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Back Cover

Gryphon Diablo 300

Blue Note Records B0022593-01
Format: LP

Musical Performance: ***1/2
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****

Blue Note’s 75th-anniversary vinyl release series continues until the end of October, and one recent series of reissues included this 1965 Hank Mobley title comprising two sessions, one from March 7, 1963 and the other from February 5, 1965. Additional tracks from the earlier session had appeared in 1964, on No Room for Squares, and two others would show up on Straight No Filter, a vault-clearing 1986 release that included work from four different sessions.

Verve International
Format: 24-bit/44.1kHz FLAC download available at HDtracks and Acoustic Sounds

Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****

You have to admire Melody Gardot’s unpredictability. While her first two albums put her firmly in the jazz chanteuse section of the record store with Norah Jones and Madeleine Peyroux, on her third disc, The Absence, she mixed in some bossa nova and other world music. Jones and Peyroux have avoided being pigeonholed themselves, so maybe Gardot does take them as inspiration. At any rate, Currency of Man, her newest disc, has some of the lushness of her previous outings, but the string arrangements more often recall Isaac Hayes or Curtis Mayfield than they do jazz.

Format: 24-bit/96kHz AIFF download
Columbia/Legacy

Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****

Sometimes we like to think we own our favorite musicians: If we like something they’ve done, they should always do it like that. If their new record doesn’t please us, we can laugh it off as a whim, or stop buying their albums. But look at it from the artist’s point of view -- they need to develop, to change, to keep growing.

Adventure Music AM1092 2
Format: CD

Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****

I’ve written about bandolim (ten-string mandolin) player Hamilton de Holanda before, and when I get new music from him and other Brazilian musicians, I am reminded of how vibrant and varied the music scene there is. I have discs by de Holanda in small group settings, as well as in duets, and he never fails to impress me with his skills and the emotional conviction that drives his playing.

Jazz Village JV570034
Format: CD

Musical Performance: ***1/2
Sound Quality: ***
Overall Enjoyment: ***

If you know much about Clint Eastwood, you know that his favorite music is jazz. It is quite logical, then, to know that his eldest son, Kyle, was thoroughly exposed to jazz as he was growing up. The influences took flight and Kyle became a jazz bassist, bandleader, and composer. You will find his music scattered throughout some of his father’s films, most notably Gran Torino and Letters from Iwo Jima. Both of those stints garnered him award nominations.

Ozella Music OZ92010CD
Format: CD

Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ****1/2
Overall Enjoyment: ****

I’ve written about the German record label Ozella Music before, in a piece that included a review of Helge Lien’s Natsukashii. Lien is one of the pianists included in Ozella’s The Magic & the Mystery of the Piano Trio: Ballads & Lullabies, which collects 13 tracks by five such ensembles. The compilation is a good overview of Ozella’s brand of jazz, and gives a clue about what young European jazz players are up to now.

1865Harmonia Mundi HMU 807549
Format: Hybrid Multichannel SACD

Musical Performance: *****
Sound Quality: *****
Overall Enjoyment: *****

Startled by the ratings? Let me tell you, this is the most perfect album, in all aspects, that I have heard in a long, long time.

Anonymous 4 usually records medieval and Renaissance motets, albums that have all garnered critical acclaim. The third release in the group’s Americana trilogy, 1865 is devoted to songs of the American Civil War and celebrates the 150th anniversary of the war’s conclusion.

Standing in the BreachInside Recordings INR14107-1
Format: CD

Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****

The cover photo of Jackson Browne’s new disc, Standing in the Breach, is of a young African-American couple holding hands as they walk through the burning aftermath of some cataclysm. The photo captures both sides of Browne -- the poet of romance and the political activist. Since Browne began bringing his political concerns forward in his music with Lives in the Balance (1986) and World in Motion (1988), he has sometimes let them get in the way of his ability to write memorable tunes. On Standing in the Breach the songs stay with you, whether the subject is love or current events.

The Last Shot Got HimCattail 2014
Format: CD

Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ****1/2
Overall Enjoyment: ****

Sometimes, smaller forces make for a great recording. Here we have blues singer Scott Ainslie and his Gibson L-50 archtop acoustic guitar, bass added on one track, steel-string banjo on another. That is exceptionally minimal, yet this delightful disc has given me more enjoyment than all the loud ones I received recently.

Ainslie is a teacher and historian as well as a performer, and has devoted most of his life to researching the songs and style of Mississippi John Hurt. OKeh Records talent scouts discovered Hurt in the late ’20s and made a series of 78rpm recordings in Memphis. Based on sales, three Mississippi performers were invited to record at OKeh’s New York City studios. Hurt was one of them.

Beautiful JazzWilderJazz 1401LP
Format: LP

Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment: ****

The French-born jazz pianist Christian Jacob has an impressive discography that includes work with Maynard Ferguson, Bill Holman, and Flora Purim, and he has been a member of singer Tierney Sutton’s touring and recording band for nearly 20 years. The sticker on the shrink wrap of the LP version of Beautiful Jazz -- his first solo piano recording -- proclaims, “LP recorded & produced entirely in analog,” so I was surprised to notice that it was engineered and mixed by Mark Waldrep, a firm advocate of digital sound.