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Miscellaneous - Released July 4, 2017 | Dawn of Music records

Miscellaneous - Released May 19, 2017 | Dawn of Music records

£20.59
£17.69

Rock - Released March 31, 2017 | Columbia

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It's possible to read the title of Triplicate in two ways. First, the 2017 collection is the third installment in Bob Dylan's exploration of the Great American Songbook, following quickly on the heels of 2015's Shadows in the Night and 2016's Fallen Angels. Secondly, Triplicate is indeed a triple-album, or perhaps more accurately, a set of three interlinked albums all running 32 minutes apiece. Each of the three discs are given titles -- the first is dubbed 'Til the Sun Goes Down, the second Devil Dolls, with Comin' Home Late rounding out the collection -- and they're presented in a manner not dissimilar to an old-fashioned album of 78 rpms, a nod to the dawn of popular recorded music. By now, Dylan's approach to this material is familiar -- he takes his touring band into the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood to record arrangements that feel lean yet full, rooted in pre-war pop but played for a barroom audience -- but it is by no means exhausted. Dylan is captivated by this music, reveling in the lyrics, restoring intros often left off of modern interpretations, bending his style to fit the songs instead of vice-versa. Like Fallen Angels before it, Triplicate is palpably lighter than the weary Shadows in the Night, and that's not just because there are livelier tempos here ("Day In, Day Out" positively glides along on its swift speed and horns). Much of this breeziness derives from Dylan's performance. Cherishing the turns of phrase as much as the intent of the song, he sings with a sly sensitivity that's alluring; when he elongates a phrase or has his voice crack, he reveals more about the song than any retro-swinger with showboating chops. This comparison stands on Triplicate more than its predecessors because it's filled with songs that often appear on modern collections of standards: "Stormy Weather," "As Time Goes By," "The Best Is Yet to Come," "Day In, Day Out," "Sentimental Journey," These Foolish Things," and "Stardust." Dylan treats these common classics with as much care as he does "There's a Flaw in My Flue," a Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke obscurity that appeared on Frank Sinatra's 1957 Close to You. Its appearance suggests how Triplicate, along with its cousins, is an ongoing exploration of Sinatra's body of work, but if Dylan learned anything from Sinatra, it's how to drill to the core of the song. Dylan does just that on Triplicate, finding the heart beating within some old warhorses and placing them within several great American musical traditions, and that's why this cements his place as one of the most distinctive interpreters of the Great American Songbook. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
£16.78
£12.47

Vocal Jazz - Released March 24, 2017 | Concord Records

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Way back in 1991, Brazilian-born pianist Eliane Elias opened Illusions, her debut solo album, with a tune called "Choro." It offered a swinging distillation of the musical form that has been at the heart of her life-long study of samba. Since then, she's revisited her musical heritage over and over again, wedding modern jazz to post-1960 Brazilian jazz and MPB. In the process, she's developed an instantly identifiable sound as a pianist. Dance of Time follows 2015's fine Made in Brasil, a set that relied most heavily on bossa nova. Teaming again with collaborative producers Steve Rodby and husband Marc Johnson, Elias is accompanied by a stellar rhythm section: bassist Marcelo Mariano, guitarist Marcus Teixeira, drummer Edu Ribeiro, and percussionists Marivaldo dos Santos and Gustavo di Dalva on most of this set. Recorded in Brazil and New York, the date also includes a wonderful guest list that includes Take 6's Mark Kibble, Randy Brecker, Mike Manieri, Joao Bosco -- who adds his voice and guitar to a lovely reading of his own "Coisa Feita" -- and Toquinho. The program contains readings of killer sambas such as "O Pato," Joao Donato's eternal "Sambou Sambou," the wonderful "Samba de Orly" (co-composed by Toquinho, who also sings on it, Vinicius De Moraes and Chico Buarque), and Ary Barroso's "Na Batacuda da Vida." Each of these numbers remains faithful to the originals, but Elias' arrangements, pianism, and breezy, syncopated vocals graft them so thoroughly onto swinging, straight-ahead, modern post-bop, it's difficult to accept they weren't always in the jazz fakebook. But she goes further. She injects Harry Warren's slippery pop blues "You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me," with a slow choro backbeat. She also transforms Kurt Weill's and Ogden Nash's sultry "Speak Low" into simmering, polished modern jazz with a fantastic multi-tracked backing vocal by Kibble and great soloing from Brecker. The best tunes here, however, are her own. "By Hand ("Em Maos") offers another backing vocal from Kibble, as Elias stitches samba onto bossa in a lithe, sensual groove. "An Up Dawn" is a vehicle for her intricate, syncopated chord voicings on her instrument's middle and lower registers, which create an interlocking dance of samba, tango, and bluesy ragtime. "Not to Cry (Pra Nao Chorar)" is a co-write with Toquinho -- who lends his guitar and weathered yet effective vocal in a duet. He began the tune in 1978 as a vehicle (for Elias) with the working title "Eliane." He completed it for this album with participation from the tune's muse. Their singing voices are an elegant yet earthy study in contrasts, while his lilting guitar chords pace her keyboard embellishments. Its tenderness sends the set off with a sweet whisper. Dance of Time is inspired, deftly musical, and truly accessible to a wide range of listeners from jazz to pop to Brazilian music. It's virtually flawless. ~ Thom Jurek
Détails An Up Dawn
£16.49
£14.29

Soul/Funk/R&B - Released November 17, 2003 | Epic

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Since Michael Jackson botched his first hits collection by pairing it with a new album of material in a double-disc set, making it considerably less attractive for those legions of listeners who want just a single disc of hits, it's both inevitable and welcome that he attempted another compilation a few years later. This second collection, Number Ones, was released in the wake of the 2000 blockbuster Beatles 1, which rewrote the rules of modern-day hits collections from major artists, since it not only contained a generous, representative cross section of hits, it had a specific focus and did gangbuster business. An avalanche of similar-minded compilations by other titans followed, notably Elvis' 30 #1 Hits and the Rolling Stones' Forty Licks, and MJ's Number Ones is part of that wave. For some artists, sticking to number one hits isn't a bad way to make a collection -- the Beatles are a perfect example, actually, since even if 1 didn't contain such seminal items as "Strawberry Fields Forever," it still offered a full, representative portrait of their career. Jackson doesn't fare so well by the number one rule. First of all, he doesn't strictly follow the number one rule, leaving behind the number one hit duet "Say Say Say" with Paul McCartney, substituting a 1981 live version of "Ben" for the original hit, adding "Break of Dawn," an Invincible album cut never released as a single, and including "Thriller," "Smooth Criminal," and "Earth Song," none of which hit number one, and the latter wasn't even released as a single in the U.S. (there is, of course, the requisite previously unreleased song, the OK slow jam "One More Chance"). Then, there's the fact that Thriller changed the business, inaugurating the era of the blockbuster album that rode the charts for years, spinning off hit singles every quarter. Thriller generated tons of hits -- six of its nine tracks hit the charts, but only two of them hit number one. Its successor, Bad, had seven of its 11 songs hit the charts (one other, the CD bonus cut "Leave Me Alone," was a staple on MTV), and of those, five peaked at number one. So, by sticking to number ones, and adding "Smooth Criminal," this collection skews very heavily toward Bad, at times playing like an expanded reissue with bonus tracks. This may be a fairly accurate reading of chart positions, but it doesn't result in a particularly representative collection, since the brilliant Off the Wall is granted only two songs, leaving behind such charting hits as "Off the Wall" and "She's Out of My Life" (both gold singles, mind you), and Thriller is represented by only three tracks, with such defining songs as "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "Human Nature," "PYT (Pretty Young Thing)," and "The Girl Is Mine" being left behind. These two albums are the core of Jackson's legacy, and it simply feels wrong that Number Ones gives them short shrift. Dangerous also is neglected, providing just one selection, when on the whole it had far more memorable songs than HIStory or Invincible. But these problems are inherent with any collection that concentrates just on the charts, not the music that got the songs on the charts in the first place. And while Number Ones contains enough of the big songs to recommend it for those listeners who are looking just for a cross section of the biggest hits from Jackson's career, it is also true that the perfect Michael Jackson hits collection has yet to be assembled. Maybe next time, particularly if he's granted an entry into Sony's generally excellent The Essentials series. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Détails Break of Dawn
£13.19
£8.79

Country - Released September 30, 2016 | ATO Records

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From their breakthrough album (2001's Southern Rock Opera) onward, the Drive-By Truckers have never shied away from dealing with the political and philosophical divides that come with life in the American South. But as issues of race, violence, and the failings of the electoral process have come to dominate the national conversation in 2016, the Drive-By Truckers have responded with their most explicitly political album to date. American Band contains a dozen songs that deal with familiar themes for this band in some respects, but instead of pondering "the Southern Thing," these are stories that confront all sides of a great but troubled nation, as racism means not just the mixed message of the rebel flag but the unjust death of Trayvon Martin, and one tries to come to terms with the many ways our culture is slowly changing in some ways and stubbornly refusing to evolve in others. This is music full of both fury and purpose, but with rare exceptions, American Band isn't an album of anger but of puzzlement and concern. Patterson Hood's songs are thoughtful journal entries informed by his experiences as a Southern man who had left his home for the Pacific Northwest, especially "Ever South" and "What It Means." Mike Cooley, as always the Yang to Hood's Yin, writes and sings with greater grit and Southern swagger, but he delivers some of his smartest and most eloquent work to date with "Surrender Under Protest," "Ramon Casiano," and "Once They Banned Imagine," all superb studies of the flaws of human nature. And while American Band roars less than many of the band's previous works, it still sounds like the Drive-By Truckers, carried by the guitars of Hood and Cooley, Brad Morgan's superb drumming, and Jay Gonzalez's evocative keyboard work. The Drive-By Truckers are too smart to believe they have the answers for America's problems, and American Band doesn't pretend to offer them. But they ask the right sort of questions, and these songs weren't written for the audience to cheer along, but to encourage a debate that the country seriously needs. American Band is an op-ed column with guitars, and it presents a message well worth hearing, both as politics and as music. ~ Mark Deming
Détails Darkened Flags At The Cusp of Dawn

Electro - Released September 25, 2014 | Dawn of Music records

Miscellaneous - Released May 15, 2015 | Dawn of Music records

Miscellaneous - Released November 25, 2015 | Dawn of Music records

Miscellaneous - Released April 18, 2016 | Dawn of Music records

Miscellaneous - Released July 20, 2016 | Dawn of Music records

Drum & Bass - Released November 12, 2014 | Dawn Of Music Records

Miscellaneous - Released August 31, 2016 | Dawn of Music records

Miscellaneous - Released September 28, 2016 | Dawn of Music records

Miscellaneous - Released November 24, 2016 | Dawn of Music records

Miscellaneous - Released January 30, 2017 | Dawn of Music records

Miscellaneous - Released March 23, 2017 | Dawn of Music records

Miscellaneous - Released October 19, 2014 | Dawn of Music records

Dance - Released June 16, 2015 | Dawn of Music records

Drum & Bass - Released December 17, 2015 | Dawn Of Music Records