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Carr, Leroy – “Volume 2 (1929-1930)” – [Document Records]

humana   9/9/2018   Blues, CD


The staticky quality of these recordings are perfect for the blues, and Carr proves that misery loves company with these songs. Recorded circa the years of the Great Depression, we get a true feel for how tough things can be. “Rainy Day Blues” is awesome, as are many of the other tracks. Looking to commiserate? Try any of these to keep those lonesome feelings at bay.

Henriksen, Arve – “Towards Language” – [Rune Grammofon]

humana   9/9/2018   A Library, CD


Such sparse loveliness coming from a trumpet can only come from a Norwegian musician. Compared to the sounds of a flute, Henriksen’s trumpet music tiptoes over your emotions, leaving you feeling sad and nostalgic, and the beauty of his high-pictched vocalizations (especially on 9) offers you just enough comfort to wish for more.

Cardoso, Elizete – “Elizethissima” – [Som Livre Ltda.]

humana   9/9/2018   CD, International


All hail A Divina (the Divine One), the great Brazilian singer/actress whose name became associated with samba and bossa nova. As soon as I heard the first notes of this CD, I knew I was in for a treat. Upbeat samba melodies along with ballads are rendered with equal beauty by this lovely singer. Hope you enjoy as much as I did. Songs 1 and 5 are my particular favorites.

Dane, Barbara – “Hot Jazz, Cool Blues & Hard-Hitting Songs” – [Smithsonian Folkways]

humana   9/8/2018   Blues, CD


When I first looked at the cover of this 2-CD package, I was reminded of Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music.” But as soon as I started listening to the music and reading the liner notes, I knew it was so much more. Not that I don’t like Julie, but this Smithsonian retrospective of 60 years of Barbara’s music runs the gamut from folk to blues to jazz, and her amazing voice adapts to each style as though she was born to it. Plus, she opted out of the fame route and chose to sing where her passions lay–in civil right and songs of the people. Memphis Slim, Lightnin’ Hopkins, the Chambers Brothers, Pete Seeger, and many others appear on here. Be sure to listen to Disc 2, which contains the unreleased recordings. See for yourself why Louis Armstrong referred to Dane thus: “Did you get that chick? She’s a gasser!”

Big Chief Ellis – “Big Chief Ellis” – [Trix Records]

humana   8/9/2018   Blues, CD


This is a slice of blues history (first released in 1976) that is a great addition to our library. All compositions created, played on piano, and sung by Big Chief Ellis, with Tarheel Slim, Brownie McGhee, and John Cephas on guitar. Be sure to read the liner notes that describe how Wilbert Ellis, despite his religious parents’ mandate that forbade music in the house, got his aunt to let him play her piano by mowing her lawn. His clear, strong voice, and his sure-fingered piano work make this a must-play for any blues show.

Kilgour, Hamish – “Finklestein” – [Badabing Records]

humana   8/9/2018   A Library, CD


Hamish Kilgour (of The Clean) composed these songs about the kingdom of Finkelstein for his son, Taran. They were intended to be the soundtrack to a story, and that is still the intention. I’d say that, given the story contained in the songs themselves, and the cheery way they spark your imagination, the story has almost written itself. The CD art is reminiscent of that for the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” and you’ll just have to try this out to see how the whole experience works for you.

Asteroid No. 4, The – “Collide” – [13 O’Clock Records]

humana   8/9/2018   A Library, CD


This psych/shoegaze music sounds as cool as the art on the CD sleeve looks. Celebrating their 20th anniversary, Asteroid No. 4 brings you this release of extra-aural pleasure that is sometimes mellow, sometimes intense, with bird sounds introducing “Weeping Willow” (which is graced by a lovely female voice). The rest of the vocals are male, hazy, and worth listening to. “Sagamore…bring the village to the shore…” Are they talking about the bridge to Cape Cod, or something else? Enjoy.

Oku Shareh – “Oku Shareh Turtle Dance Songs of San Juan Pueblo” – [New World Records]

humana   7/8/2018   CD, International


These four songs are rather long and give you time to get caught in the trance of the percussive (drums, bells, shakers, and more) beat that accompanies the deep, clear vocals of the Tewa speaking Native American inhabitants of the Pueblo of San Juan, which is found in New Mexico. It is whimsical and magical to imagine turtles dancing, and these songs incorporate that whimsy and magic.

Kitka / Varimezova, Tzvetanka – “Sanctuary a Cathedral Concert” – [Diaphonica]

humana   7/8/2018   CD, International


What a soothing CD this is! This music was recorded in St. Stephen’s Church in Belvedere, CA “with the intention of creating a sonic sanctuary, a place of refuge where the spirit can soar.” The heartening voice of Tzvetanka Varimezova, Bulgarian folkloric soprano and coach of Kitka, resonates throughout these songs. Kitka formed as a grassroots vocal ensemble that sought to share the “resonant strength of Eastern European women’s vocal traditions.” Under Varimezova’s guidance, they do just that.

Scene Club, The [coll] – [Charly Records]

humana   7/8/2018   CD, Soul


This is a great compilation giving you a slice of life from 1963-66 in London at the Ham Yard, where American soul made its way to the UK in a former basement jazz club. The acts on here are classic (including early Ike and Tina Turner and songs such as “Ol’ Man River”). You can’t go wrong anywhere on here. It’s distinctive soul of the time and place, and the liner notes are very informative.

Doubling Riders, The – “Garama” – [Time Released Sound]

humana   7/8/2018   A Library, CD


The Doubling Riders are an Italian group that first released this album in 1991. The music is imbued with the spirit of the Garamantes described in the songs–these were the predecessors of the Tuareg tribes, the ones who carved the roads that became trade routes and then thoroughfares for revolutionary tribes seeking independence. Piano, synth, percussion create an ambiance of another time and place, and guest musicians add their voices and instruments to make this a worthy re-release.

Williamson, James & Pink Hearts, The – “Behind The Shade” – [Leopard Lady]

humana   6/23/2018   A Library, CD

Just in time for the summer heat waves comes this debut from James Williamson (former Stooges guitarist) and the Pink Hearts. His vocals and guitars, combined with Petra Haden’s vocals and violin, and Frank Meyer’s vocals and guitars, along with a bevy of talented musicians, keep you cool with the rock and roll of stellar songs. Try out “This Garden Lies” (6) and “Purple Moon” (7). All of it will keep you “Behind the Shade” (10) and grooving in your shoes.

Lacy/ Carter/ Centazzo – “October Wind Vol.2” – [Ictus]

humana   6/23/2018   CD, Jazz

This is Volume 2 of a recording of a concert in Milano, Italy in 1976. The release of both occurred on the tenth anniversary of Steve Lacey’s death. Lacey wrote the compositions and played soprano saxophone; Kent Carter was on double bass; and Andrea Centazzo performed drum set and percussion, in addition to writing the liner notes describing how he and Gilles Laheurte mixed, edited, and produced this unique treasure of improv jazz. The first epic track gives you enough time to get your tao on. “Flakes” and “Weal (Part 1)” are my favorites.

Negative Response – “Reunion” – [Manufactured Desire Records]

humana   6/4/2018   A Library, CD

This is a compilation of songs originally recorded between 1981 and 1984. It’s electronics that sounds playful like video games with hazy male vocals fading in and out among the sounds of telephones ringing (3). It’s more than the playful sound, though; it’s a flashback to the 80s and many of these feel like a soundtrack to that time (4, 6, 8). I can tell this will get lots of plays.

Logan Hone’s Similar Fashion – “Logan Hone’s Similar Fashion” – [Pfmentum]

humana   6/4/2018   CD, Jazz

This is refreshingly accessible avant-garde jazz from a quartet featuring Hone on alto sax and bass clarinet, Lauren Baba on viola, Gregory Uhlmann on guitar, and Mike Lockwood on drums.They are capable composers and improvisers. “Play” (7) sounds like a wonky circus act, while “Morning Bear” (9) is a lovely creation (written by and featuring pizzicato by Baba) worthy of many listens.

Motif – “My Head Is Listening” [Clean Feed]

humana   3/17/2018   Jazz

Energetic, fresh, forward-thinking jazz from Norway, all composed by Ole Morten Vagan, who plays double bass. The last track (“Lontano Sea”) is the most subdued of the bunch. Make sure your head is listening as you take in this unique sound.

Aldinucci, Giulio – “Spazio Sacro” [Time Released Sound]

humana   3/17/2018   A Library

Imagine growing up in a small village in Tuscany, Italy, where time was marked by religious rites. Now imagine it while you listen to these field recordings that delve into the “sacred space” Aldinucci remembers from his childhood. You will be transported by manipulated sound in conversation with music that expands dimesions through mud squelches, water, melodies, and what sounds like a fish flapping on a line. Relaxing and fascinating because it is so real.

Reed, Ola Belle – “Rising Sun Melodies” [Smithsonian Folkways]

humana   3/17/2018   A Library, Country

You’ll want to read the liner notes on this classic. Reed, who grew up in Rising Sun, Appalachia, picked up a banjo at an early age and learned to pick out tunes herself. Looking at herself in the mirror, she declared her theme song (“Look Down That Lonesome Road,” track 12) and fulfilled her goal of singing on the radio someday. Bully for her, I say! Her voice is as hearty as they come, and her music reflected her values and life–no hypocrisy in this woman’s blood. This selection of her music comes to us through time and allows Reed’s example to shine on for generations of women musicians to come.