1997 Records To Die For Page 4

Lonnie Brownell

THE SILOS: The Silos
RCA 2051-1-R (LP), 2051-2 (CD only). 1990. Peter Moore, Bob Rupe, and Walter-Salas Humara, prods.; Peter Moore and Peter Yianilos, eng. ???. TT: 41:01

I've had discussions with other serious listeners as to whether or not this is an "audiophile" album. If you see that genre as being populated by recordings of somewhat dubious musical content, but with flashy, impressive, and only occasionally really real-sounding voices and instruments, then you probably won't classify this as an audiophile album. However, if a record that sounds like a live band, using only their own amps and not some horrid house PA system, performing songs that are at once well-crafted and charmingly loose, with a feeling like the Stones on holiday, is more your idea of a Classic or MoFi re-ish candidate, then, yeah, you'll call this an audiophile album. I do.
Telestar Records TR020 (LP) DGCD-24821 (CD). 1995. Mark Williams and Southern Culture on The Skids, prods.; Mark Williams, engs. ??? TT: 43:53

A note here about this fine album ought to hit the few readers who haven't already read the raves that I (or our Interviewer of the Stars, Rick Rosen) have already given it. What we've got here is great swampified, guitar-pickin', just-right-there drummin', goofy/cool singin', and songs that ride that narrow but nutritious stylistic line between The Cramps (voodoo rockabilly) and the B-52's (campy/surfy pop), with lyrics that are none too deep but are, like Gilligan and his pals, sure to raise a smile. This is my feel-good album of the past couple years. It'll turn your hi-fi into a rockin' machine.

Daniel Buckley

PJ HARVEY: 4-Track Demos
Island 314-518 450 (CD only). 1993. PJ Harvey, prod. ??? TT: 47:40

Harvey's is a cut-throat, raw-nerve effort, at once chilling and warpedly erotic. As the title suggests, these were 4-track cassette recordings made as sketches for her also-inspired "Rid of Me." Despite the funky sound quality, there's a knife-edged intensity and a dense concentration of elements that makes this among the nastiest rock records ever made. Also, two of her best songs---"Reeling" and "Hardly Wait"---appear here only. Amazingly, it's Harvey alone on all tracks! (XVI-12)
ROBERT ASHLEY: Private Parts (The Record)
Lovely Music Ltd. 1001 (CD only). 1970/1990. Robert Ashley and "Blue" Gene Tyranny, prods. ??? TT: 45:39

The Ashley is something I often recommend when people are having trouble in their lives. It never fails to find personal connection and bring peace, no matter who listens. Like the I Ching, it has a mystical quality that is all-inclusive.

Ashley's soothing narration is a hodgepodge braid of eastern mysticism and everyday western life, focusing obliquely on two men on a park bench and a man alone in a hotel room. "Blue" Gene Tyranny's rippling keyboards and "Kris" 's tablas provide expansive, changing-sky-like accompaniment to the cinematic verbal imagery. This is no new-age, cosmic-bullshit, noodle-fest. It's deep, transcendental art.

Tom Conrad

JOE LOVANO: Quartets: Live at the Village Vanguard
Joe Lovano, tenor, soprano, and C-melody sax; Tom Harrell, trumpet, flugelhorn; Mulgrew Miller, piano; Anthony Cox, Christian McBride, acoustic bass; Billy Hart, Lewis Nash, drums
Blue Note CDP 8 29125 2 (2 CDs only). 1996. Joe Lovano, Michael Cuscuna, prods.; David Baker, eng. DDD. TT: 2:07:40

The best place in the world to record jazz is the Village Vanguard, because the acoustics are magical and the walls breathe with spirits who inspire living artists to go beyond themselves. Joe Lovano embodies instrumental virtuosity, passionate commitment to the great tradition, and a burning need to push that tradition's envelope. Quartets is his most representative recording: two hours of torrential creativity from two different Vanguard gigs and two ensembles, one with the sublime Tom Harrell. When you get those tenor-sax cravings, Quartets is like mainlining a pure dose. And the recorded sound brings a time and a place alive. (XIX-9)
TIGER OKOSHI: Two Sides to Every Story
Tiger Okoshi, trumpet; Mike Stern, electric guitar; Gil Goldstein, acoustic piano; Dave Holland, acoustic bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums
JVC JVCXR-0004-2 (CD only). 1995. Akira Taguchi, prod.; Jim Anderson, eng. AAD. TT: 69:31

This album was the "Recording of the Month" in the February 1995 Stereophile. It was my review, and I am now embarrassed that I raved about the sonic quality. I have just heard JVC's new "XRCD" version. (The "Extended Resolution Compact Disc" lavishes fanatical TLC and technology upon the mastering and manufacturing process.) The improvement is stunning. Two Sides to Every Story is now a reference for recordings of small jazz ensembles. But it wouldn't be a "Record To Die For" if the music didn't kill. Tiger smokes every song, propelled by symphonies of rhythm swirling forth from Holland/DeJohnette. (XVIII-2)