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Back Cover

Gryphon Diablo 300

PJCE Records PJCE 028
Format: CD

Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****

I first heard Andrew Durkin’s music in 2001, when I received a copy of Hardcore, the first album by the Industrial Jazz Group. Durkin was the group’s leader, composer, arranger, and pianist. I reviewed Hardcore for Planet Hi Fi, and for the SoundStage! Network covered the IJG’s next two albums, City of Angles (2002) and The Star Chamber (2004). Durkin’s music is complex yet accessible, brainy but not coldly intellectual, and often humorous.

Prestige/Analogue Productions APRJ 7120
Format: LP

Musical Performance: ****1/2
Sound Quality: ****1/2
Overall Enjoyment: ****1/2

When Gil Evans & Ten, Evans’s first album as a leader, was released in early 1958, he’d already been working as an arranger for nearly 20 years, beginning with his stint with bandleader Claude Thornhill, from 1941 to 1948. Evans had been one of the arrangers for Miles Davis’s Birth of the Cool project, beginning in 1948, and Gil Evans & Ten followed, by just a few months, Davis’s Miles Ahead (1957), for which Evans had written and conducted the orchestral arrangements. He went on to work with Davis on two more key recordings, Porgy and Bess (1959), Sketches of Spain (1960), as well as At Carnegie Hall (1962) and Quiet Nights (1964).

Interscope/Polydor B0025916-02
Format: CD

Musical Performance: ****1/2
Sound Quality: ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment: ****1/2

In November 2015, the Rolling Stones were at Mark Knopfler’s British Grove Studios, in London, to record an album of new material. Things were not off to a good start. Keith Richards told Rolling Stone that he thought, “The room is fighting me. It’s fighting the band. The sound is not coming.” Richards suggested that they play “Blue and Lonesome,” a song by blues harpist Little Walter from 1959. Everything clicked and, as Richards described it, “a sound is happening and it was good.”

Impulse! B0025610-02
Format: CD

Musical Performance: ***1/2
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****

It’s hard to think of a guitarist who plays so many varieties of jazz with as much ease and versatility as John Scofield. He’s played bebop, fusion, and soul jazz with equal conviction and skill, and some of his records, such as Bump (2000) and Überjam (2002), pull in enough styles to make them beyond category. He paid tribute to Ray Charles with That’s What I Say (2005), and played New Orleans-style gospel on Piety Street (2009).

MPS 0210991MSW
Format: LP

Music Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****

Freddie Hubbard left Blue Note in 1965, after having made nine albums for them as a leader. He then made four albums for Atlantic, and this one for the German label MPS, before settling in for a while with CTI. His work for Atlantic hovered between hard bop and the avant-garde, but The Hub of Hubbard (1970) is straight-ahead bebop with a terrific lineup of players.

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab MFSL 2-455
Format: LP

Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: *****
Overall Enjoyment: ****1/2

By 1975, when Alan Parsons and lyricist-songwriter Eric Woolfson formed the Alan Parsons Project, Parsons had firmly established himself as a record producer and engineer. He’d been nominated for a Grammy for his engineering of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, which he produced, and had engineered albums by Paul McCartney and Wings, Al Stewart, the Hollies, Jeff Beck, Roy Harper, Peggy Lee, and Ambrosia, among many others -- including the Beatles’ Abbey Road. He was uniquely qualified to handle the recordings he and Woolfson created, for which they brought in various players and singers.

Sony Legacy/Exile Productions 88875134742
Format: CD/DVD

Musical Performance: *****
Sound Quality: ****1/2
Picture Quality: **1/2
Overall Enjoyment: ****1/2

When I saw that Van Morrison had released a set of the recordings from the shows used to form his legendary two-LP live set from 1974, I didn’t jump right away to buy it. The original set is so good I was afraid the new collection, three CDs and a DVD, would dilute what is justly considered to be one of the best live albums ever released. Luckily, a friend gave me ..It’s Too Late to Stop Now … Volumes II, III, IV & DVD for my recent birthday, and it is a stunning document of Morrison at his best with his finest live band.

XL Recordings XLCD790
Format: CD

Musical Performance: ****1/2
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****1/2

It’s been five years since the last Radiohead album, The King of Limbs, during which time singer Thom Yorke has released a solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes (2014), and guitarist Jonny Greenwood has composed the scores for three films. It’s hard to think of a band that’s gone in more unexpected directions during its career, whether musically or in the ways it’s made that music available. Radiohead released their newest, A Moon Shaped Pool, as a digital download on May 8, and on physical media on June 17, following a pattern established with In Rainbows (2007) and The King of Limbs (2011).

Verve B0025015-02
Format: CD

Musical Performance: ***1/2
Sound Quality: ****1/2
Overall Enjoyment: ****

Mark Knopfler has written music for films since 1983, when he composed the score for Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero. He’s done the music for eight more films since then, including Cal (1984), The Princess Bride (1987), and Wag the Dog (1997). His latest, Altamira, is a collaboration with percussionist Evelyn Glennie, and is his first soundtrack since A Shot at Glory (2009).

Sham CD-102
Format: CD

Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****

The Jayhawks have endured some personnel changes in their three decades, but they hang in there. Guitarist and singer Gary Louris and bassist Marc Perlman are the constants, and drummer Tim O’Reagan, with 20 years in the band, isn’t far behind. Keyboard player Karen Grotberg has now done a couple of stints with the band, as has guitarist Kraig Johnson, and it’s this quintet that has given us the Jayhawks’ new album, Paging Mr. Proust.