Album Reviews

Sort By:  Post Date TitlePublish Date
Michael Fremer  |  Sep 03, 2019  |  13 comments
This is the 45rpm version of IMPEX's 2017 33 1/3 all-analog reissue of Michel Legrand's somewhat overlooked musical and sonic treasure featuring many of the greatest jazz artists of the era. Nothing other than Legrand's passing has changed since the original reissue review, so I'm just repeating it, other than to add that it sounds even "Legrander" at 45rpm, though if you already own IMPEX's 33 1/3 version, it's not really necessary to buy it again, unless you must! An enticement might be the now glossy laminated jacket and gatefold booklet with a very useful and informed essay by KCRW's Tom Schnabel.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 30, 2019  |  5 comments
I've referenced this record in a few Stereophile equipment reviews but somehow neglected to give it the deserved full review. The adventurous pianist Jamie Saft steps back in time here to produce an album that on "Vessels", the opening original tune, should immediately remind you of the classic '60s Coltrane quartet, though I'm not suggesting the players are in any way trying to copy Coltrane, Tyner, Garrison and Jones.

Malachi Lui  |  Aug 28, 2019  |  15 comments
Another IGOR review??? Yes.

My initial plan was to follow the original 3500-word review with a later update on the vinyl edition’s sound quality, but plans change. I got a bit of exclusive information from Jack White about “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?”, which I reported on, but even more happened with this LP. As advance copies of IGOR’s CD edition circulated, word spread that Tyler quietly dropped a physical-only (vinyl, CD, and cassette) “bonus track” entitled “BOYFRIEND.”

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 26, 2019  |  6 comments
This extraordinary blues festival staged on an athletic field at the University of Michigan, Friday through Sunday August 1-3 in-between the moon landing and Woodstock, was almost lost to time—except to the 10,000 or so mostly white high school and college kids lucky enough to have the good fortune (and taste) to attend.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 23, 2019  |  21 comments
Memphis based "garage rocker" Jack (Yarber) Oblivian, formerly with Johnny Vomit & the Dry Heaves among other groups, recently released this adrenalin charge on Black&Wyatt Records and someone (I don't know who) sent it my way thinking I might like it even though the sound is, let's say "primitive" (no top, not much bottom, just some stuff in the middle) in a good way (some recorded to 4 track M.C.I.) but all of it purposefully squashed in a way that sort of reminded me of Don Van Vliet ("Sweet Thang"), but maybe that's because in some ways the performances did too, though it's far more punk-rocky and less bluesy.

Malachi Lui  |  Aug 14, 2019  |  59 comments
Dexter Gordon led the Clubhouse session May 27,1965 with Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Barry Harris on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums. Two days later Gordon recorded Gettin’ Around, trading Freddie Hubbard for Bobby Hutcherson on vibes but otherwise maintaining the same lineup. However, until 1979 the former didn’t see the light of day. What happened?

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 01, 2019  |  20 comments
Counseloring at Camp Ma-Ho-Ge near White Lake, N.Y. the summer of 1968 was, in the summer of 1969, my ticket to drive to the back of Max Yasgur’s farm traffic free and without delay. I knew the back roads—not that I thought I’d need to use them when we set out for this music and arts festival we’d seen advertised all spring and summer on the walls of the New York City subway system. How could we not go? The advertised line-up was almost too good to believe.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 26, 2019  |  11 comments
If you'd have told me a few years ago when Vinyl Me, Please launched, that within a few years the curated based vinyl subscription service would be at the top of the vinyl reissue heap, I'd have said you've been inhaling too many PVC fumes. But here we are with a vinyl reissue that's perfect in every way.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 06, 2019  |  18 comments
After calming down following the original Birth of the Cool review I took a deep breath and listened again. What's more i realized I had two more versions of the record: a Dutch Odeon pressing (lime green Capitol label) from 1972 (5C052 80 798) with a different cover that you can pick up on Discogs for a few bucks, and a mysterious one from I believe a German label called Good Buy (Good Buy 2 F 671045) released around the same time as Classic's, which remains the best sounding available and so costs well over $100 on Discogs.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 02, 2019  |  27 comments
First off, UMe touts this reissue as "...newly remastered from the original 1949 analog tapes for the first time since 1957." That's nonsense: Bernie Grundman cut this from the original analog tapes for Classic Records back in the 2000s. And I believe the RVG CD did as well (correct me if I'm wrong). Facts matter.

Malachi Lui  |  Jun 24, 2019  |  22 comments
Hours before its release, Tyler, the Creator tweeted a set of listening instructions to anxious fans about to hear his new magnum opus IGOR. “This is not Bastard. This is not Goblin. This is not Wolf. This is not Cherry Bomb. This is not Flower Boy. This is IGOR. Pronounced eee-gore. Don’t go into this expecting a rap album. Don’t go into this expecting any album. Just go, jump into it. I believe the first listen works best all the way through, no skips. Front to back. No distractions either.”

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 05, 2019  |  2 comments
Buddy Guy’s 1967 Chess release—his first— has nothing to do with San Francisco, nor was it recorded July of 1967 though the jacket says it was. No big deal. Someone (probably Leonard Chess) chose to reference San Francisco because “flower power” was happening and it seemed like a good way to grab the white kids’ interest. The recording date was chosen close to the original release date so it would sound current but in fact, this is a compilation that includes tracks recorded between 1962 and 1967.

Malachi Lui  |  May 25, 2019  |  14 comments
Following a turbulent decade battling personal demons in the 1950s, tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon had mostly faded from the jazz scene by the end of that decade; after all, he only recorded three sessions (two of which he led) in the second half of it. By 1961, however, he began a successful relationship with Blue Note that commenced that year with Doin’ Allright. The Los Angeles-native moved back to New York City for the third time, got rediscovered by jazz listeners, and led a quintet on this album that included Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Horace Parlan on piano, George Tucker on Bass, and Al Harewood on drums.

Malachi Lui  |  May 06, 2019  |  10 comments
Wouldn’t pairing a highly talented bluesman with one of the best house bands in the world result in a great record?

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 23, 2019  |  12 comments
It seems appropriate to review Rhino’s sumptuous 4 LP set Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace The Complete Recordings, her enduring gospel album recorded in a Los Angeles church and released in June of 1972 on Atlantic Records, two days after Kanye West’s Easter morning “gospel service” at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival before 50,000 fans.

Pages

X