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.

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

---
I discussed Jake Wells and Mike Dillon on KCUR.

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

---
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.

---
I marked a personal milestone at Plastic Sax.

---
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.

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

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

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

---
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.

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

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

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

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

---
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.


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

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

---
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.

---
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.

---
I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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

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

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

---
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.

---
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.


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

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

---
I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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

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

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

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

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

---
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.


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

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

---
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.

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

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

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

---
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”.

---
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.)

---
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.


---
I wrote a feature about Oleta Adams for KCUR.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

---
Prodigy of Mobb Deep has died.

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

---
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.


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

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

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

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

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

---
I named Hembree KCUR’s Band of the Week.

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

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

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

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

---
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”.

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

---
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.

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

---
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.


---
I reviewed the 25th anniversary edition of Rockfest.

---
I reviewed Tech N9ne's return to the Midland.

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

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

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

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

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

---
Bern Nix has died.

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

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

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

---
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.

---
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.


---
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.

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

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

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

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

---
Mickey Roker has died.

---
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.

---
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.


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

---
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.

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

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

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

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

---
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”.

---
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”.

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

---
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.

---
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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

---
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.

---
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.

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

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

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

---
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”.

---
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?


---
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.

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

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

---
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.


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

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

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

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

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

---
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.

---
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.

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

---
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.

---
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.


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

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

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

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

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

---
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.

---
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.)

---
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”.

---
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”.

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

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

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

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Concert Review: Chris Brown at the Sprint Center


Chris Brown is still a jerk.  I was considering rejoining #teambreezy when I purchased a $30 cheap seat for the infamous star’s return to the Sprint Center on Tuesday.  My potential change of heart was completely thwarted three hours later when the spectacle concluded with a series of resounding explosions.  With no corresponding visual effects, the gratuitous blasts seemed specifically intended to damage the eardrums of fans.

On stage about an hour, Brown sparingly doled out his brilliant talent.  Even so, he remains equal parts Michael Jackson and Rick James.

An elaborate production that incorporated a few of the most appealing elements of the recent stage shows of Drake and Kanye West made me feel as if my $30 ticket was a bargain.  I just wish I’d left five minutes before the show ended.

Aaron Randle reviewed the concert for The Kansas City Star.


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

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

---
I named Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle KCUR’s Band of the Week.

---
John Geils Jr. has died.  I sold and marketed Geils’ solo blues projects in the 1990s.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Concert Review: Lawrence Brownlee and Eric Owens at the Folly Theater


Lawrence Brownlee’s powerful singing and enthralling emoting impressed me as I sat in the rear balcony of Carnegie Hall two years ago.  When I discovered that I could secure front row seats for my cousin’s April 6 show at the Folly Theater at an 80% discount, I jumped at the deal offered by the Harriman-Jewell series.  I was rewarded for my nominal investment with my favorite show of 2017 to date.  Yet it was Brownlee’s fellow opera star Eric Owens who I most appreciated during the program of arias, Great American Songbook tunes and gospel selections.  Less flashy but more stirring than Brownlee, Owens reduced me to tears as he delivered “Give Me Jesus.”  Jovial duets on uptempo selections like the ridiculous “Dolores” caused my face to ache from smiling so strenuously.  Libby Hanssen reviewed the concert for The Kansas City Star.


---
I reviewed Kris Kristofferson’s return to the Uptown Theater for The Kansas City Star.

---
I reviewed Judah & the Lion’s concert at the Uptown Theater for The Kansas City Star.

---
I wrote extended concert previews about Radiohead and Chris Brown for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

---
My latest rounds of weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine are here and here.

---
I recently designated Second Hand King and Katy Guillen & the Girls KCUR’s Band of the Week.

---
Donny McCaslin floored me at the Folly Theater on Friday.  My notes are at Plastic Sax.

---
I did some work with Lonnie Brooks in the 1990s.  The Chicago blues artist was a warm, generous man.  Brooks died last week.

---
Until I read his obituaries, I didn’t know that Arthur Blythe was married to the one-time Kansas City based vocalist and actress Queen Bey.

---
“I took my roof off at the red light!”  I’m not too proud to admit that I can’t get enough of Rick Ross’ noxious Rather You Than Me.  Here’s ”Trap Trap Trap”.

---
I ordinarily don’t have much patience for newly recorded mainstream jazz albums.  Heads of State’s All in One is an exception.  The septuagenarian saxophonist Gary Bartz is in top form.

---
Raekwon’s The Wild may be the strongest album by a Wu-Tang Clan member other than Ghostface of the last five years.  Here’s ”This Is What It Comes To”.

---
F*cked Up’s “Year of the Snake” has restored my faith in 23-minute songs.  RIYL: MC5, kicking out the jams, Dwarves.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Quarterly Report


I’m embarking on a brief blogging break.  Before I get out of Dodge, I’ll leave you with three arbitrary lists.

My Ten Favorite Concerts of 2017 (so far)
1. Charlie Wilson, Fantasia and Johnny Gill- Sprint Center
2. Jazz 100 featuring Danilo Pérez, Lizz Wright and Avishai Cohen- Yardley Hall
3. Joseph- Madrid Theatre
4. Patti LaBelle- Muriel Kauffman Theatre
5. Ramsey Lewis- Gem Theater
6. Ben Folds with the Kansas City Symphony- Helzberg Hall
7. Gaelynn Lea- Folk Alliance International Conference at Crown Center
8. Jessica Care Moore- Black Archives of Mid-America
9. Pure Disgust- Encore Room
10. Simone Porter- Folly Theater

My Ten Favorite Songs of 2017 (so far)
1. Calvin Harris featuring Frank Ocean and Migos- “Slide”
2. Valerie June- “Astral Plane”
3. Sunny Sweeney- “Bottle by My Bed”
4. Craig Finn- “God in Chicago”
5. Lorde- “Liability”
6. Young Fathers- “Only God Knows”
7. Alejandro Fernandez- “Agridulce”
8. José James- “To Be With You”
9. Brother Ali- “Own Light (What Hearts Are For)”
10. Chronixx- “Majesty”

My Ten Favorite Albums of 2017 (so far)
1. Miguel Zenón- Tipico
2. Tinariwen- Elwan
3. Yelena Eckemoff- Blooming Tall Phlox
4. Future- Hndrxx
5. Uniform- Wake in Fright
6. Mark Eitzel- Hey Mr. Ferryman
7. Víkingur Ólafsson- Philip Glass: Piano Works
8. Code Orange- Forever
9. Ibibio Sound Machine- Uyai
10. Noah Preminger- Meditations on Freedom



---
I reviewed Rodney Crowell’s appearance at Knuckleheads.

---
I reviewed Patti LaBelle’s concert at Muriel Kauffman Theatre.

---
I reviewed the Jazz 100 concert at Yardley Hall at Plastic Sax.

---
I discussed Victor & Penny on my weekly segment for KCUR.

---
I wrote an extended preview of Xenia Rubinos’ concert for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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

---
Craig Finn’s We All Want the Same Things is a mixed bag.  The standout tracks are “God in Chicago” and “Jester & June.”

---
Tedeschi Trucks is my all-time favorite jam band.  Here’s a ten-minute interpretation of ”Keep On Growing" from Live From the Fox Oakland.

---
Havok’s Conformicide is RIYL Megadeth, political metal, Revocation.  Here’s ”Intention to Deceive”.

---
Spoon’s Hot Thoughts and Sinkane’s Life & Livin’ It could be the first and second discs of the same sprawling modern pop album.  RIYL: dancing, the Isley Brothers, fun.

(Original image of Charlie Wilson, Johnny Gill and band by There Stands the Glass.)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Chuck Berry, 1926-2017


Prior to buying The Great Twenty-Eight as a new release in 1982, I thought of Chuck Berry as the guy responsible for the novelty hit “My Ding-a-Ling.”  The compilation rectified that misleading impression.  The euphoric aggressiveness of Berry’s earth-shaking songs was of a piece with a few of my other favorite albums of 1982, including the Clash’s Combat Rock and George Clinton’s Computer Games.

I attended my first Berry concert a year or two later.   It was terrible.  He was clearly going through the motions.  Yet I didn’t give up.  My persistence paid off the third or fourth time I saw Berry.  Lou Whitney and his cohorts in the Skeletons and the Morells acted as Berry’s backing band at Parody Hall in Kansas City.

Fondly remembered in these parts as ”the best bar band ever”, the quality of Whitney’s group clearly surprised Berry.  The legend became increasingly elated as his exceptional pickup band survived each of his challenges.  Against his contrary inclinations, Berry went all-in on that memorable night.  I never saw him try half as hard again.  Berry died yesterday.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Juke


Rather than shedding tears of grief upon learning of the death of the aged blues harmonica titan James Cotton yesterday, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for living during an era that enabled me to catch multiple performances by the luminary.  I first witnessed Cotton at the original incarnation of Antone’s in Austin. I heard him for the last time at the Uptown Theater in 2011.  Thanks to the blues scare of the late 1980s and early 1990s, I also attended plenty of gigs by John Lee Hooker, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Rogers, Albert Collins, B.B. King, Bobby Bland, Honeyboy Edwards, Koko Taylor, Johnny Copeland, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Z.Z. Hill and many other since-departed giants.  The blues was alright.


---
I reviewed last night’s outstanding concert by Charlie Wilson, Fantasia and Johnny Gill at the Sprint Center.

---
I reviewed Ben Folds’ concert with the Kansas City Symphony.

---
I reviewed the Quality Hill Playhouse production “Unchained Melody.”

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

---
I named Everette DeVan the KCUR Band of the Week.

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

---
I reviewed the one-man play Live Bird at Plastic Sax.

---
Evan Johns has died.

---
Joni Sledge has died.

---
Tommy LiPuma has died.

---
New albums by the Kansas City based artists Samantha Fish, Hermon Mehari and Matt Otto were released today.

---
The heavy Kansas City rock band Hyborian is off to an auspicious start with ”As Above, So Below”.

---
Based on the stellar quality of the three advance tracks from Valerie June’s new album The Order of Time, I was hoping for a modern-day Astral Weeks.  It’s not even close.  The remainder of The Order of Time is merely good.  RIYL: Van Morrison, celestial boogie, Iris DeMent.

---
I thought I’d outgrown 1980s college rock, but the Rolling Blackouts' The French Press makes me swoon in spite of myself.  RIYL: The Windbreakers, 1985,  the Go-Betweens.  Here’s ”Julie’s Place”.

---
Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives’ Way Out West is a showcase for guitarist Kenny Vaughan.  RIYL: Dick Dale, spaghetti westerns, Marty Robbins.  Here’s the title track.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Album Review: Ibibio Sound Machine- Uyai


So-called “world music” radio programming in the pre-internet era frustrated me.  The majority of the specialty DJs on college and public radio stations condescendingly prized rigid stylistic purity.  Performers like Angelique Kidjo who dared to incorporate contemporary styles into their sounds were dismissed in favor of “authentic” artists.  Selections like ”Give Me a Reason” on Ibibio Sound Machine’s Uyai that betray the influence of acts ranging from Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band to Thomas Dolby would never would have been played by those patronizing gatekeepers.  And that’s a large part of what makes Uyai wonderful.


---
I reviewed Art Garfunkel’s concert at Helzberg Hall.

---
I reviewed Joseph’s concert at the Madrid Theatre.

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

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

---
I commended the popularity of the Elders on KCUR.

---
Dave Valentin has died.

---
Tommy Page has died.

---
The Kansas City rapper CB channels Atlanta on his latest track.

---
Would you rather be an elite name in an esoteric realm or a mid-tier performer in a more popular format?  José James has opted for the latter.   He discards almost every trace of the sound that once made him a rising star in the jazz world on his fine neo-soul album Love In a Time of Madness.  RIYL: Robin Thicke, successful transitions, Ledisi.

---
No matter how hard I try, I just can’t get with the new wave of stylish rock-informed jazz bands led by Snarky Puppy.  Kneebody’s Anti-Hero makes me wish I was listening to my old James “Blood” Ulmer, Billy Cobham or King Crimson albums instead.

---
Chicano Batman’s Freedom Is Free may be my all-time favorite Grateful Dead album.  Here’s ”Friendship (Is a Small Boat in a Storm”.

---
Fat Joe and Remy Ma’s Plata O Plomo is old-school fun.  RIYL: Big Pun, 2000, New York.  Here’s “Money Showers”.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, March 03, 2017

Concert Review: Simone Porter at the Folly Theater


Almost every one of the dozens of children and teenagers who made up about half of the audience in the back of the balcony of the Folly Theater on Sunday afternoon were riveted by the performance of Simone Porter.  The young violinist’s ability to transfix kids impressed me almost as much as her sterling readings of works by Mozart, Janáček, Pärt and Brahms during the free concert in the venerable Harriman-Jewell Series.  Even the boys who played video games at intermission were silent as Porter and pianist Armen Guzelimian played the challenging selections.  I won’t pretend to understand how the star-making machinery works in the classical realm, but the poise and artistry Porter displayed on Sunday made her a commendable celebrity in the eyes and ears of hundreds of young devotees in Kansas City.


---
I reviewed Stik Figa’s Central Standard album for KCUR.

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

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

---
My review of Alaturka’s concert at Polsky Theatre is posted at Plastic Sax.

---
I discussed Poor Bishop Hooper on KCUR this week.

---
Horace Parlan has died.

---
”Freedom Cobra” is the rawk song I’ve long wanted from the Kansas City band Bummer.

---
David Longstreth of Dirty Projectors is the Donald Fagen of indie-rock.  That makes Dirty Projectors’ new self-titled album the equivalent of Aja.

---
Much like Dirty Projectors, Thundercat’s Drunk is the eccentric brainchild of a California man who’s often too smart for his own good. Drunk is much better on paper than in practice.  RIYL: Frank Zappa, concept albums, Van Dyke Parks.  ”Walk On By” is the best track.

---
And much like Drunk, Karriem Riggins’ Headnod Suite indulges the occasionally whimsical impulses of a master musician.  RIYL: Clyde Stubblefield, drumming lessons, Garageband.

---
The sense of fun that’s often absent in jazz abounds on the hilarious Loafer’s Hollow, the latest effort from Mostly Other People Do the Killing.  RIYL: Louis Armstrong, audacity, Henry Threadgill.

---
The spacey R&B on Kingdom’s Tears in the Club is RIYL Jhene Aiko, spacing out, SZA.  Here’s ”Nothin’”.

---
Although Stormzy overshares on the schizophrenic Gang Signs & Prayer, the angry tracks are genuine bangers.  Here’s ”Big For Your Boots”.

---
A few of my pals will lose their minds over Brokeback’s instrumental guitar album Illinois River Valley Blues.  RIYL: Link Wray, imaginary movies, the Coctails.

---
Until I ingested Man Vs. Sofa last week, I hadn’t listened to a new Adrian Sherwood album in years.  He’s still great.  RIYL: bass, Lee “Scratch” Perry, dub.

---
Víkingur Ólafsson’s Philip Glass: Piano Works is stunning.

---
Pissed Jeans’ relentless Why Love Now is RIYL testosterone, F8cked Up, angry white men.  Here’s ”The Bar Is Low”.

---
I wondered how Future expected to fill arenas on his forthcoming tour after issuing an inaccessible self-titled album two weeks ago.  The immediate follow-up Hndrxx solves the problem by serving as the vehicle for several likely hits.

---
I wanted to love Los Campensinos!’s Sick Scene, but it’s about four notches too subdued for me.  Here’s ”The Fall of Home”.

---
I can almost imagine an alternate universe in which Son Volt is my favorite band.  Notes of Blue is RIYL consistency, Furry Lewis, the Midwest.

---
Even though I won’t spend much time listening to Little Big Town’s The Breaker for pleasure, I’m awed by its seamless merger of pop, country and classic rock.  Here’s ”Better Man”.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

I Might


I have no patience for the several important new albums that were released on Friday.  My obsession with “Slide” is in the way.  The collaboration between Calvin Harris, Migos and Frank Ocean is pure pop bliss.  “Slide” may be the best step dance song since R. Kelly’s joyous 2003 jam “Step in the Name of Love”


---
I discussed Momma’s Boy on KCUR.

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

---
I address the Janelle Monáe-related snafu that’s distressed much of Kansas City’s music and political communities at Plastic Sax.  I desperately hope that the following artists are the primary targets of the people in charge of the booking the American Jazz Museum’s new $50-per-day festival: A Tribe Called Quest, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Childish Gambino, Al Green, Lauryn Hill, Norah Jones, Kendrick Lamar, Diana Ross, Solange and Stevie Wonder.

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

---
Larry Coryell has died.

---
Leon Ware has died.

---
Barbara Carroll has died.

---
Blacswet, a self-titled EP featuring Spoek Mathambo, sounds like the soundtrack to George Clinton’s most lucid dream.  RIYL: “Atomic Dog,” European discotheques, Clipping.  (Tip via Big Steve.)

---
Charlie Wilson has supplied an inordinately large portion of the soundtrack of my life.  Alas, In It To Win It is disappointing.  Only two or three songs are exceptional.  Here’s ”I’m Blessed”.

---
The sparseness of La Diversité fooled me at first.  The open spaces cleverly obscure the depth of the latest effort by the Belgian saxophonist Nicolas Kummert and Lionel Loueke.  RIYL: Chris Potter, eurojazz, Pat Metheny.

---
It’s not them; it’s me.  Windy City and Highway Queen, the new albums by Alison Krauss and Nikki Lane, don’t move me.

---
Adam Schneit reached out to me about securing coverage of his 2016 album Light Shines In.  I’m pleased to report that it’s superlative progressive jazz in the vein of Bill Frisell and Steve Lacy.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Different Strokes and Indifferent Folks


I spent three nights working at the Folk Alliance conference last week.  (My summaries are here, here and here.)  While I admired a lot of what I heard- showcases by Bill Miller, Gaelynn Lea, Barbara Dane, Elle Márjá Eira and Wink Burcham were magnificent- I felt a bit detached.  

A good portion of the attendees had dedicated their lives to folk music.  Not me.  I might have been forcibly ejected from the conference had the true believers around me known that I had listened to the latest release by the rapper Future on the way to the event each night.

During one showcase, I was seated next to a man with no awareness of personal space.  I suspected that his life was transformed by Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Pete Seeger in the early ‘60s.  He went into ecstatic paroxysms when a performer broke into the protest song “(Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody) Turn Me Around.” 

I was both annoyed and envious.  That was his moment.  What’s mine?  If I love everything, am I deeply attached to nothing?   I often feel like a profligate philanderer who sleeps with a different partner every night and inevitably winds up alone and friendless.


---
I reviewed Run the Jewels’s return to the Midland theater.

---
I elected to hit the Green Lady Lounge instead of attending the Kansas City Folk Festival on Sunday afternoon.  My notes on Dominique Sanders’ momentous weekend are posted at Plastic Sax.

---
Benjamin Netanyahu bumped me off the airwaves last week.  I was slated to yak about the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

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

---
Clyde Stubblefield has died.

---
Al Jarreau has died.

---
Junie Morrison has died.

---
I confess to reading the recent spate of rock-is-dead essays with almost as much relish as the inescapable jazz-is-dead dissertations.  And man, when I hear certain songs on “rock” radio stations, I’m overwhelmed with an urge to break stuff.  Uniform’s Wake in Fright makes me feel better.  Excoriating noise in the vein of Big Black and Jesus Lizard, Uniform’s Wake in Fright is a vicious ghost of rock past.  Here’s ”Tabloid”.

---
The New Year's Concert 2017 with Gustavo Dudamel is less than three hours long, but it took me more than a month to work my way through the opus.  Maybe Vienna isn’t for me.

---
David Bowie probably made scouting expeditions at New York jazz clubs before selecting Donny McClaslin’s band to create Blackstar.  A group led by David Binney might have been his second choice.  Binney’s fine new album The Time Verses is similarly exploratory. 

---
I can’t defend my affection for John Garcia’s The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues.  It’s a bombastic metal-goes-acoustic jam.  And I love it.  RIYL: Alice In Chains, smoke, Kyuss.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Pain Meds


Ten absorbing new albums have provided comfort and distraction during my recovery from an invasive surgical procedure.  My ranking and notes follow.

1. Syd- Fin.  The promising producer a.k.a.Syd the Kid, a.k.a. The Internet, isn’t Prince reincarnated, but she has her moments.  RIYL: The Weeknd, works in progress, Usher.

2. Alejandro Fernandez- Rompiendo Fronteras.  So romantic!  RIYL: Juan Gabriel, gorgeous schmaltz, Rod Stewart.

3. Tinariwen- Elwan. Further confirmation that Tinarwen is the world’s best blues band. RIYL: Terakaft, Mali, John Lee Hooker.

4. Mats Gustafsson- Ljubljana.  Cracking the code of the free jazz duet between the saxophonist and pianist Craig Taborn is well worth the effort.  RIYL: Albert Ayler, room-clearing noise, Matthew Shipp.

5. Miguel Zenón- Típico.  The celebrated album is a tad musty.  RIYL: Charlie Parker, critical consensus, Benny Golson.

6. Howe Gelb- Future Standards.  A compellingly morose cocktail jazz album from the Giant Sand dude.  RIYL: Bobby Troup, despair, Hoagy Carmichael.

7. Allison Crutchfield- Tourist in This Town.  Ingratiating retro pop- rock. RIYL Camera Obscura, handwritten letters, Ellen Foley. 

8. Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears- Backlash.  Scuzzy garage-rock (that’s a good thing, of course).  RIYL: The Fleshtones, Burger Records, the Sonics.

9. Ces Cru- Catastrophic Event Specialists. Jazz interludes are interspersed throughout the Kansas City duo’s best album.  RIYL: conspiracy theories, Twistid, “real” MCs.

10. Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society.  Sublime synth nostalgia.  RIYL: Brian Eno, getting lost in space, Tangerine Dream.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)