Monday, March 31, 2008

My latest purchases and some thoughts... (Part three)

This is becoming a regular thing...

Andrew Hill — ANDREW!!! (1964)

After I liked Time Lines so much, I did some research and decided I should make this my next Andrew Hill purchase, mainly based on the fact that its got Bobby Hutcherson and John Gilmore (two of my favorites) as sidemen. It's not quite as wacky as I thought it may have been, but it's a lot like some of, say, Wayne Shorter or Hutcherson's own albums of the time: rooted in the strongest bop traditions, but very searching and has very subtle odditites about it that make the music not really at home in either the mainstream post-bop nor avant garde arenas. Very thought provoking music. Definitely something that I will have to sit down with for a few listens before I move on to more of his stuff.

The Virgin Prunes — The Moon Looked Down and Laughed (1986)

I'm a big Gavin Friday fan, but have never been much into the Prunes. This album is basically the blueprint for Friday's solo career, as it's the band's last studio album. It finds them pulling in different directions, but the most interesting things for me are the Gavin songs. In a way, it's almost like Friday's first solo album, but not quite. Definitely the tamest of the Prunes' albums, it's not really at home in either their catalogue, nor with Friday's solo albums. I still digs it though.

The Ohio Players — Pain (1972)

The Players' first album on Westbound and definitely their stoniest. There's just a nice, solid quality to these early Players albums. The funk isn't too jammy and they're just being soulful weirdos in the studio, which makes for some really interesting moments, like, say "Never Had A Dream."

David Sylvian — Dead Bees On A Cake (1999)

I am going slow with David Sylvian's solo catalogue because, much like Andrew Hill, this music is very enthralling and thought provoking. It took me three full listens to really assign the songs their own identities. It's a very long and beatifully sparse album, much in the same vein as Secrets of the Beehive and Gone To Earth. Very content, yet simultaenously searching music. Good stuff.

Cannonball Adderley — The Japanese Concerts (recorded 1963, released 1975)

This is actually the album Nippon Soul with an entire extra record of a previously unissued Japanese live set by the same sextet. Revelatory for me, simply based on the sextet version of "Work Song." A gem of a find.

Erykah Badu — New AmERYKAH Part one (4th World War) (2008)

I was initially put off by the chaotic sequencing and 'hip hop-ness' of the vibe the music had, but after a few listens, I'm pretty much sold on it. I've never really gotten the big deal about SA-RA, but the musical backings they provide here are next best thing to J Dilla, I suppose (read into that however you see fit). Although about a third of it seems very unfocused and the tracks aren't really actual 'songs' at all, the good parts are really good. She's very inspired by the revolutionary-minded Black Panther ideologies of the early 70's and when something that's totally funky and righteous like "The Cell" pops up, you might actually mistake this for 1973. Very politically charged, but not very specific; so things are more ambiguous than perhaps she was shooting for in the content. However, it's just refreshing to hear something this righteous and flat out funky —both genuine and not just imitations, too— in these days. It's like this album makes good on all the things Worldwide Underground failed so miserably with. Well done, I must say.

Jill Scott — The Real Thing Words and Sounds Vol. 3 (2007)

Although maybe not quite as good as her last album, this is just another strong installment in Jill's catalogue. She doesn't sound quite as inspired, generally speaking, on this album as she has in the past and, thus, it is perhaps her most 'sexed-up' album yet. Musically, it's the same type of classy lite-hip hop/adult contempo soul that she's mastered so well over the past few years. Probably her 'worst' album yet, but that's a relative term and there's actually nothing bad about it at all.

I also picked up a CD of Bela Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, which also has his pieces Divertimento and Zwei Potrats on Deutsche Grammaphon, but could not find a cover photo for it. It's pretty busy stuff, but has a really resonating vibe to it, especially with the celesta in there.

That's it for now.

More on the way, no doubt.


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