* Uccellini: Sonatas (Romanesca) (Harmonia Mundi CD)
* J.S. Bach: The Works for Lute (Kirchhof) (Sony Classical 2CD)
* Jimmy Giuffre 3: The Jimmy Giuffre 3 (Atlantic LP)
* Jimmy Giuffre 3: Trav’lin’ Light (Atlantic LP)
* Bobby Hutcherson: Medina (Blue Note CD)
* Archie Shepp: The Way Ahead (Impulse! CD)
* Archie Shepp: The Cry of My People (Impulse! CD)
* Archie Shepp: Attica Blues (Impulse! CD)
* The Revolutionary Ensemble: The People’s Republic (Horizon LP)
* George Duke: Faces In Reflection (MPS LP)
* Michael Hedges: Breakfast In The Field (Windham Hill LP)
* Michael Hedges: Aerial Boundaries (Windham Hill LP)
* Toots & The Maytals: Reggae Got Soul (Island LP)
* A Taste of Honey : A Taste of Honey (Capitol LP)
* D’Angelo: Brown Sugar (EMI CD)
* D’Angelo: Voodoo (Virgin CD)
* D’Angelo & The Vanguard: Black Messiah (RCA CD)
* Paul McCartney & Wings: Wingspan (d.1) (Capitol 2CD) †/‡
* Grateful Dead: Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA 1993-12-09 (selections) (SBD 3CDR)
* Jade Warrior: Last Autumn’s Dream (Vertigo/Mercury LP)
* Tangerine Dream: Encore: Tangerine Dream Live (Virgin 2LP)
* Tangerine Dream: White Eagle (Virgin LP)
* Phil Manzanera: Diamond Head (Atco LP)
* PFM: Chocolate Kings (Elektra/Asylum LP)
* Kayak: Royal Bed Bounce (Janus LP)
* Kayak: Royal Bed Bounce (Janus LP)
* Nektar: Recycled (Passport LP)
* Sky: Sky (Arista 2LP)
* Prefab Sprout: Swoon (Kitchenware LP)
* Prefab Sprout: From Langley Park To Memphis (Kitchenware/Epic LP)
* Steven Wilson: The Raven That Refused To Sing (KScope CD) †/‡
* Opeth: Blackwater Park (Music For Nations/KOCH CD)
* Opeth: Damnation (Music For Nations/KOCH CD)
* Opeth: Pale Communion (Roadrunner CD/BD/2-7”) (†/‡)
* In Flames: Siren Charms (Sony CD) †/‡
* Sleep: Vol.1 (Very Small/Tupelo LP)
* Electric Wizard: Dopethrone (Rise Above 2LP)
* Anathema: Distant Satellites (KScope CD/DVD)
* London Grammar: If You Wait (Columbia 2LP)
* Nothing: Guilty Of Everything (Relapse LP) †/‡
Liz and I drove down to Atlanta to see Opeth at the historic Tabernacle on Monday and, as always, it was totally awesome!!!
We did the whole VIP/meet-and-greet thing again because, well, I love Opeth -- plus, it's a relative bargain for what you get, especially in this era of stratospherically-priced concert tickets. As you may recall, we met the band last year in Athens and I gave Mikael Akerfeldt a copy of my CD with Sam Byrd, Indeterminate. Knowing that Akerfeldt is a huge vinyl nut, I had to bring him a copy of the new Cosmomologies (even though I know free jazz is decidedly not his thing).
Much to my surprise, he claimed to remember me and said they played my CD on the bus after the show (though he hadn't listened to it since). I was floored! We talked a little bit about jazz and "avant-garde" music, which he has to be "in the right mood" to sit down and enjoy. Well, who doesn't, right?
His eyes lit up at Griffin Norman's amazing letterpress artwork and said it reminded him of a record by the Swedish duo, Hansson & Karlsson (composers of "Tax Free," which was made famous by Jimi Hendrix). It's mind-blowingly cool to think of Mikael Akerfeldt having Cosmologies in his record collection -- and maybe even listening to it!
The show itself was spectacular, with openers Red Fang and (co-headliners) In Flames impressing me more live than on record (which is saying something). But nobody can touch Opeth as far as I'm concerned. Starting off with a one-two punch from the prog-infused Pale Communion, their abbreviated but varied 75-minute set included plenty of crushing heaviness, including "The Moor," "The Drapery Falls" and the epic closer, "Deliverance." Akerfeldt may have abandoned the growls of death metal on Opeth's current records, but he still brings it in concert. Stunning!
According to the band, they will be back in the USA later next year for a proper headlining tour, wherein they'll get to do their usual two-plus hour set, which will inevitably feature more songs from Pale Communion. You know we will be there!
Happy Solstice, everybody! It gets brighter from here.