Recording of the Month

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Richard Lehnert Posted: Jan 13, 2002 0 comments
J.S. BACH: Morimur
Partita No.2 in d for Solo Violin, BWV 1004; 11 Chorales; Chaconne from BWV 1004 and "Auf meinen lieben Gott" realized by Helga Thoene for solo violin & four voices
Christoph Poppen, baroque violin. The Hilliard Ensemble: Monika Mauch, soprano; David James, countertenor; John Potter, tenor; Gordon Jones, baritone
ECM New Series 1765 (CD). 2001. Manfred Eicher, prod.; Peter Laenger, eng. DDD. TT: 61:42
Performance *****
Sonics *****
Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 05, 2003 0 comments
STEVE TIBBETTS: A Man About a Horse
Steve Tibbetts, guitar, percussion; Jim Anton, bass; Marc Anderson, Marcus Wise, percussion
ECM 1814 (CD). 2002. Steve Tibbetts, prod., eng. ADD. TT: 45:07
Performance *****
Sonics ****½
Thomas Conrad Posted: Jan 11, 2004 Published: Jan 01, 2004 0 comments
TOM HARRELL: Wise Children
Tom Harrell, trumpet, flugelhorn, balafon; Jimmy Greene, tenor sax, flute; Xavier Davis, piano, Fender Rhodes, clavinet, kalimba, organ, synth bass; Ugonna Okegwo, acoustic bass, electric bass; Quincy Davis, drums
With: Cenovia Cummins, Antoine Silverman, violin; Juliet Haffner, viola; Daniel Miller, Jeffrey Szabo, cello; Mondre Moffett, Kamau Adilifu, trumpet; Luis Bonilla, trombone; Douglas Purviance, bass trombone; John Clark, Vincent Chancey, French horn; Howard Johnson, tuba; Myron Walden, alto sax; David Schumacher, baritone sax; Gil Goldstein, accordion; Marvin Sewell, electric guitar; Marcel Carmago, acoustic guitar; Reuben Rodgers, fretless bass; Milton Cardona, congas; Joe Gonzalez, bongos; Café, congas, berimbau, balafon, oudu, tambourine, percussion; Claudia Acuña, Jane Monheit, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, vocals
Bluebird 82876-53016-2 (CD). 2003. John Snyder, prod.; Joe Ferla, eng. DAD. TT: 63:34
Performance ****
Sonics ****
Robert Baird Posted: Jan 16, 2005 0 comments
BEETHOVEN: Complete Music for Cello & Piano
Cello & Piano Sonatas: in F, Op.5 No.1; in g, Op.5 No.2; in F, Op.17; in A, Op.69; in C, Op.102 No.1; in D, Op.102 No.2. Variations: in F on Mozart's "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen," Op.66; in E-flat on Mozart's "Bei Männern," WoO 46; in G on Handel's "See, the Conquering Hero Comes," WoO 45
András Schiff, piano; Miklós Perényi, cello
ECM New Series 1819/20, B00003389-02 (2 CDs). 2004. Manfred Eicher, exec. prod.; Stephan Schellmann, eng. DDD. TT: 2:31:19
Performance ****½
Sonics ****
Richard Lehnert Posted: Jan 14, 2006 0 comments
WAGNER: Tristan und Isolde
Plácido Domingo, Tristan; Nina Stemme, Isolde; Mihoko Fujimura, Brangäne; René Pape, Marke; Olaf Bär, Kurwenal; Jared Holt, Melot; Ian Bostridge, Shepherd; Matthew Rose, Steersman; Rolando Villazón, A Young Sailor; Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Antonio Pappano
EMI 5 58006 2 (3 CDs, 1 DVD). 2005. David Groves, prod.; Jonathan Allen, John Dunkerly, Roland Heap, engs. DDD. TT: 3:46:29
Performance *****
Sonics ****½
Fred Mills Posted: Jan 14, 2007 0 comments
THE WHO: Endlesswire
Universal Republic 0251709260 (CD). 2006. Pete Townshend, prod.; Myles Clarke, Bob Pridden, Sean Witt, engs. AAD. TT: 52:46
Performance ****
Sonics *****
Robert Baird Posted: Jan 16, 2008 0 comments
NEIL YOUNG: Chrome Dreams II
Reprise 311932-2 (CD). 2007. Neil Young, prod.; Niko Bolas, prod., eng.; John Hausmann, Rob Clark, Brent Walton, Tim McColm, Colin Suzuki, asst. engs. AAD? TT: 66:17
Performance ****
Sonics ****
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 12, 2009 0 comments
MOGWAI: The Hawk Is Howling
Rock Action/Matador OLE 832-1 (LP), -2 (CD). Gareth Jones, James Aparicio, prods.; Andy Miller, Tony Doogan, Andi Whitelock, engs. AAA/AAD. TT: 63:29
Performance *****
Sonics ****½
Robert Baird Posted: Jan 19, 2011 0 comments
Sun City Girls Funeral Mariachi
Abduction ABD 045LP (LP). 2010. Alan Bishop, prod., eng.; Scott Colburn, Randall Dunn, engs. AAA. TT: 37:12
Performance ****
Sonics ****

There are musicians for whom fame and fortune hold no allure, whose goal is to fulfill a more esoteric vision. Nearly 50 albums and 25 years ago, three mad punk polyglots, their brains baked by the Arizona sun, and all of them in love with the Middle East–North Africa axis of what, in the 1980s, was ineptly titled "world music," decided to make music without borders. With no fear of influences and no burning ambition for commercial success, they zestfully and successfully mixed comedy, noise, Zappa, Beefheart, Middle Eastern drones, jazzy horns, psychedelia in all its forms, film composer Ennio Morricone's inventive moodiness, Indonesian Gamelan mojo, lots of real and made-up languages, and, yes, some actual singing. Rougher in the beginning, the records began to sound better as time went on.

Robert Baird Posted: Dec 29, 2011 Published: Jan 01, 2012 2 comments
Tom Waits Bad As Me
Anti- 87151-1 (LP). 2011. Tom Waits, Kathleen Brennan, prods.; Julianne Deery, prod. coord.; Karl Derfler, eng.; Zack Summer, asst. eng. ADA? TT: 44:37
Performance *****
Sonics ****½

They only come out at night. Or when recession, wars, and gridlock rule. On Bad As Me, Tom Waits's first record of new material since 2004's Real Gone, things having gone bad all over gives his uniquely American narratives a fresh resonance: "Well we bailed out all the millionaires / they got the fruit, we got the rind / and everybody's talking at the same time / everybody's talking at the same time." ("Talking at the Same Time"). But lest anyone get the idea it's all politics and no licentiousness, the next track, "Get Lost," dives deep into loopy rockabilly slap beats as two of the three stellar guitarists who dominate this album, Marc Ribot and David Hidalgo (Los Lobos), conjure a twitchily convincing froth over which Waits revels in the simpler pleasures of Wolfman Jack and "real tight sweaters."

Richard Lehnert Posted: Dec 26, 2012 Published: Jan 01, 2013 2 comments
Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen
Birgit Nilsson, Hans Hotter, Wolfgang Windgassen, George London, Gustav Neidlinger, Gerhard Stolze, Gottlob Frick, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Kirsten Flagstadt, Set Svanholm, James King, Régine Crespin, Christa Ludwig, many others; Vienna State Opera Chorus, Vienna Philharmonic, Georg Solti
Decca 0289 478 3702 2 (17 CDs, 1 BD, 1 DVD). 1958–66/1997/2012. John Culshaw, prod.; Gordon Parry, eng.; James Lock (1997), Philip Siney (2012), remastering. ADD. TT: 14:36:56 (Ring only)
Performance *****
Sonics *****

Gramophone called it "the recording of the [20th] century"; Stereophile named it No.1 of the 40 essential recordings of all time. Fifty-four years after the first Rheingold sessions, there is still nothing like this history-making first studio recording—by conductor Georg Solti, the Vienna Philharmonic, and producer John Culshaw—of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, originally taped and released on LP from 1958 to 1966. The unsurpassed quality of singers and orchestra, Solti's astonishing ability to tell a dramatic story in music, the epic scope and sweep of work and performance—and the sound, as much a wonder for our own time as half a century ago—make these recordings seem more precious, their combinations of qualities less likely to ever be repeated, with every passing year.

Larry Birnbaum Posted: Dec 24, 2013 Published: Jan 01, 2014 0 comments
Various Artists: The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records 1917–1927, Volume One
Third Man/Revenant (6 LPs, USB drive). 1917–27/2013. Alex van der Tuuk, Jack White, Dean Blackwood, prods.; Christopher C. King, David Glasser, Anna Frick, remastering. A–D. TT: 4:12:39 (LPs only)
Performance *****
Sonics Historical

Launched in 1917, Paramount Records initially recorded conventional pop music, such as Arthur Fields's "Good Morning, Mr. Zip, Zip, Zip." But with the hiring of J. Mayo Williams as a talent scout and producer in 1924, Paramount became one of the leading suppliers of "race" records, as discs marketed to African-Americans were then called. For the next decade, Paramount recorded some of the most important blues, jazz, and gospel artists of the era, along with country and pop musicians.

Steven W. Watkinson Posted: May 07, 2014 Published: Jul 01, 1985 4 comments
Anyone who thinks the ultra-chic New York progressive music scene lacks a sense of humor hasn't heard Laurie Anderson. Her last album, Mister Heartbreak, proved to be the most listenable and entertaining example of the genre on years. It also provided a sound quality that put most "audiophile" discs to shame.
Richard Lehnert Posted: Oct 27, 2011 Published: Jul 01, 1988 1 comments
788rotm.jpgWynton Marsalis: Baroque Music for Trumpets
Vivaldi: Concerto for 2 Trumpets, RV 537; Telemann: Concertos for 3 Trumpets, in B-flat and D; Pachelbel: Canon for 3 Trumpets (arr. Leppard); M. Haydn: Concerto for Trumpet; Biber: Sonata for 8 Trumpets & Orchestra
Wynton Marsalis, piccolo trumpets; Raymond Leppard, English Chamber Orchestra
CBS M 42478 (LP), MK 42478 (CD). Bud Graham & Steven Epstein, engs.; Steven Epstein, prod. DDD. TT: 47:18

There are very few musically satisfying compositions for solo trumpet. A great deal of the standard repertoire is Baroque, and that primarily of the Paradestuck (parade, or showoff piece) school. Of Wynton Marsalis's five Masterworks releases, at least three fall into this category, the present one most of all. There are gimmicks galore here, of composition, arrangement, and recording—Wynton Marsalis, genius of all trades, overdubbing himself ad infinitum through digital wizardry. The fact is, given the music, such an approach is probably the most appropriate; certainly no one listens to the Biber Sonata for 8 Trumpets for profound spiritual insight, and none of this music was written to stretch the boundaries of anything but the trumpeter's chops. In the recording of such antiphonal works, the 18th century's version of "special effects" or "stereo spectaculars," it makes sense that the soloists seem as telepathically in tune with one another's playing as possible. So why not use the same single player?

Richard Lehnert Posted: Oct 28, 2010 Published: Jul 28, 1989 0 comments
The Neville Brothers: Yellow Moon A&M CD 5240 (CD). Malcolm Burn, eng.; Daniel Lanois, prod. AAD. TT: 53:01

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