“Covering” The Scene

As I’ve said before I’ve never been more uncertain that I hear all the releases I should every year. The outlets and information sources have never been so scattered. I’ve never felt so many PR providers have no idea what I cover.

But every year I hit a point, usually around this time or a little later, when I conclude that enough innovative, captivating and durable music is being produced to keep me jiggling for another year. Here’s the three that put me over in 2017 (all played for the first time in the last few days):

Bearthoven, Trios (Cantaloupe) Karl Larson piano, Pat Swoboda bass, Matt Evens percussion/drums. Six piece belonging to the vague New Music category, the only writers I know at all being Anthony Vine. Best effect: breaks ways loose of the often too-cozy tent of piano-trio sound.

Jay Som, Everybody Works (Polyvinyl). Jay Som belongs to the vague bedroom pop category and is a solo project of Melisa Duterte, with a few added voices. A fresh twist of intimacy and a needed reminder that all single-soul projects don’t have to sound stunted or samey.

Migos, Culture (Quality Control). I don’t pretend to keep up with hip-hop like I should, but I’m still abashed this trio slipped under my radar until now. In the grand tradition of Atlanta rappers, they’re rootsy and funny and sensual and casually scary at times. Still probing the personalities.

Bad Week for the Funk

R.I.P. : Clyde Stubblefield. In the Jungle Groove was the last mind-shredder JB anthlogy and Stubblefield was all over it. Too bad about his financial and health problems, but another reason to adore and mourn Prince.

R.I.P.: Junie Morrison. Obviously gregarious and lovable, I’ve found his work more lightweight than some other folks do — Bread Alone is the only item I play every few years. But he enjoyed the advantage of being a bit of a trickster like George Clinton. And when I discovered I did not have a disc with “Funky Worm” on it, I corrected the lapse.

Expert Witness Comment for the Week

Have to focus on jazz for a while here, but (a I’m actually most surprised and excited about the Alicia Keys — I adored her debut and thought she fell off a freaking cliff — hurt deeply by her bland rather than brainy choices (b I ended up at around two stars for De La Soul — it’s good but it stopped getting better after the third listen.