beats the same funeral drum that countless other jazz pundits have for decades - namely that the already small audience for jazz is shrinking alarmingly fast. He even offers as evidence some results from a recent survey by the National Endowment for the Arts. The survey results Teachout extracts present a gloomy picture for jazz lovers indeed- not only is attendance down, but the median age for jazz fans is fast approaching AARP territory (from 29 in 1982 to 46 in 2008). He makes the case that jazz, in terms of its audience, is becoming the next version of classical music. This reminds me of the old joke about