• SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)

ATO ATO0299
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
***1/2

Overall Enjoyment
****

My Morning Jacket’s fourth album, It Still Moves (2003), was the band’s major-label debut, and solidified the unique musical vision they’d established on their three records for Darla, an independent label. But Jim James, the band’s guitarist and leader, recently told the New York Times that he was never happy with the album’s sound. “‘It Still Moves’ is really the only record in our catalog that I’ve always felt I wanted to remix,” he said.

My Block/eOne Music EOM-CD-9439
Format: CD

Musical Performance
***1/2

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

Life on Earth is Musiq Soulchild’s seventh solo album since he began recording, in 2000, and his first since leaving Atlantic for My Block Records, an indie run by producer Warryn Campbell. The singer, aka Taalib Johnson, mixes hip-hop, rhythm and blues, and jazz in a way that’s fresh and appealing to young listeners, while also accessible to old-school R&B fans like me. He writes songs that are melodically engaging, and even when he uses recent recording techniques, such as sampling and Auto-Tune, he doesn’t let them overwhelm or define his music.

Santana IV Records S4007
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
***

Overall Enjoyment
***1/2

It’s tough being a fan of Carlos Santana. He is indisputably one of the great guitarists of the classic-rock era, but his recordings with the various iterations of his band have been wildly erratic. The original lineup of his eponymous band split up after three very good records, and some of the music that followed, such as Caravanserai (1972) and Welcome (1973), was up to the standard set by that original group. Other releases, such as Inner Secrets (1978) and Zebop! (1981), fell short.

Columbia/Legacy Records 88875175862
Format: CD

Musical Performance
***

Sound Quality
**1/2

Overall Enjoyment
***

When singer Jeff Buckley drowned in 1997, he had only released one studio album, but it was a truly remarkable record. Released in 1994, Grace was beautiful and ambitious, embracing rock’s varied past while looking forward to its future. Boomers like me may have been drawn to it because of our affection for Buckley’s father, Tim, but as a songwriter and performer the younger Buckley was his own man. Jeff Buckley’s sad death at 30 was a depressing echo of his father’s own death at the age of just 28.

Phenix Phonograph
Format: CD

Musical Performance
***

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

A few months ago, a young friend posted a comment on Facebook that said Peter Frampton had taken one gimmick and made a career out of it. When I asked him what that gimmick was, he couldn’t really explain it, but he clearly meant the talk box Frampton used in his solo in “Do You Feel Like We Do,” known best in the live version from Frampton Comes Alive! (1976). An attentive listener would have picked up that the solo showed Frampton’s formidable skills as a guitarist.

Blue Note 61898
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****1/2

Sound Quality
***1/2

Overall Enjoyment
****

Don Was, president of Blue Note Records, has been helping keep the label current by signing young musicians such as the pianist Robert Glasper. He’s also been keeping its history alive by bringing on musicians who are well established. In some cases, they have prior history with the label. Charles Lloyd, who released two discs on Blue Note in the last two years, had a brief association with the label in the 1980s. Dr. Lonnie Smith recorded four LPs for Blue Note in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and in 1995 the label released a 1970 Smith recording from its archives, Live at Club Mozambique.

Dry Wood Music 001
Format: CD

Musical Performance
***1/2

Sound Quality
***

Overall Enjoyment
***1/2

I liked the cover of Wild Stab, the debut album by The I Don’t Cares -- it reminded me of something a mid-1960s garage band might have released on a regional label. I did a little research, and it turns out the album is a collaboration between Paul Westerberg and Juliana Hatfield, who has admired Westerberg’s songwriting since his days with the Replacements. The CD, released on Westerberg’s own Dry Wood Music label, lists no information. The liner notes inform us that “lack of factual info & pics courtesy of dry wood records [sic] who insist on making people use their imagination.”

Eagle Vision EVB335309
Format: Blu-Ray

Musical Performance
***1/2

Sound Quality
****

Picture Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

Elvis Costello has been recording for nearly 40 years, which makes him even more venerable and established than the rock acts he and other punk and new wave musicians were rebelling against in the late 1970s. Since then, he’s cast his musical net wide, recording more than 25 pop albums notable for their stylistic variety and consistency of quality, and showing a willingness to venture into more ambitious territory. He co-composed and recorded a song cycle with the Brodsky String Quartet (The Juliet Letters, 1993), and composed and orchestrated a ballet score (Il Sogno, 2004).

Eagle Vision EVB335159
Format: Blu-ray

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
****

Picture Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

Irish blues guitarist Rory Gallagher was never the big star in the US that he could have been, largely because he didn’t spend much time touring here. He was as good a blues player as some of his better-known contemporaries -- so good that he was the guitarist on The London Muddy Waters Sessions, from 1972. Aside from the leader, he’s the best thing on that album.

S-Curve Records 7315500429
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****1/2

Sound Quality
***1/2

Overall Enjoyment
****

The booklet for Tom Jones’s new disc, Long Lost Suitcase, is filled with pictures of the singer, from his childhood to his years as a hitmaker in the 1960s. The disc was released in conjunction with Jones’s autobiography, Over the Top and Back, and its songs encompass the many styles of music that have influenced him.