by: Hobart Taylor
Sax Ruins - Blimmgauss Ipecac Records
Wow. Tatsuya Yoshida percussion, Ryoko Ono, saxes and flute. Ur Zappa....multi-dubbed saxes and percussion played in warp drive with more notes per second than snowflakes on a Minneapolis roof. All extreme and brilliant. Title of the week: "Zwimbarrackaafzavrapp".
Hector Guerra - Amor Self-Released
Hip-Hop in Espanol...sort of I mean Tubas and other trappings of bands like Galatica... traces of Mexican pop/norteno... jazziness etc... I likes it a lot.
Fareed Haque - Trance Hypothesis Delmark
Chicago guitarist takes soul jazz and Indian/Bollywood beats and makes chitlin curry. All virtuosi cast of musicians along for the ride. Jazz. No OPI.
Custudio Castelo - InVentus ARC
This maestro of the Fado guitar is wonder. Sensitive, ghostly, neo-classical echoes of Debussey and/or avant garde jazz of Bill Evans meander through Portuguese folk melodies. A significant addition to our library.
Chris Mills - Alexandria Loud Romantic Records
Mid Tempo moodiness from a Brooklyn folk rocker. Mills is a critic's darling which means the songs are literate and contain allusions which the critics can easily reference. That doesn't mean that they aren't solidly constructed and heartfelt, just clever as well. I like "Wild Places", "Alexandria" and best of alll the OPI ditty "The Sweet Hereafter".
Bassekou Kouyate - Jama Ko Out Here Records
Kouyate plays the ngoni, a small lute like instrument from his native Mali. This instrument like the kora has a crisp resonance that allows it to be played rapidly and with subtle intonational variance (note bending) as a prominent feature. His father was a star as a traditional player and griot (story teller/historian), and Bassekou continues that tradition but amplifies it and cross fertilizes it with jazz/ rock/ and influences from other African, Funk, and even Latin musics. This CD is a great introduction to a variety of other Malian performers as he features various vocalists and even blues great Taj Mahal.
Palenke Soultribe - Palenque Soultribe Self Releasd
Hip Hop cumbia and Rock en Espanol with electronica flourishes. Veddy veddy nice.
Ari Brown - Groove Awakening Delmark
A staple on the Chicago scene, Brown on tenor and soprano saxes leads a tight ensemble slightly skew renderings of clean mainstream jazz with a soul twist... lovely tone ... Jazz.
Luomyr Melnyk - Three Solo Pieces Unseen Worlds
Meditative and very thoughtful neo-classical (French 19th-20th Century) influenced piano pieces that will go in world or experimental...ok world.
Habibi - Habibi Burger Records
This was in world probably because the cover looks Arabic, but it's a group of women originally from Detroit who live in Brooklyn. the fresh honest folk rock of Jonathon Richman reborn in a 21st century Brooklyn sort of way. Nice. A little Mountain Goaty, a little Nico and the V.U.
Bill Tapia - Tropical Swing MoonRoom Records
Hawaiian guitarist who goes back to the '30's. Beautiful renditions of Hawaiian pop and swing tunes. Especially "Stardust" and "Body and Soul". Recorded in 2004 when he was 96, this shows finesse and timing that indicate that Willie Nelson probably has another 20 years to go.
The Haden Triplets - The Haden Triplets Third Man Records
As denizens of McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica know, jazz bassist and maestro Charlie Haden has one toe deep in American roots music. His daughters share this love and have a debut CD produced by Ry Cooder. In many ways this is a Ry Cooder albulm with the women singing on it because his playing, arranging and production style are so identifiable, but their close harmonies, (the miracle of sibling singers (Everly Brothers, Andrews Sisters)) overcome the legacy of their associations, both familial and professional. Most of the songs are folk/bluegrass classics with a couple of cool originals thrown in.
The California Honeydrops - Like You Mean It Tubtone Records
Out of Oakland and led by a Polish expatriate these folks are marry beautifully arranged traditional New Orleans street funk with precise production.
Zoot Sims - Compatibility Delmark
Re-issue of pop tracks/standards with clean arrangements and Sims's trademark fluidity.
The Colombian Melting Pot - Diablos Del Ritmo Analog Africa
Tracks of various artists from 1960-1985 who passed through Colombia or were born there with Cumbia/Afro-Pop/Psychedelia cross fertilization...the power of open ears-open minds-talent and no commercial pressures...what world music is really about...music made by people awake in the world.
Bob Marley and the Wailer - Legend Re-Mixed Tuff Gong
Nice poppy re-mixes, Jim James's "Waiting in Vain" cooks, I really like the RAC re-mix of "Could You Be Loved", nice updating, Thievery Corporation "Get Up Stand Up" is ghostly, "Exodus" by Pretty Lights is truly fresh, "One Love/People Get Ready" by Photek (my fave) is deep dub step. Ziggy's "Redemption Song" is an idiosyncratic wonder. "Punky Reggae" by Z-Trip is over the top just enough. Reggae.
Dhafer Youssef - Birds Requiem OKEH
Tunisian Composer/songwriter oud player/singer with a twelve toes wiggling in the sands of jazz. He has incredible range, beautiful songs and a visionary compositional style. Highly recommended. Check out Sevdah (To Jon Hassell)