December 26, 2009

Playlist 12-26-09

* Monteverdi: Vespers (1610) (La Capella Reial, et al.) (Savall) (Alia Vox 2SACD)
* Buxtehude: Six Sonatas (Holloway/ter Linden, et al.) (Naxos CD)
* Corelli: Trio Sonatas (English Concert/Pinnock) (Arkiv Produktion CD)
* Vivaldi: Concertos and Sinfonias for Strings (VBO/Marcon) (Arkiv Produktion CD)
* Vivaldi: Concertos for 2 Violins (VBO/Marcon/Mullova/Carmignola) (Arkiv Produkction CD)
* Handel: Trio Sonatas, Op.2 & 5 (AAM/Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Vol.1 (Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos (AAM/Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi 2SACD)
* Cage: The Seasons (American Composers Orchestra/Davies/Margaret Leng Tan) (ECM CD)
* Sun Ra: Black Myth/Out In Space (d.2) (MPS/Motor Music 2CD)
* Sun Ra: Queen Elizabeth Hall, London 11-9-70 (d.1) (AUD 2CDR)
* John Coltrane: Fearless Leader (d.1-3) (Prestige 6CD)
* John Coltrane: Side Steps (d.1-4) (Prestige 5CD)
* John Coltrane: The Ultimate Blue Train (Blue Note CD)
* Cecil Taylor European Quintet: Fasching, Stockholm 10-31-97 (FM CDR)
* Cecil Taylor (solo piano): Piazza Boves, Cuneo 7-28-76 (FM CDR)
* Miles Davis: The Complete In a Silent Way Sessions (d.1) (Columbia/Legacy 3CD)
* Herbie Hancock/Wayne Shorter/Stanley Clarke/Omar Hakim: Stuttgart 7-91 (FM CDR)
* Pat Metheny Group: Pat Metheny Group (ECM LP)
* The Beatles: Mono Masters (d.2) (Apple/EMI 2CD)
* The Beatles: The Complete BBC Sessions, Vols.1-4 (fan/boot 10CDR)
* The Beatles: From Then to You (Complete Christmas Messages) (fan/boot CDR)
* Elvis Presley: If Every Day Was Like Christmas (RCA CD)
* Emmylou Harris: Light of the Stable: The Christmas Album (Warner Bros. CD)
* Grateful Dead: Warfield Theatre, San Francisco 10-10-80 (acoustic) (SBD CDR)
* Grateful Dead: Dick’s Picks Vol.5: Oakland Coliseum Arena 12-26-79 (GDM 3CD)
* Big Star: #1 Record (Ardent/Classic LP)
* Big Star: Radio City (Ardent/Classic LP)
* Big Star: 3rd (Ardent/4 Men With Beards LP)
* Chris Bell: I Am the Cosmos (Deluxe Edition) (Rhino Handmade 2CD)
* Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Deluxe Edition) (MCA 2SACD)
* The Flaming Lips: Zaireeka (Warner Bros./boot CDR)
* Guided By Voices: Universal Truths and Cycles (Matador LP)
* Guided By Voices: Half Smiles of the Decomposed (Matador (LP)
* Wilco: FIB, Benicassim 7-20-07 (FM CDR)
* Beck: Sea Change (MFSL 2LP)
* DJ Spooky: The Secret Song (Thirsty Ear CD+DVD)


Happy Boxing Day! I hope y’all had a wonderful Christmas! As you can see from the photograph above, Santa Claus was certainly generous with me!


I’ve long been familiar with Dieterich Buxtehude’s (c.1637-1707) sacred vocal music but until recently, I didn’t even realize he wrote any instrumental music at all. In fact, he wrote very little -- but one of my favorite baroque violinists, John Holloway, undertook a survey of the extant chamber music for the Danish DaCapo label in the early nineties which have now been repackaged by the intrepid Naxos in fine budget editions. Wow, the music is absolutely sublime! The finest Baroque music intimates that human perfection may just be possible; it utterly lacks the self-doubt that plagues the post-Romantic age in which we now live. I look forward to picking up the first two volumes!


John Coltrane’s Prestige recordings have long been a gaping hole in my collection, now filled with these recently remastered and thoughtfully assembled box sets. Fearless Leader groups together all of Coltrane’s recordings as a leader while Interplay (not pictured, but on its way!) and Side Steps compile all of his sideman sessions. In all, these three box sets contain sixteen CDs of Trane and his cohorts in a series of loose, spontaneous blowing sessions recorded by sonic-alchemist Rudy Van Gelder: = Bliss! I’ve barely scratched the surface of these box sets, but I was immediate struck with the profound beauty of Coltrane’s ballad playing on these recordings. The handsome packaging, first-rate sound quality, and detailed discographical notes (complete with reproductions of the original album art) make these a real delight for this Coltrane fan!


Muhal Richard Abrams’s solo piano set on Pi, Vision Towards Essence, has been on my want list for ages, and (my sweet) Santa gave it to me for Christmas. Thank you, thank you! I haven’t listened to it yet, but will be doing so soon, tomorrow, I think; no doubt this will be challenging and stimulating record! Mr. Abrams is, of course, the godfather of the AACM and while I have a number of his albums, he also represents another giant hole in my (admittedly out of control) record collection. I gotta work on that (both).


Finally, DJ Shadow's new album on Thirsty Ear is an epic journey combining cutting edge rap, avant-jazz (featuring Matthew Shipp et al.) and a couple of surprisingly evocative instrumental covers of two Led Zeppelin tunes. Interesting! I'm not even sure what's on the DVD, but this is one album that will definitely reward repeated listens. Fusion remains a possibilty, people!


And also on the way is another gift to ourselves, thanks to some cash money that Santa Claus dropped down the chimney: the Beatles in Stereo box. I could not hold out any longer! No, I’m not all that interested in hearing the first four albums in stereo, but I do want the rest of it -- especially the final recordings not present on the otherwise exquisite Beatles in Mono box -- so the big box really is a must-have and definitive companion. Plus having all the mini-documentaries in one place will be nice...Not to mention the “limited” nature of the box itself which makes for a genuine collector’s item of sorts. And...and...Does it sound like I am justifying this purchase? Yes, it is expensive, but I am certain it will be worth it. After all, The Beatles are a source of great joy in our household, so we might as well have the best versions available, right? Right.


So, thank you very VERY MUCH, Mssrs. Santa Claus (you know who you are!). MERRY CHRISTMAS EACH AND EVERYONE!


Sam said...

Re: Beatles box set in stereo: Santa was good to me this year too--imagine my surprise when I opened this heavy package and found that beautiful black box staring up at me! And yes, it's definitely worth it!!! For "Abbey Road" and "Old Brown Shoe" alone. I've only had a chance to get through a couple of the discs, but needless to say everything I've heard so far is exquisite. I was resigned to getting the stereo discs one by one over the years, but of course it's great to to have it all at once!!! Agreed, the first four discs are not as crucial in stereo, but for close study, the separation does yield pleasure. But by the time you get to "Revolver" all bets are off!

This was the first season in, oh, maybe 20, that I haven't listened to ANY Beatles Christmas music--partially because I lent my Purple Chick disc to my buddy Cal (of course I do have other versions), but maybe largely because I played them so much last year that I thought I'd give 'em a break. Instead I delved into the magic and beauty of 3 '70s Beach Boys Xmas tunes, all on "Beach Boys Ultimate Christmas," and the classic Phil Spector Christmas record. Next year I'm sure I'll revisit Count Balder and the two elderly Scots munching on a rare cheese.

Re: Muhal: at some point I'll send you a list of my Muhal favorites (not that you need my encouragement to fill those gaps!). His solo piano stuff is always intriguing; unfortunately there's not as much of it out there as you'd expect for someone of his stature.

Re: Coltrane: Trane's Prestige stuff is great. I am especially partial to his sessions as a leader--the sideman music can be spotty, although his playing in itself is always strong. Those new boxes you got are a great improvement in sound over the big 16-disc box that came out in the '90s. A lot of great listening ahead!

My playlist will show up tomorrow!

Sam said...

As promised:

Playlist 2009-12-28

*Art Ensemble of Chicago: 1979-07-22 Nervi, Italy (CDR)
*Anthony Braxton: Anthony Braxton's Charlie Parker Project, disc 1
*Anthony Braxton Small Ensemble 2008-05-07 Wesleyan University, disc 2 (CDR)
*Anthony Braxton Large Ensemble 2008-05-08 Wesleyan University (CDR)
*Anthony Braxton Diamond Curtain Wall Trio: 2009-10-30 Frankfurt (CDR)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2008-03-24
*Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble: Memory/Vision
*Evan Parker (trio w/Dresser, Hemingway): 2009-10-04 1st set, the Stone, NYC (CDR)
*Sun Ra: 1979-04-04 Champaign, Illinois (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor: 1988-06-27 Verona solo piano (CDR)
*Henry Threadgill ZOOID: 2007-05-17 Jazz Gallery NYC (CDR)
*David Torn & Prezens: 2008-01-10 Stadtgarten, Cologne (CDR)
*Beatles: With the Beatles (2009 mono remaster)
*Beatles: Hard Day's Night (2009 mono remaster)
*Beatles: Help! (2009 mono remaster)
*Beatles: Beatles For Sale (2009 mono remaster)
*Beatles: Mono Masters I (2009 mono remaster)
*Beatles: Rubber Soul (2009 stereo remaster)
*Beatles: Revolver (2009 stereo remaster)
*Beatles: Abbey Road (2009 stereo remaster)
*Jeff Byrd: Snag (selections)
*Deerhoof: Holdy Paws
*Henry Cow: Leg End (side 1)
*High Llamas: Gideon Gaye
*Rolling Stones: December's Children
*Phil Spector: Back to Mono (selections)
*Stock, Hausen, & Walkman: Ventilating Deer
*plus some Christmas music (including Phil Spector and the Beach Boys)

Reading log 2009-12-28

*Baker, Nicholson. A Box of Matches (started/finished)
*Larson, Gary. The Complete Far Side (started)
*Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet (Arden ed., 2nd series, ed. Brian Gibbons) (started)
*Theroux, Alexander. Darconville's Cat (started)
*Gifford, Don, with Robert J. Seidman. Ulysses Annotated (in progress)
*Joyce, James. Ulysses (in progress)
*Musil, Robert. Man Without Qualities (in progress)

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