Hi everyone, here are our five musical recommendations of the week!
(Click on the CD/DVD or book cover to request the item)
12 Little Spells by Esperanza Spalding (Format: Music CD):
Coming off her inventive 2016 album Emily’s D+Evolution, singer/bassist Esperanza Spalding offers another highly conceptualized production with 2019’s kaleidoscopically tactile 12 Little Spells. Where Spalding’s previous work was built around a central character, here she offers 12 songs each explicitly inspired by a separate body part, such as the mouth, eyes, fingers, and yet more esoteric parts like the “solar portal.” Joining her on this tactile journey of sensation are longtime associates guitarist Matthew Stevens and drummer Justin Tyson. Together they craft deeply ambient, intricately constructed songs that fall yet further afield of the crossover jazz, fusion, and R&B that garnered Spalding so much of her early praise. In that sense, the album is a worthy follow-up to Emily’s D+Evolution and 2012’s Radio Music Society, but one that may keep her more jazz-oriented fans at arm’s length. In every way, Spalding doubles down on her neo-prog, art rock, and avant-garde influences, offering songs rife with harmonically and rhythmically inventive soundscapes, as well as lyrics that read very much like poetry. Many of the songs, especially the opening title track, have a dreamy, off-kilter vibe that evokes the trippy sounds of 1970s children’s educational programming, like Sesame Street and The Electric Company. Similarly, the hips-oriented “Thang,” with its gospel church organ and bluesy vocal harmonies, sounds like a lost number from the musical Hair, while the fingers-centric “Touch in Mine” brings to mind the sensual grooves of ’90s Janet Jackson. Bear in mind, none of these songs are mainstream pop hits; they often feel more like aural art installations than conventional rock or pop tunes. But interestingly, Spalding has made an album where each song begs to be judged on its own terms, even as the overall concept builds to a singular, whole idea. While her often avant-garde and circularly hypnotic songs tend to meet your ears as an enveloping wash, she still manages to grab your attention with startlingly inventive midsections, as on “With Others,” where she changes up the rhythm, synching up her vocals with Stevens’ guitar line and singing “I’ve been learning about psychology, neurobiology, avarice/Now I can’t rest ’cause everything reeks of basic needs.” Sensuality and the battle between mind, body, and soul are themes Spalding continually returns to throughout 12 Little Spells. There’s even a song called “The Longing Deep Down” that’s all about the abdomen. It’s those basic, bodily needs both connected to and often working against our logical minds that seem to fascinate and inspire her. On the legs-focused “Readying to Rise,” she sings “All the limbs are readying to rise/Dancing the animal, while the animal in you guards the tangible in you.” – Matt Collar, AllMusic Review
1. 12 Little Spells
2. To Tide Us over
3. Til’ the Next
5. Touch in Mine
6. The Longing Deep Down
7. You Have to Dance
8. Now Know
9. All Limbs Are
10. Readying to Rise
11. Dancing the Animal
12. With Others
13. Lest We Forget
14. How to
15. Move Many
16. Ways Together
Jazz by Casey Abrams (Format: Music CD):
An album that hearkens back to the golden era of Jazz on Manhattan’s 52nd street where smoke filled rooms played host to after-hours jam sessions where musicians got together with their peers to play the music that touched their souls. Casey Abrams is the centerpiece of a tremendous ensemble that includes Jimmy Greene (Sax) Mark Whitfield (Guitar) Anne Drummond (Flute) and Giveton Gelin (Trumpet).Jazz is the culmination of decades of combined mastery and skill of the participating players presented through the lens of a dozen songs from the annals of the greatest American art form… Jazz. From “Why Don’t You Do Right” to “Autumn Leaves” or “The Girl from Ipanema” you’ll hear one of the most unique voices and personalities to enter Jazz in decades present this material to you as if it were the first time.The album was recorded in stunning high definition fashion using our new recording methodology which pairs a stereo ribbon microphone capturing crystal clear vocal performance with two spaced omni-directional microphones encompassing the other players and the immaculate acoustics of the church in which the album was recorded. This new recording style will leave you feeling like the band is right in front of you while still creating a timeless presence that will have you coming back for years to come. – Editorial Review
1. Autumn Leaves
2. I’ve Got the World on a String
3. Need Your Love So Bad
4. You Are So Beautiful
5. Why Don’t You Do Right?
6. Hound Dog
7. One Note Samba
9. The Girl From Ipanema
10. Fly Me To The Moon
11. Round Midnight
Rocketman (2019) (Format: DVD):
Director Dexter Fletcher’s biopic focuses on Elton John’s early years and his meteoric rise to fame in the 1970s. It dwells on his relationships with his parents, his time as a student at the Royal Academy of Music, his enduring partnership with lyricist Bernie Taupin, his first marriage, and his romantic relationship with his manager John Reid. The film’s cast includes Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, and Bryce Dallas Howard. ~ Augustine Chay, Barnes & Noble Review
Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan by Alan Paul (Format: Print Book):
The first definitive biography of guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan, with an epilogue by Jimmie Vaughan, and foreword and afterword by Double Trouble’s Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon.
Just a few years after he almost died from a severe addiction to cocaine and alcohol, a clean and sober Stevie Ray Vaughan was riding high. His last album was his most critically lauded and commercially successful. He had fulfilled a lifelong dream by collaborating with his first and greatest musical hero, his brother Jimmie. His tumultuous marriage was over and he was in a new and healthy romantic relationship. Vaughan seemed poised for a new, limitless chapter of his life and career.
Instead, it all came to a shocking and sudden end on August 27, 1990, when he was killed in a helicopter crash following a dynamic performance with Eric Clapton. Just 35 years old, he left behind a powerful musical legacy and an endless stream of What Ifs. In the ensuing 29 years, Vaughan’s legend and acclaim have only grown and he is now an undisputed international musical icon. Despite the cinematic scope of Vaughan’s life and death, there has never been a truly proper accounting of his story. Until now.
Texas Flood provides the unadulterated truth about Stevie Ray Vaughan from those who knew him best: his brother Jimmie, his Double Trouble bandmates Tommy Shannon, Chris Layton and Reese Wynans, and many other close friends, family members, girlfriends, fellow musicians, managers and crew members.
Woodstock: 3 Days Of Peace & Music by Michael Lang (Format: Print Book):
The official 50th-anniversary book on the festival that epitomizes the ’60s
This is the official 50th-anniversary celebration of Woodstock, by the festival’s co-creator and co-founder, Michael Lang. A large illustrated edition, it includes hundreds of photographs and documents accompanied by Lang’s fascinating memories and insights into the most famous and influential festival of all time, with images of Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Crosby, Stills Nash & Young, Richie Havens, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Santana, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Country Joe McDonald and the Grateful Dead. The ephemera from Lang’s largely unseen archive include the original designs and plans for the event, correspondence, set-lists, information on artists’ fees and much more. This wealth of information is accompanied by the best photographs of the event by famous and unknown photographers such as Ralph Ackerman, John Dominis, Bill Eppridge, Dan Garson, Barry Z. Levine, Elliott Landy, Lee Marshall and Baron Wolman, and notably featuring the archive of Henry Diltz. Diltz was the only official photographer at Woodstock and was there for two weeks, from an empty field of cows to first construction, crowds arriving and the aftermath. He also captured onstage performances and behind-the-scenes moments with the many artists involved. Woodstock is an exuberant volume that conveys the vision, hard work and elusive magic that made up “three days of peace and music.” Overview by Barnes & Noble
Videos of the Week:
12 Little Spells by Esperanza Spalding
Lest We Forget by Esperanza Spalding
Autumn Leaves by Casey Abrams
Blackbird by Casey Abrams
Tearin’ Up My Heart by Casey Abrams
Bennie And The Jets by Elton John
Philadelphia Freedom by Elton John
Rocketman by Elton John
Your Song by Elton John
Sweet Home Chicago by Stevie Ray Vaughan with Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Buddy Guy & Jimmie Vaughan
Tell Me by Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble
Texas Flood by Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
Freedom by Richie Havens
My Generation by The Who
Somebody To Love by Jefferson Airplane
Soul Sacrifice by Santana
Woodstock Boogie by Canned Heat
The Thrill Is Gone by B.B. King & Friends
Have a great weekend!
Linda Reimer, SSCL
The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits by Joel Whitburn
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Tech Talk is a Southeast Steuben County Library blog.