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Soul - To be released July 16, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 22, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

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Rock - Released April 14, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

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Metal - Released April 9, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

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Rock - Released March 31, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 25, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

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Rock - Released March 17, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

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R&B - Released March 12, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released March 1, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

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Soul - Released February 26, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

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Roberta Flack's debut album, titled First Take in true underachiever fashion, introduced a singer who'd assimilated the powerful interpretive talents of Nina Simone and Sarah Vaughan, the earthy power of Aretha Franklin, and the crystal purity and emotional resonance of folksingers like Judy Collins. Indeed, the album often sounded more like vocal jazz or folk than soul, beginning with the credits: a core quartet of Flack on piano, John Pizzarelli on guitar, Ron Carter on bass, and Ray Lucas on drums, as fine a lineup as any pop singer could hope to recruit. With only one exception -- the bluesy, grooving opener "Compared to What," during which Flack proves her chops as a soul belter -- she concentrates on readings of soft, meditative material. A pair of folk covers, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye," are heart-wrenching standouts; the first even became a surprise hit two years later, when its appearance in the Clint Eastwood film Play Misty for Me pushed it to the top of the pop charts and earned Flack her first Grammy award for Record of the Year. Her arrangement of the traditional "I Told Jesus" has a simmering power, while "Ballad of the Sad Young Men" summons a stately sense of melancholy. Flack also included two songs from her college friend and future duet partner, Donny Hathaway, including a tender examination of the classic May-December romance titled "Our Ages or Our Hearts." The string arrangements of William Fischer wisely keep to the background, lending an added emotional weight to all of Flack's pronouncements. No soul artist had ever recorded an album like this, making First Take one of the most fascinating soul debuts of the era. © John Bush /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 19, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

From the mid-'50s through the early '60s, Rahsaan Roland Kirk's multi-instrument dexterity was treated as a bit of a novelty. After all, here was a blind guy with three or four horns wrapped around his neck—some of which were exotic, modified variations like the manzello, a B-flat soprano sax, or the stritch, an E-flat alto sax—who switched between them seamlessly (or sometimes, seeming to play them simultaneously). However, Kirk's playing and compositional approach was never frivolous or goofy; in fact, it became more and more dense, daring, and mature as time went on. His work with the likes of Charles Mingus, Roy Haynes, and even John Cage eventually brought around many of his critics, and by the late '60s, he had clearly carved out his own lane of dynamic, adventurous jazz that, by the time he signed to Atlantic Records in the early '70s, had exploded into an avant-soul superhighway. Kirk's ideas were voluminous and wide-ranging during this era, careening from deeply-felt experimental albums (Root Strata) to clear-eyed nostalgia (a swinging collaboration with '40s crooner Al Hibbler) to mind-blowing feats of physical jazz prowess (he played the entirety of one album all in one breath). The Case of the 3-Sided Dream is the both the culmination and the peak of those varying impulses: a concept album spread across three sides of a double album (side four was largely blank, apart from some recordings of Kirk on the telephone) designed not only to free him from his record contract but also to expand the possibilities of what a "jazz album" even was in the mid-'70s. This was, after all, the era in which "electric jazz" had abandoned its promise of revolution and instead settled for highly polished, soul-flecked fusion. The bold experiments of the free jazz scene had returned to the underground, and most of the titans of the '50s and '60s engaged in either misguided attempts to connect with commercial audiences or retro-minded purity contests. For Kirk to come out with an album featuring bonkers spoken-word interludes, rudimentary sampling, frenetic flute solos, musique concrète experiments, funk grooves, and multiple versions of various standards ... well, it very explicitly positioned him as one of the few major jazz musicians of the era trying to keep the genre moving forward without sacrificing its sense of adventure or political and personal empowerment. It's funky and fusion-y, sure, but it's also incredibly idiosyncratic and experimental. The concept is densely inscrutable, but also completely literal—it is about a dream and thus, plays out like a dream sequence, bouncing around from idea to idea, returning to some repeatedly while abandoning others immediately. This is most obvious in Kirk's approach to the standards; for instance, Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer"—a well-trod path if ever there was one—gets visited twice, once as a familiar, bluesy blowing session and then again as a psycho-latin-funk-freakout containing one of Kirk's best flute solos. He takes a similar approach to "Lover Man" (recast here as "Portrait of Those Beautiful Ladies"), but by placing these warped touchstones next to his own pieces—weirdo groove explorations like the two-part "Freaks for the Festival" and absolutely experimental material like the Moondog-esque "Echoes of Primitive Ohio & Chili Dogs"—Kirk is evoking both the traditions and forward motion of jazz while also putting the listener in a sort of disoriented dream state. It's a remarkable work indeed, and were he to not have suffered a debilitating stroke shortly after making it, one marvels at how much further he could have continued taking his ideas. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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Soul - Released February 19, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

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Soul - Released February 19, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

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Soul - Released February 12, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

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Soul - Released February 12, 2021 | Rhino Atlantic

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Country - Released October 23, 2020 | Rhino Atlantic

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Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark had lain waiting for some years before John Prime succumbed to Covd-19 and joined them in April 2020 at the age of 73. The great songwriter and storyteller (who is little-known on this side of the pond but is somewhat of an idolized cult figure back home in the States) began his career as a protégé to Kris Kristofferson and recorded seven albums with Atlantic and Asylum between 1971 and 1980. All are remastered in this collection: John Prine (1971), Diamonds in the Rough (1972), Sweet Revenge (1973), Common Sense (1975), Bruised Orange (1978), Pink Cadillac (1979) and Storm Windows (1980). To understand the scale of Prine’s influence, two quotes from musicians from two different generation among thousands who flooded to social media to upon the announcement of his death. Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver: “A simple majority of who I am as a person, let alone a musician, is because of John Prine.”. Bruce Springsteen: “John and I were “new Dylans” together in the early 70s and he was never anything but the loveliest guy in the world. A true national treasure and a songwriter for the ages.” These seven albums (especially the first four), prove that John Prine was one of the great portraitists of his generation. While his dark sense of humour prevented him from sounding soppy, he nevertheless had a knack for touching hearts with empathy and humility. With Prine, anti-establishment was never low on the agenda as he fused wit and emotion with rarely seen talent… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Soul - Released October 22, 2020 | Rhino Atlantic

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Rock - Released October 2, 2020 | Rhino Atlantic

With their fourth album, All the Right Reasons, Nickelback ditch any pretense of being a grunge band and finally acknowledge they're a straight-up heavy rock band. Not that they've left the angst of grunge behind: they're a modern rock band living in a post-grunge world, so there are lots of tortured emotions threaded throughout the 11 songs here. But where their previous albums roiled with anger -- their breakthrough "How You Remind Me" was not affectionate, it was snide and cynical -- there's a surprisingly large sentimental streak running throughout All the Right Reasons, and it's not just limited to heart-on-sleeve power ballads like "Far Away" and "Savin' Me," the latter being the latest entry in their soundalike sweepstakes. No, lead singer/songwriter Chad Kroeger is in a particularly pensive mood here, looking back fondly at his crazy times in high school on "Photograph" ("Look at this photograph/Every time I do it makes me laugh/How did our eyes get so red?/And what the hell is on Joey's head?"), lamenting the murder of Dimebag Darrell on "Side of a Bullet" (where a Dimebag solo is overdubbed), and, most touching of all, imagining "the day when nobody died" on "If Everyone Cared" (which would be brought about "If everyone cared and nobody cried/If everyone loved and nobody lied"). Appropriately enough for an album that finds Kroeger's emotional palette opening up, Nickelback try a few new things here, adding more pianos, keyboards, and acoustic guitars to not just their ballads, but a few of their big, anthemic rockers; they even sound a little bit light and limber on "Someone That You're With," the fastest tune here and a bit of relief after all the heavy guitars. All this makes for a more varied Nickelback album, but it doesn't really change their essence. Sure, they stretch a little bit, but they still favor clumsy, plodding riffs, still incessantly rewrite the same chords and melody, still harmonize exactly the same way on every song, Kroeger still sounds as if he's singing with a hernia, he still writes shockingly stupid lines that make you long for the days of such subtle double-entendres as "she's using her head again" (such as "She'd be pissed if she could see the parts of you that I've been kissing," "It's just a little hard to leave/When you're going down on me" -- and, mind you, this album does not carry a Parental Advisory sticker, even though "a**holes" is prominently used in two songs), and despite the attempted sarcasm of "Rockstar," he still shows no discernible sense of humor. Which means, despite all their newly developed relative nuances, Nickelback remain unchanged: they're still unspeakably awful. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Soul - Released September 30, 2020 | Rhino Atlantic

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Jazz - Released September 18, 2020 | Rhino Atlantic

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In the 60 years since John Coltrane's Giant Steps was released, the album has (justifiably) taken its place in the pantheon of classic albums. However, upon its release in early 1960, it was just the Atlantic Records debut of a hotshot saxophonist who had made a name for himself with Miles and Monk and recorded a few albums as a leader (and countless albums as a sideman) on Prestige. He was widely recognized as a technical talent, capable of dazzling and dizzying solos, but his compositional skills had only been showcased properly on one album: the (less justifiably) classic Blue Train, which was released in 1958 and was more clearly related to the hard bop of the day. Now, with a multi-year contract with Atlantic in hand, Coltrane was able to focus his label debut on his own material, positioning himself as a mature, confident, and singular artist, rather than as a gunslinger-for-hire. Everything on Giant Steps is a Coltrane composition, with a deep focus on harmony, phrasing, and melody. The album is intensely inventive from a structural standpoint—it's here that the "Giant Steps" chord progression (a.k.a. "the Coltrane Changes") makes its debut, as does the soon-to-be Coltrane standard "Naima," the themes of which would make their way into some of his most experimental and free-flowing future concerts. There's also plenty of blues ("Cousin Mary"), bouncing blasts of joyful lightness ("Syeeda's Song Flute"), and improvisational pyrotechnics ("Mr. P.C."), and the album swings so hard and is so emotionally evocative, it's easy for a listener to overlook just how epochal it was. This is the album that—along with Kind of Blue a year earlier—effectively closed the door on bebop. Coltrane's compositional approach here opened the door to his probing, analytical take on spiritual improvisation over the next few years. Of course, thanks to the luxury of having two days in the studio—far longer than a typical blowing session—he was able to get it right, resulting in a perfect album ... as well as several reels of outtakes. A raft of those appear on this 60th anniversary "Super Deluxe” edition—eight alternate takes and 20 additional outtakes (many of which are previously unreleased) flesh out this collection. Few of them provide much insight or improvement on the album versions and the inclusion of an alternate take of the Coltrane Jazz track "Like Sonny" (recorded contemporaneously with "Naima" on a different date than the rest of Giant Steps) is a bit of a stretch. This latest remastering, while spacious and alive, doesn't improve substantially upon Bill Inglot's 1998 remaster; in fact, one could argue that the 2014 mono remaster is an even more rewarding listening experience. But having a few "definitive" versions of a classic album—one that has been continuously in print and remastered/reissued/updated several times since its original release—is not a bad problem to have. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz