04 November 2010

Listening in Roslindale

Lest it seem that all is gloom and doom around here, it's time for a long overdue installment of "Listening in Roslindale," covering my listening (or at least most of it) for September and October.  

Perhaps an even more mixed bag than usual: blues, jazz (and especially jazz piano), classic R&B and its descendants, African music, classic early country, Jewish music, and the beginning of a Schubert orgy. Even (gasp) some Mozart.

Son House, Delta Blues: The Original Library of Congress Sessions from Field Recordings, 1941-1942.
Interesting, but lacking in variety.
Butterbeans and Susie, Complete Recorded Works 1924-1927 in Chronological Order, Volume 2, 1926-1927
Pretty much a single shtick—but I’ll bet they were fun to see on stage.
Jackie McLean
Destination Out. Surprisingly dull.
Bluesnik. McLean plays consistently out of tune...and not in a good way (as opposed to, say, Eric Dolphy, who turned his intonation into a fully consistent part of his distinctive voice.)
Cannonball Adderley Sextet, Dizzy Business. Great straight-ahead playing.

Big Maybelle, The Complete Okeh Sessions, 1952-55. Rock & Roll!!

Skip James, Complete 1931 Recordings in Chronological Order

Ghana: Ancient Ceremonies, Dance Music & Songs (Explorer)

East Africa: Witchcraft & Ritual Music (Explorer)

Lonnie Johnson, The Essential (Classic Blues). Wonderful.

Prince, Musicology
Prince may not be the greatest poet of his age, but his sense of sonority is extraordinary. I was surprised (but perhaps I shouldn’t have been) to hear echoes of (among many other things) Frank Zappa.
And the title makes sense after all.
Cedar Walton Plays, featuring Ron Carter and Billy Higgins

Jimmie Rodgers, The Early Years, 1928–1929. O-de-lay-ee!

Earl Hines Plays Duke Ellington, vol. 2, tracks recorded in 1971 and 1972

Shalom: Music of the Jewish People. Roumania, Roumania!

Schubert orgy (ongoing):
Symphony in B-minor, “Unfinished,” D 759
Bruno Walter, New York Philharmonic (recorded 3 March 1958)
Roy Goodman, The Hanover Band
Josef Krips, Vienna Philharmonic (March 1969)
Kleiber, Vienna Philharmonic
Riccardo Muti, Vienna Philharmonic
Giuseppe Sinopoli, Philharmonia Orchestra
On a first listening, my favorite is the Krips. But I know some may disagree... For my least favorite, perhaps a tie between Muti and Goodman.
Symphony in C major, “Great,” D 944
Josef Krips, London Symphony Orchestra (May 1958)
Music to Rosamunde, D 797
Roy Goodman, The Hanover Band
Mass in A-flat, D 678
Mass in E-flat, D 950
Wolfgang Sawallisch, Chorus and Symphony of the Bavarian Radio. Soloists: Helen Donath, Brigitte Fassbaender, Francisco Araiza, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Mass in C, D 452
Wolfgang Sawallisch, Chorus and Symphony of the Bavarian Radio. Soloists: Lucia Popp, Adolf Dallapozza
Tantum ergo, D 962
Wolfgang Sawallisch, Chorus and Symphony of the Bavarian Radio. Soloists: Lucia Popp, Brigitte Fassbaender, Peter Schreier, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Offertorium, D 963
Wolfgang Sawallisch, Chorus and Symphony of the Bavarian Radio. Soloists: Adolf Dallapozza, Peter Schreier
String Quartet in D minor, D 810, “Der Tod und das Mädchen”
String Quartet in A minor, D 804, “Rosamunde”
Takács Quartet
String Quintet in C major, D 956
Emerson String Quartet with Mstislav Rostropovich
James Brown, Star Time (4 CDs)
YeeeAAeeaah! (Now there's a sound that is beyond transliteration) Take it to the bridge!

A great chronological survey of Brown's career, from the beginnings to the early 90s. Includes a substantial booklet with a very good historical essay.
Miles Davis, Bitches Brew
I hadn’t listened to this in decades. I bought in when I was in high school, and nearly wore it out at the time. It’s amazing how much of it is still in my memory. Nearly as vividly remembered as Kind of Blue.
Johnny Hodges, With Billy Strayhorn and the Orchestra

Marion Brown
Alto saxophonist Marion Brown, a long time figure on the avant-garde scene, died on 18 October 2010 at the age of 79. I had known of Brown ever since the 1970s, but didn't really know his playing.  So I'm enjoying the tribute at destination out ...  "Iditus" is especially entertaining:  sort of a "Viennese waltz meets free jazz"
Mozart, Last Four Symphonies
Sir Charles Mackerras, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Kenny Barron Trio, Live at Bradley’s
I didn't know Barron's playing, and it captivated me on a first listening, and it inspired me to check out all the rest of the Kenny Barron CDs from the Newton Library.
Vijay Iyer, Reimagining
I like Iyer, a lot. He plays rather the way I do in my own (recently revived) “free” playing: a stew of influences, in a unique personal amalgam that (at least for Iyer) never sounds derivative, sometimes structured, sometimes less so. I’m looking forward to listening to more.
Art Tatum, Solo Masterpieces, vol. 3. Tracks recorded in 1953–55
Beyond extraordinary, beyond commentary.  Just listen.  Really listen.
Listening to this inspired me finally to read James Lester’s biography of Tatum, Too Marvelous for Words. Tatum is beyond sensible commentary, but I may have more to say about the biography here.
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