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'True Blue' archetype for modern jazz

Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

‘True Blues'Various artists (Telarc)

★★★½

If you are looking for an archetypal jazz album for the modern era, “True Blues” might be the right one for your collection.

This is “da blues” if you ask me: Straight forward and done by musicians who take the art form very seriously.

Taj Mahal, Shemekia Copeland, Phil Wiggins, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Guy Davis bring it on home on this 13-track release with blues styles that run the gamut from early Mississippi stuff to later electric thumpers.

You suspect it's going to be that kind of record with the opener “Hoochie Coochie Man” and it is. “Motherless Children,” “Done Changed My Way of Living” and “Gallows Pole” are a few other titles that make this undoubtedly one of the most faithful blues CDs I've heard in a while.

‘I thought About You (A Tribute to Chet Baker)'

Elaine Elias (Concord Jazz)

★★★

It's a little like going through a time warp listening to this tribute album to jazz trumpeter Chet Baker.

Elaine Elias, a Brazilian singer of the modern era, takes an earnest shot at interpreting the mid-century musician's work and, in my opinion, comes close to hitting the mark.

Not that I'm an expert on Baker but this collection easily sounds like it could have been released sometime around 1961.

The sound quality is much better of course, but, in terms of arrangement, vocal styling and song choice, well I can easily picture Don Draper from “Mad Men” having this one on the hi-fi.

Elias' voice is intriguing and the Brazilian inflection she gives to the 14 songs on the disk give the album a hip, retro and somewhat strange feel.

Put this one on the next time you throw someone a surprise birthday party.

Eric Slagle is a reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at eslagle@tribweb.com.

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