POOP 2005 - Kent Benziger

Sweet Sixteen

Buy new or used through Amazon
Blue Highway, - Marbletown
Not only do these guys play great bluegrass, but they write songs that match the real stuff on Brother Where Art Thou. You know, songs that tell stories about death, Lazarus, dark clouds and lighting.

Buy new or used through Amazon
Wide Right - Sleeping on the Couch
A very unglamorous foursome performs searing songs about rockers struggling with day jobs and lost dreams as they drift into middle life. Singer Leah Archibald has a great rock voice. When she sings about marital woes and taking the fifth, she is referring to Johnny Walker at lunchtime – not her constitutional rights.

Antibalas- Live Cuts from Rhapsody
Fela-inspired African grooves. Their studio albums are ok, but download their ten minute plus live cuts from Rhapsody for 79 cents apiece. It's a Grateful Dead style Afro-beat jam with horns and politics from a Brooklyn band.

Buy new or used through Amazon
Allman Brothers Band - Instat Live: Alltel Pavilion at Walnut Creek
I'll poop out one live Allman Brothers album every year if they are this good. Here we have Branford Marsalis sitting in and, at first, getting smoked in a cutting contest with Derek Trucks until he realizes these guys can play and then rises to the occasion.

Buy new or used through Amazon
Foo Fighters - In Your Honor
This just makes the cut. Disc one is Zeppelin riffs and a little grunge – in short, great classic rock which is a rare commodity these days. On disc two Mr. Grohl duets with Norah Jones and shows his sensitive side. It doesn't work. What happened to John Bonham as his role model? Also, why is everyone up in arms about this being a copy-protected CD. If it was my music, I would do the same.

Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
My Morning Jacket - Z
Sigur Ros - Tak
Various Artists - Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast
John Prine - Fair and Square
Robbie Fulks - Georgia Hard
The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike
And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Worlds Apart
Sufan Stevens - Illinois
Animal Collective - Feels
The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute

Old Wine – New Bottles
Astor Piazzola - The Rough Guide to Astor Piazzola
Sloan - A Sides Win: Singles 1992-2005
Various Artists - Son Cubano NYC: Cubano Roots New York Spices 1972-1982.
Various Artists - World Psychedelic Classic 3 Love's a Real Thing
BB King - Original Greatest Hits
Grateful Dead – Fillmore West 1969
Harold Budd/Brian Eno - The Pearl
Robert Wyatt - Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Roky Erickson - I Have Always Been Here Before

Box Sets
Various Artists - One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds
Various Artists - Children of Nuggets: Original ARtyfacts from the Second Psych. Era
Charlie Poole - You Ain't Talkin' to Me

World Music
Amodou Et Mariam - Dimanche a Bamako
Los De Abajo - Lda V The Lunatics
Dengue Fever - Escape from the Dragon House
Pedro Luis Ferrer - Rustico

David Zinman, Yefin Bronman - Beethoven Piano Concertos 3 and 4
Alfred Brendel, Adrian Brendel - Complete Works for Piano and Cello
Akademiek Fur Alte Musik Berlin - Ouverturen: Music for the Hamburg Opera

Jazz, Jazz, Jazz
Anthony Braxton Quartet - 20 Compositions
Mr. Braxton was the intellectual's avant-guard saxophonist in the 70s whose compositions were titled as mathematical equations. So thirty years later why is playing traditional standards, this time from the West Coast Cool scene; i.e. white guys like Brubeck and Evans? It's because he re-invents them. Each song is, at first, instantly recognizable, but then the quartet breaks it down with quirky fresh solos as the rhythm sections plays with the time structure to find its essence. Then twenty minutes later, he comes full circle back to melody we all know. You've been taken to new territory and back again, and you realize that such chestnuts as Time Out and Waltz for Debby were pushing the boundaries in their own way. Also, Kevin O'Neil, the best unknown guitarist around, is reason enough to buy this four CD set.

Ike Quebec - The Complete Blue Note 45 Sessions :: Big and greasy R&B with a thunderous horn.
Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane - Live at Carnegie Hall :: Coltrane at his first brilliant beginning.
John Coltrane - One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note :: Just before his interstellar end.
Tina BrooksTrue Blue :: A reissue of his one 1960 Blue Note album that should have been huge.
Joe LovanoJoyous Encounter :: Mainstream jazz and a session of standards, but wonderful.
Charles Lloyd - Jumping the Creek :: He left us for a couple of decades, but this ranks with his 60s stuff.
Bud Shank, Phil Woods - Bouncing with Bud and Phil :: Alto duets from two bebop septuagenarians.
Enrico Pieranunzi - Fellini Jazz :: Really a tribute to Nino Rota.
Rez Abbasi - Snake Charmer :: Like John McLaughlin and Shatki only a little livelier.

Solo Piano Anyone?

Keith Jarrett - Radiance
Mr. Jarrett forgoes the continuous improvisation of his earlier solo concert where each song arcs into the next. Instead, this is an improvised suite which consists of "discrete pieces drawn from the previous piece". Okay, so that what Jarrett says, and I have no idea what he is talking about. But I like his other quote, "The best improvisation is when you have no ideas".
Jean-Michel Pilc - Follow Me
It's hard to tell the difference between these three relatively unknowns. They all throw in a few quiet and lyrical originals, then dazzle you with their virtuosity, and finally pay homage to Tatum or Monk or Hancock. Well, here is some help. Djangirov's the 18-year-old Russian prodigy who moved to Nebraska; Jean-Michel was allegedly a rocket scientist with the French Space Agency (no jokes please), and Glasper comes from Houston. All recommended, but I get a little nervous when they are all big on NPR.
Robert Glasper - Canvas
Eldar Djangirov - Eldar

The Emperor is Wearing No Clothes
Kaiser Chiefs - Employment
New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
Bruce Springsteen - Devils & Dust
A few cuts work, but, overall, a lot of sincerity goes a little way. Get the Born to Run reissue instead which is not only his best studio album, but also has a 1975 concert which is far better than anything on the live box set.