NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS: Electric Blue Watermelon
ATO (According To Our) Records 0026 (CD). 2005. Jim Dickinson, prod.; Roland Janes, Pete Matthews, Kevin Houston, engs. AAD? TT: 49:23
ONE FOR ALL: The Lineup
Eric Alexander, tenor sax; Jim Rotondi, trumpet, flugelhorn; Steve Davis, trombone; David Hazeltine, piano, Fender Rhodes; John Webber, bass; Joe Farnsworth, drums
Sharp Nine CD 1037-2 (CD). 2006. Marc Edelman, prod.; Katherine Miller, eng. DDD. TT: 57:42
BOB MARLEY: Exodus: 30th Anniversary Edition
Island 314 586 408-2 (CD). 2007. Bob Marley & the Wailers, prods.; Karl Pitterson, eng.; Guy Bidmead, Terry Barham, asst. engs.; Chris Blackwell, Aston Barrett, Karl Pitterson, mix. AAD? TT: 37:18
McCOY TYNER: Guitars
McCoy Tyner, piano; Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, John Scofield, Derek Trucks, guitars; Béla Fleck, banjo; Ron Carter, bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums
Half Note/McCoy Tyner Music 4537 (CD, DVD). 2008. John Snyder, prod.; Randy Funke, eng. DDD. TT: 74:16
These performances were recorded at the Ebrach Festival, held annually in the small town of Ebrach, Germany (an hour's drive north from Nuremberg or west from Bayreuth), in the former Abbey Church of Ebrach, which comprised a Cistercian monastery (now a prison) and a vast gothic cathedral built in the 13th century which now serves as the parish church. Many hear the phrases "festival orchestra" and "live recording" and expect the worst: flawed documents of underrehearsed performances by hastily convened pickup orchestras in venues not designed for good sound, and plagued by coughs, sneezes, scraped chair legs, the inadvertent rustlings of hundreds of attendees, and a level of applause that might not conform to the response of the listener at home.
Albert Lee: Tearing It Up
AIX Records AIX 85054 (BD). Mark Waldrep, prod.; Mona Waldrep, exec. prod.; Dominic Robelotto, assoc. prod., eng., BD authoring. DDD. TT: 100:00
"From a layman's perspective, I'd listen to the 'Audience' mix on my first bourbon and the 'Stage' mix on my second."
Ahh, yes, out of the mouths of . . . audiophiles . . . who like good booze!
Lacking a 5.1-channel surround-sound rig at home, I enlisted the able assistance of "Music in the Round" columnist Kalman Rubinson, who then convinced his son-in-law, Michael Schechter, source of the above quote, to host us for an evening of listening to and watching the Blu-ray disc Tearing It Up, a new set by the incomparable English country-rock guitarist Albert Lee, recently released by AIX Records.
Bob Dylan: Another Self Portrait (19691971): The Bootleg Series Vol.10
Columbia/Legacy 88883 73488 2 (4 CDs). 2013. Bob Johnston, Al Kooper, orig. prods.; Neil Wilburn, Don Puluse, Glyn Johns, orig. engs.; Elliot Mazer, Glyn Johns (Isle of Wight disc); Jeff Rosen, Steve Berkowitz, prods.; Greg Calbi, mastering. AAD? TT: 4:06:32
It wasn't until I'd read Michael Metzger's write-up of Self Portrait in "Records To Die For" (Stereophile, February 2002) that I was prompted to revisit Bob Dylan's once-critically-scoffed-at musical enigma from 1970. Sandwiched between the new country of 1969's Nashville Skyline and the decidedly folkier New Morning from late 1970, the two LPs of the original Self Portrait sounded like the work of an artist, albeit one still in his late 20s, wanting to unplug from the world and his already staggering body of work. With its quirky cover versions and unfocused song selection, it left plenty of fans scratching their heads.
Duruflé: Requiem; Fauré: Requiem
Blegen, Morris, Shaw, Atlanta SO and Chorus.
Telarc 80135 (CD). Robert Woods, prod.; Jack Renner, eng. DDD. TT: 74:23
To have two Requiems by French composers on the same disc certainly invites comparisons. Superficially similar, the works are actually quite different: both are conceived for small-scale performance, both rely on the organ, and neither places any great demands on chorus or orchestra. The differences concern mood and even intent. Fauré's Requiem, composed between 1887 and 1890, has survived all kinds of performances, both amateur and professional, without losing its ability to move hearers with its gentle hymn for the dead. The Duruflé, composed in 1947, has not achieved this kind of public appeal. A commissioned work, and not unified in style, this requiem is enjoyed by those who sing it; audiences tend to find it bland.
Jesse Winchester has been silent for seven years now, and we needed some mint-julepvoiced cowboy to write and croon such smooth, fluid, irresistible songs, no sharp edges and none needed, thanks. Thank God Lyle Lovett stepped in; we could have done much, much worse.
YSAE KREISLER BACH
J.S. Bach: Partita No.2, BWV 1004, Kreisler: Recitativo & Scherzo, Op.6, Ysaÿe: Sonata, Op.27 No.2
Arturo Delmoni, violin
Water Lily Acoustics WLA-WS-07 (LP), WLA-WS-07-CD (CD). Kavichandran Alexander, eng., prod. AAA/AAD. Subsequently released on CD as John Marks Records CD JMR 14G (footnote 1). TT: 48:03