Thursday, September 21, 2017

Album Review: Pistol Pete- The 3Pete


The rims on the minivan in the hilarious video for ”Konichiwa” sold me on the Kansas City rapper Pistol Pete.  He’s as funny as Mac Lethal and as funky as Rich the Factor on his new album The 3Pete.

Pistol Pete insists that “I ain’t a rapper, I’m more a storyteller” on “2bad2good.”   The track’s jazz foundation indicates that the title is a likely reference to the Canadian jazz/hip-hop collective BadBadNotGood.  “So Gone” also swings while other tracks reveal the influence of Mac Dre.

The 3Pete concludes with my new theme song “Only Opponent.”  Like Mac Lethal, Rich the Factor and Pistol Pete, I see my most formidable adversary “when I look in the mirror.”


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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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I featured Molly Hammer in my weekly segment for KCUR.

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I documented a portion of my recent whiskey trip to Louisville at Plastic Sax.

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The one-time Kansan Mark Selby, a graduate of Fort Hays State who co-wrote the Dixie Chicks hit “There’s Your Trouble,” has died.

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Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s first album of 2017 struck me as a pointless recreation of Miles Davis’ Decoy.  A more interesting groove makes Diaspora a much better listen.

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Difficult admission: I’d never heard most of the tracks on the new Can compilation The Singles.  Aside from a few slices of cheese at the end, every song is stunning.

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Rock musician Jeremy Porter wrote an excellent remembrance of Grant Hart.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Puttin' On the Ritz



A base in Greenwich Village on a recent trip to New York City altered my perspective of the ostensible artistic and economic capital of the world.  Aside from the omnipresent scent of urine, there was nothing I didn’t like about the neighborhood (not that I could afford even the least expensive items in many of the rarified shops.)  Finding the willpower to sleep when renowned jazz clubs were within a 15-minute walk was a real challenge.

I didn’t catch Bill Charlap this time around, but the sophisticated tone of the pianist’s new album Uptown, Downtown with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington reflects the urbane ambiance I encountered at tony venues including the Blue Note.  (Here's my footage of a fancy Eddie Palmieri show.)

The host at Mezzrow may have mistaken me for David Lynch when he positioned me at a prime table for a solo concert by Sullivan Fortner even though I was wearing a ratty t-shirt.  I felt like I was at the top of the world as people decked out for fashion shoots and residents of luxury condos envied my spot within arm’s reach of the engaging young pianist.


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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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I laud the Black Dolphin at Plastic Sax.

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Don Williams has died.

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Hüsker Dü was one of my favorite bands in the mid-’80s.  Grant Hart’s warm songs provided vital balance on classic albums like Flip Your Wig.  Hart died Wednesday.

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Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry died last week.  Montgomery Gentry headlined a concert at Providence Medical Center Amphitheater in Bonner Springs a few weeks ago.

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I caught Sheer Mag at Kaiju in Louisville last week.

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Hearing Sammy Hagar’s “Heavy Metal” on KSHE while driving through St. Louis this week made me giddy, but played-out tracks by Jefferson Starship, Pink Floyd Cheap Trick, Tom Petty and Yes just made me sad.

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Instant Karma’s Trying To Find My Mind is RIYL the Pretty Things, Kansas City garage-rock bands, Wreckless Eric.

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Van Hunt’s terrific Popular acts as an accidental Prince tribute.

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Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real’s self-titled release  is a fine outlaw country-ish album.  RIYL: the Grateful Dead, legacies, Sturgill Simpson.

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I admire Matt Wilson’s Honey and Salt: Music Inspired by the Poetry of Carl Sandburg, but I don’t necessarily like it.  RIYL: Ken Nordine, beatniks, Lord Buckley.

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A pithy jam band?  That’s the premise of Hard Working Americans.  We’re All In This Together is RIYL Todd Snider, barroom blues, Widespread Panic.  Here’s the title track.

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In much the same way I crave junk food, I derive enormous pleasure from Playboi Carti’s self-titled mixtape. Here’s “New Choppa”.

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Much of Living Colour’s Shade is stunning.  Here’s the band’s cover of “Who Shot Ya?”

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My lack of enthusiasm for Malija’s Instinct is further proof that I’m not automatically in the tank for every highly-touted Euro-jazz album.  RIYL: Paul Desmond, cold handshakes, Phronesis.

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Mike Stern Trip is an appealing time machine.  RIYL: the Brecker Brothers, jazz fusion circa 1980, We Want Miles.

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Krystian Zimerman’s Franz Schubert: Piano Sonatas has helped to center me in recent days.

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Antibalas’ Where the Gods Are in Peace is more of the same.  That’s a good thing.  RIYL Fela, celestial jams, Lettuce.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Concert Review: Rich the Factor, the Popper and Don Juan at 7th Heaven


“I’m KC!”  I don’t wear Kansas City-branded t-shirts and I’ve never used a #kcpride hashtag.  Yet as the Popper performed his latest anthem about Kansas City in a parking lot on Troost Avenue on Labor Day, I realized that I may be Kansas City’s truest music enthusiast.  Not only did I begin documenting my longstanding devotion to the sound that made the town famous at Plastic Sax in 2007, I have concurrently chronicled the rap scene that’s produced the only other hometown sound to make a significant global impression during that span.

In the four-and-a-half hours I spent at the free outdoor event sponsored by 7th Heaven, Rich the Factor, the Popper and Don Juan were among the prominent artists who expressed appreciation for their longstanding partnership with the scrappy retailer.  Bucking music industry trends, CDs are sold alongside the apparel lines of Kansas City rap heavyweights at the store.

As I wrote in a 2016 album review, Rich the Factor is “a veritable legend on the streets of the city’s urban core.” He affirmed his status during an auspicious headlining performance.  Don Juan performed “I Am the Street” after boasting that “I started that Tech N9ne sh*t” and reminding onlookers of his affiliation with the late Mac Dre.  Rush Borda, Chauncey Clyde and the teen duo Candii Gyrlz were among the other notable acts at the makeshift rooftop stage that validated my obsessive dedication to the most essential Kansas City music.

I posted video snippets of sets by Rich the Factor, Don Juan and The Popper to my Instagram account.  I also documented 7th Heaven’s Taste of Troost party in 2009.


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I named the forthcoming Gorillaz show at the Sprint Center my concert of the month for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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The Project H is KCUR’s Band of the Week.  My on-air segment will appear online in this space.

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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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I recount my experience at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Tompkins Square Park at Plastic Sax.

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I hope the reports that the Kansas City musician Ben Juneau has died are incorrect.

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Walter Becker of Steely Dan has died.

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Holger Czukay of Can has died.

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I opted to attend Noise Fest at Davey’s rather than the Kansas City Irish Fest at Crown Center last weekend.  Most of the acts I saw at the shambolic event sponsored by Leavenworth’s Big Pharma Records were merely uninspired dudes who manipulated feedback and static.  Only Pussyvision’s riveting freakout redeemed my break with tradition.

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A$AP Mob’s Cozy Tapes Vol. 2: Too Cozy is rude, childish and without any redeeming social value.  Needless to say, I'm all about it.  Here’s “Perry Aye”.

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The members of Algiers and I clearly like a lot of the same records.  It’s odd, consequently, that I can’t get into The Underside of Power.  RIYL Solomon Burke, futuristic gospel, Elvis Presley.  Here’s the title track.

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Eric Revis’ astounding Sing Me Some Cry is RIYL Ken Vandermark, temerity, David Ware.

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While it’s not exactly complex, Lil Uzi Vert’s Luv Is Rage 2 is shockingly multidimensional.  Color me (very) impressed.  Here’s ”How To Talk”.

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New Order’s Power, Corruption and Lies turned my world around in 1983.  Even with its overt tributes to Suicide and David Bowie, I hear LCD Soundsystem’s American Dream as a heartfelt homage to the seminal release.

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If Tyler, The Creator is really as miserable as he sounds on Flower Boy, he’s likely going to be utterly despondent when he's 50.  RIYL: cranks, Earl Sweatshirt, misanthropes.  Here’s ”Who Dat Boy”.

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I can’t be sure that I’ve listened to Ozuna’s ridiculously slight Odisea.  His reggaeton is the wispiest music I’ve heard.  Here’s “Una Flor”.

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I don’t loathe Portico Quartet’s Art in the Age of Automation because the ensemble has shifted away from jazz.  I simply can’t stand the sound of soulless ringtones.

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P.O.S’s verses on Shredders’ ”Flipping Cars” are stupendous.

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The gratuitous volume employed by Mogwai at a Matador Records showcase at SXSW in 2001 came just shy of making my ears literally bleed.  I was unable to flee because I was working the show.  I’ve held a grudge against the Scottish band ever since.  Even so, I’ve fallen hard for Every Country’s Sun.

(Original image of Rich the Factor by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Concert Review: Aaron Neville at City Winery


My life partner told me that several acquaintances have asked her which Broadway productions she caught on our recent jaunt to New York City.  Those people don’t know us very well.  Predictably, we haunted music venues. Only one show commanded the exorbitant ticket prices associated with hit musicals.  Aaron Neville was worth it. Accompanied by pianist Michael Goods, the legendary vocalist crooned for 200 people at City Winery.  Although I wasn’t always thrilled with the selections- I would have preferred less Carole King and more Allen Toussaint- Neville still sings like a bird.  Enduring a leisurely version of the Bobby Goldsboro hit “Honey” was rough, but the star made up for his lapse in judgement with readings of “Hercules,” “Mojo Hannah” and a bitterly timely interpretation of Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927.”  You can bet I wept.


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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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For once, I come across as a prescient genius in Tim Finn’s analysis of Taylor Swift’s career.

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I enjoy Queens of the Stone Age’s Villians without reservation.  ”The Evil Has Landed” is my jam.

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I’m down with Najee.  Wanna make something of it?  Poetry In Motion is expertly manufactured functional music.

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Quaint swing isn't usually my thing, but To Love and Be Loved, the new release from the veteran pianist Harold Mabern, charmed me.

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The backstory of Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa is horrific.  As for the music, well, I’ve never heard anything quite like it.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Album Review: Youngblood Supercult- The Great American Death Rattle


When a friend recently informed me that the Topeka based Youngblood Supercult had been added to the lineup of Psycho Las Vegas, a festival headlined by the Brian Jonestown Massacre, King Diamond and Mastodon, he and I marveled at the stoner-rock band's low profile in its home market.  The lo-fi sludge of 151-proof songs like “Wormwood” on the new album The Great American Death Rattle effectively recycle the best bits of early Soundgarden, Fu Manchu and Clutch.  Even though the quartet has yet to make much of an impression in Kansas City, Youngblood Supercult is one of the mightiest bands in the Midwest.


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I reviewed a concert by Marco Antonio Solis and Jesse & Joy.

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I featured jazz bassist Micah Herman on my weekly KCUR segment.

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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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I trespassed on a rarifed jazz salon last week.

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Sonny Burgess has died.

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I claimed Sargasso Sea, my introduction to the music of John Abercrombie, from a discount bin at Classical Westport in the late ‘70s.  I haven’t been the same since. Abercrombie died on Tuesday.

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I’m embarrassed for almost everyone associated with the utterly dismal Rich the Factor Presents KC’s the Town Compilation.

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I like A$AP Ferg’s crossover hits more than his club bangers.  Although it sounds like a million bucks, Still Striving is a street album. Here’s ”East Coast Remix”.

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Acoustic Classics II, a new set of re-recordings, is an ideal introduction to the cult of Richard Thompson.

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Three or four songs on Not Dark Yet, a collaboration between sisters Allison Moorer and Shelby Lynne, please me.

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Even though Yelena Eckemoff is accompanied by jazz luminaries including Chris Potter on In the Shadow of a Cloud, the album is less satisfying than Blooming Tall Phlox, the astounding January release she recorded with relatively obscure Finnish musicians.

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Eddie Palmieri’s music has infused me with joy for decades.  Sabiduria is no different.  RIYL: Willie Bobo, life, Tito Puente.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Throw Your Hands in the Air

Before I could even consider pouting because I was working an Idina Menzel concert rather than a nearby outing by Kendrick Lamar last night, I began receiving a series of unsolicited texts about the poor quality of the consequential artist’s show from outraged friends.  While undiscerning status-conscious Stans might rightfully point out that I wasn’t on hand to bear witness to the greatness of Kung Fu Kenny on Wednesday, the judgements of my like-minded pals affirms what remains painfully obvious: live performances by hip-hop/rap stars (including the two times I’ve seen Lamar) are invariably disappointing.  There are exceptions- Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, the Roots and (sometimes) Tech N9ne come to mind- but too often the quality of hip-hop/rap shows is inversely proportional to the monumental vitality of even the most essential recordings.


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I reviewed Green Day’s concert for The Kansas City Star on Friday.

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I reviewed a concert by Logic and Joey Badass for The Kansas City Star on Saturday.

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I reviewed “An Evening With George Gershwin” at MTH Theater on Sunday.

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I reviewed Idina Menzel’s concert at Starlight Theatre on Wednesday.

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I featured Soul Revival on my weekly KCUR segment.

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Me and my big mouth: I inadvertently stirred up race-related trouble in Kansas City.  My mea culpa is posted at Plastic Sax.

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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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Aesop Rock’s instrumental score for Bushwick is dandy.  RIYL: Isaac Hayes, tension, Hans Zimmer.

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Single Mothers’ Our Pleasure is RIYL F*cked Up, extremely irritating vocalists, Titus Andronicus.

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Reactionary condemnations of the latest disruptive sound are always a bad look.  Unlike some of my peers, I endorse Lil Peep’s controversial Come Over When You’re Sober.  The successful merger of the aesthetics of Kurt Cobain and Lil Uzi Vert seems like a license to print money.  Here’s ”Brightside”.

(Original image of Joey Badass at his wickity-wickity-wack performance on Saturday by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

You Run Your Mouth, I'll Run My Business


My obsessive-compulsive tendencies compel me to think twice before queuing up compilations of irreproachable music by the likes of the Carter Family, Coleman Hawkins, Billie Holiday or Django Reinhardt.  Their timeless works tend to send me down unproductive rabbit holes.  It was with great reluctance, consequently, that I played the first of 136 tracks on the new Louis Armstrong collection The Complete Decca Singles 1935-1946.  I was out of commission for the next six hours and 38 minutes.  Oh, but what glorious waste of time!  Armstrong was such a genius that his interpretations of extremely problematic material, culturally insensitive compositions and pure drek are just as compelling as his classic works.  And when it comes to Armstrong, too much isn’t enough.


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I reviewed a concert by RL Grime, What So Not, Graves and Longer Days at the Midland theater for The Kansas City Star.

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I reviewed a concert by Primus and Clutch for The Kansas City Star.

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I reviewed a concert by the Harlem Quartet at Plastic Sax.

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I featured Bloodstone in my weekly segment on KCUR.

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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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I don’t think any album in my old man’s regular rotation annoyed me more than Glen Campbell’s 1969 release Live.  It opens with a over-the-top medley.  The second track is a corny rendition of “White Lightning.”  My whiskey-drinking dad would mimic the vocal effects.  I never got past it.

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Barbara Cook has died.

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DL Menard has died.

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Howard Husock, the father of Eli “Paperboy” Reed, has written a fascinating account of his fleeting relationship with the late blues man Fred Davis.  The Kansas City native was killed in Cleveland in 1988.

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I admire all of the genre-shattering impulses displayed on Paul Jones’ Clean.  His version of jazz is RIYL Philip Glass, chamber music, David Binney.

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Tyler Childers’ Purgatory doesn’t contain a single original idea.  I like it anyway.  RIYL: the young Steve Earle, “real” country, Turnpike Troubadours.  Here’s ”Whitehouse Road”.

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I’m annoyed (and a bit embarrassed) that I immediately fell for Forq’s new album Thrēq.  The quartet melds the most appealing (and dorky) elements of prog-rock and jazz fusion.  RIYL: Brand X, imaginary soundtracks, Bob James.

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Damn hippies!  Power of Peace, a collaboration between Carlos Santana and the Isley Brothers, is far out.

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Hey, John Scofield is pretty good.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Album Review: Shabazz Palaces- Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star and Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines

The overwhelming onslaught of alarming events has compelled many of my friends to embrace intoxicants with renewed fervor.  Even though I’m often tempted to turn to the bottle for deliberative escapism, I’ve found that a pair of gauzy new albums by Shabazz Palaces are capable of transporting me to an alternate reality that allows me to unwind, toy with astral projection and regain a semblance of composure.  I prefer Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines to Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star, but both releases possess some of the most appealing aspects of Sly and the Family Stone, Sun Ra, Future and Linton Kwesi Johnson.


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I hailed Kendrick Lamar in advance of his return to the Sprint Center.

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I featured Mac Lethal in my weekly KCUR segment.

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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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Guitarist Chuck Loeb has died.  He was a leading figure in the final wave of commercially viable and artistically compelling crossover jazz.

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Jan Fichman of 7th Heaven makes a cameo in the video for Rich the Factor and the Popper’s ”Aristocrat”.

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The Kansas City pianist Mark Lowrey oversees an disarming arrangement of Soundgarden’s “Fell On Black Days.”

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Trevor Lawrence Jr.’s Relationships is RIYL Quincy Jones, the intersection of jazz and R&B, the Brothers Johnson.

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Algorhythms turned me on to Matt Cappy’s debut release Church and State.  The jazz-based album by the Philadelphia trumpeter includes an Afro-beat selection and an interpretation of “Nessun Dorma.”

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Arcade Fire’s Everything Now is RIYL Abba, preciousness, Destroyer.

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Numero Group will release a Jackie Shane compilation in October.

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The 2017 Living Blues Awards indicate that the blues clearly isn’t alright.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Concert Review: Warped Tour 2017


A handful of battle-scarred musicians who appeared on the Hard Rock stage at Warped Tour precluded me from being the oldest person at Providence Medical Center Amphitheater on Thursday.  I was attracted to my peers the same way pasty teens were drawn to the white rappers on the bill.

I gladly paid $50 (and an additional $10 to park) to catch the old-school punk bands Adolescents, Sick of It All and T.S.O.L.  Everything else I took in was merely sweat-soaked gravy.

The New York punk veterans Sick of It All were in fighting form.  In spite of their age, they looked like potential victors in a literal battle-of-the-bands.  The California punk oddballs Adolescents (pictured), however, didn’t look so good.  Fortunately, powerful renditions of old classics like “Word Attack” belied their down-on-their-luck countenances.

Wearing a pink suit and deep tan, Jack Grisham of T.S.O.L. expressed frustration that only a few dozen people elected to hear his band’s set.  He mocked know-nothing hoodrats who claimed to advocate anarchy by boasting that his subversive activities had inspired “an F.B.I. file before your parents were born.”

The best of the rest:

  • The Virginia thrash band Municipal Waste was simultaneously hilarious and terrifying as it performed “I Want to Kill the President” and “The Thrashin’ of Christ.”
  • A guitarist from War on Women joined the female punk quartet Bad Cop/Bad Cop for a rendition of “Victoria,” a song about an abuse-inspired suicide.
  • Barb Wire Dolls successfully revived the trash-rock associated with the likes of L.A. Guns and Poison. Only about 100 people bothered to bear witness.
  • The varying crowd sizes that serve as a ruthless barometer of popularity are one of my favorite components of Warped Tour.  Thursday’s most savage sign of the times transpired when 100 rockers banged their heads to Valient Thorr as more than 750 annoyed hip-hop fans impatiently waited for Watsky’s set to begin at an adjacent stage.


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I reviewed Echo & the Bunnymen and Violent Femmes at Crossroads KC.

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The Passion of Charlie Parker isn’t going to be popular in Kansas City.  I  reviewed the all-star album that doesn’t go easy on Cowtown at Plastic Sax.  David Baerwald of David & David, the project’s lyricist, left an apology in the comment section at my other music blog.

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I previewed the Flyover fest for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I featured the Kansas City vocalist Millie Edwards on KCUR this week.

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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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Chester Bennington of Linkin Park has died.  I last saw him perform at the VooDoo in 2014 when he was filling in for Scott Weiland as the vocalist of Stone Temple Pilots.

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Nicole Atkins has a fine voice.  Yet the elaborate production of Goodnight Rhonda Lee requires a singer with a magnificent voice.  Atkins has a hard time breaking through the retro clutter.  (I reserve the right to be wrong- this album could be a grower.)  RIYL: Dusty Springfield, 1963, Dionne Warwick.  Here’s ”Darkness Falls So Quiet”.

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Terrace Martin Presents the Pollyseeds: Sounds of Crenshaw, Vol. 1 sounds like a potential album-of-the-year candidate in any given moment, but it quickly becomes monotonous.  Here’s ”Intentions”.

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Another John Coltrane tribute album?  Yes, but it’s amazing.  I highly recommend Denys Baptiste’s The Late Trane.

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I can almost smell the distinct funk of New Orleans when I listen to With You In Mind, Stanton Moore’s wondrous tribute to Allen Toussaint.  RIYL: Maceo Parker, worthy tributes, Nicholas Payton.

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I’ll always make time for Sara Evans.  Words is RIYL Patty Loveless, diminishing returns, Lorrie Morgan. “Marquee Sign” is the album’s worst song.

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Charles Lloyd’s late-career renaissance continues with the live recording Passin’ Through.  RIYL: John Coltrane, horrid album art, Joe Lovano.

(Original image of Adolescents by There Stands the Glass.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Big Reveal


I sat down with Aaron Rhodes of Shuttlecock Music Magazine to discuss a few of my favorite things.

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I reviewed a concert by Blondie, Garbage and the duo of Exene Cervenka and John Doe on Tuesday. 

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I discussed Jake Wells and Mike Dillon on KCUR.

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My most recent weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star are here and here.

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Field Day Fest shook my confidence on Friday. Even though the event received plenty of advance publicity (including a glowing piece I wrote for Ink magazine and The Kansas City Star), the turnout was woeful. I often felt as if I was the only person in attendance who had actually paid the full $15 cover.

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I marked a personal milestone at Plastic Sax.

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Fresh Kid Ice of 2 Live Crew has died. I last saw him perform at the misguided Zombie Pub Crawl in 2014 in the former grocery space to the north of the Uptown Theater.

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The stunning visual component of Juanes’ Mis Planes Son Amarte isn't necessary to appreciate the immediately ingratiating pop album.

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Contemporary doom metal goes corporate on Pallbearer’s Heartless. RIYL: Boston, colorless vocals, Rush. Here’s ”Thorns”.

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George Colligan’s session with Linda Oh, Rudy Royston and Nicole Glover on More Powerful veers between cocktail jazz and skronk.

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Every member of my compound is down with Sudan Archives’ self-titled release on Stones Throw Records. That almost never happens. RIYL: Sampha, something for everyone, Amber Coffman.

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Pharoah Sanders plays on three tracks of bassist Charnett Moffett’s often wonderful Music From Our Soul. RIYL: Jamaaladeen Tacuma, electric jams, Victor Wooten.

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I dig Cody Jinks’ cover of Pink Floyd’s ”Wish You Were Here”.

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I’m charmed by Big Boi’s wildly erratic Boomiverse. RIYL: Outkast, sweating, UGK. Here’s ”In the South”.

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Sevyn Streeter’s startlingly lurid Girl Disrupted is RIYL Brandy, underdogs, Janet Jackson. Here’s ”Before I Do”.

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Based on the melodic pop sensibility of Tenere, I sense that Afous D’Afous is fully capable of taking the place of 311 on the American summer festival circuit. RIYL: Bombino, dancing, Tinariwen. (Tip via Big Steve.)

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Deep Cover


There’s a right way and a wrong way to make an album of cover songs.  Nikka Costa takes the proper approach on the stellar Nikka & Strings: Underneath and In Between.  The unconventional arrangements and unusual instrumentation demonstrate Costa’s healthy irreverence on selections like Prince’s ”Nothing Compares 2 U”.  Her leisurely version of  “Stormy Weather” makes a case for Costa as Etta James’ most worthy heir.  Conversely, Douyé’s impeccably tasteful interpretations of standards like “In a Sentimental Mood” on Daddy Said So are infuriatingly stale.  The inability of elite jazz musicians like Kenny Barron, Ron Carter and Jeremy Pelt to lift the project out of the doldrums makes the effort even more frustrating.  The reactionary conservatism of Daddy Said So sounds like the supper club of my nightmares.


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I reviewed a concert by Iron Maiden and Ghost on Tuesday.

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I reviewed Monday’s outing by DJ Shadow at the Madrid Theatre.

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OneRepublic’s concert at the Sprint Center on Friday was one of my favorite shows of 2017.  No joke.  I reviewed the concert for The Kansas City Star.

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I discussed the Kansas City jazz fusion musician Blair Bryant on KCUR last week.  I inflicted Mike Dillon on listeners of the NPR affiliate earlier today.

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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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I consider Steve Lambert’s new album Seven Stories at Plastic Sax.

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Lord have mercy.  Pokey Bear’s ”Can’t Be Faithful” is a strong contender for my favorite song of 2017.

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21 Savage’s Issa is so bad that it's good. "FaceTime" is among the tracks that are both brilliantly awful and awfully brilliant.

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I love everything about Riverside’s The New National Anthem.  The project overseen by trumpeter Dave Douglas is RIYL Carla Bley, brilliant fun, Old and New Dreams.

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Shredders, a reshuffling of the Doomtree crew, is invigorating.  RIYL: P.O.S, feeling Minnesota, Sims.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Album Review: Rich the Factor- 1,000 (Keep It Ten Hunnid)


As millions of Jay-Z fans parsed 4:44 over the weekend, heedful Kansas Citians studied Rich the Factor’s latest missive.  1,000 (Keep It Ten Hunnid) is another essential document of Kansas City’s criminal underworld.  The album validates the assertions I made in an extensive examination of Rich published by KCUR last year.  The title track includes a statement of purpose: “Rich, why you rap about the drug life? I’m like Pac when he rapped about thug life.”  He notes that “I handle business on the late night and keep my grass cut low for the snake bites” on “Late Night.”  The production continues to reference ‘80s and ‘90s R&B.  “On the Grit” samples the 1990 hit After 7 “Ready or Not,” a sentiment that reflects Rich’s unrepentant grind.


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I reviewed Bruce Hornsby’s appearance at Knuckleheads last Thursday.

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I accorded the Philistines my KCUR Band of the Week designation.

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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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I consider reactions to the American Jazz Museum’s negative publicity at Plastic Sax.

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Pianist Geri Allen has died.  Perfection, her collaboration with David Murray and Terri Lyne Carrington, was my #9 album of 2016.

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A perplexing eight-minute documentary on the creation of Bargou ‘08’s wonderful Targ in Algeria raises more questions than it answers.

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I embrace the glorious pop of Calvin Harris’s Funk Wav Bounces without reservation or irony.  RIYL: Pharrell Williams, 2017, Future.

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Aruan Ortiz’s solo piano album Cub(an)ism is astounding.  RIYL: Cecil Taylor, truly new sounds, Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

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May the Purple Rain never stop falling.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Album Review: Vince Staples- Big Fish Theory


Several obsessive listening sessions with the difficult Big Fish Theory compels me to paraphrase a familiar saying: it’s not the Vince Staples album I want, but it may be the Vince Staples album I need.  Electronica-based production choices presented the initial hurdle.  Where the melange of jazz, funk and R&B employed by Kendrick Lamar- Staples’ most worthy hyper-ambitious California art-rap peer- immediately resonates with me, Big Fish Theory draws on sonics that are outside my wheelhouse.  As for Staples’ lyrical concerns, well, they’re not a lot of fun.  Lamar provides resolution for his apprehensions.  Staples is more ambiguous.  The contrast make Lamar’s entrance on “Yeah Right” the most electrifying moment on an album of challenging music for unsettled times.


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Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s concert at Crossroads KC was wack.  Here’s my review.

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I named Making Movies KCUR’s Band of the Week.

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In a dazzling display of poor judgement, I put off listening to Hudson, the new collaboration between John Scofield, John Medeski, Larry Grenadier and Jack DeJohnette.  The prospect of hearing them cover the likes of “Woodstock” didn’t appeal to me.  I shouldn’t have doubted the brilliant men.  The excellent album isn’t the least bit portentous.  Here’s the title track.

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Tigran Hamasyan’s An Ancient Observer is an enchanting piano-based album.  Here’s "Markos and Markos".  RIYL: Brad Mehldau, Armenia, Ethan Iverson.

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Sometimes I dodn’t know if I should envy the cool kids or laugh at them.

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Outside the Echo Chamber, an astounding collaboration between Coldcut and On-U Sound, overflows with ideas.  RIYL: No Doubt, dub, Lee Perry.

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Even though I think it’s a pointless exercise, I’d be lying if I claimed not to derive great pleasure from Ala.Ni’s You & I.  RIYL: Madeleine Peyroux, fine wine, Blossom Dearie.  Here’s ”Cherry Blossom”.

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Pop Makossa- The Invasive Dance Beat of Cameroon 1976​-​1984 sounds like an exuberant remix of Nile Rodgers’ discography.  In other words, it’s an instant party.  (Tip via Big Steve.)

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A viable new contender for the title of the worst song of all time features one of the best artists of the moment.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ain’t Nobody Praying For Me: Music Midway in 2017

The Top Songs of 2017 (So Far)
Three topics that have unsettled my home during the last six months- faith, sobriety and formulating an appropriate response to the new political climate- are addressed on Brother Ali’s hopeful anthem.(Spotify playlist)

1. Brother Ali- “Own Light (What Hearts Are For)”
2. Calvin Harris featuring Frank Ocean and Migos- “Slide”
3. Kendrick Lamar- “Humble”
4. Valerie June- “Astral Plane”
5. Sunny Sweeney- “Bottle by My Bed”
6. Lorde- “Liability”
7. Rick Ross featuring Young Thug- “Trap Trap Trap”
8. Young Fathers- “Only God Knows”
9. Future- “Mask Off”
10. Ibibio Sound Machine- “Give Me a Reason”

11. Fat Joe and Remy Ma- “Spaghetti”
12. Alejandro Fernandez- “Agridulce”
13. José James- “To Be With You”
14. Craig Finn- “God in Chicago”
15. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit- “Hope the High Road”
16. Mark Eitzel- “The Last Ten Years”
17. Adriel Favela- “Me Llamo Juan”
18. Stik Figa- “Cold”
19. Rodney Crowell- “It Ain’t Over Yet”
20. Migos- “T-Shirt”

21. Chronixx- “Majesty”
22. Motionless in White- “Loud”
23. Carlos Vives- “Al Filo de Tu Amor”
24. Chief Keef- “Reefah”
25. Ledisi- “High”


The Top Albums of 2017 (So Far)
No contest- 2017 belongs to Kendrick Lamar.

1. Kendrick Lamar- Damn
2. Matt Otto- Ibérica
3. Orchestra Baobab- Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng
4. Future- Future
5. Sunny Sweeney- Trophy
6. Tinariwen- Elwan
7. Juana Molina- Halo
8. Víkingur Ólafsson- Philip Glass: Piano Works
9. Bobby Watson- Made In America
10. Migos- Culture

11. Miguel Zenón- Típico
12. Future- Hndrxx
13. Making Movies- I Am Another You
14. Brother Ali- All the Beauty In This Whole Life
15. Wavves- You’re Welcome
16. Samantha Fish- Chills & Fever
17. Omar Souleyman- To Syria, With Love
18. Syd- Fin
19. Yelena Eckemoff- Blooming Tall Phlox
20. Gorillaz- Humanz

21. Uniform- Wake In Fright
22. Oleta Adams- Third Set
23. Jessi Colter- The Psalms
24. Willie Nelson- God’s Problem Child
25. Lorde- Melodrama


The Top Shows of 2017 (So Far)
My cousin the opera star made me wince from laughing so hard in my front row seat at the Folly Theater.  Eric Owens one-upped him by causing me to sob.

1. Lawrence Brownlee and Eric Owens- Folly Theater
2. Charlie Wilson, Fantasia and Johnny Gill- Sprint Center
3. A Place to Bury Strangers- Madrid Theatre (opening for the Black Angels)
4. Donny McCaslin Trio- Folly Theater
5. Salif Keita- Town Hall (New York City)
6. Greg Tardy Trio- Blue Room
7. Danilo Pérez’s Jazz 100- Yardley Hall
8. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit and Strand of Oaks- Uptown Theater
9. Halestorm- Rockfest at Kansas Speedway
10. Jack DeJohnette Trio- Gem Theater

11. Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood- Sprint Center
12. Ramsey Lewis- Gem Theater
13. Patti LaBelle- Muriel Kauffman Theatre
14. Joseph- Madrid Theatre
15. Jessica Care Moore- Black Archives of Mid-America
16. Soundgarden and Dillinger Escape Plan- Starlight Theatre
17. Alaturka- Polsky Theatre
18. Lalah Hathaway- Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival in the Jazz District
19. Pure Disgust- Encore Room
20. Jimmy LaFave- Folk Alliance at the Westin Crown Center

21. Tech N9ne- Midland theater
22. Punch Brothers- Crossroads KC
23. Motionless in White- Midland theater
24. Simone Porter- Folly Theater
25. George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic- Boulevardia in the Stockyards District

(Original image of Lalah Hathaway by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Album Review: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit- The Nashville Sound


By evoking peak-era Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band during Ink’s Middle of the Map Festival at the Uptown Theater in May, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s concert at the Uptown Theater momentarily restored my faith in the viability of traditional rock and roll.  The best songs on the setlist- “If We Were Vampires” and “Hope the High Road”- acted as previews of the forthcoming The Nashville Sound.  It’s a drag, consequently, that those songs are far and away the album’s best tracks.  I’ll probably listen to “If We Were Vampires and “Hope the High Road” for the remainder of my life, but I’m just not down with the rest of The Nashville Sound.


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I wrote a feature about Oleta Adams for KCUR.

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I reviewed Ann Wilson’s concert at the Uptown Theater.

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I reviewed George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic’s appearance at the Boulevardia festival.

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Willie Nelson was rained out on Saturday, but I reviewed opening sets by Dwight Yoakam and Robert Earl Keen.

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Concerts by John Legend and Portugal. The Man were my shows of the week for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I named My Brothers & Sisters the KCUR Band of the Week.

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I take note of Gerald Spaits latest release at Plastic Sax.

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My weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star are here and here.

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Prodigy of Mobb Deep has died.

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Ben Goldberg School’s The Humanities is RIYL Henry Threadgill, the combination of clarinet and accordion, Don Byron.

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I had a spiritual epiphany while listening to the opening selection of Ahmad Jamal’s excellent new Marseille. Here’s a music video for the fourth track.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Album Review: Juana Molina- Halo


My insomnia has a soundtrack.  When my mind races like a hamster on a wheel in spite of my exhaustion, my imagination generates gentle buzzes, soothing bleeps and reassuring coos.  Juana Molina may suffer from the same curious malady.  Her enchanting new album Halo is precisely what I hear on sleepless nights.


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I reviewed a production of “The Who’s Tommy” on Friday.

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I reviewed “You’ve Got a Friend” at Quality Hill Playhouse on Saturday.

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I reviewed a Punch Brothers concert at Crossroads KC on Sunday.

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I reviewed Muse and Thirty Seconds to Mars at Starlight Theatre on Monday.

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John Legend’s concert at Starlight Theatre is my pick of the week for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I named Hembree KCUR’s Band of the Week.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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Footage of the late Jimmy LaFave’s powerful performance at the Folk Alliance conference in February has emerged.

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I hopped on the bandwagon for Gorillaz' Humanz last week.

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Ambrose Akinmusire’s A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard doesn’t move me.  RIYL: Wallace Roney, disappointments, Roy Hargrove.

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Benjamin Booker’s Witness is the rare roots-rock album that isn’t afraid of upsetting the apple cart.  RIYL: Gomez, powerful voices, Heartless Bastards.  Here’s ”Believe”.

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Canned arrangements and lackluster production spoil Maysa’s Love Is a Battlefield.  RIYL: Anita Baker, romance, Ledisi.  Here’s the title track.

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Even though I listened carefully to A Social Call, I’m compelled to reserve judgement on Jazzmeia Horn until I catch a live performance.  RIYL: Shirley Horn, jazz hype, Ella Fitzgerald.

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I’ve never attempted to hide my unironic affection for Papa Roach.  Crooked Teeth is RIYL Sevendust, real life, Seether.

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Heliocentrics’ trippy A World of Masks is RIYL Mulatu Astatke, groovy drones, Sun Ra.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, June 05, 2017

Sour Concord Grapes


I’m not one of the three pasty men in the photograph that accompanies a The New York Times report about the latest transmutation of the entity once known as Concord Records.  While I bear a slight resemblance to the executives who oversee the conglomerate, I suppose I lack some of their business acuity.  I certainly had myriad opportunities to get in on the ground floor of the operation.  I regularly interacted with Carl Jefferson, the late founder of Concord Records, as I toiled as a sales rep for independent record labels when his company was strictly devoted to mainstream jazz recordings.  When he wasn’t scolding me about slow payments or the ostensibly light spreads of his latest releases, Jefferson and I had delightful discussions about our mutual admiration of musicians like Ruby Braff.  Even though things have worked out for me, I occasionally regret not striving to become a redoubtable music industry mogul.


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I reviewed the 25th anniversary edition of Rockfest.

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I reviewed Tech N9ne's return to the Midland.

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Future’s concert at the Sprint Center was my show of the week for The Kansas City Star and
Ink magazine.

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I gave Nick Schnebelen my KCUR Band of the Week designation.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I reviewed Hermon Mehari’s solo debut album at Plastic Sax.

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Danny Cox recalled the summer of 1967 for The Kansas City Star.

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Bern Nix has died.

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The remix of Bob Marley & the Wailers' Exodus is disorienting.  Here’s ”Turn Your Lights Down Low”.

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Mad Decent added just the right amount of production sweetening to Omar Souleyman’s music on To Syria, With Love.  Here’s ”Chobi”.

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Cuong Vu’s Ballet is miraculous free-ish jazz.  RIYL: Bill Frisell, four (brilliant) dudes jamming, Dave Douglas.

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Orrin Evans might be my favorite mainstream jazz pianist.  His presence elevates Sean Jones’ Live From at the Bistro.  RIYL: Hermon Mehari, the St. Louis jazz club, Terrel Stafford.

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Rock may be dead, but the members of Greta Van Fleet are expert necromancers.  Black Smoke Rising is RIYL Led Zeppelin IV, gravedigging, Houses of the Holy.  Here’s ”Highway Tune”.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Soft and Warm


I hit the quiet storm trifecta on Sunday.  While watching Will Downing deliver the classic 1998 ballad “Stop, Look, Listen to Your Heart” at the Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival, I was rocked by a bolt of adult R&B inspiration.  I hustled to the nearby Celebration at the Station to hear Patti Austin perform with the Kansas City Symphony.  At the conclusion of her portion of the massive event, I raced back to the Jazz District in time to catch Oleta Adams revive her 1991 smash “Get Here”.  Rarely has my unironic embrace of slow jams been more rewarding.


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I reviewed the first and second days of the Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival for The Kansas City Star.  I pontificate on the inaugural edition of the festival at Plastic Sax.

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Samantha Fish’s two-night stand at Crossroads KC was my show of the week for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I gave Oleta Adams the KCUR Band of the Week designation.

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Gregg Allman has died.  He seemed frail at a 2015 casino gig I reviewed for The Kansas City Star.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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Mickey Roker has died.

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The new reissue of Mulatu of Africa is unassailably groovy.  The many imperfections of Mulatu Astatke’s 1972 album somehow makes the music even more perfect.  RIYL: Roy Ayers, qi, Sun Ra.

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Robert Johnson has nothing on Willie Nelson.  God’s Problem Child is yet another improbably strong album from the 84-year-old icon.

(Original image of the Celebration at the Station by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Jimmy LaFave, 1955-2017




When I began attending SXSW more than 25 years ago, the event was a business conference that doubled as a showcase for locally based musicians.  Performances by the hometown hero Jimmy LaFave were among the most anticipated components of those early years.  Even though his popularity failed to keep up with the staggering growth of SXSW, LaFave remained faithful to the rootsy sound that once made him the toast of the Texas town. Nora Guthrie’s introduction of LaFave at the Folk Alliance International conference on February 18 was was warm and effusive.  Even though I wasn’t aware that he’d been diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer, I was moved by an intimate performance that included one or two of his signature Bob Dylan covers.  LaFave died last week.


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I reviewed a concert by the Black Angels and A Place to Bury Strangers.

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I reviewed outings by Railroad Earth, the Yonder Mountain String Band, Fruition and the Shook Twins at the Bluegrass in the Bottoms festival.  I also wrote a preview of the two-day event.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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Julian Vaughn was the recipient of my most recent KCUR Band of the Week designation.

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I appraise Norman Brown’s new album Let It Go at Plastic Sax.

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Chris Cornell has died.  He looked and sounded great when I saw him with Soundgarden eight days ago.

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I cued up Diana Krall’s Turn Up the Quiet out of professional obligation.  Boy, was I surprised!  The hushed collection of standards is easily my favorite release by the Canadian.  RIYL: Julie London, makeout music, June Christy.  Here’s ”Moonglow”.

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I’m embarrassingly easy.  Add horns and a semblance of swing to almost anything and I’m in.  I adore the new sound Pokey LaFarge unveils on Manic Revelations.  Here’s ”Riot In the Streets”.

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Julian Lage, Brad Mehldau, Larry Grenadier and Eric Harland support saxophonist Dayna Stephens on the predictably wonderful Gratitude.

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I keep listening to Mary J. Blige’s Strength of a Woman in fruitless attempts to convince myself that it’s not a bitterly disappointing mess.  ”Love Yourself” typifies the miscalculations.

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Wavves continues to outshine its peers with the remarkable You’re Welcome.  RIYL: Green Day, crying on the beach, Brian Wilson.  Here’s ”Million Enemies”.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Album Review: The Mavericks- Brand New Day








Regrets, I’ve had a few thousand.  Like Frank Sinatra, I did it my way.  It hasn’t always been easy.  I was reminded of one missed opportunity while listening to the Mavericks’ new release Brand New Day.

An unsolicited CD by the then-unknown Miami based band crossed crossed my desk when I was the sales manager of a beleaguered music distribution company in 1990.  Even though I loved the music, I had to pass.  As a one-off, unproven project in the pre-internet era, I knew that timely payment to the band for shipped units would be impossible.

Having recognized the music’s potential, however, I should have offered to assist the Mavericks in a different capacity.  I would have loved to have been a part of selling and promoting What a Crying Shame, Music for All Occasions and Trampoline, three of my favorite albums of the 1990s.

The band was marketed as a country act at its commercial peak, but Brand New Day continues the band’s drift into an alternate universe in which Roy Orbison, Johnny Otis, Pérez Prado and Phil Spector are in the same band. It’s gloriously preposterous.  Here’s the title track.


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I reviewed the sixth of Garth Brooks’ seven sold-out concerts at the Sprint Center.

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I reviewed a concert by Soundgarden and the Dillinger Escape Plan on Sunday.

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I honored Ensemble Ibérica with the KCUR’s Band of the Week designation.

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I didn’t attempt to hide my inner fanboy in my extended concert preview of Chance the Rapper’s return to Kansas City.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I extol Bobby Watson’s Made in America at Plastic Sax.

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Bruce Hampton has died.  I first heard the jam band pioneer perform at a festival in a field outside of Lawrence, Kansas, in the early 1990s.

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Patti LaBelle performs a Broadway-style version of jazz on her florid new album Bel Hommage.  It’s hammy, cheesy and entirely delicious- and I love it.  LaBelle pitched the project on QVC.

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The combination of Avishai Cohen, Manfred Eicher and Nasheet Waits lights up several of my pleasure centers.

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Smino’s invigorating Blkswn is recommended if you like Chance the Rapper, St. Louis, Frank Ocean.  Here’s ”Anita”.

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Trombone Shorty courts the mainstream on Parking Lot Symphony. RIYL: Allen Toussaint, artists with staying power, Fred Wesley.

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Sarah Shook & the Disarmers’ Sidelong doesn’t quite do it for me.  Even so, I hope to catch the group in 2017. RIYL: Grisly Hand, boozin’, Bottle Rockets. Here’s ”Dwight Yoakam”.

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Don Bryant’s Don’t Give Up On Love is an unexpected treat.  RIYL: Otis Clay, soul survivors, Syl Johnson.  Here’s ”How Do I Get There?”.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Más Música



I went to Mexico with the intention of rejuvenating my mind and resting my ears.  It didn’t work out.  I spent my evenings at a beach festival that showcased the folkloric music and dance styles of Latin America.  I caught dozens of amazing performances by ensembles from Chile, Argentina, Guatemala, Costa Rica and various Mexican states while sipping on dollar beers.  The rest of the music I heard was involuntarily imposed on me.  The hits that blasted in almost every public space drove me to distraction.  I must have heard Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito,” Juan Gabriel’s “Queiro,” the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” and Toto’s “Africa” a dozen times apiece.  Por qué?


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I spent the last three nights at Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest.  I reviewed a concert by De La Soul, Talib Kweli, Ro Ransom, Stik Figa and the Indyground crew on Saturday.  I admired Jason Isbell and Strand of Oaks on Friday.  I critiqued Erica Joy, the Uncouth, 34 and Jaenki on Thursday.

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I examined the 1975 in a preview of the band’s concert at Starlight Theatre.

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I praised Ibérica, the beguiling new album by Matt Otto and Ensemble Ibérica, at Plastic Sax.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Desiccated


Do I look tired to you?   I feel compelled to leave a few notes in this space before I embark on a recuperative respite south of the border.


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I reviewed a concert by Dan + Shay for The Kansas City Star on Friday.

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I attended concerts by Bill Frisell and Jack DeJohnette on Saturday.  My impressions are published at Plastic Sax.

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I reviewed Quality Hill Playhouse’s production of “As Time Goes By” on Sunday.

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Look for new rounds of my weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine here.

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Hyborian’s Vol. 1 is my favorite Kansas City metal album in recent memory.

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Spoek Mathambo’s Mzansi Beat Code is allegedly only 58 minutes long.  I don’t believe it.  Brimming with hundreds of fresh ideas, the project feels as if it lasts several hours. Albums don’t often stump me, but I’m overwhelmed by Mzansi Beat Code.

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I don’t appreciate Joey Bada$$’s insurrectionary Land of the Free nearly as much as a few of my pals.  RIYL: Noam Chomsky, A$AP Rocky, Amy Goodman.

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I’ve been waiting for pianist Christian Sands to make an album as solid as Reach.  RIYL: Christian McBride, promise realized, Gerald Clayton.

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Rhymesayers uploaded footage of a 2007 Atmosphere concert at First Avenue.  Here’s  ”God Loves Ugly”.  As longtime readers of There Stands the Glass know, I can’t get enough of that stuff.

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Damn gets better with each listen.  If you’re not already on board, the video for ”DNA” is a good entry point.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Concert Review: Salif Keita at Town Hall

I was disappointed when I checked the live music listings after I snagged a cheap flight to New York City.  No Henry Threadgill.  No Cecil Taylor.  Not even Wadada Leo Smith would be playing while I’d be in town.

During my previous trip to New York City, I heard Joyce DiDonato light up Carnegie Hall (my review) and sat a few feet from Dave Douglas, Lee Konitz, Matt Mitchell, Linda Oh and Ches Smith at the Jazz Standard (my review). While I experienced nothing quite as momentous on my visit earlier this month, I didn’t go wanting.

I heard the artist known as the Golden Voice of Africa perform for hundreds of Malians in a historic venue built by suffragettes.  It was a quintessential New York City experience.  I uploaded a snippet to Instagram.  Super-fan Banning Eyre reviewed the concert for Afropop Worldwide.


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I reviewed a concert by In This Moment, Motionless In White, Avatar and Gemini Syndrome for
The Kansas City Star.

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I wrote an extended concert preview about Mastodon for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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My weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine are here and here.

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I named Alicia Solo KCUR’s Band of the Week.

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I laud Kansas City’s new lounge band Agora at Plastic Sax.

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Allan Holdsworth has died.  Feels Good To Me might be the last prog/fusion album I enjoyed before the Sex Pistols, the Ramones and the Clash changed my outlook.

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Orchestra Baobab’s Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng is the leading candidate to be my all-purpose album of the summer. My next-door neighbors have already heard it twice as I’ve worked in my driveway.  RIYL: life, Buena Vista Social Club, love.  Here’s ”Foulo”.  (Tip via Big Steve.)

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Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng is light and breezy, but Vieux Farka Touré‘s Samba is loud and brassy.  RIYL: 1970s’s-era Carlos Santana, dancing, Ali Farka Touré.  Here’s ”Homafu Wawa”.

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Damn isn’t To Pimp a Butterfly or Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City.  So what?  It’s still essential.  Kendrick Lamar remains the #rapmessiah.  Here’s ”DNA”.

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I’ve always loved Decoy.  Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah successfully updates the 1980s sound of Miles Davis on Ruler Rebel.

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Rodney Crowell’s Close Ties is a mishmash of great and cringe-worthy- songs.  ”Nashville 1972” is both.

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Howard Shore’s Two Concerti, ably played by Lang Lang, is a noble failure.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)