Monday, November 03, 2003

New (to me, at least) Music Reviews

I don't often buy five CD's at a time anymore; certain "boring adult responsibilities" like car and house payments have gotten in the way of that. If anything, I usually buy them in pairs now, just to get the free shipping on Amazon. But yesterday, I had a good reason for buying five CD's: they were really, really cheap.

It turns out that there are still some Wherehouse Music locations left in the Metroplex; I guess I wasn't paying attention, because I thought they had all closed a year ago. But now, all but a few of them are closing, so they're having this "40% off the entire store" sale. I passed the one in Lewisville on my way home from a concert in Denton, and I knew I had to check it out.

So I got five CD's for a little over fifty bucks (including tax), and now I have a lot of new music to listen to. Among other things, I was able to get the newest releases from my two favorite bands at the Austin City Limits Music Festival back in September (which I reviewed in a previous post). Since I do most of my listening in the car, I'll actually spread the new arrivals out over a few days weeks. I'll list what I bought now and come back and elaborate on them as I go through the week(s).

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, The Bridge: The surprise band of the ACL Festival. A soulful, funky band led by a fine tenor player; these guys, as I said in the concert review, have a great mixture going: Enough soul for the party crowd, combined with interesting solos to keep jazzheads like myself satisfied. There's also a great solo from his trumpeter (is it Hugh Ragin or special guest Roy Hargrove? not sure; didnt exactly sound like Hargrove though), who gets in touch with his inner Allen Vizzutti on the closer, "Elephants." Fun stuff...

Kenny Garrett, Standard of Language: The latest one from "the only sax player named Kenny with the last initial of G who should be allowed to live make recordings." He's also my favorite living alto player under the age of 50 (the senior circuit award goes to Phil Woods, in case you're curious). This guy just keeps getting better and better. One of these days, I'm gonna have to sit down and try to learn a whole bunch of his solos; I just love the way they flow. The only knock on this CD so far is that there's not one single "jump out of the speakers and grab you" tune like "Song #8" on Happy People or "Sing a Song of Song" on Songbook...but the writing gets stronger in the second half of the CD, so I may change my mind and edit this thought later. All in all, great stuff.

Soulive, Soulive: The newest CD from the band I went to Austin to see, and want to see again doing a set that's longer than 45 minutes. This new CD is a live recording (thus the eponymous title, rather than, say "Soulive Live") from various places across the country, and it showcases the band doing what they do best--jammin'. Even though there are three tracks that were also on their Blue Note debut, Doin' Something, they take them in all kinds of interesting directions, so that it's almost like hearing them for the first time. Obviously, the overdubs and studio tricks are out, but this is a band with a lot to say, heard in its natural habitat. A great addition to the collection.

DJ Spooky (That Subliminal Kid), Optometry: The jazz-leaning DJ teams up with some avant-garde jazzers (Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Joe McPhee) for an interesting mix.

Dave Ellis, Raven: OK, maybe this should only count as my 4 1/2th CD, since I've owned it before and then lent it out to someone who stole it lost it sold it to CD Warehouse to get Chipotle burrito money hasn't brought it back yet, and I can't remember who has it. Ellis is another soulful tenorist a la Denson, and the CD is a mixed bag of styles. We're doing one of the tunes on there in Combo Too at the college, so I really needed another copy, and at 40% off, it was only four bucks. Can't beat that.

So I may have blown my CD budget for the whole month, but whenever I get new stuff, you'll hear about it here first.