Music and Recording Features

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Robert Baird  |  Jun 06, 2011  |  1 comments
To write about music, you must first come to terms with your fanboy urges. You must brush off the fairy dust and see your heroes for who they really are—a picture that in many cases is all too human. Yet that first blush of idolatry is an experience you never quite forget, no matter how many times you interview a person.

There was a time, back in the St. Elmo's Fire 1980s, when Steve Earle's first album, Guitar Town, was an object of abject slobbery for a generation of rock critics. Turning a near-mint LP copy of that album over in his hands, Earle begins to reminisce about a record that changed Nashville and country-rock music and, for many, remains his undisputed career masterpiece.

Robert Baird  |  Nov 04, 2015  |  2 comments
Tinseltown. La-La Land. Smell-A. First, of course, there's the climate. No way to hate sunshine and ocean breezes. And if you were somehow able to erase all the people in Southern California, the land itself—rising from the blue Pacific to high desert to timbered, sometimes even snowy mountaintops—is gorgeous. Then, of course, there's the unusually attractive human flora and fauna roaming SoCal. How did Brian Wilson put it . . . ? "Dolls by a palm tree in the sand."
Robert Baird  |  Aug 08, 2013  |  1 comments
Down deepest, beneath everything he does, underlying all the facets of his ever-expanding career in music, Terence Blanchard is still a New Orleans guy. Question that and you can hear his dander rise.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 29, 2020  |  3 comments
For two months, I'd been planning to attend Terry Riley's appearance at Seattle's 536-seat Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. For two weeks, I'd been planning to watch a presidential-candidate debate on television. Only one problem: As it turned out, the two events were scheduled for the same night. Even after a decade of trying to master the muddle known as multitasking, it was impossible to do both.
John Atkinson, Hyperion Knight, Wes Phillips  |  Jun 11, 1997  |  0 comments
Thirteen Ways of Listening to a Recording Session (with apologies to Wallace Stevens): Wes Phillips
John Atkinson, Art Dudley  |  Apr 14, 2017  |  2 comments
It has been six years since we last released a recording on the Stereophile label—a jazz album featuring Attention Screen, the late Bob Reina's free-jazz ensemble. This dry spell was mainly due to the increasing demands made on our editorial team's time by social media and the magazine's website, but also by John Atkinson's recording activities with the Portland State Chamber Choir, who issue their recordings on their own label. Nevertheless, we've been keeping our eyes and ears open for suitable opportunities.
Robert Baird  |  Jan 04, 2013  |  First 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.

Fred Kaplan  |  Dec 17, 2018  |  4 comments
Sorry I've been away from this space for so long. My day gig (national-security columnist for Slate) has kept me busy (as you can imagine), and I've got a tight deadline on a new book. Still, as Congreve observed, "Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast," and there's plenty of breast-beating savagery out there, so I've continued to listen, and here is my dispatch on the Best Jazz Albums (10 new and two historical discoveries) of 2018.
Richard Lehnert  |  Jul 28, 1991  |  0 comments
BOB DYLAN: The Bootleg Series, Volumes 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased, 1961-1991) Columbia C3K 47382 (3 CDs only). Jeff Rosen, prod.; Mark Wilder, Tim Geelan, Josh Abbey, Jim Ball, engs. AAD. TT: 3:50:52
Phil Brett  |  Dec 06, 2019  |  11 comments
It's not just the gray hairs or the expanding waistline that suggest one is getting old: it's also when the albums you love so much, and so vividly remember hearing for the first time, have become a part of the rock heritage industry. So it is with London Calling by the Clash, which celebrates its 40th birthday in December 2019.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Dec 08, 2020  |  27 comments
How to explain the power that trained operatic voices hold over many of us? For me, the pull began days after I was born, when acoustic 78s of tenor Enrico Caruso and coloratura sopranos Amelita Galli-Curci and Luisa Tetrazzini played in the background. There was something about the way the dramatic-to-the-core Caruso sang, as if his life depended on it, while the high-flying coloraturas skipped lightly through impossible strings of notes. It moved me like little else.
Corey Greenberg  |  Sep 29, 1991  |  0 comments
THE COMPLETE STAX/VOLT SINGLES, 1959-1968 (Footnote 1)
244 songs by Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Booker T. & the MGs, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, William Bell, Eddie Floyd, The Bar-Kays, The Mar-Keys, and many, many others Atlantic 7-82218-2 (9 CDs only). Reissue producer: Steve Greenberg. AAD. TT: 10:52:07
John Marks  |  Mar 12, 2001  |  1 comments
From the days of Les Paul's chum Mary Ford, through Amanda McBroom and Jennifer Warnes, right up to Patricia Barber, audiophiles have been fascinated, and sometimes obsessed, with female vocals. I nominate to membership in that select sorority another Patricia, in this case O'Callaghan, whose third CD has just been released worldwide by her new label, Teldec.
John Marks  |  Aug 25, 2002  |  0 comments
The fundamental object of the invention is to provide...the listener a realistic impression that the intelligence is being communicated to him over two acoustic paths in the same manner as he experiences in listening to everyday acoustic intercourse....—Blumlein, et al, British Patent #394,325, issued June 14, 1933
John Marks  |  Sep 28, 2003  |  0 comments
Let's start with some music—three discs I recently have been using to evaluate equipment as well as listen to for enjoyment. They are as contrasting in style as one could hope for, but all on an enviably high musical plane. (Space considerations compel brevity approaching that necessary to sell screenplays to producers at cocktail parties, footnote 1)

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