Friday, January 13, 2006

AN ACCIDENT AND A DISASTER MAKE FOR TWO REMARKABLE RECORDINGS AND TWO LATE PICKS FOR 2005.

Thelonious Monk Quartet: Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (Blue Note, 2005). Discovered accidentally in an unmarked box by a Library of Congress engineer and beautifully restored, this 1957 performance of these two legends is what the term classic was intended for. Both men were at their peak that night and it is nothing short of astonishing to note that prior to this recording being unearthed, there were only THREE studio tracks of these two genius’s playing together. Though it’s primarily Monk’s album, Coltrane’s playing portends bigger things to come for him. Like his recordings with Miles Davis, most notably Kind of Blue, he was the perfect accompanist. This is music that demands and rewards repeated listening. A+

Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast (Nonesuch, 2005). Loath though I am to buy into the whole benefit album concept – the last such album of this kind to be worthy of merit was the Sun City tribute, Artists United Against Apartheid – these post Katrina songs converted me in a hurry. From Dr. John’s “World I Never Made” to Irma Thomas’ “Back Water Blues” to Randy Newman’s old classic “Louisiana 1927,” these songs take on new and, in the case of Newman, frighteningly prophetic meaning. Conspicuous by her absence, Lucinda Williams, who grew up in Lake Charles. Otherwise, this is one tribute I dare say all of us wish never had to be made. A

1 comment:

Lynn said...

I just discovered Lucinda Williams. I have three of her albums now. When a comment was made that she'll probably never be a Sheryl Crow, I thought--I hope not. Lucinda Williams speaks to my feelings as no one else ever has. Her writing is real. No, I'm not a codependent, man eating woman. I do know child abuse and lonliness. She has touched places no other songwriter has before. It's a shame she hasn't gotten the recognition she deserves. She won't be able to perform indefinately. She's 52 now. I get to see her in a month. I'm really looking forward to seeing her perform. Late to the party, but ready to dance!!!