• SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • 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)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh History and Autoformer Technology (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - NAD Viso HP50 Headphones (May 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - GoldenEar Technology's Anechoic Chamber (May 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - PSB's M4U 4 Earphones (April 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - GoldenEar Technology's Triton Two+ and Three+ Loudspeakers (March 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- KEF's LS50 (February 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Monitor Audio's Platinum II Series (January 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Pryma 0|1 Headphones (December 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- KEF's Blade Two Loudspeaker (November 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- KEF and the Uni-Q (October 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Monitor Audio Acoustics & Aesthetics (August 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- PSB's Imagine T3 Loudspeaker (June 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Hegel's H160 Integrated Amplifier-DAC (April 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- MartinLogan's Neolith Loudspeaker (February 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Prestige Series (December 2014)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Vivid Audio's Giya Series (October 2014)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Totem Acoustic's Torrent Technology (August 2014)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Axiom Audio's M100 v4 Loudspeaker (May 2014)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Muraudio's Domain Omni Series (March 2014)

What I SeeJazzed Media JM1065
Format: CD

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

 

Judy Wexler has released only four CDs since 2005, when she debuted with Easy on the Heart, but she has a solid reputation among jazz critics and other musicians. She is also an actor who has appeared on television and in the theater, and that background perhaps accounts for her ability to capture the meaning of a song and tell its story. She hits the right emotional notes to give listeners a sense of what a song is telling us, and her skills as a jazz singer give her interpretations rhythmic excitement and unpredictability.

I Hear the SoundArchie Ball/Harmonia Mundi ARCH1301
Format: CD

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

 

On September 9, 1971, prisoners at Attica State Prison, in upstate New York, took control of the facility to demand better living conditions. When state police and the New York National Guard regained control of the prison four days later, ten hostages and 29 prisoners died in the gunfire. Over 50% of the prison population was African-American, and had acted, in part, out of anger over the death of prison activist George Jackson in California the previous month.

ForeverlyReprise 9362493997
Format: CD

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

 

I'd never heard the Everly Brothers before I bought this album, nor had I heard of them. But given that the brothers born in Kentucky and Illinois enjoyed a career that featured 35 Billboard Top 100 singles, including 26 in the Top 40, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, I feel sheepish about admitting as much. Having done some research on the pair, I wouldn't have naturally associated Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer of punk-rock group Green Day, and singer-songwriter Norah Jones with them. Yet on the appropriately named Foreverly, the tandem recreates the legendary brothers' second album, Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. That 1958 release comprised a selection of songs that the boys had -- bear with me here -- learned from their father. Given that the pairing's popularity and commercial success owed to their billing as a rock 'n' roll act, it's fair to say that the album was a departure.

Quality StreetYep Roc YEP-2330
Format: CD

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

 

As I’ve noted elsewhere, Christmas music is a guilty pleasure of mine. I’ve probably played Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas more times than any other disc in my collection. Two years ago, my wife picked up for me both volumes of Blues, Blues Christmas, which include such obscurities as Gatemouth Moore’s “Christmas Blues” and Lightnin’ Hopkins’s “Merry Christmas.” This year, I add Nick Lowe’s Quality Street to my seasonal lineup.

Wise Up Ghost and Other SongsBlue Note B001875002
Format: CD

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

 

The cover design of Elvis Costello’s collaboration with the Roots, Wise Up Ghost and Other Songs, is based on the Pocket Poets series published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Books, especially that series’ best-known title: Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems (1956). A few of us who are around Costello’s age (he was born in 1954) still have our copies of Howl; perhaps the reference is to reassure us, and Costello, that we’re all still hip.

SongbookRounder 11661-9154-2
Format: CD, DVD

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

 

Allen Toussaint’s name is familiar to anyone who has followed popular music since the 1960s. He made his first record in 1958, but hit his stride in the next few years when his songs were recorded by Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas, Aaron Neville, and other New Orleans singers. His piano playing graced recordings by Lee Dorsey, Chris Kenner, and others, and in the ’70s he produced records by the Meters and Dr. John, and worked with artists as diverse as Robert Palmer and Paul McCartney. Many rock fans know him from the horn arrangements he wrote for several of the Band’s projects, including Rock of Ages and The Last Waltz.

InnocentsMute 695741
Format: CD

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

 

No one will argue with the notion that, since the critical and commercial success of his fifth album, Play (1999), the music of Moby has been in gradual decline. That album’s success was a surprise even to its creator, who captured lightning on a disc by building, on a largely electronic foundation, an eclectic combination of samples. The result has sold ten million albums.

Another Self PortraitColumbia 88883 73487 2
Format: CD (2)

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

 

When Bob Dylan released Self Portrait in June 1970, critics pounced on it. The most famous review is probably Greil Marcus’s, for Rolling Stone, which began with the famously blunt, “What is this shit?” A more insightful comment in the review was, “I once said I’d buy an album of Dylan breathing heavily. I still would. But not an album of Dylan breathing softly.”

Chet Lives!Le Chant du Monde 2743 2258
Format: CD

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

 

Chet Baker has long been held in high regard in Europe, where he spent much of the last ten years of his life and where, in 1978, he died. The release of Chet Lives!, by the Italian jazz singer and guitarist Joe Barbieri, marks the 25th anniversary of Baker’s death, in Amsterdam. Interest in the great trumpeter and singer seems to be at a peak -- just a few months ago I wrote about Eliane Elias’s highly enjoyable I Thought About You: A Tribute to Chet Baker, which captured Baker’s spirit and celebrated his influence.

Steve Gadd BandBFM Jazz 302 062 418 2
Format: CD

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

 

Drummer Steve Gadd has had a busy recording year, appearing on discs by Eric Clapton, Bob James and David Sanborn, and the Gaddabouts, his collaboration with Edie Brickell. Gadditude adds to the list a recording made under his own name. The Steve Gadd Band’s debut benefits from the comfort these musicians have from playing together as James Taylor’s touring band -- even the most difficult passages flow easily.