• Chet Baker Quartet: 1 & 2

    Chet Baker Quartet: 1 & 2

    Although recorded within two weeks of each other, Chet Baker Quartet 1 and 2 are quite different records. Because pianist Dick Twardzik was calling the tunes, 1 consisted of Bob Zieff compositions that shared a ...
  • Donald Fagen: Sunken Condos

    Donald Fagen: Sunken Condos

    During Steely Dan’s first go-round—the period from Can’t Buy a Thrill (1972) to Gaucho (1980)—I remained dubious about the increasingly popular and steadily shrinking band. To me their reluctance to tour symbolized a growing distance ...
  • Bob Dylan: Tempest

    Bob Dylan: Tempest

    When Bob Dylan retreated to Woodstock in 1967 and began writing and recording songs with The Band, those oft- bootlegged sessions soon became the stuff of legend. The new material had deep roots and was ...
  • Imaginary Road Studios

    Imaginary Road Studios

    Fully appreciating what an anomaly the Windham Hill music label really was requires some honest musical history. Think back to the 1980s, when the California-based label achieved enormous popularity. Was there ever a decade when ...
  • Over the Rhine: The Long Surrender

    Over the Rhine: The Long Surrender

    The truism that bands lose their creative spark after a few records doesn’t apply to Over the Rhine. In fact, twenty years into OTR’s recording career The Long Surrender actually ups the ante, with Grammy- ...
  • Michael Chapman: Fully Qualified Survivor

    Michael Chapman: Fully Qualified Survivor

    As reissues of obscure recordings continue to rain down upon us, one might wonder if there’s anything left worth rediscovering—but the fact that Michael Chapman’s Fully Qualified Survivor is only now being re-released in America ...
  • The Walkmen: Lisbon

    The Walkmen: Lisbon

    The Walkmen use vintage equipment and evoke earlier musical styles, but have a unique sound, and Lisbon does a fine job of capturing it. Drummer Matt Barrick sticks to simple rhythms, but none of them ...
  • The Feelies: Here Before

    The Feelies: Here Before

    The first Feelies album in twenty years, Here Before reaffirms what their debut LP, Crazy Rhythms, made clear in 1980: although The Feelies have various influences (the Velvet Underground in particular), they’ve forged a unique ...
  • Santana: Caravanserai

    Santana: Caravanserai

    Philosophical and musical differences created such a volatile atmosphere around the time Santana recorded Caravanserai that lineup changes seemed nonstop. Musically the chemistry among band members remained, however, as did the Latin fire, the rhythm ...
  • Starlicker: Double Demon

    Starlicker: Double Demon

    Starlicker features an unusual lineup for a trio—trumpet, vibes, and drums—but Double Demon blends the instruments together nicely, making music that’s both adventurous and accessible. This has partly to do with rhythm: two percussionists playing ...
  • Michael Brecker: Pilgrimage

    Michael Brecker: Pilgrimage

    Because only a small fraction of contemporary jazz is released on vinyl, recently-recorded LPs should matter, and fortunately Mobile Fidelity has lent its talents to Michael Brecker’s Pilgrimage. Recorded months before Brecker succumbed to leukemia, ...

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