Khalifa's 'O.N.I.F.C.' hits some high points
Wiz Khalifa (Atlantic)
There's much to love about Wiz Khalifa. His stoner soliloquies are works of art, to say nothing of his cocky, loping flow. Yet, for all his communal weed-screeds, there's something lazily exclusionary about “O.N.I.F.C.” Set against a groggily hypnotic wall of sound, his raps seem half-baked, his clever wordplay on vacation. The sentiment of “Work Hard Play Hard” is solid, but its lyrics (“I got so much money/I should start a bank”) are dull. “The Plan” is so lyrically inert, it almost moves backwards. And Wiz, don't call a song “Fall Asleep” unless you're waking us up. Problems aside, “O.N.I.F.C.'s” winning moments are so stunning they nearly override its sloth. Wiz's duet with the Weeknd, “Remember You,” is moody, subtle and teasingly romantic. “It's Nothin'” (with 2Chainz) is vibrantly violent.
— The Philadelphia Inquirer
‘Song Song Song'
Baptiste Trotignon (Naïve)
Erik Jekabson (Jekab's Music)
Sitting on the edge in music can be dangerous, even when that spot is not too uncomfortable. But pianist Baptist Trotignon and trumpeter Erik Jekabson succeed in those risks on “Song Song Song” and “Anti-Mass,” respectively. Both are collections of inspirations. The Trotignon album is a look at the singability of music while the Jekabson album is a musical examination of thoughts brought by a visit to a San Francisco art museum. Trotignon easily could have cheated on his album and used material that is familiar and well liked. Instead, he uses songs that are not well known, from a variety of cultures in a number of languages. The album never becomes relaxing, but wins points for being a look at the elements of music. Similarly, Jekabson offers 11 musical versions of works at the museum. The striking element is they are done by Jekabson, saxophonist Dayna Stephens, bass, drums, violin and viola. The pieces tend to be rather short and defined, although three allow a good bit of room to stretch out. That sound and the structure of the pieces makes the album seem like jazz-oriented chamber music.
— Bob Karlovits
‘Along Came Mitch'
Jim Guerra (MHM Productions)
Any one of the songs on West Mifflin saxophonist Jim Guerra's “Along Came Mitch” could fit on the set of any jazz player anywhere. The problem is, they are so alike in construction, sound and style, packing this album with 15 of them creates a sound-alike yawner. After about five of them, the listener begins saying, “Didn't I hear this before?” The album is a good display of area talent, featuring performers such as trumpeter Sean Jones, pianist David Cutler, drummers Roger Humphries and Thomas Wendt, bassist Jeff Grubbs, and, of course, Guerra. Listening to the solos makes for a fine experience — if you forget about the tunes.
— Bob Karlovits
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kelly Clarkson to play First Niagara Pavilion on July 19
- Pittsburgh producer revives, re-airs an expanded ‘Motown 25 ’
- PLS Trio seems like more voices on ‘East River’
- Ed Sheeran coming to Pittsburgh in May
- Saxophonist Carter proves he’s up to any musical challenge
- PSO’s Honeck coaxes orchestral brilliance in ballet themes