Thursday, February 14, 2008

Latest Spins: CDs I Like

So much music, so little time.

Here's a quick list of several CDs I've been enjoying lately:

Pat Metheny with Christian McBride and Antonio Sanchez, Day Trip (Nonesuch) - Guitar great Metheny, prolific bassist McBride and Sanchez, the regular PM Group drummer, sound like three of a perfect pair, perfectly in sync and pushing each other to new creative heights on this 2007 collection of Metheny originals. It will be great to see Metheny at Tampa Theatre in March; I have fond memories of his trio show at TBPAC a few years ago. I recently interviewed Metheny for a forthcoming feature. As always, he was a warm and thoughtful conversationalist. More on this later ...

moe., Sticks & Stones - I've previously thought of moe as sort of a lesser version of other, better jam bands (mainly, Phish). Guess I was wrong, or maybe they've just gotten better and more interesting over the years. Here's my review, as published in Las Vegas City Life.

Chick Corea and Gary Burton, The New Crystal Silence (Concord) - The heavyweight instrumentalist/composers reteam for a double-disc sequel to their classic 1979 duo album. The textures/timbres of the instruments (piano/vibraphones) are as gorgeous as ever, and it's a joy to behold the passion and improvisational brilliance they demonstrate on such pieces as "Waltz for Debby," "La Fiesta" and "Senior Mouse." One of the discs captures the duo, alone, at a Norwegian festival, while the other has the pair joined by the Sydney Symphony, in Australia.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, 100 Days, 100 Nights - This is back on my hot list after seeing the band's smoking show at Skipper's Smokehouse. Jones is a force of nature, a real powerhouse of a singer, and she could teach a thing or two to Amy Winehouse (who borrowed Jones' band for an album and tour). Before the show, I spoke with a couple of the guys in the Dap Kings band, and they told me about a forthcoming collaboration with the great Al Green. Can't wait for that one, as the Rev. Al is one of my favorite all-time singers. His shows at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans during Jazz Fest week were unforgettable. And, back on the subject of Sharon Jones, I'm interested to see her acting work in Denzel Washington's The Great Debaters. Hope to catch up with that soon.

Gov't Mule, Mighty High - I had heard great things about this 2007 reggae-tinted project from blues-rock guitar monster Warren Haynes and Co., and I tracked down a used copy at Vinyl Fever. It definitely lives up to the hype, with stomping, groovalicious covers of tunes written by or associated with Al Green ("I'm a Ram"), the Stones ("Play With Fire"), the Band ("The Shape I'm In") and guest shots by the likes of Toots Hibbert, Willi Williams and Michael Franti. Wonder if I'll get a chance to trek to see the Mule, the Allmans, Derek Trucks and others at the Wanee Festival this year?

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