CHARLES LLOYD QUARTET: Fish Out Of Water
Charles Lloyd, tenor sax, flute; Bobo Stenson, piano; Palle Danielsson, bass; Jon Christensen, drums
ECM 1398 (841 088-2). TT: 57:50 KENNY WHEELER QUINTET: The Widow In The Window
Kenny Wheeler, fluegelhorn, trumpet; John Abercrombie, guitar; John Taylor, piano; Dave Holland, bass; Peter Erskine, drums
ECM 1417 (843 198-2). TT: 61:17 Both: CD only. Jan Erik Kongshaug, eng.; Manfred Eicher, prod. DDD.
Ry Cooder: Get Rhythm
Warner Bros. 25639 (LP). Ed Cherney, eng.; Ry Cooder, prod. TT: 40:43 John Hiatt: Bring the Family
A&M SP5158 (LP). Larry Hirsch, eng.; John Chelew, prod. TT: 45:26
There are a few white men in American musicDelbert McClinton, Jerry Jeff Walker, John Fogarty, Van Morrison, Joe Ely, and Steve Earle all come to mindwhose music is consistently true, believable, honorable, and unpretentious. Ry Cooder has been one of those names since his solo debut in 1970; with Bring the Family, John Hiatt's must now be added to the list.
Bring the Family is what Robbie Robertson's overrated new album should have been (sorry, Gary Krakow): simple, strong, mature, its feet rock-solid on the ground. "Thing Called Love," in fact, sounds much like the album The Band might have made between The Band and Stage Fright.
Caveat: This article is written by a non-audiophile. I own and listen to several thousand recordings through about $2500 worth of a rather motley assortment of audio components. Though very well informed musically, and a disciplined listener, Audiophilia remains for me a storied land. Various desultory discussions with Larry Archibald and John Atkinson, some going back almost two years, about the possibly refreshing, certainly outré (for these pages) outlook of a certified Audio Ignoramus, have finally borne astringent fruit in this diversion of an article.
Why had a high-end hi-fi magazine felt the need to produce a classical LP when the thrust of real record companies in 1989 is almost exclusively toward CD and cassette? Why did the magazine's editors think they had a better chance than most experienced professional engineers in making a record with audiophile sound quality? Were they guilty of hubris in thinking that the many years between them spent practicing the profession of critic would qualify them as record producers?
Tord Gustavsen Quartet: The Well
Tord Gustavsen, piano; Tore Brunborg, tenor saxophone; Mats Eilertsen, bass; Jarle Vespestad, drums
ECM 2237 (CD). 2012. Manfred Eicher, prod.; Jan Erik Kongshaug, eng. DDD. TT: 53:19
The first time I heard J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Klavier, I heard an endless sameness, lovely but undifferentiated. Only over many hearings did each pairing of prelude and fugue begin to emerge from the background, as what Bach did in each iteration of the same received form began to be revealed as an inexhaustible richness of difference. Gradually, I was learning Bach's musical language; only then did I begin to get an idea of what he might be saying.