Robert Baird

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Robert Baird Posted: Apr 19, 2013 0 comments
Art Dudley browses the LP racks at the Quality Record Pressings booth. Photo: Ariel Bitran.

One of the fun sidelights of any audio show is visiting the rooms or booths of the high-end vinyl dealers who attend and, in that regard, the New York Audio Show 2013 was no exception. I spent much of the first day either listening to records via the Classic Album Sundays room with Colleen Murphy, talking about new releases with David Chesky (who I will get to in a moment), or thumbing through juicy looking new and reissue vinyl and DVDs at the booths of Acoustic Sounds, AIX Records, and SoundStageDirect.com.

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Robert Baird Posted: Apr 09, 2013 3 comments
"While the selection and fine tuning of exhilarating-sounding vintage audio equipment is an exciting, often life-long search, let's not forget it's ultimately the music that matters—mankind's mysterious mastery of making air move in esthetically & emotionally thrilling ways. Most importantly, remember to ask yourself the age-old question: Can I dance to it?"
Robert Baird Posted: Feb 26, 2013 Published: Mar 01, 2013 1 comments
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell: Old Yellow Moon
Nonesuch 534285-2 (CD/HDTracks download). 2013. Brian Ahern, prod.; Donivan Cowart, eng.; John Baldwin, Noland O'Boyle, asst. engs. AAD? TT: 41:04
Performance *****
Sonics ****½

A recent survey of my teenaged nephew and his friends turned up a number of musical trends both predictable and surprising. It sent them into paroxysms of disbelief and laughter when the old-man uncle asked whether they liked any guitar bands, like, say . . . Green Day. Guitar bands, to say the least, ain't cool. Pop-oriented hip-hop artists like Wiz Khalifa are. So are white, pop-rock "country" singers like Jason Aldean, whom teenaged boys, even in the age of piracy, continue to spend money on, be it downloads or a CD to rip.

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Robert Baird Posted: Feb 22, 2013 7 comments
The bigger the record, the more fascinating what was left behind.
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Robert Baird Posted: Feb 12, 2013 5 comments
So it’s Fat Tuesday, or mardi gras and while I have not had a Hurricane cocktail quite yet—old men need to keep pacing in the forefront of their thoughts—I have been listening to many of the gems of NOLA's glorious musical history.
Robert Baird Posted: Jan 30, 2013 Published: Feb 01, 2013 2 comments
Clifford Brown/Max Roach: The Clifford Brown/Max Roach Emarcy Albums
Clifford Brown, trumpet; Max Roach, drums; Harold Land, Sonny Rollins, tenor saxophone; Richie Powell, piano; George Morrow, bass
Mosaic MRLP 3004 (4 LPs). 1954–56/2012. Bob Shad, orig. prod.; Michael Cuscuna, reissue prod.; Ryan Smith, remastering. ADA.
Performance *****
Sonics *****

Trumpeter Clifford Brown's death in a car accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on June 26, 1956—his second wedding anniversary—set up an eternity of unanswerables headed by the belief, among many, that had Brownie lived, his star would now be as high as or higher than that of Miles Davis.

Robert Baird Posted: Jan 04, 2013 Published: Jan 01, 2013 1 comments
In a discussion about what their music is—and is not—Dave King, drummer for the Bad Plus, remembers opening a show for free-jazz patriarch Ornette Coleman at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. After their set, the band joined the audience to watch Coleman.

"After the first couple tunes—and this was in a seated theater—I swear, half the audience had left. Fifty years into your career, and he's still making people want to check it out and then decide if they can take it. And that's every night, I bet.

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Robert Baird Posted: Dec 21, 2012 13 comments
Here in the age when rock stars like Jagger and Richards are not only still breathing, but are now turning 70—“I’d rather be dead than sing “Satisfaction” when I’m 45," Mick once said with a straight face
Robert Baird Posted: Nov 29, 2012 Published: Dec 01, 2012 4 comments
David Byrne & St. Vincent: Love This Giant
4AD CAD3231 (LP). 2012. David Byrne, Annie Clark, prods.; Patrick Dillett, John Congleton, asst. prods., engs.; Yuki Takahashi, Jon Altschuler, asst. engs. DDA? TT: 44:23
Performance *****
Sonics ****

The world's Web-based culture has progressed to the point that you don't need to be in the same room, or even the same general region, to be inspired by or collaborate with someone else. Ideas can fly back and forth for years across time and distance. By all accounts, the Internet played a key role in the creation of this sparkling and unexpected bit of funky world pop. This pair of wonderfully hard-to-define talents, who over a three-year gestation period seem to have found a glorious common ground for songwriting and harmonizing, has succeeded in fashioning an utterly original shard of brass-band-meets-layers-of-drum-programming, all of it overflown by the delicate voice of Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, and the recognizable keen of the Talking Heads' former big-suited frontman, David Byrne.

Robert Baird Posted: Nov 13, 2012 0 comments
Humble, unprepossessing, modest are not words normally associated with lead guitarists, or lead singers, or lead anything. But Albert Lee, the Fender Telecaster devotee, has, by all accounts, always been refreshingly down to earth. The other unusual quality about Lee is that he's an English guitarist who, in country music, can hold his own against any American player.

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