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Back Cover

Gryphon Diablo 300

Parlophone/Apple/Universal 0602557455328
Format: CD, DVD, BD

Musical Performance: *****
Sound Quality: *****
Picture Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: *****

On June 1 of this year, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band turned 50 years old. Let that sink in for a while. To mark the occasion, Apple and Universal Music have released a lavish boxed set comprising four CDs, one DVD, and one BD. The DVD and BD include a 1992 documentary, The Making of Sgt. Pepper (sic), plus high-resolution 5.1-and two-channel mixes of the album, along with the same treatment given to “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane.”

A&M/Intervention IR012
Format: LP

Musical Performance: *****
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****1/2

If, in 1969, the stomping bass line of “Christine’s Tune” didn’t clue you in to the fact that the Flying Burrito Brothers’ debut, The Gilded Palace of Sin, was going to be something different, “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow’s overdriven, fuzz-toned pedal-steel guitar solo should have clinched it. Gram Parsons, who co-led the band with Chris Hillman, had already helped introduce country music to rock with the International Submarine Band, and even more with the Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo, both from 1968. The Gilded Palace of Sin was a clearer statement of his vision.

Intervention/Mute IR-009
Format: LP

Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: *****
Overall Enjoyment: ****1/2

Vince Clarke had already made his mark in two bands when, in 1985, he formed the synth-pop duo Erasure with singer Andy Bell. A founding member of Depeche Mode, Clarke had written three of its early hits, “Dreaming of Me,” “New Life,” and “Just Can’t Get Enough.” He left shortly after the release of that band’s first album, Speak & Spell (1981), and, with singer Alison Moyet, formed Yazoo (known in the US, for legal reasons, as Yaz).

Capitol B002625002
Format: CD

Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment: ****

Alison Krauss sports big hair on the cover of her new album, Windy City. When I was a kid in the 1960s, my next-door neighbor wore hers in a similar ’do. It must have taken half a can of Aqua Net to keep it in place -- a hurricane wouldn’t muss it. Needless to say, I had a crush on her. Krauss looks elegant and stylish in the photos in the CD booklet, and the music inside matches those qualities.

PJCE Records PJCE 028
Format: CD

Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****

I first heard Andrew Durkin’s music in 2001, when I received a copy of Hardcore, the first album by the Industrial Jazz Group. Durkin was the group’s leader, composer, arranger, and pianist. I reviewed Hardcore for Planet Hi Fi, and for the SoundStage! Network covered the IJG’s next two albums, City of Angles (2002) and The Star Chamber (2004). Durkin’s music is complex yet accessible, brainy but not coldly intellectual, and often humorous.

Prestige/Analogue Productions APRJ 7120
Format: LP

Musical Performance: ****1/2
Sound Quality: ****1/2
Overall Enjoyment: ****1/2

When Gil Evans & Ten, Evans’s first album as a leader, was released in early 1958, he’d already been working as an arranger for nearly 20 years, beginning with his stint with bandleader Claude Thornhill, from 1941 to 1948. Evans had been one of the arrangers for Miles Davis’s Birth of the Cool project, beginning in 1948, and Gil Evans & Ten followed, by just a few months, Davis’s Miles Ahead (1957), for which Evans had written and conducted the orchestral arrangements. He went on to work with Davis on two more key recordings, Porgy and Bess (1959), Sketches of Spain (1960), as well as At Carnegie Hall (1962) and Quiet Nights (1964).

Interscope/Polydor B0025916-02
Format: CD

Musical Performance: ****1/2
Sound Quality: ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment: ****1/2

In November 2015, the Rolling Stones were at Mark Knopfler’s British Grove Studios, in London, to record an album of new material. Things were not off to a good start. Keith Richards told Rolling Stone that he thought, “The room is fighting me. It’s fighting the band. The sound is not coming.” Richards suggested that they play “Blue and Lonesome,” a song by blues harpist Little Walter from 1959. Everything clicked and, as Richards described it, “a sound is happening and it was good.”

Impulse! B0025610-02
Format: CD

Musical Performance: ***1/2
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****

It’s hard to think of a guitarist who plays so many varieties of jazz with as much ease and versatility as John Scofield. He’s played bebop, fusion, and soul jazz with equal conviction and skill, and some of his records, such as Bump (2000) and Überjam (2002), pull in enough styles to make them beyond category. He paid tribute to Ray Charles with That’s What I Say (2005), and played New Orleans-style gospel on Piety Street (2009).

MPS 0210991MSW
Format: LP

Music Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****

Freddie Hubbard left Blue Note in 1965, after having made nine albums for them as a leader. He then made four albums for Atlantic, and this one for the German label MPS, before settling in for a while with CTI. His work for Atlantic hovered between hard bop and the avant-garde, but The Hub of Hubbard (1970) is straight-ahead bebop with a terrific lineup of players.

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab MFSL 2-455
Format: LP

Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: *****
Overall Enjoyment: ****1/2

By 1975, when Alan Parsons and lyricist-songwriter Eric Woolfson formed the Alan Parsons Project, Parsons had firmly established himself as a record producer and engineer. He’d been nominated for a Grammy for his engineering of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, which he produced, and had engineered albums by Paul McCartney and Wings, Al Stewart, the Hollies, Jeff Beck, Roy Harper, Peggy Lee, and Ambrosia, among many others -- including the Beatles’ Abbey Road. He was uniquely qualified to handle the recordings he and Woolfson created, for which they brought in various players and singers.