Green's 'Season' grows stronger
‘Songs From This Season'
Tim Green (True Melody)
Despite the title, this not a Christmas album. “Songs for This Season” is a collection of tunes that saxophonist Tim Green says in the liner notes are about “a certain time in my life, or as I like to call it a ‘season.' ” The pieces include a bright, happy “Siloam,” named after the pool where a blind man regained sight in a famous Christian tale, a strong “Time of Liberation” and an optimistic “Hope.” Eight of the 10 tunes are originals by Green and the album also includes good versions of “Don't Explain” and Wayne Shorter's “Pinocchio.” Green performs well throughout with a crisp alto tone and impressive speed. The album also features a great backup crew with keyboardist Orrin Evans, vibes star Warren Wolf and drummers Rodney Green and Obed Calvaire. The play and the songs grow nicely hearing after hearing.
— Bob Karlovits
Yelena Eckemoff Trio (L&H)
“Tell” and “Glass Song” show how successful trios can be in staying away from the boring threesomes that haunt lobbies and small clubs. “Tell” is a collection of 10 originals by the three members of Myriad along with a version of Duke Ellington's “C Jam Blues.” The latter piece shifts tempos and meters so often it sounds confused, but is a good look at the cohesion of the band. The two-part “Disturbing Inspiration” and “Fractured” are good examples of the band's look at music built on leanness and equal roles by the members. The group is led by pianist Chris Donnolly and drummer Ernesto Cervini, brother of singer Amy Cervini. “Glass Song” — with no reference to composer Philip — consists of 10 originals by pianist Eckemoff in a more-contemplative, sometimes-moody manner. Drummer Peter Erskine helps to provide a good sense of rhythm and percussive effect. The album has almost a chamber-like sound. On both, an individual approach to music stands out.
— Bob Karlovits
Yo La Tengo (Matador)
Yo La Tengo's continued relevance 27 years into its career is remarkable. The Hoboken trio of Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew have yet to release a bad album, and they've made a handful of great ones. “Fade” is one of them. With producer John McEntire of post-rock experimenters Tortoise, they've created an album that is intimate and thoughtful, urgent and fun. The band hasn't reinvented itself. No need, since Yo La Tengo's expertise in catchy, jangly rock, gentle acoustic folk-pop and noisy feedback excursions allows endless room for triangulation. But they have added new colorations over the years. Credit McEntire for helping with the swelling strings in “It's Not Enough” and “Before We Run,” the precise, giddy funk of “Well You Better” and the motorik chug of “Stupid Things.” And while the album eschews epic guitar solos, it has room for electric rave-ups such as “Ohm” and “Paddle Forward.” Yo La Tengo is still looking to build on what it has perfected, to shine and not fade away.
— The Philadelphia Inquirer
‘The Return of the Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of'
Various artists (Yazoo)
This two-CD set of American traditional music of the 1920s is a sequel that, instead of focusing on rarities as the 2006 original did, homes in on what the liner notes call “the great, iconic recordings that no collection should be without.” Thus, you get many well-known names, such as bluesmen Charley Patton, Blind Willie Johnson and Furry Lewis, and, on the country side, Uncle Dave Macon and His Fruit Jar Drinkers, Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers, and Eck Robertson and Family. The mix of blues and country — Geeshie Wiley's haunting “Last Kind Words Blues” followed by Carter Brothers and Son's Cajun-flavored fiddle tune “Old Jaw Bone,” Lulu Jackson's wrenching “Little Rosewood Casket” sandwiched between a polka and a reel — make for a comprehensive and highly entertaining overview of the sound of rural America at the time, one that also illuminates the ties that run among the seemingly disparate musical strains.
— The Philadelphia Inquirer
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