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Back Cover

Gryphon Diablo 300

Intervention IR-018
Format: LP

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

Joe Jackson’s Summer in the City: Live in New York was released in 2000 to little fanfare. Jackson’s third outing for Sony Classical, it followed Heaven & Hell (1997) and Symphony No. 1 (1999). Those albums had received mixed receptions, but Summer in the City reminded critics that Jackson’s pop-music talents were still intact. Indeed, just five months later he released Night and Day II, which revisited the sophisticated songwriting styles of his popular 1982 album.

Exile Productions/Caroline 2557718515
Format: CD

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

Every few albums, Van Morrison releases something that stands out just a little from the rest of his 15 recordings of the last 20 years. Magic Time (2005) had a good batch of songs played by a terrific band, and Keep It Simple (2008) was stripped down and soulful, with a nod to Morrison’s blues side. Last year’s Keep Me Singing benefited from a Morrison who seemed more at ease, perhaps because his previous CD, Duets: Re-working the Catalogue (2015), included appearances by some of his contemporaries. He clearly enjoyed singing with P.J. Proby, Chris Farlowe, and Georgie Fame.

Womanly Hips WHRC001
Format CD

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

Although Joan Osborne has written her share of good songs, she has from the beginning shown a talent for sensitive interpretations of work by others. Relish, her 1995 breakthrough, included tunes by Bob Dylan and Sonny Boy Williamson, and her strong feel for classic soul and blues was obvious on How Sweet It Is (2002), Breakfast in Bed (2007), and Bring It on Home (2012).

Blue Note B002681502
Format: CD

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

Last year, tenor saxophonist and flutist Charles Lloyd released I Long to See You, a quintet recording with guitarists Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz; it was challenging and musically satisfying, but still accessible. His new disc on Blue Note, Passin’ Thru, is credited to the Charles Lloyd New Quartet, though this group -- pianist Jason Moran, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Eric Harland -- has played together since 2007. The quartet lineup and approach are more traditional than on I Long to See You, but the music is bracing and alive, crackling with energy and creativity.

Norton ED-411
Format: LP

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

In 1965, Dion DiMucci had been with Columbia Records for three years and had scored some hits for the label, including “Ruby Baby” and “Donna the Prima Donna.” He was already an established rock’n’roll star when Columbia signed him, but the label’s long-term plan was to move him away from rock and into a career as a crooner. As Scott Kempner points out in his excellent liner note for Kickin’ Child: The Lost Album 1965, a collection of 15 previously unreleased Dion tracks, record executives in the early ’60s still thought rock’n’roll was something that would soon fade away.

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.