Expert Witness Comment for the Week

On the stereo: Now That’s What I Call 90s Pop 

VERY useful collection, not only because exquisitely entertaining sequence of tunes, but because I can dump at least three CDs I was keeping for only one number (Will Smith, Christina Aguilera, Sheryl Crow).


PS: That posted, I have to say the sequence isn’t brilliant enough to make me like Boyz II Men and Ricky Martin and … well, I donno how often I will throw this on. But the contexting work is a keeper.

Tip About Buddah’s Hand

These “uses” seem eccentric to us, but the information about the fruit is valuable and yeah, the smell is wonderful. The price cited is way exaggerated by now — about $5 a pound is more like it. Ours goes out about a week after New Year’s and here’s a tip about making sure yours lasts until that time —

when you buy a Buddha’s Hand, make sure there is no hint of a black tip on any of the “fingers” — because that means it’s old and will not last more than a couple weeks before rotting. If we do it right, ours has black tips when we chuck it, but the perfume is still working.


R.I.P.: Sunny Murray

Every aspect of Albert Aylers’ Spiritual Unity (ESP) changed my listening life, but the biggest shift came from Sunny Murray’s drum work. I understood free jazz and I understood drum improvisation (I thought), but I still had incorrect notions about drums and time-keeping. Murray took nonstop equal-footing intermingling improvisation to a level I had never imagined. I suddenly realized drums could be melodic. That there could be intuitive mutual timekeeping. For some boneheaded reason I never picked up this obviously crucial disc.

Error corrected.

Oliver Sacks From Beyond the Grave

I’m so insanely behind in my reading that I don’t dare get this yet — but it is on the must list.

A book I ran across when all I had to do at night in Cambridge was drink or read was Sacks’s Awakenings and I didn’t put it down for a moment after I got home from work until I was finished and went back and re-read the most intense accounts. A report from a world I had only encountered in glimpses. Few years later he tripled down with The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and I was a fan for good. Search “Oliver Sacks” in this blog and you’ll see he comes up more than I might think.


Trio of Praises

I’ve done only one (very casual) Best of 2017 Albums list, so I’m not the least surprised that I just now ran across a couple of releases I should have added to it …


Bob Dylan, Triplicate (Columbia) (that’s what he gets for releasing vinyl-only so it could get lost behind a passel of Thelonious Monk albums I brought up for a marathon obit-tribute)

Kendrick Lamar, Damn (Alternative/Innerscope). Crap, I put a selection from this on my Best of the First Half of 2017 mixdisc, but this got switched to a different pile for some unknown reason. Anyway, terrific.

This morning I re-listened to the soundtrack of Linklater’s Boyhood for the first time in a very long while and again marveled at his skill for picking and sequencing songs, in particular making me love tracks (in context) from groups I don’t like at all (The Flaming Lips, for instance).

Good Albums That Were Not Good Enough To Make My NPR Jazz Poll

For serious New Orleans fans:  Kermit Ruffins/Irvin Mayfield, A Beautiful World (Basin Street). Nothing groundbreaking, but seems like half the performers in town are on it.

Clever Concept of the year: Brian McCarthy Nonet, The Better Angels of Our Nature (Truth Revolution Recording Collective). Improvised versions of McCarthy originals like “Shiloh,” and numbers like “The Battle Hymn of the Old Republic.” Best tracks – blues and spirituals.

Leading double disc with a superior single disc inside: Blue Note All-Stars, Our Point of View (guess). Biggest problem is that a fully solid group personality never quite develops.

Brazilian Vocal of the year:  Sazbrina Malheiros, Clareia (Faroul). Not jazz, I suppose, but with elements and makes vintage styles seem fully contemporary.

Vocal Album runner-up. Eliane Elias, Dance of Time (Concord). Jazz, I insist, with plain Brazilian elements.

Local Jazz album of the year: Mark Zaleski Band, Days, Months, Years (self-released). I especially enjoy the ease and enjoyment of the one-time rock/soul fandom that crops up on occasion.