Miles Davis: "Live-Evil"

January 2022

Columbia Records/Legacy 19439900841
Format: 2 LPs

Musical Performance
*****

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
*****

I like a band with some tension in it.

Say what you will about the music made by artists who truly like one another—even after touring together in a cramped vehicle for weeks and suffering through the endless hassles of life on the road—I’ll take the music of musicians like Ray and Dave Davies, or Sam Moore and Dave Prater, people who could barely tolerate one another offstage but could create magic together once they faced an audience. From that tension comes great art.

Read more ...

John Coltrane: "A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle"

November 2021

Impulse! Records B0034291-01
Format: 2 LPs

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
***

Overall Enjoyment
*****

Pianist McCoy Tyner was only 26 when he left John Coltrane’s band in 1965, and interviews with him over the next 55 years, prior to his death in 2020, rarely failed to touch on Coltrane and the saxophonist’s towering legacy. It seems no one was inquisitive enough—and I include myself here; I interviewed him twice—to ask him if Coltrane had performed his cornerstone suite, “A Love Supreme,” more than a single time in 1965, at the Antibes jazz festival in France, and one other time at a Brooklyn fundraiser. It was just a given, and a large part of the myth surrounding the composition, that the saxophonist never returned to his masterpiece after those two occasions.

Read more ...

McCoy Tyner: "Expansions"

Blue Note Records BST 84338
Format: LP

Musical Performance
*****

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

The true geniuses of contemporary music—Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, to name just three—have had a tendency to flame out like supernovas. Like the massive astronomical objects that become supernovas, these musicians have also tended, at their peak, to obscure anyone else in their immediate orbit. From bassist Tommy Potter—at Parker’s side for his finest recordings—to bassist Noel Redding—one of Hendrix’s two closest collaborators—those who play alongside the biggest stars have struggled to establish their own musical identities.

Read more ...

James Booker: "Classified"

August 2020

Craft Recordings CR00281
Format: LP

Musical Performance
***

Sound Quality
***

Overall Enjoyment
****

Take every story of wild rock stars, rockabilly cats, and legendary jazz over-indulgers, and set them all aside. No one -- not Keith Moon, Jerry Lee Lewis, or Charlie Parker -- could hold a candle to pianist James Booker for combining outrageous behavior and audacious musicianship.

Read more ...