review Archive

100-word Reviews for November 2017: New Music

So much great music and so little time. Here’s ten reviews: all new music, each summed up in 100 words. All are worth your time. Bryant Fabian Marsalis – Do For You? (Consolidated Artists) I struggle with a lot of current-day jazz. No matter how I try, much of it leaves me cold. Here’s a

Album Review: Sidney Barnes – ‘Sup’m Old, Sup’m New, Sup’m Borrowed, Sup’m Blue’

Sidney Barnes falls into the category of criminally under-appreciated musical figures. His career figures significantly into the histories of doo-wop, soul, funk, rock, pop and psychedelia. He cut “Wait” b/w “I’m Satisfied” way back in 1961, and while that record didn’t make a splash, it set him on a path he follows to this day.

Album Review: The Freeway Revival — Revolution Road

Despite its virtues, the genre of Southern rock is often plagued by a high degree of sameness: most modern-day bands worship slavishly at the altar of Lynyrd Skynyrd; the more musically accomplished among them might aim higher and model themselves after the Allman Brothers Band. But precious few offer much in the way of concise

Album Reviews: Six New Jazz Albums

Ignacio Berroa Trio – Straight Ahead from Havana (Codes Drum Music) Cuba has a long, storied and proud history of jazz. But owing to the U.S. Government’s half-century-long embargo on all things Cuban, few Americans know much about it. The doors were opened less than a year ago when President Obama relaxed some – but

Ten 100-word Reviews: Archival/Reissue Releases

With a great deal of my time these days spent working on my new book and various artist interviews, I tend to amass a backlog of albums for review. To lessen that backlog, I present ten reviews, each distilled down to its essence. Or at least to 100 words. All of these titles are reissues,

Reviews: 12 Jazz Reissues (Part Two)

Alphonse Mouzon – In Search of a Dream (MPS) Powerhouse fusion drummer Mouzon made his name on sides by Les McCann (the stunning Invitation to Openness) and Weather Report’s debut, but it was with Larry Coryell’s 11th House that he gained top-level fame. This, the sixth album under his name, is guaranteed to please fans

Reviews: 12 Jazz Reissues (Part One)

Albert Ayler Quartet – Copenhagen Live 1964 (hatOLOGY) The music of tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler (1936-1970) is assuredly not for the jazz novitiate. With an approach that makes Ornette Coleman sound mainstream, Ayler pushed even the boundaries of free jazz. Released in cooperation with the musician’s estate, this never-before-heard live session from more than a

Album Review: Yonder — Pearl Diver

Some music insists upon itself; rock ‘n’ roll, for example – when it’s done right – is designed to be impossible to ignore. So, too can other forms – progressive rock, jazz, blues – have an element of showiness in their presentation, one that seems to imply, “hey, check this out.” Other musical forms can

Album Review: Floating Action — Is it Exquisite?

Imagine if The Soft Bulletin-era Flaming Lips were influenced as much by pop and soul as by psychedelia. Imagine, too, that they adopted a more intimate, less expansive production aesthetic. The results might sound a bit like Is it Exquisite?, the fifth album from Black Mountain NC-based Floating Action. Though there is a live, four-man

Album Review: Joe Henderson — The Elements

Released in 1974, The Elements is the 16th album from tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson. This four-track album features four extended tracks; each is an improvisational exploration/meditation on one the elements. Though much of Henderson’s work had been well within the relatively conservative parameters of hard- and post-bop, The Elements is a conscious and largely successful