Thursday, December 29, 2016

I'm Trying To Keep My Faith: The Top Albums, Songs and Concerts of 2016

I made only one music-oriented trip in 2016.  I traveled to Atlanta to attend an ill-fated Kanye West concert.  Yet as these lists indicate, my ears weren't jilted at my home in Kansas City.

The Top 50 Albums of 2016

1. Kanye West- The Life of Pablo
2. Chance the Rapper- Coloring Book
3. Hélène Grimaud- Water
4. Logan Richardson- Shift
5. Rich the Factor- Smile
6. Rihanna- Anti
7. Jóhann Jóhannsson- Orphée
8. David Bowie- Blackstar
9. David Murray, Geri Allen and Terri Lyne Carrington- Perfection
10. Miranda Lambert- The Weight of These Wings

11. Maxwell- BlackSUMMERS’night
12. Nels Cline- Lovers
13. Danny Brown- Atrocity Exhibition
14. Childish Gambino- Awaken, My Love!
15. Pat Metheny Unity Group- The Unity Sessions
16. Kevin Gates- Islah
17. Amina Claudine Myers- Sama Rou
18. Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle- Kings & Queens
19. Savages- Adore Life
20. Joyce DiDonato- In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music

21. Adrian Younge- Something About April II
22. Kendrick Lamar- Untitled Unmastered
23. Leonard Cohen- You Want It Darker
24. Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom- Otis Was a Polar Bear
25. The Conquerors- Wyld Time
26. Walker Family Singers- Panola County Spirit
27. Kvelertak-Nattesferd
28. Rokia Traoré- Ne So
29. Anderson Paak- Malibu
30. Céu- Tropix

31. A Tribe Called Quest- We Got It From Here...
32. Willie Nelson- For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price
33. Exmortus- Drive Forth
34. BJ the Chicago Kid- In My Mind
35. Corinne Bailey Rae- The Heart Speaks In Whispers
36. Shirley Collins- Lodestar
37. Sumac- What One Becomes
38. Elliot Galvin Trio- Punch
39. Run the Jewels- 3
40. The Weeknd- Starboy

41. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds- Skeleton Tree
42. Kandace Springs- Soul Eyes
43. Ingrid Laubrock- Serpentines
44. A$AP Ferg- Always Strive and Prosper
45. Young Thug- Jeffery
46. Volbeat- Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie
47. Drake- Views
48. Willie Nelson- Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin
49. YG- Still Brazy
50. The Grisly Hand- Hearts & Stars

The Top Five Reissues and Archival Releases of 2016
1. Charlie Parker- Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes
2. Urgent Jumping: East African Musiki Wa Dansi Classics 1972-1982
3. Soul Fever: Afro Funk, Disco And Boogie: West African Disco Mayhem!
4. Miles Davis- Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5
5. Gov’t Mule- The Tel-Star Sessions

The Top Five EPs of 2016
1. T.I.- Us Or Else
2. Sarah Borges- Good and Dirty
3. Spoek Mathambo- Badimo
4. Chris Bathgate- Old Factory
5. Vince Staples- Prima Donna

The Top 50 Songs of 2016
1. Kanye West- “Ultralight Beam”
2. Anderson Paak- “Come Down”
3. Andre Williams- “Bury Me Deep”
4. Chance the Rapper- “Same Drugs”
5. Joe- “Our Anthem”
6. Danny Brown- “Really Doe”
7. Tedeschi Trucks Band- “Anyhow”
8. Miike Snow- “I Feel the Weight”
9. BJ the Chicago Kid- “Church”
10. Krizz Kaliko- “Didn’t Wanna Wake You”

11. Anthony Hamilton- “Ain’t No Shame”
12. T.I.- “40 Acres”
13. A Tribe Called Quest- “Kids...”
14. Rihanna- “Love On the Brain”
15. Sarah Borges- “Tendency to Riot”
16. Childish Gambino- “Redbone”
17. Frank Ocean- “Pink & White”
18. Parker Millsap- “Heaven Sent”
19. The Pretty Reckless- “Oh My God”
20. Kvelertak- “1985”

21. Boosie Badazz- “Cancer”
22. 21 Savage- “No Heart”
23. Babymetal- “Karate”
24. Rich the Factor- “Got ‘Em For Cheap”
25. Schoolboy Q- “That Part (Black Hippy remix)”
26. 5 Seconds of Summer- “Girls Talk Boys”
27. Descendants- “No Fat Burger”
28. YG- “Why You Always Hatin’?”
29. Agoraphobic Nosebleed- “Not a Daughter”
30. Jamie Lidell- “I Live to Make You Smile”

31. Kevin Gates- “Thought I Heard (Bread Winner’s Anthem)”
32. Phantogram- “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore”
33. Regina Belle- “He’s Alright”
34. Miranda Lambert- “Ugly Lights”
35. 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne- “Bounce”
36. Margo Price- “Hurtin’ (On the Bottle)”
37. Mayhem Lauren- “Badmon Ting”
38. Volbeat- “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown”
39. Various Blonde- “All Bases Covered”
40. Soul Revival- “If You Ask Me Again (I Do)”

41. Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal- “Parts of a Man”
42. Famous Dex- "I Get the Drip From My Walk"
43. Shirley Caesar and Anthony Hamilton- “It’s Alright, It’s Ok”
44. Maxwell- “Lake By the Ocean”
45. Solange- “Don’t Touch My Hair”
46. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis- “Bolo Tie”
47. Psychic Heat- “Anxiety Eater”
48. M.I.A.- “Visa”
49. Car Seat Headrest- “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales”
50. Allen Toussaint- "American Tune"

The Top 50 Shows of 2016
1. Maxwell and Mary J. Blige- Sprint Center
2. Chance the Rapper- Midland theater
3. Lee Fields and the Expressions- The Granada
4. Aida Cuevas with Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles- Yardley Hall
5. Bonnie Raitt- Midland theater
6. Florence + The Machine- Providence Medical Amphitheater
7. Marilyn Maye- Quality Hill Playhouse
8. Exmortus- Aftershock
9. Tortoise- The Granada
10. Stephonne Singleton- Tank Room

11. Adia Victoria- Riot Room
12. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band- Sprint Center
13. Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle- Tank Room
14. Twenty-One Pilots- Sprint Center
15. Goddamn Gallows- Riot Room patio
16. Dolly Parton- Sprint Center
17. Steven Wilson- Folly Theater
18. R. Kelly- Sprint Center
19. Be/Non- Scottish Rite Temple
20. The Who- Sprint Center

21. Lamb of God- Midland theater
22. Chic- Starlight Theatre (opening for Duran Duran)
23. Christian McBride Trio- Folly Theater
24. Tedeschi Trucks Band- Midland theater
25. Pablo Ziegler and the Quartet for New Tango- Polsky Theatre
26. Les Arts Florissant- Helzberg Hall
27. UFO- VooDoo
28. Logan Richardson- Blue Room
29. Lianne La Havas- Uptown Theater (opening for Leon Bridges)
30. Dwight Yoakam- Uptown Theater

31. Roy Ayers- Blue Room
32. Diana Reyes- Barney Allis Plaza
33. Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom- Blue Room
34. Elle King- Midland theater
35. Matt Villinger- Orion Room at the Green Lady Lounge
36. 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne- Sprint Center
37. Maarja Nuut- Westin Kansas City at Crown Center
38. Toni Braxton- Sprint Center
39. Midori with the Kansas City Symphony- Helzberg Hall
40. Matt Otto Septet- Blue Room

41. Fantasia- Starlight Theatre
42. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats-Providence Medical Center Amphitheater
43. Elvis Costello- Yardley Hall
44. Avant- Uptown Theater
45. Helado Negro- RecordBar
46. Julion Alvarez- Sprint Center
47. Josh Groban- Starlight Theatre
48. Ebony Tusks- Midland theater (opening for Zhu)
49. Kevin Gates-  Providence Medical Center Amphitheater (opening for Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa)
50. Candido- American Jazz Museum

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Album Review: Ingrid Laubrock- Serpentines

Free jazz is often deliberately off-putting.  I suspect that a lot of obtuse improvised music may be little more than self-indulgent pranks.  That’s not the case with Serpentines, a new recording overseen by Ingrid Laubrock.  The saxophonist’s adventurous cohorts include the monumental drummer Tyshawn Sorey and celebrated pianist Craig Taborn, but it’s the electronics of Sam Pluta that differentiate Serpentines from less credible noisemakers.  ”Chip in Brain” is my jam.

I reviewed a spectacular concert by Maxwell and Mary J. Blige.

I wrote an extended concert preview about Third Eye Blind for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I named Eddie Moore the Plastic Sax Person of the Year.

I was a guest on a two-hour edition of the Eight One Sixty radio program on 90.9 The Bridge.

I reviewed a concert by Milky Chance, Marian Hill, Banks & Steelz and Shaed.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

Joe Ligon of the Mighty Clouds of Joy has died.

Even as an impressionable kid attending one of his first big indoor concerts, I was nonplussed by the garish drum and keyboard workouts during Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s 1977 appearance at Municipal Auditorium.  Greg Lake’s efforts have always been considerably more appealing to me.  Lake died earlier this month.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Kanye and Stanley

I fell in love with Atlanta last week.  I was smitten by the city’s Southern hospitality, collard greens, excellent public transportation and vibrant downtown.  Even so, I was unable to get past the highly publicized cancellation of Kanye West’s tour.  I had wheeled the trip around the troubled star’s concert at Philips Arena.  I settled for a Stanley Clarke show.  While the jazz-fusion legend looked and sounded amazing, I never got into his performance.   Not even keyboard whiz Beka Gochiashvili’s lovely playing on “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” allayed my disappointment.

I reviewed The Owen/Cox Dance Group and the People’s Liberation Big Band’s interpretation of The Nutcracker.

I wrote an extended preview of tonight’s Mary J. Blige and Maxwell concert for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

The new compilation Doing It In Lagos: Boogie, Pop & Disco in 1980s Nigeria is an amusing diversion.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, December 05, 2016

I Can't Be Satisfied

Unless your name is Pat Metheny, I probably don’t want to hear you play a three-minute guitar solo. 

The ingratiating Marcus King, 20, did a credible impression of the late guitar hero Duane Allman at his band’s in-store performance at Vinyl Renaissance on Sunday.  I was far more impressed that he sang almost as well as Gregg Allman. 

But so what?  Blues prodigies are a dime a dozen.  Few things interest me less than a flashy blues-rock guitar virtuoso.

That’s partly why the Rolling Stones’ new rough-and-tumble album Blue & Lonesome is so impressive.  Only one song is longer than five minutes and nine selections clock in at less than four minutes. The absence of tiresome guitar solos on the informal tribute to Chess Records puts the vast majority of younger blues-rock artists to shame.

I reviewed the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s concert at the Midland theater for The Kansas City Star.

I wrote an extended concert preview about Mac Miller for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I discussed the Snow Globes on KCUR last week.

I wrote an extended preview for a benefit concert featuring the Fray and David Cook for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I ranked my favorite jazz performances of 2016 at Plastic Sax.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

Childish Gambino’s outstanding Awaken, My Love! is RIYL: Funkadelic, wanting to get funked up, Sly & the Family Stone.  Here’s ”Redbone”.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Our Anthem

The people who follow my social media feeds know that I never acknowledge politics or social issues.  I believe that even the most thoughtfully rendered statements in those forums inevitably lead to divisiveness.  Simplistic memes and the predictable outrages-of-the-day exacerbate the venomous toxicity of the echo chambers.  The result?  Well, just take a look around.  I cosign Joe Thomas’ powerful mashup of Otis Redding and “The Star-Bangled Banner”: let’s try a little tenderness.

I reviewed Soul Jazz Fridays, the album by Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7, for KCUR.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I listed my favorite jazz albums of 2016 at Plastic Sax.

I wrote an extended concert preview about Mac Miller for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

Colonel Abrams has died.

Hod O’Brien has died.

Holly Dunn has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

Pauline Oliveros has died.

At 96 minutes, Soweto Kinch’s Nonogram is 30 minutes too long.  Even so, the British artist’s melding of cosmic jazz and hip-hop is often wondrous.  RIYL: Kamasi Washington, promotionally challenged musicians, A Tribe Called Quest.

Emeli Sandé’s Long Live the Angels is generic pop.  RIYL: tedium, Whitney Houston, watching paint dry.  Here’s ”Hurts”.

While I don’t understand the point of Rumer’s This Girl’s In Love With You (A Bacharach & David Songbook), I enjoy the elegant easy listening album.  RIYL: Dionne Warwick, redundancy, the Carpenters.  Here’s ”(They Long to Be) Close to You”.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Album Review: Urgent Jumping: East African Musiki Wa Dansi Classics 1972-1982

Political and social mayhem and personal medical ailments won’t get me down.  Urgent Jumping: East African Musiki Wa Dansi Classics 1972-1982 is responsible for keeping me on an even keel.

Big Steve, a regular There Stands the Glass reader, recently tipped his friends off to the new compilation of restorative East African jams.  Afro 70’s ”Hasara Ya Moto is among the selections with restorative qualities.

There are undoubtedly ominous subtexts throughout the two-and-a-half-hour set, but I’m blissfully unaware of the conflicts that may have inspired the music.  In fact, I’m annoyed when a man speaks in English during Hafusa Abasi & Slim Ali and the Kikulacho Yahoos Band’s otherwise wondrously ethereal ”Sina Raha”.

I reviewed Karrin Allyson’s concert at the Folly Theater.  I also discussed the performance on KCUR.

I wrote an extended preview of Young Thug’s show at the Midland for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine..

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I took note of A La Mode’s new album at Plastic Sax.

I reviewed a magic show for The Kansas City Star last week.

I saw Mose Allison perform only once.  I was one of a few dozen fans who attended his show at The Tuba on Southwest Boulevard in the early 1990s.  The wonderful wit died last week.

The heroic Sharon Jones died last week.

Billy Miller of Norton Records has died.

I’m not nearly as enthralled as most of my hip-hop-loving peers by A Tribe Called Quest’s We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service album.  The ideas it signifies are often more interesting than the actual content.  “Kids”- a cranky get-off-my-lawn tirade- is my favorite track. 

I’m obsessed with the work of Jóhann Jóhannsson.  His score for the new alien invasion flick  Arrival is out of this world.

Sharon Jones’ mourners might take heart in Special Night, the solid new album by Lee Fields and the Expressions.  Here’s a live rendition of the title track.

Miranda Lambert’s The Weight of These Wings is the album I’ve long wanted her to make.  ”Keeper of the Flame” is the project’s slickest song.

The sickeningly cloying Jazz Loves Disney makes me want to break something.

Daniil Trifinov shreds on Transcendental, two frenzied hours of Franz Liszt.

Lamb of God’s The Duke benefit EP is RIYL: live souvenirs, Pantera, veteran metal bands that are better than Metallica.

David Bazan is at his pitiful best on Dark Sacred Night  "Wish My Kids Were Here” is an instant classic in the delectable sub-genre of sad-sack Christmas songs.

I’m the guy who acts “more stupidly.”  I have more than $200 tied up in tickets to a canceled Kanye West show.

(Original images by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Concert Review: Steven Wilson at the Folly Theater

Steven Wilson reignited my dormant passion for prog-rock last night.  Largely because the debut albums by the Ramones and the Clash pulverized my teenage predilection for the likes of Kansas, Rush and Genesis decades ago, I attended the show as a curious skeptic. 

Wilson, the most significant prog-rock artist of the last 25 years, succeeded in reviving my interest in ponderous bombast.

Wilson and his band- guitarist Dave Kilminster, keyboardist Adam Holzman (son of Jac Holzman!), bassist Nick Beggs (of Kajagoogoo!) and drummer Craig Blundell- were abetted by impeccable quadrophonic sound (ambient sounds emanated from speakers in the back of the venue) and stunning images on a screen behind the stage.

Renditions of new songs including the soul-crushing ”Routine”, the enchanting ”Perfect Life” and the sensual ”Hand Cannot Erase” were wondrous.  Aside from a preponderance of flashy guitar solos and the aberrant behavior of addled concertgoers seated near me, the two-set show was perfect.  Now, where did I put my copy of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway?

I reviewed Blue Öyster Cult’s concert at the VooDoo.

Election coverage preempted live on-air audio, but I here’s the text component of my weekly KCUR segment.  I featured Calvin Arsenia.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

Leonard Cohen’s fabled appearance at the Midland theater was my second favorite show of 2009.  Cohen died last week.

Leon Russell’s music was a prominent part of my life in my teens and again in recent years.  My dad got hip to Russell through his collaborations with Willie Nelson in the 1970s.  He and I bonded over our mutual appreciation of those jams.  I went decades without thinking much about Russell until Frank Hicks of Knuckleheads began regularly booking the legend in recent years.  I reviewed a couple of those shows for The Kansas City Star.  I also admired his 2014 album Life Journey at There Stands the Glass.  Russell died yesterday.

Noël Akchoté and Mary Halvorson’s duet album is RIYL: Joe Pass, skronk, Fred Frith.

I don’t know if Alicia Keys and her cohorts tried too hard or didn’t try hard enough while creating Here, but the well-intentioned project doesn’t work.  Songs like ”Blended Family” resemble public service announcements.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, November 07, 2016

Concert Review: Marilyn Maye at Quality Hill Playhouse

If the going rate for a psychologist is $100 an hour, the seemingly exorbitant price of admission to see Marilyn Maye at Quality Hill Playhouse last weekend was a relative bargain. 

I spent $90 on two tickets to hear a 75-minute show by the dynamic 88-year-old cabaret star partly to demonstrate to my life partner that I intended to grow old with her.  Maye complied with my agenda with a set that emphasized putting a brave face on our imminent mortality.

Rather than emphasizing the line “you better chase all your cares away,” Maye’s doleful rendition of “Get Happy,” warned that the members of the near-capacity audience of about 125 should “get ready for the judgement day.”  Tears streamed down my face during Maye’s interpretation of "If He Walked Into My Life," a heartbreaking song of regret that I’d never heard from a musical I’ve never seen (“Mame”).

Maye’s stunning performance reminded me that I’d better get busy living.

I reviewed Lil Uzi Vert’s concert at the Uptown Theater.

I reviewed a concert by Aida Cuevas and Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles at Yardley Hall.

I discussed Emmaline Twist on KCUR last week.

I wrote an extended preview of a Car Seat Headrest show for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

Bob Cranshaw has died.

Kay Starr has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

Bap Kennedy has died.

I’ve worked my way through the first three-and-a-half hours of the six-hour Otis Redding document Live At The Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings.  Otis and the band are (obviously) great, but the brutally repetitive sets, Otis’ awkward stage patter and the Whiskey’s atrocious emcee make it a slog.

(Original images by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Concert Review: Gingger Shankar at Polsky Theatre

Gingger Shankar’s intriguing appearance at Polsky Theatre on Saturday was intended to illuminate the underappreciated artistry of her mother and grandmother, but the multimedia concert raised more questions than it answered.

A short documentary narrated by Shankar, her performance with multi-instrumentalist Vivek Maddala and drummer Carlo Ribaux and a question-and-answer session left me more confused than ever about the family trees and music of the Shankar and Subramaniam clans.   I sense that Shankar told the audience of about 200 only one side of a very complicated story.

Yeah, but what about the music?  The most interesting bits featured the prerecorded voice of Shankar's mother (the provenance of the source material was hazy) accompanied by the sort of crossover fusion once associated with L. Subramaniam (the man I thought was Shankar’s father until Saturday’s presentation clouded my understanding).

I reviewed Elle King’s return to the Midland theater.

I reviewed a concert by Purity Ring and Health.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I discussed Berwanger on KCUR last week.

I wrote an extended preview of Sturgill Simpson’s appearance at the Midland theater for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

Lecrae’s bravely existential “Can’t Stop Me Now” could kill his career as a Christian rapper.

Donny McCaslin’s Beyond Now is an essential companion to David Bowie’s Blackstar.   The least appealing moments of the daring album remind me Sting’s work with Branford Marsalis, but much of Beyond Now is precisely the sort of fusion I dream about.

Jah Wobble is a gem.

(Original images by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Bury Me Deep: Andre Williams’ Morbid Checklist

Old friends are dropping like flies.  And even my hair ached when I crawled out of bed yesterday.  Maybe it’s time to begin making funeral arrangements.  Andre Williams’s “Bury Me Deep” indicates that the process needn’t be joyless.  Here’s the beginning of his outlandish checklist: “when I die, I want six female pallbearers, and I want a Jewish hearse driver, and I want a black preacher preaching for me, and I want a pink hearse- gotta be pink…”  The outlandish song is from Williams’ forthcoming Don’t Ever Give Up album.

I reviewed concerts by Bonnie Raitt, Toni Braxton, Il Divo and Bob James for The Kansas City Star.

I reviewed the Conquerors’ Wyld Time album for KCUR.

My most recent weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine are published here and here.

I recently discussed Various Blonde and Kansas on KCUR.

Tonight’s Schoolboy Q concert is my Big Show of the week for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I recently reviewed jazz concerts by Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle and the Hermon Mehari Quartet at Plastic Sax.

Helado Negro found ways to transcend the quandry faced by laptop pop artists at RecordBar last night.  Rather than merely singing into a microphone after pushing the play button on his MacBook, he and his computer were flanked by two costumed dancers and were supplemented by a nifty light system.  The experimental artist is also a convincing guitarist.

Phil Chess has died.

I’m all about Joyce DiDonato’s latest video.

Time/Life: Song for the Whales and Other Beings by Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra is a nice surprise.  The late bassist is heard on two of the five tracks.

Jamie Lidell’s Building a Beginning is RIYL Hall & Oates, old-fashioned love songs, Bobby Caldwell.  Here’s ”I Live To Make You Smile”.

The intentionally absurd album cover of D.R.A.M.’s Big Baby D.R.A.M. reflects its contents.  ”WiFi” features Erykah Badu.

Metal na Madeira, a collaboration between vocalist Paula Santoro and guitarist Ian Faquini, is RIYL Gal Costa, cool water on a hot day, João Gilberto.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hey Kids, Shake It Loose Together: My 200 Top Songs of the 1970s

The four-eyed shrimp with a broken arm sitting next to the principal in the faded class photo played Band On the Run every day in his bedroom in suburban Kansas City.  His dad blasted country hits when he got home from work.

I admire the revisionist The 200 Best Songs of the 1970s list published by Pitchfork two months ago, but the exercise doesn’t reflect my experience during the decade. 

I’ve compiled a list of 200 songs that I actually listened to and enjoyed during the 1970s (Spotify playlist).  I included songs released in the 1970s that I encountered at any point between 1969 and 1980.  For instance, I only learned of Toots and the Maytal’s 1970 song “Pressure Drop” when I bought the 1973 soundtrack of “Harder They Come” album in 1978.  And lest the list be dominated by Stevie Wonder and Elton John, I allowed myself only one song per artist.

The inclusion of selections like “My Ding-a-Ling” and “Seasons in the Sun” should make it clear that my list isn’t intended to confer importance or quality.  Instead, it’s a warts and all account that reflects the evolution of my musical education.

Johnny Cash- Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down
James Gang- Funk #49
Kris Kristofferson- The Law Is For the Protection of the People
Ray Price- For the Good Times
Charlie Pride- Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone
Jerry Reed- Amos Moses
Simon & Garfunkel- Bridge Over Troubled Water
Sly And The Family Stone - Family Affair
Cat Stevens- Wild World
Toots and the Maytals- Pressure Drop
Conway Twitty- Hello Darlin’

Badfinger- Day After Day
Isaac Hayes- Theme From “Shaft”
Jethro Tull- Aqualung
Harry Nilsson- Coconut
Dolly Parton- Coat of Many Colors
John Prine- Sam Stone
Three Dog Night- Never Been to Spain

Chuck Berry- My Ding-a-Ling
Jimmy Castor Bunch- Troglodyte (Cave Man)
Chicago- Saturday In the Park
Jim Croce- Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)
Sammy Davis Jr.- Candy Man
Dr. Hook- The Cover of Rolling Stone
Emerson, Lake & Palmer- Hoedown
Roberta Flack- The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
Genesis- Watcher of the Skies
Humble Pie- 30 Days in the Hole
Michael Jackson- Ben
George Jones- A Picture of Me (Without You)
Mott the Hoople - All the Young Dudes
Johnny Nash- I Can See Clearly Now
O’Jays- Back Stabbers
Billy Paul- Me and Mrs. Jones
Elvis Presley- Burning Love
The Raspberries- Go All the Way
Seals and Crofts- Summer Breeze
Temptations- Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone
Tanya Tucker- Delta Dawn

Alice Cooper- Elected
Bloodstone- Natural High
Cher- Half-Breed
David Essex- Rock On
Aretha Franklin- Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)
Marvin Gaye- Let’s Get It On
Al Green- Here I Am (Come and Take Me)
Herbie Hancock- Chameleon
Bobbi Humphrey- Harlem River Drive
Elton John- Bennie and the Jets
Paul McCartney and Wings- Band On the Run
Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes- The Love I Lost
Joni Mitchell- Help Me
Willie Nelson- Whiskey River
Ozark Mountain Daredevils- If You Wanna Get to Heaven
Billy Preston- Will It Go Round in Circles
Charlie Rich- Behind Closed Doors
Johnny Russell- Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer
Son Seals- Sitting At My Window
Ringo Starr- I'm the Greatest
The Three Degrees- When Will I See You Again
Jerry Jeff Walker- Up Against the Wall
The Who- The Real Me
The Edgar Winter Group- Frankenstein
ZZ Top- Waitin' For the Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago

Average White Band- Pick Up the Pieces
Bachman Turner Overdrive- Not Fragile
Bobby Bare- Marie Laveau
William DeVaughn - Be Thankful for What You Got
Neil Diamond- Longfellow Serenade
Merle Haggard- If We Make It Through December
Hues Corporation- Rock the Boat
Terry Jacks- Seasons in the Sun
The Jackson 5- Dancing Machine
J. Geils Band- Musta Got Lost
LaBelle- Lady Marmalade
Latimore- Let’s Straighten It Out
Ramsey Lewis- Sun Goddess
Gordon Lightfoot- Sundown
Lynyrd Skynryd- Sweet Home Alabama
Barry Manilow- Mandy
George McCrae- Rock Your Baby
Ohio Players- Fire
Queen- Killer Queen
Rufus- Tell Me Something Good
Dionne Warwick and the Spinners- Then Came You
Barry White- Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe
Stevie Wonder- Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away

Amazing Rhythm Aces- Third Rate Romance
Jeff Beck- Freeway Jam
The Blackbyrds- Walking in Rhythm
Glen Campbell- Rhinestone Cowboy
Natalie Cole- This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)
Jessi Colter- I’m Not Lisa
Bob Dylan- Idiot Wind
Earth, Wind & Star- Shining Star
Electric Light Orchestra- Can’t Get It Out of My Head
Freddy Fender- Wasted Days and Wasted Nights
Tom T. Hall- Faster Horses (The Cowboy and the Poet)
Peter Hammill- Nadir's Big Chance
Hot Chocolate- You Sexy Thing
Janis Ian- At Seventeen
Kansas- Carry on Wayward Son
Kraftwerk- Autobahn
Led Zeppelin- Houses of the Holy
Van McCoy- The Hustle
Ted Nugent- Stranglehold
Pure Prairie League- Amie
Rainbow- Man On the Silver Mountain
Minnie Riperton- Lovin’ You
Smokey Robinson- Baby That’s Backatcha
Diana Ross- Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)
Roxy Music- Love Is the Drug
Rush- Fly By Night
Gary Stewart- She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles)
Sweet- Ballroom Blitz
The Sylvers- Boogie Fever
10cc- I’m Not In Love
Andrea True Connection- More More More
UFO- Shoot Shoot
U-Roy- Chalice In the Palace
War- Low Rider
Grover Washington Jr.- Mister Magic

Abba- Knowing Me, Knowing You
Aerosmith- Back In the Saddle
Roy Ayers- Everybody Loves the Sunshine
George Benson- Breezin’
Brick- Dazz
Stanley Clarke- School Days
David Allan Coe- Longhaired Redneck
George Harrison- Crackerbox Palace
Jean Michael Jarre- Oxygène Pt. 4
Dorothy Moore- Misty Blue
Ramones- Beat On the Brat
Rose Royce- I Wanna Get Next to You
The Runaways- Cherry Bomb
Sex Pistols- Anarchy in the U.K.
Red Sovine- Teddy Bear
Candi Staton- Young Hearts Run Free
Thin Lizzy- Jailbreak
Trammps- Disco Inferno
The Tubes- Don’t Touch Me There
The Whispers- One For the Money

Bootsy Collins- The Pinocchio Theory
Commodores- Brick House
Elvis Costello- Mystery Dance
Devo- Uncontrollable Urge
Joe Ely- Treat Me Like a Saturday Night
Emotions- Best of My Love
Isley Brothers- Footsteps in the Dark
Waylon Jennings- The Wurlitzer Prize (I Don't Want to Get Over You)
Randy Newman- Short People
Kenny Rogers- Lucille
Slave- Slide
Television- See No Evil
Peter Tosh- Stepping Razor
Muddy Waters- Mannish Boy
Weather Report- Birdland

The Cars- All Mixed Up
Cheech and Chong- Earache My Eye
The Clash- Stay Free
George Duke- Dukey Stick
Nick Gilder- Hot Child in the City
Emmylou Harris- Two More Bottles of Wine
Joe Jackson- Is She Really Going Out With Him?
The Jam- In the Crowd
Jeff Lorber Fusion- Curtains
Nick Lowe- Heart of the City
Parliament- Flash Light
Peaches & Herb- Reunited
Police- Roxanne
Lou Reed- Street Hassle
Rolling Stones- When the Whip Comes Down
Linda Ronstadt- Poor Poor Pitiful Me
Patti Smith- Because the Night
Bruce Springsteen- Prove It All Night
Van Halen- Runnin' With the Devil

AC/DC- Girls Got Rhythm
Moe Bandy and Janie Frickie- It’s a Cheating Situation
Cameo- Sparkle
Cheap Trick- I Want You to Want Me
Chic- Good Times
John Conlee- Backside of Thirty
Crusaders- Street Life
Ian Dury & the Blockheads- Sink My Boat
Dave Edmunds- Girls Talk
The Kinks- Low Budget
The Knack- My Sharona
Bob Marley & the Wailers- So Much Trouble in the World
Graham Parker- Passion Is No Ordinary Word
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers- Even the Losers
Pretenders- Precious
Sister Sledge- He's the Greatest Dancer
The Specials- You’re Wondering Now
Squeeze- Up the Junction
Sugarhill Gang - Rapper's Delight
Donna Summer- Bad Girls
Talking Heads- Memories Can’t Wait
Tubeway Army- Down In the Park
Anita Ward- Ring My Bell
Hank Williams, Jr.- Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound

Monday, October 10, 2016

Album Review: The Robert Glasper Experiment- ArtScience

I’m baffled by fans who buy t-shirts and other merchandise before a concert begins.  Won’t they regret purchasing the souvenirs if the performer disappoints them?  Friends who proclaim that a forthcoming event will be “the concert of the year” are no less silly.  So much for the Show Me state.

If symbolism mattered more than content, the Robert Glasper Experiment’s ArtScience, a project on which one of my favorite jazz musicians leads an excellent band in an exploration of R&B, would be my top album of 2016.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of actually listening to ArtScience.  I share the inclinations of Glasper and the members of his all-star band, but their update of classic Stevie Wonder, George Duke’s funk-fusion and current neo-soul by the likes of Erykah Badu falls well short of the mark.  A handful of impressive moments only make me long for what might have been.

I reviewed John Mayall’s concert at Knuckleheads.

I reviewed James Bay’s return to the Midland theater.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I discussed Brody Buster’s One Man Band on KCUR last week.

A forthcoming Sigur Rós concert is my Big Show of the Week for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

Rod Temperton has died.

Joan Marie Johnson Faust of the Dixie Cups has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

My new catchphrase: ”I got a new name in the streets. They call me Billy.”.

The Duo- Live!, a jam session featuring Mulgrew Miller and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, is an old-school treat.

The end is nigh.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Concert Review: Michael Angelo at RecordBar

I told the organizers of the Outer Reaches festival that I was extremely anxious about Michael Angelo Nigro’s momentous appearance at their event.  The obscure Kansas City musician who performs as Michael Angelo seems flighty in a 10-minute documentary released last year.

I had the gall to share my concern with Michael Angelo when I encountered him on the sidewalk outside RecordBar prior to his show on Saturday.  When I told him that I didn't know what to expect, he replied that “I don’t know, either.”

His uncertainty was understandable.  The booking was only the second time he’d performed the songs from his recently rediscovered 1976 and 1977 albums and the first time he would air the material in his hometown.  He told the audience of about 75 that “you guys are kind of in a historic moment here.”

Accompanied by guitarist Rusty Crewse and drummer Paul Allee, Michael Angelo played bass and sang during a 45-minute set that sounded untainted by the musical developments of the last 40 years.  The trio recalled the spiritual jangle-pop of Chris Bell’s “I Am the Cosmos” on a couple wondrous selections.  A rendition of “Sorcerer’s Delight” was appropriately freaky.  A novelty song Michel Angelo described as an homage to Tin Pan Alley broke up the heaviness of selections that evoked early Rush.

While it was a bumpy ride, I enjoyed the brief excursion to 1977.

An Amos Lee concert obliterated my modest expectations last week. Here’s my review.

I reviewed a concert by Leon Bridges and Lianne La Havas.

I discussed Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle on KCUR last week.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I address Kansas City’s “jazz dick music” controversy at Plastic Sax.

Neville Marriner has died.

Kashif Saleem has died.

Rockabilly cat Joe Clay has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

I know the Kansas City rapper Brotha Newz as a high school teacher.  Here’s his high-concept video.

I have yet to decide if Danny Brown’s Atrocity Exhibition is good or great.  There’s no debating ”Really Doe”- it’s an instant classic.

Prince lives!  Eric Benét channels the master on “Insane”.

A play-in-reverse-sequence function on audio playback devices would make chronologically precise compilations that cover expansive time frames such as Pat Thomas’ excellent Coming Home: Original Ghanaian Highlife & Afrobeat Classics, 1964-1981 more accessible.  (Tip via Big Steve.)

I had a quasi-religious experience while listening to a track from Mother of Light, a forthcoming album by Isabel Bayrakdarian.

The British jazz scene is on fire.  Neil Cowley Trio’s astounding Spacebound Apes is RIYL: Bad Plus, art-rock, Brad Mehldau Trio.  Here’s ”The City and the Stars”.

”Change Me” is my favorite song on Tamela Mann’s disappointing new One Way album.

T.I.’s Us Or Else EP is essential.  Here’s ”Warzone”.  RIYL: Woody Guthrie, thoughtful discourse, Run the Jewels.

A Seat at the Table, Solange's latest release, sounds like Dirty Projectors filtered through Cornel West.

While charming, John Prine’s new duets album For Better, Or Worse doesn’t hold a candle to In Spite of Ourselves.  Here’s ”Color of the Blues”.

I’m trying to wrap my head around Timothy Brownie’s The Ritual Experience at La Guardia Del Maestro, Mexico City.  Here’s a rapturous interpretation of Mark Ronson’s ”Daffodils”.

I roll my eyes every time I encounter the meaningless compliment “he/she did his/her thing.”  Yet I find myself wanting to employ the irritating cliché to Madeleine Peyroux’s Secular Hymns.  Her imaginative interpretation of an Allen Toussaint classic illustrates the point.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Zydeco Boogaloo

Black Top 1024.  That’s how my customers and I identified Buckwheat Zydeco’s 100% Fortified Zydeco when they reordered the album.  The title was one of several releases by the exceptional ambassador of Louisiana music that were in my catalog during my tenure as a music industry sales rep.  No strain of indigenous American music is more discordant or just plain weird than zydeco.  Stanley Dural, the bandleader behind Buckwheat Zydeco who died last week, made the music accessible.  Without his genial refinements, the language barrier, scratch of washboards and cacophonous accordions associated with zydeco might have continued to keep the form a safe distance from the mainstream. 

I reviewed Chance the Rapper’s concert.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I praised Heidi Lynne Gluck on KCUR last week.

I address a pet peeve at the Kansas City jazz blog Plastic Sax.

I highlighted the music offerings at the Plaza Art Fair for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I reviewed a concert by Steve Martin, Martin Short and the Steep Canyon Rangers.

Jerry Corbetta of Sugarloaf has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

Shawty Lo has died.

Jean Shepherd has died.

Pádraig Duggan of Clannad has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

John D. Loudermilk has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

The music video for Shirley Collins’ ”Death and the Lady” is almost more than I can bear.

The heir to John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix may be hiding in plain sight.  His name is John Scofield. On his excellently titled Country For Old Men, Scofield interprets classics like “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”

I loved the 2000 album  The country artist’s Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars… may be just as good.

Willie Nelson is on a roll.  For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price is perfect.

Rose Out the Concrete, Rich the Factor’s third album in as many months, isn’t as good as Smile or Whale Mafi.  Here’s the Kansas City legend’s ”In the Kitchen”.

I won't pretend to understand Yermande, an astounding recording by Mark Ernestus' Ndagga Rhythm Force.  But it's wonderful.  (Tip via Big Steve.)

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sing Me Back Home

The insistent thump of Waylon Jenning’s bassist often rattled the floorboards of my home on Saturday and Sunday mornings when I was a kid.  My dad enjoyed blasting his favorite country albums by the likes of Waylon, Willie and Merle as he gave me marching orders.  I was reminded of those bygone days when I unexpectedly encountered a performance by Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys at a farmer’s market on Saturday morning.  I almost broke down when the honky-tonk band revived “Little Ole Wine Drinker Me,” a song I closely associate with my old man.

I wrote a lengthy examination of the previously uncharted career of the underground Kansas City rap legend Rich the Factor for KCUR.

I reviewed a concert by Death Cab For Cutie, Chvrches, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and the Greeting Committee. 

Candido renewed my faith in humanity last week.  My notes are posted at Plastic Sax.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

Chance the Rapper’s return to the Midland theater is my show of the week for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I discussed the reunion of the Anniversary on KCUR last week.

Lou Merenstein, the producer of Astral Weeks, has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

A young quartet of British geeks has released one of the best jazz albums of 2016.  Together, As One by Laura Jurd’s Dinosaur, is RIYL flouting convention, Esbjörn Svensson Trio, prog-rock.

I have a hard time appreciating the music of Sigur Rós, but I’m all in on Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Orphée.

“Do the funkro dance!”  Even when they’re terribly flawed, the obscurities on Nigeria Soul Fever: Afro Funk, Disco And Boogie: West African Disco Mayhem! give me enormous pleasure.  (Tip via Big Steve.)

Two or three excellent songs are hidden among the dreck of Usher’s Hard II Love.  Here’s ”No Limit”.

Something about Ben Wendel’s What We Bring, the mainstream jazz album of the moment, repels me.  RIYL: Gerald Clayton, jazz consensus, Kneebody. Here’s ”Song Song”.

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie doesn’t do anything for me. Artist is RIYL generic radio rap, Bobby Shmurda, hype.  Here’s ”Friend Zone”.

Touché Amoré’s Stage Four is a contender for my favorite rock album of 2016.  RIYL: Kvelertak, rawk, Red Fang.  Here’s ”Palm Trees”.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, September 12, 2016

In My Solitude

One of the most satisfying things about being an obsessive music consumer in the age of on-demand entertainment is that every Friday feels like Christmas.  I scour the recommendations of Spotify’s bots, listings at online retailers, emails from record labels and the social media discourse of my friends as I drink my first cup of coffee on Friday mornings. 

Yet plenty of things of interest to me inevitably fall through the cracks.  I’m repeatedly shocked and disappointed when “important” titles by “major” artists are almost completely ignored by the official and unofficial gatekeepers. 

I accidentally stumbled across Nearness, the new duet album by Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau, three days after its release.  The saxophonist and pianist- two of the most prominent living jazz artists under 50- are in top form on the live recording.  The 16-minute reading of ”The Nearness of You” is sublime.

The Guardian, The Financial Times and The Wall Street are the only outlets that have bothered to post reviews of the project.  Times are tough for all 13,065 fans of contemporary improvised music and even harder for the 21,872 musicians who practice the form.

My three favorite acts at the Crossroads Music Fest were Stephonne Singleton, the Mitch Towne Trio and Julian Davis & the Hayburners.  My capsule reviews are here.

I chatted about Dan Thomas on KCUR last week.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I reviewed the Jorge Arana Trio’s Mammoth at Plastic Sax.

Bud Isaacs, steel guitarist to the stars, has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

Prince Buster has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

The contents of Young Thug’s Jeffery aren’t as provocative as the album cover, but it’s still plenty of fun.  RIYL: Future, mild disappointments, Rich Homie Quan.  Here’s the mind-boggling ”Kanye West”.

Lydia Loveless’s Real is RIYL: Neko Case, me too-ism, Gretchen Wilson.  Here’s ”Longer”.

Don’t believe the hype.  The Beatles’ Live at Hollywood Bowl is still unlistenable.

Shirley Collins is back.

Eric Bellinger’s Eric B for President: Term One is filled with empty calories and even emptier promises.  RIYL: Usher, amorous R&B, Chris Brown.

Oh, for Pete’s sake.  Catherine Russell’s old-school Harlem On My Mind charmed me in spite of my predilections.  RIYL: Alberta Hunter, the era in which jazz was popular music, Ernestine Anderson.

Jeremih’s Late Nights: Europe is filled with nasty sex songs, but ”Dubai” is my jam.

M.I.A.’s AIM is ridiculously entertaining and entertainingly ridiculous.

Nathan Bowles’s excellent Whole & Cloven is RIYL: John Fahey, old sounds made new, Glenn Jones.

In a perfect world, the Banks & Steelz collaboration wouldn’t be an unusual.  Anything But Words is RIYL: Run-D..M.C./Aerosmith, Beastie Boys/Rick Rubin, Public Enemy/Anthrax.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, September 05, 2016

I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day

As another Kansas City music blogger tweeted that “I would not wish Irish Fest upon my worst enemy,” I was rolling my eyes as a generic band at the festival attempted to make room for itself on the overcrowded Americana bandwagon.  There’s a lot of trash to rummage though at The Kansas City Irish Fest.  There are also plenty of treasures to be discovered.  Here’s a rundown of the three best things I encountered Sunday.

Cait O’Riordan
Cait O'Riordan”s “Growing Up in the Pogues” presentation was worth the $18 I paid to enter the festival.  Sober, upbeat and charming, O’Riordan was a quote machine:
On the Pogues' attitude: We wanted to be the loudest, toughest gang in town.

On her self-described role as the band's "mascot": I would start fights but I couldn't finish them.

About her lead vocals on ”I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day”It's my contribution to music history (and) my passport around the world.

About the Pogues' pre-show rituals: It didn't occur to us not to get on stage drunk and sloppy.

On Shane MacGowan's teeth: He didn't floss.

On the cause of her separation from the band: I wasn't the only drunk in the band but I was the youngest and the messiest… Everyone got better and better (as musicians) except me.

On the trappings of success: Once we had money for cocaine, things got really messy.
Eddie Delahunt
Like thousands of other people in the Kansas City area, I’ve been smitten with Eddie Delahunt for years.  He made me laugh several times on Sunday.  And had I been drinking, I almost certainly would have teared up during a rendition of a tragic ballad.

James Cramer
A pandering Van Morrison cover by the dudes that preceded a solo set by James Cramer on a side stage almost drove me to drink.  (I swear that the woman working for a whiskey vendor 30 feet away from the stage was calling my name.)  The front man of Tupelo immediately won me over by insisting that he had no interest in “rehashing” the past.  Even though his Hozier-ish approach isn’t my thing, Cramer is an undeniable talent.

I reviewed Kings & Queens, the new album by Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle, for KCUR.

I reviewed a concert by the Used.

I discussed Eddie Delahunt on KCUR last week.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine. 

I note the dominance of the Green Lady Lounge on Kansas City’s jazz scene at Plastic Sax.

I previewed the Mad Decent Block Party for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine. 

Fred Hellerman of the Weavers has died.  (Tip via BGO)

My affection for Bes, the new album by the Egyptian trio Dwarfs of East Agouza, has been maddening members of my compound who aren’t down with trance-noise.  RIYL: Sun Ra, astral projection, Can.  (Tip via Big Steve.)

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s Arañas En La Sombra is the latest in a long line of interesting but ultimately disappointing Mars Volta-related projects. 

Gov’t Mule’s The Tel-Star Sessions is heavy.  RIYL: Robin Trower, tie-dye, Cream.

Sobriety suits Gucci Mane.  The cogent boasts on Everybody’s Looking are extremely entertaining.  Here’s ”Gucci Please”.

Eddie Levert’s new album is nuts.  Did I Make You Go Ooo is RIYL: The O’Jays, lascivious septuagenarians, Prince.  Here’s the title track.

The tribute album Quiero Creedence is a mixed bag.  A few of the covers are revelations.  Others are the worst sort of bar band dreck.  Participants include Juan Gabriel, Billy Gibbons and Los Lobos.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Dumb Blonde

I’m not sure why so many otherwise reasonable people are praising Frank Ocean’s Blonde.  Aside from three or four decent tracks, it’s a calamitous effort.  As you can see in the column to the right, I loved Ocean’s 2012 album Channel Orange.  Yet I’m disappointed rather than despondent.  With good-to-great new neo-soul/hip-hop albums by BJ the Chicago Kid, Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, Maxwell, Anderson Paak, Rihanna, Kanye West and Adrian Younge to keep me company, I’m not compelled to pretend that Blonde is good.

I reviewed a concert by Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon and Tesla.

I featured Soul Revival’s “If You Ask Me Again (I Do)” on KCUR last week.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I take note of Mike Metheny’s new literary endeavor at Plastic Sax.

Tomorrow's Dixie Chicks concert at the Sprint Center is my big show of the week.

Juan Gabriel has died.  His concert at the Sprint Center last November was a delight.  I snapped a good photo at the show.

Rudy Van Gelder has died.

Gilli Smyth of Gong has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

Derrick Hodge’s Second is RIYL: Jaco Pastorius, 21st century swing, Robert Glasper.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bobby Hutcherson, 1941-2016

As the first album I heard that made me realize that jazz could be just as confrontational as rock or R&B, Out To Lunch changed my life.  Bobby Hutcherson’s entry at the five-second mark of the opening track ”Hat and Beard” on Eric Dolphy’s famous 1964 album is one of my favorite moments in jazz.  Following the news of Hutcherson’s death last week, I investigated a few albums I’d never heard.  ”Rain Every Thursday” from the vibist’s misunderstood 1972 funk album Natural Illusions is my new favorite jam.

While I hadn’t looked forward to covering the show, I adored Josh Groban’s appearance at Starlight Theater last week.  Here’s my review.

I’ve attended six, seven or eight Snoop Dogg concerts.  Last week’s show in Bonner Springs with Wiz Khalifa, Kevin Gates, Jhené Aiko and Casey Veggies was one of the best.  Here’s my review.

Friends don’t believe me when I tell them that being in the midst of thousands of giddy teens energizes me.  I relished Saturday’s concert by 5 Seconds of Summer, Hey Violet and Roy English.  Here’s my review.  I documented 15 representative seconds of screaming at Instagram.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I discussed Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear on KCUR last week.

I wrote an extended preview Beach House’s concert at the Uptown Theater.

I reviewed a release by the Brandon Draper Quintet at Plastic Sax.

Toots Thielemans has died.  The Brasil Project was one of my favorite albums of 1992.

Ruby Wilson has died.

Various Blonde created a video for ”All Bases Covered”.

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.  Steve Aoki’s remix of Soundgarden’s “Spoonman” pleases me.

Dolly Parton gets freaky on the delightfully odd Pure and Simple.  Here’s “Can’t Be That Wrong”.

Do not- I repeat, do not- click on this link.

Deborah Joy Winans’ ”The River” is a wondrously sensual gospel song.

Lars Danielsson’s Sun Blowing is a thrilling Scandanavian jazz outing.

I have yet to listen to Frank Ocean's long-awaited new release.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Album Review: Stirrup- Cut

In the past week I’ve attended performances by banda, honky tonk, mainstream jazz and folk artists.  I also wrote a short essay about an indie-rock group and talked about a heartland rock band on an NPR affiliate.  While it’s all of a piece to me, I’ve regularly employed Cut, a new album by Chicago’s Stirrup, as a proverbial palate cleanser.  Cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm makes a Sonny Sharrock-esque racket in the unconventional power trio.  It's the sort of room-clearing noise that's long appealed to me.  Here’s correspondingly unpopular live footage.

I reviewed a concert by Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda and Poncho Barraza at the Sprint Center.

I wrote an extended preview of Gwen Stefani’s concert at the Sprint Center.

I pondered the carreer of the Rainmakers with Steve Kraske on KCUR last week.

I reviewed Lee Ann Womack’s concert at Knuckleheads.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

I wimped out at Plastic Sax by not identifying the perpetrators of a dismal jazz performance.

The folk star Glenn Yarbrough has died.  Fun fact: he and Jac Holzman, the founder of Elektra and Nonesuch Records, were college roommates.

I love E-40.  The Bay Area rapper’s latest single ”Petty” tickles my ears.

(Original image of KCI floor tile art by There Stands the Glass.)